Anywhere Once: Heathrow Part 1

This March, I decided to spend my spring break in the beautiful Mediterranean Maltese Islands. Malta has been on my travel bucket list for over 10 years, and I was more than ecstatic to finally reserve this picturesque trip. My first step in planning any trip is purchasing the plane ticket. While researching the ticket, I soon realized that my trip would be a double adventure.

I will admit that I have chosen travel destinations based partially on incredibly priced finds at 3a.m. So, it is no surprise, that while browsing on https://www.aa.com/homePage , I immediately focused on the lowest priced plane ticket to Malta (MLA). I quickly noticed a message, in red, below the fare on the outbound flight stating, “Connecting airports are different,”.  There was also a red warning on the return flight stating,” Connecting airports are different, Overnight flight or connection. “  I had previously booked an overnight flight through Heathrow Airport on a return flight from Tunis(TUN), but I had never changed from Heathrow to Gatwick Airport while in transit. Well, l there is nothing like a challenge with a prize of a better fare, so I accepted.

Here is what you need to know to make this transfer work.

1.     As stated in the British Airways High Life magazine and here https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/information/airport-information/flight-connections,  you will need a minimum of three hours for the connection from Heathrow Airport to Gatwick Airport. My flight into London Heathrow landed at 7:25a.m. and my departing flight left at 11:35a.m. from London Gatwick. We made the connection between the two airports, with 30 minutes to spare.

2.     I did not check luggage, instead I used a carry-on suitcase, which for me is miraculous. I advise you to check the carry-on size requirements for your luggage with European airlines. Most of the time, their sizing scale is smaller.  I chose a carry-on over checked baggage, because switching airports in London requires you to collect your checked luggage.

3.     You must clear customs and immigration before you leave Heathrow and travel to Gatwick. This can take an uncertain amount of time. Be patient and drink your coffee or tea before you disembark from the plane.

4.     After clearing customs and immigration, you will follow the signs for the Coaches for National Express.  And, if you get confused or lost, the airport agents are readily available to assist you.

 

5.     You will purchase your ticket for the National Express Coach on the lower level. The ticket will cost £25.00 GBP and the agent will tell you the location for your pickup. The commute can take as long as an hour, due to traffic.  Mine did.

 

You can now enter Gatwick airport, clear security, and board your flight onward to your next destination.

This is an important fact to remember, when booking flights in or through London, there are THREE MAJOR AIRPORTS. They are Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW) and London City (LCY). Each airport is located in a different part of London and requires a connection or transfer. Check your airport codes carefully when you are booking flights online.  Make sure your connecting flights are in the same airport. If your flights are in different airports, make sure you have enough time to make the connection. It is your responsibility to critique your travel plans and make sure the schedule is one in which you are comfortable and can execute. After all, no one wants a missed flight or a delay when such a headache could have been avoided. Happy travels. Ciao! 

 

 

#airports #London #London Heathrow #London Gatwick #National Express Coach #American Airlines #British Airways #Dallas #Malta

Anywhere Once: The Jewelry

I am definitely a girly girl. I love makeup, hair and all things shiny . These obsessions make my love and collecting of jewelry an obvious obsession. For me, travel is about the experience of being in that exact moment in time, and not allowing yourself to be restricted by preconceived restraints of what is considered normal. I like to learn about the people and the location that I am visiting before I arrive. This allows me to feel like an integral part of their society, not just an observer.  When I wear a piece of jewelry purchased from a particular location, it helps me relive the breathtaking emersion of the experience.

The Jade

I love scenic views and hustling cities, so Hong Kong lived up to my expectations. Hong Kong is filled with enchantments; the astonishing view atop Victoria Peak , the custom suit tailors and the endless shopping in Mong Kok. While embracing the shopping culture of this enthralling city I noticed one item that seemed to be in surplice, jade. Before travelling to Hong Kong, I did a little research to better understand one of the hottest commodities in Hong Kong.

This is a summary of what I learned.

1.   Surprise! The Jade being sold at the souvenir stores is probably counterfeit.  Even the authenticity of jade sold at generic jewelry stores is a little vague, but I took my chances with a reputable jeweler.  There are multiple tests that one can perform to determine the integrity of the jade, none can really be performed on the spot. It is highly unlikely that the jeweler will let you take a pair of sharp scissors to his jade, and start scratching like D.J. Such and Such on a turntable.  With that being said, if you are not looking to spend a lot of money and you are just interested in an intricate souvenir, you can buy on the street. For a better chance at genuine Jade, buy from a reputable jeweler. You can also check with your hotel for jeweler recommendations.

