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The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.



1. Mazatlan, Mexico

Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.



2. South Africa



Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."



3. San Juan, Puerto Rico


Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.



4. Chile



Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.



5. Crete

Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.



6. Morocco


Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.



7. Belize



Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.



8. Vietnam



Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.



9. Costa Rica


Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.



10. Portugal



Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.



11. Ecuador



Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.



12. Barcelona



Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.



13. Where: Guatemala


Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.


14. Bonaire & Curaçao


Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.



15. Las Vegas



Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.



16. Cambodia



Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.




17. Bali



Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.



18. Greece



Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.



19. Albania

Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.



20. San Luis Potosí, México


Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.



21. Quebec City, Canada

Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.



22. Buenos Aires



Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.



23. Haiti

Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.





24. Santa Catalina Island, California

Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.



25. Indonesia



Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."



26. Bulgaria

Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.



27. Cusco, Peru



Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.



28. Georgia
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.



29. Mozambique



Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."



30. Dallas, Texas



Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.

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Blooming Colors And A Bit Of Magic: Wallpapers To Get Your Ideas Springing (April 2017 Edition)
April Food’s Day
“Prank your friends with caution.” — Designed by foodpanda Singapore from Singapore.



April Insignia
“April – its first day reminds us that laughter makes life better. Nature also laughs, but it does so in daisies!” — Designed by Ana Masnikosa from Belgrade, Serbia.



Be Happy Bee
“Smell of spring flowers, especially daisies and open landscapes, the joy of freedom :)” — Designed by Kiraly Tamas from Romania.



Clover Field
Designed by Nathalie Ouederni from France.



Colors Of April
“My daughter was born in April so this month reminds me of that colorful, bright and precious moment.” — Designed by Izabela Grzegorczyk from Poland.



April Is The Nicest Month
“T.S. Eliot wrote in 1922 that ‘April is the cruelest month,’ but we quite disagree. April is the month when spring has finally come so nature starts blooming, providing us with more time to go out into the nature and enjoy nice weather, long walks, and riding a bike. This is our message to you: go out and play. We surely will.” — Designed by PopArt Studio from Serbia.



Bad Bunny
“This bad bunny is just waiting for Easter. :)” — Designed by Izabela from Poland.



April’s Octave
“April is magical. April is musical. April is mesmerizing. April is the International Month of Guitar. Let this calendar make it special.” — Designed by ColorMean Creative Studio from Dubai, United Arab Emirates



Fairytale
“A tribute to Hans Christian Andersen. Happy Birthday!” — Designed by Roxi Nastase from Romania.



Happy Easter
Designed by Tazi Design from Australia.



Funshower
“I designed this wallpaper combining both the sunny and the rainy weather. April, here in Italy, is synonymous with flowers and fun, and we can enjoy the first hot days after winter; but it’s also damn rainy! So I just brought all together and made my ‘Funshower’, a funny pun!” — Designed by Stefano Marchini from Italy.



Happy Chickens
“When I think of spring, I think of little chickens playing in the field. They always look so happy. I just bought 3 new little chickens, and they are super cute. So enjoy this wallpaper, and enjoy spring.” — Designed by Melissa Bogemans from Belgium.



Hello!
“This whimsical black and white design was inspired by the recent arrival of my daughter! Welcome to the world little one!” — Designed by Rachel from the United States.



Once Upon A Time
“April is the month of Spring but also the month of books. ‘A book is a proof that humans are capable of doing magic.’ (Carl Sagan)” — Designed by Verónica Valenzuela from Spain



Home Sweet Home
“A smiling earth is how I wish to think of my home planet. I like to believe that whenever a plantling gets its root deep into the soil, or when a dolphin jumps out of the water, the earth must be getting tickled, bringing a wide grin on its face. So this World Earth Day, let’s promote afforestation, protect the wildlife and its habitat. Let’s make the earth smile forever.” — Designed by Acodez IT Solutions from India.



Tea Time
“April showers bring May flowers, and what better way to enjoy rainy weather than to get stuck in a surreal book, in a comfy nook, with a kettle of tea!” — Designed by Brooke Coraldi from the United States.



