My first international trip for 2019

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I’m so excited I’m finally going on my first international trip of the year. I’ve been planning this trip since August of last year and the time has finally come! My friend Emily, who I met in college asked me to go to Madrid with her last February. I’ll be in Argentina for 5 days, I leave Wednesday but won’t arrive till Thursday.

My trip to Madrid with her was last-minute and spontaneous. I don’t remember what exactly happened, but she had texted me and I was asking her what she was up to and we ended up talking about her trip to Madrid. She told me what dates she was going and I realized I had those dates off so I jumped on the opportunity to go with her and went (this all went down in three weeks).

This time around it was a bit more planned out. I’ve known since August after we had talked about going on another trip together. She mentioned she had already booked this trip to Argentina and asked if I wanted to join, and she knew I was going to say yes.

Tomorrow I’ll be flying to Buenos Aires through LAX on American Airlines. I’ll be making sure to take notes and get back to you on my experience flying American. This will be my first time flying American internationally (I’ve only flown them going from Seattle to NYC). The flight is about 12 hours long and I’m preparing myself for this.

Here are a few things I always bring on my carry-on:

  • Headphones
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizer Wipes
  • Sleep Mask
  • Glasses case
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

(Pro tip: If you travel with medicine, make sure to always bring your medicine with you in your carry-on in case your checked luggage gets lost).

This is my second time going to South America, the first time was in 2012 when I went to Venezuela for a mission trip. So this will be my first time going as a tourist.

We don’t have much planned yet but I have a few things planned and made a few reservations to a few different restaurants that I want to try (can’t wait to blog about it later!).

Sorry for this vague blog post, but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers for this trip, as I’ll probably do quite a lot of blog posts about it. I’ll be posting photos of my food adventures on my food instagram here and my new travelgram that I just launched, which you can follow here.

Catch you back in America!

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Being a Flight Attendant: Reserve Life

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I get a lot of questions about my job, naturally as this job is very different then what other people are used to. I thought I’d do a quick blog post about what life is like as a reserve flight attendant.

Something that I think really boggles people’s minds is reserve life. For a normal desk job, if you call out sick, the company continues to spin its wheel and you come back to work when you get better and it is all good. For an airline, if a flight attendant calls out sick, then that flight cannot go. The reason is, the FAA requires 1 flight attendant for every 50 seats. Most airlines have it down to the minimum flight attendants so if one calls out they need another one to work that flight or else they have to cancel. Introducing your reserve flight attendants.

Reserves are flight attendants who just sit by and hangout and wait to be called. It’s literally a game of, do I go or do I stay?  I’m currently a reserve flight attendant but it varies per airline. For my airline it’s based on seniority so because I’m pretty junior I’m on reserve until more flight attendants are hired below me.

As a reserve flight attendant I do not have a set schedule or know where I am going. Instead, I know I am on call 18 days out of the month (with 12 days off). Most of the time I am notified the night before my reserve block starts, but sometimes I have a 2 hour call out which means I have 2 hours to get to the airport to work a flight. While on reserve I literally have my suitcase packed in my trunk and I always carry my uniform around with me if I go hangout with friends.

Reserve life can be exciting because you can go to some awesome places. On reserve I’ve gone to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Cabo, New York, Boston, etc. But sometimes it’s tiring because you just want to be home and inevitably the days that you want to be home are the days that you get assigned a trip. Reserves are pretty much required for the airline industry to function but it’s definitely a tough part of the job that makes you appreciate having a set schedule.

While reserve life is hard, I do really love my job and really don’t mind it. I hope this post gives you a little more insight to the airline world and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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5 Essentials from a Flight Attendant

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As someone who literally lives out of their suitcase, I have learned to be a savvy packer so I can fit everything I need. Sometimes I stack my trips together which means I could gone for 8 days or more. While I often rotate different outfits, there are a few things that have become my essentials for every trip. Below are some of my favorite items that I always take with me.

1. Packing Cubes

I mentioned in my post about Holiday travel about the AmazonBasics Packing Cubes, but I’m mentioning them again because I swear by them. I pack a different outfit for each cube and each climate. I have an outfit for winter, summer and moderate climate. I am able to fit three cubes in my suitcase, a toiletry bag and three pairs of shoes (flip flops, converse and tennis shoes).

2. Water Bottle

I love my Contigo Ashland Water Bottle because it has a hook that can attach to anything. I leave it empty and then once I’m in the airport I’ll fill it up and hook it to my luggage. I constantly drink water to stay hydrated and I try and reduce waste by not using plastic water bottles. It’s also a very sturdy water bottle as I use this on every flight I’ve had since I’ve started (about 470 flights, but who’s counting). By having this reusable water bottle, I always have water on hand and I’m helping the environment, win-win!

