Wellness Travel Blog: My Long Story-Short Excuse as to Why I’m Just Now Visiting Colorado

Colorado Has Been A Long Time Coming…

Back when I worked for American Airlines, Colorado was one of my top destinations to hit first. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to. Seattle and San Francisco were up there on the list as well and was able to hit those spots. Not to mention my first non-rev trip internationally was to the Caribbean (Grand Cayman Island), an area prioritized on my destination list. So I can’t say I should be ashamed of my self for not being able to make it to Colorado during my time working for American.

Well. . .

To be honest with you, I’ve had plenty of opportunities. Right off the bat, I’ll name some factors contributing to missing some of my priority destinations:

1. Work

I held two jobs at the time, working 50+ hours a week, 6 days a week. In such a short time frame I could only do day trips unless I got someone to pick up my hours at the airport job.

2. School

At the time I was working my American Airlines job I was in the upper undergrad classes (the 300 and 400 classes. Sorry if I’m confusing you!). The work was getting more stringent, increasing in both quality and quantity. Buckling down was paramount. This meant sacrificing some potential days to hit some hot spots in Denver.

3. A Toxic Relationship

It’s not that I was in a relationship. Couples travel to Colorado all the time. It’s that I was in a bad relationship. Of course, the smaller issues like our time off not aligning played a role in us not being able to get to some of our destinations. The bigger issues, however, were that we just couldn’t get along. And that’s an understatement. We argued and spoiled one another’s energy so frequently that we sucked any enthusiasm out of the will to travel. On our limited time off, we just wanted to be home.

These are all recipes for missed Colorado opportunities. Well, here I am today to tell you I’m finally en route to the Mile High City, Colorado! Land of the beautiful Colorado Rockies (I’m a mountain man regarding visual vitamins). The greatest difference now from two years ago? I’m single. And no, it’s not bashing on the amazing travel and wellness couples who journey the world and grow together. As a matter of fact, you inspire me! I’m sure if you have an IG, FB Page, SC, Twitter, or website and you post frequently about your adventures together I follow you. By being single, I mean I’m away from a negative situation that held me back in more ways than one. Among those things was travel.

Diving Into The Detail. . .

I’d mentioned earlier that one of the things holding us back from ever getting to Denver was our inability to ever mesh our work schedule. Whenever we traveled, either one or both of us had to get our shift picked up or use vacation time. That wasn’t the biggest issue, however, as we were clearly finding ways around our work schedules not meshing. The greatest impact that relationship had on my not just getting to Denver, but broadening my traveling experiences in general, was on my drive. The constant arguing and problems drained me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It threw its muck onto my passion for travel, culture, and exploration. At one point, I wasn’t too sure why I was still working for American Airline, as my drive and motivation for travel had diminished, becoming wrapped in a constant feedback loop since the more I stayed home and missed travel opportunities after hours of work, school, and maintaining a relationship, the more my drive to get out and travel declined.

Needless To Say, A Trip To Colorado Is Long Overdue

This Denver, Colorado trip particularly inspired me to write this because there is more meaning to it. While I was working two jobs at the time, I remember coming to the conclusion that my current way of living was no longer sustainable and that something had to give. Unfortunately, my other job paid the larger portion of my bills, so I knew my time at American Airlines could be coming to a close. One of the trips I had to make before making my decision to leave was getting to Denver. I’m going to make it a goal of mine to visit as many mountain ranges around the world as I can so my own backyard would be a start. Well, things didn’t pan out due to more arguments and unhappiness, and that time came when I had to make a temporary hiatus from the airline industry. It was the beginning of some dark and confusing times in my life.

On a positive note, two years and an Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certification later, I’m back in the airline industry pushing for innovation in the Wellness Travel industry while enjoying the revival of a true passion of mine: travel.

I’ll be sure to post pictures of my trip to my Instagram @vitaminvoyager as well as tweet, make Facebook posts on my page, and create videos on my Snapchat of the same username. If you have any recommendations for great local tea/kombucha/smoothie shops, health and environment conscious restaurants, awesome outdoor activities within reach of public transportation, and yoga and meditation retreats/business, please feel free to share them below!

Copyright (c) 2018 vitaminvoyager.com, All Rights Reserved

Onward To Alaska

Over the years, visiting Alaska has increasing climbed my to-do list. One of the things I’m looking forward to most now that I’m back in the airline industry is the cheap ability to explore. Not just travel and sightseeing the usual attractions, but really veer off course and explore the other parts of what this beautiful world has to offer. Working for Alaska Airlines, I am blessed with the luxury to travel free to many cities in the U.S. and very cheaply worldwide. As you’d expect, the airline has many routes to Alaskan destinations like Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak, Bethel, Barrow (the northernmost city in the United States!), and many more.

