10 WAYS TO BE PRODUCTIVE ON A LONG HAUL FLIGHT

I wish I was one of those people who can fall asleep on flights, but the max sleep/nap time I have even been able to get on a flight is two to three hours. On a long haul flight - that is a lot of hour left. Yes, I can watch the movie offerings but if you have a flight with crappy movie offerings - then you have to endure for flight durations. The longest flight I have been on was Dallas to Dubai a few years ago. Flight time was fifteen hours, with a 1.5 hours lay over (just enough to make it across the airport to catch my connection) and then eight hour from Dubai to Lagos. I was in the air for almost twenty-four hours. Thankfully, I was prepared and had a well thought out plan for making the most of the time to limit anxiety and boredom. Here a few tips for making the most of long haul flight.

It is important that you have a plan before your board. Make a mental list - write it out if you must. A detailed listing of everything you want to do a day or two before you head out. Then make sure you pack what you need in your carry one bag, settle into you seat and once you are at the right cruising altitude - get to checking things off your list.

1. Catch up on your sleep. If you don't have my issues with falling asleep on flights, this is your time to catch up on shut eye. I am always stressed the days leading up to a trip so the long flight is the perfect time to catch up on much needed shut-eye (if only I could manage it). I recommend packing something comfortable to change into for the most comfortable sleep time.

2. Catch up on your reading list. What better time to get through that book that has been on your reading list for months (or years) Before you head out, pack the book (s) in your carry on luggage or download it. Some airlines have ebooks as part of their entertainment package. Check before you go.

3. Get a facial. Drop the raised brow. Yes ! a facial. There is no other time that a facial is neccessary that when you are that high up. The altitude tends to wreck the skin, so this is a perfect time to give yourself a mini-facial with a sleep mask or an overnight mask.

4. Respond to emails and clear your inbox. You are not going anywhere, might as well tackle your inbox. Clear out junk mail. Respon to email. A lot of flights are equipped with wifi, but if you don't want to splurge - draft the emails and send when you land.

5. Plan trip itinerary. You are heading off to vacation, might as well spend some time planning how to make the most of your time a

6. Clean up and organize your digital files. At some point, I had over 15,000 pictures from blogging and travel. I spend a lot of flight time, cleaning out duplicates, blurry pictures and moving edited photos to external drive. Don't forget to pack your eternal drive.

7. Get work done. I spend flight time catching up on my work to-do list.I like to have a clean plate headed to vacation. If I don't have work stuff, then I work on writing blog posts or editing pictures for the blog and shop.

8. Watch a movie (or three). These days airlines have the latest movies on offer for free and you can usually peek at the movie schedule before you get board the flight. Time to catch up on the latest movies.

9. Start a short movie. I really want to start vloggin my travels and sharing short 7 to 10 movies of the trips with you all, so I began playing around with imovie and othr movie making programs. Fingers crossed you might see the first blog before the year is over

10. Plan your next trip. Sure you are heading off one vacation (or returning from one), but if you are like me and always feel deflated when you return from a vacation, why not plan your next trip so that you have something to look forward to when your current vacation is over.

Now over to you, how do you make the most of your time on a long haul flight ?

 

A DAY TRIP TO CARMONA // ANDALUSIA, SPAIN

About 21 miles north-east of Seville we found the city of Carmona. This was not on the agenda for Spain. It never even crept up in our planning, but after a Sunday spent switching hotels and failing to come to a concensus on Ronda, we were introduced to Carmona by a customer service rep at the train station. For under 3 euros (one way) per person and enduring a 45 minute bus ride (I know, the horror), we arrived in Carmona on Monday morning just as locals were starting off their day. 

The streets were quiet as we made our way to the tourist center located in the Alcazar Puerta de Seville. We got a few recommendations of must-see before heading off to the Market square in hopes of finding food. The market square had several stalls selling food, but it looked too much like street food - I vetoed it. I did not have my trustee pepto bismal with me in Spain - I could not risk eating just anywhere. In hindsight, I wish we did because the food looked quite delicious. Instead we settled for a restaurant in the town center and we were utterly dissapointed. We barely touched our meal. We were off to an unpleasant start.  Thankfully, we found a grocery store and picked up TUCs and water to keep us fueled for the day.

