Travel for the Budget-Conscious

Some helpful tips for people who love to travel like me!

The Keen Cosmopolitan:

We all want to get away from the 9-to-5 and the daily grind, even if for a weekend if not a week or two.  The problem?  Not enough funds to really do what you want to do.  Sometimes, when we have the money, we don’t necessarily have the time to do what we really want to do.  But the main thing is money, especially in an age where the price of everything goes up but our salaries stay the same.  That doesn’t stop a person like me from getting out whenever I can.  Now, I may have worked in the transportation industry for about 5 year now and make more than twice what I made doing entry-level IT jobs, that doesn’t always mean I have more to spend on trips, mainly because my living expenses have gone up along with my salary.  Not to mention only having two weeks of…

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Carlton’s Magical Train: L-O-V-E

Sandwiches. She had to sell sandwiches. Carlton looked at the counter where Samantha stood smiling and speaking with the local busybody Doris Acer. She was beautiful and clearly patient, heaven knows Doris could talk someone’s ear off. When he asked his train for sandwiches he hadn’t expected this he thought, then grimaced ‘asked his train’ he sounded crazy.

Samantha glanced up and caught Carlton’s eye and smiled. This is the third day Carlton had come into the Samantha’s sandwich shop he thought as he gathered his stuff, she must think I’m obsessed.

“Carlton, come tell Samantha about our ‘Sweetheart Dance” Doris bellowed over at him. The Sweetheart dance was Port Jervis’s annual Valentine’s Day tradition, mostly for the older couples in town.

“Well not too much to tell…” Carlton started.

“Oh Carlton’s being modest, it’s an excellent time. Very romantic. Are you dating anyone?” Carlton held his breath, of course Doris would pry out the question he had been wanting to know since he met her.

Samantha blushed. “Well no not at this moment.” She glanced quickly as Carlton’s face, was that a glint of interest or just wishful thinking on her part. “Just trying to settle in for now.”

“Amazing, you must come. I won’t take no for an answer.” Doris exclaimed glancing at Carlton and Samantha. Young people were so transparent nowadays, these two were clearly interested in each other.

Carlton had to escape before Doris set them up or said something really inappropriate. “Well ladies I have to get back to the rails but have a good rest of the day.” and Carlton raced out the door.

Samantha took a deep breath, if the way Carlton ran out of here was any indication she was definitely wishful thinking.


Carlton was in a grumpy mood. It was Valentine’s Day and his train had been full of happy snuggling couples all day. Doris already reminded him this morning of his single status and the Sweetheart dance tonight. She had also casually mentioned that Samantha would be attending too. Interfering old bat.

Looking at his watch, he realized that the Sweetheart dance would be starting any minute. He just had to make this one stop first, he needed a good luck charm tonight. Staring at his train he just made one request, just let me have a good night.


Carlton walked into the rented out hall where the dance was be held while it was in full swing. Though Bob Lincoln, an older pharmacist in town, had grabbed her for a dance Samantha noticed the instant he walked in. He had a kind smile and the older women flocked to him. A hint of jealously hit her, you are being silly they are double his age!

“Get ready for another slow jam folks,” the dj announced. Carlton glanced around and saw Samantha in the corner the first time all night she wasn’t surrounded by people, now was his chance, he thought.

“Hi there, having a good night?” he said.

“Yea very nice time, everyone has been so friendly.” Samantha glanced at the dance floor, would he ask her, she thought nervously.

“You wouldn’t want to head out there, would you?” noticing her eyes had drifted to the dance floor.

Samantha blushed. “Sure, I mean if you want to”

Carlton smiled, his train had done it again, this was going to be a great night he thought as he grabbed her hand.

My Father’s Wishes

While I’m having a hard time finishing the next segment of ‘Carlton’s Magical Train’, this story came to me. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Charlotte looked at the stranger in her driver’s seat. Her day had begun normal enough, she had brushed her teeth and got ready for work when her phone rang. Charlotte looked over at the stranger again, she knew she shouldn’t have picked up the phone.

Earlier that Morning

“Hello” Charlotte said hastily as she pulled up your tights and juggled the phone at the same time. Silence greeted her on the other end.  “Helloooo” Charlotte was about to hang up when she heard a voice on the other line.

“Is this Charlotte Healy?” the male voice said with a hint of an accent that she couldn’t quite place.

“Yes this is Charlotte, can I ask who’s calling?

“Is your father Charles Healy?” Charlotte hesitated, her father, she hadn’t thought about him for years. When her mother had died five years ago she assumed that her father would come back for the funeral and they would be a family again. That had been a daydream though, Charles hadn’t bothered coming to the funeral.

“Yes, yes. Can I ask who’s calling?”

“I’m sorry to tell you this but your father died this morning. ” Dead. Charlotte hadn’t spoken to her father in ten years. Now she never would she thought to herself.  The dial tone brought her back to reality. She could call the library and call out of work but keeping busy will probably keep her mind off of it. Luckily it was only a couple of blocks, she would walk, get some air. That ended up being the second mistake she made that morning.

Charlotte lived in a quiet neighborhood, she knew her neighbors thought of her as the spinster next door which was perfectly fine with her. Growing up with her mother was sometimes difficult for the straight-laced Charlotte. Charlotte’s mother June had been a free spirit and some would say probably not fit to be a mother, Charlotte remembered on many occasions finding her brown bag lunch was full of love poems to give her sustenance. What Charlotte would have really wanted was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich like the rest of the kids. It was thanks to the school librarian, Ms. Jeffries who took her under her wing, it was thanks to her that she is a librarian today. Now she loved her quiet lifestyle.

