Questionable Comportments


Vacation is supposed to be the time you spend relaxing, exploring your surroundings, and letting your hair down in a positive sense.  It is the time you have long waited for, saved monies to splurge, eager to execute the customized itinerary, to sample new cuisines, and other interesting prospects.  However, vacation is never a time, whether at home or abroad, to behave badly, lose your common sense and sound judgement.

If you people watch while on vacation, you will observe many types of behaviors played out that you can rightfully assume wouldn’t normally happen at home.  Being the “fly on the wall” would probably help to bare out what I am saying about two news articles I recently came across which spoke of vacationers who made poor choices and had to pay a price for their decisions.  You may have a lot of questions, like I do, but the bottom line is this, because one is in a foreign land, or in a place where they cannot be easily recognized, does not give them the liberty to behave in a reckless manner, that may cause harm to self or endanger the life of another.

While inebriated with alcohol or some other mind-altering drug, the tourist who thinks they are having a grand time under the influence, may have lost the capacity to be in full control of their mental faculties.  Inhibitions are loosened and what would be considered sport becomes offensive.   Still liquor, believe it or not, is not the only incriminate to be considered for some egregious behaviors but also, peer pressure.  Yes, adults experience peer pressure too.   A visitor wanting to impress friends, might decide to show-off in an instant, but looking back in hindsight, they would see it was foolhardy and detrimental to their well-being.  Also, because of their so-called ‘success’, they could influence others to follow suit and do the same lunacy.

Two examples come to mind as I talk on this matter.   A visiting family to New Zealand recently caused a stir.  The account of the family’s audacity, disrespect and disregard for the people, property and laws of the island-nation rippled out from the community onto international territory via social media and news headlines.  Their obnoxious conduct preceded them as they traveled from city to city.  Local authorities and hospitality workers were alerted to be on the look-out for them (bad news does not lack a carrier).  Read about the whole incident here.

Another traveler on board a cruise ship decided to jump in front of laughing friends from the balcony of the ship into the aquamarine waters below.  While the depth of the water is not questionable, or their ability to swim since they jumped, I wonder if they considered the possibility of lurking sharks nearby, or the strong undertow currents that could have drag them away.  Those possibilities may or may not have entered their thoughts.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that a dare-devil stunt like that should not be acknowledged as brave or ballsy by those who watch the video but flat-out absurd. Read about the jumper incident here.

Videotaping with the hopes of ‘going viral’ seems to be another reason people do what they do these days.  But why risk life or limb just to be viewed repeatedly?  Are the bragging rights worth the trouble?  So, what type of tourist are you?

Community Peeps, there are many types of travelers, but only one standard of behavior expected of all tourist.  To obey the rules and carry yourself in a manner that is acceptable and respectful to the host nation.  Have you witnessed questionable comportment of those you travel with?  Please share your thoughts on the subject in the comment box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Advertisements

Win-Win


Win or lose?

That’s the biggest question I am contemplating after a customer contacted me with a recent travel request.  Travel Itineraries exists mainly to sell bespoke itineraries to persons who have little to no time in pulling together interesting attractions/activities of places they are about to visit.  TI appeals to the business person, timid traveler, first-time traveler, solo traveler, budget traveler and anyone who does not want to deal with the stress of researching, picking and choosing attractions, sites and adventures.  A prolific travel site,  TI is capable of planning from soup to nuts an itinerary that will give lasting memories for vacationers.  In a nutshell, this is what I say on the Itinerary Request Page to introduce my travel planning skills to potential customers, “Do you like to travel, or better yet, travel often but can’t find the time to build a detailed itinerary that will be engaging and enjoyable?  If that description sounds like you, don’t worry or stress.  I can plan a bespoke itinerary that will ensure you cover all the basics of a great trip: things to do, places to go and sites to see.   Interested?  Fill in the form below to get started.  Just do it.”  Also, it is a place where you can read a blog of my adventures on foreign and local soil, tips, recommendations, ideas and news related to travel.

