I am constantly researching and reading about various world cultures, events and adventures. I read an article about weird foods and beverages around the world and surprisingly enough it was not written by Andrew Zimmern. That sparked my memory and made me think about some of the strange and unusual foods and drinks that I have sampled and sometimes enjoyed around the world.

Kava in Fiji … not so much, my lips tingled
Great Horned Beetle Larva in Ecuador … sounds gross but okay
Ostrich in South Africa … really good, similar to chicken or turkey
Kudu in Kenya … good with a bit of gamey flavor
Caparinha in Brazil … good after I diluted it
Glacier water in Alaska … amazing!
Bamboo worms in Thailand … they were deep fired and wonderful, like potato chips
Vegemite in Australia … YUCK, must be an acquired taste, very salty
Congee in China … nasty, slimy and tasteless
Inca Cola in Peru … good in small doses, super sweet, similar to Cream Soda
Kopi Luwak in Bali … AKA caca coffee or Cat Poo Coffee, rich and full favor, ahh just wonderful
Chicha in Panama … okay in small doses, milky and sweet
Poi in Hawaii … negative, pasty and agin must be an acquired taste
Conch in the Bahamas … Yummy if you like seafood, can be a bit rubbery
Rambutan in Thailand … good, sweet and juicy
Ch'i Herbal in The Cook islands … Amazing, light and goes down real easy
Coca Tea in Peru … Good and needed to help combat altitude sickness
Octopus rings in Greece … not so much, like chewing on rubber bands
Yerba Mate in Argentina … local hot beverage, good

I did however miss:

Cuy (Guinea pig)~ Peru
Kangaroo ~Australia
Scorpions ~China

Now that I am a vegetarian I guess I never will try them.

When I travel I like to try the local foods and beverages, unfortunately if I like them when I come home I can’t always get them which is a bummer. So the moral is enjoy as much as you can when you can.

You can see my reactions to many of these items on my different blog pages.
Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January in the United States. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is known for many famous quotes. His most famous was his "I have a dream", but there are other quotes. 
There are also hundreds of others who have made inspirational quotes, here are just a few to ponder.
So the Arctic Blast, Alberta Clipper, Polar Vortex or whatever you want to call it has hit the Midwest, including Ohio. In other words it's just plain downright cold; it's too cold to even snow! And when it gets so cold that when you go outside your face hurts or that when you stay inside you're still cold, I go into my hibernation mode.

For most people hibernation mode is probably a relaxing type condition, like curling up with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa or maybe par taking a movie marathon via DVD or Netflix. However 

for me it means focusing obsessively on my laptop looking for vacations to anywhere and everywhere!

With so many places is still on my bucket list there are many options for me to research. But my main requirement is getting the best deal during the appropriate time frame that we have available, which usually just happens to be during the cold and yucky winter or spring time frame.

 Sometimes to get that deal you need to do a little creative thinking outside of the box. 

Thinking outside of the box often requires multiple connections, alternate airports, various forms of transportation and sometimes an additional overnight stay. All of those out of the box details require research.

So if you are looking to find me you will find me at my desk with my coffee and my laptop. I could certainly use some advice or tips if anyone has any. Please shoot them off my way!
It has been quite a year for travel. For me personally it is been a great year. Early on I took another safari in South Africa, weeks later I did a cruise to the Baltic capitals, over Thanksgiving I cruised the southern Caribbean and I finished the year on a ship in the Western Caribbean!. Wow 2014 has been a record-setting year for me. I traveled to 15 different countries into 2014! If you consider my native country, the United States that brings the total to 16 countries. In between all of those adventures I made several trips to Florida. 

However on the downside and it is not been a great year for travel for the general population. Airfare prices have remained high, despite falling fuel prices. Thankfully this fall and this winter gasoline did drop for auto travel.

Earlier in the year the airline industry suffered the losses of not one but two Malaysian Airplanes. Later in the year the airline industry suffered the problem of the transportation of Ebola. And to close the year we lost Airasia.

There were also numerous ferry and train accidents this past year.

Despite the tragedies of 2014 people continue to travel which is good for everyone. Travel is good for the economy and good for the heart and soul.

So for 2015 let’s keep traveling, because every trip is a chapter in your book of life.
Several weeks ago I wrote about a Thanksgiving cruise and people that we met on the cruise that we're cruising because their family members had made other plans for the holiday. Well it seems this year our annual trip to Florida for the holiday was altered a bit  by family members making other plans.

People move, people grow up, people grow older, life constantly changes and that is good. Think how boring life would be if nothing ever changed and we all stayed the same.

Since our family had made other plans we altered our plan a bit and made other arrangements also.

We will still be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our children however after that we will be off the grid as they move along with their plans.

So at this time I would like to wish all of you and all of yours the happiest of holidays and I will be back in touch next year!

PS.  Even our Christmas tree was an alternate plan!




As we are rapidly approaching the Christmas holiday and everyone is busy shopping for that perfect present, I've said it before (blog 12-10-12 The Perfect Lifetime Guarantee Gift) and I'll say it again give the gift of a memory making experience. Give a gift that they will remember for a lifetime, travel of course is my preference..

