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…

IMG_2150

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.

IMG_2152

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…

IMG_2153

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.

funny-pictures-cat-gives-hug

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

funny-pleased-to-meet-you-panda-pics

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

really-enjoyed-awkwardly-waving-courtesy-hello-ecard-someecards

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!

Hello!

This is a special welcome to everyone being referred over from Domestic Imperfection and everyone that I just met at the World Travel Market, here in London (Still can’t believe I’m here!). Actually, HELLO if you’re coming to this site by any other means too. I love visitors! For all the Newbies, here is a quick rundown on Two Thumbs…

Have you ever heard someone who just had something exciting happen, like winning concert tickets, say, “Who has two thumbs and just won tickets to the concert this Saturday?” Then they probably point at themselves and say “this girl!” or “I did!” Well that’s what I was thinking when I was starting this blog. “Hey, I’m a blogger now.” That’s it. There wasn’t a ton of thought that went into the name, but now I think it’s perfect. This site is a little bit of everything: photography, travel, DIY projects… So to me, It’s about the things you can accomplish when you get up off the couch, away from the TV and make experiences happen. Ten months ago, I was saying, “Who has two thumbs and just started a blog?” and in less than a year it turned into, “Who has Two Thumbs and is in London with a press pass to the World Travel Market and also had two projects featured (my telephone table and panel wall) on one of her favorite DIY websites?” This girl!

Anyway, first official day of WTM tomorrow and many other exciting things in the works, so you’ll be hearing from me again soon. For live updates, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @CorneliaJoy. In the mean time, take a look around and let me know what you think!

Travel Throwback Thursday: Hoover Dam

November 2013, I went to Las Vegas with a friend for her 25th birthday. We rented a car for one of the days that we were there and drove out to the Hoover Dam. It was definitely worth the trip! The desert was beautiful and the weather was perfect. If you’ve got some extra time, you should make the drive!

6X0A1757

6X0A1763

6X0A1826

You should also (carefully) try this…

6X0A1809

It feels like you’re riding with the top down and going 70 MPH..

6X0A1815

Anyway, hope everyone is having a good week!

Non-Beach, Beach Sunsets

While I love watching the sunset ( or sunrise ) on the regular beach like every other person…

IMG_4935

…there are some great places around the Bradenton/Anna Maria area that have some pretty spectacular alternatives, and they’re pet friendly too! Skip the crowds and watch the clouds change colors with views that stretch all the way from Anna Maria to St. Pete and the Skyway Bridge.

First there is De Soto National Memorial Park. I go here all the time with Keen…

6X0A0619

There are often other dogs running around, so he gets a little social time (Not that he really cares for it. He’s kind of a snob.) It’s much safer than the causeway, because you are nowhere near any roads, just the bay! Plus there’s a lovely boardwalk…

IMG_7472

And plenty of places to catch a beautiful sunset..

6X0A1533

Best sunset watching spot in De Soto goes to the built up embankment near the visitors center. There are several benches so you can comfortably watch the show….

IMG_7488

The major perk that this park has over the others: History. There are several monuments, a visitors center and events/reenactments, from various time periods, held here all year.

Next up is Robinson Preserve. Robinson is surprisingly large. You wouldn’t think there was enough space in Northwest Bradenton for a park this big, but apparently there is since it totals 637 acres. You can rent kayaks or a canoe and there are extensive running and biking trails…

IMG_7897

Boardwalks…

IMG_7898

… and some of the best birdwatching in Bradenton. I’ve seen everything from Spoonbills to Bald Eagles…

6X0A0276

Best spot to watch the sunset in Robinson goes to the watch tower…

IMG_7923

Robinsons best perk is it’s size. You can spend hours walking and not cover the same trail twice.

Lastly, is a tiny park on Anna Maria called “Leffis Key.” I’ve lived in this area my entire life, but I didn’t know this place existed until I signed up for a beach cleaning group. This park is definitely the smallest of the three, but still has a boardwalk…

6X0A5353

and great bird watching…

6X0A5325

(I know it’s just a pigeon, but I still love that picture)

What really makes this place special is the hill in the center of the park. By Florida standards it could almost be a mountain..

6X0A5345

From this spot, and a second peak on the same hill, you can get a 360 degree panoramic view of the best sunsets and sunrises that Florida has to offer. Definitely the best spot in the park.

