Life, It’s a Relatable Thing

Written By: Kaelyn Binder

As we look around at one another it is easy to make assumptions about the individuals we are seeing. No matter where we go, we are surrounded by people that may seem similar to us, yet far from what we view ourselves to be. Surface level assumptions that lead to biased opinions about people we don’t even know. From what they are wearing, to how they walk, or who someone is associating themselves with, we as humans create surface level opinions about the individuals we are surrounded by. However, have you ever considered how you may personally relate to those people who you are so ungraciously depicting? Have you ever attempted to view them past their surface level appearance or general demographics? Although it may be hard to realize at times, every person that walks this earth is more than just the skin they show or the clothes they wear on their backs. We are compiled with stress and worry, we have learned from beautiful mistakes, and we were all created from similar life experiences that in turn molded us into who we are today. Throughout the remainder of this blog post, I would like to ask each of you to dig a little deeper and consider whether or not you can personally relate to these ordinary circumstances and practices that we as humans experience each and every day. Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable, grab some coffee or a beer; because let me tell you something, those two surface level beverages are definitely something that I can relate to.

Stress, It’s a Relatable Thing

    Have you ever been in a public library or a coffee shop and seen an individual who appeared to be on the verge of a mental breakdown? Yeah, that’s called stress, and that is something that we can all relate to. Stress is a mental and physical emotion that every person around you has felt at some point in their lives. Take it from a true college student working two jobs and going to school full time for the past five years. Yes, I said it, FIVE. Not only do I stress about money, school work, and getting things done in a timely manner, I also personally stress about much more minor things that I know each and every one of you can relate to. Even the simplest things in life are easy to stress about. For example, have you ever stressed over waking up late and realizing you snoozed your alarm for the fourth or fifth time? All you can think to yourself “S@*#!  I did it again!” Yep, that is something I can definitely relate to. Or maybe you are stressed because the toast you just made for breakfast is overly burnt and is now inedible.  As a result you end up hangry, leaving the house irritable and agitated. What about when you are in a hurry in the mornings and can’t find the shoes you are wanting to wear even though you have seven other perfectly wearable pairs of shoes waiting to be worn in your closet? As crazy as all of that may seem, the majority of us have all stressed about and can relate to minor instances such as these. So, the next time you see someone who appears to be in distress at your local coffee shop down the road, realize that this stress may have been caused by an instance much more minor that it may appear. Instead of assuming the worst, consider creating a bit of random small talk to simply let the individual know that “Hey, I can relate”.

What is Life?

    Growing up into who I am today I was sent through a series of ‘phases’ that weren’t all that pretty. From my initial tomboy image that I rocked until highshcool to learning how to acquire more lady-like attributes, I still find myself in an awkward phase in life learning how to “adult”. However, aren’t we all struggling with the concept of what ‘adulting’ actually means? I mean, we are sent through a long and drawn out educational career where we are faced with so called core curriculum that is supposed to aid us in our future paths in life. But then again, how are we supposed to relate those core curriculum courses to what we all struggle with today?  I am now a college level student who is about to graduate in May, 2019 and am still struggling to find an understanding of how the Pythagorean Theorem or how learning a song to remember the capital of all fifty states relates to the everyday knowledge that we are all supposed to be familiar with. Individuals my age (stinkin’ millennials) can almost all relate that we don’t have any sort of understanding of how to properly file our tax returns, how to understand the basic car troubles that we all undergo, or how to appropriately treat any health issues we may be experiencing. Call me crazy, however WebMD is still my go-to medical symptom site, and I know my parents are tired of receiving phone calls from me worrying that I may be experiencing a potential stroke. Don’t lie, the majority of you can relate, we all tend to self-diagnose thanks to WebMD. The point that I am trying to make is that no matter what age you are, or where you find yourself at in life, we can all relate that learning how to ‘adult’ is a never ending phase.

