Funny Travel Stories

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Anyone who travels has them…funny stories of things that went a bit sideways or askew while on  a trip. While often these experiences are not especially funny while living them, later they make humorous tales to share over a meal with friends.

I hope this collection of funny travel stories, collected over a span of years, brings a chuckle, a smile or at the least, a recollection of a funny experience of your own.

Funny Travel Stories title meme

Little Sister Scores Some Tickets

When the kids were ages 10, 14 and 15 years old, they accompanied Greg and me on a business/vacation trip to LA. With a week to spend in sunny California, we carefully planned what sights to see, what parks to experience and how to best budget our time and resources.

Because the kids had been to Disney World in Florida a few years before, we opted out of Disney Land and chose instead to visit other attractions such as Universal Studios. The choice stung a bit though, as our hotel was RIGHT next door to Disney Land.

Every night, my youngest child, Adriel, wanted to soak in the hot tub. Whether it was the novelty of it or she genuinely appreciated that hot water, the practice became a nightly ritual. Her older brother and sister teased her for grabbing her towel and flip flops every night and joining a decidedly older crowd in the hot tub. I of course went with her.

Toward the end of the week, as Adriel and I settled into the hot tub, an older woman joined us. After chitchatting for a few minutes, she suddenly asked Ariel if she enjoyed Disney Land. Adriel explained we chose other parks instead. Turns out, the woman had tickets to the theme park that she did not use with her grandkids. She kindly offered them to us. We followed the woman to her room and gratefully accepted the tickets. Adriel took great delight in flip-flopping her way back to our room, and waving those tickets in her siblings’ faces.

We spent an entire day at Disney Land, one of the most fun experiences we had while in LA, thanks to Adriel!

A Kiss for Luciano

On my last night in Italy, our Globus Tour group prepared for a final meal together in Rome. I arrived downstairs to the lobby early, ahead of most of the group including my daughter and grandson. Fabiola, our lively, wonderful tour guide, directed my attention outside, to the big tour bus at the curb.

“Luciano is there. Why don’t you be first to go tell him goodbye,” Fabi suggested.

Ah, Luciano, our handsome, charming, very Italian bus driver, who spoke limited English but conveyed volumes with his smile and dark brown eyes.

I happily carried out a “thank you” card for him. He listened to me expressing gratitude for his skills as a bus driver, then smiled and nodded. Lightly touching one cheek, he said a single word in English. “Kiss?”

I know I blushed as I planted kisses on each of his cheeks and received his kisses in return. By this time, the rest of the group had arrived in the hotel lobby. In moments a long line formed, of ladies eager to give Luciano kisses!

Funny Travel Stories kiss
Funny Travel Stories – a kiss for Luciano

Scottish Pole Dancer

During the girls’ trip to the UK, in 2017, my mom, sisters, niece and I spent a long day exploring Edinburgh. We made excellent use of the hop on/hop off buses to get around the city.

As the day ended, we felt ready for a quick dinner, hot showers and a long night’s rest after a busy day. Except…we missed our hop off spot. The bus parked for the night, we us still on it. What to do?

We walked to where a group of guides stood, on Waverly Bridge. One of them, a cheerful looking older man named George, approached us to see if we needed help. After explaining our situation, he asked where our accommodations were in Edinburgh. His reaction surprised us. He laughed and motioned the other guides over. Hearing our predicament, they laughed too when George mentions where we are staying.

We don’t understand the laughter, however, the guide helps us by placing us on an empty bus and asking the driver to take us to our apartment. When the driver heard the address, he glances at us in amusement. Finally I ask what’s so funny.

In lieu of an answer, George grins and hops into the bus. Grabbing a pole nearby, typically used to steady standing riders, George hums a tune and spins gracefully around the pole, looking at us expectantly as he twirls. The other guides hoot and clap…and realization dawns. He’s pole dancing.

“Are we staying in Edinburgh’s red light district?” I ask. Yes, yes we are. George hops off the bus and twirls again for our amusement, then bows as the bus pulls away. Walking up to our apartment later, we take a good look at our surroundings, for the first time really. Our apartment is in the middle of strip clubs, lap dance parlors and adult shows. No wonder the guides laughed. We are amused too. (Read a longer version of this story HERE.)

My next trip to Edinburgh, I chose to stay in a different part of town!

Positivity Overload

After a wonderful 12 days spent in Italy, my daughter Elissa, grandson Dayan and I settled into our airline seats, exhausted and ready to return home. Five hours later, we still remained in those seats, on the tarmac at the Rome airport.

While Elissa’s seat was in a different section of the plane, Dayan and I sat side by side toward the back. Watching restless people and shortened tempers, I encouraged Dayan that all was well, we’d leave when we were supposed to and that if we didn’t fly out, it was because we weren’t meant to, even if we didn’t know why.

Elissa fell asleep and woke up, expecting to be in the air and well on our way. Dayan grew weary of sitting on a stuffy plane, listening to people complain. At last, after more than five hours, the pilot announced our flight canceled. We all exited the plane, the airline company giving everyone overnight accommodations at a nearby hotel.

As we walked to the hotel, Dayan darted ahead to walk with his mom, while I leisurely strolled along at my own pace. And no, we did not enjoy another night in Italy so much as we crashed in our hotel room, asleep before the sun went down.

We successfully flew out the next day. It was only after we were in the air that Dayan turned to me, a bit contritely, and shared that he left me to walk by myself because he simply could not handle any more of my positivity! I laughed and assured him it was okay. What followed was a wonderful conversation about having a positive life outlook, something Dayan took to heart. He is a go-with-the-flow traveler now, who has learned at age 22 to roll with what life brings, knowing there’s always a reason for everything that happens.

Funny Travel Stories positivity
Funny Travel Stories – positivity overload. This photo was taken at about hour two of a five+ hour hold on the tarmac before our flight canceled.

Boldly Going…Where No One Should Go

During a week long visit to the state of Kentucky, our family of five enjoyed several equine related events due to older daughter Elissa’s love of horses. She showed Arabians and Saddlebreds in horse shows all over the Midwest, including the large American Royal National Championship Horse show in Kansas City. During that prestigious show, we always enjoyed watching her…and actor William Shatner, best known perhaps for his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, showing his beautiful Saddlebreds.

We discovered, somehow, that Shatner owned a horse farm in Kentucky. So…we decided to visit it while in the state. I cringe now that we drove right up to the training barns on his property, totally uninvited. And I sincerely doubt that could happen now. However, we walked inside and found his trainer working with the horses. Rather than calling security…if there was such…or demanding that we leave, Donna Moore visited with us and allowed us to watch as she put one of the Shatner horses through his moves.

While a fun experience, I’m appalled today that we so boldly went where no one should go…without an invitation! (Forgive me, Captain Kirk!)

Wrong Way, Sister

My sister Debbie accompanied me on a 2019 trip to Scotland. Although we attended five days of Clan Maitland activities, we also built in five additional days of exploring Edinburgh on our own.

That’s when I discovered that my sister has NO sense of direction. Perhaps because of my many years as a realtor, I’ve learned to navigate by directions and instinct rather than landmarks or using “right” or “left”. I could mentally call up Edinburgh’s grid of streets in my head as we explored. Debbie, on the other hand, invariably headed out confidently…in the wrong direction…on our many explorations. It became a running joke during our stay in Edinburgh. Debbie striding out with purpose…in the exact opposite direction from our destination. Me waiting until she figured it out and turned to call back for directions.

Back in the US, after ten glorious days in Scotland, I watched as my sister walked to the ladies restroom in the New York airport. I was watching still as she exited the restroom, hesitated and then turned left and strode away from me down the wide hall. One more wrong way for Debbie…before we arrived home! (Read the longer version of this story HERE.)

Mom Doesn’t Have a Clue

On that girls’ UK trip, our group of five finished up in London, England. One attraction we all chose was The London Dungeon.

While this high quality experience, a cross between a walking tour and an amusement park ride, offers performers in period costumes portraying characters from London’s murky past, the highlight of the tour was my mom.

At the time of this trip, she was 77 years young. In spite of breaking a knee a few months before the trip, she kept up with all of us. Walking through the London Dungeon experience, we had enjoyed two photo opportunities.

In the first, the photographer put three of us in stocks, handed Mom and my niece axes and told us to play along. Mom didn’t catch exactly what he said, and the photo shows. While the rest of us are looking at the camera, Mom is gazing off to the side, axe in hand, totally lost.

In the second photo, with a green screen portraying the London fire behind us, four of us look horrified…or amused…while poor Mom is again staring off in another direction, trying to “find” the fire.

