Where In The World?!

I enjoy travel!  Ok, who doesn’t? But seriously, ever since I was a little girl I have love love loved to travel.  Growing up my family owned a golf course, which meant every January we headed to Orlando for the annual Golf Expose…and DISNEY WORLD.  It might sound pathetic but I am twenty-four years old and have been there over thirty times.  My family, my husband’s family and now the two of us, all purchased timeshare to be Disney Vacation Club Members and go at least once a year as an entire family, or just Ryan and I.  Despite my age, Disney just has a feeling of peace, excitement and joy.

Since I have gotten older our trips have changed a little bit.  Ryan and I have three favorite times of year to visit…

1. Fall/Food and Wine Festival

End of September, October, is one of the best times to go as an adult.  Most kids have just started school so their parents aren’t ready to take them out for vacation so most parks are relatively empty.  But the best part of the fall is the Food and Wine Festival!  They have been hosting this event for sixteen years, with plenty of tasting booths, demonstrations, exclusive ticketed events, chefs from the Food Network, etc. all around the World Showcase in Epcot.  It is so much fun to walk around the perimeter, feeling the breeze and enjoying some seriously delicious eats.  Every foodie should go if they can!

2. Christmas

We love to go in the beginning of December because again, kids are just back in school after Thanksgiving break, and have another winter vacation coming soon.  There are much smaller crowds, but the highlite is the decorations.  If you love holidays (which I do!) you will be blown away by the spectacle and Disney magic!  Seriously, it is like magic…even if you never go look for the HGTV special on how they transform the parks overnight and you will be blown away by how efficient these people are.  It takes me like 2 weeks to fully decorate my house and its 1/100000 the size of Disney World.

3. ESPN the Weekend

Typically held the last weekend of February, or first part of March, this time is awesome for sports fans!  Sports celebs come and do interviews, mingle, play along with you in the Dick’s Interactive Sports Zone.  It was the first weekend I ever took my husband to Disney World and he was hooked.  I thought that was pretty smart marketing on my part, but I enjoy it too.  Saturday morning they also have a 5k fun run for the V Foundation, which we have participated in a few times.  It is really fun, some of the athletes run, and Mickey and Minnie are there at the finish line to cheer you on.  Not to mention like most Disney races, you run through Hollywood Studios.  It is a pretty sweet way to start your Saturday.

Now that I have promoted Walt Disney World, where is your “go-to” vacation spot?  What are some of your favorite memories?

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6 thoughts on “Where In The World?!

  1. HONG KONG! When I was in China, I loved it so much, that I went there 3 times. The first time I went was for a Lego fan event, and those guys were not only good builders, but really hospitable people. The second time I went was to meet up with my father in January. He didn’t know he needed a visa to get into the mainland and couldn’t get over. No visas are needed to get into HK, so we got to spend 10 days with each other exploring every facet of the city. The third time, I went to visit friends I made before I went back home, and I got to check out Macau, too!

    Funny thing is that I’m not a city person, but the city has so much personality. First off, it’s really easy to get around with public transportation, and fairly cheap, too. It’s also an international city. You can find all kinds of people in the heart of the city, and tons of different ethnic restaraunts; Thai, Indian, Italian. You name it, they have it.

    And while we’re on the topic of food, a lot of it is amazing…And I’m not just talking about the high-end restaurants. There are a lot of hole-in-the-wall places (at least to expats anyway) that have amazing food at very affordable prices. Go where the locals do. It’s worth it. Street vendor food is also pretty good, especially dan ta (egg tart). Gotta love the HK style milk tea, too.

    There’s also so much to see in the city; colonial buildings, beautiful city parks, horse racing, temples, beaches, and the skyline from both sides. Hong Kong Island in particular is fascinating because there is a mountain, and the city is built right up against it. The incline up to the point is so steep that the island has the longest escalator chain in the world for those who don’t want to tire themselves walking up. You can take a train up to the top of the mountain, were you can find a shopping mall, restaurants, hiking paths, and expensive real estate. I also really enjoyed the double decker trolley rides around the island. It’s a great cheap way to tour parts of the island

    The city is actually only a small part of Hong Kong. There are lots of smaller towns outside of the city, and you can find a lot of tropical rainforest, and there are plenty of hiking paths. There are some really beautiful spots there. My favorite scenic spot was the at the Wishing Trees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lam_Tsuen_Wishing_Trees I went in the midst of Chinese New Year, so I got to see people throwing their wishes into the tree.

    The other great thing about HK, is that it’s a stone’s throw from Macau, which is accessible by a 45 min. boat ride. It’s another SAR in China, so you don’t need a visa to get in, just like HK. I don’t like gambling, but there are tons of casinos there (they generate more revenue than Vegas), and the over-the-top architecture is worth a look…especially the Gran Lisboa. It looks like it was ripped from a comic book.

    I know you like history, and Macau is filled with it. It was settled by the Portuguese more than 450 years ago, making it the first European colony in Asia. It was also the last, as it was only returned to China in 1999. The collection of historical buildings, some of which are over 400 years old are collectively classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site…It’s well-earned, too. In parts of Macau, you will feel like you’re in Europe…beautiful churches and pastel colored buildings.

    The food there is also unique…a mixture of Chinese, Portuguese, and African flavors. The only bad thing about the trip was that I went during the rainiest month of the year and, although I had an umbrella, only my head escaped getting soaked. For me though, it was well worth being able to explore the city.

    I loved these places so much, I hope that I’l be able to return to them again. I think that you would also love HK a lot, so I would strongly suggest putting it on your future travel agenda. You know…They have a Disney World, too! 🙂

    I know that my post is really, really long and probably sounds like more of an advertisement than yours. What can I say, I love HK.

