Category Archive: Themes

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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The Bikini Has a Birthday

July is a month of birthdays:  Canada (July 1st), the United States (July 4th), me (July 31st), and on July 5th, 2018, the bikini turns 72 years old. For most women, the selection of the perfect bikini begins well before its time to hit the beach during vacation, and it may very well be the first to-do item on a vacation preparation list.  For many women, there is no greater vacation angst than finding the right swimsuit – bikini or otherwise. Archaeologists date the existence of a scanty swimsuit back to 1600 BC., but the modern world was shocked with the debut of this new swimsuit in 1946. Designers Jacques Heim and Louis Reard are credited with changing the landscape of the beach forever. They were competitors – Heim selling the world’s smallest swimsuit at a beach shop in , […]

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Adventure Cruise: Discover Pure Panama with UnCruise Adventures

Last fall we sailed on UnCruise Adventures’ Safari Voyager on their Pure Panama: Cultures, Coasts, and Canal itinerary. It was our first small ship adventure cruise and we’re excited to review the ship and itinerary, as well as share our tips and with you. Cruise information is historically the most searched for information on our site during the month of June, so we expect that this information is hitting you right at the time you’re making your plans and reservations for your cruise. Discover Pure Panama with us. And UnCruise Adventures. Is an adventure cruise right for you? Like all vacations, the decision to take an adventure cruise is a big one – you’ll want to research thoroughly to see if the experience and itinerary fit your cruise style. We think the following are important considerations in deciding if an adventure […]

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Cruising: Pure Panama with UnCruise Adventure

This morning we head off to Panama City, via Miami and Hurricane Irma, for some city time followed by a week on the 65-passenger Safari Voyager cruising Panama. This expedition vessel will take us through the canal as well as to many of the smaller islands in the country. This trip is the first time that I’ve left the country this year, a rather unusual occurrence for me, but a lot of family things have been going on and it just hasn’t been the right time for me to take a trip farther than across the country for a few days. With house and pet sitter in place, we’re off. And what a trip it’s going to be! The first challenge will be to avoid Hurricane Irma. She’s rumbling it up in the Caribbean right now, and as I write […]

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Enter to Win: Universal Orlando Resort Package

  UPDATE:  The contest has ended and Yulia (@thefoodiemiles) is the winner of this great Universal Orlando Resort vacation package. Congratulations Yulia!  You all know that I’m a big fan of Universal Orlando Resort. From the three theme parks (including the newly opened Volcano Bay water theme park) to the CityWalk entertainment area to the onsite hotels, I think they are aces when it comes to the guest experience. Today I’m excited to announce a contest that I’m running on my Instagram account – a giveaway for a package to Universal Orlando. Before you head on over there, here are the details: The Prize Two 3-Day tickets to Universal Orlando Resort parks, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay! Plus, a 3-Night stay for two at one of at one of Universal Orlando Resort’s onsite […]

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Sign up for the Newsletter

I’m working on the next Traveling with MJ newsletter (it comes out on the first Sunday of the month) – have you subscribed? It’s a quick read each month and recaps where I’ve been and where I’m going, highlights some key articles from across my several blogs, and provides recommendations for your next trip whether it’s across town or around the world.  

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Books to Read on Your Next Flight

In honor of World Book Day, I’m updating my progress in the 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge – and in doing so, giving you a list of great books to read on your next flight (train trip, cruise, or wherever you enjoy immersing yourself in a book). As a refresher, the challenge is not a list of books to read. Instead, it’s a list of book themes and you pick something within your reading preferences while still stretching your reading repertoire my getting you to look at books that you may not have considered. The list is 40 books for the basic challenge, plus an additional 12 for the advanced challenge, the latter equating to one book per week for the year. If you don’t read all 40 – or 52 books, it doesn’t matter. The purpose of the challenge […]

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A Dozen Gardens From Around the World

The days are getting longer, and with flowers blooming in the yard along with a few peeks of the sun in the sky, it’s a great time to be in Seattle. Spring is finally here! Since the flowers in my garden are not terribly impressive yet – things will be in full color in another few weeks – I turned to some of my blogger friends to get a take on some of their favorite gardens around the world. I selected a dozen of them, one for each month of the year, and hope you can work a visit into one of them during your next vacation. 1.Springtime tulips at Araluen Botanic Park, Western Australia Western Australia conjures up images of red desert, barren gorges and rugged wilderness, but half an hour’s drive from Perth we found Araluen Botanic Park. […]

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