Last week I received my first sale of the year from a new visitor to my website and was excited to start the year off with the request.  As I read the customer’s specifics, I quickly realized the buyer did not understand what Travel Itineraries was all about.  They already had their plan and wanted me to map it so they could save time and gas.  At first, I considered plotting the route but eventually decided against it because that is not what TI is all about.  Obviously, their lack of clarity surrounding my services was no fault of their own, and I regretfully made an apology, offered a refund and referred them to a travel website that could better support their particular need.

Why then do I ask win or lose? I could look at the situation as just another experience.  But in my humble opinion, there are three invaluable lessons I can definitely learn from dealing with the shopper.

  1. AWARENESS – While the prospect may have had some misunderstanding concerning TI’s services, it reminds me that more work can and should be done to bring about awareness, clarity, highlight services and skills.  TI should grasp every opportunity to enlighten its readers/viewers of its capabilities in its many forms and formats via technology.
  2. NEW IDEAS – Innovation will keep TI fresh and relevant.  If customers are asking for certain services, then I should consider how I can possibly accommodate and market to them by tweaking and improving offerings as needed.  Who knows, a bright idea may lead to other avenues, though not originally a part of the plan, but one that will broaden TI’s perspectives and scope.
  3. REFERRALS – While I would like to meet the needs of all potential clients, there are times when I will have to say no.  However, the rejection should not be given without offering a recommendation of help.  To suggest another travel related company to the client as an option is just a way to say I network with other travel businesses, and I am familiar with the industry players.  There are other travel partners in whom I take delight in recommending their services especially if I have used or know of them personally.

Community Peeps, overall I would say it was a win-win.  I was happy to refund the money and to redirect the client.  They are referred to as client because of their response to my actions.  I believe I have won their respect and I hope in the future they will consider TI for their tailored travel itinerary.  Do you think so too, or do you think I lost?  I am interested in knowing.  Please comment in the box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Plight, Fight or Flight


I don’t know which is worse, the effects of an impending snow storm or the effects of the government shutdown on airports and other entry/exit points.   Neither one is a favorite action for the traveler who may have planned a bespoke itinerary months ago and are eagerly looking forward to executing their trip down to the last detail.  Now, it might be looking like a toss-up in the face of uncertainty.

Today begins a three-day holiday weekend (Martin Luther King holiday) and the forecast indicates the Northeast will be blanketed with lots of white, fluffy powder from the sky.  Also, today marks the 28th day of no work and no pay cheque for federal workers, the longest closure in history.  Both conditions will indeed serve up the same impact on the besieged traveler.  Both acts (weather and shutdown) will cause delays at airports.  The predicted bad weather may snarl traffic, hinder flight take-offs and landings at most area airports.  The federal work stoppage may cause long wait times for processing, increase security vulnerability, and close unmanned stations due to personnel no-shows.  Whilst heavy snowfalls are not an anomaly at airports during the winter season, the impact of the shutdown is.  TSA and other pertinent airport workers are working without pay, sick-outs have been reported and processing times have become more extended.  What does it all mean?  How should one handle the situation?  Cautiously.

The same plan you use to handle the snowfall interruption, may be adopted to manage any delays with your ground procedures.  Before leaving the sanctity of your home check local news for updates.  Plan ahead.  Arrive early for your departure.  Be prepared to spend more than average wait times to be processed.  In either situation, be patient and empathetic to those serving you.  After all, they may be overworked, and stressed about their circumstances too.

Community Peeps, I may not have the perfect solution to these problems.  Also, I understand how difficult and disappointing it would be if you had to cancel your trip due to either situation.  However, neither issue compares in scope to the plight, fight or flight of government workers who face job loss, and tough times making ends meet for their families due to no pay.  Neither settings offer a good start to even the best tailored vacation itinerary possible.   So, what would you suggest?  What tips would you give to the traveler in these circumstances?  Please share your thoughts on the matter in the comment box below.  I would like to hear from you.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

My Weight Issue


If you think my weight issue has anything to do with physical weight, you are barking up the wrong tree.  The issue lies with my suitcases and not with fat.  The latter, though not a desired lifestyle attribute, is a challenge that can be remedied with diet and regular exercise.  However, the same cannot be said about the weight requirements for baggage by major airlines today.

