Why the “Coming this Week”

Each week we sit down and put together the “Coming this Week” post, our little post with maps, pictures, notes, and sometimes a “song of the week.  This Sunday post is meant to serves two purposes.  The first is it is sort of a diary for us.  There are lots of things I mention but don’t write full posts about, plus those pictures are a little way to have some fun.  The second and most important reason is that we just travel so much and move so frequently that it’s the only way to let people know where are going to be.

One of my favorite things about moving around this much, is all the people we have an opportunity to run into.  I post the travel map because honestly I forget where some people live and there have been some amazing path crossings throughout the years we have been on the road.  This month alone we were able to see Lynn from Rocky Creek and the fabulous duo who run GoPetFriendly.com.  That latter one is pretty funny.  I received a Facebook message as we were driving through the town they were currently stopped in.  This sort of thing makes me so happy, I love meeting people “in real life”.  So if you ever notice we are going to be rolling by your neck of the woods, drop me a note!!

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

Melatonin 

There is certainly lots of “advice” we can give on traveling, but I try to keep these Travel Tuesday posts a bit more focused on tips for living on the road.  Little ways we deal with being itinerant, as well as not having a residence to go back to.  We don’t ever look forward to sleeping in our own bed, because we don’t have one.  My folks have a hard time getting a good nights rest in a hotel, that is just something you have to get past in our line of work.  I’m not saying that some people we work with don’t carry their own pillow and such but you honestly never know what you will get in a hotel bed.

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That is just the half of it.  We prefer to sleep with the heavy room curtains open, waking better with some natural light.  That’s not gonna be an option when there is a neon sign shining in the window.  So once again a preferred routine is mucked up.  What can we do?  Noise doesn’t wake me but changes in light do.  We have tried a number of things over the years but the one thing that consistently helps with a full night’s sleep is Melatonin.

Five more minutes

Five more minutes

I hadn’t thought to share this until last week; after spending some time with members of the marketing team from our client.  One person remarked on getting little sleep and being frustrated that he had forgotten to pack melatonin.  Well yeah!!!  That stuff works.  Now it isn’t a sleep aid but instead a supplement that helps in getting your body into a natural sleep rhythm.  Take it about 30 minutes before you want to be asleep and you may just benefit like us.

 

I wish you all sweet dreams and bright mornings.

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

Using Overdrive

Something that frequently gets mentioned here is our passion for Overdrive. We both love to read and listen to an incredible amount of audiobook while driving. I actually prefer an audiobook while running over music. Having access to so many titles lets us explore interest and sometime just pick some fun read for the entertainment. For my traveling friends this is a great way to access book without the bulk of physical books and the cost we can rack up. Josh thought it was about time that the technology got a special feature. So here we go….

 

What is Overdrive?

This is your connection to Millions of digital titles, via your local library. Overdrive is a program that your library (or more likely your library system) has signed up for to provide patrons with access to digital resources. These are not just the classics but just about any genre you can wish for, especially what it popular. They use the tag line of; Read, Listen, Watch, Enjoy. Overdrive is a lending system for eBook (ePub and Kindle), audiobooks (available via the multi-platform app), and digital movie downloads. I can tell you that I have yet to interact with anyone who’s local library is not engaged with Overdrive. However not all programs are created equally. The library in Eagan, MN only provides eBook, while the branches in Kansas City get listing that aren’t released yet.

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Why should you use it?

Well…it’s free. Your tax dollars are already paying for it and all you need is a library card. Getting and using Overdrive also helps to expand the program. This you should care about, anything you can do to help your community gain more lending resources is close to my heart. Libraries are the only place that many in a community can access services and entertainment to expand minds. Smarter kids, smarter communities.

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So how does it work?

I typically browse and checkout titles on the iPad app, but you don’t need to. To get started I will explain this via the app and add notes for desktop. While I use an iPad you can use any platform, desktop, kindle, android whatever you have or prefer. To get started either visit overdrive.com or search for the app in the app store. Once loaded grab your library card to get registered. You will need to have or sign up for free adobe ID and I would also recommend signing up for an Overdrive account, lets you sync between devices. These are both free accounts and you are walked through the process during set-up. After setting this up you will be prompted to search for your library. This is actually the trickiest part. You might need to search by branch name and by city to find the correct one.   Once you’ve located the correct one, it’s time to sign in. (your selection will also be saved on the side menu for the future). By tapping the account icon you are taken to a sign in page. These vary by region. You might be asked first to select which branch you are a member from, prompted to enter your card member, and on some provide a password. 90% of the time your password is the last four digests of your phone number, in the chance it is not (like my mother, just call or stop by your library for this information). Once you are signed in, it’s go time.  Just search for a title, an author, or browse a collection.

