Jo’s Journey (A Somewhat Irreverent Guide to Doing Anything Better): Savvy Traveling

On our recent trip to Europe, I was almost robbed.

the pickpocket for blog

But, no, I wasn’t gabbing on my cell phone – I was lugging my suitcase up the metro steps.  Fortunately, I felt and heard something; and, when I turned to look, saw two men behind me and realized that they had already partially unzipped the outside pocket of my carry-on bag.  Being a 100 lb “heavyweight,” I of course felt no fear (amazing what adrenaline does); instead I looked at the men and let out a loud “HEY!!!”  This of course filled my would-be-pickpocketers with immense fear – or something like that  – and they walked away nonchalantly.  I was furious, and a few minutes later…

shaking with fright.

Although I didn’t lose anything in the pick-pocket attempt (there was nothing of value in that outside pocket), things could have been a lot worse. Stashed in a money belt under my clothes were my passport, credit cards, dollars, and Euros!  I’d never worn a money belt before, but decided to use one on this trip.  If you’re looking for a slim profile, yet strong money belt, I highly recommend this one from Eagle Creek. (Here I am earlier on the day of the attempted robbery.  As you can see, the money belt is virtually undetectable.)

Joana at the Torre de Belem

In addition to wearing my money belt when we were travelling (yes, I even wore it on the overseas plane rides!), I took some additional precautions on this trip.  Here’s my…

SAVVY TRAVELER CHECKLIST

  • Learn from the pros…check out travel tips from seasoned travelers like Rick Steves
  • Take only the essential credit cards you’ll need on your trip.
  • Alert your credit card companies regarding your travel dates/destinations
  • Make a color scan copy of your passport and give a copy to a trusted friend/relative at home.  Email a scan of the passport to yourself so that you can access it easily if your passport gets stolen
  • Email yourself the Collect Call to USA numbers for the credit cards you’ll be carrying so that you can act quickly in the event that the cards are stolen
  • Redact all identifying information on the paper travel documents you carry (i.e. if you are travelling with printouts of your hotel accommodations, black out your credit card and address information)
  • Carry your cash, credit cards and passport in a money belt
  • Leave your valuable jewelry at home
  • Cover the keypad when you are withdrawing money from ATMs
  • Have a friend keep on “look out” when you withdraw money
  • Make as few ATM withdrawals as possible, but try to make most of your purchases in cash
  • Be wary of being approached by strangers – especially pairs of people
  • Be alert and vigilant in crowed trams, buses, trains, and subways
  • Take a cab or an airport shuttle if you are travelling with your luggage.  Be vigilant if you choose to travel with your luggage on public transportation.
  • For Women: Take a purse with a strap long enough to be carried cross-body in front (interior zippered compartments are essential!)
  • For Men: Carry your wallet in a front pocket, or use a money belt or hidden money wallet
  • Take twisties (or even small locks) to “lock” zipper tabs together
  • Read up-to-date guide books on your destination for safety tips
  • Once at your destination keep your passport and credit cards locked up in the hotel safe. (Take out only the amount of cash/credit you’ll need for that day)
  • When you need to make a phone call/check GPS, stand with your back against a wall and be aware of your surroundings (have a friend keep watch)

Be aware, be smart and be safe!

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Filed under art, Influences, Jo's Journey, New work, travel, wisdom

A Sneak Preview of the Joana Miranda Studio 2015 Calendar (Continued)

I’ve been working on illustrations for the Joana Miranda Studio 2015 Calendar and have just put the finishing touches on other month.  Here’s a sneak peak…

April Calendar teaser final

Can’t wait for this calendar to go live?  Then check out my currently available illustrations here!

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Filed under art, drawing, fashion illustration, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, Josephine, Josephine in the City, marker and colored pencil illustration, New work, New York

Friday’s Thought – Life on the Edge

House on a cliff in Madeira

“We live at the edge of the miraculous.”

(Henry Miller)

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My Favorite Things – Lisbon’s Love Affair with Tiles

From the outside of the houses…

tiled house in Lisbon

tiled  house in Lisbon2

tiled house in Lisbon3

To hallways and interior courtyards…

tiled entry way in Sao Roque church

(And even the kitchens)…

tiled kitchen in museum

Lisbon-ites have a love affair with tiles!  The tiles are decorative…

flower tiles

blue and white tiles with fish

blue and yellow tiles on wall

Or, they have a story to tell.

scene in blue and white tiles

scene in blue and white tiles2

Angels smile down from the heavens walls…

angels in blue and white tiles

And little blue birds chirp their song.

little birdie tile

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A Sneak Preview of the Joana Miranda Studio 2015 Calendar

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m working on a 2015 calendar of illustrations for my shop.  And although January 1st is still a ways away, I thought I’d give my fans a little teaser of what to expect.  These are just portions of the illustrations…because after all, what fun would it be if I did a complete reveal right now?

October teaser

February teaser

Like what you see so far?  Then stick around because I’ll be posting more “appetizers” of what’s to come.

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Friday’s Thought – Through a Rose-Colored Lens

rose in Obidos

“Beauty is simply reality seen with the eyes of love.”

(Rabindranath Tagore)

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My Favorite Things – The Street Lamps of Portugal

Quietly keeping watch over the streets and neighborhoods of Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos and Queluz, each of these beacons seems to tell a story of its own.  Enjoy!

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Filed under architecture, Influences, My Favorite Things, photography, travel