Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Travel Planning in a time of terror ~

Plan(noun) an intention or decision about what one is going to do
Planning (verb) decide on and arrange in advance: Ex:"they were planning a trip”
                                                                     -- Oxford dictionary

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Mt. Rainier, Arriving Washington State
The next best thing to travel itself is planning it, to our way of thinking.  So much so, that we think of life as having two seasons: the planning season and the traveling season. 

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Agios Nikolaos, Peloponesse, Greece - 'our' village
Sometimes though circumstances beyond our control can impact both the ‘plan’ and the ‘planning’ as we learned when we cut our spring stay short in Greece and raced back to the States to deal with a medical matter. 

Not only was our immediate plan impacted but planning for future travels was put on hold. It was a strange time for us.

Because, travelers like us, simply don’t think about not traveling unless some event – whether personal health or world event – forces them to do so.

To Travel or Not. . .

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Not whether to go, but where to go? is the question
 
And there’s no doubt that world events are impacting travelers – headlines on a much-too-frequent basis remind us that any place, any activity can be a terrorist target:  Paris. Orlando. Brussels. Nice. Istanbul. San Bernardino. Munich. Japan. Watching fireworks. Dancing at a nightclub. Shopping at a mall. Transiting an airport. Attending a party.

Which poses the question, how much impact should these random attacks have on travel planning?

Terror – (noun)
-a very strong feeling of fear:
something that causes very strong feelings of fear : something that is terrifying:
violence that is committed by a person, group, or government in order to frighten people and achieve a political goal
                              -- Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

That impact was the dinner conversation we had with fellow travel enthusiasts this week. We’ve all been to Istanbul, Turkey and were discussing both its attractions and the double-whammy tragedies in Turkey; recent terrorist attacks and the military coup attempt. “I suppose you two are heading back there though,” one friend said to us. 
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Istanbul, Turkey street scene
July 21, 2016
“U.S. Consulate General Istanbul advises U.S. citizens in Istanbul that it has encouraged its staff to consider limiting non-essential travel throughout the city, especially to public areas or sites frequented by westerners and/or foreigners. Extremist organizations may seek to take advantage of the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt to conduct near-term terrorist attacks.”
Istanbul  has been our ‘go to’ airport since purchasing our Stone House on the Hill in Greece.  Round-trip tickets from there to Seattle have provided significant cost savings in our commute between the two worlds in which we live.  It is such a vibrant, exciting city that we try to spend at least a night or two as we commute between continents.  But, no. We are not planning to transit Istanbul. . . for now but probably not forever, it’s on hold. [Well, we weren't when I wrote that sentence, but we've found a great airfare on an airline we like. . .maybe it isn't on hold. We'll see.] 
 Putting plans in Place. . .
But those headlines also remind us that bad things can happen anywhere, anytime, so the notion of staying within the United States and not traveling outside its borders is absolutely an absurd thought (especially for those of us who consider two countries as home). While we are enjoying our summer stay in the Pacific Northwest, we are planning our return to Greece and subsequent  adventures.
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Arriving Athens, Greece
 
We’ll be heading back at The Stone House on the Hill for olive harvest. We are traveling via London – but only because we are able to fly directly to Kalamata from Heathrow this fall and we are eager to try the closer, quicker route.   We’ve decided not to book a return back to the States yet as we aren't sure when we are returning.  What we have done is booked a short cruise on that side of the world. On that adventure we’ll be setting sail from . . .

Abu Dhabi on the Arabian Sea
. . .  Bet you didn’t expect that one, did you!?
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Magic Carpet is getting ready for another take-off
Yes, we’ll be heading to the Middle East from Greece. We’ll board a Celebrity cruise ship – the Constellation - in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for a 9-night Arabian Sea cruise. We sail to: Dubai, also in the United Arab Emirates, Muscat, Oman, Khasab, Oman and back to Abu Dhabi. The ship overnights in all the ports but Khasab, so we’ll get a taste of Arabian Nights as well as days.

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Salalah, Oman
We are starting our research and look forward to hearing from you if you have recommendations for any of our ports of call. Hope you’ll shoot us an email or a leave suggestions in the comment section. 
That’s it for this week.  Hope you are having a great summer where ever you are spending it. Safe and healthy travels to you and yours. As always, thanks for stopping by – hope to see you again next week. And bring a few friends along!

