During my travels I try to point out to my kids the areas outside of our lovely hotels and comfortable stays that represent the reality of many of the people who live and work in the places we visit – not as something to feel sorry for or stare at, but as something to be aware of and remember when they look at their comfortable life.
Not having a lot at times in my life really helped to give me a good sense of the world and of myself. I enjoy the things I have more. I appreciate every detail that helped to reward our work and offer us the life we have, not just in material things, but in the affection and warmth of our family.
The holiday season is in full effect and the streets of New York are as crowded as ever. Personally, I can’t get enough of the energy of the city now – with its festive, happy vibe – though it’s important to note that I make sure to clear my head and place myself in total zen mode before hitting the streets to take it all in.
But, taking it all in can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t exactly know where to start. This is when taking a list can be extremely helpful in not only getting you to the best spots to see in the city, but also to highlight some other things you might have not noticed or known about.
I took a couple of days of playing tourist in the city to check some fun tours and happenings in town.
Thanksgiving is one of our most celebrated cooking holidays at home. For years my children have associated Thanksgiving as a day when our family enjoys dishes not only from their father’s American culture, but also from their mother’s Latino culture – and it’s a great way to get them excited about where we both come from, even if we aren’t traveling there for the holiday.
One of the ways in which I have been able to get my boys interested in not just feasting, but also in preparing for Thanksgiving, is by explaining to them why each dish is so important to us. So, for example, my husband loves green bean casserole, a dish that he enjoyed growing up and one that I make only around that time of year. Explaining to our sons that this was a dish that their father enjoyed when he was their age not only encouraged them to give it a try, but also to learn to shop for all the ingredients when at the store and help in the prep work in the kitchen.
buildOn is a non-profit organization that has worked tirelessly for over 20 years in mobilizing rural villages in some of the poorest countries in the world to build more than 500 schools. To date, buildOn has completed nearly 200 schools in the region, with more than 24,000 children attending buildOn schools in Mali on an annual basis. What I love about this organization is that, although we are focusing on a building project in Mali, buildOn donates a lot of time and effort to our own urban neighborhoods in need of support and help, such as Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and more.
This past year in travel has been really great in opportunities to explore several Caribbean islands. A Caribbean vacation offers a lot of what we expect, such as sandy beaches and warm ocean waters, but because no two islands are ever the same, interacting with locals and exploring the scenes always leads a new adventures and experiences.
As the weather gets chillier, more of us are daydreaming of getting away and enjoying all the warmth the Caribbean has to offer, making this a peak season for Caribbean travel. But before you start worrying about the costs, you will be excited to know that Starwood Hotels and Resorts has launched its Cyber Monday sale running today through December 6, 2013!
It’s been over a year now since my site name changed from NYCity Mama to Girl Gone Travel. Yup, I’ve expanded my horizons and had adventures beyond the boundaries of my hometown.
But, every once in a while, I go back to the basics of why I started writing and sharing NYC with my kids remains the one thing that continues to bring me immense joy.
No matter what I do throughout the year, I always make time to be home for the holidays and that’s because this time of the New York City is my absolute favorite. Yes, it’s cold, and yes, it’s crowded, but man oh man, is it festive, fun and awesome.
I love photographing people when I travel. I am also very sensitive to doing so, in great part because having grown up in a touristy Caribbean destination for a portion of my life, I know what it is like to have someone aim their camera at you as if you were an animal in the wild.
My friend and photographer Lola Akinmade often discusses the topic of ethics when photographing people in your travels, and I really do hope you will give her a read and take pause before pointing your camera at strangers when on the road.
All the being said, I love the opportunity to photograph someone when I travel. People can be so beautiful and a photo gives a human face to the overall environment and destination. But also, it’s the perfect ice breaker. A wonderful way to sort of just say hello, without it being too weird. What I have started to enjoy even more though, is the moment when I ask them to smile.
It’s actually all my fault – or so my wife Carol Cain, aka Girl Gone Travel likes to say.
I had always told her that she should have a radio talk show or write a book due to her ability to re-frame seemingly insurmountable problems in a way that would make immediate sense to the person whom they concerned – and she’s always been a great storyteller.
Alas, it’s not easy to get a job as a radio talk show host and getting a book deal, well, we all know how easy that can be.
I remember the first time I took a plane ride with my children. It was so awful and so stressful, that we switched to traveling by car – even cross-country.
We were lucky, because though our first family travel experience was not a great one, we never gave up. The ability to juggle and balance and manage it all requires more thought than traveling solo because you have to consider almost everyone in the process, not just your kids, but everyone else around them. It can be hard and it can be discouraging, a reason why many people wouldn’t even think of traveling with their family.
Recently I was invited to check out the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. So confident were their representatives of the fuel efficiency of the vehicle that they encouraged me to travel to any notable Fall foliage destination in the East Coast where I could both enjoy the benefits of the ride as well as the views. And so we did, on a trip to Lake Placid.
Lake Placid, in the Adirondacks, is one of those places in New York state that always show us something new every time we have been there. Visitors tend to flock to the area during the winter for skiing, but there’s always something to do, even in those in between seasons like Fall.