Monday, December 30, 2013

Cape Hatteras

I was working in a small office in Denver and noticed a photo on a pamphlet laying on my desk.  The picture was of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in North Carolina.  I'm not sure exactly what it was that intrigued me so but I couldn't get it out of my mind.  So much so that I took it home and kept it on my nightstand for several weeks. 

Even though geographically it was not that far away, from my small and simple life it seemed like a distant and foreign land.  All I could do was dream that one day I might be able to go there and just see this magnificent site.

That was over 30 years ago and just yesterday I saw another photo of that beautiful lighthouse and immediately it took me back to sitting at my desk in that tiny office, daydreaming of places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see.  I never did go to see the lighthouse but now it's time.  Somehow it stands as a beacon of hope and light from my dreams so long ago.  Next stop the Outer Banks.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Shy Girl on the Road

I have always been an extremely shy girl.  As a child we moved around a lot so I was always the "new girl" and it made it very difficult to develop or maintain relationships.  Just as soon as I would begin to form an attachment to someone we would leave and go on to the next place.  It made me feel very lonely and isolated but the one constant for me was reading.  No matter where we were I could always go to the library and escape into that realm of people and places that I only dreamt of. 

Now as an adult, I intentionally go places where I don’t know anyone and feel very comfortable engaging in conversations and easily make friends everywhere I go.  What is interesting to me is that I don’t do as much of that when I am at home, I tend to revert back to that nervous little girl who feels just a bit out of place.   Perhaps being on the road takes me back to those stories I read when I was young and I don’t have to be the shy girl anymore.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Liebster Blog Award Nomination


I have just been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Jon Parker - Places and Races. The Liebster Award (from the German, meaning ‘dearest’) is for up and coming blogs. Thanks so much to Jon and everyone who has been reading my blogs!  The Liebster Award is great in that it links nominators with nominees by giving guidelines that include setting your nominees questions.

 Here are the Liebster Nominee Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back up to his/her blog
  • Answer the 10 (or 11!) questions which are given to you by the nominator
  • Nominate other bloggers for the award who have less than 200 followers
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them
My answers to the award questions:

  • What is the longest you have stayed in a place that is not your own country? 
    • 6 months in Ireland – it was a fantastic experience
  • What is your scariest travel experience to date?
    • Someone trying to break-in to my hotel room
  • What travel experience made you the happiest?
    • Meeting the wonderful people of Shannon, Ireland
  • What items do you travel with now that you didn’t to begin with?
    • Kindle
  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to travel but is scared it might not be for them?
    • Try short, close to home little trips and go from there
  • Which is your favorite continent you have visited?
    • Europe
  • What makes travelers awesome people?
    • Their curiosity and willing spirit
  • What’s your funniest travel story?
    • Flying with 2 large cats and 6 month old grandson – hysterical!
  • If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of travel advice, what would it be?
    • Start sooner!!!!!
  • What’s the best way to chat up a travel blogger?
    • Ask them where they’ve been

I’m nominating:
@MrsBerich, @MichaelGraciela, @Stepsoftravel, @itsinmysuitcase, @MrMrsbkpkr

My questions for the nominees:

·       What was your favorite trip or location?

·       Have you ever quit a job or left a relationship to travel?

·       How has travel changed you? 

·       Do you prefer solo, couple or group travel?

·       How do you decide where to go next?

·       How long have you stayed away from home at one time?

·       What influenced you to begin travelling?

·       How do you manage personal relationships while on the road?

·       Where would you like to go that you have never been?

·       What has been your most emotional journey?

Thanks so much for reading! I look forward to hearing my nominee’s answers – happy travels!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Life is very Good

What a perfect day in Paris, it's warm with a light breeze blowing as I sit outside at a lovely Brasserie on Rue Cler and watch the world go by. Eating fantastic fresh oysters and sipping a gorgeous glass of wine I'm not sure that it gets any better than this.

