10 Books In 10 Minutes Series

January Dreaming

Dear TGC- It’s the New Year and I am so ready to start 2021 off on the right foot. My New Year’s resolution is to travel more! I want my family to experience this world and everything it has to offer! One slight problem…. I haven’t the foggiest idea where to even start! Any ideas to get me dreaming in the right direction?

5000 ideas will have you January dreaming and get you planning to travel more in no time

Oh, yes, travel dreamer! I do have a few good tips! Let’s start with a good book to peruse through and share with your family. I found this gem up at the National Geographic Hall (available everywhere, though) and I love just turning the pages and reacquainting myself with all those geographic basics of each country. I think a good reference like this is a great way to keep things flowing. It keeps our minds wandering and our options open.

Reality Strikes

But let’s be a bit realistic, parental dreamers, we’ve got kids to factor into the equation and that can be a bit daunting. I’m going to let you in on my parenting secret: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It seems like a blogger who is talking about global citizenship, should have a better parenting philosophy but that about sums it up (along with: don’t cause an international incident).

I have three great, strong minded young adults now and the last twenty years have taught me that just trying to do my best everyday is all I can expect. So, my kids love animal shows, I took them to see animals! My kids would eat anything put in front of them, let’s go out to eat (this is actually more important than it seems). They love swimming, let’s hit the beach. When it came time to plan trips, I followed the same ideals. If we were Australia bound, it was time for coral reefs, kangaroos and koalas. I was always dreaming but success came when I kept my dreams in focus with those three strong willed spirits.

Dream Big

One thing that you may also want to think about is next December. Yep. It’s one year away and maybe it’s time to have a serious conversation about whether you want to have a traditional holiday or do you want to commit to a holiday travel experience. Think about it, you could start close to home at a mountain resort or perhaps you could celebrate at an airbandb at the beach! The choices are limitless.

From Christmas markets in Germany to surfing in Australia, your holiday could go from lots of presents under the tree to lots of adventures to do and see. You just need to make the choice and commit to a shift in your thinking. Wherever my family and I end up, I take out their stockings and we each contribute a little something to each one. An ornament to commemorate the year, a book for something to think about, and a treat that brings back a memory. Nothing is too difficult to pack and everything is from the heart.

Think It Through

December is not the only time to take advantage of family travel. Spring break is another opportunity to pack the kids up and experience the world. It’s springtime, the air is fresh and the flowers are just starting to bloom. The tourist crowds are not at their summer peak and 5 to 6 days in a great location could be just what everyone needs to power through the rest of the school year. How about loving Paris in the springtime under the Eiffel Tower. How about experiencing the metamorphosis of Japan during cherry blossom season. A littler closer could bring you to our Capitol to experience the Smithsonian, take in the new babies at the zoo and with a little planning, see the White House. Your adventure awaits.

January is a great time to dream. Go ahead and get cozy by the fire and you may be surprised that country 72 looks like as much fun to you as to your kids!

100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do

New Year’s Day! All around the world, young and old look forward to putting the old year to bed and planning to make the year ahead the best lived year possible. Time to celebrate in style! So how can the global minded family celebrate? Try these activities to make New Year’s Eve a fun and festive occasion for everyone.

Celebrate another country’s New Year! It’s so hard for young ones to stay up so late to watch that ball drop. They get whiny and overtired just to watch something on TV that they really don’t understand!  I live on the east coast, so I can conveniently choose a country that is ringing in the New Year at say, a conservative 7 pm my time.

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Good choices for me include Iceland, Italy, or Morocco. Different variations would be to count down a different country throughout the day and celebrate by tracking the new year across the globe or having a lunch that represents another country (like Singapore or India) that has already made it to 2020. Little celebrations like this take a normally confusing holiday for little ones and add some global meaning to the change of time. But, in case those activities don’t just quite cut it… you could go BIG! Check out these three last minute ideas….

Road Trip!

Why not take off for two or three days and go discover something in your home state? If you think about it, I bet you haven’t taken the chance to see some of the wonderful things that make your hometown a great tourist destination. Try using an app like TripAdvisor or Localuer to find something in your area that you may not have considered before. Be sure to check on hours and holiday schedules on any local destination- you’ll thank me later Smithsonian visitors.

Resort

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Interested in a balance between kid time and adult time? Need a quick getaway from the cold? How about a family focused resort? There tons to choose from: Great Wolfe Lodge is a kid centric wonderland that keeps kids entertained 24-7. Franklyn D. in Jamaica is known for its family service. Perhaps you are ready to jet set during the cold winter months and need to recharge your batteries on a faraway island! Check out Fiji’s Kokomo Island for the best in southern pacific hospitality. Don’t forget that winter is always time to go skiing and take in those other winter sports. Check out family friendly Beaver Mountain for all your winter needs.

Rental

Check out apps like VRBO and Airbnb to see if there are any last minute finds for great picks in the city or on the beach! Easy app rentals are available worldwide and can always be arranged through reputable handlers: just check out the host rating and be realistic about what you are renting.

