June 28, 2011

How to not pack anything!

As big believers in backpacks, Andrew and I have an unhealthy tendency to make fun of travelers who over pack   There is something so freeing about using a backpack rather than a suitcase, it puts you in the class of "cool-hippie" travelers.  Under that title, you can just about get away with anything.  3 pairs of underwear for a month?  Of course! (Andrew's Note:  Actually, you can wear one pair of underwear 4 times...regular, backwards, inside-out regular, and inside-out backwards!  Right? .....right?......) 1 pair of pants that function simultaneously as shorts, pants, duffle bag and bandanna?  Yes please!!  3 shirts that can be wadded into a ball the size of my hand and then unwadded and not be at all wrinkled?  Check!!  This kind of travel is only for the brave.  
5 weeks in Asia means lots of elephants.

3 years ago Andrew and I trekked across South East Asia, visiting South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia for 5 weeks.  I think I packed 5 shirts, 2 pairs of shorts and no make up.  Now, for you male readers, this might not be a big deal.  I know that if I didn't do laundry weekly, Andrew would probably wear the same Darth Vader shirt daily.  But for the girls out there, I want you to know that I had no makeup, hair dryer, straightener.... just one brush and a few hair twisty things.  The pictures from the trip of me might be a little sketchy, but heck.... who cares??!  I woke up, washed my face, threw my hair into a ponytail and left.  Wow!  Don't you wish we could do that everyday?!

I have a point here.... all of our previous experiences with backpacking weighed heavily on our minds as we considered what to do for this trip to the UK for a month.  Backpacks could work, but we're not staying at hostels like we did in Asia, hotels and B&B's are much more suitcase friendly.  Thus, we compromised and decided to go with carry-on suitcases.  For the record, I'm pretty sure that carry-on suitcases hold less than our Asia trip backpacks held.  So, we'll pretty much follow the same procedures, 5 shirts for me, 2 skirts, 1 pair of jeans (for 50 degree weather in Scotland & Ireland!), and a hoodie and fleece.  That's it!  Oh, and I will bring mascara and eyeliner (but nothing else!) this time since all these fancy concerts probably won't let me in unless I have a least a smidgen of makeup.  (Money saving tip - get your suitcases at Ross, Marshall's, or TJ Maxx.  I have had junky off-brand suitcases most of my life and they rarely last very long without something cracking, tearing, or falling off, and that's just a little trip to another state here and there.  Those stores have name brand (Samsonite, etc.) luggage for about half of what you would pay for them normally.  I'm very proud of my awesome new suitcase!)  

Now just in case you're worried that we'll start to smell after we've used up all our clothes, no fear!  Stores like REI carry TSA approved LD (Laundry Detergent)... (felt like I had to keep with the abbreviations theme) (FLIHTKWTAT).  Ha!

See?  TSA approved!

Rick Steves (super-nerd travel guru) also has a laundry line that velcros to two ends of a room and is braided so you can hang you clothes from it to dry after you've washed them, so really, there is never ever an excuse to bring lots of clothes on a trip.  (Um, except not wanting to stand over a sink and wash clothes every night for an hour...)  The only complicating factor on this trip is all the concerts we'll be attending, I've got a non-wrinkle L.B.D. (can you guess this one??) to wear to such occasions.  I have no idea what Andrew's wearing, I can tell you it won't be the Darth Vader shirt.
(L.B.D.  Ok.  I guessed:
1) Lame Bass Drum (wouldn't fit in a suitcase, doesn't wrinkle anyway)
2) Large Bricklaying Device (may be a little a heavy)
3) Lengthy Brown Dachshunds (Won Ton!!  I tried...see video at the bottom)
4) Lumpy Bird Droppings (Ew.)

She had to tell me - Little Black Dress.  Whatever.)  
Laundry  day in Malaysia!

Since we did lose our bags coming to Thailand on that Asia trip and had to wallow in the same clothes for 3 days, we're being slightly neurotic this time around and keeping our carry-on close by.... as in above our heads.  Bags with clothes + non-smelly husband = happy wife.  (Indeed.  Below is us packing!  Note the relative tiny-ness of our suitcases!  3 DAYS 'TILL WE'RE OFF!)    

June 21, 2011

Introductions... all around.

Alright kids, welcome!  It's about time that we start posting, we leave July 1st!  With that in mind we thought that we'd take a post to introduce the people behind the blog.  For the smarty-pants in the audience, you might be asking, "Why is this necessary??  I could read the 'About Us' tab!"

And this is a great point!


Ah well, you've read this far right?  A little bit more narcissism isn't going to hurt anyone at this point.  So here goes:

I'm Allison Redmon!
Me!  Teaching my Digital Music class!  It was Friday... don't judge the jeans.
 I'm efficient, bossy, and unorganized.  I like making messy piles.  I'm into modern indie & alternative music, love to backpack to weird places with the hubby, teach a group of pretty unique high school band kids, and haven't eaten lunch on my own in 4 years.  I work at a pretty awesome school, Houston Christian High School, and if you click on that link you'll see a fancy picture of said students of whom I teach... lucky them!  Now I realize that the topic of this blog might not be your cup of tea.  Get it?  Cup of tea?  England?  Ha!!  Moving on.  But we're (read 'Andrew') are going to try to make it as funny as possible.  Here's how it works:  My thoughts will be posted in BLACK, and Andrew's will be posted in BLUE.  For the purposes of this blog, you're really not going to want to miss the BLUE stuff, trust me.  I married a pretty funny guy.  So that's me.  Here's the other member of the team:  Andrew!

Hi!  I'm Andrew Redmon!  
Me taking a tabla drum lesson in Singapore with a guy who has been studying tabla since before I was born...

  I am somewhat less efficient (somewhat?), not at all bossy, and organized with certain things.  I like cleaning up Allison's messy piles (Yes!).  I'm into all sorts of music and movie scores, love to backpack to weird places with the wife, and teach crazy and amazing groups of middle school band and choir students.  I work at a better school (Ohhh!!), Grace School(Um, no.)  This will be my first time to Europe and I can't wait!  I've always harbored a secret dream to live out the older parts of my life in a small Scottish village tending a flock of sheep and ambling about in my kilt.  I have a feeling this is going to be the first step toward that dream, although as much as I Google it, there is no such thing as short term sheep rental in the UK.  Too bad.  

My interest in early music was really sparked in grad school by Dr. Hunter Hensley at Eastern Kentucky University.  Through learning about and performing that music, I fell in love with the sounds of those musical eras (Ah... sackbuts!).  This grant gives Allison and me the opportunity to experience this music in (we feel) the very best way possible - through live performances by the best groups around.  I'm very much aware that, while I am gushing about how beautiful some 17th century mass is, my poor, captive middle schoolers are thinking "Dude...is it time to go to lunch yet??", as I was most definitely thinking at that time of my life.  Hopefully a few of you are reading this - yes, I know what you think :-)  Hopefully though, you and everyone else will learn a little something from this experience of ours...at the very least what the Super Mario theme sounds like on a 17th century Baroque harpsichord. 

So please (please, please) follow us and enjoy this experience with us!  If nothing else, tune in to see if we accidentally end up in Norway trying to take the Tube 15 times a day.  Bookmark us... now. 

Next post = how to pack a month's worth of stuff into a carry on bag.  Can it be done?  Who even knows??