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Laureen

    Become a World Traveler  --  Inspire

    Fearless Travel – Conquering Your Fear

    Becoming a Traveler Part Two

    We all have some kind of fear. Our fears are the thing that often keeps us from pursuing our dreams. Fear of failure. Fear of spiders. Fear of flying. Fear of inadequacies. The first thing to overcome your fear is to acknowledge it. And that is exactly what I did. Because I was, and still am, afraid of flying.

    My fear – flying

    Travel and Fear

    About thirty years ago we had a bad experience on a flight. We lost an engine. We had an emergency landing that involved lots of firetrucks and the plane was doused with flame retardant. Yep…it was frightening and it changed me into a fearful flyer.

    Conquering my fear

    I worked really hard to overcome this fear…it took me a long time. I was embarrassed about my fear and didn’t want to seem weak. But for me travel was far more important than fear, so I persevered. I studied and found ways to acknowledge and address my fear. The best way I did this was with a book called Flying Without Fear by Duane Brown.

    Flying Without fear by Duane Brown

    Your fear could be very different than mine, but it still may be the thing that is keeping you from Becoming a Traveler. Finding your fear, and finding a way to fearless travel – conquering your fear – will be different for each person. No matter what your fear is, acknowledging it is your first step to opening yourself up and stepping forward.

    Travel With Someone You Trust

    Someone to travel with

    Once you acknowledge your fear, whether it’s snakes or flying, talking to someone you trust is the next good step. And finding someone who understands your fear who can travel with you is your goal. I am lucky to have my husband who holds my hand during take off. Who might you have who can help you conquer your fear? Your fear might just be the unknown of stepping out of your box. Take a friend, a family member or find a like minded traveler who you can be honest and open with. Together is the best way to exit your comfort zone.

    Find like minded travelers here.

    Peace of Mind

    As you step forward towards becoming a traveler, look to destinations that give you peace of mind. You don’t need to go to unusual places…start slow and find places that offer the amenities that make you comfortable. As you grow in your comfort as a traveler you can then grow too, to explore more destinations that reach further from where you began.

    Peace of mind

    CNN Travel has a great list of destinations for 2023 that would each be a great place to start conquering your travel fears. See it here 23 Places to travel in 2023

    Start Slow

    Don’t try to do too much – 15 cities in 14 days? Forget about it. Find one destination (or maybe two) where you can settle in and get to know the place. Allow yourself lots of time to sleep and relax because jet lag and travel fatigue can increase your fears. Eat healthy and drink lots of water. Then take your time to explore at a pace that works for you.

    Relaxing and not trying to do too much

    Travel Fatigue is real – I know! And it can cause you problems whether you are on a short trip or are a full time nomad. Being aware of what it is and how it affects you is an important part of travel. Learn more about it here – Travel Fatigue Explained

    Fearless Travel – Conquering Your Fear

    With each trip your confidence will build and you will conquer your fear…or at least learn to manage it. That is what I have done with flying. Over the past seven years I have take 172 flights for a total of 253,130 miles flown!

    And I’m afraid of flying! If I can do it so can you.

    Acknowledge your fear. Find someone to talk to about it. Connect with a travel partner. Go slow and have fun!

    See our post on Becoming a Traveler

    See last week’s post Sixth Annual World Travel Awards

    We love it when you comment, pin and share our posts. Thank you.

    Canva
    Canva
    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

    This was an audible book for me while we were on the island of Maui. It was an easy and interesting story that would work well in audible, kindle or paper. I enjoyed it. Here is my book review The Night Ship by Jess Kidd.

    Parellel Storylines

    Like many historical novels, The Night Ship is told in two parallel storylines. First we meet 9 year old Mayken in the year 1629. Mayken’s mother has recently passed and she is about to set sail to find her father who she has never met. Her guardian Imka is sailing with her on board the Batavia as they leave Holland heading to the Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta Indonesia) . Mayken has had an interesting childhood so far…with an unconventional mother, Mayken is curious, feisty and intelligent. She is naive about the coming long voyage, and her imagination, fueled by Dutch folklore propels her into lots of adventures onboard the ship.

    In alternating chapters we follow 9 year old Gil in the year 1989. Gil is a lonely, young boy struggling with his gender identity. His mother has recently passed after a battle with substance abuse and mental illness. Gil is sent to live with his grandfather on Beacon Island off the west coast of Australia. The tiny island doesn’t offer much for a nine-year old boy, and friends are hard to make particularly because many of the islanders dislike his grandfather. Gil’s one friend, is an ancient tortoise named Enkidu who offers a humorous respite to this grim story.

