How do you describe something so awesome, out of this world, and mind blowing? When experiencing Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons those are just some of the questions that came to mind. For me, it was an adventure that was centering, spiritual and fortunate. While both Yellowstone and Grand Teton had limited services, which is a big bummer for families - I didn't care. The reason I came isn't for services, its for the reason these are National Parks. The mountains, waterfalls, streams, steam pots, mud pots, wildlife and more.
I bought the "America the Beautiful" Pass through a third party that had some left over after the actual government site stopped selling them. I remember when it came in the mail I held it up high, and felt like Ralphie when he got his BB gun in "A Christmas Story." The cost is $80 and it gets you and another person in to every National Park Across America, in my case saving me hundreds of dollars.
Since I wrote last, I've seen 3 National Parks in Wyoming and one in Idaho. I've met more local vendors, and will be rollding out the series "Adventures Across America" 2021 starting mid July. The places and things we'll do will stay true to the myXOadventures.com brand. We'll have excellent vendors, experience based trips, cultural inclusions with indigenous peoples, culinary delights and a light hearted feel. This is our goal, which is a high bar. In the end we hope you not only enjoy whichever part of the series you purchase, but make friends along the way. If you haven't been folllowing along, please do at www.facebook.com/myxoadventures. I'm on a scouting mission, so please keep in mind some of the crazy things I do along the way we won't be doing as a group necessarily. Our group sizes willl be from 8-15 and we will use a combination of Vannah White (Our Tour Van) and some of the vendor vehicles to accomplish our mission.
There will be time for shopping and doing some of the very hokey touristic things, but these items won't be our focus. They'll be more like the cranberry sauce to your turkey. For now, I ask that you keep following along, and if you would like to be put on the waiting list, email me at daniel@myxoadventures to be considered first in line to review and decide to participate. I sincerely hope you all are well and safe, and ask for you to reach out and say hi or give a virtuual wave as I travel across the country.
Lastly, Romania Fairytales and Castles is on. It is the last international trip I've designed and will be for some time. It's September of 2021 and very limited. We're offering downpayments of $100 per person on this trip with a maximum of 16 people going. It's a place I love and want to share with you. Again, visit the website to reserve or email me to get on the list! firstname.lastname@example.org
myXOadventures.com has left the room and hit the road! My name is Daniel Mills and I’m the owner of the company. After coming back from Cuba on March 17th it was a different world. My business, (the tourism sector) came to a complete stop. Immediately before anything else, my colleagues and I went from boom to bust. Now many of us are in the same basket. I did my share of isolation and housekeeping with the business and as I read article after useless article and time-wasting ZOOM meetings offering virtual encouragement followed by expensive marketing plans that promised to get us all out of this mess I had enough. I literally said to myself, this is all BS. I’m not saying the intentions of these efforts were bad, what I’m saying is they were as stale as a brick and mortar Travel Agency stocked full of dusty plastic plants, brochures, and reeks of coffee with a side of regret. The stories that hit my heart were the ones of hard-working people and small businesses The stories of fear, worry, and desperation.
Families to feed, possibly businesses folding, unemployment systems unable to help the unemployed, disaster loans, and more.
I thought, something is wrong with all of this. Really wrong. Not the virus, not the masks, but real action on the part of those able to help. I had to ask myself, “Daniel, what are you going to do?” I can help others, learn in the process, promote my hometown, and keep my business relevant. There are some things you can do that if planned right, contain multiple facets and click right into place like a swiss watch.
I was going to do this. I reached out to multiple organizations early on but got a lot of maybe’s and no’s when it came to helping to promote Sarasota. I’d ask another way, offer to pay, do the work for free but just dead ends. This is from an area that would be crushed without tourism long term. I thought, here I am offering to get on the road and do the work for free as a resident of Sarasota. Wait, there’s my permission. I’m a resident of Sarasota for 28 years, I don’t need the endorsement, help of, a degree from or the blessing of anyone to do this. I am smart, I am important and gosh darn it people like me. All it took was the first step. I took all the seats out of my van and packed it with camping gear, a kayak, food, and self-made curtains friends would make fun of for years.
I headed out the backroads (the roads less traveled) and it’s much, much more interesting. Longer but a great experience. I’m meeting mom and pop businesses and promoting them as I go along. Relationships are blooming and some pretty amazing things are coming from it. Next year is going to be awesome, but today is amazing.
Strength comes from within. It doesn’t come from a TV monitor, a radio flap jaw, or a party leader. You’ve got everything you need to succeed and to overcome today’s challenges. You can do anything you want, and you can do it well. Don’t believe me? You’re free to choose. My hope is that we get to travel together on an adventure. Keep following along will I confidently stumble through this exercise. www.facebook.com/myxoadventures and like the page.
So far, Adventures across America has been quite interesting. Leaving Sarasota in the rearview mirror, on my own headed to who knows where in the middle of a crisis felt ridiculous and made perfect sense at the same time.
