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Happy Holidays from everyone at TWDHF!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here! Check out the new Budget Travel Blog entry about cheap holiday travel and saving money on your trips with Twitter!

And don’t forget to get into the holiday season this year by donating to some amazing causes. Spend a little time giving or working with some of these groups:

Ronald McDonald House
St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Goodwill
Feeding America
Operation Homefront
Make-a-Wish Foundation
Easter Seals
The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind
Homeless Shelters/Soup Kitchens

You can also look up great things to do all year round at DoSomething.org

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Hey everyone, it's Chavez!

Hey everyone! My name is Chavez, and I am Beatrice’s new partner from Guide Dog Foundation. Unfortunately Obama had to retire for medical reasons, but I was introduced to Beatrice about 2 months ago to take his place.

It was such a change for her coming from a mature partner like Obama to a young guy of 18 months like me. But don’t worry; I’ve got just as much moxie as Obama, if not more! I know that Bea and I will grow together very well.

Obama left me some notes letting me know that he periodically submits articles about canines and other animals for Bea’s Blog. I look forward in submitting articles that hopefully you will find interesting.

My first big adventure with Beatrice will be our trip on the Costa Atlantica ship December 12, 2009. We will be showing people with working dogs that they can enjoy themselves on vacation if they bring their four legged partner with them!

Beatrice and I would enjoy meeting you on the cruise, so find us on the Atlantica this December. But until then, check out my new page “Chavez’s Friends” and send your photos with you and your favorite pet. We’ve got some stocking stuffers here for friends who send in their favorite photos!

So for now, have a terrific travel experience!

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Courtesy of Patrick_Ng via Flickr

Courtesy of Patrick_Ng via Flickr

With the economy the way it is, the state of the world in disarray, and schedules getting busier and busier, sometimes we just need that extra push to live our lives to the fullest. I was on Twitter the other day and started thinking about the things that people take for granted. The stories that we miss because we’re too caught up with the daily grind. I have always been of the belief that you can find adventure in anything if you look for it. So I did some digging and I found a really great list of 101 Things to do Before You Die. The list is Australian, so it might need some help translating over, but reading it over I couldn’t stop laughing.

What if we all made a conscious effort to do something that we hadn’t done before? What if we made ourselves a “Bucket List” so to speak early on in life and worked hard to get through it? We could amass adventures that would rival the epic stories of the great adventure writers.

So everyone, make a list of your own, tell me which ones you like on here, or give me just a few things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. To get you in the mood for adventure, I found the 50 most inspirational travel quotes from a Twitter friend @travel_forum. Check them out

  1. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
  2. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
  3. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
  5. “All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell
  6. “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac
  7. “He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
  8. “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes
  9. “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck
  10. “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
  11. “Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty-his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley
  12. “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson
  13. “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  14. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
  15. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
  16. “A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi
  17. “When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence
  18. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
  19. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
  20. “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
  21. “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
  22. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
  23. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux
  24. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
  25. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  26. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost
  27. “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
  28. “There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.” – Charles Dudley Warner
  29. “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
  30. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener
  31. “The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot
  32. “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
  33. “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain
  34. “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy
  35. “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
  36. “Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  37. “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou
  38. “Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.” – Elizabeth Drew
  39. “Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe”……Anatole France
  40. “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca
  41. “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon
  42. “I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith
  43. “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley
  44. “Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – Freya Stark
  45. “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling
  46. “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux
  47. “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton
  48. “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman
  49. “A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni
  50. “Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

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I was at a business luncheon last week and I overheard a conversation about some individuals’ co-workers. The individuals were going on and on about a few people in their office that had habits that just drove them nuts. I thought about it and it seems that despite job shortages and hours cut, there are still issues that really tick people off in their offices. To be honest, I work in a small office and we try very hard to respect each others’ property and feelings. Naturally, I’ve worked in larger offices, but for almost a decade I’ve had a small business of my own and haven’t had the problems that other people do at work.

Of course, I went straight to Google to see what some of the most common complaints about co-workers were. I found some really common ones and some that you might not expect. And I have to ask, are you guilty of any of these?

Taking someone else’s food from the office refrigerator makes your co-workers really mad. In fact, an informal online survey on TheLadders.com found that 97.8% of respondents on its site rated fridge raiders as the absolute worst breakers of office etiquette. Syd, my girl with the big kitchen, had an experience like this at her workplace. The notorious “Lunch Thief” had everyone livid, and hungry. The thievery stopped when someone was let go, we’re all guessing that he’s stealing lunches at another marketing firm now. Taking co-worker’s food riles people in their workplace — almost as much as dealing with the forgotten, reeking food left to spoil. It was reported that people have been known to take up a collection to pay someone to clean out a foul fridge. That’s how bad it can become.

Co-workers with bad personal hygiene were mentioned almost as often on the online list of shame. More than 95% of the survey respondents were bothered most by unkempt, and presumably smelly, co-workers. That could mean too much perfume as well as too little deodorant on the offensive list.

It was reported that a co-worker was driven crazy by a colleague’s incessant foot-tapping throughout the day. Another co-worker was driven to distraction by people who let their cell phone ring tones play in the office.

We all have them, the Annoying Co-Workers...

We all have them, the Annoying Co-Workers...

My own hall of shame is full of people who put on their head phones, lean back in the chairs and broadcast their conversations loudly throughout the room. It just absolutely, drives me crazy. I will get Obama and just walk away until the person finishes his/her conversation.

Drinking on the job is another co-worker problem I stumbled upon. I really had to think on this one. I guess there must be lots of different workplaces out there, given that 85.7% of the survey respondents chose that to mention. Where I work, bringing alcohol on site is grounds for dismissal, so we don’t get much opportunity to study drunk co-workers (at least at work!). Kind of a scary thought to realize the dangers and damages possible when workers drink on the job. I’d call that a safety issue more than an etiquette concern.

Wastefulness with paper was also a grievance people had in the workplace. At least we’re developing a green conscience because 82% mentioned it on the online survey. It’s food for recycling thought…and an indicator that the paperless society still is a ways off.

Some other pet peeves that emerged in the survey included cooking smelly food in the office microwave (Smelly might be in the nose of the sniffer; is popcorn smelly?) and messing with a Blackberry, etc., during a meeting (How about any cell phone texting?). Here’s a big complaint in our office: Co-workers who drain the coffee pot and fail to start another.

What’s on your list of offensive co-worker behavior? Please let me know. I am really curious to know.

Wishing all of us a positive co-worker experience!

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Try putting together a generic "Packing List" for all of your trips.

Try putting together a generic "Packing List" for all of your trips.

My faithful companion and I have been doing quite a bit of traveling lately. In doing so, I am determined not to let it become a problem in deciding the best things that I need to take with me on a trip. What are the must and the wants? I have been asking fellow travelers and other individuals in the blind disabled community what are their thoughts pertaining to helpful travel needs. There has been some interesting articles pertaining to this also.

Here are some of my suggestions:

For Disabled Travelers
–If you are a white cane traveler bringing an extra cane, in case your cane breaks
–A hand held talking scanner or portable reader; this as you know can be very helpful in reading menus, labels etc
–A talking GPS (global positioning system)
–Brailed labeled and or talking color identifier for clothes
–Digital recorder for taking notes

Clothing
You have to be really smart when you pack your clothes. Try picking out clothes that all fit a general color scheme. This way, you can match more than one item together and you can have a more diverse range of outfits. Additionally, pick clothes that can serve double duty. Meaning, look at items that you can dress up with the right jewelry or dress down; for example: swim trunks can also serve as men’s shorts.

Toiletry Kit
In a waterproof bag, make sure you check, bring travel sized [small] sizes of the essentials. If you’re going on a longer trip, still only buy small sizes of everything. You can always stock up once you get to your destination.

Wrinkle-Release Spray
Spray your clothes and let them hang the night before you need them for best results, and be sure to check the care instructions on your garments before use. These sprays work best for casual clothes–if you have a big meeting or need a crisp suit, you’ll still need to get out the steamer!

Back-Up Travel Documents
If you make copies of your important travel documents once, passport, green card, etc.) you can store a set permanently in a pocket of your carry-on. Having copies available will save you a world of pain if you lose your identification, particularly when overseas.

Customer Service Numbers
Keep a set of customer service and emergency contact numbers in your wallet (print them on a business card for easiest storage) in case you find yourself with a dead battery and a delayed or canceled flight

Back Up Charger
Sometimes, one charger just won’t cut it. If having power for your gadgets and necessities is essential, carry both a plug-in charger and one that operates solely on batteries.Suitcases

I hope that these suggestions will assist you with your business as well as leisure travels. Wishing you a stream line and efficient travel experience!!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
– Jack Kerouac

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Be sure to check out the new blog posts on our other blog: Budget Travel: When You Want To, But Don’t Always Have the Cash To by Chicago freelance writer Meg Hoppe.

Hoppe talks about some great ways to get all of your summer fun in without compromise and without paying  a huge price. She also gives us some great advice when buying a home one the foreclosure market. Something to definitely read up on.

Follow her on Twitter @CallMeHoppe of us @TWDHF

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Credit: The Bonnie Blues

Credit: The Bonnie Blues

I really wanted to share this article with you earlier, but I honestly forgot where I had filed it! I have to wonder, is forgetfulness an age thing? Are young people really as forgetful as they seem to be? I really don’t remember if I was forgetful as they are!

I really found this article quite interesting. I am sure many of us are doing some of these suggested approaches to a healthier memory. I feel that we just have to remember to double it and be consistent.

I shamelessly lifted the following five memory loss tips that will also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease from Dr. Ben Kim’s excellent newsletter, which you can sign up for at www.drbenkim.com.

According to neuroscientists at a recent Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Dublin, the five best steps you can take to prevent memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are:

  1. Ensure regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy sources include:
    1. Walnuts
    2. Purslane
    3. Freshly ground flax seeds
    4. Wild salmon
    5. Sardines
    6. Cod liver oil (Carlson)
  2. Stay physically fit
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Enjoy a rich and varied social life that involves activities that mentally stimulate you
  5. Think young

Now, those are five tips anyone can put into action! So incorporate them into your life starting today.

Wishing for you to remember to have a fantastic travel experience down memory lane!

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”
-Robert Fulghum

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