3 Things you must do in Petoskey

I was lucky enough to grow up in a picturesque small town of Petoskey, MI. Of course, while there I took much of what the town had to offer granted. I have gone away many times, and each time I leave there are three things I miss. Funny enough, they are the three things my family misses too when they are gone.

Wandering around the streets of downtown Petoskey is always fun. There are lots of shops for browsing, and plenty of restaurants and cafes to find a bite to eat. Not to mention the bay is close by and if you’re are lucky you may be able to view it from where you decide to stop and rest.

When my father gets home for the summer, I asked him if there was anywhere in town he needs to go. He looks at me, smiles and says “R&T”.  Whenever my sister comes home for a visit one of her first (and last) stops is Roast & Toast. Roast & Toast is the local coffee and sandwich shop that my family has been frequenting since the late 90’s. The atmosphere is hip and relaxed and the food and coffee are amazing! In the summer the place is almost always packed, and it isn’t unusual for the line to go out the door on a busy weekend. This tasty stop is easy to find with coffee cups sticking out of the archway.

Use the Little Traverse Wheelway. Whether you bike, rollerblade or walk take some time to enjoy the 26 miles of  breathtaking scenery along Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay and through the woods and wetlands. We tend to start at Bayfront Park, in downtown Petoskey and head south towards Bay Harbor. Though it is also fun to start at Bayfront Park and end up at the Petoskey State Park or in Harbor Springs. Whichever direction you go you will be blown away by the view. 🙂

Headed to Meroe

In March I was blessed enough to finally go to Africa. Courtesy of my parents I got to spend one week in Sudan and one week in Morocco. The flight from Michigan to Africa was long but definitely worth it.

Overall Sudan was hot, but when you go from 20 or 30 to 100 that’s no surprise. It was wonderful to see my parents and experience some of what their life is like in Khartoum. But the highlight of the trip was getting to seeing the temples and pyramids in Meroe and the surrounding area.

The morning after I arrived in Khartoum my parents and I got into an SVU with two Sudanese men (our guide and drive) and drove north into the desert. The drive was long, hot and bumpy. Despite the conditions, I fell asleep anyways (jet lag will do that to you).

After a few hours, we stopped at what remained of what used to be a well-visited temple.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

My mother and the guide walked ahead as my father and I snapped pictures. After a minute or two, I decided that maybe I should catch up, so I could learn more about the temple. As our guide talked about Ra, Anubis and Amun two thoughts flitted through my head. The first was hey some of these guys are mentioned and or seen in Stargate! The second was I remember learning about some of these guys in High School.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

As we continued through the ruins our guide showed us the different symbols on the walls, above doors, and on columns. I remembered some of the symbols from High School, or at least I think they were from high school, but they could have been from Stargate 😛 .  As my mother and the guide discussed Nubian history I wandered around the ruins, sometimes catching bits and pieces of their conversation. My father had again wandered off an was taking pictures.

Eventually, I stopped wandering off and listened to the guide a bit more. He mentioned how thousands of years ago there was a lake in front of this temple. Which made it a nice oasis for travelers and nobility. As I looked at out the vast desert I tried to picture what the area would have looked like, but it didn’t really work, all I could see was desert and a smattering of trees.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

At this point, we waited on my father to finish taking pictures and continued to the next site. Which was a short drive from where we were, we hopped in the slightly cooler car and continued our trek north.

Less than five minutes after we climbed into the SUV we were out in the hot sun. This temple was much smaller and was currently being excavated by a team of archeologists from some university that now escapes my mind.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

It was interesting to look at what remained of ancient carvings and then turn around and graffiti in the temple. Some of the graffiti dated back to 1800’s, though I’m sure some was older. More notable some of the graffiti was from the 1940’s. It would have taken some time to chisel your name out in the stone. Not something I would have done if I was on the run from the Allies. However Rommel (or one of his troops) did as they hid out in the area during their retreat at the end of World War 2.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

After this site, it was back in the muggy SUV for several hours to head further north to see the pyramids of Meroe. I slept on and off the whole way, the bumpy desert “road” waking me from time to time.

Travel List

In the next year I would like to:

Drive the entire length of Route 1. That’s right folks, I wanna drive from Maine to Key West. Stopping along the way whenever I find a cute little town or nice bit of scenery. Why cute towns you say? For one, I’m more comfortable in small towns (remember I grew up in one). Secondly, they are highly photogenic and wonderfully relaxing.

Go to Colorado and Montana. While there I want to go snowboarding and hiking. And I’m sure there are some amazing landscape and wildlife photographic moments waiting.

