I bought concert tickets over one year ago amidst a wave of mixed thoughts & emotions. One part of me was arguing that I hadn’t been to a proper music concert in over 2 years, & I was totally itching to get back to the concert-attending circuit after such a long absence. On top of that, it was a concert for my all-time favorite rock band The Killers. I’ve already been to FOUR of the band’s concerts (not including the Brandon Flowers concert tour to promote his two solo albums). I was not going to miss such a prime opportunity to see my favorite band in action!

Of course, another part of me was extremely apprehensive about getting concert tickets without much certainty about the future or whatever COVID variant might be rearing its ugly head. I was definitely feeling scared & very worried at the time that I might unknowingly get the virus & inadvertently pass it on to my little bean, who hadn’t been vaccinated at the time (well, vaccines for children under 5 hadn’t even come out yet then). Of course I had been fully vaccinated & boosted, but one never can tell what outside forces might throw a wrench in the plans.

There was yet another part of me that didn’t want to leave my little bean at home. I was feeling a little bit of parents guilt for going out without her, especially when she is so used to our little 3-person family unit always going out together. My compulsive anxiety was gnawing at me in the back of my mind. Will grandma follow all of my instructions for feeding &/or bathing my little bean? Will she let my bean watch too much TV or YouTube videos? Will she feed her too much junk food that won’t even fill up her little tummy? (Grandma loves to eat non-nutritious, junky foods & snacks instead of eating 3 healthy square meals per day.) I almost backed out of going to the concert because of my irrational anxiety. Jian had to keep assuring me that our little bean would be okay, & that we’d have to one day let go of her so we could enjoy an adults night out once in a while.

Eventually the concert date was nearing, & by then, my little bean had been fully vaccinated. Jian & I had been eagerly talking about & planning all the concerts we wanted to attend in the future. The concert’s venue had just posted an update of their very strict COVID guidelines. I was feeling more comfortable attending this concert & having my little bean stay at home. My mom’s sister would be visiting us then, so the timing was just perfect. My little bean just absolutely adores her grand-aunt, & grandma would have an extra person help divide the babysitting duties. Things were falling in the right places to calm my anxiety & ramp up my excitement for the concert.

I hadn’t truly realized how much I missed going to live music concerts with Jian (& my friends too). During the heart of all the COVID chaos & pandemic restrictions & various lockdowns, I resigned myself to the fact that live public events like concerts would be out of the picture for a very long time. I conditioned myself to become a homebody. I used to be a lets-go-out-every-weekend kind of gal. Thinking about this concert was getting me more excited by the day.

Finally it’s time for the concert, & my friends & I are speculating on what songs the band will perform. We are all naming our favorites & hoping the band will play some cover songs as well. They’ve done this at past concerts. Every day Jian was looking at previous concert’s set lists & trying to figure out which order these songs will be performed at our concert. We knew the band would play songs from their two newly released-during-the-pandemic albums, but how many fan favorites would the band sprinkle into their performance? Let’s check out their setlist to find out.

Let me continue by describing the concert overall. The venue was fairly small, a decent attendance size…the concert was held in a basketball arena after all. The stage layout was pretty simple. I guess you can’t have elaborate stage backgrounds & props due to COVID safety, pandemic policies, & supply chain issues. There was ample room for the entire band, including the backup singers. The backdrop was minimal, but super cool. It was mostly a jumbo background screen with really cool visualizers & graphics to go with each song. There were pyrotechnic fireworks for one of the songs (I believe it was for “When You Were Young”). There were also a ton of awesome laser lights throughout the concert.

My group of friends & I sat in assigned seats, in what I guess would be called the mezzanine level of the venue. We sat more towards the side of the stage rather than facing directly towards it. Our seats were some of the best in the house. We were close enough to see the entire band on the stage clearly, but we didn’t have to push up against other hot, sweaty fans in the floor section to get remotely close to the stage. My days of squeezing my tiny little self all the way in the front row are over. I almost always get violently pushed, smushed, or nearly trampled on, all because I’m short & it’s hard for the tall people to see me in the crowd. So I’d try to claim my spot at the front to avoid being stuck behind some Paul Bunyan sized man, but then end up getting stuck said spot, not able to go anywhere…not able to go out to pee. So now, Jian & I will only go to concerts if we are able to choose our assigned seats.

The concert itself was so much fun. The crowd was extremely hyped up.(Being locked indoors for nearly 2 years will do that to ya.) The band didn’t really talk much between songs, or interact with the audience as much as they used to in previous concerts, but I wasn’t really expecting things to be the same as it was pre-pandemic. I was pleasantly surprised at how many songs I recognized (& could sing along to) from the oldies-but-goodies, to the brand new single the band just released 3 weeks ago.

