<![CDATA[Stacy Takes Flight - Blog]]>Thu, 03 Dec 2015 06:37:31 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[5 THINGS TO RESEARCH BEFORE ANY TRIP]]>Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:41:34 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/5-things-to-research-before-any-tripWhenever you travel to a new part of the world, you will inevitably experience something different than home.  That's why we like to travel, right?  But while every place you visit is different, there are five questions I like to ask before leaving home.  Questions that a quick Google search, a visit to a travel blog (like StacyTakesFlight.com) or a Facebook post to friends and family can easily answer. 

1)  What is the local food specialty?

One of the best parts of traveling is trying some of the unique cuisine that different regions are known for.  From empanadas in Argentina to Turkish delights in Turkey to pulpo a la feira in Galicia, Spain, my tastebuds have been pleasantly (and sometimes unpleasantly) surprised on my travels.  Getting a sense of the local flavor by knowing what - and where - to eat can give you a much more authentic sense of a place.

2)  Is there a free walking tour?

I've talked about free walking tours before, but they are worth bringing up again.  What better way to get to know the layout, history and fun facts of a city than by walking around town for an hour or two with an enthusiastic guide?  (Especially a guide working for tips who is genuinely interested in showing you a good time!)  Some of the best free tours I've been on were Feel the City in Granada, New Rome Free Tour in Rome and Sandeman's New Europe tour in Madrid (they operate in 18 cities!).

3)  Which top tourist attractions are must-see's?

TripAdvisor is my favorite resource for uncovering the most popular and obscure attractions, and reading a few reviews (especially if you filter by the type of traveler whose opinions you would like to see) will quickly tell you if it is worth your time.  Some must-see sites like the Alhambra or Colosseum may require tickets in advance or are less crowded at certain times of day.  It will save a lot of time (and stress) to know these tips in advance so you can plan the rest of your trip around them.

4)  What should I drink?

On a recent trip to Disney World, a stop at the Coca Cola "Club Cool" at Epcot Center introduced me to a new world of soft drinks.  Instead of the usual Coke, Diet Coke and such, the fountain dispensers were full of the most popular soft drinks from countries across the world.  If you are lucky enough to travel beyond Orlando, think back to Disney and try to taste the local drinks wherever you end up.

Sure, you can always order a craft beer or glass of wine from a nearby vineyard (which I definitely like to do), but there is often a lot more to local beverages than what may initially come to mind.  From Turkish coffee to Moroccan tea; Valencia's horchata to Switzerland's Rivella, there are drinks hot and cold, sweet and refreshing that are unique and deserve to be tasted... be sure to ask your waiter / bartender / taxi driver!

5)  What is culturally relevant?

As a sports enthusiast, I love finding out about the local favorites wherever I travel.  Soccer (or football), for example, is extremely popular outside of the US, and I was lucky enough to be in three countries during the 2014 World Cup where I cheered for the home team alongside bars full of locals!  I have yet to catch a soccer game in person, but there's always next time! 

Aside from local sports, music and art are among my favorite cultural things to explore when traveling to a new place.  I've been to the opera in Vienna and a traditional music 'session' in Ireland.  I've even been to a rock concert in Buenos Aires to see a great band that never made it to the US charts.  Taking a look at event calendars on city websites or in free magazines found in many shops and restaurants are great resources for finding out what is going on while you are in town.
<![CDATA[HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR WEEKEND GETAWAY IN 7 EASY STEPS]]>Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:28:51 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/how-to-maximize-your-weekend-getaway-in-7-easy-stepsWhether you are taking a long weekend away from work, checking out a neighboring city while studying abroad or backpacking across the world, you want to make the most of your limited time in a new and exciting place.  After returning from three months of traveling alone in Europe, I thought I would put together my top five recommendations for making the most of short trips.  Bon voyage!

1)  Map it out

Google Maps is my best friend when organizing a trip.  If you are going to Bangkok, for example, chances are you have some ideas of where you want to go, but no idea where they are in relation to one another.  I love plotting out the must-see's in a new city to get an idea of which attractions, neighborhoods, shops, or restaurants should be visited in the same day because of location.  

I also like to make notes for each pin in advance such as hours of operation, a recommended meal or metro stop.  Doing this bit of research and organizing in advance can end up saving you a lot of time and confusion on your trip.

