My Adventure Abroad

Travel Glamour

Thursday, June 13, 2019 Originally, I had birthday dinner plans to celebrate a childhood friend.  But when she started feeling ill we postponed till a later date and my evening opened up.  Around 1pm I got a message.  “I have an extra ticket for the TravelAge West Wave Awards tonight.  It’s a black tie event.  Do you want to go?  Leaving in three hours.”  Uh, yes I want to go.  But could I arrange it on my end?  The message was from Betsy who runs the Uniglobe Travel Center (UTC) office, my travel host agency.  She and Rose, my mentor at Uniglobe, go to this event at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey every year.  This year they had…

Norwegian JOY ride

JOY.  EnJOY.  JOYful.  Recently I went on a JOYride aboard the Norwegian JOY cruise ship on its inaugural US run, up and down the west coast, from Vancouver to Mexico and back again.  For my part of the ride, I got to sail for a quick 24 hours from the Port of Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico and back to LA. JOY is a beautiful ship.  As I’ve chronicled here in previous blog posts, until three months ago, I’d never even set foot on a big cruise ship.  (I’m not counting the Nile River or Ha Long Bay which were both teeny cruise “boats.”)  In just three months I’ve been on a MSC Cruise ship, a Princess Cruise ship, I’ve…

Uniglobe Travel Conference

It’s Sunday, March 31 and I am exhausted. I’ve just been to my first ever work conference and it was activity and information overload. My husband John went to conferences and conventions way back when. Lots of my friends travel around for conferences. But in my former life in the trenches in politics and press I never had a conference to go to. So it’s been an exciting last few days. I’m so lucky because this year’s conference was held at the Long Beach Hilton, only 45 minutes from my house. Woo-hoo! My travel partnership is with Uniglobe Travel Center (UTC) and first off this is not only a conference but an official family reunion. It’s the best scenario. They’re…

My First Foot on a Cruise

Not a real cruise.  But a docked cruise ship.  I’d actually never ever been on a big, tux and ballgowns, bells and whistles, floating city cruise ship before last Thursday, February 7.  I’ve only been on small ships on the Nile River in Egypt and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.  I’ve seen the Love Boat about a thousand times so I was just sure I knew exactly what to expect.  But I figured it’s high time I get out there in person and see what the cruise ship craze is all about.  I really prefer cruising on a sailboat or floating on a SUP,  but they are a lot more work.  It’s never too late to become a convert to…

52 Places To Go from NYT

The New York Times just came out with their list of 52 places to visit for 2019. Since I’m starting a new travel business, all these travel lists that everyone loves are now catching my eye. There’s a top 5 and top 10 list for everything. I usually just ignore them because it’s all just some stranger’s ideas. But the New York Times claims to put in a lot of time and research into making their lists. So I figure what they’ve come up with is worth posting here. Of the top 10 destinations here, I haven’t been to very many. Just #3, Santa Barbara and #4 Panama. I’d better get my bags packed and get on it. My featured…

Dreaming of Northern Lights

It’s the dead of winter, the middle of the night and it’s literally freezing outside.  But someone wakes you up and says, quick, get up and get outside.  Is the house on fire?  No, you just won the northern lights jackpot and the prize is the chance to see a colorful fire in the sky.  Some people travel far and spend much for a chance to see this sight.  But for all the effort, sometimes it appears and sometimes it doesn’t.   One of my top bucket list items is seeing the Aurora Borealis, a.k.a. the Northern Lights.  I know the best time for this phenomenon to happen is in the dead of winter, in cold climate countries, in the…

The Next Venture

We left Japan less than 5 months ago but it feels like a lifetime already.  We’re all missing our Japanese friends terribly.  But we just heard from one family that they’ll be in Southern California and they want to meet up at the dumpling haven Din Tai Fung in Los Angeles.  And one of Avalon’s little Japanese friends is getting on a plane bound for Las Vegas and Phoenix for the holiday. That’s a far drive though, so I’m not sure we will get to see her. [Update: she flew to Los Angeles and we picked her up at the airport on New Year’s Eve. We got to spend a fun NYE staying up until midnight, playing games and eating…

Yale Bound

Now that we’re back in the US, it seems “my adventure abroad” is a reverse perspective.  We’re living abroad in the US and missing our life in Japan.  So for now, my adventure abroad turns out to be living and traveling in the US again.  My first adventure abroad in California is getting everything out of storage, buying 2 cars, fixing up our house, finding or buying furniture and just a general cleaning of everything inside and out repeatedly and re-connecting with friends. Next adventure is taking Kaiyo to the east coast.  Kaiyo’s team from Osaka International School (OIS) made it to the final round of the international academic competition called World Scholar’s Cup.  They call it the Tournament of Champions…

Re-Entry & Fun Photos

We’re back at home in California.  We were away in Osaka, Japan for two years, nearly to the day.  Is re-entry hard?  Yeah.  It is.  The kids miss their friends in Japan.  John is feeling some pressure to find a new job.  I am trying to unpack everything that was in storage and figure out where it all goes.  Even the cats are skittish.  We sold a bunch of our furniture so at the moment there’s only one La-Z-Boy recliner that we are all fighting over, and usually the cat is already curled up there. John is mad at rude drivers in California.  Driving here means you’ll be run over or run off the road if you don’t keep up…

Sayonara Japan!

The Crazy Last Day I woke up at 6am on Wednesday, August 1.  Today is departure day.  First thing is to feed the cats and hope they use the kitty litter box before we leave the house.  They get to fly in the cabin with us again so puh-leeeze kitties, no mess on the airplane!   Other last things on today’s to do list: Osaka Gas will come to shut off the gas and give us our final bill – between 9-10 am.  It’s a relief to close our account before we leave.   Our friend Chiharu will come at 9:15 am to pick up Halyard’s twin mattress so that it can be thrown away at her house – she has “big…