Blogs > Millennial Traveler

New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UnPlug for Charity 2014

So it begins...

It's just a few hours from Thanksgiving Eve. That may not be a very significant day for most people - it usually isn't for me - but this year it means that I'll start a 35-day fast of social media.

Social media has definitely become a part of who I am and my persona - which has its pros and cons.

People have been asking me: "Don't you use it a lot for work?" "How will you invite people to your birthday party in December?" "So, you won't share photos of any trips or anything you do/eat?" "How will you survive?"

The answer to all of these is: I don't know.

I haven't gone on a social media detox in years - at least seven years, and that was before I became so involved in Facebook, before Twitter and definitely before Tumblr, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram. And, honestly, it's giving me a headache just thinking about the inconvenience.

I will miss the calendar and event notifications. And I will miss the easy communication available with thousands of Facebook friends.

I will *not* miss the seemingly ever increasing spam on all social media platforms. Also, I won't miss constantly being on social media.

Like many, I think, I've become kind of addicted to social media. I enjoy scrolling through my newsfeeds in the morning to see what my friends have been up to and what they've shared. I've formed friendships - real friendships - purely from our online interactions. I report local news and other interesting items that come up. But I also find myself becoming way too attached to it - maybe even to the point where it's unhealthy.

So, I've flipped all my iPhone social media notifications off and I'll be ignoring those apps for the next 35 days - from Thanksgiving Eve through New Years Eve. I'll have to find another way to wake up in the morning and be informed without scrolling through a newsfeed. And I'll have to revert back to email, blogs, texting or calling people to communicate. Maybe I'll even set up some coffee and lunch dates - in person - as opposed to having lunch at my desk while my index finger rolls my mouse through everyone's digital lives.

I'm expecting a couple cheat days - whether through raising $100 on the donation site or through my donating $25 per day to charity. I'm also scheduling at least a couple posts in advance through Hootsuite.

One challenge I foresee is the fact that Google has made it almost impossible to use Gmail without its social media Google+ counterpart. So we'll see how that goes.

I have some goals, too. Considering I estimate I use various forms of social media upwards of five hours each day, I'm thinking I can use that time more wisely:

  • to work out at least 20-30 minutes five days a week
  • to call/text people directly more, instead of sending out a mass status update
  • to work on several work projects that have been brewing in my head
  • to finish the rough draft on a novel I've started
  • to blog more (I've missed it)
  • to start working on spring fundraising efforts for the Grown Up Egg Hunt
  • to definitely read more.

Yes, this is an uncharted experience for me. But those are my favorite experiences.

You can check in on me here, on my blog. There are a lot of blog posts I need to catch up on from summer/fall trips.

You'll also find me at:
290-8362 (w)
461-7911 (c) /

And come by to say hi - and make sure I'm still alive as I go through social media withdrawal - at work: 501 Broadway in Troy.

If you really miss me, donate (I'll come back a day for every $100):

If you want to cheer me on, donate to:

All proceeds will be evenly divided between Camp Little Notch and the Pawling Statue Project.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, folks! And - if I don't see you - Happy Hannukah, Kwanza, Festivus and Christmas! I'll see you in the New Year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm Going to Give Up Social Media for Charity

I have an idea but I want to get people's input on if they'd participate/help: I want to give up social media from Thanksgiving Eve to New Years Eve for charity.
Here's how it would work - I would not check or post on *any* social media (no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no G+, no Pinterest, which I don't check anyway, etc) for those 35 days and for every day that I am not "plugged in", I would ask that people pledge an amount to a worthy cause (so far, I'm thinking maybe Friends of Camp Little Notch or Col. Albert Pawling Memorial Statue Project, or both).
Camp Little Notch is a former Girl Scout camp in the Adirondacks which is now run by many of its former campers to serve today's youth and provide a natural sanctuary for adults as well, on the eastern side of Lake George.
The Pawling Statue Project is a local endeavor that is partially being spearheaded by my brother Adam to erect a statue of Troy's first mayor, Albert Pawling, at the intersection of Pawling Ave. and Congress St.
I would have my co-workers, family, and friends keep me in check to make sure I'm following through - and make sure I'm not "cheating".
If I do fall off the wagon, I would pledge $25 per day that I cheat.

My goal would be to raise at least $1,000 in those 35 days. I would need at least 29 people to pledge $1 per day (or $35 total) to reach that goal.
The way I see it, this would be a win no matter what: some local causes would get some extra money, I would finally have extra time to write more (both for work and for my own projects) and you'll get a break from my random posts for a few weeks.
So, friends, what do you say? Do I have 29 people who will donate $35? Or maybe 66 people who will donate $15?
If so, I'll set up the donation site (or link to the appropriate sites) and we'll be ready to go offline Nov. 26.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Want your High Schooler to Take an Academic Trip to Washington D.C. for Free?

