Tuesday, January 29, 2008

California Dreamin'

It dawned on me this morning that the reason I must be in love with travel is because of my Missouri roots. You have to "show me" everything. How am I know if these wonderful places around the world exist if I don't see them for myself?!

I returned from the ITMI Symposium in San Diego, and it was a lot of fun. We had workshops, touring time and lots of networking opportunities. The first full day I spent with Hope, Diane and Rob. We traveled around the city on the Old Town Trolley and here we're at the Hotel Del Coronado. You can tell that we're ending the day well with coffee in hand.

We also toured the USS Midway, a retired aircraft carrier that sits in the harbor.

Throughout the week we had events - great food, too: oysters, shrimp cocktail, divine desserts, etc. - but the main reason I was there was to interview. I did eleven interviews in one morning. The process was much like speed dating - not that I've ever done it. We would have six minutes with the employer, then a bell would ring for a two-minute warning. The entire eight minutes went much faster than I expected.

However, I did get a call back from one of the tour operators wanting me to attend a five-day "interview tour." I know the dates, but the details are sketchy. I was told the locale information is "forthcoming."

I also got speak with a wonderful gal who works with GrandLuxe Rail Journeys. After speaking with her, it solidified my desire to work with them this summer. It sounds like a lot of fun, and of course, I get to see a lot of the United States. I should know more by the end of the week.

The day after our final party, which was dinner and dancing (yes, I danced .... Stop laughing!), we had the option to go to Ensenada, Mexico. I had never been to Mexico, and I have to say it was a nice experience. The area was nice and it is a cruise ship port.

On the way back from Ensenada, we stopped at the Rosarita Beach Hotel where they provided quite a spread of enchiladas, guacamole and such. The food was amazing. The real treat was the tour of the hotel. The resort was built in the 1940s and has that old resort feel. I felt like I stepped into a 1950s movie. They have done a lot of renovations to the hotel, and the prices are reasonable. I would highly suggest staying there.

The entryway to the Rosarita Beach Hotel Spa.
A view from one of the rooms at the hotel. The other side of the hotel faces the beach.

Then we headed home and stopped in Tijuana for 10 minutes. I didn't even bother to get out of the bus. We then sat at the border for 30 to 40 minutes waiting, although it was quite entertaining. I kept watching this Mexican woman being escorted back across the border. She wasn't resistant, but very calm. In the picture below you can see the sign for the border and the orange cone with the chain was the actual "line" that people were not to cross.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Semi-Sunny San Diego

I have a few minutes on a friend's computer so I thought I would touch base. Sunday some friends and I traveled around San Diego on the Old Trolley Tour. I'll be posting pictures soon, or at least when I return home.

The natives are saying this is the coldest its been in SD in a long time and the coldest it will get. It's in the 50s and 60s. I talked with friends back in KC and its freezing rain there ... I'll survive here with the lows in the 40s. I'm soaking it in!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On the Road Again

I just love Willie Nelson, don't you? Even if you don't, it's time for me to get back in the travel groove. Saturday I'm leaving for sunny San Diego. There I'm attending the ITMI Symposium and plan to interview and network with tour operators.

To top it off, I get to catch up with many of my tour director friends. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone from my graduating class and those from my Alaska tour. Oh, and San Diego will be a nice change from the 20 degree weather that feels like 5 degrees. I'm ready for the warmth.

As for an update on the job hunt, I had an interview with GrandLuxe Rail Journeys. This is an amazing luxury rail company that I hope to work for this summer as a tour leader. I should know more about the opportunity later this month, the first of February.

In addition, I have my Smithsonian tour ride along scheduled for the first part of Feb. I'll be in New York City ... it's not San Diego in the winter time, but it's just as exciting.

Bon Voyage!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year!

My year finished off with a bang. We celebrated Wyatt's 4th birthday and he received another toy gun and plenty of fishing supplies. He's definitely his father's son! During his party I got completely addicted to Guitar Hero 3. LOVE IT!

New Year's Eve was celebrated with friends in Kearney. We had a great time playing new games, or new games to me. Did anyone happen to catch Dick Clark on TV? It was so sad. He looks great for a stroke victim, but it was hard to watch.

BIG NEWS: I was just offered my first tour with Smithsonian Student Travel. This is an eight-day tour in March with NYC and D.C. as the main attractions. I'll have a "ride-along" in February so I can get a feel for how the tours work with SST. I'm so excited!!

Here's wishing you a bright and blessed 2008!