Monday, July 28, 2008

China... a Year Later...

I just realized that the Beijing episode of Passport to China premieres tonight on Travel Channel and it reminded me of that trip to the other side of the world. It was almost a year ago since I made the journey and the entire experience still has a profound effect on me. China held a lot of firsts for me (no, I had already peed outside in Costa Rica)... it was my first time to Asia, the first time I held a Panda, the first time I felt like a minority and the first time I used a "hole" toilet. It was also the first time that I realized how lucky we are to be Americans.... where we are free to come and go as we wish... we are free to think as individuals and respect any religion we choose. We are free to have as many children as we like... and we are free to study and research the truth of our history (good or bad). I came home a changed person. I was no longer afraid of trying new things and I was eager to conquer my existing fears. Yes, going to the bathroom outside is now fine for me... but, I also went camping and took a ride on a jetski this summer... things that I would never consider doing only a year ago. This past weekend, I took my daughter to the beach with friends and I was able to confidently take her into the water (almost to my knees) and I was fine and enjoying it (NOTE the shark stories that came out this weekend in Smyrna Beach... ) This morning, as I write this entry I realize that a lot has happened this year. My father took sick and is currently back in the hospital after suffering a heart attack this past weekend. There was a major earthquake in Chengdu where this picture with the panda was taken. Luckily the panda reserve was not harmed, but tens of thousands of people are still homeless in that area. It reminds me how important it is to get out there and see the world. This planet was made for exploration. Not just for you to go to a new restaurant or stay in a fancy hotel. It is about exposing yourself to other ways of life... understanding that we are all humans living on the same planet in very different ways... and how much we can learn from each other. Please try to tune in to Passport tonight... and leave a comment to let me and Sam know what you think. Travel On.. Lori

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July LIVE from DC with Kirsten Gum

After a few days on Long Island, we jumped back in the car for the 5 hour trip north to Lake George. The trip was easy and made even more enjoyable by our stop at a Bagel Boss location in Jericho, Long Island for snacks. Long Islanders just know how to do bagels. This place had everything... including a salad bar, bakery and hot entrees. Yum. We arrived the lake house at about 5pm and we were in charge of opening the house and preparing for the rest of the family arrivals. We were expecting 17 people... and it is just a lot of work to get all the beds prepared, the lawn cut and the bathrooms cleaned. This is the only bad part of being in a vacation home and not in a hotel. You still have chores! We were up at the lake a few days before I had to fly back to DC for a day to produce Travel Channel's live coverage of the fireworks show on the National Mall in Washington DC. I flew into BWI on July 3rd from Albany and within a few hours was back in the middle of chaos and jolted back into reality and out of my vacation mode. Ugg... I had to do my hair and makeup again! I met up with the crew when I got in for a script meeting and we then all went out for a nice dinner at Oceanaire only a block away from our hotel. Dinner was superb... I had my first bite of pickled herring (my Nana would be so proud) and we enjoyed really nice fish, a couple of nice bottles of wine and some yummy desserts! Exactly what we needed to get us prepared for the crazy day of LIVE programming we had ahead. The next morning, Kirsten and I were up at the crack of dawn and in the gym. We then met in her room for hair and makeup and wardrobe. We had to be on set at 10:30am... and it is always chaos on the day of air. The shoot was fabulous... we were positioned right next to the Washington Monument at 15th and Madison and just spent the day with the crowds assembling for the fireworks display scheduled for that night. Mother nature tried to rain on our parade... but, she held out and we turned out a near perfect show. I am now sitting back at BWI about to board a Southwest flight back to Albany to rejoin my vacation already in progress. I am without internet, phone, TV or cell phone for the next week. I know you will all miss my blogging... I'm sure you will get over it. Happy 4th... Travel On Lori

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Home on Long Island

We always look forward to this time of the year! This is the time of our family vacation and it always comes to slow and goes way too fast! Isn't that always how it works? We have a full two weeks off from work and the daily grind to just be a family and boy do we need it!

Right now we are up on Long Island staying with friends before we make the drive up to our lake house on Lake George, New York. The house was built by my husband's grandfather and it is such a special place for the entire family. His entire family will be there... which is a mixed bag. I love it and hate it. Seventeen people in one house is just not my idea of the perfect vacation. However, the time that Eva gets to spend with her cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles is just priceless and is worth the fights over the bathrooms and the endless amount of work to keep the place tidy!

Whatever you call your time off... vacation, holiday... the truth is that it is the best time to reconnect with the people you love. You also cannot deny the power of the open roads of the US. There is something about packing the car and just pulling out of the highway and driving. This is the year of the stay-cation... get out there and enjoy!