Seattle Spiderweb Walk

by Nancy Mueller
( October 18th, 2013 )

Seattle Spiderweb Walk

Why not join me for a Seattle spiderweb walk this foggy morning? Wear your Spiderman and Spiderwoman costumes if you want.

What a bounty of beautifully spun spider webs I came across on my stroll through the neighborhood.

Seattle Spiderweb Walk

One, two . . . I was soon joined by a Dad and daughter who counted at least fourteen webs in one bush alone.

Seattle Spiderweb Walk Dad

Dad used the opportunity as a teachable moment for his daughter. Placing his fingertip at the bottom of the web, he demonstrated what happens when a spider feels an object yanking its web.

Seattle Spiderweb Walks

Let me tell you – it took all of a nanosecond for that spider to move towards its prey. Eeeeeek! Don’t worry. Neighborhood Dad took his finger away just in time, leaving the spider somewhat confused, I’m sure.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave . . .

Seattle Spiderwebs Walk

 What did you see on your morning walk today, wanderboomers?


Pack Light with Favorite Travel Items – Part II

by Nancy Mueller
( April 3rd, 2014 )


I received so many helpful responses to the question I posed to follow travelers, “How do you pack light?” that devoting only one blog post to the topic wasn’t enough to cover everyone’s packing suggestions. So in addition to Items to Lighten Your Luggage, here are a few more ideas to keep you traveling light:


“iPad with separate Bluetooth keyboard (instead of a laptop). Will still tote along a digital point and shoot camera, but to be honest, I could probably get by just using my iPhone 5 (and do, at least for video).” – Dick Jordan, talestoldfromtheroad.

“iPhone – replaces a number of functions, whether or not you have a local SIM card (think cached maps, compass, guidebook, e-book reader). Also, the powerbank to help charge it.” – Chris Backe, oneweirdglobe.

“Laptop, camera, Kindle. That’s it!” – Aleah Phils, solitarywanderer.

“Kindle Paperwhite!” – Christina Pivarnik, enjoypt.

“Portable light for illuminating dishes and beverages in a low light situation. My light fits in the small zipper compartment of my purse, weighs about 3 ounces and is the size of a credit card.” – Linda Kissam, TheWineChixs.

Olloclip for iPhone. It allows me to skip taking my big camera at certain times.” – Troy Petenbrink, metroweekly.

“A universal charging cord!” – Roger Paige, thefocusedtraveler.

“My 11” Macbook Air is my number 1 indispensable travel item!” – Keri Reid, skigypsy.

“My iPod so I don’t have to listen to anything I don’t want to on planes. I use Skull Candy headphones. $10-$15 and I can’t hear anything beyond my music…and they come in pretty colors!” – Kristin Kendle, wanderlustandlipstick.

“If possible, going from a laptop to tablet is a very wise choice. I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 in Feb. and although I do need to use the laptop for a few things, I am 96% using the tablet for work. I love it and cant say enough about how it has simplified tasks for me that I used to hate doing.” - Eden Rudin, reallytrulyliving.


“Always carry Duct tape- for fixing a crack in a suitcase, wrapping wine bottles so they won’t break, and once I used it to keep a car trunk down that wouldn’t close.” – Debi Lander, bylandersea.

“I’ve had a plastic spork/spoon/knife in my bag for at least 5 years- cost $5.00 at Eddie Bauer, but is unbreakable and comes in handy eating anywhere outside of a restaurant!” – Kelli Mutchler, goneworkabout.

“I always include the Dream Essentials Escape Luxury Sleep Mask. I bought it to travel with but now sleep with it every night. I can’t sleep without it and it’s wonderful eye holes.” – David DiGregorio, stylehiclub.

“I know it sounds weird but I always bring a clipboard. Especially if we have several places in a row that we’re visiting. I keep all the reservation info clipped to it. It’s easy to slip into the back of my bag, next to a magazine or book and Super easy to find when I need it.” – Tiffany Pitts, snickerpants.

“Moleskin notebooks and Fisher pen.” – Nan Devlin, avidtraveler.

Travel Buddies


” Spuddy . . . travel yoga mat.” – Gayle McCarthy.


Pirate Monkey

“Pirate Monkey!!” – Amy Trotter.

Wander on!


What are your favorite travel items, wanderboomers? How do you pack light?


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Favorite Travel Items to Lighten Your Luggage – Part I

by Nancy Mueller
( March 31st, 2014 )


Lately I’ve been humming the lyrics to that classic Eagles’ hit, “Take It Easy:”

Well, I’m running down the road, trying to loosen my load . . .

No, I don’t have seven men on my mind, but I am looking for ways to lighten my travel load. Gone are the days when I took my first flight from New York to Washington State and brought my entire set of hard-case American Tourister 4-piece luggage with me. I loved that now-vintage blue train case! I miss it, but not enough to spring for another one now on eBay. At least I learned fast. By the end of my graduate school year when I went home to visit, I ditched the luggage in favor of a backpack.

At this stage in my life, I’m looking for moderation. When I’m on the road nowadays, I want more than a backpack but less than a 4-piece luggage set. A duffel bag can get me through a long weekend – without makeup. Otherwise, for the most part, I’m happy to comply with airline rules which limit carry-on baggage to usually one small bag, plus one personal item.

In my ongoing quest to lighten my travel load, I asked several world travelers how they do it. Here are a few of the packing tips I received:

Bags, Sacs & Luggage

“Plastic bags! For dirty washing, wet things, toiletries, sitting on, using to squash things down inside bags, so many uses!” - Jennifer Jain, jenniferslittleworld.