The International Center of the Capital Region is looking for a four-member academic high school team to send to Washington DC in the Spring of 2015

ICCR wants to give area high schools plenty of notice so that they can start preparing… On Saturday, March 21, 2015 from 9:00 – 12:00 Noon, the International Center of the Capital Region will once again be sponsoring a local Academic WorldQuest competition at the Celtic Hall in Colonie with the anticipation of sending the winning four-member team and faculty coach down to Washington DC to represent our region in the national Academic WorldQuest competition taking place on Saturday, April 25th, 2015. There is no cost to participate. Additionally, ICCR will cover the costs of overnight accommodations and flights for the winning team plus faculty coach to attend the national competition.

Academic WorldQuest is the World Affairs Councils of America's flagship student education program. The main objective of the program is to inform and engage high school students and their teachers across the country in global affairs. Each year, over 4000 students, test their knowledge of international affairs, in regional Academic WorldQuest competitions.

Study guides are available.

The 2014-2015 Topics assigned are as follows:
  Russia / Eurasia
  Youth, Jobs, and Social Unrest
  Food and Water
  Future of Energy
  Africa Rising
  Human Trafficking
  Asia and the New Global Economy
  Millennium Development Goals: 2015 and Beyond
  Great Decisions
  Current Events
Nine of the ten question rounds will feature a multiple-choice format. This year, the Current Events round in both the Local and National Competitions will include fill-in-the-blank, true/false, and open-ended questions. 

Schools can enter up to three (3) four-member student teams plus alternates in the Local Competition.

For further information or to register your school, please e-mail or (518) 708-7608.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rochester's Newest Brewery with Sustainable Design Features

Rochester, NY - Nedloh Brewing opened its doors this past weekend, adding its name to the growing list of craft breweries in the Finger Lakes region. It is also on another list - a list of sustainably-built craft beverage buildings designed by Edge Architecture. Since 2008, Edge has been designing breweries, wineries and distilleries in the Finger Lakes and Northeast United States. They specialize in sustainable building, which is something many brewers, winemakers and distillers value.

Sustainable building sounds fancy, but it is also a cost-saving measure for many of Edge's clients. Buildings like Nedloh are built to work with the surrounding environment, taking advantage of the resources and beauty, and minimizing negatives.

For example, the Nedloh building is oriented so that a wall of windows faces north. This allows for daylight to enter the brewery from sunup to sundown, without suffering from direct heat from the sun. A roof overhang on the south side of the building also reduces heat by blocking direct sunlight. That same roof overhang was designed so that the sun can provide heat in the winter when the sun comes in at a lower angle. Beer coolers for breweries are very large - they can hold up to 5,000 gallons of beer - and need to be kept cold. By installing the coolers below the ground, they are protected from outside heat, costing less to keep the beer cold.

Water is another element that can work for or against a building. Edge designed a stone parking lot for Nedloh to allow rain water to flow directly into the ground and a rain garden to collect run-off waters for decorative plants. On-site ponds also collect rain water and a green septic system reduces strain on the municipal system.

Nedloh is also built with energy-saving building materials. High-performance insulation reduces energy use in winter and summer. A high-tech rainscreen system is part of the wall construction. It involves a moisture-resistant barrier underneath the siding, with a gap in between. Any water that manages to get through the siding is trapped by the barrier and either drains out or evaporates.

# # #
About Edge Architecture, PLLC:
Edge is located in Rochester, New York and specializes in craft beverage, winery and higher education architectural design. With winery, brewery and distillery work completed throughout the Northeast, the team at Edge has a combined experience of designing over 30 craft beverage facilities. An important aspect of their work is sustainable building, which lowers operating costs and keeps projects within budget.

Edge services include building plans, building layout, architectural services, code review, building permits & agency approvals, cost estimating services and more.
For more information, visit or call (585) 461-3580.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September in the City Art Fair in Tricentennial Park Wednesday

The free art show series, held 11:30am to 2pm every Wednesday in September, returns this week
ALBANY, NY - The City of Albany presents the 2014 September in the City Art Fair series, September Wednesdays in Downtown Albany’s Tricentennial Park. A midday showcase for local art, music and culture, September in the City features exhibits and work available for purchase from regional mixed media artists and crafters, with a different live musical act providing the soundtrack each week. The September in the City Art Fair is sponsored by Albany Center Gallery and Exit 97.7 FM.

