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9:59:00 PM

A Few Days of Adventure in Interlaken

5:51:00 PM


Interlaken was part of our European tour.  It is located in the Bernese Highlands Region of central Switzerland.  We spent the longest there.  At first, we all were in agreement we wanted to skip past Interlaken, for any of us have never heard of it before.  Our tour guide pretty much told us no and to deal with it.  So we decided to make the best of it, and I am glad we did!



Journey to Interlaken


We took a train from Paris to Interlaken.  I was glad to have a window seat and watched the beautiful landscapes pass by my window.  We had a little scare when we were interrogated by a very intimidating conductor.  We answered his questions with ease and he went away.  Whew!  After about three hours, we finally arrived.  I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest.  We hopped off the train, grabbed our luggage, and headed for the doors.  We walked along a path and finally entered the streets of Interlaken.  And yes, I did let out a loud "oh my god," because I can (haha).

It was late at night in which the streets were quiet.  There were water wells on just about every street we turned.  A few of us stopped to fill up our water bottles.  Probably was the best water I've ever tasted.  It was pure and fresh!.  We finally reached our hostel called Balmer's located on Hauptstrasse.  The hostel was very quaint with two buildings: one for the rooms and showers, the other there was the cafeteria and entertainment.  There was a hangout room, cafeteria (in which there was complimentary breakfast), lobby, hot tub, and a downstairs nightclub.  Balmer's has three floors of rooms and separate co-ed showers.  We checked in and was escorted to our room which held all five of us girls who were on tour.  After we unpacked, we all went to a pub down the street called The Three Tells.  That is where I had my first beer ever!  I was in the best place to have my very first beer, and a Swiss beer at that!  The people and bartenders were very nice with me trying to figure out what beer I would try.  Do not ask me what beer I tried.  I don't remember, but I got pictures.  Let's just say I got "turned out" haha.

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After we had our beers and chit chatted for a bit, we took a short night tour of the small town.  You can pretty much see most of Interlaken within a half hour.  It is small with a population of 5,319 at 1.7 square miles.  We were shocked that our tour guide in such a short time said "that's it" haha.  But it was a nice tour and wherever you look there was a nice view of the Swiss Alps.  The weather was really nice.  This place is in the mountains and does not often have the best weather.  For the few days, we were lucky to have nice sunny weather.

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Paragliding and Bike Riding


We woke up in the morning to get a head start on activity planning.  First, we ate at the continental breakfast.  They had hot food including eggs, sausage, and oatmeal.  Also dry food such as cereal and granola bars.  I was impressed!  We finished up and began to journey down Hauptstrasse to book activities.  There were many tour companies along the street that you can walk in and book activities the same day or the next (so don't worry if you don't plan something ahead of time).  As a group, we booked Canyoning the next day.  I ventured out alone and walked into a tour company to book PARAGLIDING  that same day!

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Was I afraid?  Yes.  But crazy people who are afraid do it anyway.  Hello, my name is crazy.  It was an amazing experience to say the least.  Floating above mountains I've learned about in school; to actually be there flying above them as well?  Exhilarating!

After paragliding, a few of us rented bikes and took a ride around Interlaken.  The people were very friendly, the streets weren't packed, it was a peaceful ride...until we biked up a mountain.  It was exhausting!  We were able to snap great pictures.  There were houses on top of the mountain that looked out of a movie.  We stopped at a place called Gasthof Schönegg for a drink and rest, and oh yeah, more pictures.

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After bike riding, we decided to go back to our hostel to eat.  There were a few shops by our hotel of different cuisines, just like America.  I decided to get Pad Thai from a spot called Little Thai.  It was delicious and very spicy!  We had a few drinks outback of Balmer's where you can lounge or sit at a picnic table.  Later, we would go to the nightclub located downstairs of the hostel.  There was a lot of techno music, not much of pop music.  But it was fun!




Canyoning


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We all wanted to do something as a group, so we booked Canyoning through  Outdoor Interlaken which was next door to our hostel.  Honestly, I didn't know what I was getting into.  A guy suggested that we do it because it was fun.  You get to jump in the water of the Swiss Alps?  Sold!

