Friday, November 25, 2016

My "Year of 50!"

Soooooo,

Yesterday was my 49th birthday (YaY Me!).  Now, I have to tell you, I have not been very excited about the idea of turning 50.  But a few months ago I came up with the idea of celebrating my birthday for the entire year leading up to this monumental birthday.  So I put together  a list of places I would love to go and things I would love to see.  I decided to top off the  celebration with an epic trip to Africa with family and friends.
 
I talked to some people about this idea, and as you can imagine, I encountered some serious #SideEye moments.  I heard things like "you're crazy" or "that won't happen".  Last week I talked to a financial advisor about some financial goals and even he told me that I should scale my "Year Of 50!" dreams down a bit. 
 
So I was bummed and they had me reworking my plans.  But Lookie - Lookie at what #PepsiCo told me in a birthday email.  Who knew such inspiration could come via junk mail from my sugary lover?
 
I now have new a sense of determination.  I will LIVE life.  I will make MY travel dreams come true.  I will EXPLORE new destinations.  I will make NEW friends.  I will LEARN new things.  I will have amazing EXPERIENCES.
 
I don't have all the pieces in place, and I don't know if I want them there.  All I know is that today is the first day of my journey. 
 
Join Me!!
 
Angela Myers
Founder
2 Girls & a Bikini
 
 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Whoot-Whoot:  It's Election Day!

 

 

Happy Election Day 2016!!


Today is the day that our country will elect its 45th President.  Along with all 435 voting-member seats in the United States House of Representatives, and 34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate, twelve state governorships, two territorial governorships, and numerous other state and local elections!  WoW.....

Now, I'm not here to tell you WHO to vote for.  I'm just here as a reminder to VOTE.  And when you are done voting, do what I did and book a flight!  You don't have to go far - or spend lots of cash.  Scanning The Flight Deal this morning, I saw:
  • Philadelphia to Rome for less than $500
  • New York to Chicago for less than $100
  • Los Angeles to Peru for less than $400
  • Seattle to New Orleans for less than $300
And there are plenty more deals out there!

I'm here to encourage you to travel to all the places your heart desires.  Go visit friends/family in other cities/countries.  Go and actually see that landmark that has been your screensaver for way too long.  Go sit on a beach, or in a museum.  Take a double decker bus tour.  Hop on a train, a boat, a scooter.  Take a solo journey.  Or grab a group of friends - and just go!

Yesterday, I lost a friend.  A friend that I met while I was traveling through Thailand.  He lived his life with no regrets and traveled the world with no fear.  Today, I want to be a little more like him.  Today I want all of us to be a little more like him.

Travel Safe My Friends.....

Angie
Founder, 2 Girls & A Bikini

Friday, October 21, 2016

I Loved "Chicken Pizza"!


Everyone knows that I love the Cancun/ Riviera Maya area of Mexico.  I mean really, I LOVE IT.  If anyone comes to me looking for a quick, inexpensive, beautiful beach vacation – they are going to get sent directly to the Cancun airport.  One of my first blogs was actually titled “I’m a Cancun Addict”. 
So it surprised even me when I couldn’t remember if I had ever been to Chichén Itzá!  I mean really, it’s the #1 tour in the area.  Which is why on my most recent trip, I booked a 5am tour via Amigo Tours.  First, let me say that I have not been compensated in any way for this write-up.  I only mentioned the tour group because our guide was absolutely AMAZING.  He knew so much about the Mayan People and the history of the area.  During our LONG bus ride, we learned about the culture, the people, the language ……his lesson even had pictures.  Which go a long way when it’s barely 8am and you are asking yourself “why am I here?”

I went to Chichén Itzá knowing a few things:

·      It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site

·       It’s one of the most popular archaeological sites in Mexico

·       It’s very old.  Like built before Christ old

·      There’s a cenote on the grounds that was once used for human sacrifice (I don’t even know why I knew that).
Now, I have seen the ruins of Tulum many times and so I was expecting a similar experience.  But there were a few things during the tour that amazed me:

·       The largest temple, The Temple of Kukulkan (aka El Castillo) is now one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.  Its 90-feet tall with stairways on each of the four sides.  Each stairway has 91 steps, which total 364.  When you add the platform step that they share at the top, it totals 365; the number of days in a year.  Who did the math?  And why?  And the stones look as if they weigh a ton – each.  How were those stones carried up 91 steps?

