Junior Traveler: A Guide Book for Young Explorers

When I think about what draws me to traveling, I can’t help but notice how much the planning process captivates me. I love collecting resources to do my research, and taking notes to come up with a tentative itinerary. I also love capturing moments of travel; whether that is through a photograph, sketch, journal entry, or other momento. As we begin to introduce Edwin to travel, I want him to be able to feel that same excitement and wanderlust that takes me over.

This summer, we are planning three possible long weekend getaways. Although Edwin is still very young, I’d like to be able to share part of the planning and record-keeping responsibility with him. This inspired me to create a guide book for young travelers. My goal is to create one of these travel journals/field guides for each trip we take in the future. I want to include sites to see with fun facts, things to do that our family might enjoy, and interactive opportunities for Edwin to make personal connections on the trip. Using Canva, I have started creating several books that we can have made and share with Edwin during our travels. To be honest, I see him getting much more use out of this when he is 5+, but I’d love to start the tradition now.

Here are some snippets of what I’ve created and how I’m hoping to use it.


Introduction Pages

Sample Page Layouts

I hope these are projects that can help Edwin feel invested in the travel we do and make it meaningful for him. I’m so eager to have more experiences with him. There is a world out there waiting for the Majewski clan to explore!

To the Northeast

Planning a Trip

Preparing for a trip is almost as fun as actually going on the trip.  I spend months reading about the places I’m visiting, watching videos, and researching online to determine how I want to spend my time.  Below, you will find a rough view of how I start to put together a trip.  I always plan the rooms ahead of time, but from there the calendar is pretty open.  If there is something in particular I want to do, I will make a reservation, but I try not to tie myself down too much.

Well, we are on our way.  I’ll try to post each day about our adventures.  We’ll see how well this calendar actually holds up.


Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
16-9 Hour Drive

Leave @ 6am

Stop in Detroit for Lunch

Banksy Exhibit @ 9pm

Queen Street West-Graffiti Alley

17-4.5 Hour Drive


Leave @ 8am
Nordik Massage @ 3:00

Gatineau Park

Byward Market


Rent Bikes at Rideau Canal

Fairmont Château Laurier

Major’s Hill Park

Parliament Hill

Canadian War Museum

Westboro Neighborhood

Wellington Gastro Pub

19-2.5 Hour Drive


Leave @ 9am
-Old Town

Hidden Alley

Notre Dame Basilica

Atwater Market

Rooftop Terrace

St-Viateur Bagels


Schwartz’s Deli
La Banquise

Ruelle verte

Mont Royal

Oratoire Saint-Joseph

Plateau and Mile End


Mad Hatters


21-3 Hour Drive

Quebec City

Leave @ 11am

Chez Biceps BBQ

-Old Town


L’Affaire Est Ketchup


Quebec City

Île d’Orléans

Wendake Indian Reservation

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

Le Bouche Réservation @ 7:00

23-5.5 Hour Drive


Leave @ 9am
Montmorency Falls

Zipline @ 11:00


DeMillo’s for Dinner


Allagash Brewery

Bite Into Maine Lobster Rolls

International Cryptozoology Museum

Street and Co. DInner

25-4 Hour Drive


Leave @ 12pm


Beer Crawl

27-6 Hour Drive

Finger Lakes

Leave @ 8am
Ommegang Brewery

-Visit Wineries and Bring Back Food to Cabin


Finger Lakes
Wine Tour

29-5.5 Hour Drive


Leave @ 8am
-Polish Food

30-8 Hour Drive to Home

Leave @ 10am
-Have Breakfast First

-Stop in Cleveland for Break

Canada 2018 Itinerary

  • June 16-Day One of Vacation, Stay in Toronto (9 hour drive)
  • June 17-Leave Toronto for Ottawa (4.5 Hour Drive)
  • June 18-Second Day in Ottawa
  • June 19-Leave Ottawa for Montreal (2 hour drive)
  • June 20-Second Day in Montreal
  • June 21-Leave Montreal for Quebec City (4 hour drive)-Stop at Unibroue and Trois Rivieries
  • June 22-Second Day in Quebec City
  • June 23-Leave Quebec City for Portland (5.5 hour drive)
  • June 24-Second Day in Portland
  • June 25-Leave Portland for Vermont (4 hour drive)
  • June 26-Second Day in Vermont
  • June 27-Leave for Finger lakes (6 hour drive)-Stop at Ommegang
  • June 28-Second Day in Finger Lakes
  • June 29-Leave for Pittsburgh (5.5 hour drive)
  • June 30-Head Home (8 Hour Drive)

