Send Out Cards & Brownies!

A business opportunity was presented to me back in 2012 and this one turned out to be a good fit and a whole lot of fun! It is a business that is location independent – I can work on it from anywhere.  There is no storefront and no inventory, giving us  flexibility to travel more as we build the business using technology. Apps are created to make life easier  – from banking to grocery shopping, but did you know there are apps out there that can help YOU make money as well?

I’m available to share my Send Out Cards products with anyone who might be right for using our cards and gift services –

for PERSONAL use to recognize holidays, birthdays, wedding, thank you notes, save-the-date cards, and other events

OR

as a MARKETING PROGRAM for a small to mid-sized business

It’s an interesting product in a relevant niche market, which is the reason I am intrigued by the business aspect of this company.

I’ll also share the process with anyone who wants to create a side income doing what I do, or even go further and establish a full time income replacement.

brownies2

Travel Musings

These are various quotes on travel and such. Some are the basis for blog posts and others are just here because they make me happy.  I call them the travel musings and pull them out when travels go awry.

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.  African Proverb

Visits always give pleasure: if not in the arrival, then on the departure.
— Edward Le Berquier

If you look like your passport photo, in all probability you need the journey.
— Earl Wilson

Not he who lived long knows, but he who traveled much knows.
— Turkish proverb

The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.
— Saint Augustine

The fabric of my faithful love
No power shall dim or ravel
Whilst I stay here- but oh, my dear,
If I should ever travel!
— Edna St. Vincent Millay

Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion.
— Leigh Hunt

Travel is the most private of pleasures. There is no greater bore than the travel bore. We do not in the least want to hear what he has seen in Hong-Kong.
— Vita Sackville-West

Be the hero of your adventure. All travel is inner travel, because wherever we are, we are processing our experiences internally. Remind yourself that you are the hero of all your journeys, and that all your travel in the outside world is really travel inward, toward ever higher spiritual consciousness.
— Joseph Dispenza (author of The Way of the Traveler: Making Every Trip a Journey of Self-Discovery)

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
— Miriam Beard

The longer you travel to view an eclipse, the greater the chance of cloud cover.
— Unknown wise person

Traveling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whenever I travel I like to keep the seat next to me empty. I found a great way to do it. When someone walks down the aisle and says to you, “Is someone sitting there?” just say, “No one — except the Lord.
— Carol Leifer

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.
— Robert Louis Stevenson

Life on board a pleasure steamer violates every moral and physical condition of healthy life except fresh air. . . . It is a guzzling, lounging, gambling, dog’s life. The only alternative to excitement is irritability.
— George Bernard Shaw, Letter, 17 Oct. 1899, written while on a six-week Mediterranean cruise aboard the S.S. Lusitania.

Retirement Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives, and the serious part of frivolous ones.
— Anne Sophie Swetchine

They say travel broadens the mind, but you must have the mind.
— G. K. Chesterton

I have wandered all my life, and I have traveled; the difference between the two is this — we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.
— Hilaire Belloc

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.

— Charles Kuralt

I’ve learned that the secret of growing old gracefully is never to lose your enthusiasm for meeting new people and seeing new places.

— Unknown wise person

Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.
— Paul Theroux

The modern American tourist now fills his experience with pseudo-events. He has come to expect both more strangeness and more familiarity than the world naturally offers. He has come to believe that he can have a lifetime of adventure in two weeks and all the thrills of risking his life without any real risk at all.
— Daniel J. Boorstin

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
— Oscar Wilde

Travellers never think that THEY are the foreigners.
— Mason Cooley

I travelled among unknown men,
In lands beyond the sea;
Nor England! did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.
— William Wordsworth (1770-1850), English poet. I Travelled Among Unknown Men (written 1801, published 1807).

In America there are two classes of travel- first class and with childen.
— Robert Benchley

Travelling is the ruin of all happiness. There’s no looking at a building here after seeing Italy.

