On the Travel Team

There are many blogs about travel because there are millions who dream of it. They are like me, one of the diehard adventurers who love to share their experiences to destinations near and far. But my blog will be different. It is not just about the great cities I have visited, but, rather, how I combine a life of faith with my passion. In fact, it is faith that has prompted me to write to the world and give advice or provide a moral that seems to come from each of my travel experiences. Helping others brings me great joy. Even a quick trip out of town or a mini vacation has something positive to impart. When I go with my two children, five and seven, it is a very special event. They give me reason and motivation to journey together, and it replenishes my soul. How does this work? For one thing, when you leave home, you enter another realm, one that allows you to think and reflect on your life and its purpose. People always talk about a change of place to get a change of pace; and this I know to be true. I only need a day here or there to come to realize the value of my family and how lucky I am to enjoy a wonderful life. You can do this to, if you make the decision to venture out. Now it is time to give you a little example of what I am talking about so far. My daughter is on a traveling soccer team and it couldn’t be a better choice for the little one. She loves to visit new places as much as I do; she obviously has the “travel bug.” Together, we can explore and feel free to roam. Of course, the soccer matches dictate our time schedule, but we make sure there is room to maneuver everywhere we go. She even travels with her soccer ball (one of these: https://www.topcornermag.com/best-soccer-ball/), just in case there's an opportunity to go for a kick around. When she first joined the youth team, I was leery; but I have converted to a real fan. I love to watch this healthy seven-year-old cavort about the field with the other players; each tries so hard to reach the ball. They end up panting with exertion. I am proud of her athletic skills and they will only get better as she grows. Some of the games take us to small towns while others take us to big cities. The differences are enormous, but we always find it very special to be together as we discover the world. Travel is a form of education, both for you and your children. What better way to discuss current topics than to be on the road. You have the kids’ complete attention. Plus, they get more curious about things when in a new environment. If there are historic sites or museums, we take full advantage of them.

Another reason to love traveling

If you have found my travel blog, you know why it is the most exciting and rewarding activity you can do, and even better when family is along for the ride. I could go on and on about various adventures that happen as I discover the vast variety of the world. I seem to have great luck in attracting unique situations. It is not always about scenery and sites, however, because there is more. As you revel in a new culture and appreciate another dimension of life, you also meet people of immense interest. The list I have of the most intriguing people is very long. And it is way for interesting than those on Barbara Walter’s show. On my trips here and there, fascinating men and women come into my life at odds times. They want to share their stories with someone new, and I am ready and willing to listen. I have been invited to tea in London and for pastries and coffee in France. I have stayed in an ice hotel, a yurt in Africa, and a cottage in Sussex. In the US, I have talked with teens, mothers, grandparents, and other travelers, some on the run from something chasing them in life. As for me, I am chasing adventure and experience. I have met artists and artisans of various arts. One of the most interesting was an old welder, long retired from the construction industry. Now he was expressing his love for metal in an array of expressive hand-crafted sculptures. His stories were riddled with mystery and meaning, and I intended to unravel them as we spoke. What intrigued me most was his confession of faith and how the spirit of the Lord invaded his work. It is not often that people speak of the deeper dimensions of life and I ate it up. He must have felt that I was a kindred spirit. As I urged him to reveal his inner truth, he divulged the great loss in his life: his beloved wife. When I became drawn to a small wiry sculpture that had been welded from metal debris, he mentioned that it was an image of his wife, not her physical appearance, but her celestial being and he'd used a MIG welder to make it - https://www.ratemywelder.com/best-mig-welder-reviews/. I felt it go through me as I touched the delicate shape. It was the most eerie feeling I have had while on a trip. I wasn’t in a shaman’s teepee or a wise man’s temple. I was with an ordinary human in an ordinary place. But these are the very places that such things happen. You can’t go out looking for them; they must come to you. The experience of oneness with this man and his wife was beyond compare.

