As I find out more and more about the Black Hills of South Dakota, I find that there's always more to know! Truly, it's a beautiful place to be, and has a rich history of Native American culture, Settlers, the Wild West, stunning natural wonders and memorials. I've done a fair amount of reading out here, with The Journey of Crazy horse being my favorite. Next up is the The Sioux and it looks like its going to turn out to be a great read.
I have to say I've enjoyed the wide open spaces out here, and the blossoming relationship with Black Hills Adventure Tours
It's true, even in challenging times, if you're able to let go and open yourself up to the opportunities to present themselves, its guaranteed they will. GUARANTEED! I've been broken, bent, put over the coals, frustrated and more, but I always kept my eye on what felt right, and what I've always wanted. I had to change, and I could do it kicking and screaming, or I could do it with gratitude. I don't mean to say it was easy, or even complete, but it was one hell of a ride that by in large part I relished in.
I can say that myXOadventures.com has gone through the first set of growing pains, and is ready for the next chapter, which starts in one of the most beautiful parts of OUR country, the Black Hills and Badlands. Pictured above, Carrie (I say an accidental friend) and I stand at an overlook on Sheep Mountain Table Overlook. We've become great friends, and I'll be out in the area through the end of September this year guiding for her company. It's a great opportunity to learn, grow, broaden my perspective and do what I love. All of this happened because of faith, and flying in the face of fear, worry and anxiety of taking a leap that seemed insane at the time. Friendships are invaluable.
On the business side of things, I've begun to update the website. Here's what you can expect. I've loaded individual tours that I'm able to personally guide you on, and will be loading different packages based on experience level and price. You'll see that shortly. I highly encourage you to get out, see what you can in a safe environment and live. Live life like there is no tomorrow. I'll be ready for you. I am ready for you today!
Lastly, we're going to do this safely. This is on everyones mind so lets talk about it. Each tour will be handled in the following way:
1.) You will receive a complimentary mask.
2.) The vehicle will be treated with an Ozone machine 12 hours prior to the tour. All tours are private, none will be with the public or anyone you don't know. After safely ozonating the vehicle, it will be treated with CleanzoZone, a non-toxic solution containing hydrogen peroxide. These methods are proven to kill viruses, mold spores and bacteria. You will literally be on the cleanest tour you've ever been on!
3.) Activities will be based on your comfort zone and avoiding crowds as much as possible.
4.) Outdoors, fun and education will be the focus.
5.) All activity levels will be offered. If you want to push your limits, I've got you covered. If you want to relax more, I have what you need.
Flights are cheap and life Is short. Reach out to me with when you are able to come, and we'll make this happen!
What do you think of when you think of Idaho? Potatoes right? Maybe for some of you the answer is no, but that was my silly preconceived notion before arriving in this state. Yes, quite a bit of Southern Idaho is comprised of potato agriculture and I did stop at the potato museum to learn, but also to enjoy some huckleberry potato ice cream. It was fabulous. This was all on my way to Twin Falls before heading north to Boise, the Lewis and Clark AVA and eventually Wallace Idaho, where I met the only Prime Minister of the United States.
I spent quite a bit of time in Idaho, because I found it quite special. It surprised me at every turn. Twin Falls was outstanding and utterly beautiful, the Lewis and Clark Valley Vineyards were bursting with color and of people enjoying themselves over a fine wine. Awards have been given out to wine makers in this area and they absolutely deserve it, having worked hard and employing the passion within themselves to get to this point. After leaving Lewis and Clark, I headed north through Cor 'd Lane, which I would have spent more time in, however it was packed due to entering a new phase statewide. This is a popular (and rightly so) area for Idahoans as it is picture perfect, neatly landscaped, quaint, surrounded by lakes and rivers as well as all the necessities one might need.
My final stop in Idaho was perhaps my biggest surprise. Wallace. An old mining town known for its silver industry, miners and bordellos. These residents have been through fires, the federal government, and all kinds of resistance to keep the town alive, and I, for one am happy they did. It is the quintessential small town, clean streets, original building signage and authentic feel. Everyone waves at each other and are kind in nature. They like to live and let live, and the town is situated near resorts, the best hiking and biking in the area including the Hiawatha Trail, which is world class and goes through multiple tunnels of the old Milwaukee Railroad that has now been preserved for future generations. Amazing, and I will be back. There is a trip in the works to this part of the country for 2021 for bikers and hikers, and I'm going to be right there, God willing.
If you haven't been following please do at www.facebook.com/myxoadventures to see where I'm going to next and support me along the journey by liking the page. I hope to make new relationships, freely promote businesses that need it and learn quite a bit in the process. Stay safe and be well! Next is the West Coast and there will be lots to show along the way.
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....
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.