We didn’t realize how hysterically funny it all was, until we saw the photos at the end of the tour. We still laugh every time we see the photos or tell the story. Mom remains a good sport about it!

Funny Travel Stories dungeon
Funny Travel Stories – Mom doesn’t have a clue what’s happening!

Your Funny Travel Stories

I hope these humorous tales brought a smile to your face! At another time, I’ll share Funny Travel Stories Part 2, because I have more tales to tell.

What about you?

Do you have funny stories from your travels that you and your family still giggle over? I’d love to read them. Share one in the comments below.

Funny Travel Stories fire
Mom: “Where’s the fire??” I’m laughing right now…..

 

Fun Travel Items from Amazon:

 


 

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Ten Most Irish Cities in the US

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THIS POST IS A COLLABORATION WITH LAWNSTARTER. THEY PROVIDED THE STATS FROM THEIR Most Irish CITY RESEARCH AND I ADDED additional INFO ABOUT EACH CITY.

 

March celebrates National Irish American Heritage Month by honoring the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants living in the US. Choosing March was intentional, to coincide with Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th.

To add to the celebrations and fun, discover where the ten most Irish cities in the US are located and why they are at the top of the list.

Ten Most Irish Cities in the US title meme

The Criteria for the Ten Most Irish Cities in the US

Lawnstarter compared the 200 largest US cities based on the following criteria:

  • the size of their Irish population
  • availability of Irish restaurants and pubs
  • number of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations and other Irish cultural events
  • number of Irish cultural groups and organizations such as Irish dance schools, cultural centers and networking groups.

As the saying goes, “everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day”. And many of us, me included, do claim Irish ancestry. According to my AncestryDNA results, I am 9% Irish. Some cities have a large concentration of descendants from Irish ancestors. Check to see if your city made the list, based on the criteria above.

1. Boston, MA

Unsurprisingly, Boston ranks as the top Irish city in the US. Irish immigrants began arriving in Massachusetts during and after the potato famine in the 1840s.

Today slightly more than 20% of Boston’s population is made up of Irish Americans, making it the city with most concentrated Irish population. Irish American Bostonians celebrate big with an annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade. And the city boasts plenty of Irish inspired restaurants and pubs featuring Guinness.

Fun Fact: The influx of Irish immigrants resulted in the distinct Bostonian accent heard today.

2. Chicago, IL

Chicago is the fourth largest Irish city, population wise, and claims the second spot on the list due to holding the most Irish community events…143 of them. The McNutty School of Irish Dance also began in this city.

The Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago is a non-profit organization that offers programs featuring Irish dance, literature, heritage, music and cultural contributions to the US.

Fun Fact: The city dyes the Chicago River green for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. This year the river begins flowing green on Saturday March 12.

Ten Most Irish Cities in the US chicago green river
Ten Most Irish Cities in the US – green river in Chicago *Unsplash photo by Benjamin Rascoe

3. New York, NY

New York takes the third Irish city spot. They rank high for number of Irish restaurants and pubs.

And the city holds the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the nation. The six hour long parade features Irish dancers, pipers playing bagpipes and other performers marching down the street with more than 2 million spectators in attendance. They also host many other Irish celebrations.

Fun Fact: New York sponsors the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” Saint Patrick’s Day bar crawl.

4. Pittsburgh, PA

Coming in at #4, Pittsburg’s first Scots-Irish immigrants arrived in the 1700s with Catholic Irish arriving 100 years later. The potato famine brought thousands more, many of whom found work with the railroads. Today nearly 11% of the city’s population list Irish as their ancestors.

The Irish Centre of Pittsburgh educates its members and the community about the Gaelic culture. It hosts lectures, classes, arts and crafts, music, drama and dance as well as social and athletic events to preserve the city’s Irish culture.

Fun Fact: Pittsburgh is one of only three cities in the US that boasts a chapter of the Knights of Equity. The club promotes traditional Irish dance and folk music.

Ten Most Irish Cities in the US new york parade
Ten Most Irish Cities in the US – New York’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade *Unsplash photo by Johnny Cohen

5. Naperville, IL

Naperville ranks 5th with a high Irish population of about 14%. They host an annual family oriented Saint Patrick’s Day parade that celebrates Irish American heritage and culture.

West Suburban Irish is a non-profit organization headquartered here that promotes, nurtures and strengthens Irish culture in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Fun Fact: Quigley’s Irish Pub in Naperville serves up classic Irish fare. The West Suburban Irish calls this pub home, holding their meetings there once a month.

6. Philadelphia, PA

In Philadelphia, 12% of the city’s residents claim Irish heritage, with most of those living in the suburbs. Philadelphia’s founder, William Penn, was part Irish on his mother’s side. The Society of the Friendly Sons of St Patrick was founded in Philly in 1771.

Today the city boasts a large number of Irish pubs such as Isabella Barry’s Faithful Irishman and The Jolly Irishman. Philadelphia celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day big time with a parade and a bar crawl.

Fun Fact: The Philadelphia Fleadh is a one day Irish American festival held annually in May. It features local and international traditional Irish music plus dance, shopping, food, spirits and activities.

Ten Most Irish Cities in the US philly fleadh
Ten Most Irish Cities in the US – Philadelphia Fleadh

7. Denver, CO

Leaving the East Coast and Midwest, we head to Denver, #7 on the top ten list. Irish immigrants headed west after the discovery of silver. When the silver boom ended, the Irish moved to Denver.

Today the Mile High City ranks high in Irish food and drink locations and hosts multiple Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Fun Fact: The famous unsinkable Molly Brown raised funds to build the Cathedral Basilica of Immaculate Conception in Denver. Through her legacy, the Molly Brown House, Colorado’s rich Irish heritage is preserved.

8. Spokane, WA

In Spokane, nearly 14% of the population lists Irish ancestry. Irish settlers arrived in the area in the mid 1800s, eager to claim land and take advantage of the many opportunities the northwest offered.

Spokane often plays host to Irish musicals and theater performances.

Fun Fact: Spokane is the sister city to Limerick, Ireland and encourages the appreciation of Irish and American cultures between the two communities,

Ten Most Irish Cities in the US denver molly brown house
Ten Most Irish Cities in the US – Denver’s Molly Brown House

9. Syracuse, NY

Irish immigrants came to the Syracuse area between 1778 and 1910. While some came from Ireland, others came from Canada and other countries they previously immigrated to. Currently 1/6 of the population claims Irish ancestry.

Syracuse hosts a yearly parade and an Irish Festival that features music, dance, folk songs, genealogy, culture and activities.

Fun Fact: Early Irish immigrants settles in a far west neighborhood called Tipperary Hill, named for County Tipperary in Ireland. It’s still proudly Irish today. The neighborhood has a traffic light from the 1920s with green at the top instead of red, as a strong identity with Ireland, the Emerald Isle.

10. Worchester, MA

Coming in at 10th place on the list, Worchester received its first Irish and Scottish immigrants in 1718. However it was the building of the Blackstone Canal, connecting Worchester with Providence, RI, that caused the growth of the Irish population. Between 1826 and 1828 1,000 Irish immigrants moved to Worchester to help construct the canal. Today nearly 1/3 of the small city’s residents still claim Irish ancestry,

The community offers several Irish pubs and on Saint Patrick’s Day, a parade and an Irish Festival.

Fun Fact: To mark the 150th anniversary of the Irish settlement in Worchester, the Irish American community erected a Celtic Cross on Worchester Common in 1977.

Ten Most Irish Cities in the US celtic cross
Ten Most Irish Cities in the US – Celtic Cross in Worchester

Celebrating Irish American Ancestry

How many of these cities have you visited? On this list, I’ve visited Philadelphia and Denver. Boston and Chicago are on my Adventure List. I’d love to create a second list with some of these cities on it.

And I traveled to Dublin, Ireland in 2017 with four other family members. What a fun time connecting with my Irish roots there. It’s a beautiful country with a rich heritage.

Pop over to see LawnStarter’s study post HERE on Irish cities. They have other fun studies too such as Best Cities for Cat Lovers and Best Cities for Carless Weekend Trips.

LawnStarter is a startup company that makes lawn care easy, affordable and reliable. They have a blog for lawn care…and these fun studies.

How do you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and your Irish ancestry?

Ten Most Irish Cities in the US dublin
The Temple Bar Area, Dublin Ireland

Add to your Irish celebrations with these Amazon finds:

 


 

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Origins of Common American Expressions

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Common expressions…we all use them. I grew up repeating phrases I heard my parents and grandparents say. I understood the gist of the meanings even if the strung together words seemed bizarre. Occasionally I wondered where such interesting expressions came from.

