Happy first day of spring 2017! I’m excited to get back to blogging again after a few months of family, school and rest. Since my last trip in November, I’ve been blissfully enjoying a mild winter in Mason, Ohio with my kids and husband. I’m excited to be in the 4th quarter of the school year. At this point, I don’t have to plan as much and I can start enjoying longer days and warmer afternoons. Warmer weather also makes me start getting fidgety. It’s time to start thinking about traveling again.
Up next, my son Kevin (17) and I will be heading south to central Mexico again. Last year, I took Kevin and a friend to Mexico City and Cuernavaca for a fabulous 9 day tour. This year, Kevin and I are going for a shorter period of time. We are flying to Mexico City, but immediately heading further south on a bus to the city of Puebla. I have wanted to visit Puebla for the longest time and this year it’s happening! We plan to spend 2 nights in Puebla and then return to CDMX for our final three nights. The best part of this trip is that our US dollars will go really far. The day after Trump was elected in the US, the peso to USD value skyrocketed. Last year, we were lucky to get an exchange rate of $1USD to 15 MXN peso. Today, the rate steadily hovers at $1USD to 19.8MXN pesos. Everything is on sale! We are staying at very nice, centrally located hotels that would typically be out of our budget-travel price range. We are also having a meal at Contramar. This is considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in Mexico and definitely the best seafood restaurant in Mexico City. We got a reservation about two months ago which apparently is close to impossible! We can’t wait. Other things we plan to do are visit the Museum of Tolerance and Chapultepec Park (again!).
In April, Brian and I are taking what I consider to be the trip of a lifetime. We are going to CUBA!!!! Cuba is not entirely open to American travelers, but it is easier now that the US sanctions have been lifted. By the way, please excuse my use of the word “Americans” to describe me and my travel companions. As a language teacher, I acknowledge that it can be offensive to many when people from the US refer to themselves as American when truly all people from the Western Hemisphere are Americans. I use the term in this blog as a matter of simplicity as we don’t have an adjective to describe someone as being “from the US.” If I could, I would use the term United Statesian, but that would sound rather unusual. Seriously, can’t someone come up with a good adjective of nationality to describe people from the US? In Spanish, we are “estadounidense” and we have adjectives for all other nationalities (i.e. German, French, Canadian, etc.). Did you ever think about this? The arrogance of assuming that the term “American” is ours and ours alone? Anyway, enough about that. This trip to Cuba is not being taken lightly. I have struggled greatly with both the ethics of traveling there. Does it make me anti-American? Am I just another curious American looking to exploit the isolated, poverty-stricken country? In addition, are the risks of traveling to Cuba without a licensed tour company worth it? Do I know enough about the political situation and the US sanctions to be able protect myself from potential US immigration inquiries? Am I comfortable leaving my family for four days and going to a place where I will have no access to modern technology? I’m not completely comfortable yet, but I’m hoping by April 26th I will be. Brian is going along with me to (in his words) “carry my bags” and “provide protection.” We are excited, but we also know this trip will be unlike anything we’ve ever done.
In May, the Morrissey family is heading out west. We are flying to Las Vegas and then driving to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. We grabbed up some super cheap airfare ($112 round trip) and started making our plans. I can’t wait. I have always wanted to return to Zion with my family. I was there in 1995 on a solo trip and have always wanted to go back with my family.
June brings a return trip to Costa Rica for ten days with a group of middle school students. There are no Morrissey children going this year, but my coworker (and fellow Spain traveler) Mandy is going this time. Pura vida! I can’t wait!
In July, I have a five day trip to Denver with my girls and mom to visit family. This time, it was $56 roundtrip airfare that prompted the short vacation.
Finally, we will be heading to South Carolina in July for a family beach vacation. Phew! It’s going to be a busy few months! Believe it or not, I actually already have another trip to Costa Rica booked for 2018. It’s my passion and I am thrilled and thankful that I am healthy enough to be able to travel like this. Stay tuned for more updates on my spring travels!