You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘vacation’ tag.

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 ctent. 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:

From this past year until now, my little family & I have been traveling a lot. Whether it’s to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or anywhere else in between, we’ve surely racked up quite a few miles on the road. Jian & I aren’t quite ready to take our little bean on an airplane ride just yet. More than worrying how she’ll react being cooped up in a pressurized cabin with nowhere to run around, we’re still not completely confident regarding airline COVID safety practices. So, we’ve only opted to take our little bean on trips to places we can turn into a drivable trip. On top of all that, Jian & I are too stingy to pay the extra airline baggage fees in case we have to check-in our little bean’s stroller, car seat, &/or any other baby gear too large for the overhead bin.

Since we have been traveling a lot lately, I thought I’d share with you some of the essential items I always pack in my suitcase. There are a few items I absolutely cannot go without, either because of my persnickety-ness or because of my sensitive skin, but I just won’t travel without them. So they may only be essential items to me personally.


01. Like the compulsively organized person that I am, I am a firm believer in using packing cubes when I travel. Packing cubes (& compression bags) are some of the world’s greatest inventions. They keep your fresh clothes clean, your bags organized, & you won’t believe how much you can store in one of those lil’ suckers which means you can bring more junk with you when you travel to soothe your over analytical thoughts on what to pack. I don’t understand how people can just throw things in their bag & go. I don’t care if you know how to Marie Kondo origami-fold everything into your suitcase. Packing cubes make preparing for a trip so much more efficient & easy.

^ This is not the way to travel. ^

02. If I can’t find travel-sized versions of my at-home skincare products, then I will transfer small amounts of each into small reusable TSA-friendly containers. Luckily for me, I have developed a skincare routine that works perfectly for my dry skin, but also doesn’t require me to use more than 3 to 4 products. So it’s easy for me to travel with mini-sized versions of my daily skincare regimen. I don’t wear makeup, like ever, therefore my usual toiletry bag when I travel is about the size of a small men’s dopp bag.

* EXAMPLE *

03. Ever since I was a little child I’ve had severe allergies. I’m practically allergic to most shellfish & fruit known to mankind. Dogs & Cats used to be my arch nemesis (damn you, pet dander!). I mean, when I was in high school I got allergy tested by my family physician & found out I was allergic to over 100 different things (not all food related). I had to get two allergy shots weekly all throughout high school & take prescription allergy medicine. Nowadays, I only take over-the-counter allergy medication as needed, but I always carry a bottle of nasal spray with me whenever I travel. (My preferred brand is Flonase.) It’s a quick & easy way for me to immediately combat my allergies. Plus, Jian uses it now as well whenever he gets that tickle in his pickle…um, sinus…like after he’s walked through the perfume aisle at Sephora or passes by a Bath & Body Works/White Barn/Yankee Candle Co. candle store.

04. Until my little bean was diagnosed by a dermatologist as having keratosis pilaris, I never knew I had it too. I just lived with having those tiny little bumps on my skin my whole life. It never bothered me, never itched, or felt irritated. It just felt like having permanent goose bumps. I’ve used numerous types of lotions to keep my skin feeling less dry & patchy, but the bumps were always there, not noticeable unless you touched the skin. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties when I started using loofah sponges when I bathed. Once I switched from a loofah poof to the long wash cloth style, it was such a game changer. I was finally able to fully scrub & exfoliate my entire back (not just my body). That’s when my keratosis pilaris bumps started to go away. My skin feels immensely smoother in texture, & I can definitely see a difference in a more even skin tone. It has definitely improved the dryness & overall itchiness of my skin, which I’ve battled my entire life. I love using my loofah wash cloth so much that I have an extra one that I bring on all of my travels.

05. As I have said before, I am a compulsive persnickety person. Not really a ‘Type-A’ kind of person, but just very stuck in my habits & personal preferences. I like the way my at-home body wash smells & how it works well with my specific skin conditions. This also applies (no pun intended) to my body lotion. I have a proprietary mixture of various body lotions that I use at home that also works on my sensitive skin. So it’s obvious that I also bring travel-sized versions of these items with me on all of my travels. I have been known to use hotel-provided bath products when necessary, but my preference is to use my own body wash & lotion because it works best on my always dry & itchy skin. I know it is totally extra of me to practically bring my whole bathroom with me when I travel, but I at least try to keep everything to a TSA-approved travel size.