La vie est bonne!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Memories of Ireland

Glendalough
 
St. Kevin's
 

Avoca




The Burren
 
Limerick





Lahinch

Monday, November 18, 2013

Homeplace

Have you ever been somewhere that feels so familiar that it instantly feels like home?  That place you feel so attached to even though you’ve never been there before, for me that place is Ireland.  From my very first visit I was deeply moved by the beauty of the country and the people but it was the connection I felt that was so unbelievable. 

Driving along those narrow roads, I almost seemed to know my way.  It wasn’t until I returned home that I understood something had changed and that I would never be the same.  I may not have been born there but it is certainly the homeplace of my heart.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Change your routine and be safe

Sometimes when we travel we get very complaisant – especially if we are travelling for work or spend a lot of time in the same place.  As creatures of habit, I think it is totally normal to get into a daily routine when we are away from home.  For me it is usually getting up at the same time, having my morning coffee or tea before going downstairs for breakfast and then out for the day. 

The problem occurs when we get distracted or lose sight of our surroundings.  I was talking with my daughter last night who also travels a lot with her job about a scary experience she had at her hotel.  After coming back from work, she was checking her phone and didn’t pay much attention to the man on the elevator until he got off on her floor instead of his own and followed her down the hall.  Feeling panicked she rushed into her room and closed the door.   In hindsight, she knew that was not a good idea and wished she had reacted differently but the reality is most of us are so surprised by those situations that we instinctually go to our home even if it is a hotel room.  It’s like closing the front door on your house – you just feel safer being in your own place. 

I have had the same experience and reacted the same way more times than I care to admit but what I did learn was to change my behavior, especially when I am away from home.  I have developed a new routine so when something makes me feel uncomfortable I don’t have to think about it, I can react in a way that keeps me safe and does not make me more vulnerable. 

I pay a lot of attention to who is around me especially on elevators and generally strike up a brief conversation.  It’s nice to chat with people but it also ensures they know that you could identify them if you had to.  At any moment that I feel the slightest discomfort, I stop and pretend I’ve lost something and need to go back to reception or some other public area, I do not go to my room.  Even at home I drive down the street instead of going into my garage if anything seems strange.  I do this so often now that it is second nature to me and I don’t have to try to figure it out when something does happen.   

In “The Gift of Fear” Gavin DeBecker talks about listening to our intuition instead of ignoring it and how to spot the signals of potential danger.  I think this is a must read for all women, especially those who travel alone.  
 

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Beginnings

I am beginning a new chapter in my life and this one promises to be the best yet.  When I travel I feel such a sense of wonder and delight and suddenly everything seems possible.  Things that I only dreamt of as a girl now are within my reach.  Every new place I visit only deepens the desire for more.  Every trip touches me and changes my life in so many ways.  My view of the world expands and I have learned something I would never have known.

This lovely poem by Michele LeDoux sums it up nicely -
As I begin this journey of mine, I will loosen my laces and remove my boots to protect me from absolutely nothing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Every trip to Ireland is a good one


Just returned from the TBEX conference in Dublin, Ireland and even though I missed the entire event due to illness it was still a great week.  I truly love the country and the people so just being there was grand.  It made me very happy to see so many people discover what I’ve always known – that Ireland is a very special and magical place in the world! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Savour the Journey

James Taylor wrote "The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time".  Traveling is about experiencing something new - why not slow down and savour every delicious moment.  Take the time to let it sink in and penetrate your very soul. 

I used to do so much on my trips that I needed a vacation when I got home.   I wanted to see and do as many things as possible because I thought I might never go back and didn't want to miss anything.  What I did miss was the real essence of where I was.  It wasn't until I slowed down that I realized how my life was enriched by every new sight, sound and taste along my journey.   

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Upgrade Journey

I really enjoy getting upgrades while traveling, especially when I don't have to pay for them!  On a recent flight to Europe I purchased an economy roundtrip ticket and on the outbound flight I was very happy to have the entire row of seats to myself so I was able to sleep and had lots of room to spread out.  When I arrived at the hotel early the next morning they not only had my room ready but had upgraded me to a lovely deluxe room with executive lounge access.  What a great way to begin my trip.

