Affordable travel is it a myth?

 

pexels-photo-269583.jpegAffordable Travel is it a myth?

I hear it all the time, how do you travel like you do?   Isn’t it expensive? Aren’t you afraid? I heard on the news that ….. Don’t you work? How do you take all that time off? I heard about that free travel but isn’t that just a scam?  I can’t afford to travel.

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These are the most common stumbling blocks for people who want to travel but never make it out the door. I will try to address them in a little depth in my post this month.

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My answer to these, yes sometimes it is expensive.   Yet it is so worth it.  I have found it is worth so much more than I ever pay.   No I am not usually afraid, and I find if I use common sense I have no issues.    I am more afraid of not being able to see the things I want to see.   Yes, I heard all the stuff the news reports and I am usually not interested.   I might not ever leave my door if I paid attention to the news.   Yes, I work and I maximize my vacation time.   I do everything from long weekends to adding my vacation on to Holiday’s to extend it a little longer.

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So I will try to break down how I actually travel so much and how I do it as a luxury minimalist.  I will try and show you that YOU can do it too.  I am going to answer the most important questions first and I am going to stress what you need to do right away to make it happen.   MINDSET.

First Step: Make Travel a Priority again MAKE TRAVEL A PRIORTY

Ok, so how do I do it? First of all I make it a priority.   Above everything else I like to do travel is number one on my list.    So it’s what I focus on to make happen before anything else.   I CHOOSE to travel.    When other people might have toys, coffees, concerts, clothes, shoes, hobbies, ect I choose travel.   It’s my priority.   We all have them little things we spend money on daily and things we like to buy.    I choose to make mine travel. I get that not everyone likes it as much as I do and others may choose something else.   I choose travel over buying stuff and things.  Including a lot of dinners out of the house.

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I did a quick stint at Starbucks to see what it was about. I was actually surprised at how many people came in daily for a cup of coffee, latte, Macchiato ect.  At times there were lines of people waiting for coffee. I thought to myself its coffee people.   What I learned is you can’t mess with people and their coffee.

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So, instead I did the math and averaged out if you bought a latte at Starbucks 5-7 days a week (Although I had seen people in there twice daily) at an average of 5 bucks a day, over the course of the year you could spend 1,500 to 1,700 just on your daily coffee habit.   To some this might be quite worth it and they are not willing to give it up for anything.  To me in my book that is one trip.    For me that is going someplace I have never been and sitting there sipping coffee enjoying a new experience.  For some traveler’s, that would be a budget of one month for someplace like Thailand.   This is why it is so important to establish YOUR priorities.  What do you want?

This is what I mean when I say for you to prioritize.   If travel is something you want to do and don’t have the funds but maybe have a daily coffee habit, is travel or coffee more important?   Some might say coffee and I understand I love my coffee too.   I just love to travel more.    So I make mine at home.   I can make a mean cup of coffee too!    I want to experience life outside of my cup of coffee.   I want to experience that cup of coffee in Morocco or even maybe two hours away at that little roadside coffee place just outside of my next weekend adventure.    That to me is more important.   You have to decide what is more important to you. Only you can do that.

So next step: Dream and Plan

So if you are like me and decide that you need to prioritize travel, what happens?   The moment you decide to do this your dreams start to become reality.   So from the priority comes the plan or the action that has to happen to make the priority come alive.   I start looking at fares and places I want to go.   What do I want to do?   How much will it cost?   Then how can a spread it out over my timeframe so that I have to make small little payments?

I start to turn what started as a dream into reality.   You can too it’s really not hard.  Most motivational people will often talk about this and goal setting.   If it is weight, money, or travel, it’s all about goal setting.

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I actually started doing this at first with cruising  I picked place and looked at pricing  Then I discovered Cruise Layaway.

I love telling people about cruise layaway. I hear people all the time tell me I would love to go on a cruise.  I will always ask, “well why don’t you?”   Their response is always, because isn’t’ it expensive?   My first response is “what if I told you that you can plan it and lay it away?”   They are like what?  If you need help let me know.   I would love to help you do this and you can always take a look at my booking site.  There is a link on this site.   That is part of what I do to help me afford to travel.

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Not everyone’s choice is cruising but we have done it and love it.   You place a small deposit down sometimes 100 to 200 per person and you can do this a year in advance.   Then monthly you pay on it. There is no set amount you just need to have it completely paid usually 60-75 days out.   So you break up that 600 per person fee into small manageable increments.

