I turned 38 in March, and as my mom kindly reminded me, I’m now less than two years away from the big 4-0. Most days it’s unbelievable that I’m pushing forty; others, I feel like I’ve lived at least two lifetimes in my 38 years. While I have a lot of things to be thankful for and proud of, the last couple of months have been some of the most trying times in my life. Loss and grief will do that to you. But I just keep trying to press through it, and remember that there are things to look forward to.
I’m freelancing for Guide to Iceland
Tim and I LOVE Iceland. Ask us our favorite country and we won’t hesitate to answer Iceland in unison.
So I’m naturally thrilled to have been hired to write for the Guide to Iceland blog. My first two assignments are due in April. I’ll definitely be sharing my pieces, plus adding them to our own extensive Iceland Travel Guide here on Luxe Adventure Traveler.
Finding time for me
This is a good problem to have, but I’m slammed with work these days. A heap of work I’m trying to get done before I head off to Oman and come home with three weeks of work from that trip. Being a slave to my computer and not having Emma around to force me to get out of my flat multiple times a day has definitely had its effects.
Sure, we’re having our highest income months ever. But while I’m watching our bank balances go higher and higher, I’m also watching the scale number go higher and higher.
I joined a gym here in Bordeaux a few months ago. Actually it was the day before the hailstorm of Emma’s cancer relapse happened. And while I’ve gone, the gym hasn’t become a daily part of my routine. That has got to change. I’m ashamed I’ve left myself go to the point I’m at and I want to at least be able to look in the mirror again and not feel totally disgusted.
This month is another insanely busy one, but after my next big trip I’m making a commitment to get back in shape. And also to start saying no more often, so I have more personal time for myself.
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I didn’t write much in March. What was supposed to be a full month at home to work on getting caught up and do things like make a routine of going to the gym, turned in to absolutely insanity. I ended up making three separate trips to the UK, plus a last minute trip to Cyprus. I literally came home from England for two nights because I had to check my mail for any important documents since I’m mid-process in renewing my French resident visa, and to get more summery clothes appropriate for Cyprus.
But I managed to get a few new articles out. One that I’ve been working on for quite a while is my guide to best places to stay in Bordeaux. Ahead of the big anniversary celebration of Fête le Vin coming up in June, I have a long list of Bordeaux content I’m working on. But one thing every visitor to Bordeaux needs is a place to stay. I’m glad to see that it’s already taken off since affiliate revenue is an important income stream for us, and I’ll be adding more hotels and unique accommodations to the guide that I have planned to check out.
Just please don’t ask us to recommend an Airbnb in Bordeaux. First, you might not even realize that Airbnb is illegal in France. There’s been a huge push to combat it by requiring that Airbnb hosts register with their local government offices for a number, which ensures that they are complying with certain laws and paying taxes on the income they make from Airbnb. While there are certainly hosts that are in compliance, many are not.
Aside from the legality issues of it, Airbnb is horrible for the local economy. So many people want to buy up entire buildings and flat just to rent them out on Airbnb, that it drives the living costs up for the locals. Bordeaux is a majority university city in France, and I can’t tell you how many students can’t even afford to rent a place during their studies because of the increases. Students are forced to look for places that are a long commute outside of the city. The rise of Airbnb can also cause hotels to not be able to supply as many local jobs, and so on.