Have you?

Wonder no more. Check out the origins of common American expressions and see if your favorite made the list.

Origins of Common American Expressions title meme

Once in a Blue Moon

Meaning: something that happens rarely

Scientifically, a blue moon is the term for a second full moon that occurs during a single month. We typically have only one full moon every 30 days. About every 2.7 years, two full moons fall within the same month.

Although a similar phrase appeared in a book in the 19th century, the phrase as we use it today began later, around 1946, with a reference in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac.

Riding Shotgun

Meaning: riding in the front seat of a vehicle next to the driver

In the Old West, the person who sat next to the driver on a stagecoach frequently carried a shotgun to shoot any robbers who might attempt to stop the coach and steal from the occupants.

Today kids often shout out, “I call shotgun” as they race toward a car.

Origins of Common American Expressions riding shotgun
Origins of Common American Expressions – riding shotgun

Flying Off the Handle

Meaning: unpredictable or sudden anger

Before items were mass produced in factories, they were handmade. Some items might exhibit better craftsmanship than others. This expression comes from poorly made axes, crafted during the 1800s, that came apart too easily. The axe heads literally flew off their handles. Such an accident could induce surprise and anger!

Under the Weather

Meaning: not feeling well…feeling sick

Originally, sailors at sea used the expression “under the weather bow”, referring to the side of that ship that caught the brunt of wind during storms. To avoid feeling sick during rough seas, sailors bunkered down in their cabins…literally under the bad weather…and allowed the storms to pass.

Origins of Common American Expressions under the weather
Origins of Common American Expressions – under the weather

Close But No Cigar

Meaning: not quite winning or achieving success and therefore not getting the reward

Today carnival games hand out stuffed animals or trinkets as prizes for winning. However, in the late 19th century adults played most carnival games. Prizes included cigars. If someone almost won, but fell short they were “close, but no cigar”. By the 1930s the expression extended beyond fairgrounds to other types of near successes.

Bite the Bullet

Meaning: performing an unpleasant task or enduring a difficult situation

In the 1800s, patients literally bit down on a bullet to cope with the pain of surgery or medical procedures, without the benefit of receiving anesthesia.

Get Your Goat/Gets My Goat

Meaning: to irritate or annoy someone or become irritated or annoyed by someone

This expression originated at horseracing tracks. Jockeys placed goats in the stalls with their prize race horses to relax them. Competitors removed the goats of their rivals to spook their horses, hoping to win the race as a result.

Origins of Common American Expressions got your goat
Origins of Common American Expressions – get your goat

Pull Out All the Stops

Meaning: do everything possible to make something successful

This phrase originates from the musical instrument, the organ. When all the stops are pulled out, the organ plays loudly with a lot of different sounds all at once.

Cost an Arm and a Leg

Meaning: very expensive

This phrase originates from the 18th century. When famous people such as George Washington had their portraits painted, they did so without showing all of their limbs. The more limbs painted into the portrait, the more the painting cost.

I have to admit…this is my favorite origin!

Let the Cat Out of the Bag

Meaning: to accidently reveal a secret

During the 1700s, a common fraud involved secretly replacing more valuable pigs with less valuable cats and selling them in bags. When the cat was let out of the bag, the secret was revealed.

Do You Have a Favorite Common Expression?

Did you learn the origins of any of your favorite expressions? I love the study of words and origins. It’s a fun way to learn a bit of history as well.

Check out my other posts sharing common sayings from Scotland, England, Italy and Ireland.

Do you or your family commonly use an expression? Share it below.

Origins of Common American Expressions cat out of the bag
Origins of Common American Expressions – let the cat out of the bag

 

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Create a Travel Medical Kit

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Often when we travel, we do so with a sense of joyful abandonment. No rules, no schedules, no work to slow us down. It’s exhilarating. However,  that freedom from our “regular” life sometimes includes ditching our established health routines too.

I discovered quickly that maintaining my health while traveling is essential to my wellbeing. If I eat poorly, or stop the supplements, I can quickly feel bad. And that’s not the way I want to spend my trip…feeling bad or experiencing pain.

I carry specific health related items with me when I travel. And I only travel with a carry on, so I’ve pared down what I take with me to the most important to keep my health and energy at optimal levels.

Check out how to create a travel medical kit, personalized to your needs, that can see you through the days of travel.

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Possible Items for a Travel Medical Kit

These are possibilities for creating your own kit. Important questions to ask yourself…

Am I traveling solo? Who is traveling with me? Are children traveling with me too?

Here is a broad list of possible items to consider for a travel medical kit:

  • pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, tension relief
  • sleep aids, eye mask, melatonin gummies
  • CBD products
  • essential oils
  • herbal supplements, multi-vitamin, Voke Superfoods
  • prescription meds
  • over the counter meds – sinus meds, allergy meds, UTI meds, decongestant, eyedrops, cough drops, cough relief, menstrual cramp relief, salves
  • sunscreen, sunburn relief
  • insect repellent, bug bite ointment, anti-itch ointment
  • bandaids, bandages
  • antibacterial ointments
  • hand sanitizer
  • sanitizing wipes
  • face masks
  • tweezers, small scissors, nail clippers
  • digital thermometer, blood pressure cuff, blood glucose monitor
  • antacids, heartburn relief, diarrhea meds, motion sickness tabs, upset stomach meds
  • rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, peroxide
  • cotton balls, cotton swabs
  • soothing lotions – eczema cream, diaper rash lotion, rash relief
Create a Travel Medical Kit voke
Create a Travel Medical Kit – Voke Superfoods tablets are one of my essentials for international travel

Create a Travel Medical Kit That Meets Your Needs

Of course, you probably don’t need to pack all of the above items. Choose what is most important to maintain your health. Everyone’s needs are different.

I travel light. Currently, I don’t take any prescription meds. A friend of mine, however, travels with two suitcases. One carries her clothing and the other, all of her meds and supplements. That’s what works best for her.

Depending on suitcase space and your health needs, choose the items that are essential. I don’t group my essentials together in a separate bag or container. Instead, I tuck items among my clothes, into shoes and alongside toiletries. Whether I’m traveling through Italy for 12 days or spending a long weekend somewhere, my essential health items go with me.

My Travel Medical Kit

Here are the items that I consider essential for my health and wellbeing. These items accompany me on all trips.

Pain Relief

I carry travel sized ibuprofen and acetaminophen in my purse. I occasionally have severe headaches. Years ago, my dentist gave me a valuable tip. For moderate to severe pain, take a combination of three ibuprofen and two acetaminophen. The combo works like a pain pill for me, but without the drowsiness or side effects.

And I love the Hilma products. They provide natural relief, for tight muscles or tension headaches. And the indoor/outdoor relief is wonderful for natural sinus congestion and allergen relief. Click links above to order Hilma.

Create a Travel Medical Kit Hilma
Create a Travel Medical Kit – Hilma Products

Supplements

  • Cat’s Claw
  • MSM
  • Magnesium
  • Comfort Guard
  • GLOW Complex

I take more supplements than these when at home. These though support joint and muscles health. After many years of chronic sciatica, I can still experience stiff, tight muscles in my legs, especially when walking for hours. The first four supplements listed above keep my legs working well and comfortable. The Comfort Guard is THE best supplement for reducing pain and inflammation. I love the combination of turmeric, ginger and boswellia.

And GLOW Complex is an amazing plant based collagen builder that also supplies a host of essential vitamins and minerals including B12, which is so important to keep my energy up.

Order Comfort Guard and GLOW in the links at end of post.

Over the Counter

  • Witch Hazel (carried in a small TSA approved bottle)
  • bandaids
  • antibiotic cream
  • Prid (a soothing drawing salve)
  • sunscreen
  • cotton balls and cotton swabs

Witch Hazel makes an ideal soother for scrapes, insect bites and cuts. Plus I use it for a toner after washing my face.

Prid is a drawing salve that I don’t like to be without. It relieves bug bites, spider bites, boils and ingrown hairs.

Protection

I’m fully vaccinated. Otherwise I wouldn’t be traveling at all. I still take cloth masks wherever I go, for the best protection. And in addition to social distancing and washing my hands frequently, I use SkinShield2, a protective antibacterial skin barrier lotion. A small amount of lotion kills germs, viruses and bacteria on contact and protects my hands for hours. Click link above to order yours.

Create a Travel Medical Kit - protection
Create a Travel Medical Kit – protection

Miscellaneous

  • peppermint tea bags
  • Incrediwear knee sleeve

My favorite tea goes with me. I tuck a few tea bags in my purse and more in my carry on. Peppermints soothes the whole digestive system and boosts spirits and mood.