We walked down the street to Outdoor Interlaken where they gave us our suits and headgear.  They gave us a crash course on what to expect, what to do, and not do.  We all hopped in a van and traveled up the mountains.  But not all the way.  We all had to hike up the mountain some more.  It was a workout! (I lost about 10 pounds for the entire Europe trip).  We finally arrived in the designated area to start our journey down the creek, where we would all risk our lives.  But YOLO, right?

The first activity was with a rope tied around your waist, and you would make your way down a rock, then dive backward into the wild rapids below.  They asked who wanted to volunteer to do it first.  No one volunteered.  So, I did!  Yeah, sometimes you have to dive in first (life lesson) and figure it out later.  I did pretty well.  The rest of the activity we did a few other tricks that were terrorizing but yet fun.  Check out the below video:

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The activity lasted about an hour.  We finally reached the bottom and we were all happy it was over. At this point we were all freezing our butts off, but happy to have done this once in a lifetime activity.  There was a guy who actually went again for two hours the next day for his birthday!

We got back to our hostel to clean up.  A few of us hopped in the jacuzzi at Balmer's (they have it all).  It was nice to relax our muscles for such a strenuous activity.  Others booked other activities, such as more canyoning, bike riding, and shopping.  Later, my tour guide and I decided to take a cable car up the mountains to take in more of Interlaken's amazing views.




Cart Up The Mountains


We walked 10 minutes to the Harderbahn ticket booth to buy our tickets.  There was hardly a line and easily paid with my travel credit card.  Very convenient.  There were a few carts going up and down the mountain.  We waited only a few minutes to take the next cart up the mountains.  We got on and sat by a window to take it all in.

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The cart leads to Interlaken's top of the mountain restaurant Harder Kulm.  We didn't eat, we only were there for the viewing deck in which we both took our time and took great photos.  We bought souvenirs from the gift shop as well.  The view was amazing!  Everywhere you turned was a postcard photograph.

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Final Dinner


Our last dinner in Interlaken was at Resturante Bären (I believe).  We wanted to dive into the fondue.  Honestly, I had a taste for some good pasta, but Italy was coming up in our itinerary really soon.  Never was a fondue fan, but it was nice to have authentic fondue meal in the motherland of Switzerland.  We all shared and dipped away.  Don't have any pictures at the restaurant, think I was a bit tired of taking pictures haha.  But I did take a snap of my lunch, Swiss chocolate, and the birthday cake!

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In addition, I felt nonetheless safe in Interlaken.  During our tour, our guide told us to relax, and that everyone has their own money and won't rob you (haha).  It was nice to not be hit on me walking down the street.  In addition, I saw no one homeless.  I thought that was great that their country is taking care of their citizens.




Interlaken was the highlight of my entire European tour.  It was good weather, fun activities, delicious food, and nice people.  A few of us were in agreement that we'd visit again and probably longer.  Who wouldn't want to wake up to a nice view of the mountains every day?  If you are deciding to visit Interlaken: GO!  I'd suggest you book the activities that you absolutely want to do as suggested in my previous article.  There may find activities with other tour companies along Hauptstrasse.  Have fun and taste all the good food!  Safe travels!

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7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Traveling

8:30:00 AM


1.  Don't Try to Do Everything


Traveling for me has always been an outlet to get away from reality by enjoying the beautiful mysteries, cultures, and natural wonders of the world.  So when I first started traveling, I was EXCITED and wanted to experience it all!  Sometimes I would have at least three things planned to do per day.  I found myself exhausted!  Exhausted while on vacation?  Not cute!  Wish I would've known not to plan so much in hopes to have the best experience.  For now on if I have limited time, I am taking it one day at a time; planning things that I absolutely want to do, and enjoying those moments while doing it.  Or just stay longer...