·       Our guide stood in the center of the staircase, at the bottom of the largest temple and clapped his hands.  An echo came from the top of the temple that sounded like the chirping of a sacred bird.  But if he moved a few steps to the right or to the left – no chirping.  Back to the center – chirping.  Crazy right?

·       There is a Ball Court where they played with a rubber ball that was very heavy.  During the game, players had to keep the heavy ball in motion, but get this:  the captain of the winning team (the team who got their ball through the stone ring on the opposing players’ part of the courtyard) was sacrificed to the gods!  HuH?  Well as it turns out, his victory made him “a fitting offering”.  #BlankStare

·       Another interesting fact about the Ball Court:  You can stand on one end and whisper softly.  Individuals at the other end WILL HEAR YOU.  I mean clearly hear what you are saying.  The Ball Court is over 500 feet long!  It is believed this was used as some sort of eavesdropping technique. Also, a clap or shout made in the center of the ball court will produce nine separate echoes.  The number nine has some significant meaning in this culture but I wasn’t paying any attention to my guide at that point.  I was still stuck on the snooping abilities.
It became very clear to me very quickly that these were some very smart, very sophisticated people.  They were skilled farmers and created a written language that is believed to be the first written language native to the Americans.  They were also mathematicians and their number system included the concept of zero, which was an idea not known to the Greeks – who were considered “expert mathematicians” at that time.  The Maya were also highly skilled potters, weavers, sculptors and jewelers.  AND they had trade networks!

The tour was a total of 3 hours, not including travel time.  I was back in Playa del Carmen by 3pm and at my Mi Casa Holiday beach party by 4pm.

One last thing:  at the bottom of the northern stairway of El Castillo, there are stone heads of a serpent.  Many people travel to the site during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes to experience how the sun’s light and the edges of the stairs create a shadow which, very briefly, creates the look of a snake moving down the Temple.  Hmmmm,  I checked and the equinoxes occur around March and September 21!  What are your plans?!  #LetsGo

See all of my pictures on my Facebook page!

Happy Traveling!

Angie
Founder, 2 Girls and A Bikini
 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cruisin...


Some people love cruises. Take my brother. He has been on two, 7 Day cruises - THIS YEAR. But he also went with me on my Vietnam/Cambodia trip - so I'll give him a pass.

Me?  I'm not a cruiser.  It just doesn't interest me.  So how did I find myself sitting on the balcony of a cabin ON a cruise ship?  Easy.  My desire to help everyone "get out there and see the world".

Here's where it started........

People are always saying "you don't invite me when you travel", so I invite them they say "that's out of my budget".  Sigh.  So since people tell me that cruising is affordable and that payment plans are available, my desire encouraged me to say "let's take a cruise".  So I chose the dates, and the shortest cruise available.  I sent out some invitations, got some takers and we were all set.

I put down my deposit and created my flight alert.  A few other people put down their deposit and I got excited because I was thinking "YES.  WE ARE TAKING A TRIP!"  Months passed, I sent out encouraging emails (they all ended with YaY), we talked about how much fun we were going to have, I purchased a flight and waited.  And waited…..AND WAITED.  I stopped sending encouraging emails and started sending emails that ended with “are you taking this &*$&# cruise?”
So let's see. I'm now on a 3 Day cruise to the Bahamas (where I have already been this year for a wedding, but I digress) with my “I will travel anywhere” daughter and a friend who has never left the country.  I’m sitting on the balcony adding up my affordable cruise:

Cruise:  $450 (includes transportation to the Bahamas, lodging, around the clock unlimited food - including ice cream, movies, live shows, clubs, casino and other activities)
Flight:  $220
Car Rental:  $90 (this was cheaper than each of us paying for round-trip transportation)
Parking:  $40
Gas: $20
Misc (internet, drinks on cruise, food/drinks on island):  $75

So, my desire to help everyone "get out there and see the world" cost me approximately $900. That’s an average cost of $300/day……hmmmmm.  I’ve planned longer, more exciting (for me) vacations for half the cost; but what hurt me the most was the 2 vacation days I lost. 

