Family Travel Hub, Travel Dreaming, Travel Fun, Travel Lifestyle, Travel Think Tank

So, ummm, what exactly is a travel coach?

A travel coach can be just what you are looking for to help plan your next adventure!

In the age of internet immediacy, today’s travelers can have tickets in hand for anywhere around the world within minutes just by clicking a few times. With Apps like Expedia, Trip Advisor, Hopper, and Booking, it seems like the age of the classic travel agent is coming to a close- or at least finding a new definition. But what was it about a classic travel agent that made them so helpful? Sure, they hard booked ticket after ticket and tour after tour but perhaps that wasn’t the only service that they provided. Perhaps it was was something so much more important.

Perhaps, the local travel agent offered peace of mind. Think about it, a customer happily walked out of a travel agency with paper tickets embossed with their name on them and a clear plan on how their vacation was going to play out. If you think about it, it was kind of win-win. But, time marches on and technology pushes us forward. The question now becomes not so much “what do I do?” but “is what I’m booking worth it?” Enter a travel coach!

Questions that plague the modern traveler range from: Will this be fun? Will my kids like it? Is this really the best activity to spend my time and effort on? Or: Is this website (or top ten list) really the best that this city has to offer?

It can be overwhelming to think that we are getting ready to spend our hard earned money and all too fleeting vacation time on a destination that needs to live up to everyone’s expectations. That overwhelming feeling can make even the most efficient personality feel indecisive! No bueno. So what strikes the right balance between self planning and good, experienced advice? This is where travel coaching can help!

Coaching is a four part process:

1- Intake- this can range from a quick survey to an in depth conversation that allows a traveler to express their likes and dislikes and travel dreams.

2- Research- now it’s time for your coach to put together suggestions and tips to match your intake and perhaps introduce a few new suggestions that you hadn’t thought of. This can be general itinerary suggestions or specific activities depending on where you are in the planning process.

3- Consultation- time to meet and pour over travel dreams and delights

4- Final Revisions- based on step three or the fact that you are moving from the dreaming phase into the planning phase, this step adds in any pertinent revisions and contains more up to date and specific booking information.

More importantly, here are three things that you should not expect from travel coaching:

1- Don’t expect a budget monitor. While any coach will put your budgetary concerns at the top of their list assist a customer (that’s just good business), don’t expect a coach to scour for hours to find the best price on a particular activity. In today’s travel world, look for apps and the web to keep you up to date on that. Do expect that a travel coach will let you know when to buy a city pass or not based on your chosen activities.

2-Don’t expect to just get run of the mill travel ideas. Do expect you likes and interests, diet and lifestyle will be well thought out. Travel coaches LOVE scouring the books and crannies of a city to find all the fun stuff that doesn’t just sit on the surface. (Conversely, it is prudent to remember how important it is that those icons of travel are icons for a reasons).

3- Don’t expect a long, drawn out experience. Instead, travel coaching is a quick, efficient, and inexpensive way to explore travel opportunities and feel out the right trip of a lifetime. Travel coaching can be a great way to choose two or three destinations and sort through their options to choose the best one for you!

Okay, I get it and I’m interested! Can we cut to the bottom line, please? Our services come in three tiers:

Continental Destination Analysis: {$80.00}. This is for the traveler that knows that they want to go to a particular area like Europe or Australia. But don’t know where to begin after that dream. We’ve got you covered! Let’s chat over a hot cup of tea and get started!

Dreaming of Destinations: {$50.00}. This option is for the traveler that has already narrowed down the big trip to two or three places. You want to either sift out the excess or link them together cohesively. If you are a researcher of your dreams, this is a good option for you!

Pre-planning Primers: {325.00}. This for the traveler with tickets in mind and they are ready to start filling in the calendar. Lists with activities, transportation choices, sleeping accommodations and sincere advice on a specific trip are what you’re looking for. You’ve got the vision and you are ready to execute! Let’s do it!

*Travel coaching is one aspect of TGC’s commitment to the global citizen. Please be sure to follow our blog on Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, we have lots of great activities for kids at our Teacher Pay Teachers Store. For great travel inspiration, links to interesting destinations and experiences, as well as other aspects of TGC’s global vision. We appreciate your time and interest in bringing the global experience to life.

Family Travel Hub, Travel Think Tank

What should global citizenship look like in public schools?

Global Citizenship: (noun) The title used for those who approach culture and diversity with a positive attitude. A label that explains a traveler’s quest to understand the differences we have and the similarities we share. See also: globally literate, traveling gypsy, world traveler, worldschooling.

Classrooms that encourage global citizenship are rare.

Teachers are not teaching global citizenship.

