It’s International Women’s Day and I am sitting in the inaugural Women’s Travel Festival here in NYC. I am listening to the many women doing their presentations, sharing their stories, and exposing themselves emotionally for the sake of inspiring and empowering other women to travel. It’s truly a beautiful thing.
It’s wonderful to be surrounded by other women who share a similar passion, with varying degrees of courage, experience, and knowledge.
Recently, I announced my partnership with Cricket Wireless in their “Ask The Experts” series to discuss traveling on a budget. After answering several questions from my readers, I am now co-hosting a bilingual Twitter chat on the subject along with Nicole Diaz of The Funthusiast. Meet us on Twitter on Thursday, March 6, 1pm CST/2pm EST. The hashtag is in Spanish (#CharlaCricket which translates to Cricket Chat), but the conversation will be in both English and Spanish, so even if you only speak English, I invite you to join in and ask or share anything about traveling on a budget. Cricket Wireless will be giving away some fun prizes!
My colleagues over at the Expedia Viewfinder travel blog and I have had a lot of fun over the past few days in digging deep into our craziest travel fantasies and talking about where we would go if we could travel back in time. The inspiration is coming from Expedia’s current campaign with Dreamwork’s newest animated flick, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, out in theaters this March 7, 2014. The film follows the adventures of two classic cartoon characters, Mr. Peabody, and Sherman through their explorations in a time machine that has them touring ancient France, Greece, and Italy as well as many meeting many of the famous personalities of ancient times.
It can be difficult as a parent to plan a romantic getaway, which of course means leaving the kids at home. As parents of three boys, my husband and I thought that getting away is something that we wouldn’t do for a long time.
However, it does make it easier to get away if you have a support system that can jump in and help out with watching the kids and preparing for a trip. But, for those of us who have families that live far away and don’t have any close friends or relatives nearby, getting away can be quite a challenge.
As you know, I am always looking for ways to travel with my family. Our entire year is made up of juggling and balancing of schedules, school holidays, sports activities, and social engagements.
As our boys get older it gets a bit more complicated, but it also gets more expensive. Now, everyone needs a carry on or check in bag. We have to consider the cost of a larger vehicle rental as well as the purchase of seats for 5. Restaurant, hotels, and activities costs are also higher. In short, taking that trip is not easy to budget. But we do. Because it’s important for us to make it happen for our family, for our memories, and for our own love of discovery.
There are a lot of ways to budget for travel and we’ve mastered many ways in doing so. Of course, as life changes, so does our approach, but some things stay the same and for us, have become a bit easier to do.
This is why I am excited to partner with Cricket Wireless in their “Ask The Experts” series to discuss Traveling on a Budget.
It’s about that time of year when my family and I sit around the dining room table to talk about our family winter escape. Like with most families, planning a trip is a huge undertaking.
One thing we can always agree on is that where ever we go, we hope that the people are kind and friendly, as it is often the people we meet and our interactions with them that influence our overall experience.
One such place are the Cayman Islands. Made up of three islands – Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Grand Cayman – the short flight, only an hour flight from Miami, FL, makes for a convenient getaway.
One of the things I am most enjoying about my life in New Jersey is experiencing what happens when wonderful talents leave the bigger cities across the country and set shop in the smaller towns transforming communities into celebrated food destinations.
Cranford, NJ is a small town about 40 minutes west of Manhattan and named one of the best places to live in 2010, though I don’t know too much else about it. Andrea Carbine, a chef originally from Seattle, and her husband Jim, found this charming town to be a perfect place to pursue their restaurant business ventures and where they could cultivate their belief of making the most out of the ingredients nature provides you.
They have seen much success in their first restaurant, A Toute Heure, a bistro known for its ever-changing menu due to its seasonal focus. It is a local favorite having won multiple awards celebrating both its kitchen garden and executive chef Kara Decker. Entering its 7th year, it remains a must-have dining experience in the area.
Adding to their list of success, the Carbines have now also opened 100 Steps Supper Club and Raw Bar to meet the demands for such a dining experience in the community they serve, which until now meant having to travel to NYC or the coast for.
Today I made a phone call that I have wanted to make for about a year. I called a blogger whom I had been a total jerk to, and whom I had hurt with my words, and apologized. I took full responsibility for my words and my actions, acknowledged how they didn’t deserve to be treated that way and most certainly did not deserve for me to treat them that way. I wasn’t expecting that they would accept my apology, much less that they would ask that we continue our friendship, but I was fortunate in getting both.
For me, acknowledging my bad behavior and wrong doing was essential in my journey to being a better person in life. I am OK with having people disagree with me, see me as someone who has strong opinions that they might not agree with, and even be a bit too much for them due to my strong personality. But what I never want to be remembered as or thought as is as someone who is cruel. That’s not to say that I will please everyone. There are people out there who will still see me as a jerk, and they might even be right. But when I can and where I feel I’ve behaved poorly, I have the responsibility to make it right.
What does all this have to do with social media and the threat of assumption on our brands?
For a long time, too much time within the 5 year span of my blogging, I questioned whether I belonged in certain communities where more seasoned, professional writers would gather.
At some point blogging shifted away from being seen as this superfluous, casual hobby to something of value and worthy of consideration and merit. Those of us who embraced it as a career and acted so began to get on lists that were, until then, reserved for journalists. The tension in the air would often be so thick that you couldn’t help but notice. I had many conversations where journalists would question what it was I did…and how I made my money.
I hesitated for a very long time to call myself a writer. Though people were paying me to do just that. Though I often did so on an award-winning site – my own. But I felt that because I didn’t go to journalism school, and I didn’t dedicate hours upon hours to said career – although one could argue that in pursuing public relations, which is essentially under the same umbrella, and was basically in the same building as a lot of these courses in college, I dedicated some hours – I didn’t feel calling myself a writer was something I deserved, it was not a group I belonged to. I put out a lot of fires this way, “Oh no, I wouldn’t dare call myself a writer,” I would say to a questioning journalist, and I would see the seething judgement calm itself in their eyes. I knew my place. I was clear as to where I belonged.
I am by no means a tech geek. I mean, I love tech and gear and can get pretty geeky over some stuff, but I am far too ignorant about a very many things on the subject to even claim the title. But I do love it and if it is easy to use and delivers in quality, I am all over it. My participation in the Sony Club was a wonderful investment in that I had access to a lot of the latest gear and tech and learned tons from the incredible professionals that formed the group along with me. One of my favorite cameras to date is the Sony NEX 5r, which has since been upgraded to the Sony NEX 5TL, and which has become the camera I use for all my photos. Anyone who has seen me on the road knows how much I love this little camera and the images I get from it. The video below was taken with this 5r.
I am becoming more and more obsessed with photography and it has become such an important part of my story telling and travel sharing that I am always looking out for what is happening in the photography world. But, of course, the more I see available out there, the more I think I need to improve. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and worst yet, to spend tons of money that you don’t really need to spend.