Friday, January 15, 2016

Where in the world will I go next?

Through the Arkansas woods
A question that I often hear when I talk about going to far-flung parts of the world is about safety. I used to say that I don’t go anywhere that isn’t safe. However, the threats from terrorist groups have raised concerns about traveling to third world countries.  After thinking about my options, I’ve decided that fear of what might happen is not going to prevent me from traveling to the places I really want to go. My biggest concern has always been keeping track of my travel documents, and it still is. My second worry, and it’s just slightly less chilling than losing a passport, is how to keep the images I take secure. So what can you do to make sure that your documents and images are protected?

Making a travel folder with of copies of flight, hotel, transportation, and other reservations is a good idea. There are situations in which a reservation on a cell phone won’t be as easily
Colorado Aspens
accessible as a piece of paper in a backpack. This folder is also a good place to keep a hard copy of emergency phone numbers and other information that you (or someone who is trying to help) may need in an emergency. However, there are some things I don’t make paper copies of since they contain sensitive information. One of my friends who is a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, John Jones, advises that folks who travel put images of important personal documents on a secure website such as their Electronic Vault. This means that copies of your passport, driver’s license, insurance cards, and so forth can be accessed anywhere in the world if you remember your login/password and have access to the internet.

The pictures I take while I’m on a trip are very important to me. If I know that I’ll have access
Curious alpaca near Cresson, Texas
to the internet and I have my laptop with me, then I spend time taking them off of my camera card and uploading them to Dropbox. However, when the internet isn’t available, I will copy the pictures from my camera to my laptop leaving the originals on the camera card. Many people take pictures with their cell phones, and I do take some snaps using mine, but the majority of the images are taken with my camera. I’m more likely to misplace my cell phone than my camera.

As far as where we’re traveling this year, I’ve been contemplating this question for quite a while. There are some places that are definite, but the timing is eluding me, partly because
Temple Drive in Hawai'i
exciting, enticing places come up and just as when a dog sees a squirrel, I’m off and running. So far this year we’re planning a trip to Rockport, Texas to enjoy the Clay Expo that benefits Meals on Wheels in their area. We’ve also got a list of towns within 50 miles of home that we want to visit and check out their local restaurants.

There are several ‘bead retreats’ in my future. The first one is in Temple, Texas. Then there
Saint Melangell gateway in Wales
are two in the fall. Both are return trips: one is back in San Diego, California and the other is in Black Mountain, North Carolina. If my luck holds, I may get to go beading in Morocco – my fingers are crossed that this trip has sufficient people to keep the organizers happy. I’ve dreamed of visiting Morocco since I saw ‘Casablanca’ and ‘The Road to Morocco’ when I was a kid. If I do get to make this trip, I really want to ride a dromedary (a ‘camel’ with two humps) and go into Rick's Cafe.

In late summer, Dave and I will be visiting Copenhagen, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick. We’re giving Holland Cruises a try. I’m afraid they won’t hold a candle
Saint Andrews in Penrith
to the Viking Cruise we experienced last year. In any case, I’m planning to ride a horse in Iceland and do some other outlandish deeds in the other countries. We’ve yet to choose what other adventures we’ll have when we get to the other ports of call.

Wurtzburg, Germany
Although I’m not at all sure where we’ll go the rest of the year, the Near-Normal Travelers will be reporting on where we stayed, what we did, and what we ate. I’m fairly confident that I’ll make my annual winter trip back to Colorado Springs, but who knows what other exciting opportunities may arise. I can’t wait for the possibilities!

Gator by Niki in San Diego

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