The Kite Festival
“Every year, Washington DC’s Kite Festival is a welcome sight in spring. The National Mall is transformed by colorful serpents, butterflies, and homemade winged crafts and by the families who come from across the city to enjoy their aerial stunts over a picnic at the base of the Washington Monument.” — Designed by Dawn Washelesky from Washington, DC.



Purple Rain
“This month is International Guitar Month! Time to get out your guitar and play. As a graphic designer/illustrator seeing all the variations of guitar shapes begs to be used for a fun design. Search the guitar shapes represented and see if you see one similar to yours, or see if you can identify some of the different styles that some famous guitarists have played (BTW, Prince’s guitar is in there and purple is just a cool color).” — Designed by Karen Frolo from the United States.



We Could All Be Happy
“I believe that Earth is something that we take for granted. We need to start taking care of our home, after all if the Earth is not OK, we won’t be.” — Designed by Maria Keller from Mexico.



Spring Magic
“Spring revives nature, so I designed a wallpaper with a cute little fairy who awakens plants.” — Designed by Hushlenko Antonina from Ukraine.



The Magic Of Spring
“The sun just touched the morning; The morning, happy thing, Supposed that he had come to dwell, And life would be all spring. (Emily Dickinson)” — Designed by Suman Sil from India



New Beginnings
“Spring is a great time to photograph nature because everything is green and full of new life. Like spring, a sunrise is also the start of something new.” — Designed by Marc Andre from the United States.



What Does The Fox Say?
Designed by Doud – Elise Vanoorbeek from Belgium.



Spring Is In The Air
“‘When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm. Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring.‘ (Madeleine M. Kunin)” — Designed by Dipanjan Karmakar from India.



Spring Proverb
“My calendar is an illustration of the old proverb ‘April showers bring May flowers’. I always look forward to the end of that transition.” — Designed by Caitey Kennedy from the United States.



Idea Catalysts
“Design is a community. Each one of these creators found their way into my consciousness as idea-catalysts. This is my way of thanking them and so I’m excited to bring this set to the greater design community. However these are used, my aim is to pay tribute to these sixteen and drive baby-steppers to great inspirers.” — Designed by Juliane Bone from California.



Fresh Start
“Spring is the beginning of everything, is the nature being reborn. The word ‘April’ is derived from the Latin word ‘aperire’ meaning ‘to open’, which is exactly what the bud in my photo does – it opens. April invites everyone to open their hearts and minds to all things new starting with flowers and trees and going all the way to animals. This is my April.” — Designed by Oana Galbenu from Romania.



Flowers On The Wall
“It is time for more colour in our life! After this cold and dark winter, we have to paint our minds or better our walls. Flower power everywhere!” — Designed by Sabrina Lobien from Germany.



Sweet Lovers
“The most beautiful flowers are in bloom around my neighborhood, and I get this little tune stuck in my head every time I go for a walk. I thought it would be perfect for a bright watercolor-styled design!” — Designed by Alyson Sherrard from Pensacola, Florida.



The Brighter Side Of Life
“Sometimes when you are out and about you see something that captures your attention. It does not have to be anything spectacular, but you know that you want to remember it at that specific point in time. No matter how busy you are, stop and see the flowers.” — Designed by Kris G from the USA.



Happy Birthday Hans!
“April the 2nd is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. Hans is most famous for his magical fairy tales, such as ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘The Princess and the Pea’ and ‘Thumbelina’. I always loved the tale of Thumbelina, so I created this wallpaper for Hans!” - Designed by Safia Begum from the United Kingdom.




Easter Is Coming
“Easter is coming and what could be more Easter-like as a paschal lamb or maybe two.” — Designed by Sabrina Lobien from Germany.

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about 680 words


A Rainy Southern Night
by James Foley


America is where we hung,
And fell in love when we were young.


My youth passed fast: Windows 3.1 (1992)—Windows ’95—Windows ’98—Windows 2000 all the way to Windows 10 Pro, until my last semester of college.

