Where Will You Go On Your First Big Trip Post-Pandemic?
Updated: 7 days ago
Will you go back to an old favorite place, or find a new destination to discover?
If you are anything like us, and have a bad case of the travel bug, we know how much you are missing the wonderful experience of discovering new places, which is why we came up with the idea of being an Armchair Traveler! Here we, along with our world travel loving friends ~ Michele Karlsberg and Maggie Rizzi ~ bring you a diverse mix of travel from Europe and New England to Hawaii and Cuba, sit back, enjoy the journey and see if any of our top picks make it onto your bucket list.
So, during all this COVID lockdown, while I haven’t been able to travel, I have enjoyed reflecting upon how lucky and grateful I am to have traveled as much as I have in my life. I started to love traveling from a young age, my parents would pack up our ancient camper and we would sail across the English Channel, on a ferry to Europe, for weeks at a time. We would arrive in a new and exciting land and suddenly my dad was driving on the wrong side of the road! Our heavily laden camper chugging along the back roads of France and Switzerland, all the way down to Italy. It was always a relief when we made it to our next destination, quite an incredible feat now that I look back. Not only did we clock up a massive amount of mileage, but also the greatest of memories.
Every few days we would set off to a new campsite, all with beautiful and distinctive settings. From the Champagne district of France, where we toured Madame Clicquot’s vineyard, to the foot of the Jungfrau in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. I Learned many things during our trips, one thing in particular stands out, as we traveled through different countries, each with their own language, I was always able to easily make friends, we didn’t always understand each other’s words but we still found common ground and played happily together. As our parent’s sat around campfires sipping the local wine and beers, we would cheerfully be teaching each other new games and a few new words to boot!
My many travel experiences as a child instilled into me a wonder of the world and wanting to see as much of it as possible, it also gave me confidence to travel alone, although it is so much more enjoyable to share the experience with the one you love. I definitely have the travel bug and believe it does broaden the mind.
As a singleton I traveled far and wide, I was always planning my next trip. From skiing in Verbier, Switzerland, where I took my first terrifying black run, to seeing the Three Sisters in Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia and a one on one with a cute koala bear. Among my favorite trips has to be Jamaica. I had watched the film Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise, and I fell in love with the idea of visiting the Caribbean island with all its white sand beaches and stunning blue sea. I was not disappointed. When I first arrived, the sound of reggae music filled the airport. I boarded a bus to my hotel, its old-fashioned sliding windows were open and, as we hurtled along the seafront, an intoxicating Caribbean breeze blew through my hair, it felt amazing. I stayed in Negril with its renowned 7-mile beach, hired a bicycle and made friends to go sight-seeing with. Jamaica was everything I had dreamed of, open air reggae concerts, wonderful local artwork and delicious local food bought on the side of the road. The highlight of my trip was a swim at Dunn River Falls, just like in the film Cocktail but it wasn’t the same as it would’ve been if I had someone special to share it with and I knew one day I wanted to go back and I did, with Laurie!
My most memorable and life changing trip has to be the 8 days I spent in New England, staying with Laurie for the first time! I landed in Boston and there she was waiting for me with a limo, it was my first time in a stretch and boy did Laurie show me the sights, from Cape Cod to Newport, it was awesome! I stayed at her condo situated on the banks of the Taunton River, many nights we spent watching the glorious sunset and little did I know, a year later, we would marry right there and my life would change forever. So that is why travel has played such an enormous part of my life and still does, now that we have moved to Florida, we can’t wait to be able to travel again searching out new wondrous sights and experiences together.
Cuba: Unmatched Beauty: Yes, the future is there. But the past too is everywhere!
