Online tourism course completed, gained knowledge and new blog post inspiration

I just finished the last bit of classwork for an online tourism course offered through my local community college. As it was a condensed
winter class, the workload consisted of chapter readings, applying information to discussion questions for five-point assignments and
taking 15-question quizzes. Two longer assignments, but not all-out term paper level in nature, were worth 50 points; I scored 50/50 on
both. Other than my last four assignments, which I don’t yet know the grades, I got a 5/5 score. Most of my quizzes were 14/15 and
15/15; my lowest score was 12/15 on one quiz. So, I’m expecting a pretty good final grade. Hopefully, in the near future, I can follow
up with other related classes to study this field. After all, this was an intro to tourism, a field in which I’d like to apply my communication degree and skills gained through that. I’m particularly interested in the marketing aspect of being involved in travel and tourism.

In terms of pursuing work in travel and tourism, I decided to add various assignments from this class into my overall career portfolio.
While a potential employer may not necessarily read through all of them, I want to have them both as industry knowledge and as writing
samples. Prior to enrolling in online tourism, it had been a few years since taking any classes. So, I want to show continued strength in
written work even after a pro-longed break from academic skills.

Not only did I learn a great deal of information about the travel industry, I also came across various textbook sections that inspired ideas for upcoming blog posts. For lack of time, it was better to wait until the course ended. So, I’m gathering my thoughts about the particular content I read which had the travel blogger in me buzzing. Just for a preview, a few ideas include:

  • the type of traveler I would consider myself
  • special interest trips (which ones I would go on and why)
  • the career of a travel agent and working with one
  • various types of hotel accommodations (which ones I would stay at and why)
  • my own experiences in finding out about various tours
  • am I a responsible traveler
  • travel publications and ecotourism coverage
  • a post related to farm-to-fork dining
  • myself as a tourist and / or traveler
  • types of adventure travel activity of interest to me and why

The last one also reminds me of a question someone recently posted on a Facebook group focused on abandoned places. It was about whether or not other members of the group would visit a particular site, which I’ll leave until I get to my blog post idea about adventure travel activities. My photo for this post is from a recent short hike I went on at a local state park and brings to mind other adventures I’d like to take up – waterfall trail hikes and waterfall repelling. That would be at a different state park; not at the one where I captured the
photo, as the latter activity is prohibited. I listed the textbook content in order of chapters. However, I may or may not combine the
second and last categories together. Anyway, check back for these posts inspired by my journey into studying tourism. I hope this
educational experience leads to related career opportunities and more traveling as well; adventure awaits!

Posted in Blogging, Careers, College, Education, Marketing, Tourism, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A few travel bucket list destinations, their highlights and studying tourism

An online tourism class I mentioned in a previous post has since started and some content in the first chapter inspired this write-up. Following a textbook paragraph about top destinations around the world and what makes them stand out, there was a list of 50 such places to visit.

Even though Ireland and its sites didn’t make the list, a cruise aboard the Connemara Lady is an example of one activity that I didn’t
know about until near the end of my short visit. I took the scenic boat tour on my last full day in the country and loved it!

But what are among the highlights I think of for a combo list of Ireland and although I didn’t get up there, Northern Ireland? My choices include sites and activities even prior to my study abroad experience. They include the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, Trinity College (where I stayed), Guinness, Book of Kells, Grafton Street in Dublin, Temple Bar, Kylemore Abbey, Newgrange, Titanic Belfast, The Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, literary tours and pub crawls.

I’ve only been to one of the destinations so far that did make the textbook list – New York. However, I don’t know if it referred to the
state overall or New York City. If the former, a number of sites state-wide are among my must-sees there; I still have a great deal to check out in the latter as well. Noting what I thought put certain places in the top 50, museum deals and theater trips were among such New York City attractions. Other destinations made certain highlighted sites and / or activities come to mind, as I imagined finally visiting them.

