A Saturday on Stevens Pass

It’s been two weeks since it last snowed (surprisingly) in Seattle and my family and I were already missing it. Truth is that snow days aren’t a common thing within Seattle city limits, but if you drive a little outside of the city limits then you’ll find plenty of powder. My wife, Felly and I are not strangers to snow having lived in Minnesota for about ten years. This past weekend, we finally got ourselves in the car and drove to Stevens Pass, which is an excellent place for winter sports such as snowboarding and skiing.

Stevens Pass is about 80 miles east from downtown Seattle, so it took us about one hour and a half to get there. It is beautiful, Stevens Pass that is. While the day was a bit cloudy, it was still a very scenic place, we weren’t prepared to go snowboarding or skiing yet, but we’ll be coming back soon to do that.

Our next visit to Stevens Pass will be less photos and more snowboarding or skiing, and we’ll be visiting all of the other mountains soon as well. So much stuff to do out there!

A snowy day in Seattle.

Last month, my family and I moved to Seattle, Washington after living in Austin, Texas for thirteen years.

Moving to Seattle was something my wife and I have been talking about for years, and last year we finally decided to sell our home in Austin and move to Seattle. One of the main reasons for the move was the milder weather in Seattle, and also the beautiful nature of Washington.

Well, it has snowed twice in Seattle since we moved in last month, and everyone tells us that this is very uncommon for the area. We don’t mind, at least not yet. My wife and I are fortunate to work from home, so we don’t have to deal with the traffic or icy roads out there.

Today, my kids and I decided to go explore and play on the snow at Denny Park in downtown. It was beautiful, the snow-covered trees and people playing with their dogs and kids just made it even more special. Here are some photos of our snowy Seattle day.

Cloudy days

It’s been cloudy in the city of Austin for a few weeks now, and while this isn’t uncommon for this time of the year, it has been impactful for me as it reminds me of the type of weather we’ll find in Seattle. Why is this impactful to me? Well, my family and I are planning on moving to the Seattle later this year, and I certainly cannot wait for it. Seattle is a city I enjoy visiting, which I have multiple times and during different times of the year. Yes, I am aware that there are many days where the word “overcast” is the standard word coming out of local Seattleite’s weather experts, and I am OK with that. You see, overcast weather makes me feel inspired and creative, don’t know why. Cloudy days have a positive effect on my energy and state of mind. While it relaxes me, it also brings good energy to me and the need to write, read, code, or do something creative like that.

Rainy days are beautiful in my opinion, and I am not referring to stormy weather but those rainy days that if you are lucky you’ll see from time to time, and hopefully you’ll give yourself some time just to see it and enjoy it. I am a coffee drinker, and also like to enjoy a hot cup of chamomile tea sometimes. Rainy weather makes me want to drink more coffee and more tea. Drinking coffee is like a drug, and I don’t fight against it, I just enjoy it and to be honest, I just cannot resist it even if I wanted to when it is overcast or rainy outside.

There is also the colder temperature; it is common for the temperature to drop just a bit when it is overcast or when it is raining. There is something about having to wear a jacket or a hoody that I enjoy; it just feels right. And while it might be cold outside, it is far more comfortable to be in colder weather than to have to deal with hot temperatures as we do here in Austin, Texas every summer… and fall.

I don’t know about you, but I usually see more people reading, writing, or just having a conversation with each other in public places when it is cloudy and rainy. Perhaps since the weather is “bad,” people tend to stay indoors and talk to each other more than if it was sunny and warm outside, I don’t know. Also, are you less hungry when it is raining? I am, which is yet another reason I have perhaps more time to read, write, code, chat, or any other activity but eating. I overeat, consistently, and I don’t feel guilty because enjoying food is still one of my favorite pastimes.

It’s been cloudy and rainy in Austin for a few weeks now, and I love it. I think this is the world preparing us to be ready for Seattle weather, or at least that is what I tell myself. Oh, and yes I know Seattle doesn’t get as much rain as other places in this country, but they certainly have a fair share of overcast and rainy days, and I am looking forward to it.

Traveling instead of vacationing

If you are reading this chances are that you have the ability to travel. Many people out there, entire cultures even, don’t have the ability to travel, at least not outside of their own country. Think about that for a minute. We have this amazing opportunity to go out and discover new places, new cultures, new people, new food, new perspectives. It is all out there, waiting for us to be discovered.

Travel, not vacation

People who travel beyond popular places like beach resorts and the like are people who understand and appreciate people who are different. It opens up your mind and your understanding of new and different ways of living and doing things. You see, people fear things that they don’t know and don’t understand. When you travel, you become a global citizen and start appreciating the differences between you and other people. It’s hard to appreciate or not be afraid of what you don’t know or don’t understand.

