It's a Pillow Pet!
Anthropologie Vest - Anthropologie
Lace Cami - Walmart
Celebrity Pink Black Capri's - Macy's? Belk? One or the other.
Inc. Elastic Wrap and Leather Heels - Macy's
Panda Pillow Pets Pee-wee! - Target
How long have I longed for a pillow pet? Too long, I say.
His name is Pandy the Pandiferous, because I'm very clever and such. :)
Cutesy Pillow Pets aside, we can move on to an elaboration on what I began here:
The world is vast - explore it.
The beauty of programs on National Geographic or the Travel channel or Travel magazines is that they instill a love and desire for travel - they are not travel in themselves. It is not the same experience to see the Grand Canyon in a magazine or on TV as it is to see the Grand Canyon. That, of course, applies to every other location and country they cover.
Of course, not everyone can afford to travel to Spain for the summer - and sometimes the people that can don't appreciate it as much as they should - but there's a great deal of travel to be done in one's own country, if that's all one can afford to do.
And as much as I enjoy a nice resort experience, it is just that: a resort experience. It is not travel experience. You get a bit of a taste of travel when you fly to a resort, because you have to deal with checking baggage, annoying stewardesses and such - but that is not the entire experience. Travel involves leaving your own comfort zone and cultural misrepresentations and experiencing a country for what it really is.
Every time I see a television program or article on Bolivia (a country I used to call home) - I shake my head a little bit and switch my focus to something else. Either, the program makes the country look almost ten times worse than it is or ten times better.
Bolivia is a poor country. They are landlocked and generally un-industrialized, have enormous political problems, and a floundering economy. They are also some of the most fascinating people I've ever known, some of the most hard working, and the country is filled with life, sounds of music and culture that the industrialized world seems to have forgotten.
There is an amazing open market in Cochabamba, Bolivia - called La Cancha. It smells horid, has animals wandering through it, has animals hanging from stalls that look incredibly unappetizing and a majority of the vendors would scare you half to death. The crafts (hats, tables, etc.) are amazingly well made, cheap and durable. The food is real and raw. The people are uniquely Bolivian.
That smell is one you don't soon forget - and that is travel. It's the stench of a country that never leaves your nostrils. It's the culture shock experience that leaves you breathless, confused, and wandering. Travel is confusion - it's new experiences - it's getting lost.
Now - I'm not trying to knock your resorts and poolside vacations - they have their merits too.
But if you really want to travel and know another culture, you have to be willing to accept that it might not be as glamorous as the magazines make it sound. And I encourage you to do so - because the best way to broaden horizons and know yourself better is to travel to a new country and experience a different culture. It's also the best way to educate yourself about other cultures and not allow yourself to become ignorant and insensitive.
If you do decide to travel - even if it is just to a new part of your home state - let me give you my two-cents of advice to successful travel:
1) Never act like a tourist - and that includes acting like your not a tourist, because this is what all tourists do. If you take on the persona of an arrogant, know-it-all local, you will be sadly mistaken and you will be mugged. Consider for a second how you act where you live now. Now just act that way when you travel. If you start acting, people can tell. Just enjoy where you are and be yourself.
2) Learn the language of the country you will visit. This doesn't apply much to domestic travel, but (please!) if you travel to a foreign country - know the language before you get there. There is nothing more dangerous when traveling than not understanding what is being said about you as you pass by. People will be able to tell you are foreign the moment you speak, most likely, but they will respect you more and be less likely to take advantage if they see you're making an effort and they can't pull the wool over your eyes.
3) Don't travel alone. You are asking for trouble. You will get in trouble. Bad things will happen.
4) Be personable. The reason people don't like tourists is because they think they will be insensitive or rude or uninterested in the location they are visiting. Talk to people and ask them about their favorite places to eat, shop, etc. Be interested in experiencing the real deal and knowing what people really do wherever your visiting.
5) Travel often. The best way to become more confident about your travel and more successful in the different areas you visit is to visit them often and visit new places. Discover something new when you revisit an old locale or take what you learned from another trip and apply it to the rest.
There's plenty of other advice floating around on the internet and in multiple books, which I encourage you to glance at - but, for the most part, I'd say that's my top five tips.
My mum is taking me northward to browse an outlet mall later today and I best get myself ready to go.
Hope your weekend is going well~