My 5.60 cent Flight to Paris for two.

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Europe Christmas Markets Photo Credit Travel with T do not use without permission.

In my post about the German Christmas Markets I touched on points and travel.   Today I am going to delve a little deeper into the actual world of free and almost free travel.  So my husband “the man way guy” and I are catching a plane out of Salt Lake City on Wednesday and we are flying into Paris for a 2 week European trip which will include stops in France, Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany, and Switzerland, and a quick stop in London for an overnight stay.

DSC_0612 TravelwithT.net photo credit do not use without permission

 

Most of our trip has been paid by points.  The first portion of our trip was procured using Delta points.  We booked it using 30,000 points total for two and of course the fee for taxes which came out to 5.60 when it was all said and done.  I used two 15,000 one way options on points when they were up for grab in July for a Thanksgiving trip to Paris to see some of Europe’s Christmas Markets.  So how did I earn those points?   Most are saying well I don’t fly that much how can I earn that many points it will take me a lifetime.

 

I earned the points with a little thing called a credit card bonus sign up.  Meaning I applied for a Delta Credit card which offered me a sign up bonus.  I received 30,000 points just for signing up for the program.  This gave me one flight to Europe round trip or as I used it two one way tickets to Paris.   The best thing was I did not have to fly anywhere to accumulate these miles I received them for signing up for American Express Credit card and then spending 1,000 dollars in one month on the card.  Which was easy for me being I used it to pay for my daily expenditures like food, gas, utilities and such.

There are plenty of blogs out there on how to do this and on how to do it to maximize it to fly basically free.  I am not here to go into all of that.  I can say if you email me though I can send you a link where you too can apply for a Delta Amex and you get 30,000 for doing it and I can earn a few miles if you are approved.  So if you are thinking about a Delta Amex at all and enjoyed my article just email me and I will send you a link.  This is called a friend referral.  It earns me about 5000 points for a referral.   Not too bad but they do cap it.  I am ok with that though.

The Delta Amex also gives me a luggage allowance which would normally cost 25.00 per checked bag.  I have used this for up to 4 people flying with me and it saved us 100.00 in checked bag fees.  So the yearly fee so far has paid for itself.  I am not sure how long I will carry it though being it has to be worth it.  If I don’t continue to fly Delta it won’t pay for itself.

A couple of tricks if you are not using points and trying to get the best fare.  Book on Tuesdays and checking in the afternoon is best.   For some reason the sales go out during this time.    Off season times are sometimes cheaper but not always.

Airline points programs and rewards change often so it is best to use them.  After all you applied so you could get them not just sit on them.  The longer you sit on them the easier it is for them to devalue.   The sky is the limit here folks.  Decide where you want to go make a plan and pick up a new card.  You will be on your way in no time at all.

Where will I be staying at?  Well I booked us a room at the Paris Opera Marriott!  Great property and if you are ever interested in booking a hotel please use my site as this is how I make a living in the blog world.   Travelwitht.mtravel.com    That is if you are not traveling on points.

All in all for my luxury minimalist lifestyle this option for travel appeals to me a lot.  I enjoy paying less but also experiencing more.  Let’s see a trip to Paris for 5.60 well I am pretty sure you can’t beat that for luxury on a minimalistic budget.  It also means I will have more money for wine and I always can use more money for wine.  I managed to learn one French phrase too “Une Bouteille de vin rouge sil vous plait”  A bottle of red wine please.

DSC_0026 Photo Credit TravelwithT.net

Traveling the Colorado Highways: Destination Mountain Spirit Winery

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This remote quaint little winery can be located outside of Salida. Don’t blink though because you might miss it. It’s a little boutique winery that is well known for their blends of wine. They feature things like Blackberry Chardonnay, Raspberry Merlot, and Blackberry Cabernet Franc. They also have a tasting room in town but we did not make that.

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Nested in the picturesque country adjacent to the Upper Arkansas River Valley it’s on 5 acres of Colorado beauty and surrounded by 14,000 foot mountain vistas.

