When you've been a lot of places, you've "gone" a lot of places, but where is the best place to go? I have been privileged to be able to tour on four continents. By plane, train, car, or bus, no matter the method of travel, sometimes you have to make a pit stop. There is one amazing restroom that will always stand out in my mind as the best of all. What country wins the prize for privy perfection? Japan.
Now, I know you are thinking, "Yea, yea, we've all heard of those robot toilets." My dears you may have heard of them, but have you experienced them? Besides that is not all. Let me paint you a picture.
As you approach, huge, frosted, clean, bright doors slide open as if you were entering a futuristic space vessel. You enter and come around a curve, for added privacy to see a large sign. Upon inspection, you realize it is a map of the restroom detailing stall locations and toilet types in each. There are squatty potties, American toilets, Toto toilets, and special stalls with extra space and a sink for people with medical needs (like colostomy bags). On top of all that, there are red and green LEDs that show which stalls are vacant and which are occupied for added efficiency. It also helps because the old "peek under the door to check for feet" trick won't work here as the doors extend almost completely to the floor for added privacy.
Squatty potties take a little practice to get used too, but are said to be great for movement alignment. They resemble a urinal if it was mounted in the floor. As the name states, you simple squat over it with one foot on either side, easy peasy.
American toilets, as there are labeled in the region, are just that. They are just like something you would find in a typical home in the U.S. One feature most have for added efficiency is the low power or high power flush option depending on your requirements.
For the piece de resistance, the automated toilet (Toto is a brand name and most commonly heard of.) is an awesome luxury. Some people avoid the bidet option, mostly due to lack of experience and don't appreciate how many trees it can help save. There are a variety of options on these. Most have front and back wash with adjustable oscillation and temperature. Others have seat warmers, in bowl lighting, dryers, and even an option for music to play to cover any bodily noises and help eliminate stress for shy eliminators.
Amazing, efficient, bright, clean, and so many options! What could be more of a relief when relieving yourself? Enjoy your evacuations!
What is better that traveling? Getting an amazing discount!
My husband and I had the opportunity to go to Sandals for our honeymoon. It was something that I had been wishing for since I first saw an advertisement for them many years ago. There are many different Sandals resorts on several different islands and things are always changing. At the time, my sister-in-law recommended Sandals Whitehouse(now Sandals South Coast) in Jamaica. We had an amazing time and booked an anniversary trip a few years later. We thought that this resort was a little large for us and decided that next time we would test out Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios. It was also exciting that this boutique hotel(only about 73 rooms) was an all Butler resort. Since this class of room is the most expensive, we thought this might be our only chance to try it out, but as I would learn there are plenty of options for savings.
This is Sandals' loyalty program. Signing up comes with a ton of savings and perks. One great thing is that you accrue points for every dollar spent that go toward discounting future stays. You can also get bonuses for things like booking a stay during your birthday month for travel anytime. You will receive special gifts at certain milestones as well. After 70 paid nights, you will earn the ultimate travel discount, a voucher for a free one week stay. To see all the awesome perks check out sandalsselect.com/benefits.
When you are on resort and book a return trip within the Sandals' family of resorts, you get a special discount based on the room level that you book. This discount is 10% off a luxury room, 11% off club level, or 12% off a butler room. There are some special rules with this type of booking, so be sure to read the fine print.
If you book a seven night stay in a club or butler level room within 30 days of your anniversary and register it here(https://www.sandals.com/anniversaries/free/) within 14 days of booking, you will get one night free! That is 14% off! You will have to submit a copy of your marriage certificate for this one and there are some special rules. If you are already getting a free night through a booking offer, you cannot use this deal. You can also not use this deal in conjunction with the Loyalty Discount.
This is one to keep an eye on. Every week starting on Wednesday at midnight Sandals releases a special extra 7% off of seven different rooms across seven different resorts. If you have your eye on a special room or particular resort, it is worth checking out every week. This great offer can but used with just about any other discount. You do have to watch for blackout dates.
Last Minute Deals
This option is best for people that have flexible travel dates and want a short vacation. You have to check back often to see which dates and which resorts are available, but if you book 3 or 4 nights during these deals, you get one of the nights free! Beware that since these are last minute bookings, you may have very limited room choices, but if you are staying at a beautiful beach resort, how much time will you really spend in the room anyway?