(Relat)ionships and Friendships

One thing that I can personally appreciate is that the friendships and relationships I have been a part of are what helped me grow through each of those so called phases. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I was able to fully understand just how important some of those connections that I made truly were. The people we associate ourselves with directly impact what we are going through at that point in time. They are a reflection of not only our tough times, but some of our most prosperous moments as well. Have you ever been apart of a friendship that you thought was fun and adventurous but turns out was damaging and toxic? I know I have, and it was an experience that I have both learned and grown from. What about being a part of a relationship or friendship where you were their emotional support blanket? Although it may be difficult at times, in these circumstances we must understand that we are someone who that specific individual personally felt they could relate to and confide in. Lastly, there are going to be certain people within your life where you feel an instant connection with them. They are the ones who share similar interests and odd habits, such as eating a pickle and peanut butter sandwich; not many people can relate to you on that, but the ones who can are the ones worth waiting for. What I am trying to get you to see is that we make connections to people in life based on what we are going through at that current time. It doesn’t matter if you were able to relate to someone on a deeper level or through the discussion of your sandwich, what truly matters is that at that exact moment, you found a level where you could both relate.

Technology, it’s how we relate.

As our world has become more advanced, technology has created a new avenue that allows us all to connect and relate to other people around the world. For individuals my age, as well as those who are younger than me, it is easy to get caught up in the technology that is quickly shaping our lives. Through the use of social media platforms we are able to connect with people who may have once seemed unimaginable. Whether it be famous actors or athletes, health and fitness enthusiasts, or the numerous array of influencers that fill our social media feed, there is always someone who we are living vicariously through each and every day. We are now given the accessibility to make connections through Instagram or Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter, or perhaps through other blog posts with individuals and groups who we never thought we could connect with before. At times we may get caught up in our overly obsessive scrolling, I too am guilty of that, however we are generally viewing our social media as a way to visually connect and relate to different people. It is crazy to me that through the use of technology and social media we all have a particular individual or group who we have never met, yet we feel we can relate to.

I relate to you, and you relate to me.

    I feel like it is safe to say that there are numerous other ways that I could discuss with you about how we all relate to one another. Whether it be surface level relatability, or deeper internal relations there is always something you can relate about with the person sitting next to you.  If you like Macaroni & Cheese, we can relate. If you wear mixed-matched socks, we can relate. If your family isn’t perfect, we can relate. If you are secretly upset with your body image, trust me we can relate. The list goes on. As this blog post comes to a close and I am writing to you, I keep thinking to myself how and or why I chose to write about relatability. What I have decided, is that not only am I an individual who has told myself numerous times that only I would understand, but I am also an individual who appreciates being the person that others turn to when they feel they are alone. What I would like you all to remember, is that we all are connected to one another in some shape or form. Simply breath, stay calm, and always remember that everyone around you can relate.

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Traveling in Your 20s on a Budget

Baylee Barckley

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Thailand is a very popular tourist country for young travelers. Koh Phi Phi, specifically, because you can enjoy the Phi Phi Islands with white sandy beaches and clear blue water. The only way to get to these islands is by ferry or boat. This popular destination spot has diving and snorkeling that get great reviews from travelers. Also, the Phi Phi Island have made a few movie appearances, like The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. An interesting fact about the Phi Phi Islands is that Phi Phi Leh is free of human inhabitants and Phi Phi Don is without roads. This is a destination to relax and enjoy the views for a couple days. While Koh Phi Phi may be the more expensive option in Thailand, it is still inexpensive to visit compared to other countries.

CostAvg daily price for traveling in Koh Phi Phi: $66
Avg price of food: $11 (per day)
Avg price for a hotel: $73 (per couple)
MealsFood: $3 to $28 (depending on style of food)
Beer: $2.30
FlightsLAX to Phuket City: $582
*depending on departing airport
TransportationFerry to island: $12 to $18 (one way)
AttractionsDeep Sea Fishing: $85
Rock Climbing on cliff: $31 (Tonsai Tower)
Learn to cook Thai Food: $16
Sunset Kayaking

Arenal Area, Costa Rica

Being one of Costa Rica’s most popular destination spots, Arenal Area offers a beautiful hiking area, a lake, and the very popular La Fortuna waterfall sitting at the base of a volcano. A few things to see while visiting Arenal is the Arenal National Park where you can see wild life, hike trails, and see a great view of the sunset. The hot springs are also another necessary stop to make in Costa Rica. These natural hot tubs are located at the base of the volcano that you can take a dip in after a long hike. If you want to take a closer look at the crater of the volcano you can take a tour via the hanging bridges. Arenal Area is different than most traveling spots, but it offers attractions that other places can’t.

