Hello!

Greetings from the nation’s capital! I’ve only been living in DC for about three months, so there are a million places I haven’t yet visited, but one thing I do appreciate about the city is how many attractions are free to visit!

One such free attraction is the U.S. Botanic Garden. I visited a couple weeks ago when a friend was in town, and lucky for us, they had a special temporary exhibit running for the holiday season called Roadside Attractions. It was really cool and I would definitely recommend it! Take just a

As you see here in the entrance to the exhibit, Roadside Attractions takes you on a mini road trip through the US to see some famous landmarks that appear along the roadside, except in this case, the landmarks are miniature and made completely out of plant products! There was also a fun little model train that runs along the room on the plant-made tracks overhead.

A small version of the Niagara Falls in New York, as well as the Peachoid Water Tower in Alabama!

A model of Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, and the apparently famous Mr. Potato Head of Rhode Island!

This was definitely my favorite! Having just seen the real-life “Blue Whale” on Route 66 while driving through Oklahoma a few months ago, which I blogged about in October, it was so fun to see the miniature version. It was a very accurate re-creation!

Until next time,

Attrace

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[good reads] great britain

December 24, 2017

Today I’m leaving for my next grand adventure! I’m headed to Great Britain tonight and will arrive on Christmas Day in London. Knowing me, of course this meant that I purchased Lonely Planet’s Great Britain book. I should seriously do commercials for these books I love them so much, even though this one in particular is a little too big and bulky to carry around. Nevertheless, I like the paperback versions more than the digital because it’s just so much more comfortable to thumb through them. I feel like I always get lost in digital books.

Anyway, my trip plans are still a bit up in the air but for sure my first plan is to arrive in London and then hurry on over to Edinburgh as soon as possible because in just a few days I will be headed on a 3 day, 2 night tour of the Scotland Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Even though it probably would have been possible for me to do Scotland on my own, not driving makes it that much more difficult and relying on public transportation for the amount of time that I have allotted for this trip just isn’t enough! Anyone have any fun Great Britain trip tips to give me as I take off?!?

We may disagree on the state of a person’s well-being if they need a 70-lb potbelly pig for comfort. But, the fact is emotional support animal (ESA) is a fact of life for some. And, we all have to put up with it or suffer through it.

Perhaps nowhere is ESA more of an issue than air travel. With your ticketed seat, the option of moving further away inside an aircraft cabin, is just not available. Everyone is stressed enough in a confined space. We don’t really want to deal with someone else’s ESA quacking duck.

Every airline has its own ESA policy. They are all similar. Passengers traveling with ESA need to provide ESA documentation.

  • An ESA travel letter, issued by medical doctor or mental health professional.
  • Stating the person has a mental or emotional disability, and is under professional care.
  • The person needs an ESA to accompanying air travel.
  • The number and type of ESA.

Individual airline may have additional requirement. American Airlines and United Airlines require a 48-hour advance showing of the ESA documentation. Others have rules governing where the ESA should be placed.

What about other passengers’ rights? Sorry. You don’t have much. Your inconvenience or even your allergy are not valid reason to deny ESA access.

One problem is that ESA is treated the same as service animals. Perhaps Congress or FAA should set stricter guidelines and distinguish ESA from service animal. Ultimately, there is probably no perfect solution. You just have to hope that ESA is providing comfort somewhere else. It certainly is not supporting your emotional well-being.

The headline says “Woman kicked off flight after emotional support pig became disruptive.” That’s right. It was a 70-lb pig that caused such a stir on a plane, the pig and owner were kicked off. Not much emotional support from that pig.

I think we can all understand service animals, such as seeing eye dog for a visually impaired person. Service animals go through extensive training and are trained to be very well behaved. But, emotional support animal is, well…, an entirely different animal.

Any animal can be an emotional support animal (ESA), not just your dogs and cats. Landlords and hotels cannot require ESA to have any training. Airlines cannot charge a cabin pet fee for ESA. There are stories of people taking advantage of ESA and fly their pets for free.

Get ready to ride that 14-hour flight with a pot bell pig or miniature horse sitting in the aisle next to you, or a quacking duck accompanying you on your cross country red-eye flight. What fun!

Is that in stored for all on our travels? What are the airlines’ policy on ESA. What can other passengers do about it? We’ll take a look in a future post.

For my birthday, I got an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. This was very exciting because I am a big fan of reading and even though I just love having real books, they get really heavy when I’m traveling. Now I have the ability to bring my travel reading to a whole new level with my birthday present!

I especially like that with my Kindle, I can borrow and read books (all the while not having to carry them around ever), which gives me the ability to read all kinds of crazy things even if I’m not so sure I’ll like it. One of these random reads was Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. by Chelsea Handler.

I hadn’t actually heard of Chelsea Handler before, since I clearly live under a rock, but I assumed she was a comedian. It turns out I was correct, surprise, surprise. I do love the way she writes (even if a bit crude at times) because it’s like a running train of thought that tells all kinds of stories that have happened to her. Of course these types of books always sell because people are generally nosy and like hearing about other people’s lives. It makes sense really. Because most of the time, the most ridiculous stories in our lives you can’t even make up! Like the time she went to Puerto Rico with her dad. Or the time she got into a real street fight after taking kick boxing classes. Hahahahaha … I just couldn’t stop laughing. You’ll have to read it yourself though!