Destinations – sites / activities I thought of for their tourism highlights:

San Francisco, CA – trolley tour, boat ride to Alcatraz

Grand Canyon, AZ – Red Jeep Tours

Vermont – staying at cozy inns

Hawaii – volcano tours by helicopter

Lake District in England – seeing country estates, any literary sites

London – Changing of the Guard, Tower of London, literary tours, London Eye

Paris – Eiffel Tower

Loire Valley – castles and chateaus

Tuscany – culinary and vineyard tours

Venice – gondola rides, experiencing Acqua Alta high tide

Acropolis – ancient Greek history

Pyramids of Giza – ancient Egyptian history, tours on camelback

Australia – Outback, Uluru / Ayer’s Rock, 12 Apostles, Sydney Bridge Climb

Antarctica – Glaciers

Amazon Forest – seeing an endangered ecosystem

Machu Picchu – the adventure of arriving at this remote site

The first assignment for my class focused on the marketing aspect of tourism and it interests me because of my educational background. I
had journalism classes as an undergraduate and while some universities refer to such programs as a “j-degree,” at mine, it was a B.A. in communication. Before attending the college where I completed that level of study, my related career interests began at a local community college. Intro journalism classes included assignments geared toward writing broadcast and ad copy, as well as creating press kits for a sense of marketing tasks. I put together a press kit for opening a hypothetical Ireland tourism company in my local area. Later, an assignment for my global business study abroad trip to Ireland was to create a marketing plan. Again, it could be for hypothetical business ventures; mine was for photo tours of the country. So, while one of my
career pursuits related to college studies is to be in journalism, I’d also love to be in the marketing side of the tourism industry. I’ve
been drawn to travel for as long as I can remember. I’m just still lacking when it comes to checking off my own bucket list of destinations around the world. Maybe further studies in tourism will help accomplish that. I definitely want to visit the places I listed
above; they cover so many elements – nature, literature, history, architecture, dining. Speaking of dining, as I finished up my
marketing-themed first assignment of this tourism class, I came across an ad on Facebook for a page called Food Marketing. It was perfect
timing to see that, considering my textbook reading, as well as the growth in popularity of foodie destinations and culinary tours. Dining is not only a necessary service provided to travelers, but also an activity for immersing in a culture, similar to other interests such as the arts.

Anyway, I look forward to diving further into my current tourism studies!

Posted in Architecture, Business, Careers, College, Culinary, Culture, Dining, Education, Food, Foodie, Historic, History, International, Ireland, Journalism, Literary, Marketing, Nature, New York, New York City, Photography, Study Abroad, Tourism, Tours, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I’m Thankful for on Thanksgiving 2019

I felt the need to share some thoughts on what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving and as the holidays continue. The first two don’t need explanation.


True friends.

Hope about something personal – I just want to keep the specifics to myself until seeing how it goes, with the help of many common interests to build on everything. One person in my life has been rooting for me and that goes back to the idea of true friends.

The Edge Fitness and everyone there – Staff and other members are all so supportive. Also, there is such a great variety of workouts.

A recent first chance to hike Ridley Creek State Park – This was with others from the gym; it also gave me goals to take on the trails there again and do more hiking in 2020.

My college education – Skills I gained and kept up are important to me; college was a goal since before high school because I wanted a strong career. Also, I’m thankful for getting a spot in an online tourism class; travel industry skills coming up!

A good record of being appropriate online – I believe in representing myself in a professional manner for career pursuits and venturing into business. That’s a particular area I hope to add to what I give thanks for next year; a successful business for extra income.

Check out the links to two of my side gigs below:

Paparazzi Accessories – $5 stylish jewelry; lead / nickel free, animalfriendly, gender-neutral pieces

CafePress – my photography on a variety of items

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Business, CafePress, Careers, College, Education, Family, Friends, Hiking, Holidays, Paparazzi Accessories, Photography, Ridley Creek State Park, Social Media, State Parks, The Edge Fitness, Tourism, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on the Edge Challenge to its End, Charging Forward

The fall season challenge has come to a close and although weigh-in time had me a bit nervous, it went well. Stepping onto the gym scale gave me the results I estimated it would be, after trying the one I have at home. Numbers there were reading a mix of weights fluctuation within a five-pound range. At the gym, I was right in the middle and it was new low out of all my challenge scale moments.

