19 Jan 2010, 12:26pm
Podcasts Travel:
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Laughing All The Way: Humor and Travel

A smile is the shortest distance between two people.    —Victor Borga

Karyn Ruth White:  Motivational Comedian/Author and Twenty Year Road Warrior

Karyn Ruth White: Motivational Comedian/Author and Twenty Year Road Warrior

Motivational Comedian/Author and twenty-year Road Warrior Karyn Ruth White shared the above quote with me in a recent Travel Fun interview.  I met Karyn Ruth in November when she gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association.  She had all those hospitality folks in stitches and I’m sure she’ll have you laughing all the way when you hit the play button below.

“Humor allows you to see your world in a much more postitive, enthusiastic way,” Karyn Ruth says.  She emphasizes how humor can be a valuable tool in dealing with all kinds of situations.

Karyn Ruth encourages everyone to pack their sense of humor with them on their travels and to make a conscious decision that your journey is going to be fun.  Think about what attitude you’re taking on your trip and see how that effects your travels.  Just look around airports to see how many people are smiling.  “How we travel is a great metaphor for how we live our lives,” she says.  “If you watch someone in the airport it sums up how they live their lives.”

When was the last time you really expressed enthusiasm about traveling?  Do you remember how it was for you as a kid?  I can recall the night before the first time I was to take the train to New York City when I was about eight.  I couldn’t sleep all night!  And that wasn’t about stress—it was due to excitement.

Karyn Ruth points out that we are presented with humor opportunities every day at home and away. Her book, “Your Seventh Sense:  How to Think Like a Comedian,” helps people to see the world in a funnier way. “Life is hysterical if you’re looking for the hilarity,” she says.

Karyn Ruth White Suggests You Ask Yourself the Following Questions on Your Travels, Especially in Stressful Situations

-Can I find anything to laugh about?

-Am I going to let this ruin my day?

-Would this be funny if it were happening to someone else?

24 Jun 2010, 4:53pm
Art & Culture Food & Wine Hotels & Lodging Telluride The Rockies Travel:
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Come to Colorado for Cowboys and Way More

A Quintessential Summer Festival Scene in T-ride's Town Park

T-ride's Town Park: the Quintessential Summer Festival Setting

Summer has popped here in Colorado propelling the season into a solid start. I wrote over a month ago in a previous post about how I attended two major tourism industry events last fall: one for France, one for Colorado. The mood at both gatherings was one of cautious optimism, although I’m sure the French nervosité about their tourism outlook was partly masked by the generous amounts of wine served throughout their program. It seems as though travel to these two fabulous destinations is shaping up nicely, perhaps even better than the travel industry experts might have hoped last fall.

I had a chance to schmooze with many of the movers and shakers from the Colorado travel world at the annual conference of the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) last November which took place at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, our Rocky Mountain state’s premiere property. As with French Affairs ’09, I only attended the social events of this meeting, get-togethers—both casual and high-brow (yes, even in Colorado)—that allowed many opportunities for networking and idea sharing among some of the top hoteliers in the state. I had just returned from the French travel industry event in New York City, so my desire to draw comparisons was sharper than ever. (If you’ve read this blog some, you know that France and Colorado are often my two frames of references, odd as that may seem!) Resulting verdict: the Coloradans’ professionalism—along with the food and wine they serve at their travel industry events—rivals the level of excellence associated with French hospitality.

Better yet, the notion of friendly service seemed to be emphasized even more at the CHLA event. Perhaps that was largely due to the fact that Karyn Ruth White, motivational comedian/author, kicked off the conference with a stand up routine, entitled Laughing in the Face of Stress for Service Professionals. She delivered a very funny, very real look at the pressures, demands and frustrations that come with working in the customer service field. Karyn Ruth emphasizes the importance of “humortunities,” opportunities for injecting humor into stressful and unpleasant situations. We shuffled off to the Wild, Wild West reception, chuckling about the often craziness of travel and how we—as both travelers and travel professionals—would fare better if we approached certain happenings and encounters with more levity.

I think I’ll try some of Karyn Ruth’s recommendations on the French next time I travel to Paris or the provinces. There must be a clever way of laughing off “Ce n’est pas possible, madame.” Listen to the podcast of an interview I did with Karyn Ruth for lots of laughs.

