Top 25 Songs

Flogging Molly 2011 at Mandalay Bay

I know this is a travel blog, but music is a big part of travel to me. Most of the songs below remind me of a specific vacation or Road Trip.

Click Here to see photos from my 2010 Concerts!

  1. Depeche Mode – Somebody Click Here (The only song I can play on the piano)
  2. Sheryl Crow – Strong Enough Click Here
  3. Mindy Smith – One Moment More Click Here
  4. Zac Brown Band – FREE Click Here (My personal theme song)
  5. Nickelback – Savin Me Click Here
  6. Flogging Molly – If I Ever Leave This World Alive Click Here
  7. Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are Click Here
  8. Mumford and Suns – Little Lion Man Click Here
  9. Bryan Adams – Everything I Do Click Here
  10. Alanis Morisette – Ironic Click Here
  11. Kid Rock – All Summer Long Click Here
  12. Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You  Click Here
  13. Kenny Chesney – Better as a Memory Click Here
  14. Avril Lavigne – When You’re Gone Click Here
  15. Bob Marley – Redemption Song Click Here
  16. Xavier Rudd – My Missing Click Here
  17. Boyz II Men – End of the Road Click Here
  18. Amos Lee – Arms of a Woman Click Here
  19. Pink – F*** Perfect Click Here
  20. Eminem & Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie Click Here
  21. Donavon Frankenreiter – It Don’t Matter Click Here
  22. Eminem – Not Afraid Click Here
  23. Joshua James – Mother Mary Click Here
  24. The Civil Wars – Poison and Wine Click Here
  25. Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts Click Here (Its sad when my 7 year old son knows all the words to this song.)
  26. BONUS: Stephanie Mabey (Smith) – Fragile Sometimes Click Here

My Bucket List

1)      Visit Sydney, Australia

2)      Visit Scotland

3)      Visit the North Island of New Zealand

4)      Visit Costa Rica

5)      Humanitarian project in South Africa

6)      Ride a double black diamond

7)      Run a marathon

8)      Run a triathlon

9)      Ride in the MS150

10)   Run the Wasatch Back Relay

11)   Make sure Aidan gets his college degree

12)   Pay off a home/condo

13)   Take 3 months off to travel through Europe

14)   Walk along the Great Wall of China

15)   Get Scuba Certified

16)   Take an Alaskan Cruise

17)   Play a round of golf

18)   Run a 5k with Aidan

19)   Quit drinking caffeine (energy drinks) for a year

20)   Spend an entire night watching a meteor shower


11-Day New

I just returned from the most amazing trip of my life. I visited the South Island of New Zealand for 11 days on a Contiki All-Ages Travel Agent FAM Trip. It was life changing and the most beautiful country I’ve ever been to. New Zealand is the Worlds Adventure Capital of the World. The scenery is breathtaking. The excursions are heart-stopping excitement. The people are unbelievably friendly and the accents are adorable. I kept asking the locals to read the menu for me just so I could hear them speak. :) (Thanks Kev)

I went on the Contiki Scenic Southern (Anti-clockwise) 11-Day Tour. You can CLICK HERE to see the exact itinerary. My photos are not in order. I had to start with the most exciting!

I took over 1100 pictures, and here are just a few of my favorites.

Only 29 hours in the airport.
At the time I didn’t realize it would be worth every minute.
(Salt Lake to LA to Auckland to Christchurch)
Can’t believe I am actually going to sky dive in New Zealand
Here I am with my tandem master Chris from NZone in Queenstown 

Holy ……

YA!!!!!!!!

Landing is the hard part! :)

Okay…let’s do that again!

Diana and I about to jump at AJ Hackets Kaurau Bridge near Queenstown

First commercial bungy jump in the world
43 Meters (151 ft I think) 



I don’t even look nervous!
However, I’m completely shaking and can’t breathe.

Super Woman!

Okay…I think I’m going to hang here for a while.

That was awesome!!!!!

Hanging out at Minus 5
Ice Bar in Queenstown where its -8 degrees Celsius
$27 to get in
Holds about 20 people
$12 per drink 

Even the cups are made of ice and are broken when you exit.
Gotta see at least one Haka Dance
This is the Haka Kiwi at the Skyline Restaurant
Top of the TRAM in Queenstown 

We even got a chance to learn a little of the Maori dancing.
View from the top of the Skyline TRAM in Queenstown

We spent the night on the Milford Wanderer

Middle of the Milford Sound

63 Passenger ships


The Gang
JT’s face makes me smile in this shot!

Melissa and I going kayaking in the Milford Sound
Yeah, we’re nuts.

Yeah, I’m surrounded by snow capped mountains. So??

