Archive for March, 2011

March 18, 2011

What happens at a Farewell Dinner?

Luckily on our Baja Family Adventure we had Emily along. Energetic and creative, she was happy to take on the art supplies and give life to the special awards we had been discussing throughout the week. You know, who excelled at what. It did seem that each of us had a special skill or contribution to the trip. Emily really knew how to put it into writing.

So at our farewell dinner, amongst the excellent appetizers and dinner, the fresh squeezed limonada and local cervesas (and yes, I did enjoy a jalapeno margarita) Emily made a great presentation of our awards. Hers was for horseback riding – galloping on the beach was her favorite moment of the trip – but maybe we should have given her something special for creativity, eh?

Our family adventure would not have been complete without each person who was a part of our awesome group. Thank you Emily, and thanks to everyone for a great time! (See below for the full list)

Best Surfer : Tripp

Best Soccer – Owen

Most humorous – David

“Look mom I can Gallop” – Emily

Best photographer – Heather

Best Protector of All – Peggy

Best Hiker (and finder of cactus!) – Mauricio

Pied Piper – Sergio

Best videographer – Moo

Best Travel Companion – Mira

March 18, 2011

Back at the Ranch…

So after the kayaking and soccer, then a sleepy drive back to Todos Santos we slipped back in to our lovely casitas and enjoyed the pool and sunset on our last night

March 18, 2011

Killer Kayaking @ Beautiful Balandra Bay

Thursday: (Sorry I am out of date – just too much to do here to spend time on the computer!)

Balandra Bay is a thing of beauty. Clear blue water, and shallow enough to walk forever (thankfully our guides told us how to shuffle our feet so we would not be stung by sting rays; others were not so lucky) Kayaking here is easy on the smooth water, and the kayaks are steady. Though if you fell out you’d just stand up and climb back in. I think the boys did that a couple of times. We took off for a nice paddle around the bay and down into narrow lanes of mangroves – such awesome and peaceful beauty with egrets and herons gracing the shoreline. Our lunch spot was on top of a steep dune (can you guess how many times the kids ran and rolled up and down it??) overlooking the bay. We could see the tide going out – and in fact ended up having to pull rather than paddle the kayaks for the last 20 feet to ‘shore’. In no time the bay became the perfect field for an impromptu game of soccer….. then the ride back to Todos Santos became the perfect opportunity for a bit of a snooze!

March 16, 2011

Cliff Walk + Awesome Views = Full Heart

Yesterday I think I forgot, that if you are going to walk along the top of a cliff to enjoy amazing views, you first have to climb to get there. I am relatively NOT in great shape, as has been proven in the last few days. My legs are feeling, well, more alive, and it has been worth every muscle I had to wake up. The dogs came along too which was a blast, and we all remembered to drink lots of water. In Baja they say “the sun is our enemy….”

March 15, 2011

Walking in a desert canyon

This is tagged as a WATERFALL desert canyon hike, but right now there are no waterfalls. Baja California Sur usually gets about 4 inches of rain a year, but recently it’s only been 2 inches. Two inches of rain in a year! Now that is dry.

But no lack of this different kind of desert beauty. The rock, the granite and basalt, the turkey vultures, the cactus, the sand, the endless blue sky with glaring sun – and those refreshing pockets of shade where one can retreat to a remarkably cooler temperature.

So what did we do this day?

March 12, 2011

Welcome to Adventure Paradise

This is a tree monkey – get it?

Today we had an excellent breakfast of scrambled eggs covered in ranchero sauce. After wandering through town we experimented with relaxing by the pool where we discovered just how important towel folding is in Cabo. Note our friend, the Tree Monkey.

It was nice to have a day to ourselves but mostly we were just ready to get the adventure started. We have not been disappointed!

Everyone met up in time for a bite to eat and a dip in the pool before loading up the 2 big vans for the journey to Todos Santos. We were humming along the “federal highway’ (narrow two lane road) discussing everything from whales to cactus to where the cattle graze, when with a sudden raparaparapa WHOOSH… we lost a tire. What this means in Baja is the outer tread gets whipped clean off the tire and flies away (and hopefully does not hit the guy behind you.)

Sergio was not to be flustered. He most cheerfully hopped out of the vehicle to change the tire, giving us all a useful lesson in how to loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the car (stay tuned for video). We were back on the road in a jiffy, only to discover that flapping hose we saw when the tire was off was in fact the water hose and not the a/c line.

And guess what, NO EXTRA CHARGE for all this spontaneous adventure!

Now we pile the bags and most of the people into our remaining, working van. Mira stayed behind with Sergio partly to be a mascot but mostly because we did not have a seat for her. Help was on the way, or so they said…. the rest of us whisked away and left them in a cloud of dust.

Look where I am now – in Paradise! Hurry, Mira, the sun is setting into the ocean and it is gorgeous…

This must be paradise

Welcome to paradise!

March 11, 2011

We’ve hijacked the blog: Welcome to Baja!

Last minute call to the bank to let them know we’re traveling out of the country

Traveling with our children is always a wonder. I haven’t been on an adventure alone with my daughter Mira since we went to China in 2005. She was 15 then, now she is turning 21.

