Officially Unemployed…Let the Traveling Begin

Unemployed

So as of Thursday I was told I will no longer be working for my company.  It was not a huge surprise, but still somewhat unsettling.  I do not quite have the amount of money I would like to have to be able to travel without worrying about money and my student loans.

Things to Think About

Tomorrow I am heading for Michigan to see my family and visit my grandmother who is sick.  While I am there I will think about what my next step is.  I am thinking in July or August I will head to  south America.  July would be preferable time wise because that gives me a July and August and part of September to get through Colombia and Ecuador and then I can be in Peru at Machu Picchu at the end of September for my birthday.  However, August would give me more time to save up money (if I can find a source of income, I guess there is always unemployment but that is not a lot of money).  Plus flights are dirt cheap to Cartagena in August, $240 one way from Detroit and $115 one way from Miami from Spirit.

Also, I need to grieve the ending of one passage and celebrate the beginning of another.  I forgot how the much power grieving can give to the celebration of new.  I was not previously celebrating the end of where I was in life so I was not being reborn into my new life. That is why I felt I was not moving on i think.

So I have things to think about.

Maps

In order to visualizing my thinking process, I am putting together a Google Map of places I want to visit.  I just started so it only has a few pages, but you can add suggestions to it!  This map is open to suggestions.  Places I want to go or I am thinking of going are in green.  If you could add in suggested sites, transportation, hostels, etc in colors OTHER than green, that would be great!  I will make another map of my final destinations and projected path once I get going!

I added a few pages to the website for Maps.  On the top Menu under Travel you can access my Maps page and under the Maps page is my South America Suggestions Map Page.  Also, I am looking for help trying to figure out how to embed the Google Map to my blog page.  Google’s instructions are here, however, when I try to follow them WordPress does not accept the HTML and just changes it to a click-able URL link.  Am I just not allowed to do that on WordPress?

Loose Ends

One of the things I am doing now is tying up all those loose ends I should have taken care of long ago. This includes getting shots and doctors visits in before my insurance ends, visiting friends, cleaning out my car and doing one last downgrade of all my “stuff” that i have left, getting rid of my cell phone and getting a cheaper pay as you go plan (anyone have suggestions on where to find an unlocked gsm phone?), deciding what to do about a computer (mine is so heavy), and setting up my house sitting profiles.

I have not joined a site yet.  An article written by Nora Dunn, the Professional Hobo, has a discount to Trusted House Sitter. I did, however, put up the recommendations I got a long time ago from friends and family I have house sat for in the past (well I have two of them).

House Sitting Profile

So, if you need someone to stay in your house while you travel and watch your puppy or kitty, here are:

My house sitting profile

Sarah H. Recommendation

Kathy M. Recommendation

You can also find a link to those pages at the top menu on the right hand side!

So Many Changes

I hope you can all keep up with all the changes to the blog and my life, because I am having trouble with it!

 

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Pay attention to the here in now or you might step into a big pile of dog….

Jack is gone

So, its a bittersweet day.  I am one HUGE step closer to leaving, but that step involved my wonderful, loving, best friend, caring, sweetheart, cuddly dog, Jack, to make his way to Michigan with my parents.  I have to admit, its hard to even type this.  I feel like such a jerk for abandoning my dog, even though I know it is better for him to not be here now.  Heck, it might have been better for him to be there even if I was not leaving. Since this kind of leads into the middle of the story, let me start from the beginning…

Where are you? In Savannah

So my mom was coming and then not coming and then she wasn’t coming but eventually when I told her that she could take Jack she decided she could brave her “nerves” and make the trip to Florida. It is a long drive and they were planning on driving straight through Friday morning to Saturday. Worked out perfectly since Friday night I was going to a Chris Botti concert (review next!) with my friend Kathy.  It also allowed Jack to go over and say good bye to Kathy and her family one last time.

So Friday morning at work I was mostly worried about whether we were going to get there on time if we left at 430 (barely) and if I could get in a nap before I left.  So I get a call at 720.  It is my mom, “So, where are you?.”  I replied cautiously, “Um…I am at work, where are you?”

“In Savannah.  See you soon.”

Soon, like in three hours.  Apparently they left Thursday night to miss those horrible storms that whipped through Indiana and Kentucky.  And thank God they did, they just could have, ya know, called me.  So I call my boss and tell him I have to leave early (at 930) and I already worked over time (which I had hoped to cash in) so my hours were okay.  I worked like crazy to get a job done by the time I left and then ran like a crazy person home to clean, clean, clean.  My house was a mess.  boxes everywhere, dirty floor, dirty dishes, etc.  I cleaned like crazy and a in the few hours I had it was spotless, well almost spotless, just as they pulled in.