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Okay, so we are done opening presents, the thrills and surprises of the holiday season are drawing to an end, the holiday decor is getting a bit dusty. Yep. I’m there too. I’ve had enough wrapping paper and sweet treats to last all of 2020!

It’s true, secretly, we adults are over it. We are ready to box things up and get on with the chilly trudge through January and February. But hold on just a minute! The cold temperatures of January and February are prime planning and prepping season for the global traveler!

If you are a first time planner, January is prime time to start searching for that perfect trip you’ve always wanted to experience. January is dream time. So, where to? (That’s my favorite question!) Perhaps its time to explore ancient ruins in Greece or maybe its time to relax at a beach resort on some tropical island. Then again, hiking in the Swiss Alps could be just the ticket! Maybe a sporty jaunt to a national park is just your speed. Although, I can’t argue that a cruise wouldn’t be perfect no matter what the destination is!

So, where to? And perhaps, more importantly, how to decide?! What should be your step one? It can be overwhelming to simply choose the place you want to learn about. What would work best for you and the entire fam?globe

First things first: Set the time of year that you are available to travel as a team. When do all of your calendars magically align to allow everyone some travel time together. If you are like most families, Summer is your optimum season. The kids are out of school and work, while always hectic, seems to usually have a pretty good Summertime groove.  Europe or Canada may be good choices for you.

On the other hand, you may be a Spring breaker! Ready to tackle a week-long challenge, places like Japan or Costa Rica could really appeal to you and yours. if you are one of the lucky few who have no schedule constraints, the World is your oyster no matter what time of year! Lucky you! Maybe you are just the type who would choose to country hop all over Northern Europe or dedicate some time to a service project in Africa before a once in a lifetime safari! Wow!

Once you have a time frame, you are ready to strategically pick a destination. Someplace new, far away, a yearly tradition? I ask again, where to? Spring is great for beaches but perhaps you’d like to experience Hanami: the art of cherry blossom viewing for the first time by visiting Kyoto, Japan. Summer is prime time to explore Alaska. If you do like an escape from the balmy weather you might be interested in checking out all the wild life down under- Winter is in full swing! Although, I can think of nothing better than taking advantage of the shoulder seasons in Europe. Things are happening but the big cities are not yet over run with tourist mobs. Whether it’s around the corner or on the other side of the world, January is prime time for getting your travel dreams in order!

So you’ve taken the month to pick the perfect spot to pin on the map….. next stop, February! Let’s start booking! See you then….

10 Books In 10 Minutes Series, Family Travel Hub

Travel Dreaming: The Good Boy Grand Tour

We love them! We really do. Our most loyal family members are a treasure to us and, if we are being honest with ourselves, we let them rule the roost! Dogs have been showing their heartfelt love and loyalty since humans and canines teamed up to form their own packs. And some doggos have done a really good job. So, let’s take a little trip and get to know some of the famous good boys around the globe.

Hachiko

Winning the award for most loyal pup in Tokyo is the ever waiting Hachiko. The story of this good boy begins in 1923 when our dog go began escorting his master to the train station every day. Sweet Hachiko was just 18 months old when tragedy befell his master, Professor Ueno. The story has been translated into books appropriate for every age level from 6 to 96 and an American version of the story will have you reaching for tissues as Richard Gear bonds with Hachi in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Hachiko in Shibuya Station

While visiting Tokyo, you can check in on Hachiko at a few places. First, visit the scene of loyalty and the original statue at Shibuya Station. This spot is awfully popular as it has become a tradition to meet long awaited friends and family at the statue which is an homage to the dog’s loyalty. Next check out Ueno Park- yes, that Ueno. The park is beautiful as are some of its features including a zoo and the National Science Museum. At the museum you can see the actual Hachiko. It sounds a bit morbid but, at the time of his death, he was so famous that authorities took it upon themselves to have a taxidermist preserve his fur.

There’s More!

The rest of Hachiko’s remains were cremated and there is some controversy over whether these ashes were reunited with his master at Aoyama Cemetery. Lastly, check out the newest tribute to this good doggo at the University of Tokyo where a new statue of the good professor and his faithful companion are finally reunited.

I truly love to share books and hope you will enjoy them too! Each of them contributes to make us all better global citizens. Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

Fido

During WWII, an Italian man named Carlo befriended an injured street dog in a small town of Borgo San Lorenzo which is close to Florence and north of Rome. Carlo named the pup Fido which literally translates to “I Trust”. In true Hachiko style, Fido accompanied Carlo to the bus stop every day and waited for him to return.

Unfortunately, the ravages of the war caught up with Carlo and he was killed. For 14 years, this community watched faithful Fido wait for Carlo. Finally, in 1957 the Mayor felt it was only right to honor Fido and while he was still alive, a sculpture was made of him entitled “An Example of Loyalty”. Find Fido in San Lorenzo’s main square. (A quick note: I was given the lead that dear Fido was featured in this book but no such luck! However the book was great so I’m keeping it in!)