If you haven’t been following along, please like the page here. You’ll see Vannah (Our Tour Van) and me travel across America to see as many Parks, Monuments, and Curiosities along the way. You’ll also have surveys to choose from that will actually determine the direction and place I’ll visit along the way. You in part will take the wheel for me.
I have a few objectives in this project. One is to provide you with a real-life interactive way to travel and keep interested in myXOadventures.com. The second is to promote Sarasota as well as the businesses I’m visiting along the way. I think we have an obligation to do what we can to help one another, and this is the way I believe I can do it. I hope you follow along, participate, and provide words of encouragement as I make my way across the country!
In the meantime and for the rest of this year, I’ll continue to promote Sarasota and Florida vacation packages. It’s myxoadventures.com’s belief that recovery starts at home and spreads from there.
Next, I’d like to talk about the changes we’ll be making over the next couple of months. We will begin to set specific limits on the size of groups we work with on each departure and never deviate from it. Cleaning protocols are being discussed and implemented for any tour utilizing the van. Our vehicle will be cleaned after every use, with a CDC recommended disinfectant. Hand Sanitizer will be made available and utilized before entry, and upon exit of the vehicle. The doors, as always will be opened and closed for you. That doesn’t change, it’s just good customer service!
Lastly, we will be looking at COVID-19 Free Zones to Visit and focus on those destinations over the next few years. What we mean and where these are located will be explained over the next few months so stay tuned as we work with international organizations on a cohesive response to the New Next of Travel.
In the meantime, please support your local small businesses. There is a reason the airlines are bailed out and the Bus Company isn’t. Why large businesses are put to the front of the line and small business is left to survive on their own. I can tell you this small business can and will survive with or without government help. We’ll do it through innovation and determination, and also with your support. We thank you, wish you good health, and give our best to you and yours during this time.
Travel, my friends, opens minds, opens eyes, and opens hearts. We become better people when we travel. - Taleb Rifai
This week myXOadventures.com became part of PROJECT HOPE TRAVEL, and I became a Board Member as well. The membership is comprised of Ministers of Tourism, Representatives to the United Nations, Business Development Firms and people like me.
The idea is how to re-start the tourism business in a responsible way, because it won't be the same. It will be the "New Next". Although the local Tourism authorities as well as businesses have been reluctant or handicapped to unify the travel business, that is exactly what is called for and something we intend and will be a part of. We're in this together almost makes our eyes roll now but it's true. We are. What's next? It's not virtual travel, I'm sure of that, but what will I need to do to make sure my guests are happy, safe and satisfied in the new world. It starts at home with me. In personal ways, in ways of business, in thoughtfulness of travel.
Tomorrow afternoon I step into Vannah White (Our Tour Van) and I head in a northerly direction. Once I reach North Carolina I'll be met with a big question mark. I'll have to think about my next move. It could be north, south or west, but I honestly don't know. I may just stay put for a while until I decide. I won't stay put for long though. There'll be a whisper in the wind and I'll be listening for it.
Enough on the trip, its going to unfold the way it does, and when I come back I plan on starting with local and regional tourism. The rest will come later. If you want to follow the Adventure please like our facebook page. www.facebook.com/myxoadventures and make sure to sign up for notifications of when we go live. I'll also continue to broadcast the Travel Club Meetings through ZOOM so no matter where you are, you can join each Thursday at 7PM. There are multiple groups, but if you'd like to join my Sarasota Meetup and directly participate you can. Here is the link: https://www.meetup.com/myXOadventures-Sarasota/
Finally,, I'll be doing this in the most responsible way possible. I have masks, disinfectant, will be using dispersed camping methods along the way and so on. I do already hear those that may have objections, and for you I ask in advance simply for your support despite your feelings. As a matter of fact, thats all I ask from anyone. Be a supporter, a follower, a cheerleader and any messages of encouragement will go a long, long way. Here's to the journey....
Life is what happens when you're planning something else, and we had BIG plans for 2020! You know all the cliches though:
* When life gives you lemons make lemonade.
*When you're afraid of butter, use cream - my favorite ~ Julia Child
Well, for many of us it's a lot like this 11 second clip from the 2011 film "Your Highness", but even when it seems this way there's always an answer. Personally aside from coming to a virtual standstill in travel, I find the emotional aspect of this the most difficult to deal with. When you have options, you have a choice, but when those options are taken away, its another story all together. I've gathered a few bits of information for this unforeseen fuckening we are experiencing right now. One of my favorites is from Astronaut Mike Kelly, who has great ideas for us right now but went through an extraordinary time in space. Click here to read an experts advice on isolation, rules that I have been violating every day.
I'll say what you know already.... After this is over the world will have changed, in every way. Travel is no exception and from the moment we returned from Cuba, I began to think about how to save my own hide so I went about doing that, initially forgetting that letting go, and acts of service are a big part of doing just that. If anything I've learned over the last year is that I am not in control of it all, nor do I want to be.
