Posts Tagged With: Packing

What Not to Pack

June of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

When a first time wwoofer, it can be kind of hard to know what to expect when getting there. When preparing for Ireland, I tried to cover all the bases, but now being here for a week, I’ve now discovered a few important things that I should have brought that I did not. With this in mind, here’s a small list of items that you might not have though to bring.

Towel– I won’t lie, I’ve been spoiled towel-wise. I’ve never had to worry about whether or not the place I was staying at would have towels. Well… I arrived in Ireland, and when it came time to take a shower (more about that later) I discovered there were no towels! I instead had to use a two foot by one foot little face cloth to dry myself before jumping into my pajamas. Trust me, it was not the greatest experience. I waited until we were able to pop into Shannon and purchase a massive towel for ten euro.

Wristwatch– I’ve never worried about a wristwatch. I haven’t even owned one for five years since I was in Japan (and I had two wristwatches at once even!). Nevertheless I’ve discovered that with your hands covered in dirt, it’s much easier to check the time on your wrist rather than digging into your pocket and coating you iPhone in mud and dirt just to check that only five minutes have passed since the first time you checked! So spend the twenty bucks and get a watch. It makes tracking the slow tick of time that much less messy.

Working/Gardening Gloves– Speaking of dirt covered hands, I didn’t expect for there to be no spare gloves! This one’s rather simple: if you have a set of gardening gloves that fit you well and that you like, bring them. Makes brushing up against nettles much less painful. I’ve already gotten several handfuls while having no protection from their little stingers. The knuckles are the worst. >__<

Extra long-sleeves of the light variety– So this week I managed to get massively sunburnt to the point where I was matching my Iron Man hoodie, despite being liberal with the sunscreen. Now for the rest of the week I’ve had to wear a long-sleeve shirt in order protect my already damaged back from even further incineration. This means working in 90 degree weather… In a long-sleeve. So here’s my advice for those who burn easily and manage to get their shoulders burnt to a crisp: bring a tube top and a button down cotton shirt. That way your shoulders aren’t rubbed by the straps of a tank top or bra, and your shoulders are protected without roasting you alive. And in general, light colored long-sleeves will help you immensely in protecting yourself from skin cancer.

Guidebook– I honestly didn’t think I should have brought a guidebook to Ireland. I’ve never found guidebooks to be great for anything other than the major sights. But as I’ve now been here for a week plus, and without great access to the internet, I find myself not knowing what to do this weekend with my free time. I intend to travel so I can finally use the camera I spent so much on, but now I have no idea where I want to go, and whether I want to spent four hours on a bus to get to Dublin and stay in a hostel or just hitch a ride up to Galway and try and get to see the Cliffs of Moor!

Shorts– Now this is not an items that I forgot, but that my wwoofing roommate Toni forgot. Despite the fact that you read that Ireland is going to be rainy, damp, and rather cool, bring a couple pairs of shorts anyways! Or at least one pair in order to anticipate that one 90 degree day that will knock you on your ass if you wear thick rain-worthy jeans inside of a boiling greenhouse.

Now with this short list in mind, now you have a slight idea as to what you should make sure to bring if you intend to go wwoofing, especially in Ireland. And if you’re going to another country, keep items like this in mind and shift it to your climate needs!

Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland, On Traveling, WWOOFing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s the Final Countdown

My Dear Readers,

So I have been pretty inactive on here due to a rise in absolute insanity as I get ready for the largest trip of my life. Between finishing off finals, transferring schools, and getting ready to move in with my partner of two years, I have managed to completely put off packing for Ireland!!

I’m leaving in nine days….. You think I would know better!

Nevertheless I’m frantically getting all my final preparations finished as the days steadily tick closer. My last day at work is Tuesday, and after that I will be packing and spending several days with Tom to make up for the extreme distance aand to celebrate our anniversary. I will also be making my first vlog video to keep track of the fantastic things that I’ll be seeing and experiancing. Which of course I will post links to here and on my Facebook page.

