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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hello dear family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances (and visitors who got here by chance)!

WELCOME to this page...BIENVENUE... DOBRO POZHALOVAT'...

As many of you might remember - I promised to start a travel blog before our upcoming trip to Israel and England in October/November 2008...and as you can see - I keep my promises! :)

I will try my best to take into account your suggestions and balance various requests ("lots of visuals, please!!!" ... "and define your travel philosophy!!!"..."I am going there too - any advice?"...)

Before I begin, however, I have a disclamer to make: the main purpose of this travel blog is to serve as my web based scrap book...if you find my notes amusing or helpful or entertaining - all the better...but if not - please keep in mind that I am doing it mainly for my own pleasure and for a few people dear to my heart...


This is my first entry, and since I don't have many "visuals" at this point, I'll start from the beginning...you can always skip a few entries if it seems too "philosophical" for you...

Let me begin with "main characters" entering the scene...Rob P., if you are reading this - may I suggest 24 mg of zofran before you get to "my angel" part? *wink* ...

these are the characters you'll be meeting in this blog quite frequently: the author of the blog (myself) and my beloved, the love of my life, who is also known to the family, friends and some of my co-workers as my "angel"...

We always travel together, even for work when our respective schedules permit...life keeps us both quite busy, but we aim for 3 trips per year - one lazy "do-nothing-but-vegetate-and-sleep-and-play-and-read-something-light-and-swim-in-the-ocean-and-drink-cocktails-on-the-beach" kind of vacation...it usually lasts less than a week (and even that seems too long!), but - believe it or not - it serves it's purpose just fine...and other 2 trips are what we call "serious vacations" - something to nourish the mind and soul...they usually take us further away from home, and they lasts much longer - at least two weeks...how do I manage to find time for 3 vacations a year despite working full-time?...I have to thank my wonderful co-workers - without their good will and flexibility it would be tough to manage...so, guys, all of you who traded with me in the past and who will consider doing so in the future - thank you!...

I am often asked "how do you choose where you will go next?"...I think it happens by chance rather than by some logical process...although I've come up with a wonderful (or so I think) method for choosing our next destination:

I can write down my 3 top destinations du jour on 3 pieces of paper and put them in a red hat (could be a different color, too, but I want red!), and then my angel can write down his 3 top destinations du jour and put them in the same hat - now we'll have 6 possibilities altogether... that is if we wish to be conservative...or - if we wish to be more adventurous - we can ask somebody (even a stranger) to add 3 more destinations to our hat (9 is my favorite number anyway!) ...these will be our "wildcards" since neither of us won't have any idea what the stranger contributed to our hat (an element of surprise to spice up this game!!!) ...then we'll shake the hat....and shake it again... and promise each other to accept whatever destination is destined for us...and shake the hat one more time...and then we'll draw one lucky piece of paper... or unlucky...but we'll make it lucky anyway...
and then I'll squeal with delight (well, in all honesty - I'll squeal with delight regardless of which destination it turns out to be!)...


wouldn't it be a fun-fun-fun game?...only my angel wouldn't play it with me...he says he wants to be in control over our destiny, and he says my game is very 'illogical'...oh, well...so - instead we do it like this:
a while ago we were sipping wine on the balcony and talking, and out of the blue one of us said:

- you know, I kind of miss Thailand!... and the other replied :
- you know, I miss it, too!...
- so, let's return one day?...
- let's! ...
- but when do you think?
- hmm...we will be in Israel and England this fall, and the trip in spring is already spoken for...
- maybe next fall, then?...we don't have anything planned for then yet...
- sure, why not!...
- then - we are going to Thailand next fall ?!...
- yes, we are!!!...

that is quite a typical example of our 'destination selection'...of course it could change...just a few weeks ago we had a wonderful evening of wine tasting at the house of our friends in San Francisco...we had a company of 8 people, and we had tons of fun, and suddenly one of us proposed to go together on a wine-tasting trip to Bordeaux next fall...next fall, when we thought we would be in Thailand!...and yet wine tasting in Bordeaux sounded sooo enticing!...and maybe, just maybe it was the wine in us speaking (or even shouting?), but everybody enthusiastically agreed...well, Bordeaux and Thailand happen to be pretty worlds apart, so - it's an "either-or" situation...but we are flexible...and we love traveling...

yes, we love traveling ... the anticipation of the unknown...the excitement of discoveries...sensory overload - new tastes, smells, colors, sounds...we don't even terribly mind the usual hassles of traveling- missed or delayed planes (happened!), lost luggage (hasn't happened yet! but traveling only with carry-ons helps!), logistics of preparation/planning/booking (love it and becoming quite good at it!)...so, we love traveling...but what's more - we love traveling together - being with each other 24/7...upon return from one of our trips I often hear some variation of: "don't you want to wring each other's neck after 15 days of being together every second of the day?!"...you've got to be kidding!!!...upon return we are having painful withdrawals for a week or two - being suddenly torn apart by work and other time-consuming obligations, missing each other terribly, awfully... yes, being together in it every minute of the trip is definitely one of the best reasons to travel...at least for us...
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