This past summer my daughter was lucky enough to spend six weeks in Italy on a study abroad program through her university. She lived with an Italian host in Verona and went to class for just three hours a day on Monday through Thursday. This cushy schedule left her with plenty of time to explore the city during the week and travel on the weekends, which is exactly what she did. While in Italy, she visited Rome, Venice, Naples, Capri and spent a weekend hiking the Dolomites. After listening to her rave about the food, wine and scenery, I realized I was jealous.
Then in the fall when I started seeing on Facebook that my friends’ children were spending their junior year abroad in places like Copenhagen, London, Athens and Barcelona, those envious feelings returned. A little voice in my head was whining, “Hey, I want to go to those places too!”
This got me pondering all the places I want to see before I die. Fortunately, Alaska and Ireland are two places on my travel bucket list that I have successfully crossed-off. Almost ten years ago I went on an Alaskan cruise with my mother and five sisters. During the trip we spent quality time on the boat laughing and reminiscing, as well as going on some fun excursions off the boat. We hiked across a glacier, took a helicopter ride over a spectacular mountain range and zipped around the rain forest in a flood plane, but the real gem of the trip was seeing Hubbard glacier up close. I cherish the hours we spent chatting and staring at that beautiful blue glacier. Now that my mother has passed away, I am grateful that we all took time out of our busy lives to take this memorable trip together.
The summer after my daughter graduated from high school, my husband and I wanted to take the kids on a special family vacation. We were worried that it might be the last time all four kids would be willing and able to go on a long vacation with us. Since we both had grandparents who were born in Ireland and had grown up hearing stories about the place, we decided on Ireland for the big trip. We hired Paddy Wagon Tours to give us a private 9-day tour around the entire exterior of the island, which included stops in Dublin, Kinsale, Killarney, Galway, the Aran Islands, Donegal, Derry, and Belfast. No driving, no arguing, no stress. Definitely the way to go. While the kids complained a fair amount about the food and lack of wi-fi, we enjoyed the beautiful, varied landscapes and the friendly people, especially Joe our driver who kept us entertained with stories of Ireland’s colorful and often tragic past.
Thinking about my past travels has eased some of my travel envy and has helped me figure out that a Mediterranean cruise to Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece is now on the top of my travel bucket list. What’s on your list?
The end of summer is always bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I am sad to bid farewell to our unscheduled days hanging at the pool, reading in the hammock, and eating late dinners on the deck. Another part of me is ready for the lazy days of summer to end and the busy school-year schedule to begin. But before I get too excited about carpooling and making lunches, I want to remember how much I enjoyed my summer.
This summer was an especially fun one for us because it was filled with traveling. We started the summer off with an amazing trip to Maui in celebration of my father-in-law’s 80th and my husband’s 50th birthdays. Most of the vacation was spent beach hopping along the coast of South Maui, enjoying the clear warm water at Big Beach, Kamole III, Palauea, and Poolenalena beaches. The highlights from our Hawaii trip included multiple sea turtles sightings, delicious fish tacos, colorful rainbows, and stunning vistas on the Road to Hana. While in Hawaii I kept thinking how great our Cuddlefish Towels would be for island living because they’re small enough to keep in your bag so you’d always be ready to hit the beach. Plus the towels would dry almost instantly in Maui’s warm breeze.
Later in the summer we squeezed in two more trips, one to New Hampshire and another to Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho. Being originally from Montana, I love the mountains because they feel like home. Our mountain vacations were a bit more active than the beach bumming we did in Maui and involved tennis, volleyball, hiking, tubing, jet skiing, swimming, and even a few CrossFit WODs with sisters. But my favorite part of the lake vacation with my family is always the campfires--funny banter, s’mores, old music (The Night Chicago Died, Billy Don’t be A Hero), poem readings (Cremation of Sam McGee, Casey at the Bat), and star gazing. Doesn’t get much better than that!
The last trip of the summer was a quick overnight trip to Richmond, VA to move my daughter back into the dorms for her sophomore year of college. What a difference a year makes--she was so excited to be back and knew exactly where she wanted everything to go in her room. The move in was a breeze (and much less emotional). Plus this year she brought a few Cuddlefish Towels with her so now she has more room for clothes in her closet!
We are four moms who want to lighten your bag and brighten your day with really thin, great-looking microfiber towels.