Friday, July 31, 2009

Size Doesn't Matter - To a Custom Tailor

I wanted a bomber jacket. Not some high school letter jacket, a Navy flight jacket or one shouting the name of my favorite football team. No, the idea that had been brewing in the back of my mind’s eye was for something very different indeed, familiar in style but fresh and unique.

This jacket would not be found at regular retailers, never in a month of Sundays. So after finally settling on a vague impression of what I was after and waiting nearly a year for the opportunity, I was on a plane to Hong Kong to see my tailor, David Budhrani of David Fashions and have it made.

There must be a pretty big reason for going all the way to Hong Kong just to get dressed and the big reason is me! I am a fairly sizable man at nearly 6’4” and north of 250 pounds. Retailers simply do not have much in my size. Tailor made clothes offer the unique freedom of things created for you from fabrics, colors and patterns selected by you. When it comes to my wardrobe I prefer to carry my plastic, not wear it, thanks just the same.

Loose fabric is the key: with enough loose fabric the shirt, vest, blazer, or suit of your dreams is in stock, in style and in your size. After ten years of working together David and I know what colors work on me, the fabrics I prefer and which patterns and styles compliment my body and personality. All I need to do is show up with an idea and one day, after years of shirts and suits, I came in with a real challenge.

I had seen a publicity photo of Luther Vandross in a magazine wearing a black quilled ostrich blazer. I did not have Luther’s money and also did not want to merely copy his style so the bomber jacket was born. We started drafting at 9:30 in the morning and while his assistants served the tourist trade I was his one and only customer that day.

The one thing we both knew from the beginning was that it had to be black “quilled” ostrich. Questions flew back and forth and ideas rained from every direction, the collar alone taking nearly two hours to finalize. I received a tour of his leather supplier’s workshop to select the exact skin I wanted, in the process learning how to scan for imperfections, balance, heft and evenness in the tanning. We found one piece that fit the bill and, even more happily, would serve to make the entire body of the jacket. The sleeves, both for look and cost considerations, would be bull hide.

After a late lunch David and I hammered out how to make this dual skin jacket work, argued about zippers (exposed zippers is for biker jackets, recessed for evening or casual wear) and wrapped up the finishing touches. Epaulets, wrist bands, tufted waist, a collar belt, coat loop, piping and finally a blue silk print of library book shelving for the lining. After all was said and done there was nothing to show for our collaboration except tailor’s notes and pencil sketches. He and I both agreed, however, that from the drawings alone, this bomber jacket would work better as a two-skin instead of full ostrich.

All ostrich would suggest one season, one style, while this dual approach gave it “legs,” a look that could stretch over many years. I was satisfied with the work we had put in – I could think of nothing overlooked. We settled on a price for this and some other clothes it took less than an hour to outline, an eggplant blazer, some slacks and a handful of dress casual shirts and ended the day…at 9 o’clock that evening.

I smiled the smile of a very happy man. The finished result came from the abyss of my own clouded musings intended only to satisfy my personal taste; that it turns heads with each outing is extra.

Custom tailors are all around the world and can represent a solid investment but almost right up there with jewelry, buyer beware: you very much get what you pay for. All payments are in advance of any work, refunds are rare and all garments are “as is” the minute they leave the store so do your best not to leave out even the smallest detail of your dream.

David, my man in Hong Kong, knows his stuff, and I have a new idea for a leather peacoat, perhaps this time in a nice caramel brown!

Gotta go!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After an Hour, A Plane is a Plane

I couldn’t wait to fly on my first 777, even scheduling a connection just for the privilege of riding on this machine across the Atlantic to Paris instead of a nonstop from California on the smaller but capable 767. Been there, flown that.

The only new thing about the flight was the angriest buzz-saw of an engine ever heard outside my window, chewing air with a vengeance and abandon. An hour after take-off, though, the air goblin settled in to a tiger’s purr for the crossing, like any other plane I’d ever flown.

That's me, standing 6'3" in the mouth of the buzz-saw.

A lot of hype goes in to the age, model and condition of an airplane when it comes to fuel conservation, eco-friendliness, customer appeal and so on. Bunk.

Save the environment? Mainly in simply trying to save fuel, y'all. These issues focus on saving the airlines a dollar over any other real consideration. Whether or not they know from one plane to the next, the average jet-age customer does not care what it is so long as it does one simple thing: get there.

