Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Travel Adventures After 50

When I turned 50, I noticed that my travel style was beginning to change.  I was less interested in speeding from place to place and more interested in a slower, more relaxed pace.  I wanted to visit fewer places and stay longer.  Taking the time to savor the entire experience.
 
I always begin by listing locations that I want to visit and what I might like to do while I’m there.  Keeping in mind that I don’t want a packed schedule, I plan my down time as well as my activities. 
 
Especially with overseas trips, I know that I will need a little time to recover from jet lag so now I give myself a couple of days to relax without making a lot of plans.  I can always do more if I’m feeling up to it but I don’t feel obligated.  It’s a nice opportunity to treat myself to a nice lunch or just a cup of tea on the patio.
 
Something I love to do everywhere I go is to visit gardens and museums, so I usually will build my trip around that.  It helps to narrow down where I want to stay and what type of transportation is available. 
 
I like to book at a nice hotel with a restaurant so that I don’t even have to go out if I don’t want to.  This also helps me feel more comfortable in a new area when I’m away.  Even though I always research the hotel and surrounding area carefully before I leave home, sometimes it isn’t what I expected or my flight is delayed and I arrive in the middle of the night.  Staying safe is always a priority.
 
Another nice alternative is a Bed and Breakfast.  Very often the family will help you with whatever you need and provide great information about the local area.  Do remember that they only serve breakfast so you will have to get lunch and dinner on your own. 
 
When I was younger, I would usually rent a car when I was away but now, I prefer to use public transportation.  I love to take taxis, buses and trains where ever I can and with ride-share available almost everywhere in the world it is easier than ever to get around.  You just need to pay close attention to schedules and plan for unexpected delays and cancelations.
 
Something that has helped me, especially as I’ve gotten older, is to be as prepared as possible for the inevitable travel disruptions.  More than ever, travel is unpredictable, and if you can stay flexible and be willing to make the necessary adjustments, you will have a more pleasant journey.  Some of my best experiences came from what otherwise seemed to be problems while I was traveling.
 
One thing, the biggest thing, I have learned while traveling is to Pack Light! 
For some, this may seem impossible but I’ve found it is more of an art than a science and with a little bit of planning and some practice, anyone can do it.
 
After 40 years of traveling for work and pleasure I now know that there is very little that I can’t get wherever I am and how easy it is to pivot when those unexpected issues arise if I don’t have too much baggage with me.
 
Everything from broken wheels and handles to the infamous cobblestone streets of Europe, I have never been sorry to have too little luggage.
 
I travel with one small carry-on bag that has wheels and shoulder straps and one small personal item that will fit into my carry-on if necessary.  Even for a 2-week holiday in the middle of winter, it must fit into my one carry-on or it doesn’t go.
 
Not only do I not have to worry about lost or stolen luggage but it also makes it possible for me to quickly change flights or get on and off of crowded buses or trains.
 
If you are new to travel, the best thing to do is to start small and build from there.  Plan one short excursion to do something you enjoy either in your own city or somewhere nearby for a short weekend stay and see how it feels.
 
Everywhere I go, I discover something new and interesting, not just about the place I’m visiting but about myself as well.
 
Happy Travels!

Published on - HoneyGood.com
 
Do you like to travel?  Has your travel style changed as you’ve gotten older?  Share your stories.
 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

30 Day Reboot

 It’s that time of year again.  The time when I begin to feel a bit restless and in need of a change.  I don’t feel stuck, just a little less interested in my usual routine.

Time passes so quickly that I forget to stop and reassess where I want to be.  All of those things that I thought about doing so many months ago, but never did, now don’t feel so important or interesting.

Being retired, I don’t have the commitment of work and yet my life is full and busy and for that I am grateful.  Now, I am ready for something new.

Time for a Change

I have to be careful when I’m feeling this way as I have a tendency to make radical changes, like moving houses or even leaving the country.  I don’t need to go to that extent if I can just find some new ways to revitalize my outlook.

What I have learned is that all change actually happens from within and that is where I need to start.  So, I have created a personal challenge that will help me to reset my perspective and allow some fresh ideas to surface.

Be Easy About It

What I am looking for is a gentle shift, not a huge leap.  Some way of opening up to some new things without having to throw out the old. 

One thing I will do more of is meditate.  Spending just 10 minutes a day, sitting quietly is so simple that I forget how much power there is in reconnecting with my spirit.

When I do that, it seems that I feel lighter, and more creative ideas come to me. 

Do What You Love

Something that never fails to soothe my soul is to go out in nature.  No matter what the weather is, I always love just walking in a park.  I go during off hours so I can be alone and just experience the peace.
 
This year, I started a small vegetable garden.  It has been so satisfying to care for the plants and watch them grow.  It is a lovely reminder of the cycle of life.

Have Fun

Part of the process for me is to remember to have more fun.  I have always been a very serious person so light-hearted fun is pure joy when I can let myself feel it.

