My Travel Philosophy

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Travel Videos

I really loved my trip to England last year, and cannot wait to go back.  I recently got some videos from the library just to refresh my memory of the things that I saw, and maybe get a few ideas for the next trip. [Note:  I had originally planned to go back next year (2012) after the Olympics are over.  However, we're going on a cruise in January and I'm going to Alaska on a cruise in August, and we may go to Mexico in May so I'm not sure I can fit in another big trip.  We'll see.]

Anyway, the videos are:
  • London:  City of Majesty (I like this one but it has terrible reviews on amazon)
  • Rice Steves' Europe / Britain & Ireland (but I'm just watching the England parts now -- I'll save Ireland, Wales, and Scotland for another time).  This one has some pretty good travel information.
  • England (by Globe Trekker) Note:  Glastonbury is a little 'new age' for me
  • Europe to the Max:  London and Beyond
 I absolutely have to go to Dover and Canterbury next time!

I also started reading the souvenir guides that I bought at the various castles and cathedrals (finally).  Turns out that I didn't get guidebooks for Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, and Westminster Abbey -- but I found them for sale through amazon so I snapped them up to make my collection complete.  I think I actually saved money and I didn't have to carry them home in my luggage!  A pretty good deal, really.

With those cruise coming up in 2011, I also got some materials to do research prior to going:
  • video from library:  Cruise Western Caribbean
  • book from B&N:  Caribbean Ports of Call 2011
  • video from library:  Cruise Alaska
  • book from B&N:  The Alaska Cruise Handbook
  • video from library:  Cruising Europe's Great Rivers (because this is something that I really want to do in the very near future)
I also picked up a little book to carry around:  Rough Guide Phrasebook - Mexican Spanish.  I'm thinking that it will come in handy when we stop in Mexico (and if we go to Mexico in May for the wedding of Doug and Debbie's daughter), and I need to pick up more Mexican anyway!

Now, I need to get going on the research for our January cruise so I can book some excursions!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


We have 3 timeshare properties (or Vacation Ownership Properties, as they're called).  Initially, I wondered if we'd be able to use them because there really are drawbacks when you have to use an entire week at a time.  A lot of our trips are for fewer than 7 days, or the trips are long but not all at one place.

Anyway, it really is working out beautifully -- especially now that the grandkids are old enough to travel so the whole family is able to take advantage of using the properties.  Also, the timeshare companies have made huge changes which allow using the week in increments of a few days (although we haven't done that yet).

The reason all of this comes to mind is because we had a week that Scott & Maggie had originally planned to use in Tennessee last summer, but the property turned out to be pretty far from where they wanted to go so we "banked" it and we needed to use it by the end of February 2012.  This is the type of scenario that I don't like:  the need to use it us or lose it.  

Turns out that Mom and Aunt Ethel are going to Florida in a few weeks and I was able to use it for them in a place only 20ish minutes from where Dean lives.  Now, they'll have a nice 2-bedroom, 2 bath place to stay all week where they can cook in instead of having to eat out.

Worked out really great!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2012 Travel Plans (so far!)

On this Sunday afternoon, I slept until 1 p.m. and now I'm enjoying a day of nothing.  Sitting in front of a scary movie (1963's The Haunting) and watching the wind blow outside.

A word about this movie:  this black and white movie is a horror classic.  Starring Julie Harris, we saw this at the drive-in when I was a kid and it scared me greatly.  I think it was the beginning of the love that I have for horror movies and books.  I try to watch this every time it's on TV.  Great cast:  Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn -- so much better than the remake with Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Owen Wilson.  Looking it up on IMDB, I found that the exterior shots were taken at what is now a 4-star hotel in the Stratford-upon-Avon area.  I may think about staying there the next time I go to England!

Thinking about that made me realize that I need to organize my travel plans for 2012.  The calendar hasn't been filled in yet (I keep a 12-month at-a-glance calendar so I can see exactly where the travel and babysitting obligations fall), and 2011 hasn't been updated yet.  It would be nice to get one more trip in this year:  I'd like to go to the Biltmore in Asheville to see it at Christmas.  Mom and I are talking about going together, and I'm wondering if it makes sense to also try to go into Washington D.C. for a day or two to hit the Smithsonian.  [Oops!  A quick look at an atlas says that combination makes no sense.  Asheville is almost a direct line between Chicago and Florida, while Washington D.C. is considerably farther north and east.) A trip to the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland Hotel makes more sense.]  That job at Kohls does get in the way sometimes -- especially as we get closer to the Holidays and the trucks really start coming in.  Maybe I'll have a talk with them and see when it would be most convenient for me to be unavailable for a 5-6 day period.

For 2012 so far, we have a cruise in January, a weekend trip to the Dells in February, a week at the cottage in July, and the Alaska cruise in August.  Doug and Debbie's daughter is getting married in May at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico and I'm thinking about doing that as well.

I had actually considered going back to England in 2012 for a month (with a side trip to France to have a better look at Paris and to visit Versailles), but I'm not sure that there will be either time or money for that.  2012 also marks the year of our 30th anniversary and I had thought about having a party or something to celebrate.  I'll have to think about that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cruise Update (already)!

Almost immediately upon booking that Caribbean cruise, I realized that it goes right over the top of Ian's birthday and encompasses the weekends before and after his birthday.  Then, Stacy mentioned that her book launch party will be the weekend of her birthday -- which is when we were scheduled to leave.  So, that was too much stuff to miss (don't know what I was thinking when I picked that week!).  I called and we were able to pick up the whole reservation and move it to January 21.  It was $100 more each (probably because it's a bit later in the month and the weather is going to be so much nicer), so that wasn't too bad and I'm really glad that it was possible to change it.  Fortunately, I hadn't booked any flights yet or it would have gotten really messy.

Going a bit later in January will make it a lot nicer for swimming and/or snorkeling or whatever we decide to do on shore excursions.  I did a little looking online last night at what's available for shore excursions and found the usual beach/snorkeling things, but also a run through the jungle on 4-wheelers which might be kind of fun.  I don't think we're necessarily interested in swimming with dolphins or anything like that.  I saw one excursion that was a High Tea one afternoon, but I'm guessing that wouldn't be high on Jeff's list.  At any rate, we should have warm weather for whatever we decide to do.

Heading to our 50th State!

[Transferred from different blog]

I've done a lot of traveling over the years -- a lot with my job and a lot for pleasure.  I've visited almost all 50 states but I'm currently missing 5:  North Dakota, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Alaska.  [Sidebar:  there are a lot of states that I visited while on business that need another look because I saw nothing!]

Next year, I'll be adding the toughest one of the bunch:  Alaska!  Yep, Mom and I are going to go on a cruise from Seattle up to Alaska.  We're going in August -- on Mom's birthday, as a matter of fact -- and we're just starting the planning process so I'll be documenting the process right here as the research is undertaken and decisions are made.

This is the basic information:

7-day cruise on August 21, 2012 on the Carnival Spirit out of Seattle. 


Stacy said...
I would go back to Alaska in a heartbeat. That's awesome!

By the way...I have an aunt in Rhode Island who lives near the beach, and it's on my bucket list to hit that New England area in fall. So I'm just saying...hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.
Vicki said...
I'm in!! Any birding things we can see?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Celebrating 30 years!

2012 will mark 30 years that Jeff and I will be married (July 31).  Because Jeff loves cruising as his favorite type of vacation, and because we don't want to go on a cruise in the middle of the summer, I just booked a cruise for us for January 7-14.  We'll be leaving from New Orleans (one of our favorite cities to visit) and go to Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Mexico.

Now, hopefully, I'll have lots of incentive to lose some weight before we leave!