I’ve always been big into learning from inspiring, insightful, and wholehearted individuals, and have found immense motivation from actively listening and reading wonderful people like Brene Brown, Tony Robbins, David Essel, Les Brown, Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, and so many more who deserve to make the list. I am constantly inspired by people’s willingness and courage to share and to be vulnerable in order to connect, collaborate, and inspire. Over the last two months, I have been religiously listening to at least 30 minutes of motivational speeches, books, or videos to start my morning, and I wanted to share some of my very favorite.
Recently, I went on a weekend getaway with my boyfriend, and although we’ve been together for 6 months, COVID-19 and quarantine put traveling on a hold for us for awhile. Finally, we wanted to take the precautions necessary, but still continue making memories and fulfilling our adventurous hearts. Traveling allows you to explore a new avenue of your relationship, whether that’s with a significant other, a family member, or a new friend. So traveling with a new partner had me thinking about tips and preliminary questions to ask and talk about before planning a trip together.
Very first question, how do you like to travel?
That’s very important question to ask yourself and to ask the person you are going to be traveling with. Are you a fly by the seat of your pants type of person or do you like to plan out an entire itinerary? Are you a deal traveler or do you like to splurge on fancy dinners and things to do when you’re out? Are you someone who likes to stay in the center of the action or are you more inclined to choose a quieter place?
These are important to know about yourself and about your travel partner, so you can COLLABORATE to make the most of our trip.
I can become anxious at times, if I leave too much room for spontaneity. I like to have a rough idea of the things I want to do, the places I want to see, different food places I want to try, and I like to stay in the center of the action so transportation is minimal. I know these things about me, but it can vary from place to place, which leads into the next question.
Where are we going and WHY?
When my friend, Sofia, and I were becoming close, we chose to take a trip together and we covered these questions. We planned to go to New Orleans and then drive over to a quaint town in Fairhope. We chose NOLA for two nights, so we could let loose, drink, explore, and have very late nights. I also communicated that 2 nights was my max there because my body can not handle three days of a non-stop party. So we did the party scene, and then spent the rest of our trip in a cute town in Alabama. That part of the trip was to relax, bike around town, visit antique shops, and try out local cafes. We did that for a couple days, and then we were on our way. By communicating what our whys for each location, we understood what we were both expected to get out of the travels and what we needed.
What do you like to do when you travel?
I’m not a night owl at all, and I promptly wake up at 7am every morning. So it’s important who I’m traveling with is either on the same page as me or we have a larger group to be able to disperse and do what we want to do. I would ask about sleeping and eating schedules and preferences. Are you traveling with someone who snores? (Maybe get an Airbnb with two rooms instead) Are you traveling with a vegetarian or someone with a restrictive diet? Food matters when you are out and about, so talk about it before hand to avoid pinch points.
Ask about INTERESTS
I am a history junkie and can spend hours at museums. My mom and best friend, Samantha, have left me to wander through museums by myself before, so that wasn’t exactly their cup of tea. So do things that peak your interest, but also do things that you can do together. Do you like finding random things on Groupon? Are you a more outdoorsy person who likes zoos and boats and luaus? Are you into pub crawls and hole in the wall bars? Are you into shows and entertainment? Are you a beach or mountain person? Do you hike? Don’t assume they’ll like what you’re doing because after a few days of traveling together, the nicety can ware off.
My advice is to communicate openly, don’t take things too seriously, and enjoy every moment of the newness of traveling. Traveling with someone makes your heart grow fonder, and reminds you how special creating memories is.
For so long, I had wanted to create a podcast to pursue two of my greatest passions— travel and human connection. That’s why almost 4 years ago, I created Thoughtful Blonde as a platform to share, connect, collaborate, grow, and build community. When I got home from my time in Grenada, I knew it was time to take the leap and build a travel podcast that could serve as a new avenue to explore, create, and connect with more people than ever before, and let me tell you, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
So, I started to talking with one of my very best friends, Sofia, about the possibilities and opportunities of building something together because we all know two minds is greater than one. I again knew this would be the push I needed to put the plan into action, and so we did. We spent hours coming up with our goals, our mission, our vision, our name, new ideas, and who we’d want to have on our show. We both loved traveling and wanted that to be our sole purpose, to create a podcast that was informative, entertaining, and inspired others to travel further and wider. We wanted to talk in a way that was inclusive, and invites others to join in on the adventurous conversation.
Bam, then came, the Who Wear There Podcast.
We planned, and began learning all the Podcasting things we could before recording our first episode. So, we reached out to our network and had great support from our friends and peers, which was so immensely appreciated to get where we are now.