A former airline CEO once said “They’ll fly whatever plane I put on the damned route” if customers are only willing to pay the cheapest fares in the market. The fear behind that statement is not that without new technology prices will go up. They wish. The truth is that without new technology that provides lower operating costs the same fares they’ve been charging for 30 years will drive them out of business - $99 coast-to-coast or New York to Florida have been around since Eastern Airlines!

The 757 has replaced the 707, DC-8 and Vickers VC-10 as a transatlantic narrow-body while yesterday’s DC-10 and L-1011 are today’s A330, A340 and Boeing 777. Airplanes today fly farther which saves company and customer time and money alike. With all the CDs, movies, video games and wi-fi improvements, though, we remain strapped to a chair and bolted to a machine traveling no faster than its predecessor of 50 years ago. A 707 can get tricked out or tarted up to resemble any modern machine in the air and fares will remain absolutely unaffected.

“Today you’ll be flying on our brand new A380 to Australia, sir! Isn’t that exciting?”
“Is there enough fuel, food and drink on board to make the trip?” Yes.
“Is it gonna cost me more than the old 747 you used to have?” No.
"Will it get there any faster?" No, about the same.
“Great. I’m good to go.”

Advanced avionics are certainly appreciated yet they only build on the margin of safety and do not reinvent the wheel. The long-legged aircraft of today are good for just about anyone wanting nonstops to Singapore or South Africa but the basic truth remains: the passenger places his money and trust in the hands of the operator to provide a safe and adequate service to the destination in question, whatever type of airplane it is.

Gotta go!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Toursts! Behaving Normally

“Blend in,” they say. “Don’t dress, act or look like a tourist.” Travel agents, guide books and even the government are constantly harping on ways for people to get along overseas. In this first of a six-part series on the different ways tourists stick out no matter what, Rule #1 is never expect your daily routine to be the rule of thumb anywhere other than your own home town, even in your own country.

Everybody is a tourist when they leave home but I kind of feel that nobody ever acts like a tourist. Rather, they simply act like they’re at home and then get confused when overseas brochures describe a destination as a “home away from home” or encouraging tourists to “make themselves at home.” That said, the rude foreigner shoving a camera in someone’s face and forcing them to pose is a bit much but what, or rather who, makes a rude tourist?

"Time" magazine reported on a survey conducted by Expedia recently to determine which country could claim the worst behaved citizens abroad. This time around it was the French who were called out for the third year in a row by 4,000 hoteliers around the world for being cheap, arrogant and not willing or able to speak the host language.

The French! Japan, a culture world-famous for manners and saving face, whose people wouldn’t dream of embarrassing themselves as guests or hosts, ranked the best.

Yahoo! picked up the story where it reported that the survey further suggests that perhaps the problem is the French, some 85-90% of them, rarely leave home. Home? That’s just nuts.

Air France flies just about everywhere on the planet and I’m pretty sure not just for foreigners. Further, if only 10-15% of the population flew, how do you justify the size of Air France's global network on the less than 10 million French that do travel?!

The survey’s own findings also show that the average Frenchman gets 37 days of vacation yet budgets his funds to cover all of those days. The average American, on the other hand, barely uses all of his 14 days but throws money around big time when he does. With 37 days and a global airline at their disposal it appears that the French travel more than the survey gives them credit for. How else could they be so memorable?

Why the French get a bad rap seems easy to see. Everybody wants to go to France, the number one tourist destination in the world with over 90 million visitors a year. When the French do go abroad they probably travel most often to places where the language and customs are exactly the same as they are back home. "Home." There's that word again!

French influence touches every corner and climate of the planet: Caribbean colonies, Quebec, from Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco in Africa to Lebanon, over to Vietnam and Laos and across the Pacific to New Caledonia and Tahiti. All over the world tips are automatically included in the bill, there is a high service culture and everyone speaks the language. Even southern Louisianans know how to cuss in Creole, right?

The comeuppance is that even with the convenience of a former empire the French apparently need to get out a little more and leave their comfort zone at home. As do we all.

Gotta go!

