Entries in ‘Travel’ Journal

Skin Cancer Prevention Basal Cell Carcinoma

Wednesday January 28, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 2 Comments

As I left my deep water aerobics class and stepped into my car, I quickly scrolled through my phone messages. Two missed calls from my dermatologist office with no messages left. I was waiting to hear my biopsy results from a skin sample removed the week prior. “No news is good news,” said my dermatologist when I left his office on Christmas Eve. We’ll call you if there is a problem.”
 

synchronized swimming, swimming, skin cancer

Unprotected sun exposure leads to skin cancer. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Skin cancer

My heart skipped a beat as I called the doctor’s office knowing this was not good news. Sure enough, the receptionist told me that my biopsy came back positive for basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer. Fortunately, they do not spread and are almost always a local growth on the skin. Treated with local surgery, in my case a 50 minute in-office procedure, they have a very high cure rate.

There are several types of basal cell carcinoma; the superficial type that appears as a red, scaly patch, the nodular type that appears as a pearly growth, the pigmented basal cell carcinoma and the aggressive morpheic basal cell carcinoma. Squamous Cell Carcinomas are less common but have the potential to spread beyond the local area. Please refer to a medical doctor for proper diagnosis.
 

 

Originally, I thought the blemish by my jawbone on the right side of my cheek might be acne. My husband thought that, as well. I showed it to my primary care physician who instructed me to see my dermatologist if it didn’t disappear in 30 days. Busy with travel assignments, I disregarded her instructions and waited until Christmas Eve, eight months later, before going in for my yearly mole check.
 

basal cell carcinoma, skin cancer, skin cancer prevention

Basal Cell Carcinoma pre and post surgery.


 

Sun safety tips to prevent skin cancer

Back in June of 2008, I wrote a blog post about “Top 10 Sun Safety Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer.” The three main factors in the development of skin cancer are how much unprotected sun exposure you have had, your skin type and your age.

As a Northern California native with Norwegian heritage, I have three strikes against me. In my youth I routinely subjected my fair skin to unprotected sun exposure through swimming, horseback riding and my general preference to live outdoors and now, as as active adventure baby boomer, my age is working against me.

What have I learned from my skin cancer diagnosis? Always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen, lip balm with strong SPF, a broad brimmed sun hat, clothing with UPF protection and UV-blocking lenses in your sunglasses.

Do you have experience with basal cell carcinoma or Squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer? What are your tips on how to prevent skin cancer?
 
Article written by and photos courtesy of fair-skinned travel writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California.

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown’s 2014 Year in Review

Wednesday December 31, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

"Nancy Brown", Bahia Bell sternwheeler

Travel Writer Nancy Brown in San Diego, California

Even though December is notoriously a busy month, I always save time to write Nancy D. Brown’s year in review. As a travel writer, I am fortunate to visit many destinations each year; 2014 was no exception. As many of you know, I specialize in equestrian and luxury travel. There’s nothing I like better than discovering the world from the back of a horse!

January

What better way to combine luxury and horses than a trip to Texas Hill Country and the Inn at Dos Brisas? This Relais & Chateaux ranch resort has the only Forbes five-star restaurant in the entire state of Texas.

While my trip to San Diego didn’t involve horseback riding, I was surrounded by cowboys and cowgirls from all over the United States. I had the pleasure of speaking with The Dude Ranchers’ Association about How to Work with Travel Bloggers at their annual convention. The dude ranch members gathered at The Bahia Resort Hotel in Mission Bay. A first for me, I gave my presentation on The Bahia Belle, a Mississippi-style sternwheeler that travels on Mission Bay in Southern California. What a trip!

I had my airline tickets booked to attend Quebec Winter Carnival in Canada. Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty cold at the tail end of my San Diego trip and had to cancel Quebec. The folks from Tourism Quebec were understanding of my plight and invited me to Quebec City and the Charlevoix region of Canada during the height of leaf changing season. I was also able to go horseback riding on a Canadian horse during my travels.

