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’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
“It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
Words of wisdom I like to keep in mind every time I take a day trip in my car. Here are some things you should have for your next day trip:
1 – Visit the ATM before you leave – Cash is still king in many small towns and roadside stops. My wife and I tried to attend a community fair on a trip 2 months ago. There was a cash-only entrance fee and no available ATM’s. Many stores, gas stations, and food outlets have minimum amounts for credit or debit card charges. A few bucks in your pocket will be very helpful in times like this.
2 – Get an E-ZPass for your car – I know some people feel they don’t travel enough or go through toll booths enough to justify an E-ZPass. They forget that convenience has a value and stress has a cost. I love being able to zoom by the toll booth in the E-ZPass lane! Without the E-ZPass, I would go crazy if I had to wait behind a long line of cars at each toll booth. To me, a less stressful vacation is worth the small cost for the E-ZPass. Note: Here’s a list of other toll collection services.
3 – Join the American Automobile Association (AAA) – The benefits are enormous; travel information, travel discounts and travel insurance. They’ve even added identity theft monitoring as an option. The main reason to join … roadside assistance! I locked my keys in my car on one trip and had my car break down on another. In both cases, all I had to do was make one call.
4 – Store a small first aid kit in your car – There are many first aid kits available for car use. Buy one! “Better safe than sorry!”
5 – If it’s warm, buy bug spray (or check the expiration date) before you leave – You never know when you will need this. I’ve been attacked while pumping gas! Flying critters are always on the lookout. Don’t be their next victim! I always have a can or some wipes in my trunk during road trips.
6 – Give your car a quick checkup – Here are 7 easy car maintenance checks for traveling motorists from AAA:
My wife and I travel together and, we love it! An excellent trip for us is a long drive with a good audio-book and scenic views. We’re over the moon if we have a couple interesting of places to visit and a good meal at the destination. I maintain a list of places to go. When ever we have a weekend with no commitments, we’re in the car going somewhere! It’s about spending quality time together and building memories!
I have a lot of single friends who rarely travel because, well … they’re single. If you’re actively dating, this may not be a problem. Dating and travel go great together in the advanced stages. If you’re not dating and you hate to travel along, then it’s pizza time in front of the TV.
Not married. Not dating. Find travel buddies! I thought I would test my theory that it’s easy to find and make new friends. New friends who like to travel. Meetup.com is a site you can use to find people with the same interests. I set the location to a zip code in Fairfax County, VA and did a search for 25 miles in any direction. I used the search term “day trips.” 249 meetup groups came up! That’s 249 groups of people who sometimes travel together. You can also try a search for “travel,” “weekend getaways” or “weekend adventure.”
Pick a group. Join. Make new friends … and start traveling!
A seminar I attended introduced me to the concept of a “Wheel of Life.” I LOVED IT!
What is the “Wheel of Life“? In short, it’s life balance. It’s all the areas of your life that contribute to your happiness and well-being. The theory is simple. You have contentment when these areas are in balance or going well. You have sleepless nights, headaches and misery when the wheel is out of balance.
So what makes up the wheel? There are several systems out there. Zig Ziglar’s wheel has the following parts:
I found another wheel by Brendon Baker. From the website, “The Start of Happiness,” he has these parts on his wheel:
Business / Career
Family and Friends
Fun and Recreation
I’ll show one more example. An example that’s a little different. On the website, “Mind Tools,“ the wheel has this set of parts:
As I said, there are a lot of systems out there and a lot of wheels. I love the concept of life balance and the constant battle to keep it in balance. I’m adding this concept to my blog. Most people fail at the balance thing. I figure the more information I have, the better my chances at contentment. Why not share as I do the research?
Urban Dictionary has several definitions for the phase a real man. The closest I would agree with is, “A Real Man The thing that makes a man a man, is courage. Not just the courage to fight, but the courage to fight for what is right. A real man has the strength to admit to, who and what he is. A real man doesn’t run from his feelings. A real man isn’t afraid to love.“
I did a simple Google search for “real man” and found a bunch of articles on the subject:
My favorites traits from all the articles include:
“He knows how to show his son that it’s OK to be different.” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man)
“A guy who knows his way around the kitchen. (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man) – I would add … “or can afford an excellent restaurant.”
“A real man knows that doing good is its own reward.” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man)
“And isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong.” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man)
“A real man knows how to be a good winner…but an even better runner-up.” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man)
“A real man knows how important it is to make a girl feel like a princess.” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man)
“A real man is a good father…” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man) – This goes with the saying, “Anyone Can Be A Father But It Takes A Real Man To Be A Dad.”
“A real man looks out for others…” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man)
“…and always keeps his word.” (28 Ways to Spot a Real Man) – Another way to put it … “A Real Man’s Word Is His Bond” (Traits of A Real Man)
“A Real Man Can Defend Himself” (Traits of A Real Man) – Another way to put it … “A man doesn’t need to be able to fight or to protect himself and his family physically. But it helps. He does however need to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe and happy.” (20 Characteristics of a Real Man)
“A Real Man Keeps His House In Order” (Traits of A Real Man)
“A Real Man Takes Care Of His Appearance” (Traits of A Real Man)
“A Real Man Doesn’t Gossip” (Traits of A Real Man) – Another way to put it … “When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.” ~ Louis Nizer (20 Characteristics of a Real Man)
“Real men are passionate about something — and it’s not just weed or their new Nikes.” (The 20 Defining Traits Of The Real Modern Man) – Another way to put it … “Men have a cause.” (4 Qualities That Make A Real Man)
“Real men don’t need to make fun of other guys to boost their own self-confidence, but they can definitely make fun of themselves.” (The 20 Defining Traits Of The Real Modern Man)
“Real men have goals; they might seem lofty or completely absurd, but they’re working toward something, and that’s what matters.” (The 20 Defining Traits Of The Real Modern Man)
Men take action. (The 20 Defining Traits Of The Real Modern Man)
A man treats women with respect. If you don’t respect women, you’re not a man. Period. (20 Characteristics of a Real Man)
A man can laugh at himself. (20 Characteristics of a Real Man)
A man has fears, but he isn’t ruled by them. (20 Characteristics of a Real Man)
A man learns from his mistakes. Although he might take a few cracks at it. (20 Characteristics of a Real Man)
Well, that’s my list from the articles above. What would you add or remove?