Friday, March 16, 2012

The excitement of the journey

This afternoon I bade "safe travels" to the 20 folks who are going on Parkland's tour to Paris and the Loire Valley. Some of the folks have never traveled overseas; others are seasoned travelers.

Having been fortunate to have gone on a few of Parkland's previous tours (London, Scotland, Italy, and Spain), it's fun to recall that thrilling anticipation of experiencing a different culture.

On my first trip to Europe, our tour went exclusively to London. Since childhood, London has fascinated me (previous life?). I love the history, the literature, the pubs, the people. To say I was a tad excited about seeing London for the first time in my life is, yes, an understatement.

One of my fellow travelers during that first London trip was a friend from Parkland. England was familiar to her; she had even taught a semester at Canterbury. She understood my excitement and shared my love for all things British.

As I think back, I am grateful to her for not thinking me silly for my awe at actually getting to see my beloved London. When our plane arrived at Heathrow and we disembarked go through Customs, baggage, the whole international bit (this was not that long after 9/11), I really couldn't take it all in.

We were met by our tour guide and we loaded everything onto a motorcoach to head to our hotel. On the way, the driver gave us a mini-tour of the great City.

When we stopped near the Thames, we could get off the coach to take photos and scan the view. All I remember to this day is that I looked up and there was Big Ben.

And I cried.

The rest of the trip was wonderful. Nothing will ever come close, though, to those first moments of pure joy.

That, my friends, is what travel is all about. Go. Anywhere.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Autumn in New York

So happy to announce this new Parkland Tour: New York City Arts & Culture weekend, Thursday, October 4 through Sunday, October 7, 2012.

My gosh, where to even begin with a visit to New York City (especially if you've never been there before). Here's a fun "starter site" from Lonely Planet on visiting NYC.

Early October should be a beautiful time in the City. How about a stroll through Central Park ...

This tour includes a guided tour and tickets to the Museum of Modern Art ...

You'll see a Broadway play ...

(check back for news on which one)

Of course, you'll have to eat ...

Even Mayor Bloomberg and British Prime Minister Cameron have time for a hot dog.

Actually, a slice of NY pizza sounds good, too.

Let's see. You'll also have tickets to visit the remarkable Metropolitan Museum of Art...

You, of course, won't want to miss the the incredible Guggenheim (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) ...

A little shopping would be fun. Bergdorf, anyone?

Your hotel is right in the heart of Times Square. You'll enjoy the comfort, convenience, and "no worries" by being part of a small, community-based tour, led by an experienced tour host who really knows New York City (especially the art and the culture).

We'll be posting more about the tour soon. It's a wonderful way to enjoy one of the world's truly great cities.

Friday, March 2, 2012

How to Pack for Travel

Final installment of Martha Bowser-Kiener's terrific tips on "traveling light." Here goes:

* Make a list of what you'd like to take on your journey. Think about what your daily activities will be and what you'd like to wear for them.
* Lay everything out on your bed (preferably NOT the night before you travel) and start paring down what you'll actually pack.
* Make sure each item of clothing can be worn w/at least 3 others.
* Should you "roll & stuff" or "fold & stack?" A combo of these packing techniques will be your best bet.
* Pack by feel, not sight. Find and use those "nooks & crannies" in your suitcase.
* Ziplox bags come in handy. Use them!

And here are some of Martha's tips for what to pack in your carry-on bag:

* All of your "irreplaceables," i.e., travel documents.
* Something to read/do on the flight.
* Necessary meds.
* Basic toiletries, such as hand cream, toothpaste, eyedrops, etc.
* Underwear, clean shirt, socks, something to sleep in--just in case your luggage is delayed/lost.
* Healthy snacks and water.
* Extra ziploc bags.

OK, now it's time to take these tips to heart. Find a place you've been dying to see and go. Now.

Safe travels.