Imagine walking through dense woods. You’re surrounded by trees as far as the eye can see. You’re walking on a path perfectly carved in front of you. You’ve never been in these woods before, but you know where you’re going. Someone has marked the trail to guide you along the way. You breathe fresh, clean air as you make your way and you’re in the company of other walkers. You’re taking a walking adventure through the woods.
Imagine walking through a picturesque small town. You pass small shops and restaurants along the main street. Any minute, you expect to see a sign welcoming you to Mayberry or a similar town from a TV show. You take a turn at the barbershop, and there stands the Town Hall. A building built over a hundred years ago and still being used. You have all the details because you have directions with points of interest and fun facts. Someone gave it to you at the start of your walking adventure through a small town.
You enjoy walking? How about a walk through a Civil War battlefield or along the shoreline in a state park. You can explore an antique row or view historic architecture. A world of adventure (and exercise) awaits you in volkssporting (or volksmarching).
What is volkssporting? There are clubs around the United States that plan walking, hiking and bicycling events. These events take place nearly every weekend. Find your local walking club for a list of events near you (or check here). There’s a small fee (usually $3.00 per person) to receive the map, directions, and information for the event. Each event has a 3.1 mile (5 km) or 6.2 mile (10 km) option. It’s non-competitive, so you walk, run, hike or bike at your own pace. It’s family friendly so bring the kids.
Each event has a startpoint and an endpoint. Your local club will list the event and its startpoint. Drive to the startpoint. Pay the fee for the package of information and start walking. The instructions will guide you along the way. Long-time walkers are happy to answer questions at the startpoint and along the event.
I live in the state of Virginia (USA). There are 13 walking clubs around the state and over 75 walking events planned in the next 7 days. Find a club. Enjoy the adventure. Get the exercise!
I had a wonderful time at the school! Mae Williams (a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority) gave a small group of us a tour of the school. Her enthusiasm was equally matched by her extensive knowledge of the school’s history and renovation.
I also met a woman who actually attended the school as a child. She could point to herself in one of the old photos mounted on the school’s wall. It was a pleasure meeting you Shirley Taylor (Spriggs)!
I’m trying to grow as a blogger. I listen to blogging podcasts. I also joined a few blogger groups on Facebook so I could network and learn from other bloggers. I’m glad I did it because I am networking and learning.
A member of a group I joined posted a question. She had just started her blog a few days before. She said she felt her blog would not succeed because of the number of readers. She then asked how does a blog get more readers? I was one of several bloggers that replied to the question. My response was:
“I’m told the average blogger can expect to spend 2 years building up a good following and engagement. Writing talent can speed up the process. Excellent social media skills can speed up the process. Networking and exposure can speed up the process. Guest posting on other blogs can speed up the process. Pay attention to the posts that get you the best response and do more of those posts. Always ask for feedback from successful bloggers on how you can improve your blog. POST CONSISTENTLY!!!
One last thing – focus more on building engagement and not building readers. 200 highly engaged readers are better than 2,000 readers that never like or comment.”
Now I’m no expert. I have 43 followers as of this post. That’s huge for me but still small in the ocean of blogs out there. I come to this advice from podcasts, my study of blogging, and the network of bloggers I’m slowly building. To my fellow bloggers, this is my answer to the question. How would you answer?
I’ve been on several road trips in the last year including an 18 hour trip to Florida. I enjoy road trips. I listen to audiobooks during the drive, and the view on scenic roads can be relaxing.
One side effect of a long drive is occasionally, you feel the call of nature. Suddenly, those information signs along the road become essential to read. You begin the search for a rest stop, truck stop or some other place to grab a snack and use the facilities. This is a familiar ritual on a road trip.
My problem is this. I’ve noticed more, and more of the public bathrooms don’t have paper towels. All you get are hand dryers. Most of the time, it’s a low power hand dryer. I can honestly say that low power hand dryer is good for nothing but building frustration.
Now I get it. Paper towels add to landfills. Plus, businesses can save money by not supplying them. My complaint is this. You can’t blow your nose or wipe something off your shirt with a hand dryer. There are times when you need a paper towel in a bathroom.
These low power hand dryers are not working for me. I decided I need a solution for my road trips. Kleenex hand towels to the rescue! I buy a box at the start of the trip. I grab a couple of towels before getting out of the car and put them in a pocket. If the bathroom is out of paper or has a hand dryer, I’m covered. I just reach into my pocket.
I know some of you will think this is no big deal or even silly. My view, it’s a less stressful road trip!
