Making a list, and checking it twice.

I can’t believe my Brazil trip is already around the corner.  This is the longest trip I have taken at 27 days in total! 24 of those days will be spent on the cruise ship.  Some people think we are crazy for taking such a long cruise, but as I have mentioned before, I love being at sea.  Besides, we will be on land every couple of days as we sail from Rio de Janeiro to Florida.  Our itinerary includes many cities in Brazil, including sailing the Amazon River.  So how do I prepare for such a trip?  By making a list of course.  I may have mentioned once or several times that I like organization and planning.  I make lists for everything.  However, I don’t just make lists, I make templates.  O always tells me that I could teach an organizational course on efficiency.  I don’t know if I’m that efficient, but I thought I would take this opportunity to share a little about my process. (some may call it obsessive, but I think it’s completely normal)  Since I’m going to Brazil, I thought I would share my trip planning process for this trip.

  1. I open my the app on my iPhone that contains lists.
  2. I look at my lists and there has already been one created!

Yes, my lists magically appear because of the fairy dust that I sprinkle on my phone every night before going to sleep.  Ok, not really.  Anytime I go on a trip, I make a ‘list’.  If the trip is something that can be duplicated, I make it a  template and I reuse the list.  I started this process back before I had a computer.  I started this on notepads, then when technology was at my disposal, I used Excel.  Now, I have moved on to the iPhone App Packing Pro

Each time I go on a trip, if I forget something I make sure to add it to my template.  My travel templates include trips for weekends, 1 or 2 week cruises, or work trips.  Making the list for this trip is the first time in a while I have had to create a new list.  However, I still did not need to start from scratch.  I simply used the longest template I had and then added to it any ‘extras’ I needed.  For this trip I have made sure to include extra mosquito protection!  If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know my relationship with nature, and I am literally going to be in the jungle!  Not to worry, I have this to protect me. (left)

This process saves time, and ensures that I have everything I need for my trip.  I’m sure many of you are already expert list makers, and are even more advanced packing pros.  However, I use this same ‘system’ for everything.  Shopping, Wah Lum events or tournaments, kung fu meetings and schedules, etc. I create a master template and then when needed, I update the template.

Crab Cakes
My famous Crab Cakes

For groceries, I have recipe lists that upload into the shopping list, so I don’t forget any ingredients.  And yes, I often meal plan too, so I have all the food I need for the week.  (hey, don’t judge.  I get home after 9pm and still cook O a home cooked meal every day!)

I have to dedicate a little extra time in the beginning, but it saves me a lot of time in the long run!  I’d love to hear how you plan and prep, so always feel free to leave a comment or suggestions below.

Note: I’ve included links to some of the apps I use.  Hope they help!

Eating around the world…

2001: Locarno, Switzerland

O and I always talk about how lucky we are to have traveled the world.  We laugh because one of the first questions I asked him was if he had a passport.  I told him, he was going to need one immediately!  Sure enough a few months later we were in Locarno, Switzerland.

It’s been nonstop ever since.  For our 10th wedding anniversary I got us a push pin map so that we could track our travels.

Red pins: Past adventures White pins: Soon to explore

It’s amazing to see how many places we’ve been, but more so how many we haven’t.  The world is so vast and I find it incredible how many places we have ‘yet to explore’ when I stop to think about it.

Our family started cruising when I was about 7 years old.  I like cruising, but not because of the buffets and the cheesy cruise ship entertainment, but because I am truly disconnected from work.  I ‘could’ connect to the internet, but at $5 a minute?  NO thanks!  I completely disconnect from my trusty iPhone and being at sea allows me to truly relax.  Relaxation is something I have a hard time doing ‘on land’.

For me, seeing different countries involves more than going to the iconic landmarks and tourist spots.  I always start my research by finding where the best places are to eat local food.  In doing this, I get to meet local people and truly immerse myself in the culture.  I love eating.  O really loves eating.  I usually organize my own food tour that is centered around trying the best food in the area.  I tend to get a little crazy with research (by now you know I like planning), so sometimes it takes me months to finally nail down the tour, but once I do, the reward is in our bellies.  So I wrote today’s post with the intent to share only a few of my favorite foods we have eaten along the way. (and perhaps make you hungry)  Happy eating everyone! Feel free to share some of your favorite foods and leave a comment below.


Note: Yes, that helium balloon was eatable at Alinea in Chicago.  That was by far one of the most amazing dining experiences I ever had. Maybe it deserves its very own food blog one day!