Starting 2014 Off With A Win!

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Somehow, I placed 1st for my category in a race I did over the weekend. I don’t know how it happened, I’m just excited that I got a medal.

The Dolphin Dash is a cute little race out on Anna Maria Island, with the proceeds going to the local elementary school. Around the halfway point, I ended up running next to a little girl who was by herself and seemed on the verge of giving up. She slowed down to a walk so I said, “Come on. You’re over halfway through. You can’t stop now!” And just like that, I had a new best friend. The second half of the race was spent talking about movies and music, instead of thinking about running and how much distance was left. It was a nice change. As hard as it is to talk while you’re running, it actually makes the time go by pretty quickly.

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I learned two things from this race:

1) If you need a confidence boost, sign up for a small race. Even if your time isn’t any faster than normal, you might place, which is always fun.

2) If you’re considering saying something encouraging to someone, you should just go ahead and say it. You don’t know how much the person needs it, you might make a new best friend and, lastly, you might get an awesome finish line photo out of it. 🙂

So did anyone make any New Years resolutions? The Dolphin Dash was the start of mine. I’m hoping to run one 5k per month with the two friends who ran this race with me. They also placed! Great start for a resolution!

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In other news:

23 Days to Austin

69 Days until Nashville

72 Days until the Music City Marathon

Happy New Year!!!

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, yesterday! Mine was filled with Christmas music…

“Christmas Shoes” gets me every time!

And animals at Sun City Stables

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Teach me how to ostrich… #dance #farmlife

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Good times. @lindaellen27

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Baby goat abuse…

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Can’t believe Christmas is over already, but only 364 days until Christmas 2014! Too soon to start a countdown? nah… So who’s having a bonfire for New Years? And where’s my invite?

 

Bucket List Item #218: Bible Edition

Not that I’m saying some verses are better than others, but here are a few of my favorites..

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And last, but definitely not least, the one that everyone who has ever gone to church camp probably had to memorize. It pretty much sums up the salvation message. We’re all sinners. Jesus paid for our sins. If we accept that free gift, we have salvation. So simple!

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I have plenty of other favorites, so I’m sure this will be a two-parter. I hope you’ll share your favorites with me too!

Video: London 2013

Here’s a short video I made of my trip to London in November. It’s gives a small glimpse into the Christmas market, decorations, shopping, memorials and other miscellaneous sights from that beautiful city.

Doctor Who 50th Celebration in Photos

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Happy 50th Birthday, Doctor Who! I attended the Anniversary Celebration in London yesterday and it was so much fun! I’ve got a lot of videos to put together, including the panel chat with Matt Smith! I’ll be posting those as soon as I get home, right now I only have terrible hotel WiFi. So for now, here are a few of my favorite pictures from that day.

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Front row seats for the panels!

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So what were your thoughts on the special?

#TBT: Hunebedden Edition

Here’s a throwback all the way from 1991. If you haven’t seen the article of hilariously recreated childhood photos, check it out here! I decided to do my own version while I was in the Netherlands…

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And in 2013…

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Now, about the Hunebedden. Well everyone knows that England has Stonehenge, but did you know that there is a whole cluster of ruins that is even older, in the north of the Netherlands? There are approximately 54 sets, with 52 of them just in the province of Drenthe. They are over 5000 years old and, just like Stonehenge, no one knows exactly how or why they were built. The plaque near this particular site says that Napolean rode his horse across the top of these ruins in order to demonstrate his superior horsemanship.

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I wouldn’t advise trying that yourself….

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This great website has a lot more Hunebedden information, for those that are interested.

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Just one of the many reasons why everyone should see more of the Netherlands than just Amsterdam!

Sri Lanka, Anyone?

How I ended up in a meeting about Sri Lanka’s wildlife and the all of the things I learned…

If you want to read the story about how I accidentally ended up in this meeting, continue reading here. If you’re just interested in Sri Lankas wildlife and don’t care to have a laugh at my expense, skip this section and start at “Part 2”..

Part 1

OK, for those of you who want to read my story. Let me tell you a little about WTM London. First of all, it’s MASSIVE. Two huge halls filled with industry leaders, marketing professionals and executives from around the world, mostly wearing suits. Then there’s me, travel blogger from Florida. Big pond, little baby fish.