Jian & I were singing & dancing our hearts out. It was a real shame that the people sitting directly in front of us & next to us seemed like they had no interest in being at the concert. They weren’t engaging at all, only politely clapping after each song; some were even sitting the entire time. I’ve only encountered concert goers like this once in my life, & it was at a New Year’s Eve concert performed by Portugal. The Man & Chicano Batman. The married couple next to us bought cocktails but didn’t drink them. They sat down for most of the concert except for the 2 songs they recognized from the radio, & the wife also fell asleep halfway through the concert…like, full on deep asleep. They even left way before the concert had finished. We had fun though. The concert rocked our socks off.

It was fun going to a live group event again with all of our closest friends. We all had a blast sharing a quick meal of delicious hamburgers & tacos, & jamming out together to our favorite songs. It was a fun night out for all the couples in the group who had wee little babes, quietly waiting for their mommies & daddies to come home. Jian & I can’t wait to go to another live concert again. A few of our favorite bands have already had concerts last year, but we were unable to attend. So many of our favorite bands are releasing tons of new & awesome music, getting back out on the tour road again. After testing our child’s limits on being away from us for the whole day, we’re pretty confident to get back to going to concerts again. Who knows which band we’ll see perform live next? Until that time comes, rock on!

Today’s song of the day:

Ummm… I forgot to take photos of our campsite when we got to the Autocamp grounds. Well, I will repost the photos from my last blog post to give you an idea of what our Airstream camper looked like. The layout from the photos were exactly the same as our accommodations.

Let me first get this topic out of the way, regarding my compulsive behavior. I wouldn’t say that I am a total germaphobe, but I am mostly there. I get 75 percent uncomfortable when I have to share a public bathroom with others, even if it has a locker room style. If I absolutely have to share a public bathroom, I will, but I will take every measure imaginable to touch as few shared surfaces as possible. Even afterward, I will still feel uneasy & not 100 percent clean. So, you can imagine how elated (& relieved) I felt, knowing that I would be “camping” but with a private bathroom all to myself (plus Jian & the bean as well). Knowing that I’d have a private bathroom truly calmed my compulsive anxiety.

When we first decided as a family to go on a glamping trip, I was kind of hesitant. For as long as I could remember, I’ve always gone camping the old fashioned way with a tent & sleeping bags, etc. I have even gotten a lot of flack from some of my other friends that my version of camping still isn’t even considered ‘real’ camping because we are renting a private lot in a national park reserve with running water & access to public bathrooms. (Their idea of camping is parking your vehicle at the ranger station, & hiking into the woods to find a clearing for your tent. Then digging a hole in the ground for peeing, & jumping into the lake to wash yourself.) So, I was hesitant to try glamping. All of my friends who frequently go camping laughed at the idea. They said we might as well rent a luxury hotel room instead. Jian was determined to try it at least once, & with our little bean getting old enough to explore the outdoors more, it made sense for us to try glamping before thrusting the actual rugged camping experience on her.

The closer we got to our travel date, the more excited I got. I was doing a lot of research about the Autocamp experience, & I was so amazed by how they were able to seamlessly incorporate all the fun parts of rugged camping, but with the comforts of a modern AirBnB cabin. It truly felt like we were staying at an outdoor hotel, but with all of the basic elements of camping that made the whole experience both one-of-a-kind & fun as hell. We were excited to see so many other young families staying at the Autocamp site as well.

Our little bean had no problems adapting to the camping life. We were super excited to see her have fun & explore the great outdoors, but without all of the mosquito bites. Staying in an Airstream was really quite luxurious & an absolute treat. It has been a dream of mine to one day try out tiny house living, & staying in the Airstream camper was really a great way to experience that. The Airstream camper we stayed it really had all of the creature comforts of a hotel room but with all of the fun parts of camping sprinkled in.

Like I had previously mentioned above, having a private shower was an absolute luxury bonus. The shower was spacious & could easily fit 2 adults. The shower head was placed high enough so that tall folks wouldn’t have to crouch to wash, at least in my opinion. Having a traditional flushing toilet at our campsite was also an added bonus. There wasn’t a ton of counter/shelving/storage space in the bathroom to store your toiletries, but the bathroom still felt highly adequate. Other added bonus features in our Airstream camper are as follows:

  • Plenty of outlets & USB ports to charge-up & plug-in all of your electronic devices.
  • Plenty of overhead can lighting & Edison bulb pendant lighting throughout the camper. The Edison bulb lighting definitely gave the camper a rustic hipster vibe, but also gave the camper a warm glow & soft lighting.
  • All of the windows in the camper had full open-close capabilities.
  • TWO Dometic air vents (one in the bathroom, one in common area) for comfortable airflow.
  • Small yet powerful wall-mounted heater fan in bedroom to keep warm at night or in the mornings.
  • Powerful (& loud) air conditioner in common area.
  • Small wall-mounted TV with full network cable service.
  • The queen size bed was quite comfortable, with adequate bedding & decently firm pillows. It wasn’t the most luxurious, plush hotel-esque bed (it was a basic bed frame with a pillow-top mattress, no box spring), but it sure as hell didn’t feel like a fold-out sofa-bed or air mattress either.
  • Built-in bluetooth speakers inside camper (but we never used it ’cause we brought our own portable speaker).
  • The large 3-4 svelte person sofa was very comfortably cushioned. While in its upright position, it didn’t feel like a fold-out sofa bed at all. In its sleeping position, it turned into a full size bed that did’t seem too small for even the tall folks.
  • Our specific booking came with a private outdoor hot tub built for two. We opted not to use it because our little bean wouldn’t be able to use it with us, & I don’t like bathing outside where everyone walking by could leer at us.
  • I don’t know if the people who designed Autocamp purposely planted insect-repellant plants throughout the campgrounds, but we almost never encountered any mosquitoes, flies, or other creepy crawly bugs. We did, however, see more than a couple of bees living their best lives.

