Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks by U.S. National Park Services

Grand Prismatic Spring - Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Magadelic Rock

America's Best Idea – the national parks – gets even better with several fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees.*
Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2011:
  • January 15-17
    (Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend)
  • April 16-24
    (National Park Week)
  • June 21
    (First day of summer)
  • September 24
    (Public Lands Day)
  • November 11-13
    (Veterans Day weekend)
Making the fun even more affordable, many national park concessioners are joining the National Park Service in welcoming visitors with their own special offers.
Here’s a tip – many of your 394 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee. So start Planning Your Visit!

*Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Festival of Flower Across America

Spring in its splendor is here and goodbye to winter! Celebrate the season and join mother nature as it explodes with blooming excitement to usher in the new season flavor and  all the fun activities that ensue.

South Carolina  Flowertown Festival: Summerville Family YMCA flowertown festival has been a tradition of South Carolina for 39years. It ranks in top 20 events of the Southeast. Join in the festivities in Azalea Park from April 1st -3rd, 2011. Admission is free

Rhode Island Blithewold Daffodil Days: Stroll through one of the best public gardens, Blithewold gardens, in New England this April and enjoy the sight of beautiful blooming yellow Daffodils. A great place  to unwind, enjoy some afternoon tea, and capture the beauty of spring . Festival runs from April 09 , 2011 to May 01, 2011 from 10am -5pm @ Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island.

 North Carolina Biltmore Festival of Flower: Running from April 2nd through May, the beautiful George Vanderbilt's 250 room French château's beautiful garden will be highlighted in hues of purple, orange, yellow, and white tulips. Enjoy an afternoon walk through the garden, sway your hips to live music, and sip on fine wine.
Photo from

Texas  Bluebonnet Trails Festival:  Sponsored by Ennis Garden Club, the Ennis bluebonnet trail festival will be held April 1-30. Enjoy the 40mile sea of bluebonnets that line the roadsides and ditches of Ennis Garden.
Photo by Debbi Robertson

Washington Skagit Valley Tulip Festival: This festival has been bringing cultures together to marvel at the artistry of nature for 28 years.  The beauty of the tulip studded field keeps drawing thousands of people each year  from April 1-30 to celebrate the blooming of spring and life.
Photo by Stranj
Virginia Honaker Redbud Festival: Join the Redbud trees as they display their excitement in pink to celebrate the return of Spring.  Gaze at the electrifying beauty of the Redbud trees' blooms along with music, games, auto show, and canoe races on April 15th -17th.
Photo from
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ryanair to Ban Children from Flying Popular Routes. Smart April Fool Campaign or What?


Ryanair, the world’s favourite airlines, today announced that it will introduce ‘Child Free’ flights from October (winter schedule) after a Europe-wide survey of 1,000 passengers showed that half would pay higher fares to avoid other people’s children. The survey showed that a third of passengers (36%) have had flights ‘ruined’ by other people’s noisy kids with one in five passengers (18%) urging Ryanair to restrict the number of children on flights.

While the survey found that passengers would prefer to avoid other people’s children, it placed ‘blame’ firmly with parents with top gripes being:

1.      50% Parents who expect ‘special treatment’ because they have children.
2.      25% Parents who allow children to annoy those in seats behind.
3.      15% Parents who board late and expect others to accommodate them.
4.      10% Parents who allow children to run in the aisles or kick seats.

What are your thoughts on this issue if it turns out to be true? Share with us.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Authentic Experience in Post-Communist Georgia! From

Do you have four to ten months to spare for paid employment in a government travel program for participants up to 60 years of age?

The Ministry of Education in  Georgia, Eastern Europe in collaboration with well known Canadian company Footprints Recruiting ® has a work/travel opportunity where eligibility is not based on experience but rather education. Two years of college completed in any subject allows for eligiibility, additionally one must be fluent in English.

If you love talking about what you're passionate about to engaged and willing listeners then read on. Spend four to ten months gaining valuable work experience as a beginner or advanced teacher/tutor in a Georgian public school where the focus is on conversation skills. A co-teacher will be assigned to assist you.

Have you ever wished that you could have more freedom when starting a new job or volunteer opportunity? With the Georgia program, we're ready when you are. Choose your start month from March to September 2011, and the actual contract start day, you can choose the 15th or the 30th of the month. Finally, select your return date as either Dec 2011 or June 2012. 