WTM, for the first time, can be completely overwhelming. There are so many booths to see, people to meet and conferences to attend. My first day strategy was to attend some of the conferences, and just get generally familiar with the place. Then I’d have the remaining two days for meetings. Easy, right? Well things don’t always go as planned.

My first conference of the day was over, so I was taking some time to stretch my legs and have a look around. I was walking past the Sri Lanka booth, which was always brimming with excitement, dancing and music…

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and I saw someone I remembered meeting in the press room that morning. He had told me earlier about an exciting event at this booth today. SriLankan Airlines was highlighting their work with Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the main guest was an author who recently wrote a book on wildlife in Sri Lanka.. I thought, “Perfect! I’ll go to that next.”

I go up to the gentleman that I had met that morning and ask about the conference. He goes upstairs to check on something, and I’m thinking, “Great, it’s so full he’s making sure there’s still room. I can just slip in the back. Easy.” I was so wrong. He comes back and ushers me upstairs into this room with 3 other people. THREE! Everyone there was either associated with the Airline or the book. In total, it ended up being a marketing person and the chairman (the chairman!) of the airline, two people associated with the book and the author…

The room felt like it was 100 degrees, and it seemed like I couldn’t think of a single articulate thing to say. Everyone was perfectly nice, though, and I’m really glad I went. I learned quite a bit by sitting back while they exchanged dialogue about the future of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and I now have a strong desire to visit. Something a friend of mine said afterwards was, “you may be a little fish in a big pond, but at least you’re in the pond.” Wise words, I think. At least they made me feel better.

Anyway, moving onto Sri Lanka…

Part 2…

Just like that, I’ve added Sri Lanka to my list of “must-see places.” The author was Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne.

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He wrote this book about the diversity of Sri Lankan wildlife. Most people know about Sri Lanka’s elephants and some might also know about their leopards, but did you also know that it is also a fantastic whale and marine life observation destination? Nearly 25 cetacean (whales, dolphins, porpoises etc.) can be found off the Sri Lankan shores. There aren’t many countries that could offer to take you on an elephant safari in the morning and whale watching tour in the evening.

SriLanka Airlines has launched project BLUEprint in conjunction with Whale and Dolphin Conservation, to ensure this newly budding tourism industry develops in a way that is both good for the local economy and the wildlife. They’ll be selling these plush toys on their flights to raise money for the cause…

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Each box has the name and markings of a blue whale that has been known to frequent the area. This post isn’t sponsored by SriLankan Airlines in any way, I just think it’s great when businesses get involved in their local communities.

So, who’s coming with me to Sri Lanka?

International Goodbyes

Saying “goodbye” can be awkward, because it’s hard to choose what the appropriate form of farewell is. In the US, you have three different options and that’s already too many.

Type 1 – If it’s family or good friends, you probably hug.

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Type 2 – If it’s a more professional relationship or someone you just met, you might shake hands.

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Type 3 – If it’s somewhere in between those, you might bring out the awkward wave (my personal favorite).

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Travelers tend to meet a lot of people. They could be your roommates, people you met out in the common area of a hostel or at some social event. You could have been with them as little as one breakfast sitting, or maybe they’ve been your “explore the city buddy” for the past few days. You’ve exchanged emails or are now Facebook BFFs and are about to head your separate ways. As I said previously, I already have three possible goodbye options, but I’m really in trouble when traveling internationally. For instance, Dutch people kiss three times alternating cheeks. Hispanic people often do the same, but only twice. It has also become trendy, in some places, to say hello and goodbye with one cheek kiss. Other cultures value their personal space and don’t want touching to be involved at all.

I have an outstanding ability to be clumsy and awkward whenever possible, so that’s just too easy of a set up for something embarrassing to happen. When someone steps towards you to say bye, are they coming in for a hug or a predetermined set of cheek kisses? How many cheek kisses? On what side do you start the cheek kissing process? You know the awkward dance people do when they’re passing in a hallway and they keep trying to let the other one pass? Then it turns into some sort of really klutzy waltz. Now imagine that in even closer range, but with only your faces as you try to kiss the other persons cheek. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

Can someone with more authority than I possess please come up with some sort of internationally accepted, general goodbye?? I suppose it couldn’t hurt to just ask, “How do they typically say goodbye where you’re from?” but that’s just too sensible.

Am I the only one who’s felt this way before?? Tell me your stories!