Rocco Basile

Rocco Basile, the founder of Rocco Basile Photography, is a renowned photography expert whose work as a photojournalist has taken him to some of the world’s most remote locales. Rocco, a native New Yorker who relocated to Southern California following a lengthy stay in the Far East, enjoys that his profession has enabled him to travel so often but equally appreciates the stability he has experienced since founding the eponymous photography gallery and studio located so close to his home in Santa Barbara, California.

In addition to his work as a photojournalist, Rocco has also earned international notoriety for his fine art photography as well as his landscape and portrait photography. Rocco’s photographs have been featured in publications with readerships that span the globe, and the longtime photography expert is proud that his career has been successful enough that he is now able to support the careers of other up-and-coming photographers in the area. In fact, the walls of Rocco’s studio and gallery typically feature the work of other visual artists in need of the kind of initial exposure that helps a career suddenly take off.

As a youth growing up in and around New York City, Rocco benefited from the unwavering support of friends and family, who all worked hard to ensure he always had a spare roll of film for his camera and enough subway tokens to take him wherever in the city he wished to go. This early support helped Rocco secure the scholarships and grants that allowed him to attend Emerson College and the California Institute of the Arts. Recognizing how his own career has been so thoroughly influenced by the support of others, Rocco now dedicates a great deal of his time and energy to providing a similar level of support to anyone hoping to enjoy a successful career in photography.

1. What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Every place I visit has its own unique energy and palette of colors interacting with and affecting everyone and everything in the most fascinating way. I always look forward to uncovering the nature of that interaction and finding ways to document it with my camera.

2. Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

It’s a lifestyle that started when I accepted my first assignment as a photojournalist.

3. What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

Okinawa is the most beautiful place I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

4. Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I’ve been offered a few interesting assignments, but lately I’ve tried to focus on my work at my studio. I’m sure I’ll be jetting off to some far-flung place sooner or later.

5. What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

Photography is a passion of mine, but I’m always careful to make sure my camera doesn’t become a barrier between myself and others. It’s important to be mindful of each specific moment and place, especially while traveling.

6. Where would you like to go?

I’d like to pack up a motorcycle and travel south down the Pacific Coastline until I reach Chile’s southernmost point. Somewhere along the way I’d have to hop on a few boats to check out the Falkland Islands and the Galapagos Islands.

7. Where would you like to revisit?

Okinawa and Tibet were magnificent in every possible way.

8. Do you travel alone? Why?

It depends on the assignment. Sometimes I travel with several others and sometimes it’s just my camera and I.

9. If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Japan, Chile, and Bali

10. Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

Other than my photography equipment, I try to bring as little as possible wherever I happen to go.

Janet Sirmon

As the owner of Janet Sirmon Fine Art, Janet Sirmon has become a prominent figure in the fine arts industry known for her specific expertise in 19th and 20th century photography, especially American Social Documentary photography and Czech photography of the 1920s through the 1940s. It was Janet’s lifelong devotion to the fine arts that served as the initial inspiration to found Janet Sirmon Fine Art more than 20 years ago, and the success she has enjoyed during the time since is a clear product of her passionate dedication to a beloved medium such as photography.

A longtime student of the arts — with a particular focus on photography and sculpture — Janet actually pursued a degree in economics during her undergraduate years, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in the subject from James Madison University. Even though economics was her primary academic focus at JMU, Janet’s interest in the fine arts hardly wavered, and following the completion of her undergraduate degree, she earned acceptance to the Pratt Institute to study photography and sculpture.

With an MFA in photography and sculpture from the prestigious Pratt Institute — not to mention a degree in economics from James Madison University — the pursuit of an entrepreneurial endeavor involving the fine arts seemed to be an entirely logical step. After thoughtful consideration, Janet made the decision to open Janet Sirmon Fine Art in Los Angeles, and her business has thrived in its Southern California location throughout the two decades since its initial opening.

In order to meet the needs of a client base comprised of museum curators and serious art collectors, Janet travels to countries all over the world on a regular basis. Due to her status as an expert in Czech photography, Janet is especially familiar with Central Europe and is a frequent visitor to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

1. What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Artists are inevitably influenced by their surroundings, so I deeply enjoy any opportunity to gain additional perspective regarding a particular artist’s work through my frequent travel.

2. Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

I consider it a lifestyle, at least for the most part. My interest in the arts led to a deep desire to travel and to see the work of the world’s greatest artists in person.

3. What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

Prague, in the Czech Republic, is the most beautiful place I have ever been to.

4. Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

Since I mostly travel on an as-needed basis, I don’t plan anything too far in advance.  However, Bali is next on my list.

5. What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

Inexperienced travelers might want to consider choosing travel destinations that possess a unique history or those that might offer a valuable learning opportunity.

6. Where would you like to go?

Sao Paulo, Brazil.

7. Where would you like to revisit?

I’ve only been to Japan once, and I would very much enjoy spending more time in Tokyo.

8. Do you travel alone? Why?

Yes, since I am usually traveling for professional reasons I mostly prefer to travel alone. On the occasions in which I travel for recreation, however, I like to bring along friends and family.

9. If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Prague, Florence, and London.

10. Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

My preference is to travel light, but this is usually possible only as I travel to my destination; the return trip often involves traveling with a number of carefully protected packages.

Rachel Kugel – Founder, The Kugel Law Firm

 

Rachel Kugel is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and mom. She is the founder of The Kugel Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. When she is not defending clients, appearing as a legal analyst on TV, or raising two little girls she loves to travel.

Tell us about a favorite trip you’ve taken.

There have been so many great trips over the past few years. I love to go to new places and see the joy on my little girls’ faces as they experience the world. Our most recent trip was to Riviera Maya, Mexico and it was incredible.

What attracted you to Mexico?

I love all-inclusive resorts for the best family value and for sure Mexico has many to choose from. I also chose Mexico because I love the idea of having adventurous things to do (Rio Secreto for example), cultural things to experience (Tulum), and beachy relaxation.

When did you travel there and who did you go with?

We went over the Thanksgiving Break and I took my whole crew husband, two kids, and grandma.

Please share your memories from the trip.

I loved that Riviera Maya combined learning and culture with adventure and relaxation. We had the opportunity to visit Tulum which was amazing and so interesting for the adults as well as the children. The ruins were incredible and our guide was so knowledgeable about the history and politics of the ancient place.

The greatest part of Tulum was taking a dive in the ocean that the whole ancient city sits atop. What an incredible moment if you ever have the opportunity to visit this place take my advice and wear your bathing suit under your clothes.

Another incredible experience was a visit to Rio Secreto, which is literally, and figuratively a secret river discovered underground about a decade ago. The experience was thrilling and something that you can’t even imagine you are seeing. You swim and walk through a cave 2000 feet below ground and experience some of the most incredible crystal waters and views. Words cannot describe. We all partook even my mom and four years old and all of us agreed that it wasn’t easy but it was well worth it.

As with any trip, my greatest memories come from simply being together. It is so rare in our fast-paced double income lives to get to just be together when the parents don’t have work and the kids aren’t in school and the daily grind is far behind you. The ability to reconnect with your family is the reason to make these trips happen year after year.

What other places have you visited?

Dominican Republic, Curacao, Aruba, Costa Rica, Kosovo, Hungary, Israel, Vienna, Italy, Paris

What advice would you give to a first time traveler?

Just do it. Go with the flow and realize that this is an opportunity to see the world and reconnect.

You can follow Rachel at:

https://www.facebook.com/rachel.kugel.7

Www.youtube.com/kugellaw

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-kugel-95b03137

Michael Asimos

 

 

When it comes to choosing wine, one stroll down a wine aisle can confuse the average shopper. There are so many choices, and it is hard to explain the differences between each wine. Michael Asimos decided he wanted to understand the intricacies of wine and all it has to offer.

This passion led Asimos to travel more than he ever imagined. The reason there are so many wines is because there are many types of grapes (somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000). It gets even more complicated because each grape can differ due to the region, soil, temperature, altitude, and the way it is processed.

Mike had to go to the source to understand the true differences, and he is not close to being done. He seems to like wine produced in Portland, Oregon. He has also traveled to the alps in different parts of the world to taste wine that was made from grapes grown in a cooler climate.

