I met the Benders online. Through connections about Australia, traveling, blogging and world wide adventures, we connected through social media. I’ve followed their adventures and we’ve chatted about favourite spots across the globe. As an educators who spent years in traditional public school, I am constantly thrilled to see children exploring the world, learning by doing and families figuring out education that works for them. This family is sharing their joy of adventure and exploration with the next generation. Erin and Josh traverse the globe with their little ones in tow. Whether you follow their journey or their lead – their story is compelling. Check them out at Travel with Bender.
I was asked the other day if I traveled much before I met my husband. He’s Aussie. I’m American. The question came from a Kiwi. She knew that it wasn’t surprising for an Australian to love to and make time for travel, but struggled with the idea that that same love would come from an American. ‘You’re a good match’, she realized quickly.
Travel has changed me. Before travel me and after travel me are two different pieces. There’s the girl who grew up in the sheltered shadow of Long Island, NY and the one who’s slept on the edge of the Serengetti National Park in Tanzania. The first girl was scared more often, thought New York was the center of the universe and couldn’t really imagine ever feeling like a minority in the population. The second has seen a fair share of life outside of her comfort zone, tries to put fear in its place and knows what a small place she holds in the world. These are two divergent approaches to life with travel as the barrier of change in the middle. Who knew that’s what it could do. Read the rest of this entry
Now this was a new experience! You know the saying, ‘you can take the girl out of New York…’, well, there’s a portion of that that’s true for me. I firmly believe that the best bagels are from New York, there’s something special about Long Beach sand and that if something seems a little shifty, it probably is. I shy away from pushy sales pitches, the ‘it sounds too good to be true’ stuff, and anyone that tells me ‘you must’ or ‘you should’. This weekend we had an interesting experience. Not really shifty, not too ridiculous – one of those you’d chalk up to experience and file it under the ‘this might not be for me’ heading. Have you ever had one of those? Read the rest of this entry
Years ago I read a story in the local paper about two men, where they live and how they felt about their spot in the country. One man lived on the East coast and looked out at the ocean from his property. In his view he felt as if he could see forever and couldn’t imagine not living by the sea. Another man lived in the middle of the country and looked out on open fields of green that went for miles and he too felt as if he could see forever. The two decided to switch places for two weeks to see how the other lived and to, at least for a while, see how they felt in differing habitats. The experiment ended in five days. Both men could see the appeal of how the other lived but felt trapped in their surroundings. The ocean man who was now viewing endless land felt suffocated while the landlocked man felt as if he was about to fall off the end of the earth with the ocean at his fingertips instead of his calming land. Both knew that they were lucky to live in these wonderful places and now began to fully understand that although both had its merits, they felt more comfortable in the one better suited for them. These days I can’t stop thinking about this story. Read the rest of this entry
Some people keep seasonal boxes in their basements or garages. Living in a studio apartment, our storage space is limited to the top of the closet or under the bed. No ornaments or seasonal decorations for us, instead, we have a travel box. It’s what we pull out whenever travel calls and most of its items make the journey. Some are reserved for specific types of travel while most make the cut no matter what. No need for a sleeping mat when a hotel or resort is involved and we might not need the strongest ‘Deet’ percentage bug spray when headed to London in autumn; but, most of our essentials are housed in that special box that holds memories, logistical tools and a recipe for an adventure. Read the rest of this entry
No one wants to schlepp meds around while traveling, right? Who even wants to embrace the possibility of being sick on a holiday that’s taken months or even years to plan and execute. As an asthmatic with many allergies, I carry meds wherever I go. I ditch the outside packaging and make my own med kit that fit in pockets, tiny handbags and day packs. Even Benadryl (antihistamine) is a different formula outside of the US, so I carry my own everywhere I go. Depending on destination, your travel med kit may change (TIP: Always research laws & customs before carrying prescription meds [leave the labels on these]/over the counter meds through customs). Big cities often provide most of what you need (if you can handle a different brand or are not an allergic person) but remote destinations or places with minimal health care tend towards greater care and planning. (And no matter where you travel….pack TRAVEL INSURANCE!) Read the rest of this entry
The travel community is filled with incredibly interesting people. There are business travelers, budget travelers, short and long term travelers and everyone in between. All are dreamers and doers and find a way to include travel as a focal point in their lives. Research and social media have given me the opportunity to reach out to a few prominent bloggers who are living life on their own terms. Some live and work in the travel industry, some travel to disaster-relief incidents around the world, some closed up shop and headed off to see the world with no end in sight and others are living and working in a ‘location-independent’ lifestyle merging travel and life on their own terms. Over the next few weeks/months you’ll see interviews with some of these travelers and see what they believe to be the ‘gift of travel’ in their own lives. Read their stories – hear what they have to say. Perhaps they will inspire you to bring the gift of travel more to the forefront of your life in a way that works for you.
