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Talking Travel

While at work today, IT needed remote access to my laptop. The first thing he said when he saw my screen was “Wow, what a beautiful place – where is that located?”. My desktop wallpaper is a picture of the Don Cesar Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida. We started talking about the hotel, and about this beautiful stretch of beach in St. Pete. The tech had never heard of it before, but I am sure he will start doing some research. He started quietly working on my computer, and then he said “We were just in New York City over the weekend visiting a friend”.  We started talking about some of the restaurants and rooftop bars he visited, and how great of a place NYC is — all it took was me asking “What did you do while you were in NYC?”, and his voice instantly sounded happier. It seemed like for just a few moments he wasn’t focused on his work day, but rather on the adventure he had over the weekend.  This was my way of traveling today.

Strangely, my computer was stuck on airplane mode, and we both had the same thought – that the universe was trying to tell me it was time to start planning the next getaway.Don _ Background

Write Today

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest Hemingway

For as long as I can remember I’ve considered myself a writer. I’ve had one poem in a collection, and other than that the only people allowed to read my work were my family members, close friends, educators, and students. Until now. I’ve always believed that if you want to be a writer, you write. This makes you a writer. If you sit down and put pen to paper, you are a writer. If you open your journal to reflect on the day, the years, your concerns, your to-do lists, your goals — you are a writer. You don’t need to be published, but you do need to write. Putting myself out there has been scary for me, but I feel like it is time. Writing, traveling, books, music, poetry, and even favorite movies and shows, have been a topic of conversation on a nearly constant basis since I was a child. I’ve always loved the written word, and I’ve kept most of what I’ve written hidden away, out of fear. I am starting to realize that what I put out there doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be authentic.

I have notebooks filled with poetry, personal thoughts, observations from train rides and the airport, experiences during road trips, thoughts on concerts and music festivals, and all things travel — favorite spots, hotel recommendations, and favorite memories — it’s time to stop putting all my writing in boxes and bins, and it’s time to start sharing my experiences with others. My hope is that it will inspire others to put themselves out there, as well — and that it will inspire others to start planning their next adventure.

Like I said, my writing doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be real…

Home Away from Home — more on the story behind Travel and Write Today

“Traveling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” — Ibn Battuta

From a young age I’ve always loved traveling and staying in hotels — whether it was extravagant or just a small inn — I just liked feeling the comforts of home while traveling. I loved taking our yearly road trip to visit my family, and our annual trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania – I still feel peace when I think back to the sound of the horse-drawn carriages. My parents and I were driving home from one of these road trips, and I was noticing all of the hotels in the area. I looked over at my parents and said, “One day I’d like to write a book called A Home Away from Home”, my parents smiled, and I pushed that thought aside after that car ride. I have no intention of writing that particular book, but writing about my travels, and experiences, whether it’s thousands of miles away or somewhere local, makes me happy.

We would often go to Florida — we went to Disney World because we loved it, and a little further south to visit my great-grandparents. The best parts of Disney were not only the rides, but the fact that we walked around the parks until we were exhausted, and then we’d come back to the hotel to go in the pool — we never turned on the TV. Everything revolved around joy and magic. I always felt like I was in the moment, which for me is generally difficult, and it has been even from childhood. I cried whenever we were on the shuttle back to the airport, and I still feel this way now when leaving Disney World. I feel that way when leaving most trips. Looking at all the photographs, and writing about our adventures gives me the chance to travel to these places all over again.

I’ve been trying to bring the feelings I have, while on vacation, into my every day life. There is opportunity for joy and living in the moment even if you’re visiting a farm in a nearby town, having breakfast at your favorite local spot, or just sitting on your back patio having coffee. For me, travel now has become less about just the hotel, but more about the experience of being somewhere new — the sunrises, the local bookstores, the small coffeeshops, the water views, the breakfast place recommended by a local, the dinners (even if it is just room service), and the sunsets.  Now, when traveling we unintentionally end up with a daily routine, and by the time the trip is over we are ready to pick-up and move there. This has brought new meaning to that original book title I mentioned, to my parents, many years ago. It truly becomes a home away from home.

Travel today is about being in the moment today — planning your next adventure — near or far — and just enjoying what’s in front of you. It is not focusing on work, emails, the to-do list, the bills — it’s feeling joy in the moment. Of course you cannot control your feelings, and I know regardless of how much I am enjoying my time, the every day stresses have a way of creeping in. When this happens I just try to bring myself back to the present moment, focusing on the taste of my red wine, the laughter of my family, and the views around me.

Writing this post was the first thing I did this morning — I am sitting here with my coffee, and I am truly in the present moment. That is what Travel and Write today is about — it’s writing, planning, traveling, working towards your goals, and putting yourself out there, regardless of the outcome (and even when it’s scary). I am reminding myself of this every single day.