We headed towards the old city gates, walking down narrow cobbled stones roads past the beautifully tiled doorways. I was that person peering into every doorway and snapping away quickly before the resisdents took notice. Carmona (actually, South of Spain) has the prettiest tiled entryway ever seen. We continued through the town, past museum, churches and charming historic buildings to arrive at the old city gate overlooking , which looks out on the most beautiful landscape. Mid-afternoon we found our way to the Covent – one of the highlights of our trip.  Apparently, the Covent is home to twelve ladies, eight of whom are fellow Africans (the odds, right ?). We chatted with her for a little bit and explored the covent grounds.  We ended our trip on the rooftop of the Alcazar Puerta de Seville with a gorgeous view of the white villages as we watched the sun begin to set.

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For more travel stories and inspiration - check out the #wanderfulwednesday link up

THE STRUGGLE TO BE UNIQUE IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS

Dare to be different
— Matthew Goldfinger

The idea of uniqueness has been on my mind lately both as a blogger and one who reads blogs. A few weeks ago, I opened up my bloglovin feed and with every scroll it was a post about a particular launch ; same thing in my instagram and twitter feed. I knew it was lauch day da. I clicked on several of the posts and it was pretty much the same product review focused on packaging, color etc (there was nothing in posts I could not find the product description on the manufacturers' website). Last week, I stumbled on a post on the same product by another blogger that was quiet different that everything else I had come across. Of all the posts I came across on that product for several reason - it was not lost in maze of launch day and you could tell she had taken time to test the product and her review was filled with tips and notes I could not find anywhere else. Just yesterday - while catching up on a blogger group I belong to on Facebook, I stumbled on a post by another blogger that was eeriely similar to an idea I have been working on for several weeks. I refrained from reading her post - I did not want her content to influence my post and I delayed my posts a few more weeks. 

Just to clear up any confusion, I don't have a problem with blogger groups or product reviews. I belong to several blogger groups and I love each one and I don't buy any beauty items without watching or reading a review on it.  I just think a a result of the information flow, being unique in our creative process has become an uphill battle. Today I thought I will share some ways I am trying to navigate this and keep uniqueness in this space. I will love to read your ideas in the comment section.

DON'T READ EVERYTHING THAT POPS UP ON YOUR FEED. This can be a hard thing to do. A good bit of us became bloggers because we enjoy reading blogs, but if I see a post on my feed that seems eerily similar to something I am working on or planning to write - then I don't read the post until mine is published. This way nothing about that post taints or influences what I write.  

BE INSPIRED BUT SWITCH IT UP. There is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from others when you give your voice to it. I aboslutely love this post by the overseas escapes and it inspried me to write a similar post. When mine is published, it will have nothing to do with Europe and the title will be different. Her post inspired me to put together a bucketlist list (mine might be 50 items or less - it is still in process), but that is where the similarities will end. (Don't forget to give credit in those cases).

DON'T BE TOO INSPIRED. I know that sounds counter to point 2 (and even point 1), but hear me out. There is such a thing as being too inspired. You read a blog post and you think , "how fun, I should do that ?". Before you dive in, ask yourself, Is this something you can uniquely speak about (or has the inspiration post said it all).

UNFOLLOW AND CLEAN UP YOUR FEED. Before I started blogging, I heard a beauty blogger I admire say she does not follow other beauty bloggers. Initially, I thought that was conceited move, but as she explained her reasoning I understood her reason. She did not want their review to affect her review video/post. She wanted her reviews to be be uniqiuely hers. I tend to agree with her with her decision. I don't not read travel blogs, but I limit the travel bloggers I follow so I am not bombared with inspiration and lose my blog personality. 

IT IS OKAY TO DELAY (or ACCELERATE) PUBLISHING. Depending on what you blog about, this may not be applicable. It is okay to skip launch day (if you can). Talk about the product another time or in another setting. Launch day is always saturated with product reviews. If you really want to share a product review, do it before the launch to build anticipiation or maybe delay it a few days (or weeks) so your post does not get lost in all the launch day review posts.

Now, over to you - how do you keep maintain uniqueness in your creative process ?

FOR YOUR BUCKETLIST - WATCH THE SUNSET IN CARMEL BY THE SEA , CA

We arrived in Carmel just before 4 p.m. on a mid-November day. We our way past charming nooks, pretty houses to the entrance to the famed Pebble beach to explore the 17 mile stretch of beautiful homes, coast line and pebble beach. Turns out getting into this stretch of the coast has a $10 entry fee - not exhobitant, but we had a goal of not breaking budget on this road trip so we passed up Pebble beach and the 17 mile drive. We found the Carmel beach instead. Known as one of the top beaches in the Country, it more than made up for Pebble beach. We found parking quickly and picked our spot on the viewing ledge just in time for the "golden hour" of sunset.