The next day, I went to the train station to reserve my seat and the agent said it was too late to pay for an upgrade but that they would accept my ticket in First Class for any unreserved seat.  In my opinion, there isn't a more relaxing way to spend an afternoon than riding the train through the gorgeous countryside while you are served tea, sandwiches and cake.

Everywhere I went I received unexpected but very welcome surprises. During my trip, I caught a bit of a cold and decided I would go home a few days early.  When I called the airline to change my return flight I was informed that there was only 1 seat left on the flight and it was a middle seat, in coach, at the very back of the plane.  I thought about how wonderful all the other aspects of the trip had been and gratefully accepted the seat.

When I went on-line to check in and print my boarding pass I noticed that my seat assignment had changed and I hoped it would at least be an aisle seat.   Much to my delight not only was it an aisle but it was in Business Class and the ticket agent directed me to the airline executive club until my flight was ready to board.  Even now I smile to think of my incredible journey of upgrades.





Thursday, August 15, 2013

Separation Anxiety

I was talking with a friend recently about how to pack as light as possible for trips and how hard it can be to take only what you really need.  She said that in spite of her good intentions, she experiences terrible last minute separation anxiety and feels compelled to over pack.  I laughed out loud and totally understood what she was talking about.  That is exactly how I feel the night before a trip, especially if it is overseas, I just never thought about it that way!  Somehow the thought of being so far away from home and not having my “stuff” causes a totally irrational fear!  

It is very interesting to me that I would suffer so much with this as I am a true believer in travel light and keep it simple.  But something comes over me at the last minute and I start rethinking my entire packing strategy, everything from what clothes to bring to what bag to put them in, truly unbelievable and very stressful.  That is the reason I do an initial pre-pack a few days ahead of time, just so I can rework every aspect before making my final decision the night before.  I can tell you that it does help minimize the anxiety but does not eliminate it.   Now mind you, I do not travel into the wilderness where there will be no resources to get whatever I need and I have never, ever been anywhere that I could not get something essential but still the dread looms.  What I have to do is bring it down to the absolute basics - if I have my passport, wallet and phone I will be fine and I know I will have a wonderful trip! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Work Travel

Sometimes traveling for work feels like a paid vacation. I get to fly to a new city, stay at the nicest hotels, eat at great restaurants with rental cars and taxis all paid for. It can be a wonderful experience and to some people it seems very glamorous indeed. What they don’t see is the down side… I have to leave home on Sunday to be there for a Monday morning meeting with no sleep because the hotel was noisy or the endless hours spent at the airport and living away from home all week. All of that is fine when you are in the Bahamas but it can be quite a challenge when you have to work all week and then you have a 16 hour travel day just to get back home for 1-2 days and then start all over again.

To say it wears on me is an understatement. I fortunately have a choice in the work that I do and I have to remember to pace myself. What I do not want is my love of travel to be tarnished by the stress of working on the road. So what I try to do to make it more manageable is to stay over a weekend just to have fun and enjoy the area that I am visiting and I always plan a trip for pure pleasure so that I have something to look forward to. Somehow the hours at the airport feel very different if you are going to work or going on holiday!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer Vacation


When I was growing up my family took one trip each summer to see our relatives either by car, bus or train.  Even though we would bicker the entire way I really enjoyed exploring whatever new place we were in.  Something as simple as eating lunch at the roadside cafĂ© was fascinating to me.  Everywhere we went the people seemed so different and interesting.  I would watch them and imagine what exciting lives they must lead. 
One year we took a road trip to California to visit our family.  I had never been to the coast or seen the ocean before.  It was incredible to me and I remember how small I felt standing at the edge of the water.  I thought if something so amazing was this close to home, what must the rest of the world look like?  Looking back on that young girl I know exactly where my love of travel began.  My desire and curiosity to discover those amazing things outside of my normal existence have filled my life with wonder and no matter now near or far it always feels like a grand adventure.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Love is in the Eire

Eire or Ireland as we Americans know it is the most beautiful country I have ever seen and it is my favorite place on the planet.  If there is somewhere better, I haven’t seen it yet.  From my very first visit, I fell so deeply in love with it that I wanted to stay there forever. 