Fido in Italy

Balto

Gunnar Kaason and his team of 13 dogs, including the Siberian husky, Balto, completed the last leg of a 1925 trip to deliver 300,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska. They traveled by night in temperatures of -23 °F. Those are the facts surrounding Balto but any dog lover will tell you that the draw to this inspiration for the world famous Iditorad race is Balto’s determined teamwork with his musher to complete the task. Balto is memorialized in New York City’s Central Park.

Balto with his owner after the push to Nome.
Balto in central park
Togo in Seward Park

Togo

You may not know this particular pup as his fame has been eclipsed by his famous collegue, Balto. But make no mistake, Togo played a significant role in that 1925 race to get serum to the people of Nome. You can find the leader of the pack in New York City’s Seward Park.

Greyfriar’s Bobby

Question: What’s better than a loyal pup? Answer: Not much. In this story of loyalty, wee Bobby shows why he deserves all of the attention he gets to this day. This true story is told in true Scottish tale style, adding a bit here and there, but the story of how this loyal dog loved his master is spot on. You can visit the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby just beyond the National Museum.

But Wait! Here’s an Edinburgh bonus! There’s another pupper in Edinburgh that is tucked away! When visiting the national monument to Sir Walter Scott, check out his faithful good boy, Maida. The dog was so important to Scott that you will find the Latin inscription which translates to: “Beneath the sculptured form which late you bore, Sleep soundly Maida at your master’s door.” Now those are fitting words for a very good pup!

Greyfriar's Bobby in Edinburgh

Lakes District

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I honestly don’t have a specific dog or story that goes with the Lakes District. I just found it to be extremely dog friendly! Dogs are part of the fun in this part of England. Look for them in pubs lazing around, in competitions showing sheep who’s boss, and on hikes with faithful owners. If there were a place in the world where dog owners unite, this is it!

Owney, the Post Office Dog

As The United States continued to define itself in the 19th century, one tool used to communicate and conduct important government work was our mail system. As imagined by our first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin, the US mail system happily embraced new technology to meet the needs of the country. This included trains. Our good boy Owney kept lots of mail employees company as they delivered our post near and far. Check in with Owney at National Post Office Museum in Washington, D.C.

Owney with one of his Post Office Pals

Dzok

Getting the award for best pup escape artist is Krakow, Poland’s Dzok. While out and about on a walk, Dzok suffered the loss of his master. Ever loyal, he waited at the very spot he lost his owner for over a year. He even successfully dodged the local dog catcher a few times in order to wait for his person. Eventually, legend says that an old woman named Maria befriended Dzok until she passed away.

Poor Dzok found himself in an animal shelter but not for long! This little escape artist pawed his way out of puppy jail and went right back to that same spot where he lost his master all those years ago much to the delight of the community. After Dzok had passed, the local government honored his loyalty by having a memorial erected at famous Wawel Hill in his honor. You’ll find Dzok along the river under spectacular Wawel Hill in Krakow.

Dzok in loving hands

Where We Went: The Good Boy Grand Tour!

Map of good boys around the world!

Do you know the story of a perfect pup that should be on our list? Comment below so we can add them to this hall of fame!

10 Books In 10 Minutes Series

Global Book Pick: Mary Poppins, Practically Perfect in Every Way!

Practically perfect in every way- global book pick

Full disclosure: I am not promoting an unnamed recently released movie. I am, however, promoting a fantastic piece of literature that will certainly promote your lexicon! P.L. Travers’ epitome of literary perfection is Mary Poppins. I know, I know, you saw the movie and it was delightful but, folks, the movie is just the tip of the iceberg! Trust me when I say that the movie is only half of Mary’s charm. Travers books are in-depth, thoughtful, smartly written with a timelessness that needs enjoyment as well as effort. Travers dives deep into Edwardian England and gives one a sense of historical understanding. This book is the perfect read aloud for young imaginations or an addictive bedtime read for the older set. So, go beyond the Jolly Holiday and put away the sugar because a spoonful of the one and only Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way!

Global Book Pick Basics:

Title: Mary Poppins

Author: P.L. Travers

Where in the world? London, England

What to see? Check out the Stanhope Gardens area to see a real life Cherry Tree Lane then head over to Regents Park to enjoy a little Jolly Holiday Time. Take time to explore past the steps of St. Pauls and take a walk past the formidible Bank of London. While the movie touches on all of these sites, don’t forget to enjoy the London Zoo and dazzling Harrods that are book based. Wind up your practically perfect time witha Mary Poppins Themed tea and Aqua Shard then jaunt out to Windsor for a bit of high speed race course fun.

check out these amazing Mary Poppins sites!

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More Books for the Global Reader!

If you enjoyed this quick book pick, click here to dive in to even more globally focused books from TGC! Click here for some great TV that will inspire your inner traveler!