Our European Adventure with a Start in Paris, The City of Lights

 Family European Adventure 2016 - Paris

Family European Adventure 2016 - Paris

It has been a fly by trip so far. My mom, my aunt Geralyn, my cousin Larissa and her boyfriend Shane, and my aunt Barbara and uncle Allen all have made her way over to Europe. Our first stop has been in Paris, the city of lights. It is a beautiful city, with amazing architecture, different little neighborhoods each with their own feel, wonderful architecture, and so many different people.

My mom and I left from the Pasco Airport to Seattle Tacoma Airport where we met up with the rest of our family. Then it was a 10.5 hour flight with a nine hour time difference (yes, we are living in the future). We have been walking a ton. I thought that it might be interesting to share how far we actually have been walking. I have been wearing my Apple Watch (which I absolutely love) the whole trip, so I have a pretty good idea of how far we've been walking each day so far.

Miles Walked Each Day

The number of miles I have walked each day so far as a part of the trip.

A picture of my first meal in Paris, taken at the Le Nemrod.

We arrived in Paris after leaving Friday morning at 8:30 am on Saturday morning. It took a couple of hours to wait to go through customs and we found ourselves a taxi to our hotel, Hotel & Spa La Belle Juliette. The hotel is somewhat expensive, and much more expensive then any hotels  that I would generally choose, but it is very chic with beautiful small rooms with iMacs in every room that double as a TV. After checking in, we were hungry and headed to Le Nemrod to get some food and then made our way to a giant beautiful park to wander around a little bit. The Jardin du Luxembourg is absolutely a wonderful place to go, and really felt very much the epitome of what I imagine when I think of France. There was wonderful statues, old men playing chess and Bocci Ball, and many people just passing time with each other at a slow pace.

A photo of people playing chess at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

After wondering around the park for a couple of hours, playing some Pokémon Go (yes, you have to catch them all) and finding some pizza for dinner we made our way back to the hotel to relax and sleep after a sleepless two days.

Sunday, was a busy day with so many views of the city and little adventures along the way. We made our way to do some shopping and pick up some produce at the Mouffetard Market. Rue de Mouffetard and the market that is nearby is a little get away from modern life with cobble stones and small little stores all around. After doing a little shopping and resting our feet a little bit, we made our way to the Panthéon in Paris. I will be posting a bunch of pictures from our trip on Facebook (and I'm sure I'll share a link on here in the future), but the internet that I've mostly found has been fairly slow and difficult to upload. Just making this post with a couple of pictures has been a challenge.

A panorama shot of my family (although, they aren't paying attention) in front of the Panthéon.

The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. It is an early example of neoclassicism, with a façade modeled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a dome that owes some of its character to Bramante’s ‘Tempietto.’
— Wikipedia

A photo from the base of the Eiffel Tower.

I got the opportunity to climb to the top of the Panthéon and take some really great shots of all of Paris. We walked down to the Zig Zag Café where I got the opportunity to try some Escargot for the first time and then we made our way to the Cathédrale Notre Dame. Absolutely one of the best cathedrals that I've seen in my various trips. By night, we went to see the Eiffel Tower, and shared a bottle of some tequila as we walked home and so many laughs and fun times with my family.

Monday was a trip to the Louvre Museum, some Jazz at Sunset Subside and sharing some checha at the Isis Café. Today has been mostly a relaxed day, and giving me an opportunity to share a little bit of our adventure with all of you. Here is looking forward to more stores as we go through France and Europe for the next couple of weeks. I will also be posting some photos to Facebook, so look forward to that.

 

Who Said Traveling With a Toddler Was Easy

 Disney World Magic Kingdom Entrance Sign to Lake Buena Vista Hotels

Disney World Magic Kingdom Entrance Sign to Lake Buena Vista Hotels

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
— Colin Powell

I'm a firm believer in preparation and planning. I've been told that I'm hyper organized and spend to much time preparing. While this might be true, I find that preparation improves my life in so many ways and that I end up making much better products (whether it's my individual clinical work with my clients, the classes that I teach, or just fun traveling). I think that this is even more true when it comes to parenting, outings with kids, and other fatherhood related topics. When it has come to my travel adventures, I've always been uncharacteristically unplanned.

