I’ve been told if you’re planning a trip overseas you should begin preparations a year in advance. Perhaps this is so but in my mother’s case her recently completed trip to Ireland (‘twas “wonderful” she sighed!) was booked barely three months prior. In any case we’re contemplating just such a grand adventure ourselves for 2015.

So. Where to go? For the last several years we’ve had serious discussions about visiting Germany. We even went so far as to contact a travel agent to learn about our options. In the beginning we seriously considered backpacking our way across the region, traversing into neighboring countries via Eurail carrying our travel necessities with us along the way. I still find this hugely appealing but perhaps only after an initial trip or two to the continent are firmly entrenched under our belts.

While Germany is still on our bucket list other countries vie for our attention (and travel dollars!) as well. With ancestral roots in Norway, Ireland and England in addition to the Deutschland we have several options to choose from. Not that lineage will be the final arbitrator in where we might go. Italy, Scotland, France and even Istanbul beckon. Disclaimer: That last option is on my list, not Bill’s. I read a fascinating book a few years ago called The Historian. It is a story rooted in the Slavic region of Europe telling the brutal tale of Vlad the Impaler, the basis of the Dracula character as we know it today. Some of the story’s action takes place in Istanbul and I was curious to learn more. After a little research and seeing some incredible photos Istanbul secured a place on my travel To Do list.

We’ve got our work cut out for us but this is my kind of labor. The planning is half the fun (or half the battle depending on your perspective). Having something to look forward to is, for me, the very spice of life: sage, cinnamon, ginger, anise, basil, coriander, cardamom and nutmeg. I love them all! And, so too, do I enjoy the dreaming, the research, the planning and the anticipation of any kind of travel expedition whether it’s a weekend getaway or a trip half way around the world.

We’ve still got a few years left before our passports expire and the Life Clock is ticking away! Stay tuned for further developments.

What is on your travel To Do list? Where do you want to go? Where have you been that you’d return to in a heartbeat? I’d love to hear from you!

As adventures go, my foray into The Land of Blog has been fairly low key. No racing pulse, no sweaty brow nor dangers posed to life or limb. Instead of physical exertion or a challenge of stamina, employing words and images to convey the musings of my mind in a way that inspires and entertains is a summoning of intestinal fortitude on an entirely different plane.

I don’t know when the seed was first planted but for many years I have given thought to writing a book. The problem I faced was lack of a story. I knew that I enjoyed writing. Sometimes thoughts and phrases would pop into my head and I wanted to create a vehicle in which these random words could travel. I’ve given thought to writing about growing up in a family of six daughters and even came up with the literary names I’d give to each of us in the fictionalized account I might someday write. That, however, was the extent of it.

Then I began to learn about something called a blog. Wikipedia defines a blog as ‘a discussion or informational site’ on the internet ‘consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order’. There are several posting web sites and web publishing tools available to get started with the process and for hosting your blog. As I started to research the mechanics of creating and assembling a blog I also pondered what it was I wanted to say, what I wanted to write about.

Just as there is a learning curve to the intricacies of blog development within the hosting tool of choice it is perhaps even more of a challenge trying to figure out writing style, blog statistics and methods for reaching out to (and retaining!) new followers and increasing the number of views and visitors to your blog let alone deciding what it is you want to post about every day.

One thing I’ve discovered in just these short three months (to be precise two months, twelve days)  is that it sure is difficult to know what will ‘connect’ with my readers. I’ve written some posts that I am certain will elicit several views, ‘likes’ and comments and get nothing but crickets. On the flip side, other posts send my site stats soaring and while I am always ecstatic to see my numbers going up, up, UP it is sometimes puzzling to understand why this post and not the other. Go figure. Lesson One: You write for yourself and not for the kudos and congratulatory comments that may (or may not) come your way. I have several posts on my blog that, while I was sure they would trigger positive reactions but didn’t, I am nonetheless quite proud of them and happy with the results.

Writing is scary. You’re putting yourself out there – proverbial warts and all – and really exposing yourself in an entirely new way. Many people post on Facebook and other social media but writing on a blog – and saying what it is that’s on your mind in a more expanded fashion – opens you up to rejection, reader comments that can be either welcoming or bruising, and perhaps worst of all indifference.

Still, we bloggers continue on because we love the words, we love the images and we enjoy the writing. Whether it be the clunk and growl and rattle of the written word or the luster and shimmer of a well-orchestrated symphony of letters arranged in a precise manner to convey the stories we wish to tell we blog because it makes us happy. Perhaps our pulses do actually race a bit. And while our brows may not be sweaty, at times our palms are! To us this is adventure of the highest order. This we must do.