As I sit here watching all the 2015 Independence Day events and commercials, my mind wanders back to last year when I had the pleasure of spending the 4th of July in the Dominican Republic *big sigh*! Continue reading “Travel (back) Thursday – Independence Day 2014 | Dominican Republic”
Imagine that….just sitting here in the blogosphere sharing my travels and journeys from behind my keyboard and out the blue a Blogger Award nomination – my FIRST – thanks to Jenn a.k.a Travelgirl47!!! Continue reading “Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award!!!!”
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
Do you see what I see?
Instead of being on my yacht (see above)
I’m at my desk
in my zebra robe
looking out my window
Sitting here looking out my window dreaming of a distant land (most likely land surrounded by deep blue seas and sand however, beggars can’t be choosy – as my mom would always say), whilst pondering my next journey. If only I could close my eyes and POOF find myself traipsing hither and fro, but where would I go?
Well I was looking around on TripAdvisor after receiving the email from them stating my last review was a hit (don’t they always say that or should I feel special?) and voila I come across…..
- Travelers’ Choice #1 Destination: Marrakech
- The new Travelers’ Choice #1 Destination in the world, Marrakech is a magical place, brimming with markets, gardens, palaces, and mosques.
- Travelers’ Choice #2 Destination: Siem Reap
- The complex and the 12th century Angkor Thom royal city are considered the main reasons to visit Siem Reap, the #2 Travelers’ Choice Destination in the world for 2015. Get a lesson in national history at the Cambodian Cultural Village, and a lesson in bargaining at the Angkor Night Market, a bonanza of shopping stalls, food vendors, and bars.
- Travelers’ Choice #3 Destination: Istanbul
- Europe and Asia meet in Istanbul, this year’s #3 Travelers’ Choice Destination in the World, where breathtaking ancient architecture coexists with modern restaurants and nightlife. The city’s mosques, bazaars, and hammams (Turkish baths) could keep you happily occupied for your entire trip.
- Travelers’ Choice #4 Destination: Hanoi
- Hanoi is #4 in the world in this year’s Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards. The charming Vietnamese capital has aged well, preserving the Old Quarter, monuments and colonial architecture, while making room for modern developments alongside.
- Travelers’ Choice #5 Destination: Prague
- The bohemian allure and fairytale features of Prague, #5 in the World in this year’s Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards, make it a perfect destination for beach-weary vacationers who want to immerse themselves in culture.
- Travelers’ Choice #6 Destination: London
- The crown jewels, Buckingham Palace, Camden Market…in London, a perennial Travelers’ Choice Award winner, history collides with art, fashion, food, and good British ale.
- Travelers’ Choice #7 Destination: Rome
- The Travelers’ Choice #7 Destination in the World for 2015, Rome wasn’t built in a day–and you’ll need much more than a day to take in this timeless city. The city is a real-life collage of piazzas, open-air markets, and astonishing historic sites.
- Travelers’ Choice #8 Destination: Buenos Aires
- The birthplace of the tango is, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive and bustling with excited energy.
- Travelers’ Choice #9 Destination: Paris
- Lingering over pain au chocolat in a sidewalk café, relaxing after a day of strolling along the Seine and marveling at icons like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe… the perfect Paris experience combines leisure and liveliness with enough time to savor both an exquisite meal and exhibits at the Louvre.
- Travelers’ Choice #10 Destination: Cape Town Central
- Cape Town, #9 on the list of Travelers’ Choice Destination World Winners, glistens at the southern tip of the African continent.
View the remaining 15 Travelers’ Choice destinations for 2015 on TripAdvisor.
Have your journeys led you to any of the 2015 Travelers’ Choice destinations in your travels?
~ Travel Well ~
Social media has made sharing so easy that oftentimes
we I forget that people are watching and actually paying attention (to me and my lil ol life). As if it isn’t enough to hear about my past, present, or future adventures but seeing them live and in living color, often while I am embarking on a journey/adventure, has piqued the curiosity of many.
This is my attempt to answer the Who, What’s, How’s and “Myths” that have landed in my lap over time.
- Do you use a travel agent?
- No, I don’t use travel agents of any kind as I prefer to do my own planning, scheduling and executing. I find that there are plenty resources available that allow me to structure my travel according to my purpose or desired outcome. Besides I prefer the flexibility and control (don’t judge). The best thing is I can map out a journey, approx. price tag, flights, accommodations, etc all from the comforts of anywhere without making a commitment.
- How do you choose your journeys?
- I’m always dreaming / daydreaming and thinking of new adventures so my destinations/journeys come from either my personal wishlist of must-see/must-visit places collected over time; a really good deal caught my eye that is just too good to resist; a friend decides to celebrate abroad (will travel and revisit places for a special event or occasion); and/or something piqued my curiosity the stars aligned. I have a mental list of places I want to see before I die (if you will) and I just make travel so much of a priority that it is important to me to check things off my personal travel list (see My Wanderlust). I think it’s great to dream but even better to live out those dreams. here’s no rhyme or reason to my destination choices, they kinda just happen. Some have truly been right place – right time (a friend of a friend going away for a birthday, a destination wedding, etc.). Other times I’ve had visions of some random destination (see my Magic Monday) that starts from a dream and manifests itself into reality. For me I guess you can say it’s less a matter of how and more about “where will I go now” that drives my selection process.
