Who knew you could criss-cross the globe in two days, visiting 100 countries from Fiji to Tasmania; Ireland to Puerto Rico, meet real people, go to Kona for coffee in the morning, get a quick tattoo in Singapore, and still have time for a mid-afternoon scuba lesson in California. It boggles the mind.
Surely my walking program is paying off. I did all this and more without boarding one train, plane, helicopter, bus or car. I even pet a panda in the rainforest of China. OK, it was a virtual panda.
Of course, I'm talking about the mind-expanding Los Angeles Times Travel Show at the Long Beach Convention Center. Seems like everybody shows up. National Geographic Outdoor and Lonely Planet gave lectures and demonstrations on adventure travel. I would have climbed the rock wall, but I wasn't feeling quite that adventuresome. Maybe next year.
By now, you know me as the researcher and explorer, passionate to discover the exquisite snorkeling destinations across our globe. Imagine my delight when I realized I was surrounded by avid snorkelers from the world over. Every person I spoke with either snorkeled (and had a favorite spot and a story to tell), or knew someone who did.
A big focus at GoneSnorkeling.com is conservation. We encourage respectful marine exploration and will always share helpful information as it turns up in our research. We found a great partner in this effort at the Travel Show and are currently building a relationship with the Rainforest Alliance whose mission, in a nutshell, is to protect ecosystems, people and wildlife by transforming many of our business and recreational behaviors. Their knowledge and insight base will enrich our articles and recommendations.
We will explore swimming with dolphins on this site. Though they didn't bring dolphins to the Travel Show, Dolphin Quest was there and after some conversation, invited me to come swim with the dolphins myself so I can bring you an eyewitness report.
We are building a community here. As you're reading, if you're bubbling up with your own great stories, insights, secrets and adventures, please contact us and get in our expanding rolodex! As we dive deep into specific areas of the globe, it will be great fun sharing the accounts we are collecting. Be part of what we are doing. And please, if you visit a destination based on something you read here, write home to let us know about it. Send your underwater pictures too!
Speaking of photography, the Travel Show was full of snorkelers and underwater photographers who will be happy to share their favorite pics with us. One fellow in particular, a professional photographer who just finished his book on digital photography, will send photos to this site.