    The Batavia

    The real life wreak of the Dutch East Indies flagship The Batavia in 1629 is the basis for this fictional novel. Wreaked near Beacon Island, the horrifying experience of the survivors of The Batavia is some of the most barbaric ever recorded. Kidd brilliantly chronicles the events in both fact and myth through the eyes of two small children in The Night Ship. I enjoyed this book very much. Thank you for reading my book review The Night Ship by Jess Kidd.

    Four stars for The Night Ship by Jess Kidd.****

    See last week’s book review The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker

    See our Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022 here

    We love it when you comment and share on our book reviews. Thank you.

    Become a World Traveler  --  Inspire

    Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022

    I absolutely love writing this blog post each year, even though it takes me weeks to put it together. It is fun for me to reminisce about another amazing travel year! I hope it’s fun for you to read and enjoy the awards we bestow on our favorites and the best of the best from our year of travel; the Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022.

    Bayeux France

    Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022

    I’m surprised that I am already talking about the “sixth annual” travel awards 2022! We are now well into our seventh year of travel as part of The Grand Adventure and still no end in sight. What a remarkable ride it has been. As I write this post, I’m in the country of Honduras – our 123rd country.

    2022

    Unlike 2021 where we only visited three countries due to that damn Pandamit, this past year has been a full and fabulous year of new destinations. We visited 14 countries as well as ten states in the USA. The list includes; French Polynesia, USA, Antigua, Turks and Caicos, Morocco, Senegal, France, Malta, Cyprus, Northern Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, Guernsey, and Jersey. The states included Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Wisconsin, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Virginia and Hawaii.

    Maine USA

    So sit back and get ready….here are the winners! Our Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022. ( By the way see our First Annual, Second Annual, Third Annual, Fourth Annual and Fifth Annual awards by clicking on the links. You might also enjoy the observations and lessons I shared after One Year of Travel.)

    Destinations – 14 Countries and 10 USA States

    Favorite Country – Malta

    Valetta Malta

    Malta was such a pleasant surprise. Beautiful, ancient and surprisingly inexpensive. We had planned to visit Malta in 2020…so that didn’t happen of course. We were very happy to get it back on our itinerary. Malta has a very interesting and ancient history. Valletta where we stayed was a fascinating walled city and we just loved everything about it. We highly recommend our favorite country of 2022 – Malta!

    Favorite City – Jerusalem, Israel

    Old Jerusalem Israel

    Returning to Israel, after fleeing in March of 2020 when the Pandamit was closing everything, was a high priority. So it was a true blessing to get back to this fascinating country. This time we based ourselves in the astonishing city of Jerusalem and I am so glad we did. What an incredible place to visit and we absolutely loved everything about beautiful and fascinating Jerusalem.

    Cutest Town – Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, USA

    Cute Sturgeon Bay, Door County Wisconsin

    Sturgeon Bay in Door County Wisconsin was such an unexpected surprise as I visited with two good friends for a long weekend. We lucked out by choosing Sturgeon Bay as our home base. Colorful, centrally located and lots of wonderful things to do, July in Sturgeon Bay was a real treat.

    Favorite Island – Moorea, French Polynesia

    Sofitel Hotel Moorea French Polynesia

    High on our list for a return visit, the small French Polynesian island is a short ferry crossing from the larger and more populated island of Tahiti. We loved our cute Airbnb bungalow in Moorea, and found the island a wonderful and relaxing destination. We really hope to return in 2024.

    Most Expensive Country – USA

    Little Italy New York City

    The United States continues to be an expensive destination for us, compared to so many places we travel around the world. Especially given our long visit to the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii which really ratchets up our daily average. We also had a long visit to New York City which is also very expensive, so all in all, this year the award for most expensive has to go to the United States on our list for the Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022.

    Least Expensive Country – French Polynesia

    Coco Beach, Moorea French Polynesia

    Our two months on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia was really inexpensive. Granted we were there in the off-season, but if you compare to other tropical places we have visited, French Polynesia can be downright cheap. Our choice of simple accommodations and living frugally really puts Moorea on our wishlist to return for great price, friendly atmosphere, and natural beauty.

    Accommodations – 10 Airbnbs, 22 hotels and one desert camp

    Favorite Airbnb – A Tie between Moorea and Valletta Malta

    Our bungalow in Teavaro, Moorea
    Our authentic stone house in Valletta Malta

    We have really been so lucky in our travels to rarely, rarely have a bad experience with any of our lodgings. And this year once again we had some first rate accommodations. Two of our favorites were our lovely bungalow on the island in Moorea and our tiny authentic stone house in Valletta Malta. We highly recommend both!

    Favorite Airbnb for service – Moorea

    With our beautiful and amazing host Maea in Moorea French Polynesia

    We have had several experiences over the years where we have become friends with our Airbnb hosts and our host Maea in Moorea was one of the best hosts we have ever had.

    Most Expensive Airbnb – New York City.

    New York is expensive – but we loved the Upper East Side and will stay in that neighborhood again

    Everything in New York City is expensive. Trying to find a place to stay for our two week visit was difficult, with prices in every neighborhood outrageous. Our very teeny Airbnb space in the Upper East Side was more like a closet than an apartment, but we loved the location so it certainly had that going for it. $230 a night.

    Best Value Airbnb – Moorea French Polynesia

    The tiny beach at our Moorea Airbnb

    With a kitchen, two bedrooms, parking, beach access with great snorkeling and the best host, we have nothing to complain about with our Airbnb on the island of Moorea. $75 a night – which was a substantial discount for our extended two-month stay.

    Favorite Hotel – O Plum ‘Art, Giverny France

    O’ Plum ‘Art Boutique Hotel in Giverny France

    This very unique, but slightly expensive, lodging in the teeny French village of Giverny was a wonderful pit stop on our September whirlwind tour. Walking distance to Monet’s Gardens, we loved this rural little farm hotel and the breakfast was fantastic. Highly recommend O’ Plum ‘Art.

    Most Expensive Hotel – Hilton Logan Boston

    Logan Airport Boston

    Ridiculously expensive relative to our normal hotels, the Hilton at Logan International Airport in Boston is certainly convenient but expensive. $390 a night.

    Most Authentic and Least Expensive Hotel – Dar Abdesalaam, Fez Morocco

    With my whole family at Dar Abdesalaam, Fez Morocco

    With the kindest proprietor, the Riad we stayed in for the wedding of our friends in Fez was both inexpensive and very authentic. Beautiful five story old house with central courtyard and roof top area, located in the beautiful old city of Fez. $45 per night with breakfast! When in Fez stay at Dar Abdesalaam.

    Most Unique Accommodations – Marrakesh Camel Trips

    A most memorable night, Marrakesh Camel Trips

    This was our second time doing an overnight camel trip in the Moroccan Sahara. Without realizing it, we booked a very different camp this time…with more amenities. This time we had electricity!! It was warmer too, being May instead of November so we were very comfortable. A two hour camel ride (gorgeous) a full queen bed, delicious dinner, music around the campfire and a fantastic breakfast. We loved every minute of it.

    Best View Accommodations – Kihei Surfside Maui

    Kihei Surfside Maui

    Not a hotel or an Airbnb, the Kihei Surfside in Maui is one of our most favorite destinations in the world, precisely for the view. There really is nothing like it.

    Honorable Mention – Cyprus

    Lemon Grove Villas Argaka Cyprus

    Returning to one of our all time favorite Airbnbs was a special treat – the ONLY Airbnb we have every returned to so far. We returned to thank our Cyprus Airbnb hosts and see the sights we were not able to see when we were locked down on the island of Cyprus early during the PanDamit. The view, the neighborhood, the hosts, the pool….we love this place so much. We just might visit again!

    Food and Drink

    Favorite Country Cuisine – Israel

    Falafel and hummus are so amazing in Israel!

    Mediterranean style food is always my favorite, and the amazing combination of Mediterranean, middle eastern and everything fresh and local makes the foods of Israel the best. Israel has the best hummus in the world and I could (and did) eat it everyday.

    Best Food Tour – Marrakesh Food Tour

    With our guide Yahya on our incredible Marrakesh Food Tour

    We try to do food tours in as many countries as we can, so we definitely have some experience in this category. And our food tour, and our guide in Marrakesh was one of the absolute best we have ever had in any country. At $50 per person we more than ate our weight in every Moroccan delicacy learning so much about food, culture and history. We loved our guide Yahya who made the tour so much fun!

