Tips for traveling without a lot of money.

 

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First of all, how are my 7 readers doing? Hope everyone is doing ok. I’m overworked with the youtube channel and I’m learning a lot, so its all good.

 First things first, let me complain about being burnout.

Am I lazy? Or I’m just burnout and exhausted from all the news and things happening around me? Am I trying to do so much, that it feels like I’m running on a hamster wheel, constantly without achieving anything? Does anybody else out there feels the same? Or I’m being the odd duck again?

I can’t be the only one.

I got trapped on the millennial TikTok hole and I guess, my generation feels trapped as much as I do. We can’t buy houses, we have student loans galore, we can’t afford to travel and we work to the exhaustion levels to make a living. It all seems suffocating, can you gives us a break?

Just a little break, maybe a collective day off, and I don’t mean another endless time at home in a pandemic, because at the time we were forced to be home, we were all living in fear of dying. Or killing Grandma. I mean a collective vacation. Shut down the world internet and lets live a day like its 1983.

Let’s all go to the lake, let’s all go camping, barbecue, ride our bikes and be outside without posting pictures or scrolling the news. Without being disturbed by the gas prices or who the next president will be. Can we be happy for one day? One of the reasons I bought a camper was to be able to escape the madness. Anytime.

The complaining part of the post is done. Let’s move on to the fun stuff.

My favorite part of owning a truck camper is to be able to get away. Run to the mountains, and be completely off the hook. No internet signal. Every time I travel, I get certain that buying that camper was the best decision we made. We put it for sale on Market place, and then we though about it and removed from the listings.

Let’s give it another try.

We drove to Turquoise Lake at the beginning of June, when it was still super cold in the mountains. After stopping in Leadville for a couple of hours, we drove another 25 minutes into the campsite, named Baby Doe, after the infamous Baby Doe Tabor, the mad lady in the cabin. I’m reading her book and I’m fascinated by her story.

The Campsite

Turquoise Lake in B&W

The campsite is very well structured, and you can do some fun activities such as biking and fishing trout on the lake. I’m pretty sure you can boat or paddle, but I didn’t dare to try it. It was too cold.

After we parked out car and settle everything, we rode our bikes to the lake. Again, no cellphones, no distraction. Just the mountains and the nature.

We cooked on the fire outside, danced around and had fun. The simple things in life its what brings me joy. What most of people get wrong is that you need a lot of money to travel. Truth to be told, you don’t.

I have been traveling on the cheap side for a long time now.

In my early 20’s, my broke behind in Rio, used to travel very often. I couldn’t travel abroad yet, so I learnt that I could go visit coastal cities in Rio de Janeiro and enjoy my free time off. Working in the Hostel also helped because I could stay in a shared accommodation for free, for a couple of days. Some of them offered breakfast for free, so I saved on that too.

I educated myself to understand that traveling is much more than spending a lot of money. It’s about learning the culture and sharing the spaces with people from all over the world.

Don’t limit yourself due to resources. Can’t fly? take a bus.

Of course is great to stay in a refined luxury hotel, instead of sharing a room with another 12 girls, but the reality is, very few people can afford to do it, and me in 20’s was not one of them. Yes, I did share a hostel room with 12 other girls while visiting New York city in 2007. Even when I was already living in Georgia, that I went back to visit Chicago in 2014 by myself, I stayed in a hostel.

Last time I went to New York, in March, I stayed at Beekman- A Thompson Hotel. Because once again, life gets better and I keep working in the hospitality industry and getting great fares.

My camper is in shambles, but I won’t get rid of it.

 

We had a lot of problems on this trip with the camper in terms of logistics. The shower didn’t work, and neither did the heater. The internet didn’t work, but somehow we could watch Stranger Things for a little before going to bed. I joked with Josh that is the chip on my vaccine. I’m double vaccinated, so I have double bars for signal.

That was a weird night that I kept dreaming about being attacked by bears outside of the camper, a very realistic dream, we packed our stuff and drove back to Denver. Started to planning another trip on the way back. We decided to go to Las Vegas. With limited funds, as usual.  We did and that’s the next video!