Service Personnel Discount
Finally, if you or your travel companion are military, a fire fighter, FEMA worker, or police officer, make sure to register your booking right away for an extra 10% off! This discount is compatible with all other discounts, which we love! Again, make sure to register your booking (https://www.sandals.com/specials/firefighter-military-police-savings/) right away. You should get a confirmation email. Make sure that when you get to the resort you have your ID or discharge papers. They will be checked and it you don't have it, your discount will be revoked.
There are a few other special options. Sandals does offer a rewards credit card. I have never found it to be particularly helpful since I have other cards with better rewards, but it is an option. Also often Sandals will promote special gifts at time of booking. Be sure to follow all directions to register for them right away. I also find it helpful to mention things like free candlelight experiences or massage credit when you arrive on resort to make sure you can get these things scheduled.
We love these resorts and hope you will too. If this post has been helpful, when you make your first booking and enroll in Sandals Select, contact me for a special referral code to help you start earning benefits fast! Happy traveling and even happier saving!!!
There are so many options for positions these days that you can really focus on what you love and where you are appreciated. It is not like our ancestors where they signed on for one position and it seemed like a death march until the end. We really have been presented with the ability to explore. That is just what I have done.
The best job ever...at least that I have gotten so far, was this: I was hired by a promotional marketing company for an acting gig! I was so excited. Even when they booked my plane ticket out, I was a little suspicious. Would this really be a performance position where I actually made money?
Now, something that makes most promotional marketing positions so lucrative is their timeliness. This position was a tour, but it only lasted for the summer(Yup, three months.). One of the amazing caveats was that the fourth of July was in the middle of tour and the staffers were afraid that if we went on break that we wouldn't come back. To keep that from happening they paid us to stay on over the holiday.
So, other than being paid to stick with a company, what made this position so wonderful? Well, being well compensated for one's time always helps. Having great benefits is perk too. While this wasn't a long term position that allowed for insurance benefits, I did receive per diem, a phone allowance, and even a stipend for doing laundry (since we had to clean our own costumes). There were many other great perks. While working this tour, I had access to a rental vehicle. Also, we were traveling, which I love! The program paid our hotel costs and also lent us extras(like breakfasts). We were provided a certain amount of reimbursement for our uniform costs, too.
This tour was one of my favorites because while we had a difficult schedule and had a lot of physical labor to support our goal, we were truly appreciated and got a great deal of joy out of educating our audience and working with our peers. We were able to do what we loved! We were all able to perform. We also taught those around us. With the time on tour, we experienced many diverse events as well. We traversed the St. Louis arch, swam with manatees in Florida, and tasted Phillies at Primate Bros.
If you think these things sound amazing, check out touring options now! Good luck!
Or as my mother would call it, How I Ran Away with the Circus.
I have had the opportunity to tour under a couple different job titles. I had a theatre background, but I got my first touring job through a marketing company. I had been working in promotions consistently for about a year when I got an interview for a performing position. A marketing company was looking through their pool of promotional models for those with acting experience to help a company do some internal training. I applied and was thrill to be the youngest selected to be one of four touring trios. This was a short term position, but helped me to put "touring experience" on my resume.
It all happened very fast. I got the official call and the next morning, I was on a plane to Duluth to learn a new position and join the tour. I was able to be a "plush cart operator" for the remainder of the tour, so I sold toys and lights to little kids. In my downtime, I would try to watch the show load in and learn from the technicians. I made a little money and a lot of friends and headed home five months later with a greatly enhanced resume and a focus on spending as much time learning in local theatre as I could.
Never underestimate the power of networking, flexibility, and a drive to learn.
Need something flexible. either full or part-time? Promotional marketing may be for you. Never heard of promotional marketing? Have no marketing background? Have never seen anyone in this position? Actually, you don't need any training and you've seen people in these positions all over the place.
Ever gotten a sample of a new product at a fair, gotten to try a new liquor from branded representatives at a bar or club, or visited a booth to enter for a prize? The people working these events likely have no affiliation with the brand they are representing. They are simply hired for the shift of for the length of the event.
