Archive for February, 2015

Hostelling International’s Family Travel Workshop – Austin – Westgate

Hostelling International’s Family Travel Workshop at Westgate

Children are not small adults, especially when it comes to traveling. So to have a memorable trip for all the right reasons, with kids in tow, you’ll have to do some extra planning. No matter their age, you’ll need to consider their attention span, endurance and comfort levels with new places, cuisines and experiences.

Willa Rosen of Hostelling International can help you plan a great trip with her Family Travel Workshop at our Westgate store in Austin on February 25th at 6:30 pm. She highlights the aspects of travel planning that are essential for a fun family adventure – child-friendly food, lodging and activities, for tots to teens.

Willa Rosen loves to travel. She’s visited over 70 countries on six continents, and she’s been an avid backpacker for over 30 years. She’s always excited to share ways to have amazing travel experiences on a budget and to find hidden gems off the beaten track. So please join Willa at Westgate and get ready to experience the wonder of seeing the world through your children’s eyes.

A tiny traveler meets a Two-Toed Sloth in Costa Rica

A tiny traveler meets a Two-Toed Sloth in Costa Rica

Zilker Kite Festival Raffle 2015

Zilker Kite Festival Raffle
Day in the Park Package 2015

Austin’s festival season takes off on Sunday, March 1st with the 87th annual Zilker Kite Festival in Austin’s Zilker Park. This year’s gathering of kites and fliers includes kite flying demonstrations and contests for the most unusual, the steadiest, the highest angle, the strongest pulling and the largest and smallest kites, a kids’ 50 yard dash with a flying kite, and a prize for the oldest and youngest contestants. The Festival ends with a spectacular mass ascent of kites filling the sky above the Great Lawn. Registration is from 11am to 2 pm with the contests beginning at 1 pm.

All kites in the contests are handmade. In Austin, Kite making Workshops are being held on Saturday, February 14th at the South Austin Recreation Center from 1 to 3 pm (contact Devon Farber or Sean Hill at 512-444-6601 for more information) and on Saturday, February 21st at the Northwest Recreation Center from 1 to 3 pm (contact Christa McCarthy or Vangie Martinez at 512-974-6972).

Whole Earth Provision Co. is joining in the fun with a Day in the Park Raffle. The package, valued at over $450, includes a Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler, a Sport Brella, and a NewTech 3-D Red Baron Kite. Tickets can be purchased through February 28th at the three Austin Whole Earth stores and at the Kite Festival on March 1st. You do not have to be present to win. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Communities in Schools.

Communities in Schools

Communities in Schools is a Central Texas non-profit that offers help to children facing crises and significant barriers to education such as hunger, poverty, unattended health needs and domestic violence. Created in 1985, Communities in Schools places professional full-time staff on campuses to work closely with school personnel to provide and coordinate an array of social services. These include individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, mentoring, tutoring, school readiness initiatives, child abuse protection, leadership development and enrichment activities. In 2014, Communities in Schools could be found in 60 schools in seven districts in Travis, Hays, Caldwell and Bastrop counties.

The Zilker Kite Festival was launched by the Exchange Club of Austin back in 1929 as an opportunity for children and the community to come together for some shared fun and creativity. Now in its 87th year, the Festival is the oldest continuously run kite festival in the country.

If you’re in need of a kite, stop by your favorite Whole Earth store. We have kites for beginners as well as sport and stunt kites. And don’t forget to download a copy of our Kite Flyer’s Field Guide for Judging Wind Speed.

We’ll see you soon at Zilker!

Europe on a Shoestring – Austin N. Lamar

Europe on a Shoestring - Austin N. Lamar

Have you been longing to visit Europe, but you’re just not sure about the cost of making your dream come true? Well, your dream trip may be closer than you think. On Wednesday February 18th at 6:30 pm, Whole Earth Provision Co. welcomes Emily Jablon of Hostelling International to our Austin North Lamar store. Emily knows how to see Europe on a Shoestring! She’ll share her expert tips on budgeting, collecting points for international flights and how to be a safe and respectful traveler.

Emily Jablon of Hostelling International

Emily Jablon

Emily Jablon is a co-founder of the travel site Million Mile Secrets that shows time-starved people how they can travel comfortably to see the world for a fraction of the cost. She’s traveled to over 30 countries, many on miles and points. Million Mile Secrets has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, Money Magazine, Business Insider and other publications. Come join us and learn how to travel to Europe for less!

Thoreau and the mall? No not that mall…

Thoreau and the Mall

Thoreau and the Mall

If you’re a regular reader of our Facebook page, you know that Whole Earth starts every day with a quote. Last year’s 365 quotes were just a drop in the bucket compared to the number of quotes we collected but that failed to make the grade for “publication.” And in gathering this mountain of quotes, we’ve learned several lessons.

Perhaps the most important one is that any quote from Mark Twain must be verified. It seems that our great American writer has been credited with many a quote that he never actually set down on paper. There are often clues that something is amiss – usually a colloquial phrase or a word used before its time. So when we read this quote from Henry David Thoreau, it looked like another example of misattribution.

“When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: what would become of us if we walked only in a garden or a mall?”

Wait, what? A mall? Thoreau was blessed with foresight, but did he really foresee the great American shopping mall and its early morning mall walkers? Surely this was an “updated” or even a spurious quote. A quick internet search revealed that the quote is genuine. It’s from his famous essay “Walking” published in The Atlantic Monthly on June 1, 1862. So what was a mall to Thoreau?

According to Webster’s Second Unabridged, mall refers to Pall Mall, a game and a place. The game was an ancestor of croquet, played on long grass alleys with large hoops, wooden balls and mallets. In 17th century London, the King and his court played Pall Mall in St. James’ Park. As the game’s popularity waned the Pall Mall alley was repurposed as a tree-lined public promenade, but the name Pall Mall or the Mall stuck. So Thoreau’s mall is a shaded public walk.

What would become of us if we walked only in a garden or a mall? Thoreau believed we would lose our connection to the Wild. He saw walking as a holy act, a communion with the Wild, which enriched our humanity by returning us to our true home within the natural world. It was easy for Thoreau to find the Wild. It was just down the road and over a fence or two. For us, it’s more difficult. But we should not be deterred from following Thoreau’s advice and cultivating our connection with the Wild by walking in wild places whenever we can.