Mike Asimos was more than delighted to taste a light-bodied, less-grippy, and overall elegant wine from these regions. Asimos discovered that this happens because grapes in this region develop thin skin to absorb as much sunlight as possible since it is very cloudy.

Every region that Michael Asimos travels to offers a different kind of wine and experience. Traveling and sampling the creative way mother nature produces each wine variation has enlightened Michael in ways he never thought possible.

His fascination with wine was, at first, merely about taste, but it has become an electrifying experience that continues to enrich his appreciation for the subtleties of life.

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Besides all the amazing wines I have had the pleasure of tasting, I am not sure. The truth is that this is a big question because there are many positive things to say about traveling. For one, I enjoy meeting the different people I meet on my travels. I have become a pretty well-rounded chap.

I have also learned to appreciate things, like those subtle changes in the weather or enriching soil practices. I did not care about how growers treated our earth before I took an active interest in wine, but now I know that all this matters.

Every region I have visited has offered me something special. For example, Portland is an exciting place to visit. It is perhaps the fourth largest wine producer in the United States, and there are so many fun wine-centered festivals. You gotta’ believe me, their Pinot noir could take your breath away.

Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

I know that most believe that wine was the reason I began traveling, but this is only partly true. I was interested in traveling for a long time, but I just could never find the time.

I was already visiting places in my mind long before I stepped onto a plane. I did not think I would have the opportunity to take my passion for exploration and make it a lifestyle rather than a hobby.

This lifestyle really took off because I have a passion for wine, and I made some good financial decisions that I attribute to a little luck.

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

I am not sure that I can answer that question. I see beauty everywhere. I do not equate those moments directly to the places I have visited. I have just been lucky enough to experience beautiful moments.

I remember waking up one morning before the alarm turned on. I was groggy and determined to go back to sleep. I caught a glimpse of a reddish ray of light from my window. I got up and opened the curtains and saw a fiery sky full of reds, yellows, and oranges. I think I was in Greece at the time. In all honesty, I felt like a thousand flowers bloomed inside of me. I saw this sunrise that nature had prepared just for me.

I wouldn’t say that Greece was the source of beauty, though, but rather life is, and it happens everywhere.

Are you planning to go on any exciting trips in the near future?

I do plan a few things before I take off, but the final location is chosen at random. I have a glass jar on my desk that is filled with sheets of paper. On each sheet of paper, I have written down a different country with good wine, of course. I just stick my hand in and go wherever the paper leads. Choosing in this manner is much more exciting to me.

What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

Oh, I am not the person to give out practical advice. I am good at reviewing wines and telling people what is special about a particular wine, but traveling advice is beyond me.

Well, I guess I could say a few things. I want to say that you should always check the weather before heading off to a new place. I like hitting a new region, no matter the temperature, but it is good to know what to bring, you know? I need to know if I should bring an umbrella and rain-resistant shoes. I need to know if I will need extra sunblock.

Where would you like to go?

Visit regions I have not had the pleasure of visiting, which includes the Middle East and some regions in Asia. I have heard some good things, but I have not pick them out of my bowl yet. Still, these places are definitely on my radar. I hope to randomly choose one of these regions soon.

Where would you like to revisit?

Oh, there are so many places I would love to revisit. Italy is up there due to there robust red wines. The grapes there grow thick skins, which makes a full-bodied wine that I simply cannot resist.

I would also love to revisit Portland. The culture there is simply amazing, and I just cannot get enough. You will find out what I mean if you go visit.

Do you travel alone? Why?

Yes, I have not found a victim to bring along with me. I say victim because this person will be subjected to my horrible jokes and all the stories that I cannot stop retelling.

In all honesty, I find traveling alone to be liberating because it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and interact with people. Still, I will not lie to you and say that I do not want a little company, but I just haven’t found a person who would want to tag along.

Can you share 3 places that you think every person should visit?

Portland, Italy, and Greece. The reason is because all of these locations give you totally different wine experiences. Greece is cool and has high altitude vineyards, while Italy is warmer and low altitudes. Portland’s ecosystem is pristine and different from other regions, producing exquisite wines.

Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

I travel a lot. I used to pack the whole house, but I cut down on that simply because it is hard to travel with a lot of luggage. So I guess you could say I pack light due to laziness, but is there a better reason?

Follow Mike Asimos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikeasimos/

 

 

Mindstir Media Owner J. J. Hebert

 

As a best-selling author and the owner of Mindstir Media book publishers, J.J. Hebert has had the opportunity to travel extensively over the years. Whether it’s for a book signing or meeting up with clients, he’s often seen out and about. His love of sports has also played a major role in his travel history. He has attended many professional sporting events in various cities in the USA.

Tell us about a favorite trip you’ve taken.

One of my favorite trips would have to be my excursion to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in 2000. That was before my writing career had taken off and also before the inception of MindStir Media. I had never been to Cooperstown prior to 2000, so this was definitely an eye-opening experience. Baseball has such a long and rich history, being America’s favorite pastime. I think we only spent a couple days there but we could’ve easily stayed there for a week or two.

What attracted you to the Hall of Fame?

I grew up a huge Boston Red Sox fan. Carlton Fisk was being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, so my dad and I and some friends decided to visit Cooperstown to watch his induction speech and also take part in the festivities. I also played baseball through high school and it was easily my favorite sport growing up. I had always wanted to go to the Hall of Fame. It’s kind of like Disney World for baseball fans — you have to go at least once in your life.

When did you travel there and who did you go with?

I can hardly believe that it’s been 17 years since I’ve visited. I’m from New Hampshire, so we drove to New York state. If my memory serves me correctly, it took us about seven hours to get there, give or take. By “we,” I mean my father and a couple friends of ours. One was my former baseball coach and the other was a former baseball teammate of mine.

Please share your memories from the trip.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into it. As I said earlier, this was my first time — and only time thus far — going to Cooperstown. I thought we were just going to go for a couple days and see the induction speech from Carlton Fisk and also visit the the Hall. To my surprise, when we got to the Hall of Fame there were event tents lining the streets. I quickly realized that each tent housed a Hall of Fame baseball player who was kindly signing autographs.

That day I met numerous Hall of Famers. But first, we went into a local shop and bought a ton of Major League baseballs. We had to be equipped for this! So we went around with our baseballs and had them all signed.

I met up with Pete Rose, the 17 time all-star and three-time World Series champion. In my opinion, he’s one of the best hitters who has ever lived. I was a little nervous approaching him with my baseball in hand but he quickly showed his sense of humor when he looked at the ball and saw that it said “American League” on it. He kind of joked that I had given him the wrong ball because he actually played in the National League, but he signed it anyway and it was a funny experience.

I also spoke with Luis Tiant, also known as “el Tiante” to Red Sox fans. He spoke in broken English but was a really funny guy. Very smiley and welcoming. He’s really well known for his unconventional pitching wind-up and delivery.

We even met Willie Mays, one of if not the greatest centerfield who ever played the game. Of course, fans swarmed him so I don’t really remember much dialogue between he and I but he was friendly enough. Just to shake his hand and have a ball signed by him was good enough for me at the time. Not many people can say nowadays that they met the legendary Willie Mays!

We also met Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, and Bob Feller. These players were all amazing in their own right. Robinson was one of the best third baseman ever; Killebrew was one heck of a power hitter with almost 600 career home runs; and Bob Feller was a flame-throwing righty. They called him Bullet Bob and he pitched three career no-hitters. Ted Williams said that Feller was the fastest pitcher he had ever seen. I actually didn’t get an opportunity to meet Carlton Fisk, the main reason we were in attendance, but we were OK with that, ultimately…

The highlight of the trip would have to be when we had dinner with Warren Spahn. Anyone who knows baseball is familiar with the name. He has the most wins of any left-handed pitcher in Major League history. My former coach set up the dinner. He knew Warren’s business manager, apparently, so we had dinner together at the Otesaga Hotel, where many of the Hall of Famers stayed on their trip. Warren was fairly reserved but definitely exuded confidence. We all had lobster and cracked some jokes. My friend and I were going to play wiffle ball after dinner on the front lawn of the Otesaga and we invited Warren. I honestly believe that he would’ve joined us if his wife didn’t chime in and object. Now that would’ve been an amazing experience, playing ball with Warren Spahn!

