Entries in ‘Travel’ Journal

Lonely Planet Debuts New Kids Book Series

Wednesday February 4, 2015 at 9:09 PM | 0 Comments

Parker discovering Martian volcanoes.

Parker discovering Martian volcanoes.

Lonely Planet is renowned for their travel guides, cool website, and mobile apps, but did you know that they now offer a series of children’s books?

LP approached us here at What a Trip and offered to send us a couple of books from their new series, Lonely Planet Kids to review. There are five titles in the series—Amazing World Atlas, How to be a Space Explorer, Adventures in Busy Places, Adventures in Cold Places and Adventures in Wild Places. We chose The Amazing World Atlas and How to Be a Space Explorer by Mark Brake.

I was immediately taken by the look and quality of the books. Both are beautifully-designed hardcovers with thick glossy pages, packed with illustrations, infographics, photos, facts, and local lore.

Parker, my ten-year-old daughter curled up with How to Be a Space Explorer and told me it was “super interesting” and she liked the fact that “facts were weaved into a story.” Among the tidbits she learned was that there are two types of fuel in rockets—solid and liquid—and many different types of robots that have gone to the moon and Mars.

My son Roman is seven and we read through The Amazing World Atlas over several bedtime sessions. He especially liked the little sidebars throughout—faves included an illustrated comparison between the biggest dinosaur ever known to exist that was discovered in Patagonia and a Boeing 737. The were roughly the same size in case you wondered. We also had fun with the quizzes sprinkled throughout.

I must say I learned lots too—random odd facts like the Danes eat more than 100 million hot dogs per year and that the Aral Sea, the fourth-biggest lake in the world vanished and is now a polluted desert.

Both books have a jaunty, approachable writing style with humor and engaging information. But I found the Atlas to be confusing, even with an intro that purports to explain how to use the book. I also disagreed with some of the choices for Top 10s and famous folks from different countries. I mean Americans Neil Armstrong, Sitting Bull and Mark Twain, yes. But Avril Lavigne and Jennifer Lawrence, not so much.

Roman learning about archipelagos in Southeast Asia.

Roman learning about archipelagos in Southeast Asia.

Insider Tip

With the Amazing World Atlas app kids can interact with maps, discover fun facts and test their geography knowledge. It is available in the App Store or on Google Play for $2.99 for ages 9 to 11.

Now that’s a good use for the iPad.

This post was contributed by Lisa Dion. I received complementary books from Lonely Planet for review.

 

Skin Cancer Prevention Basal Cell Carcinoma

Wednesday January 28, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 8 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