My Newest Adventure

When I started my travel blog in 2013, I was traveling around the world in my role of director of internal communications. Now, a little more than 4 years later, I have embarked on a new journey. I feel that since my blog is in fact called “Professional Travel Girl”, I should share my latest professional adventure with you, dear reader.

I began a new journey.
Last fall, I decided to commit myself full-time to being a strategic marketing and communications consultant. I’d been toying with this idea since I created my business over three years ago, and it was time to lend the focus and determination that it deserved. A year in, and I’ve learned a lot, partnered with some incredible clients, and made significant steps to grow my business.

I am my own client.
Marketing for oneself is an interesting challenge, and I’ve had to treat my small business as an internal client. And setting up my brand, including building a website and teaching myself a new email platform, has been throroughly thrilling. And the administration side of owning a business–this is not for the faint of heart!

The adventures continue.
While I am not jetsetting off to Kuala Lumpur or to Paris for regular meetings, I am working on several exciting new projects that send me around the US. I covered New York Fashion Week in September for one of my clients–a first for me!–and am doing quite a bit of writing.

Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be a global explorer again for my business, and the travel bug still informs my personal vacations. Until then, I’d love to share my new website…as well as some of my favorite photos from Fashion Week. Thanks for being a part of the ongoing adventures!

 

Advertisements

I Heart Texas

Like many, my husband and I have been glued to the coverage of Hurricane Harvey devastating Southeast Texas. While we watch this from the safety of Las Vegas, we are both originally from the Lone Star State and have many loved ones who live in Houston and surrounding areas. Each day, we call home and scour social media to see how our friends and family members are faring with the storm. It’s quite a feeling of helplessness–besides donating and keeping this part of the country in our thoughts and prayers.

We’ve checked on people daily, nervously asking about reservoir levels in Houston area neighborhoods. This morning, we learned that several levees near my husband’s hometown of Beaumont have either failed or are nearing a breaking point (source: NBC News). Some family members’ homes have sustained water damage; however, we don’t know the extent yet.

Yet, though all of this anxiety and devastation, I’ve never been so proud to be a Texan. Seeing photos of strangers helping one another and people pulling together brings tears to my eyes. College friends from across the state headed south to Houston, boats in tow to help the rescue efforts. My stepfather is heading to a small town called Woodsboro to help clear damage from the hurricane, and my mother and I are so proud. A friend in Oklahoma has offered to shelter friends’ pets in Houston, kindly driving several hours to pick the animals up. My dad and stepmother have opened their home to my in-laws, should they need to evacuate. And my social media feeds are full of ways to donate, contribute, and help make a difference in the lives of these strong Texans.

This post isn’t a travel post (although I couldn’t blog without including some photos from my home state). Texas’ state motto is “friendship”, and it is evident the way people are helping others during this disaster. Although I live in Nevada and love my adopted city of Las Vegas, this week my heart and soul is in Texas. I am sending my thoughts and prayers to those that have experienced loss from Hurricane Harvey; I heart Texas.

Barcelona’s Best

My favorite issue of Travel and Leisure each year comes out in August: “The Best in the World”. I hungrily read it from cover to cover to learn what readers select in the World’s Best Survey as the best hotels, cities, island, cruises, and airlines in the world. Whether I’m pleased to have personal experiences with places on their pages or I’m planning a future adventure (here’s looking at you, Charleston and European cruise), this T+L is my definitive list.

One of the parts that I am always curious to read is the best cities, especially in Europe. This year, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, San Sebastian, and Budapest rounded out the top five European cities. Having been to 80% of these cities, I began to think of how I’d rate these cities. I loved the stunning river views in Hungary’s capital, and I visited both Italian cities on my very first international journey. I can see why Barcelona rates highly up there: it has perfect weather, delish cuisine, and the architecture was riveting!

In this post, I’d like to go back ten years ago and share some memories of a trip to the capital of the Catalonia region. Upon arrival from a UK business trip, I met up with my traveling companion on a Saturday night. An easy taxi ride into the city, we started the mini-break with sangria and incredible veal–a typical late evening dinner in Spain. Over the next few days, we saw the Palau Nacionale’s fountains, rode Vespas around the city (bucket list!), ate paella, and basked in the sun on a playa.