Follow me for more tips of traveling while being broken bruxa 🤣

Stay Healthy, Stay safe!

JS

XXX

Leadville, Baby Doe Tabor and the Farewell trip with the camper

 

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Like everything else in my life, when I fix one thing, the other side of the rope gets loose, but this time there is no more stretching. It’s time to say goodbye to our beloved camper. What this truck camper symbolizes in my life here in America, has more to do with what I’ve been through than I would like to admit.

The truck was the first somewhat house security I had while living here. No matter what would happen, I knew I had my truck camper. We got it last year, on the Facebook marketplace, in need of a lot of repairs and we took care of it.

The truck camper and the lost arc.

A few weeks ago, the truck camper got stolen from our apartment complex, here in Denver, luckily we were able to get it back. The truck shut off in a gas station. Out of nowhere, my transformer was found and we towed back.

When we got it back, we had some more security repairs to add and then we decided to take it on a short trip to the mountains, not knowing that on the way back we would have to make a decision about it. Sell it, or fix it. Again.

Turquoise Lake? Not yet. First, Leadville.

Last Tuesday we hit the road on our way to Turquoise Lake, about 2 hours away from Denver. We packed everything on the camper and drove into the mountains with our huge truck.

The first shock was the price of gasoline. Since we drive a hybrid car and don’t go a far distance, we work close to the house and take public transportation, we don’t spend much. The price to fill up half of the tank here was about 93 dollars. Half tank.

But first, let me have breakfast.

As soon as we arrived in Leadville we started looking for a place to have breakfast, and we found a restaurant close to the street we parked, called Silver Llama. The cute artsy restaurant has some good and cheap food, with a self-serve coffee station and some art around the place for sale.

After eating we walked around town for a little bit of history, but before I had to stop at a consignment store to get myself a light jacket because for some reason I always underestimate de cold temperatures in the mountains.

Leadville is about 10 thousand feet above sea level and at least 20 degrees colder than Denver. I was not ready.

My card for the youtube video made on Canva.

A few blocks further, we walked into a store to check some books and memorabilia, only to have the entire story of the town told to us, by a very nice lady, who I’m sure was the store owner.

She told us about the story of Baby Doe Tabor and her husband, who got rich with mining, while being a politician, and poor again when the silver was replaced by gold and lost all its value. She told us about the Saloon, built 100 years ago, which is still running.

The Silver Dollar Saloon is a treasure place itself.

There are pictures of famous and historic people, like the unsinkable Molly Brown and baseball players, a fully operating bar, and all the decorations from a long long time ago, including a phone booth. We made videos and you can check it out on our channel!

Everything in Leadville is historically dated to the mining and the gold rush in the late 1800.

After the trip, I rushed to buy the book about Baby Doe Tabor, and I wish I had read it before visiting. It only means I will have to come back for some more information.

The book is giving me a hype to write a script based on her story.  Hollywood released a movie based on the Tabor’s life in 1932 called Silver Dollar, so I guess it’s time for another one. Maybe thats my big break.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023472/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_1 

After visiting the Saloon, we walked to the The Jewish temple and museum, with artifacts and more histories about the jewish community in town. I wanted to visit the mine museum, but we decided to leave it for next time, since the entire tour would take over an hour and needed to head to the camping site.

The camping site should be the next video I will be working on tis week. We are slowly learning how to film content to make it easier on the editing side.

It hasn’t been easy to tackle all this editing and posting, marketing and sharing, with a full time job. I’m exhausted, but I’m also driven by the need of being constantly busy with side projects.

One day at a time.

Next week also we are going to Las Vegas for a couple of days. I will make sure to film and post it on youtube.

See you next week, with another video and stories about the Baby Doe camping site!

Stay Healthy and Stay safe!

JS

XX

 

Turning Red – What awakes your Red panda?

Disney has a special way to cater for kids and trigger adults watching the movies.

In Pixar movies, the villain has always been something within inside of  the characters.

