I Like to Travel Because

I was bit by the travel bug at Maple Heights High School, in Maple Heights, Ohio (southeast of Cleveland). I was enrolled in the Junior Business Career Cluster Course, known to us students as BLOCK. Why? Because the accounting, administrative assistant, and word processing (it was the late 1980s) programs were in a section of the school that looked like a block.

I enrolled in accounting for two reasons:

  • My dad told me to follow a ‘secure’ career path.
  • I was (still am) good with numbers.

Like most high schools, we had competitions. And this was not limited to sports. Those of us in BLOCK had our own local, state and national comps for accounting, administrative assisting, and word processing.

Long story short, I placed fourth in the local competition and it made it to the state competition in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. I admit that I liked the idea of being away from dad, mom and sister. This was my opportunity to not only be with my friends, but to meet other kids from around the U.S.

I had a great time, even though I didn’t place high enough for nationals. I had know idea that my trip to Seven Springs would impact me in more ways than one. I only wish that I would have pushed myself more in school so that I could have applied to colleges in Columbus, Cincinnati, or even out-of-state.

Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20. But one thing that’s still constant in my life is my love of traveling.

Here are the top reasons why I like to travel. [Read more…]

10 Postcard Notes to Send to Family and Friends

Did you know that sending travel postcards has become a lost art? Well, I’m here to bring it back. People love to receive things in the mail. I mean. Who wouldn’t want to receive an unexpected handwritten note in the mail?

It’s great that you buy your family and friends souvenirs from wherever you’ve traveled. But giving them something more personal, something that may put a smile on their face is so much better. And the fact that you took the time to write and send a postcard may impress them.

Read on to learn the 10 postcard notes you can send to family and friends.

10 Postcard Notes to Send to Family and Friends

Here are 10 postcard notes that you can send to family and friends. They’ll laugh. They’ll cry. They’ll want travel with you because they don’t want to miss out on the fun. [Read more…]

How You Can Eat Healthy While Traveling?

It’s no secret: You want to have fun and kick back and relax on your vacation. You want to let yourself go and indulge in everything you can, including food. Perhaps you want to dive into a chocolate soufflé from a Parisian chef. Or maybe you want to sink your teeth into a mouthwatering Italian meal. Can you taste the homemade pasta and sauce?

Just the thought of eating and drinking everything you want puts a smile on your face. But what will happen if you eat and eat and eat?

You could gain extra weight, say about 20 lbs. that may send your hips, butt and thighs and doctor into a tizzy.

So, isn’t it better to indulge here and there instead of eating everything and anything?

Read on to discover articles that can help you to eat healthy while traveling. You can still enjoy tasty meals and stay on your diet at the same time. Keep the phrase “everything in moderation” in mind before you put a piece of seven-layered chocolate mousse cake into your mouth. [Read more…]

How to Stay Safe While Traveling

This is my post that was originally published on The Huffington Post.

Admit it.

How to stay safe while traveling may be on your mind. Right? With attacks happening at popular destinations, you may be too scared to travel. But don’t allow fear to ground you. Don’t allow others to take away your power.

Traveling the world or even throughout your own country is a great way to enhance your life. You can meet new people. Learn new things and immerse yourself within rich cultural experiences.

Let’s face it; the world is a wonky place right now. People are fed up with their lives and maybe even the politics and policies of other countries. Thus, they act out and wreak havoc wherever they go. It’s sad.

Unfortunately, you have no control over the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions of others. You can only be responsible for you. If you give into others, you’ll only strengthen their control over you. You don’t want that, do you?

I understand that travel may seem scary to you.

When I told my mom and dad that I was solo traveling to the UK, my dad, who served in the U.S. Army, almost had a heart attack. He didn’t want me traveling alone. Why? Because if something happened, he felt that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. After all, he served in the U.S. Army and I didn’t.

While I appreciated my dad’s concern, I knew I would be okay. Why? Because I have street and books smarts.

But my dad traveled with me to the UK. It was the first and only trip we took together. But that’s for another blog post about traveling with family.

Read on to discover how you can stay safe while traveling. You don’t have to remain at home in bed with the covers thrown over you. You can experience safe travels! [Read more…]

Welcome to the Blackwell Travel Blog

Now that you’ve found the Blackwell Travel blog, you’re probably wondering what kind of information you can expect to find.