While I've readjusted my thinking and began to find ways to give back, the cloud began to lift. Moments of giving turned into emotional highs, and gratefulness for the life I do have. These acts of selflessness kept me in the moment of now, and had real benefits to my emotional and physical well being. I'll just say it... I was getting something out of giving! Now how you do it is up to you, but it is the right thing to do and it's achievable right from home. One is Team Rubicon , and I'm waiting to hear back on, but provides emergency disaster relief in the field and from home. You don't have to be Rambo to join. Another is the United Nations online Volunteering Program, Organizations and volunteers working together for peace and development.
Lastly, stay In contact with your neighbors somehow and find out if they need anything. Remember, you can help others way quicker than any government response. Of course, everything comes with a risk, and the whole objective is striking that balance between emotional and physical well-being, as well as ways to help. In all of this your health is first priority, so please if nothing else follow the CDC guidelines and listen to scientific proof, not political rhetoric.
Just to Make You Laugh.... SNL Skit on Laguardia "Airport Sushi".
In the meantime, if you're willing to help us out so we can better understand how you would like to travel once the all-clear is given, we'd really appreciate it. The SURVEY is about 99 seconds in length!
Now that we're back in the proverbial saddle we'd like to reconnect with all of you. Havana Heartbeat was a wonderful experience with an awesome group of guests, and even though we were a couple of hundred miles away it seems like we came from absolute paradise to utter chaos. Thank goodness nobody broke into our homes to steal our toilet paper!
Now that it seems everyone on the trip is settled and healthy, I've had a chance to tend to business, reflect on what to do and how to manage the storm both professionally and personally. Locally in Sarasota business in the tourism sector has come to a complete halt. During that time I've focused on next year and even the following. My heart goes out to those businesses and individuals that are suffering through this but at some point, it will come to an end.
In the meantime, we're doing our best to keep our chins up and our sense of humor intact. Look out for our Weekly Adventure Insights for potentially useful information, some humor, tips, and travel deals. We'd also love to hear back from you on any stories or activities you've been doing to stay healthy and upbeat. Please give us a shout out so we can share with the rest of our subscribers.
FREE READING MATERIAL
Enjoy these free books while traveling the world, or being quarantined indoors.
If you tuned in to Tru-T on Sunday December 15, 2020 there was a segment featuring Daniel Milks from My XO Adventures. The topic was some of the recent fallout from Travelers booked with a local Sarasota Agency, as well as large Tour Operators like Thomas Cook when both companies took a tumble, leaving passengers holding their bags, quite literally. The situation was unfortunate all the way around, for the employees as well as the passengers, some of which were stranded an no way to get home.
We'd like to give you a few tips before booking your vacation with any Tour Operator, and we're included! The first thing that we feel is a major mistake is purchasing any travel using check or cash. Some operators will offer a discount to get customers to pay this way. It can save you a few dollars, but it's NOT worth it. There is no recourse if the company goes into default. Always use your credit card, and preferably one that has extra travel benefits associated with it. You'll find many cards offer certain protections just for using it to purchase the vacation.
Secondly, please wherever you travel always buy travel insurance. This not only can protect you from default, but is just plain wise to do should anything go wrong with your vacation. If you travel, you know the chances are eventually something will happen and you want that reassurance that it's all going to be ok.
Third might be obvious, but its important. Check out the ratings through companies like Trip Advisor, Facebook Ratings, and Google the Company to see comments and ratings there. Balance this however, as someone who has had a bad experience is 10x more likely to go out of their way to post it than someone who had a perfectly good experience on the same vacation. So don't stop at the first review. Asses multiple reviews and make your own determination.
Lastly, and I'll just say this. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Check out and verify the credentials of the Agent/Agency and it's always best to go with someone you know. Ask a friend or acquaintance who is in the business that runs a small operation. (We) They take less risk, but offer some of the most exciting and detailed oriented trips you'll ever go on. Remember it's about the experience of travel and the boutiques and niche travel operators are likely going to offer more interesting vacations, and at reasonable rate. We believe in supporting small business and many of us offer group sizes of 8-12 people in size. Should some unfortunate circumstance arise, a smaller group is much easier to remedy than thousands of passengers all demanding their money back.
Travel Agents are experiencing a come back In recent years, and for good reason. A good, educated agent can help create the experience of a lifetime, and if you like to book it on your own just know that you will be booking with a massive company that in the travel world is called an OTA, or online travel agent. So really what's happening here is they are utilizing you as the travel agent, unqualified and not paying you a penny. Cruise A booked with an agent costs $100 dollars. Cruise B booked with the client Costs $100. Congrats to the cruise line, they don't pay anyone in that transaction.
In most cases the Travel Agent if certified and familiar with the area of the world you will be adventuring, already knows way better than the online booking systems how to get you a better deal. In the end, you save a lot of time with an agent in the form of a professional that you pay absolutely nothing to have as an advocate for you, doing their best job in the hopes you will return.
That's all I have today for travel tips, but please email me at email@example.com for any questions as it relates to travel or our company information.
BY DANIEL MILKS
My travel experience as a profession began in 2011, and have since traveled all over the world. At this stage I've seen the good, bad and the ugly. I've guided and managed itineraries put together from those without care, or a complete lack of imagination. I've taken the terrible and used it as a learning experience in what not to do.