— Fanny Burney, English novelist

A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.
— J. B. Priestley

Don’t consider retiring from the corporate world until you have irritated enough people to make it worthwhile.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Gentle awakenings are now a luxury I enjoy in retirement.
No bounding out of bed, no pressing the snooze button for
the much needed extra ten minutes.
— A. Major

Just a few weeks ago, and spring; my husband and I decided to do a
four-day getaway to New York State. Without telling anyone in the
immediate family, we drove in the darkness of night and arrived at
an hour when people were still sleeping or contemplating getting up.
The excitement and exhilaration of the road trip was reminiscent of the movie “Thelma and Louise”, their drive to supposed freedom from every day life and its problems.
— A. Major

Of all days, the day on which one has not laughed is the one most surely wasted.
— Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

There are seven things you can do with your leisure time [in retiring years]: You can work and you can play and you can sleep. You can improve your mind or you can improve your health. You can work in civic activities or educational activities, or you can work in some spiritual area for the church. As far as I know, there’s nothing else you can do.
— Retiree Hammond Stith, who started his retiring years at 61

Abibliophobia (the fear of running out of reading material)

 

Meridian, Mississippi and Weidmann’s Restaurant

Weidmann's, Meridian Mississippi

Weidmann’s, Delicious southern food in Meridian Mississippi

Meridian, Mississippi is the perfect distance for a quick daytrip. We headed out mid-morning and decided to have lunch at Weidmann’s before looking around the town.  Through the years, I had heard others mention the restaurant favorably, but I had never been there. This time I was visiting the city as both a tourist and tour guide and saw the world through a different lens.

I recently read Sela Ward’s memoir“Homesick” and near page 44 there is a reference to this famed restaurant. “Ceiling fans turn lazily overhead, not so much circulating the air as bumping it along”.  Yes, that’s the Mississippi that I recall from my childhood. So, this must be a perfect restaurant for showing off the city to a first time visitor.  And it was.  We munched on crackers and peanut butter while waiting the few minutes for lunch service. the food was delicious and as history buffs, we really enjoyed learning of the traditions of this storied Southern belle.

Weidmann's in Meridian Mississippi

Weidmann's in Meridian Mississippi

 

 

 

 

 

Getting There: The restaurant is easily accessible from the main interstate road of I-20 and I-59.  The address is 210 22nd Avenue, Meridian, Mississippi 39301.  It is in the historic downtown section of Meridian and within sight of the sixteen story building known as the Threefoot Building, which is the tallest building in the downtown area.

Hours:

Monday through Thursday  – 11:00 am – 9:30 pm 
Friday and Saturday –  11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday  – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Another Rainy Day

Megans Bay

Megan’s Bay

It’s raining outside my open window and the aroma reminds me of a world waiting to be explored – and islands. We’re counting our nickels and making plans for more travel!

I’ve received some questions about how we make money for travel using the SendOutCards website, so here are a few of the questions and some rambling thoughts. Please reach out at any time if you are interested in becoming a customer or in learning about owning a business that is location independent. This business continues full speed ahead even when we are on the road or at sea!

How can SendOutCards help with my holiday greeting cards?

The SendOutCards system allows you to send a card to a single recipient or multiple recipients. The Card Campaign feature is an advanced way to send one card or multiple cards to multiple recipients on multiple dates. You control the card selection, the mailing date, and you can even include a personalized message using customized fonts of YOUR handwriting!  This online system saves time and money when sending personal greeting cards – even photo cards!

I need a system to manage my business mailings. Can SendOutCards help with my business?

Absolutely! Whether you are looking to send a postcard or greeting card to introduce your business, provide notification of business events or just to send a big THANK YOU to your customers, the SendOutCards system has it covered!  Simplify your marketing efforts with REAL results! Some businesses and churches even use this program for birthday card programs.

How do I send cards to the military? 

The USPS has compiled information regarding sending mail to our troops on this webpage :https://www.usps.com/ship/apo-fpo-guidelines.htm

My story: SendOutCards is an MLM organization with a super-useful product!  Instead of standing in a store searching for the perfect greeting card, I use the SendOutCards website to select and customize our greeting cards. When I click “send”, the fine folks in Salt Lake City print, envelope and mail my personalized cards (including photos and personal notes) through the US postal service!  It is not always convenient to go into a store to shop for or mail a greeting card. Using technology to maintain and grow personal relationships makes sense to me! The bonus is the time and money that I save with this system. I was a customer for a couple of years before becoming a distributor, so I was completely comfortable as a customer before exploring the business model. Using the online tool as a customer is free (no sign-up fees), but you will pay for postage at USPS rates and for your selected cards (about $.50 each for beautiful greeting cards).  Send a FREE CARD today and brighten someone’s day!

