January 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Nadia Quest @ 10:46 am


Tropical paradise is lovely indeed, and things are progressing at an uncommonly fortuitive pace. Divine intervention is clearly at work in my world. Music is my passion, music is my life, and my music career is taking off at an unforeseen rate! This momentum has now taken on a life of its own, and for that I am exceedingly grateful, even for the hard work ahead.

The hardest part, for me and countless others I know, of chasing a dream is leaving the ones you love to go wherever that dream leads. I miss the ones I love. Sometimes I long for them in my dreams yet wake up smiling because for a moment it was almost like they were here. Or I was there.

And so my conclusion is that dreams are a wonderful thing. Dreams keep us striving, yearning, growing in spite of ourselves, despite the innate, and ultimately futile, desire for something stable, something sure. In my life, and in all of ours no matter the outward appearance, there is only one constant and that is Love.

Love has the power to connect us no matter how far the miles separate. I hope that everyone I love can feel it, can be sure of it, tonight and every night.


December 14, 2011

Back on Maui

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nadia Quest @ 11:46 am


Well, I’m back on Maui. I got here for under $400 flying one-way from Minneapolis, MN by splitting my trip into two separate tickets: 1st from Minneapolis to San Diego, 2nd from San Diego to Kahului, Maui. I had an overnight layover in San Diego and a flight delay in San Francisco while changing planes, but overall it was pretty smooth.

This morning, I woke up far, far away from the cold and bitter Minnesota atmosphere to a beautiful, blue sky and warm sunshine. I had the most fabulous banana pancakes with butter pecan syrup, which my wonderful couchsurfing host made for us:) It was the best morning in a long time. It was the first time I’ve actually gotten up in the morning in a while, matter of fact.

Afterward, we decided to get massages in Makawao, but we stopped by the Sacred Garden on the way. We did get a little lost and had to turn around but hey, on Maui getting lost is just another awesome adventure!

The Buddha there is beautiful. This picture doesn’t nearly do it justice. I sipped some Earl Grey while wandering the grounds and gave a small donation as is proper. There are so many beautiful flowers and plants in the nursery, and it smelled wonderful!

There are two labyrinths at the garden. This is the larger, outdoor one. I didn’t have time to walk it, as you really need quite a chunk of time to fully experience the three-fold path of the labyrinth in order for it to work its magic, but I definitely will one day soon.

The stream running through the garden gave a delightful gurgle as it passed merrily by. Running water is always a sign of cleansing, promise and hope to me. The water is so clean on this island, I feel like I could almost be baptized just looking at it.

My friend noticed this statue of St. Francis watching over a smaller patch of greenery and blooms on our way out, as is only to be expected, as it is his namesake. St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment, so the garden was a fitting place for him to be found. This one holds a bird in his hand. (worth two in the bush, I’ve heard )

Finally, I capped off the day by jumping off Black Rock, a popular cliff diving spot on Kaanapali Beach near Lahaina, where some of my favorite beaches are. They are my favorites because of the soft, white sand, gentle surf and super clear turquoise water. I was unaware, however,that a ceremony was about to be conducted on the very spot I was about to leap from! A young Hawaiian man appeared just at sunset, as I was contemplating the drop from atop the 50-foot cliff, holding a torch and a snow-white lei. He urged me told me to jump as people below cheered. I apologized and he told me no worries, then I quickly jumped from the cliff and landed quite perfectly in the water below. As soon as I had swam out of the way, this lovely young man said some strange and beautiful words, threw the lei into the water, executed a perfect swan dive, surfaced so the lei was once again around his neck and swam expertly to shore! Wow!  I later learned the average cost for people to watch this ceremony as part of the luau is $95, and here I was, unwittingly part of the show. Ain’t life grand? Well, it certainly is for me on Maui!


















September 11, 2011

Amusement Parks

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Hey all! Just got back from a wild trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. Best collection of roller coasters in the U.S.! Cedar Point, also known as Roller Coaster Capitol of the World, boasts 17 different coasters, 10 of them rated as level 5 aggressive thrill rides. I rode 11 in less than 8 hours, plus several other extreme thrill rides, including the brand new Windseeker swing, 30 stories high with a premium view of the beach and the lake as well as most of the park. This park is awesome, and well worth the entrance fee.