As a public school teacher, I grapple with all of the well stated issues that every other teacher deals with: money, supplies, never ending common core (Note to educators: Wait! This post is NOT about common core! Keep reading!)and time. To tell you the truth, time might be my greatest enemy during the school day. Time is the thing I run out of, the thing I combat, the thing that has my kids mentally checking out two hours before the school day is over. It’s the common denominator for decisions like what book to pick or what lesson to cut out in order to ensure kids are ready for some useless test.

Usually, social studies is on the chopping block. I never seem to have enough time to teach “Me on the Map” or the Louisiana purchase. Social studies is definitely not a friend to common core. The quick fix from non educators who make decisions about education for educators is to simply use that context during language arts. Umm, excuse me? You want me to teach first graders subject and predicate while learning about latitude and longitude? Did I mention that half of them can’t read even though you expect it and the other half don’t know how to get a pencil without disrupting everyone? How am I ever supposed to allow kids to become global citizens?!

Seriously.

If I ever met the education genie and he granted me three education wishes, this is what I would ask for:

  1. Anyone who ever gets to make a decision about education has to substitute for a minimum of five days. From the school custodians to the President of the United States- absolutely everyone. And, unlike many other temporary gigs, there is no one to help you. No aid, no secretary, no personal assistant, no sub-time, no say. That, I believe would take care of a lot of issues.
  2. Remove common core from everyone’s memory and end this nightmare. Kids are being pushed well beyond their natural growth capabilities and it’s causing  a lot of problems. Seriously, what 5 year old needs to know what a scalene triangle is? Seriously? Removing all of the components of common core would solve a lot of teacher issues (I’m talking to you standardized testing!).
  3. Now, don’t be surprised when I say this: I would use my final wish to develop cultural opportunities for students to learn about this huge, wonderful world.

Dreaming a Big Dream

In a perfect world, the stars would align and the Heavens would open to reveal that the great mystery plaguing our educational system is our educational system! If those stars did align and if we could literally get a do over, what would our kids need to be successful global citizens? For starters, we would have to be really honest about what makes our students ready for all the world offers. Don’t get me wrong, I am more then agreeing with the need to ensure kids read, write and compute sensibly, fluently and with purpose. But is there more? I think yes. Here’s a sampling of the classes that I would love to see in basic curricula, one for each traditional grade level….

Global Citizenship starts young.

American Culture for Kindergarteners:

Learn about and celebrate holidays and traditions within our community, regions, and country. Kids can learn about Native American celebrations from the Southwest, they can learn about National Parks and Veterans Day. Our country has so much to be proud of, let’s share that pride.

Storytelling for First Graders:

As in: kids need to see the magic of storytelling. This is a wonderful way to connect great literature with world culture and history. Storytelling is a dying art and we should all be supporting its resuscitation. While reading and writing are so, so imperative to every young child, fostering the love of storytelling only fosters that foundation.

World Wonders for Second Graders:

Imagine having a chance to study the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu? Students can learn about all of these amazing things through STEAM centric lessons. How about building the leaning tower of Pisa out of crackers or designing the labyrinth of Knossos for a marble? This is something that I could really get into! I feel the need to build a great pyramid out of cheezits.

Timelines for Third Graders:

Take a minute and think what would happen if kids simply explored a topic by piecing together the timeline of events. Think biographies, the space race, ancient Egypt. The possibilities are endless!!!! Students don’t really start to understand the passage of time until they are a bit older. Third grade seems like a great time to understanding this huge concept.

Gardening and Animal Keeping for Fourth Graders:

Think about it. The responsibility of care for a growing thing brings on life lessons in infinite amounts. From cultivating a carrot seed to watching a chick hatch, learning about the hows and whys of growth is an awesome thing. More importantly, understanding farm to table is time well spent.

Global Citizenship creates better challenges in middle school. 

Map Making for Fifth Graders:

Please note that I did not say Geography. Map making means exactly that: making maps. All kinds. Maps of communities, maps of the world, rainfall maps, graphs about maps, continental plate maps, maps that show all fifty states and their capitals. Theme park and tourist maps. Hands on maps. Lots of maps. As a teacher, I can only imagine the natural curiosity that would develop from this undertaking.

Research and Understanding for Sixth Graders:

Okay, you can read and write, but can you develop a project from start to finish? It’s what we do in “the real world” right? Kids are not used to staring at a blank piece of paper anymore. They do not journal and they do not write down their thoughts. In short, students are not reflective. Taking a long term process like this allows students to become better at being self starters and independent. That is a skill worth developing.  

Environmentalism for Seventh Graders:

a chance for kids to learn about the challenges of the world and research the best practices to reverse the damage. How will we ever start the reversal of damage to our planet if we don’t involve our future leaders? A class like this leads to connecting our past to our present in more ways than one.