Something that bother from the inside, something they don’t know what it is, but it’s there.

Making waves and pushing it forward to make a change. Is always about wanting to proof your self worth and your ability of taking care of yourself, and figuring out the need of people in your life.

All the Pixar movies work with the same premises and Turning Red is not different. Move over Abuela Toxica, I’m utterly obsessed with the red panda now.

Eugene on Twitter Fanart

The main character Mei Mei  is asian/canadian and she lives in Toronto with her family,but the coolest thing about the movie is that it’s based in 2002. The movie creator and director found the inspiration in herself living in the same time and age as Mei Mei, in Toronto.

The family struggles.

Of course, I don’t have any place to relate with the Asian culture,I have a different type of family struggle and expectations, but I do relate with Mei’s behavior of trying to be the perfect daughter and not disappoint her mom. Between not disappoint your mom and breakout to be yourself is the hardest thing of growing up.

We all have a Red Panda inside of us.

Some control it very well, other just make it part of their personalities. Who doesn’t have a friend that is always angry and aggravated by something? I have a few.

The Red Panda in Turning Red means learning how to control your emotions and the how to deal with all those changes and emotions your body is going through.

I was a very shy teenager, mostly in my own world, writing my stories in a notebook, hoping someday I would break out of that shell and wake up beautiful some day.

I manifested my future in those stories.

Life wrecked me in so many ways, I had to put my writing dreams on the side. Again, why do we bottle up our dreams and put it in a shelf, instead of working towards with what makes us truly happy?

Some people can get out of it, others find a job as a bank clerk and forget about what they wanted and who they were when they were younger.

This is putting The Red Panda inside of a charm and forget it ever existed, or suppress it. Thats what happened with Mei’s mom Ming, in the movie.

The Red panda in her was consider too dangerous and had to be put away for good, inside of the amulet. Once the charm breaks the panda is out and Mei is in big trouble.

The Early 2000’s. If you live that era, you know it means.

Mei’s character portrayed how was to be a teenager really well in the early 2000’s. The boy bands, the Tamagochi, the stickers on the bag, the boy drama, the friendship with other girls.

The movie soundtrack is catchy, because boy bands were catchy in 2002. The movie is a mix of nostalgia for us and evaluation of what we become and what happened to the red panda. Is it still here?

What Awakes the Red Panda?

The Red Panda is awaken in me when something I created a lot of expectation on, goes wrong. I’m a very creative and imaginative person, a dreamer, some would call. It’s all my fault when things goes awry because I fantasized beyond the reality limits. Like when I draw something beautiful in my head, and the drawing comes out chaotic. I’m not good at drawing, but I’m good in my mind.

Other situation that awakens the red panda, is the immigration subject.  You want to see me going full on panda, dare to tell me immigrants are here to take American jobs and the social security money.

Or that a refugee is here making 3k a month on the Americans hard earned money. Believe me, I heard that from a family member, while seating in my couch, at my house. I’m fuming just writing about it. Anyway, let’s go back to the movie.

Friendship, boyband obsession, family embarrassing you right and left. The movie has everything and if you haven’t watch it, go for it. Songs are so catchy that a 36 years old me singing at work.

You’re never not on my mind, oh my, oh my I’m never not by your side, your side, your side
I’m never gon’ let you cry, oh, cry, don’t cry
I’ll never not be your ride, or die, alright

The original songs are from Finneas and Billie Eilish, and I couldn’t expect anything better.

I remember when the Backstreet Boy were everything to me and I went to the concert in Rio, with some of my friends, at the age of 15. My mom didn’t destroy the stadium, like Ming, but she was very worried about me being alone with friends on a school day, at a concert. In the biggest soccer stadium in Brazil.

Some similarities with Encanto are noticeable.

Like the way Meilin wants her mom’s approval and how she wants her wishes as a teenager to be respected. The biggest difference is her mom is aware of her transformation and unlikely Abuela, she doesn’t blame Mei for what is happening. Maybe Abuela needs to put her red Panda on a charm and let it go.