We recorded our very first episode on Valentines Day 2020 and a month later when we were only 4 episodes in, a global pandemic took over our everyday. We couldn’t leave our houses, let alone travel like we had planned, but we improvised and created something more beautiful and rewarding than we could have imagined.
This travel podcast, although traveling this past 6 months has been minuscule, has reminded us why we love to explore, why we love to travel, and why we thrive off of human connection. Since then, we have published 30 episodes, hosted 20 guests, and created useful resources to connect the lovers of travel. We had to get creative because we no longer had a recording studio or the symplicity of gatherings, so we used Facetimes to plan, our phones to record, and got innovative to still feel the rush of the newness even from inside our own homes.
If you are truly passionate about something, nothing stands in the way of creating and building, and we look forward to continuing to expand and explore. If you have traveled somewhere exciting or interesting or just want to chat about your travel insights or know someone who would be an excellent guest on our show, reach out to email@example.com or find us at: https://www.instagram.com/thetravelbrats/
1. It’s going to be stressful but you can’t let it consume you.
I had the longest to-do lists, but I stayed true to my vision and kept reminding myself of what was coming. Instead of dreading the things I needed to accomplish, I started to take it day by day and enjoy the journey.
2. Take care of things the minute it needs to be taken care of, DON”T AVOID.
At times, I can struggle with this, but when there is a time table and a contract in play, being proactive changed everything for me. When I was unsure, I had to ask. When I was confused, I had to ask again for direction. When I got anxiety about following up or asking for what I need, I reminded myself of what was coming and how this is what I want and that I’m willing to take the steps to make it happen.
3. Don’t use white out if you messed up the form which you will re-print the form and REDO IT.
When trying to get my mortgage application accepted, I miss interpreted a form and wrote the wrong information. Instead of printing out the form again and refilling it out, I used white out (and poorly may I add), and it put the entire application on hold for a second because the information had to be verified again. On forms asking for a lot of money, DON’T USE WHITE OUT BECAUSE IT LOOKS FRAUDULENT. Sounds like common sense, but after a million forms and documents, I didn’t think it’d be a big deal. It was, lol.
4. Make the investment; it can be easier to rent but then you’re just throwing your money away.
Whether I choose to live here indefinitely or until 2020 is over, my place is perfect to be rent out and it is a long term investment for me. I was able to get an interest rate of 3.25% and after the appraisal vs. what I paid, I had made an excellent investment. I poured my money into property that will have a great return for years to come. My entire collegiate experience, I rented, and looking back, none of those places truly felt like home. It was half assed, and barely decorated, and didn’t represent who I was. Making this investment, not only diversified my portfolio and opened my eyes to so many possibilities, but it gave me pride in my space and my new home.
5. Look at your budget and factor in for all the other expenses that you’ll have:
Your Electric – FPL: https://www.fpl.com/ I downloaded their App and set up automatic Bill Pay, which will make my life so much easier.
For me, my water is included in my HOA (Home Owner Association) costs, so make sure you know when those quarterly expenses are due.
6. Things will go wrong and you will cry but it’s not the end of the world and you will fix it.
I closed on July 24, 2020 and could move in, but my place was in no condition to move in quite yet. My family and I spent a month working every single day after our full time jobs to completely renovate my place. Every room was modified into my vision, and let tell you, things rocked the boat and made me question a lot. When we went into my laundry room to put up new drywall, there was a flood and I had to handle setting up everything with a plumber and the property management company through my Home Owners Association. It was so overwhelming, but I had to breathe and believe that by taking action, we’d get this resolved. There were a lot of things that broke, didn’t fit, or we didn’t have, but I overcame many obstacles to create something I’m so proud of.
7. It’s very rewarding renovating your house. It’s a lot of work, but the end result is amazing and feels so good.
8. Find a mortgage broker that you like and can work with you and also when you’re a new home buyer it’s important that they explain different steps and make sure it’s a good fit.
My stepdad recommended https://www.hgfloans.com/branch-locations/ and we used Christopher Goodman. I was very, very happy with everything I learned from him and his team, and even with COVID-19 obstacles, it was (somewhat) smooth sailing. Every email with updates came with a video explaining the process of the loan underwriting, escrow, and so forth, and I was glad we chose to go with Hamilton Group Funding.
9. It’s more than just paying your mortgage payment when buying the house. There are other expenses.
I had to pay 10% down on my house, which can feel overwhelming, but it’ll come back in ten folds.
Then you have to find home owner’s insurance. After shopping around, I went with https://www.geico.com/homeowners-insurance/ Make sure you know how much dwelling coverage you need in order to meet the requirement of your contract + Escrow. I had to pay my premium at my closing, so be aware of that and take care of that information from the beginning.