Go to Kauai. I loved my time on Maui, and I really want to hit up another Hawaiian Island. My cousin lived there for a while, and my aunt and uncle thought it was amazing! It is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, which alone makes its a must see for this history and culture buff. The amazing tropical scenery is also calling my name… think of all the stunning pictures of water and coastlines, rainforests, and mountains. (If we still used film, I’m sure I’d fill dozens of rolls. And I’m sure I’ll end up maxing out the memory on my SD card.) I want to hike, bike, and swim for weeks on end.

On a related, but slightly different note, I am going to Sudan and Morocco in February/March 2016. I’m going to see where my parents live and take a family vacation. I’m super excited! When I get into Sudan we will be heading to the Nile for a cruise and then its off to Casablanca… where anything could happen.

*Re-post* First Day

Almost exactly 7 years ago today, I arrived in South Korea, to start what ended up being a 6-month long adventure. I made tons of new friends and had tons of good experiences, along with a handful of bad ones.

My neighborhood in Daegu South Korea Fall 2008

My neighborhood in Daegu South Korea Fall 2008

On Monday, August 25th, around 5 pm flight 038, from Chicago landed at Incheon International Airport. A few minutes later I was one of many people filing off the plan, into what was now a busy airport terminal. After the bathroom stop, it was off to immigration/customs, to get myself approved to enter South Korea. I waited in line for a few minutes, looking at all the people who were standing around waiting, just like me. They were from many different parts of the world, but I couldn’t tell who was from where. I guess when you become part of a mass, everyone just blends in. After a while it was my turn, I handed the man my paper, he looked at a few things, stamped the appropriate documents and waved me on.

The next thing I needed to do was find my luggage. I looked what I assumed was the information board to tell me which carousel my luggage would be at. It did, I went down the stairs and waited for my suitcases to appear. The luggage area was pretty crowded, but I managed to make my way through the crowd with a cart to put my bags on. My luggage showed up one at a time. First it was my blue duffel bag, then the teal suitcase. With my bags now on the cart, I was ready to go. Now I need to exchange some money; I had not been able to do this yet. So on my way out to the lobby and the cars I stopped at one of the exchange booths and handed them $250. They took it and gave me the proper amount of Korean Won back. I was now ready to follow the instructions on my sheet.

The sheet I had was from the program coordinators at the office in Chicago and Daegu. The first step on the list was to call one of the contacts, to do that I needed to find a phone. I walked around the lobby for a little bit until I found one. Then, I looked at the new money I had received and made a guess as to how much I would need to place this call. I put the money in and dialed the number, it rang, and a man answered. “Hello,” I said. “My name is Lesley Scott; I am calling to let you know that I have landed and am ready to go to the hotel.” The man on the other end told me to get on a bus and take into the City Air Terminal is Seoul. He also told me that it would take a while to get there. Before he hung up, and I went to find the bus he told me to call when I got into the hotel, so they knew I made it. It was outside to buy a bus ticket and find the right bus.

I stepped outside, and my jaw almost dropped, there were so many people, how in the world was I supposed to move through all these people with my luggage. I decided that it was better if I just moved forward and did what I needed to do. I looked around me; I didn’t see a ticket booth. So I turned to my right and started to walk. I navigated my way through people until I got to the nearest ticket booth. Once I was there I told the lady where I wanted to go; she told me the price, and I handed her the money. She told me to go to stop 3 or 10….. I was currently around stop 6 or 7. Either way I had to navigate through lots of people again…. I was not excited by this idea. I turned back the way I came; I was heading to stop 3. It took some work to make my way through the mass of people, but I managed. Finally, I made my way to bus stop 3, now all I had to do was wait.

After a few minutes, the bus showed up, and men started to load luggage in the side of the bus. I handed them three pieces of luggage and got three tickets back.  With my luggage safely stored in the luggage hold, I climbed onto the bus. I was not excited to be sitting again, seeing as I had already been sitting for at least 16 hours, but I wasn’t done with my travel yet. I took a seat by a window, took out my iPod, put on the headphones, and started the music. After a few more minutes, the bus was on its way. I hoped the bus ride wouldn’t be long, I was tired, hungry and in desperate need of a shower – I started my travels around 7 am on August 24 EST and it was now about 5:30 or 6 on August 25 Korean time. I looked out the window as we exited the airport and merged onto the highway. For what I could tell highways in Korea seemed like highways everywhere else, there were cars on them and depending on the location there were trees and grass or buildings. As we continued on our way I began to realize just how tired I was, the highway and Korean landscape began to fade in and out until there was nothing. The next thing I knew it was dark out and we were in the middle of a bustling city; I had made it to Seoul.

