Short and to the point....
Are you a Good Travel Companion? I guess first we need to define what makes s good travel partner.

I think a good travel partner packs the most important thing first, a sense of humor. Humor is needed because rarely do plans go as perfectly as expected, the unexpected happens. Humor makes the adjustment better.

A good companion is willing and able to stay on budget, regardless if the budget is high or low.

A good companion is considerate of time constraints and is punctual. They are able to use time wisely.

A good companion does not pack everything they own, knowing that added luggage is added burdens and often added fees..

A good companion has taken sometime prior to the trip to orient themselves to the destination. Knowledge is power and knowing in advance helps lessen disappointments of the highly anticipated.

A good companion is willing to try new experiences from food to cultural traditions.

A good companion is flexible and diverse. They are up for a variety of options from shopping to museums to religious icons to nature.

A good companion has energy to complete a full day of fun.

A good companion does not want to stay up late drinking all night and then sleep in the next day. They realize they can do that at home.

A good companion is patient. Everyone knows "a few minutes" in travel time could mean hours.

A good companion is a good communicator. They can listen but they can also seek information when necessary.

So are you a good travel companion?
And our Planet Earth and Mother Nature continue to challenge us. This past week the earthquakes have continued; the flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and heavy spring snows have all occurred, and that is just in the United States. Not to mention that the first spring storm Tropical Storm Ana formed weeks before the official start of hurricane season.

Since most of these events occur without a lot of warning today I have one quick message… emergency preparedness.

I have spoken in the past about being prepared for emergencies and having an emergency kit available to “Grab & Go”. For your sake and your family’s well-being please get an emergency kit ready.

There are many websites that have numerous recommendations of the items that should be put in your emergency kit. Please take the time to do some research and find the essentials that are most needed for your specific emergency kit for your area.

Do not delay because is certainly seems as if Planet Earth and Mother Nature are working together to keep us on our toes!

The earth continues to be shaking and baking. We are not only talking about the explosive volcano in Chile and the devastating earthquake in Nepal. But now we are also talking about an underwater volcano off of the coast of Oregon, a volcano in Indonesia and earthquakes in California, Michigan, Mississippi plus one in Papua New Guinea! Actually yesterday alone (Sunday May 3) there were 90 recorded earthquakes throughout the world!!!! Thankfully they were not of the Nepal magnitude.

Of course let's not forget the volcanoes that continue to erupt in Hawaii, Guatemala, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand and Italy. And remember that's all within the past few days.

While traveling on a trip to Kenya as we entered the great rift travel companion that happened to be a geologist explained many things to me. He told me that basically when we have an earthquake and the plates of the earth shift downward to the earth's core. The plates start to melt causing more lava. The increase in lava then needs to go somewhere so we have volcanic eruptions. How he explained it actually made sense to me.
To all of the geologist out there I apologize if I did not have the exact terminology but I think that sums it up basically for those of us that are not scientist.

The photos below demonstrate the usual areas of concern, not that a really understand all of it but I do not see Michigan highlighted. 

So with all of that said do we all need to think more about emergency preparedness?
Mother Earth seems to be challenging us desperately in the most recent weeks. Chile has experienced a devastating volcano eruption and Nepal a most destructive earthquake. At the same time in Australia a monster cyclone with extreme winds and waves hits the area. While in the United States it has a combination of record-breaking spring snowfalls, wildfires and mammoth tornadoes.

The earthquakes and volcanoes we have no control over and no warning. But the powerful storms and unusual weather patterns many blame on climate change which is in our control. We need to think about how are our lifestyles are affecting climate change. We also need to think about how our lifestyles are not prepared for major disasters.

Many times when we travel we take all of the necessary items that we would think we will need for our extended departure from home. However during our daily lives we really are prepared for an emergency to happen while we are away from home. How many people take emergency supplies with them on their way to work or to the grocery store? We need to be more vigilant about being prepared for emergencies.

In the meantime please help out people around the world that have been affected by the most recent tragic devastations as best you can; and if you can't contribute at least pray for the people affected in those areas.

Somehow I think all of these destructive weather and geological events are going to be continued.
Earth Day will soon be upon us


Our earth is the only home we will ever have. We cannot get married and move away or change jobs and move on to another place. We also cannot take a vacation from it so we had better enjoy what we have; and since we can’t move on we need to protect it. 