Promotional or event marketing companies hire people to work on a short term basis to represent a product or service. There are many different job titles out there that have slightly different job descriptions, but fall under the promo gig umbrella. The basic position entails wearing a specific uniform, learning brand information to share with consumers, and often helping the the set up and teardown of the event. Here are just a few brands that I have worked with and titles I have had.
Promo Gig F.A.Q.s
How much should I make?
This depends on the position. If you are working a single event, you could make between $16 and $40 per hour. Depending on the client and location, you may also be reimbursed for parking, receive gas money or drive time, or be provided with lodging. It all depends on the client. Make sure to read all the details before accepting a position.
On a long term position as a tour manager? Expect to make $800-$1200 a week on average. These positions often come with added benefits and of course, travel!
What types of brands are hiring?
Did you see my list? All of them!!!
How do I get hired for these positions?
Seek out staffing companies and start creating profiles with each of them. You can also look for these types of positions on job boards or even in Facebook groups. I found my first one on Craigslist (yes, really.). Make sure you have a great, recent, natural headshot and full-body shot to submit to clients.
What will get me fired or blacklisted?
Not following instructions, taking unschedule breaks, smoking in uniform, discussing pay, and bad attitude can all be factors in not asking you to return. Most importantly, always show up. The best way to get ousted from the promo business is to miss a scheduled event and not let your contact know. This is known as a "no call/no show."
How often can I work?
This is totally up to you. These positions are available year-round all over the country, so the amount you work is up to you. Be courteous, work hard, and follow directions and local managers will be more likely to refer you for future work. Just make sure you are organized. Keep an accurate calendar of your work and the sky is the limit.
When on tour, your aren't magically transported from one venue or one city to the next. There is travel time. Also, no matter how efficient the schedulers can be there are a million reasons that there could be great distances between one stage you are playing and the next. This leads to: day stops.
Drivers of tour buses(or the trucks carrying your equipment) are limited by how far they can travel in a day. They have to stop to rest, which I am grateful for. Who wants a tired driver conveying them? So, if there are long distances between cities, they have to stop part way. For example, when traveling from Tupelo, MS to El Paso, TX, one might stop at Fort Worth, TX for the day(which reminds you how vast Texas is).
Now every tour is a little different, so I can only attest to my experience with my company. When we would have a day stop, it would most often occur on a Monday, after a weekend of shows. We would drive part way overnight to the next city, then, the drivers would all stop to get some sleep. Meanwhile, each bus would have access to a hotel room for the day to get cleaned up. Buses can hold up to twelve people, but the number actually living on them can fluctuate. It is up to the people on the bus to share the room for the day.
Twelve people can't stay in one room all day though, can they? No! Especially after working a crazy schedule together all weekend, absolutely not. So what do you do?
After grabbing a shower and passing the room key off to whomever is next in line, there are plenty of options for what to do on a day off. Some people like to take the opportunity to sleep in, read or catch up on tv shows in their bunk, utilize the hotel gym, or, my personal favorite, explore the town. You never know where you will be on a day stop and you know that it will only be for, you got it, one day, so you might as well go exploring.
Many take this opportunity to walk around and explore area shops, sites, and restaurants. You may want to stock up your snack and beverage stash for the next week. An option I always enjoyed was to take advantage of the fact that we were off on a Monday and have a nice relaxing meal out(Yes, this was during the time when T.G.I. Fridays was doing endless apps. Bring your iPad to play Monopoly, a couple of tour mates, and order a drink or two for a relaxing afternoon.). I have always appreciated getting into food and entertainment venues when there is no one else there and Mondays are one of the best days to do this. No waiting!
Day stops are great because you don't have your own hotel room to be comfy and complacent in so you are more likely to explore. If you know where you will be ahead of time and have a few minutes to research activities in the area of you stop, this can be a great money saver too. The best deals are almost always during the week. On a day stop, you could be sightseeing in Seattle, Good Willing in Glendale, beer tasting in Biloxi, or rock climbing in Rutherford. (Pics or it didn't happen. ;) ) Just remember, Cinderella, you have a curfew.
Bus call time is just before the drivers have to get on the road for the night. It is usually between 10pm and midnight, but again, can fluctuate. Make sure you are on the bus by then because if you miss it, you have to find your own way to the next city. Not a cheap mistake to make. So keep one eye on the clock and the other on a fun-filled day. Happy exploring!
