Tuesday, January 2, 2018


2018 is here. 2017 was a very strange year. A new president. Strange elections. The best economic growth we  have had in the US in 17 years. So far so good. Well - 2018 gives us a brave new world that we must see while it's all still standing. So get busy on your bucket list. In the world of international finance, the EURO is down considerably against the DOLLAR as compared to five years ago so you can get more bang for your buck, especially if you go to the right places at the right time.

In the interest of assisting Vagabonds who want to, need to, absolutely must get out of the house for awhile, I have compiled a TOP TEN RANDOM LIST of things to consider when planning and going where no Vagabond has gone before. Keep in mind, this is all based on my own experiences and opinions. I hold myself harmless for any misinformation, bad advice or general screw ups. So here goes.

1) Be Safe - Unfortunately, we live in a world that can be dangerous and threatening. If you just watch the evening news, you see bad people doing bad things all over the world. While you cannot allow fear to control you and your travels, just pay attention and, you've heard it a thousand times - IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING. 

2) USA -  We live in a BIG country. Unless you want to break the bank, head to Southern Oregon. It's as beautiful as Central California and a whole lot less expensive. Besides, California's Central Coast is difficult to access right now because of massive land slides. Recommend you stay at Wild Springs Guest Habitat. With only five well appointed cabins in old growth woods and a 1,000 gallon hot tub overlooking the Pacific, this family run place will satisfy all of your R & R needs. 

3) Europe - If there is one city that must be on your bucket list it is Venice. Most romantic big city - Paris. We arrived late, checked in and decided to take a walk. We turned the corner and there it was - the Eiffel Tower in all of its shining glory. It just doesn't get any better. And a bucket list city you must see before you die - Barcelona. This beautiful city boasts some of the greatest art and architecture in the world.  The Sagrada Familia is worth the trip in itself.

4) Cheap, Cheap Cheap - If you want to keep money in your pocket then you must commit to spending some time on the internet to find places that offer five star deals at three star prices. In Europe, Spain is, by far, the least expensive in terms of hotels, AIRBNB's and food. In the good old USA, head to the Southwest. Even in the art filled mecca of Santa Fe, you can find really great places under $200 a night. 

5) AIRBNB - If you really want great and cheap, then I highly recommend AIRBNB. You have to search and read reviews, but, I have found AIRBNB's that were fabulous for under $100 a night.

6) Best Food - Italy, France, Spain. 'Nuff said.

7) Planes, Trains & Automobiles - Unfortunately you have to fly and it all sucks, so, just go to sleep once you're on board. Trains, in Europe, are the best and the cheapest. And when they say high speed, they mean high speed. It's like riding on a cloud. Keep car rentals to a minimum and use UBER when you can.

8) TEXAS - It is, in fact, a whole 'nother country. Austin is one of the most fascinating fun cities in the state. And if you really want a truly unique experience, head south of El Paso to Cibilo Creek Ranch to see South Texas in a very small five star resort just 40 miles from the art enclave of Marfa. Amazing! 

9) New York at Christmas - The Big Apple at Christmas time should be on every Vagabond's Bucket List. The lights, the theatre, the museums and the shopping, if you must. Times Square and Manhattan is sheer delight at Christmas. And New York does have great hotels at reasonable prices.

10) Bentonville - This one is not on most people's list of places they just gotta see. In addition to Walmart's first store, this small town has a world class museum, Crystal Bridges Museum, a great hotel, The 21C Art Hotel, and one of the most elegant modern glass chapels by renown Arkansas architect Fay Jones, The Thorncrown Chapel,  less than an hour away in Eureka.

So Get Goin' - This world has so many fascinating places, people and cultures to see you can't just sit there and watch it go by. And, if you approach it like a true Vagabond, you will find and experience things that will amaze you and scare you, maybe at the same time. Happy New Year and Good Travels to you all.

Random thoughts for sure. But - I have enjoyed every second. Peace to you and yours and pack your bags and just go! It will change you, I promise.


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