It was probably due to her musings that she didn’t notice the blue SUV pull up in front of her or the 6 ft. male coming out of the SUV. That is until he was right in front of her.

“Ms. Healy, you need to come with me.” Charlotte would have laughed in his face if his face didn’t look so intimidating. How many times had she read that line in one of her romance-mysteries she loved to read. This was real life though.

“I’m not sure who you are but I’m headed to wor-umphh” Charlotte started to panic as he grabbed her arm and put his hand over her mouth. Was she being kidnapped?

The stranger pulled her to the passenger door and turned to face her still frowning, “Listen, I can’t explain everything but I’m an ex-partner of your father and I’m here to protect you. You are in grave danger. You can’t go back to your house or work, they’ll be there already.”

Charlotte’s head was swimming, “Who’s they? Where are we headed? Why should I trust you, what if you are here to hurt me too?” Charlotte had a million questions but just as she was about to ramble more questions they both heard the squealing tires. Looking back at her house she saw three black SUVs pull up to her house. The stranger turned back to look at her.

“Let’s go”

* * *

Charlotte was on edge. That was actually an understatement, she was terrified. The stranger might have said five words since she got in the car. She wanted to scream this doesn’t happen to librarians, but there she was with a stranger going who knows where. Time to take control.

“I need to know what’s going on.” Charlotte said shakily. She saw the stranger’s face tense. It must be bad.

“We’re heading to your father’s office, then hopefully to the police.” The stranger spared her a glance then looked back at the road.

“I need to know more than that! I don’t even know who you are!”

Sam Brockman sighed. This is why he never did favors for friends. When Charles Healy called him two weeks ago he would never know the heap of trouble he would be in now. “My name is Sam.”

So the stranger had a name. That didn’t make Charlotte feel better though. “You said you knew my father?”

Sam definitely knew Charles.  Ten years ago, Sam had been a twenty-one year old heading down the wrong path when Charles Healy had stopped and interrogated him, and scared the snot out of him. It was why Sam enlisted and turned around his life, It was also why he was in the car right now with his fidgety daughter.

“Yes, I knew your father. He was a mentor to me in a sense.”

“What did he do?”

Sam remembered Charles saying that him and his daughter weren’t close. “He was a police officer, mostly undercover. Not close, huh?”

“Yes, you could say that. We have been estranged since he left my mother. I got a call this morning saying he passed away, is that true?” Charlotte held her breath, wondering what she really wanted the answer to be.

“Yes, he was killed this morning.” Sam felt the familiar pain of loss. “I’m sorry for you loss.”

“Can’t really mourn someone you didn’t know. So where’s my father’s office?”

“D.C.” Hopefully there was some answers there too.


This is what I have for now. I’ll write some more soon! Any suggestions please let me know

Travel Bug!

Lately I’ve been feeling the itch (more than usual) to travel. I’m lucky because in May I’m going to Toronto (and stopping at Niagara Falls!) so hopefully that will scratch the itch a little bit. I thought writing about the places I’ve been and hoping to go will help too!

Places I’ve Been:

Riviera Maya, Mexico- Highlights: Two big pools, right on the beach, 4 restaurants in resort

Madrid and Barcelona, Spain- Highlights: great architecture, Plaza Major, Museo Nacional del Prado

East Stroudsburg and Philadelphia, PA- Highlights: Transit Museum, East Stroudsburg train station, Philly cheese steaks! 

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina- Highlights: great beaches, restaurants and bars walking distance

Niagara Falls and Toronto, Canada (going in May!!)

Washington D.C- Highlights: national monuments

Alexandria, VA- Highlights: cute small town feel, pier, trolley

various places in New Jersey and New York (where I’m from)


Where I want to go (there are so many places I want to go but these are my top 5):






Hopefully I’ll be able to check some more places off my list soon!

Weekend Getaway Ideas: Chicago, IL

The Keen Cosmopolitan:

Willis Tower The Willis Tower in The Loop. (c) 2010 C. Walton

Chicago, Illinois:  The Windy City, Chi-Town, all-American City.

Why Chicago?  Why not?  It is largest city in the Midwest.  It is the railroad gateway between the West and the East.  It sits right along Lake Michigan for the best views and has a river/canal that runs through, the only river that flows opposite the normal river flow, meaning it flows away from the lake as opposed to towards the lake.  It is home to one of the world’s busiest airports, and was the busiest at one time.  It is home to two of the nation’s largest skyscrapers, the Hancock Tower and the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).  Its “L” network is the largest of its kind in the country after New York.  90% of Chicago’s rapid transit system is on elevated tracks, even Downtown (“The Loop” as it’s called)…

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New York, New York!

Before I was a blogger, I was an editorial intern at a website Destination Guides. I absolutely loved it! Not only did I get to write articles about New York but I got to edit other people’s articles about different locations. I’ve been thinking about it lately since I’ve been looking for jobs in the editorial field. Also it’s fun to see what and how I wrote in the past. I think my favorite article is about the South Street Seaport, it’s a concise and detailed representation of the Seaport and I like the style I wrote in. I’ve included the link below to some of the articles I wrote, let me know what you think 🙂