The movie is a must see and another one of the Pixar’s great creation. I love that we are seeing so much diversity in Pixar/Disney movies lately. No more wacked out princess doing everything for love. Yes Ariel, losing your voice for legs to get the guy its not worth it.  Dumb wench.

If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it. I watched a couple of times and I can’t wait to be a hit overnight like Encanto.

Let me know in the comments if you watch it and how could you relate to the movie and the characters!

 

 

24 hours in Vail, Colorado!

Back in Vail for 24 hours! What to do for fun and where to eat for a cheaper price!

It was windy. A cold, strong breeze, with leaves flying in a spiral.  Last time in Vail for this witch was 13 years ago. Social media was still on its first steps, there was not immediate sharing, only enjoying.It was the first time in my life that I felt truly happy. Until the day the hotel I was doing my internship told us we, all the student visas holders, would have to leave by the end of the season, in April. With that being said, we will not be able to renew the visa for the summer season, like planned. It was a the ice bucket challenge. But not for good cause.

Like the Coldplay song Viva La Vida says:

“One minute I held the key. Next the walls were closed on me And discovered that my castles stand Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand”.

Every time I hear this song, I’m immediately transported back to those days.

One minute I was hopping around town, filled with happiness, going to coffeeshops and bars, the next minute my castle crumbles and I’m packing my bags back to my parents house in Brazil, with a canceled visa. Only to be back 13 years later, married, with a decent job, that allows me to stay in nice hotels and with a document that allows me to stay forever, and not be shipped back home due to any financial crisis. Anyway! The mini trip was great!

Vail 13 years later! What changed? I changed!

We rent a car on Turo, which is similar app to Airbnb, but only for cars. They have all kinds of luxury cars that you can rent, but also cheaper options like the one we got. The reason why we had to rent a car, its because with the Colorado laws, you have to have a 4X4 car to go up the mountains.

Our ballerina CT Lexus would not be up to the game. It would literally flip around like its on a try out for a Broadway show. We would also face the possibility to get fined up to a thousand dollars, it was better and safer to spend about 100. We ended up getting a SUV type of Mercedes, quiet and steady. The trip was about to get real!

Vail is only 1 hour and 40 minutes away from Denver.It is a very beautiful scenery, as you get lost in the white snow covered Aspen trees. Every few miles you can spot a ski resort along the road. I did our check in online and a few minutes later they texted us telling our room was ready.

The Grand Hyatt Vail Resort is stunning! Our room faced the mountains and had a couch. Once again they had robes, or this time 1 robe. I had to share with Josh for the photos, as he embark in my madness and partake the in my adventures. The hotel is big with 3 restaurants, a spa, plenty of outside area. For our surprise the hot-tub and the pool were open. We didn’t have bathing suits. I think it was the voice of reason saving us from a pneumonia. I will be back when its warmer.

Food! 

There is a way to eat cheaper while in Vail and I can prove it. As I was a local many years ago, I kept myself away from those fancy restaurants, that wants to charge you a huge amount of money for the name of the chef. I’m still a local in my heart and looked for places I used to eat when I lived there. One of them is called Route 6.

Route 6 is a dinner in Eagle Vail, nothing extraordinary, but good for a reasonable breakfast meal. I got a breakfast sandwich and Josh got a steak. He didn’t like it, but also, who order steak in a side road dinner? Well, Josh does. I always set lower expectations, and at Route 6 I knew what to expect.  Meal number 1.

In the afternoon, while walking around the Vail Village, Josh got hungry again and I decided to join him. We stop at the bottom of the mountain restaurant, to have some beers and tacos. Well, I had the beer. I asked about the people coming down the slopes, only to find out that the mountain was closed due to a power outage, around 12pm. The time the witch arrived in town. Surprised yet?

At night, after walking around town and trying to take a nap, we decided to eat again. Now it was time for dinner. I didn’t want to go out again, so we ate at the hotel bar, we shared half chicken with gnocchi and wine. Plus dessert.  The hotel restaurant only open the dining room Fridays to Sundays and I though this was a great idea. They should do that at my work place.