    Best Cooking Class – Food Cook Lab Moorea

    Prepping the Taro to be cooked inside the banana leaf

    I’m so glad I stumbled on to Food Cook Lab Tahiti, a local, organically focused cooking school. Arne and I took a Tahitian cooking class, which was so phenomenal, I signed up for a second class about fish. Everything I learned was amazing, delicious and so much fun. I loved the flavors of French Polynesia.

    Best Meal – Jardin de Plumes Giverny

    Lobster and Poached Tomato

    Our lovely boutique hotel in Giverny was associated with this restaurant Le Jardin de Plumes and though more expensive than we would usually choose…it was worth every penny. A very unique tasting menu of the chefs choice. The best way to describe it is food as art. Beautiful and delicious.

    Best Beer – Bend Oregon

    Bend is all about the beer

    Our third visit to Bend Oregon, we always make time to try new breweries when we visit this lovely town. One of the best beer towns in the Pacific Northwest and that is surely saying something.

    Best Distillery – Hali’mail’e Distillery Maui

    Hali’mail’e Distillery

    Last year we visited a different Maui distillery, Ocean, but this time we discovered Hali’mail’e Distillery in Upcountry where they use local pineapple juice for their products. We enjoyed it and recommend it.

    Best Coffee – Morocco

    Happy girl with her coffee in Marrakesh

    As you know I love my coffee, and real Moroccan coffee is right up there with some of the best in the world…deep, dark, rich Arabic coffee often lightly spiced.

    Culture

    Best Overall Cultural Experience – Shabat dinner Jerusalem

    Shabat dinner (Canva)

    This experience, having Shabat dinner with a local Jerusalem family, is not only our fondest memory of Israel, but one of fondest memories of all our travels. I am not Jewish but always hope to understand all faiths, particularly when in a country. Warmly welcomed by Osnat and Shaul into their beautiful home with a handful of other visitors as well as students from the local university. This lovely, authentic, delicious and religious experience will live forever in our hearts. I highly recommend it to everyone.

    Most Authentic Cultural Experience – Kayar Fishing Village Senegal

    Kayar at dawn

    As we drove several hours to this unknown destination in terrible Senegalese traffic I began to regret this tour. But in hindsight, it was the most amazing thing we did in the country of Senegal. The thousands of locals processing millions of fish on the beach…men, women and children…was colorful and almost like a festival. Our guide Oumar from Senegal Odyssey Tours was excellent and took exceptional care of us during our two days with him.

    Most Amazing Manmade Structure – Masada, Israel

    A couple years ago, one of my favorite books of the year was The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman , a fictional book about the factual siege of Masada in Israel. So visiting Masada was a top priority for me, and it did not disappoint. We visited on a scorching hot day but the Masada National Park is truly remarkable, a UNESCO World Heritage site with astonishing history.

    Most Unexpected Ancient Ruins – Cyprus

    Cyprus is so full of surprises…so much ancient history that rivals some of the best known historic ruins around the world. We really found the UNESCO Paphos Archeological site beautiful and staggering.

    Best Garden – Monet’s Giverny

    Long on my bucket list, and one of the things we canceled due to the PanDamit, to finally see this astonishing gardens was a dream for me. I loved the raucous and riotous collection of flowers, and of course, the ponds so famously depicted in Monet’s work. This was an easy choice for the Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022, Monet’s Giverny and a Wee Bit More.

    Best Museum – 911 Museum New York City and Western Wall Tunnel Tours Jerusalem

    In our world travels we have had incredible opportunities to visit some of the most amazing museums and historic sites. This year two museums that were at historic sites captivated us; the astonishing 911 Museum in New York City and the unbelievable Western Wall Tunnel Tour and Heritage site in Jerusalem.

    Best Walking Tour – 911 Ground Zero Tour New York City

    We could have done this walking tour self-guided, but I am so glad we decided to have a guide. Our guide was in the city on September 11th and had so much amazing insight for us to understand about Ground Zero prior to us going into the 911 Museum.

    Best Historical Sight – Wailing Wall (Western Wall) Jerusalem

    Even after seeing the photos all my life, seeing something as iconic, reverent and symbolic as the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) in Jerusalem was a wonder.

    Most Amazing Church – tie The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine and St. John’s Co-Cathedral Valetta in Malta

    Giving this award to two this year…the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem for the sheer historical significance to the Christian faith and to St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valetta Malta, for the astonishing 450 year old Baroque architecture and grandeur.

    Best Performance – Hamilton on Broadway

    I felt like I was the last person on the planet to see this phenomenal play. Seeing it on Broadway was unforgettable. I was so enthralled I saw it again in Seattle with my son. See it if you can.