It was that intense feeling of being totally and completely at peace in my life (perhaps for the very first time) that was so incredible to me.  The countryside is unbelievably beautiful with the lush green rolling hills and lovely villages and towns scattered about but it is the people that I remain so enamored with.  To say the Irish are friendly is truly an understatement.  Their warmth and generosity are something very special and unique in the world.  Just thinking of that beautiful green place fills my heart with joy!     


Monday, May 13, 2013

Bucket List

It is very interesting to me how my bucket list has shrunk to a fraction of its former size.  I have always kept a list of places that I would like to visit.  Whenever I read an interesting article in a magazine or saw a program on television that caught my attention, I would write it down. 

Long before the internet, I would call the airlines on Thursday to see if they had any cheap last minute seats – going anywhere for the weekend.  It didn’t matter if it was to see beautiful gardens in Canada or just walk on the beach in Florida, I would grab my bag and go.

Now I want to go fewer places and stay much longer.  Taking the time to relax and immerse myself in the local environment.  I don’t want to follow the crowds to the tourist attractions; I want to experience the heart and soul of where I am.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What not to do in Paris

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had a child who was accepted to study in France.  We thought it would be fun if we went to see him and stay in Paris for a week.  She was not an experienced traveler but I assured her that I would look out for her and we would be just fine.  Paris is a gorgeous city and I knew this would be the trip of a lifetime for her.

We decided to rent an apartment so we would have plenty of room and privacy during the trip.  That was the first big mistake – the owner of the apartment was still living there when we arrived and wanted us to share the apartment with him for the week.  I immediately said no and that we would find other accommodation – my “friend” told him it would be fine!  I was stunned and felt very vulnerable and insisted that we go to a hotel. 

We found a lovely small hotel in Central Paris that would be perfect for our stay.  I did tell her (more than once) that we needed to be cautious about our belongings and personal safety while we were there.  Neither of us spoke French very well – although she thought she did and proceeded to insult almost everyone she spoke to. 

As we headed out to see the sights, I told her that we needed to take all of our valuables (passports, money etc.) with us or leave them at the front desk.  I left the do not disturb sign on the door and we were on our way.  It was a lovely day and I was sure the drama was behind us and our trip could officially begin.  When we returned to the hotel someone had been in our room and gone through all of our things.  I was very surprised when she said that not only had she left all of her valuables in the room (some of which were now missing) but she had mentioned to a nice person in the hallway that we were leaving for the entire day!  To say I was surprised is an absolute understatement; this was an otherwise intelligent woman who was clearly out of her element and making both of us unsafe!

That was just the beginning; this woman was the classic American tourist.  Everything from carrying her Rick Steve’s book to wanting to go in secluded areas after dark, she was a walking target.  She grew tired of my trying to educate her on safety and ultimately went off on her own.  Fortunately, we were able to get back home safe and sound but not before we had a few more episodes – like her arguing with Customs getting back into the US. 

That trip was a great example of why I travel alone.  You really don’t know someone until you have traveled with them.  Perhaps I should have titled this – who not to go anywhere with!  The ultimate lesson for me is to be far more selective about my travel companions in the future.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Zealand Adventure

I had dreamt of going to New Zealand for many years.  It was a place that I thought if I ever went to I might not come back.   I had been saving a long time for the trip so when I found a great off season special I booked it.   My flight to Los Angeles was delayed due to wildfires and I remember thinking how fortunate I am and that set the tone for the entire trip. 

Because of the delay I was minutes away from missing my connection to Auckland and there wasn't another flight for 3 days.  When the ticket agent gave me my boarding pass she told me to run and when I arrived at the gate to not hand my boarding pass to the gate agent but to drop it – if they picked it up they would let me on the plane.  I felt like a television commercial running through LAX with my bag.  Fortunately, I only had one small carry on with me (reason #32 to always pack light!) so I was able to move quickly.  The gate agents saw me running and told me not to worry they would wait for me.  It was such a relief.  I wasn’t a very experienced traveler then and didn’t really know how to make alternate arrangements or what to do if I got stuck at an airport.  As I boarded the plane the flight attendants assured me that they would take good care of me and that my holiday started now!  It was by far the best airport and flight experience I have ever had due to the wonderful people at Qantas!