When I returned, I spent some time with myself, and we have come to an agreement. People who want to travel, well, will TRAVEL.  I don’t have to invite them, I don’t have to encourage them (YaY), I don’t have to plan specialty trips for them.  They will get out there.  And they will see the world. 

P.S. – my friend did get her FIRST passport stamp.  This is the only picture I saved!


Happy Travels Everyone~

Angie
2 Girls & A Bikini

Monday, August 1, 2016

Do You REALLY Want To Go?

Hey There Family & Friends,

Whew - it's hot!  Yes, even too hot for me!  But please don't take that as a complaint, it's simply a statement because if you know me - you know I love the sun (and the heat).  So bring it on!

Anywho....I have been running into some really good flight deals to Asia.  Specifically Hong Kong and Beijing in November (for my birthday).  And I placed a couple of flights on hold (using American Airlines and Cathay Pacific 24 hour hold), but I didn't commit.  Why?  I don't know.

I got really excited about going to Beijing and seeing the Great Wall of China, but I didn't pull the trigger.  I thought about how exciting it would be to see Kowloon Walled City and Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong, and I still didn't pull the trigger. 
 
I sent a few emails and text messages to some other travelers, extending an invite; but most of my travel friends already have plans for the Thanksgiving holiday.  So I kinda gave up.  And then I thought about it and realized I have a FEAR of solo travel! 
 
I know, I know.  I have people telling me that I haven't traveled until I've traveled alone.  They tell me that I will meet great people and learn a lot about myself.  They say things like "your time will be your own" and "after traveling alone, you won't travel with a group again". 

And maybe that's what I'm afraid of.  Dumping my group.  I mean, I love my friends, friends-of-friends, family, co-workers, Facebook friends, etc.  And these are the people that make my travels fun and exciting.  Aren't they?
 
So I've had to ask myself, "Do You Really Want To Go?".  Do I really want to pass up the opportunity to see some amazing places and knock some things off the must see/do list just because I feel as if no one will be there to capture me being great?  Or do I go and simply BE GREAT anyway?  And where is this fear of traveling alone coming from?
 
Hmmmm....I've got some {deep} thinking to do. 
 
Meanwhile, it's been an exciting travel year.  Most interesting?  I went to Cambodia (talk about HOT).  Seeing the Angkor Wat temple blew me away.  The sunrise changed my life.  I also went to Vietnam.  You can see my pictures on my Facebook Page.  And if you haven't already, give it a LIKE.

I promise to write more this year and keep you guys updated on my birthday travel decision.

Keep Traveling~

Angie
Founder
2 Girls & A Bikini

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What My GrandMa Said….



Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my GrandMa.  Like all Grandmothers, she had her “thing”.  For instance, my girlfriend’s GrandMa would pin her cash to the inside of her bra.  Another GrandMa I knew always had pennies in her coin purse, and she would give me a handful every time I saw her.  A lot of my friends laugh at how their Grandmother would have peppermints inside their purse – FOREVER – the wrapper would be melted onto the candy, but she would still offer you one.  LOL.  I’m sure with very little thought you can immediately tell me what your Grandmother’s “thing” was!

My GrandMa’s thing was words.  She would say things like “Close the refrigerator.  I’m not trying to cool all outside!” or “I’m gonna whoop you until the lights go off downtown’.  Yea – I never figured that one out.  But as I grew up, my favorite became “The more you give, the more you get”.  

Now trust me, I didn’t believe these words originally.  It wasn’t until a friend of mine said; “you are always giving something away” (this was after I gave her a very nice sleigh bed, which was practically brand new).  So I begin to think about it and realized – I AM ALWAYS GIVING SOMETHING AWAY – yet I always seem to have more than enough!  Now, let me say enough is relative.  What’s enough for me may not be enough for you; but I can honestly say, I am living in my overflow. 

Because of this, I always try and align myself with other individuals and/or organizations that also believe my GrandMa’s words of giving.  One of these organizations, and my absolute favorite, is The Passport Party Project.
 
