I’m FINALLY building a new travel blog!

Hi all! I’m so sorry for the delay on my blog posts. For the one person out there who is still sobbing from my disappearance, you can now dry your eye. 🙂 I made the big move from Los Angeles to Flagstaff, Arizona in June, and let me tell you what a difference it makes to not be in a stressful environment! It was strange to adapt to the slower pace at first, but this town has grown on me beyond measure. There is so much hiking to do, and everyone is SO NICE, but I have yet to experience winter so I’ll keep you posted on that. Anyhow, since then I’ve been steadily looking for more employment as I am only working part-time as of now. In the meantime, I wanted to let you all know that I have finally taken my love and passion for travel and dedicated it to its OWN blog. The web address is… DRUM ROLL PLEASE…..

http://1fungrltravels.wordpress.com

Ok, well that was less than exciting. When there is a drum roll I expect there to also there to be a ribbon cutting or juggling. Either way, I really hope all of my travel friends and fiends will visit regularly. I will add more posts to it when I can, but there are a few on there. I have a LOT of writing to do, and recalling my goldfish memory is a difficult feat at times, but I do think there are people out there that can gain knowledge from my solo travel experiences and connections within the travel industry. I will continue to post here as well, with personal, love, happiness, and inspirational stories. Thank you for being avid readers and for making me who I am! Perhaps one day it will finally happen and I’ll get my own travel show. NEVER STOP DREAMING!

LIVE TO INSPIRE,

Bobbi ❤ 🙂

The Japanese are briefed on the American Way of Life

I found these to be pretty hysterical!  What do you think? Do you agree with them or not? I do find that we laugh out loud much more!

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How Traveling Ruined My Life

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That’s probably the oddest thing you’ve ever heard I am sure. Who in their right mind would say that having a new experience in a foreign land could be negative? I mean, sure there are the people who really don’t enjoy leaving their home turf, but for the most part I expect people really enjoy going on a vacation right? What better feeling could there be? Well, I guess I should explain myself then.

In 2006, my eight year relationship fell apart and I was utterly and completely hopeless and void of meaning or direction. I was just floating aimlessly thinking my life would come to me and tell me what direction I should turn to next. I ventured to Europe on a month long excursion to eight different countries that completely altered everything I THOUGHT I wanted. Kids, marriage, a steady job and a family? Sure, they could possibly be rewarding at times, but nothing could amount to the rush that I gained when marveling at the fascinating art in Barcelona, sitting in a room full of strangers and discussing various cultural differences, or riding on the back of a scooter through the hills of Tuscany. It was blissful, amusing, and entertaining to say the least. What could be the problem then? Well, you see, that trip single-handedly set the bar for my future life experiences. I could almost relate it to a drug addiction. I experienced a high of sorts, and in order to achieve that same amount of high, I had to keep travelling.

So, I went to Australia a couple of years later on another solo trip. This trip, along with mini road trips and weekend shenanigans, kept my adventurous spirit at bay for a couple years, but I feel the need to go now quite regularly. Yes, I have the wanderers disease. Yet if had never gone on that trip, I would never know exactly what the Blarney Castle looks like, or participated in a tomato fight, or got lost in the streets of Venice. I would have just kept going on from job to job, making money to pay rent for the space I was rarely at because I was constantly working. You try to make ends meet, you’re a slave to money, and then you die right? (had to throw in some Bittersweet Symphony) I would have found fun of course, because that’s just my nature, but now I’ve meddled with my dosage of life experience, and I need a bigger, better, stronger fix!

I believe as humans we are fairly adaptable, and perhaps that’s the reason not all celebrities are happy. They have just become accustomed to generous doses of life experience and can’t reach a higher level. (hence drugs and alcohol make an appearance) Now don’t think I’m writing this as a spoiled rich kid sitting here whining because my life’s so terrible that I can’t eat brie at the Eiffel Tower every day of my life. I’ve suffered losses in life, I’ve paid for every trip I went on with my hard earned money, and everything I have I earned myself. I greatly appreciate everything I’ve had the chance to experience in life–I’m just trying to figure out whether I’m on a slippery slope of wanderlust spirit that may NEVER be fulfilled because traveling is so amazing it makes everything else so… BLAZEH. In the meantime, I guess I’ll be eating dirty burritos because I’d so much rather spend very little money on food and save my fortunes for the next adventure. Who am I kidding? I’m in the thick of it. How much is an African safari again?

