The Goodbye: FDOM Edition

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“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”
And Max said, “No!”
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”      -Maurice Sendak

Phil P. Penguin

Phil P. Penguin

As with all things in life, everything must eventually come to an end.

For my penguin pal Phil and I the end of this fall semester also marks the end of our time at Texas State. (Yes, I am unofficially dubbing Phil a college graduate.)

Now to get a little serious.

As I began this semester I decided that I was going to relish in every moment of what was left of my undergraduate career. I would not let little things slip past me unnoticed, and I would conquer even the most mundane of school tasks with a positive approach.

In my years as an undergrad at Texas State, I have been involved in many clubs, student media organizations (shout out to my KTSW family!) and countless internships. Every aspect of my college career has been tailored to insure that I would be able to get a job of interest and value upon graduation.

That being said, when we were asked to create a blog for our FDOM class I was excited because this was a chance for me to have a creative outlet. This was a chance to not be bound by unbreakable project guidelines and requirements. This was a chance for me to tell a story. Sure it was the story of a fictional plush penguin who travels the world with my friends and I, but it was a story that was fun to tell.

By creating a topic that was entertaining to me, I was able to accomplish the project requirements without dreading the process–a feat not possible with most other school assignments.

I enjoyed using the Storify tool as an element for the blog project. Although I was familiar with Storify, I had not created my own story using the tool. The application was very user friendly and it is something I can definitely see myself using in both my personal and professional future.

This project has opened my eyes to the immense amount of niche audiences on the web and otherwise. It has shown me that whether your blog is about your career, your passion, your experiences (or even your fictional penguin travel pal), there is an audience out there for the story that you wish to tell.

Who knows, maybe one day I will translate Phil’s many adventures into a children’s book.

Anything is possible, right?

As for Phil P. Penguin, his next adventure is only a waddle (or a car ride) away.

To all our fellow FDOM-ers, we thank you for reading!

And as always, we wish you the happiest of travels.

Farewell for now,

Ashton && Phil

Phil’s Travel TimeLapse

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Phil P. Penguin has traveled to many places in his short life.

He has been all over the United States in addition to traveling to many destinations over seas. However out of all the places he has been, the states are his favorite. Why, you ask? Phil enjoys the ease of travel and the colorful variety of people you can meet on a good ole’ fashion road trip.

We thought it would be fun to see a snapshot of Phil’s favorite spots in the U.S.–kind of like taking a quick trip down memory lane. Check out the video below for a stop-motion take on Phil’s travels!

 

Now if only a penguin could actually waddle that quickly!

A special thank you goes out to Phil’s friends on Vine for helping us make this stop-motion video of his favorite places in the United States.

Happy traveling!

Home for the Holidays: Penguin Edition

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The spirit of Christmas is something that a penguin takes very seriously.

The holiday season would not be complete without decorations, a decked out Christmas tree and seasonal treats all to be enjoyed while surrounded by friends and family.

I’m sure you can see the difficulty that my pint-sized pal Phil encountered during his first Christmas away from home. Although he had enjoyed his time in Texas with all of his new friends, there was nothing like Christmas his home, the North Pole.

Phil decided to make a trip back home for the holidays. In light of the holiday season, this is Phil’s not-so-tall tale about his journey back to the North Pole…

After weeks of waiting, it was finally time for Phil to visit his family. It’s difficult for a penguin to travel by itself so I surprised Phil and bought a ticket to go with him! We packed our bags and headed for the airport.

north pole, christmas

Boarding our plane for the North Pole!

Brrrrrrr.

The North Pole is extremely cold (and almost unbearable for a girl from  Texas), but Phil’s family was warm and welcoming. After we warmed up by the fire and unpacked our things, Phil wanted to take me on a tour of his village. We bundled up as if we were Randy from A Christmas Story. (Side note. Best Christmas movie ever. Feel free to start a friendly debate in the comments section.)

Moving on.