The Incrediwear knee sleeve is a “just in case” item. Occasionally I twist my left knee and it reacts immediately with pain, swelling and inflammation.

Incrediwear products work by increasing blood flow to the injured joint, to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat. Read more about this amazing sleeve HERE.

What Will Go in Your Travel Medical Kit?

While it may look like a lot of items to carry, my essentials fit easily within my carry on and purse/backpack. I feel good knowing I have what I need to support my body and health during my travels.

What health items are essential for you? Do you have a standard set of items that go wherever you go? Share them in the comments!

Create a Travel Medical Kit

Want to Know How I Pack a Carry On?

Check out this post for my packing tips, to travel light.

Health Boosting Finds for Travel from Amazon:

 


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Eco-Friendly Travel Practices

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I love traveling, for so many reasons. And I feel strongly about taking care of the planet, for so many reasons as well.

Often, these two desires wage war with each other, as travel can impact the earth economically, socially and environmentally. Some of those impacts are positive. And some, not so much. Approximately 1.2 BILLION people travel internationally every year…when we are not in a global pandemic. And while travel and tourism contribute to the global economy, it often comes at the expense of the environment and local communities.

For me, part of embracing a more sustainable lifestyle includes adopting eco-friendly travel practices.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices title meme

What is Eco-Friendly Travel?

Eco-friendly, or sustainable, travel encompasses more than just minimizing the impact on the environment. Sustainable travel seeks to create a balance between economic growth, environmental health and the wellbeing of people and communities.

It’s a dance of reducing the negative impact of tourism while maximizing the positive benefits for cultures, communities, the ecology and ultimately, the planet.

After more than a year of decreased travel, due to COVID, we have fresh opportunities, as travelers, to make a difference and choose more sustainable ways of seeing the world. As we look to explore again, put these eco-friendly travel practices in place.

Skip the Touristy Places

Before COVID halted travel, some popular tourist destinations experienced “overtourism”. Continual streams of visitors caused damage to historic sites, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, nature areas and cities.

When travel opens again fully, try visiting places less well known. And I get it. We all have places on our travel bucket lists and we long to visit them. See them if you must, perhaps during the off season. However, consider avoiding the crowds and seeking out smaller cities, little known villages and other more rural areas.

The benefits of tourism are shared with more communities that way, without overburdening and actually harming the tourist hot spots.

Support the Local Economy

Wherever you go, be there, as the saying goes, and really experience the place. Immerse yourself in the culture. Learn a few words of the language. Get to know the people. And support the local economy.

Shop there, in locally owned stores. Eat meals in quaint cafes, prepared from regionally sourced foods. Visit the city market and enjoy wares made by community artisans. Book excursions led by tour guides native to the area. They know the rich stories behind the historic sites.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices support locally
Eco-friendly travel practices – support locally. Seeds for the Soul Vegan Cafe, a locally owned restaurant in Edinburgh

Support Eco-Friendly Tour Companies

When desiring a tour, while visiting a community, look for eco-friendly tour companies. Often the money spent with these companies goes back into the community or into local conservation and environmental projects.

Local tour companies arrange smaller travel groups, set up local accommodations and hire people from the community to lead the tours. It’s a win/win all the way around. It helps to keep tourism money in the town and with the people, where it is most needed.

Eco-Friendly Transportation

Among modes of transportation, flying produces the most carbon emissions per passenger. Often, however, flying is the only way to reach a destination. Try these tips to lessen the impact:

  • use non stop flights when you can, rather than breaking the flight up. Direct flights are more fuel efficient.
  • travel light. The more luggage loaded onto a plane, the heavier it is, and the more carbon emissions produced.
  • take advantage of carbon offset programs (see next tip)
  • look for airlines that use renewable biofuels

When you can, travel by train or bus. It saves fuel and it’s a great way to see the countryside. And ride together, or carpool, when driving a car.

While in a city, walk as much as possible, to save fuel and really get to know the community. It’s great exercise for the visitor too. Use the hop on/hop off buses to get an overview of the city or rent bicycles and explore that way.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices transportation
Eco-friendly travel practices – hop on/hop off buses

Offset Carbon Emissions

One way to reduce the impact of flying is to use a carbon offset program.

These programs give airline passengers the option of investing in carbon reduction projects to help reduce or neutralize the carbon footprint caused by their travel.

Currently, there are 30+ international airlines participating in carbon offset programs. Select this option when purchasing tickets through the airline website. It costs a few extra dollars. However, those funds go toward reducing carbon and greenhouse gases. One project may protect rainforests while another builds wind farms.

Check out the best Carbon Offset Programs HERE.

Carry Your Own Water Container

I stress this tip often, and for good reason. Every year, 8 MILLION metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans. Imagine one garbage truck full of plastics dumping into the ocean every single minute of every day. And one of the leading culprits is the plastic water bottle.

Plastic, whether dumped into the ocean or buried in a landfill, takes HUNDREDS of years to break down. It’s causing great harm to the earth and its inhabitants.

It’s such an easy switch to carry a metal water container rather than a plastic water bottle. In my home we fill our metal water containers from a filtered water pitcher in the fridge. Or you can use your refrigerator’s filtered water system.

Wherever you go, take your water container. Mine accompanies me everywhere, even on international trips. Security allows an empty container through. Then you can fill it while in the airport and carry it onto the plane. Another simple way to eliminate plastic? Refuse straws at restaurants.

Eco-Friendly Travel Practices
Eco-friendly travel practices – carry a metal water container

Eco-Friendly Hotel Tips

When possible, stay at accommodations that are certified “eco-friendly”. Then use this tips:

  • treat your accommodations like home, saving energy as you would there
  • turn off lights and electronics when leaving or sleeping
  • lower heat or raise air conditioning while away or sleeping
  • take showers rather than baths
  • bring your own toiletries from home
  • in countries where weather is mild, opt to open a window if possible, rather than using air conditioning
  • hang up towels to dry and reuse…AND…
  • hang the “do not disturb” sign on door to prevent housekeeping from changing sheets daily, cutting down on energy used to wash towels and sheets
  • stay in an Airbnb or a self serve apartment, so you can prep meals and wash your own laundry
  • in a hotel, wash out clothes in the sink and hang to dry
  • purchase a multi-purpose electrical plug for use in international countries

Eco-Friendly Travel Hacks

  • when traveling, carry liquids in a reusable ziplock bag
  • carry snacks in small metal canisters
  • pack cloth totes and bags, for use while shopping, to eliminate use of plastic shopping bags
  • shop for food in local markets to prepare in apartment or Airbnb kitchen
  • travel with a capsule wardrobe, to travel light
  • “shop” for travel clothes from your own closet
  • carry reusable eating utensils
  • use bar soaps and bar shampoo and conditioners, to travel light and to eliminate plastic bottles
  • bring your own earbuds on the plane and pass on the airline ones
  • carry on your own wrap or jacket to double as a blanket and your own travel pillow on flights
  • eat in a restaurant, when possible, rather than ordering carryout, to eliminate plasticware and foam containers
Eco-Friendly Travel Practices hotel
I prefer apartments like this one on Thistle Street in Edinburgh, for their full kitchens and washers and dryers.

Which Eco-Friendly Travel Practices Will You Adopt?

I hope you discovered eco-friendly tips to try out during your next trip. I’m putting these practices in place in my life. Not only do I want to enjoy travel and lessen my negative impact on the world, I want my children and grandchildren to get to travel as well. By my example, I’m teaching them to travel sustainably. As I learn new practices and discover new eco-friendly companies to partner with, I’ll share them.

Which of these practices will you embrace?

And if you have other eco-friendly travel tips, please share them in the comments!

Travel Helps from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This post is a collaboration with Lawnstarter. They provided the stats from their Hipster City research and I added the info about each city.

 

Last month I received a fun email from LawnStarter about one of their studies. It featured the best cities for hipsters and I was immediately intrigued. After an exchange of emails, I received their permission to share the results of their study along with the criteria they used to determine which cities are the best for hipsters.

I’m adding some additional info and a brief overview of each of the top ten hipster cities in the US. Looking for a fun way to explore some of America’s best cities? This is your guide!

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US title meme

What Is a Hipster?

Hipsters are non-conformists, people who enjoy living outside the cultural mainstream. They value progressive, independent thinking, counter-culture, art and indie music and films, creativity, intelligence and witty banter.

Hipsters appreciate eco-friendly everything, thrift stores, vintage clothing and craft beers, among other things.