On Saturday evening we flew out of Seattle / Tacoma International Airport with well laid plans. We thought that taking a red eye flight would mean that Mateo would be sleeping and that the flight would be worry and stress free. It started out looking great. He was running all over the airport, super excited about meeting all of the new people that were everywhere. I talked to one of the workers for Alaska Airlines and they were able to hook us up with an extra seat (we didn't buy one because he is still young enough to be a lap seat baby). Even once we got on the plane, he was doing excellent. About an hour in to our four hour flight, we had thought that he was going to fall asleep, but then it took a turn for the worse.

Mateo started to get super fussy, uncomfortable, and unhappy. He cried loudly on and off for probably a total of two hours of the flight. Minnie described that it was like a nightmare. It all turned out just fine in the end, but it was hectic when there wasn't much that you could do to make things better.

The whole team from both the Pasco Discovery Coalition and Prosser CIA.

We made it safely to our hotel, The Hilton at Lake Buena Vista, which is a really nice hotel. When we arrived, at 6 something in the morning, we found out that they had given away our room because we didn't check in yesterday. I had to wait until somebody from the Pasco Discovery Coalition came down and verified their card for us to make up to the room. After a little sleep, everything felt much better. The weather in Florida has been on and off rain and thunder storms. Which I find somewhat annoying and somewhat fun.

We went to Downtown Disney) and got a bit to eat at the Earl of Sandwich) and made our way back to the hotel to relax some. During the days I've been attending the CADCA Mid Year Conference and Minnie and Mateo have been hanging out poolside (which Mateo loves). We've had the opportunity to go to the Magic Kingdom which was a lot of fun. My phone was dead almost as soon as we arrived. In the evenings we've mostly been hanging out with other coaltion members. My conference has been really good. There has been a mixture of some really great sessions (especially one session on working with coalitions in Latino communities), and some that weren't so great.

Probably Time to Eat My Wheaties

 One of Michael Jordan's boxes of Wheaties. 

One of Michael Jordan's boxes of Wheaties. 

Well, it's almost two as I am decided to get up because I couldn't shut my mind off, so I decided to get up and write. Just one of those nights when you just can't unwind and fall comfortably into a deep and restful sleep. Currently we are in Puyallup and getting ready to go to Orlando Florida for CADCA's 2014 Mid Year Conference. I'm super excited, although somewhat worried about how Mateo will do on on the red eye flight tomorrow night. Here's hoping that he sleeps.

As I sit here thinking about how I can't sleep, I'm reminded of the Wheaties commercials from the 80's and 90's:

I feel like maybe I haven't been eating enough of my Wheaties lately, if by Wheaties I mean not overwhelming myself with having too much on my plate, keeping everything organized (generally in a GTD fashion). It feels like I just have so many things that I have coming up this fall and things that I need to get ready for.

You better eat your Wheaties.
— Michael Jordan

With changing jobs to the Pasco School District, I have a PRAXIS II exam that I need to start studying for, along with a training and just getting ready to change positions. Along with that, I am still trying to manage my current clients, follow up with all of them before I transition and determine if they will be transferred to a therapist, to whoever gets hired as a new case manager, or if they just need to be closed.

More than the PRAXIS II, I'm also going to be eligible to take my test for my clinical social work license this fall. While these tests and changes are in the back of my mind, they are not anything that has priority right now. My focus the last couple of weeks has been the two new classes I'm going to be teaching at Heritage this fall. I taught case management last Fall, but it was an online course. I decided that it would be a better format to have it be an in class format, which means I'm having to go through and revamp the course completely. I am really excited about it, and have really enjoyed my time teaching in the past, it's just a lot of work.

