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I flew to Charleston, South Carolina for the first time last weekend. I lived in the south for a number of years but South Carolina was a destination along with the southern east coast has been on my bucket list for some time.

I stayed near the convention center in a Home2Suites by Hilton. It’s a mid range priced hotel designed for the business man and families with the accommodations set up like a efficiency apartment. The hotel room had a full refrigerator, microwave, and full dishwasher!! That was a first!!!

Charleston is full of history, antebellum mansions, historic churches, set along in downtown Charleston with cobblestone streets, hidden courtyard gardens. There are homes from the 18th century that have been maintained and restored that are just beautiful.

I found the people to be friendly and helpful. We visited the waterfront park and then walked thru the old downtown parts of Charleston including the city market full of neat quaint shops and the smell of pralines (free samples) coming from the candy shops. The cruise ship terminal is right at the waterfront park so it couldn’t be more convenient to visit Charleston by cruiseship.

I just got back from Costa Rica and I was amazed with the beauty of the place. Costa Rica may be a small country wedged between two continents, but few locales in the world are bigger on nature and adventure. Flanked by miles of wild beaches on the Pacific. Costa Rica’s interior is a lush tangle of rain forest, mist-veiled mountains, active volcanoes and habitat for some of the greatest wild life that I have seen. Within the layers of green upon green, thousands of species thrive: You will see neon-bright parrots, three-toed sloths, monkeys, peccaries, crocodiles, iguanas and frogs, just for starters. In the colors and cacophony of the tropical jungle, our senses are never so engaged.

My hotel was magnificent, the local Costa Ricans are very friendly and kind. We went in late October and it was still in the 80’ degrees but very pleasant. You need to try their Ice cream; It was just the thing to cool you down in the mid-afternoon. The hotel that we stayed in was very nice. I love the beaches with the sound of the wind blowing the wave to shore. A must do is the canopy/zip line. Gliding through the jungle on the top of the tree and seeing the monkeys up front and the birds flying through the air was just breathtaking. Another must do is the river cruise. There we saw many crocodiles, bird, iguanas, and more monkeys. The sun sets around 5:00 P.M. so you want to get an early jump on you day. I would recommend everyone that if you want adventure and enjoy Mother Nature, then this is an excellent destination to visit.

First two days:

In the first week of October I had the opportunity to go to Southeast Asia, to Borneo, Malaysia, to be exact! Another agent from the company and I had the privilege to get to know the beautiful city of Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding area. It was a very educational trip to this part of the world. I learn a lot about the people, the food, the area, the dances, the cultural BBQ, the beautiful sunsets that we were able to experience and take lots of pictures of, and especially the warmth that you feel radiating from the island itself! It was a long flight with a double connection, triple if you count the one from Salt Lake City. We did so many things, including sea walking, where I had the chance to feed a couple of schools of fish. The fish came to my hand and ate from it! Sea walking gives one the opportunity to stay dry from the neck up, mingle with the underwater critters, and get close to the beautiful coral life, all while walking on an underwater platform. All of this can be done in the Borneo Reef World Pontoon.

Third day:

We departed from Kota Kinabalu and headed to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, also known as "The Tip of Borneo." We visited a Rungus Longhouse and experienced the locals' way of life. In the afternoon we headed to the the most northern tip of the island, where we witnessed the picturesque view of the South China Sea meeting the Sulu Sea. We enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets!

Traveling to Australia has always felt like a very distant and nearly impossible goal of mine. My grandmother was born in Australia and I was fortunate to have a close relationship with her. She surrounded herself with Australia. She painted images of the gum trees. She had a kangaroo skin rug on the floor, a sheepskin rug on the couch. A black emu egg rested next to brilliant white coral on her mantel. A very large seahorse hung on her wall and now hangs on mine in an 8 X 10 frame. A toy koala that sat on her piano was actually a music box playing ‘Waltzing Matilda’. A portrait of her 16 year old self hung in a wooden frame carved in the shape of the Island of Tasmania. Homemade lamingtons were always our Christmas treat; and every night was vegemite on toast for dinner. My visit to Australia felt very familiar.

Southern Crossings, travel specialists for Australia, was the catalyst that made my Australia vacation happen. They provided the opportunity for the adventure of a lifetime; to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the Great Barrier Reef, to participate in an outback wilderness experience in the rugged and beautiful Blue Mountains, and to experience the hustle and bustle of downtown Sydney.

Ever wondered would it would be like to travel 20 hours on an airplane to the other side of the world?? Other than an uncomfortable plane ride, it was amazing!

Our adventures first started out in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. What a wonderful, clean, and beautiful city. Dubai is home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. What a view from the 140th floor!! It is also home to the largest shopping mall in the world. I really felt comfortable in this city and appreciated that fact that everything is new and clean. Our guide explained to us the nationalities that make up this city of 2.4 million people. Only 20% are from the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Of the remaining 80%, 50% are from India, the rest are from Pakistan, Philippines, and Bangladesh, in that order.