Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tips for Traveling Abroad- Passports

ONLY 234 Days till my 
Eat, Paint, Cook Tour of Tuscany!  

 It's time to begin the fun of anticipating our upcoming adventure.  In today's blog I have some important tips that might surprise even seasoned travelers regarding passports, credit cards and how to keep track of paperwork and documents while traveling.  All of these will help you get ready to GO.  There is still time to sign up by following this link:
SIGN UP HERE- Eat Paint Cook Tour of Tuscany Oct 3-10, 2015 with Rebecca Zdybel

Anticipation of a big trip is part fun and part challenge.  While I look forward to going, there is a lot to think about in order to get ready.  I have a checklist which ideally begins about 7 months prior my trip.

First on the list:  Check my Passport!
Mine is due to expire in about 9 months.  Even though it will expire after I return, I need to renew now.



  • News Flash!  If your passport expires 6 months from your date of entry, you may be prevented from traveling abroad!  In fact, most countries require that a passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of a trip. Check your passport early and renew well in advance to avoid trouble getting on the plane.




  • Renewing a passport is no big deal...It will give you the chance to take a good photo instead of settling for that old one taken 10 years ago on a day you forgot to wear lipstick. ;-)


    Renew Your passport by Mail if All of the Following are True


    Your Most Recent U.S. Passport:

    • Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application;
    • Was issued when you were age 16 or older;
    • Was issued within the last 15 years; and
    • Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change with original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or the government-issued document evidencing your legal name change.

    Be aware that there are lots of "agencies" online to help you get passports and give assistance.  They often charge for the privilege of their help, so I make sure to only deal with US government run sites.  That way you avoid paying the middleman.  


    For more passport info you can visit:  http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/renew.html



    Keeping track of your passport, travel documents and cards is also important while traveling. Here are some tips that have helped me stay together and organized.  
    Bubble Boys- Tuscany
    11 X 15 Watercolor- Castellina, Italy  by Rebecca Zdybel
    • Make a photocopy of your cards, passport and ID before you leave and put them in your carry-on.  When you arrive at the hotel, put them in the safe so you have access to information in the event of theft.  
    • Contact  credit card companies before you leave to tell them the dates and places you'll be traveling abroad.  It avoids fraud protection issues that can impact your ability to use the cards while traveling.  (God forbid we can't spend money!)
    • Check to see if your card charges foreign transaction fees.  Ask your credit card representative.  If you will be charged fees,  think about getting a card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.  Barclay and also Bank of America both offer them. 
    • Bring medical insurance cards and your healthcare savings credit card if you have one.  
    • Always keep your passport in your hand...do not set it down or let it go out of your sight with employees of any restaurant or rental companies.  Hotels sometimes keep your passport on tours, and though this really bothers me, I will cooperate if they insist. .  
    • Consider money belts or bra-wallets to increase the safety of your cash, cards and identification. 
    • Keep your paperwork together and secure:  I generally make a manila envelope as my travel file.  I keep my boarding pass there, and I put copies of my itinerary there and any travel emails sent to me by my carriers or travel companions.  That way I have one place to look when I want to refer to travel arrangements.  I keep this with me while I travel in my carry-on.  I also make a copy for my husband to keep at home if he's not traveling with me. 
    "A Whole Lot Going On Upstairs" Watercolor Diptych of Siena, Italy Rooftops

    If you'd like to have my help in making a trip to Tuscany EASY, deliciously fun, and relaxing with opportunities to dabble in painting and Cooking then Sign up Today!
    SIGN UP HERE- Eat Paint Cook Tour of Tuscany Oct 3-10, 2015 with Rebecca Zdybel

    View the complete description of the tour in the brochure below.
    Eat, Paint, Cook Tour of Tuscany 2015- with link .pdf




    SIGN UP HERE- Eat Paint Cook Tour of Tuscany Oct 3-10, 2015 with Rebecca Zdybel

    "San Fedele Awaits"- Watercolor by Rebecca Zdybel
    Our Home away from Home in Tuscany 


    Watercolor and Ink on Paper Rebecca Zdybel 
    If you have travel tips to share, please leave your comments below.  I love hearing your ideas!

    Rebecca Zdybel
    Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor
    Art Lessons in all media
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    rebecca@artmyrtlebeach.com

    Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art!






    Feel free to share any of this blog post on your own blog or website, but I ask that you you include:
    Rebecca Zdybel is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Follow her and see her work at http://www.artmyrtlebeach.com/


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    Sunday, January 4, 2015

    In Pursuit of Ecstasy- How About You?





    Anyone want to join me to go helipainting?!  Talk about being in pursuit of excitement!  You all know that I love to paint and travel.  It's become my favorite way to energize myself as an artist.  It brings me joy. 


