Sailing Into Stockholm: Connecting to My Roots

March 21, 2016Sweden

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ~Søren Kierkegaard His name was Oscar Youngquist, a farmer from rural Minnesota whose parents had emigrated from an area south of Stockholm. He was the grandfather I never knew, and his branch of the family tree was a curiosity to me, much like … Read More

Notes from Home: Travel Planning 101

March 7, 2016Notes from Home

It happened quite by accident. I was planning our family’s first vacation abroad. It was a special trip for the four of us – one week in London, one week in Paris, a birthday celebration and my first time back in London since studying there in college. With guide books and maps laid out on the … Read More

Shanghai Part I: Overnight to Xi’an & The Terra-Cotta Warriors

February 29, 2016China

It’s a two-hour flight from coastal Shanghai to Xi’an, the capital of China’s Shaanxi Province. With plans to be docked in Shanghai Harbor for three days, Herb and I had enough time for an overnight trip to see Xi’an’s famous Terra-Cotta Warriors and still do some sightseeing in Shanghai. The Crystal Symphony’s excursion to Xi’an … Read More

Notes from Home: The Extroverted Traveler

February 25, 2016England, Notes from Home

“Extroverts have more fun.” ~Rick Steves Travel writer Rick Steves tucks a page of wisdom in the introduction section of his guide books. He calls it his “Back Door Travel Philosophy,” his thoughts on the value of travel and how it impacts our lives. But it’s paragraph five that I think is the real gem: … Read More

Stranded in Santorini: My Big Fat Greek Lesson

February 22, 2016Greece

The tour was a gift from our travel agent. A day in Santorini with a well-known guide, someone who was passionate about Greece and – as a bonus – was a photographer. “He has shown some very famous people around the island,” our agent had said, “and he will take wonderful pictures of your family. … Read More

You’ve Got Mail: Post Offices Around the World

February 17, 2016Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Monaco

“Send me a postcard, drop me a line Stating point of view. Indicate precisely what you mean to say. Yours sincerely, wasting away.” ~Paul McCartney, When I’m Sixty-Four My great-grandparents ran the post office in a small Minnesota town in the early 1900s. I never had a chance to meet them or see where they … Read More