Queer and There

Category Archives for Queer and There.

Osaka: Bullet Train, Food, Nightlife, Aquarium, & Wanderings

Osaka nights

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After exploring Tokyo, it was time to head to Osaka, the Japan’s second-largest city.

Bullet train

We left Tokyo via bullet train (Shinkansen) for the journey of about 500 kilometers. It took a little over 3 hours, not including getting to and from the train stations on either side. One-way tickets were ~$145 for the fare and seat reservation.

Because we departed from the Shinjuku station near where we stayed at the Hilton Tokyo, travel time was minimal (~20 minutes, if that).

We had reserved seats, though the midday train was only at about half capacity. An attendant came through every so often to offer snacks and coffee, but I noticed savvier riders unwrapping their pre-packaged meals on board.

The train was clean, the seats were comfy, and the overall experience was positive. Watching the scenery flying by was hypnotic.

On this day, the clouds gathered low to the ground. For that reason, we only got the faintest glimpse of Mount Fuji in the distance. But I bet on a clear day, the views would be incredible!

From Tokyo to Osaka, you’ll see Mount Fuji from the right side of the train. It’s huge. You literally can’t miss it.

The bullet train was awesome! Calming, actually. No squealing metal and sparks of fire shooting out from the wheels *cough* New York City MTA *cough*

Eating Osaka

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My FoundersCard Membership Just Paid for Itself This Year

As long as it stays good, I'm on board

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Update: You can lock in a FoundersCard membership for $295 a year through May 13th, 2016 when you sign-up with my link. This is $100 less than the usual rate!

Peeps are curious about FoundersCard. The many posts I’ve written are amongst my most-Googled. And a good 1/3 of reader emails ask about a specific benefit.

So I thought I’d post an update, as I still have and use mine regularly.

In fact, I just used it to join the Equinox in Dallas – and got $29 knocked off my monthly rate thanks to FoundersCard.

asd

Just saved a bundle to get back into shape

Now I’m not saying “join Equinox!” Instead, I’d say FoundersCard is worth it if you have a particular benefit in mind, like:

As long as it stays good, I'm on board

As long as it stays this good, I’m on board

Any one of these benefits can make up FoundersCard’s $395 annual fee if you really maximize it. And more if you can make use of 2 or 3 (or more) of them.

For example, I save about $20 a month off my AT&T bill.

And the TripIt Pro membership I got from my Barclaycard Arrival Plus is about to expire.

Free TripIt Pro saves $49

Free TripIt Pro saves $49

I’ve grown to love the service and use the app constantly for my travel plans. Would I pay for it? Maybe. But I won’t have to think about it for another year, because the next one is free thanks to FoundersCard.

How I use FoundersCard to save

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Goodbye to All That: In a Month, Dallas Here I Come!

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It begins: my last month as an official New York City resident.

Movers are booked.

The date is set to wake up and start driving away, all my things loaded in my new Subaru Forester – including the pup!

Resting after a run upstate

This little guy has spent his whole life in Brooklyn!

My dog will be 6 this year, and he’s never known much outside of New York. He’s gonna shed SO MUCH in Texas.

My house is sitting there, waiting to be lived in. I even went ahead and joined a gym in Dallas (and got a sweet discount thanks to FoundersCard).

The house

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Lyft: Cheaper & Better Than Uber, Now With Cashless Tipping

sad

It took me a long time to get into the whole “Uber” thing. I was always like… why not just take a taxi?

The price wasn’t that much cheaper until recently.

The few times I uber-ed, the main thing I liked was the cashless tipping. The price, all things considered, was equal to a cab (I say/write this in NYC).

Then, they slashed fares. 

uber vs lyft

Underdog extraordinaire

And, I started going to Dallas a whole lot more, without a car. I grew accustomed to firing up Uber as I walked outside and getting a ride to my condo. Again, with the cashless tipping.

I love the simplicity of the bundled fare. You just get out when you arrive, and you’re on your way. The receipt comes via email seconds after the door closes.

…But now there’s no cashless tipping

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Tokyo: Cherry Blossoms, Microbars, Amazing Food, Views, & Wanderings

Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo's National Park

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Back in January when I burned some American Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class award ticket to Japan, I had no idea of what to expect from the place.

The trip was my first time there (and in Asia!). I was nervous about getting around, the language barrier, navigating the huge metro system, and figuring out the basics, like ordering food and buying train tickets.

From landing at Narita, to getting to the Hilton Tokyo, to taking the bullet train to Osaka, and everything in between, it could not have been easier.

In fact, over the week I spent in Japan, I quickly fell in absolute love. The cities, the Japanese, and the country’s infrastructure… simply incredible.

Exploring Tokyo

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BauBax Ultimate Travel Jacket Review

ads

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I wrote back in July 2015 about the “ultimate travel jacket” from BauBax.

I was on the fence about getting one, but Jay got it for my birthday, which was in late August.

And um, I just got it this month. So yes, flash forward 10 months and the jacket has finally arrived.

Just in time for summer when you don’t need a jacket lol.

I threw it in my bag and took it with me to Japan to start exploring its features.

But first things first…

About the BauBax ultimate travel jacket

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Bye to RadPad, Hello to Plastiq for 2% Bill Payment Fees With MasterCard (Including Mortgages and Utilities)

Another one bites the dust-ah

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RadPad has been a sweet deal these past few months thanks to their 1.99% fee for paying with a MasterCard.

You could earn 3X Citi ThankYou points by paying with the Citi AT&T Access More card (and still can until June 1st, 2016). Because I have 3 Airbnbs, it’s been a points-generating machine for me.

Even better, when you pair it with Citi Prestige, the 3X points are worth nearly 5% back when you redeem for American Airlines flights. Even with the fee considered, you still come out ahead.

Another one bites the dust-ah

Another one bites the dust-ah

RadPad increases to 3.49%

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Reflecting on 3 Years of Blogging on Out and Out

asd

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Three years, eh? I can hardly believe it.

When I started Out and Out, I was floating through life, working at a public relations firm in Manhattan. Yeah, your typical rat race 9 to 5 that was actually 8 to 6ish. I was tired most of the time, and didn’t travel nearly as much as I wanted. Most of my travel was to and from a cubicle.

On a whim, I bought a domain, OutAndOut.net (it still works btw), and used it as a journal for all the points and miles stuff I was reading as my daily dose of escapism under the fluorescent office lights.

Yup, that included The Points Guy, View From the Wing, and Million Mile Secrets. Those blogs have all changed in the past 3 years. And so has this one.

400 posts

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Vipassana Part 2: My Experience on the Path of Dhamma

IMG_0061

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OR,

Learning Through My Legs

OR,

Busting Through Samkaras

OR,

Vipassana: A Magic Cushion Ride

Note: This post is text-heavy and has nothing to do with points and miles. I’m writing about it here for the same reason I write Trip Reports – to share a new experience. That’s what travel is really about anyway!

In you haven’t yet, be sure to read Vipassana Part 1 to get some background info on an experience like this.

During my time at the Dhamma Siri Meditation Center in Kaufman, TX, the weather actually perfectly mirrored the entire experience. It was uncanny how perfect it was.

Days begin at 4am:

Vipassana Timetable

Vipassana Timetable

You’ll hear the loud gong of a bell at 4am. Then again at 4:20am – your signal to head to the Meditation Hall.

At the Center I attended, they have the light switch next to the bed. That first morning, I flicked the switch – and had no idea what I was really in for.

I got up, one foot in front of the other, and shortly before 4:30am, headed to the Meditation Hall for the first time.

Days 1-3: Going Inward (Rainy AF)

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Review: Bluff Works Travel Pants for Men

Made in NYC

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Update 3/7/16: Bluff Works has generously offered a $10 discount to Out and Out readers! Use promo code PROBLUFFOUT when you check out. It’s valid until April 15th, 2016

Out and Out was recently in Barcelona. For the trip, 2 very different companies set up collaborations.

The first was Coco Luxe (coconut oil on-the-go, which is one of my travel must-haves).

The other was a company that makes another kind of on-the-go products. And with it came the chance to try new pants!

About Bluff Works

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10 (More) Cool Things To Do in Barcelona

asd

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Out and Out is excited to present a guest post!

Travels of Adam is written by Adam, who writes about travel with an emphasis on the LGBT community.

Adam got in touch after my post about fun things to do in Barcelona went up. He’s traveled there more extensively, so I thought it would be fun to share his Barcelona tips with you guys.

It’s awesome to have another voice on here! And if you’re a blogger or writer, or have a cool story to share, get in touch because I’d love to share more guest posts!

Without further delay, I’ll let Adam whisk you away to Barcelona.

10 Cool Things To Do in Barcelona by Travels of Adam

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