Thursday, 30 April 2015

Transun's Competition - The World is your Oyster

“It's my experience that most folk who ride trains could care less where they're going. For them it's the journey itself and the people they meet along the way. You see, at every stop this train makes, a little bit of America, a little bit of your country, gets on and says hello.” 

David Baldacci, The Christmas Train
Transun is offering one lucky winner the chance to see the Northern Lights deep inside the Arctic Circle.  To enter the competition Transun have asked bloggers to write a Post about their top three travel bucket list destinations and why they are so.  The prize is a fantastic trip to go and see the Northern Lights (yes, you read that correctly) and  yes - it's one place I would love to see.

My top three travel destinations are all related to luxury train travel.  I have always had a fascination for trains.  I love watching the world go by when travelling by train. The sound of a train can be very calming and soothing as well as romantic. Just imagine travelling in luxury on these three journeys for a number of days when, whatever you are doing - the scenery is changing. I have wonderful memories of travelling on an overnight slow train from Mombasa to Nairobi and also some fast Shinkasen rides in Japan.

One of these days - I would like to take on the following three train rides:

A trip on the Orient Express to Venice:

I often see the Orient Express in Victoria Station getting ready to leave for Venice.  I know that this could be one of the first trips I will probably take as it's  on the door step. I have seen so many movies made about this train ride and read up so much about the journey where you are allocated your personal steward!! What luxury to have someone making your journey magical!! We once stayed in a hotel in India where you had a personal butler and we loved being spoiled by this luxury. Finishing the journey in Venice would be the icing on the cake.

Checkout this YouTube video showing a bit about the journey:

A journey on the Luxury Maharaja Express in India:

I have traveled to India several times and been to see the Taj Mahal.  Having stayed in some good hotels in India - I do know that service would be impeccable when travelling in this luxurious Maharaja Express.   I would love to take a trip from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and Jaipur on this magnificant train travelling like a princess!

Checkout this YouTube video and let me know what you think of this luxury.

A train ride through the Rocky mountains from Calgary to Seattle

This journey has been a dream of mine for a number of years.  A train drive through the mountainous terrains with the views of mountains, rivers, water falls, bridges, bears, eagles and all the different vegetation would be like heaven for me.

Checkout this YouTube video showing a bit about the journey:

I am always amazed at the exciting meals that get served on these journeys.  My ultimate bucket wish would be to learn to do some cooking alongside the chefs on these trains.  it would be a dream come true for a foodie like me.

There are still a few hours left before the competition closes so do have a go and share your wishlist too. Details of the competition are here

So what's on your bucket list?

How do you find "Me Time"?

"Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own." ~ Oprah
“In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.” – Laurence Sterne

Recently we got into a discussion with friends about "me time".    Most of my friends have it all - lovely family, kids and a full time job.   All this comes with a price as all this keeps us really busy. That's when we start getting angry and stressed and often take it out on our loved ones.  We all love need any "me time" we can manage to get - even if it's a short time to charge our batteries.

Everyone has different ways of taking time out to relax and unwind. The most important is to find the time for yourself and decide what makes you happy.  For some us it could just be having an hour to read, listen to music or catch up on TV for others it could be going to the gym or just for a walk or coffee with a friend.  Walking by the sea or river or bird watching can be really relaxing.

Here is my list of how to have some "me time" for anyone (men or women) without spending too much money:

1.  Plan the "me time" or you will never get it.  Create some personal time by making it like an appointment in your calender - like you would for a visit to the doctor or dentist.

For me the best time to do this is to wake up early and spend time doing what my mood dictates. Often it's just reading or catching up with emails. Yesterday, I decided to take a walk.  I always walk with a small camera in my pocket so that I can take pictures of anything and everything!!  e.g. l saw this old BT telephone box in someone's front garden.  I loved the idea that it was kept clean and had some lovely hanging baskets growing inside.

And watching these  cute little baby ducks really made my day.

It was cold but so peaceful and quiet and I got the inspiration to share with you my thoughts on how important it is to have some time to yourself.  Believe me once you get into the habit of waking up early and enjoy the peace and quiet time - you will want to keep doing it.

2. Treat yourself  and don't feel guilty about it.  In my case, I found this quite difficult to do as I am always looking for trinkets and gifts to buy for my family as it makes me happy.  However, I have now started to treat myself with little guilt free gifts that help me happy and relaxed with the family e.g. essential oils, fragrances, candles, fresh flowers, soothing music etc. which help to calm  me and the family can also enjoy the benefits.

3. Pamper yourself - e.g get your hair and nails done, massage etc.  I always feel positive and happy whenever I have my hair done.  I also look out for discounted Spa deals at our local spa which tends to have special offers during the weekdays. It's perfect if you can take some time off during the week.

4. Take up a hobby that makes you happy - e.g golf,  knitting, gardening, learn to play the piano etc. the options are countless.   I saw this knitted Paddington Bear in a shop window and remembered how at one time I used to love knitting.  I still have a bag of knitting needles and wool and am tempted to start knitting again.  At the moment, I am going to devote my time to this blog which has been neglected as I have been  busy looking after a family member  ( I am not ready to talk about it as yet.). Tea and Catchup blog is  where I am going to relax and share my thoughts on any subjects so do leave comments with suggestions on what I should talk about.  I could do with a challenge!!

So how do you find some time just for you to unwind and relax?  Do share your ideas?