2)  Set an alarm

To me, there is a difference between vacation and a trip.  Vacation is the relaxing and lazy beach time that I almost never have, but a trip is the often exhausting exploration of new cities and their cultures.  So whenever I am taking a trip in a new place, and especially when my time there is limited, I make sure to set my alarm and/or get a wake up call so that I can maximize my day and not sleep it away (which has been known to happen!).  

The first few minutes may be rough but once you're up and look out the window, you will be glad you have those extra few hours to enjoy a local breakfast, skip the lines at the famous museum or fit in that one activity you didn't think you had time for.

3)  Stretch the dollar (or Euro... or Pound...) when abroad

Costs add up quickly when traveling, so being smart about how you spend is as important as what you're spending on.  The best exchange rate is generally when you take money out of an ATM, NOT when you exchange cash at the airport kiosk.  But your bank many charge a fee for withdrawing in a foreign country.  So depending on how long you will be away or how many countries / currencies you will face, either sign up for a fee-free account or estimate how much cash you will need and only stop at the ATM once so you're not hit again and again with fees.

While everyone needs some cash in their pocket, I am actually a big supporter of using credit cards whenever possible.  Using a card gives you valuable points which lead to rewards like flights, hotel rooms, gift cards and more - all freebies to enhance your travels.  And while you are away, having a card without foreign transaction fees can end up saving you a lot on all the little purchases that add up.

Finding the right credit card is very important for travelers, so some things to look for include: no foreign transaction fees,  a large sign-on bonus and rewards that are in line with your travel style (e.g. affiliations with certain airlines / hotels, etc.).  A great resource for finding the right card is Credit Card Insider - they have an entire section dedicated to helping travelers find the card that best suits their needs!

4)  Take a free walking tour

Free walking tours are popping up in cities everywhere, and for a good reason!  The volunteer tour guides are passionate about their town and want to share it with visitors, regardless of their financial situations.  With these tours, which generally last an hour or two, you get a great overview of the city, its cultural and historical background, and some personal anecdotes and laughs.

The guides are working purely for tips so they are usually animated entertainers who make the tour a lot of fun for everyone.  At the end, you may give any monetary amount that you are comfortable with and think the tour was worth.  These guides are also great sounding boards for your plans while in town, and they are more than happy to offer suggestions or advice.  

This flows nicely into #5 "Talk to strangers" because I have actually made a lot of friends on free walking tours - both travelers and guides.  After walking around for a few hours, you are probably hungry so why not invite some of your new friends to that cute local cafe the guide pointed out along the tour?

5)  Talk to strangers

A delicious local osteria in Florence called Vini e Vechi Sapori that was recommended to me by a local shopowner
Talk to strangers, yes.  But not in a creepy way!  One of the best ways of getting to know a new part of the world is to interact with locals who live and breathe it.  Striking up conversation with bartenders, baristas or patrons at a pub could lead you to some hidden gems in the neighborhood.  
It is easy to stay within a popular tourist area when you are traveling - especially when there are certain sites you undoubtedly want to see.  But getting a recommendation of where to eat, drink or play from someone who lives there is something you could never get in a guidebook.  

Some of my best days of travel have included talking to strangers and being directed to some of the best restaurants and attractions I've come across!

6)  Rent a bike

Many cities across the globe have adopted bike share programs which allow people to hop on and hop off at different docking stations throughout town.  These are cost-effective ways to get around while seeing a lot more of a city.  Also, they are one of my favorite ways to stay fit while traveling.

The bikes are easily adjustable for your height and they generally have decent gears to help you up and down any hills you may come across.

If you want to pedal for exercise, check out bike paths in the local tourist office or on apps / sites like MapMyRide where users document their routes along with notes and levels of difficulty.

7)  Try something new

Whether it is tasting octopus in Spain, flying a glider in Switzerland or camping out in the Sahara Desert, there are new experiences to be had everywhere you go.  

Make your trip memorable by stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new that is a part of the local culture.  You won't be disappointed and you will have stories for the rest of your life.

