Six years ago, I enjoyed my first “free fall,” so to speak, after teaching school for 30 years. To treat myself, I took a 15-day guided vacation tour through northeastern US and Canada.

The travel bug bit hard, and ever since, I’ve been energetically pursuing the places and seeing the sights that have been on my bucket list for decades. Fortunately, my first experience on a “motor coach tour” I had a truly enjoyable time, and I’ve taken several such trips since, and am planning several more.

Traveling with a tour group makes many common vacation stresses disappear. You don’t worry about transportation, lodging, many meals, or missing some big attraction along the route that you didn’t even have on your personal radar screen. The drivers and guides have your best trip as their primary goal, and they bend over backwards to see you have a fabulous time. Some of the people you meet quickly become forever friends, and I enjoy having these contacts from all over the world.

And tour travels are accidentally educational! The very first thing I learned was the important difference between a motor coach and a bus. (Motor coaches have bathrooms!)

In New England, the changing of the leaves is the big attraction for many, although my focus was to experience, firsthand, many places I had taught about in US History class. Independence Hall, the Old North Church, Lexington Green, the bridge at Concord, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, the site of the Salem Witch Trials—I was in historical heaven!

So I returned to the same company to explore Italy and Austria last May, and I’m intent upon experiencing not New England, but the original England (and Scotland) later this fall… As I wrote my Italy series, May 19-31, I’ll be writing a series of UK blogs when I get back. Watch for it!

And in case you’re interested, my company of choice, the best travel value on the market, is YMT Vacations (dot com), and I invite you to check them out online and/or write for a brochure. My travel agent there is Michelle Marquez ( )  and she’s a true saint and angel, and has ALL the answers! Drop her an email, and tell her I sent you! She’ll be extra thrilled to help you!

Meanwhile, I’ve booked yet another trip for next fall, too! I’ve worked hard, saved well, and now I’m living the good life, and lovin’ every minute of it!