All Destinations


Sedona

Hi All!

Well over 30 countries ago, I took a step of faith to travel the world and live life to the fullest.  To date, the adventure has slowed down a bit but it has not stopped!  I found a great deal this spring which took me on a 5 day cruise out of Galveston to Progresso (Merida) and Cozumel, Mexico…plus a few relaxing days at sea.  All for $282!!

The ship was nice, the food was great, and it was the perfect getaway to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.  In addition, this trip was just what I needed to rewire, revamp, and just reconnect after spending my time writing, researching, and searching for my next career opportunity.  Coupled with a short jaunt to Phoenix a few weeks ago, summer is off to a great start!

What about you?  This is the perfect time to GETAWAY!! Any summer travel plans yet?

One thing that resonates within me is that it is ok to…Do something different, Go some place new, Put on a new perspective, or just Change your daily routine.  It is all about the experience…just Go!  Where will your dreams take you?

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for” – Joel Osteen

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Check out my feature on Lost Girls World website…So excited!!

http://www.lostgirlsworld.com/2010/11/8915/

Inspiration – Life is not about fitting in… it’s about standing out. ~Unknown

Be Blessed!

~A

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Just as the summer was winding down, we decided to take the kids on a trip – a cruise to be exact. Leaving out of Galveston, we boarded the recently renovated Carnival Ecstasy for a 4 day trip going to Cozumel.  It was actually nice for a quick getaway.  The kids loved it!

If you are planning a similar cruise, here are some tips for you:

1 – Bring air freshener or deodorizer – Sometimes the bathroom and cabin, or compartment as my 6 year old nephew called it, can get stuffy.

2 – Gratuities are automatically added to you account.

3 – Cozumel has beautiful scenery!! After docking in Cozumel, you can get an air conditioned tour van that will take you to the free beach, shopping, and tour of the island for approx 4 hours really cheap. (We paid $15 per person, with 10 people in the van).

(Taxi service is widely available but negotiate a price & agree on it before getting in the cab).

4 – There are free beaches, but it is customary to buy drinks/food. (Actually, the food was cheap – like 6 bucks for nachos).

5 – Sign up for the cruise line royalty club/frequent cruise club for gifts, for special invitations to parties, onboard discounts, and other goodies.

6 – Make sure you know what kind of cabin you are purchasing. For example, some window cabins are obstructed with only light coming in and no view.

7 – Tell the travel agent, waiter, or cruise line if you are celebrating something special…they may give you a slice of special dessert at dinner.

8 – Although you won’t be in your room often, check to see what free/on demand movies are available on your stateroom tv.

9 – Bring any medications with you like Pepto Bismal or Advil. These things can be pricey on the boat.

10 – Get to know your cabin steward. They can be a great help for things (extra blankets, lotions, and etc).

11 – You don’t have to eat everything on your plate.  But for the fun of it, order ALL  the deserts!!

12 – Review the daily agenda of classes and events the night before so that you don’t miss anything.

13 – Take a journal, a good book, iPod, or magazine to read while relaxing at the solarium or poolside.

14 – Many of the onboard shops have clearance sales the last sea day or the last night of the cruise. Get your last minute souvenirs then. *This ship had a great $10 boutique that had great accessories. I picked up a FAB straw beach bag!

15 – Get to the shows early to get a good seat.

16 – The internet can be expensive at sea. I would suggest getting online at an internet cafe in port. Just ensure that you logout appropriately.

*** There may be only one outlet in the some cabins!!

17 – A lot of ships now have anytime dining or mytime dining. This gives you the flexibility to eat anytime you want. You may have to pay your tips upfront, but at least you can eat whenever you want.

18 – Bring shower cap and facial wipes to remove cosmetics (saves on towel usage).

19- Relax and Enjoy the journey!!

Inspiration – Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life  –  Michael Palin

Be blessed!

~A

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Hi Everyone!

Hearing wonderful things about a destination makes me curious.  Are the reports true?  What if my experience is different?  What makes this locale special?  One place I always wanted to visit was Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It is located on the eastern side of the island of Hispaniola, with Haiti on the other side.  I heard that Punta Cana had beautiful beaches.  And you know me, I love azure beaches!  Punta Cana did not disappoint.

As soon as we landed, I knew the trip started off right. We were greeted by islanders playing music and kicking their tip basket toward tourists.  Kerri kicked it back and we ran!! LOL!!  We just wanted to find our shuttle and get settled for fun.

Mud everywhere!

The first night was nice, but the next day was better.  First, we loaded into the truck that shuttled us to the dune buggies.  They told us not to wear white…we later found out why. The dune buggies were actually mud buggies!  We rode through Punta Cana’s back roads and country side, hitting every muddy pothole in sight.  Thanks to Kerri’s driving, we were covered in red mud from the rooter to the tooter!!

Horses & Cave “diving”

Now, we were off to ride the horses on the beach. That horse was out of control.  He started to gallop and throw me all over the place. What fun!! The next stop was at some cave.  As we descended into the bowels of D. R., we realized why everyone was in line. One look at each other and we decided, “we are only here once – let’s do it”!  One at a time, we jumped into the deep dark cold waters of this cave.  What a thrill!!

After we climbed back to the mud buggy to strap in, a sweet little girl helped me put my helmet back on and asked me what time it was.  I told her and gave her my watch as a thank you.  She happily ran off and then, another little girl asked me the same thing.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything else to give her.   

Step off

We had so much fun that day! We were so tired the next morning that Kerri screamed at the maid to “Step Off” as she knocked on our door to clean the room late that morning.  Apparently, the maid understood that!

The following days were filled with water sports – parasailing and kayaking.  Plus, we got some guy to take us out on the catamaran while we soaked up the sun.  The beaches of Punta Cana are indeed beautiful.  It definitely lived up to the hype. On this trip, we didn’t get to explore the surrounding area or go to Santo Domingo. But that’s ok – one day I will go back!

Take a look at our adventure in pictures…enjoy!

Inspiration – It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. ~Author Unknown

Peace & Blessings!

~A

To know my mom, Iris, is to love her.  She can come up with the craziest ideas…and they work! One thing for sure, we love to travel together. I thought that by being on sabbatical I wouldn’t be able to treat her to a trip for a long while to come.  But by the grace of God, He made a way for us!

Traversing through Puerto Rico and then hopping aboard the beautiful Caribbean Princess sailing to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, and then back to San Juan for a post-cruise stay was the perfect way to celebrate Mom’s birthday.  We had a lovely time.  And by the way, Mom dubbed me the Diva and she is the Duck!! Why??  Only she knows for sure!

 

Roatan Rocks!!

Just got back from one of my favorite activities…CRUISIN!  My Aunt and I did the 7 day Royal Caribbean Cruise out of Galveston to Roatan, Honduras, Costa Maya and Cozumel.

In Roatan, we met up with my dear friend Marc in Gumbalimba Park.  This park has it all.  First, we did an amazing nature walk wherein we saw many black iguanas, beautiful flowers, and unusual trees. Then, we had a great time trying to cross the stream on an Indiana Jones style bridge.  Next, I got to play with a spider monkey and parrot. Such an awesome experience!!!

After the nature hike, I could not resist the opportunity to snorkel on the Jolly Roger Catamaran. The azure waters were calling me to come forth — LOL!!! Okay, I only stayed in about 15 minutes – but it was well worth it. I guess I was tired from eating too many deserts on the cruise ship.  A guide was beckoned to “rescue” me.  He took  me back to the boat where I had a cool drink and then met a fitness pro champ, Nicole.  She has the BEST ABS!!!

We continued to explore the park and had a chance to talk with Olivia, who is excited about her work with the youth on the island.  After that, we were ready for more adventure by taking the clear kayak tour to see the coastline.   These kayaks have a clear bottom which enable you can see clear down into the sea — Amazing!! 

Roatan really surprised us. The beaches were warm, the waters were crystal blue, the people were nice, and the variety of activities were great!  My Aunt and I had such a good time that we were trying to figure out a way to stay in Roatan instead of going back to the cruise ship.

More Beautiful Beaches

The next stop on the cruise was Costa Maya. This port is a fairly new development with a party type atmosphere and a variety of shopping options. We actually got a taxi to the downtown area and lounged on the beautiful beach for the whole day. 

I continued lounging on the beach in Cozumel to get more “sabbatical rest”.  It was great!! We met up with Nicole and just did absolutely nothing…loved it!

Inspiration - Try not to become a (wo)man of success but rather try to become a (wo)man of value. (Albert Einstein)

Prayer Focus – Haiti, Honduras, and Mexico (especially children). 

Be Blessed!!

I am back!  Jamaica, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama.  Of all places, never did I imagine that I would be in Colombia.

Starting out – This cruise adventure started in Ft. Lauderdale, making the first stop in Jamaica.  Here, we  had the opportunity to really talk to the locals and get an understanding of their lives.  After touring the island, the driver took us to a nice beach and we got some jerk chicken.   But to my surprise, it tasted like BBQ chicken – not authentic as I imagined…still good though and I ate every bit of it (LOL)!!!

Costa Rica – We got off the boat and secured a taxi to take us on a tour of Port Limon. The highlight of the tour was going on a jungle boat ride.  As we sailed through the swamps, we saw sloth, iguanas, and other creatures along thick foilage of the jungle.  What a treat!!

TIP – This same trip cost about $75 per person on the boat, but we got it for $20! When going on cruises, the excursions offered by cruise lines tend to be way more expensive. Plus, they leave too early in the morning for me. I suggest negotiating with a local taxi or tour driver at the port. Just ensure that you settle a rate before you begin your ride.  

Colombia – We landed at the Santa Marta port and got a taxi to take us to Tayrona National Park. Check out the pictures of this park to see the most beautiful coastline and beaches ever!   Once we got to the park entrance, I started to get a bit uncomfortable. The “guards” at the gate wanted an extreme amount of money to enter the park. Thank goodness our fellow cruiser was fluent in Spanish! 

We then went to Cartegena. I love this place! The culture, beaches, people, and architecture were just amazing. One thing about Colombia – it was HOT!! You definitely need a hat, sunglasses, and water.

Panama – The ship docked in Colon, Panama. We got a taxi to take us through the city and onto Panama City,  but not before seeing the Panama Canal.  Actually seeing a ship go through the locks was interesting. By this time, we were all running out of money.  One good thing, most of all the cities we visited took the US dollar. Panama actually uses our currency.  But, things were just a little bit more expensive.

 Fin – The trip ended with an overnight stay in the Panama City Marriot. The hotel was really nice. It had a huge gym – which I didn’t use of course. But, I did get in the hot tub!

Inspiration -  Don’t let disappointments, strained relationships and job challenges tell you who God is; let His Word speak for Him. (Joel Osteen).

Peace & Blessings!!

-A

Here in the south, or at least southeast Texas, we hardly get to see a distinct change of colors when seasons change. So, you can imagine my thrill when I saw all the wonderful bright oranges and reds flowing over the landscape of Frankfurt, Germany.  This surely put me in the mood for fall and a perfect end to the Ancient Empires cruise! 

Inspiration – Thank you Jesus for all that you have blessed us with!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

-A

WOW!!!  We really got a great deal aboard the beautiful brand new Celebrity Equinox cruise ship.  Thank you Aunt Thelma.  Here are the details of our adventure…

We landed in Rome and quickly found the train route that would take us to the port city of Civitavecchia.  From there, we boarded the ship for a 12 relaxing days around the Mediterranean Sea.  These days were filled with taking advantage of learning new languages, eating, relaxing in the hot tub, meeting our fellow cruisers, listening to great jazz music, and dressing up for exquisite dinners. 

Oh, I must mention, aside from the exotic ports of call, one of the most exciting part of the cruise was the broadway style show after dinner. In Cirque style, there were aerial performers (which I LOVE) and other dancers in flamboyant costumes.  This show was world-class!  This voyage was definitely off to a great start.

First Stop – Athens

The weather was slated to be clear and hot for our  first stop – Athens, Greece.  Boy, was the weatherman ever wrong!! On our way to the Acropolis, it started to drizzle.  But that didn’t stop our adventure.  The taxi dropped us off and we were headed up the steep pathway to see this ancient wonder of the world. Finally making it to the top, we also treated to a spectacular overview of Athens and the Parthenon. At this point, it started to POUR!!!  There was no place to take cover.  Luckily, we saw friends with umbrellas who gladly escorted us down the hill.  From there, we got a taxi and went back to the ship…So much for a day in Athens.

Next stop??  Onward to Ancient Empires

Words cannot express the awe I felt traveling through the Holy Land and following in the footsteps of St. Paul in Ephesus, Turkey.  Imagine my excitement seeing the magnificent Pyramids of Giza and standing right next to the Sphinx.  I actually envisioned the baby Moses sailing down the Nile River in his basket.  Definitely an impressive journey!  

Here is a challenge – Can you name the site/locations captured in the photos below? (hint – mouse over the pic for the location).

Wait!!   There’s more…But, it will have to wait until my next post.
Be Blessed ’til then!
-A

I am sitting here thinking about the crystal blue waters of the Sea of Cortez. So very relaxing!! Cabo really was a great luxurious getaway. I stayed at the beautiful Riu Palace and one thing for sure – the food was AWESOME! I couldn’t stop eating and didn’t want to either.  This trip was a great experience not only because of the destination. But, because of the adventure and the people I met along the way. 

New Friends

Allow me to introduce some new friends. The scene – downtown Cabo. The place – Starbucks (go figure). While shopping around, I happened to meet a very motivated and handsome young man, Modu. This highly educated, finely sculpted and interesting man recently took a step of faith and moved to Cabo to pursue his dream of fitness training, modeling, and launching a clothing line.  He does it all! Check out his site and see for yourself http://www.moduvatedtobefit.com/.  In his own words, he gave me some great advice for this season of my life “Never look back. Do what you love because we only live once. It will pay off soon or later.” Modu is indeed very wise. 

Ziplining – While mustering up enough courage to zipline for the first time, I also met a very inspirational family from Arizona. Rebecca, Jeff, Gabby and JJ. Especially brave JJ!  With his beautiful big sister Gabby watching over him, he was such a trooper as we climbed high in the canyons of Cabo. Check out the pictures from our adventure. Although it was fun, Lord knows I probably won’t be doing any more ziplining again!!

So that was my amazing Cabo adventure. A most memorable one for sure!

Inspiration – A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles. – Tim Cahill

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