Does Amazon Prime Make Us Boring?

Does Amazon Prime Make Us Boring?

A few days before Christmas, caught up in a last minute shopping crunch, I signed up for Amazon Prime.  Free, two-day shipping guaranteed that my purchases would arrive before the holiday.  But it also opened up a whole new world of opportunity.  I can get basically anything I could ever want, from designer boots, to organic vitamins to exercise equipment delivered to me within 48 hours.  I don’t even have to leave home! “In our current culture of immediacy,” says author Keri Smith in The Pocket Scavenger, “we have lost the experience of ‘the quest,’ the search for that elusive item and the stories we create in our attempt to find it.  These stories, the process (vs. the object itself),” Smith claims, “are often what make life interesting.” A quest—a search to find something; a challenge, requiring sacrifice in pursuit of a clearly defined goal.  Driven on by a motivation perhaps no one else understands, you push forward, and often change in the process. Chris Guillebeau, in his book The Happiness of Pursuit, recalls a night in the Dakar airport during his quest to visit every country in the world: Far from home, there’s a feeling you can experience even when you’re bone-weary.  No matter how exhausted (Eighteen hours of flying!  Two hours of sleep on a plastic chair.), and no matter how ridiculous the situation (I’m flying to Guinea-Bissau for no good reason!), you can still savor the thrill of adventure.  As the caffeine kicked in and I stretched my legs, I began to feel better.  As crazy as it may have seemed to some people, I was...
My First Travel Tip of the New Year:  Go Nowhere

My First Travel Tip of the New Year: Go Nowhere

“2016 already, can you believe it?  Wow, where did the year go? Is it my imagination, or does each year speed by more quickly?”  How many times in the past week have you overheard or participated in this conversation? Maybe it’s just friendly chit chat with a grocery clerk or co-worker, the type of universal topic, like the weather, that puts us on common ground, but it also conveys our shared anxiety.  We’re all keenly aware of the invisible timer, running in the background of our lives, counting down the moments left.  And maybe we’re afraid of hitting 0:00 and discovering that we’ve wasted it, or missed out on something essential, or just weren’t paying attention, distracted by our busyness from what’s real and precious and true. I haven’t shared anything here in the past few months.  A new day job has demanded more time and energy, but that’s just an excuse.  Honestly, I’ve been thinking about what I want to say.  I don’t want to write just to put out content and add more noise.   Instead, I’ve been asking how can I use this platform, my voice, to reach people in a meaningful way? Clearly I love to travel.  That’s why I started this blog.  I want to see it all, experience it, soak it in, go, go, go.  But maybe the place to start is by going nowhere.  Acclaimed author, Pico Iyer, gave exactly this advice in a 2014 TED Talk, a seemingly surprising suggestion from a travel writer.  Yet, as he explains: I really began to feel that if you were lucky enough to walk around the candlelit temples...
Your Travel Bucket List Isn’t Real

Your Travel Bucket List Isn’t Real

How often do you hear someone refer to a travel experience as something that’s on their “bucket list.”  “Eating a hot dog at Wrigley Stadium?  Oh, yeah, that’s on my bucket list.”  Capturing quality footage of a Sasquatch running through a mossy Oregon forest?  Bucket list!”  But the bucket list as elusive as the the Loch Ness Monster.  Has anyone ever actually seen one?  And who came up with this “bucket list” term anyway?  It’s almost cringe worthy.  And I’m not crazy about the idea of keeping important things in a bucket.  Buckets are good for holding beach sand, soapy wash water, and paint, but I don’t keep money, jewelry or my dreams in a bucket. But I do like lists.  Is there anything more satisfying than checking something off of a list?  Come on, you know you’ve added things like “put on shoes” and “drive to work” to your daily to-do list so you can experience an early day sense of accomplishment.  And what’s the best kind of list?  A list about lists of course!  So let’s make one.  Oh, this just appeals to my personality all over! Here are three steps to transform your travel “bucket list”(someone puhleeeze come up with a better phrase!) from a hazy presence in the back of your brain into an actual, real-life, I’m-going-to-accomplish-cool-things-and-cross-them-off-and-feel-awesome list. 1.  Put it in words. Set aside 30 minutes and relax with your favorite tool for capturing your ideas.  I’m a paper and mechanical pencil girl, but you might like typing on your tablet or talking in your phone’s voice memo app.  Whatever works.  Imagine all the places you’d...
A Few Thoughts on Pursuing Your Dreams

A Few Thoughts on Pursuing Your Dreams

So, this post is a little different.  But I want to just tell you a few things on my heart.  Click below to listen.  I hope it inspires you to take action. http://www.traveltipgirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Dream-Job-Day-7-16-15.mp4 1.  Identify your dreams.  2.  Surround yourself with supportive people.  3.  Find a mentor.  4.  Take action, no matter how...
TravelTipGirl.com Celebrates One Year!

TravelTipGirl.com Celebrates One Year!

One year ago I launched the traveltipgirl.com blog to share my love of travel, provide practical advice, and encourage readers to get out and explore.  To those of you who have read my posts, encouraged me, and joined the conversation, a sincere thank you.  I welcome your input and truly appreciate your suggestions and ideas.  You’ve joined me as I’ve visited both coasts of Mexico, wandered the streets of Paris, and sailed down the Seine River.  I hope I’ve provided you with valuable tips, inspired you to travel to new places and made you laugh a time or two. Here’s a recap of some of my favorite posts of the year: What to pack for a cruise; How to enjoy gourmet cuisine when traveling with kids; Easy ways to improve your photos; Why you shouldn’t buy a hermit crab as a souvenir; And, my favorite, how to take a road trip with cats (if you must). Happy travels to you all! Laura a/k/a Travel Tip...
Seeking Beauty

Seeking Beauty

The sun sets over a tropical sea.   A blue heron takes flight.  A village boy holdings his young sister’s hand as they navigate a busy market.  When travelling, we seek to immerse ourselves in the spectacular, absorb the exotic.  Removed from our everyday settings, our senses come alive.  We feel the warmth of the sun on our backs, hear the bird’s song, breathe deeply the salty ocean breeze. As humans we instinctively pause when encountering beauty.  Studies show that infants prefer viewing photographs of attractive people.  Scenic highways provide frequent viewpoints so drivers can safely pull aside to soak in the sights.  Many a man has earned himself a sharp word or smack for allowing his eyes to linger just a moment too long on a beautiful woman. Yet, as we go about the day-to-day, day after day, from A to B, B to C, wash, rinse, repeat, routine narrows our vision.  We’re gradually blinded to our surroundings as our minds trade observation for efficiency.  Days blur into weeks and discouragement sets in.  When we finally take a vacation, we flop on the nearest lounge chair or check the boxes as we shuffle from one site to another. If we fail to feed our hearts with beauty, and let the wonder slowly drain out of our lives, we’re left depleted.  We turn inward and lose the ability to focus beyond our own immediate needs. “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”  How do we prevent “beauty blindness”?  Let’s make a habit of seeking out wonder and delight in...