I recall not so long ago when airlines allowed passengers to check two pieces of luggage, each weighing a whopping 70 pounds.  That heft dropped to 60, and now we are eeking by with 50 pounds.  In some cases,  depending on the airline that number can drop lower still even to the teens (last year, my bag did not meet the weight rule, and I incurred an extra expense I did not like).  These days carriers insist passengers pay for every piece of checked baggage.  The current weight measures have been accepted without much ado from travelers but puts many vacationers, especially those returning to their homeland and families in a stressed position. Packing the gifts in their bags for their loved ones, plus their personal items and maintaining the required weight is a stress the exuberant traveler would prefer to do without.

To say this weight issue is a nuisance for the expat traveler would be the understatement of the year.  Especially during the holiday season, the strain of trying to stay within the baggage guidelines is keenly felt when you try to take special tokens of appreciation to your friends and family.  You pack, unpack, roll, tuck and flatten.  Then you drag out the bathroom scale weighing and re-weighing hopeful your bags are near or on the weight target.  Frustrated, you give up, all the while praying and hoping your gifts and or personal belongings are not in jeopardy of being confiscated and dumped.

Over the years, I have found ways to deal with the weight issue.  Of course, I want to share the tips with you.  They will not alleviate all your weight fears but I hope they will help to ease some of them:

Check-In – Arrive at the airport early.  Not just within the required two-hour time frame, but three – four hours ahead of your flight.  While this plan may not always work, it is still worth a shot.  Often, I’ve encountered ground staff who will overlook one – five pounds over the limit.  If you are late, your excess pounds may become a glaring violation that cannot be ignored.  So, in order to comply with the weight condition, the check-in agent may ask you to re-pack excess pounds into other bags, or dump stuff which is never a predicament you want to be in.

Luggage – Choose the right kind of luggage.  Backpacks and large purses for the women are all you need to carry your essential items.  Most backpacks have many pockets and can be extended or reduced in size.  They are made with light, durable material which is flexible and easy to manipulate. The backpack or large handbag stores easily by fitting into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

Clothing – Wear your heaviest items such as sneakers, jacket, sweater and jeans.  You will never look out-of-place wearing these items on board.  The cool temperature in the aircraft is always on full blast (to me it is, 😊).  You can always peel off the jacket and sweater before arriving at your destination.  Choose to pack clothing made of these fabrics:  silk, chiffon, polyester and rayon.  The lighter the better. Always seek to eliminate carrying bulky or heavy clothing.

Round-trip Packing – When traveling, don’t pack only for those at your destination, but for those at the return point too.  After all, it is highly likely that you will have friends and family on both ends of the spectrum for whom you will want to bring a souvenir or two.  Choose to pack old pieces of clothing you are willing to part with and toss once on location, and which after use, you can make room for new items/gifts you may purchase.  Also, leave clothing behind every time you visit.  This will allow you to have two wardrobes, at home and abroad, besides you would not have to worry about toting your clothes back and forth on future trips.

Community Peeps, it is never easy deciding what to pack.  However, having two wardrobes in two different places has lifted much of the anxiety I used to suffer whenever I traveled home.  This winter’s holdalls were merely a carry-on and a large purse (backpack), but no checked luggage.  Admittedly, the one caveat to having no checked bags is, no wait time to pick up bags from the conveyor belt.  I was able to clear customs and exit without delay to begin a great vacation in the Caribbean.  Peeps, what has been your experiences with overweight bags?  Fill me in by commenting in the box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Finish Strong


In just a few more days we will usher in a brand New Year full of potential for greatness, success, change and a fresh start.  Out with the old in with the new.  So, with expectancy, hearts and minds will, without question, begin to think of resolutions, goals, promises, changes, and new beginnings as they contemplate the future and ponder the question “what will it bring?”  To answer this question, the only sobering answer can be “time will tell.”  At this point, a look in the rear-view mirror is futile since nothing can be done to change the past.  What is done is done.