2.  Stay Longer


Many of my vacations have been short-lived to make sure I have enough vacation time left for another vacation that year.  To be honest, it is mostly for bragging rights.  To knock a destination or country off my bucket list.  Taking shorter vacations, you are very limited doing the activities you want.  Also, you don't get the full experience of the place, such as culture, music, or local friendliness.  You don't get to live in the moment, and "take it all in" because you are rushing to get things done in such little time.  Therefore, I decided to plan longer stays, meaning fewer vacations a year.  Rushing to knock countries off your list you get a limited experience.  Don't rush!

3.  Don't Plan Everything Ahead


The most important things one should always plan ahead is the flight and hotel.  But when it comes to activities, you may not want to plan everything ahead.  Too much planning can stifle your entire stay!  At times I would meet a few locals or tourists, and they ask me, "hey did you get a chance to do such and such?"  Nope.  Can't do it since I already have something else planned, AND, paid for in full.  Therefore, I've learned to not plan everything ahead.  Only plan things you absolutely want to do.  It may be hard to do since you can find really good online deals.  But, most hotels have pamphlets where you can book activities directly through them at a good price.  They are locals themselves and can direct you to some really cool things to do there you can book that same day.  Chill out, don't plan everything ahead!

4.  Get To Know Maps


Going to your dream destination, then getting loss sucks.  I hear those type of stories all the time.  I'm actually pretty good finding my way around town.  But the times I did get lost, I could've been doing something else more pleasant to enjoy my vacation!  You can ask locals, but what if there aren't any around?  Also, if there is a language barrier, they may not understand you and send you to the wrong place.  For instance, when in Dubai we decided to visit the Dubai Mall. The mall is 5.9 million square feet, and we decided to wing it.  There were signs, there were maps, but we got lost a few times.  We ask locals either in passing or working in a particular store, but often directed the wrong direction several times because of the language barrier.  They nodded like they knew what we were saying, but not quite.  Our last day night in Dubai, we told the Taxi driver we wanted to go to the Miracle Garden.  He took us to the Glow Garden.  If only we had a map for each of these activities, things probably would have gone a lot smoother.  We could've shown the taxi driver where we wanted to go.  Therefore, I will always look at the map of every city that I visit.  Especially in a foreign country where English is not their first language.

5.  Catching an Early Flight is Not Always Best


In no way am I an early riser, but airlines typically price early flights (5-6 am or earlier) the cheapest.  Especially Southwest Airlines.  So I would sacrifice my sleep to catch the cheaper flight, usually landing before 12 noon, and basically have an extra day of vacation.  I'd catch up on sleep while on the plane.  Sounds great right?  Nope.  Often I found myself not able to go to bed early, staring at my bedroom wall for several hours.  Duh, because it is not my regular sleeping pattern!  Also, there were times I would not be able to fall asleep on the plane, therefore when I check-in at the hotel I sleep for hours!  So much for that extra day of vacation.  Therefore, I would find myself exhausted on vacation.  Early flights are enticing due to the low price, but not the best option for me if I wanted to enjoy my vacation.  Now in days, I look for the best flight that would work out best for my itinerary other than the cheapest.

6.  Think Twice Before Going Solo


Sometimes going solo is necessary if you don't have a travel buddy or if your friends and family aren't able to go.  For years if I didn't have anyone to go with, I would not go.  But that equates to sitting at home with travel dreams stuck in your head.  Therefore, I began to take solo trips.  I say "think twice going solo" not because of safety reasons, or money reasons, but shared memories.  The experience of visiting a new destination is a memory implanted for the rest of your life.  It makes it sweeter to experience the moments with your loved ones.  Sure you can take photos, but it is nothing like having someone there with you that you know and love.  You'd have someone there with you to witness something so special and life-changing.  You can reminisce about the experience for the rest of your lives!.  So I go solo if I have to, but check with my friends and relatives first.

