I want to Rent a Finn

2019 has begun a year of personal change and challenge; personal growth and acceptance. Creating goals and more importantly, having dreams.

It’s good to dream. Having dreams is just a gateway to making things happen.

Happiness does not come from searching for it, but by living. – Finnish saying

I’d like to think that I live a happy life. Working on fulfilling my goals; and reacquainting myself with some long lost dreams.

Somewhere along the way, I’ve shelved that bit of ambition, and have somehow masked my internal drive for the things that I’ve long forgotten… and focused more on everyone else. Partly a mom thing, partly a me thing: fear of succeeding, or fear of failing.

Now it’s more a fear of do-ing, coupled with laziness, and a bit of lack of direction.

Happiness is a place between too little and too much. – Finnish Proverb

I believe that I am right there, in the in-between.

Now, how to make sure it’s the right place?

Finland has been voted as the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row. There’s even an interesting “Visit Finland” travel campaign happening right now.

Part of our 3 year family plan, is to start gathering information about all the places we would like to visit once we are in a position to “WORLD SCHOOL” during part of LP’s upcoming high school years.

Because of this, I’ve somehow entered into a vortex of interesting opportunities, via the internet.

Finland is known as a place of beauty and nature, and a slower, more deliberate pace of life and interacting with others. Sounds good to me.

Back to renting a Finn… so here’s another really interesting opportunity that I’ve happened upon and well, WHY NOT APLPY to this 3 day travel sabbatical?

The details: there are 8 different hosts that are opening up their homes, to entertain and educate some lucky chosen guests to learn more about the Finnish way of life and living. Travel and accommodations are covered, all else would be on our own dime. This might be a solo jen-cation, or a family thing. I think it would be a really cool experience either way. (And a great way to test the waters of international travel- which we’ve all been chatting about at the Sherman house since the beginning of the year.)

I’ve been compiling a list of about 100 cities all over the world that we would all like to learn about, visit and experience. And yes, Finland (Helsinki, Archipelago and Rovaniemi – Santa’s hometown) is actually on our list of places to see; this would definitely be amazing opportunity.

Finland is big on nature: there’s snowcapped mountains, northern lights, blue flowers (bluebonnets like Texas) seaside locations, clean lakes, forests filled with lush tall trees coupled with nature and wildlife. It just looks so picturesque and peaceful. *and midnight summer sun? That seems like something to see!

Suburban life here in ATX has afforded us a lot of amenities, and is an easy lifestyle of abundance and accessibility. Everything is super convenient. Right now I’m searching for a different kind of abundance, the kind that money can’t exactly buy, but that can fill our hearts and minds with experiences and memories.

On my list of things to do this week: create a 3 minute video and submit my application. Anything is possible!

Outlook Good! #manifest

Month #2 is nearing an end. Goodbye February, you’ve been grand.

WOW 2019, so many new doors and opportunities, combined with a new goals and projects, have graciously presented themselves to me over the past two months.

Whether one or 2 or three, or even NONE of these gifts ever come to fruition- it’s nice to have a reminder that it’s more than OK to dream.

So where to begin?

This year I’ve been taking an abundance mentality, and looking to view things in a positive light. I’m manifesting what I want. Asking the universe to give it to me. Sure… I’m still waiting for those winning lottery, powerball and mega millions numbers to land in my hand, but until then, I’m winning at the game of life.

It sounds like crazy talk, right?

It’s not, I’m definitely not certifiable, and no drugs or daily meds! I’m just honestly envisioning how I want my life to go, and opening myself up to all the possibilities that are offered along the way. Which is sometimes… eye opening.

Manifesting!

Earlier in mid January, I came across 2 articles/blog posts – that gave me a brilliant idea.

APPLY! (so I did)

So what on earth have I applied to?

One application is for a summer sabbatical in Grottole Italy. OMGosh, I have visions of me as an Italian version of Belle in Beauty and the Beast… singing in a quaint village. There’s hills, red wine, olive groves, bees and sunflower fields, some guy named Andrea that is hosting this thing, oh and nonna Rosa- who will teach me how to make pasta athentico! It would be an entire summer drenched in the Italian sun. Wishful thinking, but dreams can come true. Only 4 people out of like 30K applicants will be selected.

