Posts Tagged With: layover

…5 years later

What makes her happy trails so happy? Let me just share a few reasons that have recently been amplified in this beautiful journey I call life. 
First off, we have this glorious planet offering a variety of stunning landscapes and wondrous elements. Then there’s the creatures that keep us intrigued from under the sea to the tops of the highest peaks. Let’s not forgot the loving, creative, crazy humans that enhance the entire magnificent experience.

My last post wrapped up a season in Barbados which sends me off on another trip back to the states to see family and friends. Before I get to that, let’s acknowledge another happy part of these trails. Connection! Simply one of my favorite things about traveling. You meet a stranger on a bus, in a hostel, the line at a market, no matter where the universe allows it, your paths are supposed to cross. Maybe just for that moment, or continuing through a week of friendship along the trail, or even for a lifetime. It’s magical when you recognize a purpose behind every smile you connect with. 

Exactly 5 years ago, I was on one my first solo international trips. I say “solo”, but although I planned this alone, it was on a semi-guided tour with a company called Contiki.. The route took me and 2 dozen other travelers from Italy to France, down through Monaco and ended in Spain where I parted from the group. 

Along the way I met a dozen or so wonderful people that I’m still in touch with today. Here’s a few meeting to reunion photos!

The most recent reconnection was during my travels from Barbados to Oklahoma with an unexpected magical pit stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had a 14 hour layover which meant I had a typical over night stay which entails a cold airport floor with the sounds of the custodians popping chewing gum over the humming of their vacuum. I invite you to check out the posts called Work out and rest up in Asian airports and Floor seats in the Lima airport, unforgettable nights for sure! I’m usually bundled up with every heavy piece of clothing item in my backpack in order to endure the below comfortable temperatures while using my backpack as a makeshift cot. The morning consists of me walking the terminals to get the blood flowing again while waiting for the cafes to open so I can get a cup of hot water for the one single tea bag I keep in my wallet. I take a wet wipe shower in the bathroom and although I brush my teeth with real paste and actual water (verses spit and shine in the back of a camper), it still feels like I have backpackers breath as I board my flight with one eye open and the fleeting thought, “I forgot deodorant”. 

Think 14 hours seems a bit much? Check out 51 hours to get 1/2 way around the world!

Well not this time folks! World meet Karyne (pronounced cuh-reen) She’s another one of the amazing friends I first met in Rome back in 2011. After parting ways in the streets of Spain, Karyne and I remained in contact through good ol Facebook. Now, she’s offered not only her home but a lift to and from the airport and an unexpected dinner out. I sat here for too long trying to think of a creative name for the award she should recieve for her hospitality. I felt so welcome and we spoke like it was just yesterday that we were sipping sangria on the famous Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

Here is our then and now pic (sorry for the blurry photo, it was a good night in France).

Her house was right up my alley with instruments, personal artwork and a beverage cart for all to share. 

What was completely foreign to me however, was her spare room aka her closet!

The morning after our catch up session we hustled back to the airport to say our farewells as I departed for my final stop. Such a better ride than the usual airport shuttle!
Bonus highlight! I met this adorable couple on the flight over. Amanda and Tyler share a passion towards biology, art and travel. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see them again, but I can only expect exceptional things in their future. Thanks for the stimulating conversation and supportive energy towards spreading the joy of travel! 

In the next post you’ll see what Oklahoma has to offer me but I’ll close this write up with a collage that shows 3 roads I traveled in 3 consecutive days. Gotta love the beauty in variety! Barbados-Florida-Oklahoma

Categories: Accommodations, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ll have the mystery meal please.

Yes, I’m the girl next to you on the flight that brings out the buffet of food that I’ve stored in my carry on. Pre-cut veggies, dips, fruit, nuts, crackers and so on. I usually just say “No thank you” when they offer the complementary meal, as I’ve never been a fan of the mystery meat and dinner roll they serve you. This round I thought I’d branch out a bit after I realizing that you get options for specific meals as long as you request it at least 48 hours before your flight. Why not?

First up is a short flight from Chiang Mai Thailand to Bangkok. I picked “Vegetarian” since I had some pumpkin seeds with me and I figured it would be a decent combo. I was served fruit, raw veggies, salsa and a side salad of raw veggies with a dinner roll. Good thing I wasn’t battling hunger (and it was a quick flight) so I just wrapped it up to take on the go.


First snack of the journey? Leftovers from the previous flight (seen above) with those pumpkin seeds I had in my carry on.


Next flight was a bit longer traveling from Bangkok to Shanghai, China. For this journey I previously selected “Gluten Free”. They served me poached eggs, steamed vegetables, two servings of fruit and some sort of gluten free bread (I’m assuming made from rice). Please keep in mind this is all for the experience and hopes for something new on a flight. I am in no way intolerant or allergic to any foods nor am I a proper vegetarian. I simply love food and surprises! For this one, I chose to eat the eggs and toast and save the fruit for a separate snack.