Traveling is all about learning about the place where you are, and you do this by eating where locals eat, visiting the places that aren’t necessarily popular with tourists, learn about the people who live there, about what they do, etc. In my experience, walking a city gives you the best opportunity to learn about it. Walk everywhere and you’ll find the small shops you wouldn’t find otherwise, appreciate the architecture, see how the city runs, etc. I also understand that walking long distances or all day might not be feasible to everyone, use public transportation before you try a taxi or a Lyft, Uber or whatever private car service is available in that city.

But travel is expensive

Traveling requires some money, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot unless you travel as if it was a vacation. Traveling as opposed to vacationing is less expensive. When you travel you don’t need to stay at expensive hotels or any hotel, in fact, staying in a house, a bed & breakfast, or a hostel is usually less expensive and it gives you a better sense of the culture and the people who live in that city. When you stay at a hotel, it’s nice because everything is taken care for you, but what you end up experiencing is the hotel’s culture and what they want you to see and feel. You are in a bubble, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are there to travel and live like a local, this isn’t what you want. It is commonly more expensive too.

Airbnb in Brooklyn – July 2016

Below are some resources to find places to stay when traveling:

When you travel you want to eat at locally owned restaurants, markets, and also cook your own food. This will save you a ton of money and it will give you the opportunity to taste local food, and usually very authentic too. If you are a foodie, this is an opportunity to discover new flavors, so have an open mind and eat what locals eat.

View from B&B in Florence, Italy – 2014

Another difference between traveling and vacationing is that when you travel you can still do some work and earn money. If you travel abroad and are planning on staying at a place for several weeks or months, try getting a job there. There are many opportunities to work abroad, and a job abroad could potentially cover all your expenses while you are out there.

Below are some resources to find work while you travel abroad if you are interested:

There are many more resources, a simple Google search for finding work while traveling abroad will return many results.

Pack light

We all know that when you go on vacation we should pack light but most of us never do it. In most cases it isn’t a problem as most people have a destination and bringing a lot of stuff isn’t much of a problem. However, if you are planning on traveling and not vacationing, make sure you pack light and that you bring only the things that are absolutely necessary. Think about it, if you are traveling around a country or many countries you’ll be hopping on planes, trains, buses, etc. It is impossible to do this if you bring lots of luggage. Instead, bring the things you’ll need like a good pair of sneakers, a few t-shirts, a pair of pants, and a jacket.

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, 2015

Think about it, if you are traveling around a country or many countries you’ll be hopping on planes, trains, buses, etc. It is impossible to do this if you bring lots of luggage. Instead, bring the things you’ll need like a good pair of sneakers, a good travel backpack, shorts, jeans, t-shirts, and a jacket. Most other things such as toiletries you’ll be able to find almost everywhere you go – unless you are truly traveling to a remote location, then just buy it before hopping on the airplane.

Here is an excellent article from Lonely Planet with detailed information on how to pack light: tips from an expert packer.

That’s it, and by the way, if you need a little bit of motivation, watch Given on Netflix, it inspired me to write this post and it is a great movie/documentary.

Thanks for reading! 🙂 If you enjoyed this article, hit that share button below ❤ Would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

Six days in Iceland

Earlier this year my son Ricardo (we share the same first name) and I traveled to Iceland and Copenhagen at his request, for his 15th birthday. Prior to this trip, I didn’t know much about Iceland and very little about Copenhagen. When my son was younger, he used to say that he wanted to become an architect and design and build unique and beautiful buildings around the world. My son has changed his mind since then and his passion is making films and tell stories. Iceland is a magnet for photographers, film-makers, and anyone else who can appreciate open spaces and amazing and unique landscapes. This is the reason my son decided to go to Iceland for his 15th birthday. And Copenhagen was my wife’s idea motivated for my son’s earlier love for architecture and the idea that he would like to live in Copenhagen when he becomes and adult.

We started the trip to Iceland from Austin, TX on a flight to Boston. I found this Icelandic airline which offers direct (and cost-effective) flights from various U.S. cities to Iceland, Wow Air. The best option for us living in Texas was to fly to Boston and then take a non-stop flight to Iceland from there.

The experience flying with Wow Air was surprisingly pleasant. I have used European discount carriers before and while their prices are  inexpensive, the experience isn’t always good. The plane was clean, they included free entertainment (movies, TV shows, etc), and the best of all was the service. The flight crew welcomed everyone with a smile and made sure everyone was comfortable on the plane.

Below is a video my son put together showcasing some of the places and moments we experienced in this magnificent place.

Below are some of the photos I took during this trip, I hope you enjoy them and please let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions about this trip, or anything else. Cheers.