January 20, 2015

Travel on a Teacher's Salary

Last Summer when I traveled to Europe I became instantly smitten with world travel. Having a career in education causes some people to write off experiences like travel simply due to cost and seeing it as a luxury. But if there is one thing I realized by taking the plunge it is that you can make travel affordable no matter your budget.

You might not be jet setting to different countries every month or staying in pampering 5 star hotels on a teacher's salary but getting yourself to different destinations is not impossible.
biking in The Netherlands
playing tourist at the Louvre
There are plenty of travel blogs out there that talk about how to budget and save for an international trip. Some take aways that have proven to be helpful to me are:

  • Get rid of unnecessary expenses-  sampling pastries and breads from a sidewalk cafe in Paris or binge watching OITNB on Netflix? Italian espresso in Florence or daily Starbucks stops on the way to your 9-5? Priorities people. Cut out the excess spending. 
I choose Florence!
  • Research, research research!- when you set a travel goal research is your best friend. I love first hand accounts from travelers who have been there, done that. I scour the internet for blog posts and youtube videos to get ideas of what I'd like to see and do. It's also important to research the cities you're traveling to for site seeing deals. For example, in Paris the monument pass will save you money and time (hello no waiting in line at the Louvre!). A lot of museums in Europe also have free admission days.
I went to the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence on free admission day to see David
  • Get over the fact that airfare is expensive- I had no idea before traveling to Europe how expensive airfare is. My round trip ticket was $1500 and that was a steal because my tour company booked it. Just know when you're saving up that whether it takes you 3 months or a year to be able to afford the plane ticket, it's worth it. My favorite booking site is momondo.
  • Move money- I know there exist things such as travel accounts and things like that but I went simple. When I decided I was taking my trip I set a goal departure date and figured up how much money I would need to save by then. For me personally I knew that I couldn't just cut costs and expect to book my trip without actually seeing the money I had saved. I started moving money into my savings account that I specifically labeled as travel money. I added up what I could afford to miss from my paycheck and had that amount moved to my savings through automatic withdraw every pay period. By not even hitting my checking account that money was out of sight, out of mind and my savings quickly added up.
  • Apply for a grant or alternate funding- If you are a teacher then check out this list of travel grants and opportunities for educators. There is something available for elementary teachers all the way through higher ed. I've been looking into quite a few options from this list.
So, where do you wanna go?!

Here are some of my 2015 and beyond travel goals:
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Peru
  • Australia
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • Stateside: Colorado, Maine, New York, California
Click on the travel or europe label links below to read more about my travel destinations in Europe!

January 19, 2015

MLK and Columbus Festivities

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day! Of course I love having the day off from work today, but it's important to remember what for. The past week at school my kiddos have loved learning about the influential Dr. King and I have loved teaching about him.

Kids are humbling and the way their little minds think and process is nothing short of amazing. They were moved (yes, at 7 years old!) by the words of Dr. King as we read the book, Martin's Big Words, and then wrote about their incredible dreams they had for the world.



 

Are those not the cutest?! Kids are so great.

Friday night I finally saw the highly anticipated movie, American Sniper. It is a MUST see! Seriously, go now! Chris Kyle is a true American hero and Bradley Cooper does a phenomenal job portraying his character in the film.

On Saturday I got to visit with my best friend Natalie. We hadn't celebrated my birthday together and hers is coming up so we went out to catch up while enjoying some of Columbus' hot spots.

It was restaurant week so getting a reservation proved to be a bit difficult but we managed to snag a table at Sidebar. They're known for their cocktails so we jumped right in. 


We went with the special restaurant week menu and both chose the chickpea and spicy chorizo soup to start.


For the main meal I had lobster ravioli and Natalie had the lamb. The waiter brought us a complimentary champagne toast since we were celebrating our birthdays!



Sophistication...

...not quite at its finest! ;)

Completely stuffed and still trying to sip cocktails, dessert was looking to be impossible, but we managed to at least have a sample.


The rest of the evening was spent chatting the night away over great drinks at Pint House and the killer margs at Bakersfield.



Sunday morning we got up early and I got to experience my first Barre3 class and it was tough! The shakes and quakes are real people. I loved the strength training workout and only wish there was a studio closer to me in Dayton. 

We have a Pure Barre studio in town that I'm interested in giving a try now to compare it to my Barre3 class.

I'm now off to take advantage of my day off. Have a fabulous Monday!

January 12, 2015

Weekend Update

Christmas and New Year have come and gone. Last week was my first week back to work after the holidays but we ended up having 2 snow/cold days off which was a welcomed surprise.

This week I hope to get a bit more back into everyday life routine but first, the weekend...

Friday night I took advantage of the YMCA's 'no joiner's fee in January' promotion and rejoined as a member. I used to worked there for years and was previously on a family plan with my parents, but when they dropped that I never rejoined. Being part of gym community is a huge motivation factor for me to workout so obviously that has been lacking in my life. I'm happy to be back and in my new kicks!

Kudos to those of you who are motivated enough to get a full workout in at home!

Saturday was a sushi lunch date, another workout, and a cozy night in watching the Denzel movie, The Equalizer.


Sunday I made my weekly trip to Target and as always the dollar spot is killing it with the holiday decor. Valentine's decorations are out so I snagged some goodies for school and this cute candle for my bedroom.

Sunday night Corey's mom made a delicious dinner and we sat around catching up with everyone. The silly dogs provided plenty of entertainment as well!

Okay, back to the work week--but not without a sneaky little 2 hour delay! 

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