    This post may seem kind of random, but I came across your blog through Facebook. It’s very inspiring, and I wanted to thank you because you helped me out a lot when I was having bad times at LVC. Lending an ear made a big difference.

    I know that you are going through a tough battle, but I known that you will beat this. We all have our own vices. For example, I had many similar problems that damaged my self-image. I would always seek solace in material posessions…collecting things I didn’t need, feeling attached to things that I rarely used or were stupid. Since living in China, I realized how much happieer I was with so little. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been in the process of selling off a lot of my stuff and giving things away. I’ve made pretty good progress, but I still have a long way to go.

    Best of luck!

    • oh my gosh that sounds amazing! i want to travel the world. there are just so many places to see and so little time, or money! haha im so glad you found my blog and its awesome to hear from you.
      Thank you for your suggestions and kind words of encouragement. Its really nice to know I have support and i appreciate your friendship!!!
      Its good to hear all is well with you! keep in touch, matt. Id love to hear from you again!

  2. You’re welcome. 🙂

    For China, the most expensive part is flying there. You can stretch your money further if you book at hostels and eat where the locals do, even in Hong Kong. I want to go back to visit, but the cost of flying is standing in my way at the moment.

    And, I must admit, not all is well with me. I looked back at what I said, and I still suffer from negative self-talk. I feel like it’s going to inhibit my job search. I came back from China, worked at the park during the summer for a little. Then I went to the chocolate factory and was laid off…after 1 week. It’s been a month now, and they still haven’t put me back on.

    At first that was depressing, but they I realized that it was just as well that it happened. I have no place in a factory, and now I’m volunteering my time at the AACA Library and Research Center.

    I recently found out about a job opening at a local museum, where they want an administrative assistant with experience in the museum field, if possible (which I have). Handling artifacts is part of the description. In my mind, I said that I was capable of doing it. But then I do more research online and feel that they will think I don’t have enough administrative experience. And as I got bogged down in writing my resume, I felt worse.

    It sucks because I know that I am capable of doing this job, but I’m inclined to think that they will just pass over me and pick someone else because I’m not good with interviews. I also have a nasty habit of the one track mind…I want this job, and I don’t want to take no for an answer. In reality, there’s more out there than just one job lead.

    Sometimes, I wish I was teaching in China again, but that would equate to running away from my problems, and I don’t want to live a life like that. It’s not worth it.

    • oh matt, i wish i could help you with the negative self-talk. you are right that the factory lay off was a blessing. you wouldnt be happy there long term, and everyting happens for a reason so im sure somthing will come up that is of interest and that you would be great in!
      this is a tough market, but one of my favorite quotes is “you miss 100 percent of the shots you dont take…”
      i think you should apply for the position at the museum. you may be surprised and if not, it just means something better will come along.
      you have great insight and as much as teaching in china sounds awesome, dont run…stay and wait it out to see the posibilitties. you are an awesome guy and i just know something good will happen soon!

  3. Thanks for the quote, Ceejay. It is true, and that was my attitude when I came back home. I felt like a lot of people were using the state of the economy as a cop-out to give up on looking for work. After awhile, I was afraid of falling into a similar rut.

    I applied for the position, hand-delivering a resume, cover letter, and letter of reccomendation on Friday. I had LVC’s career services look over things before I submitted them, and they said I had a really strong cover letter. Because of this, the connection with the museum I interned at, and personally giving them my documents, I am 99% certain I will at least get an interview.

    As for China, well, life in China was a land of contradictions. I was thrusted into the role of a teacher. Yet my classes didn’t count toward the grading system. Lots of students knew this and saw my class as goof-off time, but there were still others who took it seriously, and I can safely say that most were not disrespectful towards me (goofing-off might be considered disrespect by some but, considering the lack of a real grade, I couldn’t completely fault them for it either.). Management seemed apathetic and unappreciative, while I could tell that many of the students were appreciative. My role as a mentor was more significant than my role as an English teacher, and it is something I miss a lot…Helping others and encouraging them to reach their potential and to see progress being made is, in a way, self-healing. Even though the odds were against me, I still feel like I made a positive impact in their lives. Some of them wrote me letters before I left, like this one from a 7th grader:

    Maybe there are some mistakes and I hope you can understand.

    Dear Mr. Hocker,
    This is a thank-you letter for you. You are the best foreign teacher and you taught us very well. I learnt a lot from you. You were always very happy in our class and I was very happy to see you. You are very friendly and helpful. When I had some questions, you were always happy to tell me the answers or worked them out with me. I was very grateful to you for your help. When we were very noisy, you were always understanding. All of us think that you are so nice and you are the kindest people.

    I want to tell you the most important thing. I like you very much. I am very glad that you can teach me. And I won’t forget you! I’ll miss you! I’ll often send messages to you. And thank you for giving me a nice surname ‘Kelly.’ Please don’t forget me! I hope you will have a good girlfriend or wife. I hope you will have a good family. Good luck with your future! I wish you happy every day!

    Best Wishes,
    Grace Kelly (She asked about a last name, and I mentioned Grace Kelly, the actress. That’s how that name stuck.)

    Whenever things get really rough, I like to read these letters to help remind me that I’m not a waste, that I can make a difference, and that I shouldn’t settle for just anything.

    • Matt that is such an awesome letter! you should read that every morning to confirm in your mind that you are such an amazing person! so many other people can see that so I hope some day you can finally believe it as well. I certainly KNOW you are wonderful 🙂

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