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

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.

 

 

 

13 years of trial and error with blogs.

I had a few blogs before this one picked up pace and I will let you know why I think this one is finally working. I have been blogging and creating content since 2007, along with my Flickr account, I used to talk about my passions, such as travelling and photography.  It was a difficult time, most likely because I didn’t have a laptop or the internet speed required to keep the flow of the post, sometimes I think that at 21 years old, my voice and expectations were limited at that point of my life, I saw every dream I had falling through the cracks because of my financial status.

Working for the Lonely Planet Magazine was one of my early 20’s biggest dream

Working as a National Geographic Photographer was once my dream job, I also looked into writing for Lonely Planet guides and some other travel publications. Once again, I didn’t have a writing/communication degree, I was still working on my hospitality management bachelor’s, which I naively thought that would allow me to travel around the globe, to be adventurous with a camera while writing about it. The only thing this degree allowed me to do, was to be the front of the house employee, and work like my life depended on it. The first blog I had was called “Where the hell is Joana?”

“Where the hell is Joana?”

I created the blog in 2007, clearly inspired by the cartoon “Carmen San Diego”, so I could post about my experience with my internship abroad in Black Mountain, North Carolina, instead of sending emails for my friends. At that time Facebook was still not even close to being popular and abused by civilization, especially in Brazil, which only picked it up in 2010. (I had a whole 3 years of pure fun before the anarchy started.)  

The blog was full of widgets, like music, translation, photos on the post from the trip, a carrousel of nonsense. It was also written in my native language, Portuguese. That’s where my main problem came from. The moment people who knew you forever realize you are telling a story about something they are familiar with, they jump in and feel like judging what you are writing about, also who are you writing about. My biggest problem was with my mom. I couldn’t write anything without her nagging me, saying I was being over dramatic, she would not like her or my dad being exposed. Well, their story is kind of my story too, sorry. She would write me a long email or send me a message on MSN Messenger (remember that?) for me to delete certain things, or whatever she interpreted wrong. Censorship.

The time passed, I wrote less and less, in a blink of an eye, I was back home. Where the hell is Joana, well, she got back to her boring old life in Brazil.

I tried to keep the blog alive and I wrote a little about my experience in Australia, in 2010, but after that I let go of the idea of having a blog.

“What a Bao Asian”.

I love food and especially Asian cuisine. I worked for almost two years in a Macanese/Portuguese fusion restaurant the first time I lived in Chicago. Learning about their food, eating habits, and ingredients got me fascinated for the flavors and the creations on the menu. I have never been to Asia, by that time I decided I was going to create a food blog about Asian cuisine, I was living in Marietta, GA. Yeah, it had everything to work, but the only thing that worked was my Pinterest Board, with ideas of what I could cook, in order to post on the blog. I think I had two or three posts. It was incredibly hard to find Asian ingredients in Atlanta, my kitchen was tiny, and once again my mom made fun of me for creating a delusional blog. More like Julie Powell without succeeding. 

“Waitress in Wonderland”

I was furious with a comment I read on a Facebook post, from an acquaintance in Brazil, where she yelled “I rather be unemployed in Brazil, than be a waitress in someone else’s country.” Oh! Hi there! I live in “someone else’s country” and I’m a waitress, that doesn’t disqualify me from anything, in any possible matter. That doesn’t erase who I am, my goals, or what I want, because of the type of job I have to pay to fulfill my livelihood. I didn’t reply on anything, because it was not something related to what I posted, so I decided to create a blog, about how even though I was working as a waitress, I could still travel and have a fun life. My intention with that blog was eventually turned into a student travel blog, where I would go around showing cities that you could study abroad here in the United Stated. I once again, focused on the Brazilian audience and even though the website turned out pretty cool, I was paying the domain and the host for no reason. I was not traveling either. The travel blog without traveling was like the food blog without food. I got super sad when I deleted it, so I decided to apply for Creative Writing school. It was the way I found to keep my creativity flowing and my brain to not go down into a deep dark path.

“Live Out Loud Too”

In the middle of my Creative Writing for the Entertainment Business degree, I felt the need to share how it was like to be a writing student, with English being my second language. All the trouble I had to go through, so my story could make sense, while still working at a hotel, focusing on the speed of the classes. During the school, I really didn’t have time to write about how it was to be in school. Very seldom, I passed by on the website, and posted something about my writing for comics class, or my transmedia projects, so I could keep myself motivated.  For almost two years, I had no audience. This time I made sure to write in English, keeping my native language people exclusive to Facebook and Instagram. The blog turned two in May.

Live Out Loud Too turned out to be a space where I can have my voice heard, like I mean it, loud. I want to have my opinions validated too, and not set aside, because I was not born and raised here.  It’s a space to talk about change and take risks, like switching careers, or job positions to something you always wanted to, in your mid 30’s or later. It’s a space where I share my work, my ideas and opinions about starting over as a writer, following my dreams.

Getting the bull by its horns with my own hands and inspiring people to do the same.

The reason why I think this blog is working, first of all, I don’t write in my native language. I focus on the language and the country I live in. Second of all, I have a way to promote my posts, with different media outlets, such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, to grow my audience. I don’t use Facebook for that at all. At this point, I rather deal with judgmental people I don’t know, than the ones I went to school with. Third and last reason, I found my niche. I write about being a struggling writer, trying to make it work with a huge leap of faith, that someday I will finally finish the web-series I have been working on forever. By the way I finally have a logline! I will write more about it next post.

Stay Safe!

JG Snelly.

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