Category Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Springfield is NOT the Capital of Missouri

But you probably knew that already right?

Sadly, I didn’t.

Those of you that know me, know my geography of the US needs a major overhaul. I just recently learned how close Detroit is to Canada, I learned that Iowa is in fact up north and well potatoes come from Idaho, not Iowa. Sad. I have been an American for almost 30 years, and that is what I have recently learned, I am pretty sure that info is taught in grade school.

Thanks to my never ending string of fiascoes that occurred on this last trip, I learned I need major lessons on the great United States. It is shameful. I know where almost every country is located in the world, but ask me what are the capital cities of the 50 states?

Forget about it.

So it should not surprise anyone that I did not have a clue where the capital of Missouri was.

I trusted the Midwesterner I was with to give me the correct answer.

His answer? Springfield.

Sweet Springfield was on the way, I would see another capital. I would love to see all 50 someday.

Except Springfield came and went. No Capital. Too bad. Next time I thought.

So imagine my surprise when we arrived to Jefferson City, Missouri and I see a giant domed “capital” looking building. My spidey sense started tingling because it sure reminded me of the Texas State Capitol building.

“What’s that?” I ask. “I don’t know” is the response I get.

I quickly googled on my phone, and what did I learn?

Jefferson City is the capitol of Missouri.

So in the end what knowledge did I gain from this travel Faux Pas?

I can tell you without a doubt, Springfield is NOT The capitol of Missouri in fact Jefferson City is.

In fact I also now know it has been the capital since 1821.

Lesson Learned. I would like to apologize to the residents of the Show Me State, you can rest assured that from now on I will always know the Capital of Missouri. 🙂

Celebrating National Smore’s Day

Did you know there was National S’mores Day?

I didn’t.

Imagine my surprise when I was out in the “wilderness” and learned about it, what a perfect opportunity to celebrate this day. (In case you were wondering National S’mores Day is August 10th)

Here is the 4-1-1 on Jen & Smores

You can ask my family, I am/was a crazy dieter, my entire high school & college career I was on a diet. I never ate anything that would possibly allow me to gain a pound. I maintained my weight from 13-25 no problem because of my crazy diet tactics. Yes I know my 25-year-old self weighed the same as my 13-year-old self, that is another topic all together.

Sadly these crazy diet tactics made me always turn downs s’mores, so here I am almost 30 and never had one.

Yes you read that correctly I never had a s’more.

Before you call me un-American (like I heard previously) I went camping a lot when I was younger, and yes my parents had s’mores, but I was always so worried about gaining a pound and fitting into a size 4 that I never had them.

I. Was. Stupid.

S’mores are amazing. I was totally missing out. The eye rolls I often got from my parents make perfect sense now.

On a happy notes, I was able to document my first s’mores experience.

My first s’more….

I was told however, that since the location I was located was under a burn ban, I did not have the “authentic” experience because we had to use a “Bunsen burner” but either way… s’mores rock!

The Bunsen Burner

Overall, I was freezing my butt off but the yummy gooey-ness of a s’more, made staying outside to toast the marshmallows totally worth it, as you can see in the following pic

Do you love s’mores?

My Lesson from Hurricane Gustav

I have not had much to report on lately so I figured I would share one of my lessons I learned on a previous trip….

Back in 2008, one of my best friends was getting married, so when she said she wanted to have a bachelorette party on a cruise ship, the first words out of my mouth, were where do I sign up? It didn’t even dawn on me that it was during hurricane season.

our lovely ship

This trip would become one of the “best” stressful adventures (and lessons) I have ever had (thus far)

When it was time to leave I was already very stressed because I had just started a new job and was leaving in the middle of a training segment to go on a (what I thought was) a four-day cruise. I already had my reservations about going simply because I had started a new job and you shouldn’t take off for a couple of days in the middle of training, but my trainer at work was awesome, and told me to go and have a great time and that she would get me caught up when I returned.

Anyway, as I am one of the most accident prone people on the planet and bad luck follows me, of course this trip would have some crazy events occur.

Those of you on the gulf coast know that 2008 was a big hurricane year, we had Gustav and Ike (along with many others) and it caused a lot of issues for the gulf port towns.

The day before I left for the cruise a hurricane started forming and the national weather center called this storm Gustav. We were supposed to go to Cozumel, where I had a fun jungle beach tour but when we arrived at the terminal, we were informed that the cruise would change their port of call, and we would be informed on the ship. No big deal, we were still going to Mexico.