The term “hipster”, in its present form, first appeared in the 1990s and became prominent in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Although the meaning has shifted, Harlem jazz clubs of the 1940s created the word. The first hipster is recognized as Harry “the Hipster” Gibson, the stage name for a Juilliard trained musician.

The Criteria

LawnStarter compared 150 of the biggest US cities, based on anti-mainstream factors. Those factors were each assigned a number between 1-3. The cities were ranked based on their overall scores, out of 100 possible points.

Anti-Mainstream Factors:

Fashion

  • Thrift stores per 100,000 residents
  • Vintage clothing and consignment shops per 100,000 residents
  • Tattoo parlors per 100,000 residents
  • Barber shops per 100,000 residents – many male hipsters sport a beard or mustache

Lifestyle

  • Environmental consciousness – includes sustainability and eco-friendly lifestyle
  • Biking friendliness
  • Car free living
  • Yoga studios per 100,000 residents

Culture

  • Record stores per 100,000 residents
  • Music venues per 100,000 residents
  • Antique shops per 100,000 residents
  • Local flavor spots per 100,000 residents – local flavor refers to places unique to that city
  • Art galleries per 100,000 residents
  • Art events per 100,000 residents

Food and Drink

  • Locavore friendliness – locavore refers to eating foods sourced from the local region
  • Urban garden friendliness – co-op gardening where the whole community benefits
  • Vegan and vegetarian restaurants per 100,000 residents
  • Farmer’s markets per 100,000 residents
  • Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods locations per 100,000 residents
  • Coffee roasteries per 100,000 residents
  • Craft breweries per 100,000 residents
  • Dive bars per 100,000 residents

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US

And here we go. Based on the criteria above, the top ten hipster cities in the US are…

1. San Francisco, CA

This city is the cultural, commercial and financial center in Northern California.

With a population of 873,965 as of 2020, it is the 4th largest city in the state and the 16th largest in the US.

San Francisco is famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, steep streets, cable cars and Alcatraz.

It ranked high in bike friendliness, local flavor spots and the culture and lifestyle categories.

Fun fact: The gold rush that began in 1848 resulted in many ships left abandoned in the port. The city tore the ships apart and repurposed them for homes, banks and businesses.

2. Portland, OR

Portland sits on the Columbia and Williamette Rivers, in the shadow of snow capped Mount Hood.

With a population of 662,549 as of 2020, it ranks 1st in the state and the 27th largest city in the US.

Portland is famous for green parks, bridges and bicycle paths, eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses.

It ranked high in bike friendliness, vintage clothing, craft beers, vinyl records, vegan and vegetarian foods and specialty coffees.

Fun fact: The city founders couldn’t agree on a name for the community, in 1842. They flipped a coin to determine whether the city name became Boston…or Portland. Visitors can view the Portland Penny at the Oregon Historical Society downtown.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US San Francisco
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #1 San Francisco.   Photo Canva

3. Oakland, CA

Oakland sits on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.

With a population of 435,224 as of 2020, Oakland is the 8th largest city in California and the 45th largest in the US.

Oakland is famous for its sports teams, the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors, renewable energy, diversity (one of the top five most diverse cities in the US) and local foods.

It ranked high in the food category, yoga and specialty coffees on the hipster scale.

Fun fact: Lake Merritt in Oakland has a sea monster in it. Sightings began in the 1940s. According to witnesses, the beast is a Loch Ness style creature with humps, spikes and a long tongue. The best place to catch a glimpse of the Oak Ness Monster is from the docks of the Lake Chalet Restaurant.

4. Fort Lauderdale, FL

This city is on Florida’s southeastern coast.

With a population of 182,760 as of 2020, it is the 10th largest city in Florida and the 142nd largest in the US.

Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beaches and boating canals, The Strip…a promenade running along oceanside highway A1A, upscale outdoor restaurants, boutiques and luxury hotels.

It ranked high for urban gardening, vintage clothing and consignment shops,  and in the culture and food and drink categories.

Fun fact: Due to its many canals, Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America”. Bonus fact: This city and I share a name. My maiden name is Lauderdale.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Fort Lauderdale
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #4 Fort Lauderdale   Photo Unsplash Debby Hudson

5. Jersey City, NJ

Jersey City lies in northeastern New Jersey. Its eastern waterfront faces the Hudson River where it meets Upper New York Bay.

With a population of 292,449 as of 2020, it’s the 2nd largest city in New Jersey and the 87th largest in the US.

Jersey City is famous for Liberty Island National Park that includes Ellis Island Immigration Station, the views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan, being the Diner Capital of the Country with 525 diners, its iconic Colgate Clock and an incredible food and art scene.

The city ranked high for art events and the fashion, culture and lifestyle categories.

Fun fact: In spite of New York having legal jurisdiction over her, the Statue of Liberty is actually in Jersey City.

6. Tempe, AZ

Tempe is located just east of Phoenix. Rising above the city is Hayden Butte, a mountain dotted with centuries old rock art.

With a population of 203,923 as of 2020, Tempe is the 8th largest city in Arizona and the 117th largest in the US.

Tempe is famous for Tempe Town Lake, Tempe Beach Park, one of the longest standing juried arts festivals in the state, and 100+ bohemian shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the downtown area.

Tempe ranked high in the arts and the fashion, food and drink and culture categories.

Fun fact: The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece, a gorge located between Olympus and Ossa.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Tempe
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #5 Jersey City    Photo Unsplash Uvi D

7. Huntington Beach, CA

Huntington Beach is located southeast of Los Angeles.

With a population of 197,417 as of 2020, it is the 23rd largest city in California and the 127th largest in the US.

It is famous for surf beaches, Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Central Park and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve with its wetlands and dunes that shelter hundreds of bird species.

Huntington Beach ranked high in art events, urban gardening, number of Trader Joe and Whole Foods locations and the fashion category.

Fun fact: Huntington Beach Pier extends 1,850 feet, from Main Street into the Pacific Ocean. Ruby’s Diner sits at the end of the pier. It is an extremely popular restaurant with surfers.

8. Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu’s south shore, is the capital of Hawaii and the gateway to the island chain.

With a population of 341,302 as of 2020, Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and the 57th largest in the US.

Honolulu is famous for its iconic crescent shaped Waikiki Beach backed by palm trees and high rise hotels, Diamond Head volcanic crater and Pearl Harbor.

Honolulu ranked high in art events, local flavor spots and the lifestyle and culture categories.

Fun fact: The only royal palace in the US, Iolani Palace is located on Oahu. The palace had electricity before the White House did, and was the first palace in the world to contain flushing toilets.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Huntington Beach
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #7 Huntington Beach    Photo Unsplash Steady Hand Co

9. Providence, RI

This capital city of Rhode Island is home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

With a population of 180,609 as of 2020, Providence is the largest city in Rhode Island and the 145th largest in the US.

Providence is famous for its beautiful outdoor spaces, historic spots and the delicious food in its Little Italy area.

Providence ranked high in the food and drink, culture and fashion categories.

Fun fact: Providence has the most coffee and donut shops, per capita, of any city in the country.

10. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is located in southern Louisiana on the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico. Its nickname is the “Big Easy”.

With a population of 388,424 as of 2020, New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana and the 53rd largest in the US.

New Orleans is famous for its round-the-clock nightlife, live music scene, spicy cuisine, Mardi Gras and its blend of French, African and American cultures.

It ranked high in local flavor spots and the cultural and food and drink categories.

Fun fact: Lake Pontchartrain Causeway near New Orleans is the longest continuous bridge in the world, as declared by Guinness World Records. It is 28,543 feet long.

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US New Orleans
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #10 New Orleans Photo Unsplash Caleb George

Which Hipster Cities Have You Visited?

So…do you consider yourself a hipster?

I believe I am! The definition certainly fits me, especially this year with my Wild Woman theme. Read my Wild Woman Manifesto.

On this list, I’ve only traveled to New Orleans, twice. It’s one of my favorite US cities to visit with its rich culture, beautiful architecture and fascinating stories.

What fun to go on a big adventure, visiting all ten of these hipster cities. I’m definitely interested!

And speaking of visiting, pop over to see LawnStarter’s study post HERE on hipster cities. They have other fun studies too such as Best Cities for Cat Lovers and Best Cities for Carless Weekend Trips.

LawnStarter is a startup company that makes lawn care easy, affordable and reliable. They have a blog for lawn care…and these fun studies.

Which of these ten hipster cities have you visited? And which one would you most like to explore?

Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US Honolulu
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US – #8 Honolulu    Photo Unsplash Cosmin Serban

Fun Hipster Books from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

My 12 Travel Essentials

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

As I think about traveling again…domestically for now and eventually internationally…I’ve put together this list of my 12 travel essentials.