Do you have a something that cheers you up when you are down? A favorite movie, an activity, or even a food that can lift your spirits no matter what lemon curveballs life may be raining down on you? When I need a little extra pep, I turn to the Sandals' website (sandals.com). It may seem odd, but I love snooping through the sales and stacking discounts to try to get the best rates or perusing the sample menus and fantasizing about ordering French onion soup, surf and turf, sashimi, and the decadent chocolate mousse bites (excuse me as I clean the drool off of my keyboard).
My husband just doesn't get why I would enjoy such a silly thing. Well, I love saving money, traveling, food, and, of course, what most every mom craves despite the nagging guilt, the peace, quiet, and time to myself. Ahh to finish a meal out without having to play "Baby Shark" for the billionth time, constantly retrieve crayons from the floor, and actually be able to use both hands to eat!
I know this predicament is of my own creation, because ladies and gentlemen, my name is Rayna and I am an overprotective mom. I now have a four year old and a six month old and I do not let anyone, except family, babysit. I know that this means that I am outrageously lucky to have such a supportive family that I have been able to work in various capacities and earn two Master's of Arts in education in the last four years. I am so grateful that my mother, father, and grandmother(the eighty year old trooper who runs on coffee and getting her 10,000 steps a day in and handles the majority of the baby watching duties) have the time and resources to assist me that I feel beyond guilty asking for assistance if I am not specifically out working or at an appointment. They already do so much for me that I don't feel that I can ask them to watch the kids so I can go have fun.
In typical we-can-have-it-all style, I also hate to miss anything. I want to make sure my girls remember that I was always there for them. Do you remember anything from preschool and before? Me either, but I hate to chance it. This means I can count on one hand the times hubby and I have been able to go out and half of those were on visits out to see his parents (thank you!).
All this means, when I think of Sandals, the adults only, couples resort, where "Love is All You Need," for some reason, I feel a little less guilty because the kids aren't allowed to come. It also makes me feel better when other couples we meet tell us that they wish they would have taken the time to make special trips together much earlier. I can derive years of joy from planning and replanning these trips, and sometimes, like with recent events of the pandemic and the birth of my youngest, I have had to!
I tell my husband, I love to dream of seven dinners in a row that I get to take my time and finish in peace. I envision the books that I am going to read on the beach (maybe Harry Potter, Down the Rabbit Hole, or Dragon Riders of Pern). I get to imagine the fully-made-up selfies, I can take, because who has time for that from day to day. And the biggest prize of all... drumroll, please...sleeping through the night!!! Come on, when is the last time you got to sleep through the night? Yea, I don't know either, but it's thrilling to dream about.
Today, we would have been headed to our fourth trip, but I have been assured that paradise will be waiting for me when the time comes (Do you hear that, Elsa? You leave my islands alone!). Until next time, Sandals! Tonight, I dream of the now open lobster season and having a mouthwatering beef patty on the beach.
Love to work hard, travel extensively, and can run on caffeine and no sleep? Then being a touring theatrical technician may be your dream job. I had the opportunity to work with one company as an Assistant Electrician and Assistant Rigger on a live theatre show. It is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything, but it is not for the feint of heart. While in the U.S. (Excitingly, I did get to travel to other continents with this show, awesome bonus!), this tour was called a Bus-and-Truck Tour.
The "normal" schedule looked a little like this:
Friday - Panama City, FL: 2 shows
Saturday - Jackson, MS: 3 shows
Sunday - Tupelo, MS: 2 shows
Monday - Day Stop: Fort Worth, TX (I'll describe this in another post.)
Tuesday - Day Off in El Paso, TX
Wednesday - Day Off in El Paso, TX
Thursday - Day Off in El Paso, TX
Of course, there can be plenty of variations. You may be in a popular location and have shows in the same spot all weekend. Occasionally, there could be a day off between shows. Once, I even recall five days in a row of shows in four different cities.
A work day, say Friday, would run a little like this:
4:30AM - Wake up, shower, get in your gear, pack up everything, check out of your hotel room.
5:30AM - Bus Call: Make sure your luggage is loaded and you are on the bus.
6:00AM - Load in begins at the venue.
