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53

Transformative Travel: 11 Helpful Tips for Travelers

Alexandra Williams, MA

How far from home do you have to travel to be changed or transformed to a somewhat (or possibly completely) different person? And can travel really change how you think, observe and respond to the world? I say it can and does.

Kymberly in blue skirt; Alexandra in stripes - Rockin' the Roman Colosseum

Kymberly in blue skirt; Alexandra in stripes
Rockin’ the Roman Colosseum

In 1973, my mom took 4 of her 5 kids (all teens) backpacking through Europe. Before we left California, she explained that we were ambassadors from our culture/ country and that all many people might ever know of California was what they learned from us and television shows. I still remember her rules:

* No badmouthing the U.S., as it was many people’s dream to come here, and it would be disrespectful to their dream
* No gum chewing
* No cursing
* Learn a few words in the language of each country we visited, including “please” and “thank you”
* Smile and be polite
* Try new foods, especially if the chef brings something to you
* No using the words “weird,” “ugly,” or “icky.” Instead say that something is “interesting” or “unique.”
* No littering
* Observe how the locals do things and take our cues from them (i.e., using utensils for pizza)
* Ask questions. People love to share their stories
* Remember that we are guests in someone else’s “house”

Four teens and a mountain goat in the Austrian Alps

Four teens and a mountain goat in the Austrian Alps

This advice came in handy when a chef took a shine to our mom and brought us a full plate of cheeses to try for dessert. Mostly we smiled, then dashed to the bathroom to spit it out, as we were not fans of strong French cheese.

It also was helpful preparation for the many questions we got from Europeans about life in southern California. Because of the influence of U.S. television shows such as Green Acres, Happy Days, and the Mary Tyler Moore Show, lots of people thought we all ate steak for breakfast. They also assumed we were all related to movie stars, or at least had access, especially when they discovered we hailed from a beach town in L.A. County.

Instead of coming across as self-indulgent So. Cal. teens (we weren’t), we were commended on our travel manners and treated especially well, even in Paris, which wasn’t a particularly friendly city back in the 70s! I won’t mention the escapade where my brother somehow turned off the lights in St. Peter’s. Nor will I bring up the rum birthday cake that we were forced to endure in Rome on our 15th birthday, after thinking we had asked for chocolate. We ditched it on the train.

Not only was my mom right, her advice has stuck with me as relevant to many situations. In my profession as a writer, public speaker, and counselor, I’ve been aware of the impact and importance of words since that time. I’ve also travelled to quite a few countries, and learned a few languages besides my own. Then there was that undergrad degree I got in British Medieval Studies. I believe these choices were based mainly on my experiences during that trip.

Travel Wisdom from Mark Twain

Travel Wisdom from Mark Twain

Whenever I feel like I have less than I need, I just remind myself that I’m better off than most people in the world. Travelling is a great way to get “outside myself” and appreciate even more how lucky I am to have been born and raised in the U.S.

Hmmm, maybe I won’t mention the Dutch campground we stayed at that was mostly young people having hallucinogenic drug experiences. Remember, this was the early 70s. We were transfixed by the Woodstock feel to the place, but I imagine our mom couldn’t wait to move on to the next city!

30 cities in 30 days. Camping our way through Europe in 1973

30 cities in 30 days. Camping our way through Europe in 1973

 

 

And a special shout-out to our mom – she just took Kymberly and me on a 3 week trip to Thailand!

Tourists in Thailand

Tourists in Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your travels, whether abroad or to a dissimilar county?

 

This post is just one of many Boomer-oriented posts on the topic “Transformative Travel” over at Generation Fabulous. We invite you to visit the other posts in the series.

Photo credit: Fodor’s Pinterest board

Need professional, motivating speakers? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Travel on over to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness with maximal impact yet minimal joint issues! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. 

 

20

FitBloggin: Boomer Health Through Social Media

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

For a hint of the fun flavor, we present this flash mob video of “Fame.” Alexandra is easy to spot.

Are you on a weight loss journey? Are you interested in using social media to help you meet your fitness and health goals? Do you like to travel? Do you like to win prizes and receive gifts from quality brands? Would you like to improve your writing, video, marketing, business and photography skills? Best of all, do you enjoy meeting people who are happy to meet you right back? All of these things occurred at the Fitbloggin’ convention last week.

Alexandra & Kymberly speaking at Fitbloggin'

Alexandra & Kymberly speaking at Fitbloggin’

Last week we headed up to Portland, Oregon to speak at the annual Fitbloggin’ convention, which in their words is “for bloggers interested in fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle. Two days of education, networking, friendship and fun.” But you don’t have to be a blogger; you can be a future blogger too.

Mornings were dedicated to small group discussions that ranged from the challenges and emotions during and after significant weight loss, to goal-setting (for diet and activity), to injuries. Afternoons were for the business side of things, with speakers talking about writing, working with brands, making money from your social media accounts, improving video & photo skills, technical blog skills, and nutrition. A lot was packed into the two-day schedule, that’s for sure! If you go to the Fitbloggin’ Facebook page, you can access the notes to many of the sessions.

In between, there was the Expo hall, where sponsoring brand representatives showcased their latest products and services. When we say “showcase,” we mean “they were very generous with their time and products.” For example, Reebok gave everyone a fitness top and workout shoes.

Purple Power courtesy of Reebok

Purple Power courtesy of Reebok

Alexandra wore the top in the JumpSport trampoline class and her boobsicles stayed in place. Ergo (yes, a place to stick that fancy-shmancy word). we signed up to be affiliates with Reebok via Share-A-Sale because we think you will like their workout apparel. Maybe we should get an ad tagline: Better Boobsicles for Boomers! hahahaha. And someone (not Kymberly, sadly) won a complete kitchen from Amana. Alexandra won a personal trampoline, so look for some upcoming videos that show knee- and pee-friendly moves!!! If you don’t know what that means, just move along. Nothing to see here.

Rocking the Reebok top, 90s paisley shorts and Zensah socks in the trampoline class

Rocking the Reebok top, 90s paisley shorts and Zensah socks in the trampoline class

We have attended and spoken at many, many (repeat that word several times) conventions, and found this one to have the most “hugs,” by which we mean friendliness and genuine caring between the bloggers, Fitbloggin’ staff, sponsors and even the hotel staff (it was held at The Nines in Portland).

An enthusiastic thank you goes out to NOWFoods, the company that helped pay for our travel to Oregon. They offer products that range from aromatherapy to supplements to snacks and teas. And they happen to be giving away free samples of their Slender Sticks on their Facebook page. Just click on the square marked Sample. One lucky attendee at our “Craft the Perfect Pitch” workshop won a backpack full of their products. It was probably worth more than what she paid for the convention!

Dang, gurrrrl, you won that fab-o prize from NOWFoods

Dang, gurrrrl, you won that fab-o prize from NOWFoods

Next year it will be in either Austin or Nashville. We’re voting for Austin!

Need professional, edu-taining, motivating speakers or writers ? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

While bouncing around, subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness and health. Have you subscribed yet to our blog?  Please also follow us on Google+: Alexandra and Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

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