Sleeping Around 2009-2010

Of all the various projects I have going on here on this blog, the Sleeping Around schedule is by far my favorite. Essentially, it is a graphical and statistical look at where I sleep*. Last year about this time, I posted about it, and being that I've just completed my second year of record keeping, I thought I would do a little summary post about this year's sleeping around.

Overall stats
Nights spent at home:79 (21.6%)
Nights spent housesitting:122 (33.4%)
Nights spent travelling:164 (45%)
Travel Breakdown
In-state travel:50 (30%)
Domestic travel:83 (50%)
International travel:31 (19%)

Other stats worth noting: I slept in a tent or under the stars* 39 nights—that's over a month! Also over a month (34 nights) in hotels/hostels. I spent almost a month's worth of nights (24) sleeping in cars, trains, or planes (but mostly cars, for that stat).

Being able to look back on a year to see where I've been and get a clearer picture of how I've spent my time is so interesting and beneficial. I'm so glad I started the habit of keeping track. I hope I keep it up (and that it stays as interesting and diverse) for years to come.
Wednesday August 4 2010File under: stats, travel

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Tuesday Thoughts on Happiness

Happiness is...
     :-) Last minute, on a whim travel
     :-) Free airport WiFi
     :-) Fancy breakfast in bed
     :-) Unexpected gems that I would never find in a travel guide
     :-) Candy
     :-) Good friends
     :-) Seeing something I've always heard about.
     :-) Being reminded that we had the right idea long long ago
     :-) All around us
Tuesday July 27 2010File under: travel, misc

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Oregon Coast

Alas, 2010's New Old Time Chautauqua is over. But instead of returning to the real world, I've opted to let the fun and magic continue, albeit in a slightly different form. I'm currently enjoying all that the Oregon Coast has to offer, and believe me, it has lots.

The past 2 nights have been spent at Nehalem Falls campground, a small county park up Nehalem River that is exactly what we were looking for (after being hugely disappointed by the commercialness of Oregon State Park campgrounds).

During the day, entertainment has been found in the form of playing on the beach, exploring the quaint little towns, and visiting the Tillamook cheese factory....twice*. On the possible agenda for the rest of the time is sea lion caves, more beach time, and maybe, just maybe, another visit to the cheese factory.

This little vacay to the coast has been just what I needed to buffer re-entry into the real world. Back to back vacations is really the way to go. Dare I try back to back to back? Stay tuned to see.
Thursday July 8 2010File under: travel, USA

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Redwood Vaudeville Tour

Are you in Northern California? Do you live in a little town that doesn't see a lot of entertainment? If so, the New Old Time Chautauqua might be coming to your town. Come enjoy a vaudeville show filled with energy, juggling, music, acrobatics, comedy, and lots of last minute improvisation. (For example, the power went out due to a truck hitting a power line here in Pt. Reyes Station, CA. Luckily, the Dance Palace here has a little solar backup system so we at least had lights.)

But on the other side of the stage, it is more than shows. There is camping, parades, workshops, swimming*, and all sorts of intangibles. And then there are the stories. After just one year, I've got my fair share. The people that have been here for all 29 years have that many more.

Yep, Chautauqua: the Redwood Tour. Such an experience I can't even put together a cohesive blog post.
Wednesday June 23 2010File under: travel, circus

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Familiar Giant


Familiar giant (remember?) with a familiar goober in front.

Friday June 18 2010File under: travel, USA

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Circus Tourism

Montreal is kind of the cirque center of the universe. There are a number of well-respected circus schools here, Cirque du Soleil has it's headquarters here, and on the nice days in the many parks around town, you can see acrobats, jugglers, slackliners, and more playing, practicing, and preening.

Call it a fringe benefit. In between doing the work* that I came out for, I got to scope out the circus scene. I juggled in the parks, I skulked around Cirque's headquarters, and I went to see Cirque's new show Totem under the bigtop. What can you say about a night of getting gussied* up, hanging out with good friends, and seeing some of the most premier circus artists plying their trade? Thank you Montreal!

Montreal has more to offer than circus stuff, of course, and I've got to do/see a lot of it. But circus is a part of this city and I love it! Maybe it's the beginning of a whole new type of tourism: circus-tourism! Look for tour packages come soon!
Friday May 28 2010File under: travel

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Montreal Food Post

I've crossed paths with a number of Montrealers in the past couple years, or people who at least have spent time here, and one thing that always comes up is the food. "Montreal has the best _____!", people would say. Or "If you go, you have to try ______'s." Well, with one or two exceptions, I've tried it, and I have to say I'm not that impressed.

Other than the food, I'm totally enjoying my Montreal experience. And the food isn't bad. I've actually had some really good meals*. Nothing has warranted a "you gotta try this", but I'm not going to come home complaining.

Among the "you gotta try"s were bagels and poutine. The bagels don't really do it for me. Give me Bellingham's Bagelery anyday. As for poutine, the famous Canadian dish of fries served with gravy and cheese curd, I love the concept, but in practice, was disappointed. I'm thinking maybe I will have to try some homemade poutine sometime and see if I can do better.

