Happy Friday, everyone! Are we in week 5, 6, 7, or 8 of quarantine? Who really knows anymore?!
During this time of uncertainty it is important to keep yourself busy. Yes, we are all busy with the everyday grind of life BUT there is more to life than work and school..even during a pandemic! Prior to COVID-19 we consistently had things to look forward to after the 9 to 5 work-week... weekends, summer vacations, happy hours, sporting events, concerts, barbecues... I could go on and on... but this is supposed to be a positive post!
After reflecting on all of the things I/we miss, there was always a common denominator, travel. Whether it is going to grandmas house for Sunday dinner or heading to Destin, FL for a classic St. Louis vacation, travel is/was involved. So now that time's have changed... temporarily... I want to make sure you are all filling your travel bucket.
So, I have put together my top 5 virtual travel opportunities, from here in St. Louis.. enjoy!
1. The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station
The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is offering virtual opportunities for kids and adults EVERY DAY during the week. Monday/Wednesday/Friday they are showing off their 13,000 animals from 10am-11am on their Facebook Live Quaranstreams. Tuesday/Thursday they are offering an "interactive experience" where they highlight a different animal or habitat.
2. The St. Louis Zoo
How perfect is this weather for a Zoo day? Soon enough everyone.. soon enough!
Anyway, the St. Louis Zoo has been sharing photos and videos of their animals each and everyday. The Zoo has been sharing these photos and videos on their Facebook and Instagram page using the hastag #BringTheSTLZooToYou. They have also been hosting weekly STLZOOm live webinars with Zoo educators every Wednesday at 10 am.
3. Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden is another STL favorite I love to visit in the spring and summer time. Two of my favorite events being the Garden Glow and the Whitaker Music Festival.
The MO Botanical Garden has done a fabulous job at keeping their audience engaged. They go "live" almost every day on their Facebook page, offer virtual garden tours, virtual presentations, as well as virtual walks. If you want to virtually smell the roses and listen to the birds chirping, this is the place for you!
4. Laren Loveless Music
Alright, so my final two recommendations for virtual travel in STL involve music! I very much miss hanging out with friends/family and listening to live music. Music is one of those immediate mood boosters that instantly puts a smile on your face. Well, look no further than Laren Loveless Music, currently on his Spring 2020 Tour: "Quaratunes! Live Music from the Front Porch.
This concert is located in South Hampton (4 streets away from me), safely open to the public, but also on Facebook Live. If you are interested and want to start your weekend off right, tune in tonight.. live or virtually from 6:30pm-7:30pm.
5. Bridgette Kossor Energy & Music
Alright so my final virtual travel recommendation goes to Bridgette Koser Energy & Music. Bridgette goes live for her hour plus long concerts almost everyday! She has a beautiful and uplifting voice that instantly makes you feel better. She also has some pretty awesome dance moves. Give her a listen and some love on her Facebook page.
I want to thank all of you for making St. Louis proud. You are filling so many people's travel buckets during this time of uncertainty. We appreciate you!
For our readers, if you are looking for more virtual travel opportunities, check out our "virtual travel" page on our website: https://www.altairtravel.com/virtual-travel.html.
Have a GREAT weekend!
Happy Monday Travel lovers. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and it is time to share three more books to help you travel back in time from home. This week's books have historical commonality. Enjoy!
1. The Tattooist of Auschwitz
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a beautifully written story about "the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions." The book is written from the experience of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, who was forcibly transferred to the concentration camps of Aushwitz-Birkenau. If you are interested in history, specifically the history of the Holocaust, this is a book for you.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of my favorite books I have read this year. Heather Morris does an incredible job of capturing the story of Lale Sokolov and giving her readers an insight into the horrors of of the Holocaust. You will fall in love with Lale Sokolov and admire him for his bravery during a time in our history that is unfathomable. I could not put this book down - highly recommend!
3. Cilka's Journey
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris, is a follow-up to the Tattooist of Auschwitz. The book is a true story written about a woman, Cilka, who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked up again. Although I have not read this yet, I will be adding it to my quarantine list! Please share your thoughts/comments on the book if you have read it.
2. The Nightingale
A MUST READ. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah "is a novel for everyone, and a novel for a lifetime." This is for those readers who, again, are interested in history, specifically World War II. The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters each on their own dangerous journey to survive their German occupied home, France.
I loved the book Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. It was a book that kept you engaged from the very start. It contained romance, compassion, history and action from beginning to end. What I loved most was the acknowledgment of the roles women played in the war even though they never stepped foot on the battlefield.
During these times of uncertainty and world turbulence, it is so important to have someone by your side to help you every step of the way. That is what Altair Travel is here for! Whether you’re a cruise lover, an on-the-go solo traveler, a parent with little ones to entertain or a sun seeker... one of our travel advisors is here to listen to your needs and wishes, answer all of your questions, ensure your hard-earned money takes you exactly where you want to go – AND help bring you back home if anything goes wrong.
Here are 5 reasons why you need an Altair travel advisor by your side when you book your next vacation....
1. First and foremost, when you are ready to travel, we are here to make YOUR travel dreams come true
Your travel advisor, at Altair Travel, will listen to your wishes and help plan the vacation you’ve always dreamed of. No matter how big or small your budget is, or how long or short you want your itinerary to be, we will make your once-in-a-lifetime getaway come true. Plus, we will take into consideration any special needs – dietary, mobility, accessibility – so you stay safe and can enjoy your time away. And if you want to incorporate your passions, interests and lifestyles into your travels – whether it’s food, art, biking, yoga or more – we can do that too!
