We’ve been at this a long time. We founded On The Map Travel in the fall of 2005 and we have loved every minute spent exploring the world, discovering new places, experiences and hotels to recommend to our clients. We have loved the process of planning your trips, collaborating with you to create the perfect itinerary, and hearing your stories when you arrive home.
What we probably never thought about was the privilege of travel. Privilege – it’s a word we hear a lot lately. And yet, we are just now realizing, after 8 months at home (I can’t believe I just typed that) that we may never have been conscious of what a privilege it is to travel.
Like many people, we have taken for granted the process of packing, navigating the airport, complaining about the lines, delays and crowded flights and awful airplane food. It was simply how we lived our lives. And those of us lucky enough to travel for a living rarely spent more than a couple of months in a row at home. There has always been an insatiable thirst for adventure, knowledge and the almost physical need to see as much of the world as we could. It’s the passion that drives us to seek out the far-flung wonders, the hidden gems and the local experts who can show them to us – and to you.
But now, like most of the world, we are housebound. We can only remember the past and dream about the future. Each month we tick off one more planned trip that never materialized. We participate in one of our favorite events – travel industry conferences where we meet with travel partners both known and new – virtually. And we wait.
We know that eventually we will be able to get back on the road. And so will you. We don’t know when, or what it will look like when the world finally reopens. But for now, we are at least appreciating how lucky we have been for all these years to have the privilege of exploring the world. We will never take it for granted again.
This just grabbed our hearts . . .
And made us yearn to go back to Paris. We have been amazed by all the digital exhibits we’ve seen at the city’s Atelier des Lumières. They are astounding and next time we send you to Paris we will make sure it’s on your itinerary! The current exhibition features the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. This new visual/musical experience retraces the intense life of the artist, a genius who was not recognized during his lifetime and who transformed painting. Watch this. We promise you’ll be dazzled.
Many thanks to Melanie DiLeo for sending us this wonderful VIDEO
Dancing Through Harlem
Apparently, this video went viral a while ago – but we had never seen it. A dazzling treat from the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company. The company created this beautiful combination of ballet; the choreography is set to a Bach violin concerto and dances through the streets of New York’s iconic neighborhood – steeped in history and culture. The video was made to celebrate Harlem Week 2020.
If you have not seen it already, you are in for a treat! CLICK HERE.
We voted for the winner!
It’s not every day that we collect a win, but in Alaska’s Fat Bear Week 2020 contest we did! Proud to say that Bear number 747 a.k.a. The Earl of Avoirdupois was our pick and there is no doubt he will make it through the hibernation months with no problem! Check it OUT.
Words we have learned – and LOVE!
Psithurism: The sound of leaves whispering in the wind. We love the word but needed help pronouncing it. A quick YouTube search solved this problem. See it HERE
The Future of Environmentally friendly Protein
We know it’s coming. Insect farms emit 75 per cent less carbon and use half as much water as poultry farms. Less greenhouse gas emissions, less water pollution by pesticides and fertilizer. We are very much in favor of nearly anything that has smaller environmental impacts.
So sooner or later, we will be replacing the fried chicken we love with fried crickets and mealworms. But not quite yet, OK?
Quick! Before it’s gone!
In Anne’s new-found free time, she loves nothing better than to fall down the TikTok rabbit hole. The dogs of TikTok are the best. Here’s a compilation that will give you 5 minutes of fun. Plus, if you like it, there are hundreds of thousands more. VIEW HERE
A favorite – originally seen on TikTok – is Mako the Catdog – a pit-bull that thinks he’s a cat. So cute. And also – on top of the refrigerator? See MAKO
5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Baroque Music
From the New York Times, a lovely musical respite. LISTEN– scroll down to get audio.
A sweet video that reminds us that COVID-19 is not the only disease people are battling. WATCH Here
->Quote We Live By<- ->“Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.” <–>J.M. Barrie<-
When We Are Missing London (which is a lot) we. . .
• Put on masks and pretend we are the Royal Family. I get to be Kate, Audrey is Megan, Karen is the Queen and Richard is Charles. Sometimes we switch them around.