06. I remember the first time one of my former bosses explained to me how she kept a small pill case in her purse at all times. She was often getting migraines & stomach irritability, so she always kept a small packet of over-the-counter medicines in her purse. But of course, me in all of my compulsive glory, decided to upgrade that to a full on first-aid kit. It made sense back in those days when large tote bag purses were the trendy style & I used to use a messenger bag style purse. I put everything in that purse like a crazy bag lady…everything from nail clippers, to folding scissors, to cough drops. Even as I downgraded my purses over the years to be more compact & practical, I’ve always found a way to incorporate some sort of first-aid pouch. This pouch will include over-the-counter headache medicine, folding scissors, bandage plasters, & a few emergency feminine sanitary products. When I travel, especially overseas, I will include a few extra items like cold & anti-diarrhea medicines because who has time to Google Translate every single thing at a foreign pharmacy.


When I travel on long flights, mostly to overseas, the select items listed above are what I like to pack. These items are mostly to be used on the airplane, but they have definitely made those long flights more bearable. Slippers are great to keep your feet clean & reduces swelling. Neck pillows are so much more comfortable & more sanitary than using those thin cotton pads airlines pass off as “pillows”. Even before this pandemic happened, I’ve been an avid user of disposable face masks, especially on airplanes. The recycled, barely circulated cabin air really activates my allergies, so using a disposable face mask really helps to reduce my allergy symptoms. In recent years I’ve tried to not bring my personal tablet with me when I travel. I end up not using it that much when I’m on a trip, & I am more paranoid now than ever regarding property theft targeted at obvious tourists. However, on long flights I will bring my tablet, lest I go crazy over sheer boredom & lack of good in-flight entertainment options.


Now that I’ve got a kid to travel with, she also comes with a lot of her own baggage (yes, pun intended). I try to keep my little bean’s travel gear to a minimum. I don’t want to be one of those people who loads up the hotel luggage cart on a mere 3-night stay.

* EXAMPLE *

Here I’ve compiled a short list of the must-have items in her little kid’s packing list.

01. I will start off by talking about my little bean’s keratosis pilaris skin condition. Though it’s not curable, it is treatable, which means if you have it you just have to work at it most of your life to suppress the symptoms. We as parents treat our little bean’s keratosis pretty much the same way as I treat my symptoms. We have a soft silicone exfoliating brush that we use along with a gentle baby bath wash & delicate skin baby body lotion. This combination of silicone brush, bath wash & baby lotion has improved my little bean’s skin & reduced the keratosis breakouts on her skin. We still have a long, long way to go in fighting this skin condition, but these are our go-to products that we can’t go without during every bath time at home or away.

02. Almost every child has a favorite snuggle toy for naps & bedtime. Our little bean is no exception. She has a butterfly lovey security blanket that is her absolute favorite to sleep & play with. We have to be extremely careful with this item because it has since been discontinued by the brand, & the only place to get a replacement is eBay, apparently. It’s because of this that we never bring this with us when we travel, for fear of losing it. Our little bean has already lost one of her other favorite stuffed toys during one of our hotel stays in Los Angeles, & we were lucky enough to be able to get her a replacement without her knowing the difference, but we are not planning on doing that every time she loses one of her “special friends”. (P.S. We call all of her stuffed toys her ‘friends’.) Fortunately for us, this butterfly security blanket is not the only thing she is able snuggle with when she sleeps. When we travel, we will bring one of her other replaceable stuffed toys for her to use during nap time & bedtime.