I went with a 62-year old Navy vet friend of mine, and he kept up with me on all the rides! Like most theme parks, Cedar Point offers discount tickets online, but they charge a fee for ordering them online. We bought our tickets at the Meier store in Bowling Green at a good discount, better than the online discount even. The regular admittance fee is $50, but my friend only paid $25 for an all-day senior admission, and my all-day pass was $41. You can find discount tickets for most amusement parks at nearby grocery or retail chain stores. Starlight admissions, which are good after 4 or 5 p.m., depending on closing time, are 1/2 price of regular admission, but there is no way to really walk the park in just 5 hours.

We arrived around 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and the weather was perfect! Lines were short because of the weekday, and the longest we had to wait in line was less than 15 minutes. The wait for most of the best coasters was around 7 minutes, and about 3 minutes for the others. Seriously! Any of you amusement park enthusiasts will know that is incredibly short, and totally awesome! I’m convinced it’s partly due to the failing economy, but it also had a lot to do with going on a weekday before starlight admission went into effect. After 4, the lines got a little longer, but not too much.

As with most entertainment venues and events, food and drink are outrageously expensive at these types of places, but you can save some serious cash if you store a cooler in your car stocked with sandwiches and beverages, then take a quick break and picnic in the parking lot. Nearly all theme parks have picnic areas, but many don’t allow alcoholic beverages on the property, so we circumvented that small detail by downing our beers in the car. Out of sight, out of mind, as the old adage goes!!

If you do buy food and drink within the park, take note of special deals advertised on stands throughout the park to get the best deals. Avoid chain restaurants and fast-food, since they are even more high-priced than vendor stalls. A Subway meal with a foot-long was almost $20, while a vendor stand offered a brat, soda and chips for $5.95! If you’re super hungry, you can pay around $20 for an all-you-can-eat buffet, with beverages extra, but the cheapest way to go is to pack a picnic yourself!

To make the most of your time, get a park map at the entrance and follow a circuitous route through the park. This will save you walking time and effort, and allow you to experience more rides! If the park has a train, as many do, it’s well worth the short wait at the station to take the scenic ride and hop off at the next stop when you see a ride you really want to go on. Plus, the ride on the classic, open-car train is pretty relaxing, a nice break from the adrenaline rush induced by thrill rides.

I recommend  taking a light backpack or fanny pack into the park so you can put your sunglasses, cell phone, keys and other loose belongings in one receptacle in the storage bins near super-exciting rides to avoid having your things scratched or scattered by other people’s belongings and make it quicker to retrieve at the end of the ride.

Check out this very cool, interactive POV video of Cedar Point to experience a little of what the park has to offer.

August 29, 2011

Extra! Extra! About Bus Travel~great deal addendum!

Okay, so I was just messing around on Greyhound’s website, since I’ going to be traveling again soon, and I got my $118 one-way ticket from Toledo to Minneapolis for $60 by ordering one ticket from Toledo to Chicago, then an express ticket (no stops, wi-fi, electrical outlets:) from Chicago to Minneapolis. The layover in Chicago is an hour shorter than if I booked the trip on one ticket, the timing is way better, and the total $ is 1/2 the price!

The moral of the story is…play around with different dates, combinations and locations at transportation websites to get the best deals and the best trips for the least amount of cash!

August 27, 2011

About Bus Travel

There are may ways to get where you’re going. You can travel by train, plane, boat or automobile. I have recently used all these modes of travel, and although I prefer to fly, sometimes a bus is the best way to go.

Pros:  Greyhound has revamped most of their fleet, so the seats are more comfortable, and there is mobile wi-fi available on some, which will be noted when you make your reservation. Sometimes they switch buses on you though, because of mechanical problems or other, unknown reasons. Greyhound is great for short trips. The price is usually about how much you’d pay for gas if you were to drive yourself, without the expense of car rental, insurance or auto maintenance. Plus, you don’t have to do the driving, so you can nap, play games, admire the scenery or chat with your companion. Whenever you travel by bus, you can make the most of longer stops to explore the immediate area. I have found some really cool bars, restaurants and parks just walking around near the stations. When my bus from Phoenix missed my connection in Vegas, I didn’t mind one bit! Nickle slots and free beer on Freemont St. all night long! Just make sure YOU are not late for your departure time!

