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Keeping Calm Before Carrying On

It has been a trying, unnerving week of upheaval, hasn't it? Never a dull (or peaceful) moment lately. First, contagious pestilence, commingled with fear, grief and a plunging stock market (it's own kind of fear and grief). This week, tragedy, sadness, rancor and probably a lot of other thesaurus-worthy words. The year 2020 has brought a lot of worry and uncertainty (I'm intentionally understating), and we're ready for a do-over.

This week, I am torn about what to write. I want to honor recent events, and the place we are now: the place we are as a country, and the place you might find yourself, given the circumstances of recent months and weeks. So my title and photo are not intended to minimize all that; they are a reminder to focus and re-center before moving to the next step, whatever that is.

However, by now you know that as an eternal optimist: there isn't a half-empty glass in my world, only the overflowing pitcher with which to fill others' half-empties. I know it's not like that for everyone, but I also know that you don't look to me for social commentary, news, or an editorial review of current events. My mission is your uplift and inspiration, and the design of your leisure moments. May I proceed in that vein?

You've undoubtedly heard that many countries have re-opened, or will soon re-open their borders to international tourism. Some are not including the US in their plans right away, and others are. My last several newsletters to you, and the contents of the inspiration boxes at the bottom of my weekly ezine (you should be receiving that too.) were written just for this reason - you want to go, but where to? Where is it 'safe?' We are accustomed to the freedom of open borders for our leisure travel, and now we are restricted. If you are ready to plan and book for an overseas destination, please don't do it on your own; the pitfalls are not well marked, and you do have a willing and knowledgeable guide. If you'd rather explore the beauty, history, and culture within this country, a great opportunity presents itself.

How will I guide your choices from the countless opportunities to find the perfect 'thing', or the something you haven't thought of or may not even know you want? By asking you about your travel style, the goals for your trip, past vacation experiences and preferences, interests, likes/dislikes, hobbies, and more. Sometimes I'll ask about things that seem to be irrelevant to your vacation; those are the answers that give me the most insight into how to turn your vacation dream into a vacation masterpiece. Let's just say, no one has ever come back from a trip I planned for them and said they had a rotten time. I don't intend you to be the first.

I have a questionnaire that can help you solidify your vacation ideas in your own mind. You can also get my recommended "Five Questions to Ask Yourself" from my Facebook page (once there, click on the Learn More button just under the header). Not everyone needs these tools, but if you are feeling so very far removed from travel ("It's been so LOOONG since we've had a vacation!"), that you're not sure anymore what your first step should be, yet feel the need to scratch the travel itch ( "We've GOT to get out of here! Where can we go?), these might be good places to start. Please share them with someone who may not have had the benefit of my ramblings.

Next step - PLEASE reach out to a travel professional. If I'm not your favorite, that's okay, but winging your vacation - you know how I feel about that - it's not worth the risk. Even if you decide it needs to be road trip-style, you deserve for it to be the very best road trip eh-vah, and I have the tools for that.

I'm hoping that soon I can start writing some of my series again - "Let's Go To...", "Top Ten..." - and of course, my own travel adventures and experiences. There are some updates in the industry that I'll send your way soon, and if there is a topic, destination, or aspect of the industry that you'd like to see me explore, please let me know. This weekly letter is for you and your favorite travel companions.

'til next week.

I saved the best pic for last

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