I’m considered a “light traveler”, meaning I pack light and carry only what’s necessary, especially when I fly. I’ve spent 10 days in the UK several times and 12 days in Italy with only a carryon and my purse. Check out how I pack a carry on in this post. Then read on for the items I consider essential when I travel.

My 12 Travel Essentials title meme

My 12 Travel Essentials

For domestic trips and international ones, overnight road trips or a long weekend away, these are the items that travel with me.

Carry on Luggage

Starting with the most basic, my carry on holds the majority of my other essentials. My clothes, toiletries, shoes, supplements and documents go in here.

Over the last eight years, I’ve used three carry ons. The first one met an untimely end in an escalator accident.

I borrowed a carry on from my daughter for my most recent trip to Scotland, to try out a hard-sided suitcase. After I arrived home I purchased my current piece, a Samsonite carry on with four spinner wheels. I love its many pockets and deep compartment. Plus, it has a built in charger that can recharge my phone securely in an inner pocket.

My 12 Travel Essentials carryon
My 12 Travel Essentials – carry on luggage

Clear Toiletry Bag

Because I tightly roll or fold my clothes, Marie Kondo style, I don’t use the travel cubes. I do however pack my non-liquid toiletries in a clear TSA approved bag, like the ones pictured below.

Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, makeup and deodorant get packed in one of these bags, while liquids go inside a clear quart zip lock bag.

My 12 Travel Essentials – clear toiletry bag. Click photo to order.

Earbuds or Airpods

Yes, they hand earbuds out on most airlines. While typically free, some airlines charge for them.  And I’d rather tote my own. I carry these in my purse for easy access while flying. Plus, I sometimes use them while in a hotel room, to listen to music on my phone.

My 12 Travel Essentials – earbuds. Click photo to order.

Travel Pillow

I don’t sleep well on long flights although I try. It’s often difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. What helps me is finding a movie I’ve seen before, turning the volume down low, and propping my head up with a travel pillow. I’ve used the typical U shaped pillows. I attach mine to the handle of my carry on. However, I want to try the Trtl neck pillow that slips around the neck and provides great support.

Has anyone tried one of these? Are they really comfortable?

Trtl neck pillow for support. Click photo for more info.

Phone Charger and Portable Charger

My phone is so important, for my work and for capturing photos and videos. It would quickly become useless without a charger. I use a charging disc at home and love the convenience of dropping my phone onto it. It travels with me.

And I love taking along a portable charger that I carry in my purse or backpack. When my phone battery runs low while I’m out exploring, I can recharge it quickly and easily.

The Battpak by OCTAVE is a portable charger with a secret compartment that’s perfect for carrying cash, cards or small items. It’s accompanying me on my upcoming solo trip. Get yours HERE and use my code CINDY15 for 15% off.

My 12 Travel Essentials portable charger
My 12 Travel Essentials – Battpak portable charger

Travel Wrap

I don’t know about you, but I get cold on airplanes. I carry on a lightweight wrap that serves as a blanket while I’m traveling. When I get to my destination, the wrap becomes a pretty shawl for those cool evenings out.

This wrap, from Mer-Sea & Co comes with its own cloth tote bag, making it easy to tuck the folded up wrap into my backpack or purse. The company has an assortment of travel wraps to choose from.

My 12 Travel Essentials wrap
My 12 Travel Essentials – wrap that doubles as a lightweight blanket

Supplements

Do you take supplements for health? I do. And when I travel, I want to maintain my health and care for my body. It’s especially important since I walk all over cities while exploring.

I don’t carry all of my supplements when traveling. However, these must go with me: Cat’s Claw, MSM, MyKind Multi that includes essential vitamins and minerals plus plant based collagen, and Comfort Guard with turmeric, ginger and boswellia. The Comfort Guard is the best supplement I’ve EVER taken for joint comfort.

When I’m traveling internationally, I love these supplements from VOKE. They help me overcome jet lag quickly without losing a day for recovery. And they are made from superfoods so I know they are good for me as well.

My 12 Travel Essentials supplements
My 12 Travel Essentials – supplements

Backpack or Crossbody Bag

When out exploring, I carry a crossbody bag or a backpack to hold items I need. My portable charger goes in there along with a bit of cash, a hairbrush, sugar free mints and my phone.

I learned the hard way to wear my bag. Someone stole my purse the night before a cross country flight, while it was resting in a Walmart cart. Since that experience, I only wear backpacks or crossbody bags.

I’m loving this woven straw backpack from Kit and Wilder. It’s lightweight and perfectly carries all that I need. Order yours HERE and use my code Cindy15 to save 15% off of your order.

My 12 Travel Essentials backpack
My 12 Travel Essentials – backpack

Walking Shoes or Boots

I walk a great deal when I’m traveling. While hop on/hop off buses are helpful for an overview of the city, once I get my bearings I walk as much as possible to destinations. It’s such a wonderful way to really get to know a city, town or community. Plus there are botanical gardens or nature trails to explore.

A good pair of supportive walking shoes or boots are a must for me. And I prefer boots. They give my ankles some support too and I find them the most comfortable. Because boots are bulkier, I wear them onto a plane and pack my other shoes.

For boots or shoes, I only wear man made uppers or faux “leather”.

Faux leather boots…an essential for me. Click photo to order.

Metal Water Bottle

I don’t do plastic water bottles. However, I discovered on my last international flight that metal water bottles are allowed through security. They must be empty when passing through security then they may be filled with water for use on the flight.

No matter where I go, I carry a metal water bottle with me. It’s so essential to stay hydrated especially while out exploring.

My 12 Travel Essentials – metal water bottle. Click photo to order.

Universal Adapter

For international travel, a universal adapter is essential. These allow you to plug in chargers, hair dryers or laptops safely. I blew out the power on the whole second floor of a B&B in Edinburgh once, when I forgot to use my adapter for my hair dryer. Ooops!

These are small enough to easily tuck into a carry on.

Plug in adapter for international trips. Click photo to order.

Travel Journal

I like to carry a small journal along when I travel. It’s useful for jotting down information about places I intend to write about. I can also write out my impressions and thoughts about my experiences. And sometimes I do a sketch.

One thing I’ve learned, as I travel, is that I can’t have too many photos or too many notes about what I’m doing. When I get home I then have all I need to create my travel related posts.

What are your travel essentials?

Those are my 12 travel essentials, the things I absolutely make sure I pack for a trip. Of course my passport goes with me too, and any travel documents.

What about you? What items go with you on every trip? I’d love to know what is essential for you.

Travel Journal
My travel journal with my passport and my first carry on…may it RIP.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Mer-Sea & Co, Voke Superfood Supplements and Amazon. These programs provide a means for sites to earn fees by advertising and linking to the companies, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Mother’s Day, in the US, is May 9th. It’s a day for honoring and appreciating our mothers.

I wanted to know what other cultures do, to honor mothers. My curiosity led me to countries around the world, and a wide range of celebrations.

Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World is a fun sampling of what I found.

Mother's Day Traditions Around the World title meme

England

In the UK, Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent. The holiday originated from an earlier custom in which families who had moved away returned to the “mother” church they used to attend. By the 1700s the holiday shifted into a day for house servants to return home to spend the day with their mothers.

Today Mothering Sunday is still strongly connected to the church however the focus is on mothers and families. Many churches hand out daffodils for children to give to their mums. And girls in the family traditionally bake Simnel cakes…luscious fruitcakes…for the entire family to enjoy.

United States

Mother’s Day falls on the second Sunday in May, in the US. We have a variety of traditions from serving Mom breakfast in bed to giving her cards, handmade or purchased gifts and bouquets of flowers.

Our version of Mother’s Day began in 1908 when Anna Jarvis imagined a day set aside to honor all the sacrifices mothers make. Anna’s mother, Ann, started Mother’s Work Day Clubs, an organization that taught women how to properly care for their children.

With persistence, Anna’s idea led to the first official Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, 1914.

Today Mother’s Day is an important celebration in the US. Mothers receive recognition, cards, gifts, flowers and dinners out.

Mother's Day Traditions Around the World usa
Mother’s Day traditions around the world – USA

France

Mother’s Day in France is celebrated on the last Sunday of May or the first Sunday in June. Their holiday originated during the Napoleonic Era, when families with a large number of children received medals.

Some regions in France still present moms with traditional medals on Mother’s Day. A more modern celebration involves baking or buying Mom a cake shaped like a flower bouquet. Children also gift their mothers perfume, jewelry, chocolates and handmade gifts.

Peru

In Peru, Mother’s Day is a week long celebration leading up to the actual holiday on the second Sunday in May. Families organize events such as trips, dinners, lunches and parties throughout the week. Art exhibits and musical performances are common too during those seven days.