I do not make resolutions but prefer the idea of goal setting.  There is a difference.  I am under no pressure or obligation to complete or stick to a task by a specific deadline.  You may disagree with me, but I feel no urgency to complete a particular goal just because I added it to my yearly list of to-dos.  If it is not feasible in one year, it is simply carried over to the next, and the next, until it is accomplished (hopefully in my lifetime 😊).  Whenever it is completed it is then checked off my list.

I do not refer to my list either as a “bucket list.”  What? Am I supposed to kick the bucket after I’ve fulfilled the list?  Words have power and I am careful about what I say so that my words don’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is customary to add to my list travel plans and 2019 will be no different.  God willing, my sights are set towards Europe, Africa and the Caribbean in random order.  Time and money are not the only two factors to consider in making this happen.  Where there is a will there is a way.  Local travel will include a cruise which I hope will take me to the final continent – the last frontier.  As the year progresses these ambitious plans will be fleshed out to include specific places, dates and times.  Therefore, stay tuned to hear more on my adventures at home and abroad.

2018 has been an awesome year for Travel Itineraries.  Through the ups and downs it continues to grow daily.  Consistency, clear focus and dedicated persistence have been the underpinnings of its progress.  The weekly posting has led to a community of peeps who are loyal and interested.  For this I give God thanks and am truly grateful.  To bare out what I am saying and to show the growth here is some data which will put it into perspective:

2018 vs 2017 Stats

Visitors from 110 countries have viewed the website.  This year, TI received several alerts from the website’s hosting platform that highlighted unusually high activity.  In my attempt to finish strong, like you, I wonder “what will 2019 bring?”   Only God knows and as I said before time will tell.

Community Peeps and viewers, for the coming year I wish you and yours abundant blessings beyond your expectations.  Go forward in faith and embrace all the potential for good.  Be kind, thoughtful and generous with your words of affirmation and encouragement.  May the New Year find you healthy, happy and bring you lots of success.  As you set travel plans please consider using the services of yours truly for a bespoke itinerary which will give you memorable experiences.  Travel safely.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Better Safe Than Sorry


Eleven days to Christmas and the prediction this year is it will be another busy travel holiday, actually one of the busiest we have seen in a long while.  We just had Thanksgiving and that travel volume prediction was spot on.  If you are traveling during this busy season to some faraway place or even close to home, I would be remiss if I did not inform you of the importance on adopting safety practices whilst on holiday. These tips will help to put safety on your radar if it is not a priority.

First, print or email a copy of your custom-tailored itinerary to those closest to you.  Family and friends should know what your daily plans are and the places you will visit.  Even if you change plans, be sure to update this plan intermittently and keep your loved ones well informed.  In this age of technology, it is not a hard thing to do.  Send them pictures, video footage and messages of people you meet and the places you go as regularly as possible.

If you are traveling solo or in a group to a foreign country and uncertain about your transport, especially if you must take it on the fly, nonchalantly carry your smart phone in your hand, snap photos of the taxi’s license plate and driver when he is stowing away your luggage or not looking directly at you.  Align with a friend to send them pics as soon as possible as back-up information. This suggestion may sound sinister but could turn out to be a valuable action that will ensure your safety.

Beware of children and adults who pan-handle.  They often work in groups to pick-pocket and rob the unsuspecting visitor of their hard-earned cash.  Pay attention to your surroundings and do not carry to many bags.  Visible signs of luxury will make you an easy target.  Men should not put their wallets in their back pockets and ladies should not carry their purse swinging loosely from their shoulder.  These are all easy marks for sticky fingers.   Avoid close contact with unknown groups of people.  Especially if you must ask for a pass to move ahead.  Find an alternate route.  If your way is blocked and you must cut through the middle be conscious of the slightest contact.  Check your person immediately to make sure your valuables are still intact.

