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5 Things We Miss Most About Traveling

These days we are seeing less travel due to the pandemic. Many states still have lock down orders, re-opening has paused, and only essential business are allowed to continue daily operations. Suffice it the stay, it is not business as usual. Additionally, there is a currently a ban on travel to countries part of the European Union (EU) from the United States. Although, our family strongly believes in staying home staying health, it has definitely made us realize how much we miss travelling, especially internationally. Here are 5 things we miss most about travelling.

  1. The Food: There are so many different types of cuisine to discover in other countries. From the exotic delicacies in Singapore and Japan to good ‘ol fashion BBQ in Yerevan, there is nothing like discovering new foods. Food is an adventure and culture experience all scooped on a plate. At times, the food can be highly indulgent or completely unappealing, but each bite is totally worth it!
  2. The People: The ability to meet new people, learn about their history and experience their culture has always been fascinating to us. It will literally change your view of the world in an instant. Its the people you meet as much as the places you go that make each trip worthwhile. Through our travels, we have meet some truly inspiring people that we will never forget.
  3. Flexibility: No schedule, no work, no obligations-its a perfect travel experience. Whether traveling work or leisure, taking a bit of time to relax and enjoy your surroundings is priceless. It’s the amount of freedom and break from your daily routine when you travel can be the most enjoyable. Going with the flow can sometimes be the best travel “schedule”!
  4. New Adventures: Traveling gives you the opportunity to explore and experience new adventures. Take to the open road or follow the unbeaten path. We have had so many great adventures and discovered new things, concepts and experiences that we will remember for a lifetime. the thrill of exploring, a journey into unknown, a sense of adventure
  5. Personal Growth: Whether travelling alone or with friends, you experience a lot of personal growth. Whether its by becoming more patient as you navigate a foreign land or gain new perspectives about a people and it cultures, you’ll come back a changed person. You will be more confident in stepping out of your comfort zone and more courageous in your adventures. Give yourself some grace and embrace the new you that comes from travelling.

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3 Reasons You Should Rent A Boat

Lake Travis Austin, TX

Since we’ve been under quarantine for the last 3 months due to COVID-19 and the orders were finally lifted, we were ready to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air. But we still had to follow social distancing rules while outside. So, we all put our heads together to find an activity that was fun, inexpensive and still allowed for social distancing. Renting a boat was the perfect activity! This was a new adventure for us but we were up to the challenge. We rented a pontoon boat, perfect for families, from Just for Fun Watercraft Rental for a half day. Once we received our driving course at the marina (yes, its literally is like driving a car) we were on our way to the open waters. If you love the outdoors and are looking for a great family vacation, boating is right up your alley. I’ve listed 3 reasons why boating is a great family and/or solo activity to do and some surviving chaos tips to help you navigate the waters.

  1. Social Distancing Safe: Whats between you, your boat and the lake……nothing! Absolutely nothing…..there is no one standing next to you and the closest boat or ski-do is zooming past you miles away. This meant it was just us, the boat and the water. We didn’t have to worry about maintaining 6 feet of social distance because we were totally isolated. Additionally, you can find your own private beach or alcove hang out spot for your family. There are tons of alcoves on Lake Travis to choose; you can spread out your blanket and toys and have a good time. Boating is another way of getting away without going too far.
  2. Advance Your Skills: So previously, I mentioned that driving a boat is like driving a car…..but that’s AFTER you figure it out! A boat is like a moving target! You are steering one way but the current of the lake wants to take you in a completely different direction. Nautical terminology is also something you’ll pick up quickly along with water safety rules. Also, you’re also trying to find your balance while driving which is no small feet! By the time you’ve learn how to drive, balance yourself using muscles you’ve never used before, kept the kids from going overheard due to a big wave and learned how to navigate a lake using Google Maps you’ll be exhausted…..but skilled! You’ll definitely come out of the trip with some MAD skills and an imaginary gold medal. Did I mention….that I parallel parked our boat? Yep, I did that. Score 1 for mom!!!
  3. Family Time: We had so much fun on our boat! But for me, the best thing was seeing the kids faces light up as we speed through the lake. Hearing their giggles and full laughter every time our captain (my husband) hit a big wave. Our son educating us on the geography, animals he saw and other nature facts was wonderful. His binoculars definitely got a work out! Watching grandma and the kids have their own concert and sing-a-long to the Trolls 2 soundtrack was quite entertaining. Seeing my husband steering our boat with an air of confidence like a true captain but look of nervousness on his face was priceless. This was by far one of our funnest activities we did as a family and we created a TON of memories.

Surviving Chaos

  • B.Y.O.F – Bring your own food: Pack some sandwiches, chips, fruit, juice and water and you’ll be all set. With your own meal you stop literally anywhere and have lunch. Plus you’ll save money as some of the restaurants can be expensive. And don’t forget the snacks, nothing worse than h-angry kids!!
  • Beach toys: Bring some beach toys or stop by your local dollar store for some inexpensive items. This will keep the kids entertained while on the beach our while on the boat while your traveling around the lake.
  • Sunscreen: I can’t stress how important to slather everyone down in sunscreen. When we started our boating trip it was cloudy but it quickly heated up once the sun came out. Please protect your skin during all your outdoor activities sunscreen and remember to re-apply.
  • Reserve Early: Beat the rush and reserve your boat early at the beginning of summer. Boat rental reservations start the first warm day here and companies get booked all the way to late summer. The best boat for families are pontoon boats which seat up to 16 people.

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Family, Food, Surviving Chaos

Salmon Avocado Rice Bowls

Salmon Avocado rice bowls a perfect addition to your summer menu and is part of our summer series recipes. Salmon is light, healthy and quick so you’ll have more time to spend with your family rather than cooking in the kitchen. This is also a great way to introduce kids to fish since this recipe has lots of sweet flavors to mask the any fishy taste. Its definitely a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 4 cup jasmine rice (1 cup per person)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 cup lime, juice only
  • 4 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp chicken or vegatable stock
  • 1 lb salmon fillets, skin off
  • 1 ripe avocado

Let’s Make It!

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F
  2. Cook rice per package instructions.
  3. Heat a cooking pan on medium-high heat. Add stock, 1 tbsp of honey, 1/2 cup lime juice and 2 tbsp cilantro to pan. (Save remaining ingredients for next steps).
  4. Simmer the mixture for about a minute, remove from heat and mix with rice. Mix well and set aside.
  5. Line a backing sheet with aluminum foil.
  6. Mix remaining lime juice, honey, and together in a bowl then rub mixture onto salmon fillets. Sprinkle salt on salmon as desired. NOTE: Glaze will run down salmon onto baking sheet and will burn. This is ok, the fish is not burning.
  7. Bake salmon 12-15 minutes.
  8. Divide rice among bowls and top with salmon fillet. Top with sliced avocado, lime juice, and salt to taste. Enjoy!

Surviving Chaos

  • Rice: Pre-cook rice the day before to speed of cook time.
  • Chili Powder: Add a 1/4 tsp of chili powder to add a little spice!
  • Noodles: Substitute thin noodles for rice to change up the recipe.

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How To Tour Your City

Now that people are starting to come out of their houses and stay at home orders are easing, this is a great opportunity to explore your hometown. Not everyone is comfortable traveling out of state now that we are in the COVID-19 era so why not support your local community and explore local shops and restaurants. This goes without saying but I’m going to mention it anyway….please remember your social distancing guidelines like wearing a face masks and staying six feet apart.

One of the best ways to tour your own city is to have friend show you all of their favorite spots. You’d be surprised at how many places you haven’t visited with your friend. Its also a great way to find out your friends favorite spots around time or places you never thought of visiting. Another great way to explore your city is via tour bus. There are lots of local companies that offer tours around your town and know the ins, out, and places unseen throughout the city. The best part, the tour guide will have LOTS of stories and history to share about each of the local sites.

Do adventures that are specific to your hometown, for example Austin is home to the largest bat colony in North America. Every year, we visit the Congress Avenue bridge during late fall to see the bats. Its an awesome experience and fun for the kids. You can check out some of our adventures in Austin here. Each city has it own adventures and experiences that make it famous and are worth being explored. While your out, don’t forget to eat local! There are so many local restaurants to try in your city that could definitely use our support during these unprecedented times. Local eateries offer one of a kind experiences with lots of history and stories to tell. What a great way to add to your experience.

These are just a few ideas on how to be a tourist in your own city. With all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we rarely stop to explore and experience what’s in our very own backyard. Who says traveling has to be done far from home?

Food, Surviving Chaos

Summer Series: Citrus Shrimp Salad

This recipe is a perfect start to The Traveller’s Wife Recipes: Summer Series! With light and airy spring time notes, citrus shrimp salad can be made in as little as 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined (about 40) plus pan searing ingredients
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    • black pepper and salt
  • 8 cups of greens (arugula, spinach or spring mix)
  • Lemon flavored extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 ounces sliced almonds (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper

Let’s Make It!

  1. In medium bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, onion, 2 teaspoons parsley. Pour the mixture into large skillet over medium heat. Simmer and cook until reduced by half (about 5-8 minutes).
  2. Add shrimp, salt and pepper cover and cook until shrimp turn pink (about 5 minutes).
  3. In large bowl toss shrimp and greens together.
  4. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Lightly toss to coat.
  5. Add avocado and almond slices to coat. Enjoy!!!

Surviving Chaos

  1. Pre-make Shrimp: Make shrimp the day before and just reheat when ready to eat.
  2. Onion: Substitute green onion for red onion.
  3. Pasta: If you have extra shrimp, mix it with linguine or angel hair pasta for another quick weeknight dinner.

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