Linking up this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration













42 comments:

  1. Joel and Jackie, You have amazing adventures and I appreciate you sharing with us. May you have many more years of wonderful travel experiences! Thanks for letting us follow along vicariously. :)

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Beth! It is nice to have friends like you coming along ~ even if it is through the blogosphere that we travel together!

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  2. So beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/08/cats-consumate-contortionists.html

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    1. Always fun being a part of such a wonderful group of bloggers!

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    1. Oh Marsha, you have such a lovely life and blog, I so enjoy YOUR life!

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  4. All the best with planning and travels ♥

    summerdaisy.net

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes - and thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a note ~

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  5. I am so looking forward to your return Jackie. And my husband and I have also considered this saftey issue. If I am correct I believe there is a new airline that will be traveling from the States to Greece it is called Serbian airlines. You might want to look at that for the future. I know you will have a great time in Abu Dhabi and I'll be looking forward to the pictures.

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    1. Mary, I've reached the point that I can start counting down the weeks - doesn't seem so far away anymore. Thanks for the tip on the new airline - we'll keep that in mind when figuring out the next round of travel!

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  6. Terror is such a successful tool because those committing these vicious acts cause people to alter their lives and live in fear of the next attack. Obviously it's wise to research an area regarding safety before going but the very randomness means that we can't even begin to predict what, where or when the next incident occur. And what a shame to miss out on your recent adventures in Jordan or Eygypt instead of taking some precautions and diving into the experience. To not travel because of fear would be to live a life that lacks richness and new challenges. It's all about anticipation and then closing your eyes and jumping, right Jackie? :)

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    1. So in agreement Anita! With a new report from a new location almost on a daily, certainly a weekly basis, you finally must just say, I am going. . .sometimes it feels like a leap into the unknown but using common sense and monitoring the state of affairs in the destination, you can take some precautions. Had a friend who's moving to our area of Greece for a year tell me that her daughter and grandkids won't come visit for fear of the 'terrorism'. . .hmmmms, haven't seen that there but I guess you can live in fear that it might happen and stay home as they are doing. So, sad!

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  7. Olive harvest sounds interesting! Wish you a safe journey and happy stay in Greece.
    I wish I could visit again.

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    1. Olive harvest is a magical time in The Mani where we live as you can hear the sounds of harvest echoing through the villages. Thanks for your good wishes, Indrani - they are most appreciated!

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  8. Great to hear about your travel plans! I am heading to Europe in less than a month. Some people I know are not happy about it because of everything that has been happening but I am sure we will have a great time.

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    1. Ruth, I look forward to reading about your adventures in Europe. You'll have a great time, I am sure!

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  9. It's a difficult decision to make - for us the urge to travel is too big as that we could stay at home (where is our home anyway?).

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    1. That's somewhat the way we feel these days as well, Marcelle. We divide our time between the Pacific NW, and Greece and throw in stays in Arizona and Hawaii in our 'timeshare' homes. Many places are home in our minds.

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  10. Glad you're not letting these events curtail your travel plans and planning. Like you so rightly said, danger is everywhere. We cannot let others dictate how we live our lives, besides which, it's just too short not to enjoy every waking second of it.
    Yes, I didn't expect that curve ball but why not go? I've not been to the Middle East so I'm looking forward to reading your unique take on those cities. Enjoy, Jackie!

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    1. Oh Marcia, it is always so good to hear from you. And I so love your comment, ". . .it's just too short not to enjoy every waking second of it." Truer words were never said! Hugs to you ~ Jackie

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  11. I just love your photo of Agios Nikolaos in your village. I wished so much I could insert myself into that photo. I love Turkey and although with the Government going crazy I would not travel there at the moment, I think I would still transit through there if the price was right. :) I do hope Turkey becomes stable again in the not too distant future. I'm looking forward to your return to Greece and the olive harvest.

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    1. Well Jan, one of these days you and I will just have to make sure we are sitting at that restaurant and getting caught up on travel talk! I too am looking forward to our return to Greece - our last stay was too short and ended on too stressful a note, I am ready to be back. Thanks much for the visit!

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  12. It's always so much fun to come here to see where you are and what you're doing...always look forward to your return to your Greece and hearing all about it...how blessed you are to be able to travel like this..and to have the finances to do so. Have fun, dear one....

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    1. BJ, we are blessed to have the desire, health and means to travel. We worked hard for many, many years with this goal in mind and then took a courageous leap of faith by quitting those jobs and heading out to see the world. We've not regretted for one moment that decision. Hugs to you, my friend!