My Outdoorsman Side Calls

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my brother about possibly traveling together (family gets benefits too!) to Alaska. To me, the thought of exploring the wilderness and tundra of such a beautiful land as Alaska excites me to my core. I’m a water, green trees, and snow-capped mountains type of man. I’ve discovered over the years that I’m far less inner-city-oriented than I initially thought. The peace and quiet of nature just started to settle in my heart as I grew older. Washington state’s scenery is one of a few factors that lured me here from my home state of Arizona. Even after a year of living here, having the luxury of looking at Mt. Rainier right out my window is one that never gets old.

He’s Not As Thrilled About Visiting Alaska. . .

My brother, however, wasn’t too thrilled of the idea of visiting Alaska. I strongly dislike the cold and wet. Brandon hates the cold and wet about as much as a cat does (well, he is a Clemson Tiger after all). Alaska’s weather isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of other places Alaska Airlines flies. So Brandon kindly rejected the offer of visiting Alaska.

At least for now.

I’m sitting with my family watching The Cosby Show and I pull out the airport codes I had to study during training. As I was going over them, I started talking about the other benefits we received, such as flying anywhere in the world on a heavily discounted ticket from any other airline. We started talking about visiting Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada as one of our first international trips. With Canada being so close to Alaska, I let her know I’ll be flying all over the place in Alaska to simply explore. Explore everything from the seafood and wilderness to the Northern Lights.

An Unlikely Travel Buddy While Visiting Alaska Later This Year

To my surprise, she said she was just as excited as I am. Sometimes I forget I get my urge to travel and explore from my mother. That is for sure without a doubt. I can’t even express how amazing it is to be able to be planning trips to Alaska and sight-seeing with my Mom! There was a reason I was lured back into the industry after almost a year and a half hiatus. It’s truly a privilege to be able to come to work and enjoy your job in such a positive atmosphere.

Some can’t stand the hustle and bustle of a busy airport. Me? I’m at home. I see thousands of different bodies likely en route to something new and exciting, or onto a new experience and step in life. They may be on a business trip, on their way to see family, traveling for a sporting event, or simply getting away from all of their stresses at home and on their way to vacation. Of course, there may be some negative reasons for traveling, such as a death in the family. In those cases, I just do my best to tune into passengers, making sure their trip is the absolute best it can be despite the circumstances for flying.

Thankful For Horizon Air

Even when having to work in the gloomy and soggy atmosphere Seattle is notorious for, I know that it’s a job I take pride in. I know I’m good at it. Both my seven years on the flight line in the Air Force and my year and a half of experience at Piedmont (American Airlines) gives me all the confidence I need in performing my tasks. My job is to stay safe first and foremost and ensure my passengers are safe and their luggage is taken care of. That way, I come home, travel, blog, and live life.

Pretty sweet gig, really.

But getting back to Alaska, I look forward to what awaits me. My mother booked my brother and I on a whale watching tour up here in the Canadian waters back in July 2017 and it was a spectacular thing to witness. I can only imagine the kind of wildlife I’ll see up there. And I’ve heard stories from my buddies from the Air Force who were stationed in Alaska, so I have a fair idea of what to expect. I love listening to people’s travel stories. If there’s anyone from Alaska or has lived or visited there, please feel free to share your experiences!

Top Alaska Travel Books and Guides On My Radar

Alaska by Cruise Ship: The Complete Guide to Cruising Alaska – Includes Inside Passage and Glacier Cruises

A Quick Guide to Travel for the Recently Separated Veteran

Some Things I’ve Learned About Travel After Separating from the Military

One of the primary reasons people decide to join the military is for the travel. This aspect highly appealed to me, and as soon as my recruiter picked up on it, he took it and ran with it. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciated him selling me on this. In the Air Force, travel is almost guaranteed, particularly for the AFSC I was in (Tactical Aircraft Maintenance,  or Aircraft Mechanic in layman’s terms). Not only did we have superb duty stations such RAF Lakenheath in England, Spangdahlem, Germany, and Kadena, Japan just to name a few, but we had the opportunity to TDY with our jets, giving us the option to basically travel anywhere there were U.S. training operations.

I Totally Choked Away My Travel Opportunities in the Military. . .

Needless to say, all the traveling I did in the military spoiled me. And the worse part of it was that I didn’t even take full advantage of my opportunities because I simply took them for granted. However, I quickly figured that travel opportunities do not end upon separation from the military. As a matter of fact, it’s arguably easier to travel when you’re out. Why? You’re not tied down to things like getting your leave approved or sudden unexpected deployments.

