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Wandrian Adventures in Austin, TX!

May 20, 2011

We are excited to be working with a few passions of our BDM to create new (and unique!) trips including, barefoot running, Web and Travel app development, and that pesky Nicaraguan learn-to-surf trip we’ve been working on for way too long. These passions are a perfect match to her new home, and Wandrian’s latest location, Austin, TX! She will be officially moved and settled in late June but is taking some time to enjoy the adventure of the United States on the road. Not all unique and life-investment travel has to be outside the United States, in fact, some of our greatest adventures can happen while camping in West Virginia. It’s this idea that drives our latest trip development. You don’t have to leave the U.S. to have the Wandrian experience. (Stay tuned!)

Hopefully our BDM will have time to write a blog post about camping and the road trip. She’s likely to come up with her best ideas sitting on the lake shore underneath a tree. (Congratulations on the move!)

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4 tips to Maximize Vacation Happiness

May 17, 2011

The very act of taking a vacation has been linked to an increased level of (self-reported) happiness. The New York Times posted an article on the increased level of happiness in the weeks leading up to the planned trip. This happiness comes in the form of excitement and anticipation.The more excited you are about a trip, the longer your happiness boost will be pre-trip.

1. Plan a trip you are absolutely thrilled with.

Most interestingly in this study, happiness on the trip itself was variable and depended on the conditions of the trip itself. A difficult travel partner, missed connections and other stress caused the trip to realize only small happiness increases.

2. Vacation with like minded travel partners and have your trip planned in advance.

In general, the happiness level returned to baseline upon the traveler’s return, except when the traveler did not return to a pile of work and reported having a very relaxing vacation.

3. Give yourself a few days to relax once you get back home and slowly re-introduce work.

Vacations and travel have been shown to provide a higher happiness dividend per dollar than possessions or other status symbols. Experiences provide more and have a greater impact on the individual than a new car or other material objects.

4. Budget vacations as mandatory. Travel is an investment into your life.

Wandrian Adventures: Interview

May 11, 2011

The stunning temples of Cambodia

Most of our blog posts to date have been looking outward, toward customers, destinations, or what it’s like to travel with Wandrian Adventures. This afternoon we have the pleasure of looking at what it’s like to work for Wandrian Adventures, with BDA Tracy E. Bartley, or, as she is more often referred to, Employee #1.

Tracy, why “employee #1”?

John, Wandrian’s founder, refers to his employees in the order they were hired. I was the first, but I also get a kick out of how it makes me sound like the best!

How long have you been with Wandrian Adventures?

Not that long actually, I’m just finishing up my first year.

What do you typically do in a day?

The only consistent parts of my day are in social media and e-mail, the rest varies from rock-climbing with an event sponsor, redesigning the ‘face’ of the webpage, to meeting with web development groups to potentially offer a super-niche trip… I’m very excited about the possibilities of the latter, but I can’t say more on the subject quite yet.

Peaceful in Yellowstone

Where did you last travel?

I spend three months in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

What is the worst experience you’ve had while working with Wandrian?

Good question. I’d say all in all it’s been amazing, but I do have a particular dislike for the New York Times Travel Show. I’ve been two years in a row and I have hated it both rounds. Many of my favorite travel experiences occurred in countries (or even entire regions of the world) that are not represented. The overwhelming majority of trip offerings are for cruise ships, Florida, or others that give you a “vacation” experience without actually connecting with the incredible diversity of the culture and people of the destination. I love Wandrian because it offers directly experiential trips that are  life-changing and life-enriching. It’s what travel SHOULD be.

Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo

It seems you are working for the right company.

Yes, I think so too.

Any suggestions for fellow travel lovers looking to become similarly employed in the industry?

Get involved in every project, event and group involving travel you can find. The more connections you already have (or better yet, have created), the more useful a potential travel employer is going to find you. Besides, being involved in the travel community is always a good time!

One last question before you go, what is your favorite travel story or memory?

Hah, that would be the time I accidentally pepper-sprayed myself, got malaria and decided to join the locally popular style of a shaved head all in 24 hours. If you want the whole story you’ll have to come to the upcoming Travel Story ThrowDown.

You can read more about Wandrian adventures on our home page,

http://wandrianadventures.com

and about Tracy E. Bartley and her travels on her blog.

http://tracyebartley.com

Building Real-World Business Relationships via Twitter and Linkedin

May 4, 2011

This may seem a strange posting for an adventure travel company, but we have recently found twitter and linkedin so useful in creating real-world relationships in the business world, we thought we would share the wealth.  Start with a company with which you currently have a vibrant and mutually beneficial business relationship, the sort of success you would like to clone. For example…

Eastern Mountain Sports twitter

A partner

There are two ways to go about this, depending on the sort of partners you are looking for.

"Outdoor living" tweet feed

Find your partner’s twitter page and see if they have a number in the “listed” category at the top right. In this case Eastern MNTN Sports has been added to 259 lists. These lists have been compiled by other twitter users and generally group similar companies into tweet feeds as seen on the left. Take advantage of the grouping and organizing that other people have already done – it’s like having a twitter secretary!

If you are interested in partnerships with companies that are not necessarily this similar to one another, check out who your partner “follows”.

Eastern Mountain Sports' is following...

In this case Eastern Mountain Sports follows 1,663 individuals and companies. Whew! That’s a long list! One of the first individuals is Amanda Wormann, the Social Media Manager of Burton Snowboards. Oh, perfect! We would love to work with Burton! Now you can use Google to search for her specifically. Type in “Amanda Wormann Linkedin” to google.

Linkedin

The first result is exactly what we want, her Linkedin account.

You can see where she has worked, what her interests are and what events she has attended over the past few months. Great! You can now send her an e-mail directly through Linkedin (if you have an upgraded account), you can search for her contact information via facebook or through Burton’s directory, or you can message or mention her on twitter.