This Trip Stayed With Us (in a bad way)

I tend to extol the virtues of travel and love to recount the richness of my past and present experiences; but there are also trials and tribulations to relate. Not everything goes perfectly when you are away from home. It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal, but some little problem that rears its ugly head and ruins the vacation for the entire family. We have run out of bottled water when abroad and gotten terrible sunburns on the coast. Sometimes our luggage is lost and sometimes it bursts open on the conveyor belt. All kinds of issues arise everywhere you go. You take the wrong clothing and find yourself sweltering or freezing, as the case may be. Someone slips on a piece of gum on the sidewalk and incurs a little bruise on the knee. Anyone can get up late and miss a plane or forget their purse in the hotel. Any times, my cell phone has gone dead as I am in the midst of tracking down a family member. The culprit is poor planning, bad luck, or fate. Most of the time everything is wonderful or I wouldn’t be writing a blog about the greatness of travel. We don’t always enjoy the plane ride (when it is bumpy and scary) or the hotel we choose. The mattresses and pillows can be too soft or hard. There might not be enough towels or room in the tiny closet. One of the worst aspects of one trip was a stale cigarette smell that came wafting down the hall to our non-smoking section. I guess when the hotel advertised this feature, they failed to mention that it was absolutely adjacent to the smoking area. Now I had to face bedding and clothing that reeked of a distinct odor. I had to find a way to get it out. There was no way I was going to pack shirts and underwear and carry the evidence of cigarettes back home. No, they did not provide air freshener in the room. However, I did light some matches that someone had left in a drawer. I also used them to light a candle I had bought in a local shop as a souvenir after getting the idea from https://www.nomoresmokesmell.net/. That did the trick. The lovely lemon scent filled the room in minutes, permeating the soiled clothing at the same time. I imagine that this sort of situation has happened to many travelers, especially those who frequent budget hotels. I sincerely recommend that you take travel size air deodorizer with you. It will come in handy in many situations. Of course, the moral of this story is that you don’t want your trip to stay with you (in a bad way). Keep scented sachets in your luggage.

Faith-based Destinations

Taking a faith-based destination, on the other hand is much more personal. Although, dreaming to go somewhere, I jot down certain places I would like to o to. It being a more spiritual journey because nothing gets you in the mood for living than a spiritual journey. In fact, it's not only one of the most positive things you can give yourself as a human being, but it's rejuvenating and inspiring to keep living in faith. Even more and depending on where you go, who you meet, or what've you've learned, you always come back refreshed and inspired.   Faith-based destinations, fortunately, will give you a sense of appreciation for life, a purpose. It'll give you a sense of gratitude and something important to look forward.   What I get out of it is a memorable experience, and when you plug-in what you believe in, whether its God or some other entity, your faith in it will build up becoming more stronger and keeping you alive, like a flame burning with life. It's a big part of traveling to these types of destinations, and if you have faith in your life, you should own it. Actually, without it, life isn't the same.   Life can become a gloomy-looking grayish cloud over me if I didn't have hope, faith and love in life. It's a great guide to live by and the journey is always where the magic is encountered. This is why traveling is so important to me and my children.   Visit historical places   A weekend getaway may be all you need. It's an ideal way to go on a spiritual journey for a bit. Whether you go to the Vatican or a local missionary retreat, the time to begin planning is now for a faith-based getaway. Yet, you do need the right planning to make it a success. If you're the social type, you'll certainly enjoy the tour-type vacations. When you take tours with others on the same path as you, you'll notice how the effects are immediate. It'll be unexpected for some but you'll meet people and can make long-lasting relationships.   On the other hand, the gracefulness of traveling alone, with your family or with your friends, will always keep you "refueled." The meaning behind these beautiful landscapes are what help these places become a more meaningful trip. They've become sanctuaries and the main reason why these are the two (of many) top faith-based destinations to visit someday.   The Garden of Gethsemane (Jerusalem, the foot of the Mount of Olives)   Visit the garden where Jesus walked! Jerusalem was a place where Jesus walked and millions upon millions of people endure taking the same path as they walk to the Garden of Gethsemane. This particular spiritual place is becoming even more popular today than ever before. With millions wanting to feel and have a first hand look at where Jesus was said to walk this is a place to visit. The trees in the garden where the final place he visited 'voluntarily' and before he was crucified is also an emotional place to visit. It's a place where people remember him, his death, and his resurrection which followed. The 900-year old trees have a majestic look to them when you walk into its surroundings. This is the place where Jesus prayed before he left the physical Earth which is so mystical and awe-inspiring. 1.   It's located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, (Jerusalem), the Garden of Gethsemane. In general, it’s the most interesting and one of the most popular places to visit. The Garden is recognisable to most faith believers as it was the last place Jesus was before he was crucified onto a cross. In fact, he prayed here and it was also the day "...He was betrayed by Judas." 1.   Experience Noah's Arc (Kentucky)   Sitting on location nearby other tourist attractions in Williamstown, Northern Kentucky, a replica of Noah's Ark is beautifully structured and visited by 1M a year. Opened for tours on July 7, 2016, you can see it with others while taking a grand tour of it! Teams worked steadfast to get it constructed and while it did take two years to complete, it weighs 25K pounds! The official name, The Ark Encounter and owned by Answers in Genesis. Make sure you allow for more than 5 hours to visit since the three level Ark has quite a few things to see. There are current exhibits that are worth the visit.   - Animals on Board - Noah's family - The Flood - Why the Bible is True   With this in mind, planning to take a vacation soon will be a mind-opening journey. Nevertheless, it's a refreshing thing to do to alone or with others on the same path as you. It's optimistic and will help you regroup and get inspired for a new season. As a result, traveling to a faith-based destination like these two of a multitude of places to go to will not only keep you in a spiritual journey uniquely defined by its surroundings and history, but will help you appreciate what our world has to offer. To take a faith-based vacation is to retreat and feed our spiritual soul this Spring or Summer.   Source: 1. Religious Travel Planning Guide. "Venture to the places where Jesus..." http://religioustravelplanningguide.com/venture-to-the-places-where-jesus-walked.