Since getting out of the Air Force, I got a job at Piedmont at American Airlines for about a year and a half. Working there, I quickly re-discovered my passion for traveling. I’d learned about the many different places in the country and around the world that I could travel for free or discounted. Through experience flying standby, I’d learned all the odds and ends of traveling wisely. This includes researching the weekends with good discounts on cars and hotels, such as Veterans Day weekends and other holidays. I’d also quickly learned how to travel lightly and the things I considered a necessity on my adventures.

You’ll Learn the “Life Hacks” As You Travel More

For example, after my first trip flying standby (just one of many benefits for working for an airline!), I learned that bringing things such as an extra pair of shoes was unnecessary, as they took up a large amount of space in my travel backpack. I also learned what not to forget, such as phone chargers (whoopsieee!!), my computer charger, and hygiene items such as my toothbrush and hairbrush. Now I know the latter really aren’t that big a deal, but when you arrive at your destination and realize you have no toothbrush to neutralize the dragon breath within, after hours of being on a flight, and you’re just ready to get the vacation weekend started, it can be quite inconvenient making a trip down the local CVS for these things. Although I also learned that many hotels actually have these items downstairs. It just depends on what time of the day you arrive and check in at the hotel.

A few key things to keep in mind as you explore your many different travel opportunities as a newly separated veteran:

  1. Travel lightly

    – This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly your travel bag starts to fill up with unnecessary items. Leave the extra pair of pants and shoes at home. I guarantee you’ll find a way to make it work if you arrive and feel you don’t have enough outfits.

  2. Travel cheaply

    – Try and base your adventures around certain deals and discount packages going on at the time. For example, I found excellent hotel and car rental deals for Labor Day weekend in Ogden, Utah. The deal was so sweet I couldn’t resist the offer. I’d never been to Utah before either, so this was just a win-win situation all around. And if you’ve never been to Utah before, I highly recommend it. My word what a beautiful state.

  3. Travel with the right company

    – Even if this means traveling alone. There’s nothing worse than traveling with a buzzkill who wants to do nothing but drink their night away, sleep all day, then wash, rinse and repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the nightlife, but when you’re hungover all day from drinking yourself into a stupor and unable to truly experience where you are, regret quickly consumes you. That regret is even worse when peer pressure is a large factor in that. The most important thing about traveling is experiencing new things, different cultures, and immersing yourself in different lifestyles you’re not accustomed to. Why not just save the heavy drinking for when you’re at home?

Related image
With whom you travel with makes all the difference in the world. And you’re never too old for Disney.

Travel Wisely My Friends

These are just a few tips for traveling wisely. I’ve been to quite a few places on my journey to finding my passion and calling. I’ve also written a few pieces on the ins and outs of traveling. As an Integrative Health and Life Coach for Transitioning Veterans, part of my amazing job is to guide my clients towards their passion and freedom, which often includes travel and exploration. If you enjoyed this article or have any questions regarding the airline industry or cheap travel deals, please leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you. You can also email me at anthonyjrichard17@gmail.com for any questions about this as well as any inquiries about my 1-month health coaching program!

I do not own any photos in this blog post.

Copyright (c) 2017 Anthonyjrichard.com, All Rights Reserved

What Traveling Alone Does For Your Soul

Everybody gets the traveling bug, but how do you feel about traveling alone? You finally muster up the courage to actually invest in a trip you’ve been planning for months. You start getting ecstatic as the plans become more in place. So much so that you begin extending invites. Soon a coworker is in for the ride. Then a close friend within your circle suddenly becomes available. Before you know it, you’ve got at least two cars full of people ready for an awesome weekend!

But then you guys start coordinating plans. All of a sudden the way you imagined your trip going, it’s now quite the opposite. On the road, friends and coworkers start suggesting ideas and stops that were neither in your plan or budget. Of course, to keep the peace, you go along with the suggestions. Hell, some of these suggestions don’t even sound half bad.

However, despite branching off from original plans and having fun with your friends’ suggestions, you can’t help but feel like you didn’t quite get what you wanted out of the trip. Maybe you imagined more bar hopping. Or you might have wanted to stay put in a town a lot longer than the time actually spent there. When it’s all said and done, these are the little details you can’t help but recall.

This is why traveling alone can be such a good thing.

How Traveling Alone Can Be Therapeutic

When you think of traveling, you often think of memories; all the goofy things that either yourself or your company will do. The new things you’ll see and explore together. The random, sometimes insane conversations on the way there and back. These are all, of course, valid reasons to invite the buddies. However, what if you just took off all by yourself? What if you just hit the open road with no one to worry about but yourself?

