Category Archive: Themes

Enjoy Barge Cruising in Burgundy with European Waterways

We are big cruise fans. We enjoy ocean cruising, river cruising, and earlier this summer we fell in love with barge cruising. We cruised the Burgundy canals, drank fabulous wines, met wonderful people, and enjoyed the history, culture, and cuisine of the area. Burgundy (Bourgogne in French) is located about three and a half hours southeast of Paris and is probably best known for its pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. This was a wine region we wanted to learn more about and the reason we selected the Classic Northern Burgundy itinerary. We were also familiar with the food from this region of France (delicious cheeses, beef bourguignon, coq au vin) and some of the history. This was a perfect itinerary for first-time barge cruisers who are food, wine, and history lovers! We’re excited to review our hotel barge, the itinerary, […]

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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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Travel for Library Lovers

If you’re a lover of books and literature, you probably already visit libraries when you travel. Whether it’s stopping off to do a little research or get an internet connection at a local library, or to visit a historically or culturally significant site, sleuthing out a library in advance of your travels is worth your time. And if you’re going to be in one destination or an extended period of time, you may be able to get a temporary library card giving you access to books and services for the time you’re there. For a book lover, that’s a big travel bonus. (If you’re looking for reading ideas, you can find some of my recommendations here.) I asked a few traveling friends to share some of their favorite ideas about libraries. The Long Room, Dublin: when Jedi knowledge meets monastic […]

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Celebrate World Wildlife Day

Today, March 3rd, is UN World Wildlife Day. The UN General Assembly made this proclamation in 2013 as a way to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. I’m not an eco-blogger or traveler, but I do make every effort to respect the world around me, making sure that I don’t engage in any behavior that harms the earth and its creatures. Or, if I’m to be more honest with myself and you, I try to minimize the damage my behavior causes to the earth and its creatures (because, yeah, air travel is not eco-friendly). Although I don’t write much on the topic, either, I’m pretty pleased with this podcast I did with Bret Love about Rwanda’s ecotourism attractions, and how tourism is bouncing back after the terrible atrocities of the Civil War and genocide. I […]

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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 Kindle – 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 […]

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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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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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