Posts Filed Under Traveling

On Not Wasting Time

posted by Momo Fali on December 18, 2012

It’s been eight days since I posted here. A lot can happen in eight days. A lot can happen in an instant.

Almost 10 months ago we had a vacation planned that was intended to be more of a celebration of life than it was rest and relaxation. That trip was canceled at the last minute because my son got sick; months worth of planning changed in a matter of hours.

Last month, when my cousin fell ill and passed away, we were determined to finish what we had started. Despite my anxiety and complete lack of risk-taking behavior *holds Zoloft tightly in hand*, I felt like it was never more important to get my kids on a plane and head off to do things they, and I, have never done.

When I heard the news of the Sandy Hook tragedy, my family and I were halfway through a visit to Key West. One minute I was sharing photos of tropical drinks on Facebook and the next I was crying in the middle of a restaurant. I didn’t want to scare my kids too badly, so I waited until they were asleep before I got on my phone and scrolled through the news. That’s when I found out that fellow blogger, Victoria, lost her nephew in this senseless act of violence.

Victoria, me and Maria in happy times. Photo by Mishelle Lane Photography.

I had tried to keep the pain at bay by distancing myself from the news, but it was no longer possible to do so. I knew someone who was directly impacted. I was connected. As my children slept, I hugged them, kissed them, and prayed for the parents who couldn’t do such things anymore. I cried for Victoria and for her family.

I didn’t watch the news on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, we did what we originally intended to do – we celebrated. When I wasn’t holding my kids tight, burying my nose into their saltwater-scented hair, and being thankful to have them near, I was watching them live the heck out of life. I have another entire post on the generosity that made all of this possible. For now, just know that my heart hurts from the goodness of it all.

We went parasailing.

This is two of us waaaaay out there. Tandem parasailing – www.keywestsebago.com

Then, while my husband and daughter stayed with the Sebago crew and went snorkeling, my son and I rode six miles out to sea on Fury’s glass bottom boat to view the world’s third largest coral reef.

This was right before I turned around and yelled, “I’m the Queen of the World!”

Glass Bottom Boat – www.furycat.com

And if I had a waterproof camera I would show you the pictures of us on Barefoot Billy’s jet-skis in the Atlantic Ocean. This is where my anxiety took a back seat to pure enjoyment of life. I had so much fun jumping over waves that my daughter was holding tight to my waist yelling, “Mom! You’re CRAZY!” It was such an amazing moment that I couldn’t tell if my face was moistened by the ocean mist or my tears; maybe it was a little of both.

But, it didn’t end there. We went on a nighttime scavenger hunt, collected seashells and splashed around in the pool.

We fed sharks, we played chess, we bellied up to a few bars and we watched the sun set.

Feeding sharks at www.keywestaquarium.com

Ordering a Roy Rogers at the Hog’s Breath Saloon

I learned that it’s okay to take risks, that if your teen daughter is really happy she might even hold your hand, and more than anything I learned to never, ever take my children for granted again.

Day 3 – Road Trippin’

posted by Momo Fali on November 3, 2012

Today’s post on road trip advice is sponsored by Kia and can be found on my review page, here.

Come over and tell me what your best road trip advice is. You may be surprised to hear mine.

Road Trippin’

posted by Momo Fali on November 3, 2012

When I was young, my mom would take me and my cousin on long road trips to South Carolina. The two of us would fill the back seat of the car with pillows, blankets, books and games. This was back in the late 70s when cars were as big as boats, so we had a lot of room.

We spent much of the 14 hour drive (the speed limit was only 55mph) giggling about whatever it is that young girls giggle about; which is to say that we giggled about everything. We wrote notes back and forth to each other, snacked on junk food and we’d try to see who could make my mom mad enough to give us a “don’t make me come back there” look.

To be honest, the pool and beach in Hilton Head were really nice, but the journey there was half the fun.

We have such great memories of the time we spent in the car even though it was long before DVD players, or even walkmans. We did have an 8-track player so we listened to Roger Miller sing “King of the Road” over and over, but that would just make us giggle more.

There is something about a road trip that brings people together like nothing else really can. When you’re thrown into a confined space with the people who know the best and worst about you, you have to make the best of it and that’s just what we did. And, it was great.

My advice for your next road trip is to turn off the DVD player, pull out the earbuds and actually talk to each other. You never know how much giggling you might do.

Now it’s your turn; what is your best road trip advice?



Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Kia Motors

Kings Island: Still Fun 33 Years Later!

posted by Momo Fali on August 16, 2012

Back in 1979, when I was eight years old, my cousins and I piled into my aunt’s station wagon with a cooler full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a half-dozen flavors of Faygo. It wasn’t our first trip to Kings Island, also known as the largest amusement park in the Midwest, but it was the first time we were going to ride THE BEAST–the longest, and arguably to this day, one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world.

I remember the anticipation lasting for the entire drive and during our ride on the “warm-up” coaster called The Racer. By the time we were finally in line for The Beast, our excitement was almost unbearable. We were terrified, we were giddy, our emotions were up and down like…well, like a roller coaster. The mood of everyone in line was positively electric.

And, that ride lived up to every bit of our expectations.

For over four minutes, we were sent screeching along the wooden track, hurled into the woods, thrown around deep banks and into underground tunnels. The fact that we were moving at a speed of 65 miles per hour on the track you see in this picture, made the ride all the more exciting. That’s not steel, folks.

It was a thrill-ride like no other. And, thirty-three years later, it still is.

Now, I take my own kids to Kings Island and this year my son was finally tall enough to ride some of the bigger coasters, including The Beast. Kings Island has an amazing area for young kids (and I’m not just saying that; Camp Snoopy has been rated the “Best Kids Area in the World” for 11 consecutive years by Amusement Today), but my son is ten years old and has been mentally preparing to move on to the big rides for at least three years.

But that didn’t mean there wasn’t fear in the air when he finally got in line for The Beast.

Don’t let him fool you. He loved it.

Not only did my little 48-incher ride The Beast, but also Vortex, which contains two vertical loops, one corkscrew, one boomerang turn, and a 360-degree helix. He rode that one three times. We were extra grateful for the wristband which identified that he had been measured at Guest Services, so we didn’t have to wait for them to check his height on every ride.

Then there was Drop Tower .

That’s my daughter sitting in unlucky seat #13 and our friends, on either side, who were brave enough to ride 315 feet up, only to be dropped down the tower at 67 miles per hour. I took pictures. With my feet on the ground

Fortunately, Kings Island has a rating system in place to help any visitor choose their park adventure, grading rides on a scale from Low Thrills (1) to Aggressive Thrills (5), so if you think that rides like Drop Tower (5) seem too adventurous, you can ride Scrambler (3) or take a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower (2).

I love that Kings Island has been bringing me decade upon decade of fun and laughter. I love that my kids can experience and appreciate the same things I did when I was their age. I love that despite the generational gap, my teenage daughter and I both speak the same language when we’re on a roller coaster. But mostly, I just love The Beast.

And, I’m pretty sure I always will.

Are you a Aggressive Thrills rider or a Aggressive Thrills photographer when you go to amusement parks?