As the closing party moved on, each trainer and his or her team was called up front and teammates shared their successes. It wasn’t always in terms of losing pounds, but sometimes what someone accomplished had
to do with becoming stronger and feeling more confident, fitting into new clothes, etc. In my case, clothes have been a part of it. I wore
my black stiletto ankle boots to the party because they were a style of footwear that I couldn’t always strut in. The area around my left ankle would swell sometimes in recent years. However, since exercising at The Edge Fitness, that swelling has gone down and I can finally rock some cute boots and shoes after so long! I forgot to take a head-to-toe selfie that night, so I’ll add one to this post later on.

Prizes were awarded in several categories and my trainer’s team had a winner for the grand prize. Congrats to my teammate and also to our
trainer because he has been a great help to us!

Tables were set up along the back of the studio to sign up for several activities. One involved being a team support member for gym members participating in the next challenge. Another was to enroll in that challenge, which begins in February 2020, for a discount price. So, guess what I did?

Yep, I’m already looking forward to a challenge that will get myself and others through to springtime!

Also, some of us are taking part in a separate challenge that started November 17 and runs until the end of December. It’ll be a great way
to help get through the holiday season of celebrating with food everywhere. I took this photo below during a family gathering several
years back and found it in one of my Facebook albums. Someone’s been caught!

Less than a week since the fall challenge came to an end, I took a body combat class yesterday for the first time. I enjoyed it right away, so I’ll be signing up for more going forward, as a great compliment to the kickboxing classes I’ve been taking.

Posted in Diet, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Health, The Edge Fitness, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on the Edge Challenge With a Nature Hike

Being a member of the Edge Fitness brought about a surprise opportunity to explore local nature along trails at Ridley Creek State Park. I had been wanting to see more of it for a long time. So when I first heard about the hiking excursion, I was all in and couldn’t wait to take on this new-to-me outdoors trek.

Early on Saturday, October 26, Edge Challenge members had a final weigh-in before our group exercise class. I was up slightly from the
previous day’s weight, but that hike right after working out sure took care of a small gain! I’ll save more on that for the end of this post.

The hike was to begin at a mansion in the park, but I hadn’t been to the particular spot where it was located. So I followed my trainer to an entrance and parking lot near the old estate and a few moments later, several others from the gym arrived. One of them led the hike, as she is also a leader for other such outings through L.L. Bean.

While walking by the Jeffords / Hunting Hill Mansion, we were told some of its back story on the way to getting out in nature. I only
snapped a few photos of the historic structure, so I’ll have to go back another time for more; it’s an enchanting site!

Check out some of my favorite nature scenes captured along the way.

Our route took us past a couple of old structures completely reclaimed by nature and I almost couldn’t see one of them.

There was a crazy tree branch jutting out along the trail and its appearance reminded me of a forest scene in “The Village” (2004) It’s when Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) uses a tree as a marker and eventually, to trick the red-cloaked “creature.” I didn’t get a photo, but will have to next time hiking that route.

Much of the ground was covered not only with fallen leaves, but with tree roots that made for rugged terrain. This was on flat ground, as well as up and down hill. Some spots were also a bit rocky.

Just after talking about them, we came across a tree covered with those pesky spotted lantern flies. Our trail guide said the particular tree was being studied for the effects of these insects on their surroundings.

Near the end of the hike, we crossed another small wooden bridge that led us to going over a large drain. Next, our small group was going
through a tunnel. These were surprising to encounter in the middle of the woods; it felt like a mix of urban element in the setting. I loved the little bridges we arrived at on several occasions along the way, looking out over streams filled with autumn leaves.

The excursion was interesting, as we learned about what to look for in the way of symbols for any hikers taking on the park trails. Arrows in white, yellow or blue marked direction to go and what path someone is on. On the last leg of our hike, we crossed an enchanting stone
bridge. At least in terms of looking like a fairy-tale scene, it reminds me of the ornate bridge in Central Park, with the oval detail.