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I had been driving from The Winery at Holy Cross Abby  when I stumbled across this Colorado beauty.   Colorado is not new to the wine industry as it’s been around for over 100 years. Unfortunately around Prohibition most of the vineyards were uprooted and replanted with orchards.   Yet building on Colorado’s fine tradition new winemakers, and vineyards have returned and blossomed into some of Colorado finest wineries.   Colorado is known for its majestic mountains and valley’s we are blessed with warm days (in the summer) and cool nights (in the summer) otherwise freezing. Of course you can’t forget our zero humidity being we are about 6800 ft elevation on average. So it’s with this climate and fertile soil new growers and winemakers like Mountain Spirit have emerged.

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To drive to Mountain Spirit is an adventure in beauty itself as its situated as you travel along the Arkansas River. The drive down the dirt road to the winery is truly beautiful. The grounds are unassuming and the entrance tends to be on the minimalistic side. Upon entrance, the tasting area is just a small little area as you walk in.   Again very simplistic.   There is no charge for the wine tasting, which is always a nice treat and appeals to my luxury minimalist. The gentleman was very nice, and very knowledgeable not only about the product but wine itself.

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I tried several varieties and most tend to be on the sweeter side. Especially of course those blended with various fruits all grown in Colorado. Bright, crisp, refreshing are some of the words I would use to describe these fruit blends. I chose to go home with the 2013 Angel blush, a nice slightly sweet wine with notes of apple, pear, and raspberry. I think it was close to a White Zinfandel. Pair it with my favorite Mexican food and you are well on your way to a delightful time. I mean really the destination is the journey and the journey is always better with wine. Right?

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The man way the Women way Fishing

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Ok I am the first to tell you I am not, nor ever have been a fishing woman. I don’t know the first thing about it.   I have been fishing but not a whole lot. My dad and my husband fish quite often and enjoy it.   I can tell you my husband’s idea of fishing spots and mine are totally different. Maybe that has to do with my concept of fishing.  Which is I have no concept.

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I am looking for beautiful spots, picturesque, relaxing, peaceful, and serene. I think my husband’s idea is ease, fish, and him in the quiet box for a Sunday afternoon.   I get the feeling that not much more is needed for him. So being we are now on the relaxed lifestyle I thought I would tag along with him just to see and spend time with him.

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Now my preference would up the Dolores River where I could sit on the rocks and enjoy the river passing by.

My husband’s preference where we ended up at first was off the side of the Lake next to construction and aspalt rock.

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I immediately put an end to that choice and asked for “THE COMPROMISE”. It is not my idea of peace sitting on alphalt or a hot rock with no chairs casting a line into a not so pretty area.  So being we were both going I thought we needed to compromise and maybe get a little of both.  Something each of us could enjoy and still catch fish.  That is if they were biting.

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So we are off to his second choice. Again at the lake as he say’s fishing is better there. So we end up by some ponds area of the lake with at least somewhat of a view.  Now so you understand my idea was the fishing of a “River Runs Through It” idea.

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It’s like peaceful, you can hear the water running, which brings tranquility to the place.  I start to imagine the dancing of the fishing poles in and out of the water “INTERUPTION”…………………………   That was just so not happening.

So I settled or for you married folks we compromised for a little spot where I could sit in the back of the jeep and still enjoy the lake.

Just so you know there is a lot of that compromising stuff going on in a marriage.  No asphalt for him and no river run’s through it for me.

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I opted not to fish as I did not have a license but to sit down and just enjoy the afternoon watching my husband cast his line into the lake.  All and all it was an enjoyable afternoon for the downsized, RV lifestyle, luxury minimalist.

Redwoods are for Boomers or anyone else really including a luxury minimalist

Dinette-Recliners             How do you choose a moving earthquake on wheels.   Well you look.  Then you look again.  Then you narrow it down and look again.  They you choose one you like.  Then you change your mind.  Then you look again.  Then you go back and start all over.   Then finally you decide on the features you need and the floor plan you like and if you are lucky you just might get it or you can order it.

Well, that is somewhat how are choice began.   We knew we needed something that would stand up to the cold of Colorado, after all  I did not want to freeze.  Again, I am a minimalist but a luxury minimalist.  I knew I wanted to live with less, so what ever fit’s in the 5th wheel that is less.  I knew I would maintain a small little storage area for family pics and such.  I also new that I am 50 plus make decent money and don’t want to suffer too much.  I know all of you travel free, with less stuff, people are cringing.  I admit it I did not want to go to the extreme.  I am a realist who likes heat, and comfort.  I especially like comfort, and wine I like wine, and nice hotel rooms I like nice hotel rooms.

