Wild – A backpacker/hiker’s movie

If you are like me and are constantly filled with wanderlust but currently not wandering, check out the movie “Wild.” It’s about a woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail alone (from the Mojave Desert to The Bridge of the Gods – about 1000 miles). In doing so comes to terms with all of the parts of herself that she had previously been to afraid to face – having to live with and leave an abusive alcoholic father, the recent death of her mother who raised her and her brother alone, her recent divorce from the man she loved but couldn’t stay faithful to out of the inability to cope with life, her spiral into a serious heroine addiction. It’s a very touching psychological adventure movie which I could very much relate to having been through some similar experiences (abusive father, losing my soulmate, recovery from heroine addiction). The video below is the final scene from the movie.

Georgia International Plaza (Downtown Atlanta)

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If you ever have the pleasure to visit downtown Atlanta, make sure you don’t miss the hidden gem, Georgia International Plaza. Many people hear about the Olympic Centennial Park, which is a must see, but while you are in the area make sure you take the stroll over towards the Georgia Dome to see the lush plaza park which connects the Georgia World Congress Center and the Dome. You’ll see a gorgeous art installation called Flare Across America which is absolutely stunning to behold in person. You may have to wait a few minutes to take a picture in the ring on which the male gymnast is balancing but the park is so well-kept that you won’t mind one bit! (I was there on the 4th of July so it may not always have so many people.) Snag a shady spot under one of the trees and take a few minutes to stretch out in the soft, green grass and recharge before you do some more exploring!

Time is scarce and valuable – Prioritize.

“Time is scarce. Furthermore, time is the most valuable resource we have. It’s the one thing that each of us are privileged with and the one thing that we can use to move forward or step back. If you spend your time focusing on things that have no significance to your life how can you expect to accomplish anything? The most important thing in life is recognizing and embracing the idea of prioritization. If you prioritize things that are important to you, you will become closer to living the life of you dreams. You need to identify who and what is important to you and allocate your attention to these things rather than those that won’t help you get where you want to be.” (source)

Just a wee bit o’ inspirational knowledge for you on this Sunday afternoon!

How Will I Travel With All This Debt?

Travelling isn’t impossible just because you have some debt.

I have student loans and Visa debts that built up during unemployment. Does this mean I can’t travel? Of course it doesn’t.

Just last month I flew down to Atlanta for 4 days for the 4th of July weekend and an International Conference (not related to any sort of work topics). It was purely a pleasure trip. I don’t have a steady/reliable source of income, have no savings, and am thousands in debt, but I didn’t worry about how I would afford it too much. I booked the flight first, knowing that if I had paid for the flight I would figure the rest out. And I did. It was one of the best weekends of my life and I will eternally be grateful that I didn’t let fear and worry cloud my decision. To think about how easy it would have been for me to miss out on that opportunity blows my mind!

But what about travelling long-term?

Now that I’ve made a decision to focus my efforts on being able to travel as a lifestyle, instead of just sporadically here and there, I’m thinking that doing something about the debt first might be a good idea.

Student Loans: Usually with student loans there is a certain set rate of payback that they give to you. With the loan that I have you can contact them with your employment information and they tailor your payments to what you can afford based on what you make. By doing this, not only did I lower my payments.. I erased them… and not only that… but the government (with whom I have the loan) helps me by making payments onto my debt for me, with no further interest being incurred. All because I called and asked. Pick up the phone and have a conversation! It may save you a LOT of money.

Now for credit card debt..

This one can be a little more tricky, I’ve found… Credit cards can come from a variety of sources (banks, stores, companies) so each situation will inevitably be a little different. Mine is a Visa through my bank, so that’s where I started. I didn’t just call to talk to them or go in and speak to a teller. I went in and told a teller that I wanted an appointment with a financial specialist to talk about my debt. When I came back for my appointment the lady I sat down with told me that since I got my credit card seven years ago I had been paying into balance protection insurance. I knew I had seen those payments on my bill but, to be honest, I had no clue what it actually covered. Turns out that if you lose your job due to illness (which I did) then you can submit a claim (involving lots of paperwork from my doctor and former employer) which can result in the Visa company putting a lump sum of money onto the credit card to help me lower my debt. Since I’ve been paying into this for 7 years it should be a significant chunk of change. Thanks Kelly from the past!

So those were my initial strategies for grabbing the reins on my debt situation… now it’s a bit of a waiting game on my claim results, but keep your fingers crossed for me! As you can see, I’ve already significantly lowered my monthly payments AND my total amount of debt by simply making a phone call, going to a meeting, and doing a bit of paperwork. Easy peasy!

Now I will start paying down the rest of that Visa debt with some odd jobs and selling off the ridiculous amount of material items I own. Step by step! Wish me luck~ 🙂

Dreams

My dream, as long as I can remember, has always been to go everywhere, to learn as much as I can about everything, and to meet as many different types of people as possible.

I thought everybody wanted this kind of a life, I truly did. The reality just isn’t so.

When I was young all of my friends agreed that travel sounded wonderful and we talked about all of the places we want to see. Some of them grew up and settled down in the same city they were born in and started a family. Some went on trips to all-inclusive resorts in sunny paradises. Only a couple actually went somewhere “different” or nontraditional to what society’s idea of a vacation for the average person looks like. What I noticed was usually people had a “top pick” or a handful of places that they wanted to see and that was about it. For me… my list was endless… IS endless. My worst nightmare is staying in one place..

I’m the type of person who goes to a library, picks a random aisle and slowly walks down, running my hands along the books with my eyes closed, and then randomly picks a book. I’ll read whatever it is, immersing myself, just to learn whatever knowledge this unknown author has gleaned and deemed worthy of spending hours and hours to produce a book which I now coincidentally hold in my hands in this quiet, dusty library.

People fascinate me, whether good or bad. Their mannerisms, their conversation choices, their hidden dreams and motivations. I will pick a spot in a public area and sit for hours, live-drawing the atmosphere of where I am and who I see. Watching the people as they go by. It’s amazing what you can see when you just watch. The very spot where you choose seems to come alive with a collective energy added to by each individual who happens through. Other times, I will pick a complete stranger to focus on and draw them, trying to go unnoticed. EVERYBODY is beautiful when you sit and notice all of their fine details and try to put it to paper. You will always feel a spiritual connection to a person once you’ve done this.. They come alive in a way unknown to most.

I want to see the world in all of it’s beauty… everyone, everything, everywhere…