Another safety measure to follow is a familiar one – don’t drink and drive.  Even in a strange country it is not cool to party hearty and then get behind the wheel intoxicated. Arrange with your hotel for a pick-up from the party you will be attending.  Then you can relax and have all the fun you want.  If in a group, make sure you know who the designated driver is.  Doing this may save your life and the lives of others.

Community Peeps, these are all simple things you can do and still have a safe and enjoyable vacation during yuletide.  There are many horror stories of vacations gone wrong simply because safety habits were not a part of the plan or were not enforced.  Have you learned a hard lesson because you did not carry out safety precautions?  Or, do you know someone who was affected by the lack of safe behaviors?  Please share some of your safe practices with my community.  Write in the comment box below.

To one and all, it is my sincerest wish and desire that all of you will be safe and well as you traverse to your various destinations for Christmas.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Apartment, Condo, RV, or Tiny House?


Deciding what will be my next housing choice and location is proving to be difficult yet exciting.  In a few days my home will belong to new owners and I will chart a new course somewhere else, at least after my vacation.  These last days leading up to departing has been bittersweet.  I am excited to begin a new life, to face the future and its potential head-on, good or bad.  On the flip-side, it is hard and sad to leave this part of my life behind.  Really, it’s amazing how attached I’ve become to people, community, familiar surroundings and the many nuances that make my home important, enjoyable and lovely to me.  Initially, I had only planned to be a resident of this community for 10 years, but here I am nearly doubling that number.  I can only say, time truly flies when you’re having fun.

So, after two decades where will my new digs be?  Choices, choices, choices.  Various housing types occupy my thoughts day and night.  By now, you know I pray about everything, and this is no exception.  Where will I go? Which state south of the border will become my new fixed place of abode?  What type of house will it be?  Should I choose another house, rent an apartment, explore the open road in an RV, live out my minimalist dreams in a tiny house, or luxuriate in a condo?  What will it be?

The current strategy is not to rush into anything.  There are many types of houses and locations to consider and every option must be thoroughly vetted to find the perfect home for me.  In the role as a former home owner, I have unique specifics for any prospective home.  As I contemplate the alternatives,  strangely my pet project feels a lot like solo travel planning.  I have plenty experiences to draw from which will help me to decide my next moves.  Here are some to consider if you are in a similar position:

RESEARCH – Due diligence on the location must be performed.  Take the time to find out what the locale is like from others who have been there.  Read the reviews, listen to news of the county.  Research the stats on the economics of the area, quality of life, demographics and all that will be important to you.

FLEX – Keep an open mind.  Don’t rush to judgment on a community based on one or two bad reviews.  Opinions are subjective.  Everybody may have a different experience.  Besides, the new home will be based on fulfilling all or most of the requirements on your checklist.

NO EXTRA BAGGAGE – Travel lite.  Take few items into the new home and only those you deem a must.  It is easier to purchase items in your new hometown than it would be to tote furniture to the new house, which may not fit in with the décor.  Get rid of what is not needed before the move.

BUDGET – Once you have examined areas that peak your interest and are ready to test the waters for yourself, set up a budget to support an investigative trip to the area.  Like all bespoke travel itineraries, a good plan needs to be in place to support accommodation, transportation, food, and other extras.  Keep in mind, even though the objective is house hunting, you might want to check out the amenities in the neighborhood which may not be budget busters but can add up to a considerable amount, and an unnecessary expense.

PHOTOS – A project like this can take months of crisscrossing a few states.  Arm yourself with some technology to help capture the homes you find most impressive.  The photos will help you remember the “wow” factor as you reflect on all that you have seen.

DIARY – Document all that you have seen and collect data, brochures and any housing paraphernalia that is important to your decision making later.

CONNECT – Make friends along the way.  People connections are valuable for networking, forging new friendships and starting new relationships.  When all is said and done, this will be the best part of the house hunting occurrence.

