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Tag: adventure

The road trip that was more road than trip

The day before New Years Eve Joel and I were sitting around the house. We had talked on and off about going to Denver to see our favorite band Five Iron Frenzy play with Project 86 and Showbread. Normally getting to Denver is a piece of cake as it’s only a free, three hour flight thanks to my benefits. The issue with my benefits is the free ticket is standby. Trying to fly standby around the holidays is a giant, stressful, ridiculous headache at best and completely impossible at worst. It just wasn’t an option. Then, when we calculated the cost of gas, car rental and hotels for the several days we’d need to stay to make the drive worth it we really couldn’t afford the trip.

Except Sunday rolled around and Joel kept sighing and commenting about how Project 86 was filming a music video and how it would have been so cool to go. Sigh. Mope. Sigh.

(I may be exaggerating the sighing. A tad.)

And then I’d had it. I could tell he was super bummed about not going so I just said screw it. We can take our own car. We only have to get a hotel for one night. AND my mom had given us a gas card for Christmas. Plus, we’ve done last minute, crazy trips before (hello, flying to Australia to see a movie) and never once have we regretted it. In fact, those are always our favorite memories.

It took a few hours of back and forth, should we shouldn’t we, convincing before I got Joel on board. And then we threw a few things in a suitcase and walked out the door.

After dropping the dog off at puppy Disneyland Joel’s mom’s house we were on the road by about 8pm.

And by 8:40pm I was sound asleep. In theory I was going to take a quick nap so I could keep him up when he was tired later but other than bathroom breaks I basically slept through until 10am.

Sleeping

Road trip companion fail.

Well rested and perky I took over driving for about 2 hours and Joel dozed for about 30 minutes. I try not to take the fact that he can’t sleep while I drive personally. *side eye*

We finally rolled into town around 2:30pm and crashed in our amazingly comfortable king sized bed in the suite we paid $8 for (thank you Hotels.com credit!) in as much time as it took us to rip off our gross travel clothes.

Two hours later we were up and at the show, me quite well rested after a billion hours of sleep plus a nap and Joel… well he had lots of caffeine.

Joel Red Bull

The show was fantastic.

FIF NYE

Joel and me NYE

It’s a bit weird for me going to concerts pregnant since I have to hang back. Normal me is right down front in the crowd rocking out but pregnant me has to worry about accidentally getting bumped wrong and speaker volume. I still had a lot of fun and everyone at our table had the bonus of someone to watch their phones and coats while they jumped around. They even bought me a drink to thank me.

drink

And by drink I mean water in a Bud Light cup. But sipping on it with my big belly amused me.

Since Joel has worked with Five Iron I’ve gotten to know the band members and they are just such genuine, amazing people. I’m so glad I can consider them not just a great band but also friends.

Leanor and me

We finally got back to the hotel around 2:30am, immediately requested a late check out and passed. out.

The drive back I was a much better travel companion. I also discovered that driving through Iowa and Nebraska is only fun if you’re unconscious. Barely any phone signal, lousy radio… luckily Joel bought me Adventures in Odyssey CDs for Christmas and between that and conversation we kept each other pretty well entertained.

roadtrip Joel and me

Seven months pregnant, 23 hours in Denver, 39.5 hours of traveling, 2,000 miles, 8 gazillion potty breaks.

Worth it.

When we were debating going I posted about it on Facebook and lots of people said to go because soon you’ll have a baby and you’ll never do fun things ever again.

Or maybe they were slightly less dramatic but that was the idea.

I know that is the case for some people but we are lucky enough to have some role models in our lives that have shown us that our life does not have to be over just because we reproduced. Obviously I expect our life will change. I’m not completely naive. However, when Baby Boy is a bit older I plan to go back to flying full time. I also plan to have Joel and Baby Boy come with me as often as possible.

Life is as much of an adventure as you make it. I want to raise my son to love adventure and plan to show him the world his whole life. It’s a big world, it’ll take awhile, so I’ll need to start early.

Luggage and other packing type dilemmas

One week and one day from tomorrow we leave for India. Holy moly it’s coming up so fast. I’m so excited but also nervous. The thing I’m nervous about? Packing. I feel totally lost.