After arriving in Auckland I immediately flew to the south island.  I stayed at a lovely B&B in Nelson and the hostess recommended a short walk in Abel Tasman National Park.  I was still tired from the long trip so a nice walk sounded perfect.  I took a small boat with about 20 people to be dropped off at the trailhead.  I was more than surprised when I was the only one getting off as they handed me a map and told me to be on the other side in 5 hours to be picked up.  When I asked how long it would take they said 4 – 5 hours depending on how quickly I walked.  At first I was terrified as I stood alone and watched the boat pull away.  With the Tasman Sea on one side and the Rainforest on the other it was time to begin my trek.

Walking (or tramping as it’s called in NZ) along this trail was unbelievable.  I felt like a character in a fairytale; I was so far away from home in this strange and beautiful place.  It was a glorious day with the bright blue sky blending with the color of the sea and the lush green forest shining from the morning dew.  Staying very cognizant of the time I moved quickly following the few small trail markers along the way.  I only paused briefly to eat and take photos but I had no idea how long it would take me to get to the pick-up location so I didn’t want to waste time.  I only encountered a handful of people (going in the opposite direction) none of whom spoke English so I felt totally isolated.  Part of that was frightening but it also made me feel strong and determined.  When I arrived at the pick-up spot I felt such a feeling of accomplishment.  It was a truly the most beautiful hike I’ve ever taken. 

I traversed the entire south island by train and coach and was amazed at the diversity of this gorgeous country; coastlines, rainforests, glaciers, mountains and lush rolling green plains.  It was all so beautiful but it wasn’t until I flew over Milford Sound in a small 6 seater plane that I thought to myself - if I were to die now I would be a happy woman.  Since I was traveling alone the pilot let me sit next to him in the cockpit, what an unbelievable experience.  It was absolutely surreal and the perfect way to end my New Zealand adventure.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

In my own Backyard


When I think of travel I always dream of those exotic faraway places that sound so thrilling but sometimes I am surprised by the adventures I can have in my own backyard.

Several years ago I saw an article on-line about a woman who quit her corporate job and started an Alpaca farm.  I was so intrigued by her story that I contacted her and found out that she lived just an hour away from me.  We communicated by phone and email for a short while and then she invited me to come to the farm and meet her family. 

You would have thought I was going thousands of miles away to a foreign land for how nervous and excited I was.  The farm was gorgeous, out in the country with beautiful rolling hills all around.  When I pulled up, several of the Alpacas came to the fence to greet me.  These animals are not like livestock; instead they are more like pets.  So curious and gentle, they are really amazing creatures. 

It was such a wonderful experience to spend time with this lovely family and see them living their dream with these beautiful animals.  It reminded me that just like life, travel is much more about the journey than the destination.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rx - Ireland

My first trip to Ireland was actually prescribed by my doctor.  I had been working too much at a very stressful job and hadn’t taken a vacation in years.  After getting sick and ending up in the hospital my Dr. said she would not release me to go back to work until I had taken a trip somewhere peaceful and out of the country (she knew if I was anywhere nearby I would go back to work too soon – she knows me well). 

So being the good patient and happy traveler that I am, I searched for flights and found an unbelievable roundtrip ticket to Ireland for $220!  I was very tired and still not really well so I decided to book a tour so I didn’t have to plan anything.  A few days before the trip the tour was cancelled, it was winter in Ireland and they simply did not have enough people signed up to go.  I paused for a split second and then decided I would go and drive myself following the same itinerary that the tour had planned. 

I picked up my car in Dublin and set out to see the country.  I wasn’t too far outside of the city when I had to pull over – I was crying so hard I could not see where I was driving.  Not only was the countryside gorgeous but the people were so kind and nurturing; I knew I needed to spend more time in this beautiful place.  So after an unbelievable week - I returned home, quit my job and booked another trip to continue my Irish adventure…..