8:00AM - Coffee Break (Mandatory in union venues)
8:15AM - Continue Load-In
8:30AM-11:30AM - Breakfast is served. Work with your department head to find the best time to take a break. This could be when your department is done or if you have a lull in work. For example, an audio technician with all his equipment in place might take a break earlier in the day and come back while most of the rest of the crew is at breakfast to set levels. This is dependent on if this is a union house, which will have a mandatory dark time (when no one can work) about five hours after the beginning of load in.
1:59PM - Load in should be completed by this time, unless something has gone terribly awry.
2:00PM - Doors open for guests to start coming into the venue and finding their seats.
3:00PM-4:30PM - First Show of the Day
4:31PM - Reset everything for the next show.
4:32PM-6:00PM - Check with your department head and find time for lunch.
5:00PM - Doors open for guests to start coming into the venue and finding their seats.
6:00PM - Second/Last Show of the Day and also the Load-Out Show (As many props, costumes, and set pieces as possible are packed up and sent toward the trucks as quickly and quietly as possible while the show is going on. And yes, a great crew makes it possible.)
7:30PM - Show ends and breakdown begins backstage while the venue clears. When the last guest is out, the music turns off, the stage lights are doused, and load out goes into full swing.
10:00PM - If we had an efficient day and knowledgable local help, this is when the truck doors are closed, ramps strapped in, and the crew released.
10:01PM-10:30PM - The crew searches the venue for available showers, gets cleaned up, and heads to the buses for a bite to eat and to climb into their bunks.
10:30PM-4:59AM - Get as much sleep as you can while the buses are on the road.
5:00AM - In the next venue, ready to do it all again.
You have to learn fast, work hard, be safe, and it helps to have a great attitude, which is very difficult living and working in such close quarters, getting no sleep, and being ever prepared for a last minute change. So grateful to have had the opportunity to meet a plethora of interesting and talented individuals from around the world through this venture.
I wrote my first query letter to a publisher when I was in the fourth grade. For those of you that have not come across this term before, a query letter is a proposal that a writer sends to a publisher to try to sell their work. This could contain a synopsis of their story, a sample chapter, some background on the author, or a variety of other things depending on the type of work. This publisher did not accept my idea for a zoo "abc" book, but they were kind enough to write back and encourage me to keep going.
It has been a few years and the idea of being able to write for a living has continued to nag at me and story ideas constantly fill my head, however, I have let the notion that my initial product must be perfect (which is completely ridiculous) hinder me from even attempting to write. One might see the evidence in this in the difference between the date of my first "MultifacetMom" Instagram post, April 18, 2018, and the date of this first post of the blog that I hoped to write, July 2, 2021. What a waste! I have decided that the time is now to conquer the most difficult, dreaded, draining part of being a writer... just starting to write.
In this vein, I am drawing inspiration from a talented weaver of tales, who also happens to be a great friend of mine for ...seventeen years! (Wow, when did that happen!?) The fantastic, fiction, fabricator himself, Chris Felts. If you have not had the privilege to be awed by his work, take a moment to check him out on Amazon (Can you say, legit!) https://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Felts/e/B00IW1BK8U?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4&qid=1625249134&sr=1-4 He is hardworking and dedicated to his craft, but has realized that sometimes publicizing your challenges, such as his popular, "Write Everyday in November", helps to fuel your work and keep you accountable. Chris, be prepared to feel flattered as I mimic your method. Though it is not November, or the first of the year, the first of the month, a Monday, or any day a sane person would traditionally try to start anything, I have decided to begin today (Friday, July 2, 2021) and write a blog post here everyday for 30 days. There are all sorts of theories on how long it takes a habit to form, but I have decided that this will give me a good benchmark for progress.
"Who the heck do you think you are and what could you possibly be writing about for a month?"
Great question, self. Thanks for asking. (Yes, I will work on the corny stuff. Can you tell I'm a little nervous?) In this blog, I hope to share my experiences of working in a variety of industries (and the variety is quite various), being a mother, NICU time, traveling, and fighting for that impossible goal of "having it all" that we have all been beaten and brainwashed into thinking we can accomplish.
Thank you for starting this journey with me and be sure to follow me on Instagram @multifacetmom !
Day 1: Complete! Now to reward myself with a viewing of Something's Gotta Give while I make my dinner from Hello Fresh (not a sponsor...yet? ;) ).
Rayna Moore -
© 2021 by Rayna Moore