As I looked around more at Seoul through the bus the window the more, I thought all big cities look alike. Okay, so the signs were in a different language, but there were still lots of tall buildings, lights, and people. As the bus turned into the Terminal I noticed a Bennigan’s and smiled, maybe I would find a few of the comforts of home, or rather America in this foreign land. As I thought about food, which seems normal at 7:30 at night, the bus turned a corner and went into a dark garage, then pulled up to a glass door. There were people waiting behind the door; I doubted that there was anyone waiting for me. Once the bus stopped people started to get off. I slowly gathered my things, climbed off the bus, and waited in line to get my bags. Once I got my bags I went through the glass door into a lobby, from there I found another door that lead me to the street, and hopefully a taxi that would take me to the hotel. When I got outside, there were a few normal taxis as well as the black and red taxis that I was told to take. I went up the first cab drive with the red and black van and told the man I need to go to the Seoul Residence, he nodded opened the door for me and put my bags in the trunk. With myself and my bags away he took me to the hotel. The five-minute trip consisted of a few turns and on the busy streets but ended with a turn into a quiet ally. I looked around, it didn’t seem like much, and I wondered if I was in the right spot, but the sign above the door said this was the place. I paid the drive, and he took my luggage out of the trunk and put it on a trolley then drove away.

I walked into the lobby pulling the trolley along behind me; there was a small wooden desk and white tile floors and white wall, this was certainly a hotel. I went up to the desk and gave the attendant my name and told them that I was with EPIK. She nodded knowingly and asked for my passport, I handed it over, and her male counterpart made a copy of it as she told me my room number. It was also at that point in time I found out I had a roommate…. a roommate, “wonderful” I thought sarcastically, I was too tired to want to deal with people. I was handed the phone and told that I should tell my roommate I was here. I introduced myself to the female on the other end and told her I was on my way up, she said the door would be open. The attendant handed me my passport and was directed to the elevator. I got in and went up to the second floor. When I stepped off the elevator, I saw a door propped open; this had to be it. I walked over to the door, trolley in tow. I opened the door wider and said hello, “hello” a voice responded, “are you, Lesley?” “Yes,” I replied as I grabbed one of my bags and brought it into the room, to see an Asian female about my age brushing what looked like wet hair. She smiled and nodded at me as I grabbed the rest of my bags and put them in a corner. With all of my stuff in the room, I wanted to fall asleep, but I had to return the trolley, “I’ll be right back.” I said as I left the room again. I loaded the trolley back onto the elevator, went downstairs, took the trolley into the lobby, and headed back up to my room. I opened the again propped open door and entered the room, closing the door behind me.

The first thing I noticed about the room, now that I had time to examine the scene, was the small tiled area that had a pair of shoes and the step up that had sandals with the hotel logo on it. I took off my shoes and stepped up into the rest of the room, deciding to pass on the sandals. To my right was a little mini kitchen, there was a sink, a microwave, a burner, and some dishes. To my left there was the bathroom, I noted it, I would need to visit that place soon. In front of me was a window that I assumed looked over the ally I had come in on. To the right was a TV and a table, to the left were two beds, on one of the beds, was the female I had met a few moments before. I said hello again and asked her when she got in, she told me she had gotten in about an hour ago. She and I started to chat; she told me where she was from, and I did the same. I asked her if she knew what was happening tomorrow. She told me that she thought we had to leave around 9 and that we had a free breakfast that we could get any time after 7 am. At that point I remembered I needed to call someone to let them know I was at the hotel, “did you call Ben to tell him you were here yet?” I asked. She shook her head, and I got up and went over to the phone. I picked up the receiver and dialed the number again, it rang, and the same man answered. I told him that my roommate and I were safe at the hotel and that we wanted to double-check the plans for tomorrow. He told me to be downstairs at 9 am with all of our stuff and there would be a bus waiting to take us to orientation, I thanked him and hung up.