Although this trip was very short, just barely a three-day/two-night stay, it was still very memorable. We got to stay in a private Airstream camper for the first time & experience a small slice of tiny house living. Our little bean got to dip her toe in the camping pond a little bit before we thrust her in to the real camping pool full of pop-up tents, bugs & sleeping bags.

We have been talking about this trip ever since we came back home. We’ve also been talking up this experience with all of our friends. We’d definitely like to go back to an Autocamp campsite again in the future, but next time with all of our friends (& their kids too). Jian would like to try the Yosemite, CA location next. I think it’ll be super fun, especially if we go with other friends.

We don’t really have other big plans lined up for the rest of the year, except for the first public rock concert Jian & I will be going to in just a couple of days. Also, Jian is planning on doing another work-stay trip to Los Angeles again in September. Other than that, we haven’t decided what’s next. I hope I can post a review of my first major concert event since the pandemic here, but if I don’t…you can always follow me on my Instagram page, which is the main source of my up-to-date info & photos. Until the next one, cheers Runaways!

Today’s song of the day:

The digital ink has barely dried on my last travel blog post, & I am already writing about my next travel plans. It does seem like our little family unit travels a ton, but to be honest, we don’t travel as often as we used to…& by used to I mean in the pre-pandemic days. Leading up to 2019, we traveled a ton, just Jian & I. Sometimes we’d travel overseas twice in one year. Nowadays, we really want to go to a cuss ton of places, especially with our little bean who loves to travel, but we’re so reluctant to travel outside of our California bubble (especially because of all the headlines we see/read in the national news). Even though all three of us are fully immunized, we are still highly cautious about traveling & plan our travels very carefully & thoughtfully.

This year for Jian’s birthday, we have decided to go camping. It was Jian’s idea to travel for his birthday, & we have been itching to go camping again. We were supposed to go camping back in 2020, but our statewide COVID-19 lockdown pretty much cancelled that plan. Plus, I miraculously got pregnant that year, so camping has been out of the picture since then.

Jian has been wanting to go ‘glamping‘ for a long time. He found this great glamping campground semi-near us, & this year we decided would be the perfect time for us to try this glamping experience. Both of us have been talking about when we would introduce our little bean to the whole camping experience, & we thought that glamping would be a good way to test the waters (so to speak), & introduce our little bean to the general idea of camping & also see if she is okay with sleeping outdoors.

In case you’re wondering, ‘glamping‘ is just like the word describes. It’s glamorous camping, where instead of pitching your own tent, cooking food on a self-made fire pit, & peeing behind a tree, you get to sleep in a bespoke camper or a luxury canvas tent kitted out with full-size furniture & take a shower in a locker-room style private bathroom. The campsite is an all-luxury-amenities-included area, that kind of feels like a grown-up, luxurious hotel-esque version of a kids sleep away summer camp.

Jian found an awesome glamping company called Autocamp, with several U.S locations that was just perfect for a first-time glamping experience, especially with a wee little bean in tow. We both have been tinkering with the idea of one day introducing our little bean to actual camping, but right now she’s too young, in our opinion to be roughing it in the woods (or in our case, a state run camping reserve). Glamping at a moderately sized campground with modern amenities will be a good “toe dip” into the waters, so to speak, for our wee little one.

On this glamping trip, we will be celebrating Jian’s birthday in style. Yes, staying in a fully framed-out canvas tent with a comfy bed & sofa lounge area would be fun, but Jian wanted a few more creature comforts, so we initially tried to book a modular tiny cabin, but they were all booked. We ended up booking our next favorite option which was a deluxe Airstream camper, which comes complete with a private bathroom, private bedroom area, & kitchenette/seating area. See photos below for reference.

What makes this experience feel more like camping: cooking your own food over a campfire

We are super excited to try out this Airstream glam-camping experience for Jian’s birthday. We are planning on celebrating in style in the great outdoors. We would love to introduce our wee little bean to full-on camping complete with sleeping bags, a tent & mosquito bites, but for now this will be a good beginner’s introduction to camping to test out if she likes it at all. I don’t know if I will upload any photos here on this blog (I probably will forget to take photos anyway), but I will at least report back here & give my full review of this glamping experience. Until the next adventure cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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