Family Chit Chat


It is true that the travel industry has taken a nosedive in this pandemic.  It would also be true to say that because of the adverse strain placed on travel, many have altered or shelved their vacation plans for an undetermined future date.  Those affected in my family circle are no exception.  Our annual travels cover distances in North America, Caribbean, and Europe.  Since the pesky virus struck, the majority of our international movements have been surreptitiously curtailed.  While we are longing to return to normalcy, to see familiar faces and to go to places of interest, our newest concern is the vaccine.

That conversation runs the gambit in my family’s chit chat every week, as it still monopolizes the airwaves in the USA, and in other countries around the world. Who should get it? Are there enough doses? What are the options? A plethora of questions and opinions surrounding the vaccination, among other topics, are discussed in our social media forum. The skeptic, the die-hard, the optimist, the wait-and-see, express their opinions from time to time. The memes, the videos, the satire are all part of the expressions. It is not only the funny stories that grab our attention, even though they help to ease tensions, but the latest news pertaining to the distribution of the vaccine is shared. Some kin have already received their shots because of their line of work and a few because of age.

Just recently I viewed a video clip on social media that talked of imminent changes to affect travelers.  It is being considered that in the future persons will be required to present vaccination documentation before they are allowed to fly, and conversely without proof, they will be grounded. 

Currently, the decision to take the vaccine is a matter of personal choice.  However, for those of us living abroad that choice may soon be moot.  Even though I have traversed to places most dream of, or are on a perennial bucket list, my wanderlust is far from satiated.  The world is still my oyster.  Indeed, I am grateful to have visited exotic destinations, experienced different cultures and explored lands where now the pandemic is raging, but when all is said and done, taking the shot may be the only way home for me.

Community Peeps, I am sure your family conversations are along the same vein. As an experienced planner, it is easy to fulfill a bespoke itinerary, but harder to recommend a safe haven from the virus. As travel bans are eased from country to country, will you renew interests in visiting those places you have always wanted to go? If necessary, are you prepared to meet any new requirements in order to travel? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. Also, remember to stay safe, wear your mask, physical distance and sanitize.

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 comment in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

All We Want This Christmas


This post is coming right off the cuff. Nothing fancy, no preparation, no particular plan, no rhyme, or reason. I only want to wish my followers, readers, and visitors to my website the absolute best for the holiday season. I hope your celebration whether virtual or in person, at home or work, be one that you enjoy. Like everything else this year, we have to make the best of it. 

In my house we are celebrating virtually. From Barbados to England to the United States (somebody please say THANK YOU Zoom 😂). Since we cannot be physically with each other as in former times, we are all still excited to see the faces and smiles, hear the voices and peals of laughter from those that will be joining in the virtual meeting on Christmas day. I think I can speak for my family when I say, “that is all we want this Christmas.”

Community Peeps, how about you? It is my truest desire to wish you and yours the best for the season and beyond. As usual, I invite you to share how you plan to celebrate the Christmas holiday in this extraordinary year. Write your 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 comment in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

More times,

Itinerary Planner

BUT, IT’S ALL ABOUT FAMILY


Thankfulness is not just a feeling; it is a state of mind. 

In a couple days families all across America will celebrate Thanksgiving.  This particular day is one of the most anticipated, planned and heavily traveled days of the holiday season.  BUT, Thanksgiving 2020 is shaping up to be anything but normal.  Now more than ever, thoughtful planning and careful consideration must be incorporated into the celebration to protect the people we love most – family and friends.

Customarily, gatherings large or small would unabashedly socialize with those they had not seen all year long.  The day’s activity would include hosting, dining, laughing, catching up, relaxing, and maybe watching a game of football. These are all part and parcel of what makes the day exciting, for young and old, and what makes it so special to everyone.  BUT currently, new directives outline all get-togethers should be small, preferably to include only those in the immediate household or bubble. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Leading up to the merriment, retailers and supermarkets tend to pull out all the stops to ensure shoppers have their turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry, apple pie and all the fixings that go into making the feast.  However, the menu I suspect with all its delectable, mouthwatering servings, is not the only reason for families wanting to come together during this stage.   BUT, as health authorities would have it, they prefer outdoor assemblies versus interior, and if indoor, suggests that the count be kept to a minimum.

Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com

Besides a heightened sense of excitement, and meticulous planning, some form of transport will bring everyone home for the occasion.  As of writing, the airwaves are reporting high travel volume, over 4 million persons and counting are transiting airports, bus, and train terminals.  People from all walks of life are determined to reunite with relatives no matter the cost.  BUT, yet again the health czars are recommending staying put.   

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Community Peeps, undoubtedly Covid-19 has proven to be a challenge on every front.  It has impacted the way we live, work, and socialize even to the point of muting current celebration plans.  BUT in all this, thankfulness should still be the mindset.  Being thankful is certainly the best attitude one can have to keep a healthy outlook on life.  Take the time daily to be thankful for your blessings and appreciate family.  Only those above ground can do so.  I am thankful for all of you.  And oh, if you must travel, do so safely.  I implore you to wear a mask, sanitize and physical distance.  Please share what you are thankful for in the comment box below.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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 comment in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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

Elderly Travel


Having trouble getting your senior out of the rocking chair and onto an airplane?  Are you tired trying to convince your elderly parent or guardian to go on a leisure vacation with you? If you have answered yes to these questions, then this post is to let you know you are not alone.

Arranging travel for my mother who will celebrate her 85th birthday in a couple months has become a show and tell process leading up to the actual planned event.  No longer can we expect her to drop everything, hop on a plane and show up at our door.  Her once eager desire to travel seems to have evaporated into thin air, replaced by no travel plans at all, a dread of traveling far distances and not wanting to be away from her home no more than a couple days at a time.

Some of her children live in different countries (we often travel to visit her) and it is not always possible to go to her.  On these rare occasions we have her come to us.  Her recent travel experience forced us to rethink how we will execute her travel in the future to make it emotionally and mentally comfortable, if not physically enjoyable.  This is what happened two months ago when my elder sister took our Mom to England to visit our oldest sister.  She reported…

“The check-in and boarding process went fine.  Mom was wheelchair-assisted on-board the aircraft and escorted to her seat.  Not long after take-off Mom started nervously looking around at the other passengers.  She seemed disoriented.  My sibling inquired of her if she knew where she was, and she said no.  At the first meal serving, she refused to eat stating it was too late in the night to eat.  This was due to the subdued lighting in the cabin.  It was still early in the day, but the pulled shades caused her to think that it was bedtime, and she does not eat meals after a certain hour in the evening.  For the eight-hour journey she only took few sips of water, did not eat or sleep the entire time.

On arrival at Gatwick International Airport, again on inquiry, she asserted that she did not recognize the strange place.  By the way, our Mom has traveled to England on numerous occasions, alone and accompanied.  However, this time it was as if she was seeing it for the first time.  She was not too happy and became a little fussy.  My sister chose not to respond to her tantrum but allowed her to vent.  Only when our eldest sister appeared and welcomed her did she calm down but just for a little while.  The first night in my sister’s home she awoke and wandered the hallway crying not knowing where she was.  My siblings reassured her that she was safe, in familiar surroundings, and that she was there just for a short visit.  They spent the next two days reacquainting her of the home and neighborhood.”

In reading this account I am sure you might be saying there are a few things we could have done differently.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  We are aware now for future travel, what we must do to prepare her for the trip.