There are several videos on the website that demonstrate the full product offering – now including GIFTS for all occasions!

Roosevelt State Park in Morton, Mississippi

We went exploring at Roosevelt State Park today.

Roosevelt State Park Lake

Lake View at Roosevelt State Park- Morton Mississippi

The sunny day and blue skies were perfect for testing out my new camera.  The park is located about 10 miles from our home and we have passed by many times without stopping to visit.  It is about a mile north of I-20 just about 45 minutes’ drive east of Jackson Mississippi. For a $3 day-pass entry fee, we visited the lake area, picnic locations (which were abundant) and saw the CCC cabins that are part of the National Historic Register.  The entry station was not manned, but there was a sign asking for the $3 to be placed in the honor box located nearby.

Hotel at Roosevelt State Park

Hotel at Roosevelt State Park

The hotel on-site is a bonus at $62/night for weekdays and $74 /night for weekends. Every room faces the lake and has an outdoor area with seating.  We drove through the RV section of the park and found the area that is set aside for tent camping.  There are several hiking trails through the park. The park store and visitor center were closed on this Sunday afternoon. We had hoped to get a map with the hiking trail locations.

It was a beautiful and relaxing afternoon and we look forward to going back soon!

Roosevelt State Park Entry

Lake Murray Resort Park – Oklahoma

Lake Murray Resort Park in Oklahoma is a treasure! We had a wonderful time exploring this park in February.  An easy drive north from Fort Worth, but a world away from the rush of the city!

Lake Murray State Park-ATV Campground

Lake Murray State Park-ATV Campground

We had a great time exploring and visiting with family in February. First stop was the ATV camp area.  The muddin’ playground was open for business!  The sunshine after weeks of rainy days was the perfect weather for the local off-road /all-terrain enthusiasts.

Lake Murray State Park

The parking lot was filling quickly with pickup trucks, cattle trailers, open trailers and any other means for hauling 2-wheelers and 4-wheelers to the park. With over 1,000 acres of mostly boggy mud, the fun times begin.  Families arrived in groups with participants ranging from toddlers to grandparents and everyone was smiling in anticipation of the adventure. This recreation area is huge and is limited only by the banks of the lake.  The undeveloped area has water areas, shrubbery, mature trees and enough space that you can truly get away from the world.  There are some paths and trails, but it’s mostly open land and riders can venture anywhere in the park.

Lake Murray State Park

The gate house is the check-in point where riders pay $10 for a daily armband pass and can then come and go as desired.  The parking lot beside the gate house is open from 8am to dusk.  The entry/exit point closes at sunset each day which is clearly posted at the gate. Nearby, this campground includes public facilities along with RV and tent camping spots.

We explored the park with Dawn, our private tour guide who currently works as a camp host for the ATV grounds (and is John’s sister).  We had an amazing tour because she has been at this location for about a year and has learned about all areas of the park.  The highlight of the tour was visiting the “castle” at the visitor center.

Lake Murray State Park-Chapel

Lake Murray State Park-Chapel

We also stopped for a few minutes at the chapel, which was open at the time we visited.  The main campground office is the place to stop for maps and information about the park facilities, reservations, cabins and for souvenirs. This park has a rich history and is a wonderful destination for families. As a vacation destination, the park includes a hotel with 50 guest rooms, over 80 cottage style cabins and more than 500 tent and RV campsites. Something for everyone!

Lake Murray State Park-Day's End

Lake Murray State Park-Day’s End

 

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Here’s the cure for the common tour:  San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge!  We wanted to walk the bridge for the views and photo opportunities but struck gold when we discovered the free, walking tours offered through sfcityguides.org.

