traveling to the edge

Vacation where you Live, Travel for a Living

Adventures in Amarillo

The number one question that I receive after telling people that I travel for a living is where has been your favorite place to go. This question always stumps me and they look at me like I have two heads thinking “why is that such a hard question?” It is hard because I hate the most basic answers that everyone would expect. Oh New York is amazing. Chicago is super rad and New Orleans is a lot of fun. But to tell you the truth although all of those places are cool and I am glad I have experienced them I wouldn’t say that they are my favorite. Some of my favorite experiences on the road so far have been in the most podunk little towns that turned out to be amazingly cool and I shared some memories with some of the raddest people out on the road.

This is one one of my favorite things that happens while you are traveling. The point or message that I am trying to get across here is you always want to have an open mind when you are traveling because you never know what you are going to run into.  What I mean by this is you want to to never judge a book by its cover when it comes to a place you have never been before. Or a better way to put it is don’t judge a town by its lame TripAdvisor Top 10 things to do here list.

 Because of my line of work I have the opportunity to go into some of the most random places across the U.S. My favorite part about the opportunity I have is when I get completely surprised by a town. Im talking about the ones that when I tell my friends and family I am going there they go "OMG your poor thing I am so sorry you have to spend the weekend there." Now trust me this doesn’t happen in every small town that I go too. Some are just as bad as everyone says they are and sometimes even worse. (I won’t be naming names but trust me there are a few that if I saw my name on the schedule to go there again I would heavily consider contracting a deadly disease before I have to go again.) You have to keep in mind that I live in San Diego so I am pretty spoiled when it comes to traveling because I arguably live in one of the best places in the world in my opinion. Or at least Americas Finest City. :) 

My Backyard 

My Backyard 

When it comes to being surprised I’m going to tell you about the most recent time that this has happened to me: Amarillo, Texas. My friends and family especially for the weeks leading up to this trip were saying things to me like “good luck there is nothing in that god awful town." But in my opinion they couldn’t have been more wrong. First off I just love Texas in general. I always make the mistake of not bringing my boots when there are cool places to go dancing that I miss out on.  To start off the weekend I was with a super amazing team with some of my absolute favorites so that just sets up the weekend to be a success from the start.

http://acapulcomexicanrestaurant.net/

This is a team dinner that we had on Saturday night at a Mexican Restaurant called Acapulco. Can’t explain how amazing this place was to eat. Many of us didn’t even venture out and try something new because it was that good. On Friday night I went out to an Italian restaurant in downtown Amarillo called Napoli’s where I had great chicken piccata and a glass of my current favorite Pinot Noir, Mark West. 

What stood out to me most about Amarillo was how trendy it was.  There was this really cool hipster coffee shop downtown called The Palace. I was so impressed with this coffee shop because of the great coffee, the impossibly cute baristas, and the vibe of the shop. I would definitely recommend grabbing a cup of joe next time you pass through. I became a frequent for the weekend that I was there. 

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http://www.palacecoffee.co/

On Monday I had the pleasure of taking a late flight out of Amarillo. (At the time that I booked my flight I was dreading the fact that I couldn't fly out till 5PM) I ended up having the best day driving around exploring and eating and drinking with some friends. We were so excited to stumble upon multiple different graffiti murals. Not going to lie we had a mini photo shoot. Checkout @PATHS01 on instagram to see some amazing graffiti. 

 

 I have had a long standing love affair with graffiti. It is one of my favorite things to take pictures with when I am traveling to a new city. Where have you found some really cool graffiti? 

Here are some other Graffiti Pictures I have taken around the world. #Berlin #WashingtonDC #SanFrancisco #SanDiego


Traveling to Canada Eh?

I always try to remember never to fly into the Denver airport on layovers but I always get sucked into the convenient schedule times. It is such a nice luxury to be able to have an 8am flight time instead of the typical red-eye or 6am flights. Although the rocky's are a pretty sight to see the amount of turbulence that they create is almost unbearable (and this is coming from someone who doesn't even mind turbulence.)  Your stomach feels like it is on an old rickety roller coaster ride at the fair, you have your Starbucks spilled all over your lap, the middle seat passenger grabs your arm in fear instead of the armrest, and the captain is yelling over the intercom at the flight attendants to get into their jump-seats, just to paint you the picture of my typical flight into Denver. Then once you get there, I have been delayed 5 out of 7 times since the weather is so unpredictable that it can shift on a dime. It's a good thing they have a pretty nice airport because I have unwillingly spent a lot of hours here. (Not nearly as bad as flying into Dallas but don't even get me started on that.) I arrive into Denver nauseous, hair disheveled and sleepy.

