New York Times Travel Show 2013

New York Times Travel Show

New York Times Travel Show

Arthur FrommerThundering Waterfalls of the Caribbean, the Golden Buddha of Thailand, The Great Wall of China…imagine being in the center of it all! One of my most coveted possessions is the press pass I receive each year for the New York Times Travel Show (even though my name was spelled incorrectly, I think they meant it for me)! This show feeds my wanderlust while keeping me up with the latest technology and trends of the travel world. One can meander through the aisles from continent to continent sampling foods, listening to musical accompaniment while many happy people share the most unique characteristics of their countries. Concurrently, there are one hour workshops happening from 10am – 5pm in three different conference rooms on the lower level of the Jacob Javits Convention Center. So many wonderful decisions to be made. So many wonderful connections to be made! During this week, I will be going through all of my notes and passing along a synthesis of the many workshops I attended.

After visiting the elegant American Express Lounge for a cappuccino planning session as to what should come first, no one can go wrong with this father and daughter team… Arthur and Pauline Frommer always share such valuable information and I have provided the link for each recommendation. The following are companies offering customized experiences:,,, . Small Group Tours are offered by: Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, Djoser Tours and adventure consultants are Adventure Center, Adventure Link. Short volunteer vacations are provided by: Parismina, Give The Kids The World , British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, Colorado Trail Foundation while companies specializing in longer volunteer vacations are Global Volunteers, Earthwatch, Vaughan Systems, American Hiking Society. In order to get the best airfares, they suggested the following sites:,, Momondo.comm. Booking on a Tuesday or Wednesday, six weeks in advance seems to provide the best prices. Non-direct flights and two one way tickets may be cheaper. It is such a smart move to follow your favorite airline and hotels on Twitter and Facebook since they are competing with Orbis and Kayak so they will offer discounted deals to their followers but they may only last for a few hours so this way, you will always get the notification. TripTwit will add in this. If you are daring and would like to break out of the hotel box, VROB,,, Air B&B offer homes and apartments to rent. often directly from the owner. As far as the airlines go, it is so disheartening that Spirit is now charging for bags going in the overhead compartment while SouthWest and Jet Blue have resisted many of the extra check in charges.
Arthur and Pauline are both gifted speakers and are consummate professionals in the travel industry. Their website is one to definitely bookmark while waiting for the 2014 show date to be announced!

Stay tuned…much more information is forthcoming!

Happy Holidays To All

Vietnamese Christmas PagentVietnamese Christmas Pagent
Vietnamese Christmas PagentChristmas BabyVietnam is definitely high on my “Places to See and Photograph” list but until then, I had a wonderful time photographing the Vietnamese Christmas celebration. It truly was a triumphant celebration of music, dance and prayer. Although I did not understand much of the language, it did not matter…we were all united in joy! This is my wish for you!

Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Faithful Celebrate


Still in Prayer
City Procession

Over the past few years, some leaders of the Philadelphia Archdiocese have become known for very grevious offenses. However, this past week, I was able to witness what the spirit of the real church looks like. St. Thomas Acquinas is a multi-cultural parish located in South Philadelphia. Members are from the Indonesian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Hispanic, African American, Italian and Irish communities. This parish is microcosm of the world. Although struggling financially, all are committed to being a beacon of hope for the neighborhood and the vibrancy of support and welcome is so palpable.

Five centuries ago on a hill in Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe appreared to the poor and abandoned. Speaking their language she promised protection and inspired hope. On a small hillside in the freezing cold, roses bloomed. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather the flowers in his peasant cloak (tilma). When the flowers were laid out in front of the Bishop, there appeared the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe which was miraculously imprinted on the fabric. This cloak of a poor man touched by grace can still be viewed to this day. Over time, she was declared the patroness of the Americas and has endeared the largest number of pilgrimages in the world. On December 11th, in the cold night air, the people of St Thomas Acquinas processed over an hour and a half to the cathedral to join thousands of others filled with the same heartfelt faith,belief and joy. It was so inspiring for me to see the strength and faith of the men, women, children, old and young from all different cultural backgrounds sharing in this celebration. These are the acts that should not go unnoticed. Hopefully the video provided will give an small insight into the tremendous spirit!

Such Tender Moments that Make Us All Smile!

I am always touched when a couple invites me in to accompany them and in some way capture on film their endearing qualities and tenderness towards each other…to document the vitality and vibrancy of their love. Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being with Brittany and Anthony on a beautiful fall day. Each saw in the other a heart which embraced and nurtured children and while they were on vacation in California this past summer, Anthony went out on the balcony of their hotel with a beautiful view of the ocean behind him and he proposed to Brittany. She said, “YES!” Their happiness in each other’s company is so obvious to everyone around them. They appreciate the simple moments of spending time, laughing, sharing and just being still with each other. The date has been set for the wedding (see if you can figure it out in the video!) and I am so grateful and honored to be sharing in such joy!

Cape May, NJ /Multiple Exposure

Cape May is the home to beautiful Victorian homes, a lighthouse beacon, pristine beaches and enough stimulation for all those who “shop till they drop”! I previously did a post on the vintage archetecture but in this post, I wanted to try to capture and convey the mood which emanates from this summer beach town.

All rights reserved. No unauthorized use, distribution, sales, lending or duplication is permitted without written notice from Frances Schwabenland, copyright 2012.

The Rocky Statue: (My time lapse video and a two hour study!)

The iconic Rocky statue stately stands in front of the beautiful, Greek inspired Philadelphia Art Museum . This bronze icon of the underdog going up against all odds and achieving success seems to strike a chord in so many hearts. It is Philadelphia’s “David”. A photograph with this famed statue has become the siren call for tourists. I wanted to document this in a different way so off I went with a time lapse camera set to take a photograph every minute for two hours while I also stood and took individual pictures. One grandfather told me that the only thing his grandson from Florida wanted to see was this statue and to have his picture with Rocky on his phone. I found that the majority of people morphed into the Rocky pose. Others stood stoically as if to show, yes they had come to Philadelphia. Some dressed him in an American Flag while others struck a fighting pose. Some touched his “private parts” and another blew him a kiss. Even though our world renowned Art Museum was closed, I was amazed at the number of people coming up. But for me, the most incredible moment which seemed to sum it all up was when a man came up in a wheel chair. He was disabled but he got up out of the chair and even though walking was obviously very difficult for him, he made it to the statue and stood tall next to this inspiration of greatness and the hope of transformation. He didn’t need the steps, he had the statue and its meaning.

All rights reserved. No unauthorized use, distribution, sales, lending or duplication is permitted without written notice from Frances Schwabenland, copyright 2012.

Niagara Falls with a Go Pro and IPhone

If you ever visit Niagara Falls on the Ontario side and take it in – really take it in, “The Maid of the Mist” is a “must do”. This ride provides the most incredible views, up close and personal! I can’t even begin to describe the beauty, power and the energy…for me it truly went beyond words.

This was also a virgin voyage in a sense…armed with just a Go Pro and IPhone, life was so sweet and easy!

2012 copyright Frances Schwabenland