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Music City

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CMA Fest in downtown Nashville

The Best Layover Ever: Part 1

Traveling back to California from Thailand, I found myself with an 8-hour layover at the Narita airport just outside Tokyo, Japan.  From what I read online before my trip, this was enough time to get myself into the city to spend a couple of hours losing myself in the chaos that is Tokyo.  I unfortunately was hit with some pretty bad food poisoning in Thailand right before leaving, however, so the last thing I wanted to do was expend loads of energy to travel into a crowded city in an unfamiliar country.

As I walked down the concourse toward wherever the Japanese signs were directing me to go, I came across an ultra-neo-technical electronic talking sign of a flight attendant that creepily told me that the airport was beta testing a new program for transit (layover) passengers with layovers over 3 hours.  That was me!  I talked to the first person I saw holding another transit sign, and they led the way.  I had to go through immigration (getting another Japanese stamp in my passport, yay!) and met a transit person on the other 20131213_121024side.  She was very sweet, but hard to understand because of her accent, bless her.  She led me to the lounge, with padded chairs and lots of drinks and weird little Japanese snacks to munch on.

I was already feeling more relaxed than I had planned when I was handed a menu of free things I could do during my layover: a massage, free food, an airport shower, a visit to a hotel sauna, a taxi tour of Narita and a couple other things which weren’t interesting enough to remember.  I decided to start with the massage, after food poisoning and a 6-hour flight.  It was fabulous and much more relaxing than a horrendous Thai massage!  Plus, they gave me hibiscus tea afterward.  To be continued…

Alaska Short Story: Star Encounters

I was riding in the backseat of my friend’s rusty old Ford Bronco on our way to the Alaska State Fair.  We made a stop in Wasilla, Alaska, because one of the car’s occupants needed to run an errand at the shopping center.  We had just driven through Hatcher Pass, a gorgeous drive that took us from Willow to Wasilla through the Talkeetna Mountains and almost to an elevation of 4,000 feet (a much prettier drive than down the Parks Highway, trust me).

So this happened...

So this happened…

As we collected our friend after he had completed whatever it was he needed to do, we drove through the parking lot of the strip mall and past the front entrance at Target.  I stared out of the dusty window toward the store, not really paying attention to anything in particular.  I noticed a fairly large crowd of people in front of the store.  A woman with a few children was pushing a cart out the front door, and I looked at her and thought she must be the most glamorous woman in Wasilla.  As I was about to comment to my friends the large amount of makeup on this particular woman, more than is common for women in southern Alaska, I realized that I was looking at none other than Sarah Palin.

We almost got into a couple of fender-benders trying to park and run over to her like crazed fans, like we saw quite a few other people doing.  I debated jumping out and asking her for a photo, but I decided that I couldn’t miss that opportunity.  What other celebrity was I going to see who was going to embody Alaska more than Sarah Palin, aside from a grizzly bear?  They might be one and the same, as a guest pointed out to me when I told this story at work later on in the week.  Regardless of the real or perceived threat, I played fangirl and asked Ms. Palin for a photo.  I told her I was a big fan and she graciously agreed.  Although I’m not actually a Sarah Palin fan (except for the seeing Russia from her house comment…who’s not a fan of that hilariousness?), we posed for a photo and all I can say about her is that she was incredibly nice and patient, and looked damn good in a camo fleece.

Date A Girl Who Travels

I couldn’t have said it better myself

Life and Journeys

Just found this lovely on blog of Aleh and could not help but share here 🙂

Date A Girl Who Travels – Solitary Wanderer

“Date a girl who travels. Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips or day trips than buy new shoes or clothes. She may not look like a fashion plate, but behind that tanned and freckled face from all the days out in the sun, lies a mind than can take you places and an open heart that will take your for what you are, not for what you can be/

Date a girl who travels. You’ll recognize her by the backpack she always carries. She won’t be carrying a dainty handbad, where will she put her travel journal, her pens and the LED flashlight that’s always attached to her bag’s zipper? In a small purse, how can she bring the…

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A Long-Awaited Update

I realize it has been over seven months since my last post, and I’m sorry about that.  That’s a long time to go without some Awkward Tourist, I realize this and I know you guys are probably going through withdrawals and all that stuff, because The Awkward Tourist is like crack.  Except the crack that’s awkward, like from a plumber.

Just one of the things I made in Mechanical Engineering

Just one of the things I made in Mechanical Engineering

Seriously though, I know the one or two people who actually do read may have been wondering what’s been going on.  Since I last posted, I started school yet again and changed my major to mechanical engineering.  I know it’s a crazy thing to switch from journalism to mechanical engineering, everyone thinks I’m nuts.  I may be, I may just be.  My overall goal is to join the US Navy as an officer, after I earn my degree.  I got a taste of traveling the world and I want to do it more, and a practical way I can see to do that is to join the Navy and be a badass on a ship that’s going from port to port.  What could go wrong?

It’s definitely been a struggle adjusting to the math and science after the journalism, and I’ve had to keep up with work in order to pay for my life and pay my way through school.  Plus, paying off all my unforgettable experiences that I had last year has had me working hard.  Worth it!  I have a few trips up my sleeve, however.

My next mini-adventure will be a camping trip in Carpinteria, but since I’ve already made a post about that I will omit it from my plans.  Maybe a mini-post to go with my mini-trip would be appropriate.  My next larger trip will be 10 days in the UK, in Scotland specifically.  I’m trying to see if I can work out a couple of days in London as well, since I’ve really only been there overnight.  I’ll be visiting The Scottish Warrior, aka my best friend.  I guess you could say I’m doing a Scottish homestay, but I know the family very well.  I can’t wait to go and binge on British chocolate and butterfly cakes, and be silly with my best friend.  I plan to explore more of the Scottish Highlands, maybe make another trip to Loch Ness and see some more castles.

Also, I have a phone interview this week for a lodge outside of Denali, Alaska for a summer job.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it yet, or even if I’ve gotten the job.  I may need to stay in Reno to do some summer classes, which would not exactly be my first choice of summer residences.  I’ll keep you guys updated on that, since it could be big fun.

Again, I apologize for the delay between posts.  I will try to get in one a week if I can, I’d really like to make it a priority again.  The Awkward Tourist shall rise again!