Over the past couple of years, I’ve begun to travel. Kris and I have been traveling in groups, but that’s expensive and leaves me feeling isolated from the cultures we visit. I have the itch to travel more, and to spend more time off the beaten path. Meeting a swarm of travel bloggers at the recent World Domination Summit has just made this feeling stronger.

As a result, I’m going to do a little solo travel. Kris isn’t interested in “roughing it” just yet. Plus, her hours aren’t as flexible as mine. (I can write from anywhere, right?) So, I’ve looked at the calendar for the rest of 2011 and have picked out three extended periods during which I’ll travel alone.

But where will I go? That’s a great question, and one for which I have no answer yet.

My first window of opportunity comes during early August. I’d love to visit a Spanish-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere, but which one? Cuba interests me. So does Mexico. And what about Ecuador?

At the end of August, I think I’m going to hike Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. “You’ve been talking about that for years,” Chris Guillebeau told me on Sunday. He’s right. I’ve been wanting to do this ever since I met him, but I’ve never had the guts to go. Well, now I’m going to do it. (And I’m actually toying with the idea of simply spending the entire month of August in England and France. We’ll see.)

Chris also had another piece of advice for me. “You should just go,” he told me. “Go now. Don’t wait until August, but leave tomorrow or next week.” Tempting. But I’m too much of a traditionalist to just jump ship like that, I guess. I have some commitments I need to see through. But once those are done? Well, I’m not adding any more commitments to the calendar. I need to scratch this travel itch, don’t you know.

Note: As I travel, I’d love to meet GRS readers from around the world. If you hear I’ll be in your neck of the woods, drop me a line. I’d be happy to buy you a pint. Or a cuppa. Or a bottle. Or whatever it is people drink where you are. Also, if you have any tips on places I should consider, don’t hesitate to share.

Enough about travel! I know many of you get bored by the subject. Instead, let’s look at some recent personal-finance stories from around the web.

First, today Trent at The Simple Dollar posted 15 shopping rules of thumb. I don’t usually like list posts, but this one made me consider my own shopping habits. I’m not actually much of a shopper anymore, but when I do buy things, I actually adhere to many of Trent’s suggestions.

Next up, my pal MP Dunleavey stirred the pot over at Daily Worth today. She complained that there are insufficient, overpriced, erratic child care choices for working families, and dozens of readers chimed in with their own experiences. Kris and I don’t have kids, but we know parents with similar predicaments. How do you deal with these sorts of dilemmas?

Elsewhere, Meg Favreau at Wise Bread shared her number-one favorite frugal tip last week. It’s not what you might think. In fact, it’s decidedly GRS-y. Favreau says her top frugality tip is simple: Persevere. “When trying to achieve any goal, there will be trial and error. There will be setbacks. The most important thing is to keep at it.” I like it.

Writing at Dumb Little Man, Celestine Chua offers 6 simple ways to say “no”. As I mentioned over the weekend, I’ve managed to craft a pretty amazing life by learning to say “yes” to the things that scare me. But I’ve also developed a bad habit of simply saying “yes” to everything, which leaves me drained. I’m starting to say “no” more, and Chua’s advice will help me do this.

Finally, Jay wrote to point out that ING Direct is for sale. Its Dutch parent company is looking to get out of online banking in the U.S. What will this mean for ING Direct customers like me? I’m not sure. Something tells me it may be time to look at other online savings accounts.

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