First of all I’m going to have to raid some thrift stores for clothing because I’m pretty sure I have next to nothing that’s appropriate to wear there. Either I actually like it and don’t want to risk it getting ruined or it’s not culturally appropriate. I’m hoping I can find some cute-ish, cheap skirts and a couple tops (although not really sure what I’m looking for in the top department) and then I’ll just buy a couple things in country. From what I’ve read stuff is really cheap and easy to find there. So I may be better off only packing an outfit or two and finding the rest there. We’ll see what kind of treasures the thrift stores around here hold.

I also want to look into buying some sandals. From what I understand that’s the footwear of choice there. All I really have are some cute but fairly uncomfortable ones or flip flops. Hiking sandals that I’ve seen around here are kind of pricey so I can’t decide if they’re worth buying or not. Blah.

Then there’s the whole luggage situation. See, I can pack pretty light if I need to. Actually, it’s more I can fit a whole lot into a very small amount of space. I never take anything but my airline issued rollerboard and tote bag. No matter the length of the trip I can fit everything in there.

Except, we’re not really going to be in the same place the whole time. The last thing I want is to be dragging my rollerboard around on dirt roads and on and off buses. Or worse, rickshaws! That would never work.

So the plan is to take backpacks. Joel and I have one that I’m pretty sure he’ll be able to fit his stuff into. Then there’s me. The idea of fitting everything for the trip into one tiny little carry on sized backpack seems impossible. We looked into hiking packs but all of them are technically too big to carry on. The ones that are regulation size seem so itty bitty. I mean seriously, I’m positive I’ve seen people carry on way bigger bags than them. But we measured and I even checked Lufthansa’s website. So now I don’t know if I should just buy a non regulation size and hope I don’t have to check it and if they make me then hope they don’t lose my bag. I hate the idea of checking luggage. Not because it costs money (which I actually think on Lufthansa you can check one bag for free) but because I hate that it could get lost. I like to be in control of my stuff at all times. I may have issues.

Everything else we’re pretty good on. I’m going to look into some dry shampoo since I’d like to take as few toiletries as possible. I’m not sure if it works very well though. Anyone know anything about it? I also have to find some sort of very small travel towel. I’m thinking I can find something like that in some outdoor store.

And…. I think that’s all. Is it crazy to take such a small amount of stuff? I am a chronic over packer and never ever use everything I take. Still, the idea of only taking a small backpack makes me really anxious.

It’s probably because I’ve never actually been anywhere like India really. I don’t know what to expect or how easy it will be to get things I need if I forget/decide not to pack them. If it were Europe it’d be no problem. I know what to expect in places like that.

All of this is part of the adventure though and I know it’s going to be amazing. Not knowing what to expect is part of the excitment. I feel like I’m clicking up the first climb of a giant roller coaster. I have butterflies in my stomach and I almost want to scream at someone to stop the ride.

I know it’s going to be a great ride though and the butterflies are just part of the fun.

Lost in a sea of orange

I finally have internet here again which means I can finally post about the game. Yes I used finally twice in the same sentence. I’m that excited, ok?

It was quite the experience. I’ve had two weeks now to process everything but it’s still hard for me to put into words exactly how it felt to be there. I went alone which was ok. It was kind of disappointing because I was supposed to meet a friend but she ended up getting sick. Getting there on the train was a bit of a fiasco, involving a ticket mix up but that could be a post all by itself.

Once I arrived in Amsterdam I made my way through the sea of orange to Museumplein.

It was funny because as I was walking down this main street I realized that I didn’t actually know exactly how to get to Museumplein. I mean, I’ve been there dozens of times but it’d been years. I had a general idea so I decided to just follow the masses of people. They all seemed to be walking in the same general direction. It worked out but I did end up taking a rather round about way. Turns out, not everyone in Amsterdam was going to Museumplein to watch the game. Psh.

One of the things I love most about the Dutch is their enthusiasm for all things Nederland. The orange outfits ranged from impressive to just hilarious.

This? Was probably not even the weirdest outfit there. Just the weirdest I got a picture of.