The main lesson of today’s post is don’t put off packing. It’s not a smart idea. In fact it’s pretty darn stressful.

Later this week I will talk more about packing for a month long trip. Stay tuned!!!

Until my Next Adventure!!

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland, On Traveling, WWOOFing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Less Than Three Months To Go…. My Feelings

March of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers.

Lately I’ve been watching Friends for the first time instead of doing my schoolwork, and those have you who have watched it know exactly what accent I’m typing this in…

Oh… My… God!

All that aside I’ve come to realize just how exhilarating and yet terrifying it is that my trip to Ireland is inching closer and closer. This will be my first true time traveling 100% by myself. I’ve always been with family or as part of an ambassadorial group. Now I’m taking my first ever solo trip, and it’s for the longest time I have ever been away from home. The combination of excitement and sharp terror is absolutely exhilarating.

My life has been an absolute whirlwind lately between my classes, spending time with my partner, my part-time job (feels like full time) and my internship (which is working conventions). Considering that it has been a challenge to bit sleeping and eating in there, let alone get ready for Ireland, I’m amazed that I have the time to sit down and bust out a post for you guys. I have 65 days now until I leave for one of the greatest farm countries in the world, and I couldn’t be more excited. Add in planning out activities for my weekends, and looking up all the music festivals I want to go to and I have my hands full. I’ve scoured guide books, watched travel TV specials, and skimmed the blogs- surprisingly the least helpful so far.

With all this excitement going on I haven’t even been able to share my experiences at the conventions I’ve been going to. I promise that for my next upcoming convention (Quinnicon in Connecticut) that I will be much more proactive in getting my encounters out there because trust me, I’ve had some doozies. I’ve also been contemplating some Past Tides to share with you, but lately so much has happened in the present that I haven’t had time for the past! I swear I will get better. 🙂

I would definitely love to read anyone’s tips for traveling in Ireland, and what to see while I’m there. I should have about four weekends to gallivant, one day at least already taken up by a planned day trip. Also anything you’d like to hear about, let me know! Your comments fuel my writing soul!

Until my Next Adventure

(Coming Soon!)

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Am Way Too Excited Right Now

March of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

So… I was intending to post a story about my travels. Something of worth and sustenance with some humor thrown in as well.

But I simply cannot focus because I’m too excited!!!! Way too excited. So as you all know, I recently got my tickets to Ireland. So I’ve been hyper and excited about that. It’s inspired me to start planning what I want to take, and where I want to try and visit during my days off from working on the farm. And now I just bought a camera after a year of being camera-less, specifically for this trip.


Look at how adorable she is!!!! But don’t be deceived by her size. She takes amazingly good quality pictures, and 1080p videos to boot! So it really looks like I’ll be doing the daily or every-other-day vlog that I want to do! And it’s going to be amazing. And thinking about the pictures and videos I’ll be able to take is making me even more excited. Thus I’m freaking out and completely unable to focus on posting a deep, insightful travel story.

My humblest apologies.

Have any ideas where I should try to go in Ireland (keeping in mind I have to take local transportation and I will only have two days away from the farm, max)? If you do, leave them in the comments!!!

Until My Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Forget to Wear a Coat!

November of 2010, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

So, every trip has its screw up, and when I went to Guatemala for a few days to attend my uncle’s wedding, I made a minor mistake… I forgot to bring a real jacket.

Now, one might think, hey you’re in a tropical area, why worry about the lack of a proper jacket? That’s what I thought. But I was wrong. Boy was I incredibly wrong.

So here’s the story: My uncle’s wife is a native Guatemalan, and so they had two weddings. One was located in our home state for legality, the second was in Guatemala for his wife’s family. As bridesmaids, my sister and I manage to scrape together the funds to go for three days (a very touchy subject…. not something I’ll cover today). With our dresses and some traveling clothes, we set out for a country that had never really been on our list.