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Well when the decision was coming into fruition we had really narrowed it down to 2 styles.  One was the Landmark who I think is absolutely beautiful and then our choice the Redwood.  We were all set to pull the plug on a brand spanking new baby when we hit a little snag at Camping World in Arizona.  Nothing on the Redwood itself as we love it.

It was our experience at Camping World.  We went through everything paper work and everything at CW, and we were not ready to pick it up but wanted everything set for when we came back in a few weeks.  So we waited, then waited, then waited and days had passed and we were already home and still knew nothing.  Called finance manger who was the worst at calling back, called the sales manager again the worse.  Finally, when we did get them we heard several different stories from each.  You would think if someone is dropping that much money in today’s economy they might want to give them a little better service.  I mean I don’t expect any one to drop down and kiss my feet but an email or phone call letting us know how everything is progressing.  NOPE, NADA, NILTCH every single time it was me calling.

I figured out that if this is the way sales worked I surely did not want to have to deal with service (which most know with a new rv is inevitable).  My husband and I pulled the plug and stopped the transaction (not sure it had even started really).   The final straw was after we decided never again the assistant GM called and tried to smooth things over. He tried to be nice and understanding yet when we stated we weren’t interested and refund our deposit his tune changed.  Talk about never visiting a company again.  With employees like that it makes you wonder why they have any business at all.  We took our business elsewhere.  To La Mesa RV really nice folks who gave us impeccable service across the board.

So we ended up at LA Mesa RV in Arizona and we are truly happy with our choice.  The Redwood is definitely a nice rig (Rver slang).  It is completely a four season choice in the world of 5th wheels.  A heated undercarriage is completely important when the temperatures in your area can be below zero at times.  Two fireplaces and a 40,000 BTU furnace are also important to us.

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Yet, what caught us is the elegance and beauty of the Redwood.  It’s products are made with high quality materials and construction.  It is labeled as a luxury residential 5th wheel and I believe it lives up to it’s advertising.  You know that word luxury would appeal to the luxury minimalist in me.   What appealed to me also is that I can purchase a residence that I can take anywhere and my front door can be anything from a barren but beautiful warm desert to a alpine setting in the mountains and it is luxurious.   The beauty is not only in the area I am visiting but the 5th wheel itself.

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I simply love the kitchen with it’s beautiful and functional design.  The pantry is lovely and has plenty of storage.  The kitchen itself is filled with extra cabinet storage which is really important when you are full timing.  My husband refers to it as a two butt kitchen in that both of our derrières fit nicely in the space.  We have a gas stove and an oven and it has worked for us well.   We don’t have a full size refrigerator but it is pretty decent and seems to work for us with no issues.

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Our bedroom is completely comfortable and has more than enough storage and space for us.  There are little drawers and spaces everywhere for you to place items.  Being we are full timing in it closet storage was important.   We still work and have work attire and play attire and we live in an area with four seasons.  We don’t have any issues what so ever.  I do however remove summer cloths in winter and winter cloths in summer.  This helps to have a more organized area and increases the ease of use in the closet area.  I just take what I am not using and place it in plastic bins in our under carriage area.  It is then neat and organized.

So we have scaled everything down to fit into less than 300 sq feet.  You really have to like each other in that amount of space and lucky for us we do.  The Redwood does not feel cramped or even small and we enjoy everything about it.  Our original idea and we had read all of the RV blogs was to go big.  Big enough to give you space you need but still able to fit into various places you might want to see like national parks and such.  At our first initial stop this is just what we intended and we were looking at a 41 footer.   After our initial issue with the above mentioned worst customer service ever place we located our new home at LA Mesa RV.   This is when we did our final search on the internet and our beauty came up she was basically 36′ inside and 38′ in exterior length.  I have to say we love it!   It is not too small at all and Redwood has taken care of everything as far as storage and placement of furniture to maximize every space.  We have storage we have yet to even use.  I have to say I was quite surprised at the efficiency of everything in the Redwood.  Very well planned out and a beautiful place to call home.  Especially for the Luxury Minimalist.  So if you happen to be in the market for a 300′ sq ft living space I would not hesitate to recommend a Redwood Fifth Wheel not only for comfort but luxury too.