In addition to blogs about specific destinations, I share some of my insider travel secrets with you. Oh, you didn’t know travel agents have them. You bet we do!

You can find information about family travel, group travel, health and wellness travel, adventure travel, cruise vacations, honeymoon vacations, and more

I’ll also sharing my musings on the travel industry. It’s changed throughout the years to keep up with the trends that seem to occur from generation to generation.

You may want to Subscribe to the Blackwell Travel blog so you don’t miss a post.

Travel on!

Amandah Blackwell

Dear Bridal Shop: Your Employees Don’t Look like Heidi Klum

Learn How a Bridal Shop Employee Insulated a Customer from MisticCafe

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

“You need to lose weight and not gain any weight to fit into your bridesmaid dress.”

Those were the words spoken to my 21 year old niece on December 18, 2014 when she went for her first bridesmaid dress fitting at a Rocky River, Ohio bridal shop.

When my niece told me this I saw red.

“Who the hell is this woman?” I asked.

“Does she look like super model Heidi Klum?” I asked. Not that this matters.

With tears in her eyes, my niece said, “No.”

My cried all the way home because of the insensitive employee at the bridal shop in Rocky River, Ohio.

The bridal shop owner and employee are lucky that my niece didn’t get into a car accident.

After all, it’s difficult to drive and see the road when you’re balling your eyes out.

I looked up bridal shop online went to their Facebook; I clicked on their photos.

Guest what?

The women who work there don’t look like Super Models!

They look like the average size 12-16 American woman.

I can’t imagine Lori, owner of Bridals by Lori or Randy from Kleinfeld in New York, (see the hit TV shows on TLC) telling a woman that she needs to lose weight and that she better not gain weight to fit into a wedding gown or bridesmaid dress.

People wonder why teen girls, young women, and women in general, develop eating disorders. It’s because of clueless people like the woman who works at bridal shop in Rocky River, Ohio.

If women wonder why they can’t get along or develop friendships with other women, perhaps they should listen to the words they speak.

If women wonder why they can’t sell wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, they should listen to the words coming out of their mouth. [Read more…]

Shake Things Off: 10 Tips to Bouncing Back When Life Gets You Down

It’s a fact that all of us have suffered major setbacks. Perhaps you started a business that failed. Maybe your best friend told you she no longer wants to be your friend. Perhaps your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse cheated on you. Maybe you failed a test. Whatever the case maybe, it’s time to shake things off and bounce back when life gets you down!

People who dwell on their problems create more of the same. Don’t believe me. Look at your life. Is it filled with joy and laughter? Or is it filled with drama-rama? Do you have supportive people in your life? Or do you have energy vampires who suck the living daylights out of you?

Go ahead and assess your life up until this point. I’ll wait.

If you don’t like what you’ve discovered, you’re not alone. I assess my life, maybe too much, and sometimes want to crawl into a hole after I discover that I may have created unnecessary pain and suffering. I look at situations and people and think How did I attract this or that? What was I thinking? Believe me; your thoughts are more powerful than you think. You are more power than you think.

But never fear and I mean this. You can bounce back when life gets you down. It’s easier than you think. [Read more…]

The Healing Power of a Massage

There’s nothing like getting a massage. If you haven’t had a massage, schedule one today because it can do wonders for your mind, body, and soul. You’d be surprised how a massage can “loosen” you up! Plus, it’s great for your health and wellness.

I must admit that I never had a massage before in my life. I’ve always heard about people getting them, but I wasn’t sure if they were for me. I figured that life’s too short, and I may as well get a massage. After all, it could probably help my mind, body, and soul.

Health and wellness is important to me. I’ve since learned that it’s ALL RIGHT for me to do things for myself and NOT always do things for others. This goes against what we’re taught in our society. We’re taught to sacrifice our needs for the sake of others. Yeah, it doesn’t work. We can become resentful of the people we help because we really didn’t want to help them in the first place. Our helping someone else didn’t come from a place of love. I now do things for others because I want to do so NOT because society or someone else says I MUST do so.

The mind, body, and soul are connected. I do my best to keep these connected and aligned. This brings me to getting a massage. Yes, I had my first massage on June 25, 2009. It may sound strange to some people because they get them all of the time, but this was my first one.

