Opportunities for Educators | 10/19

As September draws to a close, TEC knows that educators are entering a particularly stressful time of year, and as always we are here to help you through it.

An Educator’s Guide to Exercise

Anyone who has met me can tell you that I spend most of my free time involved in some type of fitness activity. Mainly it’s been running, but over the past few years I’ve gotten more involved in taking group fitness classes and even training to teach classes. The Katy Trail or Grit Fitness are usually where you’ll find me immediately after work chatting with friends before we sweat it out together.

Rocking Parent Conferences with Confidence

Fall brings many wonderful things – recess duty with cooler weather, football, pumpkin spice lattes, and parent conferences! I know some may find the thought of parent conferences daunting, but I hope some of the questions and suggestions below will give you confidence for Fall Conferences!

From Innovative, To Inventor of Learning

This school year I wanted to grow in my field of educating children, so I applied and joined the Innovation in Teaching Fellowship. This personalized learning fellowship is a free cohort program offer to Dallas ISD teachers. If you teach in DISD and are eager to innovate and develop a data driven classroom, this is the group for you.

Relationships. Neighborhood Development. Trust.

“What has segregation cost us?” I could write every data point; but we can look across the country at our current state and in any major city see what segregation has and is doing today. It is costing us relationships. It is costing us neighborhood development. It is costing us, most importantly, trust.

Drop the Takis: Food as Fuel

The days can go by so slow, but the school years fly by! Can you believe we are passing through January already? As I sit here across from my three-year-old daughter, trying to readjust my seat six months pregnant, we are practicing for the millionth time how to write her name. If you are like me, your entire life revolves around serving people, sometimes without even realizing we are serving. As educators we are natural public servants...

3 Ways to Make Cell Phones Work for You

Have you ever had days when cellphones are just a huge distraction and it seems impossible for your students to get any work done? Students are constantly hiding their cellphones, and it seems like every time you turn around someone is distracted. It’s hard to micromanage, to give warnings, and to confiscate cell phones when you have about 50 minutes to teach your lesson.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I have a few of those days and I also have 3 tips to make cell phones work for you in your classroom.

Technology Teachers Need Now!

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It’s only November and you’re probably already trying to figure out if it is humanly possible to meet all the deadlines and where the next happy hour will be. Trust me, I understand! Although I cannot write those lesson plans for you, I would love to help by equipping you with some technology that will make your journey as an educator run a little smoother!

I believe it’s important that we as educators stay abreast to technology as it has the potential to increase our efficiency and provides unique avenues to connect with our scholars in the classroom. Here are three apps I feel could enhance your practice and lesson plan delivery. And for extra credit, they are all free!

1. Talking Points - Dallas ISD’s current student demographic is currently 70% Hispanic, 22% Black/African American, 5% White and 1.5% Asian. Depending on which part of Dallas you teach, there’s likely even more diversity. Diversity is beautiful, but it can lend itself to communication gaps. Thus, keeping our scholars’ families out the loop in regard to their child’s education. The Talking Points app is a great resource for bridging this gap and communicating effectively with families of all backgrounds.

Talking Point’s Stats:

•    Allows you to communicate in 20 different languages via text message

•    Parents are able to communicate back in English

•    Free version supports up to 150 students

2. Padlet – If you’re a secondary teacher like myself, then you know our students will have phones. (In fact, we are even seeing students at the primary level with cell phones now!) A phone is practically glued to their hands, so why not implement them in your practice? Padlet is a cool website where you can create a digital “parking lot” for students. My favorite part about Padlet is it amps up classroom discussion and gives equity of voice to all students.

Padlet’s Stats:

•    Students can respond to a posted question, quote, or anything you can imagine.

•    Operates similar to a Pinterest board or a Twitter feed

•    Great way to access prior knowledge or for student collaboration

3. Quizizz – With this app, the classic “pop quiz” has received a technological makeover! Quizizz is an awesome application that gamifies the education process without diluting the content. The best part about Quizizz is, you can do quiz students without piles of paper and it practically generates grades for you. Students will not need to make an account – all they need is a game code.

Quizizz’s Stats:

•    Created “quizzes” can be aligned to TEKS

•    Self-paced feature is great for differentiated instruction

•    Compatible with Google classroom and the Remind App


I hope the remainder of your school year proves to be one of the best years yet for you and your students! Take some time to check out these apps before the end of 2018 and let the Educator Collective know how it went!

_ _

Torrian in an 8th Grade Science and Physics teacher at Billy Earl Dade Middle School, in her 5th year as an educator.

