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?

World Travel Market Preparations: Business Cards

Only a little over a month remains until the London 2013 World Travel Market. I have my press pass, the hostel is booked, plane tickets are purchased and now I have my business cards! I used moo.com, and it was really such a great experience. I used the “Great Escapes” Template. I loved the color scheme and layout on the front, and on the back, you can choose 5 of your own photos that will alternate on the cards…

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*There isn’t actually a blank space under “Two Thumbs Travels”, I just figured the internet isn’t the best place to display my personal cell phone.

You can use the photos on the back as a mini photography portoflio, like I did with the New York and Key West Photos, or have photos of yourself to make them remember you, like the skydiving and paddle-boarding shots…. or you can have a picture of your cat, just because you can…

Anyway, the cards are made really well. They’re not flimsy and cheap feeling, like cards I had previously purchased from a large office supply retail chain. I also love the matte finish and rounded corners, but there are many other options also. Plus, they come in a really cute little black box so you can carry them around and not get them damaged or lost.

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The shipping was incredibly fast too. I ordered them on September 15th and the confirmation said they would arrive by September 25th. This is why I was fairly surprised when they came in the mail only 5 days after I placed the order and 5 days before they were due to arrive.

I wanted the cards to look professional, but stand out with a little humor (Cat Lady) and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I highly recommend moo.com for not only business cards, but all kinds of promotional materials. Go check out their website!

For live updates on all upcoming events (World Travel Market, Doctor Who 50th Celebration, Cats), don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Vine and Instagram @CorneliaJoy.

Side notes: I would like to point out that I know the scratches on my desk are terrible and I will be refurbishing and posting about it as soon as time allows. Also, I will only have 8 weeks of class left for my B.A.S. after the WTM, but it would be a huge waste of money hassle to make these and then have to order new ones 8 weeks later, so I decided to include it on there already. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone!

The Best Food is Whole Foods

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See what they did there?…  Anyway… I was just at the Whole Foods Market for dinner, it’s absolutely my favorite place, and I discovered that not only do they have delicious foods, but they also have great local events like cooking classes and cheese clubs.

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Whole Foods is a large food chain that adds the local touch. They sell plenty of local produce and their dining areas often feature art from local artists.

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And then there’s this…

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Vegan Meatballs! They actually taste like meatballs too. Do you know how long it has been since this vegetarian has had anything like that? Needless to say, I was very excited. I am still all in support of local business, but with Whole Foods you get some of both! If you’re blessed enough to have one in your area, go check it out. Take a cooking class. Become a cheese monger!

Kitten Crazy Level: Plastic Wrap

I’ve been a little silent recently because I’ve had a monumental amount of school work. Recently though, I was able to make a trip to Ikea (love that place!) to buy some mattresses. Their mattresses come in impossibly tight rolls covered in plastic. I ended up with four pieces of plastic and a large blue tarp, from the box spring, all in one big pile. For most people, that’s just a big pile of garbage. For Kitten, that is heaven. Crazy, Cross-eyed Heaven. So to apologize for my absence, I give you a few pictures of my immensely adorable Kitten…

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Just. Tired.

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Forget “Happy as a pig in mud.” Now it’s “Happy as a Kitten with plastic.”

Ready for a ride in the C-A-R

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Having a dog around is a lot like being around a little kid, you end up doing a lot of spelling. C-a-r.  B-o-n-e.  C-a-t.  W-a-l-k.  B-a-t-h.  Those are words that can only be said, instead of spelled, if you are trying to elicit some response from the dog. Almost all of those words are met with jubilant responses, apart from b-a-t-h and c-a-t. “Bath” makes him run to the farthest corner of our backyard and bark awkwardly. He never barks so it sounds very silly and unnatural.

Rides in the c-a-r are normally his favorite thing, so if you are wondering why he is making such a ridiculous face… There is a perfectly good explanation..

