Keeping It Real

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Snow, not road dust.

I want to be totally honest…

I hate negativity.

I am a Midwest/Great Plains, proud, independent, gal. I was born and raised in a moderately large town, for us country folks. I strive to keep a positive outlook. I focus on the silver linings of situations. I consider myself a nice person. I immediately fall into the standard finger wave when my tires touch gravel roads. I can drive a sports car, a 4×4 pickup truck, a John Deere tractor, an all terrain 4-wheeler, a massive Case combine, plus a myriad of farm implements and city toys. I sail, jet-ski, even tried my hand at steering a speed boat on the Missouri River. Heck if you let me I can drive a riding lawn mower, maneuver a horse down a tree lined trail or peddle my bike on one of the many bike paths in Nebraska.

I have experienced all sorts of road conditions, snow, mud, gravel, ice, and even the destructive tendencies of “white rock”. The roads department version of speed bumps. These small boulders of white death are spread along the gravel back roads of Nebraska. For miles at a time it seems a truck loaded with them has seemingly opened its back gate, dumped them while driving, and forgot to spread them around. You will be cruising along on an unsuspecting gravel road, then BAM! Your tires slip. Your once forward momentum stalls, feeling like you’ve entered quicksand with the added benefit of sharp meteors striking the underneath of your vehicle.  I am sure there is scientific evidence that this plague of large marble sized, (the shooters, not the mibs~but that’s a whole other post) rough edged, chalky rocks is a better alternative to the tiny gravel stones of my youth, but I am failing to see it’s merits.

I believe in road trips, country drives, business commutes, luxury leisure travel, your basic ‘point A to point B’ transportation. I love the freedom of being in charge of my own mode of travel. I embrace driving to see the world around me. Yet sometimes it is time to let go. Turn over the proverbial reins to someone else.

Which is why I will drive for hours to reach a large airport just to fly Spirit Airlines. Not the airline you thought I would say, huh? Spirit Airlines is a low-cost, 2 star rated*, controversial airline. Their current ad campaign is ‘It’s the age of Aquarius’. The slogan for the company is ‘Less Money. More Go.’ They are the ‘Home of the Bare Fare’. It seems their marketing department has yet to graduate high school.

Yet, in my sunshine attitude, I can look at all of those aforementioned reasons not to fly and fly with them over and over again. I have never had a bad experience with this airline. For all the negative hype around this carrier, I have yet to encounter it. I look with a critical eye at all my travel adventures. I report straight back to you, I refuse to lead you astray. I can’t even stay in a hotel anymore without critiquing every little detail.

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Ready for take off!

So when I book my air travel I am very serious about who I turn those reins over to. I know exactly what I am getting each time I fly with them. My inexpensive seats will have little to no leg room for my almost 6 foot frame. The width of my seat will accommodate my former 16 year old self. The drinks, snacks, bags and check-in will cost more, if I choose to open my wallet.

I know those things. They spell it out on all of their connections with me. I am responsible for my own self (see this is where that ‘independent gal’ comes in). I know I will have a seat on the flight, I chose it. I know I will have my boarding pass, I printed it. I know my bag is small enough to be a personal item to avoid baggage fees, I packed it.

I have been fortunate enough to fly the Red-Eye to Vegas (both ways). I have enjoyed stretching my legs in my own row for a flight. I loved arriving at my destination almost 45 minutes early, due to a tail-wind and an excellent flight crew, much to the stress of my greeting party. Now I will have the opportunity to fly with Spirit Airlines for my teenagers first ever flight. Yep that’s right, my teenagers have never flown. Your travel guru, road trip maven, adventure seeking, Soul Experiencing Guide, has never taken her teenagers on an airplane. Once again, that is a whole other post. :-)

I personally would recommend Spirit Airlines any time you need to fly a short distance, unexpectedly, or inexpensively. The flight staff is friendly, they live up to their slogan, and most of all they safely get me to where I need to go, when I don’t want to drive.

Travel well, my friends.

*Skytrax 2015 rating. Retrieved July 25, 2015

2016

New Beginnings

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That is the mantra we all hear this time of the year.

Fresh Start

Better Choices

Resolutions

New Beginnings

I am worn out by all the hype. Yes, it is a new year. Yes, 2016 can be viewed as a ‘fresh start’, but why? Why can’t 2016 be another year full of exceptional experiences?

We resolve to get in shape. Why not make choices everyday to do something healthy for yourself? A simple walk, an apple instead of a candy bar, water not soda. Maybe not everything all at once. Choose one simple activity to practice. The beginning of a new year doesn’t need to be the motivation. Loving yourself should be.

Promises are made to ourselves to manage our finances better. Accomplish this everyday. Be thankful for all the monetary blessings in your life, no matter how big or how small. Do not spend beyond your means, even if it feels good. Instant gratification is just that, not a long term gratification. A date on the calendar is not going to magically transform you into Warren Buffett.

A new year=same you

And that is okay.

No, it is more than okay. It is exceptional.

We are creatures of passion. We look for reasons to push ourselves to whatever limit we are reaching for. The world is waiting but first you must be the fastest, the richest, the prettiest, or however you view your goal. I am not saying don’t reach for your dreams and goals. I am saying to be reasonable with yourself.

Failure is also natural. Attempting to find fault in those failures is obsolete. It is an unnecessary negative, in a world of insurmountable negatives. Embracing what does work is just as important as acknowledging what does not.

