Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birthday Travel

My Costa Rica birthday cake!
Today is my birthday!

This year, I'm a little bummed because it's not in the cards for me to travel on my birthday. Usually, when I'm blowing out the candles on my cake, I'm doing it in a new travel destination. Next year, hopefully the stars will align for me to be traveling again on my big day, but for now, I'll be happy remembering some of my great birthday travels.

My first birthday trip was with my BFF, and not only was it my first birthday trip, it was my first trip to Vegas! (One of my mostest favoritist cities in the US.) It was supposed to be a trip with about 5 feisty women painting the town red, but all but one canceled. That's okay, it showed me who my true friends were, and the BFF and I had a complete blast! We played the slots. We ate the food. We lounged in the spa. We rode up the "inclinator" at the Luxor while tipsy (not recommended) and just generally had a blast. Thank you, BFF, for that awesome birthday!

I also remember spending a birthday atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Okay, it wasn't my actual birthday, it was a week prior. However, our guide as we climbed the bridge asked if anyone had a birthday soon. I was the only one who raised my hand, and all 20 people on our excursion sang to me atop the bridge, with the most beautiful backdrop below. It might not have been the actual birthday, but it was amazing none-the-less.

Another birthday I remember fondly was with my now-husband. We thought it would be nice to spend my birthday in Costa Rica - and it was REALLY nice. On my actual birthday, we were in Arenal, and woke up with a beautiful view of the volcano. We were surrounded by tropical paridise, and staying in something of a tropical log cabin. I woke up, he kissed my forehead and wished me a happy birthday before I even realized where I was. He gave me a birthday card that he'd brought with him from the States, and then we enjoyed a relaxing breakfast. At dinner that evening, he arranged for the staff to bring me a cake with "happy birthday" written on it. He got even more points because he didn't speak Spanish, and the staff didn't speak much English. Do you see why he's my NOW-husband?

I sure am blessed to have had some great travel birthdays!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Travel withdrawal

Is there such a thing as travel withdrawal? I think I've got all the symptoms. Longing for an exotic destination. Complaining about the cold, wintry weather and longing for a warm locale. Looking up airfare costs while ignoring the "no income" reality of unemployment. Yep, I've got travel withdrawal.

I'm not sure why I've got withdrawal. I mean, it's only been two and a half months since our last trip to Las Vegas. Many people only go on one trip per year, we went on three last year alone (one was our honeymoon!)

The fact is that I generally don't come home from one trip before planning another. And I really enjoy the research and planning that goes into a trip. As Steinbeck said "we don't take a trip, a trip takes us." And right now, there's no trip planned. There's no way to really plan a trip either, until some of these interviews start paying off.

I think I've decided to plan a few trips - and just not take them right now. I'll plan a trip for every season - Galapagos in the winter, Prague in the spring, Croatia in the summer, and maybe Russia in the fall.

Where do you think I should "plan" my fake trip? I'm hoping that's the cure for what ails me. :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The #traveltuesday #Twitter #Travel phenomenon

Are you on Twitter? If not, maybe you should consider tackling the stream of consciousness, if only for a meme called #TravelTuesday.

Okay, first, what's a meme? It's kind of a little game. It's a way of spreading cultural information using the Internet - you share something about you, I share something about me, and we find common ground!

Second, why do I keep using the number sign (#) as I type this? Well, on Twitter, that number sign is called a hashtag - consider it something of a search term. It's a convenient way to follow what is being said about a certain conversation. For example, if you do a search on Twitter for "#TravelTuesday" (minus the quotation marks) you'll be able to see what everyone in the world on Twitter is posting about that subject.

Since I love to travel, and I love to learn from other travelers, I find #TravelTuesday on Twitter to be loads of fun. People post photos, tips, places for me to explore.

It's brought to us by a site called Where I've Been, and you can see the full description of how #TravelTuesday works at http://traveltuesday.org/.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from . . .

It's Christmas Eve Eve, and all through the house, we're wishing we were spending Christmas in some exciting destination. Alas, we're spending it at home, more than likely not, snowed in.

I've been seeing articles all day about Christmas in Rome, Christmas in Paris, Christmas in Prague. Okay, that's it. Next year, the families are just going to have to suck it up, because we're going on a Christmas trip to somewhere!

I think, perhaps, next year we will Christmas in Tahiti. Yes, that's it. I think a very warm Christmas would be a nice change of pace.

Where would you like to travel for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back to basics

So I find myself with a blog that hasn't been updated in almost a year. Sigh.

Working full-time in social media means when I sign off from the day job, I don't have a lot of energy to handle my personal social media endeavors. This has to change, one, because I enjoy writing about travel and I miss my blogging relationships and two, because I got laid off and now have time to do it. :)

Regardless, even when I land my next absolutely super job (I just applied for a social media job at American Airlines - would that rock out or what?) I've come to realize that in this dog-eat-dog world, the person you should be the most concerned about is yourself. Jobs come and go (and go, and go, thanks to the brilliant economic minds running this country) but you always have to take care of yourself.

So now I'm back (from outer space) and ready to blog to my little heart's content. Hopefully, I'll get some readers back and make new friends.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A year?! It's been a year?

Wow, it's been a year since my last post on this blog. I guess now I've got to work at getting all my readers back - is anyone still there?

The blog has also been broken for a while. Thanks to Heather, of Goofy Girl fame, I think she fixed me up so that the background image shows again. Yay!

So . . .

What's new in the world of travel and Carmen? Well, I recently booked my 8th trip to VEGAS! We will be rockin' it out at the Bellagio this time, since we like the central Strip location. We'll be revisiting some favorites - the Paris breakfast buffet, Freemont Street, etc. We're also looking forward to seeing the brand-spankin' new City Center, getting some shopping done (window shopping only) and seeing why it is that nobody seems to like staying at the Aria. Everywhere we looked, it got bad reviews. What's up with that?

We will be taking a side trip to Zion National Park as well. We'll rent a car and make a day of it. The Internets tells us that it'll be a 2.5 hour drive - we'll see. But, it's supposed to be beautiful, and I can mark Utah off of my states-visited list.

Sorry for the long time between posts. I got busy with the book and all of my other endeavors, and just got lazy with this blog. I'll try to write more.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Now Freestyle Certified

Wow, 2 posts: 1 week. I'm on a roll!

I'm just excited, because we just earned Freestlye Certified status from Norwegian Cruise Lines. Here's the press release:

Norwegian Cruise Line is proud to announce that Carmen Shirkey is among the first to graduate from its new online travel agent university, NCL University. This progressive, state-of-the art online school is geared to deliver an enhanced level of knowledge and insight into Freestyle Cruising - NCL's popular style of cruising, as well as NCL destinations, NCL ship programs and operations, and many other behind-the-scenes elements not available anywhere else. Each graduate is required, within one year, to earn a minimum number of credits through a choice of accredited courses and electives. The rigorous curriculum includes testing at every level in order to move forward.

Norwegian Cruise Line's online university opened its virtual doors in 2008 and is one of the most innovative and successful programs available to travel agents today. With thousands of registered students and growing, NCL U plans to expand its training from the interactive experience of its online program to a continuing educational experience that includes a Ph.D. @ Sea program aboard its ships.

At NCL, we highly recommend the use of a travel professional when booking an NCL cruise, says Andy Stuart, Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Passenger Services. "With NCL U, we are investing in our travel partners' product knowledge, marketing and sales skills so our guests will know they are relying on an expert who knows our product inside and out."

By earning NCL U's Freestyle Certification, Carmen is considered among the most qualified and expert representatives for NCL's cruise product. Contact Carmen at carmenandjim@cruiseshipcenters.com.

That's in ADDITION to our Princess Commodore status, earned late last year, and our completion of Carnival University. We've got a lot of cruise info in our heads!