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As we waited on the sun to do its thing - we people watched. From the guys attempting to surf, to kids building sand castles and folks playing catch with their dogs, there was a group behind us that appeared go be doing a photo shoot for a clothing line. With the "golden hour" of sunset as a backdrop, it seemed surreal. We sat in blissful silence for the next hour, people and sunset watching.  We still had some time before dinner. We decided to explore Carmel a little. 

As we made our way through town, just by sheer luck I looked up to see purple, gold and gold hue splattered across the sky. I cannot tell you if what we saw was the blue hour, civil twilight or nautica twilight(if you know, please share in the comments), but I can tell you it was the most beautiful scene I had experienced in a long time

I cannot tell you if what we saw was the blue hour, civil twilight or nautica twilight(if you know, please share in the comments), but I can tell you it was the most beautiful scene I had experienced in a long time and something I recommend for your bucketlist if you are ever in these parts.

Seriously though, what stage of sunset produces gold, purple, blue hues splattered across gthe sky as though a painter painsatakingly painted it. I am curious to know. 

Linking up this week with an amazing travel blogging community - check out this stories and other great travel stories below.

Untold Morsels

HOW TO SPEND THREE DAYS IN NEW ORLEANS // NEW ORLEANS, LA

I was supposed to be in New Orleans ("NOLA") last month to celebrate a friends' 30th birthday. Last minute changes forced me to cancel the trip. Prepping for that trip got me thinking about some of my NOLA favorites. There is no shortage of things to do, places to see or food to experience. From weekend destination to extended vacations, I don't think you can go wrong making plans to visit New Orleans ("NOLA"). This guide has been carefully curated over several visits and discussions with locals. There is not a thing/place on this list I would not recommend to my nearest and dearest.


Getting Around

I found the best way to get around is by car. Rent one at the start of your trip and the possibilities are endless. If you are looking to save cost, uber pool has always been a great alternative to car rental. If you are only intending to stay near or around the French quarter, you can also get by without a car.


The Best Time to Visit

Unless you want to experience Mardi Gras, Voodo Fest or Essence Festival (or any other such annual events), I found the best time to visit New Orleans is September to November when the summer crowds have decipiated and the weather is friendly (or April & May - just become the crowds arrive)


Where to Stay

Near or around the french quarter. Personally, I like to avoid the heart of the French quarter. I have loved staying at Hilton St George (very close to French quarter, but away from the heart of it); Wyndham New Orleans and Hotel Provincial. If you want to stay in the heart of the excitement, I have always liked AC Hotel Bourbon/Fren Quarter and Astor Crowne. These are easy on the wallet and accessible. If you can snag a airbnb in the garden district, irish channel or uptown, then by all means. Those take you away from the tourist traffic of the French Quarter but not to far away that you can't get to it if you wanted.


Where to Dine

Of course there is Cafe du Monde. No NOLA trip is complete without getting beignets. They are open 24 hours and if you can get a seat looking out to Jackson square then you win the lottery for prime people watching. 

For Brunch. You cannot go wrong with Luke's, Commander's Place, Cafe Amelie or Ruby Slipper. One of my favorites things is brunch in the Cafe Amelie courtyard and the Shrimp and Grits at Luke's is the reason for weekend brunch.

For Lunch & Dinner. Any of the Brunch recommendations will do, but you can also consider Bon Ton cafe; Acme Oyster house; Jacques-Imo; Juan flying burrito; Atchafalya or August by John Besh. For something more fancy, the Upperline is all kinds of fab. I have never gone wrong with anything on the menu.

For coffee and sweets. Cafe du monde (it bears repeating) - I hardly ever venture from the hot chocolate and beignets. The few times I do - I go to one of these: Spitfire coffee; District donut or District hand pies. For something cold and creamy, Creole creamery or Little vic does the trick.


Where to explore

Spending time in the French quarter is a given. Stroll down Bourbon street and canal street for premium people watch . Don't miss Jackson Square. There is also Frenchman street at night with live music at bars and restaurant. Find one you like, grab a seat and relax. Getting away from the French quarter, exploring the Garden district is a great way to spend an afternoon (lots of instagrammable homes). You can also join one of the free walking tours to get acquainted with the city. For shopping, the riverwalk outlet collection is a great option that keeps you close to the tourist areas. If historic cemeteries / above ground burial grounds are your things, NOLA has got a few I hear are worth checking out. If you want to get out of the city - a swarm tour might be a good option. The tours last two to three hours.