Community Peeps, selling my house was stressful (hence a vacation 😂), but what an eye-opener.  I look forward to the days when I will wear the shoe on the other foot.  Then, all that I learned as a seller will come in handy as a buyer.  What are your thoughts on the analogy drawn between travel and house hunting?  Please share your comments on the subject with me.  Do so in the box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Arrested


No, no, no.  Not with handcuffs and reading me the Miranda rights but arrested by natural beauty.

A few times in my travels at home and abroad, I have been blessed to see sights that caused me to stop, dead in my tracks.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes, it is too wonderful to express in words or to fleeting to capture in a photo.  The kind of beauty I am talking about, you never get tired watching.  One could spend hours metaphorically speaking, soaking it up, drinking it in and absorbing as much of it as possible.  Obviously, what may be shock and awe for me may not register the same way for you.  It is all relative and subjective.  Still, I want to share my moments of arresting beauty with you.

First time I saw Jacaranda trees, I was walking early one morning in Pretoria, South Africa.  The trees were in full bloom and they lined both sides of the streets with their branches intertwining at the tops.  The purple flowers on the trees and the fallen petals on both sides of the street presented a beautiful sight, as if flower girls in a bridal party had strewn them along the path for the oncoming bride.  You can probably tell how deeply impressed I was for me to take photos of purple petaled trees.  The picturesquely beautiful scene was fresh and pretty but not lasting.  Throughout the day, the falling petals wilted in the heat and were crushed by traffic, but that moment was forever etched in my mind.

Another arresting moment happened on American soil.  The Grand Canyon is not called grand for nothing. Wide open, deep crevasses, cover hundreds of miles, as far as the eye can see.  The jagged surfaces that make up the earth’s crust of the canyon lands expose colored layers of soil and rock like a rainbow.  Below the mighty Colorado River snakes its way through the gorge.  As the sun’s rays reflect on the winding river it glints like shards of glass or sparkling jewels.  The scenery is mesmerizing and awe-provoking.  From every vantage point, the views are arresting and mind boggling.  Questions of how, when, where flood the thoughts whilst gazing on the beauty of the Canyon.  In times like these, one can only agree with the inspired words of David in Psalm 19:1:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.”

The next arrest I will tell you about took place in the desert.  Unbelievable?  Yes, there is beauty even in a desert place.  When I visited Morocco, I journeyed into the Merzouga and Sahara Deserts.  The experience was phenomenal.  Don’t take my word for it.  Plan a trip of your own to either one or both locations.  I can help you with an itinerary, click on Itinerary Request and Payment Form page to get started.  The arid lands hold a beauty all its own.  Clay-colored houses blend in with the landscape of shifting sands. The high and low dunes, like rolling waves spread out into the distance.  The buildings in the communities look like they jump right out of the Bible.  Many film crews use the area because of its natural beauty and ancient Biblical likeness to make films (take a peak at the list in the photos).  Life is simple and different but packed with natural wonders which I hope you catch a glimpse in the slideshow here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Community Peeps, I could go on and on telling of other arresting moments, the where, the when, and the how, but time and space would not permit.  I know, you thought by the title that I had another encounter with the law and had been led away bound in chains (a bit too dramatic?) 😂.  God forbid.  Let’s hope that never happens.  What places have caused you to stop and take it all in?  Where on earth would you say you were arrested?  I would like to hear of it.  Share in the comment box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

BARBADOS!

Barbados Flag

More times,

Itinerary Planner

 

Thanksgiving Drama


Stuffed to the brim yesterday and hungover today.  Not from alcohol, but from the food, entertainment and drama.  Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year, the other Christmas in Barbados.  As in last year’s blog, I shared our family traditions and how we express our thankfulness – Staycation Plans.  Today, I want to highlight some of the stressors that are part and parcel of making Thanksgiving Day an unforgettable experience.

Usually I sit down to eat the sumptuous meal with family and friends just after noon.  I adopted this habit many years ago.  It gives my guests who spend the entire day the chance to consume the meal, with opportunity for seconds, thirds, and desserts.  Plus, I would not have to worry about storage for the leftovers.  I still recall my very first Thanksgiving meal.  My host and I prepared the food all day long and didn’t sit down to eat until 7:00 p.m. that night.  In my humble opinion, that was way too late to be eating such a heavy meal, but I graciously obliged my host and tried to do justice to the meal that was served to me.  From that time, I promised myself I would never serve meals to my guests that late and I have kept my promise.

