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!!!

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?