Over the years, I have found that I enjoy many things but don’t often incorporate them into my daily life. 

Whether it is turning up the music and dancing while I’m cleaning house or cooking some new exotic dish, it doesn’t matter.  Just being playful is key to feeling happy.
 
Minimize Negative Influence

It is helpful for me to reduce outside interference in order to make sustainable changes. 

The big one for me is my phone.  I live alone so it is easy for that to be my biggest connection with the outside world, but it has become less of a tool for communicating and more of a time warp of senseless activity.  I catch myself scrolling through a flood of information that I don’t want or need in my life.

I remember when a phone was just a phone, not a mini-computer.

Television is another intrusion that I allow far too often.  I don’t need the constant input of bad news and excessive advertising. 

Maximize the Positive

It is easy to go through the day without stopping to think about how I am really feeling.  Every day there is an opportunity for me to look for the best things in the world around me. 

Something as simple as a friendly check-out clerk at the store or a lovely yellow butterfly on the bush in my yard.  Life is as wonderful as we let it be.

Many years ago, Bing Crosby sang “Accentuate the Positive – Eliminate the Negative”, that is my new mantra.

I can’t wait to see what delightful things I will discover on this new journey.
 
Do you feel a need for change at different times of the year?  What do you do when you are craving something new?  Share your stories and join the conversation.

Published on Sixty and Me

Friday, May 13, 2022

Sunday, March 13, 2022

What I Didn't Know About Ireland

                                 


As an Irish American, I grew up thinking that I knew certain things about Ireland.   Of course, I had always heard how beautiful it was and how friendly the people were, but I was surprised to discover that there are so many things that as Americans we don't really know about Ireland.

Here are just some of the things that surprised and delighted me during my travels to the lovely green isle.

Top o' the Mornin 

I've never heard an Irish person say this in over 20 years of traveling there.

Corned Beef and Cabbage is not the national dish

The most common or traditional meal I found all through the country is boiled back bacon (pork), potatoes, cabbage and a lovely parsley cream sauce, it's just like the country boiled dinner my grandmother made when I was growing up.  Corned beef and cabbage developed in America due to the cost of food and immigrants living in the same communities with some who did not eat pork.  


Irish Bacon is not the same as Canadian Bacon 

It a gorgeous slice of pork loin (rashers) that I adore!

St. Patrick's Day began as a religious holiday to honor their patron Saint

Until 1970 pubs were required by law to close for the day.  Irish immigrants in America began celebrating in remembrance of their homeland and it has evolved into the green madness we know today. 

The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are separate countries

Although they share a border with the South, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.

Pubs in Ireland are truly Public Houses

They are a place to meet, gather and conduct business.  You are as likely to find a hardware store or linen shop in the same building.  I even found one that had a mortuary on the other side.  Many have become more of a drinking establishment, but you'll still find many true pubs throughout the country.

To say that the Irish are heavy drinkers, is not a fair reflection of the culture

I found drinking to be more of a social activity, and many prefer tea or soft drinks over alcohol when they are out.  My favorite was black currant juice mixed with water, very refreshing.

Having said that, there is a very healthy respect for the black stuff

During my travels I would often see Guinness mini coupes driving through the country to inspect and service the tiny pubs in the towns and villages.  As a woman you are more likely to be offered a glass instead of a pint when you order a beer, just tell them you want a pint, and you'll get a smile and a wink.

We've all heard of Irish Wakes 

I was very moved to hear the story about families having American Wakes for their loved ones who were emigrating to the US - they knew they would probably never see them again.  

Christian - Pagan - Ancient Celts

As I trekked up the Hill of Tara, I was surprised to see a very modest statue of St. Patrick and all of the surrounding monuments and symbols to honor their ancient pagan history as well.

Cherish the History

That is something very unique about Ireland - they don't remove something just because it is old or seems out of date.  A lovely caretaker I met at the Kylemore Abbey gardens explained to me that anything that thrives there stays there. 

Taxi drivers are more like professional tour operators 

They will give you great information about the local area.  It will also be the most interesting conversation you will ever have.  The Irish are very well informed about news and world events and love to chat with travelers about all of it.

How lovely and social they are is not a myth 

If they ask you about yourself, it isn't simply to be polite - they really want to know.  When I lived there, I was told early on, to allow extra time when you go out so you can chat with the people you meet along the way.  

The Irish have an incredible, irrepressible, independent spirit

That is perfectly displayed on the Painted Doors of Dublin.  At the same time, they have a deep love and loyalty to their country, like singing the national anthem at the end of the night after drinking and dancing.  That is something you would never see at an American bar.

They are the warmest, kindest most generous people I have ever met, and the countryside is absolutely stunning.  

If you've been there, then you know what I'm talking about.  If you haven't, then you must see it for yourself to understand the true beauty of this very special place.

To say I was charmed by Ireland would be a tremendous understatement.  It's not only the home of my ancestors but has become the homeplace of my heart.