My Kind of Fun

With at least another month to go of sheltering at home, we here at Casa Aloha are having to come up with new ways to pass the time. We’re not big TV watchers, but we’re all reading a lot (I’ve got two books going at once), and we try and get out as much as possible for a walk or run. Otherwise, there just isn’t a whole lot for us to do while we’re stuck in our small apartment. Brett got a sketchbook and pencils and is brushing up on his drawing skills. YaYu spends a lot of time talking online with her friends, boyfriend, and sisters and otherwise has her nose buried in a book. 

I know how to knit but have no desire or need to do that here. I also know how to embroider but am not particularly interested in taking that up again; the same is true for hand-quilting, although I’ve been thinking I may give it a go again in the future and learn Hawaiian-style applique quilting. So, what’s a girl with a lot of time on her hands to do?

I can make travel plans. That’s my kind of fun.

Seriously, even though the absolute earliest we may be able to travel again would be in 2022 (and that’s being optimistic) there’s nothing stopping me from putting together some trips, planning itineraries, and finding out how much such a trip might potentially cost . . . even if we never end up going. I love doing the research and estimating what airfare might be, what hotels or Airbnbs might cost, as well as rental cars, admissions, and other things we might need or want to do. It’s fun for me to discover whether a travel idea is doable, or whether I need to go back to the drawing board and rethink the whole thing. It’s also nice to have plans that can be tweaked or adjusted as needed if and when new information becomes available.

I have come up with four different itineraries, all road trips, and all journeys Brett and I have talked in the past about doing. Two are domestic, and two are international. Because we hope to eventually be able to take two longer trips each year, including a visit to Japan, I’m allowing for up to 40 days for each of the adventures below:

  • A west coast national parks trip through California, Oregon, Washington, and Western Canada
  • A southwest and mountain states national parks trip through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah
  • A trip around the southern island of New Zealand
  • A trip around Ireland, including Northern Ireland

Planning for these will keep me busy for the next several weeks. Whether they ever come about, I know I am going to have a good time now learning new things, choosing a driving route and deciding on stops, and comparing lodging and other costs. Brett will be asked along the way for his advice and his preferences and will be included in the virtual planning as much as he wants.

24 thoughts on “My Kind of Fun

  1. I love planning and researching future trips too. Even if we don’t end up going, I usually gather a sheer amount of valuable information along the way and learn a lot about the costs, transport, accommodation etc. It’s one of the ways to keep me sane during the pandemic crisis, it’s been nearly seven weeks here in Ireland 🙈 thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

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    1. I chose this exercise to keep me sane as well. Everything I’ve read says that travel will start up again, but it will be very different from what it was before (which is a good thing, I guess.)

      I am very excited by the idea of driving around Ireland – if you have any suggestions, pleas send them on!

      Ireland has done a very good job of containing the coronavirus. It’s been a pain for so many there, but at least you haven’t had to deal with the runaway numbers of deaths that other European countries and the U.S. have faced/are facing.

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  2. My sort of fun. Trip planning. I want to do a road trip through Ireland and around NZ South Island, though the windy, narrow roads put me off driving in NZ. Mr S wants to do two road trips in the US, north of San Fran and around the southern states. We are almost certain to postpone our year off, so I’ve stopped planning and dreaming for a bit. But you’ve given me impetus. May as well dream for when we can go.

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    1. We had such a good time driving around the northern island of NZ, so even with all the winding roads (which there were plenty of in the north) I am excited about getting around the south island. My brother said it’s like a “greatest hits tour” of the Western U.S. in many ways. New Zealand is also easier to reach from Hawaii so it’s got that going for it as well.

      Northern California is lovely: the coast, the redwoods, the mountains, etc. And of course San Francisco can’t be beat. Long ago we thought about retiring there, but the prices now make Hawaii look like skid row. It’s still a fun place to visit though.

      The good thing about planning now is that we will have plenty of time to tweak and/or change things whenever we are able to travel. Living here, we are going to have to fly wheverer we want to go, but otherwise I think car trips will be the way to go for a while.

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  3. Echoing the “my kind of fun!” I love reading travel books and planning. I love the Pinterest boards I’ve created for inspiration so the some day trips. I hope you’ll share what the dream itineraries end up being.

    I’m planning a trip to southern Italy – south of Naples – but the earliest we could take it would be spring of 2022.

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    1. I too love travel books, or books about “place.” I created a Pinterest board I called “Someday” and we got to visit so many of those places on our Big Adventure.

      We hope to be able to visit Naples some day for an extended visit – from there we can get to the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and other places. Then on for another longer stay in Sicily . . . my fingers are crossed on both hands!