Friday, July 24, 2009

To Look, To Feel, To Fly Better

There is some serious WORK in getting ready for a vacation! Ugh! Never mind the planning for travel, hotels, cars and restaurants. The activities and sightseeing are also not the biggest problem on the plate and we won’t even go there as far as what to wear. Likewise forget the hardware assessment including camera(s), camcorder, iPod or whether to bring or not to bring the laptop. I’m talkin’ ‘bout just plain getting in SHAPE to go on vacation!!

A vast majority of us spend our workaday lives in the usual routine, work, sleep, eat and sometimes a little play. Oh, and the commute. Childcare, too, for the parents and maybe church if it’s not football season. After several months or even a full year of this we’re more than ready to get away until we look down at the rolling spread we’ve acquired. This one does not include scenic views, a pool and landscaping, it needs body shaping!

I love food. Clearly, food loves me, too. To say that I have a long way to go is to be politely understated and thank you in advance for your discretion. In point of fact the trip itself is just as long – a two week driving and hiking tour of New Zealand that includes three days to relax in Sydney.

Like anybody goes to Sydney just to “relax.” Anyway, there are many reasons to get in shape for this trip, not the least of which are better overall health and being able to walk up a hill without needing oxygen or an airlift off the top of the thing. No, almost everything about this trip is a marathon, starting with simply getting there.

The flights between California and New Zealand or Australia take from 12-15 hours to complete nonstop. Add in the fact that I first have to get to Los Angeles from Dallas which is another three hours in the air, and the whole shebang is in coach. With me so far?

Three goals: to look better, feel better and fly better. I have no intention of being told I don’t fit in to a seat much less being personally uncomfortable for that long. I can’t help being tall but that is the only reason I want the guy who has to six next to me for up to 20 hours cringing in horror. I am not buying a second seat all the way to Oz, that’s for damn sure!

Gotta go!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not Much In The Way of Legacy Airlines

Over the years a lot of start-ups have claimed to differentiate themselves by re-inventing the wheel of air travel. Among the living, Southwest introduced an entirely new concept in pricing, a model that has seen more permutations than the common cold. Virgin America and Jet Blue likewise have brought cutting edge technology in to the cabin, offering live entertainment and internet access.

What about the dead? What is their legacy, their unique mark in history that says they were here and changed the way people travel?

AirOne was the all First Class experiment for coach pricing out of St. Louis in the early 80s. One winter break from college I flew them home to Washington. The service was good but other than the paint scheme it was clear that the plane, the interior and even the dishes all once belonged to Braniff. I wondered if the crew was ex-Braniff as well. Today, as of this writing, neither Airliners.Net or even Wikipedia carries an article on or picture of their existence.

The Boyd Group International published an article in which they list a host of carriers that tried and failed going back to the mid-70s. Of the list in this article one airline stood out for having introduced something very early that, while heaped with derision at the time, has since become a near-permanent part of air travel in this country.

User fees.

Peoplexpress first came up with the concept on a nationwide scale, charging $3 per checked bag, 50 cents for peanuts or soda and a whopping $2 for the almighty snack pack. Hmph, competitors sniffed. “Everything is included when you fly with us!” they crowed. Hmph, indeed. Today the legacy of Peoplexpress lives on thru these very same fees plus the Newark hub Continental Airlines runs today.

Any new start-up might want to consider its legacy in this business, however long or short-lived that may be. It is no guarantee of success or failure but I challenge each new entrant to bring something to the table that truly revolutionizes air travel (Pan Am and the 747), foretells the future (Peoplexpress) or at least is memorable enough to have been worthwhile (the Flying Colors of Braniff). I never flew with them but I did love the look of New York Air!

Gotta go!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Optimist Bucket List - Item 1

Of the 18 items on “The Bucket List” from the film, I can say I have accomplished over half of them.

The most beautiful girl is my niece. Stonehenge, the Louvre, the Great Wall, Hong Kong, the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal, all covered. See something truly majestic? I haven’t seen or climbed Mt. Everest but I have flown over Aconcagua. I’ve laughed until my stomach hurts, tears in my eyes from crying and not moving from sheer exuberant exhaustion. How? A friend and I once re-wrote the script for “Return of the Jedi” in to an x-rated love triangle between the Emperor, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

The rest made me consider that many items on these kinds of lists for the most part can be accomplished with little assistance from others as long as you have the money.