On May 27th, 2019, myself, my wife and a few friends headed to Cuba via a cruise to Havana. We were literarily the last boat from the United States to arrive as the Dump administration stopped all travel to this beautiful Island the day after our departure. Our trip was well coordinated, and we were really able to immerse ourselves in the Cuban culture while we were there. Our wonderful host, Natalia (Cuban Adventures), guided us with ease and always directed us to the right places for fresh local food and drink. It was a dream come true for us. We arrived in the early morning hours and went strong into the next morning, taking it all in. We jumped into our vintage convertibles and visited so many wonderful sites, landmarks and also got to spend some time with the wonderful, beautiful people of this country. Some stops included but not limited to (so much to see) the San Francisco Square, Old Havana, Plaza de Armas, Revolution Square, Forest of Havana, Miramar, Malecon, Vedado, The National Hotel to the late night/early morning adventure at the Legendary Tropicana Nightclub. It was indeed a trip of a lifetime. I can only suggest, once travel opens back up from the United States, run don’t walk.
Photo Credits: Michele Karlsberg and Raymond Galazzo
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Nice is a beautiful ancient city on the French Riviera, arguably one of the most beautiful people on earth.
The city has beaches, mountains, gorgeous villages ringing it on all sides, super good public transportation, night life for people of all preferences and identifications, excellent food, magnificent parks and plazas, water sports and incredibly good museums. It is not inexpensive, and a bit of spoken French is handy, as most people don't speak English. We have been about a half dozen times and never get tired of it. The airport is good as is the shopping.
The #ILoveNice sign was built after the truck attack a couple of years ago, we have been several times both before and since, but had our photo taken at the sign because it was meant to be a symbol of the resilience of the Niçoise and their friends. Mt. Boron is the beautiful mountain between Nice and its surrounding villages. The first of these is Villefranche, and the next after Pap Ferrat is Eze. All are a quick, inexpensive, reliable train ride apart, and so we often pop off for a few hours to one of them.
We have always preferred to rent a flat, rather than use a hotel. Practically every corner has a wonderful bakery and small food and wine store, so cooking at “home” is both economical and delicious. One could get good wine, cheese, strawberries, peaches, and a baguette and duplicate this experience at home without even using a stove!
It was 1984 and I was months away from my sixteenth birthday. As a special treat, my parents would reserve some Friday nights for a pu pu platter at the famous China Royal in Fall River, MA. When I entered the lobby, my eyes were always drawn to the doors of the Imperial Place, a large function room that showcased Polynesian Shows. Per my request, a show ticket was my early birthday present and my seat was front and center. I was fascinated by a culture that told a story with their hands, where hips and feet followed with beauty and grace. Hawaiian flowers and enchanting music filled the room, I was hooked!
Weeks later, on a Friday night, when I enter the lobby of the China Royal, a sign was posted “Polynesian Dancer Wanted” and all the info for upcoming auditions. This was it! My chance, to prove to myself and the other show members I could be the dancer they were looking for. I had no prior dance training, but during the time I sat front and center, I studied, I focused on the dancers hands, the way she moved her feet, the way she swayed her hips. I was determined to give it my all and see where it gets me.
If you ever watched SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, well the choreography part was like that. I was amongst a group of fifty girls, we learned a dance routine from the Polynesian Dancers, and they kept narrowing down the group as more routines were performed. At the end of the second day, I was welcomed to the group, I not only preformed at the China Royal, but toured New England from The Frank David Resort in Moodus, CT to the Newport Navy Base in RI.
In 2006, my wife Caroline and I visited Hawaii for our honeymoon, it was everything and more than I ever imagined it would be. We spent eleven glorious nights on the BIG island, we rented a jeep and explored all the diversity the island had to offer. From the rainforest, beaches, volcano, National Park, oceanfront restaurants, shopping, romance, sunsets, but our trip would not have been complete without a luau. It brought me right back to 1984, and the reason I fell in love with the culture.
After the luau I purchased a pair “POI BALLS” Poi Balls is a tradition that hails from the island of New Zealand and is performed at luaus. I was like riding a bike, and I was trying to impress Caroline with my fancy moves, swinging the balls high above my head, behind my head, even with my eyes closed! We laughed hysterically as I tried teaching Caroline how to use them.
New memories were made and there is NO ONE else I would have wanted to make them with.