• Join in the greatest British Tradition (or at least our favorite one) and make yourselves a proper Afternoon Tea using the Atheneaum Hotel’s recipes for Scones and Lemon Drizzle Cake (Click HERE).
Dainty sandwiches absolutely need to be included. Make what you like but DO NOT forget the cucumber sandwiches which are not only delicious but play an integral part of the first act of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play “The Importance of Being Earnest “. Use this recipe we found on the Good. Food. Stories. website – it’s yummy,
• Eat cheese. We admit that the French have good/great cheese, but when in London we love to eat some of the amazing Farmhouse cheeses. And when we actually go back to London we are heading directly to Pick & Cheese — a cheese conveyor belt restaurant that we hear is spectacular. Take a LOOK
The grilled cheese sandwiches from their food truck are dream-worthy.
• P.S. Watch movies that just send us directly to the streets of London
84 Charing Cross Road
Anne’s favorite. 84 Charing Cross Road is a movie made for people who love London and books. Set in post-WWII London and New York, Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins vividly convey the magical ways that friendship can open up new worlds of experience and meaning. It also reminds us of the nearly lost art of letter writing.
Bridget Jones’ Diary
A very satisfying romantic comedy with Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. Laugh out loud funny as well as simply charming.
An international movie star and a London bookseller ‘meet cute’ and the story takes off from there. Another romantic comedy with a satisfying ending. It stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts and a whole cast of other wonderful actors. High Grant’s roommate in the film is classic.
Oh my. Another romantic comedy. I guess we have a particular type of movie we love. . .
This one explores the question — Can one seemingly insignificant moment alter the course of your life? Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this gem of a film that follows two different possible storylines: one in which her character barely catches a train in the Tube and one in which she doesn’t.
And our perennial favorite Christmas classic: Love, Actually
The opening voice over – so important to hear today – says it all:
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
What can we say? It’s nine intertwined stories that examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. It stars Hugh Grant (him, again — watch his iconic and hysterical dance scene HERE), Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Kiera Knightly, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy and Rowan Atkinson A.K.A. Mr. Bean in a hilarious cameo. Last year The Times re-reviewed it and said “Sit back, and gawp at Ideal Britain. Revel in the tipsy plot. And enjoy a film full of adult whimsy and adolescent whingeing.”
What to pack dilemma
We love packing lists. They keep us organized and prevent us from taking too much stuff! Anne has – not kidding – 101 packing lists for everywhere from fly fishing in Patagonia to New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh (attending a fancy-dress ball). And now that she is going to Iceland (fingers crossed/ September 2021 on a Silversea Expedition ship) she found THIS ever-so-helpful video.
We are looking forward to needing this: Jet Lag App
Unusual Cocktail glasses
It’s not enough to look at the clock (5:00? PM?) and mix a cocktail, have a glass of wine or some sparkling water. Oh no. Some of us (HINT: Anne) have to have their cocktail in a specialty glass. She is particularly weird about this. Case in point: Her idea of heaven was Belgium where they have a separate type of glass for EVERY one of the more than 1,500 brands of beer they serve. There is even a Belgian beer tourism SITE:
But we digress. We’re not going to Belgium anytime soon :- ( so multi-beer glasses are out. What is NOT out are the possibilities found on Bored Panda’s list of cool and creative drinking glasses. Richard’s choice is #20 – the Cipher Drinking Glass, since he is a big fan of Bletchley Park. Audrey loves to entertain (she’ll do more of this in the next normal) so thinks the idea of #18 — the O-Glass that is a glass and a napkin-holder all in one — is swell. Being both a gardener and a gin drinker, Anne’s selection could be non-other than Bombay Sapphire’s Botanical glass. Cheers HERE!!
Postcards From Home
It’s not often that we find ourselves grounded indefinitely. The last time that happened we were in likely high school. And then, like now, there was a perfectly valid reason for it – or so our parents thought. One of the things our optimistic selves have been doing is taking a more thoughtful look and appreciating what is right around us. To that end, be sure to follow us on Facebook where we will be posting photos of our home cities. We’d love to see yours, too.