About Me

About Me

BK_smI AM a graphic designer by trade, but my real obsession is traveling. That’s why I decided to give this blog a try. It gives me a chance to ramble on about my travels. It gives you a chance to hear some of my itineraries to possibly enhance yours, or become as obsessed as I am and travel more. Either way, it’s a win win. It’s a shame to see vacation days go to waste!

I AM NOT a vagabond. Although there are plenty of people who love to travel for months or years at a time, I am not one of them. I will not be blogging about backpacking or hitchhiking all over the world. I like to vacation and then come home – to my family, my dog and my own bed. In the near future, we hope to travel to escape the lengthy winters of Wisconsin, but for now we are limited by my husband’s vacation time and aren’t usually gone for more than two weeks at a time. I take several vacations on my own to see family or to visit with fellow timeshare owners. But home is still home.

I AM NOT a daredevil. I will not be jumping out of a perfectly good plane. I will not be base or bungee jumping or on the latest killer roller coaster. I’ve graduated to a different type of travel. One where I have a soft bed and no life-threatening adventures. A hot-air balloon ride is on my bucket list, but I was recently on a trip where one may have been perfect, and it somehow got left off the list. I’m even iffy when it comes to snorkeling, although I know I would love being up close and personal with the fishies. Those are two things that may come. I do like some roller coasters, just not the biggest, baddest ones. So in some people’s minds I may be boring – in others, I may be just right. We’ll soon find out.

I think I was born a vacation addict.

My dad was a carpenter, building houses and doing remodels and work was slow in the winter. We’d pack up the car and head off to see my grandparents in California almost every year. On the way we’d take different routes, seeing Mt Rushmore, the Corn Palace, Wall Drug and Yellowstone, just to name a few. The southern route would surely get us snowed in around Flagstaff or staring in wonder at the Grand Canyon. I was born within days of Disneyland’s opening, so of course that was my favorite, even though I had to put up with my cousins who would torture me while we visited. I suppose I had it better than my husband, who’s childhood vacations consisted of packing five kids in the back of the station wagon, with no air conditioning (or seat belts) and traveling one state over to visit relatives. I love that now he is seeing the stuff I was fortunate enough to see as a kid and we are also seeing new sights together.

Almost every one of my childhood trips would begin or end with seeing relatives in one state or another. My brother was stationed in Norfolk, VA so we saw the World’s Fair in New York City, the Liberty Bell in Philly and of course Washington, D.C. My brother and I climbed all 897 steps up the Washington Monument. Coming down was worse than going up, if you can believe that, because our legs were like rubber from the trip up. Of course you can’t walk the stairs anymore (not that I’d want to) but it’s cool to say I did back in the day.

I had family in California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin and Tennessee, so we had to visit all those places. My dad was 80 years old when he died and never once stepped foot on an airplane. He and my mother would drive for days, stay for two or three more and then drive home. And in those days the roads weren’t as wide and groomed as today. I have a vivid memory of the look on my mom’s face as we drove along the edge of a mountain, passing three road signs in one section of the road – hairpin curve, falling rock and steep drop off. Kind of reminds me of the mountain we had to scale near Winnemucca, NV where you are actually driving along the very edge of sheer cliff. Now imagine that in December, when my husband came back to Iowa for a wedding. Needless to say, they put the chains on the front as they slowly made their way down. At least they were on the inside lane next to the mountain, not that it mattered much. I think I would have waited at the top for spring.

So now, whenever a family member says, I’m getting married or we’re having a celebration, they can count us in. A Wisconsin friend’s son was getting married in Virginia and the groom wasn’t going to have many guests on his side of the aisle. Since she knew how we love to travel, she invited us. The couple was married on a Virginia plantation. It was a fabulous wedding where the bride made her entrance in a horse-drawn carriage. Just stunning! We bundled the wedding with our first trip to Williamsburg and had a great time! Another time our nephew was graduating from high school in Florida, so of course we bundled that with a couple days at Disney World. Family is very important to us. It ranks right up there with vacations! When we can do both, well that’s just fantastic!

