Blast-Off Trip Launches Travel Writer Career

Blast-Off Trip Journal

Blast-off Trip launches Julie’s travel writing career – article from Great Escape Publishing.

“Julie Diebolt-Price has wanted to launch into travel writing for years but fear and work demands always seemed to get in the way.

This year, however, she was determined to make that dream a reality. Julie shares her journey to her new-found life as a travel writer here.”

Andele’s Dog House for authentic Mexican food

Authentic Mexican House Specialty Tacos El Carbon Andele's Dog House

Andele’s Dog House

“In a region famous for their green chiles and pecan trees, authentic Mexican food has gone to the dogs in historic Old Mesilla, New Mexico. Andelé’s Dog House serves up Mexican hot dogs, chile con queso burgers, ice cold beer and even allows Fido inside the covered back patio.”


Authentic Mexican at Andele's Dog House

Slow Travel on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Slow travel is popular with babyboomers these days. Learn a little history about the Natchez Trace Parkway, get outdoors for some hiking, biking, and camping. See this babyboomer’s recommendation for travel in the South.

Slow Travel at Sunken Trace on Natchez Trace Parkway

History, and Hiking, and Hammocks, Oh My!

“This 444-mile-long, narrow federal preserve is ideal for slow travel in a vehicle (50 mile-per-hour speed limit), on a bicycle, and by foot or horseback. The road and only 412.5 feet on either side of the road are federal lands. The terrain is flat with croplands, pastures, fields, and forests decorated with Spanish moss…

If you prefer to camp and hang out in your hammock, this link to will help you find private and state campgrounds along the Parkway.”

Travel Trends in 2019 in US and World

Travel Trends 2019 Wild Flowers on the Carizzo Plain in Central CaliforniaWhy do you travel?

I travel to learn new cultures, consider new customs, see how people live their lives, connect with locals, try new foods and activities, challenge myself physically and mentally, to relax, and to be an ambassador.

Where should you go?

Wherever you want! Global tourism is flourishing. But, consider going to a less-loved destination. Sustainability and environmental care are travel trends for 2019.

This year I began reading an eye-opening book entitled, Factfulness, by Hans Rowling. He presents “Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.” He gives us a world view based on facts, and it turns out that the world is in a much better state than we might think.

I bring this up here because our perceptions can keep us from traveling. If you study the facts, you should feel more comfortable exploring the world.

What do these countries have in common?

United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Germany, Canada, The Bahamas, France, New Zealand, The United Kingdom.

The United States of America (in January) was on the “Do Not Travel” list of these countries.


While being on this list may be politically motivated, as an American it is hard to believe that our country could possibly be on such a list. However, if you watch or listen to the news on any given day, we hear about dramatic events because that type of communication sells.

Less-Loved Destinations

Overrun with tourists, the popularity of some destinations actually hurt the locals. Consider Venice, Italy. Day-trippers do not contribute to the economy. With the city’s population decreasing and tourists increasing, drastic measures to reduce the number of visitors include fines for sitting in a particular area. If you do go, eat in the cafés, shop in the local shops outside of St. Mark’s Square. We stayed in a flat on Giudecca Island, a quick vaporetto ride across the channel and lived like locals.

Other options are Umbria instead of Tuscany, Italy. They are neighbors and enjoy the same landscape. Matera, Italy, in the arch of the boot, offers history like no other place in the world. The oldest inhabitant from 7,000 BC was discovered here. Instead of Iceland, go to the Farro Islands. The terrain and Northern Lights are just as breathtaking. Airfare wars on flights to Tahiti with the new airline make this a good alternative.

Want to get outdoors? The United States has 58 national parks. They are affordable, convenient, are a tremendous educational opportunity where you can learn about a broad mix of ecosystems, disconnect from technology, relax, exercise, breathe fresh air. These travel trends are right in our backyards.

At-Risk Destinations

Machu Picchu, Peru

Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Fjords of Norway



Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

Komodo National Park, Indonesia

New Caledonia Lagoon, French Oceania

Belize Barrier Reef

Venice, Italy

Amazon, Brazil

Bristol Bay, Alaska

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Stonehenge, England

Vohibola Forest, Madagascar

Salt Flats of Bolivia

Florida Everglades


Lake Titicaca, Peru-Bolivia border

Mount Everest

Prague, Czech Republic

Taj Mahal, India

Glacier National Park, Montana

Hufi Glacier, Glarus Alps, Switzerland

Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

Mount Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, Tanzania

Quelccaya Glacier, Peru

Shiretoko, Japan

Vatnajökull, Iceland

Cartagena, Colombia

Charleston, South Carolina


NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida

New York City

Tangier Island, Virginia

Final note

Authentic experiences result from respect for local communities and the environment and leave a positive impact on them and us.

Sources: LA Travel and Adventure Show, Travel Trends for 2019 discovered at the San Diego Travel and Adventure Show, Airbnb, Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Why I got naked in Paso Robles

You will get into hot water when you get naked at the River Oaks Hot Springs spa.

Get naked at River Oaks Spa Paso Robles

Shuffling down the quiet hall in my plush spa slippers and fluffy white robe, I heard the faint sound of bubbling water. The light aroma of sulfur and minerals drew me like a magnet. My destination was behind the closed door at the end of the hall. Pushing the door open and peering around it, I spied the solace to my aching body, a private open-air room with a substantial mineral springs spa that holds up to six people. As I was the only guest, it was easy to get naked.

I let the robe slip off my shoulders and land like a heap of snow at my feet. Kicking off the spa slippers, I carefully made my way up the platform stairs to enter this mystical energy source and begin the relaxation and rejuvenation process.

The River Oaks Hot Springs Spa in Paso Robles, California, was originally a historic landmark formerly known as

Paso Robles Hot Springs

The land around it was developed, the hot springs were modernized, and the spa is now tucked into a residential neighborhood with golfing nearby.

Paso Robles is famous for its artesian thermal spring waters for over 200 years. Situated in the midst of rolling hills and vineyards near Central California’s coast, it endures as one of the most significant natural thermal mineral aquifers in the region.

The Central Coast aquifer is not small. While one might think of it as a basin, it is more aptly referred to as “strata” and separated by faults. It may be the largest in the state, and most of the water is deep.

The water, heated by the earth in these deep aquifers, bubbles to the top at 117 degrees. They say that the warmer the water, the more mineral content. These minerals are thought to increase metabolism, soothe muscles, detoxify the body’s lymphatic system and accelerate healing. River Oaks Hot Springs Spa maintains the temperature in their spas between 96 and 102 degrees.

Preparing for the luxurious soaking experience begins in the upscale and fully equipped locker room. Robes are provided along with slippers, towels, and all the personal grooming products a girl could want. I assume the men’s locker room is similarly equipped.

Leave your pain with Jayne…

River Oaks Hot Springs Spa is a luxury spa with at least one talented massage therapist. Jayne’s tagline, “Leave your pain with Jayne,” was developed from many years of practice attending to client’s tired and aching muscles. My 30-minute session with Jayne was the best deep tissue massage I’ve ever experienced.

If you are timid about getting naked, you can visit any of the 200+ wineries in the region to drink a little bubbly before getting naked and soaking in the bubbly. Reservations are available for single or group bubbles as well as.

With packages such as “The Good Life Getaway,” “Winemaker’s Couples Package,” “Chocolate Lovers Package,” and “Let’s Celebrate!”, you can create a memorable spa experience that will stay with you for a very long time.

After a long soak in the mineral spa and leaving my pain with Jayne, I realized just how easy it was to get naked in Paso Robles.

If you go:

River Oaks Hot Springs Spa

800 Clubhouse Dr.

Paso Robles, CA 93446

Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Sunday through Saturday

Phone: (805) 238-4600