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Author: Debbie Stone

Charleston Woos Visitors with Sultry Southern Charms

It’s impossible to be immune to the allure of Charleston. The city oozes and drips charm, overwhelming your senses with its intoxicating ambiance, gracious Southern hospitality, colorful history and rich culture. I was prepared to like Charleston before my visit, based purely on the continuous travel pub awards it receives for “America’s Prettiest Place,” “America’s Most Mannered City” and “#1 U.S. City.” But I was taken aback at the school girl infatuation I felt once I got there. To say I was besotted and smitten with the place would be an understatement. My attraction to the atmosphere and environment...

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A Stay at Miraval: The Ultimate Gift to Yourself

Heights are just not my thing. But, there I was dangling in a safety harness 40-feet off the ground. The group below, who had just moments ago hoisted me up to this point by pulling on a rope in tug-of-war style, yelled encouraging comments to me. The leader told me to breathe deeply, enjoy the beautiful scenery and set a personal intention before letting go of the rope clenched in my right hand. To be honest, my intention was to get down from this scary place as soon as possible because I knew if I spent any amount of...

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Experience the WOW Factor of Sweetwater County, Wyoming

My goal was not to fall in — especially so close to the dock where a group of curious onlookers attentively watched my stand-up paddle-boarding attempts on the lake at Red Canyon Lodge. It was a make-or-break moment as I rose up from my knees, first to an awkward squatting position and then slowly to full extension. I was shaking as I stood on the board, legs quivering like jelly and hands clenched in white knuckle fashion around the paddle. Then I began to move, trying to remember to retain a slight bend in my knees, to keep eyes...

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Cloudcroft, NM: 9,000 Feet Above Stress Level

If things go bump in the night during your stay at The Lodge Resort & Spa, not to worry. It’s most likely Rebecca, the friendly and mischievous ghost that wanders the hall of this historic hotel in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. In these parts, she’s a popular legend, whose tale is one of passion, betrayal and unrequited love. A beautiful young chambermaid with striking blue eyes and long red tresses, Rebecca mysteriously disappeared from her quarters after her jealous and enraged lumberjack boyfriend found her in the arms of another. That was a century ago, yet there are those who...

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Star-studded Swiss Cities of Lausanne and Montreux

It’s hard to imagine what a noted British poet, a famous film actor, a celebrated French fashion designer and the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen could possibly have in common. Yet each of them – Lord Byron, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Freddie Mercury – all resided, at one point in their lives, in and around the French-speaking region of Lausanne and Montreux, Switzerland. After visiting this vibrant and alluring locale, I understand why these celebs and so many others have chosen to call it home.   Lausanne’s allure is widespread, from its glorious location on Lake...

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The Three R’s of Kaua’i: Rebalance, Replenish, and Revive

At one point during my blissful lomi lomi massage, I actually nodded off and awoke to drool inching down my chin. When I embarrassingly made a comment about it, my therapist Connie kindly complimented me on my ability to drift off, saying that it was a sign of complete relaxation or “malie” in Hawaiian. I, in turn, returned the compliment, noting the expertise of her magic fingers. The tension seemed to just melt away as she worked wonders on all of my body’s knots. That, combined with being in a semi-open air treatment room where I could hear the...

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Antarctica: Beyond Expectations

I didn’t think the day could get any better as we witnessed a pod of magnificent Orcas gliding by our ship along with dozens of Painted Petrels riding the waves amid ice sculptures that could have been made by Michelangelo himself. But it did — as soon as we set foot on land and were greeted by a welcome committee of thousands of Adelie penguins dressed in their finest tuxes. They paraded all around us as they headed to and from their nests on the rocks and to the sea on a well-trafficked path, commonly referred to as the...

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Put a Pin in It! Let Yourself be Wooed by India

Falling in love with India is a gradual affair. First, it flirts with you to get your attention. Then it begins to entice you with its charms. India, though, wants more from you than just a platonic relationship. It’s looking for a deeper commitment – one that seeks to bind itself to your heart and soul. Slowly and steadily, you fall under its enigmatic spell, and before you know it, there’s a new love in your life. Much of India’s appeal is due to its deep roots. With a civilization that can be traced back thousands of years, it...

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Put a Pin in it! Searching for Mrs. Conda; first name, Ana

This article has been published previously by Way Beyond Borders and the Woodinville Weekly and republished with permission.  I was a woman on a mission when I set out on my Peruvian Amazon riverboat adventure with International Expeditions. Like most of my fellow passengers, visiting the Amazon was a bucket-list destination, one that promised to be a significant and momentous travel experience. My objective was to learn firsthand about this unique environment and its diverse wildlife, as well as about the people who inhabit its lush and verdant rainforests. I had another goal, though, which was to see an anaconda...

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