They brought two of their four dogs with them to make sure they got along with Jack and because mom does not do well without them any more.  It was an instant hit for my dog.  He just loved their dogs.  Their dogs tolerated him but mostly ignored him.  Abbea would chase the ball and Jack would chase Abbea.  It was funny, Abbea hardly even noticed he was there biting her ankles.

So fast forward to me going to the concert, going to Disney with my parents, packing stuff up for the yard sale, selling furniture on Craigslist, mom getting an emergency tooth extraction, and getting my first pair of real glasses and sun glasses with corrective lenses (love the sunglasses, not the regular glasses) and it was Thursday suddenly.  A whole week flew by.  Friday they were going to leave to Michigan.  I had to give up my precious Jack the very next day.

Final walk

So, instead of  going out to dinner to use my gift card I got for crappy service at a Darden owned restaurant, mom and dad brought home food and cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory so Jack and I could spend the night with each other.  We went for our last walk around Cranes Roost together and then walked with Michelle and her dogs Hercules and H2.  And I admit, I balled.  I cried so hard people probably were wondering what was wrong with me.  As we were walking around Cranes Roost though, I realized I was so busy being upset and missing Jack and being preoccupied with moving that I was not actually spending the last moments I had WITH Jack.  Just being in the moment and walking my dog.  I realized this when I looked up at the sky.  It was a gorgeous sunset towards the west, bright pinks and oranges tinged with gold (much prettier with my new corrective sunglasses I must say).  To the North there were some intimidating black clouds that blew away very fast, leaving the smell of jasmine and orange blossoms in the air.  It was really the perfect Florida night.

If I was caught up in my emotion and attached to my own misery, I was not going to be able to spend this moment with Jack.  I would not have noticed the toddler getting chased by ducks, or the couple walking two massive dogs (not sure of the breed but HUGE) with a third little chihuahua leading the pack, or how in the east the sky was the most beautifully faded colors of blue and pink.  I would not have noticed the couple who wanted to say hi to Jack and who I had a great conversation with.  I also would not have noticed the pile of dog crap in the middle of the sidewalk, that some poor runner ran into.  I also would not have noticed the smile Jack looked up at me with his smiley face and wagging tale, questioning what adventure we were going on next.

My first goodbye

I know he is better off with them.  He was so much happier when they were here.  He was hardly ever alone (and hardly ever will be in Michigan) and when he was he had two friends to play with.  He loves mom and dad and the girls.  He did not chew on anything or pee on the floor.  He is much better off.  And at no point while I was walking around with Jack on our last walk did I think it was the wrong choice.  That did not make it any easier though.  This morning when mom and dad left at 5:30 (and they still have not called me with an update) I was a mess.  I forced Jack to cuddle with me on the couch one last time and took him to the car.  It was horrible, but necessary.

I also know he will be here when I get back, but in the mean time I have to come home and open a door where no happy puppy dog face greets me, shaking his ears and his collar tinkling. No one to cuddle with if I get scared at night.  No one to walk with at 2 in the morning when I cannot sleep.  No one to be there all the time so I never feel lonely.  No one to give me that unconditional love a dog gives.  I know it is all selfish, but I will miss him.  He was my baby.  No, he still IS my baby.  I just need to get over feeling as if I am abandoning him and feeling sorry for myself.

I realized though that I have been looking for something to come home to.  I did not think I had anything.  No boyfriend or kid.  I do not live near my family.  No house.  No job that makes me motivated to get up in the morning.  But, I had Jack all along.  I should have been a better mom to him.  Those, fairly frequent, times where I spent an hour later at work, were they really worth it?  Staying late and then going to yoga? Jack is definitely the number one thing I will miss.

My therapist pretty much told me today to keep on keeping on, in much more eloquent sounding words.  To use my skills I have developed to get this thing done.  Next weekend my lease is up.  So, I did what I do in such a situation, I went to yoga.  Happy Hour yoga at Altamonte Springs Yoga to be precise.  I even donated two bottles of wine (my parents brought four more down with them).  It was just what I needed. Then I chatted with and sold items to yoga friends, the yoga community is so nice to have at times like now.

So I am going to keep on keeping on.  Soon a post about the Chris Botti concert and Disney!  And I will probably take a trip to Epcot Flower and Garden Festival to take pictures.  I also need to find a place to stay after next week, which I am amazing not worried about.  And there are plenty more good byes to make.  But for now, I am going to go to bed.  There is a garage sale to tend to tomorrow; a day to say good bye to so much stuff!

