**Where my wandering spirit has experienced

This page will be about the my travel experiences, thoughts, photos and details of trips.

Until I get better at working out my webpage so it works the way I want, I apologize now below is a list and short stories with images of some of the various trips I have explored:

  1. Travel with a Purpose
  2. Sustainable Tourism
  3. New Orleans
  4. Paris

1. If you like this article, please share it with others Travel with a Purpose.

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Constant Craves thoughts.

I often question myself and my clients the why’s of where they want to travel and what they want to do.

Many are looking for a way to escape for a few days and relax. Others want to see other parts of the world by trekking the hillsides of Tuscany or canoeing down a river.  Other’s want to experience a foodie and wine trek abroad and some want to make a difference by contributing and having purpose; be a part of someone’s life and perhaps transform their own.

The latter fall into the category of Impact travel.  What does that mean, you ask?  It is a combination of all the above with a little extra.  So many companies are offering ways to have an authentic, enjoyable travel with the added benefit of volunteering to help build a community with other like-minded travellers, to become immersed in another culture, and work alongside the locals to create an enduring and evolving social impact.

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Most are geared toward younger travellers, ages 18 – 25, but there are so many other avenues for all travellers of any age to find something important to lend your hand, gearing toward the person – to – person connection, encouraging the elements of transformation.

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The selection of companies offering these wonderful opportunities are boundless. If you love photography there is a company out there that promotes photo-safaris and offer ways to volunteer at the animal refuges.  If your love for children is greater than your heart can endure, there are agencies that are affiliated with travel partners to involve you in caring for Orphanages.  If you are foodie there are many ways to find a way to volunteer to help with farming in far off countries to volunteering to reap the harvests.  All elements of interest lay at your feet.  Find what passion projects move you and a package can be created specially tailored to your what, whys and hows.

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Consider the impact you make on the child, family or group with those that you help and those that are sharing the same experiences.  There is no way to value the impact yourself and the others will receive.

These trips can be developed for individuals to meet other like-minded, to families and groups.  You still get the relaxing and refreshing aspects of the trip, but you give so much more back to the communities you choose to be apart of.

Those are lifetime memories and giving back to others is eternal.

If you have an idea you want to expand on, please message me, I have a special knack in putting people together and creating  the epic trip.

Best,

Constant Craves

 

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2. Sustainable Tourism
By Constant Craves

As we enter the summer months, many of us are finalizing our plans the perfect summer getaway.  Will it be a fishing trip in Canada or a cooking adventure in France?  Perhaps a trek to the jungles of Costa Rica or a dip in the Indian ocean?  Moments to create relaxation, energy building and reflection all the while enjoying the briefest reprieve in a beautiful location.

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What is often not addressed but should be understood is that we all have participated some form of sustainable tourism.

But you ask, what exactly is sustainable tourism?

Quick and easiest example; you plan a trip to fulfill your desires to relax, share, experiences and with that in mind you are making a positive impact on that location’s environment, society and economy.  You host your wedding on a location that therein supports the local economy in participating activities that do not cause any harm to the environment nor exploitations.

….and you now ask what are the benefits to sustainable tourism?

I am sure you can guess what your benefits are and I want share with you why you should care outside of the obvious.

1. This benefits the local community, offering not only employment for the locals whereas this sustains long-term employment and boosts the local business owners & operators  that then carries forward to supporting local non-profits. This means your purchases are going directly to that community to help them stay profitable long after you have left. .

2.2 Malcesine scenery

2. Conservation is reinforced, our world’s ecosystems are not renewable and we must do everything we can to avoid causing permanent damage and this responsibility affects everyone.

 

How can you make the best efforts to sustain local tourism?

Did you know that you can take part in conservationist tour activities?  Be vigilant in avoiding supporting any event that leads to harm of the land or animals.  For instance a zoo who has resources more land to occupy by tearing down and degrading the natural resources. Always be cognizant of who you choose to support and be sure it is for the betterment of location’s resources and economy.

3. Authenticity, by staying vigilant in what would support rather than break-down you will experience a more authentic look and feel of the local area.  Supporting locally run tour guides and businesses your education and experiences will be far more truthful in the local environment’s culture and their people. This will give you a truer glimpse in the life of the local and what their community is all about.  It is a gift for both the traveler and the host location.

photo Moutain person bsrOzgDkQhGRKOVC7Era_9X6A3584 4. Not just creating a great place to visit but sustainable tourism establishes a better way of living.  Traditional tourist-heavy areas rely on tourist money pouring into their hospitality and services to keep their local economy afloat. There are two possibilities as to how that scenario plays out.

1st : Heavy tourist traffic will deplete the natural beauty and resources, thereby forcing local residents to move away and leaving the location a ghost of the original place.

