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Testimonial Tuesday: Ashley + Benjamin


Testimonial Tuesday: Ashley + Benjamin

Q: Why did you sign up for your trip? What were you looking to get out of it?

A: We were looking for a 3-day getaway where we didn’t have to do any of the planning! We both travel for work + to see our families, so we wanted a weekend away where we didn’t have to worry about the planning! With our 1 year wedding anniversary coming up, we thought this would be the perfect “paper” gift!

Q: Did you have hesitations about taking a surprise trip? Were you nervous?

A: Having a Type A personality, and doing so much planning I was anxious about the trip. It was a good learning experience for me to let it go and know that someone else could handle everything for me. Lillian + her team did a fantastic job with communication and updates so I was not worried. It was just hard to not be in control ;)

Q: Where did you guess you were going to travel? Were you surprised by the destination?

A: We guesses the southeast area of the country. We were totally surprised to hear we were going to San Francisco!! (Although a co-worker of my guessed right). Neither of us had been to California so we were very excited!

Q: What made the trip feel unique and tailored to you?

A: Having the maps + recommended agenda/itinerary available in paper and electronic forms was great!! Having it on paper allowed us to learn a bit about the city while flying. Having it all electronically allowed us to check things while we were exploring!

Q: What was your favorite experience that we recommended for you?

A: My husband is a big tea drinker so he LOVED the Japanese Tea garden. I very much enjoyed it as well. My favorite was the Golden Gate Bridge and Painted Ladies. We actually took a boat tour around the bridge + Alcatraz which was fantastic! We try to do boat tours when we visit new cities.

Q: What did you like most about your travel accommodations?

A: Centrally located! We could walk almost anywhere. And when we were tired of walking, Lyft + Uber were available to help us out.

Q: What did you discover on your own (not on your itinerary) in your destination that you feel is shareworthy?

A: Corny as it is, I was dying to see the “Full House” House. We found it, took a few pics + helped other tourists do the same!! From there, we walked to Lombard Street, which was quite a bit harder than it looked, but totally worth it!

Q: What was your favorite part of your trip?

A: The whole experience!! From the suspense of not knowing where we were going, to having travel + lodging taken care of, to fantastic food and sites. We saw SO MUCH in our short amount of time in San Francisco. With the maps and suggestions provided, we were able to plan a jammed pack trip while still finding time to relax and take it in. It was a wonderful way to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. In our vows we promised “to go on adventures with one another” and when we heard of Pack Up + Go we thought this would be the PERFECT way to do that!

Q: If you could do the trip over again what would you do differently?

A: Make dinner reservations at restaurants.

Q: How would you describe Pack Up + Go and your experience to Family + Friends?

A: I have described it to our families, friends, and co-workers as a must try experience! It is a lot to process, especially if you are controlling, but well worth the experience!! The thrill alone is incredible! And then the ease of navigating makes it simple to jump right in and explore.

Q: What did you learn on your trip, or from your trip?

A: That we want to continue to explore other cities!

Q: What would you say to someone who is hesitant to go on a surprise getaway?

A: Give it a try! Well worth the investment + adventure. You will have memories that will last a lifetime!

Celebrate love, life and adventure like Ashley + Benjamin! 

Give your Valentine “memories that will last a lifetime” with a stress-free, mystery vacation: http://bit.ly/SurpriseForYourSweetheart_2018






Alcatraz is located in the San Francisco Bay, offshore from downtown.

The small island was developed with a lighthouse, a military fortification + jail and became a federal prison from 1934 until 1963 - housing famous criminals such as Al Capone + Machine Gun Kelly!

On January 17, 1986, 32 years ago, this iconic penitentiary became a National Historic Landmark so that future travelers can continue to learn about its unique history!

*BONUS*: The friendly welcome committee, the Pier 39 Sea Lions!



Into the Great Wild Open: California’s Yucca Valley

by Jen Lucas, Pack Up + Go Contributor

As I made the decision to move back east after a 12-year stint in Southern California, I knew I had to make one of my last trips to the Yucca Valley area. I’ve always felt at peace in the desert and felt the calling to visit several Mojave Desert landmarks before returning to to my roots.

