From My Travel Bucket List

I’m one of those people who like to read travel books like “1000 Places to See Before You Die” or “The Geography of Bliss.” Book CoverSometimes I find myself planning my next vacation when I’m not even done with my current one. Well, not really planning but dreaming. Where will I go next?

There are so many places I feel I should go – places I’ve read or heard about all my life. Places like Venice, Rome, and Florence; Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. I’ve never been to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vienna, Oslo, or even Prague. Then there are the places which intrigue me, the activities or people which sound more than just interesting – exciting, challenging, and even educational.


Here are just a few of those places I’d like to go, in no particular order, taken right off My Travel Bucket List!

The items may change as the years go by, whether by necessity or choice, but I look forward to dreaming about each trip in the days to come. What’s on your Travel Bucket List?

Shopping Around the World

I discovered all these handmade gifts a couple of years ago at various local fairs. Even if you’re at home this holiday season, buying and giving gifts made by people in other countries brings the world to you and helps the artisans who make them as well. Happy shopping!

Snapshots and Sojourns

Where did you go this holiday season? I stayed near home the month of December but went shopping around the world and bought several gifts handmade by women and children in places like Sri Lanka, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Thailand. Each item made me pause and smile, and I have no doubt, they made the recipient feel good, too.

I oohed and awed at jewelry made in the Philippines and in India from genuine pearls. Pearls with Purpose was created to instill self-sustainability and hope in women throughout the world.

I smelled the candles and admired the containers at Prosperity Candle, a company whose mission is to “empower women to rebuild their lives through candle making, one gift at a time.” After training women as candle making entrepreneurs in Baghdad, the company began working with Burmese and Bhutanese women refugees living in Massachusetts. If you buy a candle, you…

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On Board the Queen Mary

I grew up hearing about the RMS Queen Mary, a British passenger ship with an aura about her not unlike the RMS Titanic (but without the disaster tales). On my last visit to California, I promised myself I would make a trip to Long Beach and climb aboard. Why? After years of reading and writing about the ship, I wanted to see her for myself and to visit the first stop on The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

For $29.95 I bought a “First Class Passport” for a day on the ship which included a self-guided audio tour and a behind the scenes tour of the Queen Mary on the “Glory Days” tour. (Although also included in the First Class Passport ticket, I ran out of time and never made it on the “Ghosts and Legends” tour or on the adjacent Russian submarine, the Scorpion.) The next day, my friend and I drove to Long Beach, parked, and walked toward the ship looming before us.

Walking to QM

She is big. Longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall, the Queen Mary is 1019.5 feet in length. She is tall. From her keel to her smokestack, the Queen Mary is 181 feet high, 49 feet above the water line. She is big enough that during her hey day she carried as many as 1,957 passengers on her 12 decks. For five days in September 1954, my mom and her friend, Rusty and Kit, were two of them.

QM Decks

The Queen Mary is also elegant. The tour took us to the ship’s ballroom and through the art deco bar. We peeked in at a first class cabin, now a hotel room.

After the tour, we wandered on deck, looking for the location where one of Rusty’s photos was taken.


We explored the souvenir shops, ate lunch in the Tea Room, and took the self-guided audio tour, finally finding a replica of a tourist or third class cabin, the cabin in which Rusty and Kit stayed during their 5 days aboard the ship.

Tourist Cabin

If you go, allow yourself plenty of time to explore and to discover. You might even want to spend the night. And if you want to know more about what it was like to travel on the Queen Mary in 1954, read the book, The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

QM Sign

Trip taken July 2013.