Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ten best tips for healthy travel

Seana’s Healthy Travel tips

Follow these 10 handy tips to stay healthy while traveling —you’ll feel better and will have more energy to enjoy your holiday!  

by Seana Treavor

Snack Smartly
Bring healthy snacks and avoid the junk. String cheese, fruit, nuts/seeds, veggies and guacamole are all easy to eat and nutritious.  

Take your water bottles with you and refill them often. Avoid sodas which pack unnecessary sugar and can actually be dehydrating.

Move frequently (at least a few times a day) and change your seat position. Do some easy stretches for hip flexors, lower back and neck/shoulders. Don’t pass up on those hikes, either!

Slather on the sunscreen (SPF 30+) at regular intervals to keep skin safe. Wear high quality sunglasses that are rated for UVA, UVB and HEV light. Polarized lenses help cut out glare, also.

Bring sneakers and portables like resistance bands or a yoga mat and load your device with workouts for on-the-go fitness. 

Get comfy and layer loose, light clothing to avoid chafing and to be prepared for a variety of temperatures.  

Compression socks aren’t just for elite athletes — they’re perfect for travel, and help prevent achy or swollen lower legs.

Eat (mostly) clean
It’s always tempting to indulge when traveling; moderation and portion control is key when yielding to tempting delights.

You’ll be more present and will enjoy your time more if you’re rested and fresh for your activities.  Take advantage of the rolling motion of the bus and catch a few naps to supplement your night rest.  

Having a schedule is a great way to keep your trip organized, but when the timing doesn’t work out, stay flexible and steer clear of the added stress that can come with focusing too much on your trip goals.  Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Tortoise Transformation

By Amber Locke

Something magical and very unexpected happened to me while riding with Green Tortoise Adventure Travel for a weekend trip to Yosemite National Park.  After a single experience with this unique style of travel, I learned exactly why the Green Tortoise is still going strong almost 50 years after pioneering group adventure travel in America.  

Sure, they go to amazing places in their living room-style buses.  Yes, you will come away from the trip with photos of beautiful scenery and incredible memories of your destinations. Of course, the food is fantastic and freshly prepared.  But the real draw to the Tortoise? It's the people.  The personalities you can’t help but fall in love with are exactly the types that will happily hop on a bus and sleep curled up next to strangers for days at a time.  The mystery beforehand of the people you’ll be sharing the experience with is part of the majesty of riding the Tortoise bus.

As a resident of the Bay Area, I ride the train to work and look around at my fellow commuters staring at their cell phones or playing Candy Crush on iPads;  I can't help but wonder why we completely ignore everyone around us.  It’s rare that you see two or more strangers engaging with one another on the morning or afternoon commute that we all seem to share.  I’ve come to see us as jellyfish caught in the same current; all moving in the same direction, yet unaware of our connection.

So, when I boarded the custom-built Green Tortoise coach with 30 strangers, I wondered how this atmosphere would be any different.  Within two hours of the ride, I discovered that it was, in fact, very different.  With chatter coming from everywhere on the bus, I heard someone remark, “I feel like I’m seeing my Australian friends, again.  Like, you’re back from a long trip and we’ve reunited.” (He was a solo traveler from the U.K. and made quick friends with everyone on the bus.)  Most of us were in the same situation -- traveling alone, hoping to see as much as possible during our short vacations and willing to share the sights with the people surrounding us.  Our singularity was actually what allowed us to connect so easily.  

When we arrived in Yosemite (after a night drive), we were no longer solo travelers.  We were a huge group of friends, banding together to form groups to tackle different activities.  Americans, Taiwanese, British, Serbians and many other nationalities were walking together in one of the most beautiful places on Earth; I came to understand that we weren’t so different from each other, after all.  

The Tortoise taught me to have a little more faith in humanity.  I discovered that despite our home addresses, we shared a need for adventure and love for travel that transcends cultures.  Our bus was full of diversity and, to me, that evolved into the most beautiful aspect of the trip. How effortlessly we had formed connections was awe-inspiring.  When the time came, I left the trip with a handful of new friends and I was truly saddened to say goodbye.  We had climbed to new heights together, shared meals in beautiful settings, I’d even taught them how to make s’mores.  In return, they had taught me funny new phrases from their countries and about a newly developed part of myself I cannot explain.