Tips for Travelling with Children

When you travel with children, there may be a few things to keep in mind. As a parent, you should know that they can be fussy at times and may need some extra things to take along with your travels with these little guys and gals.   - Visas are needed for your destination when you go to other countries other than your own. Therefore, don't be surprised if they're a requirement for your child. Not only do adults need them, but children need to take those pictures too. They'll also be a fee too and it's probably going to cost the same price as yours. Avoid two trips when you get your visa by getting yours and your child(ren). There are various countries that want you to have it collected in person at the main embassy of the country you reside in.   - Today there is a big problem with child trafficking and there's a rise in international adoptions. Because of these two factors, travelling with children can mean special documentation is needed. In some case, adopted children need to have their "adoption papers. Parents may need proof of consent from the other parent, if one is traveling with the child, and it doesn't matter of "marital status."   In other words, if you are American and you have an Italian toddler, it can be a red-flag for some officials at the country's Immigration services in the airports. So, if you are adopting the child, these adoption papers are needed. The child's passport and his/her name can also be an issue if it doesn't have the same name as you. Here's what you need.   - Child's birth certificate - Your marriage certificate (in some cases) - A consent letter signed/notarised from the other parent - If other parent is deceased, a death certificate may be needed.   ACCOMMODATIONS - Finding accommodations while pre-booking is one of the most flexible things to do a few month before you go on traveling with your children. This can help you look elsewhere on another date. Pre-booking is the wisest thing to do for any traveler with children. For instance, if you are a planning a summer vacation to India with your children, there's so many places that look like a gem through a child's eyes. Adventure and fun is what they'll experience if you plan a trip to the region of Thailand for instance. The experience that your child will get because of the people, the culture, the food, the history, plus the entertainment, will be like a kaleidoscope to them. Planning is needed so finding the accommodations first is a must so you can begin the itinerary for you and your family.   - There are many hotels and resorts which accommodate free children's meals, or at discount. The hotels may only advertise internationally, but if you live in a tourist town or near one, ask for these deals. Many international hotel chains offer them. They also have it bundled with certain dates or number of days you'll be staying. Complimentary ones for kids can be specially formulated for them if you talk to the staff beforehand if breakfast isn't available with your rate.   CLEANLINESS - Sterilizing things which infants and toddlers doesn't have to be so frustrating while traveling through countries, cities, or towns. Airports are busy with millions of people which means that sterilizing everything for your baby or child is necessary. Deal with it by investing in a portable steam sterilizer at the end of the day. Take multiple bottles, food (snack) containers, and teething toys... etc. so you can sterilize it when you check in to your hotel room, or guest house. It's less work when you need to clean all your children(s) items. It's less strenuous too when you use sterilizers.   PREPARATION - Getting your children thinking about "summer-related projects" before you leave would be giving them "a head's up." Begin by asking them to explore what they may want to see by viewing maps, historical events, plant or animal life, and geographic places to see. Researching beforehand the place you and your children will be visiting would help shake away the "jitters" for your children. Check out the types of food the locals eat and what other travelers recommend regarding dining out and restaurants for families with children. Many places have children discounts so by reviewing your destination's "places to eat," you'll save time and money.   SPECIAL NEEDS - Communicating with parents of special needs children may be a comforting thing to do when preparing for a family vacation. In fact, traveling with children with special needs can be a risky trip for him/her if your child isn't ready. Traveling in an unknown location for your children can make them experience an entire new culture. This can cause them to experience "culture-shock" which isn't fun at all for a young kid(s). Preparing certain medications and allergies to them may be cause for concern. when traveling with children. When in need of a doctor overseas or in another town, your children should be wearing identity bracelets. These detail medical bracelets will have your child's conditions. It'll have all the "allergies or allergic to..." labeled on it and should even have the health conditions your child(ren) may have. Additionally, your child's doctor's name should also be on it as well as the number to contact him/her for communication purposes and in cases of an emergency.   