I had my massage in my home, and it was fantastic. I met Carolyn at the June 2009 Life Coaching weekend training course at SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts) which is located in Tempe, AZ. At the end of the weekend, Carolyn passed out her business cards. She mentioned that she does massages and travels to your home. I decided, “what the heck,” I may as well give it a try because it could do wonders for my mind, body, and soul.

Carolyn was very professional. She set-up her table, we chatted for a bit, and then it was time for the massage. I had a wonderful 1-hour massage. The best part was the massaging of my feet, my hands, and arms. As a writer, I do a lot of writing. My hands and arms can become tired. I do yoga and stretching exercises to stay flexible. The massage loosened up my hands and arms and my feet felt fabulous!

I would recommend Carolyn. If you live in the Phoenix, AZ area, contact Carolyn via email at carolyn.a.baker@gmail.com. Do yourself a favor and schedule a massage today. Tomorrow, you’ll feel like a new man or woman! Don’t forget to tell her that Rebecca Sebek referred you!


Take advantage of corporate health and wellness programs

Corporate health and wellness is very popular. As economic uncertainty grows among Americans, so does their stress. This leads to other health issues such as headaches, heart disease, mental illness, and much more. Americans are more stressed out than ever. To keep their employees sane, employers are implementing health and wellness programs.

Employees will benefit from corporate health and wellness plans. It helps to clear the air and talk about what you’re feeling. Make a phone call and schedule an appointment to speak to someone. Get it out of your system once and for all.

The one thing that continues to rise is the stress the level of Americans. Our paychecks may not increase, but at least we can count on our government to increase our stress levels! See they’re good for something. Just kidding…

Seriously, corporate health and wellness programs are great for employees. If you’re feeling stressed out — use the corporate gym. Maybe the gym has a punching ball and bag you could beat the heck out of it. It will be a great workout and you’ll burn fat fast. It’s better to take your frustrations out on the bag because you could take it out on your body by eating a gallon of ice cream!

Many companies are implementing corporate health and wellness programs. Some programs include medical checkups, gym, mental health, books, and much more. Take advantage of these programs because they may not last.

Finally, if you’re looking for a job, keep an eye out for companies that offer corporate health and wellness programs. This is one perk you do not want to pass up. Anything companies can do to keep employees sane is a good thing. Remember that you cannot control what others do, but you can control your actions and emotions.

Is Your Attitude Making You Sick?

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Some people see the glass as half empty or half full. When something bad happens, pessimists tend to blame themselves. They can go on and on about the event and before they know it, the “negativity” transfers to other areas of the their lives.

Optimists are total opposites. They will not blame themselves and expect minor consequences for a short period of time. Whatever “bad” thing happened, it will not affect other parts of their lives. They will “bounce” back and take steps to move forward from the experience.

Being a pessimist or optimist can affect your health. Christopher Peterson, Ph.D, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, says “pessimists end up being sick more days in any given month than their more optimistic counterparts.” Pessimists go to the doctor more frequently than optimists because their IgA levels decrease which makes them more susceptible to catching colds and the flu!

Pessimist Checklist

  1. Listen to doom and gloom speak of family, friends, and the media.
  2. Blame themselves for everything that is wrong in their lives.
  3. Dwell on past and present mistakes.
  4. Constantly focus on everything that is wrong in their life.
  5. Moody.
  6. Focus on things that are out of your control.

Optimist Checklist

  1. Focuses on the present.
  2. Recovers from setbacks in a quick manner.
  3. Sees the glass as half full.
  4. Does not dwell on mistakes; learns from them and moves forward with their life.
  5. Visualize themselves as being a success.
  6. Vent to family and friends; do not hold onto feelings of anger or sadness.

The above checklists are just some examples of being a pessimist or optimist. If you’re not sure which one you are, you may want to ask your family and friends. You’ll be able to tell by the look on their faces!

If you tend to lean towards pessimism try a few of these techniques:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Control what you can and let go of the rest.
  3. Give yourself a “pat” on the back when you experience success.
  4. Smile everyday.
  5. Stop hanging out with the “Debbie or Doug Downers.” You can find other friends. If these people are family members, limit your time that you spend with them.

It’s time to take control of your life. Each year, many people make New Year’s resolutions that last until the beginning of February. Make the decision to change your attitude today because your health may depend on it tomorrow!