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If he only knew getting in the c-a-r is the last thing the c-a-t wants to do…

My Favorite Father’s Day Quotes

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Father’s Day is coming up, so I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite Father’s Day quotes…

“Thank you for being interested. Doesn’t sound much but it meant just about everything.”
– Pam Brown

“I just owe almost everything to my father [and] it’s passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in a very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the election.”
– Margaret Thatcher

“A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he’s in there, as if he needed company. The only way for this father to be certain of bathroom privacy is to shave at the gas station.”
– Bill Cosby

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
– Clarence Budington-Kelland

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”

Charles (Chuck) Swindoll

“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian… and most of all, his family ought to know.”
DL Moody

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
George H. W. Bush

“Fathers play a unique and important role in the lives of their children. As mentor, protector, and provider, a father fundamentally influences the shape and direction of his child’s character by giving love, care, discipline, and guidance. As we observe Father’s Day, our nation honors fatherhood and urges fathers to commit themselves selflessly to the success and well-being of their children. And we reaffirm the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. Raising a child requires significant time, effort, and sacrifice; and it is one of the most hopeful and fulfilling experiences a man can ever know. A father can derive great joy from seeing his child grow from infancy to adulthood. As a child matures into independence and self reliance, the value of a parent’s hard work, love, and commitment comes to fruition.

Responsible fatherhood is important to a healthy and civil society. Numerous studies confirm that children whose fathers are present and involved in their lives are more likely to develop into prosperous and healthy adults. Children learn by example; and they need their father’s presence as examples of virtue in their daily lives. A child’s sense of security can be greatly enhanced by seeing his parents in a loving and faithful marriage.”
George W. Bush

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Take a Cat Video They Said…

After watching WAY TOO MANY cat videos online yesterday, I decided I would try to film one myself. I didn’t really have a plan, I was just going to film and see what came out of it. As you can see from the above video, he was less than cooperative. Every time I would start to film, he would move to the most inconvenient spot…

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Ordinarily he is the least cuddly cat you can possibly imagine. Try to take his picture though, and he becomes ridiculously clingy. I did get a few decent shots in, before giving up..

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I’m very sad that this last one was blurry, but I still love it.

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Have a good Caturday, everyone…

Makes Me Want To Take A Backroad

Hellooo writer’s block. I have to take my GRE this morning so of course my brain thought it would be an excellent idea to wake up at 5AM for absolutely no reason. Fantastic! There isn’t really a method to the madness of writing these posts. I just scroll through my pictures and the first thing that catches my eye gets a post. This morning, at 5AM, it was the things we saw on the back-roads of Tennessee.

We took the back-roads often, but we mostly only drove on the first and last days. The rest of the time, we were in Nashville. We arrived there and found it impossible to leave, so we did a lot less driving than we had originally planned.

Our first stop, once we were outside of Knoxville, was Oral’s Elegant Junk…

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Who wouldn’t stop there?? Unfortunately, it was closed. That may or may not have kept us from being chopped into tiny pieces and thrown into a river. I guess we’ll never know. Then we stopped at a few smaller antique/thrift shops which were not what I would call exciting.. but then… we saw this beautifully promising sign..

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Bargains AND MORE? What could you possibly want beyond bargains? We had to investigate. Upon driving up the long twisty driveway, this is what we found…

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Why yes, that’s a 6′ by 10′ shed… I’m not sure how much “bargains and more” could fit in this place, but there was no turning back now…

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Apparently, she’s a couponer and she sells her extras, using a deceptively large sign to lure people in. I only say deceptive because her sign was probably bigger than the whole shed. At least she “excepts” major credit cards

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The people were really very sweet, and I was able to buy some paper towels which definitely came in handy so I can’t really complain. It’s always an adventure.

Our best stop was probably on our way back home. We had just been to a park for some relaxation and river frolicking and we’d worked up a pretty good appetite. That’s when we saw this place…

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The food is very southern, which means a lot of fried food and a lot of meat. For us vegetarians, there is a grilled cheese option that they make with Texas toast. Add some tomatoes and it’s perfection! The owners were there and so friendly! They gave us a lot of recommendations on things to do in the area like white water rafting, kayaking, parks etc. Too bad it was our last day!

The decor is very hunter chic..

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One deer even gave the place two thumbs up…

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Terrible joke. I apologize..

Here’s the address, 3292 STATE HWY 158 SOUTH, GEORGETOWN, TN 37336. If you’re driving from Chattanooga to Knoxville, I definitely recommend stopping for some lunch.

Kitten Crazy Level: Finals Week

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I am in the middle of studying for my Spanish final and Kitten jumps on my desk, lies down and proceeds to use my hand as a pillow. How am I supposed to move my hand and keep working when he is this cute? Apparently, it was all an act of love and sympathy, because when I did move my hand and attempt to adjust the keyboard, I was met with some resistance…

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Was he saying, “No. Go take a nap!” ? I think so. Sweet, thoughtful Cat.