The Travel List: All too easy to come up with 10, 100 or 1,001 places to visit.
The Pageant List: World peace, hunger, disease, poverty and illiteracy problems? Tall order.
The Sports List: Going to a Superbowl, the Opening Ceremonies, the Cubs winning a World Series or England taking the World Cup? Each folds in to the Travel List or doesn’t help Miss Universe in her noble work.

Most of us do want to change the world for the better but hopefully we also seek self improvement beyond material gain. What I looked for in writing my list was a way to satisfy at least three of the following attributes:

a) Self improvement
b) Cooperation and assistance from others
c) Overcomes social or political objections, human conflicts or personal feelings
d) Fulfills a lifelong personal dream
e) Benefits someone other than myself, either familiar or stranger

I will share the other nine items on my list over regular postings here. For now the first of ten items (not in any order) meets B, C and D.

Everybody wonders what it would be like to be invited to dine or stay at the White House, right? Although I include myself in that I would instead like to fly on Air Force One as part of a presidential entourage to a foreign country.

If a private citizen other than lobbyists, the media or chief executives have ever flown with a sitting president I am not aware of it. The idea is to simply have the commander in chief include an average civilian who can speak for him or herself and is truly one voice of the people as part of a goodwill delegation. You would think that a ten-hour flight to Europe would offer at least 15 minutes with the President, right?

Gotta go!

Friday, July 17, 2009

An Illinois Irony - From Emergence to Emergency

Who'd a thunk it? There is a way outside possibility that three of the largest airlines in the country and all of whom dominate the Chicago market could be based in Texas!

Continental?! How’s that, you say? Some huge “if/thens” need to happen first but consider:
American Airlines is the 2nd carrier at O’Hare and is based in Ft. Worth.
Southwest Airlines rules the south side at Midway and is based in Dallas.

That leaves United, the hometown carrier. The financial press has picked up the beginnings of yet another death watch, this time by mid-2010 for the erstwhile largest carrier in the free world. Naysayers spout off a laundry list of ills lining the proverbial coffin:
a) Premium cabin upgrades to the 777 fleet have been delayed.
b) A noticeable lack of orders for new aircraft.
c) The strategy of financing their exit from bankruptcy protection with debt.
d) Unencumbered assets down to $1.1 Billion, once a king’s ransom, today a church offering.
e) The $140/barrel spike in 2008 that caught United flat-footed.
f) The broken guitar hit on YouTube.

Yeesh! How to get out of this mess? The list is long of dead airlines who sold the family silver for just one more day in the air. Matter of fact, United bought the Pacific Division from one of them!

One of United’s plans was to set itself up for possible sale or merger. Delta kicked the tires but went for Northwest instead while USAirways was sent back to the desert to finish digesting America West. American or Southwest were never options given the overlap with one and the domestic-only business model of the other. Enter Continental:

1) Marketing: Already in Mileage Plus and a soon to be member of Star Alliance
2) Fleet Compatibility: Continental is all Boeing airline with newer models
3) Domestic Structure: Hubs at EWR, CLE (cut), ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, NRT and Guam
4) International Balance: UA across the Pacific, CO to Europe and Latin America
5) Continental has a long history in Denver and Los Angeles (former HQ).
6) Continental is based in Houston, Texas, completing The Illinois Trinity!

Would they do it? A lot of people seem to be pointing to it as a logical/last gasp measure. A ton of virtually easy money would otherwise be left on the O’Hare table for American if United goes under. While I do not predict or hope for the demise of United Airlines the perception is that United has been simply unable to get out of its own way.

If Continental flies to the rescue it should not be a consideration to leave even one of United’s management in place given their collective history as far back as the Allegis experiment. The deeply ingrained cultural residue each would bring to the table should put anybody off of that idea. The only other question if such a deal were to go through would be whose name would survive.

Gotta Go!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Assembly at Wembley

“Dude,” I pleaded, “I can get tickets to any show on the tour.”

In my eyes it was a fair trade. Free concert tickets for a place to stay. The new album was out and a monster tour all over the world was in full swing but one that would not touch the American mainland. It had been at least five years since the last tour but there was no sense that everything was winding down, heading towards retirement or that this would be the last show. I only sensed that for a tour that size NOT to touch the United States it seemed unconscionable to miss.