44h Trip

Canada 2018 Ideas

  • Toronto (1 night)
    • Casa Loma
    • Starving Artist-Waffles
    • The Art of Banksy Exhibition
    • Queen Street West-Graffiti Alley
      • Barchef
      • Queen West Antique Center
      • Skyyard at the Drake Hotel
      • Type Books
  • Ottawa (2 nights)
    • ByWard Market-Farm to Table
    • Notre Dame Basilica
    • Parliament Hill
    • The Grand Pizza (VB)
    • Beaver tail
    • Check out Up and Coming Towns (Look for victoire store)
    • Brew Donkey Craft Beer Tours (VB)
    • Wellington Gastro Pub-pair music with food (VB)
    • Spa Outside of Ottawa Nordik (VB)
    • Rideau Canal-Rent Bikes
    • Gatineau Park
  • Montreal (2 nights)
  • Quebec City (2 nights)
    • Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (Get Old Fashioned Fairmount)
    • Old Town
    • Wendake
    • jacques cartier national park
    • Le Bouche (Quebecois Restaurant with bearded guys)
    • L’Affaire Est Ketchup (cook on electric stoves and heavy metal music)
    • Chez Biceps BBQ (Bacon in Bourbon)
    • Battuto Italian restaurant
    • He boislocal beer crawl
    • Festibiere
    • Snack bar poutine
    • Montmorency Falls
    • Picnic on The Plains of Abraham
    • Quartier Petit Champlain
    • Île d’Orléans-Countryside
    • SCANNER BISTRO-Heavy Metal Bar
    • BATEAU DE NUIT-Heavy Metal Bar
  • Portland, Maine (2 Nights)
    • Allagash Brewery
    • International Cryptozoology Museum
  • Vermont (2 nights)
  • Finger Lakes New York (2 nights)
  • Pittsburgh (1 Night)

Free Writing Workshop

Cafe Hugo 3Travel writing comes in a variety of forms.  Maybe you are a travel blogger, or perhaps you jot down ideas on a coffee-stained receipt.  If you are looking for some advice to improve your writing, you might want to check out Dave Fox’s free audio workshop.  Dave Fox used to work for Rick Steves.  I bought his book a few years ago, and I still revisit it from time to time to refresh my perspective.  The first 20 minutes are about journal writing and the last half is about publishing travel writing.  Check out the blurb below for more information.


“Free Audio Workshop: From Personal Journaling to Professional Travel Writing

Writecamp is a series of casual, half-hour workshops offered each year at the Singapore Writers Festival. Speakers present fast-paced talks on writing-related themes. Attendees can choose from a couple of different topics in each time slot and are encouraged to drift from room to room to see what they like.
This year, I talked about travel writing I initially debated whether I should cover travel journaling or more polished travel writing. In the end, in the frenetic spirit of Writecamp, I decided to cover both – scrunching what is usually several hours of material into 30 high-energy minutes.
I recorded the session and I’m making it available for free! You can download it from iTunes or listen to it on Globejotting.com.”

10 Items You Wish You Packed

packing11. Travel Alarm Clock-Talk about a bummer if you oversleep for an important event.  A lot of you may use your cell phones as alarm clocks, but when traveling abroad, this may not be so reliable.  Spend a few bucks to have an alarm clock to get you where you need to be on time.

2. Poster Tube-Souvenirs can be expensive and take up too much space.  Posters are an easy solution to capturing moments without spending too much or taking up empty space in your bag.  I constantly look at my posters and I am instantly reminded of past adventures.

3.  Audio Recorder-This item is not only good for people considering an audio journal, but also for anyone wanting to capture the audio memories.  Maybe you hear a band playing on the street or have an opportunity to talk to someone that you’d like to record.  Sometimes I feel a stronger connection listening to the tone of my voice as I describe memorable moments than any photo or journal entry.  I love looking back at my perspective during that snapshot of time.  This small, handy device can be useful in multiple situations.

4. Copy of Important Documents-Make copies of your passport, credit cards, license, and anything else that would be important to have if it was lost.  Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with losing a passport or credit card, but being prepared for it is smart.

5. Ziploc Bags-I collect odd things sometimes.  Rocks, sand, and other little trinkets.  Ziplocs take up little to no space, are cheap, and they may be useful in the future.