February

My son is a rebel – not the rebellious type – but an Ole Miss Rebel. Our California boy is headed south to attend the University of Mississippi next fall. The campus is lovely and there are plenty of things to do in Oxford, Mississippi, but I’m not ready to have my youngest live so far away! Ready or not, my husband and I enjoyed our trip to Oxford. There were plenty of great restaurants and lots of history to uncover. I look forward to learning more about the state of Mississippi.

March

Hasta la vista baby! I headed to Mexico for Cancun Riviera Maya Wine & Food Fest and a stay at Secrets the Vine. French Chef Daniel Boulud was in the kitchen. Yum!

"Nancy Brown" "Morro Bay" California

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown kayaking in Morro Bay

April

Monterey press trip to report on the opening of Tentacles exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Equidistant from Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Morro Bay and Wine Coast Country, along Highway 1 Discovery Route, offers kayaking, horseback riding, sailing, plenty of B&B’s, Inns & motels and is a great place to go fly a kite!

May

I love living so close to wine country! I almost consider myself a local and wrote a post on “How to Do Napa Like a Local.” There’s always some new restaurant or hotel opening in downtown Napa. What are your favorites?

This proud mama, along with her husband, watched our daughter graduate from the University of California at Berkeley.

I had a chance to attend BBQ University with guest Chef Steven Raichlen at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. San Francisco International Airport offers a nightly non-stop flight to Colorado Springs.

June

We had not one, but two graduations this summer. Our son graduated from high school in June and will be attending Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi in the fall.

We helped our daughter move into her Portland townhouse and meet her new roommates before starting her first job, post-college. To keep it fun and involve family, we rented a houseboat on Shasta Lake. Lake Shasta Marina set us up with a luxury houseboat and ski boat July 31-August 3. Low water levels due to California’s third year of a drought, but there was still plenty of water in Shasta to water ski and slide off the houseboat into the lake!

"Shasta Lake" sunset

Shasta Lake Sunset

August

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Sunriver Resort is a family destination for us. This year Destination Hotels & Resorts hosted us at Sunriver Lodge Village Suite August 3-6 and Skamania Lodge August 6. I could have stayed longer at Skamania Lodge exploring the Columbia Gorge area, but we needed to return to California.

One of the highlights of my summer travel was a cruise through Alaska’s Glacier Bay with Uncruise Adventures August 31 – September 7. If you think cruising is not for you, read my blog posts on small ship cruising. My reviews will change your mind.

September

Another advantage of living in California is how easy it is to travel to Hawaii. This fall I visited Molokai and explored the island by donkey – riding down the highest sea cliffs in the world – and kayaking it’s blue waters.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel

Four Seasons Scottsdale. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


October

As mentioned above, I was able to tour Quebec’s walled city and toward the end of the month I headed to Scottsdale, Arizona to play cowgirl at Arizona Cowboy College. I had an extraordinary experience riding a reining horse thanks to an invitation from Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North.

November
After a little rock and roll action in Napa (that’s code for earthquake) I headed back to downtown Napa to review the remodeled Embassy Suites and check out my new favorite restaurant, Torc. I was also introduced to new to me musicians, Penny & Sparrow, during a concert at City Winery. There is SO MUCH more going on in downtown Napa than when my husband and I lived there in the late 1980’s!

Back to the central coast, this time to discovery Los Osos. Have you heard of it? This tiny beach-side community is a hidden secret on the California coast. I also did a little recycled holiday shopping in Morro Bay and picked up a couple of gifts for myself at some local thrift shops. Woot!

Thanksgiving was spent with family in Carmel and for that, I am very grateful. I am a huge fan of the Monterey Peninsula and our dog loves the pet-friendly beaches.

December

I was able to check river cruising off my bucket list and I did it in style with Viking River Cruises. I was blessed to be asked to cruise the Danube River during the Christmas Markets. Yes, I am filled with gratitude for my traveling writing life. I see amazing places and meet wonderful people along the journey.

Where did your travels take you in 2014 and where are you headed in 2015?