03. I have a travel set of kid’s cutlery & snack boxes that I like to use whenever we take our little bean out to eat, at a restaurant or at someone’s house. She has a growing collection of kid’s utensils that she uses at home, like plastic bowls, spoons & forks, but I have a specific set of utensils that she only uses when we go out. Our little bean also has her own insulated lunch bag to carry everything in. That way we don’t have to bring her at-home stuff out with us & replace them every time she loses something. We take her mealtime eating kit with us whenever we know we’ll have to feed her outside of the house. It’s very convenient & easy to clean. Plus, we feel like we are inconveniencing the restaurant if we ask them for kid’s stuff, even if they have it. For me, I like to bring our own kid’s cutlery when we go out because it just calms the germaphobe in me.

04. This goes with the previous item, the sippy cup. Our little bean also has an ever-growing collection of these at home as well. She has one for all of the stages, from baby bottle style all the way up to full on toddler trainer cups. We have a tall sippy cup that we specifically use whenever we go out with our little bean. It can hold a larger volume of water which is good when we’re going on road trips & don’t have opportunities to make sudden pit stops. Right now the sippy cup we are using has a hard silicone tip, but we are very slowly trying to teach our little bean how to slurp from an actual straw. She knows how to sip/gulp from an open cup, but you know me, & you know I don’t like myself or my kid getting messy, especially when we’re away from home (& a fresh change of clothes).

05. When we go on family trips, I like to pack a few simple toys for our little bean to play with when we are in the hotel room, or staying at a relative’s house. I don’t pack an entire toy chest worth of toys, but I will select at most 2 or 3 toys to entertain my little bean, especially when we the parents are trying to get ready in the morning & need to distract her for several minutes. Some toys I will consider bringing are a sandwich-sized Ziplock storage bag of plastic animals, or one of her interactive toys like her toy cell phone. I try to not bring toys that are difficult or expensive to replace, & I like to bring toys that are compact & easily packable into her small duffle bag.

06. My little bean loves to read books. We can read at least 5 or 6 children’s board books in the morning before we get out of bed. So, I like to bring a mini selection books for my little bean & I to read together. My little bean also has a bedtime book that we read together almost every night before she goes to sleep, & I like to bring that book as well. When packing for my little bean I won’t pack more than 3 or 4 books, including her bedtime storybook. I try not to bring too many books in case we happen to buy more books when we travel, which is often.

07. This last one is optional. I read in some other mommy blog that it’s best to try to recreate the child’s sleeping environment as best as possible when traveling, so the baby won’t have a hard time going to sleep, but sometimes that’s just not feasible, or practical for that matter. I used to bring my little bean’s crib blanket when we traveled, so she’d have some comfort reminder of her room back at home, but lately I’ve been going through a ‘less is more’ phase, & I’m trying to scale back a lot of the junk we bring with us on vacation. I don’t bring her crib blanket on our travels anymore, but if we were perhaps to go on a longer vacation or go somewhere overseas, I might be more inclined to pack it along.


This is the end of my list. I must confess that we are taking another trip to Los Angeles, & leaving this coming Sunday. We didn’t go on that last Los Angeles trip I talked about in my previous blog post, the one where my nephew celebrated his high school graduation & birthday. Jian asked me repeatedly, yet casually, if we should go but we ended up saying no. Honestly, we really needed a break from living with my mom, & my little bean needed that time away from smothering grandma as well to develop & mature.

This time we are going to L.A to celebrate our new niece turning one year old, & celebrate another nephew turning four. We thought it would be more meaningful to have our little bean interact with more kids close to her age. Also, Jian wants to snoop around the L.A office of his company’s department. I guess I should mention that this isn’t exactly a “vacation”. Jian still has to work everyday (except on Monday’s Memorial Day observance), but I get to spend quality time exploring the city & the area around our hotel with my little bean. My mom won’t be traveling with us, as she just recently returned from L.A herself, so this will give us even more badly needed time away from my mom, a.k.a. grandma -slash- super crutch for my little one to revert back to acting like a baby & not want to learn how to walk at all. It will be interesting to see how things go. Maybe I’ll write another hotel review post since we are staying at a brand new hotel we’ve never even heard of before. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

Calendar

October 2022
S M T W T F S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Enter your email address to follow this blog & receive notifications.

Join 227 other followers

Member of The Internet Defense League

%d bloggers like this: