28 June 2017

Top 7 Reasons to Travel in Winter

I do not like summer.  Wait.  Let me clarify that statement because I do, in fact, like summer.  I like the longer days and the star-filled nights.  I like wearing my birks and light tops.  What I don’t like about summer is the heat.  And crowds.  And idiots on their bikes, roller-blades and whatnot causing havoc on the trails.  Summer tends to bring out the crazy in groups and the heat just makes me wilt.  I love layers and big, comfy sweatshirts.  I love having a reason to have hot chocolate and I love to hear the snow crunch beneath my boots.  So when I choose to travel and explore, I choose the winter.  There aren’t many like me who willingly taking on heavy coats, frostbite and boots during their coveted vacation time.  I love the colder climates and in the heat of summer in Colorado, I will often daydream about my next winter trip.

The top 7 reasons winter travel is the best:

Crowds.  There are none.  Unless you’ve gone to someplace like the Alps for skiing or activities traditionally only done in the cold of winter, you’re not going to run into crowds.  And aside from skiing, even the winter activity crowds are less than the summer crowds.

This is 9 am on a Sunday in late November in Tromsø, Norway.  See any crowds?

Local Immersion.
  Because you’ve chosen to travel in “less than ideal” weather, you’re more likely to run into locals out and about doing their thing.  My experience has been that it’s a wonderful conversation starter – the locals want to know what you’re doing in their neck of the woods during a time when most tourists are lamenting the loss of their tank tops and shorts.

Meet kooks just like you out and about enjoying the non-crowds

The nights are long.  And the further north you go, the longer the night gets.  There’s something magical about the soft blue light of the midday sun above the Arctic Circle – it adds a softness to even the harshest of climates while helping you appreciate the adaptability of every living thing to the lack of daylight.

More opportunity to enjoy Nature's Light Show

There is less risk of sunburn.  With everything covered to avoid frostbite, sunburn is a distant memory.  Being a fair-skinned girl, this is important.  Don’t get me wrong, the parts of you that are exposed run the risk of getting burned but more likely they’ll develop frostbite first.  Dodged a bullet on that one.

A tad chilly.  No sunscreen needed.

Eyelash crystals and rosy cheeks.  It tickles me to no end to have eyelash crystals and I’m not quite sure why.  It’s just fascinating.  The beautiful rosy color that the brisk weather induces on everyone’s cheeks is charming.  It adds color and life and just makes me happy.

Eyelash Crystals!!
Lodging.  Aside from the airline ticket, lodging is probably one of the two biggest budget eaters (the other being food).  When you travel “off season” you generally get a break on rates.  Well, unless you’re hitting the famous Christmas Markets and New Year’s celebrations because those times bring in the tourists almost as much as summer.  But generally, lodging will be less of an impact on your budget in the off-season.

Off-season lodging - same room, often quite a bit cheaper

Did I mention the lack of crowds?  To me, this is the biggest and bestest reason to travel during the long winter months.  Granted, some things you’d like to see and do will be closed during this time but the trade-off of not having to race the latest bus of tourists to the attractions that are open is worth more than gold.  You also get to develop your selfie skills – learning opportunities and minimal crowds?  Score!

Tallinn, Estonia.  In summer, I would have to shuffle to get this view without a head or an arm in it.

I love traveling at any time of the year but I get the most out of my adventures during the brisk, cool months of late fall and winter. If you haven’t tried it, I think you should!

A fjord in Norway, November 2016

20 June 2017

A new look; a new direction.

When I first started this blog many moons ago, it was meant to be a narrative of my goal to run a half marathon in each state along with other ramblings that would amuse me.  Well, I've lost track of how many states I've completed and how many half marathons I finished and have even dropped (for the time being?) my goal to complete a race in each state so it was time to re-tool the blog.  From "Starunner's Galaxy", I present to you the latest incarnation of my blog, "Unfettered & Unfiltered".

The goal of this blog is to share my travel experience, insights, mistakes and successes with an audience of probably only my Mother and Father.  But should it reach someone who does not share a smattering of DNA with me and should it prove helpful to said individual, I will be content.

Travel is not just in my blood, it IS my blood. I live for it, I dream about it and every spare dime I have goes to it. Not just for the passport stamp collection or the ability to say, "I've been there" but to expand my world, understand my fellow humans and make a connection that can only come from being unfettered by the known and unfiltered by honesty. To travel means to challenge your understanding of what is normal, to question your why and share, if only for a moment or two, a snippet of life with someone else completely unfamiliar to you.

Whether you're an experienced traveler or toying with your first foray into this amazing world of ours, I can help you realize your dream. I'll share my own successes and mistakes to assist you in taking that dream and making it a reality. I'll open up ideas for destinations that you may never have considered and I will capitalize on your ideas - giving you the best experience you could imagine.

I love solo travel and hope to inspire at least one non-relative to give it a go.  Share with me your thoughts, dreams and goals and together we can figure out how to give you the wings to fly.

Are you ready for the journey?