28 – 3

Meanwhile “We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond.” ~ Lionel Kendrick

During these uncertain times, it has been extremely hard to focus on the positives. However, we all believe and share one incredible “positive”, which is keeping the spark of wanderlust travel alive! And what we choose to focus on, grows. (Star Clipper)

28 – 3 Some of you may recognize these numbers immediately. I have them posted in front of me at my desk. I watch a great deal of sports. Health and Physical Education was my college degree, so, 28 – 3 resonates with me. This is the score at the half time of Super Bowl 51. Atlanta vs New England. Recently Tom Brady had an interview (with someone.. sorry I do not know who) in the Boston Globe, it resonated with me.

“On his competitive mind set Brady gave a famous example of how he approaches challenges in Super Bowl LI, “you can look at the situation and basically quit and say you know XXX it. We have no shot of winning or you can say, This is going to be an amazing comeback. When we come back from this, this is going to be the defining moment in a professional career.
 
I think when you shift your mind and think that way, it becomes very empowering as opposed to very discouraging. So, any time we are down in the game, I think ‘Man, if we come back and win this game, we’re the hero, rather than Oh XXX, we’re screwed. We have no shot”

So here I am 28 – 3.. my game is going to be exceedingly long. I have no idea when the clock will end the game. But like the New England Patriots we will win in overtime. All together. Stay well and stay smart. Stay home. Harriet
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Cleaning your luggage

So, let us get ready… First clean our luggage.
 
Luggage we always take on a holiday. My large piece of luggage has traveled far and wide, how about yours? Maybe now is the time to clean off dust and dirt.

Hard-Shell Exterior
 
Start with the outside of your luggage. If you have a hard case suitcase, you can use a variety of products to clean and disinfect, from wipes and sprays to a mixture of soap or 70% alcohol and hot water.

First, clean any dirt and build-up on the outside of your suitcase by scrubbing it with the cleaner of your choice. You can simply mix one-quarter cup of any mild soap with a quart of warm water in a spray bottle and wipe down the hard-sided exterior shell of your suitcase with a soft towel or microfiber cloth. Pay attention to germ hot spots like handles, locks, luggage tags, wheels (swivel them around to get every inch) and the bottom of the suitcase.

After you fully clean the outside of your suitcase with soap and water, take a sanitizer spray and wipe the entire suitcase down with a cloth. Again, focus on areas that encounter the most germs.

Soft-Shell Exterior
 
If your suitcase has a soft-shell exterior made of fabric, you can still follow the instructions for the hard-shell exterior but skip the sanitizing step as this can damage or discolor the fabric. If there are stains on the luggage, try using an upholstery shampoo. Companies always recommend testing the product on an inconspicuous area like the bottom to prevent staining. Make sure that you air-dry the bag before storing it, so it doesn’t develop a musty smell.

 

Cleaning the Inside of Your Suitcase
 
Detach any liners or laundry bags that can be removed and launder them in warm water. As always, check the manufacturer’s guidance and wash any material in accordance to the instructions.

Vacuum the inside of the suitcase to get rid of any dirt and debris you’ve accumulated along your journey – we’re looking at you, sand! Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to get into all of the nooks and crannies, including pockets. Then, wipe the inside of the suitcase with the mild soap and warm water mixture that was used to clean the exterior. Allow to dry thoroughly before closing.

Now it’s time to start dreaming about your next holiday. When it comes time to plan, I am here for you.
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Everyone has a suggestion

For me a great suggestion are the movies set in wonderful destinations. What is your favorite? Roman Holiday comes to mind first for me. Then there is Out of Africa or Lost in Translation. In Tea with Mussolini the women go to a hotel in San Gimignano, just south of Florence. One of the women go to a room and open the window looking west. I was in that room too!

One of the things I am doing is being quiet and re-traveling a holiday. Barcelona to Perpignan, France, north to Carcassonne, Albi, to the Dordogne Valley, Racamadour and Lascaux Caves then west to Bordeaux. I am sure you have a wonderful holiday experience to travel in your mind. At the end of the mind holiday I feel good.