Mothers attend these activities and festivities, museums and exhibits, free of charge. Children present moms with gifts and flowers and may recite poetry and stories.

Peru also honors their deceased mothers. People take balloons and flowers to cemeteries and place them on the graves of mothers, grandmothers and wives.

Mother's Day Traditions Around the World peru
Mother’s Day traditions around the world – Peru

Mexico

The origins of Mother’s Day, or La Dia de la Madre, in Mexico has a story behind it. The Mexican magazine, El Hogar, met with the Association of Catholic Ladies and published an article about motherhood and traditional Mexican values. This happened in conjunction with mothers venturing out into the professional world and choosing to have fewer children.

The first Mother’s Day, May 10, 1922, was celebrated in support of this campaign.

Today families go out to eat on Mother’s Day, typically for lunch. They listen to music together and children give their mothers flowers, candies or small gifts. They sometimes perform a play, to show their love and appreciation.

Japan

The earliest Mother’s Day in Japan was held in March, 1913. However, the celebration ceased during World War II. Afterwards, Mother’s Day became a time to comfort mothers who lost children during the war.

Today all mothers are celebrated in Japan. Children give their moms carnations to symbolize purity, love and endurance. Traditionally, they gave red carnations to their living mothers and they displayed white carnations if their mothers had passed away. White carnations are now the favored color for all mothers.

Kids also do the household chores for the day and prepare meals.

Mother's Day Traditions Around the World japan
Mother’s Day traditions around the world – Japan

Ethiopia

The Antrosht Festival, observed yearly during the fall rainy season, is dedicated to mothers.

Families gather for large meals. Daughters traditionally bring vegetables and cheeses while sons supply the meat. Together the children prepare a hash. Later they sing and perform dances that tell the stories of their families.

Italy

Mother’s Day is called La Festa della Mamma in Italy. Mothers are highly esteemed throughout the year in Italy. However, on Mother’s Day…the second Sunday in May…mamma is pampered even more.

Families gather for a meal together. If someone can’t make it for the meal, they must call. Children give small gifts, fresh flowers…traditionally roses…and handwritten poetry. Dessert after the meal is a heart shaped cake.

Mother's Day Traditions Around the World italy
Mother’s Day traditions around the world – Italy

Indonesia

The Indonesian Mother’s Day is celebrated late in the year, on December 22. The holiday began as a time to recognize the spirit of Indonesian women and honor their achievements.

Today Mother’s Day honors all mothers. It’s a time to show great love and appreciation. Mother’s take the day off from household chores and children bring them gifts and flowers.

Germany

Germany’s Mother Day is called Muttertag and it’s also celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It’s origins date back to the Middle Ages when relatives visited and wished each other a happy spring. During the German Reich, mothers who bore four or more children were presented with a Cross of Honor.

Today the celebration honors all mothers regardless of the number of children. Kids bring colorful flowers to their moms…the more colorful the better…and gifts and cards are common too. German mothers are often surprised with travel tickets! They then get to revisit a favorite place or experience a new part of the world.

Mother's Day Traditions Around the World germany
Mother’s Day Traditions – Germany

What Are Your Mother’s Day Traditions?

As a kid, I loved making gifts for my mom. I cringe when I think of some of those “creations” but I poured my heart into them. Typically, my sisters and I take Mom out to eat now, when we aren’t experiencing a pandemic. This year we are having a big “work in the yard” day at her house.

My kids used to make homemade cards and bring me breakfast in bed. As adults they call, text or surprise me a gift.

I love the different traditions that I learned about. Of course, the German custom of gifting trips is amazing to me! However, I love the gifts of handwritten poetry, singing and performing plays. They seem so personal.

What are your favorite Mother’s Day traditions? Do you take your mom out to eat? Do your kids bring you breakfast in bed?

Mothers Day Traditions Around the World mothers

Looking for thoughtful gifts for Mom? Check out this post!

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Travel Quotes for the Wanderer

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This post combines two of my favorite things in life…travel and inspiring quotes. Words possess power and energy. For that reason, I surround myself with words that encourage, inspire, teach and motivate.

During these months of non-travel, quotes about traveling help feed my soul and keep my desire for exploring the world stoked. Some make my heart beat faster, in anticipation of the day I hop on a plane and fly over the ocean. Others remind me of my “big why” and the importance of travel in my life. And some quotes bring tears to my eyes as the longing for other places becomes an ache that cannot be eased.

Check out my favorite travel quotes for the wanderer. A photo from my travels accompanies each quote.

Travel Quotes for the Wanderer title meme

 “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battuta

I’m a storyteller, from a family of travelers and storytellers. It’s how I love to communicate with others. Travel enriches my life and so many of my tales.

Travel Quotes for Wanderers burano
Travel quotes for wanderers – Island of Burano, Italy

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”  Anais Nin

One of the things I most love about travel is meeting other people. My daughter, grandson and I toured Italy with Globus Tours. We joined a group of people from around the world. After 12 days together, we felt like family. Our amazing tour guide, Fabi, and incredible bus driver, Luciano, created that sense of togetherness on day one of our journey together.

Travel Quotes for the Wanderer tour group
Travel quotes for the wanderer – Rome, Italy

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” Freya Stark

Although I have not done so yet, solo travel is my next big adventure. It’s fun to go on adventures with family and friends. And, I believe I’ll learn new things about who I am as I set off on my own.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Dublin, Ireland street in the shopping district

“Live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry.” Jack Kerouac

What a recipe for the adventurous life. I especially love the inclusion of “bless” and “don’t be sorry”. Blessing others I meet as I travel is important to me, even as I am blessed by others. It’s an ongoing ripple of energy made up of kindness and compassion. And equally important is experiencing it all without regrets. No holding back, no waiting until another time, no thinking I can do it later.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Temple Bar in Dublin

“He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” Dutch Proverb

Such a Tokien-like quote, these words remind me of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. There’s nothing wrong with being an armchair traveler. However, we don’t experience the life changing events if we always stay safe within our homes. It takes courage to step through the door and allow adventure to sweep us away.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Door in Dean Village, Edinburgh, Scotland

“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” Anna Quindlen

I began traveling internationally when I was well into my 50s. Just because I’ve not traveled much before doesn’t mean I can’t now. Thankfully, past actions don’t predict future actions. And even when those first travel opportunities came, I didn’t ever see myself as a travel “influencer”. How fun, on my most recent trip to Scotland, to experience comped meals in amazing vegan restaurants, in exchange for posts and social media shares.

Travel Quotes for the Wanderer seeds for the soul
Travel quotes for the wanderer – the beginning of a fine vegan meal at Seeds for the Soul, Edinburgh

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Anonymous

Yes! My travels are not an escape from my life. The purpose beneath my journeys is to deeply participate in life. New adventures, new cultures, new people, food and languages all broaden my life experiences and raise my awareness so that I see with fresh perspectives.

Travel Quotes for the Wanderer dublin angel
Travel quotes for the wanderer – Dublin angel

“Not all those who wander are lost.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

Wise words from one of my favorite authors. They remind me that while it’s perfectly okay to plan out a trip it’s also okay…desirable even….to wander down intriguing streets or veer off the beaten path. Small towns in Italy beg the visitor to get a little lost, wandering the narrow lanes and exploring unexpected courtyards.

Travel Quotes for the Wanderer street in Italy
Travel quotes for the wanderer – street in Orvieto, Italy

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”  Susan Sontag

So strong is my connection to Scotland’s capital city that sometimes when I say I long to travel what I really mean is, I’m so missing Edinburgh. However, when I see photos of Bali or Greece or Brazil I think “I want to see it all.” As a result, my travel list is quite long! And Edinburgh remains, always, at the top of that list.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Thistle Street Apartments, Edinburgh

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oh I dearly love new experiences! Seeing something for the first time, even something familiar from photos and films, is one of my favorite things to do. How powerful to see Michelangelo’s David for the first time in person and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And touring my ancestral home, Thirlestane Castle, after I’d read about it all my life, literally made me sit in silent wonder for a while before climbing the steps to the massive front door. I am changed and expanded by such experiences.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – my first glimpse of David, Florence, Italy

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” Anita Desai

We all collect souvenirs when we travel. However, my favorite things to take home are bits and pieces of the experiences themselves. I adopt practices and customs from other countries, such as afternoon tea. Phrases from Italy or Ireland flavor my speech. Those countries become a part of me. Travel becomes written into my DNA.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – my beloved Edinburgh, Scotland

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” Mary Anne Radmacher

How magical, when perspectives shift the familiar. Seeing the moon from a country across the Atlantic or tasting fresh basil pesto in a tiny village perched on a mountainside makes the ordinary extraordinary. My sense of curiosity and wonder spikes when encountering familiar things in fresh settings.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Rome, Italy as dusk gathers

“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.” Lovelle Drachman

Following curiosity leads me to such amazing adventures. Curiosity opens my  heart and soul and allows me to see with more than my physical eyes. Details stand out that I might miss without curiosity as my guide. And surprises await as I travel paths unknown.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – trying to adequately capture what I see

“Wanderlust – noun. a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world” dictionary definition

I experience wanderlust quite frequently. That strong desire or impulse to wander and travel and explore the world motivates me to make my dreams reality.