    Best One Day Tour – Michael Tours Palestine

    There are many, many options for group tours that take you across the disputed border from Jerusalem to Palestine. But I thought a private tour, for such an important event would be better. I wanted a local who could really guide us expertly through the eyes of a Palestinian. It was a fascinating day. I highly recommend Michael of Michael Tours.

    Best Multi Day Tour – Marrakesh Camel Tours Morocco

    If you are ever in Morocco, absolutely hire Lhoucine with Marrakesh Camel Tours. Doing this four day tour with our two adult sons was as memorable as it could be, and our tour guide was one of the best we have ever had anywhere in the world.

    Unexpectedly Fun Tour – Nicosia Segway Tour Cyprus

    The UN Border crossing between Cyprus and the occupied north on our Segway

    We were recommended to this tour by another tour guide who we met two years before in Cyprus. It sounded like a fun way to see the interesting capital of Cyprus, Nicosia. And we had a blast. I highly recommend Nicosia Segway Tours.

    Nature

    Best Sunrise – Moorea

    Sunrise – each morning unique, Moorea

    Every morning I had my solitary moment with The Mug and the sunrise.

    Best Sunset – Maui

    A changing show every night

    Every night we watched the sun go to bed and it was always an amazing performance.

    Best Beach – Moorea

    Ta’ahiamanu Public Beach Moorea

    Yes the beaches of Hawaii are amazing, but Moorea really was something special. Our favorite beach was a crystal clear white sand park called Ta’ahiamanu Public Beach.

    Best Hike – tie; Washington State, Jersey

    Mount St. Helens Washington State USA
    Jersey Channel Islands

    Hiking is a big part of our life, and we try to hike once a week no matter where we are. Our home state of Washington is one of the best places in the world to hike and we have half a dozen favorites we go back to over and over. Our time on the tiny island of Jersey in the English Channel also offered us one of our most memorable day hikes in September.

    Most Unusual Hike – Guernsey Lihou Causeway Low Tide Crossing

    Low tide hike to the tiny island of Lihou off the coast of Guernsey, Channel Islands

    We spent several days on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands off the coast of France. Though the weather was wet, we did the low-tide crossing hike from Guernsey to the tiny island of Lihou. This was a very unique experience and worth getting drenched for.

    Best Natural Sight – Sahara Desert

    That’s me with my camel buddies just taking it all in

    Not our first venture into the Sahara, but it still is a mind-boggling sight to see and the overnight camel tour is something everyone should do at least once in their life time.

    Best USA National Park/National Monument – Mount St Helens

    Me showing my gratitude to Mount Saint Helens

    Again, gratitude to the beauty of my home state and all its national sites, including the National Monument of Mount Saint Helens. We hadn’t visited Mt. St. Helens in many years and thoroughly enjoyed our day hiking in this national monument. Fascinating.

    Best Wildlife Viewing – Maui

    Humpback Whale (Canva)

    From whales to sharks, turtles to wild pigs, tropical fish to deer and the omnipresent chickens, Maui is a surprising place for wildlife viewing.

    Best Bird-Watching – Antigua

    Bird Watching Antigua

    As we travel we have become amateur birdwatchers and really enjoy it. We were very surprised by the variety of beautiful birds we found on the island of Antigua.

    Best City Park – Central Park NYC

    My morning run in NYC’s amazing Central Park

    We plan to return to NYC next spring, and staying near Central Park is a high priority. New Yorkers cherish this park and it really is the heart of the city. I love it too for morning runs, afternoon strolls, people (and dog) watching, live entertainment and bird watching just to name a few reasons.

    Athletic Pursuits

    Best Snorkeling – Moorea

    Snorkeling at the public beach in Moorea

    We LOVED our little bungalow on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia for many reasons…including access to snorkeling. Stepping right outside our door we could swim out about 60 yards to a remarkable reef with some of the most astonishing coral I have seen anywhere in the world.

    Best Golf – Maui

    Great golf and views at Maui Nui

    Our home course of Maui Nui in Kihei is where we golf every time we visit this island and I had my best score ever this year!

    Best Place to Run – Maui

    Almost every morning I ran during our two months in Maui

    I trained for and ran a half marathon (again) while on the island of Maui. Sidewalks, street lights, safe and beautiful, Kihei is my favorite place in the world to be a runner.