After you have done this  70 to 80 percent of your vacation cost is paid for even before you go. What you do in addition is completely up to you and your budget.   If you do nothing else but cruise around the port areas you will owe nothing more but your tips.   Everything including entertainment is included.   Perfect for those trying to see things but not spend too much.   There is not anything better for more bang for your buck than cruising. Multiple places, various countries, in one trip for one cost.

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So now you have prioritized, then you have turned your dream into a goal.  You have placed a deposit down or you have paid your balance on your trip because you took the step.  For most people this is the first step and they just have to get through that step to open up a new world.

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It’s all about that first step.  If you never take it and keep putting it off it won’t happen.  There will always be something ahead of it.  Something scary, something that will stop you from taking that step.  I am telling you take it anyway.  Open the door.  JUMP!!!!  What are you waiting for?pexels-photo-753626.jpeg

 

I will be looking at some other ways you can travel using points, rewards, and such in some of my next post on affordable travel.  So, keep following for additional information on our you can continue to turn your dreams into reality.  As always if you have any questions or I can help you don’t hesitate to call me.  If you like this post by all means please share it.

Contact me if I can help you plan your destination discovery.  Remember Travel with T

Wine….Wine…Wine…Destination; Casa Rondena Winery, Albuquerque, NM

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Wine Wine Wine,

My travel preferences seem to draw me to churches and WINE.    Hey, I am Catholic so this works well.   They go together you know.  Thank goodness I am not Baptist I would miss all the good wine, and margaritas and such.

So this trip to Albuquerque, NM was no different.  I decided to make a journey through Albuquerque wineries and one of our first stops was Casa Rondena.

If you Google the list of wineries in NM you can get a pretty good plan on where and how far you want to travel to see them. We chose our locations by how close they were to our traveling center which was Albuquerque.

The winery itself is in the outskirts of Albuquerque but not far at all. You go through what seems to be ranch land and or larger properties. The drive itself is fairly scenic.  Not too far out and easy access really.

When approaching Casa Rondena you are presented with fantastic scenery. As the property it sits on is extremely manicured and well done. It’s not surprising weddings are popular here.

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In the middle of a desert you have a this little Southwest oasis. Which is just what we where looking for. The small vineyard that they have on sight is right next to the tasting room You are able to spend time walking the vineyard as well as the property for as long as you like.

It’s a good thing not too many people were around outside when we were looking.  They would have seen this crazy lady trying to take blog worthy pics hanging off several walls and such.  Not too mention trying to walk into the private club they had on the estate.  Only for the select club members.  Of which I am not.

The winery grows its own grapes as well as purchases grapes from the surrounding New Mexico area.  The vineyard on the property itself is very small.  I could not locate a source to tell me if they use those grapes for the wine or not.  It was still coming out of winter when we were there.  So the vines were still barren of leaves.

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Inside is a good size bar area where the wine tasting is done. If you walk through that area you are able to sit in the large lounge area. The lounge and outside area are expansive and you can sit anywhere and enjoy a glass of wine.

The vintner John Calvin has been selected best vintner for 4 years running in Albuquerque.  He spent some time in Spain and developed an appreciation for music, wine, and architecture.  It is all apparent in every aspect of the winery.  His love for the arts bleeds into not only the style of the winery but the wines themselves.  Handcrafted to achieve a beautiful balance and without adding sucrose as most in the New Mexico wine making business do.

His nose and taste has paid off in some fine wines.  I tried several of the reds.  The one I enjoyed the most was Cabernet Franc – The original red wine of the Loire Valley in France, Cabernet Franc grows well here in New Mexico. It exhibits fruit-forward flavors of blackberries, dark cherry and earthiness while being medium bodied and soft on the finish.

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The whole place is beautiful and we would not hesitate to go again.  I promise not to try and get into the private club now that I know it’s private.

While traveling through the southwest look for these little boutique wineries they are true gems.  Make sure to tell them that Travel with T sent you.   Need help booking let me know or even just to say hi.

Maybe I will see you on one of my ventures.  I would love to share a glass with you.  Cheers!!!!!

The Man Way the Woman Way:Dinner

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I am a foodie, a glorified living breathing, focused driven, food maven.  I love everything about food and beverage.  It’s a passion in line with travel for me.  So I try and combine the two whenever possible.  That way I am living in my ultimate happy dream state when they coincide.

My husband on the other hand is NOT a foodie and he likes to travel but does not have the desire for it that I do.  Oh he goes, and he eats, and he enjoys, but neither are his passion.

Sometimes I sit back and contemplate, just how my happy dream state might not actually coincide with my husbands happy dream state.  In that mine is this happy state of bliss and his closer to maybe a nightmare at times courtesy of yours truly.

