three paintings hanging in gallery
Babcia and Yia Yia!, Study Hall: Essays On Travel

5 Ways to Connect Art To Your Travel

Art and travel go hand in hand just like peas and carrots. This is true no matter where in the world you roam but it may stand out even more when you wander in Europe. Well organized and very relatable, the art of Europe always seems to surface into the stories and memories of travelers. But what if art just isn’t your thing? What if every time you even hear the word art, you involuntarily roll your eyes toward the heavens? More importantly, what if you want to enjoy art but you just aren’t sure how to make it happen? This is your lucky day! We’ve got a plan made just for you!

assorted paintings on green wall
Photo by WangMing’Photo on

Do what you like.

So you can’t wrap your mind around the art world. Okay. Maybe, instead, you are a movie buff. Use that comfy space to expand your understanding of the art world. There are plenty of choices. Pop the popcorn and check out some of these amazing films:

  • Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds which is a 2015 movie about Gustav Klimt and post war Austria.
  • Monuments Men with George Clooney and Matt Damon which is the story of stolen art during the war.
  • Made You Look which is a true crime doc all about the forgeries of Jackson Pollack


Find The Story.

Invest in art by reading both fiction and nonfiction. If you are a book junkie, then the art world has got you covered! There are so many amazing stories that weave together great worls of art and their creators. Here are just a few:

  • Girl With A Pearl Earring by Traci Chevalier
  • Cooking for Piccasso by Camille Aubray
  • DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
  • The Monet Murders by Josh Lanyon


Mix it up.

The idea that you have committed yourself to go to a very large building with a lot of canvases on the wall can realistically feel defeating. The truth is that sometimes the big, iconic museums are just too much to handle and it may be better to dip your toe in the art pool at a smaller venue. Additionally, collective art like the CarnaValet in Paris with its signs, shops, and apartments as well as paintings may give your eye more variety to focus on in a shorter amount of time.

man people woman art
Photo by Gagan Cambow on

Speaking of time, it’s time to not feel guilty about seeing every single thing when you visit a museum! Walk your walk and look along the way. Feel free to stop at what catches your eye. It’s just fine! Speech over.


Be a doer and not a looker.

Art can fall more into the doing category instead of the looking category. Look to see what art venues are offering. For example you can drop in for a drawing session at the Cloisters through The Met in NYC or the V and A in London has a ton of workshops from stitching to photography. Some are free and some are not, but it’s worth seeing if there’s something that you’re interested in.


Jump in the deep end.

Immersive art experiences have been a huge trend over the past few years and they are starting to produce events for more and more famous artists. Enjoy art by walking into a room which surrounds you with music and some of the most famous canvases in the world. The headliner of these exhibitions has been Van Gogh. His work was set to music and then slightly animated to give you the sense of of storyline. In just 45 minutes or so, you can immerse yourself into his world and then reacquaint yourself with some of his most famous works and motifs. You might be surprised by how much you know!


Coming in at a strong second is the Monet and friends experience which was most recently at Biltmore. Truth be told, I’m a huge fan of Impressionism (and any art professional will most likely tell you that makes me no art expert). But, this exhibit lacked something I couldn’t put my finger on. I loved the work and I loved the music but it just didn’t match the Van Gogh experience note for note. Still it was a worthy excursion and certainly not a waste of time.


green trees near lake
Babcia and Yia Yia!, Travel With Terri: USA 101

8 Ways to Experience Alaska

Alaska is one of the hottest destinations around these days. Road Trips and National Parks are the new buzz words in the travel industry. I think it’s safe to say that we are all going to be enjoying a lot more nooks and crannies of our country in these next few years as the travel and tourism industry dusts itself off and gets back on its feet. So, where do you even start? Well, when it comes to the ultimate American trip, I can think of no place better than Alaska!

glacier snow landscape mountains
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I always say it! When we are out traveling the world, don’t just look at it, do it! And Alaska is a paradise for those who like to join in and experience things first hand. Whether you choose to visit by cruise, RV rental, tour package, or in your own mini-van, Alaska has something for absolutely everyone! In fact, there are so many choices, you may not be able to get to all of them. So, grab the kids and Grandma! Check out this great list of 8 of the most family friendly activities that Alaska has to offer!

Animal watching in Denali National Park

Whether you know it as Denali or Mt. McKinley, this central point of Alaska and its surroundings never ceases to amaze! Once you are in the park, you can take on a hike on your own or jump on a school bus and enjoy a guided tour. Be prepared for a little ranger history and a few distant animals. If you’re lucky, you will get a chance to see the grand daddy of them all: the moose! This is definitely a trip to bring binoculars!


Gold panning in the streams of Juneau

Step back in time and try your hand at a little gold panning in the shallows of the brisk streams that surround the area. Kids will love getting elbow deep as they search and scoop and dig for treasure. It’s a can’t miss!


Whale watching in Glacier Bay National Park

While much of Alaska can be a bit overcast and gray, Glacier Bay sparkles! Learn about the glacier ice and catch a calving as the ice gives way to the water below. Watch the chunks of striped ice float by you and, if you are willing to get up early, you may run in to a pod of whales enjoying the morning light.