Visiting Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, was a joyous highlight. Then, I was mesmerized that the construction on this gorgeous temple would not be complete until decades later. As I pen this, the official website of the basilica states that the architectural work could be completed in 2026. The Sagrada Familia’s carved murals and Christian symbolism throughout its design was somewhat of a pilgrimage for me, and any visitor would be stunned by the incredible views from its many complete towers.

I think of Barcelona as a journey through Gaudí’s unique vision with additional visits through Parc Guell and on the terrace of his famed apartment Casa Mila. Besides his modern–and sometimes zany–creations, the shopping off of Las Ramblas and the hospitality of its people make Barcelona an excellent choice for a long weekend.

And the readers of Travel + Leisure certainly agree with me: 2017 is the first year in three Barcelona didn’t make its top 10 cities in the world list. (If you’re curious, #1 this year was San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, followed by Charleston, South Carolina.) ¡Olé!

August 2017 Travel Photo of the Month

As someone with a background in green buildings and sustainability, I love seeing new life breathed into old buildings. In San Antonio’s Pearl neighborhood, a fabulous shopping and dining district has risen from the ashes of the former Pearl Brewery. Imagine a place where kids play in a water feature while parents sit nearby and sip coffee. Shoppers peruse 13 unique stores, and guests marvel at the brewery-turned-luxe Hotel Emma. The Former Pearl BreweryOn a recent summertime visit, my best friend Holly and I had a double date with our mothers. We enjoyed mimosas at the lobby bar at Hotel Emma before cobb salads for four at Southerleigh. The moms–kindred spirits who were cheerfully in awe of the transformation of old to new–and daughters alike were inspired by the story behind the restaurant Cured (story here). An leisurely afternoon at the Pearl should be on the list of any visitor to the Texas Hill Country!

June 2017 Travel Photo of the Month

Image

With the first day of summer being a week away, I am thinking about vacations, traveling, and spending time outdoors–or at least poolside!

June’s Travel POTM™ is a simple photograph taken on a business trip several years ago to Leicestershire, England. My company at the time had an office in the amazingly worded town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and while accommodations at the Fallen Knight (now permanently fallen…and closed) were adequate, I stayed in Market Bosworth.

DSC03033

My British colleagues recommended I stay at Bosworth Hall Hotel and Spa, and after looking at the picturesque countryside views, I concurred. I remember strolling through the grounds taking photos, then wandering into the village to inspect my surroundings. Here in Market Bosworth, known best for a weekly market on Wednesdays, I found this lovely sight that has become one of my favorite travel photos. And in honor of spring and our impending summertime, I share it with you.

May 2017 Travel Photo of the Month

Self-reflection is an interesting thing, and May’s Travel POTM™ makes me go into a journey thinking of the me of the past. “Professional Travel Girl” is what I named my blog several years ago when I was traveling the world for work in the energy efficiency business. Now, I don’t travel as much in my professional life, yet I am still hungry to explore the world.

Recently, I visited my 42nd country: Cuba (of which I’ll cover in a future post). For a nation to count on the travel list I am constantly hoping to grow, my trip must be more than an airport layover or a train ride across…sorry, Switzerland. There are too many places on my current shortlist, but for now, I can look forward to exploring more of the United States and reliving past adventures in my scrapbooks and blogs.

So, what about the bright photo below captured in Isla Mujeres makes me go into reminiscing? It reminds me of a great trip to Mexico with my dear friend Holly and the day we took a catamaran to the island. We tried on Mexican wrestling masks and sipped on fresh rum-based cocktails. This photo captures the me at the time: fun, colorful, exploring, experiencing culture, and of course, working to make the world sustainable and energy efficient.

DSC02881

It’s good to reflect–and remember two other very different trips to Mexico. If I were to take a photo of the me today, what would it look like? It’d certainly be of Vegas me, a marketing and communications consultant who still loves to travel the world.

April 2017 Travel Photo of the Month

One of the coolest things I’ve ever done was go on a month-long business trip around the world. For four weeks, I circumnavigated the globe on an American Airlines around-the-world fare, starting in Europe, going through the Middle East, and concluding in Australia. Spending time in both Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates were both so different than anywhere I’d ever been, and I truly treasure my days of global traveling.

The POTM™ was taken in Dubai in front of the Burj Khalifa, which is still the tallest building in the world. I took the opportunity to actually go up in it, which I will happily check off my list but not replicate, due to the insane amount of visitors that had the same idea. In fact, I think I’ll happily stay on the ground–or shop at adjacent Mall of Dubai–and snaps some photos!

DSC03593