<![CDATA[DAY 95:  MY SUMMER-IN-NYC TO-DO LIST]]>Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:45:41 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-95-my-summer-in-nyc-to-do-listNow that I am back home in New York - jobless for the first time in my adult life, I am actually pretty excited to take advantage of my time off by doing the NYC things I never seem to have time for.  While I am starting to think about work and what I really want to do next, I am not going to rush into it.  So I have at least a couple of weeks to be a tourist in MY city, and I put together a checklist of my top wishes.

I love summer in the city!
View from under the Williamsburg bridge while jogging along the East River
Bouldering practice at Brooklyn Boulders
Beautiful sunset at Citifield - let's go Mets!
  • A day on the golf course.
  • Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club - I saw one of the founders speak a few months ago, and it sounds like a pretty cool place in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  Plus, I have never shuffleboarded before! 
  • Hiking and/or rock climbing in the Hudson Valley.
  • Tennis in Central Park or one of the other outdoor city courts.
  • Summer Streets - three Saturdays in August when Park Ave is closed down for bikers, runners, skaters, and walkers to promote getting out and getting active.
  • Horseback riding, obviously.
  • Brooklyn Boulders - The biggest rock climbing gym in NYC and a great place for learning skills before (hopefully) going climbing on a real mountain!
  • North River Lobster Company - A lobster restaurant / bar on a boat that sails around the Hudson River for 30-minutes at a time but you can stay on as long as you want!
  • Grand Banks - An oyster bar / regular bar on a sailboat that stays docked on Pier 25.
  • The Cannibal - On east 29th, this spot features craft beer and artisanal meat with an outdoor garden.
  • Ninja - Japanese restaurant with ninja theme - may be a little too kitschy but I still kind of want to see it.
  • WD50 molecular gastronomy restaurant (closing its doors on November 30) & Alder cocktail bar by same owner
  • Dinosaur BBQ - I've still never been to this BBQ staple in Harlem (and now Brooklyn as well).
  • NYC Restaurant Week - It is more than just a week!  July 21 - August 15, many notable and expensive restaurants are featuring special and affordable three-course menus.
  • Aug 16 & 17 - Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island.
  • Sleep No More - Interactive ‘choose-your-own-adventure' show I’ve been wanting to see (and there’s supposed to be a cool rooftop bar at the same venue called Gallow Green).  The show is not cheap, but it has been on my list for a long time!
  • As many Mets games as I can fit in!
  • US Open - The annual tennis tournament will be on from August 25 - September 8.
  • Smorgasburg & Brooklyn Flea - The ultimate food fests  & flea markets held Saturdays in Brooklyn!
  • Coney Island - I have some vague childhood memories of the aquarium on Coney Island, and as big of a Mets fan that I am, I have never seen their farm team the Brooklyn Cyclones play.  So a day on Coney Island doesn't seem like a bad idea.  Plus, there's beach, hot dogs and an amusement park.
  • The NY Earth Room - A random installation of the earth on the 2nd floor of an anonymous storefront in Chelsea.
  • MoMA - Can't even remember the last time I was there!
  • Chelsea galleries - Gallery openings are a #win because of the free booze and snacks, but going gallery hopping any other day is a lot of fun as well.

Thoughts?  What have I left out?  And who wants to join me!?
<![CDATA[DAY 94:  AN OVERDUE THANK YOU]]>Mon, 04 Aug 2014 19:48:59 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-94-an-overdue-thank-youThursday, July 17 (New York City) - Dear:  Hannah, Tali, Lainie, China, Dennis, Andrew, Aaron, Al, Lucy, Patrick, Neil, Dawn, Allyson, Allie, Nikita, Julie, Marta, Kathy, Eugenia, Nacho, Kathryn, Dave, Jacqueline, Martin, Helen, Justin, Gaby, Mike, Kike, Maria, Tati, Eva, Sam, Val, Anthea, Mark, Sophie, Becki, Anna, Nono, Victoria, Kali, Kay, Ashley, Lorenzo G, Lorenzo M, Paola, Oliver, Marcos, Wilson, Priscilla, Anu, Monte, Ilene, Kenny, Gul, Rena, Mom, and Dad (and anyone I may have missed),

Thank you.  Thank you for being a part of the adventure that was the most amazing, insane, important, and surreal experience of my life.  Whether you were a sounding board when this crazy idea first came into my mind, a connector of things to do or people to see in foreign lands, a friend I met along the way, or a reader / commenter on my photos and blog posts, your contribution – however big or small – shaped my experience which would not have been the same without you.

