About Last Night’s Election …

thumb__dsc6400_1024I woke up in a different America this morning than the one I went to sleep in last night.

A little before midnight Mountain Time on November 8th, I decided to go to bed after Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman told the eager (if somewhat deflated) crowd at the Javits Center in Manhattan that they should all go home, because there were still a handful of states left to be counted in the 2016 election for president, and many votes left to include.

This election, he said, wouldn’t be over until every last voice had been heard.

I went to sleep last night hopeful, and still very optimistic that the America I live in is not one that would elect a man like Donald Trump to the highest office of the land.

This morning, however, I woke up in one that did.

I won’t resort to name calling because, as the ever-so-eloquent Michelle Obama says, “when they go low, we go high.” Plus, there has been enough mudslinging over the past few months to last me a lifetime.

I did, however, feel the need to say something, somewhere, and since this is my blog, where I’m allowed my feelings and have been keeping track of my own adventures since 2008, I thought this was a good place. I didn’t take to Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram because, again, I’m not interested in the mudslinging.

Last night the media was talking about how it was possible that everyone — every. single. member. of. the.media. — could have so drastically missed the boat on what was happening. It’s a point well worth taking. “We’ve missed the groundswell of what’s going on in middle America,” one anchor said. “We sit here in our offices in big cities and conduct our polls with the people around us, and we’ve totally ignored what’s being said in rural America.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

Rural America, it seems, had a lot to say, and they made their point very clear at the polls last night. Trump supporting women (women!) who were interviewed said things like, “Who doesn’t like being groped!” and “I’ve heard women say far more worse things about men,” and “That was so long ago, why should it matter?”

To them, mostly, I am speechless. I understand there are people in this world who still believe all Mexican or Muslim people are evil. (I didn’t say I believed that, I said I understand these people exist.) I can understand (again, not agree with) how Donald Trump’s specific brand of hate breathes new fire into those beliefs.

I can understand there are men in this world who still look at women as objects — playthings with which they can do whatever they want. To me, though, the fact that there are women out there who potentially believe this as well … that’s a real tragedy.

I’m not here to say that this is the worst thing that has ever happened to Americans — I’m not that naive. No one died here, or was sent into battle. This is simply an embarrassment of monumental proportions, a blistering wake-up call about our calamitous divisions as a country, and one that we all, as a country, need to come to terms with. What I am going to say, though, is that Donald Trump is not now, nor will he ever be, my president. He does not represent my ideals or beliefs, and he in fact represents the complete opposite of what I believe America stands for.

For the record, I still love America. I love living here, and I love being American. I do believe that we can find our way back to the ideals that this country was originally founded on. After all, we’re all immigrants here. We’re all “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” … at least our ancestors were, and it’s in our blood.

So what am I going to do about an election with which I so deeply disagree with the results? I don’t know about tomorrow, or the day after or the day after that, but for today, what I’m going to do is hug my daughter a little tighter.

I’m going to repeat over and over to her that despite the fact that we unfortunately now live in a world that apparently rewards bigotry, racism and name-calling, she, however, will never embody those characteristics, and she, however, is just like everyone else in this country, and around the world. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly (at least at first).

And despite the fact that we unfortunately now live in a world that apparently rewards sexism, she will never put up with that type of behavior from any man. She is WORTH JUST AS MUCH AS ANY MAN, and she is special, and unique and smart. No man, despite what he might say about her, or women in general, in the future, can take those things away.

Today I will take a deep breath. I will realize that despite what happened in the early hours of this morning, the sun still came up, and Americans still enjoy oh-so-many more freedoms than do so many other people around the world (in fact, last night might just be a perfect example of that), and for that I am eternally grateful and humbled.

Today I will realize that while the feelings we’re all feeling are justified — whether that’s elation, complete confusion or downright depression — there is still a tomorrow.

And there is also another election in just four short years. Let’s make that one count.

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^^ Clearly we’ve still got a lot of work to do … let’s fix this, for our kids.

Check Out These Amazing Flight Deals … But Do It Soon!

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Hey friends,

So I’m a bit late to the bandwagon, but I figure since you still have a day or so left, it’s worth mentioning. As fate would have it, yesterday the stars aligned so that three big U.S. carriers launched mega-awesome sales on the same day … and some of what they’re offering is pretty great.

Here are your options:

Southwest: Book with this sale by tomorrow for flights starting at $49, $99, $129 and $149 one way. You must fly between August 25 and December 16, 2015, and blackout dates (like Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving, Friday & Sunday flights) apply. Still, some of what they’re offering is great. In fact, Chris and I decided to go ahead and book a sneaky 5-day trip to New Orleans in November for less than $400 roundtrip for the both of us. Like I said — amazing!