This week’s September in the City Art Fair features live music by:
Holly & Evan: Sept. 17<>
Holly & Evan are the blues. Both from long, rich musical backgrounds, Holly Taormina and Evan Conway have updated the tradition of the barrelhouse with their unique style. Together, they showcase a wide range of original and cover material, in the styles of blues, jazz, and soul. The originals, which are often featured on local radio, are catchy, full of personality, and can appeal to audiences everywhere.

 For more information on the September in the City Art Fair, call 518.434.2032, visit<> or follow on Facebook ( or Twitter (@albanyNYevents).

E-Vehicle Charging Stations Now Available at Albany-based Hampton Hotels

Several Albany-based Hampton hotels are making eco-conscious travel more of a reality with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations now offered upon booking, just in time for National Drive Electric Week.
 The program, called Green Electric Vehicle, launched as a pilot at four Hampton hotels in Albany and is in the process of branching out to other Hilton Worldwide hotels in the U.S.  The initiative allows travelers to book a room at a participating Hilton Worldwide hotel and reserve a parking space with a Skychargers-managed GE charging station. For travelers renting a car during their stay, Hertz provides a broad EV fleet at the Albany International Airport. More Hilton Worldwide hotels within the Albany area will be installing the charging stations early next year.

“Hilton Worldwide is committed to living sustainably, and helping our guests maintain their sustainable habits while on the road,” said Brad Freet, senior director, Product, Quality & Innovation, Hilton Worldwide. “This EV program provides the means for guests to choose a more eco-friendly travel option and is a natural extension of our current renewable and energy efficiency initiatives. Our hotels are fortunate to have GE, Hertz and Skychargers on board to help power this initiative for EV enthusiasts visiting the Albany area.”

Hilton Worldwide hotels currently offering EV chargers as a part of the program:
Coming soon:
  • DoubleTree Schenectady – 100 Nott Terrace, Schenectady, NY 12308
  • Home2 Suites Albany – 10 Metropark Road, Albany, NY 12205

“Hertz has been a leader in offering electric vehicles to our customers and we’re pleased to add Albany to the list of cities where EVs are offered,” said Louis Scarpelli, Region Vice President, Hertz. “By working with our partners, we’ve created local area infrastructure to make renting an EV a reality for travelers to New York’s Capital Region.  Environmental sustainability is important for Hertz, and we’re committed to moving forward the development of EV options.”

Skychargers provided funding for the pilot, which rolled out at the end of 2013. The project is part of Charge-NY, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's initiative to accelerate the use of electric vehicles in New York State by promoting the demonstration of EV charging equipment. Additional support came from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Now, in partnership with Skychargers, GE, and Hertz, any Hilton Worldwide hotel that is seeing an influx of electric vehicle use in their area is able to install EV chargers.  With the U.S. Department of Energy estimating one million EVs to be on the road by 2015, the demand for electric charging stations will ultimately see growth in the coming months.

“Driving an electric vehicle fulfills a personal green commitment, and I encourage first time EV drivers to use the program as a test drive,” said Skychargers’ President David McGann.  “The program is both environmentally and financially shrewd. I booked the program with a Chevy Volt for two days and experienced tremendous gas savings.”

For more information about the program or to book a stay a Hilton Worldwide EV-friendly hotel in the Albany area, visit or visit  To learn more about Hilton Worldwide’s corporate responsibility initiatives, go to

The "National Wild Turkey Federation" is actually a Thing....

Who knew?

Humphries Appointed NWTF Chief Conservation Officer

For more information, contact Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698.

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) recently appointed Becky Humphries its new chief conservation officer.
"I am excited to lead NWTF's conservation efforts in this new role," said Humphries. "Our staff is working hard to conserve the focal landscapes we have identified across the country. We also are focused on the future site of the Palmetto Shooting Complex, ensuring we continue to lead by example when it comes to wildlife and habitat management plans."
Humphries' promotion comes just one year after joining the conservation organization's management team. Under Humphries' leadership, NWTF conservation staff has identified habitats across the nation requiring immediate attention, developed partnerships with conservation agencies and groups to improve the areas with urgent needs, and worked with state chapters to develop and implement management plans that advance the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.
Humphries' reputation as a respected professional extends beyond the NWTF's walls. She is a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Fish and Wildlife Resources of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, and she also chairs the Association's Fish & Wildlife Health Initiative Steering Committee. Humphries serves on the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, the Conservation Leaders Advisory Team for the Berkley Conservation Institute and the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council.
Humphries' impressive résumé details more than 35 years of experience in wildlife management and conservation. She previously served as the Director of Operations in Great Lakes/Atlantic Region for Ducks Unlimited, focusing on conservation delivery, policy and science. She also served the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment for 32 years, including seven years as department director.
The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
National Wild Turkey Federation
770 Augusta Rd., Edgefield, SC, 29824