With all of the business out-of-the-way, I chatted more with my new companion. During that time, I found out that we had been on the same flight from Chicago though I don’t remember seeing her, and she got here before I did. I guess she just got things done more efficiently than I had at the airport. Around 8 pm or 9 pm she went to bed, and I decided that I should probably email my family and let them know I was safe. I pulled out my shiny new computer, placed it on the desk, turned it on and hooked it up to the internet. Once the computer was on, I checked my email and sent out two mass emails; one to my friends and one to my family. The one to my friends simply said that I made it; I hoped they were well, and I would write soon. The one to my family said much the same thing; I had made it safe and sound, I was tired, that I would be heading to orientation tomorrow, that I missed them, hoped they were well, and I would be in touch again soon. With the emails sent I decided it was time for bed; I was too tired to shower, and I was too tired to eat, not to mention my companion was fast asleep. I turned off my computer and got ready for bed.  Finally, the day had come to an end, I double-checked that the door was locked, and the lights were out and crawled into bed.

A pretty plant I found on my first outing in Daegu, South Korea Fall 2008

A pretty plant I found on my first outing in Daegu, South Korea Fall 2008

*Re-post* Trading Fresh Water for Salt Water

This is a republished post from my old blog. I posted it on Sept. 10, 2014. (I found it fitting since I left for Hawaii about a year ago). Since that time I have moved back to Michigan, once again trading waters. I got my winter in Michigan (which I know seems rather backwards), and though I don’t love snow as much as I once did, winter landscapes are beautiful, and snowboarding is still a ton of fun! I still dream about my time in Hawaii, it was an amazing experience, one that needs to be repeated. Not only in Hawaii (possibly on some of the other islands) but in various locations all over the world.

A month ago I was in the Chicago suburbs, checking to make sure I had everything packed in my two suitcases and a backpack. After surveying the house a few times my sister and I decided I had everything, and if not she would send it later. We grabbed my bags and headed to the car. It was a cool morning, and I was glad I remembered my sweatshirt, or rather I was glad my sister was paying attention to the weather (thanks sis!).
The first stop was the bank, to get out money for traveling and deposit a check. After that we stopped at Norma’s, my sister got her coffee and banana bread, and I got my earl grey chai. Yes, I said earl grey chai, I know it may sound odd, but it is one of the best things on earth! And I’ve only ever seen it at Norma’s, the small local coffee shop down the street from my sister’s place.
As my sister drove towards the highway, I texted friends on my phone. One of them asked me if this (my moving) felt real yet? I said no. He asked when I was leaving. I laughed and told him I was on my way to the airport. He was amused and couldn’t believe that it didn’t feel real yet. Honestly, I couldn’t either, I was on my way to the airport, and I wasn’t nervous or anxious at all; I was calm, it was like any other day.
Even as I waited in the airport, I was calm, cool, and collected. I guess I travel enough (though I’d love to travel more), and have moved enough, that for me, packing up and moving 1000 plus miles away in two weeks is no big deal. As I waited in the terminal, I took the opportunity to wander around and post a few updates on FB. I also did a fair amount of people watching. It’s fun to see how people interact or don’t.
My flights were uneventful. On my last flight, I had a whole row to myself! So I stretched out and took a much-needed nap. On the flight, I also met a family, that had lived in various parts of the world that were moving to Hawaii. The children were well-behaved and super cute! The boy loved the dried cherries I shared with him, and the girl liked the fudge.
When I got off the plane, I was glad I had packed the sweatshirt away. It was hot! Yes, I know, Hawaii’s a tropical island, it’s bound to be warm, but I spent the day on cold airplanes and came from a mild Michigan summer. I rolled up my pant legs and made my way to bagged claim. I collected my bags and went outside to meet my ride. The sun was blindingly bright, so I rummaged through my bag and found my sunglasses. A minute or two later my boss showed up, and I loaded my things into the van and climbed in.
The air-conditioned ride from the airport to my new home was nice. I looked out at the ocean, as we twisted and turned up and down cliffs, and was impressed by the amount of trees on the drive. It only took about 30 to 45 minutes to make it from the airport to Lahaina. When I got to my new house, my boss helped me take my things in, then bid me farewell until tomorrow. One of my housemates gave me a tour of the house, and then let me unpack a few things. Before long she came back and asked me if I wanted to go down to the beach and watch the sunset, I, of course, said yes!
We wandered down the street to a small pathway that led to the ocean. The sound of the waves were reassuring and relaxing. Due to moving and unpacking things I was covered in sweat, so we waded into the water, it was cool and refreshing. We stood there, the waves lapping at our legs and talked. It was cloudy, so the sunset was masked, so after a few minutes we wandered back home, where I continued to settle in.
Since getting here, I have found a more permanent place to live (yay!), gotten a bike, and gone swimming in the ocean several times. The waves in the ocean are so much bigger than I am used to though there have been some impressive waves on Lake Michigan. And when you swallow the water from the ocean, it tastes kind of funny (though I suppose if you are used to the ocean you would say lake water tastes funny). I have yet to go snorkeling or surfing, but those will happen in time. I love not having a car! Yes, it makes shopping a little harder (that’s what baskets and backpacks are for), and I don’t always venture as far… But I can feel my leg muscles coming back, and I’m starting to feel more in shape.
I’m meeting lots of new people and enjoying the change. I pretty much live in sunscreen and shower a lot more than I did in Michigan, due to sweating lots because of the heat, but I don’t mind. I traded fresh water for salt water and snow for sunshine. 🙂

