I’m not a full-time traveler, as most of you know. I work full time at a 9-5(ish) job I adore, I own a home where I live with my husband and fur baby. I didn’t (and never will) sell all my worldly possessions, swap my walk in closet for a backpack, and buy a one-way ticket across the world. I have no desire to. It’s just not what I am called to do.
Because of this, I sometimes struggle to find topics to write about. I want to share more of my own day-to-day life, but have always been unsure of how to incorporate it into the travel themed blog I have created. But I think I finally have a solution! Starting today, I will be posting “Friday Fives” every now and then to give y’all a glimpse into what I’m working on, what I’m loving, what I’m feeling, etc. Mostly travel related of course. I have a loyal fanbase, and I don’t want to stray too far from the core of what this blog was established to be. But occasionally I may slip in an item or two about my life in general, or eco-friendly living tips (see #5 this week).
1. Trip Planning
I can’t believe it’s already September! I hope time will continue to fly because I seriously can’t wait for my trip to Japan this winter! I’ve been spending many of my evenings doing trip planning lately. Not even exaggerating when I say that I’ve spent at least seven full evenings researching accommodations in Japan. Like came home from work, ate dinner, then sat on my computer and looked at every hotel, Airbnb, VRBO, etc. in every city we’re visiting trying to make a decision. After much deliberation, all of our accommodations are booked!
We have a range of different experiences when it comes to where we’re staying. Tiny flats in bustling Shinjuku and Shibuya, an iconic 19th-century hotel that once hosted John Lennon, a train station hotel, and a traditional Japanese home.
Look at this adorable room we’re staying in! I am so excited about it. Here’s the link to the listing, just in case you’re looking for a traditional Japanese room in Kyoto that’s not super pricey. And for those of you who have never booked with Airbnb, you can use my referral link to get $20 off your first booking!
So now that we have all our accommodations booked, our itinerary is much more solidified so I can actually get to planning out the attractions we are going to see. I’ve been doing lots of research through Youtube as well. There are lots of great vlogs and video content on Japan, some of my favorite channels I’ve used are Sharla in Japan, The Bell Tree, Abroad in Japan, and internationally ME.
Above is a glimpse into my brain on planning. I’ve barely figured out the “skeleton” of our itinerary. There’s so much to do in Japan, I just keep feeling overwhelmed by it all.
2. WOW comes to Texas!
I seriously screamed when I saw this adorable announcement on my timeline yesterday.
As some of y’all know, Matt and I flew WOW air to Iceland for our honeymoon last year. You can read about our experience here. It’s not my favorite airline that I’ve flown with, but hey… they got us where we needed to be on time, no delays, didn’t lose our luggage, and our tickets were only about $320 from Boston to Reykjavik. Can’t complain. Especially now they’re flying from Dallas!
Earlier this year, we were planning a trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, but we decided to put those plans on hold and buy a house instead. Now that we can catch a cheap ride from Dallas, it looks like this trip is back in the cards for this upcoming Spring!
I’ve been wanting to take Matt to Germany to show him my country and my childhood home, so I’m overjoyed it’s that much easier, cheaper, and more accessible now.
Yesterday was me and Matt’s “dating” anniversary. Nowadays, we have a new anniversary to celebrate since we’re married, so we nearly forgot that yesterday marked five years of us being a couple! Last week we also forgot about our “friendiversary” because of Harvey hitting our city. A little over 10 years ago, we met at our first day of 11th grade. He had just moved to Texas from Georgia (the state) and I had just moved from Germany (the country). We sat next to each other in our second period AP English class.
I’m still so stoked that I get to spend my life with this guy. He’s my favorite travel buddy, and I love adventuring with him. In our five years together, we’ve been to three countries and 16 states so far. I can’t wait to add so many more to that list.
4. Movie Night
Our internet was down all last night, so Matt and I felt like we were living in the dark ages. We had to busy ourselves with other activities for the evening, so he went for a bike ride (he’s currently training for a charity ride my non-profit puts on, Bike Around the Bay) and I baked some banana nut muffins. After that, he surprised me by putting my favorite movie (The Grand Budapest Hotel) on. I had totally forgotten that we owned the Blu-ray.
I absolutely love Wes Anderson’s films because they are so fantastical and visually stunning. Those color schemes… But Grand Budapest just reminds me of home. Many of the locations of the movie were filmed in Germany and eastern Europe, where I grew up and did a lot of traveling from ages 5-8 before we moved to western Germany.
The hotel itself is based off the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, one of my favorite and one of the most underrated cities in Europe. Wes Anderson cited the city of Prague as his true inspiration for the film, saying “Prague is the one that I feel sort of inspired me the most for this city, for the big city in our story. Prague is such a spectacular place and one of those places that so much of the history is right in front of you.”
If you’ve never seen The Grand Budapest Hotel, I highly recommend it. It’s tied with The Sound of Music for my all time favorite movie (another movie that I love because it reminds me of my childhood in Bayern).
And once you’re done watching it, here’s a great article about the real life filming locations so you can add those to your travel to-do list. They even compiled all those filming locations into a Google Map Guide for easy, convenient reference. You can view that map here.
5. Eco-Friendly Tip of the Week
Ok, so this one isn’t exactly travel related. But it’s a cool tip I really want to share with y’all!
Have you ever noticed how many single bananas are left behind in grocery stores? Most of these will end up as food waste because no one ever goes to the store to buy one banana. This thought occurred to me recently when I noticed there was a corner of the banana display shelves that was home to at least a dozen single, unwanted bananas. I’ve made it my mission to collect up these singles when I purchase bananas to make sure they don’t go to waste!
I wish grocery stores would set up cute little displays like this for those poor lonely bananas!
Americans waste an unfathomable amount of food. Roughly 50% of all produce in the U.S. is thrown away. That’s about 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually. Wasted food is also the single biggest occupant in American landfills.
Even the smallest of actions can have a big difference!
That’s it for this week’s Friday Fives! Have a great weekend and happy wanderlusting, friends.