Friday, June 29, 2012

A good reason to travel

 “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.  Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”  Leonardo Da Vinci, AKlein, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Gramercy Books, 2005), 127.

I took this picture on our recent Alaska vacation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why travel? Is there a bad reason?

Why does a person travel?  Many answers come to mind:  to see and experience new places, to relax and get away from our everyday work routine, to enjoy free time with people we enjoy, or to meet new people.  There are lots of good reasons for travel and adventures.  We enjoy our travel from beginning to end:  from the anticipation and planning through the trip and later when we share pictures and stories with family and friends.  

I recently read an interesting research study which found that travel and adventures can boost happiness IF we have the right reasons.  The researchers found there is a wrong reason for travel and adventures:  trying to impress others.  When a person’s goal is to impress others the results are less satisfying:  the people reported they felt “less self-sufficient, competent, and connected to others.” 

Interesting research that makes a lot of sense:  when did playing “one upmanship” ever make us feel good about ourselves?   More information can be found at Yahoo Health page at or Buying Life Experiences for the “Right Reasons:  A Validation of the Motivations for Experiential Buying Scale,”the Journal of Happiness Studies a

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hotel rooms and germs

Where do you expect to find the highest concentrations of germs in hotel rooms?  You might be thinking the toilet and the sink and you would be almost right. 
A small study done at the University of Houston looked at the places with highest concentration of germs.  These researchers found that TV remotes and light switches had higher than expected germ populations.  They found that the “highest levels of contamination were found in the maid’s cleaning cart, specifically, on the mop and sponge.  That’s a problem because it means that bacteria are being carried from room to room, according to researchers.” 
What can one do to protect themselves from germs left behind?  I have begun to carry disinfecting disposable wipes (like Clorox or Lysol brand) and wipe down our hotel room surfaces—TV remote, door knobs, light switches, etc.  It only takes a couple minutes and makes me feel safer from germs.  More information about the research can be found at FOX News:  Hotel Room’s germiest spots:  TV remotes and light switches, study says.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Benefits of Smartphone while traveling

During our recent Alaska vacation, I recognized the benefits of my smartphone.  We discussed how my iPhone with its data plan (email) and texting capabilities helped keep us connected to our loved ones.  When we began traveling in 2000, we did not have cell phones, much less smartphones.  At that time, our only communication was to call one person and have them pass on our messages.  Now we can read and send our emails, text messages and even send pictures to keep in touch with loved ones.
I was amazed at how good the cell reception was in Alaska and Canada.  The only times we were out of touch was during our cross-country travels (out in rural areas of Alaska) and during the cruise days (Inside Passage) while out in the ocean.  I think I heard we could (for a fee) access the on-ship email while out at sea but we didn’t do that. 
We recognized how rapidly our communication world has changed over the last decade.  Now we all wear cell phones and use them to keep connected to home and loved ones. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Packing for Alaska

“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”  Charles Dudley Warner, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Random House, 2005), 133.

How does one pack for a two week trip?  What kind of clothes does one need for an Alaskan cruise tour?  We discussed this issue several times in our planning sessions.  Veteran Alaska travelers say jeans, comfortable tennis shoes and layers of clothes, including a rain-resistant jacket.  We also learned that laundry is available at the Princess lodges as well as the cruise ship.  So we decided to “take half the clothes and twice the money.”  We kept our clothing simple with layers to keep us comfortable.  Simplicity was our wardrobe goal during our Alaskan vacation. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Alaskan wildlife

Another highlight of Alaska:  wildlife such as caribou, moose, and eagles.  The only critter we did not see was a grizzly bear.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Memory

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Random House, 2005), 54.

My dad was a man of few words, but he lived his God-fearing, hardworking life and set a good example. One childhood memory: following him down the hilly farm path as we walked checking on cattle and horses.  Dad said, “follow in my footsteps because there are snakes around here.  If you follow me on the path, I will see the snakes first and keep you safe.”   I knew there were snakes because he had more than once brought dead snakes for us to see.  The dead carcasses were poisonous snakes, like rattlesnakes and copperheads.  He had encountered and killed the snakes during his walks around the farm and he wanted us to know of the danger. 

While his instructions had a practical purpose (protect me from the snakes), there was also a life lesson implied in his words and his life:  revere God, work hard, commit to your family, and persevere until you succeed.  Good lessons.   A good memory.