2.   Jade comes in six natural colors: black, white, lavender, red, yellow and green. The most expensive Jade is the green Jade. The more transparent the green, the more it’s value increases. I stopped in one jewelry store and saw a bangle that cost over $10,000. With that being said, if you see pink Jade for $50, it is probably an imposter.

 

3.    There are two types of Jade. Jadeite and Nephrite. Jadeite is the more expensive of the pair and the highest quality Jadeite can cost more per carat than quality diamonds. Nephrite is softer and lacks the luster of Jadeite.

 

This is what I discovered before heading to Hong Kong. This is another helpful link http://www.discoverhongkong.com/us/shop/where-to-shop/street-markets-and-shopping-streets/jade-market-and-jade-street.jsp.  I hope this information will help you find the piece of Jade that you just love, and brings you wonderful memories of China.  Happy shopping and be sure to get a foot reflexology massage to restore your feet after pounding the pavement. Ciao!

#jade #jewelry #Hong Kong #China #shopping

 

 

 

 

 

ANYWHERE ONCE: THE JEWELRY

The United States Virgin Islands are as scenic as a postcard. On my first visit, I stayed on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Each island has its own personality and appeal. St. Thomas has the hustle and bustle of Main Street in downtown Charlotte Amalie. On Main Street and the surrounding area, there is a plethora of duty free shops, jewelry stores and restaurants that line the picturesque waterfront. Then, there is the relaxed island of St. Croix, with the more tranquil Christiansted leading the way. I fully embraced St. Croix’s vibe and stayed at the Renaissance Carambola Beach Resort and Spa, it was like paradise. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/stxbr-renaissance-st-croix-carambola-beach-resort-and-spa/.

Even though these Islands seemingly have their own personalities, I noticed a mutual occurrence.  Almost everyone was wearing at least one Hook Bracelet.  I was vaguely familiar with this bracelet because I had received one as a souvenir from Sonya Ltd on the island of St. Croix. I had to learn the history behind these beautiful bracelets. I always love a good back story.

I found a few stories about the origins of the Hook Bracelet. My favorite is the fisherman story. Since the bracelet is latched with a design resembling a fisherman’s hook and the story’s backdrop is an Island, I deemed this scenario the most interesting. You can find the story on the attached link www.thehookcompany.com.

I hope you enjoy your bracelet as much as I enjoy mine. Good luck!

The Downsize: How I Packed Lighter

Well, many people believed that this task was impossible, but I did it. I took an international trip to Europe using only one piece of carry-on luggage. Yes, this phenomenon had been done once before, but it was a trip to Costa Rica and a backpack was involved. Those were different circumstances. There were no light weight swimsuits, beach coverups and floppy hats on this trip. Real clothing was needed! The occasion was spring break. The location was Malta.  The season was supposedly spring, but when I checked the temperature, it was more like a Texas winter.

Normally I carry my giant Samsonite suitcase, aka “Big Red”, on my international trips. Big red can hold a complete mini wardrobe, a mobile salon and a makeup studio. I know this for a fact because, these are normally the contents of my suitcase. Due to a time sensitive connection in London, and few luggage mishaps in the past, I decided to downsize my luggage to only the essential items.  Let me explain.

This is what I would normally pack.  I would take clothing “outfits” for every day, at least three evening outfits, a pair of evening shoes, slippers, a curling iron, a flat iron, hair mousse, Moroccan oil, hairspray, facial cleanser, toner, moisturizer, sunblock, detox mask and makeup. Whew.

Now, this is how I was able to cut the bulk. First I purchased a set of the packing cubes from Amazon, in pink of course, which helped me to organize my luggage. I then realized that I had to re wear clothing in order to make this mission work, so I packed coordinating colors. Just in case I decided to do a load of laundry, I took a travel size Tide laundry detergent.

 I also needed thin, light weight, yet warm clothing. Since it was still boot weather in Malta, and leggings and boots are a great combination, leggings were an obvious choice. Another benefit of leggings is they are light weight and roll up into basically nothing. I prefer basic colors like black and grey, in addition to one printed pattern.  Neutral colors also pair easily, plus they can be worn multiple times. I also packed a Wolford body suit which kept me warm under my light weight tops. http://www.wolfordshop.com/bodysuits    I know you are thinking, “I am going to look blah!” No, that is what your accessories are for, flare, plus they do not take up a lot of room.

