The 42nd stamp in my passport was one of my most exotic: Cuba! My husband and I went last spring, and we were both taken aback visiting a land in the past and attitude towards American visitors. The highlights were definitely the classic cars and a day-long tour we took to learn more about Havana. Our visit inspired one of my first published works comparing 1950s Havana and my city of Las Vegas. Read the full story here…
Five years ago this month, I traveled over 30 hours to attend a conference in Kuala Lumpur. Usually I love visiting Southeast Asia, but my time in KL was plagued by food poisoning and jetlag. My one respite (and only touristic visit) was the Petronas Twin Towers–the tallest twin towers in the world. This famous landmark was at the center of my trip, as it was the backdrop for a night event at SkyBar, as well as the site of a client visit.
October’s POTM™ is an interior shot on the skybridge between the two towers. And now, my memories of the suffering during this trip have faded. Now I remember the gorgeous art deco interior and this fixture within the unique skyline of Malaysia’s capital city. Selamat tinggal (or “goodbye” in Malaysian)!
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!
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!
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. On 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!
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.
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.
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!