It took me three planes, my sister two; I had to fly to where my beloved sister lives so that we weren’t traveling alone. After that we flew down to South America, but had to take a smaller plane to Guatemala itself. It was the first time I’d ever boarded a plane by walking across tarmac (usually we have those little hallways straight to the door).

Our pilot boarding the plane

Our pilot boarding the plane

We arrived in Guatemala late afternoon early evening, and we went to dinner and check out our hotel. Our hotel that looked like it was enchanted…

Our bed with handmade textile blankets

Our bed with handmade textile blankets

The courtyard, complete with fountain

The courtyard, complete with fountain

This was the hallway. No joke.

This was the hallway. No joke.

Yeah, it was gorgeous. The food was amazing too. As a farming major, there’s just something about super fresh eggs that just makes your taste buds go to heaven… Man, were they yummy. Pair that with some re-friend beans (first time ever having them), fresh mango slices, bread, and fried plantains (swooning just thinking about them) and you have a very classy and beautifully presented breakfast. As a note, it’s hard to have coffee in America when you have coffee fresh from the number one farm in the world… I’m spoiled…


Anyways! My uncle’s wife and her family offered to take my sister around the sight seeing. What that meant was leaving the town we were in and driving two hours around some mountains to get to another city surrounded by volcanoes and a lake. I do apologize for the lack of names, but I never got the chance to get the names of the cities and mountains before family differences stopped me. Nevertheless, I cannot get over how beautiful it was to make our way through the windy mountains to a city that was completely isolated. The only way to get there was by the long windy road, or by boat.


We took pictures.


We ate new foods.

Fresh made in the restaurant, including the chips!

Fresh made in the restaurant, including the chips!

Some of them were yucky.

Banana curry soup... yuck

Banana curry soup… yuck

Nevertheless the most important thing I learned in Guatemala was the one thing that I forgot to pack.

Bring a proper jacket (a sweatshirt would work too).

I should explain my thought process. Guatemala has a very warm climate, so I brought a little navy blue jacket that didn’t button shut. This proved to be my undoing as I realized that we spent the majority of our time in the windy mountains. We also traveled across a very windy lake!

Note how it's a half jacket.... Also the adorable little turtle backpack I purchased

Note how it’s a half jacket…. Also the adorable little turtle backpack I purchased


Sometimes, yes, I took the coat off.

Sometimes, yes, I took the coat off.


Now yes, my arms were covered, but it was a half jacket that didn’t button/zip/attach at all. So all the lovely little breezes that whipped my hair straight up…


Were mildly uncomfortable!

I wish I’d remembered at least a sweatshirt to cover up with. Nevertheless it was a minor issue, just a small lesson to be learned. But make sure y’all remember your jackets before you leave the country!


Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: On Traveling, Past Tides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Incorporate Travel Into Your Education

October of 2012, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

So as a college student I have been very run down with the fact that school and work has pretty much absorbed my life; that hasn’t been taken up by those two categories I try to devote to my boyfriend and my family. This previous summer I did essentially nothing. At most I managed to go to the parks in my area like Canobie Lake Park (I actually went to that one a lot). With this in mind I didn’t want to repeat that next summer.

Since I’m already saving up for my Disney trip January of 2014, I had to make sure this trip was within a college student’s price range. And since I’m a college student who only works weekends, that’s make it even tougher. But I was determined to make it work. With this in mind I also had to consider my schooling: maybe I could incorporate travel into what I want to do for my future.

While right now I’m just your average Biology major, but its destiny is to be switched to Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock. I have a passion for nature and animals, and my ultimate goal is to bring good eating and living to those who think that they cannot due to their living situations such as those living in apartments or in the city. You don’t need to have land and a garden to have fresh herbs and other product. That is what I hope to donate to the world with my little slice of life.

