Welcome to my digital travel journal!

About this blog
This blog is my travel journal and your guide to taking your own travels a step or two beyond the ordinary. I hope I can inspire you to look at the world more closely and see beauty where you may not have expected it, whether you go out to experience it for yourself or through the words and photos here.

I have visited more than 50 countries on five continents and have traveled extensively within the United States. These have all been vacations, a brief chance to step away from my full-time life and explore a bit of the world for a few days or weeks.These include independent travels and fully-guided tours, all done on what I consider a moderate budget. Since we are big fans of road trips and sailing, these are also represented in the mix. However, what all these trips have in common is that, with a few simple logistical shifts, they could be taken by anyone on any budget.  
I have tried to make the blog easy to navigate. If you are interested in a specific location with tabs across the top that open to links to posts or country-specific pages. The right-hand gadget bar also opens up to include a label list that will pull up posts on a specific place or topic. I hope you enjoy traveling with me and that my travel tales delight, inform, and inspire you. Copyright information  Unless otherwise noted, all work on this blog belongs to me and may not be used in any way for commercial purposes without my explicit permission. It takes a lot of work to create the content posted here and, while I'm happy to have it broadly shared, I have a right and expect to receive credit and profits from its use.But I also believe there is a balance between "information should be free" and "it would be nice to be able to earn a living doing this." For this reason, material on this blog may be REASONABLY used, in context, for non-commercial purposes, as long as I am given full credit and a link back to this blog. I credit the source of materials used when I can find the original source. If I have not credited something of yours, it was inadvertent. PLEASE contact me so I can either give you credit or remove the material.
About me
I'm an amateur travel writer and photographer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and exploring the rest of the world as often as I can. I'm interested in value, experience, and authenticity. I look for places that will broaden my understanding of the world, but without requiring full immersion. For me, it's easier to understand another place or culture by figuring out how it is both similar and  different from my own place and culture. I believe that can be done anywhere, in any amount of time, if you just start looking.  I'm fascinated by wide open spaces,deserts, tropical islands, history, architecture, urban planning, textiles, jewelry, sacred places, and gardens - all of which you will find represented in these pages.  While I have a passion for travel, writing, and photography, I actually earn a living working at a transportation agency. Full-time work limits my travel time, hence the sometimes incomplete nature of this blog. It also explains why, along with the photos of fascinating people, places, buildings and plants; you will find a fair number of pictures of roads, bridges, trams, gondolas, trains, and trails! I hope you enjoy the material posted here. If you are interested in seeing more of of my work, please check the following: 
I can be contacted at thetravelgal@comcast.net 

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