Having playfully twisted my buddy’s arm I flew to London from my home in California for a once in a lifetime event at Wembley Stadium. On the famous Metropolitan Line heading up to the historic venue we rattled off which songs were likely to be performed and which ones were our personal favorites, hoping the two lists would overlap more often than not. Would the oldies medley be different this time? Would it matter?

London fans have always set the bar for adoring and supporting their music icons. Still, very few artists dared to announce not just one but multiple dates at the original Wembley Stadium instead of the arena nearby. Adding to that would be the festival atmosphere of open seating on the field itself instead of the orderly reserved seats for premium prices at American venues. I also knew the energy of the crowd would be just as electrifying as the show we had all gathered to see.

July 15, 1997. Some 73,000 descended on venerable Wembley on a clear, late afternoon to fellowship with and bask in the presence of one man. And this was a Wednesday. In the United States we only see packed stadiums like that on Sunday afternoons in the Fall. Our spot on the field was half-way back in the midst of a human ocean yet we still had a good view of the stage. What would the opening number be? Would it matter?

Not a bit. Over the next two and a half hours the fans showed out as much as the man putting on the show. The opening was bombastic, the ballads beatific, the dance numbers dazzling and the signature moves as silky and sizzling as ever, this in a production already ten months on the road with three more months to go.

His greatest hits were then and are now permanently behind him. His detractors will fade in to the shade they struggled to cast upon him. Will it matter? Not to the exhausted but satisfied fans then, now and always. Decades from now "Wanna Be Startin' Something" will kick some party in to high gear just like it did that yesterday's Wednesday at Wembley. That is HIStory.

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.

Gotta go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

From Toddler to World Traveler

In 1965 my military family “rotated” to Germany. My mother had an equal fear of water and flying at the time but boats were bigger and therefore safer so she chose to sail across with her 4-year old daughter and 18-month old me on her hip. Allegedly I preferred being carried than walking on my own. On the return two years later and now three small children Mom learned that it would only take eight hours instead of eight days with no chance of anyone falling overboard. Sold!

Our next adventure had us visiting Dad in Hawaii while he was on shore leave from Vietnam. TWA upgraded us so Mom could keep us together for the nonstop flight from Friendship International to Los Angeles. During our layover Mom put my older sister in charge while she went to the restroom. I knew we were flying Pan Am to Honolulu but had no clue which specific aircraft outside was ours. Just when I noticed Mom was gone I sighted a sleek blue and white 707 climbing in to the night sky. My 5-year old mind put two and two together and…

“Boo-WAAAAAAH!” My older sister couldn’t do anything with me but soon Mom reappeared to settle me down. “I, I, I saw dat Pan Am ai’pwane and thought you L-, L-, LEFT us!” Sob, whimper, bzzzrt. Anxious child.

The fun was just beginning. Once comfortably settled on our flight to Hawaii I slept until my ears popped on descent. Disoriented I looked out the window, saw the lights of Hawaii below me and gave a bone-chilling encore. Skittish child.

“We gon’ TWAAASH!” You know that voice: the high-pitched, ragged gurgle? Yea.

“Stop that noise!” admonished my mother from across the aisle.

“The wing’s falling off!” Lots of heads snapped to the windows. Silhouetted against the lights of Waikiki there was indeed a sharply angled crease in the trailing edge of the wing. Both sisters by now surely wished they were several rows away from me while some knowledgeable soul undoubtedly whispered what to say to Mom so she could reassure me once more.

“It’s not falling apart, those are the flaps unfolding to slow the airplane.”

Sniffle, snort. “Ok.” Mom knew all. I’m five: Like I know from flying? Sensitive child.

Hawaii was great. Dad rented a blue convertible, Motown ruled the radio, the Arizona Memorial and us three kids, none older than seven, enjoyed a rousing game of hopscotch at Punchbowl. My mom remains mortified to this day thinking of three Black kids in 1968 bunny-hopping across White folks’ gravestones, decorated servicemen all. Adventurous child!

Out of all this excitement a bug and a philosophy was born. I wanted to fly and I wanted to have unique and compelling adventures unlike anything I could find at home. Today’s issues around service, delays and security are not enough to keep me home when there’s so much to see, do and learn about ourselves and each other. Wedding? Reunion? The Taj Mahal? Let the journey begin!

