Thinking Out Loud #7

Hey, I am back from my first leg of the road trip that I am doing with my cousin and his girlfriend and wanted to pop in real quick to say hello and give you a quick update. What did I miss?

+ The last six days were amazing. I can’t describe how thankful I am that I got to spend these days exploring national parks again. It was a whirlwind first part of our trip and I will take some time and process the experience before I blog about it, but rest assured, there are going to be some recaps in the near future. Again, you can follow along on Instagram in the meantime.

{Angel’s Landing – Zion NP}

+ Vacation time in the US sucks. There, I said it (again). I get 10 paid vacation days per year (and yes, I am lucky that I also get most federal holidays off.)  In Germany though, the minimum required vacation time is 20 days (and most people I know get more than that). It just makes traveling (and visiting home) so hard, if you only have 10 days per year.

+ Arizona Iced Tea is delicious. New favorite road trip drink.

+ I saw not one, but TWO tarantulas in the wild last weekend. I had just told my cousin’s girlfriend that yes, we do have unusual (for Germans) wildlife around here in the Southwest, but I had never seen a tarantula – or snake for that matter – with my own eyes. Well, and then we came upon the tarantulas. One is apparently quite lucky to see one, as they are nocturnal and are usually not out and about during the day, so I guess, we can call ourselves extra-lucky! Ha! We also saw mule deer, rock squirrels, chipmunks, and bighorn sheep and of course ravens and falcons. We also heard (but didn’t see) the owls at Zion.

+ Speaking of luck, I also won not one, but TWO giveaways on Instagram and blogs this week. I am so stoked. One giveaway was for Momentum Jewelry (which I am slightly obsessed with!) via Carlee’s blog and the other one was for a pair of bluetooth sports headphones from Jaybird (which is just awesome because I wanted to try wireless headphones for a while, but didn’t want to shell out the money!) via Susie’s Instagram feed. I guess, just entering all these awesome giveaways pays off sometime!!

+ I was horrified to hear about yet another hurricane pummeling the Carrebean and also the earthquake in Mexico City. Mother Earth is quite angry right now, isn’t she? One feels so helpless in the face of so much destruction and suffering. I guess, I should set up a recurring donation to the Red Cross.

What’s a random thought on your mind today?

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud.

  1. Isn’t it fun to explore areas you live with people from out of town? And I agree, the US is very backwards on vacation time. We’re also very backwards on maternity leave too. So not cool. My heart is breaking for Mexico and Puerto Rico.

    1. I love, love, love having so many beautiful places (relatively) close by!

  2. Yep, Mother Nature seems to be really pissed off….. Who can blame her?
    I can’t wait to read your recaps. As you know, I have been to most of these places my self but whenever a pic of yours appeared on INstagram I felt kinda jealous, wanted to be right there with you. I’m very happy to hear you had an amazing time!

    1. Yeah, who can blame her… :(

      The last few days were amazing… the NPs are my favorite!

  3. Momentum Jewelry is awesome and so is Arizona Iced Tea :)

  4. Incredible photos. Congrats on your contest wins!

  5. I have been loving the pictures you’ve been sharing on instagram. You’ve seen some beautiful parks! I bet your cousin and his girlfriend have been blown away by the beauty of the regions you have visited!

    It sucks how little vacation time you get. Thank goodness they will let you work extra hours or work on your Friday to bank up some extra days. Otherwise I don’t know how you’d have enough to get you through the year. I am very lucky as I get 30 days of vacation time, but I am an extreme outlier! We were acquired by another company and luckily they grandfathered us in, otherwise my vacation time would be significantly lower. I also get 20 weeks of mat leave – 2 weeks before my due date; 18 weeks after (only 10 are paid but I will be fine going without pay for 8 weeks and it’s worth forgoing the income to home longer with the baby). But I know women who had to go back at 8 weeks which I can’t even wrap my mind around!!

    1. We really had the best time and we still have some adventures ahead of us… :)

      Wow, 30 days of vacation time is amazing… and I am also glad to hear you’re getting decent maternity leave! I always said that I wouldn’t want to have kids here in the States when I have to leave them in other people’s care at such a young age ;(

  6. Congrats on your giveaway wins! That’s awesome. Wow, at least 20 days vacation in Germany? I really do think the U.S. needs to do better with that! They work people too hard.

    1. Thanks so much! I was stoked! I never win anything usually… haha!

      I totally agree, people need vacation time to be better workers!

  7. One of the primary reasons I haven’t looked for a new job is that I get 21 vacation days, plus national & Jewish holidays. I will not get that ANYWHERE else, I know, & that’s REALLY hard to walk away from…

    1. I hear you , lady! I have the luxury of working a 4/10 schedule and work overtime for comp time and that’s part of why I stuck with my job!

  8. Congrats on your two big wins!! How exciting is that?!? Also, your vacation sounds wonderful. I’m with you on wishing we had more vacation in the US.

    1. Thanks so much, I am so excited!

  9. I’m with you on vacation time. I only get 10 days a year, too, but thankfully my sick time isn’t included into that number. So at least I don’t have to waste my PTO days when I’m sick!

    The pictures you’re sharing on Instagram are breathtaking!

    1. Yeah, luckily, I earn extra sick days, too. That helps!

      Thanks so much… I’ve been having a great time on my trip! Recaps to follow, of course ;)

  10. I would love to go visit Zion some day!! We used to live about 2 hours from Yosemite so any long weekends we got were spent there!

    1. Oh, that is awesome that you lived so close to Yosemite… I live pretty close to Yosemite myself and I wish I would go more often!

  11. I’ve been drooling over your National Park adventures and plotting when I need to get out there are see them myself.

    And the vacation time in the U.S. is ridiculous. I think Europeans just approach vacation time very, very differently, and I prefer it over our model of NEVER TAKE A DAY OFF, EVERYTHING WILL FAIL IF YOU LEAVE, which is not real life.

    1. Thanks, girl! I’ve been having a pretty great trip!!

      I am with you on the vacation time approach… it’s just so ridiculous that on one hand people are made to feel “indispensable” but then also often don’t get paid accordingly.

  12. Can’t wait to see all of your travel pics and definitely have been following along on your Instagram! It’s so true re: US vacation time vs European vacation… you can’t take a decent trip with the minimal days you get off in the states :(

    Congrats on giveaway wins! You scored some amazing things! I’d love to enter more too—I’ve been lucky in the past myself :)

    Hope you have a great weekend, my sweet!! Xoxo

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