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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

For some time now I have been tossing up about the idea of undertaking a writing course, a photography course or both. And then I think about the cost of them and wonder if I could manage to ‘self-teach’ myself everything that there is to know. *Insert laughter here*

Procrastination of these sort of things are something that I know all to well. But last week I decided to take the plunge. Yep. I finally enrolled in the Matador University Travel writing course, (http://matadornetwork.com/) and after the initial ‘OMG What have I done!’, which is what I usually do when things outside of the norm happen, I’m feeling good about the decision I’ve made.

Obviously by my *insert laughter here* comment earlier, like most things outside the daily grind, actually taking the time for myself to sit down and research what I needed to learn about travel writing would wane over time, not to mention the extra time it would take to ‘filter’ through all the information that is available on the worldwide web. Then again in 6 months, 12 months, or even 3 years time I’d still be in the same place, wishing I had done something about it way back when.

Being an online course, Matador allows me the ability to undertake my research, read my notes and complete my assignments at a time that is convenient to me (if this week is anything to go by, that is usually around 10pm at night when I crawl into bed). I have undertaken self paced study before and at times I’ve found it difficult to find the mind space when I got home from work to sit down and study, especially when you are studying subjects to further your career.

While Matador doesn’t technically give you a ‘must complete by date’, a new chapter is released weekly, meaning if you wish, you can finish the course in as little as 12 weeks (my personal aim is to have the course completed by March 31st, 2013). The added bonus – you have life long access to the course material and website for the small upfront fee of $350. In reality.. over time, it’s a great investment.

I know a lot of you are probably thinking, ‘yeah, but if you only need to access it for the first 12 weeks, it’s pretty expensive’, well think about this.

Matador also provides you with a forum for you to post live blog content, photographs and film footage, allowing you to gain valuable feedback from like-minded community members and educators as well as access to a wide variety of paid writing, photography and film opportunities. And for a company that has an association with well-known organizations such as ‘National Geographic‘, Society of American Travel Writers (S A T W), Aol Travel and Transitions Abroad.com, how could anyone not consider a Matador’s course.

DSC01602Aside from everything that Matador offers, undertaking this course allows me to have ME time. Allows me to do something that I love doing – writing. If simply I just learn tips and techniques that only my friends and family read, along with a handful of travelers, I will still be happy.

Obviously there’s a much greater goal (as mentioned in my blog ‘‘ earlier this week), but if Plan A doesn’t happen.. I can still live the Plan B life I’m currently living – that of a contract para-planner with a wish to work all over the world.

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The Details:

Who: Matador University

What: Self-paced online study for:

Time Line: Minimum: 12 weeks / maximum: unlimited

Cost: $350US (occasional discounts may apply)

Note: You have the ability to sign up for a week’s trial for $10US on any of the courses. Should you feel that Matador is not for you, you can cancel your enrollment at anytime prior to the full amount being debited against your account.

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I first saw the Grand Canyon out the window of a plane….a small plane.

In 2010 I spoilt myself with an hour and a half flight in a little 10 seater aeroplane.  Back then though I thought that I was landing at the Grand Canyon and that I would get to spend the day taking in all the wonderful and amazing views.  It was not to be.  Somehow I had incorrectly selected the ‘flight only’ option which included simply, just that.

At the time I was disappointed.  Really disappointed, but I have since learnt that there is a reason why these things happen and in late September I found out why!.

After exploring the Valley of Fire with Fi, I got to spend the next day exploring the West Rim of the Grand Canyon with Laura.  And what a day it was.  I’m not sure how many times we said ‘this is amazing’ to each other as we wandered around the various points at Eagle Point (see above – can you spot the Eagle Kaylene??) and Grotto Point. But they simply were and I thought that I’d share some with you, just so you can see for yourself.e

(Test yourself on the first pic.. once you spot the eagle, can you spot the dog and his ball – it’s amazing what the natives can see!)

First stop – The Ranch.. complete with snake warnings.. thank goodness I never heard any ‘rattling’

Always the way! 

The Grand Canyon Skywalk.. Yes we did!