      The earliest we think we will be able to travel in Fall 2022. We will make a quick trip back east for YaYu’s graduation in the spring, but we’re thinking just a week for that and then home.

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  4. Right there with you. I love to plan.
    I’m dipping in. My plans for Germany are still on. Not sure they will be open, but the plane is booked ( with points). The car and hotel are also booked.All can be easily cancelled. If I cannot do much, it will be worth the adventure of crazy travel.Hubby wants to sit it out and let me test the system alone.
    We will be in Idaho, starting our house, in September. Hoping to catch a few nights in Yellowstone.
    My joy- planning.

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    1. You have a lot to look forward to – I envy you! But, it will be our turn again someday – we refuse to think that we will never be able to travel again.

      Yellowstone is on our southwest – mountain states tour – that’s as far north as we can go. We are planning to stay in hotels and NP lodges on that trip – same cost as renting an RV (which Brett does not want to do).

      Planning is my joy too. I’ve never had so much fun as I did planning our Big Adventure, and then getting to watch it unfold.

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      1. Who knows? We may be up that way, especially if we do the west coast driving trip as we’d like to scoot over to Montana and see Glacier NP and Idaho would be on the way.

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    1. We did look at going up to Alaska, but Brett and I both agreed we would prefer to do it as a separate trip. We have long talked about taking the ferry through the Inland Passage from Bremerton, WA all the way up to Haines, or even Skagway, but will have to see what happens with the virus – getting on any kind of boat could be a risky proposition these days.

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  5. It’s funny you mentioned trip planning because I’ve been doing the same thing. I made up a list of the top 5 places I’d like to visit: a top 5 within the US and a top 5 international. I have no idea if I’ll ever go to any of these places, but it’s fun to plan and it makes me feel hopeful that we will be able to travel again, whenever that may be. I’m thinking that my first trips will be within the US and may be car trips, depending on what’s going on with air travel by then. I’ve been reading various articles that try to predict what flying will be like and some say planes will have plexiglass barriers between passengers and there will be no more packing passengers in like sardines, so since there will be less passengers on each flight, the prices will be much higher. So, we will see…

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    1. I got a lovely small spiral notebook with five sections, so now I think I need to come up with one more trip!

      I think car trips are going to be big for a while, but eventually people will get back on planes. The CEO of Southwest said he thinks it will take at least five years for the airline industry to recover, so it will be slow going for a while (and probably expensive, too). I am so glad though that Southwest got their foot in here in Hawaii before all this happened – Hawaiian was getting out of hand with their prices because they had no competition.

      I agree that planes will probably not be packing people in again – those days are over. But, prices will be higher, and there will be fewer flights to choose from, so that will be the trade-off. I hope gas prices stay low, and that airlines are locking in future prices now with gasoline/jet fuel currently so low. That has been one of Southwest’s secrets – they have consistenly locked in low prices which they pass along to their customers. (Hawaiian, on the other hand, was notorious for locking in high prices, which they also passed on).

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  6. Well the vote is in—so far you have a consensus on travel planning from the readers who already posted and now—yes! I love, love travel planning!! Your post has let me know I can do the legwork even if we never go. I think with the uncertainty I felt it was pointless but now not so bad an idea. Interestingly I had already floated the idea of a road trip to see friends and CA and WA relatives.

    We made an 8 week auto trip in summer 2016 to do just that. Loved the relatives and friends. And really found Glacier National Park, The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone unforgettable. And our cruise from Seattle to Alaska was wonderful. But with so much more to see we will plan to visit other areas and the relatives.One thing we learned then, but I had minimized was 7 weeks was just about right whereas 8 weeks was too long. And the same was true of our 2019 late summer early fall trip to the UK and Ireland when coupled with two transatlantic crossings. It was 8 weeks total but by the end of week 7 home called.

    Apparently travelers gotta travel…(while we can!)

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    1. It’s been fun to read how many others enjoy planning as well. It really is one of my favorite things to do, and I will have fun even if we aren’t eventually able to take one or all of these trips.

      Eight weeks sounds about right to me, but Brett said it was a little long for him (since he does almost all the driving). We will obviously have to rent a car as well. We did look into renting an RV, but the cost is prohibitive, both the rental price and the gas – it’s actually more than staying in a hotel and driving a more fuel efficient car.

      Brett was saying we could visit relatives and friends, etc. on a road trip but I told him that I’d rather we tell them we will be somewhere close by and they can come and see us if they wish, for a day or longer, and he thought that was a good solution. I got dragged along on so many parental relative/friends visits when I was a kid (including people I never heard of) that I refuse to do them now!