When I boarded the Green Tortoise coach in San Francisco I never imagined that one weekend would have such an effect on me.  In fact, the next time I stepped onto the Bay Area rapid transit train, I had the overwhelming urge to shout, “Good morning!” to everyone onboard.  I had a desire to gift upon everyone an awareness; we are all searching for the same happiness in life and if we take a moment to connect with the human being next to us, our daily routine would be infinitely enhanced. Perhaps it would change someone's life, as it did mine, by acknowledging that we are here together sharing this community, our one lifetime, our one world.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Memoirs of a Traveler

Memoirs of a Traveler
Laura Casey shares her experience on our 16-day National Parks Loop.
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Canyonlands National Park
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Zion National Park

A wild symphony. That's what the birds sound like at sunrise on Utah's Great Salt Lake.

Foul. That best sums up the odor of the warted, mucky geothermal pools at midday in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park.

Exhausting fun. This is perhaps the easiest description for the on- and off-bus experience on a 16-day Green Tortoise trip through several national and state parks.

In mid-July, I joined about 25 other folks, mostly from Europe, hiking in some of the most beautiful spots in the country. Our nights were split unevenly between camping under the stars and sleeping on the modern, relatively roomy bus as it drove us to our next new scenic spot. Aside from California, I hadn't seen much of the West. I longed to see the big skies of Montana, Arches National Park in Utah and the historic Route 66.

For two weeks, I was surrounded by teachers from France, the U.S. and Canada. I swam with a German father and his 14-year-old son -- who were on a bonding trip -- in Jackson Lake at Grand Teton National Park. I scrambled up rocks at Arches with accountants from Switzerland and took a jeep tour of Monument Valley with students and high-tech workers from England. We prepared meals together, grilled s'mores around the campfire at night and paired up for hours-long hikes during the day. The connections were almost immediate.

On the first night, I shuffled to the back of the bus, where a designated sleeping area doubled as a chill-out lounge during the day. There, I sat next to New York graphic designer Jin Jin and shared her dried mango slices as we talked about the wonderful places we were about to see. Friendship bloomed naturally and quickly. A year earlier, she had taken an epic trip to Alaska with friends. This year, with the Green Tortoise, she found herself camping out most evenings under the stars, something she never before had done. Late one night, she marveled as a family of deer quietly passed through camp in Zion National Park. "When I came back from Alaska, I said it was the best trip," she says, "but when I came back from the Green Tortoise, I felt this was the best trip ever." I couldn't agree more. Laid-back in theory but running more like clockwork, the Tortoise surprised both of us with its depth. 

I saw sunrises at the Arches, Great Salt Lake and Grand Canyon. I was in the water almost every day -- I didn't skip one chance at swimming or taking a dip in a hot spring. I marveled at the slim canyon walls at The Narrows in Zion National Park, stopping at one point during the six-hour Riverside Walk hike to watch a yellow butterfly flutter in the sunlight. The advantage of being with Green Tortoise was most apparent in Yellowstone. A dozen of us decided to walk from our group campground at Grant Village through the individual camp sites to Yellowstone Lake. Our huge camp site featured space enough for 25 of us to spread out in almost quiet isolation. In contrast, Yellowstone's general camping area was cramped with buzzing generators and loud campers. Did I find a park to rival my love affair with Joshua Tree? Yes. I think I fell in love with them all.

Back in San Francisco, sadly disembarking the bus on a chilly Sunday afternoon, I realized that no matter how I saw those national parks, their beauty would have touched my heart in some way. But this unusual method of traveling the nation's greatest treasures with new friends gave me my epic, unforgettable trip -- foul odors, wild symphonies and all.

Courtesy of Laura Casey and the Contra Costa Times

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ultimate Wildlife Encounters!

Ultimate Wildlife Encounters!
Get up close and personal with a gentle giant in Baja!
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Coastal clean up

Is swimming with gigantic sharks on your "must do" list yet? What if they were docile filter feeders and only ate plankton and tiny fish?

The whale shark grows to lengths over 40' (12.2m) long, has an average weight of 20.6 tons, and "might be the largest animal on the planet that you can be close to in its natural environment and not be in any danger whatsoever," says Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory.

These enormous open sea sharks migrate thousands of miles and gather to feast in warm, nutrient rich water for six months. The gentle giants largely remain a mystery, as scientists have yet to discover where they go when they leave their feeding grounds!

Fortunately for us, the bay in La Paz, Baja California is part of their mysterious migration route, and is easily accessed by a short boat ride from the city shore. Local tour operators offer inexpensive trips to swim with these rare sea creatures and are experts at spotting them (some companies even hire spotter planes to guide their boats to the whale sharks).*

Additional boat trips that leave the bay are also available and offer another incredible opportunity to swim with sea life; snorkeling or scuba diving at the sea lion colony near the islands of Espiritu Santo.  As you don your gear and jump off the boat, playful pups and curious adult sea lions weighing in at 300 kg (660 lb) take a break from basking in the sun and slide into the ocean to swim by and gawk at you.   In this wildlife experience, you'll be interacting with a creature that grows to about 8 ft (2.4 m) long in their natural habitat.