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Exploring Oz: Scuba diving in Cairns, sailing the Whitsundays, and more!

Once upon a time, I fell in love with Australia.  I’m not sure if it was the amazing people, the casual culture, or the fact that I was able to miss ALL of the dismal winter season in the U.S., but Australia will forever hold a special place in my heart.  When almost every sentence ended with “no worries mate” or “Sweet as,” in that cute accent of theirs, can you blame me?   If I had it my way I’d have taken an Aussie home as a souvenir!  Unfortunately, the stores didn’t sell people, but they did sell scrumptious treats I’ll never forget called Tim-Tams.  This, my friends, is the journey I made from Sydney to Cairns and back in 6 weeks, and all of the unforgettable people I met and experiences I had along the way. Buckle up.

I’d compare Sydney to what the vibrant and bustling city streets of New York would be like; a thriving metropolis complete with high rise buildings, non-stop entertainment, a vast array of eclectic food options, (including the scrumptious Kangaroo burger), and an overall fast-paced lifestyle.   The significant difference, I’d imagine, is the Australian laid back attitude that is pervasive throughout the country. I stayed at the Maze hostel, which I’d recommend ONLY if you’re used to staying in hostels because well, let’s face it; it takes a different breed of person to stay in a hostel.   At the ripe age of 29, rooming with a group of three 19 year old males, I knew that staying here 5 nights would be nothing short of interesting.  Although I was deliriously sleep deprived and jet-lagged, I visited the Sydney Opera House that evening and it was well worth the wait.  The Opera House, with its impressive architectural design, is one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world.  It is considered one of the most famous landmarks in Australia, along with the Harbour Bridge, and after one glance I understood why they’re both so awe-inspiring.

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That evening I returned to my hostel to find one of the Swedish youngins hanging his head over the top bunk bed.  It appears he had passed out that way and I didn’t want to bother him so I just tried to steer clear and navigate to my bottom bunk.  On my quest to reach the bed, I stepped in something I can only describe as a wet squishy feeling.  And then it hit me.  I just stepped in this kid’s vomit.  Disgusting!  Remember earlier when I mentioned it takes a special breed of person to stay in a hostel?  This would be why.  Oh well, I guess now I know what I’m in for.

I was beginning to need a real conversation with a quality person, so I started talking to this Swedish girl in the bathroom.  We hit it off and decided we should be travel buddies from that point on.  The next thing you know we were hitting bars, eating, and taking transit to Bondi Beach together.  Bondi Beach, for the most part, is just a big gorgeous beach scattered with bronzed-bodied Australians gods and goddesses sunbathing and other pale tourists trying to get their surf and sun exposure.  No big deal.  We had a great time gallivanting around there and taking pictures with my Gizmo figurine.

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There is so much to explore and capture in Sydney I could have easily spent more than 6 days there, but my conquest was just beginning.  It was time to take a plane north to hit Cairns and do something I’d longed to do my entire life:  Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef!   As soon as I stepped out of the airport at Cairns, I knew it was my kind of city.  The perfectly humid tropical climate, significantly smaller population than Sydney, palm trees, and friendlier people were to my liking.  I had made arrangements before I left to stay at the Gilligan’s Island hostel, which was an adventure in itself.

Gilligan’s Island included free meals and a vast array of entertainment included a night of bikini clad women from various countries facing off in jello wrestling matches, and a night of what Australians refer to as “Bogan Bingo.” Bogan is basically slang in Australia for redneck or hillbilly and is basically just MUCH more entertaining Bingo.  There is a live DJ the entire evening, and people who get Bingos go up on stage to spin a wheel where they either win a prize or have to do something embarrassing like air guitar.   It’s so wildly amusing I am not sure how it hasn’t been adopted in the states yet!