My mortgage company set up the Home Appraisal and that had a nice price tag on it, so budget for that. Following that, I had to get a home inspection and we went with A Handy Home Inspector: https://www.ahandyhi.com/ who was timely and professional.
Just a heads up because these were things I did not know.
10. Lastly, let people support you and share in this time.
Thank you so much to everyone involved in this process. Thank you to Mom and Mark for all the hours of work, Thanks to my dad for the support, Thanks to my boyfriend for his handiness, and all my friends for cheering me on. This has been a lively experience and the start of something special.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out to me and ask away!
I’ve been working endlessly at the office, on the lot, and always completing a renovation in my new house. So basically, Busy is an understatement. It’s a great time to release my top picks currently being sold at Mint Motors. We sell a ton of makes and models, but I wanted to share my favorite from each.. so we’ve got trucks, SUVS,cars (of course), and even Vans. Whether you’re in the market to purchase another car or sell your car, Mint Motors handles that, too. You can get your car appraised here.
Joining this team has been fun, and has called for a revamping of the technology used on the daily. With implementing COVID-19 protection procedures, we’ve welcomed new virtual practices. Here’s what we are doing with every vehicle! If you don’t want to come in to shop, FACETIME WITH US!
Here are the top picks from August with a few honorable mentions.
Since graduating college, coming home from Peace Corps, starting my Master’s, accepting a full-time job, and buying a house, I’ve really started to think about the tips I use to not only save my money, but also optimize it. I’m sure you have a ton on your plate too, so here are some ideas to enhance your financial stability. With the right financial strategy, we can all strive!
I’m not a financial advisor or any sort of guru,, but I have an undergraduate degree in Economics and managing money has always been a hobby of mine (nerd alert). So take this with a grain of salt, if you will. Also, I’ve always been a saver, but I wanted to learn ways to get more for my money and be able to travel and afford adventures, so this is what I do in my everyday life to maximize my money.
1) Take out your entertainment money/budget out in CASH!
I budget in cash, especially for variable costs. Each month, it can vary how much you spend going out to eat or weekend trips or clothes shopping. So what I do is… if I want to go buy an outfit, I’ll grab a $50 and tell myself, once the $50 is spent, the money is gone, I can’t use my card. I set boundaries with myself, knowing I have other things I want to buy later on.
2) Use Credit Cards like Debit Cards & …. Pay it off every month!
When I turned 18, my mom and stepdad helped me open up 3 credit cards in my name so I could start building up credit and that was the BEST thing they could have done for me. I didn’t use them to buy anything crazy, which is important; every month, I’d use it to buy my gas and then pay it off. Over the years, I have built my credit to be able to get a car loan at 20 and a mortgage at 23.
So what I do……. instead of putting the items into my cart, I put them on a wishlist and buy an items or two every paycheck. It’s so easy to spend money online and have it shipped to your house, but when you make a list, you can compare items and prioritize what you actually need and when. It’s a great way to budget, and plan.
4) Keep an excel file with how much you make and then INCLUDE fixed expenses you have every month. If you need a template, reach out to me.
This is big for me. I like to use Excel to keep track of what expenses I have every month, and how much I have coming in. I know every month I have money being taken out of my account for my Roth IRA, my mortgage expenses, electric, etc, and those are things I need to ALWAYS take care of.
When I can visually see how much I am making and how many expenses I have, it helps me budget, save, and prioritize. I love traveling, so I’m big into putting money away every month for travels. So if you want to put $100 aside every pay check, I’d recommend making another savings account.
5) Go through your account and make sure expenses aren’t being taken out of your account every month without you realizing.
5 bucks here, 10 bucks there, and it can fly under the radar.
Are you done with college, but you still get charged $14.95 every month for Chegg? Check your bank statements regularly to make sure there is not fraudulent activities and you aren’t losing out on monthly memberships.
This is what I do, and it works for me, but I’m constantly learning and growing, so if you have any tips, leave them in the comments!
It’s been a busy month filled with lots of projects and car deals. I’m really getting into my role at Mint Motors and love creating content every month covering my favorite cars on the lot! Check out our entire inventory here.
In Episode 19, The Travel Brats interview Tampa Bay native, Hannah, abou hot spots in the neighborhoods, brewing companies, outdoorsy activities, sport events, and hidden gems that are a must. Hannah shares her insights on making the most out of a Friday night on the Bayshore to spending the day at a local park!
Tampa is made up of several parts and neighborhoods.