We left his childhood home and began our Christmas Eve walk around the penguin village. Every house was blanketed with snow that was gleaming off the twinkling lights strung on upon each roof. It was like being in a storybook or in a dream.

phil, north pole, christmas

Phil in Penguinville Town Square on Christmas Eve.

It started to snow heavily so we made our way back. We were cold and tired from our long walk so we got ready for bed and went to bed with hopes that you know who would make a visit the next day. Yes, the next day. Need I remind you we are in the North Pole, the home to a well-known man who wears a red suit and is friends with a gang of reliable reindeer.

I’m talking about Santa.

(…just go with it.)

Finally Christmas morning was here! And sure enough the jolly big man him did make a visit. He greeted us with warm hugs and extended us all gifts in the form of never-ending mountains of cookies and treats he had gathered from his Christmas journey.

christmas, santa, north pole

Phil and his old pal Saint Nick on Christmas morning.

Phil was right, it truly wasn’t Christmas without a trip back home.

Whichever holiday you celebrate, we hope it’s a happy one!

Phil’s Life Explained via Storify

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It was difficult to come up with a way to use Storify as an element on Tiny Traveler, but after many hours of brainstorming with a tiny penguin genius we made our decision.

Phil was very specific about the way in which he wanted me to tell his story.

Phil and his notebook

Considering it’s the end of the semester, Phil wanted me to explain how his bizarre existence began. Together we created his story on Storify. We hope you enjoy!

Click the link below to see the true story of Phil P. Penguin.

If the above link does not work, click here to view Phil’s Storify!

Phil Conquers Central America

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Tiny Traveler App

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What would be the ideal app to accompany a tiny traveler on his many adventures?

This is the question that I have been asking myself. And asking, and asking, until–eureka!

I realized that one of the challenges I have faced with this blog is that my tiny traveling penguin does not always travel with me. He has a wide array of travel buddies that he goes with on his adventures. While my friends and I do the best we can to re-tell the stories from Phil’s travels, something is always forgotten. In addition to the stories, there are also many images of Phil that have been taken on multiple devices from different people. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where you could go to see all of the images that have been taken of Phil (or, for instance, places you go with others such as events)? Without having to copy, tag or request to see the photo.

Introducing the Tiny Traveler iPhone App!

I felt that the name ‘Tiny Traveler’ would work well with the concept because it would be like having a “tiny traveler” taking pictures of your time with your friends. Ah, ah, get it? Right. Moving on.

The app.

Here is a screenshot of what the home screen would look like:

Tiny Traveler iPhone App

This is a screenshot of what the home page of the Tiny Traveler iPhone App would look like.

The app would allow you to easily share photos from multiple devices taken by users at the same event, trip, conference, etc. Users would create events on the app and once the event is joined, it would house all images taken from the event without the hassle of downloading from Facebook or other photo networks.

The home screen would house the main functions of the app. The buttons would work as stated below:

Travel

The travel button would use a geo-location functionality to map out where the images were taken while using the app. Users could use this feature to see where images were taken of them as well as the location of images taken at certain events.

Pictures

This feature is where users can view images taken of events, trips, etc. that they choose to join. The photos would appear like a photo album complete with images gathered from all who joined the “event.” There would be a scroll function which would allow users to view past events. There would also be a functionality to allow users to save and share photos.

Tiny Traveler iPhone App

This is an example of the “Pictures” feature of the iPhone app.

Diary

The Diary feature of the app would allow users to record audio clips about images that they post. The app would then convert the audio into text and create a diary of users experiences during the trip. This feature would make it easy to remember “that cafe you were at when you took that one photo” roadblocks. Functionality would include user comments and “like” capability.

Share

The Share feature would allow users to combine elements from all other features and create a full scrapbook of the event. This feature would be similar to Storify, but it would be user created from only people who were there and would feature images, text and location. There would also be an option to only bundle certain users images and/or diary entries. Users would be able to send virtual scrapbook via email, Facebook, or other social networks.