Tips: Order tickets online to save money.Depart Tuesday through Thursday for the best fares. Check for student, military and other discounts; Take an express bus if available to get reserved seating, more legroom, power outlets and wi-fi; If you take a regular bus and you care about your seat location, get to the station early since lines can get long, and seating is first come, first serve.

Cons: Long trips can really drag on. It can take days for a Greyhound to make it from the coast to the midwest, and you don’t get to shower. The seats become significantly less comfortable as time wears on. Also, there is always a chance some unscrupulous passenger will rifle through your personal belongings when you disembark at even a brief stop. This happened to someone on the last bus trip I took. If this happens, chances are you will never see your items again, and hauling your carry-on luggage into the convenience store to get a microwaved burrito gets really annoying. So, if you travel by bus, make your carry-on baggage light and easy to carry.

Tips: Bring a blanket, pillow and a travel pack of baby wipes to freshen up with on longer trips; Charge the battery on electronic devices at longer stops; Bring a mix of entertainment media-video games, books, magazines, mp3 players, crossword puzzles, etc. will keep you from getting too bored and antsy.

Adventure Travel: Green Tortoise Adventure Travel has too many trip options to cover here, but the people you’ll be traveling with are bound to be some of the coolest traveling companions around. Green Tortoise is an awesome way to travel to the Burning Man festival and Oregon Country Fair, and this is the safest way to travel by bus in Mexico and Central America. The cost really is a bargain when you consider how much you’d spend on a “normal” vacation, and everything is taken care of for you, from food and lodging to super-cool included itineraries and optional activities. If you don’t feel like participating in every activity, that’s no problem. You can just hang out or do something else on your own. This is seriously like luxury travel for backpackers, and the 14-day trip from coast to coast is only about 1K.  If you’re adventurous, and you need a cheap vacation, especially if you’re traveling solo, you must at least check this out.

Local bus, subway or light rail service is super cheap and most major cities provide several public transportation options. In America, usually a ticket purchased for one mode of public transportation is also valid for another, so you can combine bus and rail travel for just a couple bucks. Schedules and routes are posted at the bus stops, and you can purchase tickets with cash, credit or debit at kiosks conveniently located on the waiting platforms. Depending on how big the metro area is, public transportation may run until after bar close, making it a safe, cheap and fun way to get a sober ride.

Tips: Public transportation tickets are cheapest during non-rush hours. Rush hours are the blocks of time where most people are traveling to or from work, usually 6-9 a.m. and 3-6:30 p.m.

If you travel by bus in Mexico, only take first class buses that stick to major highways. Seriously, vigilantes still accost unwary passengers by holding up whole busloads of folks, mostly 2nd rate buses traveling on back roads. So, this is one area I know of where it definitely pays to go first class.

Happy Trails!

August 18, 2011

Best Travel Accommodations Everywhere!

My blog is taking a new turn! In this poor economy we are all feeling the pressure and stresses of struggling to keep our heads above water, when what we really need is to get away and jump into a vacation! Few feel as if we can afford to get away, but I will share some of my tried and true tips for super-cheap, yet epic travel adventures. Follow my blog for fast and frugal ways to find fun and bring bad juju to a screeching stop with a much-needed get-away.

My first travel tip is a first-class ticket to the absolute best way to stay almost anywhere in the world, for practically nothing. All you need are an appreciation of local culture in the land you are visiting, desire to meet awesome new people, willingness to display common courtesy and perhaps a decent bottle of wine.

Join to find people willing to host travelers in their own homes for free! It’s a very safe and culturally immersive way to travel. You must follow common rules of etiquette while staying in anyone’s home, of course, and yes, there is the occasional oddball host (or guest, for that matter), but the vast majority of people in the couch-surfing community are outstanding hosts.

Each host will list the amenities within their home right on their profile page, so you will know what to expect from the accommodations and whatever else they are willing to offer. Accommodations vary from a private guest house to a couch or even a spot on the floor, but you will always know what you’re getting into from the get-go in that respect. Hosts will list their location, how many people they can host at one time, nearby modes of transportation, or lack thereof and their interests.

There are a few unspoken rules of etiquette that naturally come with the territory:

~Be prepared to buy your own food and drink. Many times your host will enjoy preparing you their favorite dish or take you out for a drink, but don’t expect it. That’s just rude. In fact, because you’re basically staying for free, the right thing to do would be to bring some type of gift your host would appreciate. You can get a good idea of their preferences by reading their profile.