The area was set up to hold 100,000 people. They estimated there were 180,000 people there. When I say we were like sardines I’m not exaggerating even a little. There were times I was moving through the crowd and my feet weren’t even touching the ground. I’ve been to many rock concerts and outdoor festivals but I have never been in a crowd that was this jam packed. Generally in big crowds there are breathing areas where people are spaced out a bit more. Not here. We were shoved, shoulder to shoulder as far as you could see. If you could see the screen, you were smooshed up against people on all sides.

Oh right, have I mentioned that Dutch people are statistically the tallest people in the world? Yup. Have I also mentioned that I’m 5’4″? So when I mentioned seeing the screen I really meant the people who were 6′ and above.

This picture (and all crowd shots) I took on my very tippy toes with my hand stretched as high above my head as I possibly could.

Not even joking, this…

was my view for about half the game. Not actually bad to look at per se, but also not exactly what I came to see. My head was barely at their armpit height. Halfway through I decided to move around. I never actually found a good spot to watch from so I basically took my cues from the crowd as to what was going on in the game.

This is my very favorite picture from the trip. It was clearly a very intense moment in the game.

Being in the big crowd alone was overwhelming to say the least. Not that I was nervous or felt unsafe but it’s amazing how alone you can feel when everyone around you has a group. There were friendly people but mostly guys and I’m pretty sure it was mainly for ulterior motives. Actually, their motives were fairly clear in certain cases. One group of four guys was so excited that they put me in the middle and humped me from all sides. Fun. Another guy asked me (for his ::cough:: friend) if I “wanted to have sex because he’s very horny”. Charming. It didn’t bother me necessarily but it would have been nice to have my own group of people.

By the way, it was hot. The Netherlands is supposed to be all mild with the weather. You know, mid 70’s in the summer. Beautiful. Not this summer though. At one point it was 93 degrees. Ninety-freakin-three degrees. That, combined with the fact that there was copious amounts of alcohol being consumed and we were crammed together like cattle, made for a seriously smelly experience.

At one point a helicopter flew over and dropped orange gerber daisies on the crowd. It was very pretty but also perhaps to help with the smell? Please ignore my incredibly sweaty bangs. Gross. Also notice the guy next to me is several inches shorter than I am. Poor dude couldn’t see anything either. We would have commiserated about it together but he only spoke French and Spanish. Ah well.

The noise level was unbelievable. Not only was there cheering and yelling and singing but the vuvuzelas. Oh the vuvuzelas. Also, air horns. I’m not sure what’s worse. Honestly? I’m leaning towards the air horns. At least they have to stop when the user needs a breath. It was noisiest before the game started. While they were playing there were moments where the quiet was almost eerie considering how many people were there. It was quickly followed by shouts of excitement or disappointment but some moments the tension was something you could actually feel. That was the best part of being in that insane crowd, feeling every emotion of the game times 180,000.

Yes, there were moments when I was beyond disgusted. First off the smell, which I have already mentioned. Then there was the time I watched a guy just pee, right in front of me, in the middle of the crowd. He didn’t want to lose his spot. At that moment I was never so happy to be wearing tennis shoes instead of sandals. I may have looked like a dumb tourist but at least my toes weren’t anywhere near touching that filthy ground. There was also the beer flying through the air (why do people waste perfectly good beer? I don’t get it.) Then the vomit. And God only know what other liquids.

Amsterdam is generally a very clean city. Not so much when there’s a game apparently.

I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t stay for the entire game. About three quarters of the way through I went to the edge of the crowd. I just couldn’t handle being smashed against so many strangers anymore. It wasn’t like I could actually see anyway. I did stay until Spain scored their goal. There were only a few minutes left so I knew it was over. Plus? I. was. dead.

See? Dead.

I wanted to catch a train as fast as humanly possible. I knew that I would only be ahead of most of the crowd by a bit but I hoped that it was enough of a head start that I could maybe get a seat. It worked. I had to stand until the first stop and after that I was able to sit down. I really needed to sit down, see above picture as evidence.

What an incredible experience it was. I really am glad I went. There were moments where I doubted my sanity in going. The train trouble getting there, the intensity of braving the enormous crowd alone and the stress of getting a flight home all made me wonder if it had been worth it. In the end I really think it was. It’s a story I’ll always have. That’s really why I did it, for the adventure.

And boy, from start to finish, what an adventure it was.

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