We leave tomorrow!!

Image courtesy of : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ender112/3900690839/

Our first stop.
😀

We leave tomorrow!! I am packing while trying to eat leftovers because that is less work when I start cleaning out the refrigerator.

I am nervous about the long flight. I am trying to pack enough to keep me busy enough to fly half way around the world.  Yet, I don’t want to take too much. I am trying to pack layers but I want to be very, very cute when I am there so I am going to try not to look so bulky.  Al and I are each taking one suitcase and then we are bringing an empty sea bag (a big old military issued bad that folds up small). We will fill the sea bag with our clothes and then put all of the wonderful goodies we find on our trip into our protective suitcases.

Don’t be worried about bringing everyone something. Everyone has been asking for something. I don’t mind bringing my close friends something but really this trip is about our fun and adventure, not us hurrying to find stuff for others.

I went with some friends to the Toby Keith concert last night and my super small camera broke. That stinks because it was a really good camera for the times that I didn’t want to lug my wonderfully large camera around. I think I do need to run out and grab another. I guess, better it cr@pped out last night then during the trip. I have Tina Fey’s book to keep me laughing on the plane along with snacks and a pharmacy of lotions, aspirin, eye patch, ear plugs, and small pre-pasted teeth brushes.

Well, I had best finish packing….

Jody Lee

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One week out…

Jody Lee Smith

My girls, Frog and Bella 🙂

Oh my goodness, our trip is getting close. One week from today we fly to London. So right now we have three sheets of printer paper taped to our bedroom door. One is labeled “To Buy”, one is “To Pack”, and the other “Day of”. It looks goofy but we are visual learners (and tend to put stuff off a little bit if we don’t see it in our face).

We have decided to get International Driver’s Licenses. We don’t really have the intention of renting a car but if something comes up or if we want to rent a Vespa to cruise Rome we will be prepared.  Getting one is simple.  You get it through any AAA for only $15 and they take the photo and print it there for you in a passport style book.

Our airline flights have changed twice, very minor but still…it keeps you on your toes. I am so worried about missing a flight, but so far it is staying together. I am set up so I get emails from Delta when/if flights change. However, I fear what might happen if I am away overseas, without the use of my cell phone, and there is a major change. I am not familiar with how cells work over in London and Rome so if anyone has any info they can pass on please let me know.  🙂

It is a bit crazy getting our Wills drawn up, but it is very important. I also want to sit down and write each of my two boys a letter telling them how much they mean to me and mail it from the airport. My mother passed two years ago and, although I told her that I loved her a lot…I would have loved to have said it one more time. I also want to do some fun stuff like get my nails and possibly my hair done. I want some wicked highlights…but we shall see.   A big concern is our dogs. I have two small Yorkies. Bella is 7 yrs old and Frog is 5 yrs old. They are good girls and super important so it is vital to find someone I trust with them. One of my girlfriends is going to take them and she is AMAZING with animals so I know that they will be safe and loved. Then comes the boring stuff.  We must pay all of our bills, do the laundry and clean out the refrigerator so we don’t come home to a stinky house. I have to make copies of all of our information (passport, driver’s license…) so it will be easier to replace if, heaven forbid, something happens. We also much be very aware of the current exchange rates so that we understand what we are paying for something and if we are getting a good deal.

I am trying to figure out what to pack. The weather will be nice yet cool. I know that I would like to go to the Vatican City and see the Sistine Chapel. I also know that if I have uncovered shoulders and knees I will not be allowed in. So I am thinking about packing a long dress with mid length sleeves. I want something that I can roll up and pack in my backpack that won’t get too wrinkled. I bought myself and my boyfriend a backpack. His will be used to pretty much carry all of our stuff while we are out for the day and mine will be used to carry my camera :). I had gone back and forth on whether to just bring a small camera or my very nice Nikon D700. I hemmed and hawed but decided that if I were there and didn’t have my camera and lenses I would be very sad and feel that I wasn’t able to capture all of the beauty in the way that I wanted to.

It gets stressful as we are getting closer. I am still working night shift, doing college, taking family portraitures for a friend and her family over the weekend, shopping, packing.….it can all be very stressful. But you suck it all up because the end result will be a lifetime full of memories. Wonderful memories and a few extra pounds on my rear end from all of the wonderful food.

Life is an amazing adventure.

Jody Lee Smith

Life’s Large Adventures-Tips and Tricks I have learned so far

This trip to London, Rome and Venice is the first major trip I have ever taken… anywhere. I wasn’t sure how to start but I am a researcher at heart so here are some things that I have learned so far.

Tips and Tricks:

Al and Jody Lee

Life’s Large Adventures. Having a partner to share your trip with is fun….he can also help with all of your luggage 😀

1. Even if you have a passport..make sure your boyfriend has an up to date passport. 🙂 We knew he had a passport but for international travel it must be valid for 6 months AFTER your expected time of return. We had to send his passport in and get another one. It is scary to send a valid document away when we will need it very soon. The post office was actually really fast and it took less than two weeks.

2. I love looking online for airfare deals!! It is like a challenge for me. I try to figure out what the best time of the week/of the day is to buy tickets, and many times I get good deals. But for this trip of my lifetime….I wondered if I should ask for some help. My boyfriend Al and I went to a small travel agency in Chinatown. It appeared to be in a quite seedy part of town and he was unsure but I was adamant. While I believed that they could never get us a better deal, I figured we could check it out and use them to help us get an idea of what airlines and travel path would be the best. I WAS WRONG!! The man who helped us, Fransisco, was AMAZING. He listened to what I wanted, asked questions, and was able to look up a deal that was hundreds less per ticket! I could not believe it. He sent me an email with two itineraries and hotel suggestions. I then attempted to find those flights and schedules on line and was unable to find them at that price. We went back to the travel agency and bought out tickets. A few days later Francisco sent me an email saying that the hotel in Rome was having a discount (although on non-refundable rooms) and we saved hundreds on our upcoming 8 day stay there. Wow, he was just wonderful. It may not always work out this way for every one/every trip…but it doesn’t hurt to check it out.

3. Plan your trip. I am currently in the process of picking out what places I MUST see. While in London, Al, would love to see Stonehenge. I remember Prince Charles and Princes Diana’s wedding (I was quite young at the time mind you) and want to see Westminster Abbey. I want to go to the local flea market as well. I love deals. 🙂  While doing my research I found that the train from London to Paris (via the Chunnel) is only 2.5 hrs. Unfortunately we will not be able to make Paris this trip.  Al has a friend we will be staying with “in the country” the first night. For our other two night we all have a hotel in London proper as they agreed to show us around. So we shall make the Paris trip another time. But it is always good to know what is available.

This is long and you are probably tired of reading so I will write more soon. Have a great day. 🙂

Jody Lee

Life’s Large Adventures

 www.rome.info

In about one month I will be sending you all a picture from here :D. I feel so incredibly blessed.

I have a fun new adventure coming up in less than a month. My boyfriend Al and I are going to take a wonderful trip overseas. We are going to go to London, Rome and Venice. I will post pictures and thrift saving ideas while I am there. I am a small town girl who wants to travel the world so we are starting in London. Al is a huge fan and neither of us has ever been. He would love to see a football game but, with the season, we are not going to be in luck. I want to go to Rome. I am so excited about the architecture and the food. 🙂 I want to find thrift stores, flea markets and mom and pop stores. It will be amazing; I am super flexible and easy going. In Venice I want to secretly ride in a gondola under the Grand Canal singing 80’s Madonna.

Life is wonderful.