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Oh and I get nothing from this endorsement but if you want to send me a check I would not turn it away.  (smiling deviously)

The Wyman Hotel circa 1902

IMG_1156 (2)Set in the incredible back drop of some of the most spectacular mountains in Colorado you will find the sleepy little town of Silverton.  Left over from the bye gone mining days of Colorado’s history.  This little place was once on the way to become one of Colorado’s next ghost town until it’s incredible beauty was rediscovered.

It’s picturesque setting, towering backdrop, and fantastic outdoor activities make it an ideal destination for a weekend jaunt.  We have visited before but we both enjoy coming back to discover new adventures, trails, and we love to jump back in time if only for a minute.

So when the opportunity presented itself with a business trip for the husband, I took the opportunity for a visit midweek. Not wanting to make a return visit to the Grand Hotel and being I had heard great things about the Wyman we booked a room.

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I was not disappointed.   The building itself is well over 100 years old the hotel not quite that.  It features authentic furnishings that represent the early 1900’s.   The Lady herself looks to have been quite a grand dame when she was originally built.   She was not a hotel in the beginning but more of a gathering place with a ballroom and meeting areas.

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I can almost hear the music playing in what would have been ballrooms upstairs not because this Grand Dame is haunted, but because when you walk in you appreciate the history she represents.   In today’s throw away society it is nice to see an appreciation and care for a piece of history.

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I can’t help but imagine what it would be like in the days of old the hustle and bustle of those coming and going in the little town.  The dust of the streets settling on everything as the buggy’s and mule teams ride by.  Miners coming with the promise of treasure and finding the alpine setting rugged and unforgiving of the slightest mistake.  Yet the beauty unparralled to anything.

The room we itself was cozy and comfortable.  A definite improvement from our previous stay in Silverton.   The room was nicely decorated in period style comfort and the bed was excellent.   It’s October so the mornings are brisk but the room maintained heat well for a 100 year old building.

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Breakfast was wonderful and every detail was looked after.  After some of my meal experiences here in Silverton I was pleasantly surprised. The table was set beautifully and I loved the name plate touch.   For breakfast this morning the feature was wonderfully delicious quiche filled with green chili and just the right amount of seasonings.  The berry filled smoothie to start was delicious too.  Cecilia was a wonderful host in the breakfast area attending to our every request, even the ice tea request at 8 in the morning.  She was bright, happy, and took extra care of every guest present.  What a genuine smile and sense of warmth.

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We were only able to spend one night here but we both are looking for our next opportunity to visit.  We would not hesitate to come and visit The Wyman again and she is a beautifully refined lady.  Her ages shows a little but it only adds to her warmth. For the luxury minimalist side I look forward to being able to spend the afternoon and enjoy tea and or wine in the evening hour.  As this grand damn provides afternoon tea and or wine with your room price.

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Silverton where the “Old West” meets “Jeeping”

 

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Part cowboy, part mining, part recreation, part old west and spectacular beauty is what you will find in Silverton, Colorado. It is a blend of the old mining, cowboy southwest and off road recreational but they do it wonderfully.

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It’s where the 100% Coal fired Steam train still pulls up with visitors daily in the summer months. We decided a visit over one weekend and this would allow us to discover some of the sights in our own backyard here in Colorado.

Our new RV Lifestyle gives us the opportunity to do more being we are not tied to a house and all that goes with it.  We have cut down on all of the things we had to do and find we have a lot more free time.  Nothing better in my opinion.  We still work full time and we live in our Redwood 5th wheel full time too.  We are on our way to retirement but not quite there yet.  We are working towards 2 years maybe sooner maybe longer.

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Silverton is definitely ideal for the tourist who visit and it caters to that crowd. The buildings are still in your late 1800’s to early 1900’s facades. The once infamous Blair street which at one time hosted the underbelly of the town, and was reported to have 29 saloons and houses of ill repute now houses restaurants, candy stores, and hotels.