 In our materialistic world we all have too much stuff; very few of us need another sweater, another pair of socks or another electronic device. I say that because they are not memorable, do you remember the year you got that CD player and CDs for Christmas? Or the garage sale that you sold it at? And as for gift cards they come and they go; do you remember who gave you a certain gift card and when they gave it to you?

But I bet you do remember when you gifted a hot air balloon experience and shared it with someone? What about the year you adopted the kitten from the shelter? Or do you remember the gift you received of Cirque du Soleil tickets that you shared with the giver? And if you've ever received the gift of the NASCAR experience I know you'll remember it!
As you select those Christmas gifts forget the STUFF... thoughtfully choose those that will be remembered forever, because stuff too often ends up in a garage sale, Craig's List or a landfill!



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So did anyone miss me the past couple weeks or even notice that I was gone? I was taking advantage of some exceptional travel deals.

It seems that the pre-holiday season is just possibly the best time of the year for travel deals. Thanksgiving week and the first few weeks of December offer phenomenal travel prices. Since my husband and I had no firm plans for Thanksgiving we took advantage of one of these deals, it was an 11 night cruise. And now the weeks after Thanksgiving have even better prices; prices that are almost too good to be true. But many people are not thinking of traveling they are thinking of Christmas shopping. However since the prices are so good many people were doing back-to-back cruises after Thanksgiving.

While we were on board we found many people that were cruising for quite the same reason. It seems that families no longer get together for massive Thanksgiving celebrations like they did when I was younger. As a child I remember my grandmother seating 20+ for Thanksgiving dinner now it seems many families go off in different directions and families are not together as a whole

Some older couples said that their grown children were off at in-laws. Still others were young families who did not feel as if they should travel to grandma and grandpa's house. With the exceptional prices we discovered many people were doing back-to-back cruises after Thanksgiving.

Despite being on board the ship I remembered what I was thankful for ... I have family and friends that are healthy, happy and secure enough to follow their own dreams. I am thankful that healthy enough to be able to travel with the one I love. Additionally I am thankful for so much more that I can’t possibly list on one page or in one day!

With prices so drastically cut I can only dream that someday I could do a Thanksgiving pre-Christmas cruise with my entire family. The cruise that I did many years ago as a family cruise is one of my fondest memories of which I am very thankful.
The tide rolls in, the tide rolls out.
Marsha rolls in, Marsha rolls out.
The world spins around and around,
Marsha is out, where can she be found?
I have always packed what I consider light, a duffle and daypack, I am a carry-on only. It is not because of airline fees but mainly just my choice. It seems like before when I did check luggage it never arrived at my destination with me. But in today’s market, with ever increasing and changing fees, it has become a way of life for most travelers, one carry-on and one personal item.

Many people have asked me “how do you do it?” or “I need to learn to pack like you.” It does take some practice but for me it is just easier to travel light.  It doesn’t matter if it is one week or a month, one rule I follow is … if the item can’t be used for multiple purposes it doesn’t go.

 “You’ll never meet a traveler who, after five trips, brags: Every year I pack heavier.” ~ Rick Steves

There are dozens of websites and hundreds of articles that have tips and advice on “how to pack light” but it is just makes sense. Carrying LESS luggage means MORE freedom and LESS stress. There is no waiting at baggage claim so you are on your way out of the airport sooner with MORE time to explore. And with LESS luggage there is also LESS worry about keeping track of all of your bags as you move about.

Financially having LESS baggage gives you the option to share a taxi with others instead of filling the cab with your luggage which means MORE money. Or when using a rental car you are able to rent a smaller more cost effective vehicle. Traveling carry-on only there is no need to pay for porters or bell hops.

Physically speaking light luggage is much easier to carry or maneuver through airports, buses, hotels and airplanes. Did you ever try to drag a bag or two up several flights of stairs when the elevator was broken and the bell hops were nowhere to be found? And as for cruisers, you can get on the ship quickly and disembark the ship when you want!

So before your next trip assess what you really need to pack, you just may find you are able to live with LESS… at least temporarily!
Many countries around the world have a special day to honor and respect their veterans. Tomorrow in the United States we celebrate our veterans by honoring them for their service to our country with their own special day Veterans Day.

When an individual signs up to be a part of our military they are basically signing a blank check. They have no idea what signing their name will cost to them. Some pay the ultimate cost by giving their life. Many will never return to the same lifestyle they once had.

Many communities hold celebratory parades while a large portion of our restaurant industry honors our veterans with discounts or free meals for them on their special day.

Of course the retail market wants to give us all discounts if we shop!
Now the travel industry seems to be a bit behind in honoring our veterans. To the best of my knowledge rapid transit systems around our country do not allow veterans to travel for free on Veterans Day. The airlines do not offer veterans a discount if they fly on Veterans Day and they don't even offer them a free drink.

And I'm not aware of any hotel chain that offers a veteran a discount if they spend the night while traveling on Veterans Day.

Thanks to the veterans we have freedoms to go out to eat, ride on buses, fly on airplanes and spend nights in hotels around our country, seems all of these industries ought  to be thinking about thinking a veteran.

So tomorrow and for that matter every day if you see a veteran please thank them for their current 
And to ALL of my family and friends that have and are serving I 

      "THANK YOU"