In fact the port of call would change four times on this trip, due to where Gustav was “expected” to make landfall.

The cruise I was on, made national news. I was on a 4 day cruise that suddenly became a 6 day cruise and we were circling the gulf to avoid the violent waves that were occurring in the gulf, plus the port of Galveston had shut down, so we couldn’t dock. There was another ship The Liberty, and during those two days, you would see the two ships circling each other, because they could not dock in New Orleans, and we could not dock in Galveston.

The two boats that made news

The two ships actually made national news, because we were “stuck” in the Gulf.

When the Captain came on the speakers and said that we would have postpone our return, everyone in my group started to cheer and clink glasses.

I however, had a panick attack and I swore I would never cruise during hurricane season again. I was frantic and panicking to the point I started crying. Seriously I was crying, after being told I was going to get an extra two days of VACATION! I knew I was going to get fired, I called my the boyfriend and started panicking and crying, and made him call my trainer and tell her what was going on. I literally panicked, I am pretty sure the 10 girls I was with, wanted to slap me.

(I would like to note that I didn’t get fired and I still work for the company, and ironically, I would kill for another accidentally extended cruise vacation)

Anyway, that is the long story short of the experience.

Looking back I learned a very valuable lesson, not only will I be careful about cruises during hurricane season, I would become more relaxed in “bad” situations from that day forward. I adopted the “it is what it is” philosophy and I make the best of every situation.

Anyway, due to Gustav’s potential of destroying Cozumel the ship had to change their itinerary and go to another port.

So we docked in the Yucatan, specifically near Merida. Everyone I was with wanted to go to the beach, and I wanted to climb some ruins,so when we found a guy who said he could take us to both, we agreed.

So we all hopped onto the bus to the beach and I hopped the bus to the ruins and told them I would catch up after I was done. Where I went exactly I couldn’t tell you. He spoke broken English and I spoke broken Spanish, so communication was an issue. I just knew I was going to see ruins, I was very trusting of this guy, and looking back maybe I should have asked more questions so I could tell every one where I went.

After countless hours of research online, I believe I was taken to Temple of the Dolls, a lot of my pictures look like the pictures online (except lower quality) so I am under the belief I was there, however if you think it is somewhere different let me know 🙂

Anyway, it turned into a great day. I got to climb through history, and afterwards lay out by the beach and drink pina coladas. Looking back, I would tell my 25-year-old self to chill out and just enjoy the ride.

Here are the pictures from the ruins.

me on top of the pyramid (my outfit choice wasn’t the greatest, but alas you live you learn 😉 )

Looking back I learned a great lesson from that trip, that there are forces of nature that I can not control. I can’t control every single aspect of my life, and that if something happens all I can do is make the best of it, and afterwards try to correct any situation that may occur. I wasted almost an entire day of my vacation panicking over getting fired (which never occurred) and I should have just laid back and relaxed because in reality it was something I could not control. If I had gotten fired yes it would have sucked, but it would have been ok I would have eventually found another job. Life is all about enjoying the “accidental adventures” and I am glad I learned that lesson. I am ready to take on the next “hurricane Gustav” that may occur on my little adventures.

Until Next Time,

XOXO

The Road to Rio 2016?

Who has been watching the Olympics this weekend?

I know I have. I saw USA Archry almost win gold against Italy. Lochte winning the gold, the amazing race of Dana Vollmer and oh she lost one of her swim caps, I disagreed with the line up team USA used in the 4×100 free relays, I watched USA vs. Montenegro in water polo. Ladies gymnastics again broke my heart. I have watched a lot of the olympics, these are just the moments that are sticking out in my head so far.

For many athletes they have started their road to the Rio 2016 Olympics, they will shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and you know what I want to join them….

As a spectator 🙂

This weekend I decided that my big trip in 2016 is going to the Olympics in Rio. My brother and I are both wanting to go, we have been texting each other back and forth all weekend and, we feel that if we started saving and planning now, we can make it to Rio in 2016.

It is sure to be a historical event! The first Olympics in South America? That is huge! It is a fantastic opportunity to be part of history.

So that lead me to utilize my stellar research skills, because I am positive attending a huge international event like the Olympics takes some intense planning if you are going to maximize your visit and really do it up.

Yes, I know the 2016 Olympics are 2,499 days away according to the Rio Olympic Website but if I am going to do it up, I need to plan, and since I am someone that loves to plan and research trips, might as well start now. It makes the days spent in my cubicle that much easier.

