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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
I’m a list maker–whether it be a shopping list, an ever-evolving to-do list, or my places to visit bucket list. As a travel blogger, this last list is one that I am constantly scheming places to add and later cross off. As I draft this, I’m currently at 39 countries visited, and soon, I hope to have seen more.
So, without further adieu or waxing eloquently (un-eloquently?), here is the shortlist of where I’d like to visit sooner than later:
- All 50 U.S. state capitols: I currently have 9 left to hit.
- Cuba: I am hoping to see Havana before it catches up to modern city.
- Galapagos Islands: Turtles!
- Peru: Bring on Machu Picchu.
- Brazil: After the Olympics this summer, I’m looking forward to Rio even more.
- Antarctica: It’s the ultimate…and I do have a goal to hit all 7 continents.
- Iceland: Air Iceland’s stopover package in Reykjavik sounds amazing.
- Jordan: The historic architectural site of Petra seems unreal.
- Egypt: I really want to see the pyramids…should have gone several years back when I had the opportunity!
- South Africa: Friends went on an incredible safari…yes, please.
- Cambodia: Angkor Wat is absolutely at the top of my list.
- Vietnam: I’m curious to see the difference between Northern and Southern Vietnam.
With ever-growing inspiration and places I’d like to go, it’s almost impossible to want to revisit destinations I love. Yet there are places I want to be again. Places like Bora Bora, where we honeymooned, or Greece or Italy, which I’ve traveled to a couple of times but want to experience more.
As I pen this, I think of the Things To Do While Alive advertising campaign that struck me almost a decade ago when I lived in Sweden. Some items are checked off, and some of the items are still on my bucket list. I am thankful for these experiences, for the technology to capture memories (from my trusty Canon EOS! to Hipstamatic! and now my Sony and Instagram app), and for 5 senses to take in the world. Cheers to those places and people that have made impressions on me, and here’s to all of the adventures in store!