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... read more

Your Friday Escape: Banff National Park

Where: Eastern Slope of the Rocky Mountains about 80 miles west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada Today’s Weather Forecast: Sunny, High: 82*F, Low: 48*F Escape the summer swelter and soak up the rugged beauty of waterfalls, jewel-toned lakes, and granite peaks. You can camp, but there’s no need to rough it here. The resort town of Banff offers charming boutiques and restaurants, and chateau-style hotels. As you head out for dinner, grab a light jacket in anticipation of a chill in the air after sunset. Sleep well, because adventure awaits! Things to do: Banff National Park offers four-season outdoor recreation. Relax in the hot springs which have drawn visitors for over 100 years. Watch for wildlife including grizzly, caribou and wolves while hiking, canoeing, fishing or cycling. For a summertime adrenaline rush, try whitewater rafting. Return in the winter to ski or snowboard, or if you’re especially adventurous, climb a frozen waterfall. Step back in time to the Old west at Bar U Ranch. Ride in a horse-drawn wagon, learn how to make butter and rope and do laundry the old-fashioned way. Special events include a chuckwagon cookoff, rodeo, trail rides and a cowboy skills competition. Facts: As told by the official National Park website[insert link]: “In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled across a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. From that humble beginning was born Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and the world’s third. Spanning 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of... read more

Your Friday Escape: Les Baux de Provence

This Week’s Destination: The tiny village of Les Baux de Provence, France Population: 427 Closest major airport: Marseilles This week we’re traveling to another continent and another millennium. Imagine scanning your eyes across a vast plateau from inside the thick walls of a fortress built high on a rocky outcropping. Les Baux de Provence, as this village in southern France has been known since the Middle Ages, has provided a vantage point and place of protection since prehistoric times. A major building program initiated in the 13th century replaced the early fortress with a keep and expanded the castle to take advantage of the natural rock foundation. As a Disney-fied American, I tend to think of a “castle” as a single building, but real medieval castles were often a collection of buildings enclosed within a wall. A “keep” is a self-sufficient structure at the center of the castle which served as the residence of the lord and the place of last refuge if the castle came under attack. Over the centuries the village’s population decreased from a peak of near 3,000 during the 13th century to about 400 by 1900.   After World War II , tourists drawn by the opening of a world-class restaurant revived the village.  Careful restoration earned it the official title of “One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France” in 1999. Today you can stroll its narrow, automobile-free streets, visit museums and small shops, and dine on Provencal cuisine. Things to do Cycling: The village’s official visitors’ website suggests cycling because it “allows you the time to meet people, and you only have to put out your... read more

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. 1.  Identify your dreams.  2.  Surround yourself with supportive people.  3.  Find a mentor.  4.  Take action, no matter how... read more Celebrates One Year!

One year ago I launched the 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... read more

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