The next thing I packed was my skincare. I kept all of the sample packets of my moisturizers, cleansers, toners and eye creams that I received when purchasing my products from the department store. If you do not have sample packets, just transfer the products into smaller TSA approved containers. I purchased my containers from Target in the travel section. You can also do the same with your haircare products. You can also ask your stylist to purchase the travel sizes of your favorite professional brands. Hair stylist love keeping their clients prepped with proper hair care products.

The only things left were my pajamas, toiletries and fluffy socks. This was a breeze, travel sized everything. Also, do not overthink things. This is the 21st century and if you forget something, you can always buy it. This was how mission impossible was accomplished. Happy travels. Ciao!

HISTORY & CULTURE

Well, then there is that saying about history, “those that do not know history, are doomed to be oblivious when they are viewing artifacts stored in the incredible museums around the world.” Ok, maybe you are not familiar with this quote, because It is mine. This is just the way I feel about history.  I was a geeky child that read a lot, and loved to learn historical facts about places, and events that occurred before my arrival. I could not wait until I was able to jet set and see everything in person. My first spectacular experience was the British Museum http://www.britishmuseum.org/.    I had a four-hour artifact binge with little food, water or sleep. I soon had a real-life lesson and learned what happens after the culture high is over and jet lag has finally arrived. This situation was then compounded, with the task of trying to navigate my way back to Oxford Street.

In addition to museums, I also love live music, operas, theatre and the occasional fútbol match. Knowing the history of the destination will give you a deeper connection to the places that you are exploring. 

Well this concludes my introductions. I decided to write this blog in order to share my experiences. Friends, family members and clients are always inquiring about my destinations. So, yes, the time has finally come for me to put pen to paper and share what I know. At the time of this blog entry, I have visited 36 countries and set foot on six of the seven continents. I have been to over 30 States within the United States. I am naturally curious and barring immediate war, I will pretty much travel anywhere once.  I will give you my perspective through my eyes and I hope you enjoy. Happy travels. Ciao!

ANYWHERE ONCE: PART 2 EXERCISE & FOOD

I love staying in shape. Why? I exercise and stay in shape so I can wake up early and efficiently hike, bike and stroll through my international destinations. Shortness of breath and leg cramps have no room on my excursions.

Total body conditioning is also needed for transporting your luggage. Yes, your luggage. A great smile and a flip of the hair will often heed your need for assistance, but every now and again, there is not a knight in sight. A woman needs great upper body strength in order to lift those suitcases into the carryon compartments on airplanes and trains. Oh, and let us not forget the stairs at the train stations. I just had a flash back to the train depot stairs in Orleans, France! Ouch.

Exercising also speeds up your metabolism so that you burn more calories while your body is resting. A high metabolism comes in handy after you have made the third trip to the buffet in Brazil and you still need to fit into your little black dress for the p.m. activities.

 I love trying the local cuisine when I travel. A cultures’ food exposes their soul. Whether the food is spicy, bland, sweet or savory; you can make a connection to the people, that is almost like a soul tie that can last a lifetime. There is nothing more reminiscent than eating that piece of chocolate that transports you back to Belgium or that Pisco sour https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pisco_sour  that floats you back to Lima.

ANYWHERE ONCE

My name is Tani Lamb, and I am addicted to travelling. The first step to recovery is awareness, and I am aware that I would rather be anywhere, but home.

There are a few things that I deeply care about. God, travel, exercise, food, and culture. All of these things have greatly influenced who I am today. I will briefly explain the importance of these items, since this is an introduction.

Church was an enormous component of my upbringing. I spent many weekdays and weekends within the walls of my grandfather’s church. This experience had a colossal impact on my destination choices once I was began to travel solo..  I was “that” child in Sunday School that flipped to the map in the back of the Bible. I had to pinpoint the exact location of each particular story. I always questioned the quality and accuracy of the one antiquated map in the appendix. I definitely needed more details and pixels. Well, that day finally came, when I received my World Book encyclopedias and had access to a plethora of maps with detailed descriptions about the terrain, the people and the weather. This brought me great joy and also firmly placed the Middle East at the top of my list. Egypt made my travel list at lucky number seven.

Church is a very social enterprise and helped me travel at a very young age. My grandfather’s church attended many church conventions in neighboring and regional states. This allowed me to explore larger cities and town and sparked a curiosity within me. People often ask where I got the “travel bug”. I believe that I was born with the travel bug and the early exposure helped nourish the desire.