-Amalie Arena–hockey games, students who show up in Lightning apparel and present ID can get into the “student rush” where they will place you in empty seats. You could be sitting right behind the glass. https://www.amaliearena.com/
-Bru– a 16 tap taproom that sells beers from only Florida Breweries. They have games and trivia. They are dog friendly, kid friendly and have a kombucha and cold brew for non-alcoholic options https://www.brufl.com/
-Datz- a deli that serves really eclectic food from sandwiches to bacon stuffed meatloaf. They also have a chocolate shop that makes awesome little truffles and a bakery called Datz Dough (two locations one Downtown Tampa and the other in St. Pete) https://datztampa.com/
In Episode 18, The Travel Brats interview travel and music enthusiast, Jayson Savich, where he shares all his insight into making the most out of your San Diego adventures. He highlights the hot spots you can’t miss, shouts out the best music venues, paints a picture of the nightlife, and shares the best ways to stay safe in a new, chill environment. It’s an episode all about Southern California.
Jayson is Ashley’s life long friend from her hometown in Lowell, IN. Ashley moved to FL almost 7 years ago and Jayson ventured out West almost 4 years ago to attend school. He now lives in Scripts Ranch in San Diego, California and really living out his musical dreams.
He gave us some background about San Diego by saying, “It’s a unique, different vibe. You can go 15 minutes in either direction and be at the beach or in the mountains. It’s crazy how just 30 minutes away and you can be in snow. It’s also pretty big, and the traffic can be a hassle and unpredictable. It’s not normal rush hour traffic like we think of.”
We asked about Renting A Car and he said, “If you are staying out far from the center of San Diego, you may want a car, but it’s really easy to get around and there is Uber and Lyft that you can use.”
We asked, “When is the best time to visit San Diego?”
He said, “The worst time to come is during the summer months!!!!” Listen to the podcast to find out why.
We asked, “What are your favorite things to do there? Do you have any local hacks for things to do? Any festivals? Things people wouldn’t know to check out?”
He said, “CONCERTS EVERYWHERE! There are like 17-18 venues and here are some of his favorites:
In Episode 15, The Travel Brats interview Reka, our wonderful friend from Budapest, Hungary. She shares some background about Budapest, best times to visit, tips on crossing borders in Europe, things to do, people to see, and places to eat. She’s a Budapest local who has all the hacks to make the most out of your Europe endeavors.
Reka was born and raised in Budapest before moving to Tampa for school. She speaks multiple languages and gave us a lot of insight about how the younger generations are speaking more languages, whereas the older generations are more commonly Hungarian speakers. While in school, she was learning at least three languages at a time, English being one of them.
Travel Brats: Can you describe Budapest? What’s it like there?
Reka said: It’s a combo of history and great architecture. There are a lot of things to do for going out and there’s an active night life. It’s also a good mix between touristy and a local environment.
Travel Brats: Is it Hungary a big country?
Reka said: It’s a Fairly smaller country, about 10 million people live, but Reka grew up in Budapest
So it’s Budapest, and then there’s the rest of the country. Budapest is the largest city in Hungary, 2 million people.
Travel Brats asked: What are your favorite places around Hungary?
Reka: There are smaller towns with tons of history about Budapest, bordering Austria and Slovakia so it’s great for day and weekend trips.
Travel Brats: What’s it like crossing the borders in Europe?
Reka: It’s very, very easy to do, just checking passports and you’re on your way.
Travel Brats: What kind of currency does Budapest use?
Reka: It’s surprisingly not the Euro, it’s called the Hungarian Forint. The cost of living is cheaper than in the US.
Travel Brats: What’s the best way to get around the country?
Reka: Don’t need a car to get around, traffic, parking is difficult
Public Transportations or taxis if you need to
Trains (3 big train stations, double check where you are leaving from, buy ticket online)
Backpacking — buy train ticket and it’s valid for a week, 2 weeks, a month
Travel Brats: When is the best time to visit Budapest?
Reka: Summertime is more popular for tourists, it’s a dry heat, and awesome festivals. Winter — it’s very pretty, christmas market, below freezing temperatures
Travel Brats: What are must do’s when you are in Budapest?
Reka: Some Sightseeing activities are:
Touristy things —
Seasonal vs. permanent
Fisherman’s Architecture Place: very cool church
Hero’s Square 3 museums
Zoo, lake, arch museum (during the winter, they turn the lakes into an ice skating rink)
Ferris Wheel, during the summer
Festivals + Artsy + Historical
Statue of Liberty
Travel Brats: Best places to Eat?
Reka: Everyone eats at home, not so much fast food, and my family cooks a ton for me when I’m home. There are tons of little pastries places that I love. Some restaurants are: