HAVE YOU EVER  FELT UNCOMFORTABLE TRAVELLING ALONE?

I started travelling by myself  when I was in high school . 

It was a weekend  trip to  Boston  and I can honestly  say that  I  really  didn’t  know  what  to  expect ,  nor did I  do  any research  on where I was going.

This is something  that  you should  NEVER do whether you’re  going  on a trip around  the  world  or doing a 30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  somewhere . 

Do your  research  before  you  go  anywhere ,  that way you have some idea of what’s  expected  of you.

I have since traveled by myself  to London, Singapore ,  Kuala  Lumpur  and Penang ,  Malaysia  as well as Brisbane  and Sydney ,  Australia . 

I won’t  even mention all the times and places in the United  States  and Canada that I’ve  traveled  to  by myself . 

Did I feel  uncomfortable  going by myself  to these places, in some cases ,  not knowing  anybody ? 

I’m  not  lying  to you when I say no.

Actually ,  I didn’t  and I still don’t  even  after all these years of traveling  by myself . 

Don’t  get me wrong.

Lots of thoughts  went through  my mind, but nothing like will any physical  harm come to  me in these places . 

I was more concerned  about will I have a problem  because  I’m  carrying  an American  passport?

This was way before the current  political  climate ,  by the way.

I worried  about when I went overseas ,  will these places have people that speak English ? 

How do some of the places that I’m  going to  feel about a woman  traveling  by herself ? 

Most of all  I worried about will I have a problem with  the  fact that I’m an older woman  of color travelling  by herself . 

Luckily, I didn’t  have a problem  and people  were very nice.

Although ,  in Singapore  and  Malaysia  some well meaning ladies that I met in the shops and on my plane ride wanted  to  know  “where was my husband  and  how could he let me travel by myself ? ”

Most of my travel now is in the United  States  and Canada . 

Because  I  was  raised to be very independent  by my folks, may they rest in peace, I don’t feel uncomfortable  at all traveling  by myself.

I like to  think  that  the  Good Lord  is watching  over me no matter where I go , so everything  is  going  to  be okay . 

Of course, even here in my own country, I research  and  am very aware of my surroundings . 

If something doesn’t  feel or seem right, I avoid it like the plague . 

I don’t  wait for anyone  to  go  with me, I have to  go somewhere  because ,  you know, staying  home  is NOT  an  option . 

Although when I do one of my famous  30 Plus  Teams  Tours, and I’m  asked by some well meaning person  why am I going  to this city ,  who do I know there ,  I’d be a multimillionaire  for all the side glances I get when I tell them that  I’m going for a baseball ,  basketball  or a hockey game.

What about  you ?  

Do you ever feel uncomfortable  when you travel  by yourself ? 

If so, how do you handle it?

Drop me a line in the comments  section ,  let me know and as always, thank you for liking  and  following  my  blog posts . 

FRIENDS  –  WE ALL HAVE  THEM, GOOD  AND BAD  

You might  be  under  the  impression  that  I  have  no  friends  or  maybe  even  just  one  because  I  seem  to  do things by myself . 

That’s  not true, it just  seems  like  it . 

I  actually  have  friends ,  eight  close  girlfriends  whom  I  call  my ”  Circle  of  Sisters  ” . 

They  aren’t  only  my  sounding  board  on  work problems ,  (  theirs  since  I’m  retired . ) , family  issues ,  (  because  they  know  that  I’m  nosey  as  hell  and  just  need  to  know  what’s  going  on . ), husbands  or boyfriends ,  (  lack  of  either  or the conversation  usually  begins  with    ‘do you  know  what  that  idiot  did  now ?  !  ), and one of  our  favorite  topics ,  health  issues ,  (  because  we’re  all  getting  older and we all  have  them.)

We’re  women  of  different  ages, religions ,  and  ethnicities ,  but we share one  very  big  thing  in common . 

This  is  a  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  so of  course  my friends  have  done  many  of  them  and they  all like sports . 