 

Talking Politics in the Classroom

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I talk regularly with my colleagues about our role as teachers in civic duty or political engagement. There’s fear that teachers are not professional enough to handle the responsibility of engaging these topics in the classroom without personal bias or systemic indoctrination. I’m inclined to agree.

I see it as our responsibility to develop our students towards stronger critical thinking. And what that means practically depends on the culture of your student body and community. And then to challenge those starting point beliefs.

To develop critical thinking means to move students away from the acceptance of dogma as truth and towards participation in beliefs through commitment. The result is that students who leave discussion in opposition or in agreement will be more capable of living those beliefs. They aren’t just words spouted in response to situations, learned from parents and peers and role models; they are convictions that motivate actions consistent with the beliefs.

And thus, the role of teacher is to be interlocutor regardless of personal position. It does our students—and our society—no benefit to transition them from believing in one dogma to believing in another.

This is a tall task for passionate teachers. Those who have the boldness to be interested in engaging these topics are likely to believe strongly in their convictions. Trusting it is ok for students to think differently than that may feel like a loss in the classroom. What's a teacher to do?    

 

1. Find historic comparisons

A little separation from the present can give the opportunity to learn context for students, as well as see how our ideas change or return over time. If students want to discuss politics of the present about #MeToo or Trump, then I would take them to the 70s: Women's Liberation or Reagan's defeat of Carter. These conversations will still be passionate, but they can help with practice with the benefit of perspective.

2. Question like Socrates

I read a wonderful essay about the different roles Socrates played as teacher in Plato's writings. While all of them could be useful, one that seems particularly appropriate to this task is the analogy to a midwife. The midwife does not give birth, but has great skill in assisting the mother to do so. Similarly, the questioner may not know what the answer to a question is, nor are they looking for it from their own mind—they are skilled at drawing out the ideas of the student. Identify what goal is sought in discussion and allow that to be the focus; thus it will rarely be that students need to think a certain opinion or know what the teacher thinks for the goal to be accomplished.


The primary activity of the teacher in this role is as listener. It takes especially good listening to ask appropriate questions which lead students to question their own claims and justifications. Not because we wish for them to arrive at a certain idea—we want them to have this ability as they continue to think through ideas individually in their lives as citizens.

There’s a trade off for relationship development. Knowledge of one another is important for developing human relationships, so too much distance can cut against many of the goals in the classroom. As teachers, we need to be skilled questioners and listeners to draw out what our students know and think; we also need to share some of who we are so relationships can exist—each without ruining the other. This is an interesting balance I’m still trying to figure out.



Guest Post: Yuri Lewis

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Congrats! You survived the first few weeks of school!

If you’re like me, you prepared for weeks with many restless nights wondering if everything was perfect and ready for your new group of scholars. Doesn’t it feel great to start a new year with a clean slate of kiddos and minimal desk clutter? Now, you can execute all the new ideas and strategies you learned from your summer PDs, roll out those new lessons you read about, and finally carry out your plans to eat healthy and workout!...or at least that’s the plan! Much like New Years Resolutions, we all start the school year off with lofty goals and a plethora of new duties. If you haven’t by now, you will soon feel overwhelmed with the demands of our calling as a teacher. Many times, because we love what we do, we allow ourselves to take on too much, overcommit, or get carried away with responsibilities, only to get burnt out by October.

To keep this from happening, don’t forget to keep YOURSELF healthy. Refrain from allowing yourself to feel like you’re drowning in lesson plans, grading, and curriculum building. In order for us to be the “superhero teacher” our kiddos, parents, and colleagues need, we HAVE to take care of ourselves. As educators, we have bought into the lie that this makes us “selfish,” when in reality, taking care of you is the only way we will have the stamina to care for your students all year long.

You’ll inevitably have worries for your kiddos that you’ll take home with you, but don’t let these overtake you where your own personal needs become completely neglected. Schedule a mani-pedi, go on a dinner date, or make time to catch up with colleagues or old friends. It’s crucial for us to realize the most important tool for a student’s education is a healthy and happy teacher. This means when you finally have some down time, even during a school day, allow yourself to a moment to breathe. Take a stroll down the hall and check up on the first-year teacher, send a little wave and wink to the veteran. Don’t feel guilty to have lunch with your team and NOT talk about school. Build one another up and get to know one another on a personal level.

Our kiddos will get taken care of. There are many like-minded adults on your campus with the same goal of loving and caring for students... but the question is, who is going to take care of YOU? This year, keep in mind the best way to help our scholars is to practice self-care.

