The mysteries of The Forbidden City, the Empress Dowager, Imperial Beijing and historic Tiananmen Square are pieces of the Chinese puzzle. Add in a glimpse of the quickly disappearing hutong neighborhoods, ancient back lanes and rickshaw rides. Admire the massive scale of the Terra Cotta Warriors and cruise a portion of the Yangtze river through the scenic Three Gorges and you’ll have a taste of travel to China with Viking Cruises. And I haven’t even mentioned the markets or food.
Visiting China is difficult. The language barrier is very real, cultural etiquette can be challenging, the country is vast and the most populated in the world. Many well traveled friends just shake their heads when talk centers around a trip to The People’s Republic. The conversation quickly changes to more approachable and easier destinations. After my most recent experience there, I now have an answer: “travel to China with Viking Cruises”.
Scattered islands and rugged coastline filled the window as I landed in Sitka. Tall pines and small cottages were surrounded by crashing waves layered in blues as crisp and clear as any Caribbean sea. Discovering Alaska’s Inside Passage would hold many surprises with AdventureSmith Explorations , a small ship cruise expert.
Their award-winning company is well known for responsible travel and sustainable practices. Leaving the compact airport in a late morning mist, the air immediately smelled of the pine so familiar from my trips to northern Canada. It’s a deep, damp musty scent of the forest: clean, fresh and untouched.
This year has turned out to be a remarkable one for Green With Renvy travel; I’ve practically circumnavigated the globe. As a travel writer, my goal was to increase my readership, followers and outlets for my writing, while discovering new destinations and experiences. Success on all four counts, but as always, it is never enough. “Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.” – Wendell Berry
As a traveler, I try and step out of my comfort zone and havenew experiences on each of my journeys. So where in the world did Alison find herself this year? Let’s take a look back the best of Green With Renvy Travel.
Nestled amongst medieval castles and villages along the Rhine River are charming cities featuring Germany’s Christmas Markets. An excellent way to tour the area is aboard a Viking River Cruise. Although we’ve never really considered ourselves a cruising couple, believe us when we say one trip into the category and we’re hooked. The concept of unpacking once and having the hotel smoothly glide along the river while you have the opportunity to visit four different countries can not be emphasized enough. Along with the luxury service and onboard restaurants, Viking has perfected the art of travel experiences in the world’s great destinations.
One of the best parts of my work is meeting with companies and having the opportunity to work with those that align with my lifestyle or travel goals. As you might know, I have been a Stonyfield Ambassador for over three years now and in addition to being in sync with many of their corporate values, they are constantly introducing new ideas for everyone in the program to collaborate. For the holiday season, they have generously created a Pay it Forward campaign with a feel good message.
The holidays are all about giving back; Stonyfield has given us a $50.00 gift card and just requested we pay it forward. Such fun right? It didn’t take me long to figure out how I was going to accomplish my Pay it Forward with Stonyfield.
As our kids were growing up, my husband and I have always tried to lead by example. For many years we’ve worked as a family serving meals, delivering gifts and donating time to various organizations around the city of Boston. It was a small piece of our busy lives, but an important message and bonding experience for our family unit.
My daughter has been involved for close to 10 years with Athletes Unlimited, an organization that provides recreational programs for people of all ages with disabilities. Now in the “adult” world, she’s working towards a Master’s Degree in Special Education. It’s incredibly hard work and takes a unique individual. I believe she is truly gifted in her field.
Since she works and lives close by, we often have the opportunity to talk about her day over coffee. Stressful and taxing, she somehow manages to always have a smile on her face when she relates stories about the children she works with in a class specially designed for students with autism.
One of the methods she employs in the classroom is providing sensory stimulation breaks using a variety of tools. This could represent oversized cardboard bricks, a ball pit or a mini trampoline which all assist in relieving frustrations or refocusing the mind and body.
When she recently shared that the mini trampoline had blown some springs and seen better days, I thought what better way to spend my Pay it Forward money then to purchase a new unit for her classroom. Thank you Stonyfield for being a model company and giving me a chance to share the joy of children’s smiles.
I’ve actually been writing Pay it Forward posts since the beginning of Green With Renvy. If your curious about my motivation and how that process started, you might enjoy reading this post about the IOU Project.