But with this in mind I’ve been pondering about how I can travel while working a career that- frankly- deals a lot with staying in one place. How will I be able to get out an experience the world and all the culture that it holds?

I’m surprised I didn’t think of it earlier honestly.


I have no artistic ability, so no I did not make this graphic. I actually found it on another blog! SO credit to them if they made it:

Alright make all your dog jokes now and get it over with. Trust me I giggled the first time too.

WWOOFing stands for World Wide Organization on Organic Farms. And it’s pretty much how it sounds. It’s a world-wide farming community that helps organic farms get in contact with volunteers who have a hunger for knowledge and getting their hands dirty.

One thing I love about travel is going off the beaten path and not only being able to experience the country but being able to experience the people. It’s the people that make up the meat of the cultural pie, and I prefer interacting with the people than just getting my picture taken at monuments. That’s just boring.

With this in mind, I will be WWOOFing in the country of Ireland!

This picture was taken by my father. All credit goes to him.

That’s right, Ireland. A country well known for it’s farmland and love for self-sustenance and organic practices. WWOOFing will be able to let me not only see Ireland, but to experience Ireland. I’ll be able to get in there, get my hands dirty, learn new foods, new skills, new sayings. I’ll be living and breathing Ireland!

Look at all that green!!! Again, this picture was taken by my father. All credit goes to him

I will be leaving not long after my anniversary with Tom in June, and I will be staying on a farm for about a month. I have about eight months to save, plan, and prepare for working on a farm, and taking day-trips out when I can. As the time gets closer to my departure I’ll be posting about home-stays and prepping for long term travel. I’m also more than willing to take suggestions and answer questions about WWOOFing, farming, travel, and any other burning questions that you wish to ask. Just leave a lovely little comment and I’ll make a post about it.

So I hope you all you travel lovers will be able to take a long look at what you want to do for your career, and maybe you’ll be able to find a way to incorporate travel into it! Because nothing is better than doing what you love in a completely new and foreign place!

Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: On Traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Time for a Backpack Upgrade!

July of 2012, Boot Size 10

My dear readers,

So as July comes to a close I find myself being hit with a huge cage of cabin fever. With my need to save up a ton of money for college, and having to pay for a cracked radiator, I haven’t been able to get out much this summer. And since I’m a huge travel blog reader, I’ve actually been sinking into a mild depression of sorts due to how stagnant my life is shifting into. But I’ve started to snap out of it, and with my birthday coming up, I’ve been planning how to fix my cabin fever.

As noted before, my birthday is coming up in about two weeks. My mother and I have a habit of finding cool things I like that she’ll nab for an early birthday present. In this case, she found my new travel day pack. And I’m in love.

Is it sensible? Not really. It’s definitely a day pack, and not good for a full blown backpacking-across-Europe trip. But for a casual traveling trip, it’s pretty awesome. I’ve already been using it  to go to and from work (it makes it easy to change after my shift and not look like I work there 😛 ). I’ve had it for about a week now, and I’m rather attached. I won’t wear it every time I travel, but definitely for my short little road trips I’ll be bringing it around.

Okay, about the backpack itself. It’s an Avengers backpack. Yeah. It’s that awesome. There is one main pocket for my notebooks and/or clothes, and a front pocket for knick-knacks. Then on each side is a water bottle holder. Considering my need to drink a lot (of water I promise!) it’s really helpful. Though I’m thinking one of those drink pockets will turn out to be Tony’s travel pocket so he can see all the sites with me.

Now, whenever I go on an adventure, there are items that are always in my backpack of awesome. Whether I’m running to work or running to the airport, you’ll more of then not find these in my bag (it’s a weird day when I forget them).

Take a look at that awesome. Just… Take it in.

