Category Archives: travel

Me and travel

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I strongly believe the more I travel the better I get at it. I guess that would be true with most anything you do. I’m amazed at how much easier it is for me to get my bearings these days in a new place. It’s much easier to get the hang of where to ask for help, how to use public transportation and how to feel like the day has been well spent doing the right amount of leisure and the right amount of activity.

Today was just about a perfect day in Niagara Falls for me and my family. I’m grateful.

A few years back I would’ve been clueless where to start. These days with the internet and sites like Priceline it’s amazing to me how I can feel like I am almost as good asย a travel agent.

It’s probably because I love travel. I love to watch travel movies. I love to read books on travel. I currently have one on tent camping in the New England states in my purse…in preparation for a trip I hope to take the girls on next spring.

I love the feeling of going to a new place, taking in the scenery, people watching, etc. I know this is stressful for some…but for me it’s quite nice. I wouldn’t have felt that way about a decade ago. But since that time I’ve planned so many trips and been put in so many different situations I feel strongly that I can enjoy a day no matter where I find myself.

Today it dawned on me…and I even told my daughters in a truthful not prideful way…”girls…you’re going to enjoy traveling with me even when you’re adults…just because where I go we always have a good time.” They didn’t even disagree ๐Ÿ™‚

I used to feel that other people had better experiences, got better deals, made more of the day than I did. I used to hate getting lost or the stress of finding a parking spot or knowing what was available. But these days…anybody can travel with success with some effort and love for travel.

Websites abound, books, movies, brochures, help at the hotel, etc.

And then the other secret is knowing your family well enough to know what fits them best. For some people they need constant activity. For mine…we need some down time interspersed…an ice cream break, some time sitting on a bench, some funny photo times, etc.

Whenever we travel if we try to do it just like somebody else would, some other family…we’re bound to crash and burn, because your family is not my family.

People ask me sometimes for travel advice and I guess at this point I could definitely give out some…but still, I’ve decided travel has to fit you, just like a good pair of jeans. It’s got to fit your passions and interests.

Nothing like going to a bunch of historical stuff if history is not your interest! Nothing like doing a bunch of sports activity if that isn’t your cup of tea! Nothing like being tortured at an amusement park if that kind of stuff gives you a headache. You’ve got to know who you are, and especially what your kids enjoy. Because when traveling…if the kids aren’t having fun and enjoying the time neither are the parents!

For my kids…we enjoy a good variety of most things. We enjoy unique restaurants but not so unique that we don’t recognize any of the food on the menu. We enjoy nature…but not out in the woods, bugs attacking nature. We enjoy activity, but not let’s bike a mountain today activity. We enjoy rides and amusement parks…but also need downtime afterwards to recover. We get weary of standing in lines and have no desire to do that all day long. We are not really shoppers…oh we can look a little, but after a little bit, after we’ve found one thing that seemed worth getting, we’re ready to be done.

Just today, my oldest told me that she notices swimming at the hotel pool isn’t like it used to be for her. She’s 16 and realizing that swimming at the pool seems more like an “inconvenience”. That surely is a right of passage! I remember the days when if a hotel had a pool we could be entertained for hours…today it lasted for 30 minutes.

We enjoy new places. It’s very rare that we repeat where we go. We never go wrong when we have beach time ๐Ÿ™‚

What does your family enjoy these days? How do you feel about travel? Is it stressful? Do you feel disappointed after spending the money on the trip?

Over the years I’ve lowered my expectations a bit…that helps and I’ve learned to do the research ahead of time…which sure makes for a much less stressful time. I always print mapquest maps and use my GPS. Seriously…both have saved me more times than I can count. I google all the time and find out ahead of time prices, hours, locations, special events, etc. And then I love the joy of finding unexpected stuff too on site. Like finding out August 5th is a Canadian holiday complete with fireworks over the falls last night. What a pleasant surprise!

Something about travel just feels like oxygen to me. I always love to go home too…but the reason why home is so lovely is in direct relation with travel. I love seeing different people, seeing different sites, experiencing different emotions and making amazing memories.

Today my favorite memory has to be my daughter Lydia, on the Maid of the Mist by Niagara Falls. We had out blue ponchos on and we had been told that we would get wet…but we really had no idea what to expect. Lydia was happily documenting everything, taking pictures when all of a sudden it was as if the shower head had been turned on. Our hoods blew off and we were soaked. Absolutely a hilarious moment shared with a boat load of strangers. I wish you could’ve heard my daughter laughing. She couldn’t stop. She handed me her camera (water proof…because I had planned in advance ๐Ÿ™‚ and asked me to take pictures. I couldn’t even see what I was taking pictures of because of how wet my glasses were but I just kept on snapping away. Those pictures are awesome! Such a memorable moment. Everytime I look at those pictures I will hear my daughter’s free laughter. She might as well have been 2 years old…she didn’t hold back a bit, didn’t care what anybody else thought. I loved it. In fact we already decided if we ever come back we’ll do it again! It was that good!

I love travel…I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to travel with my girls. I’m thankful that it dawned on me a long time ago how important it is to travel…even if money is tight.

Today was a good day. Hope your travels are wonderful too!

Crazy day…equals new adventures

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It’s been a crazy day here at the Jackson house.

I thought it was going to be quite an ordinary day at home…but when my oldest daughter went to pick up her school books off of the bottom shelf she all of a sudden had terrible back pain. As in…I had to help her get up and to the couch where she was crying in extreme pain. Thankfully, our chiropractor was able to get her in pronto! So…school was put off and we went to have her back worked on.

