Sara Sails Away

Charting a new path

Introducing SaraSellsEverything.com

There are many ways you can sell your stuff online. Take pictures and post them to Craigslist, eBay, or my favorite, Facebook Marketplace. Easy peasy. Practically instant.

OR you could do it my way, which apparently takes 5-6 months.

But I’m not sorry! I ended up making a website of my own, which turned out to be so easy, and now you can find everything I am selling at SaraSellsEverything.com. Here’s how I made my own website:  Continue reading

Hitting pause

Not that I have been a very prolific blogger up to this point, but to the dozen or so of you who have looked at my blog (Thank you! Know that you only know about it because I Iike you very, very much.) I want to announce that I’m going to pause blogging for a little bit while I prepare to rent out my house and get rid of all my stuff. Yes, it turns out I may have a renter! I met with someone who seems to really like it, so I’m going to step up my game in getting almost everything I own sold or packed within the next couple of months.

So far, I have been using Half.com to sell almost all my books and DVDs and taking what doesn’t sell to my local used books store. I’ve listed all the clothes I want to sell on Poshmark (use my referral code UUAQR to get $5 in credit!) and have sold quite a bit there. I’ve sold a few things using Facebook Marketplace or Ebay, and occasionally Craigslist. For the bulk of my household goods, I may continue along those lines or I may try to set up a website of my own–I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to do yet.

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But I am certainly not done with blogging–I have so many ideas! My plan was to continue a “practice” series on Dollywood and Pigeon Forge while I figure out all the technical aspects of how to blog, then announce my blog to as large an audience as I can.

I would officially launch with a series about the cross-country trip I took with my parents in the fall of 2015, the last trip I took with Dad. And there is much more planned after that! But we’ll see how it actually goes in real life. Plans are squishy.

I may still post here and there like I did for my last Uber experience, but I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me besides the blog. But I promise I’m not giving up or going anywhere. I am continuing forward with my dreams.

Lyft vs. Uber: a first rider’s experence

This may be elementary to some, but I have never used Uber or Lyft before. With an opportunity to try out both while my car is in the shop, I thought I’d see which one I like best. The answer is Uber. Uber Uber Uber.

I had done some research in my job-hunting days about which service is better to drive for, and found a lot of folks prefer driving for Lyft, but usually do both, or go back and forth to take advantages of bonuses. Along with the fact that Uber has had some bad press lately, I was all ready to prefer Lyft for my needs. I proceeded to download both apps and enter my preferred credit card.

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I’ve got an Amazon store!

EDIT–I do NOT have an Amazon store after all! Turns out, you needed three sales within the allotted time to qualify and I only had one. From myself. From my Mom’s computer. Oh well, I’ll try again later! 

So, I’m trying to work out this affiliate marketing thing that will maybe, someday, make this blog a paying gig. I also wanted a place where I could list all the books I recommend, so I created an Amazon store! I’ve linked to it a little already, but I just added a bunch of music and movies to it, and hopefully, I’ll add more travel products as well. (Though some of the ones I currently rely on can’t be found on Amazon–I’m sure I’ll talk about those at some point.)

I’m sure I’ll get better at this whole marketing thing, but I want this blog to be a transparent story of my figuring out these things as I go along, and this is one step that is easy to make. I already had an Amazon business account, and I think I just Googled “Amazon affiliate” and signed up to make a store. (I’m not sure if the one has to do with the other, but I thought it helped.) You can alter how it looks a little, but it looks pretty old school Amazon.

Check it out here!

When you set up your store, they will only consider your affiliate application when you sell your first item, which has to be within 180 days of creating the store. I may get a friend to buy a book for me (for which I’ll pay them) just so I can make sure that happens.

Dollywood’s Festival of Nations–the shopping

*NOTE–the content below refers to the 2016 season of Dollywood’s Festival of Nations. I offer it here to give an idea of what to expect if you should go. To see my initial post about the performance part of the festival, go here.

Dollywood’s Festival of Nations offers a fair amount of unique shopping opportunities if you care to take advantage of them. Booths with authentic merchandise from numerous countries line either side of Showstreet down to Marketplace Square and are worth a look for items ranging from small trinkets to expensive art. If I weren’t trying to get rid of everything I own, I probably would have made it home with a small nativity or two. Below are some of the items for sale during the 2016 season.