Over the years, I have found that while the day is wildly anticipated, many anxieties are experienced before, during and after the actual day.  Is it all worth it?  Many a host will tell you, “yes, it is.”  You can be the judge after reading of some of the pressures that help to put a strain on the day.

Kuala Lumpur_38Travel can be one of the contentious points that causes anxiety on Thanksgiving Day, whether by car, bus, train or plane.  Arriving or departing, your visitor’s safety is paramount.  This year was touted to be one of the heaviest travel days, and from all indicators, that prediction was a bulls-eye.  Thanksgiving-eve and Day, cars flowed in every direction like red and white blood cells flowing up and down a vein. More people hit the open road to join family and friends than in previous years.  A contributing factor are low gas prices.

Weather conditions too can greatly factor in.  Because of the tendency to have an early snowfall, (as we had last week) possible flight cancellations may occur.  Over bookings and other unanticipated anomalies may cause delays in departures/arrivals.  Whichever travel option used, the tension of dealing with congestion, delays, or cancellations may greatly impact the start of your holiday celebration and or may derail your plans altogether.

Family dynamics may present some uneasiness when considering or looking over your

Friends_Manila Philippines2invitation list.  You can choose friends, but you cannot choose family members.  That said, there may be wariness in extending invitations to break bread especially when you know some members don’t get along.  Even though the day is all about thankfulness, some personalities are not always willing to put their differences aside and may cause some tension which will overshadow the day.  This possibility is cause for concern if you are trying to accommodate everyone, not wanting to choose one over the other.

Food preparation can be another big stressor too.  Choosing mouth-watering foods that everyone will love and enjoy can turn out to be exasperating, especially when most of your invited guests are foreigners, and it is hard to please everyone.  Do you serve the regular Thanksgiving Day cuisine, or do you serve that of another culture?  Which culture takes preference?  Without a doubt, the one agreed upon food that will grace the

table will be the bird.  If it is eaten, liked or disliked, you can rest assured that turkey (whole bird or breast) with stuffing will take center stage.  The other fixings may be hard to choose, and indeed, may bring an added weight that may not be worth the time or effort.

Entertainment is another medium through which tension can manifest itself.  Routing for one favorite football team or another, is not necessarily the issue.  If that were the case, then you would be happy to know that all persons in the house are fans of the game.  However, football may not be the favorite pastime of your invited guests.  So, how do you deal with the blaring TV in one room, a gregarious group in an adjacent room, and still others or lone figures huddled in other areas of the house trying to have different conversations?  Running around trying to be the perfect host, making sure everyone is happy, and enjoying themselves may bring on moments of unwanted worry and anxiousness.

At the end of the day, you are eager to see the backs of your guests and their tail lights pulling away from your driveway.  You breathe a sigh of relief and are thankful that you survived yet again.  The food was eaten, everyone said they enjoyed themselves and had a great time.  The strain and tensions of the day melt away as your weary head touches the pillow.  Before you drift off into sleep you find yourself thinking on new and improved plans for next year’s Thanksgiving.

Community Peeps, how was your Thanksgiving Day?  Do you have some Thanksgiving drama of our own to share?  What has been your experience as host, or attending a family/friend’s home for the meal?  Spill the beans on your experiences, past or recent.  Waiting to hear from you.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Déjà Vu


Last week I promised to update you on my 2019 travel plans but that will have to wait until another time.  After yesterday’s ordeal, risking life and limb to get home, the idea of becoming a snow-bird has become more enchanting to me.  Leaving the cold northeast at the first sight of snow for the tropics is much more appealing than dealing with unforgiving wintry weather conditions.   Therefore my upcoming trip in a few short weeks to Barbados can’t come soon enough, and I’m out of here!