Looking back, I wish that I had owned Mindstir Media, my publishing company, back then. I probably would’ve offered to write Warren Spahn’s biography and publish it for him. Unfortunately, he passed away three years later.

What other places have you visited?

Some highlights would have to be Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida. I met up with one of my author clients from Mindstir Media while I was out there in Florida. A beautiful resort in Punta Cana was also a very nice experience. Downtown San Francisco was amazing as well. I got a chance to go on one of the trolleys there and see the area. Nevada was a blast, too. I spent quite a bit of time at Lake Tahoe. I’ve also been to a few wineries in Napa Valley. I’m not a wine connoisseur, but it was still an amazing trip and experience. I’ve never had wine taste so fresh.

James Knight

James Knight, the virtual production director for AMD, has made a wealth of critical contributions to the film industry throughout the course of his truly remarkable career. Known for his outstanding visual effects work, Mr. James Knight has made his mark through the use of performance capture while working on films like I Am Legend, Avatar, Hulk, 2012, Prince Caspian, and The Amazing Spiderman, just to name a few. A versatile and passionate professional, Knight has also utilized him immense visual effects skills while working on video game projects that include Gotham Racing, Scene It, Batman: Arkham City, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Due to his extensive professional experience and expertise, Mr. Knight is one of the industry’s most sought-after professionals and is considered an important voice in all matters concerning performance capture and visual effects. As a result, Mr. Knight has taken on an active role with several professional organizations, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Visual Effects Society, and The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Achievement Committee. In his role on the board of directors with the Los Angeles chapter of BAFTA, Mr. Knight has worked diligently to secure widespread support for BAFTA-LA’s education and outreach programs.

Although the majority of Mr. Knight’s work is based out of Los Angeles, the performance capture and visual effects expert travels frequently to work on film projects all over the world and seeks inspiration for his work from the diverse surroundings he encounters while on location. Despite the extensive travel schedule often required of him, Mr. Knight continues to routinely take advantage of the travel opportunities that exist outside of his professional work and has returned from his international adventures feeling refreshed, invigorated, and eager to tackle the challenges of a new film or video game project.

1. What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Whenever I travel to a new and entirely unique location, I feel tremendously energized by my surroundings. This is obviously beneficial for professional reasons, and it certainly makes working on a project feel much more akin to recreation rather than work.

2. Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

I’d call traveling a lifestyle for me, and I was fortunate to have a family that was curious about the rest of the world and wanted to experience it firsthand.

3. What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

The South Islands of New Zealand are absolutely stunning, but it is not easy to rank all of the beautiful places I have been fortunate enough to visit over the years.

4. Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

My upcoming schedule does not include anything at the moment, but that will probably change quite soon.

5. What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

I’ve met a lot of people who have a negative view of traveling for work purposes, and I think everyone should be much more open-minded about travel opportunities regardless of the reason behind traveling.

6. Where would you like to go?

I’ve heard some wonderful things about the Pyrenees mountain range, so I’d like to visit that region sometime in the future.

7. Where would you like to revisit?

Maine in the summertime is especially relaxing, and I’d certainly like to revisit England.

8. Do you travel alone? Why?

I usually travel with a fairly sizable group of people when on assignment, which is why I prefer to travel alone for recreational purposes. I enjoy both, but your perspective tends to change when traveling alone.

9. If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Michoacan, Mexico; London, England; the South Islands of New Zealand.

10. Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

It depends; if I’m traveling for work I have to pack a ton of equipment, but if I’m traveling for recreation I prefer to bring just a few necessities.

Kim Dao

kim-dao-rookstool-travel

The founder of a popular travel blog, Kim Dao’s entrepreneurial ascent began as something of a happy accident. Searching for a way to document her first journey to Japan for posterity’s sake, Kim Dao created her blog as a digital journal she could share with friends and family at home in Australia. Once her writing began to draw increasingly widespread interest, she added a YouTube channel in order to provide a visual medium for her growing base of followers to enjoy.