You don’t know how much your support meant and still means to me, and I sincerely hope that this blog and whatever is engrained in my memory can help you out in your future travels.

As you know, I am always happy to talk about travel from money-saving tips to what to do in different areas of the world, and everything in between.  So please know you can always reach out to me (same with your friends and family) and I hope I can be of help!

Thank you again,


<![CDATA[DAY 93:  GOODBYES ARE NEVER EASY]]>Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:58:57 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-93-goodbyes-are-never-easyWednesday, July 16 (Drogheda & Dublin, Ireland) – Somehow the day has arrived – the last day of my first edition of Stacy Takes Flight.  I can't believe I have to go back to New York today.  But honestly, it almost feels like any other day where I’m heading to the airport to embark on my next adventure (as this is going to be my 17th flight!), but in the back of my mind I know the flight will be longer than the rest and when the doors open, the familiar JetBlue terminal at JFK will welcome me home (Aer Lingus has a partnership with JetBlue).

I was lucky to be able to spend my final 24 hours with some of the people who helped shape me as a person while growing up.  I stayed with my childhood babysitter, Lucy, and her family.  I had seen them for a quick coffee when I first arrived in Dublin three months ago, which was our first meeting in close to 20 years, but this time I was able to stay with them!  It meant so much to spend my last night with them, reminisce about the past but also share highlights of my entire trip with them before anyone else.

They live in Drogheda which is a suburb of Dublin.  We spent most of our time together just hanging out and chatting, but this morning we did a bit of touring in the town, mainly because the town is known for something completely random that I have not seen anywhere else in my travels:  a preserved head.  Saint Oliver Plunkett was decapitated after being hanged in 1681, and after different body parts have made their way around the world, his head has been preserved and put on display at the (beautiful) local Saint Peter's Church.  It is pretty creepy, and kind of gross, but it was cool to see!

Saint Oliver's head
Then we went to a modern art gallery in a space that used to be another church.  The art was extremely modern and (no offense, art enthusiasts) brought us all closer together through laughing – especially their youngest, shyest daughter Mary.
Remains of a modern performance piece of art
After absorbing a bit of culture and grabbing a bite to eat, it was time to go to the airport.  It was such a strange feeling being in the car with people who made such an impact on my life, people I care about so much, people who were an important part of this trip, but also people who I honestly may never see again – or at least not for a long time. 

I believe people come in and out of your life for a reason and in addition to Lucy, Patrick and their family, I met so many incredible people along this journey who helped shape my experience one way or another – as I did for them as well.  
Dolly wants to come with us to the airport!
Final photo - saying goodbye curbside with Patrick, Mary and Lucy
As we said our goodbyes at the airport, I had to fight to hold back tears – partly at saying goodbye to Lucy, and partly at saying goodbye to my trip.  I can’t begin to explain the mixture of feelings all hitting me at the same time, and I’m sure it is just the beginning of what will be an interesting transition back into ‘real life’.  I will continue to post after this trip – but not quite as frequently.  So for now… thanks for reading and see you in the States!
<![CDATA[DAY 92:  HIGHLIGHTS OF NORTHERN IRELAND (BEYOND BELFAST)]]>Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:53:01 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-92-highlights-of-northern-ireland-beyond-belfastTuesday, July 15 (Northern Ireland) – The northernmost tip of Northern Ireland offers an entire day's worth of activities.  I was all set to go to Giant's Causeway - the area filled with hexagonal basalt columns and formations, caused by a volcanic eruption - when my friend Helen suggested we tack on a trip across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and sip some whiskey at the Bushmills distillery, all within a few minutes drive from each other.  So we did, and this ended up being one of the best days and a great way to come to the end of my trip!

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

The current carrick-a-rede bridge is a lot more secure than the rickety rope bridge that once stood in its place.  Originally built by salmon fisherman who wanted to catch salmon on their migration from the rocky island, the bridge allowed for a safe crossing from the mainland.  But after becoming more of a tourist attraction, the bridge has been renovated for safety and isn't much of a fete to cross.

For me, the best part was the scenery.  Views along the hike to the bridge as well as from the island itself are incredible.  Most people don't just cross the bridge and go back, they spend time exploring the island and taking photos of the natural beauty around them.