I wish you all a healthy year, filled with laughter, the joy of seeing your students’ “aha moments” and those “can you believe that just happened?” stories that make it all worth it!

 

Yuri Lewis - 8th Grade ELAR Teacher, TJ Rusk Middle School

Game Night / Event Recap

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TEC hosted its first Summer Social of 2018 at The Grove at Harwood in Uptown on Friday, June 22nd. Around 40 educators from 15 different schools braved the summer heat and came together for an evening of outdoor games and a well deserved evening of relaxation. TJ Rusk Middle School, Thomas Jefferson High School and Uplift Triumph were among the schools represented as coworkers and friends were able to catch up after their first few weeks of summer break. It was also exciting to see the TEC community continue to grow as our first educators from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD and Frisco ISD joined us at The Grove.

TEC’s social events serve as a great space to make connections with fellow teachers from across the metroplex and continue to grow your professional network. Whether you’re searching for a new job, wanting to discuss best practices, or simply looking for a place to unwind with friends and fellow teachers, we have you covered. We always want TEC to be a community that that you can depend on for resources and relationships as you grow in your careers as professional educators.

To that end, don’t forget to join us for our next Summer Social at Deep Ellum Brewing Co. on July 26th. We’ll have guided tours of the brewery, local craft beers on tap, and a happy hour in the taproom to close out the evening. You won’t want to miss it!

Dallas Summer Events Calendar - July 2018

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If you’re looking to make the most of your summer break and you find yourself in DFW, TEC has you covered.  Check out our Summer Event Calendar for fun, budget-friendly ways to take full advantage of your time off!

 

JULY 1

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CHRIS BROWN CONCERT

Location: Dos Equis Pavilion
Cost: 25+

 

JUNE 3

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ADDISON KABOOMTOWN

Location: Addison Circle
Cost: Free

 

JULY 4

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FAIR PARK FOURTH

Location: Fair Park
Cost: $0-10

 

JULY 5

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CONCERTS BY THE LAKE - "SOUTHERN RIDE"

Location: Harbor Ampitheater
Cost: Free

 

JULY 6

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SUNDOWN AT SEVEN

Location: Adolphus Hotel
Cost: Free

 

JULY 7

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FESTIVAL DE MARIACHI

Location: Traders Village
Cost: Free

 

JULY 11

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FREE SUMMER MOVIE SERIES: STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI

Location: Fair Park
Cost: Free

 

JULY 12

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OWL PROWL NIGHT HIKES

Location: Trinity River Audubon Center
Cost: $15

 

JULY 13

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ADDISON SUMMER SERIES: JIMMY BUFFET TRIBUTE

Location: Addison Circle Park
Cost: Free

 

JULY 14

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BASTILLE ON BISHOP

Location: Bishop Arts District
Cost: $25

 

JULY 15

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FIFA WORLD CUP WATCH PARTY

Location: Bomb Factory
Cost: Free

 

JULY 16

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THE SMASHING PUMPKINS IN CONCERT

Location: American Airlines Center
Cost: $34+

 

JULY 20

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NOTHIN BUT CHEDDAR CHEESE FESTIVAL

Location: Scardello Artisan Cheese (Oak Lawn)
Cost: $40

 

JULY 21

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MOON DAY 2018

Location: Frontiers Flight Museum
Cost: $7

 

JULY 22

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SHAWN MENDES CONCERT

Location: American Airlines Center
Cost: $29+

 

JULY 23

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TEXAS RANGERS VS OAKLAND A'S - DOLLAR DOG NIGHT

Location: Globe Life Park
Cost: $20+

 

JULY 26

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AFTER-HOURS COCKTAIL TOUR

Location: Samurai Collection
Cost: $18

 

JULY 27

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DAVE BARNES CONCERT

Location: Kessler Theatre
Cost: $22+

 

JULY 28

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TEXAS LATINO COMIC CON

Location: Latino Culture Center
Cost: Free

 

Advisory Board Announcement

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The Educator Collective Advisory Board is a council of educators that serves an integral leadership role within TEC. Members of the advisory board work with TEC staff to build programming, lead initiatives, and serve as the face of the organization on school campuses. The work of the advisory board in indispensable as the TEC community continues to grow and strengthen.

To that end, we are thrilled to add three capable and passionate teacher-leaders to the advisory board this summer.  

