• My Last Day on the Seas!

    At sea…my last day aboard the m/s Volendam as my 21 day journey comes to an end and I will return to life on land!

    In the early 20th Century, travel by ocean liner was a privilege of the wealthy. It was a luxurious experience in which the rich were catered to with elegant and elaborate parties hosted by a regal ship’s captain.

    Obviously, times have changed…today this type of travel is available to anyone who has the luxury of time! Most people today, though, want the quickest nonstop in getting to their destination; most travelers don’t have the spare time for a long and leisurely cross ocean voyage! But this voyage cost much less than a business class transpacific flight but so much richer in experiences!

    It’s hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia as my time on the m/s Volendam winds down and my experience in this decadent old school style of ocean going comes to an end…Slowly navigating the immense seas and getting to see these remote places has been truly special…

    I have cruised a lot as part of my many adventures, yet I think this voyage will be remain a highlight. This medium sized ship doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the newest mega ships, but it has a “heart” and “soul” to it that is hard to put my finger on! It’s size neither feels too small and confining, nor does it feel overwhelming and overrun.

    After 3 weeks on board, this Holland America Line ship feels like home..certain things have become habit forming, creating my own special moments:

    1. Sail-away on the bow or very front of the ship. It’s like my own special “Titanic” moment!

    2. A mid-day nap on one of the 4 hammocks on the secluded Oasis area of the top deck!

    3. A decadent formal dinner served in my cabin as I lounge in my robe with a good film in the DVD player!

    4. Relaxing in a recliner in the traditional New York Times sponsored library studying a travel guide of our next port!

    5. A deep night’s sleep cradled to the gentle ocean roll of the ship!

    6. Floating in the salt water “seaview pool” at the ship’s aft! The high salt content in this pool allows you to easily float!

    7. A long session of cardio in the top deck fitness center over looking the open seas and witnessing dolphins playing alongside the ship!

    8. An early morning one mile walk on the grand outdoor promenade, watching the ship pull into the day’s port!

    9. A late evening film in the movie theatre indulging in delicious popcorn!

    10. People watching: seeing my fellow passengers dress up for formal night, witness small children so excited to play dress up with mom & dad, and observing the dance floor come alive with older couples who’ve obviously been ballroom dancing together for many years!



  • Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

    Chicago, Illinois…farewell to my hometown! A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without Pizza! I have a few favorites here, but my Bon Voyage meal was a family outing for traditional Chicago deep dish…Lou Malnati’s is a Windy City institution and always lives up to its fame!

    The restaurant is low key…not anything to look at…the star is the pizza! A crispy crust filled with oozing cheese and topped with fresh chopped tomato sauce and crumbled sausage! It’s truly decadent as the slice goes from pan to plate with the cheese stringing between slices. The tomato sauce is slightly tangy which creates a delicious flavor mix! We started our meal with their signature salad, which is a meal in itself, so I could only plow through two slices of pizza! We had leftovers for days!

    The Midwest is definitely a place of hearty food! Chicago definitely shines with its share of comfort foods that I long for from my youth! It was a great visit seeing family, hanging out with old and new friends, and reacquainting myself with the city I grew up in and some of my favorite memories!





  • Total Recall!

    At Sea in the Mediterranean…as we sailed our way under tonight’s Blue Moon, we were treated to a special performance on board the m/v Equinox! Andy Bell was our star performer…

    For those who may not be familiar with him: he is the 80’s iconic gay singer of the British group Erasure. I loved Erasure and it seems like so much of my youth was set to a soundtrack of their songs! Alison Moyet, Culture Club, Dead or Alive, and a whole crop of British imports blasted throughout my teens…but Erasure was a prominent sound besides mainstream music from Madonna and the Go Go’s…

    It all came flooding back to me sitting in the ship amphitheater tonight! My college roommate used to blast Erasure and we would sing and dance all night to it! It seems like yesterday when overnights were spent in the school sewing labs with Erasure tunes blaring up and down the halls of F.I.T. or remixes were danced to in the hottest NYC clubs…

    Andy sang his greatest hits including one of my favorites, “Blue Savannah Song” in his silver sequin leggings, 80’s inspired oversize tee, and red soled high tops. It was great fun and brought me back over 25 years!

    The 80’s came back to me and it seems connecting to my personal memories and my family heritage is a reoccurring theme of this trip! The days full of an unknown future and the never-ending new experiences of my teens are sort of a full circle moment! I feel like that 18 year old again on a quest for the next stage of my life: what lies ahead as I experience things along this journey in a whole new way!


  • Sunset Farewell!

    Santorini, Greece…a perfect way to end my visit to the Greek islands was with a trip to Oia to see the most stunning sunset! Oia, a tiny town perched high atop the island is a quick jaunt from the main town of Fira.

    Bleach white buildings set amongst blue domed churches and cobbled walkways are clustered in this picturesque location high above the islands harbor. An artist’s dream, the tiny walkways are filled with galleries, shops, and balconied cafes. This is probably the Greece so many picture as this tiny town with the big wow has been the subject of many an artist’s brush and lens. Pure magic!

    Greece has been a great part of this summer’s travels and as I depart tonight from Santorini, it will mark my final visit to Greece this year…thanks Greece for being the star of my journey so far!