Not to mention I am sure going to the Olympics can cost a lot.

I looked at past Olympics guides, and all of them appear incomplete to me. Which is kinda a downer, which also leads me to believe it must be hard to plan to be a spectator at the Olympics. So I am going to do my best to share all of the useful information I located after spending hours on the web.

So I have decided to share my travel tip with the world, because right now we have time by our side and you can plan and save to have one epic Olympic Spectating Experience 😉

So here is the 4-1-1.

Transportation & Accommodations

All of the sights typically do a great job at telling you to plan your flight and accommodations. To me this is a no brainer, you would do this if you were going to the country to visit, so why wouldn’t you do this for the Olympics.

So I am taking it a step further. You should plan hotels that are close to the events you would like to see. After researching the Rio Maps I have found that the Rio Olympics will be broken down into zones. I am interested mostly in swimming and the Olympic Opening Ceremony. So after looking at the website it looks like I would want to look for lodging in the Barra Zone.

So my plan will be book a hotel here, and if there are other events, take transport to those events.

I encourage you to look at the Rio Venues Map to get a general idea of where you need to stay, and where the “must see events” for you are located.

As far as flights, well you can’t really book those until 330 days in advance and flight costs can change in a hurry. I know a flight from Houston to Rio can cost at least $1200 so that is something that I must plan for and book well in advance.

The airport codes for Rio are RIO, GIG and SDU. I encourage you to look into multiple flight options and get a general idea of a flight cost. This will allow you to plan a little easier.

So according to my research, it is a very good idea to book accomodations a year in advance. Also it appears that the major hotel chaines i.e Marriott, Hilton etc, will expect the full amount paid up front, so this is something to keep in mind when planning and budgeting. A positive is that at least the large cost will be paid for in advance and you will not have to worry about it once you arrive.

Tickets & Events

There will be 28 sports ranging from swimming to golf to marathon running. What you want to see will determine how much you should save for. Tickets are obviously not available right now, but if you are planning on attending the 2016 Olympics go to THIS SITE and sign up for email up dates on the tickets. You will be grateful you did later, when 2 years from now, you get a notice, that tickets will go on sale soon 🙂

It will keep you informed on all of the up to date information for the tickets. Tickets are very hard to come by, and you are competing with the world, so believe me when I say you want to be in the know.

I researched current ticket costs.

I will use London’s Ticket Prices for my planning and budgeting. For an idea of what to expect CLICK HERE

It would appear tickets range from $32 to well over $200 depending on seat location and event.

If you want to go to the Opening Ceremony like we do, be prepared to pay a lot especially if you don’t buy right when they go on sale. It was reported that Opening Ceremony tickets went for $2,500 resale after they sold out.

Face Value of tickets are $31.57 to $3,157 US. So if the opening ceremony is something you must do, you must be ready to battle for these tickets they go on sale or be prepared to pay a lot more.

So again this my reminder for you to go sign up for the ticket notification, or you will miss out.

I personally plan on attending some event every day, so I know ticket costs will be a HUGE expense and I am glad I have plenty of time to save for them. I want to see as many different sports and competitions as possible and once the tickets become available I will have a better grasp of what to expect. I also want to see Brazil soccer, which I am willing to bet will be a very very expensive ticket. Not to mention golf is coming to the Olympics, as well as squash, wake boarding and roller sports. There will be a lot of new events to consider.

Important Info you Should Know

Obviously safety consideration should be apart of every travel you take so I am not really going to cover that

Brazil has visa requirements so make sure you handle that prior to arriving so you do not have any issues. It would really suck to spend all that money and then have a visa issue upon arrival. You will not be able to get a visa at the airport.

For all things Brazil check out the Brazil Country Specific Information on the Department of State website.

Anyway, my huge issue will be budgeting and saving for the trip. I know what I would like to do, but like my past travel tip post said setting a very specific goal makes it easier to accomplish. So I am going to take my own advice. I have my $$$ goal, so it is time to start saving! Not to mention, it is so far in advance, you could save $2 per day, and by time it came time to book you would have plenty.

Seriously, just $2 bucks a day and you will most likely have enough to cover your flight & hotel!

So who is with me to cheer on Team USA in Rio, I mean you have 2,499 days to plan, why shouldn’t you go!

Until next time,

XOXO

Jen