Life Experiences, Not Things, Make You Happier

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In case you were wondering what to spend your tax return on, you may want to avoid the mall and look into a fulfilling experience instead! Researchers have discovered, unsurprisingly, that people tend to spend their money on material goods, assuming that goods are of higher “value.” In reality, our long-term happiness depends more on experiences than on our possessions, which typically only deliver instant gratification. Consider purchasing a vacation package, trying a new activity for the first time, or even spending that money volunteering or taking a fun class.

Check out the article and video here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/life-experiences-happier-material-things_n_5072591.html

10 Keys to Happier Living

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10 Keys to Happier Living

I came across this recently and found it to be a perfect fit for this blog. It summarizes 10 key points to happiness and is based on current research and findings that these points consistently aid in one’s well-being (though obviously everyone is different). The first five deal with our interactions with the outside world, while the second group of five deals with interactions within ourselves. I have touched on some of these on my blog before, though I’d like to focus on the others soon. There are definitely some areas in my life that I need to work on in order to improve my own happiness, so this list will hopefully be a good reminder to do so. Each point can be summarized in the link above. Be sure to check it out — it’s a great website with a great goal!

Photo credit: Action for Happiness

Where I’ve Been: A 6-Month Recap

On March 19th, I passed my 6-month probationary period with my current airline (basically, new flight attendants have to be on their best behavior during that time as the job isn’t entirely theirs to keep just yet). During those six months, I started off as a domestic flight attendant and then switched to an international flight attendant in December. I have also taken advantage of my travel privileges and have visited many new cities, states, and countries. I will probably post separate blog entries on some of the destinations, where I was able to really explore and get a feel for the area, but most will be briefly listed here. Since I did not have much time as a domestic flight attendant, I will not delve into those layovers, since I wasn’t really able to explore much, other than in D.C. Many of the layovers that I had were short layovers and were not in close proximity to any sight-seeing. My international layovers have mainly been longer and are typically located in convenient locations. I will also report on my “nonrev” adventures when I was traveling for fun instead of for work!

International Layover Destinations:

San Jose, Costa Rica

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Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

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Cancun, Mexico

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Port of Spain, Trinidad

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Caracas, Venezuela

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Grand Cayman

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

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London, U.K.

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Recife, Brazil

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Curitiba, Brazil

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Salvador, Brazil

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Guayaquil, Ecuador

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Nonrev Adventures:

New Orleans, Louisiana

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Chicago, Illinois

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Los Angeles, California

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Phoenix, Arizona

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New York, New York

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Denver, Colorado

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Anniston, Alabama

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Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (trip summarized here)

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Cancun, Mexico (trip summarized here)

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Crash Pad Living

ImageOnce again, I am WAY overdue for a blog post. It has been several months! As you may know, I took a job as a flight attendant a little less than a year ago, and have been on the job now for about 6 months. I started flying internationally in December and you may have noticed my blog posts coming to a long hiatus. I do not bring my laptop with me on my layovers, which has hindered my abilities to post, and I have still been busy forming new friendships, finding a permanent apartment (which this post will cover), and exploring my new home of Miami. I am going to try to get back into the habit of updating this more often, though not daily like in the past. I have many new adventures to summarize, so there should be plenty of good material coming up soon!

For my first post back, I would like to talk about my life in what is called a “crash pad.” If you are not familiar with the flight attendant lifestyle (and yes, I say lifestyle, because it is more than just a career switch), you may have never heard of this term before. I hadn’t. Flight attendants are constantly on the go and do not get to spend much time at their residence, due to laying over in other cities. Many also commute to work (ex. a flight attendant may be based in NYC but live permanently in Boston) due to ease of air travel from flight benefits. For this reason, they may need a space to sleep in their base city, but do not want to commit to a full-time lease. Or they are a new flight attendant hoping to save some money during their first few months of the job and are still getting time to learn the area of their new base city or are hoping to quickly transfer to a new base if they did not receive their first choice. For this reason, cheap, temporary living is ideal. Hence, the concept of a “crash pad,” or a place just to crash between flights. When I received Miami (my first choice) as a base, I wanted to make a more permanent move down there. I wanted an apartment with my own room. There was a group of about 11 of us heading to Miami from my class, and another girl and I decided that we wanted a 2-bedroom apartment. However, never really exploring the city before and having limited time (and money) to find an apartment made our search difficult. Many of our classmates were hoping for a crash pad and there were a few crash pads that were commonly recommended to us. Well, we decided that would do that for about a month of two until we found a better place. Four of us joined a one-bedroom crash pad right next to the employee parking lot for the Miami International Airport. Yes, one bedroom. Due to the coming and going of flight attendants, a crash pad typically has many flight attendants or pilots crammed into a small space, since they are rarely all present at the same time. The point is just to “crash.” We had a large couch, a queen-size bed, and several air mattresses for when the four of us happened to be at the apartment at the same time. This was rare. The other three flight attendants commuted and caught flights home after their work shifts. Many times, I was the only one at the apartment. The other perk of a crash pad is saving money. We each paid $300 a month, which included all utilities, use of a pool, and a small fitness center. The one-bedroom by itself would have been $1200 (which is still somewhat high for Miami, but we paid the price of convenience of proximity to the airport). Before I knew it, I had been in the place until the end of January (after moving in at the end of September). Not my original plan. The other girl decided that she did not want to move down here permanently after learning how easy it was to commute and how much money could be saved. I still wanted to live in Miami, so I waited it out at the crash pad until a girl from my class who was based in NYC transferred down. In February, we moved to a 2-bedroom apartment about 25 minutes south of the airport. I have found that I am much less stressed now that I have my own room and can locate all of my belongings. At the crash pad, we had limited space and my things were mostly stowed away in my trunk or in piles in the closet at the apartment. Also, when there were more than 2 of us there at a time, sleeping arrangements became difficult and/or awkward. We tended to have preferences (I liked the bed, though one girl really preferred the couch and another would only sleep on her air mattress), so it worked for the most part, though it became stressful when one girl was trying to go to sleep (usually me…) and a couple of the others were preparing themselves for a night out. It definitely became a learning experience and I began to appreciate things in life that we take for granted, such as having our own room to retreat to when needed!

I am very happy at my new apartment, but did save a lot of money in a crash pad and gained a few valuable lessons. And as mentioned in a previous post, I do recommend having roommates to save money. This takes it to another level, but is an option for anyone (even those not in aviation), hoping to save money for a few months!

Photo credit: http://www.theflyingpinto.com/2013/05/flight-attendant-crash-pads.html