Updated Moving Sale Page

I updated my moving sale page to include photos of my stuff.  Do you want some of my stuff?  Are you in the Central Florida area?  Come get it!  There is a list of everything (well not all, I have not finished the list yet) I am selling on the Moving Sale page.

Also I am having a garage sale at a location that is not my address (so do not show up looking for me at other times):

329 Green Oak Court
Longwood, FL 32779

March 10 8 AM – 3 PM

March 11 11 AM – 5 PM

Anything not sold is going to charity so if you come at the end for something free, too bad Salvation Army gets it.  All money the Salvation Army stores make goes back into the rehabilitation program that the stores are.  Recovering addicts, persons with mental disabilities, felons, etc. work there to get back into the work field as a final rehabilitation stage at the stores.  It’s a great program.  Much better than free stuff for your living room.

That being said if you want to pay me $1,500 dollars and take all my stuff (in your own truck) I might be able to work that out.

Also if you want a picture of anything on the list, let me know I can take one.

Travel Planning Links

I thought I would give you guys the tip that if you go to my Travel Planning Links page, which I recently updated, you can get travel tips and travel blog recommendations.  I am so sorry if I read your blog and it is not up yet, I seem to be doing more blog reading than blog organizing lately.  Soon to be up, I email myself all the links I just have to put them on here.  I have not used most of these since I am still sitting in Florida, but they come highly recommended.  Soon to come more Visa information and more blog recommendations. Have a blog you want me to recommend, leave a comment and I will check it out.  Unless you are complete spam I would probably be so giddy to have comments I would love it!  😉

Also I added travel articles so I have a reference of the articles I read on traveling.  Most of them right now are on budgeting!  Again, they are not all up yet, but will be eventually,

New Purchases for Trip

I have been getting rid of a lot of stuff and getting a few things here and there for the trip so I can break them in before I go.  My first purchase was a pair of Merrell sandals and my second and third were a couple pair of cargo pants from old navy, which I will probably only bring one with me, I just need pants for work because I ripped my last pair of pants last week.  The one pair is dressy enough to be business casual so I can wear it to work.  The other is not as nice but much more durable feeling.  It is great for walking on the trail with my dog.

However, I bought a pair of pants I really love at Columbia Sportswear Outlet at Premium Outlets Orlando (the ones near Disney World).  They line is called Omni-Shield Blood and Guts and I was actually looking for a shirt, which I also bought.  After Ni and I laughed a bit at this, I had to look up why they are called Blood and Guts.  It does make sense for me to wear something stain resistant and that releases stains easily because I tend to get dirty sitting on a bench twiddling my thumbs.  I am not sure how it happens, but stains find me.  This line is actually a fishing line of clothes, makes sense for cleaning all those fish or messing around with the bait.

I really like these because they are roomier (yes a little baggier not as “cute”) so that when I am trying to lift my leg climbing up steps, or hopefully boulders and rocks in my future, there is enough give that I am not worried about tearing something.  I could have gotten away with a size smaller, but I like them at this size.  Also because it is looser they are much cooler.  It is only in the upper 70s and low 80s here and it is already a nice relief to have breathable pants.  They are also super light weight and plenty long and will pack nicely.  The pants are convertible and have a nice length.  They are not too long and not hot pants short, hard to find in women’s shorts sometimes.  The legs zip on and off easily and there are two normal pockets in the front of the pants that are mesh and one zip pocket on the left leg about mid thigh and one button clasp pocket on the other side.  I really like the position of the pockets because they are not too low and they are a bit lower than normal pockets so they are not pulled as snug when I am squatting down or sitting. I bought the like khaki color.

The shirt is also super light weight, which I was particularly looking for so that when I go to India I have a cool light weight shirt that has long sleeves.  Don’t want to be that trampy girl with the short sleeves.  Also, long sleeves are required at some of the Ashrams I want to stay at.  The sleeves roll up and have a clasp that clasps just above the elbows for a shorter look.  The back has a mesh ventilation panel.  It is dual tone and I bought the orange and grey version which is not on the website in women’s sizes.  If they had the turquoise I would have bought it, but the outlet store only had orange and white in long sleeve.  I was so happy to find this line runs a little bigger because I have a need for wider shoulders and a bigger bust.  However the reviews for the shirt are very unhappy about this because people buying size xs were swimming in it.  Take from that what you want.  My favorite part, out of pure humor, is that there is horizontal zippered pocket right over each breast.  It am not sure what I am supposed to put there, but at least I will know if someone tries to steal anything out of it ;-).