I think this could actually be a really neat app if it were to be created! Unless, that is, that someone has already created it. What’s that saying again? Oh, yeah. “There’s an app for that!”

Right.

Well, that’s all Phil and I could come up with. Thanks for tuning into our amateur app hour.

That’s all, folks!

 

Tiny Traveler, Giant Stones

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Stonehenge.

You have seen it discussed in documentaries, read about it in books and if you are lucky enough, you have had a chance to visit the prehistoric monument.

Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, England and is remains as one of the most famous sites in the entire world. Travelers come from all over to witness the beauty and mystery housed within the circle of carefully placed stones.

Some people wait their entire lives before they get the chance to be humbled by something so indescribable.

That is, some people, but some penguins are lucky enough to enjoy such a site on the same trip where they were able to awe at the wonder that is the Eiffel Tower.

After our trip to Paris, Phil and I packed our bags and hopped on a train to England.

Once at our hotel, we went to the reservation desk and requested information on visiting Stonehenge. The woman at the reservation desk smiled and handed us a pamphlet listing out the possible options for visiting the monument.

We chose to leave on the first bus the next morning.

The bus ride was long, very long, but right when Phil began to get anxious we caught a glimpse of what we were so excited to see. Stonehenge.

We were disappointed to discover that due to vandals, and tourists, who had been removing pieces of the ancient stones, we were not able to walk near the stone structure. Instead we were forced to wind around a trail that had been placed a good distance away from the stones. We were still reasonably close, but we had hoped we would get to see the monument at a closer distance.

As Phil and I walked around the circular stone structure, I was in awe. How did this structure originate? Who created it? Why was it created?

All of these questions filled my head. I was humbled to be in the presence of something so ancient and mysterious.

Phil on the other hand, could not help but feel smaller than he had ever felt.

The stones resembled giant skyscrapers in relation to my tiny travelers small stature.

Here is a picture that a fellow tourist snapped of my little plush penguin.

Phil the Penguin at Stonehenge

Phil posing at the Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire, England.

After Phil had his photo taken, he told me he wanted to lay back and “take it all in.”

He laid in this spot and listened to the history of the monument via the virtual tour (a headset we were all given to listen to as we walked around).

After laying here a while, Phil caught back up with me and explained that he finally understood why I felt so humbled to be there. My penguin pal was amazed about the mystery that surrounds Stonehenge. With a new understanding for the history, Phil and I took another walk around the monument.

This is definitely a place that we recommend to anyone looking to travel.

Are there any places that you have traveled that left you feeling inspired and humbled?

Share your travel experiences with a tiny traveler!

A Penguin in Paris

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The summer of 2012 is when Phil P. Penguin finally got to to fulfill his life-long dream of visiting the city of lights.

Although the flight was quite long, Phil kept busy learning a few key French phrases to use once we arrived. I assured him that the French would not expect a penguin to be fluent in their language. But, Phil insisted.

And you never argue with a determined penguin.

With his passport firmly grasped in his flipper, Phil made his way to the magical city of Paris.

As soon as we caught a cab to take us to the hotel, Phil was speechless as he noticed a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower peeking over the city. Needless to say, you know where our first stop was post hotel check-in.

Phil Penguin at the Eiffel Tower

This is Phil at the Eiffel Tower!

Once Phil had his photo snapped at the must-see tourist destination, it was time to see what Paris was all about.

We walked, and walked, and waddled some more untill we stumbled upon a precious French bakery. By this time the excitement of being in Paris was wearing off a bit and the exhaustion was setting in, for me at least. I enjoyed a cafe au lait with my penguin travel mate and munched on a flaky pastry, but after that we had to call it a night.

The next day–after some much needed sleep–Phil and I set out on our second round of exploration.

Our goal for the day? Museums, museums and more museums!

After breakfast (which was basically lots of bread and coffee) we were off to visit The Louvre. He is very tiny, so you may have to look close to see him.