Lahaina, Hawaii in the evening Fall 2014

Lahaina, Hawaii in the evening Fall 2014

The World So Far

Some people say I’ve been a lot of places. And it is true I have traveled more than some… but for me it’s never enough.

amCharts

So far I’ve been to the United States (I am American), Canada, Barbados, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Greece, South Korea, and Japan.

I still have to go to Germany, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and China. And of course, there are some places I have to go back to (Japan and the United Kingdom), because there is still so much more to see and experience.

amCharts (1)

So its seems as though I’ve been to about half of the United Sates… which isn’t too shabby. Some places I remember better than others (but that’s to be expected when you start your travel young).

I would love to start hitting up some states that I have missed, in the next few months. 🙂 It would be nice if I could completely fill in the United States map in the next two years. Some people may see that as ambitious, but I think it would be a ton of fun to hop in a car and drive around the United States. Guess that means it’s time for me to find a fuel-efficient car and start saving up money. 😛

Digital Nomad Gold Mine

I am still in the research process of becoming a digital nomad. I created a profile on upwork about two weeks ago and have been checking the job postings there every few days. I was hopeful that the site would find me some freelance work soon, but I’m still looking. Which probably means I need to edit my profile a little and take more time when applying for jobs.

Today I read “How to become a digital nomad“, by Johannes. In his article, he talks about the good and bad things about being a digital nomad. He also says it’s easy to become one (I’m hoping he’s right), even if you don’t have online skills (which I do, so I may be ahead in the game). He then lays out 10 steps to help people get some online skills so that they can a  become a digital nomad. At the end of his post, he has a link to another article that talks about jobs and skills that allow you to work from anywhere.

Johannes site was an incredible find! If you are looking into becoming a digital nomad like I am, I highly suggest looking at what he has to say.

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I went to Petoskey, MI (where I grew up) last weekend. I got in at sunset and then spent the next few days on the boat. It was a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Digital Nomad

About two weeks after I stated on FB that I wanted to make a living traveling a friend on mine shared a great article with me.

What I learned When I Gave Up the “9 to 5”

In the article, Jacob Laukaitis talks about how the job market nowadays differs from how things were 50 years ago. He, like so many others, have given up their office jobs and are living more exciting and fulfilling lives. It is nice to see I’m not the only one who wants more freedom and finds happiness in traveling. I just hope I can find some people who are willing to help me to figure out how to jump-start my life as a digital nomad.

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This is a photo I took in Hawaii on a ride down the mountain from Makawao, Hawaii to Paia, Hawaii in the fall of 2014.

Hello

I’m always dreaming… Of grand ideas or exciting adventures. I could probably fill one (or maybe two) of those Mead Composition Notebooks, with business ideas and places I want to visit. But instead of wasting paper, I will see how much of internet I can take over. 😛

Of course, this blog is going to be all about the travels I want to take, all the places I go, and the things I learn and experience along the way. I initially wanted to do my own web hosting for the blog, but my finances are not stable enough for that to happen yet. Hopefully, I will be able to host my site in the next few months.

I am a huge culture (why else would I have a BA in Sociology and Anthropology) and food buff (foods a really big deal in the house I grew up in). When I go places, I try to observe and learn as much about a culture as I can. I like going to cultural events and visiting historic sites. When it comes to food I will try anything once (I tried pig intestines in Korea though I wasn’t a fan), I like finding small local joints and eating local favorites.

Aside from history, culture, and food I like nature. I love hiking into woods and jungles, watching waves in the ocean, and standing at the tops of mountains/hills looking at the landscape. My love of nature probably come from the fact I grew up surrounded by it and was forced (willingly) to spend time in it.

My preferred method of travel is via train or bicycle. I love watching the foreign landscape pass by from the window of a train. I love exploring my current vacation spot by bicycle; you can get further than on foot and get to see more than you do on a bus.

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I took this photo on Front St. at sunset in Lahaina, Hawaii in fall 2014.