6. Friend/Family Addresses-Postcards mean more than you might know.  I am a teacher and anytime I travel I ask students to jot down their info if they want a postcard.  A few minutes can make a big impact.

7. Band aids-Blisters, cuts, broken nails, and more can put a little damper on your comfort.  You will probably need a band aid, so take some with you.

8. Back-up Bag-Carry-on is the way to go, but sometimes you find cool stuff along the way.  Go with just carry-on, but have a backup bag for souvenirs on the trip home.  I typically check my original carry-on bag and use a new bag for the plane ride.  Some bags only take up about one cubic inch of space.

9. Packing Cubes-If you are traveling to multiple destinations, this can be very time-saving.  I went on a 21-day trip that involved no more than two nights in each location.  I ended up repacking each time we went somewhere new.  With packing cubes, you can pack strategically and avoid repacking each time you visit a new place.

10. Swiss Army Knife (Checked Luggage)-Corkscrew, scissors, knife, nail file, the options are endless.

What do you take with you that is an essential packing element?

Want more packing advice?  Check out my packing 101 video or packing secrets post.


Earning Miles with Credit Cards

Boots and Airplane-5974If you are new to the world of earning miles/points with credit cards, join me as we learn together.  This past week I got together with a friend that is an expert on making the most of sign-up bonuses and booking flights.  He is self-taught, but very successful with earning miles/points for flights.  After meeting, we came up with an action plan that will work for me.  Let me share all the cool tidbits I learned.

Airlines 101

I think I’ve only flown on three airlines my entire life: United, Aer Lingus, and Delta.  Airlines partner with many other airlines, so it is wise to join the frequent flyer clubs of some of the the majors (United, American Airlines, etc.).  It is free, so why not?

Want to earn some extra points with the big names?  Visit their shopping portals to earn extra points on items you plan on buying anyway.  This is perfect for the holiday season!

Credit Card Basics

There are some basic fundamentals that will help you with your journey into the world of earning flights.  Here are some key pieces I’ve learned:

-Be prepared to pay for your credit card balance.  Earning points is not about accruing credit card debt.  If you want the points, you have to pay your bills in full and on time.

-Do your homework ahead of time.  You will want to visit the resource section below to help you.  Consider the following questions: how much can I spend, what airlines will I be using, is this smart for domestic/international travel, and can I apply for a business card.  Let’s learn why these questions are important.

-Most credit cards have a minimum spending amount within a certain amount of time.  It can range from $0 to $20,000 within a certain period.  Make sure you can handle it.

-Decide whether flying domestically or internationally is your goal.  If you are thinking domestically, British Airways may be your best bet (oddly enough).  If you are thinking internationally, you may want to consider American Airlines depending on your destination.

-Business cards earn more rewards.  If you can handle the minimum spending amounts, be creative with using a “business” to help you earn points.


There are some great blogger experts out there ready to reveal their secrets.  Like their pages on Facebook to keep up with the word on the street.

The Miles Professor-This article is great for beginners.

Mile Value-Another great resource to get you started

American Airlines Award Chart-Major airlines have an award chart to let you know approximately how many points you will need to book a flight with rewards.  Simply search the airline name and award chart.  Here is a sample chart for American Airlines.

Award Wallet-Keep track of all your credit cards with this free, handy site.

My Plan

I’m starting small with the Barclay Arrival Card.  The minimum expense is $1,000 within three months.  Then I will branch out to the American Airlines card.  That one is $3,000 within three months for 50,000 points (at least one free flight).  From there, I will look into the business card world once I’m a little more comfortable.

I am hoping to become a pro at this someday, but until then, I will share insider tips that I learn.  Have you earned flights with points/miles?  Please share your experiences!

Calendar Art

Calendar ArtIf your traveling on a budget or trying to eliminate baggage weight, you might want to consider the versatility of a calendar as a souvenir.  Calendars typically don’t take up much space, and the right one can become inexpensive art.

I found a calendar in the Cinque Terre that reflected the vibrancy and color of the coast.  Not only am I enjoying each month, but I have started to frame the scenery.  It is not complete yet, but when I am done, I will have a great gallery of art prints that cost me about $40.

Do you have any souvenirs you’ve bought that have served more than one purpose?  I’m all about purchasing souvenirs that can be constant reminders of memories.  To discover other meaningful purchases, check out my video on making the most out of souvenirs.

