Posts Tagged ‘Great Getaways’

Gratitude in this moment









A few years ago I came upon an inspirational video about gratitude and I wanted to know more about the creator, Louie Schwartzberg ( I read about him (thank you, Google!) and watched other videos he created. After a while, I was sidetracked by everyday life and lost my focus on Schwartzberg’s creative genius.

Last month, while attending Virtuoso Travel Week, I experienced a moment of serendipity during the Opening Session. A surprise guest, Sarah Jessica Parker, welcomed us. Our keynote speaker, Erik Qualman (, the #1 speaker on digital leadership and an international best-selling author, motivated us (Erik rocks my world!). Our fearless leader a/k/a Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso Chairman of the Board and CEO, sparked our thoughts. And then….

Louie Schwartzberg walked onstage. As he began to speak, I thought he sounded familiar (old age is not for sissies, by the way). Then the proverbial lightbulb went off and I realized I was in the presence of the man whose work fascinated me back in 2012. So whether it’s serendipity or synchronicity, I was reunited with a fountain of inspiration.

Today I decided to share the gift of Louie Schwartzberg’s inspiration with you. Below is a short TED Talk he gave in 2011. If you like it, consider gifting it to someone else. Couldn’t we all use a daily reminder of the beauty and goodness of our world?



Love from Lhasa!









Call it Tibet or be politically correct and call it China, I loved my visit to Lhasa. I was looking at some of our photos of our travels and realized I hadn’t talked about Lhasa in a long time.

Lhasa is over 11,000 feet above sea level, so get some altitude sickness medicine and begin taking it a couple of days before you arrive. In many ways I felt Lhasa was frozen in time a la Lost Horizon, a true Shangri-La, steeped in bright colors, lots of incense, interesting architecture, and charming clothing. Food is not why you go to Lhasa – lots of yak dishes and lots of yak butter. It’s all about the experience – the palpable spirituality.

We picnicked outside a monastery; visited monks learning to debate and participated in meditation with the monks;  we visited sacred shrines and palaces, and lunched outside Norbulingka, once the Dalai Lama’s summer residence, with a monk who, through an interpreter, answered our questions about his life. Enough words – time for some pictures! Enjoy!

Email me, Barbara, for more memories of Lhasa or info on the logistics of visiting this exotic destination.

Great, Greater, Greatest!

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After 25 years of owning a brick-and-mortar travel company, Great Getaways Travel has decided to work remotely and become a “virtual” travel company, joining the 21st century finally! We are still a thriving company and are here to help you with your travels. Our phone number remains 913-338-2244 and we look forward to talking to you.

One of our favorite sayings is “Don’t let the good get in the way of the better and don’t let better get in the way of best.” We practice that philosophy in everything we do personally and professionally.

Because our objective is to create the most memorable vacations possible for you, we’ve decided to affiliate with Largay Travel, in Waterbury, Connecticut. It’s great, greater, and greatest news!

GREAT: We now have even more support and resources.

GREATER: Largay will handle all the pesky back office details freeing us to devote 100% of our time to planning your travel.

GREATEST: By affiliating with Largay Travel we are able to give you increased benefits when you travel, as we now have preferred status with several hotels, cruise lines, and tour companies.

PRICELESS: We are still very active and proud to be part of Virtuoso — you’ve experienced the benefits of that association.

So, where do you want to go in 2017? Give us a call, 913-338-2244, and start packing!


Unforgettable Milan

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Milan – the fashion and financial center of Italy

Damien Martin, our Italy specialist, recently returned from a wining, dining, hotel inspecting tour in Italy. Enjoy his blog post about Milan and contact Damien for expert advice on traveling to Italy.

Milan – A blend of nationalities

Walk around Milan and you’re liable to encounter people from all over the world. About 20 percent of the residents of Italy’s most cosmopolitan city are foreign-born. What you won’t see — at least relative to Italy’s other destinations — is a lot of Americans.
Sure, many Americans fly into Milan on their way to Lake Como — and who could blame them? — but the fashion and financial capital is worth taking a couple of days to explore.
Hosting the 2015 Universal Exposition and this year’s Champions League final — the Super Bowl of European soccer — have helped raise the city’s international profile and revitalize certain areas. This being Italy, there’s plenty of history, too.

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La Scala, Duomo, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Ahhh, Milan!

Clustered within a few hundred feet of each are the city’s main sights: the famed La Scala opera house, the many-spired Duomo and connecting the two, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls.
While the Galleria offers enough haute couture to overhaul your wardrobe, it just scratches the surface of Milan’s high-end shopping. The whole city is more or less an open-air mall, from the Via Montenapoleone area — where you’ll find Armani, Ferragamo and Versace storefronts — to the arts district of Brera.

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Leonardo da Vinci called Milan home

The most famous artist to have called Milan home is none other than Leonardo da Vinci and no trip would be complete without a viewing of “The Last Supper.” But make sure to get tickets well in advance — entry is restricted to 25 people per 15-minute viewing. The limited numbers and a series of air locks are to preserve the fragile masterpiece as well as possible.
Because Leonardo painted on the dry wall instead of into wet plaster, the paint began fading almost as soon as it dried. Unlike fresco, the technique allowed Leonardo to make alterations as he worked. This technique resulted in the brilliant capturing of one of the Bible’s most crucial scenes. Centuries of amateur retouching and a few years spent exposed to open air after a World War II bombing didn’t help matters much.
For a much more relaxing supper, head to the Navigli district for a spritz and some risotto alla Milanese (the key ingredient is saffron) next to the scenic canals that were once the lifeblood of Milan’s commerce and are now a nightlife hotspot. You have Leonardo’s design to thank for that, too.

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Free dinner and drinks? We’re in!

Holland America Line

FREE drinks? Check. FREE dinner? Check. FREE or reduced fares for 3rd/4th guests PLUS 50% reduced deposit? SIGN US UP!!

Rarely do I blog about a vendor’s offer. It seems so “selly” and self-serving and perhaps this post is a bit of that. Read on, though, and you’ll discover why I believe this offer is worth sharing with you.

As a child I experienced the golden age of cruising, when masquerade parties, dance lessons, bingo, and formal dinner attire were the norm. I remember my mom packing a huge trunk of clothes for our family, my shiny party shoes and favorite stuffed animal included. Cruise ships left from New York bound for the Caribbean and we gathered on deck throwing streamers and cheering as our ship left the pier and those ashore calling out, “Bon voyage!”

I'm the young lady on the left

I’m the young lady on the left

Cruises have, of course, changed with the times, a good thing, right? The dress code is more relaxed, dining venues abound, and coffee bars and computer labs have replaced the dance lessons and Bingo. Unfortunately, some cruise lines have sacrificed service and quality in the name of corporate profit. Not so with the cruise lines we recommend!

With that nostalgic intro ( yes, I am of the age of dinosaurs and telephones with cords), I share with you a great offer from one of my personal favorite cruise lines, Holland America Line.

With more than 500 sailings a year to all seven continents, Holland America has 15 elegant, mid-sized ships set to meet your every whim and want.

Now, for only a short time, you can book January 2016-April 2017 cruises and receive all four of the following offers with your booking: FREE signature beverage package (up to $1400 value), FREE Pinnacle Grill Dinner ($58 value), FREE or Reduced Cruise Fares for 3rd/4th guests, and 50% reduced deposit. PLUS….book a suite and receive the above four offers WITH $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom and a FREE Canaletto dinner.

Don’t miss this incredible offer which ends on October 30, 2015! Call Great Getaways Travel now at 913.338.2244 to book your once-in-a-lifetime Holland America Cruise.