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Reanna Wilborn
Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy

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Paige Zumberge
Thomas Jefferson High School

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Jordan Murphy
Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy

We started the advisory board at the beginning of 2018, and, with the addition of Reanna, Jordan, and Paige now have seven committed board members (check out the “Our Team” page for a full list of board members). Our vision is to add 3-4 more educators to the advisory board in the upcoming school year. If you are interested in this unique leadership opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dallas Summer Events Calendar - June 2018

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If you’re looking to make the most of your summer break and you find yourself in DFW, TEC has you covered.  Check out our Summer Event Calendar for fun, budget-friendly ways to take full advantage of your time off!

 

JUNE 1

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SECOND ANNUAL SKIP DAY

Location: The Rustic
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 2

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THE POLYPHONIC SPREE

Location: Legacy Hall
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 3

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MIMOSA WALK

Location: Bishop Arts District
Cost: $20

 

JUNE 5

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MARIO KART TOURNAMENT

Location: Legacy Hall
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 6

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DOLLAR HOT DOG NIGHT - TEXAS RANGERS VS OAKLAND A'S

Location: Globe Life Park
Cost: Starting at $17

 

JUNE 7

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MOVIE NIGHT - LADY & THE TRAMP

Location: Mutt's Canine Cantina
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 8

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CONCERT - RAY LAMONTAGNE & NEKO CASE

Location: Toyota Music Factory
Cost: Starting at $30

 

JUNE 9

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FOR OAK CLIFF'S "DAY AT THE MOVIES"

Location: Texas Theatre
Cost: $25

 

JUNE 11

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TRIVIA NIGHT

Location: The Lot
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 12

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DALLAS SYMPHONY PARKS CONCERTS SERIES

Location: Paul Quinn College
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 14

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VIRTRUVIAN NIGHTS LIVE WITH EMERALD CITY BAND

Location: Virtruvian Park
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 15

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'TIL MIDNIGHT AT THE NASHER

Location: Nasher Sculpture Gardens
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 16

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FT WORTH MARGARITA FESTIVAL

Location: The Yard
Cost: $25

 

JUNE 16 & 17

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FATHER'S DAY BEER SAMPLING AND BRATS

Location: Dallas Arboretum
Cost: $15

 

JUNE 19

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JUNETEENTH FESTIVAL

Location: MLK Community Center
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 20

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THE LION KING

Location: Fair Park Music Hall
Cost: Starting at $38

 

JUNE 21

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DECKS IN THE PARK

Location: Klyde Warren Park
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 22

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2018 NHL DRAFT AND FAN FEST

Location: American Airlines Center
Cost: TBA

 

JUNE 24

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CRAWFISH FEST

Location: Bishop Arts District
Cost: TBA

 

JUNE 26

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CONCERT - PENTATONIX

Location: Starplex Pavilion
Cost: Starting at $25

 

JUNE 27

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"PULP FICTION" MOVIE

Location: Rooftop at the Granada Theatre
Cost: Free

 

JUNE 30

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OUTLAW MUSIC FESTIVAL (WILLIE NELSON, STURGILL SIMPSON, RYAN BINGHAM)

Location: Dos Equis Pavilion
Cost: Starting at $35

Five Great Ideas for Traveling Teachers!

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We are down to those final school days. 19 to be exact, not that we’re counting or anything. The last few before those glorious words “summer break” are a reality and days that aren’t chock full of instructing, grading, lesson planning, pencil sharpening, test writing, hall monitoring, lunch duty-ing (and so on) are the norm, for a couple of months at least. As an educator, vacations can seem daunting because it’s just one more thing to plan, one more thing that costs precious dollars, one more thing that must, of course, come to an end. But, also as an educator, vacations, self-care, a chance to unplug are so deserved and needed. So let’s find a way to make this more attainable and realistic, shall we?

Not all vacations mean traveling to the ends of the earth, spending oodles of dollars, or getting stressed over planning the details. Below are five travel ideas that I would consider doable, plannable, and bookable for an educator yet also exciting, somewhat exotic and definitely worth showcasing on social media (if it isn’t on Instagram, did it even happen?).
 

1) Marfa, Texas

El Cosmico, Marfa

El Cosmico, Marfa

Not only is Marfa one of the most Instagrammable places ever, it exists in our very own great state and is totally drivable! No, I-20 isn’t the most scenic going through the western part of Texas, but once you arrive in the charming village of Marfa, all thoughts of tumbleweeds and oil rigs will be a distant memory. Art, shopping, delicious meals and easy access to Big Bend National Park set this little desert town apart as an oasis worth visiting. If New Yorkers are coming down to experience it, you know it has to be something, right? Not to mention the variety boutique hotels - Hotel Saint George, Hotel Paisano, Thunderbird Hotel, or if you really save those pennies, El Cosmico - to name a few. And, of course, who wouldn’t want to catch those eerie Marfa Lights?!
 

