Don’t Forget the Post Card

So before the days of email and instantaneous conversations how did people communicate with others when they were on vacation?  Well you can go to pretty much any gift shop at an major resort, attraction, and even a local zoo and find the answer.  Tucked away in a back corner (or on rare occasions directly up front) will be a spinning rack filled to the brim with 5×8 cards.  Each one of those cards will have a picture adorned on the front displaying some unique or exciting aspect of the place you’re visiting.  On the back will be the vertical line splitting it in half.  One side for the message and the other for the address and postage.  It’s a post card.  While not at all practical I think it would be uniquely fun and interesting to have people advertise my blog by using post cards.

How could it be done?  A simple way of doing it would be to send a post card for no reason at all to a friend.  It’d be a marketing gimmick.  Imagine your friend opening a piece of mail, wondering why you didn’t just text them.  They see it’s a post card and get excited. Until they flip it over and find out  it’s just an advertisement for some random travel blog.


Image result for post card


Travel Here, Travel There, Travel Everywhere

Travel is a very hot topic among our generation.  Everyone I know wants to travel at least a little bit.  Not everyone wants to do international, but they at least want to see different parts of the US.  It’s honestly gotten to the point where I’m more surprised by people who haven’t or don’t want to travel when I meet them.  I’m not saying it’s good or bad one way or the other; everyone has their own preferences and likes.  But because of the popularity of it there is an abundance of travel themed blogs and social media pages.

In some ways mine is very similar and in others it is different.  The obvious difference is that in the majority of blogs I saw about travel (shout out to those of you who started following me)  they are still travelling and their experiences are raw and happening as they blog about it.  This is great because you get to experience it with them and it’s almost like you’re in the moment as well (even if you’re reading it from your bedroom).

Mine is from a viewpoint of a few years removed from having been to most of these places.  So I’ve had time to really reflect on the experiences I had in each of them and I can talk more about the things I learned by travelling as opposed to just the fun I had while doing it.  It’s nice because it gives viewers/readers an option and different perspectives of places.

Fair Use and the Philippines

Featured image from: Here


I decided I’m going to combine our assignment with my second post about a country I’ve been to.  There’s a reason why and it will become apparent later in this post.  The featured image is just a random shot of a city in the Philippines.

So what guidelines do we have to determine if it’s okay or appropriate to use someone else’s image on your webpage?  According to the Fair Use guideline this particular image would be favored for fair-use because its purpose here is to compliment a comment about a related topic, no profit is being made from it’s use by me, and it is arguably being used as a research tool.  The nature of the image itself also qualifies it.  It is an already published image, so I can not claim it as my own.  I’m using the original image in its entirety, but if I were to crop it for some reason it would detract from the educational value it serves.  Overall my use of this one image has no negative effect for the original producer.  I’m not creating copies of it, I’m not profiting from it, I’m not trying to claim it as my own, and there is no effect on the market.

The publication and allowed use of images like the featured on are important for people who are seeking a realistic view of somewhere new.  Especially in a country like the Philippines it can be be all too easy to cherry pick photos to portray it as something it is not.  Pictures of Manila or some of the beautiful landscapes or seascapes are very easy to come by.  For someone who is unfamiliar with the Philippines they might be led to believe these images are representative of the culture.

I’m going to tell you that nothing is farther from the truth.  The Philippines is a great country, but it is also a very poor country.  The average Filipino citizen makes in one year of work roughly the equivalent of what and American citizen would make in a year.  So for a foreign visitor this can come across as a shock.  I know my first time there I was very surprised by how ‘rich’ my friends and I were considered to be.  This also means you have to be careful though because the Philippines ranks very high globally on the crime index, so you’re instantly a target.

I was in the Philippines five times, so other than Japan where I actually lived it is the country (other than the US) I am most familiar with.  Despite being paid poorly the people work very hard.  It is very obvious right away that those who work take a lot of pride in what they do, and are not afraid to travel far if it means a chance to produce more income for their family.  For example, when the American military comes for multinational operations people will travel across the entire country to set up small temporary shops that sell food and souvenirs.  They do this because they know Americans have more money and are willing to spend more money on food and things to send back home.  It is possible for a dedicated vendor in this situation to make more in a few days than he/she would in an entire year.

Sex is also a very large industry in the Philippines.  It’s not uncommon to go to a bar and find it also doubles as a brothel.  There will be a woman who oversees all the girls and makes sure they are treated fairly (in regards to their standards).  But often these girls are working in places like this because their family owes a lot of debt to some organization and the only way for them to pay it back is through prostitution.  So don’t be surprised if you visit and go for a drink and a random girl (or three) approach you throughout the night asking you to buy them a drink.  This is just how they let you know without saying it that they are working there.

The food is very flavorful.  However there are some dishes that will be off-turning to people.  The best one I can think of would be balut.  Now before I tell you what it is I just want to say I actually really enjoyed this.  So balut is a duck egg that has been boiled, and the embryo is still inside it.  The idea is that you crack the shell, drink the ‘soup’, dip the yolk in a bit of rock salt, and chow down.  The concept is disgusting to people, but it does taste good.  Other dishes that I’d recommend that aren’t so controversial are lumpia, adobo, and sisig.