Logic and Sequential Thinking for Eighth Graders:

Experiencing the consequences of the “if… then…” model can be an important step in helping young minds develop. From interpersonal relationships to global trends, the study of logic allows students to have some quality time to stop and think before they move on. Sequential thinking not only includes putting things in order but also finding the things that shouldn’t be in a series. The most concrete example of this is coding. Coding is becoming more and more popular across grade levels but it could find a real niche here.

Global Citizenship focuses on life skills in high school.

Survey of World Language for High School Freshmen:

Imagine a chance to learn a little about lots of different languages and the origins of words in our own language. Did you know that the English word for baby carriage is perambulator? As in not walking yet? Kind of like ambulance? You know the thing that you use when you can’t get to the hospital on your own? I love language.

Greek and Latin Roots:

A companion class to world language so kids to realize that there is more pattern in languages than first meets the eye. Have you ever watched the National Spelling Bee? It is amazing! I always think that we would save ourselves so much time and effort if we were more in tune with how words work and what they really mean. For example, I remember when my grandfather taught me the real meaning of dilemma. I stopped using the word altogether. (It means a two part mathematical problem with no known solution.)

Lifeskills 101 for Sophomores:

It’s time to learn to do your own laundry, repair a buttonhole, bake a cake, DRIVE, and learn about budget and economy in some way. Students need to learn these adulting skills in order to be a functioning adult no matter the background that they come from. Can they make a dinner? Can they take care of their things? Now, perhaps you think that driving isn’t something to include in schools- I say “perhaps they need to at least have the classroom portion and the controlled course lessons” to ensure that they can help themselves in case of an emergency. This is the class that always makes me say “I’m glad you know calculus but can you post a letter in the mail?”

Art and Culture for Juniors:

I’m not talking about this is a flower on a cave wall. I’m thinking more along the lines of “did you know that this was stolen by the Nazi’s?” Think history through the eyes of artists. So often, we dismiss the creative mind as “not essential”. I beg to differ, it’s those creative minds that develop our richness of culture, our understanding of the beauty around us. I don’t think the question is “how do we fit art in?” but rather “how can we afford not to?”

The Current Political Climate for Seniors:

They are about to be voters you know. We might as well start them out on the right foot. What are the political issues plaguing our economy and culture right now. Who are our allies, who brings threat to the table? What is our country’s response? How do others solve the same issues? Be an informed voter!  

Tech Touches To Create Global Citizens

Technology Use and Applications across grade levels: This is a class that takes kids through the age appropriate use of technology for educational purposes. Learn where the on and off switch is, learn how to film a movie. Let’s face it, kids are going to be exposed to computers. We better start teaching them how to use them like a tool so that they don’t start getting used by those very computers!

Barriers to global citizenship

A couple of other things that come to mind is the fact that there are many students who are quality athletes on private teams (dance, gymnastics, swim, crossfit, to name a few) who do not get any credit for their time, dedication and effort. Why are these kids not getting PE and health credit for this? Some will say that there is no way to monitor this. Sometimes, you’ve got to believe in these kids and give them the credit where credit is due.

While we are on the topic, why do bilingual children have to take a language? Really? They’ve got it, thank you! My kids were becoming fluent in Japanese when we returned to the States from many years abroad. They don’t offer Japanese, so instead of letting me buy them Rosetta Stone, they FORCED them to take Spanish! Seriously!? I requested Latin but that was only offered at another school, too bad. (Mom rant over, I promise! )

The Verdict…

Now, I know you may agree or disagree with some of these classes. I get it. You may have your own idea about what kids should and shouldn’t be learning in order to give kids a boost up and be considered global citizens. That’s exactly what the STEM people thought. This is merely my opinion. But let me say this: I spend most of my waking hours with these kids and I meet a lot of people around the world who do the same. It’s time we made some serious changes to empower our future to be more prepared than we ever were. So, magic education genie, if your out there, can we chat? There’s a lot of future global citizens who need you.

10 Books In 10 Minutes Series, Family Travel Hub

Travel Dreaming: The Good Boy Grand Tour

We love them! We really do. Our most loyal family members are a treasure to us and, if we are being honest with ourselves, we let them rule the roost! Dogs have been showing their heartfelt love and loyalty since humans and canines teamed up to form their own packs. And some doggos have done a really good job. So, let’s take a little trip and get to know some of the famous good boys around the globe.

