Posts Tagged ‘travel’

It is always nice to have a new subscriber, but it is especially cool to find one from a far away land. I believe it helps to remind us just how similar we are. There are jobs we hate to do and then find out how worthwhile they were. There are times we do not realize how much we miss our relatives until we see them again.

If i cannot travel, at least I can read about other places and people. Sanchari is in Delhi, and blogging at, http://sancharib.wordpress.com/. If you scroll down her posts, you will see some great photos of the Jaisalmer Fort.

But, what really brought me home was her November post on cutting down the Mango tree which was just one year older than she is.

When I was growing up, my side yard had a large weeping willow tree. I could crawl under the branches and have an instant play house/fort/whatever I wanted. Many a day was spent eating lunch and playing under that tree. So, when mom and dad moved to a subdivision, they took a start with them and grew a new weeping willow in the backyard.

When I divorced, I moved back home again with my daughters. Super teacher daughter was in kindergarten and was delighted to live with a weeping willow in her very own backyard. It was she now who spent hours eating cookies or sandwiches and playing dolls under her grandparents tree. That is, until one day years later when lightning split the tree and it was taken down.

We had moved out a couple of years before this, but daughter always ran to visit her tree. We did not think to warn her as we got settled in for our visit, until she came back in the house in tears. Her beloved tree was gone.

She never ate mangoes from it but that tree was a wonderful memory for my daughter, as well as Sanchari’s Mango tree was for her.

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I love to travel, well actually I just love to be “there,”  wherever there is.  I am not a fan of the ‘getting there’ part.  I used to travel, marketing my artwork, cross country by car: sleeping in the van, shampooing in rest stops.  Now, I am opting for some type of teleporting transportation.  Come on, Obama, get us high speed trains.

Okay, we have airplanes and I do so love to take off in an airplane, but, as I have stated before, I hate being trapped in a steel tube.  It’s just not fun once you have been through lift off.   I’m not deathly afraid of plane wrecks, even though I have been in a plane that “lost” it’s engine.  The Lost Engine to Hawaii – Part three « Savanvleck’s Weblog

I am not sure whether I wrote about our overabundance of luggage on that trip and I am too lazy, obviously, to read all ?five? posts about Hawaii to see.  So, I will quickly recap what might not have been caped at all to begin with.

It was my mother’s dream trip and I got to ride along.  She found sets of luggage and purchased each of us a set.  They each had a large bag on wheels and a small bag that was eitheron wheels or I could strap over the handle of the large bag,  and then some little bags to put inside.  Me, not thinking (what’s new you say!) that mom was getting weaker already at that point and I would have to do all the tugging of luggage. 

Oahu one was no problem.  We got to our hotel and that was it for the week.  By the time we took Hawaiian Air to the second island, I had definitely had my fill of pulling four suitcases.  Why didn’t the travel agent mention there were laundries in most of the hotels.  Obviously, I am not a world traveler.  What I am, is an overpacker.  So, the next morning, on the Big Island, I drove our rental car to a post office, purchased two boxes and went out to the car and filled them up with clothing we were not going to wear.

It helped a lot, cost as much as one plane ticket and we received our clothing back about a month after we landed back on the mainland. 

Crazy Aunt Purl tells us how she travels light.  This is what I want to do, if and when I fly again.

Shortly after our Hawaiian trip, I cut out an article on how to travel light.  It is somewhere.  As I remember, you can fit two pair of dress slacks, one skirt, one basic black dress, a few bits of underwear, a one-piece bathing suit (with the right type of top to it), and a sweater, all in basic black and tan, along with four knit shirts in brighter colors and make yourself four hundred and twelve different outfits.  Or something like that.  You bring a pair of sandals that do duty as slippers and shower shoes and, if they are sparkly enough, evening shoes and you’ve got it made.

