Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Warmth of Phoenix

I haven't been to Phoenix in years but I always enjoy my time there.  It's such a nice winter break from the cold in Colorado.  With so much going on for the holidays I wanted just a short, easy little getaway and this was the perfect choice.

It was one of the best, most relaxing trips I have had in a very long time.  I could have been 5,000 miles away and not unwound more quickly.  I flew in and the shuttle was there to greet me, like my own personal valet.  I stayed at the Phoenix Airport Marriott and the entire staff could not have been more welcoming.  For the entire stay, I felt pampered and catered to in a way that I was not expecting.  3 days was not enough so I will return very soon because it's not just the weather that is warm in Phoenix.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I know I've been at home a little too long when I start to get "cabin fever".  That sense that I am trapped in a very small environment and can't get out.  During meetings at work, I daydream about all of the incredible places I have been or want to go to and I can feel my spirits lift.

The only cure for what ails me is to plan some new adventure.  Whether it's near or far, somewhere new or an old favorite, it doesn't matter.  It makes me feel like I have escaped and gained my freedom.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Gentle Journey

There is something very serene about traveling by train.  It takes me back to another place and time when things moved a little slower and the journey was just as important as the destination. 

When I was growing up, we would take the train to go to visit our family in Iowa.  It was a long trip but it felt very peaceful to me, staring out of the window watching the endless rows of corn rush by was almost hypnotizing. 

Mom had her avocado green makeup/curler bag with little treats for the trip, usually lemon drop candies that my brother and I loved and a deck of playing cards to help pass the time.  What I remember most was just being able to relax and feel the rhythmic motion of the train as we passed through the countryside.  No expectations, just a lovely and gentle journey.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Luxurious Langoustine

Last night I watched a cooking program where the chef prepared a lovely langoustine dish.  I have only had this delicate crustacean once and it was on my trip to New Zealand.

I had taken the Coastal Pacific rail from Picton to Christchurch, the journey through the countryside and along the coast was so beautiful.  It was late when I checked into my hotel and I went downstairs for a bite to eat.  There were 2 restaurants, one casual and bustling with people.  The other, elegant with a peaceful atmosphere, that was the one for me.

As I looked over the menu, I realized that this would be beyond my meager budget but I wanted to stay so I ordered a starter and thought that would be sufficient.  I ordered the langoustine with cream sauce and a nice glass of local red wine.  I'm not sure if it was the food, the atmosphere or just the entire experience but it felt so luxurious and tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten.   

For me, that is one of the great joys of traveling.  I can savor those precious moments and relive them again and again, just like they were yesterday.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hotel Safety

This is a subject that I cannot write enough about.  It seems as though there are always new situations that arise to help me learn about being safe away from home, either alone or with others.

Last week while traveling for work I stayed in a very nice hotel in a good part of town with several people from the office and that always makes me feel more comfortable but I was quickly reminded to never let my guard down.  After having dinner with a co-worker downstairs at the hotel restaurant we headed back up to our rooms, we were on different floors - hers was key access only.  Just before the doors closed a man jumped on and when we asked what floor he simply nodded and never said where he was going. 

When the elevator stopped on my floor, he got off behind me and immediately I felt very uncomfortable.  I thought about what happened recently to my daughter and the blog post I wrote about her experience.  I decided to wait by the elevator to see if I could hear him going into a room before I went to mine.  When I didn't hear anything, I peeked around the corner only to see him looking up and down the hallway.  I quickly pushed the down button on the elevator to go back to the lobby.  When he came back around the corner, he was startled to see me standing there and I told him I had forgotten something downstairs.  He pushed the up button and just stared at me.  I was beginning to panic when his elevator came I waited until it closed and quickly ran to my room.  After alerting my friend and notifying the front desk I thought about how I could have handled that in a much safer way.

First, I would not have gotten off on my own floor.  I would have stayed on with her and called someone from the front desk to meet us.  I also would not have stayed by the elevators, I should have immediately gone back down to the lobby and asked for someone to go back up with me as there was a strange man wandering the hall.

Granted what I did do was better than just casually going to my room and let him see where I was staying but I did not go far enough to protect myself.  He may have just been lost but there is never a good reason to stay around to find out.  She and I both had a bad feeling when he got on the elevator but we were too busy chatting and because we were together we felt a false sense of security.  This was a great experience for me to heighten my personal awareness about staying safe no matter where I am or who I am with.


1 year on

It has been one year since I started this blog.  It has been a fantastic way for me to share my experiences with others in the international travel community.  Women's Independent Travel was born out of my love of all things travel and this blog has been a perfect forum to connect with like minded people and organizations which is something I truly miss as a solo traveler.  Now I feel as if I have an extended family around the world and I am very grateful for all the encouragement and support everywhere I go. 

Safe and happy travels to you all!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sentimental Journey

After a very strange and stressful week at work I was finally heading to the airport to go home.  When I arrived it was buzzing with activity, mostly sports fans and students on spring break so it was very loud and hectic.  I found the most quiet location possible and tried to focus on what would make my flight more pleasant so I decided to think about where I wanted to sit on the plane.  This airline does not assign seats which can be a blessing or a curse and with today's crowd I thought I better put all of my energy toward the positive so I could try to relax on my way home.  My request was simple - a seat on the aisle with room for my small bag overhead and a pleasant seatmate preferably between rows 5 - 20 on the plane.  I know it's silly but it can make all the difference between a easy and comfortable flight and an uncomfortable one.

Boarding the plane it was already more than half full and as I moved back I scoured the rows for my seat.  Finally, row 17 on the aisle, with plenty of overhead space - great!  As I sat down I realized it was 2 women with a small baby and that may have been why the seat was available.  I was thrilled, after becoming a grandmother almost 4 years ago it makes me very happy to be around young children. 

It was a young mother with her grandmother and 6 month old daughter.  I immediately began to relax and knew this would be a wonderful flight.  I chatted briefly with the women and played with the beautiful little girl until she fell asleep in her great-grandmothers arms.  Then it occurred to me - that could be me someday!  A tidal wave of emotion came over me as I thought about my grandchildren having children of their own and that we might take a trip together just like this lovely family and I could have my own great-grandchild sleeping in my arms.  What a beautiful and sentimental journey and one of the best trips I have ever had.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Slow Travel

As I think about planning my late winter holiday I've realized that my travel style has changed a great deal in recent years.  I'm no longer interested in the high octane, thrill seeking adventures as I once was.  Even going to extreme and exotic locations is just not high on my list anymore.  Now I am craving that journey that is sweet and slow, something peaceful and beautiful to rest my soul.      

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Umami of Travel

Umami is a food term for delicious - that combination of savory, sweet, sour, bitter and salty that excites our palates and so it is with travel.  Everything that makes each trip so memorable touches our spirit and becomes a part of us forever. 

For those of us who love the journey it is a divine delight of the senses.  Just like sitting down to a large buffet - every sight, sound, taste, touch and aroma fills us with wonder and excitement.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Short and Sweet

Sometimes the best getaways are those that are short and sweet.  So many people are so busy that they live for that precious once a year vacation.  Usually it's during the summer when the kids are out of school or over the holidays when everyone in the world is traveling and you come home more exhausted than when you left.  My solution is a decadent little weekend trip that makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

I'm a big fan of being a tourist in your own city.  It's great fun to plan an activity or meet friends for a night out but stay in a hotel instead of at home.  Even one night makes me feel like I've had a nice break and doesn't take much time or planning at all. 

Most hotels offer weekend or package specials so it is an easy and affordable getaway right in your own home town.