I have a delicate banana leaf serving dish that I used during a meal with the Embera Indians in Panama.
What are some of you favorite souvenirs?
The selling of souvenirs is big business for people around the world. T-shirts coffee mugs, key chains, magnets and books abound in stores and stalls everywhere. And yes the selling of souvenirs helps the local economy but sometimes the best souvenir is not something that can be purchased. It is a special memento that may have cost virtually nothing.
I have coconut flowers from One Foot Island in Aitutaki that I picked up walking along beach scrub brush. I also have sharks teeth that I collect from the shore of Beer Can Island in Tampa Bay. I have a puffer fish that I taxidermied after it washed ashore in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I have a sample size bottle of Malibu rum compliments of the visitor’s center in Barbados. I also have a miniature lighthouse from my homeport Lorain Ohio that was carved and given to me by a perfect stranger as I walked along our local beach. I have an amazing rock that is sprinkled with fool’s gold which my husband gave to me. He picked up at Inspiration Point in the Grand Tetons.
I also have two small offering baskets from Bali. Our tour guide made a stop at his family’s home and I tried to help make the baskets with his mom. She finished them and gave them to me.
I have a delicate banana leaf serving dish that I used during a meal with the Embera Indians in Panama.
All of these are no cost treasures. They are items that I have collected from around the world and mean far more to me than a T-shirt or coffee mug and not because of the fact that they were free but because of the memory associated with them.
What are some of you favorite souvenirs?
As the United States Thanksgiving Day rapidly approaches I ponder things for which I am thankful. I read an article about things to be grateful for and found that I have similar reasons to be thankful.
I am thankful for my freedom and for those that have fought to preserve it; the freedom to travel the world and the liberty to live my life my way. Many people around the world do not enjoy the freedoms that we take for granted here in United States.
I'm thankful for time, because time waits for no one; as time passes and my body ages I am thankful that I still have the physical and mental capabilities to travel. I am grateful my job that allows me the flexibility I need to travel.
I am thankful for my memories and experiences that have made me who I am. I appreciate them so much more as I see my parents memories fade due to some dreadful diseases. I am grateful that I have recorded my memories in words and photos as I have traveled around the world.
I am thankful for wonders of modern technology. I can use the internet to research destinations before I arrive. I can connect with my family via the internet or cell phone from virtually anywhere in the world and thanks to digital I can take more photos than I ever thought possible!
I am also grateful for having a place to call home or at least base camp when I return from my adventures.
But most of all I am thankful for supportive and loving family and friends. They watch over things on the home front which allows me to travel and chase after my dreams even though they don’t understand my wanderlust spirit.
On this Thanksgiving Day before you fall asleep on the couch to sleep off your overindulgence in the holiday meal, please remember all of the reasons you have to be thankful.
So does anyone think they had the correct answer to last week’s blog? The question was “Where are you?” The exact answer was Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos.
But if you guess on an Eastern Caribbean Cruise you would have also been right. I just returned from a seven day Holland America Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MS Westerdam. The Westerdam’s itinerary included Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Martin, Half Moon Cay and two days at sea.
But for you to get the correct answer you probably needed to follow my blog closely or know me personally. I am not generally a cruiser when I travel, in 57 years that was only my fifth cruise.
If you really wanted to get technical I was probably on McDonald’s Dive Site about sixty feet below the surface of the water watching a hawksbill turtle, some nurse sharks or some southern stingrays.
Three cheers to you that had the correct answer! Unfortunately you did not win a Caribbean cruise for having the right answer!
So we go from this . .
to this . . .
Every autumn as the leaves and temperatures fall the boaters and sailors around the world that live in the areas that freeze must sadly prepare their vessels for winter.
Instead of adding cocktails and snacks in the galley they are adding anti- freeze fluids in the water systems and fogging oil to the engine.
Gone is the sound of the gentle waves lapping against the hull as their boat is tied securely up to the dock. It is replaced by the sounds of the fierce winter wind howling and attacking the winter boat cover, doing it's best to rip the heavy protection off.