Me, I’m opting for wearing hiking boots, blue jeans, tshirt, over shirt, sweater and jacket on the plane.  I am padded enough for a minor wreck and warm enough when we hit 20,000 feet after leaving tropical Hawaii., that I will still be warm  And, I can probably find a way to stretch my wardrobe to five hundred outfits with it.

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This is the first Christmas we have taken our new/used Chrysler Voyager to Master Daughter’s house.  We make the trek each year with my mother and the three boys, and have had a larger Astro Van in the past.  Since it has no heater/air-conditioner, no muffler and not much else working, we purchased this car and, you know what, it’s not as big as it looks.

I really love the Voyager.  Visibility is fantastic in it and gas mileage is great, but pile in six people, a guitar, a suitcase for each and presents for twelve adults and two little girls and you are talking squished.  We do have two car top carriers or we would be giving gift cards only for presents.

First off, the car breaks down.  Three months ago I told husband that the car had a ping noise.  My husband’s philosophy of life is don’t fix it until your wife is stranded in a blizzard.  This has happened. 

So, we left a day late and he replaced an oil sensor in sub-zero weather.  I had no sympathy for him.  By the way, we have another squeaking in the car and I will be sure and write you all and let you know when I break down from that.

So, we left a day late and it has snowed since.  We cancelled our evening in Michigan, with my niece, as the weather is so bad and we are hibernating inside with Master Daughter’s family, which includes a really good dog who is the bane of irritating little Chihuahua’s life.  It also includes a parrot, a bearded lizard, a rabbit and many fish.   My Army grandson is home on leave and will ship out to Kuwait in January.  And, her oldest son is coming tomorrow with his girl and two little girls.

Last night we had a doggie do-up.  Chihuahua got a bit too close to the other dog’s dish and got a warning and let out a squeal.  The rest of the night she was glued to my leg, for protection, and snuggled up to me in bed till I rolled over and she fell out of bed.  Luckily, it was a low cot.  Unluckily, she was trapped under a desk and had to find her way out. 

But, if this is the worse of our trip, it is a great trip.  We were laughing so hard the first night that EMT came in the room and said, “Gee, and they haven’t even had a drink.” That is what is so great about family here, we have a wonderful time; lots of laughs and no arguments.

And, that is my wish for all of you.  Have a safe holiday with lots of laughs and no arguments.

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Were you ever in a relationship where you woke up one morning and said, ‘This person is making me old.’?


It’s not that they are actually making you old.  Mother Nature does a fine job of that on her own and when your genes add something like heart disease or cancer to the mix, it is scary. And, it is not that I am afraid of death, because I am not. And, someday I will explain that when I am feeling very psychic and ready to open my soul to the world (plus a death experience- not my own though).


What the thing is, is that I want to enjoy every minute of this life while I am here.  It is way too short not to.  I used to hike, picnic in the Dunes State Park in the winter, ski (cross-country and downhill), and just explore.  I went camping every chance I got.  Daughter-of-eleven and I once went camping with the tent and a roll of aluminum foil.  Seriously, I forgot blankets, bedding and utensils.  I stopped and bought a spatula and a blanket.  You can make a very good bacon and egg breakfast on foil, over an open fire.


I have visited every state in this union except Alaska. I have camped in Canada and spent two hours in Mexico.  That’s a whole other story.  I have whale watched and driven a large cargo van up a gravel mining road in Colorado.  That MAY just be what is wrong with daughter-of-eleven.  She was with me and never quite got over that adventure.  She did not mind going up so much, it was the backing back down the narrow, steep, drop-off, gravel mining road that did her in. 


The point is, and I am sure there is a point somewhere; I am not ready to sit in a rocking chair yet.  I have given up most things for years now because it seemed so unfair to my husband to do things without him.  He cannot help being disabled, but I realized a few years ago that I was getting older than I should be because of not living and it was not doing him any favors either, that I was declining.  He does what he can and I need to do what I can.  As I said, life is just too short.