Have I mentioned any where that 4 is my lucky number?

Grottole, Italy

Around the same time, I read about a TAP (Travel Access Project) Gap Year grant. This is a $3K grant to be given to 10 selected applicants. This project is open to anyone regardless of age or student status… so why the heck not! The money can be used towards a travel project of my choice. Of course if all the stars are aligned and I were to be selected for BOTH– well then that would be like winning the lottery for sure. If Grottole isn’t meant to be, then I’d use the TAP for a family trip to DC in the fall.

Even my abundance and manifesting mentality is shared by Josh. He’s sent in his Ycomb application, and this time he’s doing it solo! I was so surprised, proud and amazed with his application video. This time, it just feels right. (Third time’s a charm.) My fingers, toes and eyes are crossed that he will be selected for the interview and be offered funding this session. Of course it would mean he would be in California for the summer, working on his platform, business and product… but how amazing would THAT be? Josh would finally be building his company!!! (p.s. I KINDA miss palm trees and the salty sea air.) #S2019

Yesterday, a possible PT job opportunity was offered. Pay is more than minimum wage, and I’d be working around 15- 18 hours a week. This position would be 2 or 3 days a week, from 2:30-8:30pm. I’d be missing dinner time and stuff, and I would have to tighten up my availability and schedule for EVERYTHING else in life. That extra money would mean paying off the SUV even sooner. I’m definitely considering it. But if it doesn’t work out with scheduling, it’s not a big deal.

I wasn’t looking for a job, but maybe the universe is trying to tell me something? SO I’m remaining open to all options and possibilities. I have a few new projects that I have begun and right now I’m considering everything. Wondering how I can best manage my time to do everything.

Grottole and TAP and Ycomb – should they ALL happen – would be great gifts from the universe. Wouldn’t that be FABULOUS? It would a “pazzo serendipitous trifecta!”

What a life changing summer it could be for us all.

Until then, I have 4 months of staying focused on life, budget, goals and yes, dreams. <3

Salem with my Sister


Jencation winter 2018, was very special. My little sister KT was my travel partner! She had surprised us with a visit over the summer (with my mom), and Josh mentioned how great it was to see us bonding together. This reminded me that my sister has always been a true friend, and that we hadn’t had a lot of time together over the last few years, especially since I moved to ATX. We had a lot of laughs.

I’ve always wanted to visit Salem, MA, made popular back in the late 1600’s thanks to the Salem Witch Trials. I’m all about dark and spooky. I knew how to best entice KT to come along, by promising to visit the Sam Adams Brewery in Boston. She really likes beer. (I do not.)

SHE. WAS. IN. We had about 2 months until wheels up.


Salem Wharf

We both arrived to BOS before noon, where the weather was expected to remain cold and wet throughout weekend. I bought matching scarves in our grade school tartan and greeted my lil sis with a big hug. Our adventure was about to begin!

I’m usually a planner. I tend to do a lot of research and make reservations; I think it’s a mom thing. This trip I wanted to just be a little more organic.

Boston Freedom Tour – as close as we got to Sam Adams… LOL

We spent our first afternoon wandering in the city of Boston. There’s much to do and see, one day was not nearly enough. We had a great UBER driver that clicked off the meter, took us around downtown to show us some sites, and gave us some suggestions. To get a little history lesson, we decided on a walking tour called the Freedom Trail. We didn’t consider that we’d be walking around with our luggage, in the cold and wet, but we had a lot of laughs, and got to see some great historical sites. Our guide was very nice, talkative and thorough.

FRANK!

Oh and photo opps, KT is great with photo opps.


Hello Boston, it’s thatgirljen and KT – sistercation!


We grabbed a mid-day lunch at Cheers, walked the market, then headed to the Trillium Brewery, (which had recently relocated- more walking and laughs) where our very attentive beertender found something that I actually quite enjoyed. I drank 3/4 of it! GO ME!