And in that springtime of 2016, on a wet night, an attractive weird girl was working in the university cafeteria. Weird because I’d just been told that she was the daughter of U.S. Senator Samuel Archer.

And I was just sitting, half soaked from the stormy evening outside—tasting a cheese sandwich: which was wet with the rain dripping from my hair, veiling my view of that redhead cleaning tables.

What is she? I wondered: some student rebel? Working just to prove her proletarian credentials? Her independence from her father?

Now she was cleaning the table next to mine, which didn’t need cleaning. And as she came closer, pausing and turning towards me, she imperiously entered the universe of my existence. Or rather, annexed my existence to the universe of her existence.

Because, now our eye-beams were crossing. Our mutual stares were stalling out in a standing-wave pattern. And she was standing there, right in front of me—tilting that strangely glorious head: hair like sea grass under Windward Islands water.

Her eyes were the water.

And then dropping into a chair across from me: smiling, but waiting quietly until I finally said:

“That hair drives me stark raving nuts.”

“Redheads go gray fast, Jimmy.”

(My first words from her lips.)

“I guess we’ll have to live fast, then,” I said.

“I like fast,” she said.

Everything around was just college cafeteria things. Everything was normal. Everything was like every day. Everything was still everything.

But it was about to happen. One girl’s simple flesh and soul would haunt my days and derail my destiny for a long time—maybe forever, as this girl sitting across from me whispered the words:

“America is where we hung,

And fell in love when we were young.”

“Who wrote that?” I asked.

“Maybe you did,” she said. No smile of irony or amusement. Is she all there? Who is this girl?

“You wrote it yourself,” I told her.

“Maybe we’ll write it together,” she said.

Now a smile, but that of a lost creature. Distracted: mind floating somewhere a long way off.

But it was actually her, herself: the girl you’d been waiting your whole life to date: wild, mystifying, irresistible. And she was coming on to you.

Approaching you this rainy night, in the spring of your senior year at college.

A girl named Archer: Senator Archer’s daughter.

“Jimmy,” she said, “you’re staring so hard!”

I was laughing. I just said, “Anyone as bad-looking as you should be wearing an iron mask.”

And now she was the one laughing. “Oh, you’re such a poet! Do you want to see me again?”

“I don’t know. Anything as tempting as you has got to be illegal.”

“Keep it up, Jimmy. I love it.”

“How do you know my name?”

“That’s my secret. But you’re an aikidoka, right? Black-belt dan?”

“That’s a vicious rumor.”

“So you’re modest too.”

“My achievements were modest.”

“Are you like that about everything, Jimmy? You shrug everything off?”

“I wouldn’t shrug you off. What’s your name?”

“That’s secret too. But if you buy me an outrageously expensive dinner tomorrow, I may tell you.”

“I’ll marry you tomorrow if you tell me—or whether you tell me or not.”

“Mmm—sounds like a plan.”

#

Those first days of my new life were in March, 2016—at the vernal equinox, beginning of the Eastern New Year: one century after Cole Younger died in his home town of Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

And he’s buried there in the Historical Cemetery.

And this girl knew my name. But how explain her interest in me? Opposites attract? Because I was poor? Athletic? Straight? Sober?

Or was it inscrutable fate: karma cryptic?


James Foley
farandthen@gmail.com
www.beyondthewind.com
www.mywarlove.com


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Narendra Modi says ........ Your memories touched me all night,
Tears filled the whole night,

All night, the pain of burning pain ...
.... The flame of sadness flared all night,
... the sweet flavor of the flute,
Flashing all night ...
Your memory like the recurring moon continued to enter my heart,
... the moon's night flashes all night .....
.......
I miss you all night .........
...... #NojotoQuote

 

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........ Your memories touched me all night,
Tears filled the whole night,

All night, the pain of burning pain ...
.... The flame of sadness flared all night,
... the sweet flavor of the flute,
Flashing all night ...
Your memory like the recurring moon continued to enter my heart,
... the moon's night flashes all night .....
.......
I miss you all night .........
......

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0 Comment