Gotta go!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Overcoming The Fear of Going

Mom did not want to go to Hong Kong with me. I was going on assignment and had the opportunity to show her a part of the world that previously wasn’t even on the radar.
“That’s alright,” she said, her way of saying no. The battle was joined.

“I can’t speak the language.” Neither can I.

“I can’t read the language.” In most of Europe and Latin America one can simply pick the words out of a translation dictionary. Not so much in China. Still, I wasn’t giving in.

All of our childhood Mom dragged us around Europe because “I want you to see it” she would say, keen to take advantage of living overseas as a military dependent and not losing the opportunities most people only ever dreamed of. We locked horns again as I used her own argument against her but she was equally dug in.

“I don’t like the food.” This is Hong Kong, I say, with people and food from all over, including a fantastic German Biergarten I’d been to on previous visits. Tactical mistake: Mom knew all about good, wholesome German food.

“Why don’t you take me back to Germany with you the next time you go?” I pretended to capitulate, said good-bye and hung up the phone then picked it back up and dialed a second number. This would be all too easy.

“When do we leave? What? She’ll go.” An hour later Mom calls me back.

“I hate you.” We chuckled. I knew what or rather who would get her to go and to also be a traveling companion to her while I was at work.

The clinical details of the instinctive human fear of the unknown are better served elsewhere. The simple truth is that traveling to an strange place even in your own country can be very intimidating. Mom, as do we all, feels safe in her world; China was simply more foreign and unfamiliar than anything she'd experienced to that point. I knew, however, that “Take Charge Auntie” would look after them both. One day, trying to be nice, I got more than I bargained for.

“Hey, Mom, Auntie. What’d y’all do today?”

“Nunya!” they both said, breaking in to fits of giggles. They ended up having a ball, so much so that they almost missed the flight home later that week from shopping! Why?

“W-, we went back to that jewelry store we liked but couldn’t decide if we really wanted those two pieces and we went back thinking we’d have time but the manager was late opening the shop and we really did want these last two things and... well, at least we had a good time, right?” Sssssssmooch!

On the carpet before me were two of the women who raised me, heads down and pouting, ankles turning like teenage girls trying to be cute and then wanting to kiss me to make it all better. Mm-mm-mm.

Whaddya gonna do? We went back, of course!

Gotta go!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why Are You Here?

Yoda asked that question of Luke Skywalker on Degoba, Khan grilled Chekhov with it on Seti Alpha V and a local asked me the same thing one fine day on my first visit to her country. Being a minority and an American I could have taken instant offense but instead I knew what she meant and smiled:

“I’ve never been to New Zealand before and wanted to see what it’s like.”

Hello and welcome to The Traveling Optimist! The idea is to explore every facet of the travel experience using my experience as a 20-year industry insider and now as a customer. While there will be views on traveling, shopping, touring and dining in unique places around the world the main focus is meeting people, interacting with their culture on their turf and sharing what I do and don't know about mine.

One of the things I hear quite often from locals is how I’ve been to places and seen things they’ve hardly ever bothered with. Nearly every visitor to England goes to Stonehenge but I was quite alone the day I went to Southampton to view the pier from which the Titanic sailed and other places of interest around the town. Other than why I’m there, however, I am more often asked what it’s like to be an American which really allows for a much longer conversation and deeper sense of understanding.

Yes, yes, nosy and suspicious people with rude manners, a fear of outsiders or nothing better to do pose this challenge all the time but so do people from all walks and in all corners who are simply not expecting visitors. Behind the audacity is perhaps a more innocent question of validation. New Zealand is not alone in seeing larger neighboring countries receive greater numbers of visitors.

“Yes, I came here on purpose.”“Good on ya, mate!”

Who needs another complaint blog, although a few posts like that on here are inevitable. Join me every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8AM Central Standard Time for new posts in an ongoing journey of personal enrichment and discovery on this floating boulder we call Earth.

Thank you, stay tuned, and look for my first post on Friday, July 10th, 2009.

Gotta Go!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Coming Soon!


Thank you for visiting and watch this space for new articles on travel, the travel experience and other related topics beginning Thursday, July 9, 2009.

Please take the simple 3-question survey to the left and thank you in advance for your curiosity and support!

The Traveling Optimist

Gotta go!