7.  Put Down Your Camera, Put Down Your Phone


Being a photographer, you don't want to miss those perfect shots.  I would take my DSLR everywhere to make sure I don't miss a moment.  But when home, I'd go through TONS of photos, most I never use or post anyway.  Now when I travel, I make sure I leave my camera at the hotel during certain outings, like going to the mall, dinner, etc.  It is nice to interact and have fun without trying to capture those moments.  Your memory is still more than enough.  I found the less you use your camera, the more vivid the memory.  Because you are enjoying the moment!  The same thing goes for a camera phone.  With social media on the rise, we now snap, post, tweet, and watch the "likes" come in.  We are always glued to our phones, chatting it up, or editing a photo.  Now, I want to post anything on vacation, I'll wait to post at night before bed, or back when I am home.

There is much more traveling to get out my system.  Therefore, there will be many more things that I will learn along the way that I will share.  The one thing that you can take from each of these is enjoying the moment.  In which also boils down to time!  We live in a society that everything is rushed.  One can lose track of what really matters which is the experience: taking each day at a time on vacation, not rushing, balancing out your time, to have a fulfilling experience.  As I mentioned above, when staying longer you can get to know locals who may have a different way of thinking, who can teach YOU something about life.  Enjoy the moment travelers!  Safe travels!







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An Ex-Member's WorldVentures Review. Is It A Scam?

1:48:00 PM


The Sign-up

A WorldVentures representative who I knew from a previous job reached out to me to catch up.  Then a few conversations later presented WorldVentures on a silver platter.  He connected a three-way call with an experienced woman within the company to cosign the business.  They preferred I sign up at that moment, but I took my time to make an informed decision. I decided to read up on the company; digging through their terms and conditions, other reviews online, and Better Business Bureau (BBB). It seemed like a sound investment, also considering I am already a traveler.  So within 24 hours, I signed up for the vacation club as well as a sales representative.  What really interest me was going on vacation on stock!  This is what they call DreamTrips.  Just like Sams club, you pay a membership fee for bulk vacations which means low prices for consumers.  Members may meet up on vacation, and some of them are all-inclusive.  Also, the monthly rate you spend converts into points to use for a DreamTrip.  They had just launched their app when I joined in which I thought was cool to browse your trips and post pictures of you past vacations.  Flights weren't included, and you had to book through other channels, which wasn't a problem with me.  Seemed like a winner!  The commission as a sales representative, to me, was a bonus.

Disclaimer:  I am not a WorldVentures representative promoting or selling the business.  This post is about my experience with the company, and in no way trying to persuade anyone to sign up.  You'd have to make an informed decision on your own terms.



Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

WorldVentures is a multi-level marketing company where your earnings are based on a pyramid structure or pyramid scheme as some may say.  But it is actually legal.  The representatives, therefore, team up to help each other sign up more people because they all benefit from each other.  Here is a snippet of MLM marketing from Wikipedia:

MLM

MLM pay structure example:



To stay on the safe side of the law, WorldVentures sell DreamTrips as its product.  You can make money by selling the product, but also by recruiting other salespeople and gaining a commission as well.  Meaning, if you recruit enough people on your right and left wing, you can possibly make a sustainable income.  That is because those people may recruit even more in their lineage, and you get paid even more money.  BUT it is said only 20% of representatives earn a sustainable income, while the other 80% do not make little to none.

According to their 2015 Annual Income Disclosure Statement:

"There are no guarantees regarding income. The success or failure of each Independent Representative in WorldVentures, like any other business, depends on the Independent Representative’s own skill, dedication, personal effort, leadership qualities, and market available."




The Training Event

Immediately after I signed up, my mentor stressed that I must go to the training event to learn how to sell the product.  I made a commitment I would give it a try for a year, if it doesn't work out, then I would release myself from the club.  So why not go all in?  Therefore I put up a few hundred bucks and signed up for the next big event in Houston, TX.

The first day, I waited in a line wrapped around the building to check-in for the event, then went inside for the show.  There was loud music, people screaming, and testimonies of how WV changed their lives.   There were very emotional rags to riches stories in which I was very touched.  It was pretty much like a church service once you think about it.  This lasted for a few hours with more music and dancing.  After this event was over, I went to my hostel to get ready for the next event.

