Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Not Cruising Through a Decision

"Ask Alina", Family Travel Concierge Advice Column. 

Dear Alina, Our family wants to go on vacation that doesn’t involve flying. We want to leave from NYC on the cruise that suits our needs and budget, in the most affordable for us cabin – we just want a getaway. We got an offer from our travel agent, Family Travel Concierge, and his offer sounds like what we asked for. The problem is that we just can’t seem to make a decision…  Family Travel Concierge says that if we wait, availability might become limited. I’m afraid that if we stay indecisive, we’ll get to the point where the trip will become either unavailable or too expensive. Why can't we make a decision?! 

Not Cruising Through a Decision
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Dear Not Cruising,
I would love to hear more about your ideal trip within your budget! From what you’ve said in your letter, it sounds like your heart is not in the travel plan that you asked your travel agent to look up, and that’s why you are not so eager to take the offer that he found for you. A good offer on something that you don’t really want never truly feels like a good offer, right? What I would suggest is to go back to the drawing board with your family and brainstorm ideas for your ideal vacation - the kind of vacation you would take if there are no restrictions. Dream big! If, after all the brainstorming, your ideal vacation is out of your budget, try to figure out what elements of that vacation make it ideal. Is it the destination? Or maybe, the fact that it is a cruise (or a car trip)? Perhaps, it offers the right variety of activities for the kids? Rank each element of your ideal vacation based on your level of joy and excitement. Then, take your top 3 items on the list, and ask Family Travel Concierge: “What types of vacations can capture the feeling or our top 3 experiences within our budget?” Alternatively, if you are willing to allocate the time and the budget to just go, go ahead - take that cruise on the budget. And start planning your next vacation, the one that will steal your heart and won’t damage your budget. Bon Voyage! 

Alina Bas, M.A., is an Executive Coach and Certified Life Coach who helps leaders connect to fulfilling work and live an engaging life. She has over 10 years of corporate experience in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Development, and is a co-author of the book “Changes of the Heart”, offering the best coaching strategies for life’s toughest moments. Connect with Alina at www.MindTerrainCoaching.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Eiffel Tower


This blog post is written by my best guest blogger, Daniella Medvedovski, about her experience while on our trip to Paris year and a half ago.

As the elevator climbed up, towards the sky, I said to myself, "Boy, am I lucky!". I was so lucky that I was in the Eiffel Tower! Our elevator was moving up at the speed of lightning towards the top of the tower. The elevator was so crowded, I could hardly breathe! A person to my right, a person to my left, in back, in front, everywhere!

As the elevator doors opened and the crowd parted, I couldn't believe my eyes. There, in front of me was all of Paris, shimmering before my eyes with its beautiful night lights. I ran forward to the glass door, and said to my parents, "Let's go!", and my brother, my parents, and I all stepped outside onto the observation deck. I gasped. I could actually identify some of the landmarks and buildings. The Louvre! Arc de Triomphe!

I was brought away from views by my brother Matthew. "Ow! Ow! Mom! Dad! My tooth just came out!" I stared at him with amazement. Sure enough, he'd lost his first tooth at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was a miracle, and that's the kind of place Paris is. There is lots of fun things to do there, and it may have been one of my favorite vacations.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Constallation of Greek islands or sailing vacation - Day 4

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Day 4, June 24 2013 - Monday

See Day 3 of our trip here.

Early in the morning - swimming in the most beautiful bay in Greece, Antiparos (2 hours).  
Breakfast. Then moving to the island of Paros (20 minutes). Lunch on board.  
On arrival tour, free time. In the evening sailing to Naoussa.

 Due to the flat topography and deposits of marble the island of Paros is called "white". Marble from Paros was used to build statues. Many well-known sculptors, painters and poets were born on this islands. Here you can find many beautiful beaches and small towns and villages.

Paros (194 sq. km., 8.000 inhabitants) is the third largest island in the Cyclades.
On this island, we will travel to unique Greek Orthodox "Hundred Gates Church" (Ekatondapilyani), the oldest surviving church in Greece. According to legend, it was built in the early III century AD by St. Helen, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Helen went to the Holy Land, and on the way she stopped in Paros. Here she had a dream related to the search of the Holy Cross on which Jesus was crucified. Empress decided to put the church on the island, but the good idea could be realized only in the VI century by Byzantine emperor Justinian. Officially the church called "Hundred Gates" although it has only 99 doors and windows. The legend said when 100th gate would be found then Constantinople (Istanbul) would again become Christian.


Visiting this unique church we will see the Mother of God, created by St. Luke,  the Baptistry, ancient baptistery, the tomb of St. Feoktistos. She was the patron and protector of the island back in the IX century. It is associated with a mysterious legend. Young Feoktistos was kidnapped by pirates who demanded ransom from her family. Girl managed to escape and reached the island of Paros. Thirty five years she roamed the island, lived in caves, became a hermit and kept true commitment to the Christian faith. She was found in one of the caves by a local hunter. Enervated of starvation Feoctistos asked him to bring her some bread from Eucharist. When the hunter returned with bread hermit had died. Realizing that in front of him was a saint  he decided to take relics of the deceased and cut off her hand. When the hunter tried to leave Paros by ship storm waves forced the ship back to the island. He tried to leave this place seven times and every time his ship returned to the magical place. When he returned the severed hand of the holy body miracles ceased and he was able to leave the island. Here in "Hundred Gates church" you can find a footprint on a stone. This  is a trail of holy Feoktistos. According to legend the person who stands bare foot on this "trail" will be very lucky.

Later in the afternoon we will go around the island and visit the village of Naoussa.  Naoussa is one of the most popular resorts on Paros. Here, in the old port and the fishing area, you can find crowded taverns, cafes and great restaurants serving the finest seafood. Do not forget to taste the main Greek drink, brandy "Metaxa".Dinner (on your own). Overnight you sleep on board. In the pre-dawn time we will sail transition from Paros to Delos (about 3 hours).