    Weather

    Hottest Day – Palestine

    Our day trip from Jerusalem to Palestine was one of the hottest days of our year with temperatures well over 100F. The desert was still and treeless and we swooned.

    Coldest Day – Maine and Washington

    Bundled up against the September chill in Maine
    December snow in Washington State

    Just days before departing for two months in tropical French Polynesia we had a giant snowstorm at our home in Washington State. And when we arrived in Maine in September for a college reunion/camping trip, Hurricane Fiona off the coast pounded Maine with rain, wind and very chilly temperatures. My body responded with one of the worst colds I’d had in years – made a pilgrimage to Walmart to get some warm clothes!

    Wettest Day – Moorea

    Wet and rainy birthday on our first full day in Moorea

    Arriving in Moorea mid January to monsoon conditions our first week created a lake in our front yard, massive mosquitos and cool temperatures. Luckily it cleared and we loved our time in Moorea.

    Windiest Day – Maui

    The photo really doesn’t show how windy it was….we barely could hold still.

    Thanksgiving Day was one of the windiest Maui had seen in a long time with gusts blowing everything around including people. The only time in our two months on the island we ate our meal indoors with the doors closed.

    Travel

    Longest Travel Day – Cyprus to Seattle

    Heathrow (Canva)

    Returning to Seattle from Larnaca Cyprus involved two flights and a stop in London for a total of 6840 miles.

    Shortest Flight – Guernsey to Jersey

    It was over before it started!

    Originally we were going to take a 3 hour ferry from Guernsey to Jersey, but when we realized the flight was only slightly more expensive we booked it. Total flight time take off to touch down: 10 minutes 30 seconds.

    Craziest Travel Day – Morocco

    With my son Dane as we waited five hours for the storm to pass so we could take off from Dulles to Casablanca

    We flew to Dulles Airport from Turks and Caicos where we met up with our two sons who flew in from Seattle. We should have only had a three hour layover but due to a terrible storm we ended up being delayed for another 5 hours. Amazingly when we finally arrived in Casablanca our driver was still waiting for us. What a sight for sore eyes that was.

    Miscellaneous

    Weirdest Event – Shark Attack

    Shark (Canva)

    A very sad and scary event while we were on the island of Maui was the death of a snorkeler who was attacked by a Tiger Shark. We felt so bad for her husband and family.

    Strangest Experience – Disputed Border Crossings

    Palestinian side of the wall between Palestine and Jerusalem
    UN Border crossing between Cyprus and occupied Northern Cyprus

    This year we crossed two disputed borders; Israel to Palestine where Israelis soldiers were heavily armed and a bit rude as they guarded a 40 foot wall; and Cyprus to Northern Cyprus where UN forces keep the peace between Greek Cyprus and the disputed occupied Turkish Northern Cyprus.

    Bucket list – Palestine and Israel

    Banksy Art Palestine
    Old Town Jerusalem

    Since I was 12 years old I had wanted to go to Israel and Palestine. I feel very blessed to have visited.

    Best Celebration – 40th Anniversary

    With dear friends at Mama’s Fish House
    Just the two of us at Merriman’s Kapalua celebrating 40 years of marriage

    While in Maui we had a wonderful 40th wedding anniversary celebration, in fact two. The first with our friends from home who were on the island as well as our friends from Molokai who came to join us at Mama’s Fish House. The second, just Arne and I, at the incomparable Merriman’s at Kapalua. I hope to do that again on our 80th anniversary.

    Favorite Photo – Senegal

    Hauling in the catch, all hands on deck, in Kayar Senegal. This happens every morning.

    I take thousands of photos…I mean it – thousands. So choosing a favorite is hard. This year I choose this one. The color. The culture. The authentic feel of hard work and community. And that baby.

    Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022

    There you have it. The best of the best of My Fab Fifties Life travel of 2022. Amazing, memorable and unique experiences with new cultures and experiences around the world. What a grand adventure it is. We sure hope you will consider visiting some of these places and enjoying some of these unique experiences too.

    That’s my guy…and those bags…oh the stories they could tell.

    As I post this annual awards I am in the country of Honduras…my 123rd country. Our travels in 2023 currently are planned for us to visit at least a dozen and maybe more as we explore and find the rich and rewarding destinations, people, experiences, foods and beauty of this amazing planet we call home.

    I hope you have enjoyed the Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022. We hope you will continue to follow us around the globe, comment, pin and share this post so others can follow as well. Thank you and be fabulous. Our blog is nearly ten years old…it wouldn’t be possible without all of you.