Kim continues to run the Kim Dao Blog as well as her YouTube channel, but she has expanded her subject matter to include topics associated with fashion and makeup to go along with her extensive travels. Kim has also expanded the mediums through which she interacts with her followers, frequently sharing through social media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and many others.

The initial trip to Japan inspired Kim to move to the country for an extended period of time, allowing her to continue to write for her blog and produce videos for her YouTube channel while exploring the region as often as possible. Kim, a graduate of the University of Western Australia, has always been interested in Japanese language and culture, and she holds a degree in Japanese as well as a degree in psychology.

Kim, who is of Vietnamese descent, was born in Australia and has expressed an intention to settle down in the country of her birth sometime in the future. Although she plans to eventually return to Australia, Kim is extraordinarily content to continue living and working in Japan, especially since her experience in Japan has led to so many opportunities to work with major brands, including Liz Lisa, Etude House, and Amore Pacific, not to mention the countless others that have benefited from Kim’s talents as a brand ambassador and social media influencer.

1.  What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Since I love to study other cultures, my favorite thing about traveling is the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge to pair with what I had already learned.

2. Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

It’s a lifestyle, particularly since it was traveling that made it possible for me to move to Japan and to earn a living by documenting my travel experiences.

3. What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

So far, Kyoto is the most beautiful place I’ve visited, but there is still so much more I would like to see.

4. Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

Yes, I’ll be visiting my family and friends back in Australia quite soon.

5. What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

I’d tell inexperienced travelers to learn as much as they possibly can before making travel plans, and, once the plans are made, to trust their instincts and have a good time.

6. Where would you like to go?

I’d like to visit Western Europe sometime soon.

7. Where would you like to revisit?

I had a wonderful time in Okinawa just recently, and I would certainly like to return as soon as I am able.

8. Do you travel alone? Why?

Yes, I tend to travel alone. I find that I am more likely to enjoy a more authentic and immersive experience when traveling solo rather than traveling with family or friends.

9. If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Just about any destination in Australia, Japan, or Vietnam is worth visiting again and again.

10. Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

I pack up the house every time I travel. Even though it can be inconvenient at times, I like to have lots of fashionable options available to me and I’ve always been willing to go the extra mile for the sake of my personal style.

Marty Stallone

marty-stallone-rookstool-travel

In the time since joining Metropolitan Development Group as executive vice president of land development, Marty Stallone has been a principal reason behind the broad-based land development company’s continued success and expansion. Specializing in a wide variety of development project ranging from single-family residential properties to commercial and industrial properties, MDG has rightly earned it reputation as one of the most outstanding and versatile land development companies in the industry.

Previously serving in professional roles with Hamilton Consulting and Meridian Capital Markets before taking his current position as MDG’s executive vice president of land development, Mr. Stallone has effectively leveraged his unique professional background and Ivy League education to guide the decision-making process that has led to such immense success that MDG’s development footprint is readily apparent in counties throughout Eastern Pennsylvania.

Working out of the company’s principal offices, Mr. Stallone has made a point to visit MDG’s many ongoing development projects on a regular basis and frequently travels abroad in an effort to better serve MDG clients wherever they happen to be. This level of commitment is part of the reason why clients value the company’s services to such a significant degree, but Mr. Stallone would surely be quick to note that it is the effectiveness of MDG’s services that will always define the company’s success.

Mr. Stallone, a graduate of Cornell University and a National Merit Scholar, has been recognized for his exceptional professional insight in a number of ways, including through the constant requests for appearances at conferences and seminars relating to the many subjects falling within his vast area of expertise. Despite a busy schedule that includes frequent travel requirements, Mr. Stallone has worked diligently to share his knowledge as often as possible by regularly accepting these speaking engagements.

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

The opportunity to learn something new or unexpected is certainly among my favorite things, and I always feel energized when I arrive and again when I depart, especially when it is a particularly enjoyable destination.

Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

It’s a lifestyle due to my professional responsibilities, and the increased frequency really began after I started in my role with MDG as executive vice president of land development.

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

I’ve been to quite a few beautiful locations over the years, but I was truly surprised by how stunning Vancouver, British Columbia is regardless of the season.

Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I tend to travel throughout the Northeast — and especially Eastern Pennsylvania — so I like to maintain enough schedule flexibility that I can spontaneously depart from any location if the circumstances are ideal for doing so. This is why I rarely have plans made well in advance for travel outside of the Northeast.

What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

Spontaneous travel is not necessarily ideal for everyone, and the same is true of advance or well-planned travel, so I’d advise a new traveler to consider their individual personality traits in order to determine what style best suits their unique needs.

Where would you like to go?

Portugal is a country that has always intrigued me as a destination, but I haven’t had the opportunity to visit just yet.

Where would you like to revisit?

Australia is a favorite destination of mine, and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity in which I can visit for an extended period of time.

Do you travel alone? Why?

I don’t have a preference either way, as it typically depends on the individual situation.

If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

If I could pick the three best places to visit, I’d pick Sydney, Australia, Dublin, Ireland, and Galicia, Spain.

Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

I always strive to pack light, but sometimes it is just not possible to do so. My preference, however, is to travel as light as possible.

Mahwish Ahmed

Mahwish Ahmed

 

Currently living in Irvine California, Mahwish Ahmed is passionate about life and living life to the fullest.  She enjoys picnics during spring and summer with friends and family and traveling around the world when time allows.  She loves learning about each city’s or country’s culture by experiencing the food, learning the language and spending time with the locals.  She stores ticket stubs, bus tickets, pamphlets, receipts, and postcards to capture the key moments of the trip in a memory box.  She has Thailand, Singapore, Australia and Africa as countries on her bucket list.

Tell us about a favorite trip you’ve taken.

In the beginning of this year, I traveled to Europe for 6 weeks during the winter season with a few friends.  Our first stop was to The Netherlands where I spent most of my time.  It was the first time where I had seen so many bicycles riding alongside cars.

Over the weekends, we traveled to the neighboring countries like Belgium where we explored the Town Hall, St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral and other landmarks.  Most of the weekend in Brussels was spent trying different varieties of waffles, chocolates, and fries.

While Brussels weekend trip was all about sweets, my weekend trip to Paris was focused around shopping not only for myself but family and friends. The best part about Paris was watching the Eiffel Tower light show which was magical because it illuminated the skies.

I went off on my own to London for four days to meet up with my family during my trip where I met my extended family that I had never met before.  It gave me an opportunity to learn further about my heritage and meet my distant cousins, aunts, and uncles. I explored the city which had changed tremendously since my last visit fifteen years ago.

The  last country on the agenda was Switzerland.  I spent 2 days exploring a small town called Schaffhausen and Zurich.  Schaffhausen is a magnificent city with many building from the Renaissance era and home to the largest waterfall in Europe, the Rheinfalls.

Exploring various towns, cities, and cultures across 4 different countries in 6 weeks is a memorable trip and the best one yet.

What attracted you to visit Europe?

I had planning a trip to Europe since college because it is a continent which has an amazing culture, history, fabulous food and relaxing atmosphere.  From a chic trip to Paris with some of the best shopping and cuisines available, to world’s largest flower garden (Keukenhof) in the Netherlands, magnificent architecture found in Brussels, and visit to one of the most powerful cities- London, I was able to visit so many people and countries that are close to each other yet very different in traditions and cultures.

When did you travel there and who did you go with?

I traveled in the beginning of 2016 in the winter months and went with a few friends from the United States.

Please share your memories from the trip.

There are many memorable moments from the trip.  During the first week in the Netherlands, my friends decided to book a trip to Paris leaving Saturday morning at 7:15 am by train.  On Friday evening prior to our departure, we had a late dinner and I slept past my alarm in the morning.  When I woke up, I had 30 minutes to pack and walk over to the train station which I had never visited before.  I panicked. Quickly packed and ran to the train station while on the phone with the rest of the group.  I made it just before the doors to my train were closing.

