Name: Jessica, aka "Jessica"

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    Trip Photos: Flamenco in Valencia, Spain

    August 27th, 2010

    Flamenco is a type of music and dance that is popular in Spain. Thanks to flydime for posting this photo.

    Photo: flydime

    Photo: flydime

    Plan your trip to Valencia on TravelMuse.

    Want to share your recent trip photos and have them featured on TravelMusings? Add your photos to our TravelMuse Flickr group or TravelMuse Facebook page, and we’ll publish our favorites.

    422 Comments "

    Celebrate Labor Day in Style

    August 26th, 2010

    Every year, summer comes and goes far too quickly—my sunscreen bottle is only halfway empty for crying out loud! Luckily when we all start to get the end-of-summer blues, Labor Day weekend saves the day by giving us one last change to soak up the sun, explore new destinations and say goodbye to everyone’s favorite season in style.

    View from Dolores Park. Photo: Loose Charm Productions

    View from Dolores Park. Photo: Loose Charm Productions

    Vegas Pool Parties
    If you feel like getting a little loco this Labor Day weekend, head to Las Vegas for some of Sin City’s infamous pool parties. Labor Day is one the busiest times of year for these pool parties, which isn’t a surprise considering that the temperature is still sweltering. Check out Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on September 5 for strong mix drinks, private cabanas, celebrity guests and incredible DJs. Most of the major hotels in Vegas will have some sort of pool party, so research your favorites to find your perfect pool party.

    San Francisco Picnics
    Mark Twain allegedly said that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. While that might seem to be an extreme statement (unless he lived year round in Hawaii), San Francisco can be quite foggy during the summer. Well, usually (*fingers crossed*) come Labor Day, San Francisco is enjoying some late summer sunshine. To take full advantage, pack up your picnic basket, a big blanket and your favorite lunchtime goodies and head to one of the city’s finest parks to enjoy your Labor Day in true San Franciscan-tradition. Dolores Park has great views and is known for its ample supply of sunshine, even if it’s foggy elsewhere. The park is small and can get crowded—so be sure to get there early so you don’t have to fight the hipster kids for blanket space. San Francisco has an abundance of awesome parks, so be sure to find one that fits your needs.

    Chicago Jazz Concerts

    Boogie down this Labor Day to Chicago’s 32nd annual Jazz Festival. With four days and three locations to choose from, this year’s event is taking place Sept. 2 through Sept. 5, with shows at Grant Park, Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center—plus admission is free. So get ready to see some national and international acts alongside some Chicago jazz greats.

    Cleveland Air Shows
    The Cleveland National Air Show takes flight over Labor Day Weekend, so gather the family and head over to the Burke Lakefront Airport on Sept. 4, 5 and 6. This year the Cleveland skies will be filled with the aerial skills and tricks of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, the U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle and more. With three days to chose from, you can pack some excitement into your long weekend and still have time to throw that barbeque you’ve been mentally planning.

    Seattle’s Bumbershoot
    One of my favorite parts of summer is rocking out at music and arts festivals, so it’s always a relief to see a few end-of-summer festivals trying to cling to the last days of warm weather and the carefree life. At Seattle’s Bumbershoot, you can  check out musical acts such as Neko Case, Bob Dylan and Weezer; watch indie films; get your jollies at a stand-up show; and peruse the crafts that are for sale.

    605 Comments "

    Trip Photos: Viva Las Vegas

    August 20th, 2010

    In honor of my upcoming (and first ever!) trip to Las Vegas, I decided to feature this flashy photo. What are some of your favorite things to do in Sin City? How about places to stay and eat? I’m currently planning my trip (which I’m looking forward to sharing with the readers of TravelMusings!) and am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks to James Marvin Phelps (mandj98) for posting this photo.

    Photo: James Marvin Phelps (mandj98)

    Photo: James Marvin Phelps (mandj98)

    Plan your trip to Las Vegas on TravelMuse.

    Want to share your recent trip photos and have them featured on TravelMusings? Add your photos to our TravelMuse Flickr group or TravelMuse Facebook page, and we’ll publish our favorites.

    440 Comments "

    Get Inspired to Travel

    August 19th, 2010

    The reasons to travel are infinite in my book. However, it’s so easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of life and forget to explore. Stress, money, family, education, work and health are just a few reasons we find ourselves stuck in our bubble or why we tether ourselves to same old reliable vacation spots year after year. When I get stuck in the travel rut, I make a list of reasons I love to travel and what destinations would be best suited for those reasons, and I find myself inspired to start planning my next travel adventure.