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We stayed at the beautiful Grand Imperial Hotel which is a classic 1900’s style hotel, it is really like walking back in time. We had a corner room and there is no air-conditioning but you really don’t need it. The bed I thought was the least appealing aspect.  I felt like it was left over from the 1900’s as it was hard as rock, and to complement it you had pillows that were also hard as a brick. Not good for the luxury minimalist in me. The hotel looked like it needed a little facelift as the room wall paper was peeling. Yet, it did add to the atmosphere of the whole thing.  I would not hesitate to book with them again but I would ask for better pillows, that would have made the hard bed easier to accept.

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Where Silverton shines in my opinion is its closeness and access to its off road areas. They are some of the finest Colorado has to offer. Here you will find the young and the old traversing these mountain trails. You could go back every weekend over summer and most likely not see everything. We managed to make it over to Hurricane pass and Corkscrew trail. We got to experience some amazing beauty and both my husband Paul and I thought we should take a weekend and camp up there by one of the Alpine lakes.  I cover the Jeeping aspect in more depth in “the man way the woman way Jeeping”.

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The weakest part of the town of Silverton is its food. Overpriced and nothing spectacular. So I guess you are paying for them to hall it over the mountain and then the ambiance of the place. I can say though that the best meal I had all weekend was at a little place called the Brown Bear Café where we had breakfast. I ordered a short stack of the banana pancakes. Let me tell you the short stack could feed and army. It was most excellent and the side of bacon was delicious.   Coffee was awful but hey I will take that being they hit the ball out of the park with the pancakes.

They were busy and the service was friendly and would be interested in trying lunch there.  They might just be better than what I saw and experienced through the rest of the town.

Silverton is a must see for visitors to this area, stay and experience the old west and of course of you would like to book a stay please by all means use my book site www.travelwitht.mtravel.com.  Better yet give me a call and I will help you.  There are various time period hotels in the area.

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The man way the woman way: Jeeping the Southwest

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Colorful Colorado lives up to its name here in the Southwest.   It has not only spectacular beauty but the best and most incredible jeep trails.  In the southwestern range you will find anywhere from 9,000 to 14,000 ft trails and they are definitely not for the faint of heart. If you have angina or heart trouble make sure you have your meds.

Being the newbies my husband and I thought we would give them a try.  I mean why not right.  So the 2 middle age jeepers head up the mountain and travel up like they are pros.

The woman way is purchase my books, and scour all the blogs looking at which trails to try first.  To locate the correct trails use my gps or garmin and map out all the roads I need to follow.  I mean you see how well that worked with the RV parking right?

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The mans way get in and go.  Don’t look at anything, just drive the jeep up the mountain.  It’s a jeep, there is a mountain, lets go.  There might have even been a grunt or two in there somewhere.

So being the wonderfully considerate wife that I am.  I forgo my woman way, books, trails ect and I jump on board with the man way.  I am flexible like that.  Jumping into the jeep we head towards the mountain we were off hair blowing in the wind (well mine anyways).

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Our route was through Gladstone past the Durango mine incident and straight up towards Hurricane Pass.  We managed to make it quite far before even having to really place it into four wheel drive.   So the two newbies wait until it is really necessary to place it in 4wd and of course it is on a switchback next to a ledge drop off.  I mean really you really don’t need to worry right?

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Well maybe not if you have driven the pass or even bothered to look it up but why do we need to do that?  So for about what seemed like 10 minutes right before we had to break the jeep book out, to make sure we were doing it right, on the switchback, on the ledge with a 12,000 ft drop down, with the wife trying not to utter a word, we get it in gear.

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I have to say being on the side of a 12,000 to 14,000 foot drop barely wide enough for your vehicle to fit makes you think and wonder (for a catholic)  man I hope I made a good confession.  A couple of times we stated to each other, we are way to old for this crap and the words no sooner coming out of our mouth and we pass a couple in there 70’s.  So not to be out done by the old folks we forge on.

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At times having to maneuver the jeep around other jeeps trying to get up the same mountain with a sheer drop off and really only space for 1 jeep.  Talk about adrenalin!  I would say this is definitely enough of a pump for an adventure junkie.

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The jeeping trails in Colorado are fantastic and whether you do it the man way or the woman way you are sure to get not only a great view but a great ride.   Most of our big trails don’t open up until around June or July due to snow pack and then close sometime in October usually again for snow pack.

