Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How to Maximize Personal Item Space

Last week I discussed how to pack for a 12-day multi-city international trip in a single carryon. Not an easy feat, but entirely possible and quite liberating: no worries about lost luggage; no lifting heavy bags up several flights of stairs; no waiting in long lines at the baggage claim area.

This week I will share how I maximize the space in my personal item, and what I choose to carry with me on a daily basis.

Most airlines allow passengers to bring two items onto the plane for an international flight: a carryon, which will fit in the overhead compartment, and a personal item, which must fit under the seat in front of you.

While most travelers choose a backpack for their personal item, I must confess, I am not of that generation. I prefer to bring a book bag. One is not more "right" than the other ... it is entirely personal preference.

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 A-Z Blogging Challenge: Theme Reveal

While the A-Z Blogging Challenge has been around for several years, this is my second time to participate - and I am thrilled!

For those who are unfamiliar with this annual event, the challenge runs from April 1-30 and encourages bloggers to write a post a day (except for Sundays) - each day focusing on a different letter of the alphabet.

Last year my theme was Paris A-Z - to tie in with a middle grade novel I was writing that focused on the French Impressionists. (As an addendum... I did complete the first draft and am now working on revisions).

This year I will focus on another personal passion: Journaling.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How to Pack for 12 Days in a Carry-On

The first time I led a multi-country tour, I cringed at the suggestion to pack for twelve days in a single carryon. Is that even possible?!

But the rationale was solid. What if your luggage is lost? By the time the airline locates the luggage, the tour has moved to a different city, and the chances of you reuniting with your suitcase is low.

Since I believe in leading by example... I vowed to give it a try.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How to Make the Most of Your Travel Time

These past two weeks I've focused on traveling with a tour group.

The good news/bad news about group travel is the pre-planned itinerary. For the most part, you are told when to wake up, when to eat, when to board the bus, and what you will see. All tours are pre-scheduled with a professional guide and tickets to major attractions are pre-purchased, which means you may avoid some long lines.

This is a lot of group activity. Fortunately, a bit of individual free time is typically scheduled in each city. This week I thought I would share a few of my travel tips to get the most out of those free-time hours.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why I am a Group Leader

In last week's post I shared my excitement about leading my fourth group tour to Europe. I have help, of course, by teaming up with EF Tours, which specializes in organizing student trips to a variety of countries throughout the world.

This week I thought I would share why I do this.

Sure, I love to travel, but quite frankly, being a tour leader is not a personal vacation. I take the responsibility quite seriously, and then there's the inevitable interpersonal drama that takes place when traveling in close quarters, 24-hours a day, with a variety of personality types.

So what are the pros and cons of leading such a tour?

I'm not sure there are any cons, if you are truly invested in the experience ... but the responsibilities are worth noting.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week in Review: February 26, 2017


I typically talk about weather in this intro to the Sunday Salon. And truly, the weather has been spectacular lately. We reached a high of 80 degrees on Wednesday... In Kansas... In February.

But the record high temperatures was not the major news story of the week.

I'm sure many of you heard of the hate crime that occurred in Olathe, Kansas. A 51-year-old man, for no apparent reason, shot two men of a different race, and then shot another who tried to stop his escape.

That episode occurred two blocks from my home. Our neighborhood was on lockdown for several hours because they thought the suspect escaped on foot. I was home alone with my trusty, albeit lethargic, basset. The constant whir of helicopters circling  overhead added to the tension. I was locked in an upstairs room, watching the story unfold via FaceBook posts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Leading a Student Tour to Europe

In a few weeks I will be leading my fourth student tour to Europe.

Since this will most likely be my last such trip, I thought I would share my experiences - what I've learned as well as a few travel trips - with others who might consider such an endeavor.

I first had this idea in 2006 - the first year I taught British Literature. I knew I was unqualified (I majored in French and Political Science) and I felt completely inadequate. I reasoned if I visited the birthplace of the authors and their stories, the literature would come to life. And if this would be true for me, wouldn't it also be helpful for students?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week in Review: February 19, 2017


I did not mean to take a month long break. It's not that I haven't been busy reading or writing, or focusing on Nourish - my word of the year. But I'm newly resolved to get back into the blogging routine. I've missed this community.

Reading:
I have read a total of seventeen books since the first of the year (a record for me). While there is a certain theme to my reading, I did cross several genres.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Week in Review: January 15, 2017


We've spent the last 48 hours bracing for the ice storm. I bought plenty of groceries to hunker down for the long weekend. I prepared a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday so we could eat leftovers the remaining days, just in case we lost power.

As is typical with Kansas weather, the storm took a slightly different route. We were completely dry on Friday. Totally dry on Saturday. And barely a glaze on the road surface this morning. By this afternoon, temperatures will rise and all will turn to rain.

But I'm not complaining. Friday night's dinner (with wine tasting) was delightful, and the dreary forecast provided the perfect excuse to stay inside to read and write for four straight days!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome 2017!!


It is the first day of 2017 - a day filled with new hopes, new goals, and new intentions.

I've taken quite a break from blogging. My last regular post was mid-November, and I have not participated in the Sunday Salon since August! This was not a planned break, but apparently one I needed to take.

While I do not believe in making resolutions (why set myself up for failure?), I have made a list of intentions to focus on this year: intentions for mental health, physical well-being, and vocational growth. To that end, I want to be more intentional with my blogging in 2017. I hope to adopt the mindset of a "serious" writer, and regular blogging is key.

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