Have you ever explored the depths of its oceans and marveled at its unique creatures? From the endangered manatee to the feared great white sharks the ocean is a constant source of entertainment; it is so much more than any DVD. And we do have several oceans to choose from you know. 

Then there are the magnificent mountain ranges located on several different continents. Climbing one of those, even halfway to the summit is a far greater high than can be experienced with drugs or alcohol. Even more thrilling is climbing an active volcano!

Our “home” provides us with the hottest of hot and the coldest of cold. The bitter cold of the Arctic is in vast contrast to the heat of our earth’s deserts.

Regardless of where you claim is your “home” it truly is just a residence because in reality we all share the same home, Earth, so treat it as such. Be proud of your “home”, protect it and take care of your assets, as you would your residence. I am sure most people don’t throw their garbage around their yard or think that someone else will take care of it for them. For many bigger or more is better, wanting to “super-size” but what we need to do is “reduce, reuse and recycle.” 

After all you may want to pass your “home” on as an inheritance to your children and grandchildren.

So remember ...

I'm back! I am not Christopher Columbus, but I made it a crossed the Atlantic... by boat. I have truly sailed the high seas! Oh what a trip it was, we couldn't have asked for better weather. The seas and skies were both calm and blue.

It was my first trans-Atlantic crossing and I loved it. The first week was probably the most relaxing week of my entire life, a week without personal technology, well at least some of it. Since Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone before I was born I have never lived a week without a telephone. But I lived without out one for the crossing. I also lived without Internet since I would not pay $.79 per minute for what I was told was very slow service. I did use my Ipad to read and I did use my phone for pictures but relatively speaking I was not connected to the outside world.

We went days without seeing another ship and during that week I also saw a very minimal amount of television. So without technology it became a very relaxing week.
And of course on the cruise ship you don't need to worry about making your bed, cleaning your room or preparing meals. All we had time for was relaxation and eating.

And probably like Christopher Columbus the most exciting thing each day was when and what was I going to eat!

So I might not be Christopher Columbus but we do have a bit in common.
There is a new place and I must go,

near or far, I never know.

It calls to me with a relentless pull,

Exploring is endless, I am never full.

I am disconnecting for a few weeks,
but do not fret.
I will be back with more great adventures
You can just bet!

The sea is soooo big
                and I am so small.

For thousands of years men and women have been crossing the oceans. Ships of all sizes make the trip every year. Sailors of many nations live on ships for extended periods of time during crossings and patrols. That being said I have never considered being on the water thousands of miles from land for an extended length of time.

I am thinking about all of that now. I am going to embark on a Trans-Atlantic re-positioning cruise, a first for me. The cruise is 17 days in length and the first 7 days are at sea. I am both excited and nervous. Eleanor Roosevelt said

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."

I know my fears are unfounded. The ship is seaworthy and has the best in safety equipment and procedures. It is a world of difference from what Christopher Columbus and his crew had, and they made it. But I still have some unjustified worries.

What if there is a late winter/early spring storm with high rough seas? You just can't pull into a port and wait it out. What if there is a medical emergency? Yes there is a medical center but it is not an acute medical/trauma center. Despite the fact I haven't gotten seasick on previous cruises I have never been out in the middle of the Atlantic. 

And call me a techie "got-to-have-my-cell" freak but no contact with the outside world (without spending a ridiculous onboard fee) for 7 days is a nerve racking thought. Never mind that for years I traveled without a cell phone and the world didn’t come crashing down without my input.

Many will think this is funny scenario, I will go in a shark cage to face a great white shark but I am nervous about being on a cruise ship!

All I can say is like always I will be taking St. Christopher with me; he is more experienced than our Italian ship’s captain.
My local meteorologist stated that March 1st is the beginning of meteorological spring in the northern hemisphere. Supposedly this is determined by the average climate values and not by the equinox which is determined by the sun. That being said why did we get 5 inches of new snow on the North Coast instead of seeing a pop of the spring flowers? And instead of hearing the birds chirping we are hearing the snowblowers running to clear the continuing snowfall! I think the average climate values are changing and the weather officials may need to adjust their dates! 

Spring is one of four seasons in the temperate zone. It follows winter and precedes summer. However in this instance winter hasn't ended so it can't possibly be spring!

Spring often symbolizes rebirth and rejuvenation however currently it means dread, depression and more digging.

Even the clocks aren't "springing" forward for another week! And soon March madness will be upon us... And it has nothing to do with basketball!!