Learning to Travel at 53

In June, I turned 53. It wasn’t a big deal, and during my years, I had traveled a little bit. Mostly for pleasure, only a few times for business. However, in June, I took a new job and got a crash course in learning how to travel properly for business.

Shortly after I started my new job as a National Trainer, I got a call from my boss who said; I need you to catch a plane–today and head to Detroit. I was like, what? But after a few minutes, I was like, Okay, I got this. I learned how to book my flight, hotel, and rental car in 30 minutes. 3 hours later, I was at the airport and heading to Detroit. A city I never thought I would ever see again.

Ironically, I was assisting at a class only twenty minutes from where I graduated high school. I got a chance to drive past it and walk down memory lane when I found my old house.

I think my favorite part of that trip was learning that I could do it. I also loved that our company has a contract with a car rental company, and all I did was walk out and climb right into a car I got to choose. Not one they gave me, but one in the Aisle for me to choose from. Now, that was kind of fun. It remains my favorite part of traveling. I like to see what kind of car I get each time.

What I also learned recently was that O’Hare is a madhouse, and they really need to fix their signage. They have signs pointing outside that say rental cars, but outside is NOT where you get rental cars. You have to take a train to pick them up. A train! Who knew? Now that was fun.

I also learned how to deal with six delays of a flight and then have it canceled on me at 9:30 at night. Ugh! The airline rebooked me and put me up in a hotel overnight, and that alone was a lesson in how to deal with stress and exhaustion at the same time. Not to mention how messed up it is to get a hotel shuttle at O’Hare at 10 o’clock at night. I also learned that getting a taxi at 3:30 in the morning is not easy, but I managed to catch my plane.

Funny story… My new flight was set to board at 6:00. I was there, and the plane started boarding. Halfway through, they stopped the process, said there was a mechanical issue, and that they would reboard soon. I figured it was a good time to use the restroom. I hustled over, did my business, and then came right back. Except, when I returned less than five minutes later, my gate was EMPTY.

I stared at the empty seats, utterly confused. Had I fallen asleep in the bathroom? Had they resumed boarding? The sign on the gate had a new city destination. Had I entered the twilight zone? I had only walked across the hall. Less than 100 feet! Where did everyone go??? I knew they were at THIS gate. THIS GATE! So, where did they all go? I pulled out my phone just as a notification came down that my gate had been moved by one location. As I started that way, I was in a daze and saw people I recognized. Whew. No twilight zone. Thank God!

Instead of a direct flight from Chicago to Philadelphia, I traveled to Houston Texas, sat there for three hours, and then flew to my destination. I ended up getting less than 3 hours of sleep in about 36 hours before I arrived safely home and collapsed in my husband’s arms. It took me two days to catch up on sleep, but I love my new job. I finally have a purpose again, one that makes a difference in other people’s lives.

One of my other trips took me to Grayslake ILL, near where my son was born. Another trip took me to Naperville, where I also lived as a child. I found my old school and my house there too. I’ll be in Toledo, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Clarksville, MD, and Vermont this month. I’m not sure where my travels will take me next month yet, but we shall see what travel lessons I have to learn then.

I am learning more about the travel process with each trip, and I can promise some of these stories will flow into my writing. Especially the funny parts, or the parts that were so stressful that I had to find them funny afterward.

Safe Travels everyone!

My Trip to Santa Fe by @AngelaStevens13 #Travel

My Trip To Santa Fe

I just got back from a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s the first trip we have taken in two years because of… well, you know. When they opened up travel again, both me and hubby had had our Covid vaccines, so we took the chance and flew. I must admit, I hadn’t really thought about visiting Santa Fe as it wasn’t a place I knew much about, but as it worked out we did want to visit NM.

Sante Fe DragonVisiting all the states is on our Bucket list

You see, me and my other half have been working on collecting states since we came to live in America. Before July, I was down to my last five: New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Three years have passed since we last added to our total, so when we decided to actually try for a vacation, I immediately got to planning to tick off more states on our bucket list. I am a great planner, but also a last minute one. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the year to be last minute, and my first choice for a trip to visit Portland and Oregon-with a trip around Olympic park-also appeared to be the whole of Americas first choice, too. Of course, I was planning our trip two weeks before we wanted to fly, and the rest of America had reserved their spots before me, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that there was literally nowhere to stay.

So, in the end, I was left scrambling. We had one week and it was carved in stone, as it was the same week my daughter and her family were heading off to the beach. So it was the only week I had no babysitting obligations. I really wanted to hit one of my missing states and with Oregon and Washington out of the running, I only had 3 left to choose. Hawaii was not even in the running–too far, too little time available. Alaska was also not a winner, as I have heard the best way to do that is a cruise and the last thing I wanted was to be on a cruise with Covid still lurking. So, New Mexico it was, and well, Santa Fe was the only place I had heard of that I could pronounce.