Going to Florida for a week is going to be a lot of fun with some great learning experiences, but also feels like a lot in the midst of everything. You can rest assured that I will be writing up some posts about my time there and the conference. I might even be able to get around to the book that I brought with me to read, but we will have to see about that one. I can say one thing for sure, when I get back, I'm going to have to buckle down and eat my Wheaties.

Back and it Went by like a Flash

The view of banner with the dates for next years Macworld / iWorld event.

I'm back at home now. The rest of my trip was fun, and went by very quickly. My last day in San Francisco was a little obscured by rain. I went back for one more trip to the expo hall and made my way around all of the smaller iOS and OSX Developers. I signed up to try to win a ScanSnap Scanner (they are really amazing, and I'm planning on buying one at some point). If I had money, I would have also bought a File Transporter because there was a great discount and I've been wanting one for a long time. There was a ton of other stuff that was very interesting, and I could see myself using and purchasing in the future. I got to sign up for the public beta for BusyMac new contact management software which will be released soon.

I walked around the Financial District for a while and went to the Apple Store (I've actually never been to a real apple store. It was cool, but I was much more blown away by the Macworld Event. I went to bed early that night, because I had to get up at 3:45 AM to be able to catch my 7 am flight. I arrived at Sea Tac Airport and started making my way back to the Tri-Cities to see my Family. You can see the following video's that I uploaded to YouTube of Mateo playing with the Slow Motion controls on my iPhone 5s. It makes me laugh :). I hope you enjoy it.

Make sure to check out my album, Macworld / iWorld 2014. on Facebook, as I've uploaded the rest of my photos from the trip.

Various Video's I shot of Mateo on my iPhone 5S using the Slow Motion feature. They make me laugh (although my favorite is the first one).

The First Look, Conference Beginnings and Sights

The view of the Expo Hall at Macworld / iWorld coming down from the elevator at Monscone Center in San Francisco.

 

It's been a whirl wind of a trip so far. I arrived in San Francisco at about 12:50 at the airport, but it was a real mission getting to my hotel, as I didn't get there until about 3 something in the afternoon. I ended up taking the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which was a great ride. I found myself really disconcerted with the app I had downloaded to try to navigate my trip. I ended up using the Embark iBART. I didn't realize that it was not going to give my any of the other transit directions. It told me to to get off at station at 22nd and Mission and walk two miles and something. I read it, and figured it wouldn't' be too bad. While it's not that far, walking with my Indiana jones style bag and towing my Swiss Gear carry on bag behind. Not only was it an hour and a half walk, but it started me off walking down Mission in one of the poorer areas of San Francisco lining the road with the homeless or vagrants.

22nd and Mission San Francisco CA

 

Tweet with My Bag in It...

I checked in at my hotel, Aida Plaza Hotel. It is clean, but very antiquated hotel very much near the financial district. It was the cheapest hotel that I could find with short notice last week. The room I paid for has shared bathrooms and showers. The room is pretty small, but is perfect what I need it for. After getting myself settled in and getting my bearings (and resting my legs a little bit) I made my way to Monscone Center where the conference and expo hall is being hosted. I was able to get over there and get my first glimpse of the exposition hall. More than the trade type show floor, there is a conference with various trainings regarding how to use various software and other creative activities. There is also an IT conference and training all combined into this event. I was only able to purchase the lowest cost ticket (just the expo hall) for financial reasons. This being said, there has been more than enough to keep me busy wandering around the conference.

The first day, I just walked around and really tried to take in the whole scene. I didn't really stop at many booths or connect with anybody too much. As the hall closed for the first day, I walked to Mel's Drive-in for Dinner. Back to the Motel and then to The Box SF for a party and live recording of the Cultcast Podcast. They are a pretty great podcast, and always make me laugh. It's much more news / rumors related then the other shows that I listen to. They had an open bar, which made me feel a bit like a VIP. I got to meet a number of people, but especially a IT consultant from Seattle.

The Rock Stars! David Sparks is the one being hugged in the middle and Katie Floyd is on the far right. It was cool to get to meet them.