In some cases  not all four of  them ,  but you get the idea . 

We did 30  Plus  Teams  Tours  when  it wasn’t  even  called  that . 

We didn’t  even think about  a 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  back then.

All one of my  girls  had to say were  the  magic  words ,  ”  Road  Trip  ” . 

You  just  knew  what  that  meant  no matter  what  the  sport  was.

Even  back  then  vacations  were planned  around  some  team’s  schedule . 

It still  is . 

I  actually  made  a  day  trip  from my  home  in  Boston  to meet  one  of  my  friends  in  New Jersey  for an afternoon  hockey  game.

I went  back  to  Boston  after  the  game  was  over  because  I  had  to  work  the  next  day . 

I’m  not  going  to  lie  and say  that  I  did  stupid  stuff  with  the  girls  only  when  I  was  younger  and  didn’t  know  any  better . 

I should  have  because  as  my folks  used to  say ,  ‘girl ,  you  were  raised  better  than  that ! ‘

When  I  got  a  little  bit  older ,  say in my late 30 ‘ s and early  40’s ,  the  ”  silly ,  stupid  stuff  gene” was back and better than ever . 

Now that I’m  older and I like to think a little  bit  more mature ,  I look back and think to myself:

“WOW ,   DID WE  REALLY  DO  HALF  THE  STUFF  THAT  WE DID? !”

Don’t  get me  wrong . 

This  wasn’t  the  kind of  things that would have you wearing  an orange  jumpsuit  for  the  rest  of  your  life . 

Still ,  OH MY GOD ,  WHAT  WERE  WE  THINKING ?  !  

Thank  God  we  all  met  at  a  time  when  there  was  no  social  media . 

You  knew  your  friends  from  chuch ,  school ,  work  or the  neighborhood . 

In my  case ,  two  of  my friends ,  I knew from  work  and  one went to  high school  with  me.

The  other  six I  met  through  the  pen  pal  section  of  a sports  magazine  and  something  called  ”  Friendship  Books . ”

These  were  little  books  that  you  made from index  cards or construction  paper  in  which  a person  wrote  down  their  name ,  address ,  the  player  or teams  that they liked  and  any  other  information  about  themselves . 

You  then  mailed  it  to  another  friend  who  mailed  it  to  someone  else . 

When  the book  was full, it was sent to  the  person  who  made the book in the first place . 

Believe it or not ,  after all  these years ,  all of us are friendly  with many of the people  whose  names were in those books.

Try doing  that  now . 

We now text each other  almost every day and we’re  on social  media    whether  it be Facebook ,  Instagram ,  or Twitter.

Yes, we still get silly and stuck on stupid  from time  to  time . 

We don’t  do FB  anymore . 

(  That’s  Friendship  Books ,  not Facebook . )

We’ve  been  best friends for a long time  and I don’t know   what I would do if I  didn’t  have my Circle  of  Sisters  around me to be my sounding  board  about  EVERYTHING . 

(  Thanks  Susi  Q ,  Lisa ,  Carol ,  Shana ,  Tee ,  Socorro ,  Mish  and  Myra !  Love  you  guys  to  the  Moon  and  back .  )

This includes  going  on  a 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  with  or  without  them  because  we  all  have  the  same  motto . 

”  STAYING  HOME  IS  NOT  AN  OPTION .  ”

What  about  you ?  

Do  you  have  friends  that  stood  by  you  through  thick  and  thin ?  

Do  you  do silly  things when you  get  together ? 

Drop me  a  line  in the  comments  section  and  thanks for  liking my  blog . 

START  SPREADING  THE  NEWS  –  NEW  YORK ,  NEW  YORK  –  A RIDE ON  THE PATH TRAIN

if you  happen  to  be visiting  New  York  City ,  you want to get adventurous  and visit places not that far away.

People  have  told you  to visit  New Jersey ,  right across  the  river.

Shopping  is cheaper  than  New York  City ,  and depending  on  where in New Jersey  you are, it’s  just a day trip.

Here’s  a little  surprise  for you.

The Statue  of  Liberty  is actually  in New Jersey ,  not New York ,  but don’t  tell New Yorkers  that . 

They won’t  believe you.

You don’t  have  a  car, and you don’t  want to  go down  to  Port  Authority  Bus Terminal  to  catch a New Jersey  transit  bus . 

You also don’t want  to  go anywhere  near Penn Station  and take one of  those New Jersey  transit trains.

Penn Station  falls into every stereotype  that you’ve  ever heard about New York  City . 

It’s  big, it’s  dirty ,  it’s  loud, and it’s  as crowded as Hell with people  knocking you down trying to catch the train or subway.

But you want to  go to New Jersey . 

You have to.

This is a 30  Plus  Teams  Tour ,  after all . 

It was too expensive  for  the  four of  you to see a hockey  game  at Madison  Square  Garden ,  so you’re  going to see New Jersey ‘ s team, the New Jersey  Devils ,  play at the Prudential  Center in Newark . 

One problem ,  though.

You have no car and a taxi is very expensive from where your hotel is.

So what do you do ? 

Simple.

You brought a New York  City  Metro  Card to use when taking the subway.

You brought a reloadable  one which you can use on the other subway  line that takes you to New Jersey . 

It runs seven days a week ,  and 24 hours a day.

It’s  called  the  PATH Train.

PATH stands for Port Authority  Trans Hudson . 

In case you didn’t  know ,  it’s  the Hudson  River  that separates  New York  from New Jersey . 

It’s  the train that  a lot of people  from New Jersey  take to their jobs in New York  City . 

The PATH train has two major terminals  in New York  City ,  The World Trade  Center  and 33rd. Street . 

If you’re  going to a game at the Prudential  Center, which you are, you can take the train at either the World  Trade Center  or 33rd Street ,  depending  on  where in the city you are.

Keep in mind though if you take the train at the 33rd Street  tetminal, the last stop is Journal Square in Jersey City ,  which is  a major terminal  in New Jersey . 

You have to get off and wait for  the  train to continues on to the city of Harrison ,  New Jersey  and Newark . 

The PATH  train  is very clean as they allow no eating or drinking  on it, plus it’s  not as noisy as the New York  City  subway . 

It does get crowded, so don’t  be  surprised  if during rush hour, you’re  standing . 

This train is an alternative  to  the  regular subway  if you happen  to  be  going to  or near 23rd, 14th, 9th, or Christopher  Streets  in New York  City . 

Another piece  of  advice when you take  the PATH . 

Act like you’ve  been  on it before and know where you’re  going . 

There are information  booths at every PATH  station ,  and better yet, have your information  before you leave your hotel, hostel or Airbnb . 

Have fun in New Jersey  and enjoy your ride on the PATH  Train . 

DEAR FOREIGN TOURISTS  – AN OPEN LETTER TO  THE  WORLD  FROM  AN AMERICAN  

Dear tourists,

I understand  that some  of  your  governments  have issued travel  warnings  about coming to the United States ,  because  it’s  too dangerous . 

They want you to  rethink that trip to  San Francisco  or Denver, Colorado . 

Please don’t  listen . 

It’s  not that we need your tourist dollars more than let’s  say, Myanmar  or some other  countries do, but we actually  do.

Some cities in the United States  aren’t  doing that great tourist  wise.

They’d  like you to visit them too.

They want you to spend money in Hershey ,  Pennsylvania ,  just like you spend it in Belfast or Bejing.

You’ve  been told about the floods ,  hurricanes , and other sorts of wild weather that we have here.

Sorry, I know  that  some of you go to Thailand  and Bali a lot.

They don’t  have wild weather, too?

Just asking.

In spite of  what your newspapers  back in Amsterdam ,  Saudi Arabia ,  and Sydney  have led you to believe ,  there’s  more to  United States  than New York  City ,  Miami ,  or Los Angeles . 

In spite of what you’ve  heard or seen on your screens back home or what some of your governments  want you to see, Americans are really  very friendly . 

Please don’t  judge us by our politicians . 

We are NOTHING  like that.

We really  want to know  all about you and the country  you come from.

Please don’t  be afraid  of  us because  some of us seem to have this fascination  with guns and something  called “The Second  Amendment . ”

Many of  us  DON’T  have a fascination  with  guns and we’re  troubled  by  our fellow Americans  who do.

We like  to  have a good old time in Jackson  Hole ,  Wyoming  and Branson ,  Missouri ,  just like you do in Munich and Lisbon . 

I’m  sorry  that  it takes so long to go through  some of  our airports  because  of  the  type of passport  you happen  to  be  holding . 

Please don’t  hold that against  the  average  American  or that United  States  customs agent who’s  just doing his or her job.

Get to really  know us.

Have some Tex-Mex  food  in  San  Antonio ,  Texas, or some beer and bratwurst  in Milwaukee ,  Wisconsin . 

See how our dairy farmers go about their business  providing food for us on the farms of Nebraska ,  Iowa or Kansas.

Have a pizza in places you wouldn’t  even consider ,  like Detroit ,  Baltimore ,  or San Diego . 

Have a cheesesteak sandwich  in Philadelphia ,  a lobster roll in Maine ,  a po’boy or a Muffaletta sandwich  in New Orleans ,  or try a “grinder” in Providence ,  Rhode  Island . 

By all means, if you must ,  visit ”  The  City That Never Sleeps  ” ,  because  you know you want to . 

In spite of what recently  happened, please visit Las Vegas . 

Visit it because  there’s  no place like it and everyone  should  visit Vegas at least  once in their  lives . 

Visit  Washington  DC  and Gettysburg ,  Pennsylvania  just so you can understand  why we Americans  are the way we are.

While  you’re  at  it ,  visit Lexington ,  Massachusetts  and Valley  Forge, Pennsylvania  so that you can fully grasp what the United States  is all about . 

You’ve  been told by friends and relatives  how expensive some of our states are.

They are,but there are 50 states in the country ,  don’t  neglect those states that you don’t  know that much about like Delaware ,  Oregon ,  South and North  Dakota, Idaho and West Virginia . 

While  you’re  at  it ,  if you really  want to  get to  know  Americans, take yourself  to a sporting  event, whether it  be  baseball ,  basketball  or American  Football . 

You don’t  have to  understand  the  sport, just observe . 

Whatever you  do ,  though, please don’t  discuss  politics or religion  with us.

You might  not like what you  hear.

As you decide  where your next vacation  is going  to  be ,  Mister or Mrs. Foreign Tourist, please consider  coming  to  the  United States . 

We aren’t  as bad as you’ve  been told that  we are.

You might even get to  like some of  us.
Sincerely , 

An American  who would like  you to visit

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THAT 30 PLUS  TEAMS  TOUR IS OVER?

Let’s  say you’ve  gone on that fabulous  vacation  to somewhere exotic like Bangkok  or Bali, or you’re  going  to  visit  your family  in Korea or Nigeria . 

You spent a whole  year living or working in Europe  or Asia or went backpacking  in Australia  or New Zealand . 

Of course you did that 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of Atlanta just to see the Atlanta  Falcons  Football  team’s  new stadium . 

All these trips have ended and you’re  getting ready to  come back home.

You’re  going to miss the friends you’ve made and you’re  happy to be going home.

Or are you?

Something  just doesn’t  seem  right.

You’re going to  sleep  in your own bed that you haven’t  seen  in a long time.

You might even  be  sleeping  in the same room that you’ve  had for years because  you’re  living  with your folks . 

Something  still isn’t  making you happy ,  in fact you’re  doing everything  you can to keep  from thinking  about  the fact that you’re  leaving.

You can’t  stop thinking  about  the wonderful  time you had and the  things that  you  saw.

Worse for everyone  else, you CAN’T stop talking  about your trip overseas or cross country  to anyone  who  will listen . 

You want to go away again so badly and oh so very  soon.

Okay, what’s  going on  here?

What’s  wrong  with  you?

Might it be that you’re  suffering  from  Post Travel  Depression ? 

Now before you poo poo and think that  this  is  another  one  of  those “fake  ailments  “, think about  it  for a minute . 

Your trip or sabbatical  is almost over   .

Do you think  to yourself ,  ”  I  REALLY don’t  want to  go back. Maybe I can  stay one more day if I have the money and I can change my ticket . ”

Or are you  like me and buy two one way tickets because  you’re  not  sure when  you’re  going to  come back?

Sometimes I  wait until the last minute  to buy a return  ticket . 

Not very practical  and  kinda expensive ,  but it works for me.

I guess it’s a  blessing  to  live in  a big city where transportation  is plentiful . 

Since most of  my  travel consists  of  bus travel  in the  United States  and Canada ,  it’s  relatively  easy tto  buy tickets  or change  my ticket to leave on another day.

Greyhound  charges $20 to change your ticket.

Megabus  charges $  20 for a standby ticket, no matter what  day it is.

You just have  to  wait until  everyone  is seated and the driver counts the empty seats.

If you happen to  be  flying  or taking  Amtrak ,  it’s  a  little  harder  and more expensive  to change  your  ticket . 

Another question . 

Do you dread every minute that you get closer and closer to your home?

Do you look  forward  to  that next trip, only  to  realize  that your  next trip  isn’t  coming  anytime soon?

Why do you feel  this way and just what  can be done about  it ? 

I  honestly  don’t  know . 

But rather than dwell on the fact that  your next trip  isn’t  for a long time, work with what you’ve  got.

You can’t  tell me that you’ve  seen  everything  in your hometown . 

I  live in  New York  City  and I’m not going to lie and tell you that  I’ve  seen  everything  because  I  haven’t .

Get together  with friends and be a tourist in your own city.

It will take your mind off the urge to  tell everyone  about how great the night markets are in Saigon  or Jakarta . 
What about you?

How do you feel  after you’ve  come back from a trip and just what do you  do about it?

Let me know  in the comments  section  or if you have my email  address ,  sportsdiva63@gmail.com ,  give me a shout out . 

Thanks  again  for  reading my posts . 

MY FAVORITE  MEMORY  FROM THIS YEAR

The  year isn’t  over yet ,  and I’m  sure  that I’ll  have  many other favorite  memories  to talk about . 

At this time  though ,  at the middle  of  October ,  my favorite  memory  from this year so far occurred in a five day span, June 18th  until June 23rd . 

This was my annual  trip to  Las Vegas  for the NHL  Awards  and  red carpet  ceremony.

This year was an extra  special  one though.

Las Vegas  was getting  a  brand  new  hockey  team, the Golden  Knights.

(You know what  that means ,  right? Las Vegas  has become  a stop on the 30 Plus  Teams  Tour . )

Not only was the city hosting  the awards, something  that they had done for the  past few years at some theater in one of the many casino – hotels in  town, but they were going to hold the ceremony  and  the Expansion  Draft  at the T-MOBILE  Arena ,  home of the team.

Everyone  who attended  the  awards ceremony  also got to see and hear just what players would  be  wearing  that black hockey jersey trimmed  in gold and red with the gold Knights  shield  on the front.

I was really  excited  because  for once not only was I  going to  the red carpet  ceremony  and take pictures  with hockey players nominated  for  awards, but I  could  actually  afford  tickets to  the  awards  for once.

$25 for a seat in Section  13, row 9 sounded awfully  good to  me.

The only thing  that  I  didn’t  like was the unbearable  heat.

The  city does get wicked  hot in the months  of  June, July ,  and August ,  but maybe because  I’m  getting  older and hadn’t  lived in  Vegas in 7 years, the heat did bother me a lot this time and  I  was wearing  a  sleeveless  dress.