So regretfully we say good-bye to our always too short boating season, and prepare to hunker down and start counting the days until spring launch.
As we "fall back" we must wait for spring and to "spring ahead" into a new boating season. Until then as my boat name implies we are Out of Hours !
Being born and raised in Ohio we all know that the month of October is a very unpredictable month. The weather can go from sunny and warm to cold, cloudy and rainy in a matter of moments. We often say “If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes, it will change!” And then there's also the possibility of the dreaded “S” word … snow!
Many of us also like to sit and enjoy our morning coffee looking out over our back patios, porches or decks; watching as the animals are busily preparing for the winter before we too start to prepare for our busy day.
This particular October is no different from many other years. So my question to you is which view do you would you prefer?
For me there is the very obvious choice! Hope you enjoy your view.
Often times we associate colors with various seasons or holidays. Red and green generally signify the Christmas holiday season. Many times pink, purple and pastels are linked with Easter. Red, white and blue are abundant colors during both the Memorial Day holiday and the U.S. Independence Day celebration.
In Ohio the sight of the color “orange” is a common occurrence for us almost year round.
Here on Ohio’s north coast we are starting to see signs that the change in the seasons is upon us. The days are getting shorter and cooler. The “orange” barrels which have been are constant companions since March, are becoming less in number signaling that soon the construction season will be over. We are also noticing that the “orange” leaves are starting to appear on the deciduous trees.
In Ohio with the NFL beginning their season we also see the appearance of the “orange” helmets of the Cleveland Browns (Go Browns!) and the Cincinnati Bengals.
So Florida and California you may both grow “oranges” but it seems as if “orange” has as much relevance to Ohio as it does you! Because if one of our teams makes it to the playoffs we will see “orange” until it is time for the “orange” barrels to re-appear in abundance again!!
Throughout life we encounter many challenges, some challenges are life changing. To many my current challenge may seem silly or frivolous, but to frequent travelers that are minimalist packers I am sure they will understand. I normally have no problem packing for a two week trip to just about anywhere in the world with just a carry-on bag and a personal item. But for my upcoming trip my packing strategies and expertise maybe challenged to the max.
I am leaving home this time for a month. My activities will be very diverse. The first two weeks I will be in Florida visiting with family and friends along with celebrating my eldest granddaughter’s birthday. But on week three I will be watching my two granddaughters while my daughter goes on a cruise. Watching the girls will include driving them to and from school daily, and the usual family activities like cooking meals, taking out the garbage, laundry. It will also include helping the youngest cleanup after her new puppy.
Then on the final week I will be on an Eastern Caribbean cruise with Holland America Cruise Lines. Somehow I don't think puppy doo-doo cleanup clothes and cruising clothes are interchangeable!
I am planning on limiting the casual clothing for the first three weeks and using the washing machine. Then I will be packing a few select basic items for the cruise and accessorizing those basics to add some sparkle and pizzazz to them. Scarves will be my accessory of choice.
Oh and I almost forgot, I also have to think about where I am going make room in my bag to take birthday presents from my house to the birthday girl in Florida !?!
It is really going to be a challenge!! ..... But I think I have got it!!!
Not long ago one of my grand dogs came to visit, this particular grand dog is a service dog. Until Braxton came into our lives I never realized the issues people have traveling with their service animals. I know I have brought up this issue before but every time I am with him I realize the general public makes travel even harder for the disabled because of their lack of understanding.
Normally it is easy to make a quick trip to the grocery store, however with a service animal you're stopped multiple times both by employees and customers and asked about the animal. Legally people are only allowed to ask whether the animal is a service animal and what service it performs. And unfortunately people bringing their “pets” and ESA (emotional support animals) into stores are not helping the situation.
And that's all well and good, but it is never that simple. It’s the other questions and comments that tend to hold you up. “How old is he?” “Oh he is so cute.” “What is his name?” “Can I pet him?” All of these questions extend your shopping trip time remarkably, there is no quick trip.