Now get ready to start talking. From Monday to Friday you will gain experience in the classroom as an English teacher, focusing on conversation skills. Your week will consist of between 26-30 total hours of teaching in an authentic Georgian classroom.

As a reward for your hard work, once you have finalized your application documents through Footprints and before you depart, the Georgian government will provide you with a return airline ticket and will arrange for your homestay family accommodation. Additionally, you will receive basic medical insurance and a monthly stipend of $275 USD/month (~$50 goes to your Georgian family for utilities).
Apply Here

Melissa Faraguna
Phone:             604-677-6556      

Monday, February 14, 2011

Travel and Creativity: Is there a Connection?

Beijing's Birds Nest
How much influence travel has on ones creativity has been a question swirling in my mind of late. I  wonder,  how much effect does travel have in the way we think, solve problems, design, and do many other things. Do you think meeting new people, seeing new places, and learning other's culture while traveling has effect on you cognitively? I have read some articles that agrees that there is a connection between travel and creativity and others that do not agree.

I would like to know what you think on this subject. It does not matter whether you agree or disagree, i am simply trying to understand the reasoning of everyones response to this topic. Your participation is needed and is well appreciated.

Let the comments fly!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spring Break: Beach Fun

It is only the beginning of February, but all I can think about is Spring. I love spring because everything comes alive, vibrant, and full of vigor. It feels like a new beginning for all things. Flowers start to blossom, trees are budding, and the weather just feels great. The only thing left to compliment is a spring break getaway to a magical beach. Beaches such as the following are a treat to anyone seeking a well deserved R & R. Travel Channel has also classified them as sexy beaches.

Ko Phi Phi Leh Beach: Is considered a fantasy life dreaming beach in Thailand. This beach is accented by beautiful lime stone cliffs jetting up from the ocean.

Macaroni Beach: Macaroni beach is located in Mustique island, a private island in the southern Caribbean. There is little traffic even during it's peak season - an added benefit for those seeking a peaceful beach experience. Macaroni beach is pristine and the most popular beach on this island.

Clifton Beach IV: Located in Cape town, South Africa and graced by the grandeur of the 12 Apostle table mountain range, this beach is known for it's friendly crowd and considered the sexiest green beach because of the electric cafes.

Pink Sand Beach: Harbour Island, Bahamas is the home to some rare pink sand beaches. The pink color comes from microscopic shelled animal called Foraminifera. The beach stretches about 3.5miles and famous for it's pink sand.

Godahl Beach: This lovely stretch of aquamarine white sand beach is located in Canouan Island. Also known as Caribbeans best. It is located on a somewhat private island exclusively for guests of Raffles resort. Has spa rooms in huts in the middle of the ocean with glass floors. Definitely Caribbeans best kept secret.

A beach is sexy because of the cocktail of all the beauty around. Add yourself to the beauty of these beaches this spring break or whisk your significant other to one of these places for Valentine's day or that special occasion coming up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Canoe & Kayak Trips Through The Bayou - A Houston Event

Where: Woodway Boat Launch (Just west of 1-610)
Time: 9am - 1pm or 11am -3pm depending on the day
Reservation: Required
Phone: 713.752.0314 ext. 3
Cost: $60/pp
2011 Dates
Regular Scheduled Kayak Trips
January 15th Saturday, 11am-3pm
February 19th Saturday, 11am-3pm
March  26th Saturday, 10am-1pm 
April 16th Saturday,  9am-1pm
May 21st  Saturday,  9am-1pm
June 18th  Saturday  9am-1pm (Dad's Day weekend)

Paddle through the Buffalo Bayou and explore Houston downtown on a guided tour. The outfitter, North Lake Conroe Paddling Company  will provide the 2 seater Kayaks, mini lesson on kayaking, and all the gear required for this excursion. Reservation is required for this event and maximum capacity is 20.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Family Focused Resorts - Traveling with Kids Made Easy

Are you one of those parents that feel guilty going on vacation without your kids in tow? Let me usher you into the world of a relaxing adult vacation even with the presence of your kids! This vacation will mesmerize you and make you want to do it over and over again. I must warn you though, there is a possibility you may not want to leave this vacation when it's all over. These resorts are family focused and have all your bases covered for all the help you may need with your kids while on vacation.