2nd: Tourist are made aware and want to experience the authenticity of the location and the natural resources by helping maintain and boosting the economy to further empowering the local residents without having to compromise the location.

Practicing sustainable tourism will help ensure the 2nd scenario is the one we promote all the time.
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There are several ways to support local residents, some by patronizing the independent hotels, home-stays and AirBnB locations.  Staying with local businesses will continue to sustain and provide supplement income to the locals.

5. Sustainable Tourism will help avoid displacement and/or resettlement of local communities. Sadly this has happened as a result of heavy tourist locations, letting in big businesses to overtake the local businesses, by tearing down and rebuilding has diluted the authenticity of the beautiful locations.  The thought of a tourist finding their own ‘discovery’ is now severely limited. Large chains are not always a fan of sustaining the authenticity of a location and the support for the local resident is found as overlooked as these chains are in the business for themselves.  Practicing sustainable tourism you are advocating for the survival and best combinations of exciting adventures & memories and continued profit for the locals.

6.  Frankly it is everyone’s responsibility in all aspects of life to appreciate the locations’ natural resources.  We lose nothing by taking part in this with the simple thought of guaranteeing that you will still see the same beautiful forest, mountain or pristine beach when you return again.

Tourism is valuable and it is encouraged.  It is a feasible and profitable action that supports local communities and continuity for all future generations to enjoy.

3. New Orleans…….its a happening place

Hopping on the Southwest flight from Dallas Lovefield on a cold and wintry evening with my best gal pal for weekend trip to ‘Nawlins was just what the doctor prescribed.  Neither of us had been there and it was time to explore a bit of America with my best gal pal. I had worn my favorite red sweater for the trip.  (Red, just love red.) 

We arrived in New Orléans, and was immediately introduced to a muggy chill welcoming, I don’t know how else to explain it but I was sure glad I had my Spanx still on.  I needed the extra layer to keep me warm.  We hailed a cab and away we went.  My first initial view I have committed to memory was the bridge we passed and recognizing the great river.  I was under the impression that the airport was fairly close to our destination, but was proven wrong 30 minutes later when we arrived at our hotel, Prince Conti  (www.princecontihotel.com).  We checked in and were then escorted on an ancient elevator that was slower than molasses, but we eventually got to our floor and then were immediately entertained with our ‘Duncan Donut’ walk on a very wavy floor to our room.  We got to our room and took a nice sigh and gander of our quarters.  We had gone fancy and had ourselves a wonderful suite.  Two little twin beds in the bedroom, high small square windows giving us a view of Conti Street, yep, I saw some weavers!  I did a little quick reconstruction on my face and my hair and let my gal pal have some time to herself….I am very energetic little bunny when I am introduced to new places, I want to get out there NOW.  So I let her work on freshening up and took the ancient elevator down to the lobby and stepped outside.  Apparently we had a convention group staying with us, they all just got back from dinner and were very lively.  It became even more lively when what seemed like an impromptu parade passed us by, various people throwing beads and hooping and hollerin’, well I am not a cheerleader gal and don’t usually get sucked into the mania, but I could not help it!  I loved it! I hooped and hollered right back, caught my beads and was making some new friends all in the course of 15 minutes.  It was great.

Well gal pal showed up and we began walking toward our destination for dinner.  I had read about a restaurant that had been a part of New Orleans history since before the 1900’s.  So we went to check it out, called Tujaques!  Thankfully my gal pal is a great navigator, she understood the Quarter’s streets and paths; where all I did was look and gawk at whatever filled my fancy.  This worked out great for me.  As we are strolling along to Tujaques we see several people basically staking out their spots with chairs and other items for a parade that will occur later in the evening.  Gal pal and I finally find our restaurant, now we expected an institution like this to be filled with diners.  I mean we had to make a reservation so what was one to think?  So I ask, what is one to think when we are escorted to a nearly empty dining room with only 2 other diners?  Well I say, woo hoo, got a room to ourselves, love it!  The Maitre D was a great guy, his family use to own the restaurant and he now stays on to work a bit for what seems like old times sakes.  The room walls are filled with framed pictures of visitors from the past, with autographs, smiling faces, arm in arm comrades enjoying the place.  You could feel the ghosts dining right along with you. You could imagine the noise level of the faces on the walls enjoying dinner there.  At the end of the day, we had a lovely meal, not memorable, we had great wine, I took a picture of it to find it when I got back here and most of all we enjoyed our conversations with some Tujaques patrons and our wonderful Maitre D.  Nooni, he was definitely a free spirit.  For the rest of the evening we walked the quarter and did a bunch of people watching.

We found a few bars, had our first hurricane, dang those are good and sock a punch without knowing it.  But I have to admit flirting was not getting us anywhere so we gave up, enjoyed our poisons and danced some of it off and headed back to the room about 12:30 am…..what can I say we had a fully packed day scheduled for Saturday.

Saturday, we began by heading out in search of the famous beignets and good coffee….about 15 minutes later we were at Cafe DuMonde…..I got some great photos around here.  We walked into a really busy place and within minutes were seated by a young waiter to our table.  We ordered our Beignets and coffee and were amazed at the size and smell.  Oooh, I am gaining 20 pounds right now just thinking of those lovely coma induced sugary confections….

After filling our bellies with the sugar and great coffee we sauntered around the area looking for interesting deals, watching street performers, and wondering where we were going to eat next.

I can’t tell you the name of the place we went to for lunch, but Gal pal’s plate said it all…..I did not find myself very hungry after seeing that.  So after she completely immersed herself in some fine Cajun cuisine we walked it off a bit and I found this great place that just begged me to buy a Muffaletta.  Oh, did you hear that?  The angels just sang!  Wait a minute, let me savor the taste I am envisioning.  Ummm, olives, deli meats, cheese, fabu holy grail bread and some oil to make it all mesh.  Okay, I am done now.  So then it was time to check out some fine touristy spots and wet our whistles.  So off to Pat O’Briens and some 2 hurricanes later…..well this is what you get.  Red tongues, funny looks, feather boas, (notice the red?) and a lot of laughter.  As we are walking back to our hotel room I stopped in and got myself a chocolate flavored cigar…..The cigar owner was just marveled at how many women had come in that day to buy a cigar and no not for their fathers, brothers, husbands or boyfriends it was a revelation of woman independence walking in and out of his store that Saturday afternoon.

We got back to the room and I am ravenous and tear back into my huge muffaletta, by the way, they deliver.  I call my MaMa and without any filters tell her in a rather loud voice, for some reason your hearing is muted so you think everyone else must not be able to hear as well, so you talk a bit louder.  So it was a short convo.

We got refreshed and left to meet a group on a ghost tour of the quarter.  I don’t have a lot to say about this except our tour guide was a cutie and if not for that we would have left the tour much sooner.  Groups like that are a let down, why??  Well it is not because the story or the tour itself is boring but it is the size of the group, the dynamics, the energy of the other tours can make or break the experience plus it is difficult to always hear and see what is being discussed.  Not dissing the tour but our group was not our style so we left midway and decided it was time for dinner.  I highly, highly recommend even after a 1 1/2 hour wait that you must have dinner at Irene’s.  Good wine selections, great food and fantastic energy.  So dinner ended about 10 and we continued our stroll along the quarter.  We found ourselves going into a jazz club, ahhh the angels just went off again.  Gal Pal is not a huge jazz fan but she knows I am.  It was a cold weekend and we had our fair share of Hurricanes, Wine and my specially ordered G & Ts.  So I was insistent that I have a Hot Toddy.  I had never had one, really did not know what one was but seemed old school enough I had to try one.  Woo Hoo, those are strong and very warm and goes down really well and warms you from your head to your toes…..oooh so sleepy now.  The music is pumping, the cigars and smoke is hazing up the room, the warm toddy is doing its thing and so I place my head down to rest.  It was quite blissful.

So, Sunday we are up and both of us are really wanting to experience the cemeteries and I have always dreamed of visiting the Garden district.  So we did…….

You can’t help but feel this creative vibe in the city.  You just want to embrace it and hold on to it and grab a bit of it yourself.  So when you leave you do leave a bit of your soul there and the biggest gift is bring a bit of it’s heart with you.  This was a fabulous place.  It was dirty, gritty, grimy, then beautiful, serene, historic and meld the two and you have something amazing.  Everyone’s experience is to be their own and this is my story to you.

 

 

 

 

 

4. A couple of years back I had a 48 hour layover in Paris, my 1st time ever to finally visit this city.

It was short but oh so sweet!

My stopover was the conclusion of a 2 week trip through Germany with short stops in Italy and Croatia.   So I flew using his AA miles in Business class to begin my retreat and adventure in Europe.

For most of my life I have dreamed about Paris and all of France as a whole.  My love for this country all stemmed from a book I picked up after my high school graduation.  I picked up two books that started my wanderlust and my craving to get past my town’s borders.  ‘A Moveable Feast’ by Ernst Hemingway and ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D.Salinger.  You would think our local high school would have introduced these books to me, but I was an average student so we were introduced to mid-level books to read like ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (ugh!) I am not a lover of futuristic writings to tomes of the ‘Greek Odyssey’.

