Fun time exploring Amsterdam this afternoon as I ran along a bunch of canals. Might have gotten a little lost and felt out of place as it doesn’t seem like the streets and sidewalks are geared for runners ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    From the Lens - Great Wall

    **Looking towards Tower 23 in the far distance at the Mutianyu Great Wall before the steep climb to come with no one in sight. (May 2019, Mutianyu Great Wall, Beijing China)**
    Tuesday Photo Challenge - Wall - What better photo of mine to post for a Wall challenge than a picture of the Great Wall of China. Also, for another photo look back to where this picture was taken check out a previous post of mine.

    Wordless Wednesday 05/22

    *Mutianyu Great Wall in the early mornings before others arrived was so peaceful (May 2019, Mutianyu Great Wall, Beijing China)*

    Last morning in China as I fly out tonight so my last morning of exploring the streets. It still seems strange to find all of these little paths like this that are right around tall buildings and roads. However, when on them you feel like you could be anywhere and doesn’t feel like you are in a major city. ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    Had a great time exploring the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall today. Hiked to both ends of the 2-mile stretch and felt like I had the place to myself in some sections. There were more stairs than I anticipated and some steep sections as well.

    Had a good afternoon exploring Beijing…

    Day Four Recap in Sedona and Phoenix...

    We started out with some solo hikes / runs around the hotel. Then we went o the Sedona Airport Loop which had great views on the hike. It might have been a good idea to all turn back as it ended with two of us running in the rain. However, then we all claimed a lookout to take some pictures in the rain. Finally, we drove back to Phoenix (through hail nonetheless) and played games with Kent, and hung out with Great Grandma Gott before the big kids and I had to run to the airport. Such a great short trip with tons of family time.

    Last run in Arizona before heading home tonight. Thankfully the rain stopped right before I went outside but that added the challenge with a little mud and wet rocks… ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    Day 3 Recap in Sedona...

    What started out as an overcast day of shopping and good food in the hotel as well as the Cowboys Club for lunch. Turned out to be a great afternoon of blue sky as we were able to take a hike on a trail by our hotel.

    Cloudy morning trail run today but I still can’t complain. Beautiful view of the mountains but with my narrow trail at points looking down was a better option… ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    It doesn’t matter how much I run but running on these hills around Phoenix this morning were less than easy. Thankfully the view was worth it… ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    Day 2 Recap in Sedona...

    Devil’s Bridge like that I am still shocked that all kids hiked the 2 miles there and 2 miles back with smiles on their faces for the most part. Also, we got to spend the day with Cousin Anna. After that we had Ice Cream, swam in the pool/hot tub, and ended the night watching the sunset.

    Day 1 recap in Phoenix, AZ....

    Morning hiking, afternoon in the pool ๐Ÿ˜‚game time with Kent, and dinner with Grandma Gott.

    Found an observation deck on my run this morning by the lake. Not a bad view from the top but a little windy… ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    ๐Ÿ“Erie Basin Marina Observation Deck

    Pending Appointments - Air Travel Edition

    I am no road warrior when it comes to traveling but I feel like over my 15+ year career I have traveled a fair amount. However, most of my travel comes in waves, a lot in a row and then nothing at all.

    For example, right now I am currently traveling and will get back later this week. I will be home for 2 weeks then a vacation with the whole family where we will be traveling for about a week. Once I get back from that I will have a weekend with the family before boarding a plane again. That time, however, will be an international trip which always adds to some travel complexities.

    I typically don't mind traveling except that I have to be away from my family and potentially miss activities of theirs. However, what makes things worse is the pending appointments of flight departures. The hurry up and wait of it all is really nothing special. I am sure I was annoyed with it when I was fresh out of college traveling but maybe I didnโ€™t care as much now. Or it might have been because I was so much younger and didn't have anything else going on.

    What makes that even worse is when you have a flight later in the day and your whole day gets sucked into making sure you can leave on time. Or even worse then you feel you can't do anything all day as you want to make sure you leave at the optimal time.

    There are too many variables when flying that sometimes suck the enjoyment out of air traveling. Letโ€™s start from the top and work through a couple of items that make the pending appointment of air travel less fun.

    Getting to the Airport

    Travel times, yep you know what I am talking about is there traffic and if so how bad is it? Should I drive or call a car? If I take Uber or Lyft, will they be on time? If I drive, how long will it take me to park and get to the airport?

    Security Line

    How early should I really arrive? What if the security line is really long and it takes over the allotted times.

    Delayed flights

    The flight is delayed, should I leave later? Should I still go at the same time because remember that time the switch it to later and then the plane came in early and it wasn't as long as they said. How delayed do you think it will be? Will I make my connection? When will I get to my destination? Do you think the flight will be canceled? If so, how do I rebook or get a new flight?

    You see all of those questions that run through your head and then you have to calculate the time back to your starting point of leaving the house. Not to mention if you have a flight later in the day you keep thinking about it and wondering if the time you planned to leave for the airport is right or if you should go earlier.

    Then after you think you have answered all of your questions for airplane travel, you realize you haven't consulted the Weather! Well, that throws a wrench into everything and you have to start at the top again to see how that might affect what you already decided on ideal departure.

    This seems out of place

    Well hope you enjoyed these random thoughts while I sit in the airport for a 3 hr delayed flight that was supposed to leave at 8:30 pm but we are now not leaving till 11:30 pm and arriving around 2:30 am local time. Donโ€™t worry though I only have an 8:00 am meeting to make sure I am awake for. ?