Included here is:

  • Avengers backpack
  • My mini Avenger water bottle (Though surprisingly it got hidden in the shot)
  • Writing utensils (pen, pencil, and Sharpie!)
  • Wallet
  • iPhone with earphones
  • Either my Spiderman journal for conventions, or my green tribal journal for travel
  • My DS, currently loaded with Pokemon Soul Silver and a container of extra games
  • Lip balm
  • Gum (sometimes I run out, but when I have it I gotta keep in with me)
  • Gotta have the goggles!

Yeah… It’s coming to be really obvious how much I’m letting out my inner geek. But ya know? Every traveler has their quirk, and my is my unabashed love for comics and games. Now I’m off to take Tony to the park for some R+R, walking, and flag work (I still practice colorguard. If you haven’t heard of it… well… look it up).

What do you guys always bring around with you? Do you have a favorite travel bag?

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Tony's Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Packing

July of 2015, Boot Size 10

My dear readers,

When it comes to blogs I spend most of my time on the “Blogs I Follow” and “Travel” readers. Because of this I’ve discovered tons of new places in other countries and in America that I desire to explore. I also see a lot of fashion and packing blogs that advise the inexperienced as well as the experienced how to travel light and easy. The most recent packing one I read was Squeaky Robot’s Guide to Packing Light, and (Bad) Travel Advice: The Ten Stages of Packing. These aren’t huge ones that I’ve read before, just the most recent that I thought were either humorous or helpful. Personally I like to advertise some of the smaller blogs, since I am one, and we need the love! There are countless blogs tell you how to pack, giving several obvious pieces of advice and then some unique ones you may not have thought of.

As a woman, more specifically a young woman, I’m rather proud that I’m a light packer compared to most of my gender. I remember sniggering at my mother who, for a weekend long convention, had a huge jam-packed suitcase while I was there with a backpack and big floppy purse. The only reason I needed my big purse was because I had to bring my camera and technology with me. Yes, I brought a little extra on the clothing side, but hey it was a Steampunk convention, focusing a lot on clothing and accessories. For Anime Boston, Tomas and I would have been able to fit all of our stuff in one suitcase had we been able to combine out packing methods beforehand (we kinda met up, promptly slept, and THEN left for the con).

I’ve never had a problem with not wearing what I bring along, save for my People to People trips, where I mistakenly listened to their packing instructions. I ended up bringing clothes I didn’t want to where in the first place. But other than that? I usually only bring what I need, plus one spare set of clothes to cover an emergency drink spill or rain storm.

But the more a read these blogs about how to pack simple the more conflicted I get. As a proud geek, I have a ton of geek related accessories and- more importantly- clothes. I spend the majority of my down time in Marvel tee-shirts and tank tops. This kinda goes against one of the most common pieces of advice to travel light: wear layer-able clothes.

It’s really hard to have simple clothes when in general I don’t OWN simple clothes. I like showing off my geekery and I don’t let travel stop me. For example, I spent my time in the White Mountains being awesome and wearing my delicious looking Iron Man 2 shirt! I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

How do I compensate for not having layerable clothing? I bring laundry soap and wash my clothes in the sink or tub. It’s that easy. Seriously you get to wear your favorite clothes, and not stink like sweat. And if you want to avoid overpaying on premade laundry packets, you can just make your own! Seriously, it’s easy. Heck if you get a small 3 oz. bottle and fill it with your usual detergent (I’m of course talking about liquid detergent). In a sink it takes two to three drops of liquid detergent to get a sudsy water going. Then add dirty clothes and have a good time!

When I went to Japan my leaders had told up over and over that washing your clothes and hanging them to dry wouldn’t work due to the humidity that is killed during the Japanese summer. This was not quite true. You see, if you’re staying in a hotel like we were, they usually have air conditioning which gets rid of the humidity problem. While I’m glad I didn’t bring my heavy jeans, I would have liked to have brought the pants and other clothes that I LIKE to wear, rather than have been forced to go out and purchase clothes I didn’t particularly like. More often than not I just wore my two fun shirts that I brought along and washed them every night.

