Hi everyone! A bit of a short post today: I’ve been out of town and then a little under the weather, plus there’s been a lot of exciting stuff going on (and behind the scenes work) with the launch of our new series of Travel Career Snapshots! If you haven’t checked out my interview with tour director Emily Kinder yet, hurry over! I’ll wait 🙂
Back? Excellent! Now, without further adieu, some things I’ve been loving lately!
Myanmar may not have the immediate touristic name recognition of Paris or Machu Picchu, but it has slowly and steadily been growing as a major travel to-do in Southeast Asia. Perhaps the most popular destination is the region of Bagan, which was actually mentioned as one of the top twenty-three ancient cities to visit in the article I featured last week.
Dotted with thousands of stunning, ancient Buddhist temples, Bagan is a wonder and one of the top places on the list for my yet-to-be-scheduled return to Southeast Asia. This post from Twisted Sifter (a great follow for your RSS feed) is the next best thing while I wait: ten aerial shots of these magnificent structures popping out of the jungle and their surrounding communities. It’s a fairly quick scroll, but worth it for the lovely photography and the sheer artistry of the temples. You can also check out photographer Dimitar Karanikolov’s social media accounts (linked from the article) for more.
If you make it to Bagan, you simply MUST go on a hot air balloon ride. It’s apparently one of the best ways to see the temples, as well as being one of the most amazing balloon adventures you can undertake. Personally, I am pretty terrified by the thought of floating a couple of thousand feet above the ground in a basket, but I plan to make an exception in two locations: Bagan and Cappadocia, Turkey. After looking through Karanikolov’s photos, I’m sure you’ll understand why.
2.) The Unsung Heroes of Travel
As I mentioned, last weekend I flew to Fort Worth for a weekend contract gig. We landed into a rainstorm, and since I was seated in
steerage seat 32F I had lots of time to look out the window while waiting for the front 95% of the plane to disembark.
Within a few minutes of our arrival, a man in black shorts and a fluorescent yellow rain jacket pulled up on a little vehicle, and soon enough the ramp was in place and suitcases began rolling through the raindrops to the waiting carts. A couple other men joined the first, and together they unloaded the hundreds of suitcases from our flight and sent them off to their next destinations.
As I watched the men work, I was struck by how unseen and unappreciated their efforts are, including by me. This small DFW luggage crew were the immediately visible example, but every day across the globe thousands of men and women endure the elements so that airport patrons can take flight. These are the people who inspect aircraft, load and unload luggage, deliver food service items, remove waste, direct arriving and departing planes, and perform other essential jobs that we couldn’t fly without. I’m sure I don’t even know the half of everything they do and the cold, heat, wet, wind, and discomfort that they brave while doing it. Flights still land in the chill of an Alaskan winter, or the heat and humidity of a Caribbean July, and yet unfailingly there are people there to receive them and send the next round of travelers on their way again.
I’ll admit that while chowing down on my latest package of American Airlines Biscoff cookies, I don’t typically give much thought to how those delicious treats came to be on my flight. I usually don’t consider the logistics behind transferring my luggage until it fails to arrive on the carousel at my destination. There’s a lot I don’t know about what exactly is going on in the world outside my tiny airplane window, but in that moment on Friday morning I made a point to send a silent “thank you!” to the sodden men and all those like them who play a part in helping us get from here to there.
3.) The varied successes of some of my fabulous cousins! (And M, too.)
It’s been a great week for my extended family, as some of my many cousins have done some pretty awesome things that deserve celebrating:
My cousin Kelly is now a DOCTOR of veterinary medicine after graduating from vet school in Colorado. Ever since she was a little kid, she has always had an incredible love for animals, and this weekend her two-plus decades of devotion and hard work have paid off! I can’t wait to see where life takes her next!
Another cousin, JD, is a stellar baseball player and, as a freshman, recently helped lift his college team to a regional championship. It was a great comeback story, as the team fought back after losing their opening game to win five straight and snatch the title! Best of luck to JD and his team as they had to New York for the next round of playoffs!
Then, yesterday, I got to meet my cousin Nickie’s new baby, Charlotte Quinn. (Isn’t that name just lovely?) While Charlotte technically arrived a little over three weeks ago, this was my first time meeting her and seeing mama after their whirlwind delivery, and I loved being able to snuggle this new little life. What a joy! Congratulations to Nickie and her hubby, Tom, on this first new addition to their family!
Oh, and PS: M did great in the Broad Street Run! He and his training buddy beat their target time and did really well for their age group. I was super proud, even if I did have a bit of a #wifefail and missed the race. In my defense, I had just worked 30+ hours in the two days prior and my flight schedule back to Philadelphia put me in bed after 2:30 AM the morning of the race, so that 6:00 AM alarm found me rolling over in bed with a muttered apology and “good luck!”
I’m one proud lady!
I guess you can say it’s been an exciting week in the Gwen and M home! Here’s hoping for many more successes for all of us to celebrate in the coming months!
What have you been loving lately?
Have you ever taken a hot air ballon ride?
What are you celebrating today?