Here in Telluride, we’re in full festival mode. Like most of the other Rocky Mountain towns, festivals dominate our summer scene. But in T-ride, we’re king of the festivals, many of which have been taking place for well over three decades. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival drew near record-breaking numbers last weekend, ringing in the beginning of summer with four days of extraordinary music, good fun and irrepressible sunshine. This weekend it’s Telluride Wine Festival’s turn, then the Plein Air Festivals in Telluride and Aspen are up.  And the happy beat goes on—as throughout most of Colorado—all the way until the end of September.

No wonder so many people come here to vacation in the summer. And you might have thought we’re just all about cowboys, hikers and hippies. Thankfully we have them, too, but we also have a culture and sophistication that rivals most European destinations.

This is actually a good part of the reason I live here.

Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, ColoradoLodging.com; contact them to receive your complimentary copy of the Summer Vacation Planner.

Thank you to Merrick Chase, from Telluride Photography, for the photos that accompany this story.  You can purchase images of Colorado and more from Merrick’s site, TelluridePhotography.net.

A Sultry Summer Scene in Colorado

A Sultry Summer Scene in Colorado

Going to Gateway

Red Rock Grandeur

Red Rock Grandeur

“Now why did you say you wanted to come here again?”  I asked my friend, Paula, as we stopped in this middle-of-nowhere place called Paradox, squinting beneath the beating sun in search of a gas station, a store or some other significant sign of life.  My head pounded fiercely by now and both our car and I were positively parched.  

“I wanted to take some pictures of Paradox Valley, you know for that contest I told you about, the one to raise awareness about possible uranium mining in the area,” Paula replied as she drove across verdant plains framed by cliffs the color of buff, sandstone and ochre.  This contrasting display of nature must be the paradox, I blithely thought to myself as my head throbbed and we rolled through this shadow of a town, Paula clicking her camera like a sniper in a passing S.U.V.

We realized by now that there was no easy way to cleave our way through these rocky walls to Gateway, our ultimate destination, normally just a two-hour plus drive northwest of Telluride.  Our detour to Paradox had proved scenic enough, but now we needed to speed up our travels.  We had no choice than to turn around and drive back to Bedrock, the little speck we passed through on our way to Paradox Valley.  

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20 Oct 2008, 4:09pm
Colorado Mountain Living Telluride The Rockies:
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Fall in Telluride: Riding the Gondola

Me Sightseeing on the Gondola

Me Sightseeing on the Gondola

Boy, am I glad to be back!  I’ve survived my technical difficulties and will try to catch up with my blog postings this week.  (Give me a plume and a few sheets of parchment any day!)

If you think I appear somewhat like a Bond girl in the photo on the left, it’s because I’m riding the gondola that connects Telluride to Mountain Village.  Yeah, I thought I’d go for more of a slick Europhile look here since a lot of people conjure up hair-raising scenes from a 007 flick when they first ride our gondola.  Two systems builders, one from Salt Lake City, the other from Switzerland (not surprisingly!) collaborated to create this fine example of modern technology, a veritable air-born shuttle that spans three miles as it sails above the slopes at treetop height. A super green transportation choice that operates the better part of the year on wind-powered electricity, the gondola has greatly minimized the amount of air and noise pollution in Telluride while keeping vehicular traffic at a minimum.  It always promises an exciting ride as well as safe delivery to the next station.  Visions of heart-racing adventures become dashed when you learn that in the twelve years of its existence, only one evacuation was required and that was on the intercept gondola, the four-minute spit that goes between the core of Mountain Village to the parking area.  (Rescuers do, however, regularly train for such missions, just in case.) 

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9 Jan 2017, 9:31am

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Travel Fun

KOTOI’d like to think I take people to many wondrous places on Travel Fun, my talk radio show on travel, which airs bimonthly in and around Telluride, Colorado on KOTO and on the Internet at the time of the broadcast. (Once at koto.org, click on Listen.) My slot is Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. mountain time, so be sure to tune in then. I’ll try to pre-announce my guests as much as possible either on this page, on the air or in my Travel Fun announcements that are sent out just before t he show.  

Go to my Contact/Subscriptions page to sign up to receive my Travel Fun announcement/newsletter. If you’re not able to tune in, you’ll be able to read Travel Fun stories in my blog. I have some great guests since there are so many interesting people living in and passing through T-ride. I also conduct a number of interviews over the phone. Past guests have included Pico Iyer, Ken BurnsJohn McPherson, Tim Cahill, Graham WatsonMartha McPheeBobbi Brown, Kate BettsMariel Hemingway and many more fascinating people.

My next Travel Fun, my half-hour talk radio show on KOTO Telluride, airs, Thursday, January 11, at 6:30 pm in Telluride, Colorado and within the outlying area and on the internet. It will be a rebroadcast of Laughing All the Way:  Humor and Travel. What a great way to kick off the new year!

Many of my other Travel Fun interviews are also posted on my blog as podcasts.

KOTO is a local NPR station and one of the few entirely community supported radio stations in the country. Please consider making a contribution to KOTO so that we can keep community radio alive and well in America. That’s also a way of showing your support for Travel Fun!  Please e-mail me from my Contacts Page with your donation.

Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom

Mom and I Shopping in Vermont

Since 1895: Shaw’s General Store

Vermont Country Road

Mom at Stowe Mercantile

My how I’ve been blessed with being back East this fall. The weather has been glorious throughout upstate New York and New England. (I think it has actually been pretty beautiful along the whole East Coast with the exception of down south.) We’ve been experiencing true Indian summer weather–East Indian, in fact, with some days hitting temps as high as 90 degrees!

The annual autumnal festival of colors with regard to leaf peeping has started late this year. (The abundance of jewel-toned mums, however, rates among one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. I we don’t have such a display in Colorado.) A brilliant kaleidoscope of fall colors is just now emerging in many parts of the Northeast.

Designer Mum

Magnificent Mums

This fall is not likely to rank among the most spectacular, since many of the maple trees have been stricken with a fungus that has made their foliage look blah. Plus, we have not yet had enough chilly nights to force the color to change into eye-popping hues of red, orange and gold. But isn’t fall always beautiful? I think so. For me, it has already been memorable.

Brick-Toned Beauty Before the Leaves Even Change

Ready for Winter at Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm

That’s because two weeks ago mom and I headed out for a road trip to Vermont. It was just a two-night stay, however, we packed a lot in. My mother and I have always traveled a good amount together but this was the first real getaway of its kind in two years. There’s no doubt that as you grow older, home offers greater appeal and traveling seems like more of a chore.

Still, mom rose to the occasion and off to Vermont we went. We beat the path that we had tamped down–heading northeast out Route 7 from Troy, New York–for many years throughout our lives. This time, however, we were venturing far beyond our usual destinations of Bennington, Arlington and Manchester, Vermont. This time we were headed way up. Three-and-a-half-hours up.

“I always wanted to go to Stowe,” mom told me as I navigated the sinewy roads of the Green Mountain state, by then dashing along Route 100 past Rutland. (Yes, mom thought I was going too fast around the innumerable bends in the road.)

Pumpkin Potpourri at Cold Hollow Cider Mill

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

“Yes, I wanted your father to take us all there on a ski trip.”

“Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard that,” I said. I remember the very first time I skied. I had a terrible time. It was so cold and the equipment felt so heavy. But I remember the lodge and the whole ambiance. I just loved the cozy scene in Vermont. I think it was during a New Year’s holiday. I think I was about five–is that right, mom?”

Stowe and Skiing Go Together Like Rolling Hills and Vermont

And so we prattled on, trading thoughts and memories about what we loved so much about Vermont.

Salt and Pepper Shakers from Stowe Mercantile

In truth, most of our mother/daughter escapes to Vermont revolved around day trips. We’d leave early in the day, enjoy the scenic drive, have lunch in a country inn and then poke about in quaint shops. We’d return with the car loaded with goods and goodies, a mostly made-in-Vermont haul that we’d have to sneak in to keep out of sight from “the boys” and my father (six fellas in all). It was female bonding at its best. Sure, we’d share cider and syrup with them but many of our treasures were stashed away in order to avoid looking like spendthrifts.

In truth, we didn’t buy a whole lot, mostly wool sweaters, candles and knickknacks. It was how and where we bought everything that had the most significance for mom and me. It was out of these forays to Vermont country stores that my love for shopping and touring in authentic places was born. So many of these bastions of tradition and charm spoke to me, so much so that I could hardly tolerate shopping and browsing in department stores or other big, impersonal retail outlets the rest of the time.

Little did I know that these excursions would plant the seeds for me to found Chic Promenade, a Paris shopping service where I organized visits behind-the-scenes at the big names as well as tours to the off-the-beaten-path boutiques of the French capital. I later went on to write three guidebooks on Paris and one on the French provinces. (Read about The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces as well as my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France at Maribeth’s Books.)

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Starting the Year Off Right: Taking Care from Head to Toe

One of My New Year's Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

One of My New Year’s Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

Phew, these have been the busiest mid-winter weeks of any ski season I’ve experienced. As I wrote in my story, January 2017: One of the Snowiest on Record for Colorado, the snow totals from the past month have been ridiculous! The fluffy white stuff just kept coming down.

And Telluride Ski Resort has remained busy–at least by our standards. But don’t worry, lift lines are still a rarity. There were surely a few records broken during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, characteristically our busiest week of the season. I know that private ski lessons sold out during that period and I was grateful to have been blessed with some lovely clients. It was rewarding to see that I helped them to improve their turns and, of course, we had lots of fun and good chats, too. (Take that as a heads up in case you want to book a private lesson in Telluride during the upcoming busy vacation weeks.)

It looks like the days of a January lull are over. In addition to Americans, more and more international skiers have discovered Telluride. I had a Russian lady and a Brazilian in my class the other day and then offered some assistance to Chinese people looking for directions as I left the mountain. No sir, Telluride is no longer a best-kept secret.

As usual, after the holiday rush, resort workers were falling ill like clumps of snow off the pines on a sunny day, however, I have not been slammed with sickness this year. I have been weakened these past weeks but have fortunately been winning the battle. So instead of keeping up with my writer’s life, I’ve been focused on catching up on my rest and taking care of my body when not on the mountain.

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Going Forth with Fabulousness

Mom and Me Faking It Until We Make It

Mom and Me Faking It Until We Make It

I’m back. Or at least I hope so. This is by far the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started Bonjour Colorado in 2008. Even throughout the craziness of working as a ski instructor at Telluride Ski Resort during epic snow years, I’ve never let so much time pass without being in touch. But I can’t begin to explain how upended my life has been these past months.

I never imagined that the death of one parent might trigger a whole series of events that would make my brain feel like mush. Honestly. (The six months leading up to this life-changing event were extremely stress inducing, however, the last few months have been mind numbing.)

I’ve barely been able to keep up with emails let alone string two sentences together for a story. I had a deadline for Forbes Travel a few weeks ago that I just kept putting off. I’ve never blown off deadlines like that but I felt like I couldn’t compose a proper sentence. Finally, I forced myself to sit down and commit to the act of writing. What first sounded like an instruction manual ended up reading with more of a flourish after an hour of tweaking, so that experience helped me to regain confidence in myself as someone that has not become totally unhinged.

From that point on, I swore I would write at least a couple of hours every day. It has been a couple of weeks and I’m just sitting down now to jot off a few lines. So much for deadlines and goals.

What have I been doing? Well, I guess the best response is I’ve been juggling a ton of physical, emotional and mental clutter. I’ve been seeking some kind of normalcy, some kind of routine while everything around me has been shifting and transforming like an iceberg in the Arctic during the month of July.

My father passed away in March and since then, there has been an endless series of to-dos, none of which have had much to do with my own work. I spent a sweet period of mourning this spring with my mother in upstate New York, during which time we started to adjust to the idea of Dad no longer being around while writing thank you notes to the many people that sent flowers, goodies, donations and mass cards. I also accompanied Mom to a lot of her doctors’ appointments and attempted to gain better knowledge of what was happening in her world.

Then as if my father was upstairs pulling strings, we learned that there was a serious offer on our house at Lake George in the Adirondacks. After having been on the market for almost five years, it seemed as though it was now time to sell. Well, you know what they say about death and moving.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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