2) San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sunshine, beach, colonial town and no need for a passport? Sign me up! Puerto Rico, despite the tragedy from Hurricane Maria, has recovered so nicely and is anxious for visitors, allowing for a very affordable beach vacay. Old San Juan, the oldest settlement on the island, is home to a ton of history, fabulous restaurants and super quaint lodging. All of this coupled with some really great beaches (Isla Verde, Dorado, Rio Grande) make for a wonderful getaway that doesn’t take hours or lots of $$$ to get to from Dallas. Some of my favorites for boutique lodging include El Convento (think old world charm meets contemporary elegance), Olive Boutique Hotel (definitely ideal for a romantic stay!), La Terraza de San Juan (happy hour on that rooftop terrace is a must), and The Gallery Inn (the ultimate bed & breakfast experience). There’s also quite the bar and casino scene, if that piques your interest!
 

3) Pacific Northwest

The Burrard Hotel, Vancouver

The Burrard Hotel, Vancouver

Summer time in Oregon, Washington and western Canada is tough to beat, especially when we are constantly waging war against the heat here in Texas. Cooler temps, gorgeous scenery, hiking, wine tasting, whale watching and just a general sense of the outdoors? How could anything be better?! With direct flights on a variety of airlines to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, the PNW proves to be a perfect escape from the triple digits and insane A/C bills. Pick one and do a long weekend, or pick all three and turn it into a road trip marked by national park after national park, one insanely good cup of coffee after another, and a stamp on that passport upon entering Canada. Airbnbs and super cool boutique hotels (i.e. The Society Hotel in Portland, Hotel Five in Seattle, The Burrard in Vancouver) are not hard to come by in any of these spots, and neither is delicious food (Portland - Pine State Biscuits and Pok Pok, Seattle - Spinasse and Matt’s in the Market, Vancouver - Uva and Rodney’s Oyster House) and a variety of activities. Breakfast in PDX, morning photo op at Cannon Beach, an afternoon hike in Rainier National Park, and an evening spent at Pike Place Market equals the perfect PNW day in my book!
 

4) Contiki Tours

The mission statement of Contiki is to plan travel for the “young, wild and free” (AKA those who are between 18 and 35 years old) to places all over the world and within a moderate budget. The idea here is to bring people from a variety of backgrounds and homes together and introduce them to new places, new cultures, new ideas. Their philosophy is to change perspectives and open eyes to see what is out there and to do it with some new friends - and I LOVE this philosophy! They plan the nitty gritty of over 300 trips to six different continents all throughout the year, yet you get to make many of the decisions (transportation, activities, lodging, how you spend your time, etc.). Being able to filter trips by destination, length, cost, etc., there is something out there for everyone. The world is truly your oyster with Contiki!    
 

5) U by Uniworld

U by Uniworld

U by Uniworld

When you first hear the words “river cruise”, your mind probably automatically says “no thanks, that’s for people my parents’ age”. And that isn’t completely inaccurate. However, Uniworld, one of the leading river cruise companies, decided it was time to tap into the millennial generation and get us cruising in a way that still kept us feeling young and adventurous. Enter: U by Uniworld. Originally designed as river cruises for 21 to 45 year olds, U by Uniworld is the perfect way to experience some of the greatest gems of Europe with an all-inclusive part hotel/part yacht homebase. They max out at 120 guests per cruise, which offers a unique and intimate experience. Not to mention, these boats can squeeze into the tight river spaces that larger ships cannot, equating to a truly all encompassing experience. Money wise, this isn’t as budget-conscious as Contiki, but you are getting an all-inclusive five-star experience for a fraction of what it typically costs. Bon voyage, my friends!

If you found yourself saying “YES SIGN ME UP NOW” to any of these or want to know what else is out there (just the whole of our planet, really), shoot me a line (contact info below)! 

 
 
 
 
Hillary Taylor

Our guest blogger, Hillary Taylor, is a luxury travel designer and advisor based in Dallas. She is part of The Simple Sol team (www.thesimplesol.com) in Dallas, an affiliate of SmartFlyer (www.smartflyer.com, a leading agency of independent advisors) and a member of Virtuoso (www.virtuoso.com). She designs highly curated and personalized luxury travel experiences for clients of all kinds to places all over the world. Most recently she has traveled to Portugal and Morocco, and next up on the schedule is Northern California. Interested in learning more? Contact her at hillary@thesimplesol.com and follow along on Instagram (@the_foreignanddomestic).