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!!
Okay so last week my daughter and brother were carrying on a conversation on Facebook. Both were complaining that it was too cold where they live. My brother lives on the US Canadian border and the actual temperature not including wind chill was -35. My daughter lives just south of Tampa Florida and the actual temperature was 35.

 I live in the just north of what could be considered the middle of both of them. There was a 70° difference in their temperatures, so obviously my temperature was in the middle or close to it.

Both of their temperatures were too cold for me. I started thinking the only place left that is possibly warm enough for me is the equator. I have been to the equator twice on two separate continents and it was comfortably warm both times, warm but not hot. Maybe I should head there again; they would have to be warm wouldn’t they? It wasn’t this cold when I was in Alaska!
Anyone know if there is a direct flight to the equator, preferably in Malaysia so I can be on it in my third continent? However I will take a direct flight to anywhere sunny and at least 75 degrees!
“The western mind is linear, the eastern mind is circular.”         ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

I never really thought much about this statement but it is so true.

In the western civilization everyone seems to think straight ahead, always trying to get ahead, monetarily and with possessions. Why is it they don't consider the getting off that track and think about getting further along with alternatives? Collecting experiences along the line of life? The rewards a person gains from volunteerism, or the education from travel experiences?

If a person is sick the first and most direct thought they usually have is "give me some medicine to make me better." Stress and obesity are just a couple of many medical conditions that can cause a multitude of physical conditions.

Most individuals do not think of an alternative form of treatment from that straight line thought. They do not consider the ancient meditative arts like yoga or tai chi and physical therapy isn't even considered. Nor do they consider herbs, aromatherapy or even light therapy. And heaven forbid they might consider a life style change.

People in the western world generally do not consider that our lives are affected by things "AROUND" (circular) us.

So to all of my western world friends and family it is time to start "thinking outside of the box" or maybe I should say "living the full circle."
St. Valentine’s Day is upon us, it is a time of romance. Candy and flowers are routine, and jewelry is nice; but what is more romantic than a vacation to an exotic location. (Most of you know that is not really me!)

When most people think of romance they think of being serenaded by a gondolier on a canal in Venice Italy (coming soon!) or strolling on the grounds of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But then there are the islands of the South Pacific, and there are so many to choose from.

Now obviously I haven’t been to all of them, I can only wish. And I don’t know anyone that can say that they have been to more than a hand few; but I can personally recommend a few.

Fiji really needs no personal recommendation; many of the rich and famous have wedded and vacationed there. Nevertheless I do agree with their choice, it is beautiful. The once cannibalistic island culture holds a bit of mystical intrigue with their “how did they do that” fire walkers.

Then there is the romantic heart-shaped island of Moorea of the Society Islands, with its deep water bays and French influence. And who can resist their magnificent black pearls, (okay so it is jewelry and I wear one).

My favorite islands though are the Cook Islands, especially Aitutaki, even the name sounds exotic. It surely is the most amazing and unspoiled island in the world even after its brush with fame during the filming of the CBS reality TV show “Survivor.” Aitutaki with its breathtaking blue lagoon must truly be “heaven on Earth.”

So for this Valentine’s Day go for the gusto…book a trip to the South Pacific for you and a loved one…I guarantee with its beautiful people and landscape you will leave your heart there.
Congratulations to the Super Bowl Champions the New England Patriots. Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday but to people living in the Midwest of United States it was Snow Bowl Sunday.

Instead of listening to the constant chatter about the Super Bowl commercials these people were listening to the constant update regarding the amount of snow accumulating. And instead scooping up seven layer dip they were scooping seven inches of snow, or more! Instead of drinking beer they were drinking hot chocolate and coffee. Many were working so hard to clear the snow and keep our streets safe they never saw the Super Bowl at all. To those dedicated individuals we thank you.

For those people lucky enough to attend the Super Bowl and now want to come back to the Midwest and /or east coast, continue your celebrations. Many flights are canceled and/or delayed; you're not coming back here until we dig out. However, since many schools and businesses are closed in the Midwest and in the east you have an extra day to celebrate.

Oh and I almost forgot today is Groundhogs Day, and he saw his shadow which means six more weeks of winter didn't that little guy learned last year but he's better off staying in hiding. I think there was a bounty on his head last year I'm sure it will start again!

Let’s give a little history lesson. 

Per GroundHog.org, the legend of the groundhog is a legend that goes back for centuries and centuries, with origins “clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates.” Boiling it down, it is a day that the Groundhog (we like to call him Phil) comes out of his hole after a long winter’s sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it, it means a dreaded six more weeks of bad weather and he says “forget this noise,” and rushes back to his hole. If the day is cloudy, and “shadowless,” it is a sign of spring and he stays above ground – ready to welcome the sunshine!
D^%*N Rodent!!!
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.