Category Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Olympic Planning Update

So I recently blogged that I am wanting to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, a few hours of research has led me to believe this will be beyond expensive. Something else I am still amazed at is the lack of available planning information for going to Olympics. I plan on changing this over the next 4 years, and plan on posting as much planning information I can find for everyone to read and plan. As I firmly believe, going to an International event of this magnitude takes a lot of planning, and if you are like me you are someone who dreams big and need to the full 4 years to save.

Anyway, back to that expensive part, sure you can go to 1 or 2 events and stay in hostels and go on the cheap, I don’t doubt that, and heck maybe later on I will focus on going to Rio on the cheap, but right now I want to dream big, Olympic Big.

Anyway if you are not sure where to start on your “Olympic Spectator Dreams”

CLICK HERE

I have already posted once on this topic, and believe me I plan on posting frequently in the future as my goal is to compile tips and share what I have learned with you every few months, I want to be well researched in the topic and know everything I possibly can, especially since this will most likely be my first time ever going to Brazil and the Olympics for that matter.

Currently I am, planning the most extravagant trip I can come up with and seeing how I should budget for it, and well when August of 2015 rolls around I am sure I will get more realistic and book within my means.

But for now I am dreaming big 😉

I have started a pin board on my pinterest account to keep track with all hotels, events, tourist sites, anything I come across that might be relevant for the event. You can follow that board HERE

So lately I have been researching the Olympics and everything I come across says it is going to be $$$. I have yet to find a way to go the Olympics on the cheap so that is something I will work on for the future.

Something else I keep reading is plan on making a trip to the Olympics as a once in a lifetime thing because for most people it is. I hope it is not for me, but I do plan on treating it like it is.

I came across a few articles that had common messages I have not previously stated, one of the repeat tips I read were before any major event, it is good to look up a list of vendors who have agreed to a NO PRICE GOUGING POLICY. You can best believe I will write about this once it available as historically a lot of vendors hike their prices up for major events.

They also stated that you should save your miles, and book early, because any major airline will book you using miles if it is early enough, but seats are very very limited, so I am assuming this is something that needs to be done on day 330… or something along those lines. I have never tested this theory so I personally plan on having the cash too, but hey it may be worth saving all those miles for a trip to Rio.

Quite a few hotels were around $500 a night in London, granted the pound is stronger than the Brazilian Real, but still, I am assuming with inflation and any other craziness that could occur the next 4 years this is along the lines of what to expect. So, sadly for a 2 week stay like what I want to do, that is 7 THOUSAND DOLLARS. That is absolutely nuts, and you can believe I will work on cheaper options, but just for the sake of math and aiming high, that is what I am setting my target at (but plan on spending half that at most actually I am cheap, if I can get it done for significantly less I will 😉 )

This was also the last-minute dollar amount, I am betting if you are “good” planner and book early, well you can get those $200 dollar a night rooms I read about, but have not confirmed existed. 😉

Other tips, you could stay in Hostels, Home Stays, camping and B&B’s. Which I plan on reading & researching and posting as I find out information. Don’t worry friends I will share everything I find with you, I believe in spreading the knowledge. I do not have details on all of this, but my goal is be one heck of a Brazilian expert, even though sadly I have ever set foot in the country.

A tip I also read, if you seek less popular events, tickets are cheap. While I want to go to the “less popular sports” I plan on attending swimming, gymnastics, golf & soccer so I have a sneaking suspicion so those will be expensive.

Companies will offer package deals, but clearly we are 4 years away, so I have no clue, who those will be but when I know, you will know… Promise.

Something I learned I had no clue but I am BEYOND stoked about, there are free events!

The free events to view?

Olympic Marathons
Cycling
Rowing events
Equestrian Events

All these were free at London and yay for us, we can expect these to also be free in Rio.

Local transportation is something I keep coming across that is cheap and the way to travel from event to event, sadly I am not very knowledgable (yet) but I think I will utilize public transport as much as possible, again this is something that I will be able to plan in the future. Transportation is something I will not be able to post much about until it is closer, but like I said previously, when I know… you will know.

Food. Well needless to say, as I have never been to Rio, this is something I plan on researching and talking to people who have been to Rio, but personally I am looking forward to street vendors & fresh fruit 🙂

We have 1424 days to plan! Cash is tight for a lot of us, but saving a few bucks a day can make all the difference!

NOTE: something I realized after writing this entire article, I realized this information could be useful for the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi Russia too, so if you are Olympic Spectator bound to Sochi, just use the tips for that trip.

So if Sochi is your dreams, well you have 514 days, and I am willing to be bet tickets will be on sale, soon.

2014 Winter Olympics Official Site

I toyed around on the winter Olympic site, and it is in Russian, but it looks like they used the Russian people to help determine the cost. There is a subscription button to notify when tickets will go on sale.

What “Olympics Spectator” tips have you come across? Please share! If you have been to the Olympics what do you wish you would have done differently?

Note: Image was taken from www.rio2016.org website, and is protected by their trademark.

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