    See our Top Blogs of 2022 here. See our recent post Becoming a Traveler here.

    We appreciate it when you comment, share and pin our blog posts – especially this one!! Thank you.

    Malta
    Moorea
    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker

    Jan Walker is an author from my home town of Gig Harbor Washington and this is the second book I have enjoyed of hers. I really liked this story, and admire Jan for her self-published works and her love of writing. Here is my book review The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker

    Pacific Northwest

    Last summer I enjoyed Jan’s book Rain Shelters and Ghost Gods which was based in two places I love; Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. This novel, The Whiskey Creek Water Company is also based in the Pacific Northwest, and in fact in the small county where I grew up.

    Set during prohibition, the small fictional town of Burke Bay is loosely based on the area of Kitsap County called Brownsville. The people of Burke Bay are primarily of Scandinavian heritage and work off the land and sea for their livelihood.

    Small Town

    The heroine of the story is local school teacher Maeva Swanson. Determined and hardworking Maeve keeps herself and her mother afloat with her teaching salary. But the small town has new residents in bachelor brothers Hauk and Lang Nordlund, and another new more sinister guest Farley Price. Though Farley’s wife Eleanor and his daughter Hannah are warmly welcomed by the community, Farley is an angry firecracker on the verge of exploding. And when he does, all hell will break loose.

    The character development in this story is really well done, from illegal distillery operator Orval Blevins to arrogant brother Jonas and all the cast of people who make Burke Bay the friendly town it is. How will all these folks come together to keep everyone safe when violence erupts? Find out in The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker.

    And if you are from Kitsap County and of Scandinavian heritage, I think you will particularly enjoy this story. Thanks for reading my book review The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker.

    See last week’s book review Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer.

    Inspire

    Happy Birthday to Me

    Gonna take this week off and just enjoy celebrating my 63rd birthday! Happy Birthday to Me! Thanks for all the well-wishes this week. The best gift would be you sharing this blog to your family and friends. They can subscribe at this link. I will be back next week with our ANNUAL TRAVEL AWARDS – 2022!

    Cheers!

    Happy Birthday to Me

    See last week’s blog post Maui on a Budget

    See this week’s book review Less is Lost

    See this week’s two top performing posts Maui Best Restaurants 2022 and Becoming a Traveler

    Be sure to come back next week for our ANNUAL TRAVEL AWARDS 2022.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer

    A follow up story to the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Less, Andrew Sean Greer once again takes this lovable character out of his comfort zone and on an unexpected road trip. Here is my book review Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer.

    Arthur Less, gay and moderately successful, finds his world turned upside down once again when his former lover dies and with the death come financial hardship. Less must earn some serious cash and seriously quick and so he takes on some literary gigs that send him road tripping around the USA.

    Running from or into his problems it’s hard to tell with Less, as he packs up and leaves behind his current love Freddy, his reasonable sister and his ghost of a father. Less finds himself escorting a sickly author who doesn’t seem to know who Less is, then following theatrical troupe who are performing one of his works, all while regularly “zooming” online with a literary critique group. All because he needs money to save his home.

    But along the way from New Mexico to the South then on to the mid-Atlantic, Less begins to find himself. With Pug Dolly in tow in the old camper van called Rosina, Less learns a lot about the world outside the small box he has hidden in for years. And in the process, he learns a lot about himself and the demons he faces.

    Funny and profound Less is Lost shows the enigma of America through the eyes of this quirky character who like all of us, just wants to be loved.

    Four stars for Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer.****

    Read last week’s Book Review The Guncle by Steven Rowley.

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    Inspire  --  Island Life

    Maui On a Budget

    It won’t be easy, but there are ways to enjoy Maui on a Budget. And through the years I have discovered several things you can do to save money. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will give you a positive visit to this beautiful island paradise without breaking the bank. So here are our suggestions for Maui on a Budget.

    Maui

    When to Come

    Choose to visit the island during the off-season and absolutely don’t come over the Christmas holidays. July-October is a great time to visit and the island is quieter and you will have a wide choice of accommodations.

    Maui

    Where to Stay

    There are many, many condos available for rent and you will find it less expensive to stay in a condo than in a resort. By renting a condo rather than a hotel you can cook most of your meals and not blow your budget on eating out. Condos usually offer great pools and barbeque area for guest use.

    Canva

    Groceries

    If you have a Costco membership use it. Although the Maui Costco can be very busy, you can really save money by shopping there. We did price comparison on cases of beer and it was astonishing. Gas at the Maui Costco is also much less.