Photos and post by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown

Best Travel Gifts

Saturday December 6, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

I live, eat and breath travel. I could travel 24/7 if the opportunity presented itself. Seven days a week I think about and write about travel. Travel is as affordable or as expensive as you make it. The same may be said for travel gifts. With that in mind, I give you my seven best gifts for the traveler.

Tieks, travel shoes, ballet flats

Tieks wool ballet flats are great travel shoes.

Good things come in small packages; small blue packages from Beverly Hills, California to be exact. I first discovered Tieks ballet flats in 2012 when beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist Kerry Walsh wore her Starstruck Tieks while showing off her medals. This year I discovered Tieks for winter. New to their Vegan collection, the greystone non-leather Tieks add warmth to my wardrobe. I’m looking forward to wearing these on my Viking River Cruise down the Danube. They will be perfect to slip into after a day of exploring Christmas Markets in rubber rain boots. These travel shoes are priced at $175 – as with all items listed here, check the website for current prices.

Nancy D. Brown, Royal Robbins, Carmel, California, travel

I can go everywhere in these travel clothes.

What’s a great pair of travel shoes without travel clothes to match? I was introduced to the Royal Robbins brand from fellow travel bloggers Deb and Dave of the Planet D. They, too, were looking to dress up their wardrobe while still looking good on the road. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me dressed in Royal Robbins go everywhere clothing.

luggage tag, Your Bag Tag, travel

Luggage tags from Your Bag Tag. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Stocking stuffer

For children looking for affordable gift ideas for the traveler, or anyone with limited holiday budgets, custom luggage tags are the ideal gift for people on the go. These personalized luggage tags from YourBagTag will also work well for locating sports, fishing, scuba, skiing, tack and golf bags in a hurry. The carabiner bag tags are perfect for camera gear bags and backpacks. Prices start at $12.99.

luggage, Ugobags, travel

Ugobags custom luggage. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

For the traveler who has everything, custom luggage from Ugobags is perfect. Successfully funded through a Kickstarter campaign, Ugobags offers travelers the opportunity to customize their luggage online! With free delivery and a two year warranty, this lightweight luggage is a sure bet from a California-based company. Carryon luggage starts at $189.

Glacier Bay, Alaska, experiential travel

Experiential travel in Alaska. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Travel experiences

Some of us prefer travel experiences over collecting things. The term experiential travel is popular with parents and grandparents because many of us are looking for memorable or teachable moments that we can share with family members or close friends. A memorable travel experience for me was a trip to Alaska’s Glacier Bay with UnCruise Adventures – what a trip! All inclusive Alaska rates start at $4,195.

Creekside Farms, wreaths, California

Bring California indoors with Creekside Farms wreath. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

California grown

The herb wreaths from California-based Creekside Farms not only look pretty, they will make your house, apartment or dorm room smell simply divine. If you want to bring a bit of country into your home, these wreaths are certainly cheaper than a trip to the lavender fields of Provence, France. These California-grown gifts start at $29.
An Innocent Abroad, travel, bookTravel books

Last year I recommended the book Wild by Portland, Oregon-based author Cheryl Strayed. A book for the adventurous explorer, hiker or armchair traveler about her wanderings From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I still recommend this book and look forward to watching Reese Witherspoon play Strayed in Wild, the movie. Suggested retail price $16.43.

A book I’m taking with me on the airplane to Europe this winter is An Innocent Abroad Life-changing trips from 35 great writers. Published by Oakland, California-based Lonely Planet, this book includes travel tales from Tim Cahill, Pico Iyer, Ann Patchett, Jane Smiley and Cheryl Strayed, among others. Suggested retail is $15.99 for this book.
I hope you found these gift ideas helpful. What are your favorite holiday gifts for the traveler in your life?
Companies often reach out to me to review their products, travel apparel and gear. Many of the above items have been reviewed on the What a Trip blog. I wouldn’t recommend these 7 best gifts for the traveler if I didn’t personally use and approve of them.

Related Posts:

Best Gifts for Travelers

Gift Ideas for Travelers

Travel Gift Guide