NEW YORK CITY!!!

NYC wasn’t necessarily one of the places that I had on my list of places to visit. I think I’d always been somewhat intimidated by New York. Everything I ever read or seen about that city was, quite frankly, overwhelming. I’m more of a beach or nature girl. I usually like things on a slower pace, BUT – big but – I had the opportunity to visit NYC and it turned out to be amazing. If I had visited NYC in my teens or twenties, I could very easily have wanted to move there even for a short while. There’s an incredible energy to the city. It’s fast paced, exciting and never a dull moment.

I went as part of a group (a LARGE group), we were there for four days and the guides took us all over the city in that short period of time. We were able to visit all five boroughs, two broadway shows, one opera and all the key NYC places that most of us hear about on television or movies. It was exciting but also quite exhausting. You see, I was a chaperone and as many of us know – being a chaperone is work. So the trip, while exciting and awesome, was also extremely stressful and tiring. We were the first ones up and the last ones asleep plus the fact that we also had night shifts where we needed to get up for hallway patrol. Smart but probably not necessary since every single day was packed with activity from early in the morning to very late at night so everyone was exhausted by the end of the day. Still… always good to make sure.

Anyway – day one. by the time we went to sleep that first day, many of us had literally been awake for some 23 to 24 hours straight. Exhausting but with the energy NYC has, I didn’t really feel it until I hit the pillows that night. We flew out about 4 am and arrived in NYC three hours later and walked out into frigid 30 degree weather. Remember – we’re Floridians. The weather in Florida for us was already in the 70’s and 80’s. 30 degrees felt quite cold to us, me in particular as I don’t take too well to cold weather. My daughter on the other hand, loved the cold. She thrives on it. We were breathing out “smoke” for most of the time we were there! In Florida, we might wake up on a cold morning where we can see our breath but that never lasts for the whole day, even on our coldest winter days.

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Me – leaving Florida and the view from the plane window as the sun started to come up.

Straight off the plane we headed out to begin our NYC tour.

One of the first places we went to was the Rockefeller center where we were able to see the NYC skyline. I have to say, I fell in love with the whole excitement that is uniquely NYC. There were so many people and they were all moving with a purpose. Being from a southern state, we take things at a much slower pace. Not that we’re lazy, but we do have our moments when we just stroll, whereas everyone I saw in New York seemed to be moving with a definite purpose. Everyone seemed to have a place to get to and in a hurry too.

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One sees this in pictures and movies all the time but it’s just totally awesome when you see it in person for the first time.

New York is an assault on the senses. There’s just no other way to say this. The city literally attacks all your senses. Sight – one just cannot stop looking at everything. There is just too much to see, buildings, people, cars…etc. Smell – there are vendors at every corner, it seems, selling food of all kinds. One also notices the exhaust from all the cars and buses and there are oh so many of them, all fighting for their space on the roads. Taste – so many places to get food. Touch – especially in the theaters, every theatre we saw had velvet covering their seats and walls. All for the sold purpose of acoustics. One can’t resist reaching out and running hands over all the luxurious materials. Sounds – there’s no end to sound, cabs zipping by, buses honking for the cars to get out of the way, people muttering under their breath when they’re trying to get around a large tour group taking up sidewalk space, music coming from street performers… there’s no end to sound in this city.

We ate at Ellen’s Stardust Diner that evening. What a place! I wouldn’t necessarily go for the food but the entertainment was so much fun. The servers are all ambitious, aspiring performers and this diner allows them an opportunity to perform for the patrons. Since the group I was touring with was involved with chorus – they were thrilled to hear many of their favorites being sung and often sang along.

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We ended the day with a performance at the Nederlander Theatre of “Newsies”. These guys put on an awesome performance. There was so much energy and passion going into this show from these actors. Despite how long we had been up that day, we were all enthralled by the performance and easily stayed awake for the whole show.

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It was an absolutely amazing first day in NYC. One that simply will not be forgotten. I’d go back in a heartbeat, but it will have to be on my own time where I’ll be able to really explore every aspect of the city without the responsibility of being a chaperone and the rush of being part of a large group.

Stay tuned for more… and feel free to share your experiences with NYC.

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Life is Beautiful…

I’m around some people who don’t see beauty around them. It makes me sad when I hear them talk about suicide or being depressed. I’m not bipolar but I have had very close experiences with people who are and it’s really tough to see them go through these extreme lows.

Please, if anyone out there is interested. It’s such a precious place we live in. There’s so much beauty surrounding us. It may not be right next door but it’s definitely on our planet. Use your imagination…dream… let your mind go places that you may not be able to go physically at this moment.

I believe in the power of positive thinking. I think that when you feel that things are possible. They really can be. There’s no limitations except what you place on yourself.

