Mexico…..My last post on Mexico recounted our first trip to Mexico, the Maya Riviera to be precise. Our second time to Mexico would be in the company of our great friends, the Dunlaps, who were a cruising party of 8. We had four children at the time and with our party of six, this was going to be our first cruise as a family. Mark and I had gone on river cruises within cities such as River Vltava (Prague 2017) and I have cruised the Rhine River twice (2017 Dusseldorf, 2002 Cologne) but never had we cruised internationally. We booked our cruise with the help of our most knowledgeable cruising friend and travel agent, Misty. Our cruise ship left from New Orleans which was an easy five-hour drive from home and in five days, we would have two stops: Cozumel and Yucatan (Progresso). "All aboard!" Balcony viewWe ready Misty recommended adjoining suites with a balcony view, a recommendation I was grateful for our entire trip.  Our youngest were 2 and 4 years old and so having two fun days “at sea” gave us a chance to rest and enjoy the amenities aboard without any planned excursions. Having a history of motion sickness, I was certain to pack my scopolamine patches. However, I soon learned I did not need to use these as I had no symptoms while aboard the ship. Our suites were located on the second to the top deck at the front of the ship. The ship was large enough that I hardly felt any movement while at sea except for one night heading back to the Gulf Coast we experienced some turbulent waters. Time well spent together The amenities on the ship were adequate with one of the highlights being the kids club where they spent a couple hours a day with their friends (the Dunlap kids) in supervised play, art and crafts. We also participated in a couple of “Mommy and Me” activities. Having the kids club afforded Mark and I some time together during which…



Travel gives us something to look forward to. The anticipation of going to a new place and learning new things is often elating. Travel permits a break from routines, hectic work schedules allowing for well needed rest and relaxation. Through travel we connect with others for business or pleasure. Our increased activity levels during travel can help lift our mood. Achieving goals like climbing a mountain at high altitude or scuba diving can give you a sense of purpose. The lack of all these can cause the blues or bring about wound-up anxiety and depression. This is yet another way the COVID-19 pandemic can trigger a sense of helplessness and the feeling of being trapped in the mundane. However, there are ways we can forge through the moodiness and stay afloat until the option to travel is safer and more feasible. Make home feel like a new destination. Take the time not spent travelling to re-organize, declutter, or redesign your home. Use favorite pieces from travel destinations to decorate and remind you of the trip you made. Making a collage or framing a piece of unfinished art you bought at a local market may not only bring back fond memories but also give a sense of accomplishment. Make it a family event with input from the kids how they may like to re-organize or decorate perhaps their rooms or play areas. Bi-Neh's Art Collage #1 (2020) 2. Explore as much as you can virtually. Instead of another family movie night, cast onto your screen a virtual tour of a world class museum, art gallery, or zoo. A short list of virtual tours of zoos and aquariums can be found here. We have visited the National Smithsonian Zoo several times and the Georgia Aquarium brings back nice memories. The British Museum, has a museum of the world tour which is interactive, and you can discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.3D tours of Egyptian pyramids can be found here. Our favorite virtual tour is the National Museum of Natural History.…


closer to home: Amicalola falls state park

Dawsonville, Georgia Sometimes you need to get out and take a hike. This has been truer since the dawn of the pandemic when physical distancing is advised and travel is restricted. This was the sentiment when the kids are out of school for the holidays and staying indoors all day every day is not recommended. Even though it is winter and there may be colder and rainy days in the Southern USA, there could not have been a better day during the holidays to take a hike in the North Georgia mountains, the day after Christmas, Boxing day. We drove up with the kids to Dahlonega, Georgia for a four-day break. On the days leading up to our trip, our five-year-old son kept praying for snow, asking “Mama, will there be snow in the mountains?”, “I hope we get snow for Christmas.”.  Living in Florida, the kids do not have memories of snowy winters unless we travel north which we have done a few times. Baby's first snow/Making "snowsicles "! It was Christmas eve when the first flurries graced the outdoor deck in the backyard of the VRBO cottage we rented for the break. The kids excitedly ran out to feel the flurries which were more like big wet dewdrops which melted on contact with their warm hands and faces. However, come Christmas morning, those dewdrops had consolidated into about a half inch of snow. Just enough snow to see the edges of the dark brown fallen leaves of the poplar trees on the ground peeking through, just enough to dust the pavements and some parts of the street with frost and cold enough to turn icy. It was Christmas morning when we stepped outside and took those “white Christmas” photos for the day got warmer and most of the snow melted with the afternoon sun. The next day, we were not returning gifts as is suggested by “Boxing day”, we were heading out for a hike at the nearest state park, a 20minute drive from our Dahlonega cottage. We…

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Air travel & covid-19 testing

Aerial view: Istanbul August 2017 It is a new year and after 2020 most of us would like to have flipped the switch to a new reality in 2021, but the covid-19 pandemic rages on. Even though the vaccine is being rolled out and distributed rapidly in many states and countries, the RT-PCR COVID-19 test is still required by airlines for international travel. It is also required for some domestic travel depending on the state you are traveling from and that which you will be flying to. It is certain the COVID-19 test will play a role in international travel at least until the desired results from a vaccine are realized. With that in mind, here is the information you need to incorporate COVID-19 testing into your family travel plans.  Several states and countries mandate quarantine and/or documented proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Some international airports such as JFK in New York have requirements for all traveling passengers to complete a health screening form before exiting the airport. State and local travel requirements vary and to see a detailed requirement on your desired location, the CDC has a link where travelers can find complete guidelines for every city and state before they travel. When traveling through airports, there will be long enough lines at airport check in counters, security checkpoints, and boarding gates. All passengers are required to wear masks aboard flights, and with recommendations for washing hands or using sanitizers, staying six feet apart when boarding a well-ventilated airplane, the last avoidable risk of transmission of the covid-19 virus is in sharing the space aboard the plane for the duration of your flight. For the protection of all passengers, pilots and crew members, most airlines have required COVID-19 testing on international flights where the flight times and supposed exposures are longer than most. Lastly, it is agreed by most health organizations that accurate, reliable and rapid testing eliminates the need for quarantine of COVID-19 negative travelers upon arrival. There are different types of COVID-19 tests:…

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Travel Destination 2021 The beginning of the year is always a great time to plan travel. Its a great time to budget and explore destination options. It is always fun to get the kids input and initial impressions because it gives us an opportunity to do some research. Traveling can sometimes confirm those impressions or we find out quite differently. Kids Travel Map 2021 - Colored = "Visited with Mom and Dad"; Circled or underlined = "Mom and Dad have been here and we want to go with them next time". The kid’s are reviewing the travel map for 2021. Their bucket list is long and ever-growing 😊. Help us plan our next trip by taking the poll. Click on the poll block above to edit it directly in this post. Add a question, and multiple answers and even change the styling of the block using the sidebar controls. Add new poll blocks by searching for "poll" or type "/poll" in a new block.

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