Taking Better Photos Through Glass

Champagne RegionHave you ever been on a bus or train and you see the perfect view ahead of you, but when you try to take a picture, it is a disaster?  Maybe it is blurry, or that oil smudge from someone’s head is not only gross, but also now captured in your photo.  If you are on a tour and spending a portion of your time on the bus, or traveling by train, you will want to make sure you’ve got some tricks to get past the issues.

Montmartre 1Selecting a Seat

Many people fight for the first seat on a bus so they can see out of the front window.  This is nice for seeing a greater area, but not so great for taking photos.  Several obstacles can get in your way such as raindrops and bug juice.  A better option is to find a seat near an unobstructed window on the opposite side of the driver.  For example, if I was riding a bus or train in Italy, I would pick a seat on the right side so I can avoid getting all of the traffic in my pictures.  Sometimes I will ask the tour guide or bus driver which side is more scenic.  If I know the Leaning Tower of Pisa is going to be on one side, then I will make a point to sit on that side.

CowAiming Your Camera

You look out the window and see a cow that you must have a picture of.  The train is moving at 50mph and you need to think fast.  How do you catch the cow?

1-Have your camera out and ready if you think you will want to take pictures.

2-To avoid blur, place your camera at an angle.  Do not shoot the cow straight on (haha).  Doing this will result in a cow smearing across your photo.  Instead, position yourself to to create about a 45 degree angle between you and the scene.  It will also be important to have a faster shutter speed to capture less movement.

3-Place your camera as close to the window as possible.  If there is a little scratch or piece of dust, it will be easier to focus on the background rather than the imperfection if the camera is closer toLouvre it.  Another option is to set your camera to manual so that you are in control of focusing.  Just remember, time is limited and the train will not stop for the cow, so be quick.

Secret Tips

  • Carry a cleaning wipe/towel to help get rid of smudges on the window.
  • Make sure your flash is turned off.

Paris Metro 101

CiteThe Paris Metro is like arteries hidden under the city skin.  These tunnels take you all over the city.  I love rising from the Metro to find unexplored territory, or a grand sight right before me.  Some people may be intimidated by the system, but it really is efficient and much more affordable than a taxi.  I do have to warn you that it is not handicap-friendly.  If stairs or some walking are challenging for you, it may not be the best mode of transportation.  If you are looking for a how-to or some simple tips, read below for more information.

paris vacation 101Getting Ready for the Metro

Finding a Metro is typically easy unless you are away from the city center.  It can be handy to pick up a map that contains city streets and the Metro plan.  Even if you aren’t staying in a hotel, you can probably sneak in to pick one up.  If you are going soon, make sure the Metro map is updated.  They recently expanded some of the lines, so it is important to have an updated map.  You can always download a copy from the website as well.

Once you reach the Metro, you will descend to purchase tickets.  There are some machines that only take cards.  If you have a chipped card, you can use this, otherwise you will need a machine that accepts cash.  Make sure you have bills less than 50 €.

If you plan on using the Metro more than a couple times, I recommend purchasing a carnet.  This is a package deal containing 10 tickets for a little over 13 €.  Some Metro stations have a person working if you need to ask questions, but don’t rely on that.

Your ticket will be good until you pass through an exit.  You do not need a new ticket to change lines or go back if you made a mistake.  You could technically explore all of Paris underground if you wanted to.  Personally, I prefer the view above ground.

How the Metro WorksTurnstile

You’ve got your ticket, and you made it past the turnstile (sometimes this is more challenging than you would think), now what?  This is where having a metro map can be helpful in creating a plan ahead of time.  If you don’t have a map, there are maps posted on the walls.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the metro map, but you can click the map below to be linked so you can follow along.  Let’s do this step by step:

1. Find the Metro stop you are currently in.

2. Find the Metro stop you want to go to.

3. If it is on the same line (color/number), then this will be really easy, but that doesn’t happen very often.  Simply look in the direction you want to go until you find the last stop.  You will use the last stop to help you determine which direction you will go.  For example, if I was at Georges V and I wanted to go to Saint Paul, I would look for the sign that points to Chateau de Vincennes.  Then I would follow the signs until I reach the tunnel where I wait for the train.  Get on, and watch for your stop.

