Going on a Treasure Hunt

Picture the ladies’ shoe department in Nordstrom on a busy Saturday afternoon. There’s a woman cooing, as she plucks pump after pump from the display rack, thrusting them into the face of the glummest-looking fellow in the world, her husband, who’s lolling on a leather settee, braiding peds.

I am that man. Continue reading

Packing Tips: An Interview with Tarriss Travel Gear’s Founder

My recent post on overweight luggage prompted several comments from readers who have found themselves in similar predicaments and from Todd Ariss, founder of Tarriss Travel Gear, the manufacturer of the luggage scale I purchased to avoid future airport debacles.

Todd started the company because he was dissatisfied with existing products on the market. Since its debut on Amazon 5 months ago, the Jetsetter Luggage Scale has generated 96% favorable reviews and become the #1 rated luggage scale. I asked Todd to provide some insight about his travel tips and habits. He graciously accepted my invitation and, as an extra bonus, he is offering THREE (3) free scales to lucky readers and a 25% coupon.  Details are at the end of the post. Continue reading

So Long. It’s Been Good to Know Yuh.

This post was originally intended as a reminder that my giveaway for the 3-piece packing cube set ends on Wednesday.

But then I read that Google, after acquiring the Frommer’s series of travel guides seven months ago, is reportedly halting production of the printed books. Although I wholeheartedly embrace every internet tool available to enable and enrich my travel experience, I am sad to see the beginning of the end of packable travel guide books.

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Continue reading

The Persistence of Food

The upcoming release of the flick “Looper” has sparked conversations about the possibility of time travel. Physicists discount the notion – something about the improbability of quarks, black holes and sun spots occurring simultaneously to produce the necessary quantum vector spatial shift.

Scientific mumbo jumbo. Time travel’s as simple as queuing up “California Dreamin'” on Spotify. WHOOSH!! I’m back in Colgate University’s pub, creatively named The Pub. The jukebox is pumping out the Mamas and Papas (it was stocked with music in 1965 and no one ever updated the selections), and I’m downing a quarter draft, waiting for the presidential debate between Dukakis and Bush Sr. Continue reading

“Buy the Ticket. Take the Ride.”

Vintage-Woman-With-SuitcaseThis directive comes from Hunter S. Thompson’s classic “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”  While I would never publicly advise loading the car trunk with polypharmaceuticals and hitting the open road, gonzo-style, like the good doctor and his Samoan sidekick, I do embrace their spirt and approach my journeys with similar gusto and enthusiasm.

I like to think of travel as recess for adults, an opportunity to play and escape from the everyday routine. It’s like hopping on Mr. Rogers‘ trolley and transporting to the Neighborhood of Make Believe. You get to be someone else (The Tourist) in a new place (Bali! Punta Cana! Detroit!) and create your own adventure. When you travel with a sense of wonder and an openness to a new environment, special things can and will happen.

The first step is buying the ticket. The second is putting aside the fear and anxiety that travel naturally induces. I begin each trip with the assumption that something will go wrong. Terribly, horribly wrong? Probably not, but accepting the inevitability and learning to roll with it enables you to transform bad situations into memorable stories. For example, on a recent trip, my traveling companion contracted a severe case of Ali Baba’s revenge in Morocco. It peaked several days later in Madrid. Seeking some relief, the front desk clerk directed me to the local pharmacia where I acquired treatment. I administered it to her and she promptly dismissed me and took to bed. I had no desire to dine alone at a traditional restaurant, so I wandered around Logo-Mercado-de-San-Migueland stumbled upon the Mercado de San Miguel, a lively food flea market. I spent some time sampling delicious tapas and rioja and brought her back a cream puff that she enjoyed in the morning. We learned a valuable lesson (“Don’t eat the grapes in Tangier!”) and laugh about that night when we remember our trip.

The blog will feature several categories of posts, updated weekly. I’ll give you snapshots of some of my favorite spots, quick peeks behind some of the small doors I’ve opened on the road. Since I live in the Hudson Valley, I’ll provide day trip itineraries that combine a destination with a dining suggestion in the area. In addition to sharing tips that have worked well for me, I’ll show you how I’ve incorporated souvenirs from the road into my home. It’s a terrific way to rekindle your vacation memories every day. And finally, I’d like to engage you in a discussion about regional family vacation spots – the ones we remember from childhood and the places where we bring our families today.

So, open your suitcase and throw in what fits. Then hit the road, rails or skies.  There are no rules.  Well, maybe just one – enjoy the ride!