Next Stop…Sacramento

Leavin on a Jet Plane…to Sacramento today!  This will be my third trip to California this year.  I’ll be interviewing with about 20 tour companies for a position as a Tour Director, along with hundreds of others.  We’ll also get to go on a couple of fun day trips.  Tomorrow is a City tour of Sacramento…followed by a wine tasting in wine country.  On Thursday, I’ll be headed to Yosemite for the day.  I went hiking in Yosemite back in 2006.  I was there by myself touring around California via Amtrak trains and buses.  On the bus ride from Napa to Yosemite, I met a girl from England and she and I hiked together the following day for nine hours…about 14 miles…with lots of elevation changes.  It was harder than hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up…which I did by myself back in 2007.  Here are a couple of photos from that trip:

This career change is exciting but also makes me feel a bit apprehensive/nervous.  Public speaking was never my thing, but I joined Toastmasters back in November and have given two 5 minute speeches already.  I think it takes courage to make big changes once you’re older and I’m proud of myself.  I’m trying to get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

To change the subject…an update on the care packages for the homeless that I made and distributed.  I gave a pack to about 6 of my co-workers and about 10 other family/friends.  So far, I’ve heard that two of them have been distributed to people at street corners.  I’ve given out two of them.  I was stopped at a light and there was a guy holding a sign that said, “Veteran…Need help.”  He saw me rolling my window down and starting walking over with a smile on his face.  When I said I had a care package for him, I could tell it wasn’t what he was expecting, but he thanked me.  A guy came into the office (which is an old home in a semi-residential area) and was looking for donations for the shelter that he stays at…for people with drug/alcohol problems.  He had a printed up card with the name, address and mission of the facility that he handed to me.  I had donated $20 to a guy from the same place, a couple of years ago, who stopped me in a grocery parking lot.  Anyway, I told him about my care package and he accepted it with a “thank you”.  It’s fun to hear about how the others are distributing theirs and I can tell it makes them feel good doing so!

Other than that, I’ve been making lots more recipes from Pinterest and am taking my new work-out clothes (from Christmas) to Sacramento to jog/exercise in while I’m there to keep my body and attitude in good shape!  I’m excited about reading a new book I downloaded to my I-Pad to read on the planes, etc….”The Help”.  I haven’t seen the movie yet and like everyone else, usually enjoy the book better than the movie.

I’ll have lots of photos to post when I return and stories!  Hope everyone has a peaceful, fun and inspired week!

~Sherry~

Sausalito and Sonoma

During our two-week training class to become a Tour Director, the 27 of us traveled by motor coach to Sausalito for lunch and onto Sonoma.  Sausalito is known for their houseboat homes.

These are some photos I took…

I love outdoor art sculptures…they’re readily available for everyone to enjoy!

Initially, I thought this bird was part of this sculpture until he moved…

This is Richard in Sonoma where a group of us went in for a quick wine tasting.

Of the wines I sampled, I was impressed with the White Zinfandel…I like dry wines and thought it would be on the sweet side, but it was excellent!  I just don’t remember the name of it.

I’m heading off to Lexington today for the weekend, so I’ll report back next week!

Hope your day is filled with wonder and beauty!!

Kings Canyon National Park, California

During my overnight Tour Director class field trip to Sequoia Nat’l Park, we also stopped at Kings Canyon Nat’l Park, which is geographically right next to Sequoia.  These are some photos from the Park…

This is Frank giving information about the General Grant tree.  The night before at the Montecito Lodge, where we stayed, he played the role of John Muir and was so talented!

This shrub/tree is called the Manzanita and it’s branches are so smooth to touch!  I used my flash and was able to get more contrast.

Hope you enjoyed your tour and if you have any questions, let me know!

Sequoia National Park, California

My ITMI Tour Director class stopped at Sequoia National Park and we walked around for about an hour.  One of our classmates gave his five-minute presentation there (instead of on the motor coach) because his topic was the difference between giant Sequoia trees and Redwood trees.  Loving photography as I do, when we arrived, I’m rushing here and there taking photos of these amazing Sequoia trees.

When it was time for his presentation, he got choked up trying to impart his emotions concerning the magnificence and wonder of these living things.  He made me stop and really think about how blessed we were to be standing there amongst the largest and oldest living things on the planet.  To think that some are approaching 3,000 to 4,000 years of age is simply amazing!

The giant sequoia is the largest tree in the world in volume and has an immense trunk with very slight taper; the redwood is the world’s tallest tree and has a slender trunk.  Sequoias reach around 300 ft. and redwoods up to 364 ft.

The General Sherman tree is the largest living thing on the planet!

It’s fun to learn something new!

Montecito Sequoia Lodge…Sequoia Nat’l Park

My Tour Director class stayed at the Montecito Sequoia Lodge for one night in October.  It’s located in the Sequoia National Park, California.  That evening we had a bonfire and it was magical!  First, one of our classmates’ topics was Sasquatch aka Big Foot, so having her present at night by the campfire was a perfect setting.  She did a great job and then another classmate who is also a singer, sang O Danny Boy.  She’s Irish and has a lovely voice!  I cried (trying not to let others see me)!  To top off the evening, a man named Frank gave a talk about John Muir, playing the character of John Muir.  He spoke for at least 30 minutes and I was amazed at how he could recite and remember so much!

