Friday, December 28, 2012

Bah Humbug - Christmas Is Done, The Gift Cards Are Spent, Still Gotta Take Down The Tree - Then What?

All Any Nomad Wants For Christmas Is A 5 Star Room at a 2 Star Price Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Funny man Jim Gaffigan describes Thanksgiving as "eating a lot of food with people that annoy us". For the sake of familial harmony,  I would never actually say that. But, if you are like me, you are hungover from too much food, too much shopping, too much Ho-Ho-Ho and good cheer and, now, thanks to Christmas, too little money.

So what are we to do as we complain about the cold weather (unless you are settled in on some ski slope somewhere) and wait for the new year as we make out our lists of New Year's Resolutions?  Actually, edit is probably a better word. All those things we are going to do for self improvement that we almost never actually do - lose weight, eat better, be nicer, watch less TV - the list never ends and it really doesn't change much. Now that we are approaching the last official holiday of the year, it is my fervent hope that Santa brought every Nomad something you can use as you gear up for your next adventure. For me, it was some new travel books on Spain, including The History of Spain by Peter Pierson and a really cool gift from Tara, the newest member of our family (my son's new bride) - the first limited edition of the official Nomad Architect Travel Journal.

Here in God's country, we are just starting to get serious about planning a 2013 excursion to the land of tapas, bullfights and tempranillo. Reading about a country's history helps any traveler understand what they are getting themselves into, so to speak. Maybe I'll re-read For Whom The Bell Tolls just to liven things up a bit. And of course, I can write down all of my cogent thoughts about the land of Hemingway in my new up close and personal travel journal.

From now until early spring, Nomads everywhere are lying dormant, getting that needed rest we all need to strike out on the next trek to an old familiar place or, for the true Nomad, that unfamiliar place that we have always dreamed about. In light of that, I thought a refresher course in planning and dreaming might be in order as you impatiently wait for the days to get longer and the weather to become more hospitable.

The Official 2013 Nomad Architect's New Year's Resolutions for Restless Souls Everywhere

1) Resolve To Get Organized - I have said it many times before. Travel is all about the unexpected. But, you need a plan. While you don't need an hour by hour or even a day by day itinerary, practical things like airline reservations, car rentals and train reservations must be planned for. That's especially true if money is an issue - and money is always an issue.Even the most serendipitous traveller needs to know when, where and how to get where you are going. Just start with a basic written itinerary and go from there.

2) Resolve To Read - Read - Read - And I don't just mean the latest from Rick Steves or Lonely Planet. Read some books about the essence of a place - it's history, its people, its food and customs. Even a novel written by someone that has experienced a country on its own terms can change your entire approach to travel in a country or region. Reading A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle informed our entire trip to that enchanted part of France.

3) Resolve To Become Virtual - I have noted on occasion how the internet has changed travel. Because of the freedom of the internet, we can become Masters of Our Own Travel Domains. The internet provides you the freedom of choice that allows you to customize any trip to meet your own expectations. Just click on the Travel Planning Link under Nomad Architect Labels for some great travel planning resources.

4) Resolve To Write It Down - Whether you are old school, new school or even one of the new millennium crew that seems to have a much too personal relationship with your I-Phone or IPAD,  make notes about the specific things you want to do and experience and the places you think will allow you to do and experience those very things. And be creative. It's not enough just to want to go to, say, Iceland, Seattle or Rome. Write down what you and yours want to actually experience. Because, its the experiences in travel that create the memories and the magic.

5) Resolve To Go Where You Have Never Gone Before - We love familiarity don't we? Our favorite table, our favorite beach, our favorite hotel. While I am not saying abandon your usual haunts - but, come on, without spice, that sea bass I had last year in Savannah is just fish. And a change of scenery changes you. It opens your mind and and your heart. So get out there. Go somewhere you have never been and just soak it all in. Whether it's walking the Appalachian Trail, riding a high speed train through Tuscany, or having a Bellini at Harry's Bar in Venice, its the new stuff that broadens your mind, deepens your heart and makes you appreciate this still fascinating world we live in.

6) Resolve To Just Go - Mark Twain said "Why do today what you can put off 'till tomorrow". Not so with travel. Follow the Nike mantra - Just Do It! Even if you can't get away for the full six weeks it takes to walk the Santiago in Spain, go to a place or places that you have always dreamed about. Just two days experiencing the canals and alleyways of Venice or a week lazing on the coast of Santorini, is worth the planning and the money. As my old roomie used to say - What's a few hundred bucks in a lifetime? Although, admittedly, he said that in 1971, so its no longer a few hundred dollars. Be that as it may, if you are a true Nomad, travel is not a luxury - it's a necessity. So GO!!

As we get ready to finally kiss 2012 goodbye, I won't to thank every Nomad that has visited my little travel blog. I hope I have given you some insight or made you think about the world of travel in a different way. As we head into 2013, it is my fervent hope that you will find that proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow on a windswept island nobody knows about or a room with a view that nobody thought existed. So here's a raised a glass to all Nomad's that refuse to settle. Voici pour vous.

Happy Trails To You and Yours In The New Year

d.l. stafford

Travel Quote of The Week - Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

Video Artist of The Week - Norah Jones. The Texas daughter of Ravi Shankar combines an eclectic blend of pop and jazz with nice keyboards and cool vocals to create music for contemplation or reading your next travel book. Sunrise is worth a listen and a look

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