During that same adventurous weekend in Paris, France we bought the weekend pass to travel unlimited by train.  At one of the train stations, two of my friends could not swipe their train ticket and kept on getting an error message.  They pressed the help button to talk to someone to explain the situation but the person on the other side spoke in French and hung up.  We were all puzzled, called him again and he said something in French and hung up.  So, I pressed the help button again and in a loud and firm tone, said, “ticket not working”.  As soon as I said that, he buzzed us in through the gate.  We all laughed and in subsequent situations, we applied the ticket not working strategy.

During the second week in the Netherlands, while driving to a restaurant in the evening for dinner, my friend and I both lost internet connection on our phones (where we both had international data package).  We heavily relied on Apps for navigation but had to stop and ask people for the directions but it was difficult as most of the people did not understand English.  It looks us some extra time but we finally made it to the restaurant.  Lesson learned was to have paper maps as a backup.

What other places have you visited?

I have visited Germany while driving from Switzerland to Germany. Within the United States, I have visited all major metropolitan cities along the east coast and west coast.  I have been to New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas.

What advice would you give to a first-time traveler?

Be open to trying the local foods and asking the locals about things to do.  I do not rely on websites and travel guides on places to visit but always ask the hotel concierge or locals at a restaurant or a grocery store about the sites to see and foods to try.  You not only get to interact with the locals and learn their culture but find out about the top secret spots and best foods to eat.  Also, I would recommend downloading a translating app, like google translate, on your phone.  It definitely helps with signs, menus, and brochures while traveling and is very easy to use.

Ian Filippini

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As president of Filippini Wealth Management, Ian Filippini is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the financial planning and wealth management firm’s operations, particularly as it relates to the development and implementation of specific strategies for delivering consistently exceptional outcomes for clients. Located in Montecito (Santa Barbara) and Westlake Village, California, Filippini Wealth Management has enjoyed tremendous growth under Filippini’s leadership and has earned a reputation for providing a truly comprehensive approach to wealth management.

Mr. Filippini currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, a central coast city whose Spanish colonial heritage is readily apparent and strikingly framed by the Santa Ynez Mountain Range. Given his history of travel to destinations throughout the world, it should come as little surprise that Mr. Filippini elected to put down roots in the Santa Barbara area. With a Mediterranean climate and an atmosphere that is both cultured and bohemian all at once, Santa Barbara possesses many of the qualities Mr. Filippini seeks in a vacation destination.

Since starting as president of Filippini Wealth Management, Mr. Filippini has found it necessary to incorporate business into his regular travels abroad due to the insight and expertise regarding the innovative strategies utilized by his wealth management and financial advisement firm. Mr. Filippini has expressed a willingness to share these strategies with his industry peers — even those in direct competition with Filippini Wealth Management — out of a simple desire to act in the service of what he perceives as the greater societal good.

With years of experience as the president of Filippini Wealth Management, Mr. Filippini has built a company that has quickly grown into a respected and innovative firm. Mr. Filippini attributes the company’s success to its simple focus on providing client-centered services that cover all aspects of one’s financial life.

1. What is your favorite thing about traveling?

There is something about a change in scenery that is so energizing, and I certainly enjoy the opportunity to exchange ideas and principles with my peers in the field during my regular travels abroad for business

2. Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

Traveling is something I enjoy as though it were a hobby but pursue as though it were a lifestyle, and my passion for travel began many years ago with a trip to Sweden.

3. What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

The British Virgin Islands possess a remarkable and pervasive beauty.

4. Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I have a few brief business trips planned that will take me through the Pacific Northwest of both the US and Canada, but I don’t have any vacation travel planned for the next few months.

5. What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

I travel for both business and recreational reasons, so I have found that I derive greater joy and meaning from a trip if I begin by defining a specific purpose for the trip right from the outset.

6. Where would you like to go?

I’ve been curious about various countries recently, so I think I’d like to head to Switzerland, Italy, and Norway sometime soon.

7. Where would you like to revisit?

I’d love to return to Sweden within the next year or two.

8. Do you travel alone? Why?

I tend to travel alone because I like to maintain the flexibility to act spontaneously during a trip, but I still enjoy traveling with groups large or small.

9. If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

In no particular order, I’d pick the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Sweden.

10. Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

Traveling light is the most convenient way to travel and, in my opinion, it ensures that you never neglect any critical travel necessities when going from location to location.