Franklyn D. Resort, Jamaica: At this resort, all inclusive takes on a whole different meaning. It is not only inclusive of food and drinks, it extends to having your own private Vacation Nanny. Each family is assigned their own Nanny upon arrival and the Nanny is available to you from 9am - 4:40pm. She is trained in housekeeping and child care and her services are included in your "all inclusive package". She is available to help in the evenings to feed the kids, bathe, and put them to bed for additional $4/hr while you evoke the spirit  of your youthful exuberance (as long as you don't get too carried away). When you decide to spend time together as a family, your Nanny will help tidy and clean up your suite and also stock your refrigerator with needed provisions.  Kid's club is also available on site with arts & crafts and other activities for the kids.

Beaches Turks & Caicos: is a great all inclusive resort especially designed for family. Beaches has carefully thought out the different activities to engage different age group and ensure no one is left out. Sesame street characters, the new xbox 360 game garage, and sizzling teen disco are some of the intriguing activities available to tots, tween, and teens. Certified Nannies are available to help you with your kids in the nursery and around the playing area. Supervised kid's programs for different age groups are also available at no extra cost. Plenty of opportunity for parents to venture out on their own fun excursions while spending time together alone. A true vacation for all parties involved.

Beaches Turks & Caicos Photo by Voxefx

Windjammer Landing, St Lucia:  Patterned after the picturesque villages of the Mediterranean, this upscale ravishing resort boasts of 1500ft of white sand beaches and other water sport facilities. Shuttle services are provided for guests to the nearby shopping village where guests can shop and dine. Nanny services are offered, but reservation needs to be made ahead of time prior to arrival. This type of service is helpful to parents that don't want to leave their kids all day with a Nanny, but need some hours to relax at the Spa or go for an excursion. Movie nights, Bonfire nights, and Karaoke nights are also equally available to teens and adults.

Sandpiper Bay (Club Med), Florida: This is one of the only family all inclusive resort in the United States of America.   As with the other resorts earlier mentioned, Sandpiper Bay also offers great activities for kids through their Club Med world famous kid's club programs. It boasts of a Tennis Academy, Golf Academy, and a new Fitness Program. This Resort can be whatever you need it to be as their famous slogan goes, "action and fun when you want it, peace and quiet when you need it."

Breezes(Superclubs), Curacao: Is the first and only super inclusive resort in Curacao. By Super inclusive, they mean all your meals, drinks, entertainment, water and land sports with professional instructions are all included in your package and tipping is never permitted. Definitely not a chatoyant resort - what they say is what they deliver. There is always something to keep your kids occupied and thrilled while you discover the island for yourself.

There you have it in a nut shell! Retreat, Relax, and Rejuvenate!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ice Sculpting Competition - Houston Area Event

Place: Discovery Green, 1500 Mckinney St. Houston, TX 77010
Time: 10a.m - 7pm
Entrance Fee: Free
Date: Saturday, January 8, 2011

The 3rd Annual Magnificent 7 Ice Sculpting competition holds on January 8, 2011 in Houston Downtown area. This event will feature acclaimed ice artists from around the country who will transform ice into spectacular masterpieces. Come and watch as they battle for the grand prize. Event to be crowned with live performance by Reverend Butler

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fjords of Norway - Dramatically Beautiful

Fjord (fyôrd) a long, narrow, deep inlet from the sea between steep slopes of mountainous coast. Fjords usually occur where ocean water flows into valleys formed near the coast by
glaciers. Norway boasts of the longest, deepest, narrowest, and most beautiful Fjords in the world.

Sognefjord: This is the largest Fjord in Norway and the longest in the world. It stretches 127 miles (205 Kilometers) and reaches a maximum depth of 4,291ft (1308m) below sea level.

Nærøyfjord: This Fjord is the narrow branch of the Sognefjord. It is 11 miles (18km) long and only 1,600ft (500m) wide.

Geirangerfjord: Is one of Norway's most visited tourist sites. 9.3miles (15km) long and a branch of Storfjord. Also adorned with two beautiful waterfalls, seven sisters and the Suitor. The two falls are adjacent to one another across the Fjord and the Suitor is said to be trying to woo the sisters because of the location of the falls
Photo by Larigan

Lysefjord: Located in South-Western Norway, this Fjord is 23miles (42km) long with rocky walls encompassing it. This Fjord is lightly populated because of its unfriendly terrain. It is also in places as deep as the mountains are high.
Photo by Gard
From Wikipedia

These are just a few of the many Fjords in Norway. Aren't they priceless? Do you know of other Fjords in other countries? Let us know in your comment.
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