I would love for you to come visit my home state and it’s incredible hiking and jeeping trails.  So if your making a weekend trip or longer from out of the area and if you need a place to stay please use my website booking link or go to travelwitht.mtravel.com.  It’s how I make a living on my blog.  If you book anywhere I post about let’s say a hotel I make a little money.  In Silverton I have Teller House listed. All the hotels in the area are period style places and reminiscent of the old west.   They are a classic way to stay the night and enjoy what the little town has to offer.  Especially since these beautiful trails are right by the area.

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Please check out our future travel and let me know if you want to join us.  After all the blog is TravelwithT.net.  Happy Day!

The New RV Luxury Minimalist

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Ok so we have started this journey to simplify our lives.  I have to say we really have, we sold our house, we got rid of a lot of stuff, and we are down to what will fit in the 5th wheel.  Yet, I am sorry I admit it “I am Teresa, and I am a luxury minimalist.   I think I have coined the phrase myself.  So just what is that you ask?

Well, it’s a simplified version of the dream.  What does that mean it means I still enjoy a lot of little things I enjoyed before just on a different scale.  I have ditched pretty much everything that went with a 2500 sq ft home.  EXCEPT; my coffee, my wine, and my food not necessarily in that order.

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I mean really, I am in my 50’s and I like my little comforts.  I don’t want to live in a van or pop up.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  I mean if I was in my 20’s, 30’s, maybe early 40’s I might even enjoy it.  I even might enjoy a little back pack trip now and then.  A couple of days trekking around the Colorado mountains or for that matter Europe with a back pack and in a hotel.  I like my hotels and I love Marriott for my hotel choice.  Although I might be open to trying some others.  I will have to see after I finish the Year with Marriott Gold experience I am on.  I don’t want to stay in a hostel and being I still work full time I am ok with forking out the money for a little extra comfort.  Or better yet POINTS!  My favorite way of getting great rooms on vacation with little or no outlay of cash.

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So for the luxury minimalist I enjoy cooking and creating wonderful meals, I enjoy wine, and wineries, and then more wine.  I enjoy a nice bed, a nice hotel, and I enjoy a city visit as much as a country visit.  I am not the new extreme version of the Minimalist, no car, no television, and other things like that.  I am a minimalist in the aspect of things and where we live.  I really can’t purchase anything because we can’t fit too much in our 5th wheel.

Yes, I have moved into a 5th wheel and some may gasp at the thought.  Yet, the Redwood is not your classic small tin can.  I have wonderful rustic cherry wood cabinets, actually nicer than I had in my stick built home.  I have a wonderful air-conditioner which I had not owned in 12 years.  I have solid surface corian countertops, I have a lovely king size bed all in the space of 325 sq feet or so.  This is what I mean I am a luxury minimalist I have a small space but it is equipped with very nice amenities and comforts.

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My husband and I have managed to scale down tremendously but I still enjoy many things I did before and we have reduced our cost exponentially.  It takes a nice outlay of cash to keep up 3 acres, with a 2500 sq ft house and greenhouse.  Not to mention the time it needs for maintenance and upkeep.  So now my husband has way more time on his hands too.

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So in a sense we have upgraded and reduced our cost.  It’s a wonderful win win idea.   There are many who prefer to maybe buy a vacation home on the beach or in the mountains.   We decided why not buy our home and move it to where we choose?  Why not be able to have the beach one year, the mountains one year, and or the desert, and or city at another time?  Perfect for the wanna be vagabonds!

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Style, one thing I was worried about having to pair down my selection of wardrobe.  I was introduced to the concept of capsule wardrobes and project 333.  These are ideas that you can use a series of items in your wardrobe to make lots of different options.  I loved it and I am working on this right now.  I do not want to live in shorts and a tee shirt as I am the luxury minimalist.  I like to look nice and I like nice outfits.

This lifestyle goes hand in hand with my affordable travel.  In the aspect that scaling down allows us to be free and go where we want when we want.  It allows us the freedom to pack up and just move in a matter of hours.  We know longer have things tying us down are a place we are tied too.  We can stay at our current jobs or not.  Our choice.  That alone is a beautiful thing.

Affordable travel is it a myth?

 

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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!!!!!

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