    Water soluble Pen and gouache

    The idea that we are in pursuit of ecstasy as artists is so compelling.  I often maintain that once I'm "in the zone" and painting free, there's a surge of excitement and something akin to joy that overtakes me.  I attribute it to endorphins, but it is definitely euphoric, whatever the source.  
    Watercolor, Ink, and Water-soluble crayon on gesso prepared paper

    The Oscar Wilde is so descriptive of this phenomenon:

    Ink and Water-soluble crayon

    "We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible." 

    Oscar Wilde- The Picture of Dorian Gray.


    I hope today finds you in pursuit of ecstasy.  For those of you who are inclined, perhaps you'll be painting, drawing or creating your way to that kind of experience.  I hope so...
    Plein Air painting using transparent and opaque watercolor and ink

    "Try it!  You might like it!"

    If you're looking for experiences which can light a fire in you, you may want to consider traveling.  Traveling with drawing and painting as an option can help you experience your surroundings more intensely.  It doesn't mean you need to paint or draw on location...although can be a great experience.  It doesn't mean you have to be an artist either.  Simply attempting to capture something about what you visit, or what you see can be a wonderful way of connecting with the places you visit.  
    Pen and wash- Watercolor and Ink


    Sometimes I take photos and draw or paint them later.  Other times I will search for images of the places I go and paint them.  Somehow, I like to create a visual record which has meaning for me in the places I go.  You might enjoy it as I do.  
    I love journaling- this entry in my journal was done with Water-soluble pen and watercolor wash


    For me, the record which I create helps me remember the places better...in fact, if I paint or draw it, I will never forget it.  
    Pen and Watercolor wash

    The photos in this blog are from my travel journal.  It is the best way I have found to prevent my trips from becoming a blur of jumbled memories and places.  If you are like me, you forget the names of the towns you visit and what you did when you got there.  My solution has been these journals.   I would encourage you to try this sort of pictorial journal for yourself and see if it doesn't help you cement the experience in your mind more clearly.  
    Transparent watercolor


    I would love to give you some suggestions and techniques for journaling your travels.  My class schedule is here on the website calendar.  Your next euphoric moment might just be awaiting you in class...or on my next EAT PAINT COOK tour of Tuscany this fall. I'd love to show you beautiful Tuscany Oct 3-10, 2015.  
    Pen and gouache
    Painting and journaling will be an OPTION on this trip, as will cooking lessons, but painting or cooking are not requirements.  They are simply additional activities which will be offered to participants.  During relaxation time for non-painters,  we will have a STUDIO for our use, which makes it convenient.  Hauling our art materials with us everywhere we go is unnecessary thanks to the studio.  We can simply do art together when we have some down time..or if we feel the urge.  After all, we don't need pressure on vacation!  Here's a link for the details about my EAT PAINT COOK TOUR OF TUSCANY ...

    https://www.ilchiostro.com/index.php?action=workshop-details&item=283


    Transparent watercolor



    Let me hear from you! I read every comment and it means a lot to know you are out there reading.


    Rebecca Zdybel
    Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor
    Art Lessons in all media
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    rebecca@artmyrtlebeach.com

    Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art!


    Feel free to share any of this blog post on your own blog or website, but I ask that you you include:
    Rebecca Zdybel is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Follow her and see her work at http://www.artmyrtlebeach.com/


    "Like" my facebook page: Rebecca Zdybel- Artist

    Join me on Google+ Rebecca Zdybel Google+ Profile



    PS-  I love this newsletter and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in thoughtful art oriented musings.  This latest example is why I love reading what Sara writes.  





    Ecstasy

    July 11, 2014


    In his 1964 book, Religions, Values and Peak Experiences, psychologist Abraham Maslow broadened the definition and understanding of ecstasy. Instead of crediting solely the supernatural for our human moments of inspiration and interconnectedness, Maslow believed that the essential experience attributed to religion could be seen as a private revelation. A sacred consciousness is brought on by awareness, personal action and participation and is illuminated from within.

    I once saw Swan Lake at the American Ballet Theatre at Lincoln Centre in New York City. Settling in as the lights dimmed and the chandeliers ascended, organza tutus appeared on the stage like soft, floating objects of meditation, gradating from pale pink to apricot, then an effervescent custard and dove -- a rainbow in slow motion of tertiary greys. A universal, intoxicating, multi-sensory eye massage hushed the audience into a state of breathlessness.

    After the ballet, I stepped out into the Lincoln Center Plaza. Her central fountain skipped and splashed under a rosy moon and reflected the golden interior lights of the adjoining houses of worship: the Philharmonic, the Juilliard, the City Opera. I floated down Columbus Avenue in a state of euphoric appreciation -- a tumbling illumination and recalibrated artistic vision harmonized with the universe -- in innocence and wonder, in possibilities and understanding. The meaning of life and beauty appeared to me while bearing witness to the sweat and conviction of generations of fellow travellers in art.

    "We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible," wrote Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Despite Wilde's sarcasm, as artists, we might build and multiply our highs to harness the awe, the growth, and the feelings of empowerment. Here are a few ideas:

    Identify moments of ecstasy and when they occur.