    We also found prices at Foodland and Times grocery stores were less than Safeway.

    Maui
    Maui

    Rental Car

    It’s pretty hard to visit Maui without a rental car. Unless you are only staying for a couple of days I highly recommend you get a car. But there are several rental agencies on the island renting older model cars for much less. We have used Kihei Rent a Car several times. The cars we have rented are Nissans, about ten years old, run great and get us where we need to be. About $39 a day this last visit as compared to $99 at the more well-known brand name rental agencies.

    Maui Sunset

    Dining Out

    Dining out in Maui is pretty expensive. There are some family friendly restaurants so be sure to read our post Maui Restaurants 2022. It also is less expensive to visit some of the restaurants where the locals go…I recommend Sam Satos and Saigon Cafe. Another really great way to save money dining out while getting to enjoy some of Maui’s best restaurants is to go to Happy Hour. Many restaurants have a daily Happy Hour and you can get a reduced menu but the same great food for much less money. Our favorite Happy Hours are Gannon’s in Wailea, Three’s Bar and Grill in Kihei, Fleetwoods in Lahaina, The Five Palms Restaurant in Kula and Dukes in Kaanapali. There are many more too, get a much more comprehensive list here Maui Happy Hours.

    Consider eating at some of the local food truck villages that have popped up around the island over the past few years. Maui has tons of food truck options now including in Kihei, Kaanapali, Wailuku, Kahalui and more. Read this for more.

    Food Trucks

    Equipment

    Before you spend $50 at Costco to buy a beach chair, double check with your condo to see if they have chairs available. Many condos have chairs, snorkel gear and even boogie boards available for their guests.

    If you need to rent or purchase, check out the local family that sells used equipment in their front yard, located in the 1000 block of Front Street in Lahaina. I have not purchased here but they offer chairs, boogie boards, pool noodles and floats and sometimes snorkel gear at a reduced (gently used) price. Why buy new and then discard? Recycle and reuse is the way to go!

    Gently used equipment

    Snorkeling

    The beaches are free of course (did you know every beach in the state of Hawaii is a public beach) and many beaches are great for snorkeling. You don’t need to pay for an expensive tour to Molokini to see beautiful fish and coral. Check out this list here.

    Maui

    Whale Watching

    Now you won’t get up close and personal, but from late November – March you can whale watch right form the beach. There are 10,000 humpback whales that visit the waters between Maui, Lanai and Molokai every winter. With so many whales it’s not difficult to see them from the beach or from the look out point located on the Honoapi’ilani  highway between Kihei and Lahaina.

    Maui
    Maui

    Hiking

    Hiking is free and there are some wonderful hikes on Maui. Check out our post Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui. A Maui hike also affords you the opportunity to bird watch, whale watch and enjoy the local flora of this island. By the way, if you are a Senior and have an America the Beautiful National Park Pass be sure not to leave it at home. The pass will save you the $30 entry fee into Haleakala National Park.

    Maui

    Hula Shows

    Luau’s are expensive, and when you are trying to do Maui on a Budget they are out of the question. But if you want to see a free hula show during your visit, there are several places that offer shows at different times depending on the time of year. Lahaina Cannery Mall, Maui Mall, Whaler’s Village, Four Seasons Resort Wailea and Kaanapali Beach Hotel all have shows sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. See the schedule here.

    Canva

    Other Cool Stuff

    Visit Ho’okipa to watch the surfers….its absolutely remarkable and its free. While you are there you will probably also see turtles. This is the beach you can almost always be guaranteed to see turtles hauled up and sunning themselves on the beach. We have also seen the Hawaiian Monk Seal sleeping on the beach here. A rare treat. Remember…the seal and the turtles are protected…stay back and enjoy from a distance.

    Maui

    A lot of people try to go to Haleakala for sunrise. I admit it’s a cool thing to do. But sunset is easier and free. There are dozens of places to watch the sunset from Makenna to Kapalua, for free.

    Maui Sunset
    Maui

    Maui on a Budget

    Yes you can do Maui on a Budget with a little frugal planning. It’s worth it to enjoy this island paradise, even if you are watching your pennies. Maui No Ka Oi!

    Did you see our post Maui Best Restaurants 2022 ?

    Thanks for reading Maui on a Budget. We love it when you pin, comment and share our blog posts. Mahalo.

    See last week’s post Becoming a Traveler.

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