All of Deb’s tales of travel and tech


Free Shakespeare performances in Southern California 1

I’m visiting a friend in San Pedro, California so tonight… I got to see Shakespeare By The Sea, an excellent performance of The Winter’s Tale.
Fantastic. Minimal set. Beautiful costuming Old English but spoken so it was understandable. Drama, comedy, oh-no moments… I was engrossed.
Tonight was just the 2nd night of the season which runs through August 18, so if you’ll be in the area, you have time to plan.


Vicki and son Ben: Alicante Spain

Backpacking through Europe sounds so fun and romantic, doesn’t it? The reality is that it’s gritty, tedious, and exhausting. I do pretty well in the daytime, fueled by espresso and optimism… We’ve come to the realization that we don’t like big cities. When your traveling companion is 10 years old…

Vicky & Ben: Ben at Villa in Alicante

How Vicki & her 10-year-old son decided to travel in Europe for 10 weeks

This is the first installment of Vicki B & her 10-year-old son Ben on the road.
While researching it I learned that we could take a four-hour scenic train ride to London. Llooking at the map, I saw that it was just a short ferry ride across the English channel and there’s France! And look – it’s just a short skip over to Italy! Our one-week itinerary slowly morphed into ten weeks.

Vicki and Ben: Tuscany gelato

Deb’s Already-in-the-Bucket List

“Bucket list” — a list of the things we want to do before we kick the bucket.
I never made one, but one day I got to thinking about the things — outside of the scope of family, formal education, and career — that I’ve already done in my life.

So I started my already-in-the-bucket-list, and frankly, I was amazed at it.

Some of these may have been on my bucket list had I ever made one. Others were simply interesting opportunities that have presented themselves during the adventures of my life so far, mostly during my various travels.

What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?
What have you already done?

I bet you’ve done something that’s on someone else’s bucket list!

Deb in Ledak India

Watts Towers in Los Angeles – WOW

One day Simon Rodia, a single Italian immigrant living south of downtown LA started using discarded pieces of steel, wire mesh, mortar, glass, and tiles and by hand, without any power tools, created a set of structures that confounded his neighbors. They called him crazy and taunted him as he labored for years on his project. Today, these major feats, the “Watts Towers” as they are commonly known, are the National Historic Landmark Watts Towers of Simon Rodia State Historic Park and are being considered for UNESCO status.

You can see them from the streets around – for free. I happily paid the museum admission in order to support them and the great cultural events that take place in Sabato “Simon” Rodia’s former home.

Have a look. Do they stir your imagination as they do me?


Pioneertown California a taste of the Old West

If you ever get out to Joshua Tree National Park in California, you might want to stop at a unique little old western village called Pioneertown and a walk down its small Mane Street. (Yes, Mane Street, not Main Street.) There’s no admission fee. Just come, park your car for free, and walk around.

If you are thinking “Pioneertown is a strange name for people to have named their town” when they settled out in this open desert area, you’d be correct. You see, it wasn’t pioneers who came and developed this town.

And then there is Pappy & Harriet’s, a family restaurant famous for its concerts. Originally it was just a facade — the “cantina” set of the town that was used in many a  western film you’ve likely seen. 

If you’d like to stay the night either after a day in Joshua Tree National Park or after a meal or concert, you might check out the Pioneertown Motel which also dates back to the founding of this unique town.

You might also want to mail a letter home while you’re there.


Threatened with jail at Nicaragua border over exit stamp position

Each time someone tells me they want to go to Nicaragua I cringe. I hear the people are lovely, they say, and it’s so inexpensive. Yes, that might be true — but my experience wasn’t about nice people. I was locked in a room at the border and threatened with jail — because of an immigration agent on a sick power trip.

I have long debated telling this story, but I feel it’s important. I’ll never know if I really would have been sent to jail in this Dictatorship, but the Tourism agent at the border certainly believed I was about to land there.

Please read this — and take it seriously.


Water equals wellness when you wander 2

Water equals wellness when you wander.

You may cringe at the word “hydrated” because it’s so overused in recent years, but water isn’t just important; it’s critical to us.

Here’s what water does for us, why we need it— and need it even more while we’re traveling.

Yoel drinking water from the high-up fountain at the sculpture in Split.

Bananas are great travel food

While we’re on the road, busy with experiencing new and different foods, we also want to stay healthy. We may not eat well every day. We may become too tired. We many try too many sweets… But it appears that bananas can help us compensate for that kind of lifestyle, helping to keep us healthy.

You may not be able to purchase bananas everywhere you travel, but they are available almost everywhere — and in many places, they aren’t expensive.

Bananas are an easy travel food as well as being good for most people’s health, so I have some info about bananas for you, as well as a Bright Side video to share with you.


Pack an umbrella for travel?

Is it worth the space and weight to pack an umbrella for your travels? There were too many times having to carry my backpack was already bringing me to tears, so I resisted. But an umbrella can be so much nicer than a rain poncho at times, so I’d buy one, then discard it and buy another later.

