GOODBYE VAGABOND FILM – HELLO NEW BLOG!

I’ve been with WordPress since 2012 and while my blog has had a good run, I’ve decided to make the move to SquareSpace.

I will no longer be posting in this blog.

Please check out my new site at: http://www.shefilmsshetravels.com/

I’m still keep WORDPRESS so that I can follow along with those I follow.

I can also be followed via Twitter at:

@she_films

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you will continue to read my occasional muses on film and travel at my new site.

Trina

The Circus Life – Realities of Constant Travel for Work

In the last 24 months I have crisscrossed the country working in TV production with a combined total of 9 full months spent on the road. I love my life spent working in film and the opportunities it affords. Yet traveling for work and traveling for pleasure are two completely different things.

No time to sightsee – I’ve roamed the beautiful streets of Montreal looking for the perfect interview spot and took a quick jaunt to the St. Louis Arch. I’ve awed at the natural beauty of Washington from a ferry ride and enjoyed an authentic Philly cheese steak on a late night after work bite. Each city has whizzed by at break neck speed. I had time enough for the occasional postcard and just a taste for what each place had to offer.

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Exhaustion – The airport to the hotel and then right to work. A quick bite before a location scout and I am up early for filming. A typical shoot lasts a minimum of twelve hours and then maybe we go some place cool for dinner. We have a few more days of shooting and then it’s a full day of travel back home. I pray the flight has Wi-Fi so I can work on the trip and more than likely put in a few hours at the office after I land in Los Angeles.

CheeseSteak             Late night work meal – Philly cheese steak

Life versus Work– People often ask, “Where to next?” and my answer is always the same, “I don’t know”. A new gig every month means that my life is ever-changing. I frequently miss life events: weddings and reunions and family events. It is almost impossible to plan my own trips. A fear exists that I will not have work upon my return. Although my career is important to me it is a constant struggle to remind myself that work is not life it is only work.

IMG_1771                                                    Long lunch in Berlin.

Embracing spontaneity – After eight years spent in film I’ve learned to throw caution to the wind and travel for pleasure when the opportunity arises.  I hope my friends don’t mind when I text them last-minute, “I’d love to see you…. next weekend?”

I don’t mean to sound as if I am complaining. I am extremely thankful for all of the experiences that my life spent in film has given to me.

A window has presented itself and I am at the moment researching my next much-needed trip. It will be wonderful to travel on my own terms and by own pace. I will take my time and save up my energy. Before I know it the circus will return and it will be time to pitch the tent.

Czech Industry is Crazy Cool at The National Museum Technical

The National Technical Museum takes you through a journey of technological advances. Now that might sound kind of boring but trust me it’s not! The displays highlight the advances in transport, photography, film, architecture and even espionage.

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I especially liked the transport room which housed Czech built planes, cars and motorcycles from the beginning of personal transport.

IMG_2072                                                     Planes, trains and automobiles.

A great many of the exhibits are interactive and kids will have a particularly fun time learning the techniques spies used during the Cold War to pass or acquire information.

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I took my time rambling through the exhibits which covered over four stories. Be prepared to spend 2-4 hours here. The museum lies on the outskirts of Prague but is easily accessible by tram. After weeks in Europe visiting fantastic art museums and historical monuments it was refreshing to learn about another topic!

Definitely pay a visit if you are in Prague.

Two Sides of My Coin – Constant Traveler and Nervous Flyer

I blame Cairo. I was flying from Madrid to Cairo in February 2009 when we ran into a storm over the Mediterranean. The pilot made a quick announcement that it was going to be a bit bumpy and for people to take their seats. I’d noticed previously that on international flights the seat belt sign is not as quickly activated as in the US. I always chalked that up to Americans being sue happy and the airlines not wanting any lawsuits stemming from people getting shaken about.

“A little bumpy” was an understatement. The turbulence was so severe that it felt like we were on a ride at the county fair. The flight attendants had to take their seats. For over and hour we rocked front to side and then side to front. I noticed a man in the row in front of me take out his rosary beads at the 45 minute mark. And then from the back of the plane came a loud “bang”. The flight attendant in the nearest jump seat sprang out of her chair and ran to the back of the plane. One of the food carts had become unlatched and was slamming into the back door. I turned my music up full volume and glared jealously at a passenger in the window seat next to me, “How could he be sleeping?”, I thought to myself. I longed for his certitude. It wasn’t until I saw the green lights from the hundreds of minarets across Cairo that my heart stopped racing. We were descending and landed without incident.