ADVENTURES - Besides the obvious Disney World trips, or Disney Cruise ships, take your kids to a place where they'll experience hands-on learning mixed with fun activities. A place such as a safari-like adventure to see live animals and learn about them is one idea. If you are fortunate enough to take them to another continent, such as Africa, where you know there's lots of animals and tour guides for safari fun is one vacation you and your kids will always remember. Then, you all can check it off from your child's "bucket list" when returning from your trip.   Finally, when you travel with children, patience is definitely a virtue. What will save you is remembering that traveling is for fun, to getaway, to have a thrilling time. If you're a visionary, you'll see that going to Disney World will ultimately bring out the child in you!

What’s Your Vacation Style?

There's a number of ways to travel whether it's local or international. In fact, for those who vacation regularly (or "once-in-a-blue-moon") really know how it is to set up a great vacation. Are you one to swim with the sharks, hike a 15-mile trail (or more), camp out and fish, or go sea-shelling? Our world really is our oyster. In retrospect, I can recall when my parents would pack us up as a family and take off on a weekend getaway on Friday's, right after school. It was a mini-vacation, but was it worth it! From school, from my friends, from the world, my family would pack up and leave.   Come to find out, we were only 30 minutes away. (But it felt so far! And in another world, it felt like!) Yes, it's still considered local. We'd act, I guess, like tourists because we swam, we sunbathed, we played, ...shop, eat, and repeat to relax.) We were still considered "local."   Nevertheless, it was the local beaches which made us feel as if we were in Hawaii or Venice. Simply swimming the day away in the hotel's (or motel's) pool was such a great memory. Although come to find out, we weren't the only ones doing this back then. (You'll find many families still doing this.) Regardless of what era you're from, every generation has this a traveling ritual in their family. If you've never experienced it, it's never too late to start taking these types of vacations. Those vacations you'll remember (or forget) but that everyone will end up taking the memories with them as they get older. The main thing here is that as long as we relaxed, regroup, and enjoy the trip, its all for the mind, body, and soul!   Family retreat   Even if it's 30 minutes away, any travel experience as a form of retreat from daily life helps release so much stress thereby rejuvenating the body and the mind. The countless trips families and individuals take on a regular basis know what it's like, especially if they live near a coastal city. If you're lucky enough, you or someone you know may live near or in a coastal city. The fact is when you are shopping at the town you are visiting and stay in a local hotel, then go sightseeing, dine out, and shop! It's a million-to-one that you'll come back to your room feeling like a million bucks. You and the kids, if in tow, will feel like you're in another world, or country.   Family retreats are great in every region and since we have so many places to go to and see. We are what scientists call "a speck of what is really out there."(NASA, 2018) Until we find a way to vacation on Mars, then it's our National Parks, sandy coastlines, historical markers, and more that reel us into a vacation all its own.   Everyone has a style. Naturally, knowing your own travel style will eventually surface once you've paid attention to your likes, dislikes, interests, or hobbies. How and what you prepare beforehand, if at all, is up to you. If you're accustomed to being in and out of airports, train stations, bus stations, or even cruise ships, you've come a long way. You may even like camping or RVing and if not, you should try it.   So, what's your vacation style?   Catch amazing trips because it's never too late to begin thinking about what kind of traveling you're good at. The main purpose is to balance your life...to learn and grow mentally and spiritually. Visiting other places and learning about the region, the culture, and experiencing the unique surrounding of the place you're visiting is one of the best ventures you can do as a traveler. Naturally, if you enjoy history, the sky's the limit!

