I always admire hearing people’s stories, thoughts and advice so when I ran across, TED, I thought I would spread the word! This is a great site that has an abundant amount of speeches from some of the most influential and inspirational men and women around the world.
Simple Moments of Country Life January 26, 2009
I love the city. Bright lights, restaurants galore and endless entertainment options. The city arguably has everything a girl could want…well, almost. After the countless nights of parading across town in high heels, short dresses and makeup, things become routine. In a city, you are surrounded by what seems like a plethora of options: Thai food or Italian, Hollywood blockbuster or independent film, wine bar or pub, concert or performance, art gallery or coffeshop art, jazz or hip hop, rock climbing or ice skating. There are so many choices of entertainment but upon closer inspection, the so called plethora of options are condensed into seven main categories: dining, movies, bars, concerts/performance, art, music or sports. Occasionally you’ll find an event that breaks the mold of a typical Saturday night out like a beer pong tournament or national geographic lecture, but these seem few and far between. And, for the budget conscious person…*cough*…most of these entertainment options cost money! For two people you’re often looking at least $30 on dinner, $15 on movie tickets, $20-100 on your average bar bill, $40-200 on a concert/performance, at least $10 cover for live music and $20 at the climbing wall. This doesn’t even count the parking, gas or taxi costs. Man oh man…I already feel a hole forming in my wallet. And, during this economic crisis, that hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger until *poof!* where did my wallet go? Where is my money? All I want is to be entertained. All I want is a fun moment to remember!
One of the so called downfalls of living in a small town is that there are not a lot of entertainment options. When I first moved to Seattle and told people I was from Davenport, population 1500, people gasped, “What do you do? Do you even have television?”
“Yes, we have television and even Internet–crazy I know!” I would say. But, city people are right, there are not a lot things to do in Davenport. Correction, there are not a lot of things that you can pay to do. Besides bowling and…yup, well that’s about it.
So, what do you do in a small town then? Well, you get creative. You turn the simple things in life into entertainment and along the way you find that often times they are just as fun and more memorable than the cookie cutter options of city entertainment.
Last night for example, I pulled on a pair of old blue jeans, laced up my boots and layered up with thermals and an old coat to combat the 9 degree weather outside before leaving my parent’s house to go help feed a newborn calf that had been abandoned by the mother.
Upon the first visit, we tried to get the mother to let the calf feed from her own milk. After several attempts and the mother nearly squashing her own calf, we left in a big blue pickup and later returned with an esophageal feeder, which basically looks like a giant UV sac and hose. We filled the sac with milk, glided the hose down the calf’s throat and in less the a minute the milk was on it’s way to filling the calf’s stomach. The calf was so little it wobbled when it walked and you could easily hold it in your arms.
Although I know I could never move back to a town as small as Davenport, I am thankful that I was raised here and learned to appreciate the simple things in life. It’s made me realize throughout the years that memories don’t need to wear a price tag. You don’t need to spend money in order to create a memorable moment. For me, it the moments that are random, unexpected and often times free that I cherish and remember the most–like holding a newborn cafe on a freezing winter night.
You’re on Hold, Thanks for Waiting… January 21, 2009
As I sit here writing a post for my blog, I couldn’t help but open a blank page and switch to write about my father’s ordeal in ordering a computer warranty from Dell. It was quite the morning entertainment.
With any customer service call, there usually is a small wait time. I agree with my dad’s lamenting about being put on hold, it is quite annoying especially when you have things to do. And, for my dad, waiting on hold wouldn’t be so bad with music, but listening to a recording about, “Dell’s new products, buy one today!” sent him straight into a tizzy.
Now, for those who don’t know him personally, my father is one of the most hilarious individuals I have ever met. Being around him is like watching a live comedy, you just sit back and wait for him to do or say something, then you keel over laughing. His satire is much like something you would see on, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, written by Larry David, a former Seinfeld writer. It’s dry, offbeat and often times pushes the limit of things you should or shouldn’t say–but with my dad, anything goes. Every topic, every person, every situation is fair game.
He began his ranting as soon as the customer service voice recording came on. For five minutes or so he complained about how stupid it was to be put on hold, how he hated it, how he DIDN’T want to buy a product etc.
I sat there, listening until finally I had enough!
“Dad!” I said. “Deal with it. It’s not going to help anything by complaining, what good is it going to do?”
“Thank you for being patient,” the woman’s voice recording said in the meantime.
“No, I’m not patient!” he barked back to no one.
After a few more minutes of the voice recording rambling on in a sales pitch, I hear a loud yell coming from the man sitting next to me….yes, my father.
“Your mother’s ugly!” he yells into the phone.
Thankfully, it was just the recording on the other line.
Priorities January 27, 2008
I don’t have a fairy godmother leaving me 100 bills under my pillow nor did I win the lotto (I wish!). To save up enough money to travel for seven straight months is simple. You set priorities on how you spend your money. Do you want that $400 purse or do you want a plane ticket to another country? Do you want that $4 latte every day or do you want a bungalow on a beach?
It is a simple concept but not always simple to do. America is a materialistic society. We want…want…want. We buy..buy…buy. I will be the first to admit it, I flirt with this mad game of consumption daily. However, in order to help overcome this fight, I give myself a few little rules of thumb to follow.
1. Limit unnecessary shopping. Does this item serve an actual purpose (like toothpaste) or is it unnecessary (like a new shirt)? If it is the latter, I don’t buy it. I don’t need new clothes, shoes or other fashion items. I won’t take it with me on my trip so what is the point of buying it now as it will be out of fashion when I get back?
2. Be a cook. Cooking is almost always going to be cheaper than going out to eat unless you plan to hit up a fast food restaurant every night. I cook almost every night and I always bring a lunch with me to work. I can not express how this in itself has saved me so much money. My only downfall is that I absolutely love to cook but I don’t like to cook cheap. If you are coming over for a dinner party you will find yourself enjoying a 5 course meal. But the cost for that one dinner alone is the cost of living in Asia for a week. So, this kind of cooking falls under “entertainment” and I only do it occasionally.
3. Limit entertainment. The key here is not to deny but to limit your favorite hobbies and past times. I love snowboarding and glorious powder. I adore getting dressed up and going out to dinner. I cherish the end of the day when I grab beers and happy hour with friends. I get excited to go to the movies, plays and concerts. However, traveling is also my hobby. So I have to pick and choose. Would I rather spend a day trekking in the jungle or day on the mountain?
These three simple rules have helped me think carefully about how I spend my money. It’s not that I really deny myself of anything, I just limit the number of times I do it. This has allowed me to balance living in the moment and planning for the future.
So, if you want to go on an around the world trip there is no,”I wish I could.” Rather, what you should be saying is, “I can”–then start prioritizing.