~Clean up after yourself. Ask your host where you can keep your clothing, luggage and other personal items for the extent of your stay, and keep them there. Don’t clutter their space with your belongings. Wash dishes after you use them. Replace the toilet paper roll if you use the last bit. Don’t track sand all over the floor, or if you do, ask them where a broom is so you can sweep it up. Remember, you’re not in a hotel, and there is no maid service.

~Ask before using household items, unless they tell you it’s not necessary. Don’t use their shampoo, laundry detergent or toothbrush(!) without prior permission. Little expenses add up, as we all know. Be polite.

~Don’t get trashed and come stumbling in at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday night, unless you do it with them;) That’s just so rude, and you may be asked to leave prematurely.

~Ask in advance! Don’t put in 20 requests 1 week before you leave. You may get some positive responses, but it’s unlikely. Give as much notice as possible before your travel date, and show up when you say you will! Snafus happen, planes get delayed, you miss the bus, etc., but be considerate and let your host know you are running late, especially if they are picking you up or meeting you somewhere.

Basically, if you follow the golden rule and read the profiles before you ask to stay at their place, you’ll have just about the greatest stay you’ve ever had on any vacation. This is a great way to really experience the true nature and visit the secret spots (which are the best ones) of the places you visit, all without dishing out vast sums of money for some cookie-cutter tourist-trap hotel.

So don’t be scared of THESE strangers! It’s all closely monitored by the organization and you may very well make some life-long friends!

You may even decide to host other travelers in your own town, once you realize how much fun it is. I’ll be happy to answer any questions or concerns on this topic if you leave me a comment. I’d even be happy to host, but I’m traveling right now 🙂

Bon Voyage!

August 10, 2011

Life~Horrible, Wonderful, Wierd

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nadia Quest @ 8:50 pm

Just when you think you’ve got it made and you have never felt more connected, it smacks you in the face with a rock-filled sock as you sleep.

Just when you think you’ve had it and can’t even stand the very simple act of breathing, it gifts you with something grander than before.

Painful or Precious,

Pathetic or Profound,

Each step brings us a little bit closer

To our Selves and our

Final Destination.


May 4, 2011

Minnesota is a Magnet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nadia Quest @ 9:26 pm

The cool blue light of late afternoon draws amorphous shapes of my memories, each an exercise in becoming. Everything here reminds me of something else. The sun traces spare limbs of barely budding trees in greying figures on the pavement, moving back and forth in the steady springtime wind. My heart hurts and leaps at the persistence of petty pictures from the past, missing beats, craving conclusions, somehow still not left behind.

Minnesota is a magnet, pulling me toward things that should be over, things that should never be. The quiet sighs of water and wind never waver, pulling things out of me, dark things, painful things, once lovely but now wilted and rotting, like emptied bodies in the ground. Outgrown, outlived, wanting out, hoping for nothing more than to fade away over the hazy horizon into a universe beyond my comprehension.

Coming home, my love is lost in a labyrinth of long shadows. I think of hard faces, lonely places, long nights spent struggling to survive hollow holes left by excruciatingly accurate aim, marksman unparalleled in skill and sadistic disatisfaction. I want to close this door, never open it again, leave behind the smell of smoke and sticky liquor, scented sweat and saccharine lies from a lover’s tongue slick with stranger’s spit.

Start somewhere, end up far from here, dreaming a new life into lush, forgiving reality. Finish what is not done. Trade tears and traps for tomorrow.

April 20, 2011

My Mad Libs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nadia Quest @ 10:38 am

Abe. Lincolns speech drunk

500 score and 74 years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a wondrous nation, conceived in crazy, and dedicated to the eons that all men are created pretty.

Now we are engaged in a purple passionate war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a parasitic battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a 1/4 of that field, as a final strange place for those who here gave their beings that that nation might live. It is hazy fitting and proper that we should do this.

April 18, 2011

And If I Did…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nadia Quest @ 10:03 am

…and if I did, I would fail miserably, over and over

…and if I did, I would fall, laughing, right off my feet

…and if I did, you wouldn’t be the only one sufficiently surprised

…and if I did, my teardrops would turn to stars

…and if I did, I would never forget you

…and if I did, poets would praise me

…and if I did, no one would care

…and if I did, there would be a flash of light

…and if I did, the wonder would kill me kindly

…and if I did, I’d only succeed in changing my self…

Destiny comes from within

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