Enjoying unbelievable views at Grotto Point

 

Quite simply ‘Trail Closed’

Some places are just made to meditate

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Lady Liberty

Christmas 2010 was pretty special.  Not only did I get to experience my first EVER white Christmas, but I also got to spend it with some amazing friends from back home and together we traveled to New York and enjoyed the sights around Manhattan.  I have to admit. It’s pretty hard not to fall in love with this city.. so to help you do so, I thought that I might change it up a bit and create a photo essay rather than write a million words.. so here goes.. I hope you fall in LOVE too!

Working on the new 911 memorial park on the original site of the Twin Towers

 

Relaxing at the current ‘small’ 911 memorial park

Enjoying a pretzel for breakfast from one of the street vendors in Battery Park

The view of Manhattan from Liberty Island

A secluded spot in a snow-covered Central Park

Watching over the ice skating on Wollman Rink – Central Park

Falling in LOVE with New York

The neon lit Times Square – where everything happens

New York had received a large dump of snow just days before we arrived which practically shut down parts of the city… This Corner of Central Park is still covered in the left over snow

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Picture Perfect Sunset Over Seeley Lake, Montana

 

Part of my love of road trips is being able to experience things that you may never have had the opportunity to see before.  The freedom to set your own schedule and do what you want to do.  To spend as long as you want or as little as you want and the opportunities to enjoy every single moment.

The first day of our road trip from Calgary to Saint Catherine’s had been a long one.  We had hiked the Bear’s Hump in Waterton National Park and driven the spectacular, amazing and absolutely awesome Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National Park.  As much as the drive is breathtakingly beautiful, it is also mentally taxing.   Tight corners, narrow roads and 1,000+ foot cliff drops. But I would still do it over and over and over again.

With no real plans on where we would stay, let alone, where we would eat, we basically drove until we got hungry.   We arrived in Seeley Lake around 8pm and the sun was just beginning to drop.

Rather than ‘searching’ for food we decided that the Hamburger Cafe beside the lake would be a nice enough option.  Something casual and a chance to sit outside and enjoy our surroundings.  Unfortunately the cafe was closed, but the steakhouse next door was still open and still serving meals.  It would have to do.

After taking our seat we were presented with the menu.  Literally a sign that stood 4ft tall and listed 3 items:

The ‘extensive’ menu @ Linsday’s Steakhouse

We both guessed that sirloin was on the menu for the night :-), which caused some snickering between the two of us (don’t worry.. this was just the beginning of our nightly laughs!!).

After dinner we wandered down to the lake with enough time to take in the beautiful sunset.

Chance just happened to land us in Seeley Lake at the time that it did. And Fate just happened to provide us with a beautiful sunset over the water that truly cannot be described.

The tourist brochures all describe Montana as ‘big sky country’…. I think this picture proves it correct.. What an absolutely stunning view..

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Nothing beats a visit from the family and I was blessed to be able to explore and share my Canada (and Montana) with not only my Mum, but also one of my brothers, my sister-in-law and two of the cheekiest nephews known to man kind!.

After arriving in Vancouver the night of the NHL Game 7 riots, the family chose to drive the beautiful scenic route from Vancouver to Calgary via Whistler and Jasper.  To say that I was slightly jealous that the time was an understatement (and still am on that note).

But on the plus side, I got to spend an unbelievable two and a half weeks with them re-visiting and exploring a number of amazing places in Southern Alberta, and being able to introduce them to my new Canadian family was a pleasure.

Being able to shares such amazing memories with those that you love is something that I will cherish and be forever grateful for and something that no one will ever be able to take away from me, nor diminish.

The photo above was taken in Waterton Lakes National Park.  Waterton is known for its howling winds and earlier in the day Tony, Tash, the boys and I had all climbed the ‘Bear’s Hump’ to take in the stunning views over Waterton (Mum, like the  trooper she is made it just past halfway before it became too steep and had to turn back). We had decided to take the last boat ride down the Upper Waterton Lake into Montana, USA in hope that we might see some wildlife along the water’s edge, but it was not to be, instead in the 15 minutes we had to enjoy our taste in the USA, the boys found time to ‘skim rocks over the water’ and get together to capture our time in this beautiful setting..

ps.  I can’t wait to get home and give these two nephews loads of hugs and kisses (and the other 8 nieces and nephews too )

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