Golden Gate Bridge-San Francisco California

Golden Gate Bridge-San Francisco California

I can’t say enough good things about this organization and especially the knowledgeable guide for the Golden Gate Bridge!  As we walked onto the bridge, the volunteer guide captivated the audience with stories of  the days before the bridge and the obstacles of the construction.  We learned about engineering and the feats required to construct a bridge amidst the fierce currents and tides.  Up close and personal, we could touch the same rivets as the builders and marvel at the magnitude of the structure.  We reached the center span of the bridge and had time to pause and absorb the view.  (At this point, the official tour ends and we had the choice to turn back or walk the remainder of the bridge – we walked)

Center Span Golden Gate Bridge

Center Span Golden Gate Bridge

The date of January 5, 1933 marked the beginning of the construction project that became one of America’s most famous landmarks: the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge in California.  The work resulted in a magnificent suspension bridge with just under a mile of sturdy steel and amazing views of the Golden Gate Strait, where the San Francisco Bay opens into the Pacific Ocean.This era would not have been considered the ideal time for bridge building.  National unemployment was at 25%, peaking at that rate during the Great Depression.  But Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. President and the New Deal was launched.  America was preparing for recovery.  Workers came from afar to earn their pay working on the bridge.

San Francisco view

San Francisco view

Building the bridge provided alternative transportation to the ferry boats commuting between San Francisco and the lands to the north of the waters.  At the time, the task seemed impossible.  The engineering required the largest underwater foundation piers ever build.  The bridge is noted for the distinctive “international orange” color, which is visible to passing ships even through the legendary fog of the region. The Golden Gate Bridge, featuring a modern art deco design symbolic of the time, was completed in four years. With 200,000 people attending the bridge opening on May 27, 1937, The Golden Gate held the title as the world’s longest suspension bridge until 1964.

Free Walking Tour

Free Walking Tour

Note that organization donations are graciously accepted by the sfcityguides.org volunteers at the end of the tour.

Rainy Day in Tahiti Fund

We have not yet had the luxury of not working, so working for pay is normal. Railroad Tracks

In addition to our corporate careers, we have earned side gig money to fund out travels.  Saving for a rainy day just seems more fun if the rainy day is on a tropical island! Here are some perspectives on ways to create more income for travel.

Fence-post painting –This was probably the first paid job that I had on the farm.  I remember wanting money to spend at a State Fair and the going rate was a nickel per post and a quarter for a gate.

Fenceposts in rural Mississippi

Fenceposts in rural Mississippi

These metal posts and gates had to be fully brushed down with a wire brush to remove any rust before painting with a thick silver-colored paint. It was messy and the days were long but I had money for a few rides at the State Fair that year!  Those hours working the fences taught me to work hard and save money–the experience has value in my life even today.

Travel Agency –John and I owned an online travel agency for a couple of years. We learned the challenges of business ownership and the rewards of a client well-served.

Carnival Triumph

Our Carnival Triumph Cruise 2008

With our interest in cruising, we joined CLIA and were certified as destination specialists for Hawaii. The travel industry is both complex and fascinating.   As business owners, the commissions earned were minimal but the experience gave a unique viewpoint to the industry.

Online Greeting Card Reseller

This is a fun job that we have continued to enjoy!  SendOutCards is an MLM organization with a super-useful product!  Instead of standing in a store searching for the perfect greeting card, we use the SendOutCards website to select and customize our greeting cards. When we click “send”, the fine folks in Salt Lake City will print, envelope and mail our personalized cards (including photos and personal notes) through the US postal service!  When on the road, it’s not always convenient to go into a store to shop for or mail a greeting card, but this system really works and saves time and money. I was a customer for a couple of years before becoming a distributor.  Using the online tool as a customer is free (no sign-up fees), but you will pay for postage at USPS rates and for your selected cards (about $.50 each for beautiful greeting cards).  Send a FREE CARD today and brighten someone’s day!

Retail Store and Grocery Clerk

While not as charming as being on the front line of exotic vacation planning, operating a cash register, bagging groceries and understanding retail are excellent skills for “on-the-road” income sources.  Retail skills are in our toolkit for times when we plan to be in one place for several months, particularly in the US, where our citizenship avoids the bureaucracy of obtaining work certifications.

Custom Embroidery Retail Store

Custom Embroidery Retail Store

The CoolWorks website is our go-to resource for these types of jobs. The website and forums are consistent with our way of thinking about the travel lifestyle. The Older and Bolder forum brings a solid perspective to our thinking and is good for brainstorming on destinations.

