Holiday Planning and Travel Lists

For me, travelling is very addictive. No sooner have I finished one trip and then I’m planning the next. Usually while on the plane on the way home. In fact The American and I are, as I write this, on the plane heading to Singapore from L.A, and doing a tick-a-box list of the next lot of places we want to visit. Problem is the list just keeps getting longer. I tick one place off the list, another three arrive to take it’s place!

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To make things easier for me to plan, and because I love a good list as much as I love a good glass of red, I even categorize my holiday and travel spots. I’m well aware how clinical that might sound when really I should maybe just be enjoying the holiday planning. But I think it’s really important to make sure you do everything you want to do on your trip, and especially if you are travelling with other people.

Lately I’ve been organising holidays for groups of people and I think the most important part to this isn’t actually the hotel or the villa or even the tours. It’s making sure I know exactly what everyone in the group wants to do so everyone gets their version of the best holiday. Here’s what I mean: The American and I just went to the U.S.A. so he could see his beautiful family and awesome friends after being away for nearly two years, and so I could meet them all for the first time ( and you may remember from my last blog that I had dengue so I don’t know if exhaustion and lack of appetite really created the best first impression!). But we also had lots of ‘touristy’ things on our list to do. Including Vegas!

The American had been to Vegas before so the lights and craziness didn’t phase him. But me…well I think I experienced culture shock for the first time. We had just left Sioux Falls (population ~ 250,000) and gone almost immediately to Vegas (population ~ crazy, in number and attitude), so my first glimpse of Vegas didn’t dazzle me as much as it shocked me. I got over that shock pretty quick when I saw the restaurants. The first night we had the most divine dinner at Martorano’s. I’m going to deviate a little to tell you about the food. We started with fresh bread to dip into chilli oil and parmesan. Now I could have made an entire meal of that and a bottle of red but next came meatballs, made using his mum’s old recipe, with salad and freshly whipped ricotta. Several announcements of ‘how is food this good even possible?’ followed. Spaghetti marinara was next for me which is a tradition my Dad and I have whenever in Italian restaurants. It’s almost become something of a quest to find the perfect marinara…and I did that night. So my deviation is to say that food is a huge part of my holiday experience – there is a reason all my travel spots also have amazing cuisine!

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Then the craziness of Vegas at night followed and it was everything I expected and more. By the end of the night, my senses were overloaded and I needed quiet. But on the second day we walked what felt like the entire Vegas strip, with appropriate bar hopping along the way. For me, it was the best way to see Vegas. I got my bearings and was able to see just how impressive the buildings actually were without all the neon and flashing lights. And for some reason that made the night time craziness easier to deal with and really enjoy. Side note – I’m a terrible gambler but terrific shopper, I should have stuck to where my skills lie. I would still have lost/spent money but had some very pretty dresses to show for it!

And this is what I mean by planning what everyone wants, needs and expects from their travels. If someone has never been overseas, don’t try to get them to do a wilderness trek through the jungles of Borneo. And if you are travelling with a group, make sure everyone has explained what they want out of the trip – and obviously if your trip is in Bali, I’m more than happy to help arrange and organise the trip for you. And for me, the best advice I was given once was to listen to the people in the know. I was sure three days in Vegas wouldn’t be enough but The American, my Vegas person in the know, was adamant…he also took me to his family farm knowing I would love it. Open plains, big skies and very funny and good people – my idea of a perfect day.

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While this story and the photos have nothing to do with Bali and everything to do with the U.S., it’s still about creating your version of the perfect holiday, like what I just had in the U.S. I’m back in Sanur now so please get in touch if you want any help creating your version of the perfect holiday in Bali, whether that’s help with accomodation, day spa bookings, where to go to eat, where to go to shop, or amazing tours around Bali.

Enjoy these photos of the open plains of South Dakota, the stunning blossoms that are currently everywhere in Sioux Falls, the beautiful desert and red rock of Arizona. Oh, there’s also a pic of The American and I outside Martorano’s – put this on your list of places to eat if ever in Vegas. Worth every cent…I mean dime…

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