The OMG Moment

Morning loves!

This week the Twitter world was all ablaze with people sharing times they wished the floor would open up and swallow them whole. It was hilarious. So, in the spirit of comradery, I’d like to share my OMG moment, which of course has to do with travel.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m kind of a Disney freak. I.LOVE.DISNEY. There. I said it. Hubs, not so much but he loves me so he puts up with my obsessions. Epcot is my favorite park. Not only do they have adult beverages, but you can visit eleven countries in the World Showcase while drinking that adult beverage. WIN! I love wandering in and out of the pavilions while imagining that I’m exploring the back streets of that country. I always feel so happy and relaxed while I’m there, but I digress…

Munchie and I were walking through the World Showcase. We left Italy where she was lucky enough to have been picked to be in the street show. We headed toward Japan to get a kakigori (Japanese shaved ice). Munchie gets to the window and the following transpires:

*side note* Disney hires people from that country to work their section of the World Showcase, so the people working the kakigori stand are Japanese.

Munchie: Hola!

Me: Munchie! They don’t say Hola here. That’s Spanish! They say Ni Hao!

Japanese lady: Noooo. That’s Chinese. We are Japanese. We say konichiwa!

Me: *FACE PALM* OMG. I’m sorry! I knew that! I swear I’m not an idiot!

Sigh…. needless to say, we got our kakigori and left quickly. I was so embarrassed! I just know she had, “stupid Americans” running through her head. I called Hubs and told him what happened. He laughed…. So helpful right? We finished the kakigori and hurried to France to get me a few Grey Goose Limon Slushes to drown my shame.

Do you have an OMG moment? Share it with us!

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Cheekwood and Dia De Los Muertos!

I love my city! Nashville is a fabulous city with a nice pace and lots of stuff to do. You don’t have to leave home to have amazing adventures.

*pause* Let me scream this from the mountain top: WE ARE MORE THAN COUNTRY MUSIC!  woo sah….  *continue*

Nashville has an amazingly diverse population and we have festivals and events to celebrate them all. Cheekwood, our award-winning botanical garden, has lots of fun (and beautiful) exhibits and events to visit. Since it is Halloween time, they had a Dia de los Muertos festival. Dia de los Muertos is the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday that is celebrated on November 1st. It is a wonderful time when families honor their ancestors and loved ones by creating alters covered with offerings that will help their family on the other side. Cheekwood did a fabulous job in educating visitors about this holiday. Guests were invited to tour the altars created by local students, shop in the marketplace, explore traditional arts and crafts, and enjoy live music and dance.

When we first arrived, we went into the Botanic Hall to pay. Typically, admission to Cheekwood is $14 for adults and $7 for children with a $3 parking fee but on this day, children were free. In the Botanic Hall, there was live music and the alters. The kids loved looking at all the items. Some alters had descriptions which told the significance of each offering.

Alter at Dia De Los Muertos Festival
Alter at Dia De Los Muertos Festival
Bottom of Alter at Dia De Los Muertos Festival
Bottom of Alter at Dia De Los Muertos Festival

See that bottom over there? That’s all colored sand and salt! It’s amazing how much time and dedication goes into making the alters.

After we left the Botanical Hall, we strolled through the grounds to the Learning Center where most of the crafts were taking place. On the way, we passed through the marketplace where there were lots of vendors selling handmade Hispanic jewelry, paintings, and clothing. There were also vendors selling everything from churros to empanadas! It smelled AMAZING! Being the cheap-o that I am, we ate before we came but I was definitely kicking myself afterward (I still got some churros though!).

In the Learning Center, the kids created some common alter decorations. They made Calaveras masks, Calacas puppets, made paper flowers, and even decorated sugar skulls! They had a ball.

They aren't fighting over the markers!!
They aren’t fighting over the markers!!
Hubs helps Monster with his Calacas.
Hubs helps Monster with his Calacas.

Even when it’s not Dia de los Muertos, Cheekwood is a great place to visit. It’s very relaxing and you will leave refreshed and in awe of nature. They always have rotating exhibits that incorporate the grounds into the artwork. Cheekwood is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9am to 4pm. Make sure you stop by!

Where to roam?

I admit that I’m a little extra when it comes to travel. I LOVE planning. I plan everything down to the menus from the restaurants I want us to try. I have to force myself to not over plan the fun out of our trips. It drives Hubs crazy when I start pulling out my itineraries and lists. I’m trying to do better but it’s hard! I told you earlier that I am determined to travel more in the upcoming years. With all the various travel plans running through my head, how in the world do you decide where to go?

I dream of the day I can walk up to an airline counter and say ‘Surprise me!’. I ran some ideas by my friend and international jet setter, Nate Fluellen. Nate is the amazing man behind World Wide Nate. I want to be like Nate when I grow up! Nate has ALL the passport stamps and I trust his advice so when he told me to chase the exchange rate, that’s what I did. Getting the most travel for your dollar is dependant on the strength of currency where you are coming from and where you are going. Right now, the exchange rates for South America, Asia, and South Africa are low as compared to the US Dollar. So, armed with that information, I had Hubs, Munchie (my 10 year old daughter), and Monster (my 3 year old son) pick their top 5 locations that they’d want to visit.

I knew Hubs was truly my travel soul mate when he presented his list of Brazil, Morocco, the Maldives, Japan, and Hawaii. My list was very similar with Brazil, Morocco, Japan, Hawaii, and Paris. I promise we didn’t discuss this beforehand! Munchie’s list was a little easier. Her picks were the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Hawaii, Washington DC, and Paris. I think we can make these happen. Monster’s list was a 3 year old’s fantasy: Mickey’s House aka Disney World. I think he’d be happy if we lived in Cinderella’s castle full-time.

What’s next? The planner in me is ready to take off and see what I can find about these locations. Maybe we can discover some hidden gems together.

Here we go…..

Hello World. It’s me, Nikki. I can’t wait to meet you.

I was laying in bed watching tv one Saturday morning trying to remember what kiddie activities we had planned for the day when my remote came across a show. I don’t even remember what show it was. The host was traipsing around a jungle explaining all the cool facts about some beautiful creature. It hit me. The need to go there. The need to get out of my bubble, my travel funk. I’ve always loved traveling. My family didn’t travel much when I was young but the times we did stuck with me. Growing up, I wanted to be a tv travel show host. I loved seeing all the pictures in travel magazines and National Geographic. That was the life. I should have become a flight attendant! Instead, I became a wife, a mother of two beautiful kids, and an office worker. Luckily, my amazing husband shares my wanderlust. We went here and there to satisfy our need to roam but we never had the chance to really see the world. That Saturday morning, I vowed that we would expand our horizons and gain some more stamps in our passports. I vowed that we would leave our comfort zone and really explore the world. But not only that, we would explore the beauty of our own city, state, and country. America is too vast and beautiful not to take it all in.

So, here we are. My first blog post. I hope to include my readers (if ever they come) in this new phase of exploration. I want you to be a part of my planning, saving, and travel. From small ways to explore near home, to roaming the other side of the Earth, I want you to come along. Bon Voyage!