The next morning, I made my way back to the Expo Hall. I spent the majority of the day doing a bit of deeper dive into all of the booths, asking questions, and looking at all the cool stuff being sold (I really wish I had some money to buy stuff, there are some great deals). I've been able to meet some of the developers for applications that I love on my Mac. I also got to meet Katie Floyd and David Sparks of the Mac Power Users, my absolute favorite podcast. It felt a bit like meeting some rock stars, at least in the geek circles.

Afterwards I made my way down to China Town. I walked down a ways, and ended up having a Mai Tia at a bar, that the bartender told me is the oldest bar in China Town and having a good conversation with a guy from Brazil and another guy who works as an activist for an environmental organization.

All in all, it's been a lot of fun. Today, I'm going to go back to the Expo Hall for a little while. I'm hoping to do a bit more of the tourist thing. I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking the Worf. Make sure to check out my album, Macworld / iWorld 2014. on Facebook.

Bitten Years Ago, I've Got the Bug

Yes, I have the Travel Bug. A graphic I quickly put together in Adobe Illustrator depicting the words "Travel Bug" and some other graphics taken from All Free Downloads The Bee

I'm getting more and more excite for my Trip to San Francisco for Macworld / iWorld -- See my post It's Final, Tickets Bought. I'm currently sitting in the SeaTac Airport, waiting for my flight to leave in about an hour. I'm sure I will have more to share in the next couple of days (so expect to see some for frequent posts from me this week if I can get around to it.).

Last night I got to visit my aunt and cousin. It is so good to be able to get to spend time with family. In doing calculations, it seemed as if it wouldn't be much more expensive to stay somewhere and do the sleep and fly thing and not have to pay for parking. I had previously called Knights Inn Sea Tac Airport and was told the price would be around $58. I calculated the cost for parking, it looked like it would be around $40, so the sleep, fly, park option seemed a great deal. It ended up costing closer to $88. I really dislike when things are somewhat deceptive.

Anyways, it all works out. While you wait for more posts, you can read all of my former travel journals, or my Jaunt Down South 2010, or European Excursion 2008.

It's Final, Plan Tickets Bought

I'm GOING!

I've been itching to travel again, as it's been a really long time since I've gone any considerable distances (since I came back from my Jaunt Down to South America). In two weeks, I'll be heading down to San Francisco for the Macworld / iWorld event. It's a trade show and conference. This year, I can only really afford to do the expo hall, but hopefully in future years I might be able to attend the actual conference portion. Minnie has been calling it my nerd conference. I guess I have a lot more nerdery that I partake in, then I share here. Minnie's always reminding me about it. When I'm driving, and want to listen to my podcasts, she calls them my  nerd casts. She makes fun of me because after she goes to bed, I've been watching my nerd show. Netflix is amazing. I've never watched Star Trek Next Generation, and I've always been much more of the original Star Wars Fan. I'm enjoying it.

With all of those great nerd activities, it makes sense for me to be going to a nerd conference. I'm sure that I will be posting more as I go along.

Which Style?

Hey, just looking for some feedback. which style do you think is better for my business cards. My old card has my photo, and is more relaxed. I was thinking that maybe it was time to change up and have my business card match my website / letterhead / resume... etc. I know that most people don't have all of these things, but I guess I am a very special person (it's even on my birth certificate). So whether your reading this on my website or my Facebook, let me know which style you thing is better or if you have any comments about the design let me know (good / bad / whatever is appreciated)

This is the previous version of my business card (slightly updated, due to graduating). I like this version, especially as a more chill and relaxed type of card. I always felt it was semi-professional looking but also relaxed enough I could give it to a new friend too.

This is a Photoshop designed new version of my business card. I redesigned it to better match my website and logo. Also to look more professional and be a little bit more minimalist

 

Two Tourist Capitals

A graphic I designed in Adobe Photoshop of the "Welcome to Las Vegas Sign" showing that I'm broke while here in Vegas.