Flights LAX to San Jose: $450
*depending on departing airport
HotelHostel: $10 to $15 (shared room)
Budget Hotel: $50 to $70 (private bathroom, A/C, hot water)
Mid-Range Hotel: $100 to $200 (A/C, hot water, TV, Wi-fi, complimentary breakfast)
TransportationPublic Bus: $4
La Fortuna Bus: $2
Taxi:$5
Bike Rentals: $6 (half day)
Easy to get around on foot
MealsLunch: $8 to $12
Beer/ Cocktails: $2 to $3
AttractionsHanging Bridges Tour: $23
National Park: $9
Zip Lining: $50 to $85
Rafting Tour: $70 to $130
Kayak Tour: $50 to $75

Albania

Traveling to Europe is perceived to be costly, but Albania is an exception to this rule. Albania is a much more affordable place to live than other areas in Europe, which benefits young travelers in there 20’s in getting to experience a little bit of Europe. One of the top attractions in Albania is the castle in the city of Shkoder. An interesting attraction for tourists is a rotating bar in Tirana called The Sky Tower Bar. You can enjoy a nice cold beer while slowly spinning 360 degrees getting to see Tirana at all angles and watching the sunset. If you are interested in learning about the history of Albania, you can visit an abandoned bunker museum in Tirana. Another attraction that other destination spots don’t offer is wild camping on the Albania’s beaches. The Albania Riveria is a major attraction to Europe by young travelers because of the reputation it has with being a music location hosting music festival like Turtle Fest. Also, nightclubs, like Havana Beach Club draw people in their young age across Europe.

CostHotel: $47
Airbnb options
MealsFood: starting @ $5.50
Beer: $2
Coffee: $1.30
TransportationTaxi: $2.30
FlightsJFK to Tirana: $500
*depending on departing airport

Havana, Cuba

Havana being the capital city of Cuba has always been a popular tourist destination with vintage cars and colorful Spanish colonial architecture; however, it wasn’t always that Americans could go visit Cuba. In December 2014, the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba was restored, but not without a few traveling restrictions. In order to book a solo travel experience to Cuba it needs to be for educational purposes. This is where you meet Cuban citizens in normal daily life setting, like school and community centers. One of the adventures you can take part in is riding in a vintage convertible for an hour cruising up and down the avenues of Havana. Something that is a must see in Cuba is the El Malecon, a five-mile-long boulevard that stretches along the water, with Havana Bay on one side and Old Havana, Vedado, and Central Havana on the other. At night, many Cubans come to watch the sunset with their loved ones, drink and laugh.

CostAvg daily price for traveling in Havana: $18
Avg food price: $5.39 (per person)
Avg price for hotel: $17 (per couple)
Avg drink price: $2 (cocktails) $1 (beer)
TransportationPrivate Taxi: $2.50 to $7 (within city)
Shared Taxi: $0.50
Viazul Bus: $4 to $5 (reliable schedule and A/C)
City Bus: $0.04
Scooter: $25 (per day)
FlightsMiami to Cuba: $275
*depending on departing airport
AttractionsMuseum of the Revolution: $8
Vintage Car Ride: $15 to $25 (30 min)
Horseback Riding: $115 (3 hour trip depending on city)
Scuba Diving: $40 (including equipment)

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a place that only requires a traveler to walk outside to enjoy themselves. This city, also known as, the Island of the Gods, is meant for exploring. Surrounded by beautiful seas and golden-brown beaches, Bali is a surfer’s dream, which you can do in Kuta Beach, the most famous beach in Bali. Don’t know how to surf? Across the sand bar you can sign up for surf lessons. The Island of Gods also offers other attractions like the Ulun Danu Temple. This building is one of the quietest and most serene places on the island. The Bali Treetop Adventure Park is ready for an afternoon of adrenaline, but also is great for families and children as young as 4 years old. Other attractions tourists can’t miss out on are the caves, museums and parks that Bali offer.

