Can you beat a Tweet from a dog sled? Tales from a tour on #TravelTuesday
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  sarah_carter dog_sledding travel traveltuesday montreal social
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You might think from reading some of our blogs, that all we do is work, talk about IBM Social Business, and live social. Of course, that’s absolutely correct, but in those brief free moments, long weekends, vacations or even single days, all of us folks from the IBM Redbooks Thought Leaders team love to travel. And you know what? We’re all pretty social when we travel as well. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be taking our turn at sharing our tall travel tales on #TravelTuesday.
Today’s inaugural #TravelTuesday comes from Sarah Carter, who’s travel claims to fame are that she spent her 21st birthday at the top of the Eiffel Tower, while her friends were at the bottom, has been north of the Arctic Circle and sailed a yacht across the Atlantic.
Do you remember how you booked a vacation before the Internet? If you’re one of the whippersnappers who’s going to ask “there was life before the Internet?”, then I’ll point you to ARPAnet, encyclopedia Britannica and the library for all those reference books that you can’t check out and you certainly can’t get on the Kindle.
I remember, kind of vaguely (and NOT in a rose-tinted-glasses type of way), spending frustrating hours in the travel agents on the high street at home. Looking at glossy pictures and impossibly perfect beaches/cities/mountains, and then asking someone to type into a terminal for the latest availability.
Now I can’t possible conceive of the idea of booking a vacation without social, let alone the Internet. Sure I’ll still occasionally head to the library and pick up a Lonely Planet, or Rough Guide, but ordinarily I’ll head to TripAdvisor and Yelp and work out not just where I’m going, but where I’m going to stay, how I’m going to get there, what I’ll do when I get there and where I’ll eat. Sound familiar?
In January of this year, I had a bucket list trip to the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City, Canada. Now those of you who know me, know that I cram in as much as possible into my trips, so this was not going to be an ordinary trip.
We sourced the hotel in Montreal on Yelp, the first place I’ve ever stayed with double double glazing. Mooching around in Montreal in the snow the next day, Instagram provided my friends and colleagues with a super view of the Old City, while Foursquare gave me where we’d have a brunch of French crepes. The 60th anniversary of the first #HockeyNightInCanada – remember there was a shut out until mid January, came to us via StubHub when the Maple Leafs met the Canadiens. And to the excitement of someone who lives in a small northern Californian town, we ate dinner after 10pm, courtesy, Les 3 Brasseurs. Ahh, big city living!
I shared Poutine from La Banquise on Facebook, sourced an entire menu of Chocolate at Cacao 70, found (and shared with my fellow IBM Redbooks Thought Leaders) that insects are incredibly social while at Olympic Park and then I jumped on a train. Actually I ran for the train and kind of collapsed onto it, having completely miscalculated the route to the station.* (*This may have been an inability to read a map, I could not possibly comment). I blogged while I was on the train, about where I’d be without mobile and what I’d miss the most and referenced @via_rail – who were delightful in promoting my blog in both English and French.
I tweeted live from a dog sled north of Quebec City, just as my husband managed to roll the sled. I kept hold of my cell phone, but not my dignity. Seeing as I posted the proceedings, including the video of the live action to Facebook first, my version of the action is the one entered into history. Then we made it to the Ice Hotel, the highlight of the trip, where the activity of the evening was ice sculpting in the bar. That’s right folks, I stood next to people who would be in the “room” next to me for the next 8 hours, while they, drink in hand, stood hacking at chunks of ice with sharp chisels and manic looks on their faces. No animals, or visitors were however damaged during this activity, and all guests safely checked out the next morning. The Ice Hotel is built each year, with a wedding chapel, specially designed suites, a bar and an ice slide. It’s a great experience, not for the faint-hearted – either in cost or determination – while it might be a constant negative 5 centigrade inside the hotel it was a seriously scary negative 40 centigrade outside – and yes the “we highly recommend you take a dip in the hot tub before retiring for the night” hot tubs were outside.
Certainly I could have booked my trip without social, but I do fundamentally believe that my experience would have been lesser because of it. In using social, I crowdsourced hotels, restaurants and things to do. I didn’t send a single postcard, but friends, family and colleagues saw the same amazing sights and places I visited, and while I have hundreds of photos and updates, you already saw them all through my posts, updates, and check ins.
What about you? What travel plans did you source through social? And who made your travel experience through social?
Sarah Carter joined the workforce as a taxi driver at 17 (a story in itself). After university and a spell with IBM, a year in Canada, she moved to the UK IT security & data archiving market joining a UK security and storage integrator. Sarah was integral in taking the company through an IPO on the alternative investment market, promoted to the board she worked in the team that acquired others and then sold the business. After 4 years with Actiance in the Europe and Asia team, Sarah relocated to HQ in California. Sarah is now General Manager of Actiance’s Social Business – she and her team work with the regulators – from FINRA in the USA, to the FSA in the UK. She also works with Actiance clients on best practice social media and collaboration strategies and regularly speaks on the topic on both continents.