Phil Penguin at The Louvre

This is Phil and I at the Louvre.

Just in case you missed him in that photo, here is another.

Phil Penguin at The Louvre

Here is another picture of Phil and I at The Louvre.

Here we got to see the iconic works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giovanni Bellini and many many more. Did you know that the Musée du Louvre contains over 35,000 pieces of the world’s most important art? Well, it does.

Did you also know that the Mona Lisa is actually quite small in size when you visit in person? I had imagined this giant portrait of the woman with the questionable expression, but was underwhelmed to discover that was only big in comparison to my little penguin friend. Which Phil much enjoyed.

Phil’s quote of the day: “I hate tourists.” (This was in reference to the many people ignoring the “no photography” rules in the museums.)

I agree with the penguin on this one, but I made sure to tell him he should loose his newly purchased “I Heart Paris” tourist t-shirt before he ranted any further.

We stayed in Paris for a total of four days and then we were off to our next stop–London!

Stay tuned for Phil’s take on Stonehenge and Covent Garden in our next post.

Cheers!

A Penguin in Canada, Eh?

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Can you guess where a little penguin would travel to for his first time outside of the States?

Probably not because that is a bizarre question, but guessing is always fun.

On Phil’s first trip outside of the U.S. he traveled to the capitol of British Columbia, which is a quaint little island town named Victoria. On our flight there we only encountered minor setbacks that I can only assume are typical when trying to get a miniature plush penguin through customs. Thankfully, the officers at the Canadian border were extremely pleasant. Once on Canadian soil, Phil and I continued our excursion with hopes of finding our hotel.

As we winded through the roads of Victoria, we couldn’t help but notice the differences that accompany trips outside the comfort of our home country. Phil was the first to notice the different use of measurement on the speed limit signs as we drove along. You see, Canada uses the metric system which means that the speed limit signs were stating the speeds in kilometers.

Crazy, right?

I know it’s not the most startling tidbit of information, but Phil thought it was pretty neat.

It’s not too hard to impress a penguin, especially Phil.

So I bet you’re wondering if we ever made it to the hotel, right? Well, we made it and as soon as we got to the room Phil was already posing for a picture on the balcony that overlooked the harbor.

Phil at Harbour Towers Hotel in Victoria, BC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we got unpacked, it was time for a drink. This is when my underage penguin learned another friendly perk about Victoria.

The legal drinking age is 19!

Needless to say, we spent the majority of our trip testing out any adult beverage Phil could get his hands on.

Unfortunately, Phil got a little out of control with his temporary drinking privilege. I mean, I had to go to three different bars to find the little fellow…

Phil drinking in Canada bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once he sobered up, Phil and I made our way back to the States.

It was certainly an eventful trip across the border, intoxicated penguin and all.

Who is Phil P. Penguin?

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Remember when you were in grade school and there was that teacher who encouraged class participation by allowing students to take the “class pet” (usually a stuffed animal of sorts) on your family trips? You would snap some photos of the stuffed class animal on vacation and share them with your class upon your return. If your teacher was extra crafty, there would be a crape paper adorned bulletin board where these photos would be posted.

Remember?

Well, in any case, this is Phil.

He is a small penguin with big aspirations.

Phil P. Penguin

Phil P. Penguin

Phil has been a big (or small, if you so choose to mock his tiny stature) part of my friend group since 2010 and his life with us has been modeled off of this idea of the traveling class pet. The only difference with Phil is that he has developed a personality of his own and is quickly succeeding in out-traveling my friends and I. That being said, I felt it was only a natural next step to introduce him to WordPress and let him share his many adventures with the world.

This blog with feature Phil’s past adventures which include trips to Europe, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, New Orleans and even the North Pole. In addition to his many travels abroad, Phil is also very active in his hometown of Austin, TX. There he enjoys attending concerts, playing outdoors and eating local.

I am very excited to introduce you to this very special penguin and who knows, perhaps you may find him sitting next to you one day this semester if you are in #FDOM.