In the city

Tokyo is a big city is an understatement. I’m not really a city person though I’m living in one in China at the moment. Tokyo is made up of massive buildings that seem to go on forever. We have not scratched the surface there, but this was our second glimpse. It’s an expensive place, but there is a good website called : www.tokyocheapo.com   I used their information on both my visits. We were able to get a 24 hour subway pass though for a pretty good deal. We allowed my 16 year old to choose our city itinerary and it was fine. We travel a fair amount so I rarely get set on must see stuff cause there is stuff to see everywhere. I think you could really enjoy some amazing food there too if you want. We really just end up eating where we are when we get hungry. We had watched some YouTube people showing us what to eat in Harajuku so we planned that. We had ice cream for breakfast, but I couldn’t wash that down with more crazy sweets like they do so that was the extent of our wild foray into YouTube recommendations.

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Almost 4 years after our first trip….

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The locals have some really fun whacky style. The pig hat was very popular. Japanese like to dress all the same in friend groups and wear the same hat. It was a normal sight to see a dozen boys and girls wearing the pig head or some other matching ears. Sooo funny and fun!!! ❤️

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They are celebrating 35 years of Disney Tokyo this year. ⭐️

218C4E0C-B684-4C02-A94A-69CBD7760F21we came back to Tokyo Disneyland/sea. We got some super sore feet from lines and saw a lot of tourists. I know social media has made tourism grow exponentially, but we were really surprised by the difference. When we were there in December 2014, there were about a dozen (max) of us white folk in the park that day. The other day, it was tourists from all over. AND LOTS OF THEM! It was so much more diverse. Was it social media or simply October? Maybe a bit of both. The crowds were doable by Disney standards, but sore feet are my worst enemy there. It seems that my feet do not enjoy standing in one spot. At ALL!

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First time ever on JAL. It was a very nice experience. A tasty lunch was provided on a short 2 1/2 hour flight. That hasn’t happened for me on a US carrier that I recall since the eighties. 

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Boat rides are a fun way to get off your feet. The lines are usually a bit shorter on the non-thrillers. 

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It’s not the best burger 🍔, but maybe the cutest. 

And then what???

You quit your job to travel the world and then what? My blog is about a pretty mundane subject, but the years of blogging have come and gone. I know (in a way you know strangers on Instagram) some people who have “sold it all” and have zero sponsors after a long time. They quit their jobs. They sold their homes.  They cashed in on the equity in their house; their furniture, their clothes, their doodads, to travel. It sounds crazy! Cause it is!!!!! I feel like I’m watching a train wreck. Maybe they’ll get famous and it will all be made right.  Not likely!  It took us years to get where we are with our not so perfect furniture, but good career. I realized early on I couldn’t sustain any momentum to do what it takes. I’m not going to hike Kilimanjaro one day and follow it us with something better the next week. It’s too much. We had a trip to Chile planned for this summer, but our career sent us to China. I could have done both. Nobody was stopping me, but me. It’s no piece of cake to do what moving entails. Nope. I don’t want to throw a first trip to South America into the mix. I’ve been trying to go for 20 years. It will be or it will not be.  I tried a thousand times to use my funds from my Aeromexico flights that were going to go unused to no avail. I learned that I’m not going to book flights with them ever again because of the headache. My seats were empty, but they won’t get another dime from me.  Lesson learned!

What have you bought that was worth the money?

Besides a national park pass, the best thing I’ve spent my money on is family pictures. We didn’t have engagement pictures done. We set a timer on an old fashioned nineties camera on a hike and went with those. I didn’t have a dime so I didn’t know better. When we went to Hawaii for the first time, I wanted to book a professional to take pictures of our family. It was one of my best purchases.

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2009 The North Shore

Beach 🏖

We live very near the ocean here in China, but it took us awhile to make it to the tourist beach. There is a huge Hilton resort, helicopter pad for tours, bikes and watercraft for rent. The usual beach vibe, but with a very Chinese flair. The water was warmish, but the waves were crazy.

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Golden Pebble Beach 

Walking around

This is China. We have gone on a lot of walks. It has been humid. This week I was reminded of our seemingly mundane walks in Oregon daily. How do you keep your kids fit in the summer? We walked a lot. It was free. We would bring some snacks and water and pretty much do it every day. We would usually do one small camp per kid per summer to learn a new skill of choice and swimming, but walking was always free. It could be seen as boring, but being outside moving your body is never a waste.  The mundane walks to the park to play quickly turned into teens growing up.