Telephone/Call Center

I worked as a call-taker for a virtual call center, taking calls for the infomercials on television.  Do you ever hear the “Operators are standing by” commentaries on television?  Yes, I was one of the operators through liveops.com.  With a computer, land-line connection, headset and a few hours of training, I was making money from home during odd hours of work and getting ahead financially towards our dreams. The pay averaged $10 per hour for the months that I was working, so I set a monthly goal and then tried to improve on it each month.

Writing/Photography

Writing and photography are great hobbies, but can also provide income for travel.  For several years, I wrote articles for a pay-per-click site with revenue sharing.  There have been a lot of changes to the site in recent years, the most notable is that the company is now owned by RR Donnelly, Inc and has expanded to more than a publishing platform. In addition to revenue sharing income, I was successful in selling an article for publication and in generating income from contests.

As the first step in our “how to” series, this article has a few of the many ideas that we have used successfully to generate travel money. These skills are marketable and are ways to supplement the travel piggy bank, both now and in the future.

The Retirement Project

This is the core of what this blog is all about.  Is it possible to set a timeline for retiring and starting our dream of international immersion travel?  We vote YES!

Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi

Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi 2010

After all, if Gretchen Rubin can cram happiness into a one year experiment, we can use the same approach with retirement planning. Right?

So, starting points and ground rules – only two at this point.

We must work our current career fields diligently and with focus. Daydreams of retiring during the workweek will surely send us off course to the path that we have chosen.  We are very fortunate to both have interesting careers and reliable income.  Daydreaming on weekends and during long commutes is perfectly allowable (and encouraged!).

Practice traveling together and find the groove for our travel experiences.  This is beginning to come together. Gwyn is the “planner” and John is the voice of reason and problem solver when we are “in the moment” and the plan falls apart.  Good fit!  This understanding of our strengths is crucial as we move into different cultures and new experiences.

Goals

As we start The Retirement Project, the goals are vague. They will become SMART goals over time, with structure and specific actionable events to ensure the key milestones are achieved.

Cover living expenses with one income source and build new income streams for travel and hobbies.  We have never had the luxury of not working, so working for pay is normal.  In addition to our careers, we have dabbled in a variety of enterprises which include travel agency, retail store, custom embroidery, classroom teaching, telephone order taking, genealogy research, woodworking, crochet, sewing and crafting, to name a few. These skills are marketable and are ways to supplement the travel piggy bank, both now and in the future.

One trip each month – Go Somewhere and Do Something!  This goal is about not becoming stagnant in our quest for a nomadic future.  It is easy to become an armchair traveler or to spend the day in front of a television filled with adventures of other people. That is not the story we desire to live.  Having recently relocated to central Mississippi, there is a land to be explored just outside the door!

Learn from the experts.  This is the time to seek the wisdom of other world travelers and fine-tune our list of adventure locations.  We well-know the frailty of life and our time on this earth.  Our plan may not be the plan that plays out for our future, but to choose not to dream into the future is akin to quitting.

So, there we have it.  Two rules and three goals. The journey begins.

Join the conversation! What’s your dream and your plan to get there?  Is there a “Retirement Project” or “Happiness Project” in your future?

 

 

We were Soarin’® at Epcot

On our second afternoon at Walt Disney World Resorts, we spent some time exploring  the Epcot technology area.

Soarin' over California in IMAX hang gliding simulation

Soarin’ over California in IMAX hang gliding simulation

A highlight of our entire trip was the Soarin’® exhibit. This is a unique experience. The wait time at the entry was about an hour, with no fastpass tickets available. It was an easy wait because the walls of the waiting area have been transformed into interactive games for the waiting groups to participate and compete against each other. Fun to play, fun to watch and a great way to pass the time in que.

The Soarin’® experience is that of being on a hang glider and traveling the coastline and landscape of California. The IMAX  screen projects simulations of ocean waves, pristine white ski slopes, the inspiring redwood forests, and some familiar city scenes. It is captivating entertainment and a memorable ride.  The air moves in the room as the scenery changes, giving the illusion of fast movement.  This was a very fun experience.

In the same building, hot air balloon sculptures near the ceiling are very pretty with vivid colors.   There is a nature ride through the research area of the Epcot Center.  This ride included some agricultural research experiments including tomatoes on trees and above-ground potatoes.

Epcot

John & Gwyn at Epcot, Orlando, Florida – October 2013

Hot Air Balloons

Hot Air Balloons