CostAvg daily price for traveling in Bali: $63
Avg price for food: $19 (per day)
Avg price for a hotel: $74 (per couple)
FlightsLAX to Denpasar: $850
*depending on departing airport
Transportation
Motorbike: $20 to $30 (per week; need international license)
AttractionScuba Diving: $100 (per day for 2 dives; includes lunch, transportation, and equipment)
Massages: $10 (per hour)

Montana: by a Northern Californian

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-47-46-amIt is no secret that the majority of the University of Montana student body is made up of Montana born and raised students (we’re talking 74% in-state). It is also no secret that there are “Keep California Out!” signs on everyone’s lawn (not really).

“Oh where are you from?” – Seemingly interested older Montanan

“Sacramento, California!” – Me

“…I’m sorry…” – Now uninterested and bitter older Montanan

“I’m not 🙂 Thanks for having me!” – Smiling me

Take a minute to listen up. I may not speak on behalf of the rest of the Californians in Montana, but I have a perspective I’d love to share. The second I stepped on University of Montana’s campus I knew that it could be my home away from home. The city of Missoula, hell the state of Montana, felt like hugging someone that you haven’t seen in years. I’ve been here for 4 very short years and no, I don’t plan on staying, but yes I will be back to visit. The reason being that it offered the experience of a lifetime for this particular time in my life.
For anyone who’s interested, University of Montana allowed me to step away from most everything I knew in Sacramento (yes I had seen snow, every year in Tahoe minus the recent winters). I was able to clearly establish my values as a young adult, assess the type of future I wanted, and walk away with some of the best friendships I will have for a lifetime.
You see, us Northern Californians appreciate tall trees, snowcapped mountains, cleaning our campsites and wandering to find that adventure just doesn’t end. I can single-handedly agree that California has some extreme undesirables. But so does Montana (hello Meth Capital), so does Colorado, so does New York, and Wyoming and every other state you can name. How do you think Arizona feels hosting all the frail Montana old-timers looking for warm retirement? Probably a mix of “stay in your own state” and “please contribute to our economy; look we have handicap approved EVERYTHING!”

I’ll leave on this note. The amount of times that people think that I’m a Montanan prior to asking is remarkable. Let’s just say I’ve had to convince just about everyone I meet with a valid California drivers license. My experience with those who are excited to have me is what makes Montana “the last best place”. The nay-sayers couldn’t keep me out if they tried.

By: Lia Sbisa, proud Sacramento Native and Montana Visitor

3 Companies you need to invest in. (You will never guess #3)

Three companies that have the potential to make you a great return on your stock investment.

1) Amazon (AMZN)    amazon

Thanks to their dominance in the online retail industry, Amazon stock has doubled in 2015. Expect this company to continue this exponential growth as they are breaking into the technology industry with cutting edge electronics featuring the Amazon Echo. Also, Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to grow worldwide helping other companies improve their online presence.

2) Tesla (TSLA)tesla

While Tesla stocks have had some highs and lows lately, this company is on the verge of making astounding achievements in the transportation industry. Electric cars, and even more exciting, self-driving cars are the next big thing. Society’s push to go green and reduce carbon emissions only helps Tesla’s cause. By developing longer lasting batteries, and designing a more affordable vehicle, electric cars are bound to become mainstream.

3) American States Water Company (AWK)    water co

Most people underestimate the value of water stocks. While technology companies have great potential, the demand for water is guaranteed to rise as the global population increases. Some larger cities including San Francisco, Atlanta, and Albuquerque have borderline unsafe tap water. New an improved water treatment sites are in need. The fact is, the world can’t survive without fresh water, and the infrastructure needed to supply this demand is only going to increase.