Travel Journals – Take Your Imagination on Vacation

Travel journals are supposed to be fun. We use them to capture our travel experiences on paper, so we never forget our journeys to places around the globe.

Are you and your travel journal getting along? Are you bored with it? Perhaps when you got home after a long trip, you fell out of love with your faithful companion. Now facing another trip, you are tempted to leave the trip diary at home.

This is a simple case of writer’s block. Writers experience boredom all the time. It is so common, that there are hundreds thousands of books and exercises that writers use to get themselves back on track.

If you are looking for ways to spice up your travel journal, here are some ideas.

Get a new trip journal. Select one that feels good. Does it bring you pleasure? Is the cover pleasing? Run your fingers along the pages. Do they have the right texture and weight? Does the journal fit you?

Pack your favorite pen. Write in your journal before you leave home to make sure the pen feels good on the pages. Bring a spare pen.

Show, don’t tell. It’s perfectly fine to say, “Today I saw the Eiffel Tower.” If you want to spice it up a bit, try something like this, “A sparkling blue sky shined through the lattice of the Eiffel Tower.”

Use your senses. We tend to write what we see, such as “saw the Washington Monument.” What we hear is the next most frequently used sense. If you were kept awake by a barking dog or a clanging elevator, write that down. Food is a big part of travel, so describe new taste sensations.

Touch and smell are often overlooked. When you held a local craft, what did it feel like? What did the air smell like? Smell is especially important because our memories are easily triggered by odor-even if we are just remembering the scent.

Describe your feelings. The world is filled with amazing sites. When you see something, how does it make you feel? Jot down your emotions. Record them even if you are disappointed. Perhaps you were looking forward to seeing the Liberty Bell, but someone stepped on your foot.

Play with words. Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote a story using only six words: “For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” Although there is no proof that this notion came from Hemmingway, the six-word memoir is now popular. Try writing a six-word memoir every day you travel or one summarizing the entire trip.

Try stream of consciousness. This is when you write down anything that pops into your head. Do not censor anything as this clogs the process. Imagine looking at the Statue of Liberty. Write down anything that comes to mind, for instance, “green, big, windy, postcard, people from all over the world.” Without writing a complete sentence, you can capture the moment.

Make a gratitude list. If you are not sure about what to write, keep a gratitude list in your travel journal. By listing those things for which you are thankful, you focus on the highlights of the trip. Moreover, gratitude helps us maintain our perspective.

Travel journals are more than precious keepsakes. They add depth to our journeys and help us to see the world with new eyes. Have fun with your trip diary. Once the creative juices are flowing again, it is like falling in love.

Buying a Travel Trailer – The Pros and Cons of New and Used Travel Trailers

Are you thinking about buying a travel trailer? There are so many decisions to make.

* Do you want a new or used trailer?

* Is this going to be a cash purchase or financed?

* What are you willing to spend?

* Should you get a 5th wheel, toy hauler or tongue pull travel trailer?

* What manufacturer are you interested in?

* What floor plan is best for your requirements?

If you are undecided, you should start out by considering the pros and the cons of buying used vs. buying new. Take your time when buying your travel trailer. Do your research and avoid spontaneous buys.

PROS of Buying a Used Travel Trailer

* More Bang for Your Buck. A used travel trailer will hold it’s worth longer than a new trailer. A used trailer is the way to go if you are on a looking to save money or don’t want to be stuck with making payments for 10 years. You could get a used 252 with all the bells and whistles cheaper than a NEW 202 plain jane travel trailer.

* Do Your Research. Visit travel trailer forums and read what owners are saying about particular travel trailers, both good and bad, this information could save you a bunch of future headaches. Remember the greater part of travel trailers that are purchased new rarely see any camping action, a large amount of trailers are either put in storage or parked at peoples houses. Its not unregular to find a used travel trailer in showroom condition, even older travel trailers from the 70’s can be found in great condition.

* Second-hand travel trailers hold their value! If you get a good quality bargain on a used travel trailer and decide to sell it a few years later you have a great chance of getting all your money back.

CONS of Purchasing a Used Travel

* Potential Problems. Buying a used travel trailer is a bit of a gamble, there could be minor problems or major problems and if you are lucky – no problems with the trailer. In most cases the warranty will have long ago expired, so expenses will be out of your pocket. Do your homework right so problems won’t be a surprise.