This changed when I discovered the Fjord Folding Trekking Umbrella by Innate. It’s the thinnest in diameter and lightest umbrella I have found. Yet, it’s durable.

Now that I’ve put this Innate umbrella to the test, I can tell you about it and recommend it.


Stick Deb showing

How to shower while you travel 1

I know… the title of this post is rather odd. You know how to shower. What could you possibly have to do differently to shower while you are traveling — unless you’re camping out and your shower is a jug of water hanging in a tree?

 

The answer is nothing — unless you want to be sure you won’t get caught with a head full of shampoo or a body full of soap.

Picture this. You’ve been on the plane,  bus, or train for hours. Or you’ve been walking for hours. Or you’ve been at the black-sand beach or out gazing at pyramids in the hot air. You get back to your hotel, hostel, guest house, CouchSurfing.com host, or the home of your far-removed long-lost relative.

You turn on the hot water….


Minimalist phone case for travel – RhinoShield bumpers

I have loved the RhinoShield (Evolutive Labs) CrashGuard™ “Bumper” protecting my iPhone. Light and minimal while doing a great job of keeping my iPhone from breaking — and keeping in my hand where it belonged when in use.

I didn’t have to worry about my phone sliding out of my pocket or handbag because the CrashGuard™ bumper keeps it from sliding. At the same time, it wasn’t thick and sticky, not difficult for me to pull the phone out or a pocket or my Lewis N.Clark Waterseals water-resistant pouch when I needed it.  This and a plastic (not glass) over the screen was a perfect combination for my phone’s protection while traveling.

I’m excited to have my new RhinoShield case coming! It’s called the Mod and it’s a next-generation bumper but with an optional backside too.

RhinoShield CrashGuard Bumper Case, RhinoShield's image

Returning home from your travels 1

There’s an interesting travel consequence you might not think of. It hits you when you return home from your first travels.

When we think of traveling, we think of the culture shock we feel as we experience new cultures. However, as a traveler, you come to expect the differences. In fact, you may welcome them and seek them out. But we don’t expect to feel a culture shock when we return to our home country, town, city, or even neighborhood. We expect to feel something… perhaps many things, but I’m not sure we expect to feel… well, read on.

Here’s what reminded me to finally write about this issue.
Recently a woman in an online women’s travel group posted a query stating that having returned to the United States after traveling for 9 months she has felt nauseous, headachy and exhausted. It’s been over a week but she still feels like she is jet-lagged and stuck with a cold, perhaps in an uphill battle getting re-acclimated to her home country.


Riding the tram in Bratislava Slovenia

When you’re new to public transportation in a new county it can be daunting so I’ve documented my tram ride in Bratislava, Slovakia. Your first tram or bus may be in any other country but it’s likely to have the same basic system. Not Bratislava bound? Just use this one as an example.

Each tram stop has a vending machine for you to purchase your ticket. You purchase a ticket that covers the amount of time it will take you to ride.

Then…


Chanukah candles

Chanukah in northern Israel

I have been celebrating Chanukah all of my life, lighting candles since I was young. But with each place and home I visit, I learn more of not just other people’s cultures, but of my own religion and traditions. This year I was in Israel, for the third time for this festive holiday. In fact, it was not even my first time being in Tzfat (aka Safed) for Chanukah — but I still had new experiences and still learned more.


Can an independent traveler find happiness on an organized tour? 1

Can an independent traveler find happiness on an organized tour?

After well over 6 solid years of days traveling on my own, traveling solo, going where I wanted when I wanted, seeing whatever I wanted on my own schedule — I signed up, paid for, committed to, an official 9-day tour.

I have to admit, I have been a bit of a tour snob. I’d watch groups of look-alike people follow a red umbrella or an orange flag, sticking together in a mini-mob, looking at what the guide said to, taking photos even when they seemed not to know why, standing in front of some monument for a photo just to show they’ve been there. That wasn’t my idea of fun or of cultural enlightenment.

Yes, I was going on a group tour. I was committing to travel with a group of people I didn’t know. I was facing the potential to be stuck with people I didn’t know, like, or have anything in common with.

However…
I knew this tour organizer so I knew it would be a worthwhile experience full of great places, people, and experiences…

One of many fabulous dinners with La RosaWorks Tours.

Side-trip from Bratislava to Prague

One of three popular destinations from Bratislava is Prague. It’s a relatively short train or bus ride. As I had not been to Prague or any of what was Czechoslovakia during my first travels, I decided that a couple of days in Prague, Czech Republic (as it is now called) would be a new experience and more worthwhile. So today, having relaxed and enjoyed much of Bratislava at my leisure, and knowing I needed to be back there for my friend Annaline to arrive and travel with me to Israel, it was the perfect time to take my side-trip.

I don’t always know where I’ll stay upon arrival to a new place but in this case, I had already selected and reserved my accommodations for the night. All that was left was to enjoy getting to Prague and making it my next home.

Deb in Prague train station