    Get to know yourself in Bhutan. Photo: jmhullot

    Get to know yourself in Bhutan. Photo: jmhullot

    1. Meeting new people
    One of my favorite parts about travel (actually, life in general) is meeting new people—especially people who have completely different worldviews and life experiences than myself. When visiting a foreign destination, my mind is even more open and receptive to different ways of living, eating and thinking. There is so much to learn if you’re willing to put yourself out there when you travel. No museum or sightseeing tour that will teach you as much about a destination than getting to know the locals and immersing yourself in their culture.

    Destination: I’ve always dreamed of going to Thailand because I find it fascinating that it’s the only Southeast Asian country that has never been colonized. Thailand would be a great place to travel as far as meeting new people goes. With deep roots in Theravada Buddhism, Thailand’s rich culture would be best experienced through the help, wisdom and company of locals.

    2. Getting to know yourself
    When I travel, I feel like I’m a better version of myself. My normal schedule is so packed that I rarely have time to reflect on my life, the decisions I’ve made and all of those other life questions that I’m forced to overlook. When I travel, I like to push my limits, break out of my comfort zone and see what I’m really capable of. Traveling will not only free up your time, but it will free up your mind so you can start getting to know yourself on a deeper level.

    Destination:
    Located in the eastern Himalayas between China and India, the Kingdom of Bhutan seems like the perfect destination to get back in touch with my spiritual and adventurous sides. From mountain trekking to Buddhist programs to festivals, there seems to be no shortage of ways to get to know yourself in Bhutan.

    3. Food

    As all my friends and family could confirm, I pretty much tell time by what meal comes next. My love for food complements my love for travel perfectly and has inspired me to travel to places where I’d never thought I’d wind up.

    Destination: There are innumerable reasons I’ve dreamed of traveling to Peru, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the cuisine was a driving force. I’ve heard so much about the varied and unique culinary styles of this South American country that every time I hear “Peru,” I start to salivate. With Amerindian, Spanish, African, Asian and Italian influences, it’s no wonder Peru is known for its eclectic dishes. Guinea pigs, or cuy, are considered a delicacy in Peru and at some restaurants you can even pick out your own—definitely not your average dining experience.

    Scuba dive in the clear waters of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Photo: ben.ramirez

    Scuba dive in the clear waters of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Photo: ben.ramirez

    4. History
    History is a fascinating subject, but there’s only so much you can learn from a classroom or textbook, which is why history is a big source of inspiration in my travel. I love traveling to places that I learned about in school or have read about—it really puts historical events in context.

    Destination: While I’ve traveled to some great historical destinations, I have still haven’t had the opportunity to check Gettysburg off of my list. The historical site of the Battle of Gettysburg has a lot of history packed into it—from museums dedicated to the Civil War to ghost-walk guided tours.

    5. Activities
    While some people travel just to explore, some travel with a purpose in mind, such as surfing or wine tasting. My personal calling is scuba diving; this underwater activity has brought me to islands that I never even knew existed before. So even if you don’t have a hobby or a particular activity that inspires you to travel, it’s time to cultivate one. It will open up a whole new world of travel.

    Destination: The Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean lay claim to one of the largest coral reef systems in the world as well as translucent waters (I’ve read visibility up to 200 feet!) that make for ideal scuba diving conditions. Shipwreck and wall diving are also available for the adventurous.

    What inspires you to travel? If you need help deciding where to go next, try TravelMuse’s Inspiration Finder.

    431 Comments "

    Trip of the Week: Lima and Piura Trip

    August 17th, 2010

    Alfonso Torres from Logan, Utah, is our last, but certainly not least, winner of Trip of the Week and recipient of a Frommer’s day by day guide to Hawaii. Alfonso built this trip on TravelMuse so he could share his culture with his friends and explore a few places he has never been himself.

    lima

    1. Why are you taking this Trip?

    I am going to visit Peru with some friends. These guys haven’t been to Peru before, and since I am Peruvian, I wanted to show them a bit of the cultural diversity in the cities of Lima and Piura.

    2. What are you most excited about seeing/doing?

    As a Peruvian, I never had a chance to visit some of the places in my country. I want to see some archeological sites such as Huaca Pucllana in the very center of the capital city and the very famous Catacaos city, where the most beautiful silver jewels are made in Peru. My friends want to see everything over there; hopefully we will do it!

    3. Any other interesting facts/ considerations about the trip?

    The food. Peru is an extremely rich country in this matter. We have Peruvian food from the three main regions in our schedule: Sea/Criollian, Andean and Amazon jungle food. I hope my friends have a good appetite!!!

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    A big thank you to all of our winners of Trip of the Week for sharing their incredible and adventurous trips with TravelMuse. Be sure to drop us a line and let us know how your trips went!

    561 Comments "