Fun!

Around Vail you have some sub-divisions like Eagle-Vail, Avon, Edwards, Minturn and Gypsum. People usually live on Eagle-Vail, Avon and Edwards and work in Vail. Very rich people lives in Vail. The working peasants hide in smaller, more affordable places.

In the morning after breakfast at Route 6, we drove over to the apartment complex I used to live. I didn’t realize how much I had to walk to take the bus, in the cold and snow, everyday. It is a long way!

It was great to revisit and I bet the prices now are way higher than 1200 a month with utilities. The complex had a painting job and I saw some people that looked like J1 visa holders living there, like I was once. The pain of carrying your laundry basket in the cold is real.

From that memory lane, we moved to another. We stopped at Avon, to walk around and see the little town center. In my mind the supermarket was in a different direction and this time I didn’t want to cross the train tracks to go to Starbucks, like I used to. The witch is old and tired.

I wanted to go to Beaver Creek, but the wind was too strong to get the gondola up, and get the bus that take us there. Walking around was painful, as a dust particule hit josh’s eyes and he immediately freaked out. Let’s go buy sunglasses then.

Later on we took the hotel shuttle to walk around the Vail Village. Most of the bars I used to hang out are still there, including the one where me and my friend had a blast time and Jesus was the for the resident DJ for the party. Vendetta’s was the place and Joana was the queen (as I like to portrait myself in my mind)

I took more photos, tested my new phone lenses, at least tried,  my hands were cold because I forgot my gloves. The streets were empty, only a few people walking around, as the season was coming to an end.

After Dinner, we went to bed at 9pm, after all, it was my day off and I wanted to sleep on the nice bed as much as I could. Early morning the next day, I took some time to take some photos with the hotel robe, which I believe is going to become a thing, because you just look fancy in it.

We check-out at the hotel and once again, stopped at Vail Village to pick up a coffee and muffin  at Loaded Joe’s for the trip back, but we only had 10 minutes, because we didn’t want to pay for parking. Couldn’t even tell the barista about the time I lived in town, as I told everyone else I encountered.

It was a great short trip! I can’t wait to be back, with more time and a bathing suit packed next time! Now let me go edit the videos to post on youtube, as the channel is coming together! I have way more to show on videos!

Stay Healthy, Stay Sane!

JS XXX

 

ReInventing Joana – The most VIP trip ever.

I was walking around in on of those high end boutique streets in Soho and a few steps in front of me, a lady with a trend coat, talking with someone on her phone.

It was a loud conversation, and for what I understood, she was mad with an employee of her company, like the girl did something absurd and she, the boss, wasn’t going to tolerate such mistake.

I walked a few steps behind her and notice that her New Yorker attitude was saying a lot about how we present ourselves to others. Maybe thats why the fraudulent Anna Delvey got so far with her scheme in the city. They love everything that shines.

Fake till you make it.

It doesn’t matter where you come from, in the big city, especially a city like New York, you have to stand taller than others. We’ve seen so many movies about a girl who was treated like trash, changed her attitude and her looks and grab the society by the hair.

One of my favorite movies “The Devil Wears Prada” talks about this city dynamic. I’m convinced that behaving like that  actually works here in America. Unapologetic.

I forgot to use my Anna Delvey Accent. It was not VIP, Vivian.

Whenever I travel, I like to walk around in different streets, to make me feel like I’m a local, like I actually belong to the place I’m visiting. I’m not against visiting touristic spots, like libraries, museums and historic sites, but I’m not dedicating my precious time to see what I can see in any youtube channel, for an entire day.

Especially because I don’t have much time when I travel, so I have to be smart with my choices. When I go to DisneyWorld, I know I will spend half of my day in a line, for a five minute ride, but when I go to New York, I have to be precise which neighborhood I want to visit, instead of waiting at a line to see the Statue of Liberty and waste my entire day.

