The spring holidays of Passover and Easter were atypical this year, weren't they? Families were unable to gather for Seder dinners, or attend services in their Easter finery, and may instead have participated in "virtual" holiday celebrations. The Easter Bunny still found most families with young children, but the baskets were possibly not quite as overflowing, and egg hunts were in your own backyard. Seder dinner tables were set – sometimes for only one or two people. And maybe instead of an Easter ham, you dined on pizza... And instead of the Seder quote of "Next Year in Jerusalem," one of my daughters said "Next Year In Person." But you know what? It’s all perfect. We are doing what we need to be doing right now. And we are fortunate to have that option. It’s easy to get caught up in everything that couldn’t happen, but today I want us to recognize gratitude for what IS happening all around us.
Do you know the symbolism behind the design of Chicago's City Flag? The two sky blue stripes represent Lake Michigan/North Branch of the Chicago River, and the South Branch of the Chicago River/and the "Great Canal." The four red stars represent events from Chicago's rich history, namely The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, The Century of Progress Exhibition of 1933, and Fort Dearborn. Even the white bands are significant; they represent the North, West and South sides of the city. (There's really no East Side - that would be Lake Michigan.)
Chicago is my birthplace and my hometown. I lived there until I was 14, when my family moved to the San Diego area. At 22 I moved back, and lived in Chicago for the next 30 years before moving back to San Diego.
I still love Chicago, for so many reason - especially for family members and dear friends still living there. For those of you who've never been, I highly encourage planning a visit. Time after time visitors to Chicago are shocked (in a very good way!) by the beauty of the city, the friendliness of the residents, the world-class activities and of course, the food. In fact Chicago has become such a foodie-town that the NYC-based James Beard Foundation holds its annual awards gala and ceremony in Chicago!
If you were to visit, here are a few things I would highly recommend:
While we are all staying home, we are finding that we have time to do things that we tend to put off. Personally I've been cooking a lot more, and watching a lot more streaming videos; my husband is sorting hundreds of old photos and putting together albums for relatives, as well as getting caught up on entering information discovered during years of research into Ancestry.com. Are you looking for ways to pass a few minutes? I've curated a list of websites offering virtual tours or streaming activities. Please enjoy!
"Whoever lets himself be led by heart will never lose his way" - Egyptian Proverb
As a young child, my family subscribed to National Geographic. I loved the issues that focused on archeology and anthropology- and those I loved best described stories and photos of discoveries of the treasures of ancient Egypt. Living close to the University of Chicago, I loved exploring its famed Oriental Institute - full of treasures from Egypt and the near east. A few years later Treasures of Tutankhamun toured the US and become a pop culture happening - I was thrilled to get a ticket to see the exhibit in LA. But still I dreamed of seeing the pyramids in Egypt with my own eyes.
This week's feature explains why scheduling a photo shoot while on vacation is an excellent idea! This shot was taken by a "street fashion" photographer in Paris - we ducked into a cafe to warm up (it was 20 degrees and sleeting outside) - and my photographer captured this moment - one of my favorite photos ever!
Exciting news - my colleague, Celeste Auger-Munshi and I have been selected to host an Azamara Cruise from Venice to Athens in September, 2020. Along the way we will visit Sibenik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece, before finishing in Athens. My consortia, Virtuoso, in conjunction with several luxury cruise lines, offers Virtuoso Voyages - cruises which are hosted by a professional travel advisor. Passengers booking with a Virtuoso Advisor on a Virtuoso Voyage receive a complimentary special amenity - possibilities include an exclusive shore excursion, or services of a driver/guide, or a generous onboard credit. Celeste and I would love for you to join us on this cruise - space is very limited (great itinerary!) - so if you are interested please contact me as soon as possible to secure your cabin. More details here:
Did you know that the US Travel Association has designated January 28th as National Plan for Vacation Day? Here's why this is important:
So, what are you waiting for? And why plan with me? Let me tell you...
WHAT IS WAVE SEASON?
The New York Times describes Wave Season as an "annual deal-making ritual," during which "cruise-goers can snap up savings that generally aren’t available the rest of the year." USA Today says: "wave season remains a peak time for cruise lines to include free upgrades, onboard credit, and other incentives."
Wave Season coincides with the winter months after the new year when a full year beckons, and when those living in colder climates long to catch some rays, this time of year is typically one of the busiest for booking travel. During Wave Season, extra incentives or special promotions are offered to encourage would-be travelers to book. Offers may include upgraded staterooms, free air, reduced deposit amounts, beverage packages, prepaid gratuities, or generous discounts.
While promotions are offered year-round, Wave Season offers to tend to provide travelers the most benefits and the best value. Wave Season promotions are provided by all sorts of cruise companies, from Ultra-Luxury to Expedition - and frequently apply to cruises scheduled through 2022. Booking early has its advantages - best choice of staterooms and extended-time period to pay for a trip.
My consortia, Virtuoso LTD, has put together a helpful list of Wave Season offers, which I've summarized below. I'd love to help you plan a special trip AND a great value - please let me know when you're ready to book!
Rich and I were in Fort Lauderdale last week and we took the Water Taxi around "The Venice of America" - this house is one of many elaborately decorated along the canals.
Happy Thanksgiving! Late November through the New Year's Holiday is one of my favorite times of the year. In my family, the season kicks off with birthdays just before Thanksgiving and eases into end-of-year holidays, many of which center on gatherings of friends and family, celebrations, and traditional holiday dishes. Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday shopping season. Merchants have adopted "Black Friday" as an opportunity to offer tempting promotions with a built-in sense of urgency – due either to limited inventory or a small window of time to buy. For many families, the Thanksgiving meal is lunch, to allow shopping fans time to visit retailers starting their "Black Friday" sales Thursday evening.
Black Friday sales are not limited to brick and mortar stores – many e-commerce retailers also offer "Black Friday" sales. Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) is one of the busiest days of the year for online purchases. Travel companies have become very active participants in Black Friday promotions – attractive offers are already being previewed.
So while your family and friends are together for Thanksgiving, why not have a conversation about planning a trip? Alternately, have you considered gifting a travel experience? And it goes without saying that it would be my pleasure to be of service to you and your family to plan a trip. Please reach out to me – I would be happy to help you find a "Black Friday" trip to match your travel wish list. For that "Traveler's Guide" - I've listed below a handful of offers hitting my inbox this week.
While in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, my daughters and I visited the "Umbrella Street" - photo credit to my daughter, Sandy.
Hola! I've got a very busy travel schedule for the balance of 2019, and my travel dance card for 2020 is quickly filling. We are looking forward to one bucket list experience, specifically attending Oberammergau in July 2020. I've certainly led a very charmed life with respect to my ability to travel - but I still have so many destinations on my personal bucket list....So I'm asking for your help in choosing my next big experience. What's on YOUR bucket list, and where would YOU go first? And/Or - what am I missing???
My WanderList is below - Would love your feedback and suggestions!
One of the highlights of our summer was an Alaskan Cruise; here I am on our balcony overlooking Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park
Hello from sunny Leucadia, California! It's been a busy few months, and I've got lots to catch up on - but I would love to hear what you did during your summer! We are just home from a week in Illinois, and head east in a few days for something new to me - a business conference on board a cruise ship!
We have lots to look forward to right on through 2020, including a special trip that I booked in April of 2018 - yes, you read that correctly! Last week we visited a winery in Southern Illinois, and our host advised us to watch their site as they will soon be announcing plans for visiting during the 2024 Solar Eclipse! On that note, the article below discusses the benefits of planning vacations far in advance. Here's to the Future!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.