Monthly Archives: March 2015

Traveling with cats

Traveling with animals can be done, but with much preparation.

I took my two cats, Peaches and Buddy to live with my late husband and I in Holland for one year, and then to Costa Rica where I lived nearly two years, alone.

In was not necessary to quarantine  the cats in either Holland or Costa Rica, but in other countries, it may be necessary so do your diligent homework on that before embarking on a trip oversees or other locations in the world.

When we moved to Holland for that year, we had a friend line up a place for us to live before my husband first arrived there. I followed with the cats and had arranged for them to board into the cargo hold. I had been promised that it was safe, and to supply the cats with one carriage for them to share. It was made comfortable with a blanket, water and food. When arriving in Holland with screaming cats, the water had spilled, and food was mashed up into the blanket. They were mad but it didn’t bother their health or safety. When we traveled to another country,  while in Holland, we put the cats into a shelter, which was right in the middle of a neighborhood, next to other houses. We found it spotlessly clean and the helpers in love with cats. It was always full of cats from expats, and diplomats and others.

Before leaving for a foreign country, there are restrictions and rules to learn about from the airlines and the country where you are going to be living.

In Holland, we had to have current vaccinations, a physical and another check up close to departure. All of the information must be shown to the airline company when arriving at the airport with the pets, and upon entering another country.

It isn’t easy, but it can be done. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you more about the departure with cats to Costa Rica and the obstacles I faced getting there and the challenging return to the U.S.

More about travel etiquette

I got into a conversation with my son today regarding bad travel behavior.

He mentioned an incident where some crazy, self centered tourists carved their names into an important monument in Rome. They were rightfully arrested for destroying historical property.  I ask, why wouldn’t someone know that was wrong before they did the deed?

I’ve experienced American’s getting irritated when they couldn’t understand someone speaking a language other than  English. Their voices get louder and louder, as if the person was deaf. I’ve also seen American’s, first ask, “Do you speak English?”

It’s better just to try asking first in English, assuming they speak it, and then when finding out they don’t speak English, try another method, such as pantomime, point to a translation dictionary, or a map. Do this while smiling and appreciating their efforts.

I once had a great time with a hotel maid in Turkey who asked me something that I didn’t understand so I got out my computer and asked her what she wanted and had it translated right then and there. We passed  the laptop back and forth and ended up laughing. It was enjoyable experience for both of us.




Kids need cultural experiences

It nearly put tears in my eyes, watching  parents and teachers working side-by-side at a car wash this morning. They are working hard at raising enough money so 16 Watsonville senior elementary kids can go to Japan in a cultural exchange program.

I think cultural programs like this are extremely important so children can see and learn first hand the similarities and differences in other societies in the world. They will grow up with more understanding of the world, and those in it.

I hope these kids make enough money for their trip; they were working hard and that is indicative that they are on the right path.


Seniors taking medicines on traveling abroad

Taking medicines abroad? I’ve done this many times with no problem.

Pack your medicines in your handbag that you keep with you on the flight. That is the best place in case your carry-on gets lost. If that gets lost or the suitcases in the baggage area is lost, you’ll have a difficult time, if not impossible to recover it.

Always have a doctor’s prescription with you, in case you’re questioned in foreign Custom’s area while entering a country.

To refill medications, I have learned that some countries demand  you get a physical check up by a doctor before they will issue a prescription. Other countries, will refill medicines just by handing the list over to the pharmacist.

I’ve made appointment with doctor’s in foreign countries, and all they did was monitor my blood pressure and ask questions, before filling the prescriptions.

Notice that in some countries, it is illegal for pharmacists to sell over the counter such items as Tums. So be prepared with first aide and what we consider over the counter health help for digestive disorders and pain medicines.

Following these instructions will make your trip easier.


Traveling on the cheap

If you are on an extreme budget but want to see the world, here are a few ideas.

Nearly every city in the world has a hop-on-hop-off bus that will take you all over town, and allow you to stop anywhere you want. You can take time to see a site and get back on the bus when it comes around again. You purchase a day ticket.

A city-run bus is another way to see the city. Get a round trip ticket and ask for a transfer that you can use on another route.

Don’t be afraid of the program, Couch Surfing. These are folks who will open their home to you for a few days. It is usually for three nights and is always free. The host/hostess may take you around to see the local area, or let you go on your own, with their instructions on how to get there and return. Host/hostesses are reviewed at the end of the stay and they review you, as well. This is posted on the couch surfing site for all to see.

Hostels with kitchens can save you money, from not eating out at restaurants. Purchase food in local grocery stores and cook it in the hostel.

If you do eat in restaurants, it’s often cheaper and a lot more fun to get meals in local neighborhoods. Ask folks for the best local restaurant.

Travel light and purchase change of season clothing in thrift shops. That way, it’s not a waste to leave them behind when you leave.

Local libraries are always free and may have lists of free community activities, as well. Go to the free community activities and really see how the locals live.



Table etiquette of Americans vs. Europeans

Oh, my gosh, there’s so much that could be said on this subject. This would be based on what folks have told me and that which I observed in foreign countries. Also, from what I have observed from foreign visitors in the United States.

First of all, let’s take eating. “American’s eat like pigs,” is an actual comment I heard and another one was: “I had to teach someone how to use a fork,” someone said, referring to the time he spent working in the southern states.

Europeans sit at the table with fork in one hand and knife in another both utensils  standing up on the side of the plate, which, to me, looks like animals about to pounce on their food,  but I never say any thing about that because they consider it quite mannerly.

On the other hand, American’s are known to switch the fork from one hand to the other. This allows the American to cut the food by holding it down with the fork and cutting with  a knife. Then the knife is placed down and the fork is moved to the dominate hand.  Something that really irks the European, is when the American uses the side of the fork to slice food into a bite size.

American’s are taught to eat with elbows off the table, the left hand (or right if it’s the dominate hand) on the lap where the napkin has been placed.

American etiquette frowns on using utensils to gesture with. I’ve seen folks in European restaurants waving their forks around to make a point.

My philosophy is when visiting other countries, do what is easiest for you, but don’t make fun of another style of etiquette. This goes for American’s traveling abroad and Europeans visiting America, as well.



Senior’s get off the couch

I’m going to get back up on this blog, after taking a very long break. So, this first one will begin with  my mantra: “get off the couch” and travel.

This mantra is especially for senior citizens who often tell me, they’re too old to do what I did, or they don’t have the money, or they don’t have the energy, or they’re afraid.

Believe, me, with my bad knees, and on medicines for a mild heart condition, I manage to get on with what I want to do: travel and learn about other cultures.

As far as having enough money, I can agree with that, so what I did for a one year journey in the world, I got out of my apartment and stored what I needed to save and sold lots of “stuff”.  So without an apartment to pay for, that money may be used to rent spaces wherever you go.

I am humble enough to stay in cheaper hotels, hostels and couch surfing.

It does take a lot of energy to do what I did, but if you take your time, and only spend time on what you really want to see and do. It isn’t necessary to see all the tourist areas, for the smaller neighborhoods are sometimes more interesting. That way you learn about how the real people live.

Hope this gives you encouragement. And remember, even day, or weekly trips can be fun, as well.

I have the title for my new book

Unexpected Encounters


A senior women’s adventures on a one year journey


Like it?

My book is in good hands

My friend, Floy Sitts is putting my blog posts into manuscript form. That’s not all: she is editing it, as well.

I know this isn’t easy, but she is working hard on the project.

I’m right now trying to come up with a title and have turned down around 20 ideas so far.

If anyone has an idea send it on to me via email, here or on Facebook.