I am one to research the area we are visiting to get the most from that plane ticket. Over the years I’ve toned it down a bit, so our vacations can actually be vacations and somewhat relaxing. I ran my family ragged the first couple trips with too many events to participate in each day. I still have the pictures of our daughters lying on the floor outside the Lion King show at Disney World. In my defense, it was spring break and a rookie mistake was to go to Disney World during the busiest time of the year. We drove (of course) for 24 hours, with a stop to see my brother in Tennessee (of course), so we were at the Contemporary for only 4 nights. With so much time spent waiting in lines, we had to take advantage of the early and late hours that were available to us and we were literally exhausted. Next time we went back to Disney World, we flew and went in October for a week and stayed in a timeshare. We walked right on whatever ride we wanted and could even stay on if we wanted to go again! We didn’t even need full days there and could spend time at the pool and relax. What a concept.

When I was a rebellious 20-something, I moved to Arizona to get away from the man (and the woman). Many years later, after moving back to the midwest, I found some AZ relatives on Facebook, and I got the urge for a visit. I saw a Brewer’s Spring Training game and reconnected with family and the Arizona desert, which I really came to love during my time in the state. A year later my husband and I returned for a couple more days and added on a couple of days in Sedona. Two years after that, we returned with friends for two weeks of scouring the state for its history and natural beauty, which lead to this…

 

A previous post…

The time has come to throw my hat into the blogging ring. At 59 it’s about time, right? Especially since I’ve worked on the computer nearly since its inception. I’m a graphic designer by trade, but my real obsession is traveling. We own a timeshare and there’s a lot of planning involved to use up every last point from every year. Planning way ahead is also part of the routine, and I’d find myself planning vacation scenarios during my down times. The last several years with an unstable economy affecting my workload, that down time has been increasing and my new plan is to get others excited about vacations on this blog, take more quality photos while on vacation, write a book (or several), and still keep my day job. I have the start of an audience with some supportive family and friends and traveling buddies from a Facebook group of happy timeshare owners. I have some good advice from a successful travel blogger and my BFF says I should go for it, so let’s do this. I will keep you posted on the progress of the book and hopefully you’ll be so enthralled with my travels and my pretty pictures, that you’ll want one for yourself. Let’s hope so anyway!

I’m an empty nester (my daughters have both moved out – twice) and my husband is a couple years from retirement. We have a slower life now and we love our vacations for different reasons than when we were younger. I love to see different places and revel in the beauty of America. I take tons of pictures of the scenery, the architecture, the flowers and the rocks. I love window shopping and buying local art, eating local food and drinking the local brew. I love to hike the trails, shop in the gift shops, watch the parades and fireworks, join in on the festivals, sit around the pool with a cocktail, enjoy the cool water and reflect on how lucky I am to be right here, right now. And then I love to come home – to my family, my Kodi dog and my own bed. I do see the appeal of some peoples’ backpacking treks all over the world – taking in the beauty and culture of far away lands, but I can’t imagine being gone for that long. And I couldn’t give up the conveniences that I enjoy on our trips in order to afford such a long getaway. Although wintering somewhere warm is sounding more and more appealing with each never-ending Wisconsin winter, my vacations are just that. Vacations – an escape from reality, not reality itself. That keeps both aspects of my life exciting.

Our good friends never really vacationed much. Being the vacation addict I am, I always thought they were missing out on one of the finer things in life and we started inviting them along on our trips. We seem to have the same love of nature, history, antiques, flea marketing and the sharing of a cocktail or two. They were our travel buddies for our Arizona trip and Laurie’s encouragement got me started on this blogging journey.

We’ve gone on a lot of trips over the years, but Arizona will be the first that I’ll be writing about. My second post will bring us to Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, AZ, but first check out a very moving video, which pretty much says it all.

Happy Trails,
Barb