Main St. USA: Cooperstown






Lake Front Hotel
View from our room
King Fisher Tower on Lake Ostego
Indian hunter statue





There's no crying in baseball!


Welcome to the epitome of true Americana.  Apple pie, stars & stripes and most important of all...baseball. I come from a baseball family.  My father brainwashed me at a very young age to love baseball, to be specific, the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Seriously, at about age five I could tell you all of the starting players, the positions they played, and their jersey numbers. Or so I have been told. I turned my husband into a baseball fan and now it's truly a part of life.  A game is on the TV every night, for most months of the year.  

So, when Dad's 60th birthday came around it was time to celebrate big.  We decided to head to upstate New York to the iconic town of Cooperstown; home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Cooperstown is situated about equal distance from Albany and Syracuse in the beautiful green landscape that was the backdrop to the novel Last of the Mohicans written by James Fenimore Cooper.  

We flew into Syracuse Airport and drove about 90 minutes in the pouring rain to Cooperstown.  By the time we pulled into town, it was reduced to a light drizzle and gave us the opportunity to check in to the appropriately named Lake Front Motel.  Our rooms faced the gorgeous Lake Otsego and was the perfect accommodation for a stay in which we would be spending very little time in the room.  It happened to be Memorial Day weekend and the rooms were filled with boaters prepping for an annual canoe race.  For a more luxurious stay, it would be safe to book the Otesaga Resort Hotel.  But beware.  Rumor is, it's haunted.  
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Opportunity

Tahiti

It's a fact. Conferences are generally held in great destination cities.  The organizers know that you will travel farther and spend that hard-earned money on steep registration fees if you can get more out of the trek.

See the sights with your loved one. Party with new friends. Bring the fam to amusement park heaven.

Conferences also give you the opportunity to travel to places you might not have put at the top of your list.  I can think of lots of other places I would have put in front of the cities I have been to based on conference location.  I find that when I travel internationally for business, it presents the opportunity to make side trips or extended trips to multiple locations.  Vienna turned into Prague, Porto turned into Ibiza, and Adelaide turned into Sydney. You get the picture. Don't waste the opportunity to take a few extra days to travel somewhere reasonably accessible from your main destination.  Heck, if the conference location isn't that great, make that city the "side trip" and spend most of your time where you want to make the real memories!

You want to choose wisely on which meetings to attend.  Organizations and associations generally have annual regional or national conferences and international gatherings are usually spaced out to every other year or so. Depending on your profession or speciality, there will likely be several to choose from.  I suggest getting on the mailing list, which is usually a given if you are a member, or scour the association websites for upcoming conference info. Destination cities are generally announced a year in advance so it's easy to start picking out your top choices.  Register early to save money and pay attention to "call for abstract" deadlines if you wish to present.  Presenters often get registration discounts.    

I've also taken opportunities to travel when it didn't directly have to do with my work.  Once you build a network of friends and/ or family with travel opportunities, you will have plenty of excuses to make a trip to visit.  In a future post on England, I will highlight my sister-in-law's semester teaching at Oxford University and the wonderful family trip that was an obvious opportunity.

Lots of people save money or find excuses to buy things.  I seek reasons to travel and bring home experiences.
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How Not to do Japan





Just because you go to a cool, faraway destination it doesn't mean that the experience is going to be amazing. I promise to always be real about those trips that failed to impress me. However on this occasion, it was definitely my fault that it turned out to be a dud.

Japan is one of those places that I had fantasized about often. I love everything in Japanese pop culture and feel a healthy connection with most variations of eastern spirituality, not to mention that I'm pretty sure I was a Harajuku girl in a past life. Upon returning from Australia, the husband and I had the choice of a short layover in either Hong Kong or Tokyo and it wasn't even a second thought to pick Tokyo.

We were going to have 20 hours to spend there in between flights. The plan was to get to our hotel, shower and then take the train into Tokyo-proper to spend one wild and crazy night doing everything that we could. Before we left for the trip I had even arranged for a tattoo appointment early that next morning before our flight back home. It felt daunting since we've never been to an Asian country before, but we really felt the need to make the most of it!


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The Daintree Rainforest


Inside our bungalow



Great Barrier Reef
Cape Tribulation
Daintree River cruise


Two bucket list items were easily accomplished here. Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef and stay in a rainforest. I was quite surprised to learn that Australia had a rainforest, needless to say, the oldest rainforest in the world. 

We got off the plane from Sydney to Cairns and it felt like we had just landed in Hawaii. Tropical, humid air and unpredictable skies. We rented a car and headed up the Gold Coast. Stopping at our first opportunity to see a beach, we wandered onto an empty vast strip of sand where it seem like we were the last people on earth. Every once in a while we could see a Qantas airliner dip out of the clouds. We jumped back into the car and stopped at a little hamburger stand and chowed down on burgers topped with beets- that's a thing in Australia!

We soon came upon our destination; an eco-lodge and spa just off the road, deep in the Daintree rainforest. The lodge has several raised bungalows embedded right in the thick of the forest. We were greeted with a gift of a necklace made from a decorated pod from one of the local trees and then showed how to get to our sanctuary in the trees. 
Our bungalow was natively and luxuriously decorated, but the real treat was a hot tub on the screen-enclosed balcony. We spent each night soaking and listening to the sounds of the rain forest. The eco-lodge has a great room where meals are served and lectures on aboriginal culture are given, as well as serving as a general recreational center.  The spa on site at the eco-lodge was top notch and the hydro treatment that I had on our last day was one of the best spa treatments I've ever experienced. 


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Quick Post: A Danish Whirl

Exciting news, friends!  I was just notified that my most recent presentation has been accepted to a conference in Copenhagen!  I am so excited of the possibility for returning to another Scandinavian destination this Fall.   

Now it's time to plan. You can read about my strategies for planning a big trip here.   I was so taken with the beautiful scenery in The Danish Girl and I've been watching the Netflix series Dicte, which takes place in Aarhus, outside of Copenhagen.   Aarhus looks like it just might be the perfect side trip...

I welcome your suggestions with open arms.  The more info, the better!  
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