4.  If you need to change lines, don’t fret.  Do be prepared for some walking though.  Some stations are small, while others may have you walking close to a half mile.  Let’s say I’m at my home Metro stop of St. Paul and I want to go to Canal St. Martin.  I look at the map to see how I can make the fewest connections possible.  I notice that I will take line 1 to Chateau de Vincinnes to get on line 5 and exit at Bastille.  Then I will determine what the last station is in the direction I want to go.  I see that it is Bobigny Pablo Picaso, so I follow the signs that point to Bobigny Pablo Picaso.  When the train arrives, I’ll hop on and get off at Republique to make my way to Canal St. Martin.

Want some practice scenarios?  Check these out and look for the answers at the bottom of the post.  Remember, there is more than one way to get where you want to go, but typically we want the most straightforward approach.

Metro Map1. Hotel de Ville to Gare de Lyon

2. Abbesses to Châtlet

3. Opera to Tuilieries

Important Reminders

After going through the turnstile, make sure you put your ticket in a safe place.  I have never been on the Metro when they check your tickets, but I’ve heard from others that they do check.  Hold onto it to verify you paid your way so you won’t be paying more later.

One of the most important points to remember is to watch your valuable items.  The Metro is a mecca for pickpockets because we are easily distracted and the trains can become quite packed.  Try to keep your hand over your purse or pocket with your wallet, or wear a moneybelt.  Zippers and buttons are no match for pickpockets.  To learn other tips, check out my blog post about the topic.

Using the MetroWaiting for the Metro

Now that we have a better idea of how to use the Metro, we will be ready for the first installment of Paris by Metro tomorrow.  The first post will feature the Cité Metro stop and all of the wonderful sights within a kilometer.



Answer Key

1-Look for Line 1 and take the Metro that goes in the direction of Chateau de Vincennes.  Get off at Gare de Lyon.

2-Look for Line 12 and take the Metro that goes in the direction of Mairie d’Issy.  Get off at Concord.  Find Line 1 and head in the direction of Chateau de Vincennes.  Get off at Châtlet.


Look for Line 12 and take the Metro that goes in the direction of Mairie d’Issy.  Get off at Madeline.  Find Line 14 and head in the direction of Olypiades.  Get off at Châtlet.

3-Look for Line 7 and take the Metro in the direction of Villejuif-Louis Aragon or Mairie d’Ivry (the line branches off, but this time it doesn’t matter which one you take).  Get off at Palais Royal/Musee de Louvre.  Find Line 1 and head in the direction of La Defense.  Get off at Tuilieries (and enjoy the gardens :).

Thoughts on Solo Travel

Mwah Solo travel is often portrayed through idealistic eyes.  I know that was my original perspective.  After being on my own for nearly a month, my view has become a little more realistic.  Every person will have a different perspective because we are all in different situations.  I am a young female who is not terribly harsh on the eyes.  My experience will be much different than a sixty year old male.  Here is what I experienced.

My Story

When I dreamed of solo travel, overarching themes came to mind like freedom, destiny, growth, and self-actualization.  I would be like a pioneer of my own life.  It is odd how sometimes thoughts become realities, but in a different way than you mapped out.

My first day and night alone were a little embarrassing.  I questioned what I was doing and wondered if I made a horrible mistake.  The fight vs. flight set right in, and my first reaction was flight.  I even considered calling the airline to see if I could change my flight.  After the initial panic (and sleep), I realized I was being ridiculous (especially the reoccurring thought that I might choke to death because no one could save me).  I told myself, “this is what you’ve been counting down for.  This is your dream.”  I decided to make a plan, because that is my coping mechanism.  I created a calendar and brainstormed everything I wanted to do.  Then I mapped out the days.

Once I knew all of the adventures I had planned, I felt better.  Routine started to set in and my photography really took off.  I was busy learning, seeing, and doing.  I even started to think, “what will I do when I get home?  Life will be so boring.”

Then, bad news came from home.  I thought my anxiety level was high in the beginning, but knowing that I was needed at home and I couldn’t get there was awful.  I feared that I wouldn’t make it home in time.  I’ve never had to make such important decisions on my own.  When is the right time to come home?  How will I get home?  How will I take care of all the “other” details like checking out with my landlord and getting everything done in time?  I’d like to say I kept my cool the whole time, but I’d be lying.