I also go scuba diving in my mind when I am especially under stress. It is so visual for me. Where do you go in your mind?

Or do you like to read about another place? What is your favorite book to imagine being someplace else? Share with all my readers.

For now, we need to dream and imagine. Keeping our eye on the prize, to travel again. I have a picture of Florence on my desk and when I can go there again, all will be well.
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A total distraction for today, Coffee and Italy

Are you enjoying a cup while you read my newsletter?

Many have, maybe you traveled a lot in Italy, you love Italy after all, you walked your way to behave like a local, feel confident enough to enter a café in Florence, Milano, Rome or Venice, and, like an Italian, aloud to the barista: “buongiorno, un liscio!” … you never really say “un espresso” in Italy. Of course, you know all the lingo … cappuccino, macchiato, macchiatone, americano, shakerato, corretto, ristretto, even the marocchino … you master the etiquette, after all you’ll never order a cappuccino later than 10am right?

How Italians invented the espresso

Coffee is an iconic drink, a morning secular rite and, as such, it has celebrants, disciples and slanderers. Only wine can boast of a longer history, for sure not a wider audience. As wine, coffee is valued for its terroirs and the complexity of flavors.

While the plant clearly originated in Ethiopia, the genesis of coffee as a drink are shrouded in mystery: seeds travelled with Yemen sailors, across the Gulf of Aden, crossed sandy dunes and rocky deserts with Arabic nomads, arriving to Mecca, Cairo, Damascus, Istanbul. If we owe to Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent the merit of refining the way to prepare and serve coffee (roasting beans on fire, then finely ground them and slowly cook with water), undoubtedly, the primacy for making it mainstream in Europe, goes to Italy, and specifically to Venice with its first coffee shops dating back to 1630.

Prospero Alpini, a botanist and personal physician of Venetian Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, was the first to write a botanical treaty on the coffee plant (along with the first treaty on bananas. but that’s another story). Back in Venice around mid 1590, he shared with Venetian the secrets of how to roast the beans and prepare this strong, aromatic drink and the never-ending love story between Italians and coffee started.

Italy has four coffee capitals: Venice, Napoli, Torino and Trieste.

Venice started it all, inventing cafes and giving the world the social occasion of gathering in public spaces for discussing literature or politics, cultivating love affairs, all with an energetic cup of coffee. Café Florian is the oldest café in history still shining under the arcade of Piazza San Marco. From Venice, the fashion of cafés spread out to all other Italian and European cities.

Industrious Torino has the merit of the first espresso machine by Angelo Moriondo in 1884, later perfectioned by Luigi Bezzera; while we owe to another torinese, Alfonso Bialetti, the creation of the home moka-pot, sold in millions of pieces and an ultimate design icon.

Napoli, city of saints, singers and poets, could not help but celebrate coffee wide and largely, and give its etiquette and even some mysterious rules. Neapolitans pride themselves of the unbeatable excellence of their espressos and take offence if you doubt it: short, thick and black as hell. Only Napoli, with its social complexity and contradictions, could invent suspended coffees, way before the concept spread around in digital era.

Trieste is one of the world most important coffee hubs, with its port, a commodity exchange and a florid industry built around this trade since 1719. Unique in the world, Trieste hosts a Università del Caffè, dedicated to teaching the art of selecting, roasting and serving coffee, a barista paradise on hearth.

Edited from Sabrina Fandango Tour

PS I am running low on coffee beans.. are they a want or a need?
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Wants and Needs

We here in the USA often confuse wants and needs. We are so used to being able to obtain all our wants that we forget what we need. Right now, we all need to concentrate on need. Before we go out, ask yourself “Do I really need to go out? Do I really need to go to the store?” Staying home saves lives, yours and mine. If you are feeling unconnected, call a friend, call me.

I very much want to take my grandson to Italy this June; we, like so many, have lots of great plans. But do we need to go? NO. Italy will be there for a long long time. I just read a book written 60 years ago, “Bedlam in the Backseat”. A family of six, with children under 12 traveled to Europe for five months. The Europe they saw is the same as I saw last year. Little changes, Venice is cleaner, and Naples is safer! We will all still go when we can.