The next day is where the action began.  This time the stadium was packed like it was a rock concert. There were more music, dancing, shouting, and tears.  There was the chief trainer who is really good at his job.  He was very witty but also very serious and knowledgeable.  The other speakers spoke for 30-40 minutes.  They all spoke viscerally about their experience with the company.  Their team of members rooted them on as well.  This went on throughout the event, including rewards to reps who advanced within the company.  On Sunday, there were talks of God, gospel music, and praise.  I must say, it was a pleasant experience.  (Unfortunately, I deleted all the pictures and videos related to WorldVentures including those at the event.  Keep reading)

When home, I decided I was going to go all in.  Especially after the euphoric experience in Texas.  I printed a list of all my friends on Facebook and began to share WV with them.  They teach you all of that.  Some representatives will reach out to you after finding something in common to talk about.  Then go in for the kill about the company.  I decided to do that at first, but people felt betrayed as if I only was interested in my agenda (which was true).  So I decided to be upfront with people from the get.  After a few presentations, I was able to sign up two people. (But hey my vacation club points were accumulating).  Close to the end of the year, unfortunately, I came across a few challenges with the vacation packages and as a sales representative.

DreamTrips:
  • Short Vacations

  • Not the best option for solo travelers
Sales Representative:
  • Lack of support

  • Area restrictions

  • No Strong "Why?"


The Challenges

Short Vacations

There are tons of vacation on the website to choose from across the world.  From places in the U.S. to Spain, China, Indonesia, and China.  The prices are pretty decent as well.  But upon searching vacation packages, the lower costs, the shorter the stay.  For instance, you can pay for an all inclusive vacation in Bangkok for three nights, for a low price, but is it worth the expensive plane ticket?  For me, it was not.

Not the Best Option for Solo Travelers

One of the benefits of the club is you can decide to go solo and feel welcomed by other WV travelers on vacation. But, the price jumped drastically selecting one person.  So I would try to convince my friends and family to go on vacations with me and failed.  Therefore, if you have a travel buddy or a group of people who like to travel, this may not be a challenge for you.

Lack of Support

In my opinion, upon succeeding with the company, you need a support group.  They need to help you with your presentations initially, and you with theirs.  You need to be encouraged along the way. Otherwise, you lose momentum quick.  Your mind needs to be in a vortex to not be side tracked with any other influences.  The training event helped, but they are typically priced high.  I attended a few conference calls diligently.  But I had more support, I probably would have remained a rep for a few more years.

Area Restrictions

As stated the income disclosure statement, market availability is one of the key factors that contribute to the success or failure of a representative.  I live in a small time where most are happy where they are, don't like to travel that much, and are not driven to make money, and fine with the 9-5 job.  Most aren't risk takers.  You can imagine the faces on individuals while making a presentation.  This type of things was foreign to them.  My mentor would help the deal with a conference call.  But I would have to go an extra mile, "dance a little bit more," to convince them to sign up.

No Strong "Why?"

What is your "why."  This is what a lot of speakers declared at the event.  Why are you doing this?  For your family?  I recognized hearing a lot of stories, people were going to lose their home or already homeless, had families, had a sick parent or grandparent they needed to take care of, etc.  I believe upon success with the company, you need a STRONG why.  Just to make money, in my opinion, is not enough.  Something that will get you out of bed every morning, because you have nothing to lose. For me, I did not have a strong "why."  Being that I had n kids, with a good job, good business, my parents are taken care of, and already able to travel pretty well: there was nothing to keep me dedicated enough to the company.



The Demise

A year had passed, and only two people signed up, and I told my mentor I would not be continuing with WorldVentures as a sales representative.  I would be keeping my membership and take advantage of the already accrued points to go on my first DreamTrip.  He wanted me to sign a document to transfer my slot in his lineage to someone else.  That is what I did.  Come to find out, my vacation club was also canceled.  Not only that, they charged a transfer fee.  I also got an email that my password was changed.  Very fishy!  So, I called WorldVentures and complained of course.  They said I should have indicated on the document that I wanted to keep my vacation club membership.  I argued there was nowhere in their terms and conditions that stated I had to do that.  Also, there was nowhere in their terms and conditions where I would be charged to transfer.  They wouldn't refund my money.  Therefore, I had no choice but to go to the Better Business Bureau.  They refunded the transfer fee as well as the points (which converts to dollars) lost due to canceling my membership.