Ever since that fateful night I have become more and more uneasy upon take off and jittery at particularly bumpy flights. I tell people, “I’m not the greatest flyer”. Which is comical as just in this last month alone I crisscrossed the country three times. Los Angeles to New York, Los Angeles to Philadelphia, Los Angeles to Miami. You would think with all the traveling I do it would get easier but it hasn’t.

So how do I cope? Not with pills. People have told me to take anxiety drugs. I am not one for pills. I grew up on medication as a child and as an adult I shy I away from pills. I don’t like any medication that makes me feel unlike myself.

1.) I’ve studied a lot about aviation and I understand what turbulence is and why it is caused. This has helped. The more I understand about the basic dynamics of flight the more I become interested in the process. Hey, if you are in a chair at 35,000 feet that is quite a miracle in and of itself.

2.) I love the aisle seat as it is offers me the opportunity to get out up a bit. I feel I am more at ease when I have the freedom to get out of seat.

3.) I listen to music and I read. I love distraction. Recently I had a nice chat with a fellow passenger during take off and for the first time in years I didn’t notice that we were up in the air until they made the 10,000 feet announcement, “Safe to turn on your devices”.

4.) I can’t sleep on planes. Never have and never will. So sleep it not an option. But that is OK as I find I am more at ease when I know where we are in our route and the time to destination.

5.) The statistics are on our side. Plain and simple. Even with the recent crazy events in aviation the safety of air travel has been proven.

Fear often pushes us away from our goals or away from the riskier decisions of our life. Yet I continue to face my fear head on and I will never let it get the best of me. Travel is the love of my life. The irony is not lost on me.

My advice dear reader is to find what you love most and then head straight to it. Should you encounter any unwanted bumps along just turn up the tunes and fasten your seat belt and be happy in the knowledge that you are on your way there.

How I Afford to Travel: Budget Hotels

“How can you afford to travel so much?”

I get that question quite frequently.

Budget: First and foremost, know what you can afford. On my last trip I was willing to spend between $700 to $800 on hotels for a two-week vacation. I put in my time and did my research. Once I knew the average of hotel stays in each of my locations (Berlin, Krakow & Prague) I went to work searching.

How I book great budget hotels:

  1. Location: Pick a hotel that is not in a touristy area. You will find when researching hotels that the rooms are priced higher the closer the hotel is to major tourist attraction. To save money I often book hotels that are located in lesser-known areas of a city. I look for hotels that are within easy access to public transportation.

On my most recent trip, I stayed at a great budget hotel in Berlin and the subway was within two blocks of the hotel. The metro system is affordable and top notch. In my four days I used a combination of my legs and my metro pass to see all the major areas of the city. I also got to know the neighborhood that my hotel was situated in. By booking away from the tourist areas, I found restaurants that locals frequent and were more affordable. A win win!

  1. Amenities: I don’t need much. I always have a bathroom in my room (no down the hall for me since 2004). I always select a hotel with free Wi-Fi in my room so I can stay in touch.

Other than that? No frills for me. I do not NEED a gym or a business center or a hotel that has room service. All I need is a clean, safe and comfortable place to rest my head. Restaurant or bar in the hotel? A plus. Breakfast included? Another plus but not necessary. I can always walk to a nearby coffee shop and grab something.

  1. Pre-Paid Room: Discounts come to those who act first. After I research the hotels I am interested in to death on Trip Advisor, I look up the hotel on sites like hotels.com. I see which hotels allow for a room to be paid for in advance. The hotels that offer pre-paid rooms are also offering heavy discounts. Remember my $700-$800 budget range? I spent a total of $717.00 for two weeks of rooms in three cities. Yep, I get my room in Prague for $75.00 a night!

4. Off Season Travel: Learn to love it. I’ve back packed through Europe five times. I’ve gone once in January, twice in May and twice in September. Why? Winter, Spring and Fall are within the off-season. Travel in summer and deal with the crowds and higher costs. Research the countries you are visiting and learn great alternate times of the year to go. Other than savings you will find less busy streets and fewer tourists. The weather might not be perfect but who wants to pay higher prices? Not you.