Other than that I prefer to bring along a few extra items like my journal, Tony, an unhealthy number of writing utensils, my camera, and usually a paperback book of varying awesomeness. Then depending on what I’m going to be doing I add a few items to my list like a water bottle, hat (though I love my Avengers baseball cap and wear it often no matter what), my knee brace, solid lotion, winter wear, and more.

Granted for situations like backpacking, yeah maybe I should pack smarter and have easier to get around… But I’m gonna stick with what I do because it works for me. And that’s what matters. You should pack the way that makes you comfortable. For me I like to keep calm and geek on!

My other problem is that I never prepare to pack in advance. I usually end up packing the night before or even the morning of! I’ve read that some people start prepping for an adventure weeks to months ahead of time. I do that… for planning what I’m going to do… I just cannot do the being 99% packed a week before my trip thing. Seriously, if I try to I wig out and everything gets put away again. The most I can do is have a little pile of clothes that I know I’ll be bringing set aside but still accessible.

This means that the night before or morning of my trip is spent acting like a spooked chicken. I literally end up running back and forth between the bathroom and my bedroom, throwing stuff into my suitcase/backpack with no consideration for order or room. My advice is to stay out of my way unless you want to end up on the floor or with a knee in your liver.

The whole time I’m doing this, I of course curse myself for not packing in advance. I could have had half of this stuff done and I wouldn’t need to worry like I am right then and there. But I know, deep in my heart, that I’m not going to change. I’ll always be a last minute packer, and it keeps me in my comfort zone. I accept my reckless decision, though I don’t always enjoy it.

So how do you guys pack? Heavy and in advance? Light and last minute?

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

P.S. I would like to note that I’m having picture editing issues. That combined with my limited access TO my pictures (broken cord to my external hard drive which is where I keep them) and that is why I have not been posting as many pictures. I hope to get this fixed soon!

Categories: Fresh Prints, Past Tides, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Don’t Wait Last Minute to Pack!

June of 2012, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

It’s t-minus three hours until my mother and I take off for a weekend trip to the White Mountains, and boy can it get exciting. I have a bad habit with packing on weekend trips…. it that I pack the day of the trip itself….


Honestly it’s a dumb idea. Granted, I have what I want to take planned out in my head and essentially just grab stuff out, but this still runs the risk of forgetting a LOT of potentially important items. Nevertheless this is what has happened, and I’m pretty sure I’m mostly packed. So with out further ado, I’m going to share with you my packing list that is going into my duffelbag and daypack.

Not everything is pictured here xDDDDD


  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Two pairs of pants
  • Socks (not pictured)
  • Undies! (not pictured ^_^)
  • Flippy floppies (not pictured)
  • Hiking boots
  • Casual sneakers (To defend… my boots are heavy and I might not want to weigh myself down)
  • Knee brace
  • Two tank tops
  • One t-shirt
  • One long-sleeve
  • Marvel fleece blanket of awesomeness
  • Bathing suit

Other stuff

  • Toiletries (includes stuff for teeth, hair, body, armpits, etc.)
  • Travel journal with pen
  • Book, namely Fool Moon of the Dresden Files series
  • Wallet
  • Tony (of course)
  • Snacks
  • Camera and all its needy accessories
  • Hat (sadly not my awesome hat, but my Team Rocket hat…. My Iron Man hat is still in the mail xDDDD)

So yeah, that’s what I’m bringing up to mountains. At least right now.  At the last minute I’ll probably add a couple billion little things that I won’t need but that I want to bring along. I may not be as bad of a packer as most women… but I’m quirky. Sometimes I like bring weird things. Like an umbrella hat! Which yes, I have one.

Now that I’m at the end of this post… It’s now t-minus two hours to departure, and I need to make a few finishing touches on my stuff. And breakfast… Gotta have the breakfast! Orange scone here I come!

My adventure begins soon,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Mountains! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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