I spend a lot of time in my car on road trips. As a result, I put a lot of miles on my car. With all those miles, when should I sell my car and upgrade to a newer one? After all, I don’t want my car to die on me when I’m 300 miles away … on a road trip.
The best solution to this predicament is the Maintenance Cost vs. Car Value Rule. Here’s how it works. At the end of the year (or on an anniversary you choose), add up all the maintenance costs you spent on the car for the past year. This would include any deductibles for warranty work. If the total amount spent on maintenance in one year is greater than half the value of the car, sell the car.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you did the following things to your car last year; oil changes, fluid changes, a new battery and new tires. You also paid a $100 deductible to replace a broken windshield wiper motor. (The warranty paid for the rest.) Add it all up and the total cost for last year was $1,100. You then go to Kelly Blue Book (or some other car value site), and you find out your car is worth $2,000. The $1,100 spent on maintenance is more than half your car’s value. Time to sell. The car is costing too much for its value.
A lot of road trips can kill the value of your car. I had a conversation with a friend who was not a happy camper! He was trying to sell his car and was shocked to learn the vehicle lost $12,000 in value in 2 years. Why … a lot of road trips. He has a short commute to work, but he hits the road at least once a month for weekend stays.
He purchased a used car two years ago with 11,000 miles on it. He paid a little over $18,000 for the car. Today, the car had 91,000 miles and was appraised at $6,000. Wow! That’s a lot of value lost in 2 years. Should he have rented cars for all those road trips?
The question you have to ask yourself is, do you care about the value of your car? What type of car owner are you? Are you the type to buy a car and drive it until it dies? If you are, you probably don’t care about car value. One day you’re mechanic tells you it’s time to replace the old set of wheels. You call some nonprofit to tow it away and buy the next car. You don’t need the value on the old car to help purchase a replacement car. If this is you, go road trip crazy and drive your own vehicle.
If you plan to trade-in your old car, your car’s value is essential. Here’s what you need to think about. How many miles do you drive per year? The average American drives 12 – 15 thousand miles per year. Let’s use 15,000 (or 15K) as a nice round number. Miles driven is not the only factor in determining the value of a car, but it’s an important one. At the end of each year you own your vehicle, how many miles did you drive? If you added less the 15K, GREAT. You slowed the rate of decline in value. If you added more than 15K … OUCH! It’s like tying a brick to your car’s value. Bottom line … if your road trips will take you over that 15k mark in any one year; fly, take the train or RENT A CAR. Don’t make your vehicle’s value a victim of your travel plans!
My favorite part was tipping the housekeeper. Lizzie’s advice goes as follows:
Should you tip [the housekeeper]?: Yes. How much?: It depends on the number of people staying in your room, although $2 per night is fairly standard. Larger families, or those staying in a large suite, should tip more, up to $5 per night. When deciding how much to leave, Post says to “consider the amount of work housekeeping has to do.” Should I tip every night or once at the end?: “Tipping nightly ensures the tips go to the people who actually clean your room,” Post says. Where should I put the tip?: On your pillow or nightstand. Better yet, place it in an envelope clearly labeled “Housekeeping,” then leave it on your nightstand. What if I’m staying at a B&B or small inn?: It’s up to your discretion, but feel free to ask the inn’s staff what the tipping standards are. Generally speaking, you should leave a tip if there is hired help to clean the rooms.
I often get into discussions with friends who don’t tip housekeeping at all or who only tip at the end of their stay. I hope this ends the debate for my friends that don’t tip. Follow the wisdom of Lizzie Post and start tipping!
For my friends who tip at the end of the stay … STOP IT! There are times when a different person cleans your room each day. If you tip all at the end of your stay, you are over tipping the last housekeeper and not tipping the others at all. When I stay at a hotel, I leave a $2 or $3 tip on the desk with a note that says “tip for housekeeper.” I want it to be clear to the housekeeper that it is a tip for him or her.
Some of my favorite quotes. What quote would you add?
“If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true
enemies; succeed anyway.” – by Mother Theresa
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Author Unknown
“Well done is better than well said.” – by Benjamin Franklin
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” – by Alice Walker
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – by Eleanor Roosevelt
“Failure is not falling down, failure is staying down!” – Dave Ramsey Show
“If you can not say what you mean, than you can not mean what you say.” – Author Unknown
“Five years from today, you’ll be the same person you are today; making the same money you are today; with the same problems you have today; except for the books you read and the people you meet in the next five years” – by Charlie Jones
“If you are nice to your friends but rude to the waiter, you are still a rude person.” – Author Unknown
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” – by Benjamin Franklin