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How long can I keep items for? I don’t want late fees!

There are no late fees; once a title is at the expiration it is removed from your checkouts. Many libraries have varies checkout periods and you can find those settings on your account page.

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How to make it work for you.

For most lending sites you will need to be signed in to access the entire catalog, don’t bother searching before signing in. I highly recommend you use the list functions. You are allowed to put a title on hold and will be informed when that book has come available, there is a limit to how many holds and checkouts you can have at one time but that information is available on your account page. Don’t be afraid to put something on hold, you can always change your mind. The list is exactly that, a place to keep track of titles you’re interested in but might not be ready to checkout. After you have check out a title it can be viewed and loaded via the bookshelf page. This allows you to choose the format of viewing (ePub or kindle). The app must be open to load titles (eBook and audiobook). That is a touch inconvenient but oh well. After you have finished a title you can return it, I highly recommend this. Be a courteous patron. From the overdrive app you press the tittle images and can see the prompt to return. From Kindle you must visit the “manage my kindle” page and select the return option from there.

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Hopefully I have inspired you to at least try it.

My Favorite Things

I was a bit inspired for this post by a friend from work who did the first big closet purge after being on the road. She works on similar tours and spends long stretches living out of her suitcase like we do. However she is facing some other milestones; an upcoming birthday, her boyfriend is starting his new career, and she is at year one on the road. This led to some inspired evaluation of her closet and dresser. Josh and I did our major purge more than six years ago when we moved out of our house but, I can relate. We still seem to get rid of items at every turn, where does it all come from? I’m certain that this subject has come up before but upon starting this job we got some great advice from a couple who at the time was starting their eighth year. Toss till it hurts.

After this many years living out of suitcases there are a few things I just can’t live without. A while back I read a great post by a gal who spent years as a traveling nurse. She listed her must haves, while my list is very different I thought it would be fun to share.  Unlike many other travelers, I don’t fly often; all of my belongings are in the truck vs a hotel or apartment, and we only serve the US and Canada.

Here are a few things that I can’t travel without:

Lululemon Still pants – A girl, and well fellas too, needs that “go to” pair of loose fitting comfortable pants. This might be the one thing that makes an all day airport delay tolerable.

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Personal Portable Humidifier – We actually have two, a heavy duty model for the peak of winter or when sick, and a smaller “cap” style for when you start using the heaters in hotel rooms.

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Tocca Cleapatra Hand lotion – This is a luxury but worth it. The light formula is very effective with a fresh scent.

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Say Yes to Tomato Facial wipes – These gems have saved me many times when I needed a refresh or while camping. This formula is a blemish fighter and I think cleans pores out better.

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Comfortable Headphones – I adore YurBuds, they are made smaller for women’s ears.  Being able to tune out or even tune in just makes your sometimes overly public life gain some privacy.

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Airless Pump Bottles – Have you ever flown and upon opening your toiletry bag find is a mess from a bottle having popped open.  These babies say you from that happening.

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***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

It’s All About the Apps

For those who know us well, the appearance of our phones and iPads is not unusual.  My phone is my office, my link to all things work.  I thought it might be fun to share of a few of the apps we can’t live without that might be a bit unique.

Mail tracking apps (USPS, UPS, and FedEx) – There are so many things coming and going while on tour, the only way I can keep track and assure we don’t miss anything while hotel hopping are these gems.  I will give one tip, sign up for accounts on all of them.  There are small benefits and backups of tracking that make life easier.

Evernote – The day we found Evernote was a revolution in how Josh and I co-managed tours.  This multiply platform app allows a user to share memos between devices and other users.  Two features make this so very useful to us; you can share more than just a text note (links, images, and countless others things).  I can create a “list that contains a map, links, text, and all is hyperlinked as needed. Second is how any user with access can edit and update.  There is also a lesser cloud function I find super handy when taking a word or excel file from iPad to the laptop for saving.  I do most of my coursework and work reports on my iPad.

Find my friends – With so many of our co-workers traveling like we do, it’s great to check in and see who is close or who might be moving nearby.

Ebates – This is loaded on both of our phones and iPads; it’s the best way to get cash back on hotels and well anything else you order.  If you aren’t familiar with Ebate, I’ve written about it before with a longer explanation.  You can sign up here

Pandora – We enjoy a wide variety of music and often program a station regionally as we are going.

WordPress  – Last but not least is the WordPress app (mostly iPad).  I cannot tell you how many posts I have lost over the years writing on a browser.  While that app has some formatting shortcomings it locally saves drafts when connectivity goes out.

