Monday, November 29, 2010

Sourvenir: Make It Count

Photo from "Inspired by Aboriginal Art"
A Souvenir is an object a traveler brings back from his/her journey either for personal collection or as gifts for family and friends for the memories associated with it. Therefore, souvenirs can absolutely be anything that reminds you of your visit to a place or what you did while there. T-shirts, shot glasses, magnets, and key chains are the most common types of souvenir that people bring back from their travels. While those mementos are nice, they usually don't tell much about a place nor do they have pizazz. Here are some of the things to keep in mind when buying souvenirs:

I consider a souvenir a great conversational piece and i usually buy something not common to my place of origin. It is good to have things that spark conversation especially when you are in a neutral or unfamiliar territory. A piece of jewelry, art work, or table place mat can spark a great deal of conversation. People should not walk into your office and see a piece of shot glass and automatically know it came from Nevada because it has Nevada written on it and that's end of discussion. If you have a piece of paper weight made from some type of stone or material that is not common, chances are a compliment will be passed and a question will ensue as to where it originated. This gives you an opportunity to share your story behind it and possibly learn something new. Through this avenue, you may discover you have a lot in common with your guest and a connection is established. In some cases those connections have led to job offers, business opportunities, or just plain friendships.

Bring back articles that are specific to the particular place or region you are visiting. Things like currency, stamps, or other crafts are great mementos to collect. For example, The Netherlands is known for it's beautiful Tulips, so if visiting you can buy some Tulips to plant in your garden or give to a family or friend that likes gardening. Tea and Coffee or Spices are also great for gifts. It is usually very easy to find out what a place is known for from your research of the place or by consulting with the local indigenes.

Accessories are also great to bring back as souvenirs. These are things you can actually use daily and they also add character to your persona. Women love accessories and they will definitely appreciate it if given. Fabrics are also great especially for cultures that custom make clothes a lot. You add a flavor of another culture to your culture and it brings out the beauty in both cultures as well as uniqueness.

The list goes on and on. I am not in anyway saying you cannot buy things that have the name of a place stamped on it, what i am advocating is putting a lot more thought into your collection of souvenirs. If you find something that is unique in it's design and still has the name on it, buy it. It could still be worth collecting.

Do you agree, disagree, or have a souvenir pet peeve that you would like to share? Please share in your comment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Restaurant Blurb: T'afia

Photo from
Location: 3701 Travis Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 713.524.6922
Hours: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
Chef: Monica Pope

T'afia is a restaurant with a great ambiance and delectable selection of dishes. A friend suggested this restaurant and it was no doubt a great choice. You must try the Chorizo stuffed Date wrapped with Bacon, Grilled Scallops, and the Quail - simply divine. The name T'afia comes from a type of rum and the word is also used for a toast "to your health" and "the deal is done." I particularly like and recommend this restaurant because the ingredients are locally grown and the food tastes fresh. Midtown Farmers Market is on location every Saturday from 8am - 12noon. Stop by if interested in locally grown produce.

Put this on your list if visiting Houston area.

Watch out for our next Restaurant Blurb!

Disclaimer: Chronicle-of-a- jetsetter is not in anyway associated with T'afia and is not getting any compensation for writing about them. Information on this site is strictly an opinion based on visit to the restaurant.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spice Up Your Holiday Gatherings

 Most people don't have the luxury of seeing every member of their family at once besides the holiday season and this is why holiday gatherings are so important to most families. This period props the door open for families to share and laugh with one another. A great opportunity to go down memory lane and reminisce on the good times. Therefore, these gatherings should be very festive and fun. It is wonderful gathering at Mom and Dad's, but that can become monotonous. You can spice it up and kick it up a notch by changing scenery.

One way to experience your holiday through a different lens is to go on a cruise with the family. Cruises are great for family gatherings as there is so much planned for you on board. Everyone gets to kick back and relax, enjoy the numerous entertainment provided, and pander to all the food and drinks that are generously available. You get to enjoy the company of your family while you all discover something new and explore somewhere new together on your excursions. A cruise is a great way to spend time together in an exciting way.

