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“H” is for Hats

I’m blogging A to Z in April! Check back often while I’m catching up!

What is it about hats? I’m of the impression that they’ve long fallen out of fashion for both men and women (feel free to correct me). Every once in a while, there’ll be a resurgence in the popularity of hats as fashion accessory, but for the most part, people don’t generally wear hats, unless there’s a special occasion.

In our family, not a one of us wears hats, usually. That changes when we go on vacation. Seriously, you should see our pictures – we’re all wearing hats.

It started when the children were very small – no trip to the beach, theme park, campground or zoo could take place without a hat to protect the darlings from harmful UV rays. And, consumed by the desire to lead by example, it usually meant we’d don some headwear as well. This has left us with a collection of hats that sits idle in the closet until it’s time to pack our bags. The collection includes, of course, those hats purchased WHILE on vacation, because we’d forgotten one at home. The compulsion to wear a hat while sightseeing has really become ingrained in my consciousness, to the point where, when I saw the picture of my daughter with a monkey on Gibraltar, my first thought was, “where’s her hat?”

I have my theme park DisneyWorld touring hat – it’s a light blue Tinkerbell baseball cap. The children don’t find it half as disturbing as their dad’s orange tye-dyed bucket hat that he wears while cruising DisneyWorld. When the girls were little, they often wore adorable matching bucket hats in various patterns and colours. I remember one particular trip to Niagara Falls; my daughter wore a denim hat with a large flower on the front. At Marineland, she was attacked by a deer twice her size who was determined to taste that flower! And oddly enough, I don’t feel it necessary to wear my Tinkerbell hat anywhere other DisneyWorld – for zoo trips, or beach ventures, I have other hats.

Now that they’re older, the girls typically stick with baseball-style caps or visors that do absolutely nothing to keep the sun off their heads. They’ll often get adventurous with hats, sporty jaunty little fashion numbers that make them look very cosmopolitan. On last year’s trip to the cottage, they bought me a cute floppy hat with a wide brim to wear while I relaxed in the great outdoors.

Do you wear hats? Do you have specific hats for specific travel adventures? Do tell!

“B” is for Books

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I’m blogging A to Z during the month of April! Check back here daily (except Sundays) this month for a new post each time!

My love of books and reading is well documented; imagine my delight when I discovered that my foray into travel opened up entire new genres of reading material! Here are a few travel-related books that I’ve read lately, as well as an old favourite:

Life Nomadic

If you’ve ever dreamed of selling everything you own and travelling the globe for a while, this is a fairly light, informative read. I picked it up for my Kindle for free earlier this year, and promptly recommended and loaned it to my own teenaged nomad wanna-be. Tynan knows whereof he speaks, and it’s exactly his experience that he shares in this book. I found his information to be very practical and straightforward, as well as illuminating (cashmere socks, really?) The only thing I felt was rather vague was his insight on how to earn a living on the road -once I figure that out, I might be willing to give some of his other tricks and tools a try!

The Best American Travel Writing 2011

This was another Kindle purchase, but one I actually paid for. I was partly attracted to it by the fact that Sloane Crosley is the editor of this edition – I just loved her voice in I Was Told There’d Be Cake. This anthology features a variety of travel essays; they’re not just destination-themed travelogues, there’s some variety there. My favourite was a piece on the challenge of finding your way around – wherever you may happen to be. While I wasn’t crazy about all the essays – some just lost me, and I gave up – there’s enough here to make it worth the price.

Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw

This book was the Leacock winner in 2005, but I just got around to reading it in 2011. Will Ferguson is one of my favourite humorists, so I was looking forward to seeing how he would utilize his voice in a travel-themed collection. I wasn’t disappointed; he’s as funny and thought-provoking as ever! I also appreciated the glimpse into some of the lesser-known nooks and crannies of this great country of ours.

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World – any edition

I’ve been buying this well-known guidebook almost annually since 1996 – whether I’m heading to WDW or not! Add to that the fact that only about 25% of the book is updated from each previous version, and you know I’m either weird, or it’s a really good book!

It’s a really good book. The authors and editors cover one of the most-visited places in the world with a combined sense of humor and total seriousness. They want you to have a good vacation -and they want you to laugh while you do it. Aside from the presentation, the authors get their facts straight, and provide you with useful, useable information. Sure, you can get info about visiting WDW almost anywhere these days – but I’ve yet to find an equal to the UOG, as it’s affectionately known amongst us Disney-philes. Even if you never use a touring plan, or check out a crowd-level, you’ll be glad you invested in the book. I’ve also checked out the UOG to Las Vegas, and it’s equally well done.

“C” you tomorrow!