It’s ok we both grasp this about each other and are perfectly comfortable in our discomfort.  It’s not like we are newlyweds in a constant state of wedded bliss. We get it.

So when it comes to dinner my idea is this wonderful experience complete with wine of course.  It looks somewhat like this.

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My husbands his is more like this.

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You can see where the two might collide.  His idea is more in line with what I like to refer to it as hospital food.  Get the can open it and cook it until the item is close to mush.  Put salt and pepper on it and it is good to go.  Pile a bunch on the plate and there it is dinner.  Oh I forgot throw a piece of meat next too it and some canned biscuits.  It’s DINNER. The man way.

His idea of dinner at home consist of a salad, a piece of meat, canned vegetables, and those beautiful canned biscuits.  This is perfectly acceptable according to him.  Now I am not talking the fluffy nice canned biscuits but the 20 cent canned biscuits that look like a hockey puck.  Oh wait my gosh there .89cents.

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Any way this is his idea of a fine dinner.  Cut of meat are you kidding!  No concept here.  It’s all the same to him.

Now as you can imagine this idea does not fit into my dream.  As a matter of fact this is close to my own nightmare.  When traveling this is the last thing I want to see.  Yet, he is like a heat seeking missile focused on these type of places.  Buffet or the one with the store inside;his favorite.  A must stop anytime we are traveling in the US.  Now I like the store inside but I can open a can as well as anyone.  I just prefer not too.

This is where his man way and my woman way conflict.

You see my idea is simply on a completely different scale.  I like to experience food and embrace every little nuance that surrounds it.   I want to experience aroma, texture, color, and presentation.   It’s my woman way.  So for dinner I often love to be the consummate cook and often I wait until my husband the man is gone to create some of my finest meals.

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I love to shop at the local farmers market, or an organic market.  I prefer nice cuts of meats grass-fed preferred.  I like the occasional wild game and love to add wine to anything I am cooking.  No can’s opened on my watch.  I like sweetly inspired ingredients of the nicest quality, and a nice bottle of wine to finish off the meal.

It’s relaxing, it’s peaceful, and it completes my idea of dinner.

This week my husband has been traveling for work and not at home at our little 5th wheel little love nest.  He is in Durango, Colorado responding to the toxic river spill. Sad really but that’s another story for another day.

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I took this opportunity to indulge in not only winery visits but to create some new dinner experiences.  These are the moments I can be the most creative.  Pan Seared Buffalo with a Cabernet Shallot Reduction Sauce and Sweet Potato Apricot Fritters with Peach Salsa and drizzled with a Chipotle lime sauce and served with Alcantara Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah.  Exquisite, divine and completely wonderful.

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This is my idea of dinner!  Compliments of Travel with T the luxury minimalist and the “Woman’s Way”.  No canned biscuits in sight, no vegetables that come out of a can, and nothing piled high on top of a plate.  Bon Appetite!

So if you happen to see us at that place with the store in it known for what it calls home-style country flavor, know that it is the man way that won out.   I gave in because marriage is compromise, love, and understanding  or maybe it was because of the shopping.

The Man way the Woman Way

Ok so we made it!   We did not break anything on the way, we didn’t kill each other, and we actually still like each other.

The Drive

Our plans did not quiet work though.  We had planned to drive through the day and get to the park early on or before dusk at least.  This was our first time driving, hauling, and parking the 5th wheel.  We had everything worked out.  We had read, practiced, and planned.  Sometimes plans don’t execute as well in real life as your mind intends them too.

We arrived at the park fairly late and the spot they gave us was not capable of handling our 5th wheel.   It really had to do with the position of our slides and the trees.   So after about a 1 hour of trying to get into the spot. Then countless input from the RV pro’s, and various checks on the computers from the RV pro’s wives, the decision was they gave us another space.

More than likely they felt sorry for the 2 new full time rv living people.  Who could not quite fit their shiny and brand new 38ft home away from home in the space provided.  Now, getting a 38 foot rig into anywhere is not easy especially on your first day.   So to the credit of the two new RV owners, the space was a little off and the trees were right in the way of the slides.

Yet, what happened after that was classic man and woman difference in mentality or dare I say Jupiter and Saturn.  Hopefully most of you will get that reference.

It began to unfold as we broke every rule of the 5th Wheel pulling gentleman at www.loveyourrv.com who we faithfully read before we began. We practiced ourselves in the RV sale parking lot and we were ready to go.  We thought we were ready.

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EXCEPT, when it actually got down to it all the rules changed.  First thing out of the gate the RV pros were on us like, well you know.   Most likely it was the smell of blood in the water.  They were all very nice and wanted to help but we had just read the nice bloggers instructions stating to do it yourself.    We were prepared to say no and we were prepared to do just as the nice man on the love your rv blog stated.

