Category Archives: Travel

Thanksgiving at the Beach

Ocean view condo for Thanksgiving 2005

In 2005, we spent Thanksgiving at the beach.  It was a first for the Odom family.  We had always spent the day at my husband’s mom and dad’s house in Jasper.  But my mother-in-law, Johnnie, had been wanting the family to spend the holiday at the beach and we finally all came together and got it planned.

I don’t remember the name of the place we stayed but I do remember that we all booked rooms close to each other so we could come and go easily.  When we arrived the first day, it was a sunny and windy day and we decided to head to the Pink Pony Pub for drinks and appetizers.  Besides me and Eddie and our three kids, we had Eddie’s brother Terry and his wife Rhonda and their twin daughters, Kate and TJ.  Eddie’s older brother Allen and his wife Rhonda were also there along with my mother-in-law’s sister, Joyce and her daughter, Debbie.  We had quite a large group, much to our delight!

Fun at the Pink Pony Pub!

My best memory is of the family gathering at Pink Pony Pub.  We sat outside and just enjoyed each other’s company.  Our family tradition of taking a Thanksgiving photo on my mother-in-law’s swing was transferred to the deck of the pub that particular year.  I remember the kids being adamant that we would take a picture to keep with tradition.  I loved that they wanted to do this and not skip tradition just because we weren’t in Jasper.  Then we took family group photos together.  The one of me, Eddie and the kids is probably one of my favorites.  We all huddled close together and hugged not just to keep warm but because we were all excited to be at the beach and together.  I took the photo of my brother-in-law, Terry and his wife Rhonda and their girls – TJ and Kate.  For the rest of the family, they posed around the table where we enjoyed food and drink.

There is another great memory from that Thanksgiving at the beach and it was watching the kids play on the beach from our balcony.  They had a kite they were flying and then they also did some writing in the sand.  It was just great watching them all enjoy the beach from afar.  I didn’t have the best digital camera at the time so the photos I took are a little grainy when I tried to zoom in, but it’s still nice to have them to bring back those memories.

We also enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving turkey and dinner that year at the condo thanks to the cooking of both of my sisters-in-law!  That was always a joke with the three of us since I didn’t do much cooking and they did…they used to just ask me to bring drinks, paper products and desserts!  That was fine by me!  They were both great cooks so why would I want to compete with that?!!!  I remember telling them one year that all the sisters-in-law named Rhonda did the cooking and the ones named Teresa brought the fun!  Ha!…and I still stand by that comment!

We’ve lost several family members since this Thanksgiving in 2005 so holidays tend to be bittersweet for us.  Still, we still do things to keep their memories alive when we gather.  Having these photos is so precious to us all and taking this trip in 2005 is still one of our great memories.  Now after 12 years, many of us have returned to the beach this Thanksgiving to make new memories.  And of course, I am taking the photos…

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours…

A Safari of Giraffe

Our encounter with a safari of giraffe in Namibia, Africa this past August.

Our encounter with a safari of giraffe in Namibia, Africa this past August. – Hunters Namibia Safaris

My husband and I took an incredible trip to Namibia, Africa in August.  To say it was a trip of a lifetime would be an understatement!  I’m still trying to find time to go through the more than 2K photos I took with my camera, and several hundred I took with my iPhone.  I don’t want to rush through them either.  Instead, I want to relive those moments and really tell the story of where we were and what we did.

Last night, my husband and I were talking about the trip and I pulled up a few photos.  The first ones that popped up were of our last full day in Namibia among the beautiful giraffes!  We were riding along in the jeep when we spotted one after another.  Our PH (Professional Hunter), Johnny, stopped the jeep and told us to slowly get out and walk toward them.  We couldn’t believe our good fortune in seeing these beautiful creatures of all ages and sizes!

August 2016 Namibia, Africa - Hunters Namibia Safaris

August 2016 Namibia, Africa – Hunters Namibia Safaris

Johnny took my camera while Martin, our Tracker, took my iPhone and they began taking pictures of me, Eddie and Eddie’s cousin, Myrk, standing in front of several giraffe.  What a treasure!  We kept walking slowly toward them after our impromptu photo shoot and I started clicking away with my camera.  They moved with such grace and elegance.  I particularly loved the babies because they were so curious about us and would stare and then their tails would swish back and forth.  They almost appeared to be smiling at us!  The mamas, of course, were standing nearby and keeping a side-eye on us and their youngsters.

August 2016 Namibia, Africa

August 2016 Namibia, Africa – Hunters Namibia Safaris

By the time we got back in the jeep and rode on a ways, we had stopped counting at 80 of these magnificent animals!  We learned later that a group of giraffe is called a “safari.”  Safari means “journey” and giraffe typically travel for food from the Acadia trees.  The trees eventually start to defend themselves from being feasted upon and increase their tannin output causing the giraffe to journey on.

I can’t wait to share more about our trip…what I saw and what I learned.  Meanwhile, please enjoy a few of my photos from the Safari of Giraffe we encountered.

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Traveling Gear

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My Patricia Nash collection – all pulled together and ready for my trip overseas on Monday!