6X0A5331This park is easy to miss, so what little Leffis Key holds over the others, is privacy. You will almost always be the only one taking advantage of the views that the hill baby Florida mountain provides.

I couldn’t pick a favorite, because they all have their perks, so you should really just check them all out. Let me know what you think!

2013 International Coastal Cleanup Day (sort of)

Apparently, September 21th was 2013’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. I missed that memo, so I say International Coastal Cleanup Day is whatever day you want it to be. Be a rebel, do what you want.

IMG_1785

There are several benefits to volunteering, like awesome free t-shirts or catching a glorious sunrise.

IMG_1781

Apart from the gorgeous scenery, I got exercise that didn’t make me feel like I was exercising. Isn’t that the best kind?

I also recommend keeping a list of what you find. We kept a sheet that totaled all of our haul and seeing everything we picked up was really satisfying.

IMG_1782

If you don’t have an official sheet, just make your own! Instagram, Facebook or Tweet a picture of it and maybe it’ll give others the motivation to get out and do some cleanup too. Anyone done any volunteering lately? I’d love to hear about it!

More Quote-zies

It’s been a hectic few weeks. This month I’ve had my birthday, almost finished 2 more classes (Only 2 more to go!), gained 180 new followers (a new record!) and tried do as much prep as possible for my trip next month. There are a lot of exciting things in the works for the next few months, some I’ve already mentioned and some are secret! Oh, the suspense!! For now though, I leave you with some more quotes. Stay tuned! 🙂

209

Switzerland 2007

RM37

Anna Maria Island 2011

Jump

Palma Sola Park 2011

DavidOpa Muesli

Switzerland 1987

As always, I’d love to read some of your favorite quotes in the comments below!

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…

6X0A5258

6X0A5259

*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.

6X0A5260

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!

Throwback Thursday Travel Edition: Climbing the Männlichen

I love looking through old pictures, and my last trip to Switzerland will always be one of my favorites. We were staying in a small town called Wengen, “perfect” or “picturesque” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I know climbing the Männlichen doesn’t exactly make me a mountaineer, but we did it… and it was beautiful…

DSC00992

DSC00994

DSC01006

So many cows… and I had to visit with all of them…

DSC01030

DSC01011

The Eiger North Face… Aka what the North face traveling gear is named after…

DSC01049

DSC01108

Sigh… Is it time to go back yet?

Dome Top Trunk part 2

Collage

It’s finished!! I already did the first post on the exterior, and now the interior is done. I’m so happy with it! This is how the inside started…

6X0A0226

It was covered with several layers of awful greenish grey paper. Surprisingly, all it took to scrape that off was wetting it with a sponge and scraping. Lots of scraping..

IMG_1049

I didn’t really have a plan for the interior. Well, actually I had several plans, but I wanted to wait and see what exactly I had to work with when I was done with the scraping. I toyed with the idea of modpodging an old map on the underside of the top, or using some of these sheets from Home Depot..

IMG_1080

But the wood was looking pretty decent on it’s own..

IMG_1076

Not too shabby! I thought I’d try a little stain and see how it turned out…

IMG_1304

I always think that natural wood is prettier than any painting or paper. Also, the curvature of the inside of the top would make covering it with any paper or vinyl tiles very tricky (ain’t nobody got time for that). Natural wood it is! Lastly, I added the side bars back on, where they were previously, and made a box for the interior.

IMG_1327

(I’ll do a separate tutorial on making the box, don’t want to cram too much in one post.)

…and the finished product…

6X0A5216

A few side notes….

The wood in the top of the trunk was definitely different from what was used to make the rest of it. Before I stained the interior all the wood looked the same, but after the stain, the top turned a yellowish brown while the rest was reddish. So, if you look at the tray insert in comparison to the top, it won’t quite match, while it does still match the rest of the trunk.

It took three coats of two different stains to get the new wood on the tray and sidebars to match the trunk. There could have been a stain that matched it identically, but who wants to buy more cans of stain when I already have so many sitting in the garage? One coat of Sedona Red and too coats of English Chestnut, both by Minwax, and it matched almost perfectly. Close enough for me!

It looks fantastic in the office where it’s sitting. Once that room is complete, I’ll post pictures of it in all of it’s pirate-y glory.