Growing up I always would get to go to summer to Disneyland and Sea World and visit relatives via car from Arkansas to LA/SAn Diego...including the trip to Tijuana every time.
Well I went back to Tijuana this past June and it was so sad. It's not the same...No eons of fourists with tchotchkes with eyes wondering around like kids on Christmas morning. A new entrance to the border which I did not like. I was partial to the climbing ramp deal and then the fountain area had no restaurants and the fountains were not running.
It was like a bomb hit Tijuana and noone was hawking things anymore. It was so sad. I think my profile pic of drinking a coke if it's still that, was taken in Tijuana from this summer. We walked around and spent twenty minutes just because it wasn't the same. I knew of the danger but my best friend wanted a reason to say he stepped in Mexico and would not listen to me. I would not let him go by himself. I figured if he got beheaded, I got beheaded too...(sorry there was an incident I remember reading a few years ago).
Anyway, traveling my first love. I believe in keeping my mind busy and staying active while single and then if someone comes along hopefully my adrenaline of travel will flow with them.
I have been overseas the first time in 1994 to Greece/Turkey (ephisus) and an Aegean Sea Cruise...Then I went to Poland for a graduate degree celebration trip my dad paid for in September of 2001 and went with him for three weeks. Midway through 9/11 happened and i thought we were going to live there indefinitely. The people showed lots of love. I toured the country liked the ghetto, old town Warsaw, Gdansk, Zakopane, and others. I might post some poems after my comments below from the Poland trip.
Then more trips followed when I got my training job settled in 2002. 2003 I went to Spain and Gibraltar. Spain is officially my favorite place to visit. That trip I went to Cordova, Toledo, La Hambra Palace, Donkey Taxi town (can't remember name), Costa Del Sol where I took water skiing lessons but they were in Spanish and I did not speak Spanish (it was hilarious...Lots of pantomime and caveman gesturing and then I just swallowed a lot of water, that visit also included Seville and gibraltar where I had a picture with monkeys by me...It was neat!
Later in 2003 and early 2004 for work and pleasure I went back and forth to California. In 2003, I went to Disneyland for the Christmas haunted mansion and small world overlay, etc. It is awesome! A few weeks later, I was out there doing a training/quality assurance visit and saw my adopted graddad (grandma's brother who lived with her when her husband died at Normandy onward) for the the final time. I was so sad and went to the beach in tears. Mission Beach where I grew up. Later when I got home, I literally uturned back and went to California with the family getting comp time from co-workers and just healing and helping my grandma. In February, it was back again out west to Huntington Beach, CA where I did training for three weeks and went to Catalina with a friend who worked in the television industry. Catalina has since become one of my favorite spots and have been there on four separate occasions now.
In 2004 I got to do a bucket list, I went on a tour to England and France. We connected to France via ferry from the white cliffs of Dover. In England I got to do the summer solstice at Stonehenge. For those who don't know at that event you can touch the rocks, hug them, and sleep around them during the night on the grounds. It's the only time you can ever touch them. Never mind the sideshow of druids and drum beaters...It was crazy!
In 2005, I went on my second ever cruise on carnival Miracle. I got to do the talent show karaoking on stage and loved it (I would share the singing link, but I don't know the rules for sure). I also went to Belize (my second favorite country) where I went cave tubing and loved it. They said the caves are the 13th level of hell and I made the comment if that's hell I want to know what heaven is like. It was awesome. I also did the pyramids outside of Costa Maya, swam with stingrays, went to hell, and visited a turtle farm in Grand Cayman, and went snorkeling in Cozumel.
In 2006, my company allowed me to be put on loan to do instructional systems design in Taiwan. I went back and forth between Tainan and Taipei. I even managed to get to a Mass in English. The culture or religion daoism over there amazed me because they practiced it so openly...Unlike the pcness where you can't do that in The U.S. for fear of offending someone (ugh...pcness). I eventually had another heartache when I got laid off but God showed me a way through it on the way back which I have an essay about and will share if anyone's interested.
In 2008, I went Fatima, Lourdes, Borgos in Spain, Nevers, France and Paris. I even ran off from our pilgrimage group for the sake of my mom and saw my granddad's grave at Normandy who I never knew. The gentleman at the cemetery drove me to the spot and then told me some background about the involvement. I teared up and was moved by this first time ever seeing and getting a feel of where my grandpa died who I never knew. Later in November I went to California Disneyland with my brother and my TV industry friend. I also saw Ray Romano do standup!
In 2010, another bucket list item was achieved when I explored Australia in January for 21/2 weeks. I was on a sail boat living with others for a weekend, cruised the whitsundays, then moved South to the gold coast, brisbane, and ending in Sydney where I climbed the Sydney harbor bridge tethered! It was unreal! Sorry you got me rambling!
In 2011, I finally went to Italy (Vatican, assisi, Rome, Florence, Venice) and then went to Barcelona, Valencia, Montserrat, and then Bunol for the tomato fight a bucket list item since I saw it on Ripley's believe it or not. 40+ thousand people throwing tomatoes it was a madhouse but tons of fun. They do it every year on the last Wednesday in August!
In 2012, I started my string of cruising again in January with a trip to Jamaica (I did dunnes river falls, a lift up mystic mountain rain forest, and a bobsled ride), Cozumel where I went to Play Del Carmen to Xplor where I ziplined, ATVed through the jungle, and swam in the caves with an all inclusive lunch for an excursion...I recommend it totally worth the money!
I then also went to Grand Cayman on that trip but they messed up on my excursion. At least I got my money back. Later that summer, I went on another cruise out of Miami with one of my best friends to Dominican Republic, Aruba, Grand Turk, and Curacao. Highlights were extreme jeep safari with an ostrich farm visit in Aruba and ATVing it in Grand Turk.
This past year I had the pleasure in May to see my niece graduate high school just before memorial day weekend. I then went by myself on to Atlanta for a Family Feud Steve Harvey taping (the best kept secret around) for four hours (two episodes I was there for) and world of coke and varsity.
I headed then to Blue Ridge and made my way that Saturday to whitewater raft the whole Ocoee River. It was fun and I rode the bull! I never whitewater rafted before another bucket list item. I then went to Pigeon Forge where I went to Splash Country and Dollywood...rode the first ever built wing coaster (coaster nut) Wild Eagle, and my first water coaster.
In June, I went with that friend from the cruise to Death Valley, CA, to Los Angeles, Catalina, and San Diego. We did a taping of Let's Make A Deal and I went through the cattle call. I wasn't picked but it was an experience and a long day. July 4th weekend I saw my nieces and nephew went to Holiday World and rode the world's longest water coaster...Fun!
I also went to ride Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City several times (wooden upside down coaster) and went to Old time Christmas, craftsmen festival on the weekend and saw folk cowboy western riders in the sky (they had a kids show on CBS ages ago). It was a great year that ended with me sending Christmas cards at Santa Claus, IN to people postmarked and spending it with my sister and her family during the holiday.
Saturday I leave for the ave maria cruise. The stops are at St. Maarten, Cococay Bahamas, and San Juan. I am doing a dolphin swim in St. Maarten, Parasail and glass bottom boating in Cococay and rainforest to waterfall walk in Puerto Rico. I can't wait.
I plan to do an extended weekend somewhere in April. Anyone want to host me :) and I am going around Independence Day to Boston for fireworks, Vermont, New Hampshire and New Brunswick, Canada over ten days! I have a blog but I don't think I can promote if you are interested let me know! Thanks!
"My favorite place to travel is Mackinac Island, MI, though any place in Michigan is pretty awesome. I would love to hike from one end to the other of both Isle Royale National Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, but to play it safe I would need a traveling companion.
I would also love to go to Ireland and Scotland. As part Irish lass I feel I would fit in there just swimmingly, while Scotland is just plain cool. I do need to go to Lithuania, too, as I am the only member of my immediate family who has yet to make the trek."
If you ever decide to come visit Ireland give me a shout beforehand and I will let you in on all the beautiful walks and treks here (as well as all the "off the beaten track" shebeens, pubs and festivals ) You would indeed fit in here "Swimmingly" as long as you bring a rain mac and a good pair of boots
Ps: Jessica and Lauren - same offer open to you (Lauren -March is a great time to visit as it co-incides with all the festivities for St. Patrick's day )
For those who like a personal challenge, as well as a spiritual experience, try walking El Camino de Santiago de Compostella. It is physically demanding but an amazing interior experience as well as an exterior one.
I walked from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Burgos in Spain (roughly 300kms) and I don't think I will ever have an experience that is quite the same again.
There are several different routes for the pilgrimage, and pilgrims often choose to walk only part of the way - some even come back year after year to take up where they left off. I might go back someday if I ever have the money again. I did it very cheaply but one still has to pay for food and hostels (and lots of band-aids)