I’m wearing a cap.

Okay….we thought kayaking was crazy!
Casey taking a dip… 

Hanging out on the boat playing Rummy with back-packers from around the world.

Sitting next to Nick from the U.K.
Can you tell I’ve had a long day? :) 

Quad Occupancy Never Looked so GOOD!

8 AM Rise and Shine
The hunt for Penguins, Dolphins, and Seals begins.



Fjordland Crested Penguins

Milford Sound is amazing!! Very memorable and a MUST DO!

Selecting Jade, and avoiding the Jade Carvers
Jade needs to be gifted. Thanks Melissa! 

My roomie Jen and I wearing our Jade. :)

New Zealand Traffic Jam

Glacier Pool at the base of Fox Glacier

800 Steps leading up to Fox Glacier
1/2 Day Hike
Matt our Fox Glacier Guide
1/2 Way Point to Fox Glacier

Queen of Fox Glacier



The gang on top of Fox Glacier 

Lake Hawea Lookout

Santino and I at Lake Hawea Lookout

Our only view of the New Zealand Coastline in 11-days
Who needs the ocean when you’ve got crystal blue lakes?
View of the Remarkable Mountains from the Aspen Hotel.
Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
Entrance to Skipper’s Pass
Site of scenes from Lord of the Rings Films 

View from the Aspen Hotel

Shotover River Bridge
YA!! We are in New Zealand!
Waterfall along the side of the road.
The scenery just driving from point to point was breathtaking! 

Air Safari’s of New Zealand
Most photographed church in New Zealand

Lake Tekapo

Bridge of Remembrance for those New Zealanders that died on 9/11

Christchurch Cathedral in Christchurch


Okay….who is joining me on my next trip to New Zealand? Email me at aochoa@morrismurdock.com if you are interested in New Zealand in November of 2010.

Looking for my next adventure.

Safe Travels!
Amy


Fall Getaway to Philadelphia

I had the chance to spend 2 nights in Philly over the weekend, and what a beautiful weekend it was! A friend called me from Philly the day before I arrived and told me to dress warm because it was raining and cold. Well, 24 hours later and by the time I arrived, there was nothing but sunshine and more sunshine. Philly in October is the perfect time to visit. The trees were changing colors, and the weather was a perfect 70 degrees.

I was in town for a conference, so I was limited to only a few hours for site seeing, but I hit some highlights, and now I’m ready to go back for more next year.

I stayed at the Lowes Philadelphia, which was on 1200 Market Street in downtown Philly. It was a great location for site seeing to Independence National Historical Park, which was only about 4 blocks away. I was also able to eat the perfect Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich at Jim’s Steak on 4th and South Street. ($8)

Standard Room at the Lowes Philadelphia

View from my room (1012)

Buggy Ride in front of Independence Hall

Liberty Bell Tower
Located behind Independence Hall
(Free Tours Available)

The Declaration of Independence was signed in the building at the far left. (white door)

“Barry”
Statue of Commodore John Barry, the man who created the US Navy.

Liberty Bell
Much smaller than I imagined.
(Free Tours)

Jim’s Steak
4th and South Street
Make sure to order it with provolone instead of cheese whiz. Yummy!!!!
They are about $8 ea, and they do NOT accept credit cards.

Yes, that’s me sitting on the 2nd floor and over looking the 4th street shopping area.

Safe Travels,
Amy
PS. Next up is New Zealand…check back soon!


Headed to Philly

I’m headed to Philly tomorrow. I’ve never been, so I’m excited to visit a new city and check-out all the sites. So, far I’ve been told to run the stairs like Rocky, try a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, and visit the Liberty Bell. I’ll upload pics as soon as I get back.

Safe Travels!


The Canyons

My family has a condo at the Canyons Resort in Park City, UT. Though Park City is only a 30 minute drive from home, its the perfect family staycation!!

My favorite pics…


Bermuda

A friend of mine just sent me this great info on Bermuda that I wanted to share with everyone.

TRIP TO BERMUDA

I just returned from a fabulous trip to Bermuda and was there for two days to attend a wedding. It was a thrill to experience this very unique destination and even more thrilling to have this as a brand new destination to talk about! I boarded the plane thinking this would be similar to a Bahamian island trip…not so! This very UPSCALE destination and has lots to offer. It will be very important to sell this as a HUGE value for guests as this is a wildly expensive island to holiday on. The largest selling point VALUE VALUE VALUE! The option to use our ship as a hotel will be amazing for clients as they can stroll off the ship and be in downtown Hamilton or St George to shop and enjoy the nightlife if they choose. Scooter rentals are available right at the pier (would only recommend to the brave hearts of the group…this is a VERY hazardous activity…sounds romantic and fun, but the roads are treacherously winding and BUSY!) and deep sea fishing, golf excursions and city tours are easy to arrange. St. George is the seat of Bermuda history this island is 400 years old this year with lots of great celebrations going on … a wonderful historic and architecturally great old city. Great site seeing with the old forts and churches steeped in history!

A few things to know….



CURRENCY / MONEY

Bermudian $$ is on par with the USD if you leave the island with Bermudian money, it is not accepted anywhere and will not be exchanged at most banks you can use USD anywhere and it is a better bargaining tool for shopping.

Leave half your clothes and bring lots more money with you breakfast at our hotel was an average of $50 60 USD, dinner was easily $150.00 without going crazy on wine.


Our passengers will be in a great position to be able to eat on board and avoid the high cost of imported EVERYTHING.

THINGS TO DO



Golf

MUST be pre arranged courses are absolutely the most scenic and pristine I have seen! All of them run along the ocean and are beautiful…any golf groups will be amazed at the quality and consistency of these courses. Golf groups will know to pre book and having the 3 days in Bermuda gives ample opportunity for tournaments.



Water sports

Should also be booked early Jet skiing is very popular, but you are on a guided tour with an escort and are not free to Jet Ski on your own in the ocean!



Deep Sea fishing and Diving

Amazing here water is crystal clear and clean again, bring your money belt….



BEACHES

Best part of the island!!! CLEAN and powdery soft sand pink sand is not everywhere only a few beaches have the pink overtone from the coral, but they are all magnificent sunning and swimming…the undertow is strong not good for little ones on all beaches.


FOOD AND DRINK

Excellent food very British in style with the Moroccan/East Med overtones - great seafood and better pub food! Spotlessly clean everywhere no vendors on land or even beach to sell you anything! Drinks are expensive local fun drink is DARK AND STORMY….spiced rum with ginger beer!


*Reservations MUST be made at any good restaurant they are all small and not easy to get into for evenings.


I found the entire Colonial atmosphere of Bermuda lovely and it was like stepping back in time with the locals in their pink shorts and formal attire for business! This is a fairly “serious” island lots of banking/insurance types walking around due to the t ax havens here. There is no gambling anywhere and it is very traditional in all respects. Very British “colony” feeling with a touch of stuffiness…just perfect for our guests! They will be safe as there is very little crime here, especially towards tourists. IT is almost a corporate feel to the island and tourism is a necessity….not their first thought!


The locals are very happy that HAL is returning they are all very aware of who is “from the outside” and who is staying….the protectionism of their island is very apparent and has done very well for them. There are very proud of being BERMUDIAN…an elite group for certain!


For many years I have had agents and consumers ask me if they can cruise to an island, stay for a day or two and then sail again…we are finally offering this and I will be telling agents the great opportunity for them to have our product to sell this way! The other cruise lines are docked SO far away and their clients have to deal with water taxis (huge waste of time on VERY choppy waters). They will absolutely NOT have the same experience as we will offer them!


Weirdest Travel Agent Requests

I just found this article in Travel+Leisure. It made me laugh because these requests are a little far fetched, but similar things have happened to me. :)

“From finding rabbi-impersonating Elvis impersonators to arranging air-conditioned camping in the Sahara—here are some of the crazy things travelers ask of travel agents.”

From Travel+Leisure April 2009

By Joshua Pramis
Traveling to Chihuahua, Mexico is a perfectly common request for a travel agent. Traveling with one’s Chihuahua? That’s easy, too. But taking the Chihuahua to Chihuahua, Mexico so he can “discover his roots”?

More

Carnival’s Splendor of the Seas Inaugural


Mariner of the Seas – RCCL

I just got back from a 2-day cruise to no where. The ship was Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. This was my first time on Royal Caribbean and I was very pleased with the ship. Perfect for the 29-54 age group. The goal was to show 7-days worth of entertainment in 2 days. I saw the Ice Show, which was full of very talented skaters. I also enjoyed watching other people climb the Rock Wall, while I played hoops below. My favorite part was sitting with friends on the Promenade in bars like Wigs and Gavels where we had great live entertainment throughout the night. The best food I’ve ever had on a cruise ship was in the specialty restaurant “Chops.” It was just like Ruth Chris Steakhouse. Yum!

Main Pool
Leaving the San Pedro Pier

Balcony view of the side of the ship.
Ice Skating Rink
The skaters were VERY impressive!

My co-worker Ray and I in the main dining room.
I’m covering a stain on his shoulder.

The adult pool

Irish Pub on the promenade

70’s Dance Party on the promenade

Poolside entertainment

Mini-Golf

Rock-Climbing Wall

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