Giant's Causeway

Ireland is filled with beautiful natural wonders, but I highly recommend a trip to Northern Ireland to see something very special:  Giant's Causeway.  The shape of the rocks in this area is so unique and it's amazing to think these rocks are the result of an ancient volcano that erupted millions of years ago.  If you listen to the audio guide that is included with the price of admission, you will learn about the legend of the area which makes it fun for kids as well as adults.  But to be honest, I was too excited to see these stones and pillars to listen to the full audio guide!

TIP:  Bring your good camera, good walking / climbing shoes and art supplies if you are a creative type - the imagery is so inspiring!

Bushmills Distillery

I love whiskey, but I've never really had Bushmills before, so I was excited to get a taste.  We signed up for a tour of the distillery even though it happened to be their 'silent season' where the factory workers are on holiday and there is no actual whiskey being produced.  I didn't mind because I could still see where the whiskey is made and learn about the process, but as an added bonus, the distillery offered an apology in the form of an airport-sized bottle of their newest honey whiskey!

I've been on a distillery tour before, but it was a couple of years back so I was happy to go through the tour to be re-educated.  Our tour guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable and made the 40-minute tour fly by.  I wasn't allowed to take photos, but we saw the rooms where the different stages of creating the whiskey take place from mashing to bottling.  Then, we were led into the tasting room (aka the best part).  I tried the 10-year single malt which I really liked and the distillery reserve which I didn't like - it wasn't smooth enough for me.
<![CDATA[DAY 91:  WORLD CUP FINALS & BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND]]>Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:33:07 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-91-world-cup-finals-belfast-northern-irelandMonday, July 14 (Belfast, Northern Ireland) – From one set of friends from my Morocco trip to another! Yesterday I flew from England to Belfast in Northern Ireland to spend two of my final three days with Helen and Justin, another great couple I met on my Moroccan tour.  I had wanted to visit Giant’s Causeway and was bummed I didn’t get a chance on my first stint in Ireland, so the stars aligned when I realized I would have the chance again.
Justin & Helen in Morocco, where I first met them
After watching three World Cup games in the country of the team playing (Switzerland, Germany and Portugal), I knew I had to watch the final in good company.  So I was thrilled to hear that Justin wanted to watch at a local pub with a bunch of football fanatics.

The pub we went to is the pub in town, clearly filled with locals.  In fact, when one of them (holding a beer in each hand) asked me a question twice and I did nothing but stare at him blankly because I couldn't understand his accent at all!  (I still have no idea what he actually said to me.)  It is so interesting how some accents in Northern Ireland sound like a completely different language.  

Here is a bit of a dictionary for anyone who may be journeying to Northern Ireland in the near future:
  • Aye (pronounced "I") = Yes
  • Bake = face / mouth
  • Craic (pronounced "crack") = fun, a good time
  • Dead on = alright, no problem, good
  • Mucker = friend, mate
  • Wee = small (used ALL the time)
  • Keep her country = keep things simple, don't overcomplicate matters

Highlights of Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sawers Belfast

One of the best gourmet food stores I have come across, Sawers is in the heart of Belfast and features a variety of packaged and prepared food.  They have a lot of local goods like jams and chutneys, but they also have specialty goods from around the world, including some I have enjoyed on this trip (e.g. Turkish delights, paella ingredients and kits, my favorite Turkish apple tea, etc.)!

This is a great place to stop off to get some snacks, buy gifts or just poke around.

Titanic Museum

The famous Titanic was built in Belfast, so this is the city with the largest and most elaborate dedication to the ship.  The museum is relatively new, nine-gallery exhibition that covers the ins and outs of the Titanic, its creation, its passengers, and more.  

The museum clearly took a lot of thought, time and money to build, but it falls a bit short in certain areas.  For an entire museum dedicated to the Titanic, there are surprisingly few actual artifacts or photographs of the ship.  Also, the 'ride' is an extremely poor attempt at showcasing how the ship was built.  The 'factory' sounds in the background overpower the explanations in the speakers overheard, so it is impossible to know what you are looking at.  I definitely recommend going even with the above in mind.  There is a lot to see in the nine different galleries, but there's a great museum cafeteria for a snack when you are done!