Speaking of all. I am an independent travel advisor; I work for you under the umbrella of Vista Travel. And I am not going anywhere. The past month my job is answering questions, helping people get home, finding refunds or rescheduling. If you were one, please tell your friends and family the advantage of using a travel advisor.

The travel industry is clearly a luxury for many clients. We travel because we can and want to. That luxury may be gone for a while, but this industry has had many hits in the over 30 year I have been an agent, and we will survive with all your help.

Meanwhile, stay home, call a friend, wash your hands. Let’s all continue to come together and support each other during this challenging time. We’re all (reluctantly) putting travel on hold for now, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop dreaming of our next big adventure.

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Thank you, we will make it through

We will make it through…  The travel industry has had its share of rough patches: oil prices, wars, stock market and accidents. I have seen the sky with no airplanes, that was the scariest! During the first Gulf War, a woman came to my desk (they did in those days!) wanting to cancel her holiday to Hawaii. I suggested she go home and listen to Mozart. When she got into her car, Mozart was playing. She decided that was an omen and she went on her holiday. So, today I say, listen to Mozart and wash your hands.

Things continue to be challenging for all of us, and there seems to be more bad news and cancellations each day. We will continue to send these updates as there are important pieces of news to share – both good and bad. Meanwhile….

Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus

1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
2. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
3. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
4. Disinfect frequently touched objects (cell phone, doorknobs, etc.).
5. Avoid crowded places and public transportation.

Make your own sanitizer.
1 cup of 91% isopropyl alcohol.
½ cup of aloe vera gel (natural or store-bought)
15 drops of tea tree oil (or another antibacterial essential oil)

What’s the really good news? We are one day closer to the end of this. We know for sure that this will not last forever. Be well and carry on. Peace, Harriet
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Lots of travel news

The news that is on everyone’s mind is the Coronavirus. We are all most alarmed by how quickly it spread. The number of deaths is high but then so are the usual flus. Even though flu shots are highly recommended and get lots of publicity to get them, the flu is still very prevalent. WASH WASH and sanitize are the best solutions any time.

Insurance. People are beginning to ask. Will travel insurance cover any cancellations? Travel insurance will only cover some coronavirus cancellations.

“Fear of traveling due to coronavirus is not a covered reason to cancel a trip on a typical comprehensive travel insurance plan. Unfortunately, there is limited cancellation coverage under most standard travel insurance policies.” Meanwhile if your physician recommends you do not travel for health reasons, most insurance will cover you.

On another topic….
 
Seat assignments. In the past month I have been on 9 airplane flights. My seats ranged from coach, to comfort, to business class. Where I sat made a big difference. I always recommend seat assignments, because being in the last row in the middle is no fun! The toilet usually flushes behind you!
If you are doing your own tickets, pay attention to your seat assignments. There is a great website https://www.seatguru.com/ On a flight home from Atlanta I should have checked.. as my seat was behind the flight attendants jump seat, with no screen or place to put my stuff!

I also recommend the business class. Often, if you call and reserve well in advance, it does not cost much more than coach. And I never recommend the economy with no seat assignments and fee for luggage. Some carriers have what they call comfort. It is neither coach nor business, but a nice option. Lastly about seats, if you have the option of flying on a nonstop flight, take it. Changing plane takes at least two hours longer to cover the same distance! What normally takes me 6 -7 hours to cross the country from Seattle to Boston, took me 13 hours last week because I choose to fly on miles and change planes. Did I learn my lesson!

Time to plan your fall and winter holidays. Call soon 617-588-4246 thank you Harriet
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Magic in the unfamiliar

It is the shift in perspective that comes from being face-to-face with people, customs and landscapes that are completely new, even challenging to us.‘ Departures Magazine.