But I digress. Back to Paris!  Okay, let’s back up a bit.  I read A Moveable Feast and fell in love with the romanticism of the time, the freedom of the characters and the perseverance of Sylvia Beach’s beautiful attempt to make a place for all artists of that time and much like them I associated with the Lost Generation in a way.  After reading the book I turned to being an investigator, were the characters real? Who was Sylvia Beach? I pressed my hands together in anticipated discoveries to find.

So I turned to more books and more searches revealed a deeper understanding of that era.  I will forever be a fan of this generation, to this day their writings continue to spur my imaginations and the continual perseverance to keep on with my dreams.

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*All images are mine – these images were captured with a point and shoot, not professional but you get the feeling.

So, back to the story…… it was July, I think either Monday or Tuesday and I bounded down the outside steps of my hotel and began my trek from the ‘right’ bank to the ‘left’ bank.  I had a little point and shoot camera with me and a big smile.IMG_1552 2

I just wandered around, till I found a little outdoor place that was selling chocolate croissants and purchased one and continued my aimless walk at that point, savoring the flakiness and pure decadent chocolate, I could have cared less where I was walking at that point.  I then stopped inside another hotel and found a warm and freindly front desk receptionist who thankfully spoke English and handed me a map to help me find out how to get across to the left bank and wished me a fond farewell.

It was early in the morning. The air had a tinge of humidity and the sun was working itself up to a mild blaze of heat, and because I was in no particular hurry I stopped by another café and ordered a cappuccino, I felt silly trying my French out, all I got was a queer nod as if they did not understand my ‘Merci beaucoup’, which would not be a horrible assumption, I do have a rather twangy accent grounded deep in Texas.  So it can sound foreign even when speaking another language.

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I found a bridge to cross over the seine and stopped and watched a photographer at work with a couple who were adorned in tuxedos and ball gowns, oh how I wished that would be me one day, to be that photographer directing and capturing the moments of allurement. I fell in love just a little bit more.  As I passed them, they were friendly and acknowledged me.  I felt at home finally.  Accepted.  IMG_1571 2

Once on the left bank I pulled out my map again to assess where I was, hopelessly lost of course. I began stopping others, store keepers, policeman, and anyone who appeared local where I could findIMG_1572 2

‘The Shakespeare and Company’ book store.  A few knew where it was in the vicinity and I followed their directions, only to find it was not there and began my quest again in vain to find this vanishing bookstore. IMG_1573 2

So I walked through a few parks, fed the ducks and pigeons and kept snapping my camera on any whim that caught my breath.  IMG_1585 2IMG_1560 2

The morning was growing warmer and I was growing a bit hungry from all the walking so I decided to stop and have a bite for lunch.  One thing I love about France and in particular Paris is that they have a love for the same sources of food we have here in Texas, meat and potatoes.  IMG_1594 2IMG_1597 2So I ordered a Dr. Pepper

(well okay they only had Coke) with 2 ice cubes, and no I did not ask for ice, my waitress, who was a little bit of a redheaded sprite with the stylings associated to the hippie era,  was so very friendly and we chatted a bit when her time was not busy with other patrons.  She knew I was visiting from Texas and as an American she knew we like our ice.  I would have been fine with none, but the gesture just simply pushed me more in love with this city.  After my tasty meal, I was refreshed and ready to find my target destination.  I asked a few more locals, shop keepers and finally after a wrong turn did I find this lovely bookstore. IMG_1584 2

IMG_1590 2 It was a tad crowded but I finally was able to navigate myself around the interior.

Oh, my, like walking into the past.  I knew this was not the original location nor with the original owner, but it did not matter, I literally walked back into time and was a kid full of intrigue and excitement.  The store is small and cramped, books, books, books everywhere you look.  Little stairs that led you to yet another room of fascination.  Art work adorned the walls along with the bookshelves that house some pretty spectacular tomes of the past and the present. All co-mingling, all inviting you to find your little corner between the books to sit and stay for a while.  The smell of the pages, bindings and untouched dust created a magical feeling.  Charming, individually owned bookstores are so rare to find and when you do you want to embrace the character of the store and keep it in your pocket. 

As a young and voracious reader I had dreamed of owning my own bookstore, in the city where I currently live, I honestly don’t know of too many individual stores. So finding this store that still stands and operates on the famed banks of the left bank is something to cherish and provide support in any way that you can.  I chose to buy a few items that day and since I researched Sylvia Beach I knew just what to buy to commemorate my visit, James Joyce’s Ulysses.  To note, if the collector’s book store next to it would have been open, I had saved a little to buy myself a gem of book to take home. Perhaps next time I will find luck on my side and can do this.

As I prepare for my trip to Italy this fall I am looking forward to visiting Venice’s famed bookstore “Aqua Alta”, I hope I fall in love with that store as much as I fell in love with Shakespeare and Company.