I went on a tour in Cairns called Uncle Brian’s Fun, Falls, and Forest that I would highly recommend to anyone with an outgoing nature seeking a unique adventure.  Shy people need not apply!  Hopping aboard “Gus the Wonder Bus” I was immediately welcomed by an extremely friendly staff who encouraged me to meet my new friends (strangers) that would be going on the trip with me.  You wave to just about everyone that you encounter, sing songs and play games together almost the entire trip, and are even given a historic lesson about Cairns while splashing around in waterfalls you find along the way.   It was certainly a highlight of my Cairns visit and I had a blast!

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The next day I was ready to conquer scuba diving.  Keep in mind when I say ready, I mean I was as equally frightened to the core as I was excited.  I am a claustrophobic person that had barely mastered snorkeling on this visit.  That being said, I booked my scuba diving expedition with one of many boats offering a scuba reef experience and I was ready to go!

In order to be able to scuba dive, instructors were required by law to give us an hour lesson on safety techniques and procedures that we’d be using throughout our dive.  Every minute that passed seemed to make my heart beat faster.  What was I getting myself into?  Okay Bobbi, remember that a thumbs up hand signal means I want to come up out of the water, not that I’m ok.  I can do this.  As I made my first attempt to dive under the water I immediately panicked and came back up.  My guide, who I was linked arms with and who also had another person on his other arm, is puzzled and asks why.  “I’m sorry I just panicked.”  I said.  We tried again and I successfully managed to stay under the water the entire time!  I’m so grateful that I did, but I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy.  For every thought I had of how breathtaking the reef was, I had another thought of trying to breathe period!  In retrospect though, it was an incredible experience that I’d do again in a heartbeat.  I may not have abolished my claustrophobic fears, but I at least put them at bay for a while.

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A few days was enough to discover what I wanted in Cairns, so my next day composed of heading south by bus to a place called Airlie beach.  Airlie Beach had an even smaller population than Cairns, and was almost too small for my liking, but still a fun and chill place to wander around.  The main reason people go to Airlie Beach is to sail the Whitsunday Islands, and that was my first priority upon arrival!  This was going to be my first time sailing, and I guess you could say I set the bar fairly high sailing the Whitsundays for the first time.  The white sand beaches and unique colored turquoise water is mesmerizing and the islands of the Whitsundays are so remote feeling it’s unbelievable.  I did quite as bit of hiking there and actually stayed on that island with a few travel buddies.  My father was there that day. I felt his presence and knew he admired me for taking this leap of faith.  For those of you who don’t know my story, my father passed away 2 years ago.   Check out the rest of my blog:)

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After a few days in Airlie Beach, it was then time to depart for Hervey Bay, which is only infamous because it is the main launching point for hostel travelers to get to Fraser Island.  Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and is known for ancient rainforests growing among the sand dunes, but the most interesting thing about Fraser is that everyone gets split into groups, you camp in a tent overnight, and you get to go four wheeling!  It’s sort of like Survivor except for wussies.   The night before departing for Fraser, we are assigned to teams. I was the last person to join a 6 person team in which 5 Brits were already friends.  This could have been very disastrous but they adopted me into their pack and we carried on, buying food for our impending camping adventure.  The next morning we awoke bright and early to saddle up for the big camping trip.  (Editor’s note:  I would not say I’m an avid camper. I don’t HATE IT, but it’s certainly not my favorite thing to do in the world because I like my sleep.  I’m not exactly sure what I was so excited about except it was with a bunch of foreign people I don’t know and I’m easily amused by new people).  Upon arriving we discover 2 things:  1. We literally have nothing to sleep on except the pillow we brought and a tent.  2.  The 4×4 vehicles had to be driven on the left hand side of the road.  My first thought is this is REAL camping and I’m scared to drive this beast! It all ended up working out for the best though, and we made a campfire at night and played card and drinking games while discovering the wild dingos’ that populated Fraser Island.  Dingos’ aren’t nearly as scary as you might think.  In fact, they appear more skittish than anything.

