About 2/3 of our travel is intentional, meaning, we intentionally choose the destination and plan to travel there. About 1/3 of travel is what I like to call opportunistic, meaning an opportunity to travel comes up through business or personal matters, and we make an effort to expand that into experiencing the destination the best way we can. Sometimes, it's just a morning photo walk on the way to a day full of busy meetings, or it's dragging relatives around the tourist circuit during family visits. There is is almost always time to sneak in the adventure and spirit of "travel" into any ordinary errand or weekend. We have a friend has challenged himself to visit every city and town (350+) in his state. This doesn't require any advance planning, or more money than a tank of gas! The adventure of travel, costing almost nothing, and his life is richer and more interesting for it!
We've posted a few photos hinting at our upcoming travels (many repeat visits, some new!) We hope you enjoy them, and most importantly, we hope you enjoy your travels, whether they be an epic trip to Australia a friend is secretly planning for their spouse, or ticking another town off your state map some Sunday afternoon! We wish you a very happy New Year and safe travels in 2018!
Great Britain via Iceland
We have relatives in Great Britain, and when we visit, we often expand on our travels. This year my daughter and I are taking advantage of Icelandair's offer of a "free" layover in Iceland of 3-7 days, when flying to Europe. This has become hugely popular, and the jump in tourism to Iceland proves it out. Expect to see more small airlines offering these kinds of specials in the futute. It's a fabulous way to turn a connecting flight into a mini vacation!
We will spend about a week with relatives and visiting London, and then fly to Reykjavik for 4 nights. This short winter trip won't allow us to experience the whole scenic ring road, but we will have time to explore the Reykjavik food and bar scene, relax in the thermal pools and (fingers crossed for the right weather conditions) experience the northern lights.
A winter conference provides an opportunity to take a long weekend to explore Arizona. With local friends to visit, and a chance for Jeff to see the Grand Canyon for the first time, we plan to bring both bathing suits and parkas and take a road trip through the desert to the Grand Canyon after a business meeting.
Cruise to Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman via Galveston
A cruise leaving out of Galveston, gives us a chance to explore this island off the coast of Texas before leaving for the Western Caribbean aboard Liberty of the Seas. We tend to balance small ship cruising with large ship cruising. Every time we take a small ship cruise we marvel at it's ability to tuck into tiny places (like our Azamara Quest Cruise working it's way through the narrow gorges to Montenegro last fall!) But then on some quiet night, we think of all the entertainment offered on the big ships, and we love the excitement of bouncing from night club, to water slide, to Broadway style show, at anytime of day or night! So Liberty of the Seas will fill our craving for a mud season escape with plenty to keep us entertained, and we will get to explore Jamiaca, Cozumel and Grand Cayman again!
Wait, Is She Cruising AGAIN? Zumba Cruise!
About 5 years ago, I went on a cruise and met a wonderful couple, Amy and Randy from MO who were sailing the same ship (Randy and I "met" online on a cruise planning website BEFORE we sailed, and spent months obsessively planning every detail of our cruises!) We shared lots of planning ideas and a once we got on board our families shared a lot of laughs and a crazy excursion aboard High Pockets in St Thomas. Amy taught Zumba classes in MO and I had never heard of such a thing, but because she made it sound so fun, I started going to Zumba classes when I got home. Pretty soon, my husband and kids were joining the fun at Zumba. One of the best things about Zumba, is as Jeff says, "Its like the Catholic Church, you can go anywhere in the world, and even if you don't speak the language, you basically know what to do, and you'll be welcomed!" Although I would add, you can also wear a lot less clothes to Zumba!
So we have "danced" all over the country with new friends, finding classes everywhere from Florida to Maine. One of my bucket list items is to try the Zumba Cruise, which puts all those international Zumba devotees on one ship in the middle of the ocean! I think that myself and the 6 gals I'm going with may be among the oldest people on the ship, but we won't let that stop us from having a good time! I'll probably set up a Face Book group and share our adventures live, so be sure to send me a message if you'd like to be invited and follow all the excitement! (oh, and that wonderful Zumba instructor I met 5 years ago...she isn't' going, BUT see the end of our post to hear about what we have planned!)
This summer we head back to Alaska for a special celebration of our daughters' college graduations. Like their parents, they much prefer an experience as a gift, so we will spend a week aboard an Uncruise, planned for us by Expedition Trips, who expertly organized our Polar Bear Safari in Churchill Manitoba. Uncruise is a line that operates small expedition ships throughout the Northwest, priding itself on getting guests closer to the action and in a more active way. The ship includes an activity platform where you can launch to explore the coast on kayak, or aboard small skiffs, to land and take hikes in places inaccessible by vehicles. With no more than 80 guests on board, we can expect plenty of personal attention and no crowds!
"Not Planning" Planning Way Ahead with This Guy!
And what about those friends we met on an Allure of the Seas Cruise back in 2013? The ones we helped develop a passion for cruising, and she helped us find the fun of Zumba, even though we all live half a country away? Well, they celebrate a big wedding anniversary in 2019 and have planned a BIG group cruise (more than 40 people so far) on one of the BIGGEST cruise ships in the world, Harmony of the Seas. And while we aren't the ones "planning" the trip, we are happily signed on to travel with our friends again and help them celebrate!