Alternative Transportation Ideas

Tourists don't realise that there are other means of transportation besides renting a car or driving in their family sedan across the country. Alternative transportation can be a money saver for travelers who frequently go across drive across the country they live at and think it's saving them money. For one, if you have an older model vehicle, then you may just add more miles, plus the wear and tear of your vehicle and all it's parts is another thing you don't really want to think about. It's a timeless journey when you're in someone else's mode of transportation such as a cruise ship or RV. Besides, don't you want to enjoy the scenery? One of the culprits of having to drive in your vehicle is pulling over to check your tires, your oil, filling up again all at the next rest stop or gas station. On the other hand, when it's another owner's transportation such as a RV or camper rental, it's not that bad. Here are some ideas of taking alternative transportation means for your next family vacation. RVing - When you rent an RV, you're not only driving in another vehicle besides your own, but you’re driving in style with a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed, a place to rest, ...and much more! You'll be able to see the views as you drive (or someone else) or take a nap until you get to your destination! It may remind you of childhood vacations or if you've never taken one like this, the best time to start is now! Cruise Ship - Enjoy the best thing in vacationing such as a cruise ship. You can pick one that will fit your budget. There are cruise ships exclusively for adults only, and those that are fit for kids! You can plan a whole week without ever getting behind a wheel on a cruise ship. Luxury style or budget style, there's one for everyone. Setting sail across the seas in one of those lifetime vacations everyone should take when they don't want to drive, plus you there's so much to do you may not fit it all in one trip. Train - Taking a train ride is all the fun when it comes to traveling across the states or countryside. In fact, with most train passes, you can get unlimited train transportation passes on boats, cab rides, ferries, and even cable cars. This naturally will depend on where you're visiting. For instance, a Eurorail Pass (Europe) will give you these types of perks. So, if you plan on visiting Europe, hopping on a train will do you justice, plus save you tons of euros! Check the Amtrak site out for traveling across America in 2-4 weeks! (Go to: https://www.amtrak.com/take-the-trains-across-america-with-usa-rail-pass). Bus Charter Tours - These are ideal for all ages. In fact, you can go on a charter bus tour to the Hollywood Hills, or go to Baja in Mexico, or travel across the historical landscapes of Canada. Anywhere across the nation is fun to see when you go with a tour guide and other so travel savvy as you. Go visit Graceland with a bunch of Elvis lovers, either way, this is a great alternative transportation idea for anyone who loves to travel. In summary, traveling to various destinations with another means of alternative transportation ideas such as these listed will give you homage to the meaning of vacation. You'll see the world in a different perspective somehow. Besides RVing, you don't have to behind the wheel and simply just relax and enjoy the ride. Leaving it to the "hands of others" may give you more relaxation then you'd ever dream of! So, start packing...!

Taking a Meaningful Trip

Taking a meaningful trip will bring us so much more purpose when we return from it whether it's a short or long trip. Whether it's going to the largest Florida Garden and smelling the roses and taking a brisk walk to the tulip area or visiting a town that is hosting Wrestle Mania with your son, it's coming out anew and invigorated is what it's about.