I, myself, plan on traveling. I just have to wait a couple of years for my daughter to graduate school. Then I can just pick up and go. Possessions are nothing. Life, love and experiences are everything.

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A perfect rose…

 

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Skiing at midnight…

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Kayaking through the mangroves…

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A beautiful Autumn sky…

I don’t even have money to travel but yet, I can have these experiences. So if I can convince anyone that life is beautiful around the corner….I’ll be happy.

 

 

Dream Life

A lot of people have dream homes for when they retire. I have a dream life. I don’t want to be tied down nice and neat to a little apartment or house. I want the freedom to roam, most specifically across Europe. To visit places that have so much history and beauty. Hell, I want to go all over the world, but let’s be realistic here. It takes money and time to do that and I most definitely won’t have much of that, especially the former. So, for right now, I’ll start my dream off with a tour through Europe. When I’m done with that then I can move on to other continents.

I would sell off most of my crap. It’s all it is…crap that weighs people down. Probably keep a couple of properties as rentals so I’ll have some income to finance my travels. Fly out and start off in Spain, maybe along the Andalusian coast. Get a car and travel along the coast. Then move into the interior and visit some of the cities and small towns. Soak up the history of Spain and visit some of the beautiful cathedrals.

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I could see myself staying in a place like this while exploring.

Then I’d move on to France, perhaps. See the Eiffel Tower. So cliche really, but one simply cannot go to France and not at least see the Eiffel Tower. So I just have to see it, travel down along the Seine River and see all the sights. Then take off into the countryside. I would minimize my time spent in really touristy spots and try to soak up as much of the real France as I can. Spend time sipping wine at the sidewalk cafes while writing my book.

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Italy – I refuse to go to Europe without stopping in Italy. It’s always been one of my bucket list of places to visit. If I can’t make it to any other place in the world. I, at least, want to go to Italy. Not that it’s necessarily better than any of the other places, but that it’s simply been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to visit. The Amalfi Coastline is one that I don’t want to miss. The countryside and of course Venice. A trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a gondola ride through Venice.

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Now, Lake Como looks like a place that I could easily fall in love with and never leave.

Then I’d have to jump over to Greece. One of my favorite movies is “Mamma Mia” which was filmed in Greece. I have absolutely loved that movie with its scenic backdrop of the gorgeous blue waters. Since seeing it, I had to add it to my long list of places to visit.

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Could I stay here indefinitely, oh yes.

I found these pictures from the internet – Perhaps one day I will be blogging about my travels and adding my own photos.

For those of you who are already out there living that dream type of a life, you guys have it made. Enjoy every second of your life. I raise my glass of Moscato to you.

Dreamin’ of Italy

I totally get it now, why people plan and go on a fantastic vacation once their kids leave the nest. Raising kids, especially those last few teenage years, has to be the toughest job for anyone. We get days off every year from work to regroup and recharge ourselves, but there’s no time off from raising kids. I guess that grand vacation after our kid(s) leave home is that vacation to regroup after 18+ years of work. It may also be a way to cope with the emptiness that we’re sure to feel for a while. I know I’m going to cry  when my Teen leaves and it’s probably going to be the toughest time of my life trying to adjust back to being who I was before I became a parent, (if I ever do).

However, I’m already dreaming of that Italian vacation. Italy is a place that I’ve always wanted to visit, and lately after dealing with so much angst from and with my Teen, I’m ready to go. My fantasy is to take a long extended vacation, fly to Italy, rent a car and just drive. I’m not quite sure what part of Italy I want to visit first but the Amalfi Coast sounds like a lovely drive. I have this book that I bought a few years ago when I started dreaming of visiting Italy and every so often I’ll pick it up and read about a section of Italy. I think I want to cover all of Italy at some point, but for now, I’ll have to pick a section.

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Everyone has a dream of a place they’d like to see before they die. Well, Italy is at the top of my bucket list. I’d like to think that one day I’ll see it. This isn’t about taking a break from raising kids, although I like to kid about how tough it is to do so (well it’s actually true, but well worth it). No, I feel that everyone needs a dream or a goal. Otherwise, what’s to look forward to? To work toward? The day we stop dreaming, is the day we should just hang it all up. I dream all the time, daydreams, night dreams, fantasies or little thoughts here and there. It keeps me sane. It keeps me going. Whatever makes you happy or whatever you think you want to experience, never let go of it. Sooner or later the opportunity will present itself. I do believe in the power of positive thinking.

Meanwhile, “Continuare a sognare”, (Keep on dreaming). I hope I got that right…may need to work on my Italian a bit before I actually head out there, huh?

I’d welcome any comments or advice of any of you guys who know anything about Italy, like which part of Italy would you recommend or suggest…