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Dollywood’s Festival of Nations–the food

*NOTE–the content below refers to the 2016 season of Dollywood’s Festival of Nations. I offer it here to give an idea of what to expect if you should go. To see my initial post about the performance part of the festival, go here

For every festival throughout the year, Dollywood adds special menu items sold at booths set up around the Marketplace Square, the central area for counter service food in the park. For the Festival of Nations, with a huge rotating globe just near the entrance, you’ll find such exotic and international specialties as…tacos, Chinese food, and pizza. *PIZZA* 

Even if it were decently executed tacos, Chinese food, and pizza, that would be something, but alas, most of the dishes were uninspiring. Perhaps it’s lucky that they are only open for lunch, and barely then. Times of food service are unposted and erratic, three booths may open up at noon, while another doesn’t open for another 30 minutes, and they seem to close whenever folks stop walking up. Don’t expect to stop by for a snack at 3 pm, for example, especially not on a weekday.

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Dollywood’s Festival of Nations

The performers in this article refer to the 2016 season of Dollywood’s Festival of Nations. I *thought* I’d be getting this post up around the time the 2017 season started, to offer a taste of what this wonderful festival is like (because it surprised me!) but it turns out the 2017 festival is already over…at only three weeks long, you’ve got to act quickly! I promise I’ll get the hang of this blogging thing. 

Being a music lover and a traveler with an interest in world music, I had long wanted to visit Dollywood’s Festival of Nations, which occurs every spring in late March to early April. (2017 festival dates were March 18-April 9.) I finally put together a solo trip for myself in 2016 for the last week of the festival and enjoyed myself immensely! This festival was so much more than I expected.

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Here’s to the fools who dream

The video above is the only one I could find with actual footage of the movie–I love this scene. “A bit of madness is key”

When I tell people I want to travel full-time, one question I get asked is, where do I want to go? Like any good traveler, I echo the words of Susan Sontag, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

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2016 year in review

TRIGGER WARNING–the video below contains scenes of my Dad’s hospitalization and death. Nothing graphic, but it’s awfully sad.

For over a year, I’ve been recording videos to edit together using an app called One Second Everday (1SE), which I heard about during this TED talk. It gives a snapshot of what each day of your year has been like so you don’t forget everything so easily–which I definitely am guilty of.

Below is the first full-year video that I’ve created, and it turned out to be…an eventful year. Mostly, it’s everyday stuff, like working and watching movies, eating, and hanging out with friends. There are several bouts of car repair, several housesitting stints, and way too much of my own cat. There are multiple trips to Dollywood and Pigeon Forge, to Orlando, and a drive all the way to Canada and back; lots of family events and my niece’s wedding.

But you’ll also see my Dad’s illness and death–the red roses indicate the day he died–and my resignation from the job I held for 12 years and a few jobs I’ve tried after that. No lie, it’s been a hard year. Not all days got recorded–sometimes I was just too sad to be bothered. For instance,  the spa appointment (a gift from a wonderful friend) happened about a week after Dad died.

But I’m glad I did it. I want to remember everything. I’m looking forward to see how much these videos change.

 

My journey so far

*Contains an affiliate link or two. Waaaay down…

For a long, long time, I lived my life the way I thought I should live–I had a very good job at a beautiful and generous church, a great apartment in a hip neighborhood, wonderful friends, and a loving family. I traveled as much as my work and my finances allowed. If I had any complaints, it was that I had never really fallen in love and gotten married, and around my early 30’s I got really sad about not having any kids. But life got better, I learned that I loved traveling solo, and if the occasional dates I had didn’t amount to much, that was okay with me. As time went on, I even bought a house. I was settled.

But by my late 30’s, everything fell apart. Work stress was mounting and after one particularly trying period with my boss, something in me just snapped. I had been trying so hard to please this person for so many years and it finally dawned on me that it was impossible–no matter what I did, I could never in a million years please them. Like Sisyphus–I’d get so far and do so well, only to have it come back and demolish me later. Over and over and over again.

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