I started out taking violin lessons.  It was something I had always wanted to do and I inherited my uncle’s violin.  So, the last year and a half I was in Wyoming I studied with Rainer Schwartzkof and, if I do say so myself, and actually, my teacher did; I’m rather an advanced case study on violin.  It may have been the years of music in school. and teaching myself to play organ.  But, by the end of the year and a half, we were doing Mazas duets and, oh, how I loved that.  I gave that up when I moved.


So, now that I am all better (my chest has been opened and my heart repaired) and I again have health insurance to get some rehab to help me get exercising again, I am anxious to get back to the violin.  My goal: to play Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida by Wolff; Three Pieces from Schindler’s List by John Williams and I have a book of Classical Solos to tackle.  I am also anxious to get back to painting.  


Until they get me settled in rehab, I walk (on our four acres), and I tend the garden (getting my pulse rate up a bit) and I take pictures, and I write. Irritating Chihuahua accompanies me and occasionally sneaks away, but when I am out of doors, it recharges my batteries.


Life is too short, not to live it.

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Another blog I am thoroughly enjoying is Wide Awake in Wonderland.


I would love to make that kind of trip across Europe; staying in hostels, eating non-gross exotic foods (is there such a thing?), seeing architecture of other countries, etc.  IF, I had someone who spoke many languages, I would just love to travel everywhere.


One thing I do have in common with Wonderland blogger is that I have had my own stalker.  Well, he was really my daughter’s stalker and, I hope to everything that keeps me safe, he is now in jail, prison, the mental ward or six feet under, or at the very least, not reading this blog.


We didn’t know that daughter of eleven had borrowed $300 from him; when she was only mother of three.  He just started calling up and she would wave me over to listen to the phone conversations. He would tell her exactly where she had been that day, about a wrong turn she made, where she stopped, etc.  It was downright creepy, scary.


At the time he drove some type of tanker truck with some noxious stuff in it so part of his threat was that he would drive it into our house.


We went to the police station, we called the police, they came out and time after time the cops would be like,


“Oh, all right.”  He said, feet resting on his desk. 


Then, the cop would amble off to get the guy’s police record.  You could see them in the back room sometimes, joking with another officer, “Got another one.” Type of thing and then — then he would pull the report out of the printer and he would come back all business and warning us we were in danger.


I never did get to see one of those reports but I sure would  love to. 


By the third or fourth night of sitting up all night with a shotgun in my lap, an officer knocked on the door and I put the gun up on a high cabinet.  When the officer came in, I informed him that it was there and loaded.


“Are you willing to use it?” He asked.


“Absolutely.” I told him. “I will not hesitate to shoot anyone who comes into my house to harm my children or grandchildren.”


He then proceeded to tell me how to shoot the stalker while he was still outside and pull his body in.  Obviously, he was old school and did not watch Law & Order.  I don’t think it was even on at that time.  But, the officer didn’t know much about blood spatter evidence, obviously.


In the end, the Judge threw the guy in jail for seventy-two hours and warned us that we had to use that time to pack up our life and move. There was no stalking law back then and he told us flat-out that we were not safe from this man.  We had to disappear.


So we did. 

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When I was a girl, and boy am I dating myself here, you could take an auto trip across America and eat your way across this country, trying foods that were new to your palate and never eating fast food.  There were grits in the south and vinegar on fries in Canada. The architecture was not all the same; as my neighbors pointed out to the rest of our rural block when they came home from California and painted their home a “California lavendar color.” It was shocking, in a block of white and tan homes.


Now, we travel and it’s the same choice in every town, TGIF or McDonald’s and Arby’s.  Regional flavors and differences are disappearing and not just in food either.  Wide Awake in Wonderlands is on a backpacking/hostel tour of Europe. She is reliving her “after school” type tour and finding the same thing in Europe.  Where hundred year old buildings house designer label stores. 


Before the rest of the world becomes too homogenized, with McDonalds popping up in the Colliseum and Western clothing the norm:  I would love to take pictures of:


The architecture of India as a backdrop of the electric color of Saris and food of India


Dusty African planes and the smiles of their people.