Okay so you think a cruise is too expensive or it's too many other people on board with you, how about taking a road trip and renting a Villa where all the family members can lodge and you can still have a wonderful traditional family gathering. You can all wake up to the sweet smelling aroma of coffee in the morning, kids running around in their pj's, ladies cooking up the storm in the kitchen, while the men hang out in the living room playing video game or better yet watching football. It's always a great sight and all that make holidays very memorable.

You may ask what if we all don't live in the same country, how do we do this? The best way to minimize the distance factor is to pick a central location and have everyone fly into that city for a wonderful family holiday reunion. Of course this involves spending and planning ahead, but the end result is well worth it. Remember you don't have to make it a yearly event if you can't afford it, but planning and saving ahead will make this go smoothly and less stressful.

As William Cowper wisely put it, "variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor." Give your life some flavor! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lights Camera Action

It is true that a moment lasts all for a second, but memory lives on forever  and sometimes the best way to re-live a beautiful vacation from memory is through the pictures you took in that moment. Pictures are not only good for reminiscing, they are a great way to share your vacation experience with families and friends. They are also a great memento to showcase in the future when celebrating that great occasion. Capturing great pictures of different aspects of your travel is the main focus of today.

Tripod is a tool that is always needed and very useful for travelers. It is that extra hand you need when taking pictures. Tripod is a camera stand and it is very important to have one because it allows you include everyone in your group in your pictures. You don't have to ask people to take a picture of all of you. You can do that nicely with the help of your tripod. Tripod also averts shaky or unclear pictures because once your camera is perfectly secured on to the stand, it is stabilized and human error of fuzzy pictures is eliminated.

Another picture related equipment to add to ones collection is an underwater Camera Case. If you like water activities such as snorkeling, sea walking,  and scuba diving then you want to invest in a good underwater camera case. It will make your life so much easier and better. You don't have to pay for low quality pictures taking by your guide company. You can take as many pictures as you like and you would actually be taking things that really interest you rather than just pictures of yourself underwater. The reason we snorkel or go underwater is to see the sea life below, therefore capturing them nicely in their habitat the way we want is very important and can be realized with the help of this case. You can look online to find what case works for your camera.

If you do a lot of traveling i suggest you invest in a good quality camera. One thing i have come to realize with travel lovers is there is some desire or love for photography that develops sooner or later and perhaps it is because you come across so many beautiful things that you just want to capture them beautifully. If i could change George Orwell's famous Animal farm quote, I'd say All cameras are equal, but some cameras are more equal than others, so invest in one that has a great quality.

Disposable cameras come in handy as well if you have kids traveling with you. You can keep them busy snaping away while you take your pictures. You not only keep your children occupied and entertained, you also don't have to be overly concerned with your camera getting damaged since they have theirs. They can inflict all that wear and tear on the disposable camera.

These are just some tips on how to enhance your vacation experience through pictures.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pacific Coast Highway - A Breathtaking Rugged Expedition

Photo by Disco King @
Driving through California Route 1 is an expedition that should be in everyone's bucket list. It is one of the most unique highways in America and one of the longest. In order to thoroughly enjoy this drive, plan on spending a few days driving through so you can properly sample everything this highway has to offer. Be prepared to stop a number of times while on this road as everything beckons for your attention.

When we took this road trip in 2008, we flew into San Diego and drove up to Northern California stopping in the major cities along the way, but the most exciting aspect of the drive was between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Pacific Coast Highway. This section of the highway exhibits myriad examples of many natural qualities that make a highway a National Scenic Byways - qualities such as a stretch of untouched coastline, historical landmarks, winding roads, and cliffs to name a few. Should you decide to undertake this road trip, here are some interesting stops i recommend you make.

Elephant Seals Rookery: Piedras Blancas is home to a colony of Elephant Seals that were once near extinction. Regardless of what time of the year you pass through this area, you are bound to find some Elephant Seals comfortably sleeping along the shorelines. However, the most exciting time to enjoy the site of these seals is usually during winter season. This is when the males return to shore to defend their territory and get ready for mating season. A good show is the battle between male Seals naming claims to their women - it is testosterone driven. The female seals also return to have their babies and prepare for another pregnancy season. Don't wonder too much if you hear strange sounds when visiting the seals, the sound you hear is the grunts and squeals from the Seals. It's worth a stop to see.

