Friday, January 2, 2009

Take Time to be an Armchair Traveler

I’ve never been to Albuquerque, but it’s a on my "list" of places I’d like to visit.

I love to read, but those dozen or more travel trade magazines that arrive at my door each month limit my time to read for fun. That explains the boxes of unread books that I cling to because I’m going to "get to them someday" (rather similar to the clothes we keep because we’re going to fit in them again someday.) Thankfully I belong to a monthly book club with people who are very understanding that, with my schedule, I don’t always get to read all of the book. At the moment I’m struggling with time and attention issues to get through "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" for the club. With all due respect to Mr. Twain, this isn’t doing it for me.

I’m digressing. Going through some of my mail last night, I saw the newest edition of "Emerging Horizons – Accessible Travel News" (www.emerginghorizons.com) which recently arrived. I noticed there was an article about Albuquerque. Since we mostly work with accessible cruise vacations, I could read this article about landlocked Albuquerque selfishly. No note-taking whether by pen or mentally. No thoughts of which client to keep in mind as I read. Just a chance to read about a place for fun. I loved it!

It was only a two-page article but the author, Candy Harrington, covered Old Town, museums which sound like fun, shopping, local culture, ballooning and more. Hot air ballooning is huge in Albuquerque. Unfortunately, this gal likes her feet planted firmly on the ground. I "don’t do heights." I’m okay in planes so apparently my comfort zone also includes my backside being firmly planted into the seat of large vehicles. I love the idea of ballooning; I just don’t think I’d relax enough to enjoy it if you could get me in the basket to begin with. (Do you think the term "basket case" came from someone who was acrophobic being forced into the gondola/basket of a hot air balloon?)

The article mentions that the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum has a balloon simulator. How neat is that!? It has a giant flight screen and you can change your altitude as you control the gas. Candy says you feel like you’re soaring along. The simulator has roll-on access so it’s wheelchair accessible! If the idea of hot air ballooning excites you, but you’re unable to climb into the gondola or are afraid of being lifted off the ground, here’s a chance to get a feel of what the real experience would be like.

For me, it was nice to do something I’d not done in a very long time- relax and read about a place for fun. Of course, I think everyone should go on vacations. I wouldn’t have chosen a career as a travel consultant if I didn’t, right? But whether it’s to read about a place you don’t think you’ll get to or to read about a place you want to get to "someday" or it’s to read to learn more about a spot you’re set to visit--- treat yourself to some down time to relax and dream about a part of the world outside your door.