Another "simply must" was Schwartz's, home of the smoked meat sandwich since 1928. While I can't say that there was any false advertising (their sandwich did consist only of smoked meat), I not only walked away disappointed, but also with a healthy jump on a triple bypass surgery.

Yep, so far Montreal's food scene hasn't come close to living up to the hype. The one possible redeemer will have to wait until next visit, as it isn't the season. Sugar shacks, literally shacks that serve everything coupled with maple syrup, definitely have a chance to win it all back. I mean, it's a jug of freaking maple syrup. I'll keep you posted.
Monday May 24 2010File under: food, travel

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Happy Bike to Work Day


Montreal, Canada - Despite not really having a job and being 3000 miles away from my bike, I'm stoked to say that I got to participate in Bike-to-Work day, an "annual event held on the third Friday of May across the United States and Canada that promotes the bicycle as an option for commuting to work"wiki.
       Luckily, Montreal is about as bike friendly a city as you could hope for (except for the severely potholed roads*). There are bike lanes, bike lights, bike racks everywhere, and, at least as far as I have seen, bikers everywhere.
     Perhaps one of the most unique contributions to biking culture here in Montreal is Bixi (the Bixi? le Bixi?), a city-wide bike sharing program unveiled 1 year ago and spreading to other communities. As part of my work agreement(-ish), I've got myself access to Bixi bikes for my time here.
     In short, this is how Bixi works: there are MANY stations around town where you can check out a bike (with your
[extremely reasonably priced] subscription). You then have 30 minutes to return the bike to any other station in town. You can do this as many times as you like. So you ride from your house to the grocery store, return the bike to a holder, and get out a different bike for the ride home. Same for commuting to work.
     The bikes aren't your normal road, touring, or mountain bike. They have 3 gears inside the back hub (so no derailleur issues), a luggage rack on the handle bars, and front and back lights run off non-friction based generators. They are a comfortable ride, but not for hard-core cycling; they are definitely utilitarian (as they should be).
    Yep, it's bikes everywhere you look. And I've got more bike fun to look forward to. Along with exploring the city by [Bixi] bike, I'm really excited to check out Per's bike making shop. Maybe I'll get a little custom frame work while I'm there. Yeehaw!

Friday May 21 2010File under: travel, transportation

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Rejected Photos From Mex-Guat-Bel















In the course of a trip, there are good pictures that don't make it to the blog, whether because of subject matter (they didn't fit into any post I was making), balance (there were already enough pictures for that post), or timing (someone else took the photo and got it to me after I already made a post on the topic).

These are those photos from the 2010 Mexico/Belize/Guatemala trip. I'm trying something new in terms of displaying them*. I hope you like it (I sure do). (If you are reading via RSS, please do come visit the blog for this one as it is worth it (I hope).)

(If I did things right, you should be able to scroll the photos by clicking through the right hand of each photo once it has enlarged).

Saturday April 3 2010File under: travel, Mexico

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Financial Breakdown of My Mexico-Belize-Guatemala Trip

A popular topic of conversation for travelers is money. From how you work it to travel (if you are on a longer trip or travel frequently) to daily budgets, it pretty much all gets covered. Luckily for me, instead of feeling like this is an intrusive topic, it is one that really interests me. How do other people find funds to travel? How long with their saving hold out? What do they plan on spending per day and what do they actually spend?

For this last trip, I gathered up all my recipes and compiled them to have a better idea of my travel budget (which could help with future planning). I post them here not only for posterity and for my own reference's sake, but also because the finances of travel are a big part of it all, so it is just another piece of the puzzle.

CountryLength of stayMoney spentDollars per day
Mexico (Yucatan/Quinta roo)8 days$243$31
Belize5 days$217$44
Guatemala2 days$130$65
Mexico (Chiapas)8 days$247$31
Total23 days$837$36

Flights
Portland, OR -> Cancun, Mexico$159
Tuxtla-Gutierez, Mexico -> Seattle, WA$355
Total$514

Overall, this trip cost $1384 (on ground expenses, flights, and getting home from the airport). Not bad for 24 days of adventure. Some interesting observations:
  • in general, the longer time spent in a country, the lower cost per day. I attribute this to transportation costs, mostly, but also getting to know where to eat cheap and learning the ins and outs of cheap travel in that place.
  • Flight costs are more than 1/3 total trip cost, in this case. Again, a longer trip will help offset that and allow for a lower cost per day.
  • Compared with what a person might spend on average during their normal life back home (rent, food, concerts, etc.), these numbers can definitely start to look more doable
  • I know I could bring down the per day costs by staying in sketchier places, eating fewer ice creams, not bringing home one of each bill as a souvenir, etc., but those small additions to the enjoyment of it all totally seem to be worth it when looking at the distribution of it all
  • Next trip, it would be interesting to break down costs even further, maybe into lodging, food, transportation, and entertainment (ruins, circuses, museums, etc.)

Monday March 29 2010File under: travel, Mexico

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