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After leaving Hervey Bay, I had to retrace my steps to Sydney so that I could get a cheaper flight home, so I ventured to a place called Noosa next.  Noosa is known for a being a surfer town, only I didn’t realize how much of a surfer town. I think every store closed at 7 pm and I’m not really sure if there was a nightlife there to be honest.  Oh well! I booked a zoo adventure that day at the Australia Zoo that is home to the deceased croc hunter Steve Irwin. I was ready to see some kangaroo!  The Steve Irwin Zoo put every zoo I’ve ever seen to shame. I got to feed elephants and even wallabies while they roamed around in the park.  Kangaroos are so adorable but feisty little creatures.  I tried hugging one and I think it wanted to punch me.  What an experience though!

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It was nearing Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney so I obviously had to stick around for that before my departure!  I met up with one of my friends who I’d met at Fraser, and we managed to scrounge up some silly costumes and feather boas for the event.  What an absolute riot that was, including hunting down crates to stand on for the parade, and dancing in the streets afterward all night long.  I seem to recall an incident involving a random party we stumbled into and us eating a lot of brie cheese.  Who needs to talk to people when you have brie?

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Alas, my time in Oz was dwindling, and I was becoming incredibly sad.  It was now time to go home and put the pieces of my life puzzle back together. The thought of getting a new place to live and finding a job again seemed so daunting and overwhelming.  How would I go back to normal life after facing an ultimate fear, frolicking in paradise, and living in the moment? I did however, miss my friends and family back home and maybe, just maybe, a man that I’d left behind in the states who had wooed me with letters while I was in Oz.  Nonetheless, I will forever cherish that moment in time and bask in the words “No worries” and “Sweet as” for eternity.  It was time well spent, and I hope in writing this I evoked some kind of spark within you to conquer your own fears and take the road less traveled.

~Live to Inspire~

Underemployment: the paradox between stress and freedom

The past few months have been such a whirlwind I’m banking on the fact that I have yet to catch up to myself. Time keeps slipping away from me, season by season and year by year, and the months seem to go faster since I moved to California.  Since I don’t have a corporate job at the moment and am surviving by means of my nonpaying internship, of which I might add is the best job I’ve ever had, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to think.  This can be a good or bad thing depending on my stir-crazy state of mind and whether or not I’ve been consuming vino while thinking.  Conversely, I’ve also had a lot of time to roam freely, work short-term gigs, and spend my benjamins (righttttt… more like lincolns) on whatever I please.  Let me tell you, underemployment looks good on me and allows for happy days and many happy hours, but just as anything, it eventually becomes static and stressful, even when you have the last few months of freedom  and elation  that I’ve had.

A few months ago, I decided on a whim that I should audition for Wheel of Fortune. Having the luxury to do such crazy things while in LA is an opportunity nobody should miss right?!  Well, obviously I didn’t make the cut or else you would have heard about it by now, but I have every intention of going back one day because I was made to be a game show contestant!  I even answered a puzzle correctly and sprang up like a jack in the box with coils beneath me when they said my name. It’s such a pity that they couldn’t handle my awesomeness.  I owe that lady a good thwack to the head and a Chuck Norris style roundhouse.  Oh well, at least now I have this wonderful pencil I don’t want to use and a Vanna White bobblehead I’m sure will be worth millions one day like all of those beanie babies were!

A little while down the road, while I was alternating between desperately scouring the internet for jobs, eating, and sometimes showering, I heard of this gig though a friend of a friend where I would be slinging sandals on the beach.  Being the person that I am, and knowing I could make $250 in one day to make rent, I said let’s do this!  I arrived at a retro hippie van on this day to learn within 5 minutes how to literally make a flip flop, and I was off to the races.  There I sat, in a van on an 80 degree day, asking what color soles and straps people wanted while a line began to form outside of the van.  Mind you, I had no idea what I was doing and the people I was working with were nowhere to be found unless I yelled their name.  What in the hell had I gotten myself into?  There was a man who came in that wanted 10 embellishments (little hearts, stars, and things like that you pin on the strap to decorate it).  10 embellishments!  They were all gold stars.  Of course he carried on about how he owned a jewelry business and knew just about everyone in town because he was so rich and as I sat there like a slave worker pinning these embellishments to his flip flop I could just about smell the stench of douche wafting from him and I thought to myself, this guy could definitely use a crash course in humility and this is what is wrong with America.  People like this rise to top, rather than the good-hearted magnanimous people of the world.