And parents you think you need to pack a lot when you travel with your children, you can't begin to understand the amount of things needed to travel with a service animal. I don't have enough time today to tell you what all is required to take your animal out of the country on a cruise!! I mean you just don’t take them outside to do their business.
Despite the media and internet availability for education, the purpose and functions of service animals are misunderstood by the general public. "Why do you need that dog? Why does the dog need to go?" “That dog can’t go in there.” Service animals are a type of medical devices. No one stops a person with a cane to question them when they walk into the grocery store. Nor do they stop a person with a walker or wheelchair and tell them "you can't come in here!"
I implore everyone to please be more considerate of persons with service animals and other medical devices. Educate yourself instead of discriminate. Service animals are becoming more prevalent partly because of our increasing number of veterans with special needs and because of better medical care for disabilities that were previously fatal.
If you need more information do some research online, or contact Sara at Solutions Noticed, I am sure she would be more than happy to assist you.
Part of the excitement and adventure of travel is the culinary experience. It is the new opportunity to taste new foods and drinks of peoples around the world. For many people is really means stepping out of their comfort zone.
On the remote island of Layang Layang Malaysia I fell in love with lo mein noodles but I guess that happens when you eat them three times a day. In Costa Rica I developed a love for toquito's and found you just can't get a good toquito in the United States. I have never found chocolate banana pizza anywhere but in Rio De Janeiro Brazil. In Kenya I discovered that ostrich was really quite tasty and then sought it out for dinner numerous times while I was in South Africa. In Thailand despite how this may sound I found that deep fried bamboo worms were delicious.
I have enjoyed numerous beverages during our worldwide travels. While in Peru I fell in love with the sugary soft drink Inka Cola, urine yellow in color instead of cola brown. I was thrilled to be able to drink it again on a visit to the world of Coca-Cola in Atlanta Georgia. On our trip to Thailand I discovered and fell in love with Jasmine Tea and Lemon Grass Juice. And while in Guatemala I found my world's favorite coffee, Coban. Thanks to my friend Dave at Windward coffee (http://Windwardcoffee.com) I am still able to get it here in the States.
As a coffee drinker Peru was the only place that I just could not get the local coffee down. It was so strong it was as thick as chocolate syrup. Instead I stuck to the local favorite and highly recommended Mate de Coca Tea. On the Indonesian island of Bali I drank the world's most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak, also known as Cat Poo coffee or Crappacino. It was wonderful but too expensive for me to buy and bring home. I drank Kava from a communal coconut in Fiji during a Kava ceremony. The unpleasant tasting beverage had a numbing effect on the body. And bottled glacier water doesn't taste anything like glacier water fresh from the moulan on a glacier in Alaska. Nor does bottled spring water taste the same as spring water drink right from the spring in the Blue Mountains of Australia. On the small island of Rarotonga I fell in love with the refreshing herbal mineral drink Chi.
On the other hand I also found some local foods very interesting but not quite as enjoyable. In Ecuador the fried great horned beetle larva that I ate was just “okay” as was the camel that I ate in Kenya. And trusting a friend’s opinion we passed on the bulls balls while in Kenya. While dining throughout China I decided I would not hunt for congee any time soon. And even though I love to drink wine I could not bring myself to drink three snakes wine while in China. And Ozzie’s may love their dietary staple Vegemite but I don’t!
Hiking through Costa Rica I ate some kind of leaf out of the jungle. It was commonly called a survivor plant. The idea behind eating the leaf was to make a person salivate to stay alive if lost in the jungle. I wasn't planning on getting lost and didn't eat much of it! In South Africa I found crocodile to be a bit too greasy for my pallet and it does "taste like chicken." I was also not able to bring myself to eat raw clams at 50 feet below the surface while scuba diving in Mexico!
My worldly culinary experiences have been for the most part very positive. The biggest negative factor is not being able to find certain foods that I learned to love after I returned home. I guess that is just a reason to make a return trip!