Allow yourself a break from the Resolution Merry-Go-Round at this time of year. Put away doubt. Enjoy your exceptional qualities. Take today to be you.

Travel well, my friends

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Helpless

 

 I stood watching, from the security of my front porch, the red and blue lights illuminating the night. What could I do? What was really happening? Do I risk my personal safety for strangers? I felt helpless, except for my silent pleads for safety for all invovled. Another onlooker stepped in, ushering the tiny, shocked crowd to the warmth of his nearby home. A small round face with bed tousled hair, clinging to the neck of the loved one carrying her, moved into the flood lights of the emergency vehicles. Sleep had not yet left her cherubic features. Her pink and purple PJ’s ensconced her on this dreary, wet, night. Her eyes rested on me, full of questions, desiring answers. Not quite sure she was safe yet.

Neighbors a few doors down and across our brick paved street had a small fire last night. Shortly after I arrived home emergency sirens filled the air with the announcement that someone’s life is in serve, unexpected transition. As our sleepy street was transformed into a hub of assistance for the family, neighbors came out to look on. 

I felt helpless. I felt saddened that I did not know this family that lived and played just a few short steps from my home. Action finally overcame my fear of the unknown. I went to this stranger and in the midst of panic offered my feeble introduction. I did not have any idea where my words would lead me.  I did not know what I could possibly offer, but I could not just stand by and watch without doing something. My feeling of helplessness overwhelmed my fears and I moved forward. Contact information, an offer of warm drinks, blankets, and ill-fitting shoes was all I could think of to give. 

The helpless feeling abated. My smile and heartfelt concern for individuals I had never met was contagious. A weak smile crossed his face. Friends came by hearled by the wave of technology pushed information. Thanks were out poured, hugs were given, just a simple reasurrance that no one should walk alone when lives are shifting.

Reach out to the community you travel in. Our transitions can pull us together. Overcome anything that tries to hold you back from doing what is right. Immerse yourself in life. Smile when you want to frown. Life is beautiful, even in all of it’s flaws!

Travel Well My Friends

  

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Life

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Life points us in the direction we need to be moving. Our faiths take us to places we feel we need to be. No longer should we be confined to small sections of this planet nor should we be led to massive monuments with the destination being the only experience we enjoy.

Tourism is dead. The traditional, move from point A to point B, way of touring this magical sphere is over.  The days of experiential travel are here!

Travel is alive! 

But wait, you ask, ‘I thought that was the business you are in?’ Soul Experiences is in the Experiential Group Travel industry.  If you Google search ‘Tourism’, ‘Group Travel’, ‘Tour and Travel’, ‘Tours’, you will find us and a myriad of other tourism companies. These are words you will here from us still but our focus is the journey, together. Sure we will see lots of the “must sees” of this world but while we are rolling down the road to our destination the journey will be exceptional.  Gone are the days of disconnected tour guides and questions left unanswered!

Do not cling to the familiar, explore the journey! Every time we travel we learn. We learn we are more alike in our differences than we once believed. We learn we need experiences to grow and be fulfilled. Experiences are not gained exclusively by aging. Wisdom from our age, only adds to our soul experiences. Experiences are the stepping stones of a fulfilled, soulful life’s journey.

Travel Well My Friends!

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Happy Good Friday?

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He suffered and died on the cross, so that we would be free from death.

The alter was stripped of all it’s adornments last night at the church service.  The choir sang the 22nd Psalm, hauntingly beautiful voices hung in the air.  The lights were dimmed making the usually bright sanctuary feel small and oppressive.  We sat in silence watching the black drape rise to cover the image of Christ.  It is a very somber service.

Tonight we will attend the Good Friday service.  The alter will still be barren.  The lights will still be turned low.  The feeling in the air will still be of sadness. 

Why then should we celebrate?  Because this is not the end.  This is the beginning.  We know He died for us!  We know that His death brings us eternal life!  That in these somber remembrances, our lives are forever changed!

Happy Good Friday!  

Holy Week Humor

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You know you are Lutheran when the coffee and treats portion of morning prayer service lasts longer than the service!  :-)

Holy week begins on Palm Sunday.  We celebrate the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem as a king!  It is a celebratory day.  We sing his praises in remembrance of His triumphant entrance to a city, he knew, he would be persecuted and die.  The culmination of Holy week progresses with silence on the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  The church does not ignore these three days but not much is going on either and yet I find them significant.

This is the time Jesus spent his last days with his disciples.  These few precious last days before Evil seeped into the hearts of many.  Where shouts of Alleluias turned to cries of anger.  Where corruption ruled and money spoke volumes.

These three days before Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday take the stage are calm, meditative days for me.  I seek prayerful beginnings, lingering evenings and ample time for reflection.  I attended our morning pray service at my home congregation.  I found a community of souls who to enjoy the meditative qualities of starting your day with reflection, together.  It was refreshing to see young and old, worshiping in a small setting.  After the service we all moved off to a meeting room filled with coffee and pastries.  Where we took the time to share and laugh with each other before heading off to our work days.

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday in the church.  We celebrate The Last Supper and remember our Savior washing his friends feet.  All the while, knowing what weight he would soon carry for the sake of the world.

Have a blessed Holy Day.  Remember our Saviors humble actions, with a kind and forgiving heart.

Travel well my friends.