This why I travel. To be challenged. Sometimes it is physical more than mental. Either way, it does not mean you need to go to very strange faraway places by yourself. A very good cruise line can take you to local kitchens and food stands along the way. Shore Excursions can take you to the most unusual depending on the ports of call.

There are great tour operators, escorting you along the way, that explore everything from the Western National Parks to Egypt to Cape Town. Some places are best to do with a tour operator because of the language barriers and for safety. Even with a small group of people you can learn and experience new perspectives. The conversation among a small group often enhances our views. We learn from each other.

For the more physical among us, a white-water rafting trip can bring us through landscape we can not see from dry land. Rock formations tell a story. Plants growing in harsh environments remind us of from where we all came.

Travel allows us to grow as humans. A trip to Hawaii is not just sitting on a beach. There is history, culture, food, and scenery. Next week I will be there with my daughter and I cannot wait to share the Magic of the unfamiliar. The history of the Hawaiian island can be read in a Michener novel, but seeing all the different ancestry faces is enlightening. Tasting Poi or a very fresh pineapple will add to the uniqueness of the islands. There is so much unfamiliar in this world for us to explore.

Call soon for your Magic holiday.
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Make your trip your own!

Chilling out on the bed in your hotel room watching television, while wearing your own pajamas, is sometimes the best part of a vacation.” — Laura Marano

Your time away should be invested in the things YOU want to do. If you go to Whatever Town you do not have to do The Usual (as conventional wisdom would have you do).
For example, Panama has the Panama Canal and that’s a great place for geek overload, watching the trains and water and ships going to and fro. But Panama has world class wildlife viewing opportunities and great beaches too. Santa Fe, NM, has wonderful art shopping, museums, and open-air opera. But it is in easy distance of great hiking and camping opportunities too. Peru has archaeology, indigenous crafts, museums, and history – but it also has Amazonian wildlife and is an emerging food destination.  – Jane Emmons

Do what you want to do! Some of my favorite holidays are when I have a central theme.  Once my trip was around cathedrals in France.  Cathedrals have more than crosses, they have art and history. Going from cathedral to cathedral I experienced some beautiful countryside.  No wonder there were so many wars over the beautiful, fertile Lorraine Valley.

In mid-February my daughter, Lori and I are going to Oahu and Maui for a few days each.  I am sure we will unlikely spend more than an hour or two on the beaches, as beautiful as they are.  Oahu has much to see and do, Pearl Harbor, Cultural Museum and Sangria La (Doris Dukes house).  On both island the vistas and walks will be magnificent I am sure.  More photos for my webpage!

What do YOU want to do with your time, energy, money, and personal space? Make your trip your own!  Call 617-588-4246 straight away. Peace, Harriet
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This is the Year!

This is the year, “I am going to go where I always wanted to go!” Now is the time. TRIPOPHOBIA, the fear of not having any travel plans currently booked. Where do you want to go? Time is not waiting! It is 2020 after all.

It may be too late for a warm February or March, but you can easily and affordably go to a European destination. The far away and exotic are often warm year-round. Tahiti, Fiji, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, Patagonia and most of South America just to suggest a few. They may be far away, but that may be why you have not gone. Air travel is not that bad! Consider how folks traveled before the steam engine! So let go….

Now is the time to plan your summer and fall getaway. Six months out will give you most options, but of course, 9 – 10 months is much better. I did my June plans in November and still did not have all the options I preferred. A family planned their Galapagos reunion in March of 2019 for a July 2020 cruise. They had all the options they wanted. You can plan too!

Most of you know I do a lot of Europe and go most often. But I have great resources for the rest of the world. Believe it or not, the more luxury you prefer, the further ahead you need to book. We also need to pay attention to big cities and conferences. Just because there are lots of rooms that does not mean they are available. Another reason to plan early.

Lastly, promise yourself and family that you will take all your allotted vacation days this year. We Americans often do not take what is there for us to take. Your company and job will be there when you return. And of course, you can always check in.

And lastly, too many good reasons to use a travel adviser to write now. The best reason is you will have the best itinerary and experiences. Call or email today for your travel plans for 2020.

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