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As I wait on my two hour layover, I eat at "Que Bueno", I experiment with their 3 different meat options: steak, chicken and barbo coa. I recommend the steak. The chicken is way too smoky for my taste and the barbo coa was not memorable. I don't know what it is about that resturant but they always remember me. The guy at the cashier stand looks at me like I'm a steak taco that he is about to eat.  I guess the creepy bennifit to this uncomfortable stare-down is that I don't get charged extra for sour cream and guacamole. As I prepare to eat I a take up practically a whole row of airport seats with all of my stuff sprawled out, and I am grateful to be eating a hot gluten free meal in an airport. (This is not typical for me, airports are filled with gluten!)  I rate this meal a 7 out of 10 on the airport scale which translates to a 4 out of 10 when it comes to food prepared outside an airport so it is starting off to be a good travel day. As I am eating I realize that I forgot probably the three most vital pieces of travel essentials: my cellphone charger,  the credit card I use to put all of my work expenses on, and my razor (and I only brought dresses this weekend for work). Bummer... I scour the airport for the duration of my layover to see if there is a charger that is not my entire weekends perdium. With no luck I opt to just borrow from coworkers for the weekend. And just like that I'm off two more hours until I get another stamp on my passport! Canada here I come. 

With little to no trouble I pass my interrogating questioning and they let me into their country. As I roll up  to the rental car counter I greeted with a piece of good news and a piece of bad. The overly smiley cashier says "Congratulations, you have reached the Executive Elite Status" and now will be able to drive any luxury car in the lot for no extra charge. In between her questioning statements about how she has never seen an Elite member who is so young (under 25, meaning I'm not normally supposed to be allowed to get rental cars except my company pays for them), she mentions that she gave her last Mercedes away to the gentleman right  before me and that my luxury rentals will have to wait until next week. I opt for a sporty mid-sized SUV with Navigation of course because my American phone's GPS doesn't work up here. I wrinkle my nose at the Mercedes that pulls out of the lot right before me. Oh well... I begin to navigate the Canadian roads in the rain, which poses to be more of a challenge than I thought. The street signs are much smaller and they have lots of yielding half-round-abouts where you can only go a couple of directions on. Needless to say I managed to completely ignore the GPS screaming at me, drive the wrong way on a one-way street at least three times and flip a B in the middle of rush-hour on-coming traffic that somehow landed me at a grocery store. (Don't ask me how because I have no idea.)

You can see my American quarter shoved in the slot. It is supposed to just slide in. 

You can see my American quarter shoved in the slot. It is supposed to just slide in. 

A couple major differences that I noticed while shopping at the store. First off was getting the cart off of the rack. They were all chained together and were not coming apart. I saw that it said 25 cents. Of course I don't have any Canadian money on me let alone change, so I dig in the bottom of my purse and find a quarter. I shove the quarter in the slot hard enough that I barely get the cart detached from the others. If that wasn't embarrassing enough I have another embarrassing moment at the checkout stand. I found all of the items I needed with not much trouble. I bought three packs of water (even though they were buy one get one free). I didn't need four and I didn't want to be wasteful because I knew my team would never go through that many.  Anyway the cashier reminds me that they are indeed BOGO and I told her I didn't need the extra. The guy in line behind me decides to give his opinion on the subject and says that I should give the extra case to the poor or to him. Then he asks me if I am from the States. I reluctantly say yes...and then he goes on about the water and calls me a "rich Yankee."  I'm shocked I have only been in the country less than an hour. Do I stick out that much? Then he goes on to ask me my opinion of Donald Trump running for President. Then stupidly after all of this debacle I ask the cashier if grocery stores in Canada sell wine. (I need some after this run in with Mr. Canadian long hair. ) He proceeds to laugh at me and inform me they are only sold at liquor stores before the cashier can even speak up. I highly consider driving around to find one but I decide not to be a wino this weekend. 

Just Kidding! I got a class of wine at the bar that night  

Just Kidding! I got a class of wine at the bar that night

 

Canada has the best chicken I have ever tasted in my life!!! And this was hotel food. I can't imagine how good it would be if it was at a real restaurant. Apparently they don't feed their chicken Fs or hormones like they do here in the states and let me tell you the world of difference that it makes.  I would come back to Canada again just to eat the chicken. 

Canada has the best chicken I have ever tasted in my life!!! And this was hotel food. I can't imagine how good it would be if it was at a real restaurant. Apparently they don't feed their chicken Fs or hormones like they do here in the states and let me tell you the world of difference that it makes.  I would come back to Canada again just to eat the chicken. 

As I check into my hotel for the weekend it quickly becomes just the same as any other weekend. hotel room, ballroom, hotel room, ballroom, hotel room, ballroom pack up and go home. Besides that in my downtime I actually had a really fun time hanging out with my team especially my girlfriends Moriah and Sarah. I can't remember the last time that I have laughed so hard or since. We had a great time working out, walking to dinner, taking bathroom selfie videos, and practicing what we would do if we got confronted with an attacker. 

On Sunday night we all got together as a team and went to the Winnipeg Casino. The boys had fun giving us their chips and teaching the girls how to play blackjack. Of course my conservative self got stressed out gambling even though it wasn't my money and it was Canadian money which looks like monopoly money to begin with. I got in trouble snapping some blurry photos inside the casino but it was worth it just to say that I did it. 

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Winnipeg was cool but I can't wait to come back to Canada see a different part of the country. I heard Victoria is absolutely stunning and that I would love Toronto because it is a cleaner version of NYC. 

Until next time.

~xoxo

Kate

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