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  7. The trip to the National Parks sounds like the most likely one, even with the virus. The only issue would be the flights over and back. I looked at BBC news and there was an Aer Lingus flight the other day that was 95% full. No social distancing possible. I hear the major American Airlines are opening with mandatory mask wearing and leaving middle seats empty.
    The Tampa mayor came up with a plan after the Governor reopened restaurants. They closed off streets to allow for outside dining, all tables were placed 6 feet apart ,staff wore masks and social distancing was practiced in Ybor city which seemed to work there. Unfortunately on the other side of town a ton of people showed up and refused to practice social distancing so the business owner got nervous and shut the place down again. It only takes a few to ruin it for everyone.
    I think travel will probably resume with people just taking their chances. The cruise lines are opening on August 1st and they interviewed people here in Florida. It was about 50/50 as to those who would love to take a cruise and the ones who aren’t comfortable with the idea. I believe cases of covid-19 will skyrocket and that will simply be the new norm. In other words, the price of doing business.
    I still love your idea of planning trips and I’m hoping for a vaccine miracle that will be available sooner rather than later.

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    1. The two National Park trips are our first choice, especially since they’re in the U.S. and it will be easier to try out a driving trip and see how we do.

      I still think it’s way too early to start opening things up, and I am someone desperate for a haircut! I don’t know if you’ve heard of or read anything by Laurie Garrett, but she is an expert on pandemics, and she thinks the earliest we will be over this one will be in another 36 months, but that it could take longers. Brett and I are older now, and less willing to take chances, so we will have to see how it goes. There is no way we will ever get on a cruise ship, and even flying sort of scares me now, but with proper precautions I think it may be doable in another couple of years.

      Anyway, in the meantime I’m still going to have fun planning. And hoping as well that a vaccine is available sooner rather than later.

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  8. I want to go to Mexico since my children have a great grandmother from there. I will go, but after a vaccine is developed. As for now, I would be happy if I felt safe enough to catch a domestic flight to see my granddaughter. That will also be after a vaccine. Otherwise, I will just drive a couple of hours to our local beaches when they are less crowded in the fall, or go to local parks that are not visited that much.

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    1. We are happy to be here now, and are frankly enjoying it without all the usual visitors – nothing is crowded. I wish we could go sit on the beach, but that will happen eventually. Brett and I are planning to visit some of the other islands, but right now I don’t think I’d even get on a plane for one of those short flights.

      Mexico is still on our list. It’s kind of weird for us to think that is where we would be right now if not for this virus. Someday though . . . . Same for other travel.

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  9. I so enjoy your blog. I am in Canada, self isolating from my three daughters and their families. The numbers are still high here in Ontario. Have only been out twice since March 1! . I have a question as I know you are a big reader, have you put one of the free library apps on your phone, iPad or computer? I have been using my Kindle but once I looked at my visa and saw how much I was spending on Amazon for the Kindle books I am now using the services of my library e books, Overdrive, Hoopla etc. You can borrow books for around 21 days with these apps. Once again, love reading about your adventures, stay safe and carry on!

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    1. Thank you for writing! I actually do download the majority of my books from the library, and only purchase them when the waiting list is months long or I know it will take me longer than 21 days to finish. My only issue with the library is that books can come in waves – I can go weeks waiting and the three books will come off of hold at the same time and I have to scramble to get them read (and often don’t succeed)! It doesn’t happen all the time, but enough that it’s noticeable.

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  10. We should have been walking through villages in Alsace right now, then spending time in Strasbourg. Sigh. We have two years, I believe, to use our airline tickets so we may get there eventually.

    The national parks in Utah are beautiful. We enjoyed Bryce the most, I think. Hiking in Canyonlands was fun, too. Arches is pretty crowded as is Zion so be sure to time it right if you go there, although things might be different now. I have to say that Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorites in the fall, perhaps because we lived relatively close for four years. Our favorite fall activity was to go up after work and watch the elk, hearing them bugle. So I always think a trip to Colorado is worth it.

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    1. Oh, I would love to be back in the Alsace! Hopefully your tickets will be good for two years. Our credit with Alaska is only good for a year, and hopefully YaYu will be able to use it to go back to her school before it all expires.

      I love Bryce too. And Zion – and will be expecting crowds. Hopefully we can score a reservation in the lodge. Arches will be new to both of us, and I’ve already read about the crowds and best time of day to visit to avoid some of that. Love RMNP as well and am greatly looking forward to a return visit. If we can afford it for a couple of night, I’d love to stay in the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Being able to afford that sort of treat is very motivating for me when it comes to saving!

      I lived in Colorado for a while years ago, and have visited many times (my mom lived there), but I always find it too dry now to stay more than a few days. The mountains are better, of course so that’s where we plan to go.

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