Four Essential Things Needed for an Overseas Trip

Last month, my wife and I returned from 9 days in Croatia, with a brief stopover in Munich. We took our nine year old daughter on her first real vacation. It was her first time flying, and her first time leaving the country. Needless to say, I think she (and we) have a great deal of new and lifelong memories, mainly from our daughter meeting her extended family for the first time. Since I just got back, I’ve been thinking about the things we brought, and the things we didn’t. As usual, we traveled with one bag each (I’ll talk more about this below). This means that packing has to be light, both for weight’s sake, and not to draw the wrath of the airlines, who do everything they can to get extra fees from you. When away from home for a good amount of time, the key is to balance necessity and comfort with the very real and very important notion that this is an opportunity to get away from the objects that fill our homes. Even if you are staying in a luxury hotel, 10 days away from home is a chance to restart your life in a new place … Read more

Photos from London, Istria and Croatia

We’ve gotten a lot of requests to see some photos from our vacation. Herein, we oblige. Thanks to all our online friends for continuing to support us when we were away. This time my wife and I took less photos than trips prior, probably because we are taking more time to enjoy ourselves and have a more discerning eye for images. So……here’s what we were up to for 12 debt-free days. What We Did On Our Summer Vacation!!                                                                            

Greetings from Croatia

Greetings from Croatia. My wife and I are having a wonderful and relaxing time. We spent a few days visiting with my family and swimming in the sea. The Smart Car we rented had a problem with the transmission, so my dream of zipping around in a little go-kart of a car were dashed. We had to trade it for a slightly larger Hyundai Getz. This is my first time really driving a foreign car for an extended period of time. The roads here in Croatia are excellent. Driving here is easier than in United States. My cousin tells me that Croatians think their roads are not great, but even the tiny bike-path sized roads between tiny villages are paved and without potholes. This is not the case when I drive at home to visit my parents and in-laws in a similar rural area. Croatia (especially Istria), is about food. We have been stuffed full of homemade cheese, wine and meat like prsut (proscuitto), and cevapcici, a beef and pork mixed meat. Everyone tells me I look too thin, and I suspect I will put on a few pounds by the time I return. Here are a few more pictures … Read more

Otok Brać – Vacation from Vacation

The phylloxera swept across the terraced hills of Otok Brać – Island of Brać – in the early 1900s, invading the soil.  Native to North America, the tiny yellow aphids traveled across the sea to Europe in the late 1800s, feeding on vino roots and spreading their wine death like an infestation of involuntary Prohibition.  The people on the island of Brać did not see it coming, and the families stood in awe and despair at the expanse of useless vineyards left in its wake. And the families began to splinter.  Some sought refuge on the mainland of the Dalmatian coast; some found their way to the university in Zagreb, while many began to feed the Croatian diasporas in South America, the United States and Australia. Those that stayed planted more olive trees, knowing that it would be 50 years before they would bear fruit, and that the hard work might mean a better future for those generations to come. The old olive trees watched, some for hundreds of years or more,  and continued to put forth.  The terra rossa soil held them close, and it was the color of blood.   My wife and I arrived on Brać via a car … Read more