Out of Peru & Back to the US

After being in Cusco for about a year, it was really sad to leave. I remember being on the bus and waving goodbye and starting to tear up a bit. Then as the bus road off into the sun set, I was struck by the beauty of it and the symbolism. It's as if a chapter in my life was setting at the same time as the sun. I took the almost 24 hour bus ride to the center of Lima, and called the person I'd be Couchsurfing with. After taking a taxi ride to meet him, we went back to his place to drop my stuff off. We then went to Miraflores, where I finished all of my last minute shopping.

That night we went to one of his friends houses, and celebrated their birthday with them. It was pretty fun, although we didn't get back to his place until super early in the morning. The next day, I spent walking around Lima. Found a Pollo a la Brasa (Roasted Chicken and French Fries) place and ate my last Peruvian meal (I could't decide... my favorites are Pollo a la Brasa, Ceviche, and Chicharron). I met up with a friend I met when I was traveling and we walked around the main plaza for a while. Then I went to a super market and spent the rest of my money to have a packed lunch / breakfast the next morning. I left with just enough money for a taxi to the Airport and to pay the airport tax (S/. 88.00).

Five thirty the next morning I was off. Flew to Ft. Lauderdale and had a four hour layover, and then to Vegas. I was flying by Spiritair (a really cheap airlines) but they don't provide meals. By the end of the day I was so hungry (I got to Vegas at 12:30am the next morning Lima time) and I had only eaten my two sandwiches and chips all day. I had absolutely no money (well S/. 4.40 in my pocket, but nobody would exchange it) and had to spend the night in the airport.

The next morning, tired, mostly unslept, and hungry I left the airport in search of my Bank. When I started walking, a guy told me that I couldn't walk to my bank from the airport (too far and no sidewalks) and just gave me enough money for a bus ride. I found my bank, but realized I left way too early. So I waited on the steps for about two hours until they opened and I cleared out my account. After some breakfast and coffee and internet, I found my hostel (I was planning on Couchsurfing, but nobody responded). I had to wait a couple of hours for my room to be opened.

In the afternoon, i walked down to the strip and from one end to the other. This doesn't seem like very much but with combined with entering the hotels and looking at the casinos it was probably about 4 or 5 miles. I took a bus back to the hotel (the buses are super expensive, but nice here). You can check out my photo album, Vegas Baby on Facebook. Other than that, my computer is dying and it's time to head back to my hostel.

Preparing for Real Life

Jacob Campbell and the Raiders of the Lost Ark! Very quickly photo shopped image of Indaina Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark movie poster with my face.

My adventures in South America seem to be coming to a close, at least of now (hopefully I'll be back in a couple of years after paying off my student loans). It's been a wonderful trip. While I've been living in Cusco, I've been building up a bit of a movie collection of movies. DVD's are super expensive in the US, but here I can buy a DVD for S/. 2.00 (about $0.72). The latest addition to my collection has been the three original Indiana Jones moves. Watching Raiders of the Lost Ark made me think about my adventures here. While I haven't found any lost Inca artifacts, I have had lots of interesting experiences.

This said, it's time for me to return to the US. I still don't know what I'll be doing or where I'll be living, I've been working on that some. I've been looking for jobs online hoping to make my transition back to the US as easy as possible. I've also been spending considerable time updating my website. I've changed the complete format and I'm getting much more satisfied with how everything looks aesthetically.

I have a bus ticket for Thursday (09/09/10) from Cusco to Lima. While I'm not looking forward to the 24 hour bus ride, hopefully there won't be any protests. On Sunday the 12th I fly from Lima to Las Vegas. I'll be spending 5 days in Vegas. There's a really great airlines that flies to Vegas for really cheap. On Allegiant Air you can fly to from Vegas to Pasco for like $25. It's really a beautiful thing. The only problem is that they don't fly everyday. I'll have to wait for five days. I'm planning on Couch Surfing while I'm there so it shouldn't be too expensive. And while it would be fun to visit all of the casinos and see the shows, I'm pretty sure that I won't have money for that. That means on Friday the 17th, I'll be back in the Tri-Cities. I plan on visiting (moving back to...) Spokane soon, so you can all look forward to that.