Fishing in the waters off of Ketchikan

Whether you are a fresh water fisher or prefer the salt water, Alaska has something for everyone. I highly suggest a guide that will make the most of your time. Guides are also helpful in keeping you safe from uniquely Alaskan dangers like bars while you fly fish or whale bubble nets while you fish for salmon. Many guides also include the processing and shipping in their fees. Our salmon arrived perfectly packaged on our door step the day after we returned home. Brilliant!


Salmon Bake in the woods

For an enchanting meal, try out a salmon bake. These outdoor venues nestle themselves in the woods and allows guests to get comfy around a campfire. We felt like little pixie fairies could show up at any time as we made s’mores. Watch out though, the squirrels are onto the marshmallows and may try to take one or two!


Dog Sled Mushing and puppy hugging

Get ready to try out Alaska’s best sport! Dog Sledding! Having the chance to visit a dog sled camp is quite the treat. Most of the year, these amazing animal athletes are preparing for the Iditorad race. As a visitor, you can help out these furry friends by allowing them to pull you as they mush (you are a fraction of their winter haul). They are so excited when they know they are going to run! After that, socialize with the newest generation. They need to get to know lots of people in order to be successful on the race circuit. So, take a ride with the big dogs then go cuddle with the newest members of the pack- the puppies!.


River Rafting on a glacial river

Zip up your dry suit and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime! Alaska has some of the best rapids going and they are picture perfect in the Summer months. The water is cold and the great rafting guides will take you through some of the most beautiful bush country Alaska has to offer. Be sure to ask about the expected rapids level so that you are comfortable with the activity level.


Zip Lining in Talkeetna in Central Alaska

Talkeetna lies in central Alaska. This quirky town is a great day trip and has an excellent zip lining course. With a super family friendly attitude, you can spend the afternoon, zipping and repelling to your heart’s content. The finale of your course is a great over water run that will keep your heart racing! This is my mom taking on the long fly across! So much fun!


Travel U for Kids

Travel U Library: Ancient Greece and Modern Italy

A doric column typical of ancient Greek architecture.
Photo by Josiah Lewis on

Thanks for joining us today for our Facebook Live Book Review . I truly love these particular books and hope you will too! Each of them contributes to make us all better global citizens. So, let’s dive in to 10 books about Italy and Greece for kids! Here are the Amazon links to all of today’s picks! Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

Italy ABC’s

An adorable tour through Italy’s icons awaits in this ABC book. Don’t expect the biggies like the Colloseum and the Duomo. Instead, the smaller gems like scooters and ziti take kids on a journey of the people and places that Italians connect with.

Mission Rome

Get ready! Get Set! Va! It’s time to earn as many points as you can while touring the eternal city. Use this handy book to study up before your trip and as a great activity while you are there. This series, written by a military family, has easy to follow rules and is just the thing parents need when things get a little overwhelming.

Rome City Trails

With more than 15 city trails to follow, you can learn everything from ancient times through modern daily living. City guides are published by Lonely Planet and are a great addition to help kids take a little ownership over trip plans and feel super included. Adults will enjoy many of the themes and kids will have fun tracking down the next place.

Cooking Rocks! 30 Minute Meals For Kids

What would Italy be without the food? I mean, really. If you are looking to help your picky eater expand their palette before your big adventure, may I suggest letting them choose a few easy recipes from Rachael Ray. With easy to follow directions, this book lets kids start to see what good ingredients are all about.

Ancient Wonders: Then and Now

Even as an adult, I sometimes have a difficult time looking at ancient ruins and getting a clear image in my mind of what it must have looked like. This Lonely Planet read is perfect for helping young minds wrap themselves around the giant piles of rocks that they are looking at. So helpful in both Rome and Athens.

Oh My Gods! Trilogy

If you’re going to Greece with kids, you’re going to need to brush up on the world’s first soap opera, Greek Mythology. And, oh my gods, those characters are up to all kinds of shenanigans! This set of books is a great reference guide to figure out the who’s who in this never ending drama. Having a good grasp on these stories can help young visitors relate to many sites and customs that they will come across. These look and explore books are just perfect for that.

The Greek News: Alexander Victorious!

Extra! Extra! Get the latest ancient headlines about all of your favorite Greeks! Alexander takes center stage here but there are plenty of other headlines that start to put together life from so long ago. It can be hard to understand ancient times, but books like this can be a wealth of information.

Z is for Zeus

From the famous ABC series, get ready for 26 stops through ancient Greece. Zeus was in charge of a lot of dramatic, moody people who all seemed to think they either knew better than everyone else or simply didn’t care how anybody else felt! From monsters to Trojan horses, this jam packed book will get you started on your Greek mythology journey.

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief

For older kids, although I’ve taught with this book as young as fourth grade, check out this epic adventure from Rick Riordan. Percy might just be another middle school fail but there are big forces at work around him. With Harry Potter like splendor (don’t rely on the movie here), Percy learns all about mythology as he discovers he is a demigod. One note of advice here: knowing the classic myths makes this adventure so much better. Consider dipping in to a few of those before reading chapter one.

Two Travel Bonus Books!

These are books that I bought while I was in Greece. Both are fantastic and I have used them in the classroom many times. The museum book is a great take on the actual construction while the Then and Now book is a more intricate look at ruins than the one listed above.

Building The New Acropolis Museum

Athens: Then and Now