    Miscalculated or having time to Kill in the Airport?

    Just as I was going to hit the publish button this came up in my feed so I figured I would share it in case you made a mistake in your calculation or are delayed 3 hours like I was, 10 ways to Survive a Long Airport Layover by Jodie from Travelettes.

    Floodgates of Unnecessary Purchases

    Have you ever been gearing up for a trip and fell into the trap of buying a lot of things because of that upcoming โ€œtripโ€?

    Earlier this year I went on a 2-week business trip to Germany and the above scenario happened to me in the weeks preceding me leaving the US. It started with the question of how can I pack most efficiently as I didnโ€™t want to check baggage through since I wanted to be somewhat mobile on the weekend. So as I was looking over my typical packing, which is normally pretty minimal as for a week travel in the US I use my Kelty Versant Duffel.

    Kelty Versant Duffel
    I even pack my laptop in this bag on most trips in the US I take for work. Remember I love to run so there is running gear in there too!ย 

    However, knowing I was going to be gone longer and over the weekend, I knew I would use a little bigger bag but really wanted to try to squeeze everything into a small carry-on suitcase order to make travel from hotel to hotel much easier. So I decided to update my list a little bit before I knew it I was looking at my things and thinking there was probably something better than I could buy instead of taking similar items that I currently own.

    The Problem Started Brewing

    While packing my clothes I got this idea that if I bought some pants that would be comfortable enough to wear walking around but still look nice enough to wear to work a couple days over the trip that would be money worthwhile. So what did I do, what everyone does when they want something by heading to Amazon. However, it didnโ€™t stop thereโ€ฆ

    I wanted to work out so I was going to take some running shoes, however, the ones I had wouldnโ€™t work for casual at work and running as they are bright yellow and pretty worn at this point. Speaking of shoes though, maybe I should just get some new casual / dress shoes so I might not have to bring my actual dress shoes. Donโ€™t you think some new socks are in order too? Also, I didnโ€™t want to take my two phones along (long story), so I needed to buy a new phone workout band for the time I was away. Finally, I needed a different phone charger as the long cord just wouldnโ€™t cut it as I didnโ€™t want all that excess cord in my pocket when it was charging on the go. Before I knew it I had a list of โ€œNeedsโ€ that probably totaled more than $400 and in 2 days boxes started showing up from Amazon.

    You see what just happened there, it was so easy for my mind to justify purchasing and elevated things from a โ€œWantโ€ to a โ€œNeedโ€ prior to my work trip. Once I had my mindset on packing light, I opened the floodgates of unnecessary purchases and I ended up with things I typically wouldnโ€™t have bought myself till it was absolutely necessary.

    Backpedaling to my Frugal Self

    In the end, I came to my senses before it was too late and started to backpedal on what was really a need for this trip. Thankfully all of the items I had purchased had free returns. I did still end up keeping some of them and I feel good about it to this day as I know I have used them every week since.

    Kรถlner Dom - Cologne Cathedral, Germany
    Walking down the steep steps of the Cologne Cathedral!

    Ok, two more plugs as I am still running in those Asics shoes above and the prAna pants are amazing too. I can get by wearing them to work because they look good depending on what shirt I wear.

    When was the last time you were getting ready for something like a big trip and you all of a sudden let the floodgates of purchases happen?

    Rental Car Extras

    Over my life, I have traveled to quite a few different airports in the US and overseas.  During most of my trips, I need to get a rental car in order to get to my final destination.  I just got back from my last trip and this really made me think about how the travel industry (looking at you Airlines) is moving in this direction of buy-ups. As always, Tripp and Tyler have done it again by giving everyone a glips into how it sometimes goes down.


    My Thoughts

    I have to admit as much as I enjoyed the video, I can't remember the last time I had rental car issues.  However, since travel frequently most companies have my profile on file that allows me to walk up and grab a car and drive away. Avoiding that discussion with a sales agent trying to get me to buy more. I remember when that wasn't the case and I felt they were trying to sell me every part of the car and all I got was the shell. I just remember being confused what was really included in the quote when I ordered the car.

    Airlines are in this game as well but to varying degrees based on the airline, you travel. It seems more airlines are going in this direction as well and it is really disappointing but a the same time I get what they are trying to do. They are trying to make people feel they are getting a great price at the time of purchase only to find out it didn't include everything. The worst part is all of these "fees" really add up for airlines and more than likely going to the bottom line.

    It is very common these days that if you are not a regular flyer or have a credit card for the airline you are flying you more than likely will have to pay baggage fees. Some airlines are now going to start charging customers for full size carry on's depending on the ticket you purchase (Thanks United!) Then, of course, there have been the odd one from a while back where one airline was charging people to use the bathroom. Yes, the Bathroom. I believe that didn't stick around but you can see that you need to be careful when booking travel and make sure you know what you bought.

    What are your thoughts? Do you think companies should just give you one flat cost and have everything included? Or should they give you a base price and then have you pay for upgrades / additional services.

    Wordless Wednesday 03/07

    Cologne cathedral at night1175007525693599826 *Beautifully lit Gothic architecture (Cologne Cathedral, Germany - February 2018)*

    Wordless Wednesday 10/25

    IMG 1339 01 *Nothing beats coffee in with a tiger in it (August 2015, Pudong Airport, Shanghai, China)*


    Wordless Wednesday 09/27

    IMG 0819 01 *View from the top of a Mountain (August 2017, Estes Cone, Estes Park, CO)*
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