After that appointment he told us that her going to walk around would be the best thing to help have some natural healing and comfort return. He suggested a store, where it was flat and air conditioned. We ended up at Target.

I didn’t get a cart…I was just going to walk around. I mean I’m the minimalist woman now…or at least trying, I wasn’t going to add or shop, just walk.

Yeah, right! Of course I found several items that seemed necessary and went back to the entry and got a cart.

Yes…we now have a charcoal grill and several accessories and tools to use on the grill. We’re trying it out tonight for the first time. I even have it assembled already ๐Ÿ™‚ I should tell you, we bought a cheap $17.99 table top grill, nothing huge, but enough for a family of 3 and easy to transport because…

We now also have a 8 person tent. By my figures, it takes about an 8 person tent to comfortably house the three of us ๐Ÿ™‚ We stood in the row and debated for quite awhile about which tent to choose but in the end I think we did well. It’s a Coleman. I recognize that name so consider that a good thing ๐Ÿ™‚ It was easy to carry and talked about how easy it was to set up…which is a huge plus!

So…it would appear that us Jackson girls are now campers. (Pure Crazy!) Just when I think I’ve had my last crazy idea for life, I get another one. Just the way it works for me.

If you had told me a year ago that I would be purchasing a tent and a charcoal grill and planning a spring road trip that involved camping I would’ve told you absolutely NOT! I was a sworn hotel user type of person. And hotels still are very nice. We’re staying in a few soon on our Niagara Falls/Toronto Vacation. But…I think we’ve signed on for some serious camping in the future.

Adventure comes in all sizes and shapes I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

So, now I think I’ll actually get to what I thought I was going to be doing today.

First grilled meal coming tonight. After 7 years of no grilling, it will seem nice to be the home where the food smells good ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of off the ride thoughts in a jumble :)

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My girls and I have been out of town for a few days to visit my sister. Had a lovely visit ๐Ÿ™‚

And now we’re back home. Always good to come back home.

Along the way I’ve had a lot of thoughts swirling in my brain. I haven’t blogged in the past 3 days and while that’s not that long…for me it is. I’m used to daily processing my thoughts through writing in some form or fashion. When I don’t they just kind of all run around in my brain without making much sense.

I’ve come to the place where I realize I am considering anything possible. Let me explain… I currently own my home. I am in charge of the upkeep obviously along with taxes, insurance, etc. you all know the drill. This weekend I stayed at my sister’s house which is actually a condo that they rent. They have no yard care. No upkeep expenses. No, they don’t own the place where they live…but I sensed some freedom in that reality that I might be open to at some point.

I know that goes against the normal American dream. We’re told from a young age that it makes far more sense to own rather than rent…but I’m not sure that we always consider all that will mean. In reading minimalist blogs as of late I’m realizing that not only do I want to get rid of clutter but I also need to consider that deowning some things might be as important as decluttering.

I won’t be putting my home up for sale anytime soon…but I’m at least open to the idea. I think that openness is important.

Just this year beyond taxes and insurance I’ve had to put in a whole new sewer system, water heater, fix the air conditioner and probably a few other things that I don’t even remember. I was already planning to go through my entire house this year and declutter and fix things that need to be fixed as I go…and now I realize that who knows…I may at some point not even be living here. I might consider an apartment at some point a good option.

Not only that…but on the way home I started thinking about future vacation ideas. Out of the blue I had this crazy idea that maybe me and my girls would take a road trip next spring/summer for a few weeks and go to the East states we haven’t gone to yet…and actually tent instead of hotel it. That is a huge change of thought for me. I’m a hotel girl through and through. But I did live in a tent this summer for a week and found it doable. It’s an adventure that we’ve never taken. It’s still running around in my brain as a possible option. My girls seemed to think it might work. Not a complete 100% vote of confidence…but at least worth considering.

Third…on a smaller note, yet still something different and off the ride, Lydia has decided that she would like to start learning how to grill stuff. We don’t have a grill at present, well unless you consider ย a George Foreman a grill. But nothing outside. Grills scare me. That whole gas/fire thing and not completely knowing what I’m doing concerns me. Mark used to grill…but that’s been over 7 years ago now. In fact, I got rid of our grill that we had, since it was just weathering and not being used. But…I told Lydia I would consider getting a charcoal grill and us learning together how to use it. She’s pretty excited. Again…the camping theme seems to be arising, very unexpectedly.

On the way home today we talked about our finances over the weekend. We are much more careful these days knowing choices we make will effect future decisions a year from now. I am amazed at how much my kids want to make sure I don’t have to go back and teach anymore. Either they just got tired of my venting or they realize that just as I want to help them pursue their passions…they too, want me to be able to pursue mine. All three of us are committed to making any changes we might need to make to ‘afford’ dramatic permanent change. I have no idea what that may mean right now…but I know we are open to whatever it takes. My kids even told me today…”Mom, we can tell that even if you had to live on the street you would rather do that than go back.” That may sound extreme…but yeah, it’s pretty much true. I hope it never comes down to that.

Traveling lighter…that’s what I’m all about at this point in my life. Decluttering. Deowning. And complete openness to wherever that might lead. Even tent camping instead of luxury hotels ๐Ÿ™‚ It could be fun. You never know. At least it would be memorable.