Friday, April 5, 2013

Further Afield - Mexico

It has been over 30 years ago and yet I remember it like it was yesterday.  The sights, smells and tastes of my first trip to Mexico.  I had never been out of the country before and spoke very little Spanish but I couldn’t wait to go.  My hotel was beautiful – it was an open air, old fashioned Mexican style right on the beach.  The first thing I had to learn was how to say “please remove the lizard from my room”.   I was enchanted beyond belief.

My first night at dinner I was very nervous and trying to order my meal in Spanish was a bit of a challenge but everyone was so polite and helpful I quickly felt at ease.  That was my first experience with people being so curious about the American woman traveling on her own.  The hotel staff made it a point to give me special attention and I felt so welcome and safe with them.

Later that evening I met a group of Canadians and we hit it off immediately.  This was their annual trip and they asked me to join them for some of the activities they had planned.  We spent the next few days swimming in the ocean, horseback riding and of course lots and lots of fiestas, it was so amazing I couldn’t believe I had really done this.  I had come to this foreign country all by myself and it was incredible.  The food was fantastic and the people were so warm and gracious, it felt magical.

I was so proud of myself and felt very brave.  That trip changed my life and gave me the confidence to go anywhere in the world and all I could think about was where I wanted to go next!

Monday, April 1, 2013

UK Ancestral Tour

I have been trying to trace my ancestors for over 20 years and always hit one road block after another.  Last year I came across a wonderful genealogist from Scotland that helped me finally find my family.  In addition to great research and documentation they provide tours to the actual locations where they lived.  I have worked with other genealogists before but I knew right away this one was different; they didn’t want full payment up front.  Instead, it was pay as we go and based on what we could find.   I could not have been happier with the results and decided to book the tour so I could see everything first hand.

I flew into London and then took the train to Edinburgh, Scotland.  What a beautiful trip that was.  It was so relaxing to sit, have tea and look out at the beautiful countryside as we passed through.  At one of the stops in North Yorkshire (where most of my family is from) a woman stood up to get off of the train and I couldn’t believe my eyes – she looked so much like my mother it took my breath away.  It was an incredible feeling to see someone who looked so much like me and it gave me such a strong sense of belonging that it brought tears to my eyes.  The entire trip was far more emotional than I had ever expected.  To stand on the land that my Great, Great Grandfather farmed or see the ruins of the church where he was baptized and buried was unbelievable. 

This was my personal version of “Who do you think you are?” and it was the experience of a lifetime, or should I say the lifetime of my family.  This combined my two great passions in life – my family and travel.  It was an incredible journey and I can’t wait to go back! 

If you have Scottish or English heritage and would like more information I highly recommend ScotiaRoots - http://www.scotiarootstours.co.uk





Saturday, March 30, 2013

Travel Light


When I talk about traveling light I mean both physically and emotionally.  Remember you have to carry whatever you take with you for the entire trip. 

Packing:
I keep a master travel supply list on my computer that I print out before each trip.  It has everything from shampoo to my phone charger and includes domestic and international travel needs.  Then depending on my destination I adjust the list so I have all the essentials I know I will need. 

Now here is where it gets a little tricky, deciding how much to take.  Most of us feel that we need different outfits, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, personal products etc.  This adds up very quickly and before you know it you are trying to walk over the Grand Canal in Italy with bags that you would rather toss than carry one more step.  I learned my lesson and will never, ever do it again.  It’s not easy and I still have the inclination to bring more than I really need but all I have to do is think about that trip and it stops me.   

I take a rolling backpack and one small shoulder bag for plane incidentals on all of my trips now.  I can’t tell you how many places you cannot roll a suitcase or what happens if the wheels or handle breaks.  Trying to carry it up stairs (and there will always be stairs), on and off of buses and trains, through the mud or over those beautiful cobblestone streets will exhaust you before your trip even begins.   

For my clothes, I always pick a color scheme that I can mix and match with everything I am taking.  No one offs – I don’t care how beautiful that designer blouse is, if I can’t wear it with at least 3 things I cannot bring it.  If you stick to dark color basics like Black for your skirts, jeans and slacks you can add blouses, scarves and sweaters to make entirely different outfits.  Everything, even the scarf has to do double or triple duty.  I lay everything I want to take out on my bed – making sure I like what I have and that it all goes together.  Then I try to pack my bag – usually I find it is full before I even get my shoes or shampoo in there so I know I have to pare down.   Don’t panic – it might take a few tries before you get it down.  I just got back from 2 weeks in Europe and found I actually had things I did not use!  Also it helps to remember that unless you are going into the wild you will have access to buy anything you might have forgotten. 

Traveling can be very stressful and usually it is what we are trying to get away from when we go away.  I try to spend some time thinking about what a great experience I am going to have and that I will be happy with whatever I encounter along the way.  Sometimes this is easier said than done but it does help me to set my intention and really enjoy my trip.   

Whether it is for work or play I find that I will have a good time if I remember to travel light!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hawaii on a Whim


Sometimes I don’t pick the trip – the trip picks me.  I travel for work and pleasure so I try to be ready to go whenever the opportunity presents itself.  That was the case with Hawaii.  It was certainly one of those places I’ve always wanted to visit but I didn’t plan to go until it began showing up everywhere – people at work talking about it, TV, email specials, you name it.  I’m a little superstitious about taking hints from the travel gods about where I should and should not go (I’ll tell you about my trip to Paris another time).
 So not long after starting a new job I received a notice from my airline frequent flyer program that I had miles that would expire and there just happened to be enough for a flight to Hawaii.  Then, the hotel chain I usually stay with notified me that they had a great deal on Hawaiian vacations and I could use my points for most of it.  That was it – I booked the trip.  I didn’t even know which island(s) I wanted to visit all I knew was that I wanted to go.

I just love the spontaneity of picking up and going somewhere out of the blue; it feels like a very decadent and frivolous adventure!  It is hard for me to plan trips very far in advance because I don’t like to wait and I usually will over think everything from what to wear to what I want to do.

This trip was easy – I wanted to be somewhere quiet where I could go whale watching.  So Molokai was my island.  I was warned by everyone not to go, that I would not like it and there was nothing to do but that sounded perfect.  It was one of the most relaxing vacations I think I’ve ever had.  The added bonus was I met some wonderful people and saw many beautiful whales and dolphins!

My advice is - don’t be afraid to just let yourself go, you will never regret it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Start Small

If you are new to travel, the first thing to remember is to start small and test the waters.  I began by driving to a city near my home and just staying 1 night at a safe and affordable hotel.  I always stay at one with a restaurant on-site so if I feel the least bit uncomfortable I can stay in and not worry about having to go out for my meals.  Another nice alternative is a B&B, very often the family will help you with whatever you need and it is nice to get to know the area from people who live there.  Do remember that they only serve breakfast so you will have to get lunch and dinner on your own.  Most of the time, I prefer hotels because I want the freedom and flexibility to come and go as I please.  If I decide to lounge by the pool all day and have dinner in my room I can do that.

Plan one short excursion while you are there – visit the local museum, baseball game, gardens or whatever appeals to you.  There is something interesting and unique about everywhere you go and it will enhance your journey and make you feel that you are really away from home without having to go very far at all.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Let the Journey Begin

Wherever I go women ask me, how do you do it, how do you travel everywhere all by yourself?  For me, the answer is very simple – because I want to.  That my desire and curiosity are stronger than the fear and every trip, near or far presents another opportunity for a grand adventure. 

Growing up we did not have a car and my mother didn’t drive so we had to walk or take public transportation everywhere we went.  That greatly restricted where we were able to go but it really helped me learn how to navigate in bus and train stations.  I learned so much about how to get around to places we otherwise would not have been able to go. 

Even then, my appetite for travel was tremendous.  I remember sitting on the floor at the local library reading stories about people and the amazing places that they lived.  I would daydream that I was that elegant lady strolling through the streets of Paris or walking along the beach on some distant island.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that someday it would really come true and yet that was me having dinner in London last month and walking though the Scottish countryside. 

I have had so many incredible experiences and now I would like to help other women learn how to do it as well.  All you need is a willing spirit and you can have the adventure of a lifetime!