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  13. What you say is so true. Terror can happen anywhere, even in your "safe" home country. I loved Oman and Muscat is an interesting and vibrant town. Nizwa was also interesting and more traditional. We hired an excellent guide (his name was Khalfran) for a mutiday tour. Check my blog for 9 posts dedicated to my travel in Oman

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    1. Rhonda, hopefully you saw my comment on your blog, telling you we had devoured your posts and as a result, think we will try to see the Grand Canyon! Thanks much for the comment and directing us there!

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  14. Hello, it is great that you are enjoying the best of both worlds. Greece is a beautiful country! I do wish for peace and safety for all travelers. I hope you enjoy your next cruise, sounds like fun! Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

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    1. Thanks much for stopping by Eileen. Your wish for peace and safety for travelers is an echo of mine! Happy week ahead!

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  15. Planning a trip is half the fun and it looks like your upcoming travels will be amazing, especially being in Kalamata for the olive harvest. The cruise will be so unique and you're so fortunate to be living so close to 'hop on' this cruise!

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    1. That was one of our reasons to buy a spot on that side of the earth, Janice. It is amazing how close countries are when you aren't sitting in the US Pacific Northwest! Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. You drew me in with the first line. Indeed, when I am not on a trip, I am thinking of the next trip.

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    1. I think we are 'birds of a feather' Charles. It just isn't right, not thinking about the next adventure (and thankfully, they are all still focused on travel)! Thanks for stopping by ~

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  17. I love that first shot of the mountain through the plane window

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    1. That is our Mount Rainier in Washington State, Margaret. We were flying back to Seattle from Phoenix on a spectacular spring day and there it was - big as you please! Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. Keep on traveling! I like your view that you are either planning travel or traveling. If I'm not planning the next trip, even if it's a weekend getaway, I'm a bit lost . . .

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    1. It was a strange time, as I mentioned, for us this spring because we were in limbo. Had the Greek diagnosis been correct, it might have meant an end to travel or at least a postponement of significant portions, so we have only intensified our quest to see and do as much as possible while we can. Travel and plan for it, sometimes at the same time! Thanks for the visit ~

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  19. I had a nonrefundable ticket to Tunisia last year when I found out that it had just been bombed by terrorists. I still went and a month after I left, it got bombed again. I was lucky but I know what you mean when you say the exciting planning phase gets affected. But you have a home in Greece ao I am sure you will continue to go to that other world. This year we are skipping Europe and next year we go to Australia where a daughter lives. Perhaps we can go back there in 2018! But your cruise sounds like it would be fabulous! I haven't heard of an Arabian cruise! Enjoy. Hope you are still in Seattle area on the first week of September!

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    1. Yes, Carol we will be returning to Greece, we may just alter our routings for awhile to keep in mind the world's condition. If it is going to happen 'it' will happen, wherever and when ever I guess!

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  20. We visited Turkey and Israel last March. Even then, some people questioned our sanity. Now, I'd probably lie to my 91 year old mother if I were returning in the near future. We will be visiting London in early September. I have to admit that I'm sure I'll be somewhat hyper alert while transiting major airports (i.e. Heathrow) and hanging out in train stations. (You know, "If you see something, say something.") The London visit is for Dr. Excitement's work (European Respiratory Society conference), but I was tasked with planning somewhere for us to go afterwards. We were just in Scotland and northern England this spring, so the choices were a visit to northern France (friends) and Amsterdam (I've never been there!) or Iceland. I chose Iceland. Queasiness about travel safety in France and northern Europe in general probably tipped the scale in favor of Iceland --that and an airfare with an option to stop there for 7 nights as part of the same ticket.

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    1. Ever since reports of the bombing at the Istanbul airport said the one's who blew themselves up arrived wearing quilted ski jackets and caps in hotter than hot weather, I have found myself giving second glances to anyone (of any race, gender or skin color) who seems to be 'overdressed' and with backpacks when I see them in crowded places. So I'll probably keep myself in check and never report something I saw for fear it was my imagination running wild! I just had friends tour Iceland and they said it was fantastic! Let me guess, you are flying Iceland Air with their good layover packages? Thanks for the comment~

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  21. The world has become a bit scarier, that's for sure. We can't live in fear though, can we? We just travel and go through our days a little more aware and with appreciation and gratitude. Your photos are wonderful. Keep traveling!

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  22. Happy to hear that you're still traveling - and promoting it during these difficult times. I'm with you.... we can't just sit home and worry about it!

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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