The purpose is to enjoy and prosper from our trips that give us so much meaning. In fact, we'll see clearer during the course of it while enjoying it, learn from it, and continue more ventures. As we know it, we are better off spending time in nature for this type of trip at times. Some would rather take a train through the Canada mountains or somewhere up north and yet other may want to take a vacation in the hill country of Texas. Whatever the case, taking a meaningful vacation is where you want to devote some planning in order to have a successful adventure.

Whether you want to visit a farm, ranch, city, mountain-side, or volcano side in whatever part of the world you are curious about, being able to travel with so many options start with the vision of your trip. Like many other travelers, seeing how exciting our planet really is keeps us enjoying our planet.

In retrospect, spending time in nature is necessary for us humans. In fact, when we are around natural elements such as water, wood, the sun, and the animals, we view life in a different sense. Rejuvenating ourselves by breathing the natural air. Far away from the noise and crowds of an inner city will become of a nature trip or nature hike like going to a local, state, or national park.

Experience other culture/people

You'll have the memories to take with you when you go on a meaningful trip. Not necessarily feeding the children or helping a church youth program every summer, but a trip that will give you a positive and much clearer perspective in life.

It should have meaning for you without feeling you have to do something. Doing charity work is great, but either way you visit the place, returning from the trip should have a 'feel good' feeling.

With this in mind, there's the flipside to a meaningful trip. Understanding other cultures and people helps us see life in a different perspective and with more meaning. Its this experience that greets our struggles so as to appreciate where we come from and what our purpose is in life. This becomes part of a taking a meaningful trip, whether alone or not. It's proven that spending time around the natural environment does something wonderful to us. Releasing all the stress, worries, tension, and refueling us for better days to come.

Things to do on your trip

Taking on a meaningful trip where there's a purpose such as helping a Habitat for Humanity or helping build a skate-ramp for an underfunded community park are two examples. Two other examples which are common amongst many traveling nomads are taking on a missionary retreat for a year or going to the beach for a weekend.

Either way, the things you can do on your trip are endless at times. You can make a long lasting impact for someone or a group of people who haven't had a vacation for awhile and you take them with you. Another way to refuel some new meaning into your life is simply driving up the coast. If you like animals, go to a natural sanctuary such as a zoo.

Here are some other common, yet meaningful trips you can enjoy to do solo or with your family and friends. - Swim with the sharks, dolphins, ...etc - Go Surfing - Do Yoga on the beach - Skydiving - Skiing - Climb a mountain - Run a 5K marathon

These are only a handful of the many places that are out there being offered world-wide. Additionally, it never hurts to spin the globe and see where your finger lands on and begin planning!

Go local or the distance for a meaningful trip

Travelers can go local or the distance for meaningful trips. There's places like Nepal, Bali, Vietnam, Turkey, Baja Mexico,... and many other places you probably never thought of. Everyone needs to do this regularly and that's taking a much-needed destination for solitude and rejuvenation.

There are places hidden in a sea of wonders and plenty of terrain to explore. Finding them brings great meaning to the word "appreciation". Such places are the wonders of Phang Nga Bay which is considered a "hidden wonder" by many travel websites.

Enjoy the water sports and what the popular coastal town has to offer. One is kayaking through the sea caves made of limestone. Traveling through the cliff-lined blue-green lagoons is another thing to do if you visit this mysterious hot-spot. Mysterious at night, its one of those places that is literally (and naturally colored) emerald. The beauty of these fine-looking waters is seeing them midnight. Meaningful trips such as this hidden wonder of Phang Nga Bay will deliver.

There's so much to see that will bring about a new meaning in your life if you reach out there and explore. For instance, there's hundreds of wildlife species to awe over if you like the natural wonders of the world. Be spontaneous and take a trip down to South America or go to the Amazon for a safari-like travel destination. Finally planning a meaningful trip should include animal, rollercoaster rides with the children or trekking with solo, but whatever you decide, make it your time to rejuvenate.