I have only wore then for two days.  I will let you know if my view changes.  If I lose much more weight I might need to get a size smaller on the pants.  I would never fit in a size smaller on the shirt because of my shoulders. The outlet mall is cheaper than I think every link I checked online also.

The only big things left are a pair of hiking shoes, if I buy them now, I might just bring my running shoes and get buy with those until I need a pair of hiking boots and can get more opinions from people, and a pack.

Things I would like but I am waiting on garage sale $s to come back because they are not necessary:

  • Wifi Memory card
  • Tablet or book reader (I am thinking nook tablet with an SD card that can boot full Android though with ICS coming out maybe I should wait)
  • A new computer (I probably will not right now but maybe instead of a tablet or reader especially if I could get one of the ultrabooks).
  • A new unlocked phone (which is getting closer and closer to the necessity list)
  • New DSLR camera.  I still shoot with a point and shoot.  I am not sure I want to travel with tons of stuff for the camera though.I have even thought I might want to get a smaller point and shoot. I saw someone with a nice small point and shoot Olympus that also had detachable lenses the other day though…

Any other thoughts on what I should pack?

–Edit to Fix Link–

First Purchase for Trip…check

I have been putting off a lot of things lately.  There is simply too much to do and not enough time or energy for me to do them.  So instead of choosing what to do I have been mostly taking naps.  I need to pack up stuff, sort stuff, price stuff, donate stuff (I really have way to much stuff).  I need to go to the eye doctor before I leave and get a pair of glasses.  I need to figure out what I need to buy for the trip, apply for visas, write a letter of resignation, etc….

Really, too much heavy things to think about.  But, today I was successful!  I went to see my therapist and discuss my lack of energy and better dealing with disappointments/changes in plans.  I figure those are both things I will need to have worked out before I leave.  So we started with the fact that my energy has been so low and I realized my hormones are off-balance because I am not regular.  So he suggested I go to these herb store, which someone else had suggested the a few days before.  To me, two suggestions in one week means its fate.  So off I went after our session to talk to this nice woman named Cathryn about my menstrual and energy needs.  When I get there I realize its next to my eye doctor!  Two birds one stone sort of moment and I scheduled an appointment to get my eyes checked first.

Now I the herb store was small but packed.  There were a lot of essential oils, supplements, natural cleansers, etc.  I asked Cathryn what I would need and she immediately gets incredibly excited.  She reads me and gets the impression I need something very simple and very natural.  This is her favorite product!  She loves this product (she apparently starts to read my skepticism), but, she gets the impression I am not the type who takes supplements, including vitamins (I don’t).  I explain that I have tried many things and if they work I keep them and if not they are gone. So we come to an agreement that I will try the Maca for one month and she gives me some literature.

I start reading…Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable used for many years by the locals as a means to increase energy and stamina.  Its main uses are for menopause, sexual dysfunction and fertility (well its hormone balancing then? Not looking to be more fertile though).  So, we shall see if it works.  If not, does anyone need to fix erectile dysfunction?  I also bought some non DEET bug repellent and some peppermint essential oil

On my way back home I bought some tags to price stuff for the garage sale and some chocolate (though they did sell some chocolate Maca bars I did not partake).  I got a text from my friend Ni who wanted to go to Happy Hour Yoga at Serenity Now Yoga.  Afterwards we got desert at 4 Rivers (I know, more chocolate!) and then she had to return some shoes.  Since I needed to look at hiking shoes, I went with her to DSW for the pair of Merrell Cambria Straps I have been wanting.  I also looked at the hiking shoes.  I am just worried about not using them enough at the beginning of the trip and having them be a dead weight (a heavy weight) in my pack.  But, they also had the newer Merrell Barefoot True Glove which is a trail running minimalist shoe.  I tried it on and it feels soooo good.  However, it’s not the most supported shoe because the whole idea is putting your foot in the most supporting position and it avoids too much heel padding to keep you from landing on your heel (should always run mid foot).  I am not sure how much they would hold up for just trail shoes though, there are plenty of reviews on them though.  I would like them because then I would not need to have a pair of running shoes and a pair of trail shoes.  They are also very, very light.  Any opinions?  Suggestions of other shoes?

So all in one day I have got the tags to mark my garage sale goods, got some medicine for energy, scheduled the eye appointment, and got my trail sandals. Not bad for a day where I slept in until noon – did I mention I am running on empty lately?