Gosh I love Paris!

Saying that I like to travel is like saying that Romeo was only merely fond of Juliet.

I loooove to travel… and the farther the better. Now that being said, I like arrangements in place and I like places that aren’t too extreme. My idea of roughing it is a 4 star hotel. I know an older lady who likes to travel with her husband. Last year they went to rural Vietnam and Korea and had no travel plans other than plane tickets. That is, no hotel plans, no idea where the nearest hotel even was, not knowing the language, not knowing where to eat, not knowing how to get around, nothing except their backpacks and some “fooler” items to trick potential muggers and theives. She called it adventure travel– I called it hell on wheels. She ate strange meats, drank unrecognizable concoctions, slept in dirty places and accepted rides from people on bicycles with their children tucked in the front basket as they navigated overcrowded dirt roads. She said it was the only way to experience the real feel of a country. I’ll take her word for it because I don’t want to eat any strange meats from critters that I may have had as a pet growing up, I don’t want to drink anything that was created with ingredients I’ve never seen before, and I don’t want to sleep in places that require me to be wrapped up in bug nets to prevent the possibility of life threatening diseases when I get home. But that’s her, and I digress.

I’m the kind of travel addict who books a trip and then is looking for the next trip before I’ve even gone on the first one – and that’s at a slow time.. sometimes I’m looking two trips ahead. It’s a sick addiction, I know.

"Excuse me sir, does this bicycle stop at the market?"

I’ve scoured, read, studied, disected, examined, and made enough notes to fill two journals from information I gathered from travel books, travel sites, travel blogs, and travel shows.

As of lately, I have been researching my next adventure and have taken into consideration health issues in the desired countries. Call me fancy pants, a chicken shit, or just overly cautious, but I prefer not to be infected with Malaria, Cholera, Typhoid, Dengue, Yellow Fever, or any other frightening health issue. (Keep in mind that I only have to hear a story about someone who has a cold and I get one.) I shy away from going places where I need numerous vaccinations just to gain entry into the country, or somewhere that I need to take bottles of prescription drugs just so I don’t get a heart disease, or somewhere that requires I go into quarantine before and after the trip so I don’t infect other people with the possibility of a communicable disease.

I’ve learned that after narrowing down the disease ridden countries, my earth-wide playground has gotten a lot smaller. Frankly, my travel zone is now the little piece of front lawn between my house and my car. Kidding.

My latest travel obsession is cruises. I’ve reviewed them all… from the bottom of the line to the high end and from Carnival to Windstar. Last year we had a wonderful cruise with Royal Caribbean, a real perfect getaway.  I’d gone with Norwegian years ago and frankly, I’d be happy to try many cruise lines in the next while. Mind you, at that time some 10 years ago, the 3 night trip on the Norwegian ship I was on was nothing more than an oversized rubber dinghy with a crew. Nevertheless, it had it’s purpose and it was a good taste of the cruise life.

As with most things in life, there is always one place that will nickel and dime you. While researching the possibility of one particular line, it was apparent there was a charge for everything. You want a balcony cabin? No problem. You want it on a deck that is higher than the ocean water level? Add $5.00 per person per day. You want the balcony door to actually open? Add $7.50 per person per day. You want to be able to go out on your balcony without having to step around a lifeboat? Add $9.00 per person per day. I’m guessing that when supper is served, it would be the same thing… You want your steak to be cooked? Add $4.00. You want it served hot on the plate? Add $3.50. You want a spoonful of potatoes? Sorry, we’re out of them, but add $2.00 just for asking.

After weeks of daily comparisons, we booked a cruise solely based on the itinerary which takes in four islands we want to see again, and two new ones. From the research I’ve done, it’s looking like this cruise line just might go “overboard” on features and amenities. No pun intended. ;o)

Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, I’ve already got the next trip lined up!