We often tend to think seniors have the best times.  Well, at least some appear to.  However, others may be suffering from early stages of dementia/Alzheimer’s/senility.  Whatever the medical diagnosis, careful thought should be given when planning a vacation for the senior who maybe living with one of these conditions.  Seniors become more dependent, less decisive, less observant, easily disoriented, and the least liked – incontinent.  Travel for them can be bothersome, panicky, if not downright trepidation.  How can you take away the dread when they travel with you?  Well, it depends on how well you prepare them.  Here are some basic tips:

Show & Tell – Start by informing the elderly of the impending travel.  Talk about the people, culture, historical sites, unique interests in relation to their likes.  Watch videos or specific programs to familiarize them of the place they are going to.  Plan an internet search activity, read destination articles or guide books.  Check the news of country and region to keep them enthused of the upcoming holiday.  Bear in mind, if your aged person suffers from short-term memory loss, they will like a child ask the “Are we there yet?” kinds of questions.  That is understandable and shows eager anticipation, interest and a comfortable acceptance level.   On the other hand, if they suffer from long term memory loss and completely forget what you tell them only a short while ago then it will feel like you are in a losing battle.  However, repeat the information as often as possible.  Give gentle reminders.

Interests – Older people are more set in their ways and are not comfortable living under the aegis of a younger person.  Therefore, choose a destination/activities that are age appropriate.  Do your research to ensure the locale is senior-friendly.  By that I mean, does it have activities you know your aging parent or guardian would find interesting and engaging.  Would the accommodations be able to assist with their physical limitation?  Are services and amenities easily accessible and available?

Physical Limitations – There are two ways around it, after all aging is not kind to the body.  The cry for pain can be constant. Restraint on how much they can do or how far they can go are realizations traveling companions must come to terms with and be ready to adjust. Be ready to terminate a leisurely stroll, scamper to a bathroom, and practice your masseuse moves on an aching body. Have a good understanding of their medications.  Plan outings around their rest/nap times. Read their body language which will help you know the times to relax and take it slow or to cancel an event.

Exude Confidence – Constantly reassure your senior that you are looking out for them.  Tell them often you will not leave them to fend for themselves.  Express pleasure in having them accompany you along for the ride.  Never be in a rush or exhibit irritation at their forgetfulness, slowness, or lack of interest in their surroundings.  NEVER get into an argument with the elderly over plans that were agreed to but which they might have promptly forgotten.  Arguments only exacerbate tense situations, cause your traveling companion to have a meltdown, and leave them feeling a little helpless and uncertain.  Constantly reassure them with your presence, love and attention.

Community Peeps, I have barely scratched the surface on this subject of elderly travel and the problems it can pose for families or care givers.  What has been your experience?  Please share to help those who would like to travel with their elderly but are afraid to because of the aforementioned issues and more.

As usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates of all blog postings, select like to show your love and support, share on your social media site, and comment in the box below.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

A Traveling Mother’s Dilemna


What can I say about mother’s that has not been said already?  Mother’s Day is the day we express loving sentiments to mothers for their unconditional love, tireless devotion and loving care of their offspring.  I, with the rest of my siblings, and like millions of other families celebrated the joy of being blessed with a super Mom who is special, beautiful, wonderful, and just downright amazing. This date is single-handedly the most important day on the calendar even though it is not a public holiday.  It should be.  Mothers would say that every day is Mother’s Day and I agree with that too.  After all, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

My blog concentrates mostly on vacations, itinerary planning, lifestyle, and travel, but I want to recount an article I read recently of a young mother traveling with two small children.  Her account caused me to reflect and ask myself serious questions about a traveling mother’s dilemna.  The well-presented article rebuked me in several ways, mostly for my lack of empathy and patience.  Read a full account of the incident here.

After reading the harried mother’s account, I saw myself not as the protagonist who deserves to be celebrated for his courage, but as the irritated traveler who invariably finds herself seated next to, in front of, or behind a screaming infant who would not be pacified in the ensuing meltdown.  What has my attitude been towards frantic mothers in situations like these?  Do I keep my distance? Do I reach out and offer to help?  Or, do I wish they were seated nearer to first class than where I usually sit in economy?  These questions may sound selfish and empathetic, but they are honest, true and are for my own introspection.

The trepidation mothers experience when flying with young children in such a confined space is a real concern that is often overlooked by fellow passengers.  We put on our noise cancelling head phones, plug our ears or pretend to fall asleep the minute we are seated.  We try to shut out everyone around us.  My awareness to the distresses of overtaxed mothers has been heightened, and even though there may be little to nothing that I can do, a knowing smile and an offer to help an anxious and overwhelmed mother could be a welcomed relief for her or may be a polite rejection for me.  To do nothing is not an option.  Not to reinvent the wheel, a couple of links below provide helpful tips to traveling moms with young ones.

15 Tips for Stress-free Traveling with Little Children

Traveling with Kids – Tips and Tricks

Finally, I want to wish all mothers in my blog community, email and readership a blessed Mother’s Day.  May the experience of wonderful blessings be shared and received every day for the rest of your lives.  You deserve the best.

Community Peeps, it is always a pleasure sharing my thoughts and keeping it real with you.  What has been your experience on the subject?  Tell me what worked for you and your family which can help someone else.  Comment in the box below.  Select follow to receive immediate postings and become a part of my community.  Click like to show your love and support. Go ahead and share my blog on your own social media site.  Thank you for reading, I appreciate it.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

 

 

Two Thousand Thanks


When I launched Travel Itineraries blog-website eight months ago, I had no idea, experience, or understanding of what it would take to maintain it.  It is like a child that needs constant attention, love and care.  Good thing I know the adage that says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”  That’s where my followers come in.  Their interest, attention, comments and likes have engendered the growth of the site into the viable entity it is today.

200 followers are not a large number, the actual number as of today is 226, but it is not a meager stat by any means.  In fact, my 200+ followers are the bedrock of the site and just the community I need to ensure that TI‘s growth continues progressively.  They are the crucial link to the site’s existence.  They are the ones who got in on the ground level and are helping to shape the dynamics of what TI is all about and the contributions she makes.  So, followers, this is all about you.

 

TI Award

Travel Itineraries landed on the world’s stage with a bang in July 2017.  She received 177 views in one day mainly from USA, Canada and Barbados.  Friends oohed, ahhed and said how beautiful she was.  Some sent messages to their social media communities echoing her existence.  Over time, she has gained global interest and to date 83 countries are included in her fan base.  She has grown to a level where she receives adoring fans on a weekly basis.  Every newborn needs support.  Lots of it.  My brainchild is no different.  She demands attention and constant care, which at times can be all-consuming, but those are just aspects of her nature.  Despite her demanding attributes and challenges, she also brings incredible joy and happiness to my daily life.

I want to thank my community peeps from the depths of my heart for their support, comments and likes from inception to now. WordPress Happy Engineers for their patience and wealth of knowledge.  Family and friends who continue to encourage and care for TI by occasionally checking in on her and giving their suggestions for her progress.

Two thousand thanks are more apropos of my heartfelt appreciation for the time you take to read the blogs, peruse the website pages, purchase a travel itinerary, view videos and photo gallery and the like.  Your time and interest in Travel Itineraries’ growth, content and contribution are valuable to me.

As always, fellow bloggers on the WordPress, LinkedIn, Google+ platforms, please drop a note in the comment box, follow or like to let me know your solidarity.  I look forward to hearing from you.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

 

 

 

 

Speak Her Love Language When You Travel


Valentine’s Day is a couple days away and it is the time people express their undying love and devotion to each other.  Couples give gifts of: chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and other tokens that may be cherished and enjoyed for the moment or for a very long time.  Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the book “The Five Love Languages” revolutionized the way we view loving associations.   He identified: acts of service, gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, and quality time as motivators for building happy relationships.  A person may have one distinct language that makes them truly happy or may have a combination of these languages that makes them feel loved and appreciated.  If you know which language(s) you or your partner speaks, then you are already ahead of the game, and can daily nurture your connection for a happy relationship.

In two days you may be on your way to enjoy a romantic vacation.  Maybe you are heading to an exotic Love Language3location like Barbados, Bora Bora, Maui, Santorini, Tahiti, or some other island that wreaks romance.  You want this vacation to be indelibly written on her mind and be remembered as the best everrr for the rest of your lives.  So, I propose you spend this vacation with the girl of your dreams discovering what love language she speaks.  You can practice a motivator each day to see which one(s) she responds to the best.  Don’t know what to do?  Here are some easy suggestions to start you off.  Bear in mind, you can practice all the love languages in one day, but if you are on a five-day holiday why not assimilate one each day.

Acts of service – Plan a bespoke itinerary for each day of the vacation that says you put some thought into it.  To avoid any objections, take care of household chores that you know she may be concerned about in your absence.  Handle all the scheduling details for an evening of dinner, dance and entertainment.  As much as you can, pre-arrange to have her commitments resolved before leaving on the trip.  Consort with her work supervisors for the time off and surprise her at the job with tickets neatly tucked into a bouquet of flowers.  Last but certainly not least, select her favorite clothes, pack her bags and have them waiting by the door ready for your departure.

Gifts – After a day of exploring the island, she may feel exhausted but a gift of one or all of the items listed will surely perk her up.  You would be surprised to see how fast the exhaustion disappears into thin air: a bouquet of flowers, a box of the finest BelgiumLove Language6 chocolates, or a beautiful piece of jewelry in the signature baby-blue colored box you know she has been eyeing for a long time.  She may squeal with delight, I would, and by this reaction or even the lack there of, you may know whether you are on to discovering gifts as one of her love languages.  Giving her a gift when she least expects it may warrant a reaction that is priceless.  After all, everyone loves a good gift and if it is given in a unique way, the story will be retold for weeks, months and years to come.

Physical touch – On your down times take a leisurely stroll on the beach or along a garden path.  Walking hand in hand will speak volumes of tenderness to her mind.  A light touch on Love Language4the back or on the shoulder may be interpreted to mean, I support you, or we are  connected.  These physical touches transmit a sense of loving appreciation.  Show her you are attentive by occasionally holding her hand, recline against her shoulder, or lay your head on her lap.

Words of affirmation –  Believe it or not but this is one of the most difficult of the languages to express.  If you spout words of love too much you may run the risk of Love Language1making it sound trite.  If you express sentiment grudgingly you may come across as cold and your words forced.  Therefore, choosing your words, delivery and timing are key to making sure your person feels loved and respected.  Use a candlelight dinner in a cozy restaurant to talk of all the qualities that you find fascinating about her.  You don’t have to be untruthful, you only need to be sincere.   Let her know you appreciate the little things she may think are mundane but that means the world to you.  Let her know how well she does them and because of that you have learned to stay in your lane when it comes to certain areas where, in your book, she’s the expert.

Quality time – This time is probably the best love language of all.  Just my opinion, hehehe.  You can either lay on the beach, sip a mocktail, listen to the sound of the waves Love Language2lapping in the ebb and flow, feel the gentle breezes as they rustle through the palm trees, enjoy the glow of the evening’s sunset, or you can set an appointment to receive a full body massage for two and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the deep kneading that often lulls you to sleep.   No words are necessary.  Being there and quietly sharing the moment is the perfect finale to a five-day trip.

There you have it folks a romantic vacation to remember.  You have learned how to speak her love language and have fun doing it while on vacation.  Thank you for reading and viewing my site from time to time.  Feel free to add your comments in the box below.  As usual, I encourage you to follow, like, and share with your family and friends.  Happy Valentine’s y’all.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Staycation Plans


Yesterday I looked outside my window and saw snow flurries.  Thoughts of traveling to a sunny, exotic location, lying on a beach, sipping a cool mocktail or reading a book, began to fill my mind.  Reality check.  This is peak season to destinations like that and the costs of airfare, hotel, etc., would probably blow my travel budget into smithereens.  It’s just a pipe dream.  So, if this is your dilemma what can you do and where can you go?  I propose a staycation.

I am especially fond of the holiday season, albeit cold.  Usually around this time, my travel plans whether using bus, car or train, are limited to the Northeast for these simple reasons:  It is a time to enjoy my colorful backyard, a time to give thanks, a time to enjoy Christmas, and a time to spend with family.

I live in the Hudson Valley and at this particular time of year it is a picturesque place to be.  70 miles north of New York city, you can begin to enjoy nature’s foliage as you drive along any of the major highways to the upstate suburbs.  If you pack a lunch basket, don your walking boots, you can take your family on an outing to witness the explosive kaleidoscope of colorful leaves.  Browns, reds, oranges, yellows splash across the mountainside and along the rippling Hudson River banks like Holi (the Hindu festival of colors).   I especially like to take the ride up through the Taconic State Parkway or the Palisades Parkway.  These two routes present some of the most advantageous views and scenic photo ops for both the professional and amateur photographer.  Hiking on Bear Mountain and the many national parks that make up the Harriman State Park is another great way to witness the colorful leaves and explore the trails.

Do not feel left out if you live alone.  Plan a surprise visit to a friend or family member and spend Thanksgiving or even Christmas with them.  Choose a destination away from your town so you can see some different scenery.  Drive half hour or more if you have to.  I am not talking turkey when I tell you that I love Thanksgiving.  On such occasions, I drive two and a half hours just to be with family.  Here are my reasons why.  Giving thanks is a priority when my family sits down together for our meal. We acknowledge in our daily devotions thanks to God for being our provider, sustainer, protector and redeemer.  Thanksgiving day is no exception.  When we gather at a pre-selected household to break bread,  before laying into the delectable spread,  every person present is afforded the opportunity to give thanks.   Sincere expressions of thankfulness for:  kindnesses received or given, thoughtfulness of and to others, love-in-action demonstrated by friends and family are often recited.  The food, though mouth-watering, is not the priority, as one by one we tell each other why we are so thankful.  Sometimes these moments can be very nostalgic, moving each other to tears (happy tears), or being outright hilarious.  After all is said, one person says the corporate pray of thanks giving to God for us all and then we dig in.  It is a beautiful, special moment with family.

Christmas is another favorite holiday of mine.  If in the city, a great travel plan would be to attend a local concert.  Many church choirs in the area renders the ageless Handel’s Messiah or the Hallelujah Chorus much to the delight of their audience.  If you like the ballet, The Nutcracker is another staple performance for theater goers.  I attend a choir concert or two just to enjoy the music of the season, but it begins for me much sooner than December.  Every September 1st, I swap out all the music in my car to only play Christmas songs, carols and hymns as I drive.  My friends think it is strange (you might think so too) to be playing this holiday music so early, but I think the month of December is not long enough for me to enjoy them.  Besides, my quirk was adapted to de-stress after a long, hard day.  The combination of listening to favorite carols, watching twinkling lights, feeling crisp cold air, and seeing snowflakes fall, helps to make my travels extra special as I whiz up and down the highways.

Although mentioned last, spending time with family is by far the most important reason for liking the holiday season, whether Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Without the love of family and friends, and the ability to share with them, all the aforementioned would probably be less enjoyable.  According to Statisticbrain.com  it is estimated 39,000,000 people will travel this Thanksgiving day.  I like the fact that travelers will crisscross the nation to see and be with their loved ones.  Too much cannot be said about the value of being with family during this season.  Quality time spent with the people you love and appreciate makes great, unforgettable memories later on.

Here’s a question for my blog followers and viewers.  Do you have a favorite holiday plan you would like to share?  Please let me know in the comment section below.  I find your comments very interesting.  Don’t be shy to drop me a note via my website, Google+, LinkedIn, or email.  If you have gotten this far, thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner