I'm writing to you from the past, a place that often times we wish we could go. In the present we don't have a time machine not matter, so that leaves now.... but it also leaves us a future. Our decisions today have a direct effect on the shape of our lives tomorrow and into the years ahead. Some of those future outcomes we have control of, and others are yet to be discovered. Quite a few emotions come along prior to taking the first steps. I can feel hesitation, indecisiveness, fear and doubt. At the same time and mixed in with those feelings are excitement, curiosity, wonder, eagerness, joy and happiness. It's the latter that wins the day. Always, and I don't use that word often.
As I write these words, I've just finished packing the van. With each passage through the front door and out towards the vehicle I wonder how it's all going to work out. Some of the questions I have are: Will I arrive safely? Will I learn about myself and others along the way? Will I be given opportunities to help others? Will I end up at my planned destination or is there something that could alter my course forever? What beauty lies ahead? What new relationships will be formed? Will Florida be a place I can thrive in or will it be a destination desert?
All of those questions will be answered in a relatively short period of time. I do know that throughout my feelings and questions one thing is true. It's going to be ok. It's the way things are when you apply faith in life. I've been incredibly blessed to have met Carrie and Andy Gerlach with Black Hills Adventure Tours. They are my new friends, and ones that made an extremely positive impact on my life this year. I learned, and grew, and laughed. I've been invited back, and I accepted graciously.
Helen Keller was quoted as saying "A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn." There's quite a few bends in the road ahead for me, and for all of us. I encourage you and take to heart this.... When your mind and emotions are being pulled in a direction that is not of your own making, you're likely being pulled off course. Stop, breath, remember your friends and family. Look around at the things you've been given in this life. Perhaps quite literally stop and breath the air, use your eyes and ears to acclimate yourself to the abundance and beauty that surrounds you. Look at what has been provided freely for us all to enjoy. One another, the outdoors, and the power of knowing we are all in this together, and never truly alone.
These words I'll be repeating to myself as I set off on the new leg of a journey that started in April of this year. Five months... Five months of what used to be the unknown manifested into this very moment as my fingers type the words. I am grateful. I am blessed. I have had and incredible journey. I love what I do. I will carry on. I will make plans. I hope that you will too. Thank you for reading my thoughts before I set sail. I look forward to seeing your comments along the way. Have a great day, and a great night. I'll be thinking of you, and maybe sometime our paths will cross.
I'm feeling a little bit of angst at the moment, but it's a familiar feeling. It's been a challenging year. One of letting go, being stretched to the limits, one that required change of perspective and one that brought growth. I thought at times about giving up, but it seems in those moments come the boldest ideas. I feel most uncomfortable when I don't have a solution to a problem. It eats at me, and keeps me up at nights, until I come to a realization that I just need to breath and maybe do nothing at all.
When I set out to travel back in April on Adventures Across America, I had a lot of self-doubt that came to me about 500 miles or so into the drive. I never shared that; I just didn't write about it until now. Many of you may be feeling the same thing. Each time I had to confront the fear, overcome it and then move to the next step. It brought me as far as I am now, which is on the precipice of another journey. I mean this sincerely when I say, had I not been out in nature for most of those 3 months I would have broken down, given up and thrown it the towel. Being out in some of the most beautiful places provided me time to connect and reflect. It gave me time to better understand who I am and how I fit into this world.
I miss travel the way it was, and I'm eagerly anticipating the time when it returns. In the meantime, there is a big back yard that you and I share called the U.S.A. Get out in it! You may have noticed recently friends on Facebook posting their road trips and I find it heartwarming to see people beginning to go out and have fun. Many of them are visiting National or State parks and breathing in the wide-open spaces that offer exposure and safety at the same time. There are a lot of people out there in the travel world affected by all the instability that’s going on right now, but we still have the ground under our feet. (knock on wood)
If you follow my Facebook page www.facebook.com/myxoadventures then you know I like to have fun on all my travels and can be a bit of a goofball in the process. I assure you I am a true professional but a kid at heart too! If you have any questions related on how to travel or where, please reach out. Whether it's with me, on your own or even with another company I'm happy to help with what I know. As I leave Rapid City on the 29th of September and head to Florida, I'll be stopping at approximately 68 places along the way. My newsletter timing may be a little off, so I apologize in advance. Please take care, and come along with me virtually through Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana!
Yes, there is a butt facing you in this image, but isn't there always? Let's go there.
For sure It's been a long year, for all of us. We look forward to the days beyond election time, maybe beyond the end of the year, certainly beyond a pandemic, and to happier times ahead. When you think about it, so many of those things I just listed are BIG BUTTS in our decision-making process, but they don't have to be.
As the season winds down here In South Dakota, I'm planning my route back home to Sarasota. It's the planning that's the exciting part. Hmmmm, well I haven't been to New Mexico yet, and it's been a while since my eyes have been graced by the striking colors of autumn. Colorado? Tennessee? Yup, for sure I'll be backpacking through those areas when I depart near the end of September because I'd like to make the most of my journey. In reaching Louisiana, I have a few friends that I'll visit, but also study and seek out the secrets of Zydeco, Creole, Jazz, Gumbo and the rich African American history that runs through it all. My GOD, the excitement and planning I need to do!
In that there can be anxiety, but it's the excitement that gets me off my BUTTS and on the road. Planning can be one of the best and most exiting parts of an adventure, and I hope you feel the similarly. Like Adventures Across America this month-long road trip has a few reasons. I'm educating myself, rekindling old friendships, making new friendships, and finding out ways to get you off your BUTTS in the process! This October ended up being a little too soon for many of you to travel, and I understand, BUTT I have a few new ideas in the works and a couple out now that you can explore.
First, for my Florida friends In particular there is the Key West Kerfuffle. It's caused a stir, so I think the name fits. To check out why it would be very cool to come along and stay on a luxury yacht, click here. Next is something I've always wanted to do, and thats the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! It bases out of Albuquerque at the Hyatt Regency and not only witnesses the Mass Ascension, but I also take you on day trips to intriguing places throughout New Mexico. On my way home, I'll be meeting with vendors and exploring the route myself. Two dates are available as well, check out the day by day by clicking here.
I hope your BUTT feels lighter, and more apt to start the exciting path towards planning. Next up is the Louisiana Purchase, and I can't wait to tell you all about it. In the meantime, stay safe and thank you for taking time to read the newsletter!
It's a question a lot of people want to know, and the answer can change daily. There's no doubt a lot of pent up desire to travel, but the decision process can be complicated without some guidance. Fortunately, you've made it here and I hope to bring some clarity to the question.
The first and most obvious answer is anywhere in the US, and I have to say from recent travel experience, it's much appreciated. All states are open, but ordinances can and do vary. Generally speaking, the western part of the country has seen a big uptick in domestic travel, with most arrivals by RV or air. Taking a back seat are the large 50 passenger busses that once roamed the parks like the buffalo of years past. They still operate, just not in large numbers.
Likely, your one of the many people looking to visit wide open spaces and avoid a lot of crowds, but the question is where and how? For starters try in your own backyard. Likely there are many places you haven't explored, or it's been a long time. Take a second look at what is in a 100 mile radius of your own home. If you're looking a little further, nothing beats the State and National Parks. For a list of National Parks by state visit the National Park Service website by clicking here.
My advice on National Parks Is two fold. 1.) Find out where you can get the best bang for your buck. (Utah has five that are famous) and 2.) Look for parks that are less visited, like the Badlands of South Dakota or Acadia National Park in Maine. I've fallen in love with the Southwest, so Arizona and New Mexico would be great places to visit during the winter, and are packed with parks for all kinds of sightseeing and activities. Last on the State and National Parks.... give hiking consideration and plan for it. Most of us haven't been out in nature and staying inside the car most of the time can sterilize the experience.
Now on to International trips. At the moment this is the trickiest of options, but it's not stopping some from exploring. For a list of countries that are currently open, click here. My advice is if you're desire is to travel internationally, or begin to plan for future international trips, consult with a travel professional. It won't cost you a penny more. The advice you get can be invaluable. At the moment there are so many requirements, whether it be a negative COVID test within the past 3 days, or a self quarantine upon arrival you'll need to know what each requirement entails.
What would I do If I were you? Well, travel is going to open, and I believe it's actually going to be a better experience moving ahead. Companies, like mine, have had to innovate, implement protocols and rethink travel in a brand new way. This has required, and at times forced creativity and for the well being of the traveler. What I'm seeing most is what I call "bubble groups", which are friends or family that travel together on a private trip. These trips tend to be more costly to operate, and therefore more expensive to the consumer, but they provide not only a better experience but also give peace of mind. Who really wants to do the 50 passenger bus tour now anyway? Not me.
If you'd like to see the tours we offer that can be customized and private check out our USA and Day Trips on our web page: www.myxoadventures.com . What you'll find here might surprise you. You'll see private trips with quite a few inclusions at about half the price of the big boys. Remember, the outdoors provides places and experiences that feed the soul, and heal the mind. It's ok to travel right now, just be responsible and use common sense!
It's time to start living, so let's make plans together. If you've been dreaming about traveling safely, and having a great time doing it, let me tell you how to do it and not break the bank. First, now is a great time to travel and deals can be had with the airlines. Not only that, but never in their existence have the operated in such a clean and pristine way. Are you a germaphobe? I can be too, and I've literally researched and watched the ways they clean the planes and it's impressive.
Second, you're wondering what you can do that's amazing. I can help with that. I've visited, and now created a new getaway that's called "Unrivaled Utah". In it we visit Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Kodachrome State Park, Kanab, Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyons with included UTV tour (that's me doing it above), Vermillion Cliffs and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We move only once, from an airport hotel in Vegas to Mount Carmel Junction which serves as our base. We see the million dollar highway in Utah, by far the most amazing road trip I've done in all of North America. Not only that, but we have guides, audio narrations as we travel, the choice to stop anywhere outdoors for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Not only that, but Its all done In myXOadventures.com 15 passenger van. On this journey I bring an Ozone machine, which Is left running in the van each evening for 30 minutes to any living thing. In addition, it gets sprayed with a non-toxic 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution on every surface. THEN, there is a Hepa Filter running in the van at all times. Trust me, it's safe, but if you want to be in a blow up bubble too I can arrange that for an additional charge. You just have to sign a waiver for me to be able to take photographs and post the pictures anywhere I want! :)
Seriously, lets go. Give yourself a mental break, get out there safely and enjoy yourself doing it. I'll make it a great experience, and you might make a friend or two. Lastly, if you want this to be a private event, all you have to do it let me know, and the van is yours to travel with whom you choose. Just contact me with your request at: [email protected]
Don't just survive, LIVE!
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 [email protected] 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! [email protected]
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.