“I always travel with several clear but colored zippered pouches. Most I get very inexpensively at the Asian import stores in our area. Great for sorting cords, batteries and chargers especially. The color coding helps too.” – Elaine Masters, tripwellness.

“Soft mesh assorted size bags to keep suitcase orderly. eBags suit me. Rarely a loose item in my suitcase.” – Christine Tibbetts, TibbettsTravel.

“Compression sac so I can squeeze my clothes into it which leaves room for other goodies.” – Beth Whitman, wanderluster.

“I LOVE my Kelty Ascender. It is a great piece of luggage and can be either a wheelie or a backpack. Durable, compact and all-around fantastic.” – Diana Lauren, dtravelsround.

“I swear by my Briggs and Riley bag—carry-on size and is convertible between a backpack and duffel. Love that bag.” – Lindsay Taub, lindsaytaub.

“I love my sling bag that is feather like and holds everything!” – Neala Schwartzberg McCarten, offbeattravel

“Check out Timbuktu, my husband has one of their black shoulder bags; he’s a ferry commuter and it’s ideal. Casual yet professional.” – Sue Frause, eatplaysleep.


Flip Flops

“Flip-flops because they can double as beach shoes and slippers and give you a comfortable alternative after lots of walking~ – Irene S. Levine, moretimetotravel.

“A sarong. One of the most useful items I own.” – Talon Windwalker1dad1kid and Cathy Goldner, solo-travelers-alliance.

“The smartest thing I ever did was invest in a strategic, simple, dedicated, travel wardrobe. I pack 3 outfits of three pieces each, all interchangeable. A skort, a tank top, and cardigan = 1. Pants, t-shirt, and light jacket = 2. Skirt, sleeveless tunic, and oversize camp shirt = 3. If I’m going to be traveling longer than 2 weeks, I add an extra pair of pants and a versatile dress. If I’m going somewhere cold I’ll add a pullover sweater and a pair of leggings. This wardrobe “lives” in my packing cubes. I’m basically always packed and just toss in the “log trip” cube or “cold trip cube” if needed.” – Angie Hilbert, wanderlit.

“There’s a company named Icebreaker and they make merino wool products that I can’t live without. I use the layers for skiing and they are incredible (warm, stay dry, and really don’t smell at all) and now they’re also making summer dresses etc for women that are GREAT for travelling because of their “no stink” technology and if you do wash them by hand, they dry in a jiffy! Can’t get enough of their stuff. makes “packing light” do-able.” – Eva Gold, Passports & Pamplemousse.

“RejuvaHealth Compression Leggings . . . Tieks by Gavrieli . . . Scarves.” – Jennifer Dombrowski, jdombstravels.

“Comfy slippers, cozy socks” – Gayle McCarthy.

For more, check out Favorite Items to Lighten Your Luggage – Part II - (Electronics & Miscellaneous) or read about packing light for a luxury trip!

Wander On!


What are your favorite travel items to lighten your luggage, wanderboomers? Please share with us here.


10 Fun Ways Boomers Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

by Nancy Mueller
( March 17th, 2014 )

Irish Flowers

Here are 10 fun ways boomers celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Why? Because everyone knows you don’t have to be Irish to have fun on St. Patrick’s Day (though it helps). On March 17th, everyone with a spirit of play are honorary Irish folk whatever your family name.

#1 – Form Your Own St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Round up your usual neighborhood suspects, pick up a flute, a fiddle and some pipes, and off you go!

#2 – Play a Few Irish Tunes.

Plug into Pandora or iTunes to listen to soothing Irish lullabies and happy melodies.

#3 – Stage a Reading of Your Favorite Irish Authors and Poets.

100 Years of Irish Poetry

Invite your Irish-loving friends over to share their favorite poems or writings from the Land of Leprechauns. Revel in the lyrical beauty of such Irish poets as William Butler Yeats, Seamus Heaney and the writings of James Joyce.

#4 – Prepare Your Favorite Irish Dishes.

You can’t go wrong with corned beef & cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, colcannon (cabbage and mashed potatoes) and soda bread. And let’s not forget dessert. My new favorite? Chocolate Stout Cupcakes. They had me at chocolate and Guinness.

#5 – Raise the Irish Flag.

Irish Flag

In honor of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, hoist the tri-colored Irish flag. The flag symbolizes the hope for peace (white) between the native people of Ireland in the South, most of whom are Roman Catholic (green) and the British supporters of William of Orange in the North, most of whom are Protestant (orange).

#6 – Stop By Your Favorite Pub for a Pint or Two.

Order a Guinness, a Black & Tan or a shot of Irish whiskey before settling in to listen to a few yarns from the locals.

#7 – Take a Heritage Tour to Ireland.

A visit to Ireland is still on my bucket list. And one of these St. Patrick’s Days, I’m going to hop on a plane to visit the home of my great-grandmother who immigrated to the United States.

#8 – Look for Leprechauns.


Leprechauns are out and about if you just know where to look for them. Typically found in Ireland, of course, I have it on the best authority (my own) that these wee creatures make special appearances all over the world on St. Patrick’s Day. Just follow the leprechaun’s footprints to his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

#9 – Go Step-Dancing.

For inspiration, look no further than River Dance. Before you know, you’ll be on your feet trying to do the same. Good luck with that!

#10 – Whatever Else You Do, Wear Green!

And whatever you do, avoid wearing orange unless you want a mild pinch. St. Patrick is a Catholic saint, so wearin’ of the green symbolizes your support of his special day.

May the road rise up to meet you . . .

Wander on!


What’s your favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition, wanderboomers? Please share with us here.

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