Here are 5 posts that have inspired me, moved me, and motivated me this year.
I'm always amazed at the remarkable talent that exists in the blogging world. For me, it's nearly impossible to pinpoint my favourite sites or favourite writers, but for the second year in a row, I want to share some of the blog posts that I've discovered and fallen in love with in the past year. They're all fantastic reading and I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me!
Welcome to the latest installment of the "Save, Splurge, Steal" interview series. Getting great value when I travel is always such a fun challenge for me and I love to learn how other people get the best possible experience for their available time and money. I'm asking top travel bloggers to share their expertise and I hope you enjoy their responses as much as I do!
Meet Mary Jo from Traveling With MJ!
Mary Jo Manzanares is a blogger at Traveling with MJ, founder of The Travelers Way, and the Conference Director for TBEX. When she’s not on a trip, she’s planning or researching the next one, and has a bag always packed, ready for the next great adventure. Her travel ethos is Value Luxury – that sweet spot where experience and price intersect in a WOW experience. Follow her adventures at: http://www.travelingwithmj.com
1.) How do you save money in order to travel?
I work! Seriously, I juggle several jobs, all of which allow me to travel. My "day job" is as a flight attendant, so I travel every week to interesting places, usually Hawaii. It not only pays the bills, but it suits my lifestyle. I'm also the Conference Director for TBEX, so travel a fair amount with those responsibilities as well. And, of course, I have created several incomes streams as a result of my blog. It all comes together in ways that let me combine my passion for travel with the ability to afford it.
If you like travel or reading, you're going to LOVE these novels -they're perfect gifts!
It isn't easy to buy Christmas gifts (or any gifts, really) for someone who loves to travel. Chances are they're very particular about their gear and, no matter what, it's hard to compete with exotic souvenirs. That's why I think books are the perfect choice.
I'm crazy about reading but even people whose interests lie elsewhere will find themselves hankering for a book to read on the train, the plane, the bus. I admit to having soft spot for real books. There's just something so comforting about the smell of paper and it's practical to have something amusing that doesn't require charging. And it's great to have something to share and swap with others on the road. But the weight of a real book isn't practical for everyone, which is why an e-reader gift card or audible book subscription work just as well. Here are a few of my favorite titles that are guaranteed crowd pleasers for the travel lover on your list.
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland is a Frankenmuth landmark - and a holiday legend
Just how holiday crazy are you? Chances are, even if you think you are a Christmas-a-holic you'll still find Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan a little overwhelming. Bronner's has the distinction of being the largest Christmas store in the world, taking up about five and a half football fields. This is a place that is all Christmas, all the time. But is it more madness than magic? Here's what it's like to dive into the depths of a winter wonderland.
Dublin's artistic heritage is second to none.
If you love to read and write, it's fitting that you head to Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature. Has there ever been a city more influenced by its writers and shaped by the arts? The renowned Irish literary tradition, boasting four Nobel Prize winners, is constantly looking forward, embracing new styles and forms of writing. While in Dublin, take the time to acquaint yourself with the founding fathers and mothers of Irish literature – and reap the benefits of their inspiration!
Hampton, Virginia's annual Blackbeard Festival would bring out the adventure in anyone!
I'm not a very adventurous girl and it's safe to say I don't go out of my way to hang out with a particularly adventurous crowd. Nope, it's safe and sedate all the way for me. The very opposite of what a swash buckling, grog swilling, plank walking pirate would do! So with the hopes of catching some of their infectious enthusiasm, I headed to Hampton, Virginia to participate in the annual Blackbeard Festival and become a pirate for the day.
Often just called the Hampton pirate festival, I think Blackbeard himself would be proud the city. Hampton is the ideal place to get into the spirit of things, as the region played host to the infamous pirate Blackbeard's final stand in 1718.
When four girls converged on Whitewater Village, we had recipes for cookies - and fun!
What do you think happens when four women, who haven't let their hair down in a long time, get together for a weekend retreat with no men allowed? There's a wee bit of wine, a heaping serving of gossip, and a whole lotta food! Add in a gorgeous cottage in the pristine setting of the Ottawa Valley and you have a recipe for adventure and fun (and hopefully not too much mischief)! I was eager to add my own kind of recipe into this mix - of the gooey, indulgent, Christmas cooking kind - and was keen to share some festive treats with my girlfriends.
Stuck in line at the Liberty Bell? Here's a great way to fill your time - visit the Philadelphia History Museum.
If a trip to Philadelphia is on your mind, chances are a visit to the Liberty Bell is on your list. The Liberty Bell is actually part of an amazing complex that includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, and an open air exhibit on the history of slavery. It's a must-stop activity that every visitor should do at least once... provided you have the mettle to brave the crowds. And the lines. And then more lines! So if you're waiting around for the lines to dissipate or looking to experience a less hectic history experience, I have just the thing - about 200 meters around the corner.
When Harrisburg and Hershey fight for chocolate dominance, we all win!
It's the job of a travel blogger to shine a light on the unsung and overlooked gems of the world and it's a job I take seriously - especially when it comes to chocolate. Really, what kind of person would I be if I didn't dedicate myself entirely to the cause? And in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the plight of chocolate is most grave indeed. Overshadowed by the cocoa scented air of their sister city, Hersey, it almost felt that the chocolate desserts of Harrisburg NEEDED me there to tell their story. One delicious mouthful at a time.
Of course, I have nothing against Hersey per se - in fact, it's quite the opposite. And if one day I am duty bound to tour a chocolate factory, soak in a chocolate spa, and drink chocolate cocktails, I'm sure I'll muster my strength and rise to the occasion. But there's only so much heroism that can fit into a weekend escape and I was proud to dedicate my Herculean efforts to Harrisburg.
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