    Seek out and create experiences that can be identified as "peak aesthetic moments."

    Recognize when you "switch on."

    Go for a variety of triggers: simple, extravagant, strange, alone, comforting, challenging, shared.

    Work the lingering creative edge gained from your revelations. Make it count.

    Do it regularly.

    Sincerely,

    Sara

    PS: "The person in peak-experiences feels himself, more than other times, to be the responsible, active, creating center of his activities and of his perceptions. He feels more like a prime-mover, more self-determined (rather than caused, determined, helpless, dependent, passive, weak, bossed). He feels himself to be his own boss, fully responsible, fully volitional, with more 'free-will' than at other times, master of his fate, an agent." (Abraham Maslow)

    "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create." (William Blake)

    Esoterica: Ecstasy is worth chasing when the results are your own personal boom of productivity. Possibilities may be close by or they wait in other worlds. Last August Dad and I joined plein-air painter and hiking guide Liz Wiltzen in the Canadian Rockies for an encounter with ecstasy called "heli-painting." This September 4 - 7, Liz carries the torch with American watercolourist and colour master Stephen Quiller. A few spots are still available for this plein-air experience of a lifetime. If you'd like to find out more, we've posted some heli-footage and information at the top of this letter online.

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    Eating our Way Through Italy

    You may not know this about me, but I love FOOD!  It's the stuff of life, and in my option:

    GOOD FOOD makes for a BETTER LIFE 

    When in Italy this October, food was a large focus of our trip.  Enjoy these photos of some of the wonderful meals we enjoyed together...  If you'd like to join me next year, SIGN UP TODAY for my 2015 EAT, PAINT, COOK TOUR OF TUSCANY.  Details here on my website- 
    JUST CLICK  this link:  EAT PAINT COOK TOUR 2015

    Food brings us together!

    Breakfast!  Renata makes us a special cake every morning...
    Every evening- we gather here with aperitifs before dinner to reflect on the day and the beautiful scenery

    Fish with tomatoes and olives


    This kind of food is so readily available and so good for you!
    After shopping at the Farmer's market- We have a picnic together in Monterrigioni
    Dievole Winery makes great wines and has a beautiful dining room ready for our group! 
    Bicerin- espresso, Chocolate, milk...what's not to love?!
    A glaze of balsamic vinegar on this tower of vegetables was so pretty I had to take a photo

    Murano glass makes everything taste better- Here I'm in Murano- the home of artisanal glass outside of Venice
    A typical cafe in Venice at night- this one was a favorite of ours 
    Dinner at San Fedele is an opportunity to gather and have fun together over a great meal

    The stage is set for yet another fantastic meal at San Fedele

    This wine maker produces a super line of Tuscan wines and a very special wine called Vinsanto- it's a fortified wine which is carried exclusively by the Ritz Carlton, however, we got to taste it and order some to send home!
    Chocolate anyone?  Dessert is on the menu during our cooking class. 
    A wine tour of beautiful Dievole Winery in Chianti
    Food Art

    Gorgeous salad

    Good food and beautiful surroundings makes for happy times- here is Ginny and Jim Ward at San Fedele

    Dianne Morrell and Becky Conwell made friends on the trip. Coming here as an individual traveler was comfortable and never lonely thanks to our great group. 

    If you'd like to join me next year, SIGN UP TODAY for my 2015 EAT, PAINT, COOK TOUR OF TUSCANY.  Details here on my website- our private chef will make sure our meals are fantastic and then show us a few tricks in the kitchen during optional cooking lessons. 

    JUST CLICK  this link:  EAT PAINT COOK TOUR 2015

    Sunday, December 14, 2014

    Arty Party- Gather Your Group and HAVE FUN TOGETHER!

    What kind of activity engages everyone: senior, TEEN and youngsters?    Tired of family watching TV or on their cell phones?  Try this idea...
    Have an ARTY PARTY!  

    Spend time together doing something UNUSUAL and MEMORABLE.   It's EASY- just contact me and we can make it happen!  

    New Convenient Location near Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach!
    I Was Fired In SC- Pottery Painting Studio
    4021 Hwy 17 S, North Myrtle Beach, SC 

    Here's how to schedule your event and lots of photos from past Arty Party fun...




    Arty Party- Check out all the fun in these images from past parties!




















    Fun for family and friends...  You bring the smiles and I'll help you with everything else. 
    Schedule your Arty Party TODAY!
    Call or text 843-450-2307 
    or email rebecca@artmyrtlebeach.com

    Rebecca Zdybel
    Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor
    Art Lessons in all media
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    rebecca@artmyrtlebeach.com

    Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art!

    Feel free to share this blog post on your own blog or website, but I ask that you you include:
    Rebecca Zdybel is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Follow her and see her work at http://www.artmyrtlebeach.com/


    "Like" my facebook page: Rebecca Zdybel- Artist
    Join me on Google+ Rebecca Zdybel Google+ Profile

     
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