You can be this direct if you are looking for a contact point in a well known organization OR you can use this same method to connect with less known companies that also might make good partners. Referring back to the “Following” image for EMS, the second result was Rhodyfitness, a Rhode Island fitness company. You can now search for that company directly through google to get their contact information.

It is important to use these methods in a professional and non-spammy way. Tailor your e-mails for the individual you are contacting and thoroughly research the company in question before you try to make contact. If you do not show respect and appreciation for what their company does, they will not be interested in working with you.

Have you found other ways to use Social Media as a way to increase partnerships and relationships for your business? Please comment!

Wandrian Adventures goes “Minimalist” Running

April 27, 2011

Not exactly the most attractive option...

The least attractive option

The least attractive option

Every few years there is a new sport fad that sweeps the market: a new watch that tracks your heart rate, mileage, pace, syncs with your iphone and your shoes, a new set of earbuds that are aerodynamic, waterproof and deliver the full spectrum of sound, a new pair of shoes that will allow you to run the marathon and jump into space as soon as you put them on. Most sport fads are focused with adding more to your workout, so you can track more, hear more, and do more. What of this latest fad, where the point is to do the exact opposite? Like so many long distance runners, I have suffered my fair share of injuries, many of which kept me from running for months. Shin splints, Plantar Fasciitis, lower back pain and muscle cramping, are among the fairly long list of issues I have experienced. So I decided to try a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. First impression? Well, they’re ugly as sin. I could be jogging around Central Park in a negligee and people would still be staring at me feet whispering to their jogging partner, “aliens”! Second impression? Wow. My feet are light and connected to the ground’s every bump and curvature. My foot turnover has nearly doubled and, after two months, I can sail through 4 miles without pain. I see an international minimalist running adventure in Wandrian’s itinerary in the near future…

A whole book’s worth of (entertaining) information on barefoot running: “Born to Run

Have you tried barefoot/minimalist running? What was your experience?

Japan: Is It Safe to Visit?

April 20, 2011

Where are these beautiful photos taken? Is this the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C.? No, it’s the 2011 Japanese spring bloom!


SITUATION IN TOKYO

Both Haneda & Narita airports are fully functional and operate normally. Trains and subways in Tokyo and Kanto Region are operating under near normal schedule and there is little inconvenience to get around within Tokyo metropolitan area.

Most touristic sights and attractions (Museums, Tokyo Tower, Zoo & Aquarium) have reopened and operate normally, although with energy saving measures which translate into slightly shortened operation hours or reduced lighting for some buildings, in normally “over lit” Tokyo!

Finally, radioactivity measurements by Japanese as well as international organizations show that the current level of radiation in Tokyo does not have any effect on human health and water has been deemed safe to consume.

SITUATION IN OTHER PARTS OF JAPAN & TRAVEL ADVICES

As mentioned in our earlier situation updates, except for the North-eastern part of Japan, most of the country has largely been spared by the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. Although Japan has suffered an immense tragedy, the damaged area is really localized in the north-eastern part of the country, more than 250 km from Tokyo.

Therefore, in Hakone, Izu, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kanazawa and the islands of Kyushu & Hokkaido, life continues as usual, with stores well stocked, gasoline largely available and all businesses fully functional.  In addition, except for the 30 km radius around Fukushima, all areas are considered safe in terms of radioactivity as well as all air travels.

International institutions consider travel to Japan as safe and have not issued any travel warning. For more information, please refer to following websites:

–     Statement from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

–     Map of Japan with major cities and damaged areas (JNTO)

–     Press Release from International Air Transport Association (IATA)

–     World Health Organization – travel advice for Japan (WHO)

 SITUATION AT FUKUSIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR POWER PLANT AND IN NORTH-EAST JAPAN

Although the level of incident has been recently upgraded to 7 on the INES scale, this is more a retroactive upgrade, due to the release of water in the ocean, rather than an actual deterioration of the situation at the nuclear power plant of Fukushima Daiichi, which seems to have actually improved: the cooling of reactors is now under control. However, the amount of contaminated water in the plant forced the operator to release some of it into the sea, with unknown consequences to the marine environment. As a conclusion, while the situation remains locally serious, there is no threat to human health outside a 30 km radius around the plant.

A VIDEO MESSAGE FROM JAPAN: TESTIMONIALS

–     Interview of Travellers in Japan

–    Interview of Hotels & Ryokan

MAP OF JAPAN: DAMAGED AREAS & PLACES SAFE TO VISIT

 

© Japan National Tourism Office (JNTO)

 

 

CONCLUSION & FINAL MESSAGE

Now that the situation has improved and since many places in Japan are safe to visit, we look forward to resuming operations under more “normal” conditions. We look forward to any enquiries and fully remain at your disposal to give you more specific details.



Waterkeeper in India (special report)

April 19, 2011

Mona Steen, Waterkeeper board member and traveler on our recent Ultimate Himalayan TrekMona's Speech sent a quick summary of her experience meeting with Waterkeeper India.

“Local Yamuna River Waterkeeper Minakshi Arora has been working with local community leaders for several months, and the result was an event last week at the M D International School.  I was most fortunate that the event coincided with my trip to India, and I was the honored guest.  The program was attended by local media, community leaders and the 400 students in the school  Minakshi presented the devastating facts of the pollution on the Yamuna, and other community leaders expressed their concerns over the impact of this critically important water source for their children and their quality of Waterkeeper meeting Indialife.  At the event, they discussed success stories that started with concerned citizens like them, and determined at that meeting that they would form a community committee and begin to work seriously to influence controls over pollution on the Yamuna.  It was inspiring, and I will stay close to this group to watch their progress. “