We left Orange County California early one morning and made the 2-hour drive inland to the Yucca Valley area toward our home for the evening, the Pioneertown Motel. In 1946, Pioneertown was founded by a group of Hollywood investors, including actors Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.

Directly in front of Pioneertown is the famed restaurant and music venue, Pappy & Harriet’s. A famous pit stop for those en route to the Coachella Music Festival, Pappy & Harriet’s has hosted some of the greatest musicians, including Robert Plant and Paul McCartney.

After a peaceful night’s sleep, we awoke and had time until our sound bath appointment at the Integratron, so we walked the grounds of Pioneertown, down “Mane Street,” to take some pictures. Amidst the Joshua trees, California’s cactus, and dusty desert floor, we stumbled across an older gentleman who actually lived in one of the buildings. Once we mentioned our day included the Integratron, I think he understood our thirst for the not-so-conventional adventure the Mojave had to offer. His name was Rick, also known as Grampz, and he was well-known in the area, as he’s called Pioneertown home for 20 years. He told us about all of the literal gems the desert had to offer including Giant Rock, which is the largest free standing boulder in the world, as well as his good buddy Garth’s place, Boulder Gardens. Since we had an early appointment at the Integratron and no reason to rush home, we decided to continue our journey based on the insider information from our new friend Rick.

We said goodbye to Pioneertown, out to do our best at finding the Integratron, about 15 miles away in Landers, California.

The history behind this amazing structure goes back to the late 1950s, when George Van Tassel claims extra-terrestrials from the planet Venus instructed him on where exactly to place the building and how to construct it. It’s said the structure was built on an intersection of powerful geomagnetic forces that concentrate and amplify the earth’s magnetic field. The dome-shaped building does not contain metal, a single nail or screw to avoid interference with the conductive properties. As a result, the body’s cells are regenerated due to the electromagnetic frequency, rejuvenating those participating in the sound bath, a claim I can indeed vouch for.

There was no doubt of the immediate calming effect of the property, complete with a “hammock village” where people can relax while waiting for their sound bath appointments. Also located on the property is a well for guests to hydrate from the natural water that runs underneath where several sources converge amongst the already powerfully charged earth. Be sure to bring a bottle and hydrate!

After some quality hammock time under the desert sun, it was time for our sound bath. Crystal bowls, all different sizes and tunes typically made of pure quartz crystal, are used and played to activate each of the chakras in your body.

The bowls were played for about an hour and my friend and I, in the most relaxed state ever, decided to chill and drink more of the electrically charged water before heading onto our next stop, Rick’s buddy Garth’s Boulder Gardens, which he named God’s Way Love.

Heading down Gamma Gulch Road, we were surprised to see a sign for God’s Way Love but understood quickly how it was less of a secret spot and more of a welcomed gathering spot. Once on the narrow dirt road, it was clear that this is literally off the beaten path as we ascended up for several miles past boulder formations of all shapes and sizes until we reached what we believed to be the main area. Being total strangers, in a normal situation you might feel as though you are trespassing. However, this was not one of those times. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to visit the land and appreciate it’s beauty.

Garth had his entourage—some permanent, some who stay for a short time and do their part to help the community. All welcomed us with open arms. There was a small outdoor kitchen area, couches, grand piano, meditation gardens and hot tub that’s he’s built in between two large rocks. Garth keeps his venture funded by offering his land to various groups for yoga retreats, camping trips, etc., and people are encouraged to leave donations when leaving the property.  After a live jam session and pure kindness we received from the group, we didn’t blink an eye at contributing to fund this desert oasis and keeping it’s beautiful people thriving.

Unfortunately, it was time to head into the sunset (literally) towards the Pacific with a quick stop in Desert Hot Springs to enjoy the natural hot springs pools, relax the muscles and clean off the desert dust. It was the perfect way to end these two amazing days, jam-packed with random adventure and an even greater appreciation for the great wild open desert.