Something else happened though and it was that man thing.   Those gentleman just pushed me aside and they started taking over.

I realized then at that moment that my husband’s man thinking was actually flawed. You see we had this perfect plan.  He stated that I could not drive because it was a man thing. He stated I just needed to let him drive.  That this man thing was just that a man thing.   I sat there I explained that if I had to at one point break his legs I was going to drive the 5th wheel.   Because that was a woman thing.

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So when we arrived at the rv park all the men’s man thing took over. They decided they knew best and I just needed to be the woman and stand off to the side and let the men do the man thing. I even think while all this was transpiring one of the men even shooshed his wife.  Wait it might have been my husband!

They were all busy doing the man thing and just about 2 hours later they finished with the man thing and the 5th wheel was where it should be.  It was completely dark, everyone was slightly frustrated, and Paul was completely exhausted.

I think it might have taken me less time doing it the woman way without all the man things going on.

Whew glad that is over!

The Journey is part of the destination

If there comes a time that any one tells you it’s a man thing go ahead tell them just what you think.  That is if you can get a word in edgewise.  Especially, with the all different directions going on at the same time as they all proceed to do the man thing.

I am sure glad I don’t live in that man thing world it’s much more pleasant in my woman thing brain.

Living the dream, just what is that anyway?

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We did it our way!

So we finally pulled the plug! This boomer has flown the coop, I gave up the life that every boomer my age strives for the house and all that goes with it.   The American Dream or NOT.   If you had asked me 2 years ago if I thought I would have sold most of my possessions I would have said MAYBE. I know you were thinking she would have said no, but I can’t really say that.   I have never been one to fit into any mold, at least for any solid time frame.  I think that is a little of the 60’s style boomer mentality that wore off on me.

It’s normal for the X, Y, and other geners to fly away and sell everything they own, but not really so for my generation. We were born to work, raised kids, and retire to a nice little place in the country; Yuppieville. Maybe buy the 5th wheel and become weekend warrior types. That is the last of the American Boomer’s dream right?  What I mean is I am on that cusp.  The last of the boomers.  I came in at the tail end.  I missed the 60’s as I was born them.

So, I figured I would change it up a little and I have been working on the idea of less is more. Less in the aspect of possessions means a little more freedom.  Freedom was definitely calling me.  Not in the way of some younger people, that translates into a way of no responsibilities, and travel light ect.  I mean I still have a lot of the boomer in me, I still have a dividend portfolio, and I still like the feeling of security.  Ok, ok; even it it’s a little false.   I still like comfort.  Freedom in the aspect of being able to do more and not be tied down to a house, bills, things, and such.  That is why I say “we did it our way”.

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For over a year now we have been downsizing and getting rid of a lot of crap. I mean a lot!   I never realize how much stuff I had accumulated. That was until I started departing with some of it.   With Paul’s retirement from the Marine Corps we chose Southwestern Colorado to call home.  It just seemed every year during this time we had more stuff. We have been here 12 years this July which translates into a lot of crap.

Maybe it was my husband’s years in the Corp and my wanderlust, but after the loss of our youngest daughter, priorities changed and we desired a change.   I felt I needed to be a little freer, a little lighter, the things that were important before maybe weren’t so important anymore.

It was like I had been in a cocoon but now I needed to emerge into something else, I had been transformed, but not really by choice.   So what did that mean? For me it meant, I wanted to spend time not with things but with people. I wanted to see more, do more, experience. I wanted to journey and see everything that my daughter was not able too. I wanted to LIVE! I wanted to discover places and create memories which would last a lifetime.

It’s not that I had never experienced that travel bug, I have had it almost all my life. Now it just seemed to be entering into warp speed. So at the same time we started selling our possessions we started to travel a little more. This was when we decided to place the house up for sale too. After mulling over our options everything from retiring overseas to placing ourselves in our little rental in North Carolina we through caution to the wind and went out and bought a 5th wheel. We decided we were going to live full time in the RV and go from there.

Redwood-Desk  My work area.

That is how this crazy little journey started and we have tried to turn our tragedy into a story of survival and growth. A story of how one family found a way to move past the all-encompassing grief, and pain and become something their child could not.  That is the place I found myself when we decided to purchase the 5th wheel and then become full time residents in it.

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I laugh and tell my husband we have become minimalist except we are luxury minimalist. I mean after all I would not want to give up my wine. I still am civilized after all! So I hope you enjoy our journey as we discover different destinations in this little thing we call life.