3. Lunch Box

Sounds funny right? I stopped carrying an actual lunch box in middle school and would only carry my food in a brown paper bag. However, with the crazy hours of my jobs, I pack food to make sure I always have something to eat. This is a good habit to start because it can help save you money on in the airport but also if there isn’t anything open you have a backup. I use SnapLock by Progressive to pack my food in as they’re light and dishwasher friendly.

4. Moisturizer

Traveling to different climates wreaks havoc on your skin. Trust me, I’ve spent the last 22 months trying to find the perfect moisturizer that I’m not allergic to. I use Garnier SkinActive for multiple reasons. The first, it has 30 SPF built in. I like that its a two-in-one, it’s moisturizing my face while also protecting it from the sun. Additionally, it’s the only moisturizer I have found that has been able to withstand the constant flying and heavy makeup that I wear. The second, it’s relatively inexpensive. When I started researching different moisturizers, I wasn’t ready to commit to anything expensive, as I wasn’t sure how successful it would be. This was one of the most highly rated moisturizers that I felt didn’t kill my wallet at the same time. I’ve been happy with it and I haven’t had to buy a replacement yet. I purchased it in February of this year and I put wear it four to five times a week.

5. Kindle/Kindle App

I actually have the OG Kindle and it recently died on me so I haven’t invested in a new one, but I have my iPhone and my iPad which I am currently using in lieu of my dead Kindle (R.I.P. OG). As I travel more and often do this as a solo traveler, I have found that the thing I enjoy the most is finding a coffee shop, drinking tea and reading a book. I always have two or three books on my Kindle that I am reading at a time. I actually rent all my books through my local library and it’s very easy to do this. Many libraries are increasing their ebook selections and I encourage you to join your local library and support them. I’m currently reading Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital (The Story that inspired NBC’s drama New Amsterdam). I recently just finished The Romanov Empress and I’ll be coming out with a review of it later.

Are there any things that you always take with you no matter where you are traveling? Comment below and feel free to subscribe.

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8 Favorite Layovers

Only 8 days till Christmas? That’s crazy! I’m already pretty much done with Christmas present shopping and I’ve finished wrapping all of them. I’m a really bad wrapper, I just can’t get the corners to fold down perfectly. My sister is really good at wrapping presents and making the perfect bow, it makes me slightly jealous she’s so good at it.

One thing I’m constantly asked as a flight attendant is “what is your favorite layover?” This is a hard question because it really depends on the time of year, my mood and the weather. However, there are 8 layovers that are some of my favorites no matter the time of year or the weather.

Here are my 8 favorite layovers (in no particular order).

  1. Juneau, Alaska
    • I love Juneau. Alaska is a hidden gem that I always tell my friends and family to go and see at least once in their life. I know it seems so far away, especially from the East Coast, but definitely come check out this hidden gem.
  2. Maui, Hawaii
    • Who doesn’t love a good weekend in Hawaii? I love Maui and as I have more layovers here, I fall in love even more with Hawaii. The island life helps me recharge and it actually feels like a vacation for me even if I’m only away for 24 hours.
  3. Portland, OR
    • I love Portland layovers because stay three blocks away from Powells. Powells bookstore is a readers dream. I always have to tell myself I’m only allowed to spend $25 when I’m in Powells because I can spend way too much there. Powells is the largest independent bookstore on the West Coast that has both new and used books. If you ever go to Portland, this is a must place to stop at.
  4. Boston, MA
    • I love Boston layovers because of the hotel. We stay in two different hotels and I like both of them. One of the hotels provides breakfast which I why I like that hotel. The other hotel is near Boston Commons which is central to most everything I like in Boston. If you’re ever there in the summer, go to a Boston Red Sox game because Fenway is an amazing baseball park you have to experience.
  5. Orlando, FL
    • I didn’t start flying to Orlando until April of this year, but since then I’ve been there 8 times this year. I love the warmth of Orlando and that we are so close to Disney Springs. Whenever I layover here, I walk to Disney Springs and spend hours just perusing and window shopping. It’s a fun experience for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money but wants to go out and enjoy the outside.
  6. New York, NY
    • There is always so much to do and see in New York that even layover is different and fun. I have a few good friends who live in New York so if I go out there, I try to see them while also throwing in a show or two to see. The last time I was in New York I got tickets to see Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Download the 1iota app and you can get tickets to see shows for free (but often you have to plan ahead for this).
  7. Philadelphia, PA
    • I love Philadelphia for the history. The first layover I had I went and toured Independence Hall and I literally geeked out over how much history was there. I tend to get really over emotional about history and I almost cried because I was so excited.
  8. Minneapolis, MN
    • Minneapolis layovers have a special place in my heart because of all my college friends who still live there. I used to pick them up pretty regularly to see them but lately I’ve had to switch my schedule around and I haven’t made it out there are much as I would like. We stay right near the Mall of America so I always go shopping there whenever I get the chance because no sales tax is a thing I take advantage of.