The next morning, I woke as usual before dawn and watched the sun rise.  It was gorgeous!

The lake on the property was perfect for taking reflection shots of the trees and as the sun came out, I was able to capture some breathtaking colors…

We had a hearty breakfast before embarking on our tour of Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nat’l Parks!

Tour Director School in San Francisco

Today is my first day back in Cincinnati from the two-week ITMI class I took in San Francisco, to become a Tour Director.  I go into more detail about what a Tour Director does in my other post entitled “What Makes Me Come Alive“.  I met a lot of very nice and very interesting people.  There were 27 of us taking the course ranging in age from 23 to 60 something.  We had class every day (no time off) and had quite a bit of homework.

For me the hardest part was the public speaking.  You’ve probably heard that there are more people afraid of public speaking than of dying.  We spoke a total of about 5-6 times ranging from a couple of minutes to 5-6 minutes each time.  We weren’t allowed to use notes, so it was difficult.  One of my topics was Black Americans in California.  We were on a motor coach (not a bus) a couple of times and in the classroom the remainder.

The last time I spoke in front of more than 5-10 people was in college in my 20’s and I remember being so nervous and shaken, that I’ve avoided it since.  I’m proud of myself for jumping so far out of my comfort zone!

I learned that it’s O.K. to not be perfect and to try to be myself!  My next step is to join Toastmasters and become really comfortable and well-spoken!  Anyway, here are some of the new friends and people I met…

We went on an overnight trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nat’l Parks and here is a photo of the class, along with the instructors!  I’ll have a separate post about these beautiful Parks.

 

This was in Sonoma…that’s Thyra (pronounced TEAR-RA) and me.  She’s from LA and a very cool and very smart person!!

 

This is Elise on the left and Daywee on the right.  I didn’t get to know Elise as well, but I really respect Daywee.  She’s got her stuff together and has a very bright future!  She’s from Indonesia and took some of us to an Indonesian Restaurant while we were in San Francisco and it was the best meal of my trip.

 

This is Lena…she was my roommate.  We were on opposite schedules…I would wake up between 4:30 and 6:00am and would turn just the bathroom light on to get ready in the morning.  Then go down to the lobby to do homework, or jog first.  We were able to make it work and she’s a sweetie and one of the smartest people I’ve met!!

 

This was taken at Fisherman’s Wharf.  From left to right…Thyra, Claxton (from Texas, former schoolteacher with a dry humor and good guy), Mary (she and I got to know each other on the overnight field trip because we were roommates)…really sweet and smart lady, and Bernard (French…that says it all…very charming and sweet)!!

 

This was one of the first photos I took…I love it…it’s Elliott (he’s loads of fun) and Sue (who I didn’t get to know as well as some others…but like everyone…very nice and friendly)!!

 

Here is the “cute couple”…Alyssa and Colton…they are both very smart and warm-hearted!  They’ll both be very successful in life!!

 

This photo turned out kind of weird, but this is JJ.  A few of us went out for sushi and it was his first time trying this cuisine.  He’s a cutie from Louisiana!

 

I’ve mentioned everyone that’s in this photo, but Ken (the big dude in the middle).  One of his topics was Sequoia trees and he touched my heart (just like many of the people did on the trip) when he gave his talk!  I’d like to mention everyone, but I only have so much time and space.

I’m looking forward to staying in touch with my classmates!!

10 Reasons to Travel Solo

 

Solo Trip to California

Many people don’t feel comfortable traveling solo.   Usually the fears of being lonely, unsafe, and vulnerable are factors.   Some of the reasons to embark upon a solo trip are:

  1. You can go where you want.  Sometimes it’s difficult to agree upon a destination.  If your companion prefers all-inclusive beach resorts, and you yearn for an exotic spot in India, someone will be disappointed.
  2. You can do what you want.   Whether you’re traveling with an elderly parent, a child or a couch potato, when traveling with others, activity preferences are frequently dissimilar.
  3. You can eat where you want.  Some palettes tend to be very liberal and experimental and others lean towards meat and potatoes.
  4. You don’t have to listen to others complain.  If your traveling companion wants his eggs cooked to perfection and detests long lines at attractions, you’re bound to hear complaints.
  5. It’s easier to meet people.  If you tend to speak to strangers and enjoy meeting locals, then solo travel is magic.
  6. There’s no one snoring in your ear or making a mess in the bathroom.  We all have quirks and/or traits that others find irritating, but when on your own, you avoid these irritations.
  7. You can travel and walk at your speed.  Constantly adjusting your pace to match someone else’s is no fun.
  8. You can sleep late or get up early.  An early bird and a night owl traveling together don’t mix.
  9. You can travel last minute.  Some of the best deals can be found when your plans are flexible.
  10. The feeling of accomplishment you gain during and after a solo trip is very rewarding.

Start out small by going out to eat by yourself, followed by a weekend trip to build up your confidence!