 
The Passport Party Project is a “National Geographic award-winning initiative providing first passports, online global awareness training & first-time global travel experiences to underrepresented American girls 11-15 in an effort to help create responsive and responsible global citizens that travel with love.”  This organization is headed up by Tracey Friley, aka The Pied Piper of Passports.  I promise you I have never met anyone so passionate about giving. She genuinely loves it!  And it shows in everything that she does.  She gifts these young ladies an experience that very few will ever have, and even less will take advantage of if the opportunity came their way.

This year is Phase 3 of The Passport Party Project, and with the help of Tourism Toronto, Heys Luggage, National Geographic Maps, Niagara Parks, Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Porter Airlines, Francesco's Limousine and CityPASS, Tracey and two college students (one of which has been traveling with Tracey since she was 11 years old) will be escorting 15 Teen Travel Ambassadors to Toronto.  After 6 weeks of online global awareness training, where the lucky travelers learned what it takes to be a Global Citizen, they are ready to pack their bags and head to the top of the CN Tower.  Some of these young ladies will travel alone for a short distance by plane for the first time and perhaps even be away from home and/or travel as a group for the first time.  

My current mentee, Destiny A. is looking forward to learning more about Aboriginal Culture and History (Do you know when National Aboriginal Day is?  Destiny does because she had to learn about it during Week 5 of her training!).   Destiny also found it interesting that Toronto was founded as a trading center in the 1600s and is looking forward to eating beaver tails.  All of these things, and more,  were discussed during my time with Destiny, which I enjoyed immensely.  She asked me questions such as “what inspires me to travel” and “how did I navigate myself through the mountains of Atlanta with no GPS’.  She is ready to tackle her adventure.  I am so excited for her!  I am so excited for all of them!

Why?  Because I know that this experience will change their lives in ways they may not understand for years to come.   They will make new friends, see new things, go to new places, eat new food.  They will laugh.  Get frustrated, but then figure it out.  Some may experience fear.  Some may experience tears.  But through it all, they will learn.  They will grow. They will appreciate.  And hopefully, they will begin to understand my GrandMa’s words “the more you give, the more you get”.

Wow.  Now that’s the #PowerOfThePassport.

Travel Well Ladies…

Angela Myers
2 Girls & a Bikini

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I've Been Absent


I know – I’ve been absent.  And it’s not because I haven’t been traveling.  Since last we spoke, I’ve been to Dubai/Abu Dhabi (UAE), Oman (Muscat), Panama City (Panama), Bangkok and Phuket (Thailand), Singapore and of course, one of my favorite destinations, Riviera Maya (Mexico).  And a quick glance at my blog made me realize that I didn’t even take the time to tell post any pictures!  GEEZ.....

Go ahead and ask, I certainly have: "What’s going on Angie"?!  Well, I put some serious thought into it and *bling* the light bulb went on.  It’s not that I’ve lost my lust for travel, but I’ve lost my LOVE for travel. 


 It’s true.  No longer was I spending hours researching new destinations and adding to my “I Wanna Go” list.  No longer was I reading and learning all about my next destination – the people, the culture, the best beach.  I was just buying flights, showing up and hoping that it went well.  How and When and did this happen?

I had to take a step back, re-evaluate and ask myself the basic question: “Why do you travel?”  The first thing that came to my mind:  To say I’ve been.  #recordscratch

No, No, No….this cannot be.   It’s not possible.  I am a traveler.  I travel to learn.  To explore.   To adventure.  To meet new people in new places.  I do not travel for the passport stamp!

I had to take some time off.  I had to remind myself that this is not a competition, but a journey.  To remember that it doesn’t matter that I have not had pages added to my passport; but that I have walked on the shores of uninhabited islands.  That despite my fear of heights, I have been to the top of the world’s tallest man-made structure and taken a ride aboard the world’s largest observation wheel.  That I have spent days laying on the shores of pristine beaches with friends and family.  That I have cultivated a Just Go attitude in those around me and set an example for those watching.  That is what matters. 

I don’t know how long it will take me to get back to the LOVE of travel, but that’s my next trip. 

In the meantime, let me hear all about the wonderful travels you have planned.  Let me see pictures of your recent Spring Break adventure.  Or the honeymoon it took you weeks (months) to plan.  Or the solo experience you didn’t think you would survive.  Or tell me all about your recent staycation where you explored your home town and found a cute little neighborhood.

Where ever you have been.  Whatever you have done.  Share it with me!

Happy Traveling Friends~