Conclusion

So is WorldVentures a scam?  I say only if you do not know what you are getting into.  It is safe to say the demise did not end amicably.  Funny how I did not find a flaw when researching their paperwork to join, but there were issues when I decided to cancel.  If I didn't read the fine print, I would have been out of luck.  This is something to take into consideration when entering.  What if it doesn't work out?  Will they try to hit you with extra fees that are not in their terms and conditions?  Go ahead and check out the BBB complaints, some are similar to mine.

It is said only 20% of representatives earn a sustainable income, while the other 80% make little to none.  That means to be successful, you have to be completely dedicated and driven.  You pretty much have to eat, sleep, and drink WorldVentures to beat the odds.  Is that something you are ready for?  You can always sign up for DremTrips only, that is an option.  But don't think this would be the best choice if you travel solo at times considering the price jump.  In my opinion, this vacation club is more beneficial for families, also considering babies are free.

WorldVentures is just not for me.  Besides, there are plenty of other ways to travel at discounted rates!  Actually, just before I signed up for WorldVentures, I already had booked a one week trip to Europe at a great deal.  Please check my Travel Tips section for more info on how to find the best travel deals.  Safe travels!



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All My Exes Live in Texas: Houston

8:50:00 AM
A few years ago, I was involved in a travel company called World Ventures.  (I'm sure at least one of the representatives got a hold of you if you are a traveler).  Thought it was a great investment at the time and paid my fees.  They tell you to go to training, so I shortly booked an upcoming training convention in Houston, Texas.  It is where they play cool music, and prominent speakers give emotional speeches about the club; getting you excited to sell their product.  To be honest, I was more excited about going to the NASA Space Center (such a kid).  I'm no longer with the company anymore for various reasons in which I will document in a later post.  But, my experience in Houston is well worth recording.

How Much Did it Cost?


Houston, Texas was a solo trip in which I wanted to make sure I prepared ahead of time for my stay.  If you haven't already, read my post How I Uniquely Funded My Houston Trip.  Here is a breakdown of my cost:




Cost


Round-trip flight: $320.00
Event cost: $149.00
Rental Car $130.10
Hostel: $115.06
Valet airport parking: $54.76
CitiPass: $52.00

Total Trip: $820.92

Savings


Credit card 1 reward points- $246.04
Credit card 2 cash reward- $67.92
Flight voucher- $82.20
Travel savings- $150.00

TOTAL SAVINGS-$546.16
TOTAL TRIP COST: $274.76 

For meals, I enjoyed a small breakfast from my hostel for free.  Then budgeted to spend $10-$15 per day for other meals.  It was an excellent cost effective trip.




Houston


Landing in Houston was a bit intimidating.  My last family trip to Texas, we flew into we flew into the massive Dallas/Forthworth Airport (DFW) where it was like a city, slicing through the traffic of people and shuttles coming from every direction.  It was inundating.  To my surprise, Houston's William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) was nothing like DFW.  I followed the signs to my baggage with a breeze, then to the rental cars area, and headed out the doors hassle free.  Immediately upon opening the doors outside the airport, I was welcomed by the stifling Houston heat and humidity!  The shuttle to the Dollar Rental Car kiosk came soon after, and I happily hopped on to soak up some air conditioning.

The line was annoyingly long for Dollar Rental.  According to others standing in line with me, it is common for the HOU Dollar Rental Kiosk to have long lines and understaffed (so for future travelers, take heed)!  Finally was given a compact car and headed straight to the NASA Space Center!  Yes, I didn't waste any time!  More to come on the space center in a later post.