And don’t even get me started on the Airbnb just a few doors down from my building. So often the renters are totally oblivious to the fact the real people who aren’t on holiday live here. The main door to that building, which is a security measure, gets left ajar frequently and opens the other residents of that building up to opportunists. Or renters open the doors and windows wide, then blast music after quiet hours like the bachelor party that stayed there a few weeks ago and kept me up half the night before I had a 7am flight.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Bordeaux, check out our recommendations that do include some apartments and aparthotels (just not Airbnb), as well as dreamy châteaux stays and the best city center hotels: The Best Places to Stay in Bordeaux
GIVEAWAY: CABO TROPICAL GETAWAY BY PRIVATE JET * Let’s talk epic travel experiences. Tim and I definitely have had some truly epic trips that we won’t ever forget. Like that time we went on safari by private jet around Tanzania and Zanzibar with SkySafari. * Or the trip from this photo – Fregate Island in the Seychelles. We were whisked off to the private island with just a handful of villas by helicopter. With more resident Giant Aldabra Tortoises than people, we hardly saw another soul except when we ventured to the main house for breakfast or dinner. Even this beach is private, with a little do not disturb sign you flip around when you want privacy. * Private islands. Private jets. It’s the epitome of luxury travel and the ultimate bucket list experience. That’s why we’re thrilled to have partnered with Flexjet and Kenn Ricci for their Cabo Contest. * TWO WINNERS WILL WIN: Win a tropical getaway on a private jet! ? Flexjet will fly the winner and a friend on a private jet to Scottsdale, AZ, and from there, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. ? In Cabo, the winner will enjoy a 4-day, 3-night stay at a Leading Hotel of the World, Marquis Los Cabos. ? Flexjet will fly the winner back home by private jet. Transportation to and from the airport will be provided via a black car. * No purchase necessary. Enter by April 11, 2018. ************************ HOW TO ENTER Kenn is looking for the best 2 suggestions for a new travel adventure. ?? You should suggest a location he should visit, experiences he should have (like restaurants, hotels, tours, etc.), and perhaps even the people Kenn should travel with. The more detail the better! 1️⃣ Follow @kennricci, @flexjetllc and @hotelmarquisloscabos 2️⃣ Like the official contest post linked in our profile ?? 3️⃣ In the comments on the official contest post, submit your travel idea with the hashtag: #KennRicciCaboContest and tag friends who would also enjoy this contest . . . . . . . . . . . #visitseychelles #seychelles #fregate #fregateislandprivate #myocescape #luxuryresort #luxurytraveler #couplestravel #privatejet #privatejetlife #privatejettravel #travelgiveaway #winatrip #contestgiveaway #seychellesislands
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I am beyond disillusioned and, really, demoralized by Instagram these days. And because I feel like I suck over there with hardly any of our followers even seeing our photos these days, I’ve only been posting a handful each month.
Seriously, you start to wonder what’s wrong with you when no one is liking photos you hauled all kinds of equipment with you for and took time to shoot, edit and caption with a story.
Like this photo, which the most popular one we posted in March. It’s a drone photo from our trip to the Seychelles and one that we nearly both had heart attacks getting. When the flocks of endemic birds that inhabit Fregate Island weren’t chasing our drone, we had all those thick palm trees to contend with. And it’s really a miracle we even have this photo to post at all.
We were flying on this beautiful sunny day and clearly sent the drone out over the water. It lost connection with the controller and the video feed went black. We couldn’t see it or hear it in the sky. After the longest 20 minutes of our lives when we were certain that it had crashed in to the ocean or been swooped up in to the talons of some sea bird, we heard the consistent buzz as our drone finally returned on its own to the home point we’d set. Holy crap, I’ve never been so relieved to see a piece of our photography kit as in that moment while it touched down on the sand nonchalantly as though it hadn’t just gone on a 20-minute walkabout to God knows where.
And then people don’t even like the damn photo when you post it….
What I’m Drinking This Month
With so much time spent in England in March, it was another month of a little wine, a little gin and a little beer. But with Bordeaux En Primeur happening in April, I like to give my liver a rest in preparation for a week filled with hundreds of wines.
I did visit Cyprus, which you might not think of as a wine producer. I certainly wouldn’t! But we visited with a family-run producer in Omodos, one of Cyprus’ wine villages, for a tasting of six different wines on the trip. Some were really interesting and I enjoyed drinking the local Cypriot wine on the trip. More on that soon, along with our 3-day itinerary for a trip to Cyprus…
Bottle Count: 414
Coming Up in April 2018
I am flipping busy, y’all.
I’ll attend Bordeaux En Primeur for my second time. And boy did I learn some lessons from my first go at tasting brand new vintages right from the barrel by the hundreds. Think this sounds glamorous? I assure you it isn’t. It’s a very systematic process of hear the blend, swirl, sip, swish and spit. But it’s a Bordeaux tradition I’m proud to be able to take part in. This year I’ll just be carrying along a toothbrush, wearing dark clothes, and making footwear choices that are easier cleaned from the inevitable splashes of wine professionals gathering around spitoons en masse.
Spring has arrived and it’s time to get going on adding a bunch of new châteaux visits to my schedule to continue growing our Guide to Bordeaux. I’ve actually only visited one Sauternes châteaux, and it was way back in 2015 when I very first came to Bordeaux with Viking River Cruises. So before I jet off on my next international trip, I’ll also be visiting Château Coutet to check out a new workshop they’ve recently started offering to learn more about Sauternes.
Finally, I’ll finish up the month by starting a nearly 3-week long trip to Oman and the UAE. I’ll start out in Muscat and the Green Mountains, before flying to Salalah at the beginning of May. And while dunes and camels might be the first thing that comes to mind, I’ll be doing an extensive bit of diving while in Oman.