Feeling like I truly belong, at the train station, I was looking around to figure out which letter train I would take to West Village, when a girl in need of information approached me.

She asked me if that train was going to a certain place. I baffled and try to tell her, I didn’t know either, but yeah sure, the train was going to that place. The poor girl is probably still lost in the city. I turned around and asked the lady working at the train station, who gave me the same answer I gave the girl “Yeah, sure, it goes there”.

Wants to feel like a true New Yorker? Give people misinformation about the subway system. It’s too complicated even for locals to understand.

People from the hotel, in other hand, were all very nice to me. Maybe because I work for the same company, or maybe because they were highly trained to be nice. I stayed at The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel and got upgraded for a suite.

The hotel was a truly VIP experience *read it in Anna’s voice* .
 Inside  The Beekman- A Thompson Hotel

The hotel is located in Lower Manhattan, close to World Trade Center memorial site and the Brooklyn Bridge is a walking distance. Staying at the hotel feels like you were transported to a 1920’s site, in the prohibition era. The restaurant looks like a Speakeasy and the vintage decoration gives you the feeling os travel in time.

The room had dim lights  and every time I left the room and came back, I had turned down service. When I came back at night, I noticed my curtains were closed. The bed was made, some water bottles were left by bedside table, with a room service menu on the top of the pillow, in case I wanted to order something for breakfast. I made some videos and I should post it soon.

I was really considering staying at the hotel and resting, instead of walking 12 hours a day. But I choose the second option. Getting lost in the city it’s my kind of trip. 

Friends Apartment Building – Manhattan

Next day, after breakfast in the hotel, I was ready to tackle the city. I wanted to visit the Friends Apartment building, so I took the train, got out in the wrong station and walked. And walked some more. The Goggle maps confusing me and my sense of direction, so it took me a little longer to find it, but I did.

The building is very crammed inside of a neighborhood, with a few cute restaurants and other apartments. From there, I walked to Soho, to visit some stores and see the lady yelling at the phone about her employee.

 

A very walkable city

In terms of food, I didn’t want to spend much. Once again, I look for local shops and not Tourist Trap restaurants. When I arrived on Monday, I walked to Chinatown to meet my friend and had some Dim Sum,  we shared and it was ideal to not spend much.

The next day, I had breakfast the hotel, it was about 25 dollars and if you are not starving, you can always share some items, if you traveling with someone. Josh didn’t go with me, because he had to work and I was only going for 2.5 days.

Find cute local shops and not Tourist Traps.

During my walk in Soho, later on, I stopped to eat a sandwich and a smoothie, in a very small and cute cafe. Joe and the Juice is a perfect spot for a quick bite.   https://www.joejuice.com/  Prices are reasonable and you don’t feel like breaking the bank. Again, don’t fall for tourist traps restaurants.

Moving on to Times Square, this time by train, I was amused by how busy that place is. I went to the Disney Store, M&M’s and kept walking to Bryant Park and Fifth Avenue. Later on, I went to K-town to eat at a Korean Food Court, that my friend who is a local in New York City, knows about.

Again, I had a Korean seafood soup for dinner and a soda that it costed about 13 dollars. Next day, the day I was coming back home I walked to Eataly, close to the hotel and got some pizza slice with a soda before traveling, also pretty cheap.

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”

New York is an expensive city, if you want to do expensive stuff. Things aimed to tourists are really overpriced and it makes it look like you have to be rich to be in a place like that. Yes, I got the hotel for a cheaper price, but even when I didn’t, 15 years ago, I stayed in a hostel sharing the room with 12 other girls and ate the same way I did on this trip. It’s about connecting with the local culture.

Apart from eating cheap food, I wanted to walk around high brand stores, see how people behave on a daily basis and have some fun. It’s easy to understand why to succeed in this city, you have to be a bit rough and put on a show. It’s the vibe of the city. Play pretend. Act like you belong among them and you will see how it work.

We are coming back to the city in May and I’m taking Josh this time. I can’t wait to show him around and show him the city dynamic, while getting mad at the train.

 

 

 

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