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The drive to and from the space center was smooth and didn't run into any rush hour traffic.  Actually, for the entire stay, the traffic wasn't as bad as I had heard. There were a few stops, but nothing long enough to become frustrated.  After stopping to get something to eat, I finally reached my hostel:  HI - Houston at the Morty Rich Hostel.  Hostel International (HI) has won third best large hostel chain for three consecutive years.  Because I recently took a trip to Europe, I booked an 8-female dorm to keep cost low.  Check-in was a breeze and was escorted upstairs to my room.  There were a few ladies already there, and we greeted each other.  The bathroom was inside the dormitory which was a plus since I didn't have to leave my room to take a shower!  The room was also very clean.  The downside was my upper bunk had no plug.  So had to charge my phone at night across the room, and my alarm woke everyone up.  Other than that, it was a pleasant stay.


The first few days were full of training events for World Ventures.  My hostel was only ten minutes away from the Hobby Center where the event took place.  During my free time, I would slip downtown to explore the area and get a bite to eat.  Thanks to my CityPass, I took several excursions that included the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, Houston Museum of Fine ArtsDowntown Aquarium, and Kemah Boardwalk.

Houston Museum of Fine Arts


The next day, I decided to explore the Houston Museum of Fine Arts after a WV event.  It wasn't as exciting as the Museum of Natural Sciences.  There was a photography exhibition that stood out among the rest.  It was nice to see different photographers, different angles, different overall photography styles.  It was very inspirational.  There aren't photos in this museum, for I have this "thing" where I don't take pictures of someone else photography.  I'd rather experience.

One of my favorite restaurants close by was Bodegas Taco Shop.  They are on 1200 Binz in a 14 story brown building. The patio is facing Caroline St in the Houston Museum District.  You can select their menu options or make your own taco.  My favorite was the Fish Tacos: they are delicious!

Another site to see around the area is the McGovern Centennial Gardens; The park was beautiful with tons of flowers and a beautiful fountain.  I sat on one of the benches to chill out and write.  The atmosphere is very peaceful as well.

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Houston Museum of Natural Sciences


The following day after an event, I made my way to the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.  To my surprise, and to my GPS's surprise, the is right around the corner from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.  So it was easy for me to park in the same spot as the previous day, and walk across the street.  This museum is full of natural discoveries across the globe, including minerals, gemstones, dinosaur bones, and much more.  Among my favorite exhibits were the Herzstein Foucault Pendulum, Hall of Ancient Egypt, Morian Hall of Paleontology (dinosaur bones), and Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals.

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Downtown Aquarium


On the last event day, I visited the Downtown Aquarium just before the event.  The only issue was parking!  You know me, I love to save.  But there was no curbside parking so had to park in the designated paid Aquarium parking lot.  Having my ticket already from my City Pass, I was able to breeze past the line.  There were so many children there, and I was among one of the children (haha).  There weren't many things that excite me other than a few cool looking fish, and the ice cream.  When I reached outside to enjoy my ice cream, I was greeted by some Latinos who danced to Latin music. I sat on the bench and watched until it was time for the event.

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Kemah Boardwalk


The last day in Houston enjoyed another meal at the Bodegas Taco Shop.  Then headed to McGovern Garden for some relaxation.  It meant everything to me to reflect and "take it all in."  This is something I tend to do at the end of every trip.  There was one last activity to do on my City Pass, so I decided to make my way to the Kemah Boardwalk.

The boardwalk is located about 45 minutes away from Houston, and 30 minutes from the Hobby Airport, which was perfect since my flight left that evening.  The area around the boardwalk was beautiful with a lot of quaint shops and friendly people.  Children were playing, and dogs were roaming enjoying the weather.  I parked about 5 minutes away in front of a local restaurant.  I wasn't as happy as the dogs in the heat, so immediately walked into a gift shop and bought a large beach hat to block out the sun.  There were rides for children, restaurants, shops, a pier, boat rides, and nice scenery.  I walked along the boardwalk most of the time.  I stopped to get ice cream and a drink of water as well.  It was a pleasant experience at the Kemah Boardwalk.

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All in all, Houston was amazing.  With so much to do, great weather, friendly people; I'd visit again in a heartbeat.  According to locals, there is much room for career advancement.  Who knows what the future may hold!  Safe travels.

 



 

 

 

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