- How do you know what accommodations to pick?
- This is like anything these days – Craig’s List, Ebay, etc. in that you’re often taking a chance but for me it’s a chance or risk I’m more than happy to make. Often times, as I’ve used Booking.com or TripAdvisor to research ideas on destinations and accommodations, I will peruse reviews to get a feel for what others are saying. Typically though I just check for things such as proximity to certain things, availability of public transportation, costs of transportation as necessary, and the one or 2 key things I want to accomplish at the end of my adventure.
- Aren’t you scared flying / traveling / walking around by yourself?
- No more frightened than when I’m walking/driving around Atlanta. You have to be aware and alert most anywhere you are these days and the same holds true for traveling abroad. Listen to your intuition, trust your gut, and use common sense. Walking around at night, alone, is probably less than smart anywhere. Honestly, being sort of a momma-bear/caretaker type traveling solo enables me to opportunity to create my own experience because I’m only focused on what I wanna do, where I wanna go, etc.
- Packing – I am often asked far in advance of an upcoming trip if I’ve already packed or will be packing (weeks in advance).
- I prefer to pack the night before if it’s an early flight and often the day of if my departure time is later in the day. I’m a warm weather gal so for me I typically know the types of clothing I will be taking along with me which makes it quite easy to pack. I understand my creature comforts as well (i.e. I often take my satin pillow case so I already know where it is which makes for an easy grab and go). Much like anything, the more you travel the more you understand the MUST-HAVES to take with you and/or are comfortable enough to know that whatever you happen to forget you can often find wherever you’re going.
- Why would you go to/what made you wanna visit ___________________(fill in the blank)?
- Why not? Well that’s usually what I’m thinking while trying to come up with a more friendly response. There aren’t too many places I’m not interested in exploring (with the exception of Antarctica which is NOT on my immediate list, however for a special event, challenge or sponsored trip, guess I’ll be getting a parka lol). Often though I’m simply inspired by the journeys of another traveler, or an event in a ‘strange’ land, or a myriad of other things that lead me to certain destinations. My philosophy is truly that “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list” so I will just continue to plot and plan until I have come close enough to checking “everything” off my list.
What questions do you have?
~ Travel Well ~
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” ~ Samuel Johnson
To dream is a splendid thing, but what good is dreaming if you don’t throw all you’ve got to make those dreams a reality? This applies to everything in life (to include travel since this is a travel diary of sorts).
Too often we talk about what we would like to see, do, be but
fail forget to apply action behind it. Talk is just talk, empty words for without ACTing there is no ACTION! Now who wants a life of NO action?
I am often asked about my travels either from the perspective of how I choose one destination over another to how do choose accommodations without ever seeing a place in person.
I can honestly say, 99.99999% of most things in my life that have come to fruition all started with a dream, a vision, or desire of sorts. My borderline Type-A, can do, 100% Capricorn mind takes over from there until voila, my dreams become reality in living color.
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson
So for the sake of it being the first Monday in May of 2015, let’s make today “MAGIC MONDAY” in that you think of, write down, text to yourself, or otherwise find an image of a place you’d love to visit and pretend you have a magic wand to step outside of yourself so you can visually see yourself in that place; the sights, the sounds, what you’re feeling. If you’re serious and completely in the moment of this post, your dedication to dreaming in color then you will be reminded of this post and hopefully encouraged to begin planning for your ‘dream’ destination.
Magic Monday Challenge: If money nor time were an object, WHERE would you go?
~ Travel Well ~
*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*
Read this post at your own risk as insane envy may arise although it is NOT the intended purpose :-).
The joy (for me) is in the journey but I admit a small part of me marvels at the places I’ve stayed over the course of my travels (both business and pleasure). So in the spirit of “lists” and in no particular order might I add, here are some of my favorite accommodations of which I’ve had the pleasure experiencing…..
- The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
- Hotel Sofitel Munich Bayerpost (during my trip to Oktoberfest – see My European Adventure)
- Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam
- Four Seasons in San Francisco (it was for business but still….it was AMAZING)
- Maya Villa/Condos in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (2 story 3 bdrm, 3 bath, living/dining room/kitchen and balcony. I still have to write the post so more to come)
- Mahagiri Villas & Spa Dreamland, Bali (3 bedroom, 3 bath, living/dining room/kitchen, private pool/cabana all approx 3000 sq ft – stayed during my birthday celebration in 2014)
- Barcelo Bavaro Adults Only Resorts Punta Cana DR
- Ritz Carlton, Charlotte NC
- The Adolphus, Dallas TX
- The Fairmont, Seattle WA
- Sutton Place, Chicago IL
- The Millenium Hilton – World Trade Center, NYC (before the Twin Towers were constructed, actually during the rebuilding)
- Protea Hotel Victoria Junction Waterfront, Capetown South Africa
- The Venetian, Las Vegas NV
- Dreams Cancun (my balcony overlooked the dolphin school. This is now a different property now I believe)
- Hyatt Regency Curacao Old Quarry Golf Course (I think it has changed its name since my stay in 2011)
My memory is giving me a run for my money at the moment so I will stop there while you salivate lol!
Where have you stayed that either gave you excellent service or accommodations that blew you away?
~ Travel Well ~