Once I was back home, I was curious about any weight loss following both an hour group exercise and the outdoor adventure. I had dropped five pounds; a record for me in one day’s time! Out on the trail, I commented to my trainer that I would probably reach or go below the next milestone. So it sure was a surprise to see that I at least reached it. I went back up several pounds since the hike, but my next InBody scale weigh-in reflected that as being due to muscle gain.

Also, I have another success with the ab machine that I wrote about in past Edge Challenge blog posts. Before my classes on Sunday, November 3, I went through my usual six to seven set of 10 reps on it. This time, however, for the seventh set, I tried one weight level higher.

Because of the particular weight setting, I was extra careful by splitting my rep count in half and taking it slower. It was surprising to get through using that weight at all, so it’s not going to be my new usual setting for a while. But it was a positive give-it-a-try moment.

Posted in Autumn, Diet, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Health, Hiking, Historic, History, Nature, Pennsylvania, Ridley Creek State Park, Scenic, State Parks, The Edge Fitness, Travel, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Possible Travel Education

As new semesters approach, I get brochures from a local community college where I completed an associates degree in liberal arts. That was back in 2006 and since then, I continued my education toward obtaining a bachelor degree. Every so often, flipping through the latest brochure, a class or two draws my interest. But so far, I hadn’t been able to enroll due to my overall schedule. This time, I saw an online class in tourism and am hoping to sign up because I want to make use of my B.A. in communication within the travel industry. Although it’s only one class, at least I can gain some more specific knowledge in that area.

Since it’s been a while, it looks like I may have to complete the full reapplication process for the community college. Yet having a completed degree from that institution, I wasn’t sure if that would be the case and especially for a solo class. I emailed admissions in the meantime to ask about re-applying, based on my previous academic record, as well as if they would need transcripts from any other colleges. Then I have to find out the cost and any financial options to cover it.

I’ll find out more in the coming week and I still have enough time before registration closes, especially if I don’t need to obtain any files from other places I’ve studied. After high school, my first round of higher education was for computer certificates between 1996 and 1998. Over the years, that school has been through several name changes and the programs I was in disappeared long ago. I’d wonder if it would be easy to get my transcripts from them, but it worked out in the end.

Anyway, wish me luck on my tourism class pursuits!

Posted in Careers, College, Education, Tourism, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Spontaneous Car Show Stop

I first heard about this local car show via Facebook, clicked ‘save’ on the event page and looked forward to checking it out. When the day arrived, I was on my way to an errand that had been put off from the busy day before. Passing the cool rides on display in an auto mechanic garage parking lot, I decided to head back to see them up-close. It was still early enough to postpone what I had to do for another half hour anyway.

Even though I wanted to attend this to begin with, it paid off to put some fun before the errand that day. As with other car shows, there
were a few I hadn’t seen before. That’s what I love about these events – those unique vehicles, as well as my favorite muscle cars and hot rods.

Here are a few top picks this time around, starting with the first one that caught my attention – a 500hp 1969 Camaro.

I haven’t seen many classic Camaro paint jobs in this color.

This Viper was one of those unique examples of vehicles on display.

While I was standing near the Viper, a roaring engine sounded and I turned to see what I wish I caught on video. A guy in a blue Camaro came down a side road doing a burnout, tires smoking big-time!

Start your engines!

I just happened to spot this Mustang, looking like a tough green monster about to be unleashed!

What an awesome rugged Jeep! I’d make this or something like it my winter ride and keep my Camaro in a sort of hibernation until we’re
clear of snow forecasts.

I still have to backtrack and post some favorites about the most recent car show at Delaware Park Casino. There’s always so many to decide on for my posts after attending and now that it’s been a while, photos are buried in my phone scroll. The next one they’ll be having
is this coming Saturday, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it there due to earlier and possibly overlapping plans. Those include something new to me, so I might skip the upcoming car show. A more local one is taking place early in November and it always has a great display; so that’s another cool car event option to check out.

Posted in Car Shows, Cars, Chevy Camaro, Classic Cars, Ford Mustang | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment