Planning a Northern Lights trip

Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska
Are Northern Lights on your Bucket List? ✨ If so, maybe it’s time to plan your adventure to Aurora territory.  I’ve been lucky to have experienced them in Alaska, Norway, and Sweden, and now that I’m thoroughly hooked, I would like to add Iceland, Finland, or Canada to that list next. 

Follow along over the next few weeks as I choose one of these places, and then make my travel plans.  Of course I’ll be writing about the whole shebang📝 😊 .

I may be on my own for this one since it looks as if it will be impossible for the whole family to get away together anytime soon.  In a previous post, I wrote about our family experience together seeing the northern lights for the first time. Please take a look at that if you haven’t already. 💚💜💙

So… stay tuned 💫 And if any of you have suggestions, tips, or comments, please feel free to let me know.  Instagram is the best place to find me 😊

Jaclyn

xoxo

Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø, Norway
Abisko, Sweden
Abisko, Sweden
Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska
Follow the journey on Instagram.

Instagram.com/jsf021/

Instagram.com/somethingfortravel/





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On Canadaopoly 


Playing Canadaopoly
Canadaopoly
This week I was reminded of one of our favorite family trips to the Canadian Rockies.  We flew into Calgary, Alberta, and drove up through Banff to Lake Louise.  It was late June, so the days were long.  We packed in canoe rides, hiking, and long walks around the lake.  The boys saw their first marmot in the wild, up close and personal.  Mountain goats & sheep were everywhere. They would fight, then spring up and down the steep rocky cliffs like superheroes.
Bighorn sheep fighting over a mate
Bighorn sheep fighting over a mate
Can you find the sheep in this picture?
Can you see the sheep?

After Lake Louise, we headed to Jasper National Park, stopping at Bridal Veil Falls, Big Whirlpool and Whirlpool Ridge.  In this part of Canada, there’s a new adventure at every turn.  We rode a giant snow coach up to the Athabasca Glacier and spent the day slogging around  a tiny part of the vast Columbia Icefield. We listened and watched for avalanches and ice calving in the surrounding mountains, and drank pure water from meandering glacial streams. We desperately needed warm, waterproof shoes to navigate the glacier due to all the streams hidden beneath the ice.  Our feet were soaked by the time we boarded the snow coach back down the mountain.  Thankfully, we had extra pairs of dry shoes for all packed in the car. 

We were quite exhausted by the time we reached our next destination– a little cabin perched by the Athabasca River.

Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park
Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park

We unloaded, went into town for dinner, then made a quick stop at the general store to pick up snacks and picnic supplies.  I think we all noticed the lone Canadaopoly game perched high on a shelf at exactly the same time.  The clerk had to find a ladder to get it for us, but what can I say?  We’re a board game family 🙂

We were up early the next morning for a rafting trip down the Athabasca River.  The weather was chilly, and we nearly froze after a drenching from the rapids.  Thankfully, the rain held off until the end of our raft ride.

Everyone was tired and cranky, so we decided to spend the evening in.  We lit a fire, ate sandwiches, and played Canadaopoly while listening to the Athabasca River flow and the rain fall.  I had planned to leave the game in the cabin for the next visitors, but the boys pleaded to bring it home. They won.

The next day we took a gondola ride up Mount Whistler and hiked the rest of the way to the top. The morning was clear and beautiful.  We had a nice picnic lunch, then hiked as high as we could go before a thick fog suddenly rolled in.  We made our way back to the gondola just in time for its final run down the mountain.  



As we left the park, a black bear and her cub pranced in front of our car. We pulled over so I could get some photos, and we watched from the safety of our car as the curious little guy tried to figure us out. 


Mom finally nudged her little one into the woods, and we left for our last stop at the Banff Springs Hotel before saying goodbye to Canada. 

Banff Springs Hotel
Banff Springs Hotel
It’s fun to see the sights, but it’s more important to slow down and enjoy being with each other.  Travel is one of the few times a family has together without the distraction of daily routines. Make time to play.  Not every moment of your vacation needs to be orchestrated.  Leave the packed schedules at home. Filling every moment can be stressful and exhausting, not the best way to create fun, happy memories.

This week we had a major storm that left us without power for a couple of days. We turned on our battery operated lantern and spent the next two and a half hours playing Canadaopoly. We pretended the creek out back was the great Athabasca and we reminisced about all of the other adventures we had on that trip.  We were surprised to learn that we all had the same favorite memory — playing Canadaopoly together by the fire.
Map of Alberta
Wishing you fun family games and memories to last a lifetime ✨❤️😊
Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park

Tips for t-shirts and travel memories

T-shirts and travel memories
T-shirts and travel memories
When our family travels together, and even when we don’t, one thing is a constant — t-shirts. No matter where in the world we go, we always bring home souvenir t-shirts. Each shirt becomes filled with special memories. 

Over the years, the shirts that didn’t end up with ketchup stains or holes were quickly outgrown. Some were passed down, but I knew I could never give them away or toss them.  So I devised a plan. 

I purchased a bin for each child. Every time one of the t-shirts reaches the end of its useful life, I treat the stains, wash, dry, and then pack it away into the proper bin. 

Travel t-shirts properly stored
Travel t-shirts properly stored

My plan is to use the t-shirts to make (or have made 🙂 a quilt for each child so they can wrap up and stay warm in their travel memories. 

  
Do you have any special tips for travel t-shirts?  
Here’s wishing you many warm (literally) travel memories ✨❤️

🎶 Money, money, foreign currency… 

Foreign currency with US dollar equivalent
Foreign currency with US dollar equivalent

“Wow!  Mom gave us one hundred whole dollars to spend!” I heard one of my sons telling the other.

“Do you think she messed up?” the other asked.

“Don’t know.  What do you wanna buy?”

That’s when I realized it was time for a little lesson about spending money in a foreign country.  When the boys were younger, my husband and I would always give them a little extra spending money for souvenirs whenever we travelled.  — edit:  heck, we still do it 😉  They knew that once they spent all their money that was it, so they had a tendency to spend the money wisely.  This time we were in a foreign country and when we gave them their spending money they didn’t understand that it wasn’t as much as they thought it was, in spite of the number on the bill.

So when they came into what they thought was a windfall, the visions of sugarplums–I mean ball caps, t-shirts, and rubber snakes–began to dance in their heads.  It was time for a little lesson on foreign exchange.

Kids learn through play, so I gathered a few bills and some change in both US dollars and the currency of the country we happened to be in at the time, and let them play.  We had an interesting math lesson and they learned that mom had not exactly provided them with a pot of gold.  Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for them to catch on to money exchange.  Like most adults, I had underestimated the little guys.  They aren’t so little anymore but the lessons stuck. 

If you travel frequently and your kids know the differences between dollar bills and change and can make simple purchases on their own, it might be time to introduce them to foreign exchange.

Download a currency conversion app or some other way to access the exchange rate, along with a few small bills and some change in both currencies and let them play “Banker.”   You can also let them track daily changes in the rate and plot the difference over time.  Who knows?  You may be raising the next forex genius.

Here’s wishing you safe & happy travels ❤️✨ and that the exchange rate is always in your favor 💵💴💶💷💰💫
© 2017 jsf