When I was stationed in England, I used to never imagine traveling by myself. For one, I was a youngin’ (18-20). Since the legal drinking age in England is 18 and our military abides by the host nation’s drinking laws, my attention was focused elsewhere. But when I did travel, I was never the one to come up with the idea. I never had the plans. I was always along for the ride if I were invited and always had an incredible time. Despite the good times, I never thought about just picking up and traveling alone when I had the chance. I mean, I was only stationed in one of the most popular, well-known, and historical countries in the world; one with neighboring countries just as rich and diverse in culture and history as itself.

Just Hit The Open Road

It wasn’t until I was getting ready to separate from the Air Force that I discovered the euphoric appeal of traveling alone. To get out of the house I stayed at in Vegas, one with four other residents, I had to drive. Just drive.

Sometimes it was just to run errands at the Wal Mart across the town in North Las Vegas. Other times it was to hit The Strip, have a few drinks, and talk with the tourists and locals. Then there were the times I just needed to hit the open road. I mean get the hell out of dodge.

Traveling alone in East Washington
Nothing better than being to yourself, music up, on the open road!

There aren’t too many things that beat being on the open road at 2 pm, your own choice of music blaring, and no destination in mind. All of a sudden your mind is unshackled. When you were once thinking of simple, obvious trips that tourists often go on every weekend, now you’re realizing that the world is truly yours to explore.

The Endless Possibilities Discovered When Traveling Alone

I’m drawing mostly off of my driving experience, but make no mistake I’ve done my share of alternative traveling as well. As majestic as it is to see the beautiful landscape from the air, there’s just something about being on the open road that can’t be beaten.

For one, you have the option of completely traveling alone when you’re on the road (unless of course, you’re a pilot). You have the complete freedom to be on your own time. Literally nobody to alter your plans, with the weather being the only true exception.

After I got out of the military, one of the first things I did was use my new-found freedom to explore via driving, travel backpack in hand of course. With my hometown of Yuma, AZ only a 5 1/2 hour drive south and Phoenix only about 4, I was always hitting the road. Not to mention Los Angeles was only 4 1/2 hours west and San Diego 6 hours.

Some of us don’t mind solitude. In fact, most of us need that solitude. There is no other place you’ll find solitude, peace, and answers than traveling alone on the open road. Sometimes all I’d bring is another pair of underwear and shirt and call it a weekend. It wouldn’t even have to be that far from Vegas sometimes. One weekend, I spent the night out at the Red Rock Canyon Casino near the national park of the same name, about 25 minutes west of Las Vegas. There I had one of the greatest nights of my life just enjoying the luxuries of the casino and the surrounding beautiful scenery. Nowhere in the country will you find sedimentary rocks so finely colored and layered. All this and it was cheap and all by myself.

Discovering Yourself, Your Surroundings, And The World

Traveling alone definitely has its share of perks. Not only are you in control of your trip, you’re also in a judgment-free zone. Unless of course, your hardest critic is yourself, which isn’t a bad thing. Being by yourself while getting away, whether you’re the one driving or you’re taking other means of transportation, allows room for introspection.

And plenty of it.

Especially en route to somewhere new where you’re subjecting yourself to a different and unique experience. When you’re alone and exploring new places, you gain a level of respect and understanding of that place and culture. This is even if you’re just traveling only thirty minutes away from where you stay!

I’d say my favorite part about traveling alone is the “me time” I get. It doesn’t matter how I travel, whether I’m driving or if it’s by bus or airfare, I always figure so much out when I’m out there and undistracted. Undistracted is the keyword. There’s something to be said about the freedom of having an unoccupied mind. You add this to the fact that you’re about to go on a whole new journey with new pictures and experiences to share, and you can see how traveling alone can be therapeutic.

Try It Out For Yourself!

Discover the amazing, therapeutic experience of traveling alone. It may sound nerve-wracking at first, but when you wake up that morning already packed, do your final walk-around to check house security, and head out the door, you’ll quickly see that euphoria fills your mind, body, and soul almost instantly. Of course, I’m not saying don’t travel with buddies. That too is one of the greatest joys on this blessed Earth. Not to mention there’s safety in numbers. I am, however, saying don’t underestimate the beauty, pleasure, and unique experience of traveling by yourself. Appreciate the break from your daily routine as well as cherish your solitude and independence. Take this time to regroup, meditate, breathe, and focus on the moment. Come back to yourself and cherish your current situation. Then come back home and share your experience through pictures, writing, and stories!

I hope you enjoyed my reasons why traveling alone is good for the soul. For more stories and articles like this one and other lifestyle story and tips, be sure to follow my lifestyle and recreation blog at Anthonyjrichard.com!

Copyright (c) 2017 Anthonyjrichard.com, All Rights Reserved

 

 

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