Traveling Europe

We’re 6 days away from our next cruise while hubby and I discuss a possible trip to Europe.

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Hubby lived in Germany, but that was 32 years ago and as he tells me now, he really didn’t care about travel when he was there.  He regrets that a bit now and as we discuss what countries we would like to visit, we realize our dreams of seeing Europe will require many weeks of travel.  We’ll likely only have a couple of weeks at a time, so we are beginning to do a little planning around which countries we want to see first.  We are making decisions on what we want to see in each country and deciding the best order in which to see each country.  We’re also checking into the best form(s) of transportation to get from country to country.

Hubby and I are in agreement on several countries . . . .

– Ireland

– Scotland

– Sweden

– Denmark

– Germany

– The Netherlands

– Switzerland

– France

Hubby is also interested in seeing Italy, where I’m interested in seeing the Czech Republic, Norway, and Spain.

At least we have a start and can begin planning our Great European Get Away (GEGA).

We’re also hoping to make a trip up to Toronto, Ontario sometime in the next year.

Great adventures await!

If you have traveled to Europe, which countries are your favorite?

Are there any others you recommend we consider?  If so, why?





Travel Hopes and Dreams

It seems my blog has turned into a travel blog of sorts.  Not a blog where I share about my daily travels across the world (although that would be wonderful), but more about my travel hopes and dreams.

The dream of traveling the world isn’t something I’ve always had.  For most of my life, I simply hoped to see all of the U.S.

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To date, I have been to 41 states, so I have some work to do there.  However, my desire to see other parts of the world is growing stronger all the time.

Canada is high on that list.

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I find it very sad that we lived in Washington state for so many years and never made the drive to British Columbia.  However, Toronto seems to get rave reviews from those who have visited.  Hubby was there several years ago on business and was highly impressed during his short time there.  Of course there is always the possibility of combining my love of cruising with a visit to the eastern coast of Canada 🙂

I would also love to visit Denmark some day.

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I’ve read nothing but good things about Denmark and there is so many things to see.

Germany is another country on my bucket list.

I would love to see the place hubby spent two years of his Army life.  I would like to see the place my friend is from.  Plus, it’s close to Denmark so we can visit at the same time.

And if we’re going to Germany we might as well see Switzerland.

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Maybe on to France.

I’ve spent my life learning European history, reading books, seeing pictures, and movies about all these places I’ve never been.  Now I want to experience the castles, see the windmills, the Matterhorn (other than the Disneyland version), see the Mediterranean Sea, visit museums, see the art, the architecture,  and just enjoy life outside the U.S.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your geography lesson for the day 🙂 and now I’m off to buy a lottery ticket in hopes of winning so I can live out my travel hopes and dreams.

Until then, where have your travels taken you?

What has been your favorite place to visit?

Is there a place which you long to revisit or even stay?

Or maybe you are an ex-pat living out your dream.  Where has that dream taken you?

I’m always interested in learning about new places that I can add to my travel hopes and dreams list.



9 More Days

Have I mentioned just how much I like to travel.  My girls have the travel bug as well.  Hubby has it too, but not as much as the girls and I do.

By far, my most favorite vacation is cruising and one nice thing about living in Texas, is that we are a pretty easy drive to the cruise port in Galveston.  Living in Illinois meant either a minimum two-day drive or a flight to get to a cruise port.  Not that we won’t fly to another cruise port in the future.  After all, I do have my eye on a couple different cruises out of Puerto Rico on our next cruise, but this time all we need to do is pack up the Suburban and drive south.

Our upcoming cruise is on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas

We leave in 9 days for 7 fun-filled days on the sea!!!!

All four of us are excited and so ready for this trip.  Plus, we get to introduce a friend and her daughter to cruising.  I’m hoping to get them hooked 🙂

My favorite time for cruising is during the winter months.  The cost tends to be lower as it’s not prime travel season plus it’s always nice to go further south into warmer weather in the winter.  Don’t misunderstand me though.  I would be more than happy to try out a summer cruise 😉

Do you like to travel?

Do you have a favorite vacation destination?

Have you ever been on a cruise?




Recent Conversation

Growing up, my parents planned yearly family vacations.  While talking to my dad recently, he told me that they always planned vacations to places they thought me and my 3 younger sisters would like to go.  Overall, I would say they did a good job and what those trips did for me was instill a love of travel.

For a lot of my adult life, I wasn’t able to do a tremendous amount of travel.  For the years we lived in Western Washington, we would save our money to go back to Illinois to visit family.  We tried to make good time getting there so we could spend as much time with family as possible.  The return trip home was pretty much the same as we needed to get back to work.

We had made the trip several times before we finally made one stop that we had talked about several times before.

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Those billboards went on for miles and miles and miles.

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They taunted us and begged us to stop many times and we created great memories on that stop.

One year I took the boys and drove from Washington to California for my sister’s birthday.  We also made a few trips down to Oregon to visit family and we spent many weekends camping around Washington.

When we moved back to Illinois, we made a few trips to Chicago and St. Louis.  We took the boys to the Wisconsin Dells one summer as well, but all trips were fairly close to home.  Our youngest son played travel baseball and we spent most of our summers traveling from baseball game to baseball game.  Real family vacations just didn’t happen when our boys were younger though.  The money just wasn’t there and our oldest son’s autism made travel difficult.  He struggled with that level of change in his routine which made him miserable and as a result, it made the rest of us miserable as well.

Things eventually changed though.  The boys grew up and began to move away, including our oldest son.  He was settled in his adult life elsewhere and our financial situation began to change.  Then we adopted the girls and the travel really began.

Even as we get ready to leave on our next trip, a week-long cruise to the Western Caribbean, we are discussing future travel plans.  Hubby and I have recently discussed travel to Europe, but as of today I think we’ve decided to take a trip to Canada.  Specifically Ontario.

It will be my first trip to Canada and we are now trying to decide what time of the year makes most sense.  Do we go in the summer when the weather is warmer?  Do we tackle it in the winter and all that has to offer?  Spring?  Fall?

Toronto sounds like a wonderful city to visit.

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Ottawa looks beautiful too.

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Strange that we spent 10 years in Western Washington, Tacoma to be exact.  We were never that far from Canada, but our trips back to Illinois were more important back then.

I look forward to researching and planning our future trip to visit Canada.  I’m also open to suggestions from those who have visited or live there.


Cruising or Something Else?

Hubby, the girls and I will leave soon on our cruise.  This will be the 4th for hubby and me, but the 3rd for the girls.

I truly love cruising.  I love how relaxed I feel.  Each of our cruises has taken us to new destinations and I love going to new places.  Each cruise we’ve been on a different ship, even a different size ship.  Our next cruise will be no different.  We’ll be visiting two new places on a different size ship and I can’t wait.

As much as I love cruising though, hubby and I have been discussing future trips.  Do we take another cruise?  Do we visit Europe?  Do we visit Canada?

We’ve seen most of the U.S.

We’ve visited several different countries in the Caribbean.

We’ve visited Ethiopia in Africa.

When hubby was in the Army, he spent two years in Germany and I believe he visited Austria, but that’s pretty much it.

He’s been to Canada on business.  Toronto to be exact and I think he visited another time as a child.

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I’ve never been to Canada.

I’ve never been to Europe.

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Until fairly recently, neither were on my bucket list of places to travel.  As I’ve learned more about these countries though, they have not only made the bucket list, but have quickly moved to the top.

It doesn’t seem like this is a decision that needs to be made in the near future.  After all, we are leaving on a cruise soon.  However, if you’ve never cruised, you may not be aware that the cruise lines often offer some good deals to those who book their next cruise, while on their current cruise.  I am in favor of taking advantage of a good offer.

Hubby has pretty much nixed the idea of a European cruise and after some discussion, I think I agree with him.  It is a long way to fly just to go on a cruise.  Our time would probably be better spent traveling around Europe and seeing as much as we can.

But what about a cruise to from the U.S. up to Nova Scotia?  Get off the ship, stay in Canada for a few days and then fly home?  Cruising and a trip to Canada all in one?


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Where In The World

Is Carmen Sandiego?

It was a show on PBS and is also a series of computer games and books teaching kids geography.

However, this post is not about Carmen Sandiego, but it is about geography, learning more about other countries, and exploring the possibilities.

At the moment, Lili’s favorite subjects are art, history, science and geography.  It makes sense as these subjects are intertwined.

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Naomi has some interest in these subjects as well and as a child, I had limited interest in any of them.  My interest developed in my adult years and these are some of my favorite subjects in our home school program.  It’s partially why I was drawn to the “Build Your Library” curriculum.

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My family has had the opportunity to do some traveling across the U.S. and I love taking the girls on trips.  I want to provide them opportunity to learn outside a classroom setting, including the classroom that is also known as our dining room.

Although the girls haven’t been with us on every trip (after all, they are only 7 & 9) we have visited well over half the states in the U.S.  We’ve also had the privilege of visiting a few countries.  Guatemala and Ethiopia are near and dear to our hearts, since those countries gave us our beautiful daughters.  We’ve been able to travel back to Guatemala a few times since and hope to return to Ethiopia (once things calm down there).  Our cruises have taken us to The Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Jamaica, Grand Caymans and Cozumel.  Next month the ship will take us to two new countries – Honduras and Belize.

Travel is definitely one of my passions.  I enjoy seeing new places, meeting new people, seeing the diverse landscapes, learning the history of the places we visit, and seeing how others live.  It’s one of the reasons I have demanded that each of our cruises include stops to places we have not been before.

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My interest in learning about and exploring different places around the world is continually growing and changing.  On a blog post a few weeks ago I asked the question, “If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?”  I received a couple of responses that caused me to check out some places I hadn’t considered visiting before.  One I didn’t even know existed.  Now I’m looking for participation from my readers once again and have three questions.

  1.  How many different cities, states and/or countries have you lived in?
  2.  Of those places, which was your favorite and why?
  3.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

I think it’s fascinating to not only know where people have lived, but what draws them to a certain places.  Is it the landscape?  The culture?  The people?  Jobs?

Since I’m asking you to answer these questions, the least I can do is answer them too.  So here is goes.

  1.  I have lived in 9 different cities (although, a few of them are not actually cities, but villages or small towns).  I have lived in 4 different states and I have never lived outside the U.S.
  2.  Of all the places I’ve lived, Tacoma, WA would probably be my favorite.  I loved being sandwiched between the ocean and mountains.  I appreciated the beauty and diversity of the area.
  3.  Hubby lived in Germany for two years while in the Army.  The girls started their lives in other countries.  I’ve only lived in the U.S. , but I think I would love the opportunity and experience of one day living elsewhere.  Where, I don’t know.  But I’m quite sure gypsy blood runs thru my veins and the thought of a new adventure in another country is certainly appealing to me 🙂

What about you?  Are you living in your perfect corner of the world?  Is there a place you would rather be?

Please share!