* Elbow Grease. You will need to give your new used trailer a good cleaning, no matter what condition it’s in.

* Less selection of ideal floor plans. Floor plans are limited by what’s currently for sale.

PROS of Buying a New Travel Trailer

* Nice & Sparkling. It’s new, fresh and all yours!

* Warranty. If there are problems, take the trailer back to your dealer and they’ll have to repair them for free!

* Maintenance Free. You do not have to be bothered with purchasing new tires, new battery, or any other part for at least a year or until the warranty has expired.

* Floor Plans. Lots of floor plans and interior colors to choose from.

CONS of Buying a New Travel Trailer

* New Trailers Depreciate Fast. A new travel trailer loses it’s value the moment you pull out of the dealers lot. If you financed with little or nothing down, you will be “upside down” owing more that the trailer is worth, for years! If you have to sell your travel trailer you will most likely owe more than what it’s worth and have to come up with the difference in cash.

* The Cost. If you are budget minded you almost certainly do not want to be trapped making monthly payments for the next 10 years on a travel trailer you will use at the most 8 months out of the year. Do the math, and figure out how much each camping trip will actually cost you per year, just factoring in the monthly payments. Ouch! If your payments are $350 a month x 12 months = $4,200. $4,200 can buy a fantastic used travel trailer and you won’t be stuck with payments!

Amsterdam Diamonds – Why Amsterdam Sparkles As a City Break Gem

Amsterdam hardly ever makes the grade in anyone’s hit list of Europe’s top romantic cities. Paris, Rome, Venice – even London – are likely to leave the Dutch capital in the shade. Some frown on Amsterdam’s links with red light sleaze and its drug smoking ‘coffee shops’. Others may think Amsterdam just a little too dull for a decent city break. Whatever the reasons, when a romantic weekend city break is on the cards, Amsterdam rarely turns up trumps.

What a pity! Despite what you may hear, Amsterdam is not all cannabis and carnality. Amsterdam also turns out to be a gem of a city break destination that could win the heart of the one you love. And what gives this city a romantic gloss?   Amsterdam, in fact, is one the the diamond capitals of Europe. And what surer way to win her heart than a glitzy tour of its diamond workshops? It’s a glittering jewel in this tourist city’s crown. And what’s more – it’s free! One of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions is the diamond factory tour.  

The Gassan diamond-polishing factory in the city centre is itself considered a jewel in the city’s tourist crown. Factory tours are free – but you should book in advance to be sure of a place. You get to see where diamonds are found, how they are classified, cut and polished. You can even watch the polishers at their craft and wonder how they resist the temptation to drop the odd stone into a pockets. Visitors agree that the tours are every bit as sparkling as the gems themselves.   About 340.000 visitors come to see Coster Diamonds craftsmen at work every year in the heart of the Museum District.

During free guided tours, which are available in more than 25 languages, the process of cutting and polishing a diamond is explained in detail by an efficient and accommodating staff. Costa is the firm that re-cut the 5,000-year-old Koh-i-noor diamond which sits in the British Royal Crown in the Tower of London. As an added treat you can admire their impressive diamond and jewellery collection – a brilliant experience you will not forget in a hurry.   Amstel Diamonds Limited, one of the oldest diamond factories of Amsterdam. They have been polishing gems here since 1876. The factory is found on the Amstel river in an old canal house in the very heart of historic Amsterdam and factory tours are free.   It all makes buying diamonds in Amsterdam a very special occasion for any visitor. This city has been a world centre for the diamond trade since the 16th century. It all began when Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition sought the safety of a tolerant and welcoming Amsterdam.

Many jewelers brought the diamond trade with them and, when diamonds were discovered in the Dutch-colonised parts of southern Africa, the diamond trade boomed   Many rough diamonds have been handed over to the expert tradesmen at the factories and workshops of Amsterdam for polishing and processing. The trade flourished until the Nazis occupied the city in the Second World War and the Jewish community was almost wiped out.   Much of the Amsterdam diamond trade moved to Antwerp in the wake of Nazi atrocities.

But the Amsterdam diamond trade has prospered again in recent years thanks to the city’s large and growing tourist trade, in particular its rising popularity as a weekend city breaks destination.   OK, classy diamonds may be a trifle too expensive for most pockets but there is nothing like window shopping and even trying on some of the most dazzling jewellery to be found in the world. What better way to dazzle that special person in your life with a city break trip that has that extra sparkle?