Through this experience, I have learned a lot about myself, what I want, and what I can accomplish.  This was the goal of the trip, but I didn’t realize this is how it would all happen.  I love travel, but I also love my family and friends.  I do need them.  I don’t think I can just move across the globe, but I sure can visit as many places as my heart desires as long as I have a home waiting for me.  Even as I wait for the dust to settle here, I dream of where I will be going next.  Perhaps I am a chronic sufferer of the grass being greener on the other side.  Talk about a paragraph being full of cliches…

So, what are my overall thoughts on solo travel?  There is good and bad.  I think if it is approached the right way, it can be a very liberating experience.  Here are some benefits and downsides to traveling alone, plus some tips to make it the best experience possible.

Pros to Solo Travel

-Freedom of Choice

-Create your own schedule

-Move at your own pace

-Greater growing experience

-No compromises have to be made with others

-Typically we are more approachable when we are alone

Cons to Solo Travel

-Loneliness can set in

-It can be more costly

-Sometimes paranoia can take over when too much time is spent alone

-Extra cautions need to be taken to remain safe

-If we are uncomfortable, we may be less adventurous and miss out on opportunities

-It can be challenging to trust others because we can become more guarded


-Select your destination carefully.  There are some places that are much more comforting to solo travelers than others.  I felt so much more comfortable and at ease during my layover in Dublin than I did my entire month in Paris.  Language barriers do make things more challenging.  Different cultures have different values and customs.  Perhaps it is best to find one that is more similar to your own for your first trip alone.

-Balance city and country in your itinerary.  City life can be harsh and sometimes we need to be able to let our guard down a little.

-Don’t be surprised when fear steps in, but have a plan to combat it.  If you know how to calm yourself down, you are a step ahead.  If not, try different strategies to cope.

-It is okay to be homesick.  Fill your needs with skype, home comforts (whether it is food or entertainment), and connections with other travelers.  I spaced out my English-speaking interactions with fun events like a cooking class, champagne tour, and guided walks through the city.  Even though I didn’t make long lasting friendships, I did have conversations that helped me fill my social quota.

-Do what feels comfortable.  If you don’t feel safe alone at night, enjoy each daylight hour.  I imagined myself exploring the night scene, but after being followed for almost a mile by a man and then approached, I realized that I would have to change my plans.  I received a lot of unwanted attention that made me realize being out late at night would make me feel uncomfortable.  It is unfortunate, but I will have to enjoy those moments with friends while I travel.

-Eat out at lunch.  I found that I could really enjoy my lunch on my own.  Eating alone at dinner seemed to draw more attention that I didn’t want.  I must have been sending off some serious pheromones because I’ve never gotten so many “I love you baby,” whistles, or looks in my life.

-If you want to avoid unwanted attention, whether they are gypsies, hagglers, perverts, drunks, or homeless people, you have to be harsh.  At home, I am the kind that smiles as someone walks by in the grocery store, or will say hi to the hiker walking past me on the trail.  In Paris I found that making eye contact more than once was not a good idea.  When I talked about this with my tour guide, she said that to avoid unwanted approaches, simply look through people.  You gaze as though they are invisible.  Eye contact in the states is different than eye contact in other countries.  Perhaps I am a little paranoid, but when I am on my own and have to handle every situation by myself, I find that caution is what feels best to me.

To Sum it Up…

Will I ever travel alone again?  You betcha.  Will I do it the same way I did this time?  No.  A big part of traveling alone is learning about what works for you.  After getting to know myself, I know that my next solo adventure will look a little different.  Sure there will be struggles again, but there will also be growth and unforgettable moments.  What a life…

The Life of Travel

Europe 2011 1432My tour guide last summer said that there are good days and bad days in travel.  Sometimes I have this idea that every day will be perfect and unforgettable.  But she was right.  There are ups and downs just as there are in “real” life.  Most of the time, all is wonderful, but there are also struggles, frustrations, and fears.  Get through those moments.  Do not let your mind dwell, or think that you are now stuck in a bottomless pit.  Hiding behind those dark curtains are luminous moments; opportunities to view the world in all of its brilliance.

My favorite French phrase is c’est la vie–this is life.  I interpret the saying in a variety of contexts.  Sometimes I use it as a way of saying oh well, it happens.  Sometimes I use it in moments when all I can do is stand back and take life in; almost a “this is the life.”  Travel is life.  It is every emotion that can be evoked.

I wrote this while in a stupor after my robust meal and wine at a brasserie.  I feel obligated to share what I am learning as I go.  Perhaps some of you can relate.

Get ready for some amazing pictures later because today was a very good travel day.