Decisions, how do you decide when and where you're going to travel? Is it a destination that is on your bucket list? Or do you go at the best time you're permitted by your workplace? Is it shoulder season, or at the time of year when you get the possible rate? 

I'm currently struggling with two possibilities or maybe three! 

Do I travel to a place on my bucket list during the shoulder season? It is a time that I will get the best rate but I will have weather conditions that are less than optimal. However I could take a later date spend about $300 per person more and have better weather conditions. Then there is another choice, more inclusive in the package but less days. Alternatively I could just go to a different destination altogether, one that is still on my bucket list and is a price based in between the other two prices.  

Decisions, decisions, decisions, how am I going to decide? 

Advice anyone?
According to my local meteorologist meteorological summer arrived on June 1, this is also the official beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic. 

The predictions for the 2015 Hurricane season are for a relatively quiet season, but Ironically the first storm of the season occurred before the official beginning. 

Upon my recent arrival in Florida it was obvious that hurricane season has begun. The sunshine State was anything but sunny. At first it was gray and dreary then we had monsoon type of rain. Or I guess you could say hurricane strength rain. The powerful wind tore out the screens on the lanai.

The hurricane season is upon us and we have already had the second named storm in the Atlantic. While having dinner at a restaurant the power went out due to the strong wind; and then while driving home from a long weekend trip in Pennsylvania I got acquainted with Tropical Storm Bill. My home and eastern Pennsylvania are not in the normal hurricane zones but I am already tired of them!

As with all of the other recent natural disasters everyone should make sure that they have their emergency preparedness kit available and ready to use. It sure seems we are going to need them this year.
This is a public safety announcement. In the northern hemisphere summer is here the sun is shining and everyone wants to have that glorious tan. Don't do it! Use your sunscreen.

Recently in the news and on social media much as been said about skin cancer, melanoma, squamous cell and basal cell. All three conditions are caused by the sun. A precancerous condition called Actinic Keratosis, AK, is also caused by solar damage. 

Celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Diane Keaton, Anderson Cooper, Melanie Griffith and Cybill Shepherd just to name a few have learned about skin cancer the hard way.

Unfortunately I too have firsthand knowledge of AK, as did Brooke Shields. It is painful and unsightly but it was caught before it turned in to cancer.

As you pack for your travels be sure to pack your sunscreen hats and UV protected clothing. These protective items are as important as your passport, if you want to continue a long life of travels not to mention the prevention of pain and suffering.
Every day all around the world we are asked to donate or collect money for some type of a fundraiser for various disastrous events, some person in need or research for a cure. Often times multiple donation requests occur several times during one day. 

Throughout the years I have donated countless times to the Vietnam Veterans, volcano victims, earthquake victims, the American Heart Association, Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America  just to name a few. There are countless other charitable causes and organizations that I have also supported too.

Annually I participate in the event Race for the Cure in support of research for a cure for breast cancer.

This past weekend I participated in another walk/run fundraiser event, Miles4 Kyle. Miles4Kyle was an event to raise Hodgkin's Lymphoma awareness and to support my teenage nephew Kyle. Kyle was diagnosed on March of this year with the disease and is currently undergoing treatment.

I just want to thank everyone that contributed to the Miles4Kyle cause and encourage people to continue to support charitable organizations everywhere. There is always a need for charitable donations, please continue to be generous with your support if you are able.
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 ...