Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ranting and Venting

This blog is more for me than for anyone else and that's fine. I can rant and vent and not worry anyone I know will read it or care. So here goes. Another vent.

I love to travel. I've said that enough. But I think I travel partly to get away from what I don't have at home. Genealogy is also an escape from real life. I'm not going to stop doing either but I wonder if I would still be so passionate about either if I had more in my real life.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I returned home after a wonderful cruise to sad news. My uncle passed away while I was gone and the funeral was held the day after I got back. For a while, I was in the doldrums in addition to suffering from a winter cold. I loved my uncle and it hurts that he is gone. And it's got me to thinking.

Life is shorter than we think. We keep postponing things for later when we should be doing it sooner. So although I will miss my uncle, I still treasure my memories and I'm glad I went. I am glad that I rode a horse in the Atlantic ocean off of the Bahaman coast, sang karaoke in front of strangers, saw the Panama Canal and its rain forest. I am embarrassed at how decadent a cruise is but I'm still glad I've experienced it.



Being there

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Working on that bucket list.

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!

After the disappointing attempt to attend the inauguration this year failed, I was very down and a little depressed. This year was supposed to be my year of travel, getting the wanderlust out of my system so I could accept settling down in the near future. First, my girlfriend trip to Las Vegas was cancelled because one of the three amigas couldn't afford it. And then the trip to the inauguration crashed, figuratively speaking. Thank God, my cruise to Panama is still on. That will increase the numbers of countries I have traveled to, if I count the day trip to Canada when I was young, to nine!!

Now that I'm on an emotional high, I can plan my other trips near and far, God willing as always. One thing I have learned. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. He has a great sense of humor. We plan, He executes His will, not our wills, regardless of our plans.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pondering the American Dream

It's been almost a year since I've blogged. Since then I've gotten addicted to Facebook and Pinterest and watched politics on Twitter. Blogging takes more work. But I'm back. I think.

I'm pondering the American dream right now. I have had the husband (died), the big beautiful house (lost it to taxes), three children (Thank God, they're healthy, grown, and mostly gone), the dogs (dead and not allowed where I live). So what do I do now? Live out my other dream? That dream is the one where I travel around the world and write about it, search for ancestors in libraries and archives and write about it. I actually can afford to do that right now, so what's stopping me? Me.

Having no real encumbrances is great in theory. It also means I have no home to call my own nor a man who cares if I come and go. There is a part of me that keeps yearning for a home, a man and a dog to make my life perfect. And if I had that, then I would dream of traveling around the world. Kind of stupid or just unrealistic to think I can have it all. I know some people do but I'm sure they dream about greener grass too.

Therefore I will do what I know I can and keep dreaming. Who knows, it could happen. Dreams do come true occasionally and prayers do get answered definitely.

Friday, February 17, 2012

To Dream the Possible Dream

I am not a rich person. Financially, I am not even middle class. I have lived most of my life with less, sometimes by choice but mostly not of my free will. But I have come to believe that success cannot be measured by dollar and cents but by the happiness quotient.

I have always wanted to travel but lack of time and money has always been a hindrance. Now I have learned that if you have the time, money is no object. Really. And we make time for what we really want to do.

My trip to Europe was a budget trip. I wasn’t interested in fancy restaurants or posh hotels. The thrill was that I would be on another continent, an ocean away. It was an adventure not luxuries that I was in search of..

I figured that I travel in the U.S. on a budget; I can do the same in Europe. Yes, having a small inheritance appear strategically helped immensely. That meant I wouldn’t bankrupt myself to go but I would have gone, regardless. I had lived frugally for a whole year and saved up my money to make this trip possible.

Everything was done cash, no credit. I spent 12 days in England and Rome for under $2000, if my calculations are correct. That includes airfare, train fare, hotels and food.  It took a lot of armchair research to make it happen. And as the commercials say, "if I can do it, anyone can!"

Me in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, wishing for a return trip.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Traveling solo. . ."all you have to fear is fear itself."

I decided to make this blog my travelogue too. I've been suffering from procrastination. So much that I am finally blogging about my trip to Europe 2 years ago. Better late than never though, right? I resisted sitting down and writing about it. Don't know why. I had notes that I took in real time but they have gone missing. Another reason I should get it down in writing sooner rather than later.

Two years ago, I was very afraid to take my trip mostly because I was doing it alone. In 2000 I went to London and Paris with my sister and I vowed I would return to Paris again before my passport expired. The plan was to do it with someone. Alas, in 10 years, although men came, they mostly went and in 2010 there was no one in my life to go with me. I asked an internet friend and he diplomatically turned me down. I think he thought I was propositioning him. I wasn’t. I just wanted company.

So with great trepidation and as much determination, I decided to plan my trip. My coworkers encouraged me. They told me it would be fine. I nearly changed my mind and didn’t go but I’m glad I did.

I did it all alone. No travel agency except Expedia online. I googled and researched online. Tripadvisor was extremely helpful. I bit the bullet and my trip was set. The day after classes ended, I was out of here!

Life lesson: You can travel alone and be safe. My rationale was that I do it here in the states all the time. Using the same caution and common sense, a woman can do it in Europe too.Go for it! I did and now I'm no longer afraid.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Taking hints from staycationing

I live only 35 minutes by car, one hour by train to a major world city. That has prepared me for traveling any where. When I'm in the mood to escape my boring town, I jump on a train to Chicago.

My train stops at some of the major tourist sites--Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Art Institute and Millennium and Grant Park, etc. From the end-of-the-line stop, I can walk to Navy Pier, Water Tower Place, Willis Tower, wherever my stamina takes me.

What amazes me most though is that so many people I know won't take advantage of public transportation to travel to Chicago. That may explain why they are so resistant to travel other places. Public transportation really comes in handy especially when you're looking for bargains here and overseas. I travel to Chicago for less than $12 round trip. You're lucky if you can park your car in Chicago for only $12 an hour.

I use public transportation daily so I'm used to it. I know some of the ins and outs, and most of all, I'm not afraid of it. I have learned not only to endure it but to embrace it. It can be very entertaining. Sometimes I'm a supporting actress in a Forest Gump-like movie listening to strangers confess their secrets. Other times I'm a spectator watching a comedy routine or even an impromptu championship fight. It's all how you look at it.