So just to summarize.  The Philippines has a lot to offer in major cities, and you’ll be able to afford to do anything because of the struggling economy there.  The people are friendly, but beware of those who might take advantage of you.  Make sure you take the time to visit areas outside of the major cities so that you can really experience the full culture.


Why a dog meme?  Simple.  Who can really scroll by an image of a dog doing some derp-y behavior without at least stopping to read the words printed onto it?  It’s a sure fired way to slow down a potential reader and gather there attention for at least a few seconds.  If we were to compare this meme to a part of a song it would be the fire hook that draws you in and makes you want to listen to the next two to three minutes of auto-tuned chorus repeats.

Also the words associated with it convey the feelings, I think, of a lot of people about those who travel.  It’s a prominent thing to travel now, and maybe it always has been.  But the ease of sharing thanks to social media (check my last post out for a better explanation) allows us to become over saturated with cherry picked moments from people’s lives so that they look like they are always on the move or experiencing new things.  For some this is great, they want to see what they’re missing or haven’t had the opportunity to see yet.  For others they act like this poor doggo and are just fed up with hearing about our plane-hopping, country jumping selves.

Either way I think we can all agree the dog is cute.

Featured image is from: Here


Social Promotion

We live in  very fast-paced, technology run world.  And that is a great thing for anyone looking to promote their blog, website, or business.  It’s very easy to share cross-platform now and can be done with two to three clicks.  Take this blog post for example, at the bottom of the page there will be a share section that will have buttons for things like email, twitter, facebook, etc…  Just by sharing this post to one of those social media sites I’ll now have the possibility of being seen by however many friends or followers you have.  I’m a big believer in the six degrees of separation theory.  For those who don’t know it means that if you take six people that you know, and each one of those take six people they know, and so on and so forth eventually you’ll have an indirect contact to anyone in the world.  Whether or not you believe in it, the principle holds true that you’re maximizing your audience by having even a few other people share your blog and encouraging their friends to share it as well.  Not everyone will, but as long as one person shares it each time then the audience will be forever expanding.

Screencast – Falling For Italy

To view my screencast use the following link: Screencast

I already have past experiencing making screencast videos, so I have a software I’m comfortable using.  It’s called IceCream and I’ve used it for a variety of different projects in the past.  It supports not only screen capture, but video as well so I am able to capture myself speaking about what is being displayed on the screen.  It also gives me the ability to turn off or on a visible mouse cursor as I move around the screen.  I chose to use this over Jing for the obvious familiarity reasons.

So the software was already there.  Next I had to choose a blog to feature.  I chose to go with something that was similar to the theme of mine.  Kaylee is doing a blog about her experiences in Italy.  As I describe in the screencast I’m planning a Euro tour next summer, so any tips I can get about things to do or avoid in countries is wonderful.  This will allow me to maximize my time in each place and get the best experience possible.

Overall the screencast was a very simple assignment in my honest opinion.  It might actually have been the easiest so far except for the obvious first post about creating the blog.  It took me a few tries to get a take I was happy with though.  I also had to switch to an external microphone because the one on my computer was picking up too much background noise; whereas my external one has a filter to negate the majority of non-voice sound.  I decided to upload the video to YouTube since I didn’t have access to the Jing Servers.  I also left the video public because I didn’t want to risk it not being visible.


The first place I ever visited outside of the U.S. was Japan, so it is only fitting that my first post pay respects to a country I lived in for two years.  If I’m being completely honest when I got to Japan I was miserable.  It wasn’t my choice to go, but I was required to be there and I hated it.  However after a month of being miserable I decided it was time to get over myself and start finding a way to enjoy my new home.  I took a few short cultural classes to learn more about proper etiquette while venturing around the towns.  Something interesting was the chopstick use and etiquette.  For example there is a funeral custom in Japan that involves leaving chopsticks upright in a dish of rice.  So doing this in a restaurant is considered a faux-pas and rude.  It’s small and most likely you’d be forgiven as a foreigner, but knowing things like this will go a long way to endearing you to the culture.  Personally I didn’t learn the language, but I had friends who I was living with that learned the basics.

The food is vastly different there.  Preparation is very meticulous, often there will be food served in common dishes (don’t eat directly from these), and obviously there are a lot of raw foods.  I’d never had sushi until I visited Japan.  Now it is one of my favorite foods, but I’m also quite picky about where I will buy it from.  I also sampled horse for the first time there, and while I didn’t like it it is a common food option for Japanese people.

For those who don’t know the money there is called Yen.  It fluctuates often, but usually it is between 90-102 yen to every American dollar, so the exchange rate is very favorable.  As a result I found I was able to really indulge and explore.  On Okinawa, the world’s largest tug of war competition is held each year.  This on it’s own is a very cool event, but they also add on a re-enactment of a Japanese story on top of the giant rope.  There were thousands of people and I was able to interact with so many.  There is also a cherry-blossom festival in Japan that has a great deal of importance and cross-cultural significance.  Japan gave cherry blossoms to the U.S. at the end of WWII (if I remember correctly).

Overall something I was not excited about when I started turned out to be an amazing experience that broadened my knowledge and allowed me to learn about a culture completely foreign to me.