Update Your Bucket List

Bucket lists seem to be the target of some derision these days, the assumption made that people who have bucket lists and make travel plans from their bucket lists are somehow rushing through travel in the quest of a checkoff. Far be it from me to tell anyone how to travel – different strokes for different folks, after all – and I proudly embrace my personal bucket list. If you want to create your own bucket list, you may want to follow my approach. I started writing down places I wanted to go, things I wanted to see and do, and experiences that caught my eye. I set a top limit of 100 things, because, let’s face it, I could go on forever. With the parameters in mind, I just started writing. It took a few weeks to come up […]

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2019 Travel Reading Challenge

Last year I started a year-long reading challenge that focused on travel and books perfect to read while you’re traveling. It was premised on a yearly total of 24 books, an average of two books per month, with an advanced challenge of another six books for a combined total of 30 books for 2018. You can see the books I chose for the 2018 travel reading challenge here. I set my Goodreads challenge at 50 books for the year. I knew the reading challenge list was much less than I’d typically read and I wanted to stretch myself a little. Since I usually read on my , it’s easy to sync up with Goodreads and track books, but I found that often forgot to add those that I read in print. I think I’ve got everything added in now and you can […]

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2018 Year in Review at Traveling with MJ

2018 has been a transitional year here at Traveling with MJ. There’s been lots of travel – several new domestic destinations, some exploration around Washington State, and a couple of cruises. It hasn’t all been about travel, though. Now that Tony’s retired and helping me out in the business, we’ve had a few business changes this year. This site got a facelift this spring as we launched a new design and navigational scheme. It took some time to get all the kinks out, but we’re almost there and I think its streamlined approach to information and stories serves readers better. We’ve also changed up our content focus, really zeroing in on what we’re best at – value luxury destinations, experiences, and products. We think of value luxury as luxury for real people, not celebrities with private islands and jets. Luxury […]

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Visit the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

.  A visit to the Alamo is a highlight of a trip to San Antonio. Before you go, however, these tips for visiting the Alamo will help you understand a little more about the destination and help you get the most out of your time there.  The San Antonio de Valero Mission was relocated three times, but after becoming the fortress known as The Alamo has had only one location, it’s current one. It can be seen today in that same location, a short distance from the San Antonio River Walk The mission turned fortress was the scene of several battles during the including the 1836 for which it is named.  The Battle pitted Mexico, under the leadership of General Santa Anna, against the Texas Republic.  Despite a valiant stand, all of the Texas soldiers, including and , were killed […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Lakedale Resort, Friday Harbor

Growing up in Washington State, we took the San Juan Islands for granted. Sure, we studied the islands in Washington State History and went there on field trips, but we never thought of it as someplace people would voluntarily go. Especially not for a vacation. Boy, were we wrong! We headed off to Friday Harbor earlier this year for a stay at Lakedale Resort in Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island). The 82-acre resort has three spring water lakes and a variety of lodging options to fit every preference and budget, from its rustic luxury lodge to camping sites. We loved our stay at Lakedale Resort and never wanted to leave. We think you’ll feel the same way, too. This is part of a series of monthly themed features talking about places we’ve stayed and never wanted to leave. This post […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Onboard the Viking Sky, Into the Midnight Sun Itinerary

We sailed off on the Viking Sky, leaving Bergen, Norway, for a 15-day Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that took us to the tip-top of Norway, then headed down to Scotland and England. It was Tony’s first trip above the Arctic Circle, and with the exception of Bergen, it was our first visit to all the locations on the itinerary. We enjoyed our time on the Viking Sky and never wanted to leave! We think you would love it, too. This is part of a series of monthly themed features talking about places we’ve stayed and never wanted to leave. This post may contain affiliate links, sponsored travel, sponsored content, or paid product placement. We’ve hand-picked these destinations and products because we like them and we think you will, too. Getting There We flew into Bergen the morning of our […]

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Competitours: Adventure Travel for Real People

Long before I adopted the phrase “value luxury” I intuitively knew what it meant. It sums up my travel ethos completely – learning when to splurge and when to save – and over the years I’ve refined it a bit more by saying it’s luxury for real people, not people with private yachts and celebrity friends. Travelers define luxury in different ways. For some, it’s a hotel room with a view and for others, it’s dinner at a Michelin-star restaurant. For some, it’s a trip to a hard to get to country and for others, it’s lying on a beach and reading a good book. For some, it’s a cruise and for others, it’s getting to one more country on an itinerary. What’s important to one traveler is not the same as what’s important to another. That’s why it’s often […]

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Your Guide (and Lots of Tips) for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

This annual event has grown from three nights and one haunted house in 1991 (it was originally called Fright Nights and was renamed the following year) to this 28th-year event with 10 houses, five scare zones, and one production show over 36 nights. The houses and scare zones are a combination of original content specifically developed for Halloween Horror Nights 2018 and characters and stories from familiar movies, televisions shows, and pop culture. If you’re a fan of the horror genre, many of the themes will be familiar to you, if you’re not, you may want to watch a few movies to get in the mood. The following is my take and recommendations on what to see, how to see it, and some tips to enjoy Halloween Horror Nights 2018 (HHN28). Before You Go There are 10 haunted houses at […]

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23 Spectacular Places to Watch Sunrise

After traveling in Norway on our Into the Midnight Sun cruise itinerary, I’ve grown an appreciation for sunrise. We spent the better part of a week where the time between sunset and sunrise was only about an hour, so it was easy to watch the sun come up. But what about when watching a sunrise is a little more difficult? Here are some creative places around the world where watching the sunrise can be a romantic, inspiring, and enjoyable experience. Pawleys Island, South Carolina – The beach houses and historic inns on Pawleys Island offer a feeling of home while still providing a nod to generations of island tradition. Arrogantly shabby properties provide both character and comfort, and the natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere of the island are a great combination to watch the sun come up. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Downtown Napa

Located on the banks of the Napa River, downtown Napa has evolved from a small, sleepy town into a vibrant community full of upscale hotels, wine tasting rooms, and restaurants to meet every palate preference. There are downtown parks, outdoor art installations and art walks, markets full of local fare, and some of the friendliest Californians you’ll ever run into. And they do it all with a casual flair that feels down-home rather than pretentious. I spent some time in downtown Napa with some gal pals, soaking up some of the best it had to offer and had such a great time that I never wanted to leave. In fact, I’ve decided to plan a return trip, this time taking Tony along, as I know it’s the type of getaway he enjoys. I think you’ll enjoy it too! Note: This trip […]

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