Day 11: Copenhagen-Berlin
The ringing of an alarm clock woke us up with a start this morning at the lovely hour of 3am and then came the wake up call a few minutes later; now I thought that waking up for school at 5am was not normal but this is just ridiculous! Well, I can promise you there were no smiles on our face but we woke up, got dressed and headed for the train station in the dead of night. After a short walk, a bunch of steps, being half awake on the station platform and making sure we stayed awake on the train with can you imagine (other people at that hour) we finally got to the airport super early. After an encounter with a rude Air Berlin employee who made us remove ½ of our stuff from our luggage, change some bags and still charged us overage for 2 kilos (can you believe it!) we were on our way. Just a reminder to anyone using Air Berlin and flying out of Berlin…sticklers for the 20 kilo rule as opposed to everywhere else that has been 23 kilos, just to let you know in advance. Anyway…we arrived in Germany, took the 109 bus and walked a block to our new home for one night, the Citadines. Now this is the way to go…apartment style living! We had accidentally booked for the night before too (okay, one mix up when you’re booking things at 4 in the morning just after a wedding is not so bad, right?) so when we arrived at 9am we were actually able to get our room which was great! The service was wonderful and the room had a great bathroom, kitchen facilities, free wi-fi and a couch that turned into a double bed and was really easy to put together.
I had a quick nap (as seems to become usual after we fly) and as Rosh Hashanah was approaching Mathew went for a wander and came back with challah, apples, honey and the location of the Chabad House (orthodox services for anyone who doesn’t know) which was just a few blocks away. I got up from my 2 hour nap and we went for some gefilte fish at the Judaica shop that Naomi had suggested and to the Chabad House where we met the rabbi who invited us for free services and the Kiddush afterwards. He, of course, was from Brooklyn and had lived in Melbourne, Australia for two years and said that 13 years ago he and his wife had come to Berlin on a one-way ticket to try to improve Judaism in Berlin. Well, after talking with him and some of the other patrons for the holidays it seems he’s doing really well as the Jewish community is growing and the beautiful shul is a 5 million dollar establishment that he raised most of the money with the help of others to open. He was so welcoming and I was so happy to have found them. We found a deli around the corner and had a lovely lunch of schnitzel, lox and salads and then headed back to the hotel, did some laundry at the facility downstairs and I got ready for services.
Mathew walked me to services and I went upstairs as it was separate seating and the women’s section was upstairs. While it wasn’t the same as sitting in Plainview Jewish Center with family and friends as I’ve done for just about the last 30 something years, it was still a synagogue with fellow observers around and it felt warm. Regardless of the language they spoke, all were there for the same reason. There were all types of people there, many speaking Hebrew and German and some Americans as well. There was one woman who seemed to be known in the community who brought bags of candy and chocolates and snacks and handed them out to any kid who came upstairs regardless of their age. There was a German girl with two young children who were playing and standing on the backs of the seats, a woman who was there with her husband who was from California and had just flown in from two weeks in Israel and a young girl whose mom is from Chicago and dad was German. Services finished and the Kiddush started. A huge spread set up all around the lobby of fish, salads, breads, wine, soft drink all arranged beautifully and people milling around everywhere and eating and enjoying. Apparently there was also a dinner in the restaurant but you had to have prearranged seating for that. Anyway, the rabbi came up to me during the Kiddush and said ‘Stacey, you MADE the Kiddush’ which made me smile! The service was awesome, the Kiddush great and I talked to the lady and her husband for a bit outside before Mathew came to pick me up and walk me home.
I thanked the rabbi and we went home back to the Citadines for dinner of challah, apples, cream cheese, tomato, honey and gefilte fish…it was great! Rosh Hashanah the travel version! We attempted to watch an episode of the Iron Chef and fell asleep. Tomorrow is another day of services in the morning and then we switch to the Contiki Hotel for the start of our tour. L’shana tova! Thank you Chabad!