Santa Fe, A jewel in America’s crown

Canyon Rd Sante Fe


Well, I have to say, if you want to take a trip anywhere in North America, you should definitely consider Santa Fe. IT IS AN AMAZING PLACE! I did worry it would be ridiculously hot in July, but it was much nicer weather there than here in North Carolina. It was 85 degrees dropping to 55 at night. And the air was so fresh (no humidity!) and clean. I also worried that the scenery would be a bit bland. I knew it was a desert, so I was kind of thinking sand and maybe a cactus, but it was far from it. This is because Santa Fe is a high desert, surrounded by mountains. The area has a never-ending, inky black sky with a gazillion stars.

Santa Fe Plaza

The town center is so picturesque, and full of flowers that reminded me of England; Snapdragons, hollyhocks, lavender, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, lupins, and petunias everywhere. The buildings are all adobe, their walls a soothing terracotta and their paintwork a beautiful faded turquoise blue and they make you feel like you are in another world.

The city is a wonderful mix of Indigenous people, Mexicans, Spanish, and Americans and they seem to have a achieved a harmony that most of America is far from reaching.  As such, the place is friendly, rich in culture and a haven for artists. The eclectic mix of art, food, and culture join forces to make Santa Fe vibrant and so interesting.

Do yourself a favor, book a food tour

Burrito Sante Fe

One of our favorite things about traveling is the food we get to try. Santa Fe does not disappoint. I can honestly say we have had some of the best food I have ever tasted, there–and I have travelled all over the world, and have been lucky enough to eat in some amazing places. So, of course, we were excited when we found they offered guided food tours. It was so much fun. We ate a course in 3 different restaurants while being given a history lesson, and meeting some fantastic people to share it with. I would highly recommend doing one of these in any city you visit. It is always one of the first things on our list when exploring new places.

Santa Fe had only just opened up a few days before we travelled. I feel so happy that we were able to see it at a time when everyone was emerging from the Covid crisis. People were so excited to be open again, and the Santa Fe locals welcomed everyone with such joy and enthusiasm.

I’ll be back!

Maybe it was because I was well and truly ready for a break. But I found our 5 days in Santa Fe was one of the best we have made in America. I loved it so much that I will definitely be back. Perhaps to experience their winter season as they apparently have fantastic skiing there. So, if you are thinking of taking a trip, grab some sunscreen and head to Santa Fe. If you’re a foodie, history buff, love experiencing cultural diversity, or are into art, Santa Fe has everything you could need. And you will be welcomed by some of the friendliest and nicest people in America.

If you are planning a trip anytime soon, you will probably be needing some book recommendations, too. You can’t go wrong by paying a visit to our specials page. Our talented authors have some special offers, or take a look at our boxed sets. You cannot get more bang for your buck than that! Authors Billboard have a huge selection from sweet, to funny, to suspenseful romances.

Angela Stevens also has a great selection of contemporary sport romances, romantic suspense novel. Click here to learn more. She also writes fantasy books under her pen name of Sadie Collins.

Reusable Shopping Bags Around the World by Donna Fasano @DonnaFaz

Years ago, I traveled to the south of France with my husband. We visited Antibes, Nice, Menton, La Grande-Motte, Montpellier, and other lovely little towns along the Mediterranean Sea. I have visited several towns and cities in Italy, and I’ve also visited the UK and Brussels, Belgium. One of the things that struck me on these travels was that everyone brought their own reusable shopping bags when they went to buy groceries. I wondered why we didn’t do that in the US. So when I returned home from that very first trip, I started taking reusable shopping bags with me to the grocery store. Back then, cashiers didn’t like it when customers brought their own bags to the store because it slowed them down. I can’t tell you how many annoyed looks I received back then. But I’m happy to say, this attitude is changing!

Reusable Shopping Bags

I visited Albuquerque, New Mexico last month. (I rode an aerial tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains. What a stunningly beautiful place! Please see the picture above.) I learned that the stores in Albuquerque charge 10¢ for each bag that is provided by the grocery story. I was very pleased that businesses in the south west are strongly encouraging customers to bring in their own reusable shopping bags. I am hoping businesses all over the country will soon do the same.

Did you know that there are some reusable shopping bags that are made of recycled soda bottles? I love these bags I found on Amazon. You can even find light-weight reusable produce bags. How do you feel about recycling, renewing, reusing? Would you consider bringing your own reusable bags when you go shopping?

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Christmas is coming! To celebrate, I’ve put all three of my Christmas books on sale for 99¢ each. These heartwarming stories are sure to fill you with the spirit of Christmas. The Kindle prices are good worldwide and the links below should take you to your area Kindle Store. Happy Holidays!

Her Mr. Miracle

An Almost Perfect Christmas  

Grown-Up Christmas List

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