On Monday I’ll be taking a trip…an adventure…  Two weeks off of work.  I can’t remember the last time I did that for a vacation.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever taken that long off to take a vacation and actually go somewhere and completely disconnect.

My husband and I are traveling overseas…(more on where later)… so since this is a much longer trip.  I’ve been trying really hard to keep it simple and make sure that everything I take is compact and useful.

The main thing that I have been concerned with is how to take my camera and zoom lens.  I found a smaller camera backpack at Target a few weeks ago and it worked great when we traveled to Austin, Texas last weekend.  I like it because it’s not cumbersome and it’s just the right size for my camera and the zoom lens as well as a few accessories.

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I love maps…so how could I NOT love this over the shoulder purse with a map on it?! Perfect for travel!

I also needed something to carry my passport in….something small that also holds my driver’s license and a few credit cards and my immunization records.   I was shopping at Macy’s when I discovered Patricia Nash leather handbags.  What drew me to the wallet was actually a large satchel bag with a map on it.  I considered the satchel but decided instead on the wallet and a cross body bag – both with maps on them.  They worked well on our weekend trip to Austin.

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Patricia Nash Italian Leather handbags and accessories…discovered them at Macys and bought my handbag and passport wallet there. I bought my satchel through Amazon. Love this collection! So beautiful!

As I was preparing for the Austin trip though, I realized that I didn’t have a good satchel bag and so I went back to the Patricia Nash collection and chose a solid leather satchel.  I ordered it through Amazon and it arrived while I was in Austin.  It’s beautiful too… I slipped the cross body bag right into it along with my travel journal.  There is also plenty of space for my Nook and a few other things!  I think it’s going to be easy to travel with the satchel and the small camera backpack.  Really…I want to keep the “stuff” I carry to a minimum!

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Finally…I was in Macy’s the other day when I walked up on a jewelry display.  Mind you, I don’t typically look at pre-packaged items but for some reason I did that day.  The sterling silver jewelry was deeply discounted that particular day and I became fixated on a necklace.  It’s a layered necklace – the smaller piece is a gold circle with the cardinal points – north, east, south and west.  The larger piece has a saying “life is a journey, enjoy the ride.”

This is my first trip out of the country in a long time so this spoke to me, I guess you could say.  I also don’t believe in accidents…finding this necklace was predestined.  It will be one of the only jewelry items I wear on my trip – again, trying to keep it simple.

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My new “travel” necklace…I really love the cardinal point part of the necklace.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

 

Finding a Travel Journal

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In love with my new travel journal! Isn’t it cool!

For as long as I can remember, I have always been drawn to notebooks and journals.  When I go into a bookstore or any specialty store, I always find myself in the aisle with the journals and notebooks, thumbing through the various designs and thinking of ways I can use each particular one.  Then I shake myself out of that dreamy state and realize I have more than enough journals and notebooks at home and I need to use those first!

What I didn’t have was a good travel journal…at least until now!  My husband and I are taking a 30th anniversary trip in August and I wanted something special to take with me and record our trip.  Sure, I could have used something I already have but I was browsing in that aisle again – in Target this time – and I landed on the perfect one.

IMG_7373It’s funny how journaling and decorating journals has become such a big industry these days.  The options are endless!  Back in the early 1980’s, I would eagerly await the new Hallmark calendar and get it ready for the year – adding birthdays, appointments and other special events.  Then I would use the daily page to journal about my day and feelings, and then add things like ticket stubs, photos, receipts, invitations and other items that I wanted to remember.  By the end of the year, the calendar would be 3 times its original size from all the things I was saving!  The book pictured on the left is the one I diligently kept the year before I got married so when I found it in the attic recently and opened it up – so many memories flooded back to me.  Reading a few pages immediately took me back to that particular time and how I was feeling.  It’s amazing the power of your own voice…

Finding these old journals has made me all the more excited about keeping a travel journal.  I have to say, the cover of the journal got my attention first.  It’s full of passport type stamps.  It’s also made of a burlap type fabric.  As I opened it, I noticed there were stickers to use and pockets to store things.  Another cool feature is that it contains several pull out pages that show the map of the world.  I can definitely see myself marking that map with some of the stickers included as I check places to go off my bucket list.  There is also space for photos which is always a hard one for me since I take so many!  I generally like to pick out a few postcards when we travel and tuck those away “with” my photos.

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One of the fold out maps in my new travel journal!

In addition to the journal, I found the coolest pack of sticky notes at World Market a few weeks ago.  I actually bought this before I found the travel journal but they go together perfectly!  They’re called Bon Voyage sticky notes and you know why they got my attention, right?  The map of the world on the cover, of course!  The love of maps seems to be a Zuniga gene thing – at least that’s what my sister Kanista seems to think.  I think she may be right!

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Travel sticky notes from World Market – nice companion piece for my travel journal.

As far as journaling and photographing our trip…I’m ready for that!  When it comes to packing clothes…not so much…but I still have some time to get that underway.

NOTE:  I’ll post about the trip in September so stay tuned!