Writing this post was a bit different from normal, I had help from some of my family.  You might notice that there are no social networking apps listed.  This was intentional, I don’t think you need an explanation of why we would find Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the rest important.  This was part of what came up with while talking to my uncle and his savvy daughter.  They had different opinions on social networking apps and sites but had or didn’t have nearly the same ones loaded on their phones.  Two generations but not that  much different.

We kinda like Apple (this was posed but is still funny)

We kinda like Apple (this was posed but is still funny)

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

Doing the Purge

What better way to celebrate my 1000th post then to write Travel Tuesday.

 

I was a bit inspired this week by the weekend closet purge performed by a friend. She also works for MRA and spends long stretches living out of her suitcase like we do. However she is facing some other amazing milestones, an upcoming birthday, her wonderful boyfriend is starting his new career, and she is at year one on the road. This led to some inspired evaluation of her closet and dresser. Josh and I did our major purge more than six years ago when we moved out of our house but I can relate. We still seem to get rid of items at every turn, where does it all come from? I’m certain that I’ve written about this subject before but upon starting this job we got some great advice from a couple who at the time was starting their eighth year. Give until it hurts. It took us a full year to be ready to move out of and put our house on the market, cleaning out closets until it was took much or was too emotional. We didn’t try to push any further and would stop. This is also why we have some random things in the closet. While they are probably never going to get worn, or for some taken out of a dust bag, they just can’t be parted with. I still have a dress I wore to a formal in college, the shirt Josh had on for our first date, a navy blue suit that probably doesn’t fit, and Josh’s Marine Corp uniforms. The thought of parting with them hurts so I don’t. However each time we are home things that got taken out of the suitcase and put in a drawer usually then make the “Goodwill” pile and as a side bonus other pitch items in knowing we are going to make the trip to donate. It all becomes a part of living this way.

 

I cherish the artwork we have picked up from our travels but not that sweater I needed when it snowed in Texas. Having to pack all your things into a suitcase or boxes gives them a different priority. Your style changes as you grow and life changes, let go of those things. When there is only room for one hoodie, you tend to pick just the right one. This takes the longest to figure out, there just isn’t room for things that aren’t functional. Or that’s just the excuse I use to own so much Lululemon.

 

Thank you all for the last 1000!!!

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

Staying Fit On The Road

My in-laws recently took on a weeklong road trip with their oldest grandson; upon conclusion one of the comments about the experience was how hard it had been to eat vegetables when dining at restaurants.  I had a chuckle, we often feel the same way, staying fit and healthy on the road is a real challenge.  So many things can get in your way; we don’t have a daily routine to workout in, restaurants offerings can be shockingly unhealthy, there is NO consistency to equipment or availability of hotel gyms.  I gained more than 15 lbs. in the first few years of travel life, now for those who knew me before some of that was welcome.  I was a model and spent a minimum of two hours at the gym five days a week; I was fit but very thin.  This is not a statement seeking attention or validation of my size, I am very happy with how I look but it’s fitness that is always a concern.  I can tell you that unwittingly we eat a heck of a lot more butter and sugar than we would like because of restaurant food.  So I thought I would share a little about how we stay fit on the road.  I can tell you we have tried many things and like anyone working out, variety is the key.

 

  • In-room exercise videos are gold.  We are both fans of T25 and Insanity; you can take them anywhere!!  Neither of these systems requires external equipment like weights or kettle bells.   Beach Body also has an app subscription option to give you mobile access to many more programs; there are a number of similar services out there.  Videos you can do in your room or if the hotel gym has the room are great.

 

  • Find a routine that is going to work for you, a time of day or a system that you can do and keep yourself accountable too. I run, it’s free and it feels great. It is not always possible to get in a run due to work schedule or even feasible in the hotel area. When I can’t run I either do T25 or a yoga video.   This is incredibly hard to do and to stick too. We do not live in routine but figuring out what you can do will be the key.

 

  • Use a Calorie counter until you figure it out. There isn’t really one that is better than the other, all are useful. Deciding what and how much to eat is much easier when you get a hint of how many calories are in a dish. You would be amazed at how bad certain places are; Olive Garden is the worst!! Also make sure you count your booze too; that is a HUGE problem when you first start out. It takes a long time to train yourself to not have a beer or wine with dinner. You spend a lifetime thinking of eating out as an occasion, then it becomes just part of your day. Nearly all of us gain the “freshman 15” from booze starting out.

 

  • I use a fitbit, I LOVE my fitbit. LOVE LOVE LOVE my fitbit. Yes I workout and my job does keep me active but having a fitbit and using the app lets me know when I’ve gotten lazy. It is a great tool to keep yourself going.

 

There is no one way to stay fit but being conscious of the pitfalls will help.

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***