Today I kissed my boys goodbye, and hugged Jessie too. We’ve flown from Boston to Dallas, then to San Jose del Cabo. We had a family beg to cut in line at check in because they were late, but found them on our flight anyway because they missed their earlier one (don’t go to airport late!)

We laughed heartily while waiting to board when Mira got an email from the passport office saying they had finished processing her application and would mail the passport to her (she had spent the whole day Thursday at the office in New Hampshire making them do it THEN.) Do you know all about the rules?

We stepped into the gloriously warm air of Mexico this evening, and are settled into a sweet hotel in San Jose. We went to the restaurant for ceviche and shrimp quesadilla (ok, maybe we had a local beer too). It’s Friday night – there was quite a crowd, and live music. Three local boys, doing really quite good renditions of American favorites such as Hotel California. It felt a bit — touristy? But still, a rousing good time.

We’ll explore this little town tomorrow, then meet up with the group for the journey to Todos Santos. But first, sleep.

March 9, 2011

Travel Excitement. Or is it Anxiety?

Suitcase in Process

I am getting ready to travel to Baja California on Friday. I am excited because it is a Thomson Family Adventure, and we well know how much fun that is. I am excited because I get to travel with some of our families, and I love meeting new people. I get to re-visit Mexico, where I haven’t been in a long time! I am thrilled because my daughter Mira is coming with me, and it will be her 21st birthday next week. But oh, does it drive me crazy getting ready to leave town….

I begin to think about finally getting my life in order – I don’t mean Final Plans, but things like getting those clothes to GoodWill, or cleaning out the closets. Reorganizing the basement and garage. Finishing some of those art projects. Getting the house spotless, once and for all. Can I get ALL the laundry done and put away, just for once?

Does anyone know what I am referring to?

And I go bonkers at work too… what about those new ideas I’ve been meaning to implement, or the file drawer the mice took over last year that I have never quite reclaimed? Maybe now I can finally tackle it. Know what I mean?

But no, it is just anxiety that follows me around. I never manage to become more productive or to discover more hours in the day. In between worrying about the dog and getting clean sheets on the bed I somehow manage to pack my suitcase and find my passport . But the bathroom could still use a good scrubbing, and you can be sure the children I am leaving behind won’t get to that while I’m gone. So I guess I’ll just have to surrender to the reality of a full and often chaotic life, and remember I can love it just the way it is.

But I have about 45 hours ’til flight time – how much more do you think I can get done? What would you be up to?

March 7, 2011

Top 10 reasons – Why Thomson Family Adventures?

A Family Reunion to Remember

Who are we you might ask? Well, let us tell you what makes us so great. And fun too.

1) We were the first company to champion the spirit of family adventure travel. Not just inviting the kids along on an adult trip, but really figuring out how it works best so all ages can try new things, and love every minute together. It’s our specialty, it’s all we live and breathe.

2) No voice mail, phone banks, or complicated calling options. Just real live people ready to help you.

3) We offer a limited number of destinations – about a dozen. We know them intimately and regularly visit them ourselves. When you call Thomson Family Adventures you can always speak with a knowledgeable person who will help you choose the right adventure for your family.

4) We’ve chosen these destinations because of what they have to offer in the way of interesting landscapes, history, wildlife, and culture – and because they are places you probably won’t be able to navigate off the beaten path, or really get to know without one of our guides leading the way. But we can show you an amazing time!

5) We work with local colleagues in each of our destinations. Part of our mission is to support those communities by employing people who live there, and supporting their schools and businesses. We visit them, they visit us. We’re like family! We work especially closely with our guides, ensuring you the best English speaking, family friendly leaders.

6) When you travel with us it’s not a tour, it’s a family adventure experience. Anyone can plan an itinerary outline – but what do you get between the lines?

7) We offer travel in small groups (15 – 20 people) of like minded people, all families, during all school vacation weeks as well as through the summer months. We have no minimums, and will not cancel a departure for ‘under enrollment’. When you make reservations with us, your family plans are secure.

8) (once again, the #8 is a smiley face, and I don’t know why…) We are also the experts at planning your personal, private adventure for any size group . Anything from a huge family reunion, to an intimate family getaway. We can create the right trip for you, for any age from infancy on up.

9) We’re easy on your time. We take care of you from the moment you land in-country, until you leave again for home. Every detail, every logistic, every question, every activity, every bottle of water – all taken care of. You just show up and have a great time.

10) This isn’t just an adventure – you’ll learn things too (shhh, you might not want to advertise this). Your kids will write ahead to pen pals and meet those children when you travel. You’ll discover how other people live in this world. You’ll come away enriched for having blended with another culture, if only for a week. It might even just change your life.

11) (Sorry, I ran over!) We always include trip cancellation insurance at no additional cost.

March 6, 2011

FYI: Our Mission Statement

Ever wonder about the purpose of Thomson Family Adventures, and what drives us?

Product Mission

To be an industry leader in the creation, selling and operation of the finest family adventures that allow families to experience vacations to areas of the world in a fashion not yet done in the travel industry through the addition of new, exciting and unique family features.

Social Mission

To operate the division in a way that actively recognizes the central role that we as a tour operator play in the creation and maintenance of good job opportunities with fair wages here in the United States as well as all the countries to which we send families.