A few weeks later I was sitting on my laptop and spitting out more cover letters when I started getting restless for an adventure.  I was still rather broke, but I remembered that Jimmy Kimmel was just down the street and his show tapings are free.  As I walked toward the show I noticed these two guys that were being extra friendly to people in the crowd.  I don’t mean they were hitting on girls, like I’m sure you thought.  They were just being loud and making hilarious comments to people. Any other person probably would have just shunned them off as idiots.  I was mildly amused and started smirking to myself. The next thing I know they are asking me if I want to go back to the green room for Kimmel’s show.  Well, anyone in their right mind would say yes to that right?!   So off I went to through 2 stages of security to the green room, which is rather cool. There are a couple of pool tables, games, and free drinks. The celebrities were hiding in their dressing rooms though. Damn you Russell Brand. Of all people I thought you’d want to go cause some mischief with the peons.  In any event, what a particularly festive evening!

Of course, no summer recap would be complete without a weekend rendezvous in Vegas. Vegas, oh Vegas. You’re like my sexy unborn love child.  I don’t quite know what that means but it seemed to flow well so we’ll go with it. I’m a firm believer that nobody should ever shoot down the chance at a road trip, particularly if that involves going to a place where all of your inhibitions can be left behind.  So off we departed for sin city:  NO hotel booked, NO real plans except to meet up with our friend, and NO man left behind.  80 miles outside of Vegas, the ol Volvo (Betty White) started sputtering and coughing and acting like it was on its last breath.  I can honestly say that Justin’s car has probably broken down at least 5 times in the last 5 months.  At that point I was certain he had drugged me in order to get me to go.  Then I became agitated.  At the rest stop I started looking for people I thought might be headed to Vegas. My plan: ditch the car and hitchhike to Vegas.  We’ll figure out the rest later.  At this point that seems a little silly, but when you are in 100 degree heat on the side of the road I think you start to become delusional and anything seems possible.  After a $200 tow to a shop in BFE (Baker?)  the guy said the car appeared to be running fine. WHAT?!??!?!??!!?!??!??!?!?   Apparently old Betty can only hack so much heat on the old fuel pump.  New game plan:  wait to leave until dark.

After finally arriving in Vegas at 9, checking in at Days Inn, and getting lost for a good 2 hours TRYING to get IN to Aria, we had found our friend.  At this point I hadn’t drank in so long I was a one shot wonder rather than 2!!  After numerous flippies off the bed, we donned the Aria robes and headed straight toward the slot machines.  Energy drinks kept me going until 5 am, but my whole next day was shot. It was then that I realized the cold hard truth.  My body is getting too old for Vegas. L  By the time Sunday had arrived, we’d had enough and took off right after checkout, only to find out that was everyone else’s plan!  Traffic from Vegas to LA is horrid on Sundays. Thanks for letting me know world.  We hit a couple of other smaller casinos on the way back in order to kill some time and they had so much character I fell in love with them.  Shout out to Whiskey Pete’s!

­­­In retrospect, some of these experiences may not have been possible provided I had been working a 9-5 job, and for that I am grateful.  Nonetheless, how does one lead a life full of security (money), and adventure at the same time?  It’s a juggling act indeed, and it is one I am currently struggling with.  Not because I don’t want to grow up, (well that too-growing up blows!) but because I am still haunted by the profound affect my father’s passing had on me 2 years ago and how it has continued to ignite my wanderlust fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants spirit.  Working hard can (sometimes) bring you copious amounts of wealth, but it won’t make you, nor your life happy.  That comes from within.   I suppose however, even I need a little bit of stability, which is why I’m taking a little hiatus  in Orange County right now.  Word to the wise kids:  finding that balance between the paradox is when you know you’ve hit the sweet spot.  When you find it, don’t turn back. And.. I’m out.

~Live to Inspire~