5. To Hostel or not to Hostel? You can save a lot of money booking hostels. I always compare the best-reviewed hostels against my top choice budget hotels. If you are willing to rough it a bit, share a room or bathroom you can really save some money. Hostels also offer rooms for one or two with private bathrooms. One of the advantages of hostels is that they have common areas, TV rooms or patios where you can meet lots of other travelers. As I’ve aged I’m less likely to stay in a hostel but you can find ones that are not completely dedicated to those under 30.

Traveling the world is possible to anyone will to put in some effort in researching their favorite destinations.

 

 

 

Prague: Walking through Beauty

Photos from Prague, Czech Republic – September 2014

I stepped off the tram into the crisp Fall air. The morning had started out gray but by the time I reached the bridge the clouds had all disappeared.

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I got off the tram a bit too early, I was supposed to get off at the stop on the other side of the bridge. It turned out to be a happy accident. As I crossed over the Vltava the Charles bridge came into view and Prague Castle in the distance.

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I gasped at the beauty that lay on all sides of me. I took out my camera and could not stop myself from taking pictures. September has showed itself to be a perfect time to visit Europe. Most of the tourists have went home. The walk over the bridge is relaxed and I have the views to myself.

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Today is my first full day in Prague and I have zero itinerary on what to see or do. I’ve decided to let the city reveal itself to me. As I get closer to the Charles Bridge I can see people enjoy the day, eating in cafes and walking along the river.

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The Charles Bridge is long and wide and as I begin the walk across I find all of the other tourists. Tour groups lead packs of folk’s too busy snapping photos then to listen to the information. Vendors sell their paintings, jewelry and caricatures. Everyone is happy. I look for a place that I can take in the view without bumping in to someone.

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I find a place, which no one has claimed. I sigh a sigh of relief and wonder. I’m not sure which direction to look in or where to rest my eyes. The architecture, the sky, the colors are so beautiful that for the first time on my solo trip I feel a great wave of loneliness.

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I want to turn to someone I love and say, “Isn’t this moment amazing?” I want everyone I know to experience this day.

I am eternally restless and suffer from a constant wanderlust. As I stand on the bridge looking out, I realize that I must feed this restlessness as often as I can. For it is these moments of happiness that keep pushing me forward.

 

 

The Pros & Cons of Traveling Solo

I arrived back from Prague on Saturday night. I am just now beginning to get out of the clutches of a nasty case of jet lag. I decided to jot down a few things I learned on my first solo adventure abroad. I found there to be a number of pros and cons to flying solo. If you are thinking of traveling on your own, here is a list of a few things you can expect.

PROS:

*My favorite thing about traveling solo is the ability to go about my day at my own pace. I’m an early riser and it only takes me a few minutes to get ready. I immediately loved not having to wait on anyone.

*My daily itinerary was completely my own. Eat lunch at 4:00pm? Spend all day in art museums? If it was what I wanted to do then I did it.

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*I loved seeing cities on foot. In the past I’ve had to book tour buses or day trips because travel companions did not feel like walking. On my most recent trip I was walking about 5-8 miles a day.

*A room of my own. I have a hard time sleeping with someone else in the room (unless it is a boyfriend) and I enjoy the comfort of my own space.

*I found it easier to stick to a budget. I was not swayed by anyone else talking me into expensive dinners or attractions I might not be 100% into seeing.

*Gain self-confidence. When you travel on your own you become more out going, you meet other travelers easier than you think you would and you become bolder.

CONS:

*And this is a biggie…not having anyone to share experiences with. When I was walking around a compelling exhibit or overcome with emotion while touring Auschwitz, I had no one to share my feelings with.

*A companion can save you money by splitting hotel fees or in sharing meals. I also found that I did not take some tours because they charged an added single supplement charge.

*The physical act of traveling was much more tedious. The long plane ride over and the train trips in between definitely felt much longer with no conversation to be had.

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Train car for one

*Safety in numbers. While I never felt unsafe once on my trip, I did cut some of my evenings short because I would be traveling solo on public transportation at night.

I fell in love with Berlin and with Krakow in part because I experienced them at my own pace and on my own dime. But by the time I was able to meet up with some travel buddies for dinner in Krakow I was starving for conversation. I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend in Prague and now the city has become a shared memory, which is just as special.

All in all, the pros out weigh the cons for me. I will definitely travel solo in the future but I think that I will dedicate a portion of my trip to meeting up with a friend.

I’d like to encourage everyone to take one trip solo in your life. I never once felt lonely, even when I was surrounded by not one English speaking person. And when I finally was able to have friendly conversation, I cherished it even more.

Travel + Film = A Happy Life

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