Architecture in Japan and the beauty of simplicity their culture respects


The Outback in Australia and the life of the fires of the Aboriginal people


Markets of spices and vegetables everywhere


In the meantime, I will travel with Wide Awake in Wonderland and Anthony Bourdain and today, I am off to the wilds of Tennessee, to visit relatives and where the only thing exotic that I have experienced in other visits is the southern accent of my cousin who was born and raised in Indiana.


OPPS!! Trip just cancelled because of Ike.  Apparently roads into Tennessee are being closed.  Hmmm! Does that keep the rain out?

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As you know, if you read my posts, I love my Clustr Map. I would love to travel the world and it makes me feel like my words get to travel for me.  So today, I welcome,


Right there, on the coast in South Africa, is that little red dot that means that at least one person in South Africa has read my words. 

Landmark achievements, for some people, are like a million readers. Who am I kidding, a thousand views was exciting for me. But, Africa. Someone in Africa is reading my blog.


It’s one of my top “some day” travel destinations.

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I have a new love in Blogland and it is my Clustrmap ClustrMaps – Hit counter map widget and tracker shows locations of all visitors to any site – free, at the bottom of this page.


I have always loved to travel and now my words get to do it. Perhaps not as wonderful as traveling and seeing the world for myself, but the thought of someone in India or Argentina or New Zealand being close enough to me to read my words is thrilling. Okay, I am easily entertained.


When I enlarge the Clustrmap, as near as I can tell, I have readership in:










New Zealand


A South Pacific Ocean Island (I know there is a better name)





United Kingdom – two


United States:


Colorado – possibly











New Brunswick








Thank you all. Please comment and let me know where you are from. And, if you don’t mind perhaps something fun you did this week.

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Where would you go, if you won a trip to anywhere in the world.


My list is almost too long to mention. Alaska to see the Northern Lights, anywhere to watch the whales, Holland/Norway, the Basque Country, to see what really made my ancestors who they were, and Japan to find a long lost friend, Junko Kanazawa.  India to photograph the women in their vibrant sari’s and learn more about Buddhism.  Africa for the music, culture and animals and for fun: New Zealand.  Send me a ticket, and with two seconds to pack my sketch pad and camera, I’m there.


I grew up in Indiana, thirty miles outside of Chicago. My father’s reason for never going to Chicago was stated succinctly.  “I never lost anything in Chicago. So, I don’t have to go back to get it.” The Dunes National Park was a short drive east. Couldn’t go there, He heard from someone, who knew someone, who was mugged there once.  He also told me once that anything he wanted to see, he could see on his television.  Dad was not adventurous.


Dad worked at Combustion Engineering and the family went to town once every other week, on payday.  They got groceries in Griffith, Indiana, where I would go to the library and carry out a load of books that stretched my arms down like an orangutan. Clothing was delivered by the Sears man.  In the summer, we would eat beer batter Fish and Chips at a drive-in restaurant on payday. I think it was at Broad and Main, in Griffith.


I however, wanted to move, since I remember being able to think.  I would look out an office window of a skyscraper and envy every one of those cars zooming by on the expressway, then I would go back to my typing.  I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, Canada and momentarily in Mexico.  So, the world is ahead of me yet..


Mom was there when we got home from school and cooked dinner, until the fateful day in history when TV Dinners blighted the earth.  She was having health problems, so it was quick fix, and, like Twinkies and White Castle, I thought they tasted better then, than they do now.


Dad’s big travel was his yearly two week vacation. The first I remember were the trips to cabins in Wisconsin. We spent two glorious weeks swimming, hiking and swatting mosquitoes. I loved it and the woods. Then, they bought a station wagon and camping equipment and my brother and I were in heaven.  I haven’t been camping in years and I really miss it.  I’m never so happy as when I am outdoors, anywhere.

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