What’s this… left over pumpkin seeds? Perfect!


I still had a few hours to go while waiting in China, so I busted out my other carry-on meal which was a packet of miso soup. In the Shanghai airport, they have machines that deliver complimentary warm, hot or boiling water. You’d think this would be common, but more often than not, hot water is hard to find. I usually carry my own tea and oatmeal so I’m frequently in search of a cafe that will just put hot water in a cup for me or I settle for paying for the water since they “have to heat it”.


Quick photo break! Here’s a few shots from the airport in Shanghai, clean with an open layout and traditional shopping options.





Moving on to the flight from China to Tokyo, Japan. I wasn’t able to pre-select my choice for this 2 1/2 hour jaunt, so when the stewardess came around, I just asked for which ever had the most vegetables. My surprise platter consisted of fruit, rice crackers, veggies, potatoes, beef and a chicken salad. For dessert (I think) was what looked like a firm white custard-type jiggly puck shaped item.


Although I’m not a vegetarian, I’m certainly a picky meat eater and airplane beef and questionable chicken is far from my first choice of protein. With that said, I transferred all of the veggies to one dish, stashed the rice crackers for later and offered the rest to my neighbor (a teenage boy that was eager for more food). Even he stared at the “dessert” for awhile and with a confused look just covered it up with his napkin.

Landing back in Tokyo my mind is satisfied with the experiment and my stomach is horribly confused and probably a little frustrated with me. Oh we’ll, I’m still happy, healthy and no longer have extreme curiosity of the meals I’ve always skipped on flights.

Hello Japan, home sweet home? For now.

Categories: Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Floor seats in the Lima airport

This is when “Her Happy Trails” has a slight bump into “Her not so Happy Trails”. During my 19 hour trip from Quito to Arequipa, I met some incredible people, took some amazing photos and then instead of pushing “import”, I pushed “delete”! Did your heart just break like mine did? Let me follow that sentence with the full gratitude that I am safe, healthy and still have all of my belongings. Always need to be thankful for the positive side, right?


Ive departed from Quito and have now checked in for the beginning of my 9 hour layover in Lima Peru. Due to the fact that I had the entire night in the airport, I figured a hot tea and free wifi was a great way to burn some time. Now imagine a vibrant brazillian girl about my age with an unmistakable glow, sitting at a Starbucks coffee table with the only empty chair across from her. I asked to sit with her and in minutes we were chatting away about well, everything! Our conversation felt like two friends that had finally reunited, taking time to share similar traveling stories all the way to discussing the beauty of being in love.

Visualize a photo here of a gorgeous girl with happiness radiating from her eyes. Marcella, you were a such a joy and perhaps I’ll see you in another path crossing!

After a comfortable visit, she offered me the other half of her dinner (which you know cost a bit in the airport) and a sincere hug goodbye. Dinner, tea and a new friend in the first two hours. What a beautiful start!

By this time, it’s 10:30pm and I don’t depart until 5:30am. A stroll around the airport takes you in circles staring with a blank gaze at the over priced souvenirs and sugar filled snack options. This is where the picture was supposed to be of a massive mountain of every candy you could imagine to be purchased by the weight.

I decided to plop down (because sitting is what you do in a chair) and stretch out on the floor. What’s that… Are my ears deceiving me? I hear a familiar song that comes from my home state of California being played. It’s clearly not on the radio and the vocals are in an original tune. I have another 7 hours to find out where this gift is coming from! I didn’t need to search long as I rounded the corner, there sat an adorable guy with his backpack as a cushion and his guitar in hand. I had no hesitation to plop down directly across from him (this time more gracefully of course, due to his magnetic smile) and enjoy the music.

After having floor seats to his private show, we started to chat the usual “where are you from… Why are here…etc.” Instead of describing (and possibly boring you) I’ll just say it was yet another easy conversation with a friend that I was just catching it up with. His genuine smile and kind eyes matched his positive personality that I truly hope to connect with again. Considering he’s based in LA, another long layover might be in my near future!

David, I’m so sorry that the priceless photos I took of you were deleted, this simply means we need a retake! I cheers to your experiences that led you to the cold floor in Lima… honored to have been apart of it.

They say “time flies when you’re having fun”, or in my case, when you’re reconnecting with new friends. It’s now 2am and I figure a nap would be better than nothing at all, so I headed to my gate and dozed off to be woken up with the boarding call to Arequipa.

I survived the flight which was one of the most turbulence filled that I’ve had in awhile and collect my bags. Red eyed yet thrilled to be back in Peru, I see my ride to the hotel where I had reservations. I thought for sure, it was my exhaustion when I was struggling to comprehend his sign.

As if I didn’t need another reason to smile, look at what they thought my name was… this HAS to be me!


Next post in Arequipa… Sneak peak!


Categories: Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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