Crown Liquor Saloon

The Crown Liquor Saloon is one of the most notable pubs in Northern Ireland.  It has a long history of being a public house and was officially renovated and renamed in 1885.  The pub is known for its intricate Victorian design including stained glass, individual private booths and mosaics.

While the service left much to be desired, the clientele, decor and clover atop my Guinness made this pub a must-see!  Plus, it is across the street from the train station so it couldn't be more convenient to travelers.

The detailed exterior matches the intricate interior of the Crown Liquor Saloon
Private booths in the Crown Liquor Saloon
<![CDATA[DAY 85:  THE SMARTEST WAY OF BACKPACKING EUROPE:  BUSABOUT]]>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:04:01 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-85-the-smartest-way-of-backpacking-europe-busabout*Sorry this is out of order!

Tuesday, July 8 (Mallorca & Casares, Spain)
– Today was a relaxing day at the pool and traveling from Mallorca to Casares, Spain, so not too much to report on.  So I thought I'd make today's post about something really unique and potentially helpful to anyone interested in traveling around multiple cities in Europe:  Busabout.
Based on the geography of Europe, there are a couple of traditional 'routes' backpackers and travelers take.  Whether Paris to Prague or Venice to Valencia, there are certain stops that tend to come with the itinerary.  Finding a good accommodation and getting from place to place can take a lot of time to plan (as I am well aware).  So I'd like to introduce you to Busabout, the company that takes away these moments of stress or uncertainty, and replaces them with a safe and easy form of transportation, recommended housing, and dozens of new friends.

Busabout offers a variety of packages for different types of travelers based on where they want to go and how long they plan to travel.  You sign up for a flexible trip or one of the loops (or even one of the specialty tours like one that follows music festivals around Europe), and don't have to worry about transportation along the journey.  

When you get to a city, you can choose to stay at the recommended / partner hostel or go somewhere else, and you can stay as long as you would like, knowing that the bus to the next stop along the journey comes every other day.  You can even veer off and do another city if you'd like, and then come back to get the bus when you are ready.  It is a flexible, convenient and innovative way to travel while meeting likeminded travelers and making the most of your money!


MEET WILSON NG... a 28-year old youth worker / martial arts instructor from Sydney, Australia.  We met at The Treehouse in Grunau Im Almtal, Austria - a popular stop for Busabouters between Vienna and Salzburg.  As someone who is traveling Europe with Busabout, he was happy to chat with me about his experience, the organization, and his general travel tips.

STACYTAKESFLIGHT:  What is your travel story? (Why?  Where?  How?  How long?)
WILSON NG:  I'm 28, I've have travelled for three months through the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Spain, and Turkey.  This has been a dream of mine for a long time and it has been such a rewarding and eye-opening experience. Nothing but respect and love has come out of this.

What Busabout program are you using and why did you decide to travel with them?
I did the West Loop (which covers France, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain). I decided to do it because it appealed to me and I'm not into super regimented activities.

Busabout's West Loop of hop-on-hop-off travel
What is a typical day like in a Busabouter's life?
Wake up, get dressed and ready, have brekky, work out the day's activities, and see if anyone else is keen.  Then go out and eat, come back and hang out, and see who else is keen to party!

What kind of person should consider using Busabout?
I'd recommend B'usabout to someone who wants to a have a little bit of a plan or outline of where to go, but doesn't want much more than that.

What is the most random / cool / unexpected thing you have done so far on your travels?
The most unexpected thing for me, was going on a massive bike ride by a lake and up through mountain trail, hiking through forests and finding a waterfall up a mountain!

After traveling for three months, what are some tips or advice for newby travelers that you wish you knew when you started?
  • Save your money where you can
  • Always be ready to have to change your plans or try new things 
  • You never know when or where that next life-changing adventure will be
  • Smile and meet new awesome new people
  • Don't trust cab drivers
  • Couch Surfing is an awesome way to save cash and meet potential new best friends!
<![CDATA[DAY 80:  GETTING MY FITNESS ON IN MALLORCA & A TOTAL BODY WORKOUT YOU CAN DO ANYWHERE]]>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:14:14 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-80-getting-my-fitness-on-in-mallorca-a-total-body-workout-you-can-do-anywhere**Apologies for posting out of order!

