Travel Video: Austin, TX 2014

Here’s my travel video from my trip to Austin! You have to watch it past the credits for the bloopers. It’s my favorite part. I also loved giving a country makeover to my friend Greg. What a fun city!

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HD Version:

Austin Graffiti Park

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It’s been a crazy few days in Austin, but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it. One the highlights of the trip was the graffiti park. It’s free (which is great!) but you can also see some really great street art…

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Seriously, where else would you see a giant snail-snake-deer Valentines day painting.

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…and some really nice inspirational messages…

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Love.

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There was even some Doctor Who!!

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It’s within walking distance of the downtown area, on Baylor Street near Lamar and 10th St. W. It’s definitely worth the visit.

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, yesterday! Mine was filled with Christmas music…

“Christmas Shoes” gets me every time!

And animals at Sun City Stables

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Teach me how to ostrich… #dance #farmlife

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Good times. @lindaellen27

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Baby goat abuse…

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Can’t believe Christmas is over already, but only 364 days until Christmas 2014! Too soon to start a countdown? nah… So who’s having a bonfire for New Years? And where’s my invite?

 

Video: London 2013

Here’s a short video I made of my trip to London in November. It’s gives a small glimpse into the Christmas market, decorations, shopping, memorials and other miscellaneous sights from that beautiful city.

#TBT: Hunebedden Edition

Here’s a throwback all the way from 1991. If you haven’t seen the article of hilariously recreated childhood photos, check it out here! I decided to do my own version while I was in the Netherlands…

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And in 2013…

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Now, about the Hunebedden. Well everyone knows that England has Stonehenge, but did you know that there is a whole cluster of ruins that is even older, in the north of the Netherlands? There are approximately 54 sets, with 52 of them just in the province of Drenthe. They are over 5000 years old and, just like Stonehenge, no one knows exactly how or why they were built. The plaque near this particular site says that Napolean rode his horse across the top of these ruins in order to demonstrate his superior horsemanship.

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I wouldn’t advise trying that yourself….

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This great website has a lot more Hunebedden information, for those that are interested.

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Just one of the many reasons why everyone should see more of the Netherlands than just Amsterdam!

International Goodbyes

Saying “goodbye” can be awkward, because it’s hard to choose what the appropriate form of farewell is. In the US, you have three different options and that’s already too many.

Type 1 – If it’s family or good friends, you probably hug.

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Type 2 – If it’s a more professional relationship or someone you just met, you might shake hands.

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Type 3 – If it’s somewhere in between those, you might bring out the awkward wave (my personal favorite).

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Travelers tend to meet a lot of people. They could be your roommates, people you met out in the common area of a hostel or at some social event. You could have been with them as little as one breakfast sitting, or maybe they’ve been your “explore the city buddy” for the past few days. You’ve exchanged emails or are now Facebook BFFs and are about to head your separate ways. As I said previously, I already have three possible goodbye options, but I’m really in trouble when traveling internationally. For instance, Dutch people kiss three times alternating cheeks. Hispanic people often do the same, but only twice. It has also become trendy, in some places, to say hello and goodbye with one cheek kiss. Other cultures value their personal space and don’t want touching to be involved at all.

I have an outstanding ability to be clumsy and awkward whenever possible, so that’s just too easy of a set up for something embarrassing to happen. When someone steps towards you to say bye, are they coming in for a hug or a predetermined set of cheek kisses? How many cheek kisses? On what side do you start the cheek kissing process? You know the awkward dance people do when they’re passing in a hallway and they keep trying to let the other one pass? Then it turns into some sort of really klutzy waltz. Now imagine that in even closer range, but with only your faces as you try to kiss the other persons cheek. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

Can someone with more authority than I possess please come up with some sort of internationally accepted, general goodbye?? I suppose it couldn’t hurt to just ask, “How do they typically say goodbye where you’re from?” but that’s just too sensible.

Am I the only one who’s felt this way before?? Tell me your stories!

Non-Beach, Beach Sunsets

While I love watching the sunset ( or sunrise ) on the regular beach like every other person…

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…there are some great places around the Bradenton/Anna Maria area that have some pretty spectacular alternatives, and they’re pet friendly too! Skip the crowds and watch the clouds change colors with views that stretch all the way from Anna Maria to St. Pete and the Skyway Bridge.

First there is De Soto National Memorial Park. I go here all the time with Keen…

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There are often other dogs running around, so he gets a little social time (Not that he really cares for it. He’s kind of a snob.) It’s much safer than the causeway, because you are nowhere near any roads, just the bay! Plus there’s a lovely boardwalk…

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And plenty of places to catch a beautiful sunset..

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Best sunset watching spot in De Soto goes to the built up embankment near the visitors center. There are several benches so you can comfortably watch the show….

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The major perk that this park has over the others: History. There are several monuments, a visitors center and events/reenactments, from various time periods, held here all year.

Next up is Robinson Preserve. Robinson is surprisingly large. You wouldn’t think there was enough space in Northwest Bradenton for a park this big, but apparently there is since it totals 637 acres. You can rent kayaks or a canoe and there are extensive running and biking trails…

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Boardwalks…

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… and some of the best birdwatching in Bradenton. I’ve seen everything from Spoonbills to Bald Eagles…

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Best spot to watch the sunset in Robinson goes to the watch tower…

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Robinsons best perk is it’s size. You can spend hours walking and not cover the same trail twice.

Lastly, is a tiny park on Anna Maria called “Leffis Key.” I’ve lived in this area my entire life, but I didn’t know this place existed until I signed up for a beach cleaning group. This park is definitely the smallest of the three, but still has a boardwalk…

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and great bird watching…

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(I know it’s just a pigeon, but I still love that picture)

What really makes this place special is the hill in the center of the park. By Florida standards it could almost be a mountain..

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From this spot, and a second peak on the same hill, you can get a 360 degree panoramic view of the best sunsets and sunrises that Florida has to offer. Definitely the best spot in the park.

6X0A5331This park is easy to miss, so what little Leffis Key holds over the others, is privacy. You will almost always be the only one taking advantage of the views that the hill baby Florida mountain provides.

I couldn’t pick a favorite, because they all have their perks, so you should really just check them all out. Let me know what you think!

2013 International Coastal Cleanup Day (sort of)

Apparently, September 21th was 2013’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. I missed that memo, so I say International Coastal Cleanup Day is whatever day you want it to be. Be a rebel, do what you want.

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There are several benefits to volunteering, like awesome free t-shirts or catching a glorious sunrise.

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Apart from the gorgeous scenery, I got exercise that didn’t make me feel like I was exercising. Isn’t that the best kind?

I also recommend keeping a list of what you find. We kept a sheet that totaled all of our haul and seeing everything we picked up was really satisfying.

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If you don’t have an official sheet, just make your own! Instagram, Facebook or Tweet a picture of it and maybe it’ll give others the motivation to get out and do some cleanup too. Anyone done any volunteering lately? I’d love to hear about it!

Things To Come…

I realize I have posted A LOT about the Keys lately, but my horizons will be expanding once again, shortly. Here is a list of a few things coming up over the next few months or so…

Travely things…

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First, in November, I’ll be headed to London for the World Travel Market! This will be my first time at WTM and first time in London. I’m definitely excited for both! I know lots of adventures with new friends await, and that’s just the beginning. After London, I’ll be headed over to the Netherlands via a short stay Brussels. At least that’s the plan for now. After a couple weeks in the Netherlands, it’s back to London for (hoisting my inner nerd flag) the Doctor Who 50th Celebration! It took waking up at 5 AM and struggling for about 45 minutes to get through for tickets the day they went on sale, but my diligence was rewarded and I have a ticket to the (now sold out) event!

Marathon

Since leaving Nashville in May, I have done almost nothing but think about how I can justify a trip back. *Enter the Music City Rock ‘n Roll Marathon* Granted, the race isn’t until April, but at least now the dates are set! I intended to only sign up for the half marathon, but my running buddy signed up for the full. I’m not sure if my competitive nature or peer pressure is to blame, but regardless of the reasoning behind it, I am officially signed up for my first marathon, 26.2 grueling miles. What have I gotten myself into?? Actually, as far as marathons (aka running over 26 miles, in one shot… on purpose) go, this seems to be a pretty cool one. There are supposed to be bands at every mile playing live music, and then a big free concert afterwards. The race benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, so that’s pretty cool too. It also gets me back to Tennessee. What more could I want?

More fitnessy things..

Bad Prom

In March, there’s another pretty awesome race happening in my area, and I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s only a 5k and it’s called the “Bad Prom Run.” You find one of your old prom dresses or something terrible from a thrift store, a group of your funnest friends, run/walk a couple miles and then have a big party after. Sounds like a good time to me!

DIYs..

I’m almost done with the interior of my Dome Top Steamer Trunk, I’m pretty excited to have that beast finished. I’ve also got a few other things thing in the works, but I don’t want to say too much. Spoilers! Between what I’ve got lined up for myself and friends, and all the estate sales/thrift stores that are calling my name There are plenty of project posts on the way.

Personals..

– turning 25 (since when am I a quarter of a century old?)

-finishing my undergraduate schooling

-applying for graduate school aka lots of stress

If you’re looking for live updates in real time on any of those events, I’m talking to you Doctor Who fans, be sure to follow me on any of the various social media platforms… facebook, instagram, vine, twitter… @CorneliaJoy! If you have any suggestions for London/Brussels I would really appreciate hearing them!