Hachiko

Winning the award for most loyal pup in Tokyo is the ever waiting Hachiko. The story of this good boy begins in 1923 when our dog go began escorting his master to the train station every day. Sweet Hachiko was just 18 months old when tragedy befell his master, Professor Ueno. The story has been translated into books appropriate for every age level from 6 to 96 and an American version of the story will have you reaching for tissues as Richard Gear bonds with Hachi in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Hachiko in Shibuya Station

While visiting Tokyo, you can check in on Hachiko at a few places. First, visit the scene of loyalty and the original statue at Shibuya Station. This spot is awfully popular as it has become a tradition to meet long awaited friends and family at the statue which is an homage to the dog’s loyalty. Next check out Ueno Park- yes, that Ueno. The park is beautiful as are some of its features including a zoo and the National Science Museum. At the museum you can see the actual Hachiko. It sounds a bit morbid but, at the time of his death, he was so famous that authorities took it upon themselves to have a taxidermist preserve his fur.

There’s More!

The rest of Hachiko’s remains were cremated and there is some controversy over whether these ashes were reunited with his master at Aoyama Cemetery. Lastly, check out the newest tribute to this good doggo at the University of Tokyo where a new statue of the good professor and his faithful companion are finally reunited.

I truly love to share books and hope you will enjoy them too! Each of them contributes to make us all better global citizens. Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

Fido

During WWII, an Italian man named Carlo befriended an injured street dog in a small town of Borgo San Lorenzo which is close to Florence and north of Rome. Carlo named the pup Fido which literally translates to “I Trust”. In true Hachiko style, Fido accompanied Carlo to the bus stop every day and waited for him to return.

Unfortunately, the ravages of the war caught up with Carlo and he was killed. For 14 years, this community watched faithful Fido wait for Carlo. Finally, in 1957 the Mayor felt it was only right to honor Fido and while he was still alive, a sculpture was made of him entitled “An Example of Loyalty”. Find Fido in San Lorenzo’s main square. (A quick note: I was given the lead that dear Fido was featured in this book but no such luck! However the book was great so I’m keeping it in!)

Fido in Italy

Balto

Gunnar Kaason and his team of 13 dogs, including the Siberian husky, Balto, completed the last leg of a 1925 trip to deliver 300,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska. They traveled by night in temperatures of -23 °F. Those are the facts surrounding Balto but any dog lover will tell you that the draw to this inspiration for the world famous Iditorad race is Balto’s determined teamwork with his musher to complete the task. Balto is memorialized in New York City’s Central Park.

Balto with his owner after the push to Nome.
Balto in central park
Togo in Seward Park

Togo

You may not know this particular pup as his fame has been eclipsed by his famous collegue, Balto. But make no mistake, Togo played a significant role in that 1925 race to get serum to the people of Nome. You can find the leader of the pack in New York City’s Seward Park.

Greyfriar’s Bobby

Question: What’s better than a loyal pup? Answer: Not much. In this story of loyalty, wee Bobby shows why he deserves all of the attention he gets to this day. This true story is told in true Scottish tale style, adding a bit here and there, but the story of how this loyal dog loved his master is spot on. You can visit the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby just beyond the National Museum.

But Wait! Here’s an Edinburgh bonus! There’s another pupper in Edinburgh that is tucked away! When visiting the national monument to Sir Walter Scott, check out his faithful good boy, Maida. The dog was so important to Scott that you will find the Latin inscription which translates to: “Beneath the sculptured form which late you bore, Sleep soundly Maida at your master’s door.” Now those are fitting words for a very good pup!

Greyfriar's Bobby in Edinburgh

Lakes District

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I honestly don’t have a specific dog or story that goes with the Lakes District. I just found it to be extremely dog friendly! Dogs are part of the fun in this part of England. Look for them in pubs lazing around, in competitions showing sheep who’s boss, and on hikes with faithful owners. If there were a place in the world where dog owners unite, this is it!

Owney, the Post Office Dog

As The United States continued to define itself in the 19th century, one tool used to communicate and conduct important government work was our mail system. As imagined by our first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin, the US mail system happily embraced new technology to meet the needs of the country. This included trains. Our good boy Owney kept lots of mail employees company as they delivered our post near and far. Check in with Owney at National Post Office Museum in Washington, D.C.

Owney with one of his Post Office Pals

Dzok

Getting the award for best pup escape artist is Krakow, Poland’s Dzok. While out and about on a walk, Dzok suffered the loss of his master. Ever loyal, he waited at the very spot he lost his owner for over a year. He even successfully dodged the local dog catcher a few times in order to wait for his person. Eventually, legend says that an old woman named Maria befriended Dzok until she passed away.

Poor Dzok found himself in an animal shelter but not for long! This little escape artist pawed his way out of puppy jail and went right back to that same spot where he lost his master all those years ago much to the delight of the community. After Dzok had passed, the local government honored his loyalty by having a memorial erected at famous Wawel Hill in his honor. You’ll find Dzok along the river under spectacular Wawel Hill in Krakow.

Dzok in loving hands

Where We Went: The Good Boy Grand Tour!

Map of good boys around the world!

Do you know the story of a perfect pup that should be on our list? Comment below so we can add them to this hall of fame!