I can never forget how excited  I was when five of the newest members of  the  team came on stage and greeted the crowd.

They were wearing  their jerseys without their names or numbers on the back.

I wasn’t  the only one  who  was excited . 

The crowd in the arena was electric  and this wasn’t  even a hockey  game  that was being  played . 

There was even a question  and answer period after the ceremony  was over with not only the same five players, but the coach of the team as well.

It was something  that  I’ll  never forget . 

Vegas was ready to  show the world  that the newest member  of “The Shield  ” could  put on a show worthy of “The Entertainment  Capital  of  the  World  ” when their first inaugural  home game happened on October  10th . 

Yes, this was definitely  my favorite  memory  of  the  year ,  if not the summer.

I couldn’t  wait to  see  them play, and it’s  even part of  my bucket list to see a game at the  T-MOBILE  Arena . 

Who would  have  known  or even  thought  that  just a few  days  before  October  10th ,  someone  would  make  my favorite  memory  of  the  year very bittersweet ? 

I  will  still  remember  in spite  of  everything those days, June 18-23, 2017, and how they will be my favorite  memory  of  the  year.
#VEGASSTRONGFOREVER  

START  SPREADING  THE  NEWS  –  NEW  YORK ,  NEW  YORK  –  THE  NBA  STORE  

Being the  team sports  apparel  fashionista that I  am ,  when I  did my own  30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City ,  I just  HAD to make  a  stop at  two of my favorite  stores.

The NHL  Store  and the NBA  Store ,  which really  aren’t  that  far from each other.

Is there such a term as “team  sports  apparel  fashionista”?

If not, there’s  a  new term  that I  made up all by myself . 

There wasn’t  anything  that I wanted to  buy just yet at the  NHL  Store ,  but the NBA  Store  was another  story . 

The store  is located  on 45th Street  and Fifth Avenue . 

It has three floors  and moved from their old location  on 47th Street  and Fifth  Avenue . 

As I walked down Fifth  Avenue  and got closer to  the  flagship  store of all things National  Basketball  Association ,  I wasn’t  the only one  who  was taking pictures  of the  store and walking in to take a look at all the NBA swag.

It wasn’t  even 11am ,  and all ready this place was packed with people . 

There was no sale going on, just lots of basketball  fans buying  all sorts of  team apparel . 

Many of  them were tourists.

In case you weren’t  aware, the NBA is HUGE in places like China, France, Germany ,  Spain, Argentina, Croatia ,  Serbia , Latvia ,  and Lithuania ,  among other  places.

I was amazed by all the languages I heard spoken by people just going crazy buying basketball  stuff.

When you walk into the store, not only are you greeted  by  official  store greeters saying, “Welcome  to  the  NBA  Store  “, but a HUGE bobblehead of Golden  State Warriors  player, Stephan Curry . 

The store seems  to  have  everything  and then some  that you ever wanted to  buy when it comes to  your team or favorite  player . 

I wasn’t  the only person  loading  up on NBA  goodies.

(Basketball  season  begins  this Tuesday  night and just because  I don’t  have  enough Boston  Celtics  stuff in my closet ,  I just have to  have more.)

This store is flashy, just like the league  it represents  and the city that it’s  located  in . 

The store has basketball  stuff for every age and  gender ,  even if your  basketball  fan is still in diapers.

There’s  even  an area of  the  store where you  can  practice  your basketball  skills . 

What about  things for the basketball  historian  in you?

The NBA  Store has you covered too.

On the first floor ,  there’s  pictures  from every  era of the  NBA ,  beginning  with  the  1960’s.

It’s  fun to  see all the pictures  of players back in the day and the present  that you remember . 

I think the NBA  Store  is going to  be  a  place  that I’m  going to  be  shopping  at  a lot more  often.

Judging  by  all the  people  coming out of  the store, black shopping  bags with the red, white, and blue NBA  logo splashed all over it, I’m  not  the  only  one .