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About an hour from our new home. 

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Dalian, China 

Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

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Jenny Lake 

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The crowds really thinned out beyond the paved path, but it’s still a trail. 

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Jenny Lake adventurers

My cousins grew up in Wyoming so we grew up going to Jackson Hole. It was always cool, but now it’s very pricey. What you can do that won’t break the bank is go to the nearby National Park or watch an old West shootout.

 

Yellowstone

I hadn’t been to Yellowstone since I was 10 so it was time for my children to see it. We found a dog friendly hotel at Jackson, Wyoming as our base camp and off we went. The most notable thing to me as a child was extreme excitement to see a bear in the wild. It did not happen! 😢 However on Saturday, we saw a mama bear and 2 cubs. The trekking was limited as it was a long day of driving, but the options are endless. #Wyoming

The Holy Land

Spring break in Israel. It was a long trek from Idaho to Israel. We arrived on a sunny morning in Tel Aviv. We headed straight to our seaside hotel and allowed for a shower and some sleep time, but with the caveat that the sleep could NOT continue past a certain hour. Then, we had to get active so that we could get on the local time zone as soon as possible. We toured Jaffa on the Mediterranean Sea. On day 2, we took the train to Jerusalem. The train ride was nice and scenic. We arrived at the final destination and no taxi would pick us up. The taxi stand was nothing more than a nice sign? Taxis were dropping people off at the local shopping center, but would not take us to town. We were getting hot, angry, and desperate. Finally, we got a taxi and he was a great trustworthy guy. We felt very grateful to get to our hotel. There is a real language barrier there. Luckily, English is an option, but understanding anything was a real issue. We arrived as they were preparing for Passover. As a person who spends a lot of hours in church per week, I had an understanding of Passover, but not really how it would look in Israel. I still don’t, but we know a bit about how it affected us. The hotel told us that everything had to be cleaned in the restaurant. That meant EVERY single surface!!! If we hadn’t been told that we wouldn’t have known or cared what was going on at other restaurants in town that were closed. Also, it meant that the quality and service of food in the hotel restaurant would be drastically reduced and NO bread. I understand the no leavened bread part, but the total lack of abundance of all other food?? It was unique. McDonald’s was closed for cleaning. We didn’t know if it would reopen. The next day, it did and the FOOD which was then Passover approved was inedible. We did enjoy some local grub that was really good and some that was really weird, but which we ate cause we were famished at the time. The weather was nice. It was not too hot, but even quite cold one morning after a storm. We had planned on going to the Dead Sea, but we decided we did NOT want to drive there so we chucked our car rental and stayed in the city on foot. We walked a lot. We were in close proximity to the Old City and we spent a lot of time there. We saw a lot of stuff, but we missed a lot too due to being on foot and opting to forego public transportation in the event that we didn’t understand where to go or how to return. There are a lot of souvenir shops and by a lot, I mean too many. The problem is that I didn’t see one high-quality place to buy something nice. I paid too much for a couple of t-shirts, but only bought them cause I really wanted to. Prices are negotiable and I don’t really want to deal with that so largely opted to keep my shekels. At the end of the week, our tired feet had barely added a dent to their old stone streets, but we had seen for the first time the center of the universe.

 

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The Western Wall

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Spices for sale

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Walled city. One day we walked around the tower as far as we could. It required a fee.

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Rare smile by the teen who would rather a “normal” spring break.

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Jerusalem

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Armenian Quarter in the Old City

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Tour groups

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View of the Dome of the Rock from a residential spot.

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Old City of Jaffa

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Jaffa

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Street of Jaffa 

 

 

Spring Break Season

In my mind, when I think of spring break, I think of Florida and booze cruises. I went to a college where nobody really much did spring break in the nineties anyway. #univofutah Even back then, my friend went to Mexico on a college organized trip on spring break and she was pretty uncomfortable with the partying level.  I was glad I didn’t have any cash to go with her, nor would I have wanted to endure that. #iamamormon These days, spring break is an important time to do something. We try really hard to not miss school and one week off of school means 9 days. You can do a lot of trekking in 9 days. I’m glad I’ve never been anywhere near a booze cruise, but now the idea of spring break has evolved and it’s a welcomed week off. Any plans???