City Views, North America, Travel Advice

Travel Photo Thursday – Renaissance Faire

May 12, 2011 • By

Renaissance Faire

Today’s photo is from a local Renaissance Faire a few years back.  It shows a musically inclined  Scottish family performing for the crowd.  I have to admit that the music was quite good and the girls’ footwork was impressive…..oh to be young again and be able to move like the wind….so I chose this pic because it brings a smile to my face when I look back on the day that was full of fun and merriment and the humongous turkey legs were quite tasty too!

This photo is part of the Travel Photo Thursday series which was started by Nancie M with Budget Travelers Sandbox.


How We Can Make The World Better For Having Been In It

May 8, 2011 • By

After reading an insightful post from the NVR Guys about volunteerism and giving back, I was so moved by it that I decided to expound on my response to it which was:

“I’ve always liked the old Shirley Chisholm quote: “Service is the rent that we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” To that end, you guys are operating at a surplus. I think one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to give back…it’s actually a selfish endeavor really, because you get back much more than you give. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you’ve made the difference in someone’s life. It really is a beautiful thing.READ MORE

City Views, Europe, Travel Advice

Travel Photo Thursday – Chateaus and Castles of the Loire Valley

May 5, 2011 • By

During our trip to Paris in 2003, we decided to take a daytrip to Tours, France where we were scheduled to meet at the (get this) Office of Tourism to meet the tour group (I’ve got a million of ‘em) for our tour (told ya!) of the Chateaus and Castles of the Loire Valley.  One of the major tenets that I ascribe to is “If you’re going to travel in a metal contraption with recirculated, stale air for over 8 hours, make it count!”  Therefore, we try to include daytrips in our travels as a way of stretching our dollar as far as it will go.

I was most impressed with the Chateau de Chenonceau mostly because it was impressively expansive and gracefully sat just over the River Cher.  This incredible checkered ballroom floor is situated right above the river.   This photo’s viewpoint makes the floor look interminable, as if it has no end, that it is indeed the pathway to history.  If you allow yourself to let your imagination soar, you can see a 3 dimensional time portal open as you get halfway down the hall.  On the other side, you will find yourself in the middle of an exquisite ball that’s being held there with ladies in all of their finery being escorted by gentlemen of stature and means.

This photo is part of the Travel Photo Thursday series which is the brainchild of Nancie M with Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Interviews, Travel Advice

The Inspired Traveler – # 11 – Michael Schuermann

April 29, 2011 • By
[box type=”info”] Today, we continue our series where we sit down to interview fellow Travel Bloggers and (hopefully) get them to give up some of their best travel tips for you, dear reader. Next up, we get to bend the ears of Michael Schuermann, who runs The Easy Hiker website.[/box]

Mike taking a hike in Sedona

1)      What is it about traveling that makes you smile?
(More a wry smile.) When I see people do something they quite clearly do not enjoy, like pulling their bored and tired kids through an art gallery, out of a sense of “holiday duty”

2)      What is your favorite place in the world?
New York as a city, Northern Arizona in terms of the landscape, but if you ask for my favorite travel destination, I generally prefer places where I have not yet been.

3)      What place would have to pay you to come back and even then you’d have to think about it?
The Philippines – not because I did not love the country (I spent more than two years of my life there) but because they have blacklisted me and would probably throw me in the slammer if I ever tried to get back in. (It’s a long story.)

The neon lights of Broadway in NYC


4)      What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given about traveling?
It is not worth travelling half way around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.

5)      How has traveling changed you as a person?
I don’t think it has, neither do I think travelling should be approached that way. Let’s not expect too much from a two-week holiday, shall we? Foreign countries will only ever change you when you cease to see everything through the eyes of a visitor.

6)      Have you ever volunteered during your travels?  If so, what did you do?  If not, will you ever?
No and probably not.

7)      What is the best piece of advice that you can give our readers?
Come home in one piece. It’s the first rule of travelling – and the only advice I ever give to our son when he sets out on his own.

Enjoying the view in Sedona, Arizona

8 )      Since this is a budget travel blog, what is your best budget tip, bar none?
Whenever feasible, avoid hotels and rent a short-term holiday flat instead. That way, you can save a lot on your meals, particularly breakfasts. Hotel breakfasts are rarely good value. Better to save your money for one nice dinner than to spend it on three or four overpriced breakfasts.

9)      Where do you plan to travel this year?
Hiking in the Black Forest, possibly in the Pyrenees. New England in the fall.

10)     What are the three things that you could never do without during your travels?
A companion with whom I can share and exchange observations, a camera (ever since I started blogging), and my Gitanes (can’t get them in some places, least of all in the US).

Michael Schuermann

About our Traveler

Michael Schuermann aka Easy Hiker is also the author of guide book Paris Movie Walks – 10 Guided Walking Tours in the City of Lights! Camera! Actions! He obviously loves walking! Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

City Views, North America, Travel Advice

Travel Photo Thursday – Paramount Pictures

April 28, 2011 • By

Paramount Pictures

Sunset Boulevard, A Place in the Sun, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, The Ten Commandments, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…..the list goes on and on.  All were filmed at this historic studio that was founded in 1912 by Adolph Zukor.  From its humble beginnings before the depression until today, Paramount Pictures has been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to telling magnificently crafted stories.  On a personal note, I think their best work was during Hollywood’s Golden age from the 1930s to the 1960s.

It was a time when stars truly earned the moniker, not as a result of their well publicized misdeeds, but their actual talent on-screen.  People didn’t become celebrities because someone liked their sex tape (ok, maybe they did like the on-screen talent) or because they taped a reality show.  Maybe today’s Hollywood could take a lesson or two from the past?  Sure, there are bona-fide stars today, but it’s difficult for some to even find a job.

How many Oscar winners do you know who do not fade into the woodwork after they win?  These days, they have to compete with singers, reality stars, people who’ve dated stars, people who looked up at the sky and saw a star, etc.    Maybe one of these days, we will get back the Hollywood of old.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

This photo is part of the Travel Photo Thursday series which is the brainchild of Nancie M with Budget Travelers Sandbox.


Following Your Heart Doesn’t Mean Leaving Your Brain Behind

April 25, 2011 • By


This isn’t one of my typical travel articles/posts, but I was inspired to write this after hearing someone on a local radio show. It got me to thinking about how many of us settle for less than we deserve and I wanted to put forth the idea that we are worth more than we give ourselves credit for. I welcome your ideas regarding this topic too.


It sounds like a romantic and clichéd notion, everyone says it but the true meaning of it is lost on them.  I was listening to the radio today and there was a contest of sorts to see which couple had gone the longest without ever having uttered the words, “I love you”.  The “winner” was a woman who had been married to a man for thirty years and he’d never told her or their children that he loved them nor showed them any true affection.  She attributed it to his military training; real men don’t lay their true feelings on the line.READ MORE