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

A Small Ask, Wear A Mask!


Travel Itineraries’ high flying wings were unceremoniously clipped due to the dreadful Covid-19 virus in 2020.  Grounded in Barbados, I was able to enjoy the sea, surf, sand, and sun, which most people would consider to be the idyllic life, and what I thought was not a bad trade off.  With my original plans to explore, island hop, cruise the high seas, and peregrinate from place to place tabled, I have been eagerly looking forward to revisiting my deferred travel aspirations in 2021.   As usual, at the beginning of every New Year there is often anticipation that it will be better than the last.  Those feelings of hope and expectancy are contagious, and I am not immune.  I too, like most want this year to be better than the last.

The New Year’s hopefulness has affected my inner circle, family, and friends also.  They desperately long to breathe again.  For far too long, their travel balloons have been deflated, and they have become a little antsy for adventure.  To add insult to injury, as of writing, two newer viruses (the British and South African strains) are making fresh inroads on the world scene.  To the tourists this may signal a further setback that all contemplated or pre-planned holidays scheduled for 2021 is a no-go, but it is still too early to call. It is uncertain how it will all play out with the rollout and fulfillment of the vaccination initiative currently underway. We will have to wait and see.  We must be patient. 

Taking an optimistic viewpoint, every dark cloud has a silver lining ties in succinctly with my premise of hope.  So, I am simply saying, “do not panic.”  The days of suffering from claustrophobia exhaustion is nearing an end if you heed these directions.  You can resume planning month-long getaways to exciting exotic locations.  Prepare bespoke itineraries of a dream trip of a lifetime.  Decide to incorporate the tips I will outline below to help keep you safe.  Your safety is paramount and since returning to old norms is highly unlikely, I propose the sooner we adopt the safety measures, the sooner and safer we will get back to flying the open skies once again.

Here are a few tips to ensure you enjoy your trip abroad or nationally if you choose to travel:

  1. Pack extra masks, disposable wipes, and sanitizers for easy access in your carry-on and handbag.
  2. Wear a mask at all times and sanitize hands frequently.
  3. Choose to stand a safe distance apart from others.
  4. Take authorized virus test before and after reaching destination.
  5. Plan to quarantine for a week at destination.
  6. Re-take virus test a week later after initial quarantine.
  7. If test results are negative then you are free to enjoy your vacay to the max. Remember to follow steps two and three when in the public domain.

Hear me out.  These procedural suggestions are part and parcel of the lifestyle for the wanderlust sort.  The sooner holidaymakers accept the guidelines, the quicker it will become a norm and no longer viewed as an irritant.  Wearing a mask is a small ask when it comes to saving a life, which may be your very own. 

Who would have guessed that such a small slip to cover nose and lip,
 would become so trendy, necessary, and handy, who would have guessed?

Community Peeps, your 2021 travel plans may seem iffy right now, but do not fear or despair.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  A New Year usually projects new hopes and dreams.  I pray that your travel plans will materialize, and a nice break where you can breathe, be revived, and refreshed in a location other than the confines of your home is in the offing.   Let us believe, claim it and call it done, God willing. Please share your thoughts on the issue 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.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

2020 Loss Gains


2020 has indeed been a year filled with quite a few surprises, and in a few days, all Americans can expect to be surprised one more time, one way or the other.  To say this year is a tumultuous year is nothing short of an understatement.  I sometimes call it the year of losses.  Afterall, there has been major loss of life, jobs, finances, food, services, homes, trees, etc., of which the true extent will probably be felt for a long time.  On the flipside, as I take a retrospective look from January to date it has also been a year of gains.  Is this an oxymoronic way to look at it?  Maybe.  Am I being facetious?  Certainly not.  All that I am saying is, it is simply a matter of seeing the cup half full or half empty.

With just two more months to year-end, I have begun to take stock of the gains and losses I incurred since the year started.  Surprisingly, the gains have outweighed the losses.  Let me explain.  Though I enjoy traveling, exploring bright new horizons, and planning bespoke itineraries, in the ‘new norm’ the things that brought me the greatest joys were blessings received from the tangibles and intangibles that cannot be quantified or assigned a dollar value.   I will only list the ones that mean the most to me, but the list is by no means limited to just these mentions.  Here is my list.

Family time – this year provided the opportunity for us to talk more, in person and on the phone.  Relatives that I had not spoken to in a long time were calling to check in on us. We felt the love, care and concern flow in from every direction.  We used the time to catch up on family dynamics and to renew interests.

Group exercise – although not a part of my initial plans since I do ‘my own thing’ regularly, I joined a national exercise initiative meant to jumpstart social activities after restrictions eased.  Believe it or not, I found being a part of the assembly a time to relax, unwind and enjoy ‘bare laughs.’  The comradery and encouragement of the gals to go the distance, earn the burn, chase the waist, and all the other exercise cliches used as motivators was fun and rewarding.

New friends and exercise partners

New friends – always are a plus in my book.  I met 11 new acquaintances of which two have become fast friends.  Our similar interests and zest for life, travel and exploring are just a few of the things we share in common and enjoy talking about. 

Physical labor – was a good way to get stuff done that would otherwise have languished around the home.  The time spent involved in or supervising projects was definitely worthwhile.  A job well done brought satisfaction and pride.  Lots of time was invested in planting, harvesting, renovating and cleanups around the home.  Many days the hot sun took its toll, and some days unexpected bad weather made the projects come to a screeching halt.

Healthy eating – the farm to table experience was real.  I often take home-grown fruits and vegetables for granted.  This time I ate with gusto the fresh, organically grown fruits and greens without reservation. Mangoes, bananas, soursop, avocado, star apple, sugar apple, papaya, guinep, egg fruit, carambola, mamey apple, fig, golden apple, water melon, grape fruit and seville sweet are simply a few of the delicious fruits I enjoyed. A bonus of not having to purchase these same provisions at the supermarket helped my pocket too.

Conset Bay

Impactful meditations – morining and evening devotions are by far the most precious enjoyment and gain in 2020.  Spending time alone with God in prayer at home or in nature has revived my spiritual connection and centered me on what really matters going forward.  Along with that, I treasured the times spent singing spiritual songs with my aging mom, reading scripture lessons with her, and listening to her wise counsel (wanted or unwanted 😊) are experiences that I will recall for the rest of my life..

Community Peeps, I can go on and on of experiences that I have found to be worthwhile even under the black cloud of covid-19.  Hopefully by now it is obvious to you that I view the glass half full.  What about you?  Have you assessed the year and realized there are things you have gained irrespective of any loss incurred?  If you have, please share an experience or two in the comment box below.  I love 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 comment in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you 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