a moment to reflect

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

In lieu of Winona State University’s graduation today, I felt it appropriate to look back on the past three years since I graduated.

As I see my friends about to embark on adulthood and leave that safety net we know and love call college I can’t help but to think about my humble beginnings. Graduation was an awesome time. I don’t totally remember the ceremony because our student speaker was a mathematics major and more boring than life, plus the speech should have been mine but apparently I added a little “too much” (is that possible) flare to my speech. I digress; graduation is a time that makes you think. Your future is literally on the line and you have the whole world out there in front of you. Graduation means making your mark on a world much bigger than the one you were confined in for the last 4 years.

To my friends near and far, I want you to reflect. Maybe you graduated today, maybe you graduated years ago, it doesn’t matter the date, take a moment. Take a moment in the coming days to think of the journey you have embarked on. Has it changed? What were the obstacles that have been placed in your path? Did they make your plan change? Is the journey worth it? Is your end game still the same? What’s different? Have you acquired anything of importance along the way?

After posing these questions, how do you feel? Can you still see that light at the end of the tunnel glimmering bright?

For me, nothing has changed when it comes to my end game. Of course I am still trying to figure everything out and I’m trying to put the puzzle pieces together. It is going to take a lifetime for me, or anyone for that matter to fully mold the life that they want. I know where is started and I know where I am going. No doubt there have been massive obstacles that have been put in my way, and I hurdled over them. Remember that we all deal with obstacles differently and all of our journeys are different.

While you are on your journey be cognizant of the people you will meet. Take note of everyone you encounter. The guy who is serving you your morning coffee could turn into your best friend. Old friends could come back into your life. New friends will develop that will last a lifetime. Hold on to the friends who turn into family…those friends are the most important and they’re the ones that will turn your life upside down and make this adventure that we call life so worth it.

Maybe it’s been four years since you’ve graduated and you still don’t know what you want to “be when you grow up”, or maybe you do. Either way, we only get one life so maybe sure you surround yourself with people who will make your journey a wild ride!

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pieces of advice

Traveling is something really special. There is something nostalgic about it. When traveling, you experience culture, indexfood and people. Traveling is about the adventure just as much as it is about finding yourself. With that, I want to introduce you to Amanda. She is one of my sorority sisters who has an awesome job; not only does she encounter new lives an save people she travels. Amanda is a traveling nurse and her life is filled with many new experiences. Below Amanda writes about a few things that resonate with her and I think these things will resonate with any 20-somethings. After reading this blog post, I hope you leave with this: travel much, travel often – make it happen no matter the cost.

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Pass It On

guest blog presented by: Amanda Bentz
You can find Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaRoseBentz; insta: amanda_rose_021, make sure you follow her

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde

I recently came across an article online titled “100 Pieces of Advice from 100-Year-Olds.” Intrigued, I found myself reading the collection of genuine, honest and somewhat humorous pieces of advice gathered from a collection of people who have lived a century. After reading advice on exercise, diets, marriage, pets, money, jobs and attitude, I paused on one that resonated with me.

 “Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”

Traveling has always been a desire of mine. I will always appreciate my roots and my small town upbringing, but I can’t help but wonder what else is out there? What am I missing if I pass up an opportunity to travel to a new location? This fueled my dream to become a travel nurse and relocate to a new hospital every three months. However, this form of travel doesn’t require extra money to be spent on my end. It’s the traveling that I want to do while I’m in a new location that costs money. As a 23-year-old with no dependents and a stable income, I feel like I am ‘young and able’ to travel. But shouldn’t I be focusing on paying off my student loans and saving money for my future?

Budgeting money is a stress that many people deal with. It’s a necessity to thrive in today’s economy. Everyone treats it differently, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s always a worry. We spend a lot of our money on tangible things that we use every day that benefit us such as groceries, clothing, gas, transportation, heat, cable, internet, etc. These are things most people consider a necessity. But traveling? That’s something that people can do without. What do you get out of traveling anyways? A week here, an extended weekend there – what’s the purpose?

“Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.” This is my favorite part of the advice. Experience is one thing that can never be taken away from you. By traveling to new locations, we experience new things. Food, people, culture, climate, lifestyles, history – the list goes on and on. I believe that experiencing these things opens your mind and allows you to grow and develop as a person. That is something money cannot buy. That’s why I think this man is advising us to ‘make it work’. How do you do that? Well, I challenge you to figure it out.

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” – Isabelle Eberhardt

adventurers wanted

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

I’m a dreamer. I like challenges. I thrive on new experiences and I want to live life to the fullest. Today, I received an email from Jon Acuff, which is below. This email really spoke to me and I hope it resonates with you, too. Don’t let life pass you by. Take on a challenge.

—-

Ready for a bit of awesome?

It’s time for 30 days of hustle.

In January, more than 6,000 people worked on some amazing dreams.

Now it’s your turn. (If you’re already part of the first group, ignore this post, you will already get the second wave of challenges.)

It’s time to have some fun. Time to plug into a crazy community of people who hope and hustle. Time to dream.

This post will be deleted in 48 hours.

Don’t miss it. Sign up today!

The post Adventurers wanted. appeared first on Jon Acuff.

magic

will happen

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

If you read one thing today, I hope it is this. I hope the following picture really hits you hard. I hope this photo grabs you at the shoulder and shakes you. I hope this is your wake up call.

comfortzone1

We are given the opportunity at one life, make it magical. Remember, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

holiday travel

a short survival guide

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

If you know me at all you know that I absolutely LOVE being a holiday traveler. When people learn that about me, I get the look. It’s the same look every time. As this happens all the time, I’ve become accustom to it. This is a specific look, let me tell you about it. There comes a head tilt, mouth open, eyes squinted and a deep stare into your soul (luck for me, being a ginger they are looking at nothing!). When people give me this look it’s like I have three heads or just said the most crude thing they have ever heard.  With the love of holiday traveling you learn a thing or two. Before you go out on your big holiday adventure take some of these tips and tricks into consideration.

Don’t Drive Yourself to the Airport

Arrive in style of course. But seriously, don’t drive yourself to the airport or the train station. This will be an added stress to your life. You want your holiday travel to be as smooth as possible.

Get There Early

This seems like a no-brainer, but get to the airport or train station early. I don’t know what it is but around the holidays there are more delays than not, which is totally ironic considering everyone cannot wait to get to where they are going. Anyway, get there early. It’s better to be early and on time, than late.

Do Research

Make alternative  plans, trips if traffic makes your way home too overwhelming.  Is there a scenic route? Maybe this will make the trip a little longer, but there won’t be as much traffic.  Break up a long drive by finding a few places to stop.  And as always, when flying, make sure you check the airline’s restrictions ahead of time on carry-on luggage and fees for checked bags.

Ship Gifts

TSA suggests to ship wrapped gifts or wait until you reach your destination to wrap them. I’ve been in a situation before where TSA had to unwrap a present to inspect it. Ship gifts ahead of time.

Travel Early/Late in the Day

Flight statistics show that planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance. And if your flight is cancelled, you will have the option of taking a flight later in the day. As a perk, there will be fewer lines at security. If you are driving, hit the road when every one else is asleep — early morning or late at night. You can always take a nap when you arrive at your destination.

Expect the Unexpected

Only a half hour before connecting to another flight? Traveling to Rochester, MN, during snow season? Think ahead! Plan accordingly. Leave extra time before flights to deal with security, extra time between connections and, for road trips, pack tire chains for snowy conditions, flashlights, and of course, a few band-aids never hurt either. But as a positive, expect holiday cheer and excitement from everyone as well. Remember if you have a smile on your face– they will too!

encouragement

a few words

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

these words helped me and I hope they will help you, too.

I want to encourage you that you alone are responsible for this, not us. We were just a conduit for you to find your true self. After this adventure ends, don’t be afraid to trust yourself and believe in yourself. Whatever your dreams are, they are possible. You can do it!

giving directions

struggling looking at a map

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Trapped in a foreign city with a language barrier– there you sit feeling helpless. You stare at the map, trying to make sense of all the winding streets, and you cannot even find your location. There are a thousand thoughts in your mind.

Getting lost in a new city is one of my favorite things. I love being a tourist. When tourists come to DC, sure, I have that same loathing emotion towards them that everyone else does becasue they clutter the city and walk unbearably slow. At the same time, I love them. I am so happy when people come to my city, The National Capital of the US. It’s so awesome that people want to explore my city, so of course I am more than welcoming and more than helpful when it comes to directions.

With my Midwest roots, it is incredibly hard to tell someone off and to walk past them while they are asking you something. My love for helping out tourists is abnormal. If I can show one person that everyone is not rude in this city, I feel that I did my job to instill hope in their heart.

Let me tell you a story.

Monday, I was walking to work and naturally I had my headphone in, granted this time I was talking on the phone and not listening to music. Anyway, I get to the crosswalk and this woman starts frantically talking to me. As she realizes I have my headphones in, I take them out and speak with her. Basically the jist of the conversation was her asking for directions and explaining to me (a local) that there a no metros where she needs to go. Once, she finally tells me all of her details, I explain to her if she keeps walking 8 blocks south she will run into the building she needs. This woman was beyond thankful. As the light turned, she booked it and was off to her destination waving to me.

Little things like that, make me feel good. I just made someone’s day. To me giving directions isn’t a nuisance, I truly enjoy it.

You could add something in about asking if anyone has ever given directions in their city or if they find it to be an annoyance when people ask them for directions.

 

do re me fa so la ti do

you guessed, it The Sound of Music

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

An adventure in Salzburg, Austria was the breathtaking and fun things. Salzburg has repeatedly been chosen as Austria’s most bicycle-friendly city. Joining up on the Fräulein Maria’s Bicycle Tour was the perfect way to visit the sites and film locations from The Sound of Music movie. The opportunity to explore Mozart’s city and all its 49 churches, squares, palaces, fountains and attractions by bike was incredible!

Our bike tour was bright and early, right outside of Mirabell Square.  Our route lead from Mirabell Square through the Mirabell Gardens, the Horse Pond, crosses St. Peter’s Cemetery to Nonnberg Convent, on to Leopoldskron Palace, to the Frohnburg and through the beautiful Hellbrunn Avenue to Hellbrunn Palace and back to the city in 4 hours. We avoided large, busy roads and we got to know the city of Salzburg.

Salzburg is a must-see! The city is beautiful and a bike tour was the most exceptional was to experience Salzburg in a new view. My experience of Salzburg was far different than most people’s. We saw the quiet and gentle side, mixed with the hustle and bustle of the city. Biking down the ancient streets of Salzburg, made me realize how beautiful this city truly is. We had the opportunity to grab a beer at one of the oldest breweries, ate at the oldest bakery in Europe, and really enjoyed the scenery.  If you are heading to Salzburg, I would absolutely recommend the bike tour, with such a great way to explore the city–you can’t go wrong.

Now as I have been talking about The Sound of Music, I am sure you’ve been singing this to yourself the whole time, so enjoy:

government shutdown

what can we do?

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

I leave for vacation and when I come back I hear the government has been shutdown. It looks like I won’t be leaving the country again for a very long time; this place can’t function without me (haha). With the weekend at our fingertips I have been thinking about what to do while the government is shutdown. DC is a stellar place for free activities, alas we cannot participate in those activities. The following are a few suggestions of what to do with the government is shutdown, mind you these activities you can participate in during the week and on the weekends. Enjoy!

Lincoln’s Summer Cottage

Personally, this is what I will be doing over the weekend. As a true lover of Abe and history this has been on my list of must-sees for a while. I am excited that the government shutdown has now given me a reason to make my way to Petworth to check out this awesome piece of history. Though admissions are a little pricey Abe is always worth it.

Check Out a New Neighborhood

I am a huge advocate of checking out new neighborhoods. After all living in DC makes me want to explore. I want to see what is going on and what is new. Get off at a different metro stop and walk around the area. Maybe you just do some window shopping, or walk into a new restaurant. You will be surprise by what you find! DC is changing and what’s a better way to see the changes?

All hour–ALL DAY LONG

Did you know there are government shutdown happy hours going on? I think that’s a little crazy, but whatever–go with it! After all when life gives you lemons! Specifically I would suggest hitting up ChurchKey right on 14th Street it is a sure option!