What are some of your favorite places to vacation?

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Thanksgiving in Vegas

Like many people who work in customer service, holidays and weekends are rare things for us to get off. While we can get them off, as a junior flight attendant, it’s really difficult to. I’m okay with this, as I understand it’s part of the job and I have the incentive that I get paid double time to work holidays. Last year I spent Thanksgiving flying to LAX, sitting for 8 hours in the airport and then flying to Anchorage. This year I flew to San Francisco and then Vegas. My layover was in Vegas and my friend Phil (the same Phil from Chena Hot Springs) lives in Vegas so he picked me up and showed me Vegas as he knows it.

Vegas is a really interesting place, for most of us, we imagine Vegas as this glitzy, glamorous city that we visit. It’s rarely a place we think that people actually live in. Phil hates living in Vegas and has told me repeatedly his first goal is to save up so he can move from there. Vegas from a resident point of view is so different and so fascinating. Phil took me to the Seven Magic Mountains which is an art project outside of Las Vegas. It’s about a 25-minute drive that is easy to get to, (pretty much a straight shot) from Vegas, but you’ll need a car. The Magic Mountains are 25 ft. boulders that are colorfully painted. After the Magic Mountains, we went to the Container Park which is the coolest thing I’ve been too!

The Container Park is located in Las Vegas in the Fremont area. Fremont is considered the “old original” Vegas. They have a really cool LED Canopy that does 5-minute show on the hour. I recommend you go just to walk around and to see the show! The Container Park is full of boutiques and local restaurants, but I liked the area because it was quiet and pretty low-key for Vegas. Also, all the boutiques were local shops, not chain stores like those on the Strip so I liked knowing I was supporting a local business.

I always have a good time when I’m in Vegas (sometimes too much of a good time), but this was a different and fun experience because I saw parts of Vegas I never would’ve thought to go to. It’s fun to see Vegas from Phil’s point of view, and I definitely want to see it again.

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Container Park, iPhone X

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Seven Magic Mountains, iPhone X

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Some musings of a Flight Attendant

Hi there, thanks for reading my blog and hope you enjoy it. Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any questions you want me to answer or any topics you want me to talk about.

One thing I’m often asked “how is life as a flight attendant” and it’s a really hard question to answer. Like any jobs, there are pros and cons, but I love my job.

What I love about my job is the flexibility. I can work as much or as little as I want. This year has been a pretty chaotic and stressful year. The beginning of the year my grandmother passed away and that was a devastating blow that affected me more than I thought. I ended up taking a lot of time off. Additionally, I love the ability to take off time to travel. Early this February I went to Madrid last minute because my friend happened to be there on the same days that I have off. That was an exciting last minute trip that I feel grateful I had the opportunity to take. There are times when I want to be home, but I’m flying for four days instead.

What is the most frustrating part of my job is the behavior of the passengers on the plane. For the most part, a majority of passengers are nice, respectful and listen, but there are always a handful that just make you want to bang your head against the wall.

One thing I would like to point out is 99% of everything we do or say is based on safety. We don’t ask you to put your tray table up and seat backs forward to be annoying. We do it because landing and takeoff are when plane accidents happen. If we have to evacuate the plane, we want to be able to ensure you are able to get off the plane. It’s a lot harder to get out of your seat if your tray table is down and the seat in front of you is laying on your lap. The other 1% is telling you we don’t have Pepsi.

A confession I have is sometimes I really admire other flight attendants who have told me they met their significant other on the plane. I often wonder how that went down. Did the flight attendant slip their number subtly? Did the passenger come up and give them their number? How did they connect? Was it love at first sight? These are important questions! On a side note, I’ve actually had two passengers give me their numbers.

The first time was my very second flight ever and I was saying goodbye to the passengers as they deplaned and he gave me a piece of paper that had his number on it. I didn’t text him back, I felt awkward.

The second time we had landed was when I was flying to Cuba. I had been working first class and he was a first class passenger who literally slept the whole entire flight. Once again, as I was saying goodbye he got up and said he enjoyed the flight and wanted my number. As we were in Cuba, and I didn’t have any cell reception, I didn’t get any of his messages until I landed back in the United States. Needless to say, that didn’t go anywhere.

Are there any questions you have for a flight attendant? Or a really cute/funny story about how you met your significant other?

These are two pictures I took in Cuba on a Fujifilm XT-10 and edited on VSCO.

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