Virgin America: Another one that ends on 6/4, the Virgin Sale is offering a smattering of discounts on flights starting at around $39 one way for some. Virgin doesn’t seem to be having quite as many deals as the Southwest offer, but some of their prices are way low you guys. Of course restrictions apply here as well, like the fact that travel must occur between June 23, 2015 and August 4, 2015. These are the other restrictions.

JetBlue: You must book these deals by the end of today! There are probably over 100 discounts happening over here, running the gamut from $44 one to to about $250. You must fly between July 7 and September 30, 2015, and the trip has to take place on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Other restrictions may apply.

So what do ya say, friends? You up for some last-minute, spontaneous travel … !

Sun Valley Joins the Mountain Collective for 2015-16 Season

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Hi friends!

So I know you’re all: “Hey man, it’s May. And you’re over here talking about snow and ski passes and stuff. What’s up with that?”

Or some form of the above.

As any die-hard skier/snowboarder will know, season passes for places go on sale wicked early (as in I’ve been getting emails regarding my Epic Local Pass for over a month now, and I’ve already missed the deadline to sign up and receive 6 buddy passes along with it. Oops.) Anyway, the point is, the early bird catches the worm when it comes to ski passes, and this season there’s a whole lot more to love with the Mountain Collective 2015/16 pass, now that Sun Valley, Idaho and Thredbo, Australia have joined the fray.

If you live in the Mountain West — or even just plan to be in any of their six awesome locations for more than 3 or 4 days — this pass is absolutely worth it. Included with the $379 purchase are access to nine leading ski destinations, including Sun Valley, Idaho, Thredbo, Australia, Banff, Alberta, Whistler, BC, Aspen, Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, AltaSnowbird, Utah, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, California and Mammoth Mountain in California.

That’s a whole lotta great places to ski or snowboard, my friends.

Included in this deal are two days of skiing or riding at each of the nine destinations, plus a 50 percent discount on all additional days with no blackout dates. Pricing for the kids’ pass (ages 12 and under) is just $99 for the 2015-16 season.

Get your passes here before it’s too late! Hope to see you on the mountains ….

Bis bald, friends!

The Liebster Awards

liebster-award1Hi friends,

So the lovely Grainne over at An Irish Girl in Korea was kind enough to nominate little ole’ Weary Wanderer for a Liebster Award — which is an award given and received by bloggers to help grow awareness of all the awesome and amazing people out there who are blogging about awesome and amazing things.

The rules are:

1. Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you (thanks again Grainne!)
2. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers who you think deserve this award and link their blogs.
3. Answer 11 questions posted by the blogger who nominated you and also ask 11 new questions for your nominees to answer.
4. Notify your nominees.

So, without further ado, here are my answers to the questions Grainne asked me:

1. If you could choose one country to visit where would you choose and why? Well, I’m lucky enough to be able to say that my husband and I visited my No. 1 bucket list place — the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador — late last year. Since that’s now ticked off, I’d have to say the place I have my sights set on next is New Zealand. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it over there during a trip to see Chris’s family in Australia some time.

2. What is the first thing that you do in the morning? It’s sad but true — I think I’d have to say check my phone for emails! Then gym, meditate, breakfast (for both myself and our pets), coffee and to my desk!

3. Why did you start blogging? I wanted to have an easy way to look back on all the amazing places we were visiting, and then it evolved into something so much more. I started chronicling our lives in New York City, as well, which is something I’ll always cherish now that we no longer live there, and it’s been a great way to keep Chris’s family in Australia up-to-date on what’s going on with us over on the other side of the world, too.

4. How has blogging affected your life in a positive way? It allows me a creative outlet to write whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m a writer by profession, but so much of that is writing to a specific audience or for what an editor wants you to say. This is all mine, forever and always, and I love every second of it!

5. If you could be any animal what would it be? Probably a koala, but more specifically Shawn the Koala, the heroine in the children’s book series I’m trying to get off the ground 😉

6. How would you describe yourself in three words? Passionate. Stubborn. Loyal.

7. Where do you see yourself in ten years time? I’m not sure where we’ll be living, because I hope my life continues to be an amazing adventure. Having said that, I hope we’re still traveling a ton (potentially with a couple kids in tow!), and that Weary Wanderer continues to grow so that I can do less of my day job and focus primarily on this (and Shawn the Koala, of course!).

8. The mountains or the sea, which would you choose? Ooooooph. Toughie. We just left the east coast for the mountains of Colorado, and to be honest, I’d have to say that so far I’d have to pick the sea. The mountains are great — and I love snowboarding — but I don’t know. There’s just something about water …

9. Do you like or dislike meeting new people? Why? Both. I admit that it’s hard for me to approach new people because I can be a bit guarded, but I think once a person opens up to me, I’m more than willing to go that extra mile to stay in touch and/or get closer.

10. What do you value most in life? Love. (aka my friends and family and pets)

11If you were a character from a movie or a different world (e.g. from Space), who or what would you be, and what would your story be? Well not to give too much away, but again, I would be Shawn the Koala from my (soon to be best selling) children’s book. I can’t tell you the story, though … you’ll just have to read that when it comes out 😉

Okay, so now my nominees are:

1. skyward eyes
2. Deciding Denver
3. Incurable Wanderlust
4. That Dang Farang
5. Julie Journeys
6. Stretching It to Travel
7. 365 Day Explorer
8. More Days Off
9. Amarylio & Eloise
10. Family Boating & Camping
11. To the Capital Region and Beyond!

And here are the questions I’d love to see you guys answer:

1. What is the most frustrating thing to you about blogging?
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. What’s the one place you’ve traveled to that you would never go back?
4. Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
5. What’s the most important thing you bring with you when you pack for a trip?
6. Do you like to fly?
7. Which one: Road trip or plane ride?
8. What’s the longest you’ve traveled for?
9. What do you miss most when you travel?
10. What’s your favorite travel memory?
11. What’s your favorite travel photo?

Looking forward to reading all the responses — bis bald, everyone!

In Syndication …

Hey friends,

Just a quick note here to say that Weary Wanderer is now in syndication — awahoo! From time to time the travel site We Blog the World will be picking up posts and photos from good ole’ WW and running them on their site. (Check out my author page here.)

We’re thrilled to be a part of the We Blog the World team, and hope the relationship lasts for years and years to come!

[Also check out the blogger button to the right of my page, which links directly to WW posts on We Blog the World.]

Bis bald, friends!

In the News: A Deadly Metro North Accident

^^Views from the Metro North train from Grand Central to Poughkeepsie^^Views from the Metro North train from Grand Central to Poughkeepsie

I’ve taken the Metro North Hudson Line train from Grand Central to Beacon and back more times than I could ever hope to count. This train takes me from my home in New York City to birthdays, Thanksgivings, Christmases and much more at my mom’s house in upstate NY. I was on it last Tuesday, actually, as I traveled home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Yesterday, the 5:54 a.m. train from Poughkeepsie flew off its tracks in the Bronx, killing four people and injuring dozens more. It’s the first time in the history of Metro-North that a passenger was killed in a crash.

Today, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is saying that it appeared that the train was traveling too fast as it hit a curve in the tracks, which likely caused it to tip over.

When things like this happen, it only makes sense to look for something — anything — to blame. A faulty break. An err in conductor judgement. An electrical issue. As someone who travels via mass transit practically daily — whether it’s on a train, subway, bus or plane — I try hard to never think about what could go wrong. Of course buses have crashed. Trains have derailed. Planes have gone down. As a mass transit traveler, you’re putting your life in the hands of someone else every single time you step on that train, bus, subway, etc.

And sometimes, accidents happen.

My heart and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. In life, we don’t get to pick  when our time is up. I can only hope that for those who lost their lives, they were able to spend a truly fantastic holiday with everyone they loved the most over Thanksgiving.

In the News: Feeling Stunned

Sad news from The New York Times today about a shooting at one of my absolute favorite spots in the city — the Bryant Park ice skating rink.

If you’ll recall, actually, I was just there this past Thursday

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^^ I love the atmosphere here this time of year. And the music! Love the old-timey music.

The reason for the shooting? A jacket. A jacket that some idiot teenager wanted. And wasn’t given. And therefore felt the need to shoot and potentially kill for.

What do you do when one of your favorite places to go suddenly becomes a place you fear. A place where something horrible and sad and scary happened. Ice skating rinks. High school parties. Airports. Schools. Movie theaters.

Where can we go in America without worrying? The list is getting smaller and smaller …

My dad and I actually got into a discussion about this over the weekend (before I even knew anything had happened at Bryant Park). I argued that with the way America has become recently, I’m more than happy to have some of my personal freedoms stripped away if it’s going to help keep me (and my family and friends) safe. My dad (the retired Army Lieutenant Colonel) argued that these policies (stop and frisk, for example, and airport pat downs) are un-American, un-democratic and go against everything America stands for.

I understand that argument — I really do. But what do you do, I wonder, when you start to worry that at any moment, any place where you are, someone could pull out a gun and just start shooting? Because they’re angry. Because they’re mentally ill. Because someone offended them.

Because they want your jacket.

All I know is I want my ice skating rink back. And now, a small part of it will never be the same.