I left Long Island in New York just after 1:00 p.m. to take a two hour ride to my home upstate New York.  The first snow fall had begun.  Traffic flowed with an occasional bottleneck here and there.   Sometimes you make choices and in hindsight you wonder why you did.  Well, last night was one such night.  I could have chosen the wide-lane thoroughfare the I-684.  Instead, I chose the winding, narrow, mountainous road the Taconic Parkway.

I made my decision and there was no turning back.  As I traveled further and further away from the city limits into the suburbs, the snow piles on the road was more evident.  Many times, traffic slowed to a crawl.  Still my chariot was performing without any hindrance.  The first time I saw a car in front of me spinning out of control, wheels turning where the driver didn’t want it to go, was my wake up call.  I started to pray.  Yes, I prayed for that driver, myself and all the spin-outs I would later see along the way.

I immediately slowed down and proceeded cautiously.  This would become the routine for the rest of the night.  The snow was falling fast and furious and it seemed my wipers could not keep up.  Suddenly, the wiper blades stopped swishing back and forth.  I could not see the road.  I cried out to Jesus for help.  I pulled over to the side and removed the frozen snow stuck to the blades and windshield.  This would happen three more times at places on the road where stopping was dangerous.  Several times my car fish-tailed as I crept uphill, sometimes barely missing another vehicle, and blocking the path of others.  The feeling of losing control of the vehicle is terrifying.  I prayed even harder asking God to help me proceed without hurting anyone or myself.  Patience and calmness were the two emotions that came to the fore as I drove.  But for God’s mercy and grace, I made it through the treacherous Taconic Parkway and on to another route traveling westbound.  This highway has much wider lanes, but no sooner than I got on did I realize the travel situation was no better.  This highway is used by many truckers and so big rigs ply their trade up and down the corridors of the I-84.

Sandwich between two truckers, my reasoning being, they will make the tracks I need (a mini-ploughing) to follow in, when history almost repeated itself.  About 11 or 12 years ago, while coming home from work, there was a heavy snowfall, some of the biggest snowflakes I have ever seen.  So much so, they covered my car’s windshield and I often had to stop and clear it to continue.  The snow quickly accumulated grinding traffic to a halt.  The highway became impassable.  Every vehicle came to a standstill.  There we waited with engines running to keep warm.  We waited for the ploughs to come and remove the snow but to no avail.

That night turned into day and by the time the police came along to check on the situation, I had run out of gas, was shivering under blankets, frightened that I would not make it home.  Then I wondered last night if history would repeat itself.

Déjà vu?  It certainly was, at least in part.  Here I was stalled for hours in the same location as many years ago before the trucker in front of me moved a few yards.  I prayed often asking God to allow everyone to reach their final destinations.   Even though there were many scary moments, I quickly realized there are many things you can do to help yourself in the event you run into a tempest.

  1. Pray
  2. Be always prepared. I had my blanket, water, flashlight, scraper and a full tank of gas.
  3. Drive with caution. Whether you have a big ride or small humpty, the humpty often passes the big ride in the ditch.
  4. Occasionally stop to clear accumulated snow from the car’s wiper blades, wheel wells, front and back windshield, and headlights.
  5. Do not panic. If you feel the car sliding gently try to maneuver out of the slide.
  6. Turn hazard lights on immediately if you have difficulty driving or feel as though you are losing control.
  7. Keep your eyes on the road and call for help if needed.
  8. Make sure your smart phone is fully charged.
  9. Pray

Well, I arrived home safely.  Just after midnight I pulled up to my driveway covered in snow.  More than a foot for sure.  It took me all of 11 hours to cover a two hour distance.  Now, do you wonder why I like to jet off to warmer climes at this time of the year?  I have no more tolerance for Old Man Winter, but rather need temps of 75 Fahrenheit or higher just to keep my sanity.  I thanked God for bringing me home safe and sound.

Community Peeps, what has been your experience dealing with weather conditions whilst traveling on a road trip or otherwise?  What tips would you like to add to those above?  Please share.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

%d bloggers like this: