SAFETY in TRAVEL

Just a few notes, I will keep you “posted” and welcome the comments you have and tips to share with others.

In particular, I want to offer Safety Tips for women travelers, for solo travelers, for women traveling alone and or in groups. 

 If women can travel safely, then everyone (men, women and children) can enjoy travel.

  Keep safety in mind.

  • Respect local customs and dress conservatively.
  • Women may experience sexual harassment and should be prepared to trust their instincts.
  • Plan to arrive during daylight hours.
  • Be aware of surroundings, and safe routes.
  • Travel with phone numbers and ask for help in public.
  • Always lock your room and be careful not to divulge too many details about where you are staying and who you are traveling with.
  •  If bothered in public, draw attention to the situation, and be loud.
  •  Befriend local women.
  •  Try not to turn a scary situation into a dangerous one.
  • Use strong show of resistance not aggression.
  • If looking for holiday romance, carry western manufactured condoms in your handbag.
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Travel Writing tips

 Every place I visit leaves an undeniable change……. in ME.

 “We never touch others so lightly as to not leave a trace.” 

I forget where I learned these tidbits about travel — but I have taken notes and now offer them to you.  I am sharing a collective wisdom …  words shared by other travelers from their writing ….  I don’t take credit for their words.   

“This moment, this place, this scent, this view, and I am forever changed. As the moments slip by, my person is renewed and recreated with the experiences and sensations from this and every place.” 

“Travel writing …. my new frontier. My journey in life. Never the destination, always a learning experience.” 

Thanks so much for each of you and your participating in my life. You have mattered a great deal. Your presence has been noted and I am a sum of my parts and your influence. How we interact, the interplay …. the quilt we weave together.

 This is my Travel Quilt. This is my quilted travel journey and the seams all matter. The finished product is only the depiction of how the roads intersected.

 Come join me in my journey.

 Some words of wisdom learned along the way ………… 

In no particular order or significance, let the language of travel shift your perspective.

 “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends. It is played over and over in the mind. Stories can be accessed and experiences re-lived.”

“As a first time traveler, the biggest issue you will encounter is your own state of mind. ” Pre departure preparation and post vacation slump. Keep busy and keep planning the next one. Let no moss grow on the moments between travel memories and travel planning. The anticipation of travel is sweet indeed.

 “Whatever your experience, be a first time traveler at heart.”  See the world with new eyes and breathe deeply in the new scents of places and times.

 “One of the greatest pleasures of any trip is talking to people. Trips can be made (or destroyed) by the people on it.”

 Be as mindful as you can.  Meditate.  Be in the moment as many moments as possible.

 Don’t plan too much, prepare to be flexible.

 Be patient, polite and persistent. Be open to that which you had not anticipated.

Delight in the details of the unexpected.

 Enjoy and appreciate. Keep a gratitude travel journal. Review the highlights. Daily reflection will reinforce the memories.

 If you are anything like me, you have a destination in mind. You woke up once to the idea of that special place. The smells, the sounds, the sights, the satisfaction of knowing there is a special place that you will rejoice in the travel to. A destination where, when you hear the name of this sacred place, your heart quickens, your mind goes to the awakened senses and you realize a longing in your soul. A place, like Paris, or the Great Barrier Reef, or Moscow, Venice, Rome, the beaches of Kauai, Glacier Bay (Alaska) or even Long Beach California.

 When you read a book or see a show you recognize this place as a part of your self and the longing awakens once again. You notice and make a mental list of “to do” activities that are “must do’s” in this location. The list includes, the best place to taste crème brulee, the best ice cream shop, chocolaterie, country and western or jazz / blues lounge, where to snorkel to get the widest variety of colorful tropical fish, what is the food unique to this location, what wine pairings can you expect, is there a Starbucks? Is there a quilt shop nearby so you can pick up some fabrics with depictions of this fabulous place and its history? What are the local museums or historic landmarks that simply must be seen and form part of the scrapbook memories? Are you seeking adventure, art, romance, history through architecture, spiritual retreat, enlightenment, education or sheer delight and relaxation? If only for an unforgettable moment, what place, sound, scent, sight are you wanting to be close to? We all want to tell tales of time spent in a most fascinating place. 

We sometimes get lost in lists of items to take, packing anxiety, making reservations, choosing shore excursions, comparing prices and quality, investigating travel protection, security procedures and payment policies (when is the non refundable period?).

Take a breath, take another one …..

There is nothing to fear … jump in with all your senses and “don’t miss the boat”.  Cruising and travel, experience and write about your adventures.  Your life will be changed and your experiences captured and memories stirred by the reading of the journey in the future.

I welcome your thoughts, your story and the quilt we weave together as we share.

All the best to you,

with love

Pam

Caribbean on Princess Mar 2010, entry 3

 

Carib Day 3 Mar 2010

Greetings once again from the Emerald Princess …. sailing in the sunny Caribbean.

Yesterday we anchored and were tendered in to the fabulous privately owned Princess Cays in the Bahamas. We laid on the beach, were astounded by the breathtaking and famed turquoise blue water. White sand, soft like baby powder. Amazing palm trees, and vibrant flowers. We were greeted with rhythmic steel drum (Calypso?) music, friendly ladies wanting to braid our hair (we declined) and quaint little shops filled with Caribbean treasures. We managed to restrain ourselves …. did not spend any money!!

Scattered along the beach were colorful beach cabana’s (we did not see any Cabana boys  or girls??? were they there???) Singing and dancing on the beach to the fabulous music … it was paradise. Be a tough job to work there!!!

Staff from Princess were entertaining us with the slicing of watermelon, cutting into detailed carvings … using very large knives and quite amazing skill. The barbeque included chicken burgers, salads, fresh fruits and cookies. Plenty to eat, iced tea with lemon wedge complimentary and other beverages for purchase.

Awaiting our arrival were the hundreds of lawn chairs lined up on the beach waiting for our plentiful behinds <smile>. Volleyball nets, and water toys – kayaks, giant water trikes, banana boats, sail boats for one and paddle boats – all lined the private beach. Music played on and off and there were plenty of places to enjoy a cool drink. Because it is all owned by Princess, guests used the cruise ship room key cards for the activities and drinks. Small private local vendors accepted US currency.

The sun was so hot, we plunged into the cool Caribbean sea …. water so clear, so inviting. We endured MANY comments about “must be from Canada” that we would swim in such cold water. Haaaa – we cooled ourselves and back into the sun for more. It is a great routine!

On our walk back to catch the tender home, Cari walked by a vendor selling ice cold beer – not just any beer, though, an Australian beer in the biggest can I had ever seen. She had to have one … that invited even more comments!! She took them with style!. We sat atop the tender for the ride back to our ship.

When we arrived back at the Emerald Princess, we began to plan our evening and found that the movie Mamma Mia had been featured at the large outdoor movie theater in the afternoon …. sorry we missed it but hey, how often does one get to visit a private island and swim in emerald green and turquoise waters??? We can always rent the movie when we get home, or watch it from our own private collection!

Princess Cruise Mar 2010 to Carib, entry 2

 

Fort Lauderdale to Eastern Caribbean Cruise, day two 7 Mar 2010

I am not really sure if it is day two or still day one? It is the next morning after we left Seattle. All has been going like clockwork. Great connections, no rush, not late, Starbucks tea to whet the whistle. A few laughs, indeed. And I am afraid, no sleep.

We were greeted by folks in navy blazers with Princess signs. Two of the Princess greeters knew us by name … they say it was the cowboy hats that gave us away <grin>. Truly feel special. And isn’t that what it is all about? Met some folks en route through various airports who are also on this trek. Some sailing with NCL, some with Carnival. We are trying out the life of a Princess. So far, it is a step above and a really nice greeting.

I could see the ship from the air, as we landed. I know it is not very far. So now we are just waiting for the shuttle. Feeling a bit weary from the travel however, spirits are high – especially when I saw the luggage come off the carousel.

People are fun and happy and so many on vacation. It is a great thing.

Several gay men came looking for their cruise (Celebrity) and have to get to Miami. I guess it is not that far from Fort Lauderdale … or maybe all meshed up together.

I have no book to read and am open to the scents and sounds of the Caribbean.

Later …..

Love P

Preparing for Princess adventure to Carib Mar 2010

 

6 March 2010

CARIBBEAN CRUISER entry one

It is early morning the day before my Princess cruise to the beautiful sunny Caribbean. I am once again a walk on passenger on the Schwartz Bay to Tswassen Ferry, off Vancouver Island.

My friend Cari will be at the other end, having driven half the night from Merritt. We will have lots of laughs, I, expect. Of course anticipation and preparation and packing are part of the adventure. I have once again over packed!. I brought the lovely white suitcase I bought on my Europe river cruise. I also have a carry on with wheels to bring along some important things.

I am insured on this trip for trip interruption, baggage and medical. I hope to never have to use them but have seen some things that make me believe in security and peace of mind purchase! Donning my cowboy hat, Halle Barrie boots, vest made locally by Jan Donaldson designs, and a comfy pair of jeans, I give the image of an old cowgirl! It makes me smile to think of how that looks in the city, but alas I will be on my way to the other side of the United States soon enough. We fly out of Seattle this afternoon and perhaps a wee bit of shopping and to begin the eating frenzy before we depart by plane.

This time to further my exploration and hopeful relief of the dreaded “packing stress”, I made a list. I laid out the days, nights and other events that are likely to present themselves on this trip and a list was made. It means I have enough clothes for more than 2 changes a day, with shoes and matching scarves and jewelery. A bit excessive this way too, although the stress of packing was not so obvious this time. I have packed my favorite pants in my carry on in the event my luggage is delayed or lost, as I simply can’t replace long pants! I also have my jewelery in my carry on. It will be interesting to see what I have forgotten that I neglected to put on a list!! Following the list helped me eliminate some items I had originally thought to bring.

I forgot a few things already – my breakfast (yogurt with cottage cheese and blueberries in a disposable container – two actually) in the fridge. And a bag of dried fruit with nuts and seeds sitting on the freezer. Steve assures me he is not interested in either of my “left behinds”. <grin> We did search until we found the camera last evening, so it is safe in my carry on.

It is springtime in Victoria and on the island so the pollen has started to irritate my eyes, and otherwise my other senses are enjoying the color, and texture of the season. How I love the change of seasons.

I think I am most in love with the in-between-ness.

I just called Cari and she is pulling in to the ferry terminal. All excited, we have connection. In half an hour we will be on our way. The sun is so bright and beautiful today in the very bright clear blue sky.

Ooops I also forgot sun block and dramamine for just in case …. better stop in a shop in Seattle. I am also looking forward to getting across the border so we can have some breakfast and a wee bit of shopping in good time. Maybe even Costco or Lu Lu … or both?? We thought we might pick up wine in plastic bottles to stick in luggage for the trip.

Such a welcoming day, such an exciting trip. I have not sailed with Princess before but have achieved my Commodore training, so I get to sail as an Elite passenger (as if sailed 15 times with them before). Shoes polished, complimentary mini bar set up, wine tasting, internet, complimentary laundry and dry cleaning and more. I will enjoy those little extras. I brought some clothes just so I can get them dry cleaned !!! <smile>

Another first, I have not been to the Caribbean before. Cari has and she plans to do some diving while there – I expect to walk the beaches and enjoy the relaxation. 4 stops in hot lands – truly a lovely way to spend the week.

I don’t have a book to read or a magazine to peruse. Perhaps along the way something will show up. Otherwise, oh computer, you shall be my form of communication.

It is getting time to move along … use the loo and prepare for my debark and off to the great big adventure.

Thanks to the factors, family and friends that travel with me and are in my heart.

With love,

till later

Pam

CRUISING WITH A CONSCIENCE

 

CRUISING WITH A CONSCIENCE

 365 Day Commitment to Caring, Conservation and Cruising

Pamela MacDonald pmacdonald@cruiseshipcenters.com invites you to join me in a commitment to being more globally responsible. As a reward, to join me again on a women’s cruise ………. (friends, family and partners are welcome to join the cruise …. it is not JUST for women)

check out my website at www.PamelaMacDonald.cruiseshipcenters.ca to sign up for newsletters and to enter draw for free cruise!

COMMITMENTS

  •  I commit to not purchase any clothing for myself over the next year (until spring break March 2011)

 

  • I commit to being more conscious about my spending with regard to items of a personal nature
  • I will give up spending frivolously and without careful fore thought
  • I will use the money I save and reward myself with an earned holiday to a hot and sunny climate
  • I will commit to writing monthly into the Blog created by Pam about the struggles and successes including personal reflection on the commitments made

 CRUISE DETAILS

  • once a year in spring break (March) I will reward my thriftiness and connection to other women who are committed to this program by cruising to Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii or other hot spot
  • we will travel together and celebrate our success

 KEEPING IN TOUCH

  •  purchase or make a diary of “extra” money spent on self over the next 12 months
  • review monthly and keep track of how overall financial situation changes
  • write in the Blog, encouragement and stories of success and struggles for others to share

 

OTHER IDEAS:

FOR LIVING MORE CONSCIOUSLY AND CONTRIBUTING TO A CARING SOCIETY

  • give up “buying” token material gifts for others, and instead, share gifts of creativity (write a poem, paint a picture, make jewelry, pay it forward, re-gift, make a homemade card or scrapbook page, donate in the name of friend or family to charity of your choice, etc)
  • find something you can give up (cable TV, clothes you won’t wear again, old wedding dress, )
  • monthly go through one area of your house and clear it out (under bathroom sink, top shelf of spare room closet, storage locker, garage, under the bed) and donate what you never use.
  • Keep track (in writing) of what you eat and spend every day (be more conscious)
  • stop buying bottled water – carry an environmentally friendly refillable water bottle
  • use library instead of purchasing new books and dvd’s
  • walk more, take the stairs whenever you can,
  • use headset when driving to answer cell phone calls

Princess Caribbean Cruise March 2010

Last day at sea Caribbean cruise with Princess Emerald, 13 Mar 2010

Cari is learning to pronounce “Dos Equis” (her new second favorite beer — her other new fave is Carib beer ) OK well maybe she has a few faves … Fosters in a big can was a hit as well!! When was that?? Princess Cays, days ago, on a private island beach …. wow!! The week has zipped by.

Dos Equis was a beer in our complimentary mini bar in the room, as well as the name on the free t-shirt she scored at the bar, a gift for her man!!

Another word we are practicing is Caracoa …. (Kare -a – sow) the name of an exotic Caribbean island for future adventure … we did not get there this cruise.

Turns out there are many many places to cruise and we have really only just begun.

Highlights of this particular cruise have to include the following:

– crème brulee every night for dinner … oooops, I mean dessert

– complimentary mini bar with cute little bottles of vodka and gin for our pleasure

– unlimited laundry and dry cleaning which we took full advantage of – in fact, delayed my packing while waiting for my last load to be returned. I had no idea my clothes could look like that!!

– I had my boots shone .. but that was just a day in the life of a princess!

– Shopping for flip flop accessories …. actually, more like necessities

– sandy beaches, emerald green warm ocean water, people watching,

– we met so many friendly and kind people … wow!! not even one dud. It was amazing.

– Are all Princess passengers wonderful or do only wonderful people cruise with Princess?

– Movies under the Stars …. not just under the stars but all day long, you can lay out in the hot sun, enjoy a dip in the pool, eat french fries and pizza galore, all without missing a favorite movie scene

– did I mention food? Wow! Great food selection, preparation and tastiness

– we had a great ocean view stateroom with a view of the life boat / tender but can see out the side of the tender, out into the ocean …. the sun shining in, the waves, the ocean dancing

– Our stateroom also had great lotion and hair products and our room steward was pretty good about keeping our room organized.

– We had internet and I used my travel lap top to check on emails and write for the blog.

– The International Buffet and Sushi and tapas bars are amazing and free!

– We really enjoyed stopping in for yet more food, a little desert and more people watching in the atrium

– Cari used the gym and did the walk for the cure for breast cancer .. I forgot my running shoes

– We had the room steward add a mattress topper to our beds, for an even more comfy sleep

– chocolates with turn down service.

– Great entertainment, even a country dance!

– We did some shopping, beach and tour excursions with independent tour folks on St Maarten / St Martin and St Thomas. Very fine ports of call and we agree we love St Martin and would like to return there.

– Listening and singing along “don’t worry about a thing – every little thing is gonna be alright now “

– Our table mates at dinner were 3 very nice and fine couples. We had hugs and email address exchange at our last night – hoping to all cruise together again … maybe Alaska?

– Cari did some diving in Grand Turks…. sea turtles, a shark … only the tip of the diving iceburg

– We both purchased plush green sea turtles to take home as gifts, Thomas and Thomas  (mine is for my future grandson Luke or Jake??)