Why is it that I can go away and have a wonderful vacation and a week after I get back it feels like I have never been gone? The one thing that was different was reviewing over 2000 photos. Yow.
I love to travel. It doesn’t matter how I travel, boat, plane, RV, biking…I love to travel. I have found that it wakes me up and helps me be more aware of what I have in my life. I also find that I have time to contemplate my life. Yet, most of all,
Traveling is Fun.
My sister, Ginny, and I just got back from my very first group tour, to Prague, the Danube River (including Passau, Vienna, Bratislava & Budapest), and Innsbruck. Was it fun? Yes it was. It was delightful from beginning to end. I saw so many places and events that I have never seen before. Every place we went was so different and historically interesting.
It was fun to travel with Ginny. We, for the most part, got along well. There were a few sister moments but they came and went. We have traveled in the USA before but this was our first big trip out of the country. There are many things I appreciate about Ginny. The best one on this trip was that she was willing to walk away from the group activities and be a bit adventurous and go out on our own. I love to travel this way so it was fun to have someone along who liked to do this. We took a gondola to the top the alps in Italy as well as one in Austria. While I went off for mini-hikes she sat and took in the view and it worked out so well.
Group touring is interesting. There were 136 people on this tour, with only 2 tour managers. They were busy. Since I work as a tour guide and tour manager I knew that there will always be a few fussy ones on a trip. Ginny and I made a pact to steer clear of that group. We did. What I thought was interesting was that the other people who were positive and upbeat ended up hanging out together. I guess they made a similar pact. I met many very nice people on this trip. Each one made me feel joy. It was fun to laugh and have a good time with others. It was also good to get away from everyone too.
Here is my latest list “What to do to Survive a Group Tour”
- Be as independent as possible.
- Don’t expect the Tour manager to have all the answers. They won’t.
- Don’t fuss and whine….have a good time and know that life will be different. I am not home!!!
- Spend time with the group and then get off on my own.
- Don’t be afraid to venture out by myself. People are very kind and helpful.
- Don’t choose to do all the optionals (buy-in day or half day tours). Having free time gives me more time to explore and see things that no one else on the tour will see.
- Make my accommodations as nice as I can so I can easily use my room for an escape and a nice to place for quiet time.
- If there is a library on board, find it.
- Go outside often.
- Take a lot of photos but not so many that you miss the wonders with your own eyes.
- Look for the positive people on the tour. Enjoy doing things with others.
- Sit with many different people at meals you never know who you might meet and what you might have in common.
- If I am traveling with someone else, be very clear with each other on your expectations. Ginny and I discussed having the freedom to go do something on our own if the other person did not want to go.
- Get a money conversion chart to take with you. We were in so many countries and not all were on the Euro.
- Most of all remember, I spent good money to take this tour so go have the darn best time that you can. Each time may be a moment in time that will never repeat.
This trip felt like my returning to the world after a hard year. it was so much fun and I loved how beautiful everything was. It was magical to sit on deck and all of a sudden, there was a castle or a palace. It was like every book I have ever read brought to life on the hillsides of the Danube. It was relaxing. For 2 weeks I was surrounded by all things new and I felt my mind and heart expand as I treasured the moments.
Since Jim’s death I strongly go by the belief that I want to get the most out of every single moment of my life. Hopefully this was the start of my adventure out into the world. It still remains a one step at a time process.
So all my friends and readers, go out, explore, discover and delight in your world each day. I will be doing this one step at a time and maybe just maybe we will meet on the journey. Travel On.