Walk DC’s Heritage Trails:

DC has heritage walks marked with information-rich placards that teach you about important buildings and the history of different neighborhoods. The Downtown Heritage Trail and Greater U Street Heritage Trail are available through a mobile app, while you can explore DC’s historically African-American neighborhoods through a series of walking tours as well. Getting away from the Mall is one of the best ways to demonstrate that the shutdown isn’t stopping you from enjoying  DC.  DC’s an interesting place and you will learn that through the heritage walks as they take you through neighborhoods and give you a chance to explore the city’s incredible architecture.

Check Out Museums That Are Open:

I know DC is awesome because of all the free museums, but as they are shut down maybe you can head to a private museums. Granted now you will have to pay admissions, it is still something to do and to check out while in DC.  The following museums you can check out: National Geographic Museum. The Corcoran Gallery. The Phillips Collection. The Newseum. The National Building Museum. The Art Museum of the Americas. The DAR Museum. The Folger Shakespeare Library. The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery. The Hillwood Estate. The Historical Society of Washington, DC. The Kreeger Museum. The Textile Museum. Tudor Place.

Visit Eastern Market And Union Market:

Maybe it’s cooking or maybe you just want to pass the time. Maybe you are interested in funky artwork or new jewelry. If you are intrigued by these things you must check out Eastern Market. The Eastern Market is a lovely  place to spend an afternoon. Another market work checking out is the Union Market. This reminds me a lot of the Public Market in Milwaukee (a little MKE love!). There are many options for sitting down and eating on the stop as well as light grocery shopping. Both markets are embedded in awesome neighborhoods–Eastern Market’s just off the Hill, and Union Market lies in between a series of warehouses.

planning for oktoberfest

oktoberfest, the real deal

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Guys, one of my biggest dreams was finally accomplished with two awesome human beings! Last February we toyed with the idea of going to Germany and crashing Oktoberfest. No one ever thought we were serious until…we bought our plane tickets. Things started to great real as we dove into the travel guides, websites, conversation with friends and so on. There were so many mixed messages about Oktoberfest and the survival guide and we were getting clouded; we didn’t know what to think. The last thing I wanted was to be scammed. We wanted to have a great time, and spend the least amount of money as possible, after all this trip had a beer fund.

If you have the tiniest inkling to hit up Oktoberfest read the following. Now after being, yes I would go back in a heartbeat–but I want to experience a few more things before heading back.

1) Whatever anyone says, you DO NOT need a reservation to be inside a beer tent.

2) However…if you want to guarantee yourself an unreserved seat on the weekend, it is best to arrive by 8 am.–so this is what everyone says. I don’t by it.

3) Be aggressive, yet fun! You need to get into a ten/garten, so do it. Just flash that smile and show your confidence, act like you belong and head straight to the middle section. The middle section is the unreserved section– you will notice it right away, because it will be PACKED and everyone is standing.

3) Know that the Biergarten tables fill up by 11 am both on the weekdays and weekends.

4) A huge myth is that you need to be seated inside a tent or in a biergarten in order to be served a beer.– this is wrong! You do not need to be seated. You need to be at or close to a table. Find a waitress and tell her how many beers you want, she will fetch them.

5) In Europe it is customary to not tip your waitstaff, but here at Oktoberfest, I would recommend you tipping your waitress. She will keep bringing you beers until you tell her to stop.

6) Find a hostel that is close and cheap. We found a hostel 4 blocks from the grounds, we didn’t have to mess with a cab or public transportation. Note, hostels get reserved FAST– we booked in June.

7) Don’t bother eating in a ten. You will find: wiener schnitzel sandwiches, bratwursts, crepes, and anything else you can think of outside of the tents. Not to mention they are all 5 euro.

8) Talk to everyone! Make sure to be friendly and talk to everyone. Almost 15% of attendance at Oktoberfest are travelers, find out their story and make new friends.

These are just a few tips for Oktoberfest we used and I would suggest looking at them as well. I cannot wait to go back and enjoy myself again now that I know the ropes. While I was in Germany/Oktoberfest, one thing I didn’t do and probably should have done was eat: pork knuckle. A few people told us how amazing it was and what a true German tradition is is, but I couldn’t get myself to order it. Alas, I suppose this means another trip to Oktoberfest is in my future!