During the boat ride, keep an eye out for Mobula Rays leaping up to 6 feet (2m) out of the water in their puzzling but flashy exhibition!

The Green Tortoise visits La Paz on the Gold Coast Loop, Baja Whale Watching and the Baja Beach Daze 14 day trips.

*Reservations are required. As migrations vary from year to year, it's recommended to check ahead of time to see if the whale sharks are in La Paz bay.

New Educational and Service Trips!

New Educational and Service Trips!
Combining learning and service with Green Tortoise adventure!
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Coastal clean up
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Baja beach camping

We've developed an exciting line of trips especially for students! Our new Educational and Service trips combine educational and volunteering opportunities with Green Tortoise's gourmet camping meals, spectacular sightseeing, and fantastic adventures.

These journeys include ecology, environmental awareness, and volunteer opportunities in unique outdoor settings. Some treks afford school groups an opportunity to lend a helping hand and participate in environmental projects or humanitarian services. Others offer college credit through a collaborative effort with Dr. Ken Carloni, a professor in the science department at Umpqua Community College.

For more information, check out our new Educational and Service work trips. Be sure to check back often as new trips are being developed and will be ready to take off soon!

Shorter Days + Cooler Weather = SAD

Shorter Days + Cooler Weather = SAD
Tips on how to beat the winter blues!
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Baja beach camping
Camp on the beach!
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Death Valley Badwater
Warm yourself in Death Valley!
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Death Valley Dunes
Head for open waters!

Autumn is upon us and that means shorter days, cooler weather and less opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities. Although there are positive benefits to longer nights, for many people the shortened amount of daylight causes a mood change known as Seasonal Affective Disorder -- or more simply, The Winter Blues.

These seasonal blues are temporary and will lift when the days get longer in the spring, but you don't have to wait it out. Here are a few natural ways to beat back that "down in the dumps" feeling:

Get thee to a lower latitude. Take a break from winter where the days are longer and warmer.

Spend time socializing with friends. Laughter is the best medicine!

Increase your activity level. Activity can stimulate your brain to release natural anti-depressants.

Cut the junk and eat your veggies. A healthy diet can help regulate brain chemicals.

Ready to "bust a mood"? Hop on one of our winter trips: Southern Road trip, Gold Coast Loop, Baja Beach Daze, Death Valley Loop and Florida Sun Escape!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Travel Tips for the Ultra Chic
From Our Travel Diva, Ava
Green Tortoise adventure bus tours - Baja beach camping
Adventure travel ... in style!

To all the Tortoisettes out there, this one's for you!

Naturally you want to look your fabulous self during your ultimate road trip so we're spilling our secrets to help you look like the glamorous road warrior you are. Here are some helpful tips on staying beautiful and comfortable on you next adventure.

Dry Shampoo: This is amazing stuff and you just need a tiny bit to sprinkle at the roots. Forget heavy shampoo/conditioner bottles, they will only weigh you down. If you're on a longer trip, consider trial size packets for one time use mid-trip to revitalize those gorgeous locks as well.

"Yes to Cucumbers": Makeup removing and cleansing towelettes. These are refreshing and you will smell and feel delicious!

Scented dryer sheets: If you need to use clothing more than once (which you should be, we are camping after all!), pack your clothing with some dryer sheets in between to keep your clothes smelling fresh. Roll them up with them after uses. Dry, static hair? No problem - just swipe with one of these and calm those locks down!

Cotton knit sundress: is a good staple for your travel wardrobe, especially if your trip offers you a city stop and a night out on the town.

A hat: Maybe even two. Keep the sun off your face with a big floppy sunhat; the ones that you can crush without consequence. Also great for bad hair days.

Sea salt deodorant: Awesome and natural! Works on everything..underarms, stinky shoes, fabric, etc. Unfortunately it does nothing for those corny driver jokes, ha!

Carry minimal makeup: Allow your skin to go Au Natural. Maybe a little tinted moisturizer with an SPF. And don't forget your regular sunscreen which is a must!

Burt's Bees lip Shimmer: Fantastic to add a little color and moisture for those pouty lips.

A Cotton pashmina: Mine has a million uses ... Sunbathing wrap, shoulder coverup for those sunny hikes or an extra layer around the neck for those chilly campfire nights.

With these tips you're sure to be a smash on the trail, in a hot springs or by the campfire. Guys - all you need to do is bring chocolate ... Bars of chocolate to share with the ladies for some instant friends!