Ragged Point: This is one of the pit stops on this drive. A lot of people stop here to relax, stretch their legs, have some lunch, and get the effect of the million dollar view that this place is known for. The Ragged point Vista is considered one of the finest ocean vistas in the world. It is one of the few places on this coast with a trail down the cliff. The site of the mountains merging with the ocean at it's shoreline is superb.

McWay Waterfall: This waterfall is located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. To think that we passed by this state park and even took pictures of the park's sign and did not go in to see this beautiful waterfall is unforgivable. It even feels almost as if we never went to Big Sur. I decided to write about this beautiful waterfall not because i personally saw and enjoyed it, but so that you wouldn't make the same foolish mistake ignorantly and miss out on this beauty. McWay fall is an 80 foot waterfall nestled in a cove and cascades unto the sandy shores of the pacific ocean. The great thing about this fall is that it flows year round. The waterfall is fed from an undergorund springs on McWay Creek.

McWay Waterfall. Picture from

Big Sur Bixby Creek Bridge: The Bixby Bridge is important historically because it introduced automobile travel to Big Sur. However, the amazing priceless view of pure nature that surrounds the Bixby Bridge is what makes stopping at one of the vista points here very significant. The view is simply intriguing. Standing tall at the vista point, inhaling and exhaling the cool fresh air from the ocean, and catching the spectacular view of the bridge is heavenly. A picturesque scenery not to be missed!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Purposeful Travel With a Perk

Picture by

Travelling can take any form and can be done for different reasons. Taking a well deserved vacation is always great and it is infact a good cause, but there are other times when we travel to change lives, be it ours or others.

The post today will focus on five different ways of adding a significant meaning to your travel and still enjoy a wonderful time of exploring a new place.

Mission Trips: Embarking on a mission trip is one of the most significant way of touching lives and helping individuals in poverty striken nations. All countries have poor people, but some countries are at a bigger disadvantage and thus have more people in need than other places. Taking the time to personally visit these places and provide basic essential needs of life such as food, shelter, clothing, emotional support, counseling, and spiritual needs can be the most rewarding experience. You not only get the time to minister to the needs of the people physically and spiritually, you get to know them, know their community, learn from them, and still get an opportunity to visit surrounding areas for leisure. To participate in a mission trip, check with your church and other mission trip organizations such as Mission Discovery and Joyce Meyer Ministries

Study Abroad: This is a program organized through several Universities across the globe for completing part of your degree program in another country. It could be a semester or a year long program. It is a great avenue for students to learn a foreign language while taking a course that counts towards their degree program, learn about the culture of other people, meet and make new friends. The classes are scheduled in a way that permits weekend travel for students and you should take advantage of it and have fun travelling with fellow students. More information about study abroad can be found at your school or online through or

Volunteer Abroad: This program gives you so many avenues to volunteer your time in different areas of interest. The program could be on a long term or short term basis. Another great perk of volunteering abroad with the right organization is some offer all expense paid opportunities. Some of the organizations that offer all expense paid opportunities are Peace corps, United Nations, Volunteer Service Overseas,ArtCorps, Winrock International, Geekcorps

Teach Abroad: The teach abroad program gives qualified individual an opportunity to help students in foreign countries learn different subjects in which they are deficient. A lot of the teach abroad programs are language programs. A lot of English language teaching programs are available in Asia and qualified candidates go over for a year or even longer to teach the subject. Some programs offer all expense paid opportunities as well Educators Overseas. Teaching abroad not only gives you a chance to impart knowledge to the students, it gives you international experience, career advancement, and you get to see the world and experience new things.

International Internship: International internship can boost your resume when looking for that fulltime job after graduation. It is a great global experience especially now that the world seems to be shrinking. You learn about the business culture of other people. Learn and practice the language at a cheaper rate. Travel around on weekends and in your spare time. Working, learning, and having fun all at the same time! What's not to love about it? More information available at International Internships

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