2. We are here to save you money
Contrary to many beliefs, the best deals are often not accessible on the Internet! Because we have relationships with top travel suppliers and a strong network of trusted "on location" contacts, Altair travel advisors have access to exclusive offers and deals you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, we will often be able to include free perks to elevate your experience.
3. Our only job is to plan travel… literally
Think about what you know about your job that no one else does. Then, think about how you’d like to have similar, insider knowledge when it comes to planning your next trip! We can not only save you money, but also a lot of time and effort. If you’ve ever booked travel by yourself, you know how many hours, and often days, you can spend digging through the avalanche of options and (mis)information available on the Internet. We are master planners who can efficiently coordinate everything from flights and hotels to tours and transfers to create a seamless and worry-free journey. We can also advise on questions you might not have considered... like visa requirements, vaccinations, current travel advisories and others to help prevent any troubles while you’re in destination.
4. We can take you to places where you couldn’t get to by yourself
By asking the right questions, we can suggest countries, cities, tours, and excursions that you wouldn’t have thought of alone. Because we have contacts all around the world, we are the first to know about up-and-coming and exciting destinations, so you can experience them before everyone else flocks there. We can also make sure someone of trust waits for you and guides you to the best places to see from a local’s perspective. This is the type of unique, personalized experience you can’t find on the Internet. Plus, we, or another agent at Altair, might have been to the destination and able to offer insider tips and suggestions on what to pack before your departure.
5. And most importantly... we offer you peace of mind
From the very beginning of the planning process to the moment you come back home head full of memories, your Altair travel advisor is with you to ensure you can focus on one thing: having the time of your life. But despite perfect planning, some misfortune can still occur. And if anything goes wrong while you’re traveling, know that you have someone by your side who’s just an email or a phone call away; one person to go to rather than having to call the travel supplier and be one in a thousand others.
Well, it has been a full week since my first "Travel Through Books" blog post! Although not much has changed as far as COVID-19 isolation, we have had 3 BEAUTIFUL days of weather and Tuesday night and last night we had a pink super moon (the largest full moon of 2020). How cool! I highly suggest taking your books outside during this weather.. relax on your front porch, back patio, or take your book on a walk (if you are listening to an audio book). Trust me, reading your travel book outdoors will instantly take you to your dream destination.
Here are the 3 books we chose to get you through this week's isolation. Enjoy!
1. Out of Africa
Once again Africa is being highlighted in this week's book recommendations. Out of Africa, is a memoir written by the Danish author, Karen Blixen, who settled in Kenya from 1914 to 1931. The book is beautifully written and written by a woman who truly loved the Kenyan land and it's people.
Out of Africa by Karen Blixen takes place in Kenya on a coffee plantation. I had the privilege of visiting Blixen's farm and many other sights mentioned in the book. I could imagine Robert Redford landing his plane on the same runway I was on. Africa is magical and this book takes you there in a way you would never believe.
Author, James Mitchener, made the list for the second week in a row! I highly recommend looking at Mitchener's list of over 40 books. He writes beautiful stories about specific geographic locations while incorporating history. We will most likely be highlighting a book of his each week - stay tuned...
Hawaii lovers.. this book is for you! If you would like to travel back in time and learn how Hawaii came to be.... Pick up this book, a pina colada, and enjoy!
I remember reading James Mitchener’s book, Hawaii, many years ago and being fascinated by it. As I recall, it first takes you through the creation of the Hawaiian islands. The islands were created by volcanoes in the middle of the ocean. Incredible! It then tells the story of the people who first settled in Hawaii, the monarchy and missionaries, and relative current day. It is a big book – takes a while to read – but it is a great story.
3. The Connemara Bus
Ireland is one of the most incredible countries in the world full of rich history, kind people... and beer! The Connemara Bus by Ann Milholland Webb will take you on an incredible journey full of diaries and interviews. Grab and Guinness and soak in this beautiful Irish story.
The Connemara Bus by Ann Milholland Webb is one of my favorite books as it tells the story of a newly widowed woman who decides to go to Ireland to research her ancestry as a diversion from her current life. The book relives the history of the Bus which originally transported the women of western Ireland to Galway City (the NEW WORLD to them) to sell their goods, while comparing it to Ms. Webb’s current life. I could vision both of the lives and how the bus transitioned all of them! If you have been to Ireland, especially Connemara, you will see and smell the land again…..if not, you will have a wonderful introduction to Irish Life! As a side….we arranged to have Hugh Ferguson drive my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding party on The Connemara Bus on their wedding day in 2003. What a wonderful experience!"
We would love to hear your comments about these three books if you've read them, or suggestions about what books to feature next. Please let us know by leaving a comment at the top of this blog.
Happy Friday Travel lovers! During this time of COVID-19 quarantine, the majority of us have been given the gift of time. Time to spend with family, time to send a quick note to someone we care about, time to Face Time a friend, and time to reflect on the many things we are grateful for in this world. NEVER AGAIN will I, like many of you, take for granted the value of time and the importance of telling the people you care about how much you love them.... each and everyday.
"Time is the most valuable thing one can spend." - Theophrastus
So today I am going to share with you a "how to" on creating a Travel Bucket List, specific to you, you and your family, or you and a group of friends. Yes, I know, many of you may be thinking... " Haylye, seriously? Is a Travel Bucket List really something you can even compare to what you listed above?" My response to that is, NO, of course not! Spending time with family and making time for the ones you love is way more important. BUT, what I can tell you, is that traveling, more importantly traveling WITH the one's you love, is an added bonus.
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