Growing up we never relied upon PT. Of course we took the commuter train from Boston to Salem, very budget friendly. With help, we managed to purchase tickets, went to the wrong platform, ran to the correct one with seconds to spare before the doors shut. As we sat, the train was moving!

About 45 minutes later we arrived in Salem, and walked in the dark to our hotel. Checked in, dropped bags and headed out to take in the nighttime sights and grab dinner. Note: November and winter in Salem – it’s colder and wetter, there’s not a lot of night life after 7pm.

That night we slept well. Lights out around 11pm. This night owl was pooped!

Good Morning Salem, Hello Nathaniel!

Day 2 We grabbed breakfast at a local spot, did a bit of shopping. We went to the oldest candy shop in the US. We had bought tickets for the house tour, where we learned much about the history of Salem, the people who lived there, and the tales of this city. I was super happy that there was a bit of sunshine, so we made our way to the wharf and walked along the shore. We visited another microbrewery, and had beer#2 somewhere in all of this.

This beach is too cold!

This was a BIG beer, I drank more than half!

Surprising highlight of our trip was Christmas in Salem House Tour. This 3 day tour granted us access to homes that are usually unavailable to visit any other time of the year. I loved seeing all the old homes, and KT enjoyed all the Christmas decor. A perk of the home tour, is the free trolley. We got all sorts of extra historical tidbits thanks to our sweet driver.


Retirement Plans

Our final day, more wet weather- perfect for some cemetery time, we visited the Salem Witch Memorial. We finished up in Salem at the Peabody Essex Museum. Back in Boston, we readied for our flights with one last stop at another local brewery. Beer#3

Why does this give me the feeling of being at WDW?

At the airport, one of my candles set off a TSA alarm. My bags were searched and items scanned and rescanned. When asked about my purchases, I advised them that: “We’re coming from Salem and these candles are supposed to be used for spell casting, you know, witch crafting and magical stuff like that…” I thought I was pretty funny, I got a sideways glance, a half smile from the very serious TSA Officer and then was handed my stuff.


Due to the weather, both our flights were delayed. We got to spend an extra bit of time together at the airport terminal before heading to our separate gates.

This sistercation was really great. KT was such a great travel partner, and in return I drank beers with her! Maybe we can find another place to meet up in over the next year or two!

Momcation

The jencation has morphed into a momcation, as I tend to invite another mom I know to break away. For those who don’t know what a jencation is, it’s a vacation that I take without my family. I’m kicked out of the house for a weekend, leave for some destination without the boy and kiddo, and spend some girl time with a friend. 

Here are some of the cities I’ve visited:

10/2015 Savannah, GA-  I especially loved the overall charm of Savannah’s cobblestone streets and historic downtown buildings and the Victorian District. Delicious southern homestyle cooking, and downtown there’s beautifully manicured parklike squares every few blocks with benches to sit under old oak trees. Really just picturesque. Savannah is also the oldest city in GA, and one of the original 13 colonies.

03/2016 Austin, TX- Before moving to ATX, I took a momcation to check out the city that I was soon to call home. Stayed downtown, had lots of whiskey and tacos, and through it all, found a place to live. I realized on this mom-cation that I was moving to a bigger city from where I had grown up. Austin is the capital city of TX, and home to the University of Texas. And did I mention is the live music capital of the world and has some of the best most delicious BBQ!

08/2017 San Antonio, TX-  Do you remember the Alamo?  I stayed in the Historic (read that as haunted) Menger Hotel directly across from the Alamo site. Every night people were “ghost-hunting” throughout the halls. San Antonio has a lovely river walk, so many little shops and eateries dotted along the river. Nice cool breezes and foliage. It’s especially beautiful when lit up at night.

11/2018 Next on my list is Salem, MA! I’ll be checking out the Sam Adams Brewery in Boston, and spending the weekend in Salem, home of the Salem witch trials. I’ll be on the prowl for pubs, lobster rolls and visiting the oldest candy shop in the United States. The Boston area is has an impressive maritime history museum, and maybe some whale watching, if we’re lucky!

Feel free to comment below, I’m open for suggestions on where my next mom-cation will take me.