Thursday, July 3 (Mallorca, Spain)
- In New York, I tend to be pretty active.  I enjoy going to the gym, love my boxing, and I am pretty set in my fitness routine.  But traveling is a different story.  I've been on plenty of hikes, bike rides and jogs over the past three months, but I'm sure many of you gym rats will understand that it doesn't quite feel the same.  

So when I went to Mallorca for the more relaxing part of my trip, I found an incredible personal trainer - Sam Bloomfield - who came to my hotel and kicked my butt!  Most of the exercises we did are bodyweight exercises that don't require any special equipment, so they can be repeated just about anywhere on the road.  Sam gave me some great ideas for working out on the road that I am excited to share!

Expert Insight:  Getting fit on vacation with trainer Sam Bloomfield

An Englishman in Mallorca getting locals and tourists in shape… how did that come to be?
So I moved out here in 2005 and worked in hotels as an entertainer for several years.  My job was to keep the hotel guests entertained, so I would do all kinds of sports i.e. football/soccer, aerobic & water aerobic classes, spinning classes, etc., so I was always active. 

In the winter months when the hotels were closed, I went to Thailand to become a scuba diving instructor and then spent a few years doing this around the world but I was always drawn back to Mallorca.  So here I am!  But in order to work here [in a very seasonal/holiday island] all year I needed to change professions so I became a personal trainer and fell in love with it.

How do you keep people motivated to work out?

I try to keep my clients coming back and motivated by listening to them and tailoring the training session on their targets, as well as keeping it varied and fun.  I also like to get to know my clients and have a friendly relationship with them so they feel more comfortable and are more likely to relax and tell me the truth about their nutrition and any possible pain or injuries they have.

What is your best advice to travelers who are moving around from place to place and may not have a gym in their hotel (or access to a trainer) but want to stay in shape?

My best advice for those on holiday who don't have access to a gym or a trainer would be try to be active as possible.  You can go for walks, rent a bike, swim in our (Mallorca's) beautiful clear waters, etc. 

But, if you want a harder workout, here is a go-to routine that requires no equipment, can be done anywhere and hits the whole body!  Repeat the round of exercises below five times and boom, there is your total body travel workout!

  • 20X SQUATS
  • 20X PUSH UPS
  • 20X TRICEP DIPS (ideally off a bench or chair)
  • 25X CRUNCHES          

I highly recommend training with Sam if you find yourself in Mallorca (and I also highly recommend Mallorca!).  Visit his website to get in touch!

<![CDATA[DAY 90:  TRANSITION PART #3 - WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT WORK WHEN I GET HOME?]]>Fri, 18 Jul 2014 02:39:25 GMThttp://www.stacytakesflight.com/blog/day-90-transition-part-3-what-am-i-going-to-do-about-work-when-i-get-homeSunday, July 13 (Dorset, England & Belfast, Northern Ireland) – When it comes to the professional world, I have always pushed myself to work as hard and strategically as possible.  I have made great contacts and collected strong bullet points for the resume, and I am pretty confident that I could find a job in the marketing / sales development field upon my return, if that's what I want or if I get stuck and need some cash.  So I wasn’t going to let myself stress about it.  

But, the number one question I get from anyone I come across is about my job and what I will do when I get back home.  This continuous question has forced me to think about work a little more than I would have liked to, and I’m still not exactly sure what my ideal job would be or what I will do upon my return.  So, I have come up with the following thoughts to help guide me to whatever I will do next to *happily* make up some of the money I have spent in the past three months!
Summer Fridays at CafeMom - BYDTW (bring your dog to work)!!
Random thoughts to help me figure out what to do next in the professional world:
  • Marketing / Advertising: my field, my comfort zone, but a very big world and many skills are transferable
  • Travel, fitness, horses:  areas/industries I am most interested in and passionate about
  • The thought of sitting at a desk all day: gives me anxiety!  Maybe I would prefer being able to go to clients or external meetings or even travel for work occasionally?
  • I need to truly believe in a brand or product in order to be happy in my day-to-day
  • How do I become a consultant or a freelance marketer?
  • I kind of want to work with small businesses like niche gyms, travel apps and fitness/health professionals to help develop their brands 

Thoughts, anyone?