Spring Break 2015
(disregarding the fact that it actually came before the initial start of Spring, which is today)
An enjoyable experience: I traveled to St. Louis, MO with my work Toe To Toe Dance Wear.
We travel and sell professional ballroom dance shoes at various dance competitions and conventions around the states.
In our truck we haul a 28 foot trailer and live, camp out rather, in a hotel room for the duration of our stay.
Through experience I’ve learned how to Camp Out in a Hotel Room and I thought I’d simply share:
1. “Electromagnetic” radiation: call ahead and your hotel if the rooms have refrigerators or microwaves in them. If not, see number 2, and they usually have a service microwave somewhere in the building. This particular hotel had one in the laundry room on the 2nd floor. Although I walked five flights of stairs to get there, and five to get back, it was worth being able to cook my Mac & Cheese, sweet potato, etc.
2. Bring a cooler – cutting right to the chase, hotel cuisine is not cheap. And if you’re someone like myself, you like to save a dollar whenever possible. Packing food and snacks and full course meals is a must do. We pack meat to cook on our skillet and hot pad, fruits, and vegetables and more, and kept it cool using bags of ice in a cooler.
3. Have a method to the car madness – sometimes car rides can be long and treacherous. Having good company and a good book are two essentials to helping pass the time. On my 10+ hour car ride I had my awesome boss, as well as Blake Mycoskie’s book, Start Something That Matters [read more about what I learned from the read: here]
4. Have a reason to the travel – We were surrounded by 2000+ pairs of shoes. I get to interact with people, provide a service and a product, and have fun interacting with other vendors as well. Occasionally we would be able to watch some of the dance competitions after closing the shoe shop, which was always inspiring and beautiful.
5. Remember to charge tax, the right tax – I am from Michigan. We were in Missouri. They have different sales taxes. Unfortunately I learned this one the hard way (fortunately for the customers). But the important part was that I learned.
6. Don’t be so hard on yourself – sometimes when I’m on the job I put unnecessary pressure on myself. Throughout our duration there I kept reiterating to myself to just not be so hard on myself. Everybody makes mistakes and I can’t please everybody. I just had to roll with it, make the most of it, and have fun.
7. Travel light – this one is plain and simple. The less you travel with, the less you have tying you down. Don’t forget deodorant though. I actually forgot mine at college, but father in to the rescue to lend me his on our road trip. Thanks dad.
8. Dance (or promise a rain check), but dance – there was a gentleman whom we had sold shoes to whose name was John. He was a very nice gentleman and having been there for 4 days we began striking up conversations and such. The last night after we had closed up the shop I had stayed back to watch the rest of the competition/show. There was an intermission where the floor was opened up for social dancing. John had asked me to dance, and I had to decline. Now I am on a dance team but ballroom dancing is a little bit above my level (right now)… But I did promise John a rain check. Now I just need to learn to dance all fancily, any takers on being my partner in learning? Gentleman? (-;
9. This whole tipping the maid ordeal – so I haven’t been doing this whole camping out in a hotel thing for long, but on the third night of our stay the alarm clock went off at 6am. After 13+ hour days working on our feet, we obviously did not set this fire-alarm-sounding alarm for such an early hour of the day. Maybe the maid? Supposedly tipping maids has become a thing… We get it, we’re in the service business, and honestly we don’t have money spewing out of our pockets. Maybe the maid decided to set some revenge for us not tipping her or maybe the alarm clock set itself.
10. Stand up for your stay – after discussing this whole maid ordeal with my boss, I encouraged her to go talk to the front desk about it. There had been other incidents (putting out dish washer sponge into her makeup bag sopping wet, etc.) that had made our stay slightly unpleasant. If we don’t tell the manager or somebody about our happenings, A.) the employers won’t know that it’s going on with their employees, and B.) there are possibly other guests that are dealing with the same thing that also don’t want to say anything. But something must be said. After talking to the manager and her apologizing for our unpleasant happenings, she offered us complementary vouchers for breakfast our last two days at the hotel. Our stay was overall lovely and I’m not here to bash the hotel staff or hotel, but rather to say that standing up for the quality of your stay is important, because hopefully it allows other people’s stays after yours to be better even more.
Story Time: over my winter break I was able to travel with Toe To Toe Dance Wear to do a show in Portsmouth, VA. It was one of the nights where there was social dancing and there was an older gentleman who came to our shoe booth wearing a multicolored shirt with a bow tie, reminding my aunt (who was working with us) of her dad, my grandpa. He asked me to dance and my aunt encouraged me to do so, so I did so, slightly reluctantly since I was not wearing proper shoes, go figure. He had me spinning in circles, doing dips, laughing, it was grand. After the song ended he was talking to me and I asked his name. I then proceeded with a smile on my face back to our shoe booth. I turn to my aunt and go, you’ll never guess what his name was. She looks at me silly and goes, “What?” I tell her to guess, she goes, “George?” I smile and say yes. George was my grandpas name who had passed away a few years prior. My aunt tells me that that was God, giving me a chance to dance with my grandpa, who was an avid dancer prior to getting alzheimer’s. Love you Gramps, hope you’re having a ball chilling up there with Jesus.
Continuously wishing you well as you know I always do,
Always find your way back home,