Blog Archives

10 Essentials for Summer Travel

No doubt about it – we are traveling in a post-pandemic world differently than we did before. Some of the changes are small. We’ve needed to replace items, update a few things, and plan for multiple contingencies because things just aren’t going according to plan. The first trip of this year, I did such a poor job of packing, that I had stop by a Target store to buy all sorts of things I missed. It’s gotten better. We’ve made the conscious choice (and budget decision) to fly business class on long-haul international flights. While it’s certainly more comfortable, and I love a comfortable pod and lie-flat seat, there are other practical reasons for the decision. If something is going to go wrong, business class passengers have a priority for checked bags, rebooking in the event of a cancellation or […]

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101 Movies Set in Italy You’ll Love (or Hate)

Even if you can’t travel to Italy right now, you can get your Italian culture fix with these 101 movies set in Italy. This list represents films set in Italy, not necessarily filmed in Italy – we all know that set designers can make a studio backlot look like the meandering streets of Venice or a Tuscany hill town. While most of these movies are in English, no Italy movie list can ignore the many fine sub-titled Italian movies, so I’ve included some of those. I’ve tried to include the memorable, historical, and romantic movies set in Italy, while acknowledging there are a few that are, perhaps, better forgotten. And if you’re planning a first trip to Italy, this is a great list of movies to watch before you go. Any list is subjective. If your favorite movie set in […]

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Alaska Inside Passage Cruise: Onboard Hollard America’s Koningsdam

Alaska is one of the most diverse landscapes in the United States. It has expansive mountain ranges, broad diversity of wildlife and marine life, a long-standing cultural heritage, and some of the best seafood around. It is also one of the most remote and elusive states. For many travelers wanting to visit all 50 states, Alaska is the last one to get checked off. Accessing Alaska is not easy, it’s not drivable much of the year from the contiguous US, and some areas have limited access by air. All of this goes into making Alaska a fascinating destination to visit and why an Alaska inside passage cruise is a popular way to see the last frontier. We embarked on a 7-day Inside Passage Alaska cruise with Holland America cruise line on their Koningsdam ship. While I’ve visited Alaska hundreds of […]

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Visiting Museums Around the World: 34 Worth a Visit

Whether I’m traveling or staying close to home, one of my favorite things to do is visit museums. I enjoy museums of all kinds – art, history, archaeology, the quirky and weird – and when visiting a new destination, visiting their museums a quick overview of the country, its culture, and its people. How do you find the right museum to visit, keeping in mind that it is often just a matter of personal taste? The Official Visitors Guide and travel guidebook are great starting points, especially when you’re looking for the major museums in a destination. And while I want to visit those famous museums around the world, once I’ve visited them, I start looking for something different. Sometimes, if you’re the kind of traveler that likes to wander around, explore the sidestreets and the paths less traveled, you […]

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How to Make Limonana, Tasty Mint Lemonade

Jordan has a very hot and dry climate, so a cool and refreshing drink is just what you need after a long day of exploring. One of the most refreshing drinks I found while I was visiting Jordan was mint lemonade, or Limonana, a traditional drink found throughout the Middle East. The name originates from the word “limon” which means lemon in Arabic and Hebrew and “nana” which means mint. Apparently, the drink became more well-known in the 90s after an advertising campaign promoted it in Israel, but it has been a popular sip across the Middle East for far longer. You can find it everywhere in Jordan – in restaurants, bottled in convenience stores, served fresh at juice stands, everywhere. I visited Jordan as part of a paid partnership project with Globus Journeys. Saying yes to the Jordan Escape tour was easy-peasy. […]

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Jordan Travel Tips: 9 Things I Didn’t Know Until I Got There

Before every vacation, I love researching places and learning about all the destinations, their history, and the attractions. I try to find a book or two about or set in the destination (I start this process as soon as the trip is booked so that I have lots of time before I arrive on-site). I start reading guides and blog posts from my cadre of trusted sites. I set up a Pinterest board to keep track of the things I deem important, the photos that capture my attention, and I compile information that would make a data nerd proud. Without proper preparation and some research, you could find yourself in difficult situations or end up missing some hidden gems. So it’s smart to do it. But no matter how much research I do, I love the serendipity that happens while […]

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Visiting Salton Sea: Your Guide to This Must-See California Attraction

The Salton Sea is one of the most environmentally significant places in California. It was once a booming tourist destination and attraction, but turned into an environmental disaster, leaving much of the surrounding towns and settlements abandoned and desolated. But that does not mean to suggest that it’s not worth visiting the Salton Sea. Today, the Salton Sea attracts visitors wanting to experience its volcanic mud hot springs, observe the unique wildlife, and also swing by the famous Slab City, a lawless town that features many art installations. For those undertaking a road trip through California, visiting the Salton Sea is definitely something to add to the itinerary. I had never heard of it, but while visiting Palm Springs, a friend suggested it as a day trip. I thought it was a great little escape into nature, and thought about […]

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2022 Travel Reading Challenge (5th Annual)

Hello 2022 and Happy New Year! While I’m very happy to see 2021 in the rearview mirror, it wasn’t a total write-off. I was able to do a little bit of traveling, including checking something off my bucket list (visiting a ghost town). Even this small return to travel lifted my spirits immensely. And, the big news for the year is that my book was published and released in September, Secret Seattle: A guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. It’s available for purchase in all the usual locations, local bookstores, Amazon, and directly from me. Secret Seattle: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure I did a lot of reading in 2021, completing 88 books (coincidentally, the same number of books I read in 2020). There were a few long-haul flights where I got some reading done, but […]

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Review of Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite with Globus Travel

Situated deep in the Sierra National Forest, and completely surrounded by a wilderness of breathtaking beauty, Tenaya Lodge is less than three miles from the southern park entrance to Yosemite National Park, and less than 16 miles from beautiful Bass Lake. Whether you’re into energetic outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding among ancient giant redwoods, kayaking, ice skating, or prefer something more sedate like taking in the scenery of soaring granite monoliths, spectacular waterfalls, and the deep valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Tenaya Lodge is one of the best hotels for you to stay in. While it has all these activities – and more – it’s also perfect if you want to just relax and unwind. I did a lot of both – activities and relaxation – on a recent tour with Globus Journeys. Note that […]

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Cruise into Luxury: A Review of Celebrity Apex

Sun, sea, and world-class service are just three reasons to embark on a cruise on the Celebrity Apex, the newest addition to the Edge class ships. The Apex is a 129,500-ton giant that boasts 16 decks, 1,467 staterooms, and revolutionary services and amenities, making it one of the most affordable luxury ocean-liner experiences on the market right now. Read on for a review of Celebrity Apex. So, what can you expect from a Celebrity Apex Cruise? I sailed on the Apex on a mini-cruise in early November. This was an industry sailing, with about 1800 employees, travel agents, media, and other travel industry representatives, and their guests. The sailing was complimentary for invited media and their guest as a way to explore the Celebrity Apex. I traveled with my niece, Audrey, who hadn’t been on a cruise since her daughter […]

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