Travel Quotes for the Wanderer passport
Travel quotes for the wanderer – my passport

“The more often I do things I want to do, the less bitter I am at people for doing what they want to do.” Glennon Doyle

While not exactly a travel quote, Glennon’s words remind me to express gratitude and happiness for others as they do what they most want to do. For me, doing what I most want to do involves travel. For someone else, it might include rescuing animals, acting in films or building houses. We are not competing for limited resources. Another’s success or joy does not diminish mine.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Eilean Donan Castle, Highlands, Scotland

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Long one of my favorite quotes, Twain’s words encourage me to live life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. I’m not created to play it safe and remain tied to a dock. I’m made to live in expansive freedom and explore, dream and discover.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – La Spezia, Italy

“When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.” Carol Burnett

Oh, am I ever a dreamer. Since early childhood, I’ve crafted the most vivid dreams about my future. As an adult I’ve learned that dreaming is vital to creating the reality I desire. If I imagine it, I can achieve it.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Dean Village, Edinburgh

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” Randy Komisar

These powerful words serve as a reminder to not wait. Honestly, at age 63, waiting is a greater risk than going for it. I refuse to spend my life “hoping for an opportunity later”. Every step I take toward realizing my dreams takes me closer to the reality of them.

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” Anthony Bourdain

This is currently my top travel quote. The late Anthony Bourdain understood how travel changes a person. It’s not always pretty or comfortable or easy. It can be exhausting to the body and painful even.

However the impression travel makes as it leaves its marks on me is life shifting. Coming home I’m not the same person who left. I bring back with me experiences and new connections and discoveries I make about myself and the world around me. Every trip I take changes me a bit more. How can I not long to keep exploring and keep challenging myself to grow?

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Travel quotes for the wanderer – travel can be exhausting and life changing. On the train to London, England.

Favorite Travel Quote

My collection of travel quotes shifts and changes, as I do. They reflect different points on my journey. And sometimes they serve as a beacon, guiding me to the next right spot along the path.

Do you have a favorite travel quote? Please share it in the comments below!

Grand Canal of Venice
Grand Canal of Venice

 


 

 

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Ghost Stories from Venice

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In the second installment of the Ghost Stories from… series, we turn to beautiful Venice, Italy. This magical city, occupying a cluster of islands in the Venice Lagoon, captivates with its canals, history and charm. My daughter, grandson and I loved exploring this amazing city.

Haunting is another word that describes Venice. Like most cities, Venice has its dark side too. Wandering the narrow streets after sunset, especially when the fog rolls in, sends a chill down the spine that isn’t entirely caused by the weather.

The city’s long history is filled with stories of rebellions, conquests and death. It’s not surprising that energy lingers there. Check out these ghost stories from Venice, for a peek at the city’s mysterious side.

Ghost Stories from Venice title meme

Ghost Stories from Venice

Water is a great conductor of electricity and also of supernatural energy. Hauntings and water seem to go together. Whether from deep dark pools, rivers or even the moisture that accumulates within the walls of a house, water often amplifies ghostly activity. With its lagoon and 150 canals, water literally surrounds Venice and flows through it. And because the city is slowly sinking into the lagoon, many buildings and cathedrals have flooded subfloors and crypts.

No wonder Venice is not only one of the most uniquely beautiful cities in the world, but also one of the most haunted.

As you explore Venice, keep these locations and ghost stories in mind.

Ca’ Dario

Also known as Palazzo Dario, or Dario Palace, this house is also dubbed “the house that kills”.

Giovanni Dario, a local official, built the gothic palace on the Grand Canal in the late 1400s. After financial ruin and death, his daughter Marietta and her husband inherited the house. The husband died soon after, murdered, and Marietta committed suicide by throwing herself into the Grand Canal. Their son died a short time later in an ambush.

Over the centuries the palace continues to change hands. The owners have all been murdered, committed suicide, suffered horrible accidents or illnesses or experienced disastrous financial ruin.

Even leasing the palace comes with risks. In 2002 bass player John Entwistle died of a heart attack a week after renting the palace for a vacation.

A US company purchased Ca’ Dario in 2006, on behalf of a wealthy American woman. It’s currently undergoing renovations. Would you stay there? I would not!

Ghost Stories from Venice Ca Dario
Ghost Stories from Venice – Ca’ Dario, the house that kills.

Ghost of the Venice Bell Ringer

There once lived a man who rang the bells in the bell tower, or campanile, on St. Mark’s Square. Because he was quite tall, a Venetian scientist offered the bell ringer a large sum of money for his skeleton, after death.

Spurred on by greed, the tall man accepted the cash in exchange for giving his skeleton to the scientist. With this unexpected wealth, he promptly drank himself into an early grave.

After death, the bell ringer apparently regretted the deal he made. His ghost haunts Bressana Court where he begs visitors for money so that he can buy back his skeleton.

The actual skeleton of the man resides in Venice’s Natural History Museum. The skeleton shows that the man was indeed very tall. It is also said that the skeleton creeps out of the museum at night to ring the twelve bells of St. Mark’s Campanile.

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Ghost Stories from Venice – the ghost of the bell ringer

The Bride Ghost of Venice

Those who walk Venice at night risk running into the ghost of a young bride.

Tosca, a beautiful but poor young woman from Treviso, was betrothed to a wealthy, older nobleman. However, she fell in love with a young hunter and the pair ran away to Venice. The jilted groom tracked down the couple and killed the hunter. He cut off Tosca’s ring finger, declaring that no man would wed her if he didn’t.

Tosca took her own life on September 22, 1379. Her ghost, wearing a wedding dress, wanders Venice after dark, searching for her missing finger.

Ghost Stories from Venice bell tower
Ghost Stories from Venice – watch for the Bride Ghost wandering Venice after dark

The Serpent of Punta della Dogana

Ghosts aren’t the only supernatural inhabitants of Venice. Punta della Dogana is the triangular shaped land mass jutting out between the Grand Canal and The Guidecca Canal.

Allegedly, a cousin of Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster inhabits the swirling waters just off the tip of Punta della Dogana. This beast’s body resembles a large, dark colored snake while the head looks horse-like.  It hides in a hollow beneath the land.

Fishermen swear that the sea serpent appears out of the dark waters on moonless nights, earning it the nickname “the black water monster”. One witness, in 1933, claims he saw the serpent rise above the surface to catch and eat a sea gull in a single gobble.

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Ghost Stories from Venice – the domed buildings in this photo are on the Punta della Dogana

Poveglia Island

Known as one of the most haunted places in the world, Poveglia Island, located between Venice and Lido, originally served as a port. During the bubonic plaque, the small island became Venice’s dumping ground for dying and dead Venetians. Over the centuries, anytime an epidemic came along, the infected went to Poveglia. Most remained there until they died. The dead were buried in huge mass graves.

In 1922 Venice established an asylum on the island as a place to hide the city’s mentally ill and seriously ill citizens. Sadly, one of the asylum doctors performed cruel experiments on patients, in the island bell tower. He met his death by falling from that very tower. Some claim the ghosts of his victims pushed him. The story goes that he actually survived the fall, but a mist surrounded him and swallowed him up, finishing him off.

More than 160,000 deaths reportedly occurred on Poveglia, earning it the name of “the island of no return.” Visitors are no longer allowed on the island. Past visitors, including paranormal researchers, call it the final restless place of thousands of diseased and insane people who died there.

Ghost Stories from Venice Poveglia Island
Ghost Stories from Venice – Poveglia Island, one of the most haunted places in the world

October Ghost Story Series

You can check out last week’s Ghost Stories from Dublin, the first post in this month long series. Next week, watch for a local ghost tale from my own city. I’ll be checking out the famous Joplin Spook Light.

Have you ever had an ghostly encounter?

Share your stories in the comments below.

Ghost Stories from Venice
Ghost Stories from Venice

When in Venice, check out this walking ghost tour.

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.