Lighthouse stripes help guide ships around the world

The United States has more than one thousand lights protecting ships and shores. There are the classic lighthouses, light towers, range lights, and pier lights. In the late 19th century, the Lighthouse Board assigned each lighthouse in the U.S. a distinctive color pattern. The paint pattern (horizontal or stripes) is the day-mark and the light sequence of the colors (white, black, red) is the night-mark. This differentiation in day-mark and night-mark helps mariners to recognize the specific lighthouses from others in an area as they sailed along the coast.

For example, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, received its famous black and white spiral pattern in 1873. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. The area around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Hundreds of ships have wrecked in this region because of the convergence the Gulf Stream with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada, making the waters treacherous.

The Bodie Lighthouse, also on the Outer Banks, has a distinctive horizontal pattern of black and white stripes. These markings distinguished it for mariners from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 42 miles away.

Now that you know about the differences in markings keep your eye out for lighthouses as you travel along the coastlines.

OBX Bodie Lighthouse

How does taking time for yourself benefit your work?

Like many people, I travel extensively for work. I am responsible for meeting with constituents and welcoming guests to events around the world. How do I connect with the place I am visiting, and with the people I represent in each city? I take 45 minutes to stop by a local historical spot, take a spin through a neighborhood or drop by a museum to see an exhibit. And you are thinking…. Can I take 45 minutes during a trip? And, my answer is yes!

Interestingly, it was the President of the institution I work for that led me down this path several years ago. On my first trip to Dallas, Texas, she recommended that I take time and stop by one of the art museums in the Arts District. I didn’t think I would ever have time, but when one visit was canceled, and I arrived for my next appointment forty-five minutes early, I noticed the Crow Museum of Asian Art in the adjacent building. I spent thirty minutes walking around and looking at the fantastic collection of East Asian art. I didn’t realize at that moment that this would give me something special to talk about during the rest of my meetings, as well as that same evening at a cocktail party we were hosting. Not only did I feel more connected to Dallas, but I was also able to share my experience and relate in a new and unique way with our constituents.

During trips, I try to stop by a local spot whenever possible. If you can find 30 or 45 minutes for yourself during business travel, you will enjoy the entire trip so much more, and you’ll represent your company to your clients all the better.

Here are a few ways to Take 45:

Historic Buildings – walk up to historic buildings and read the placards on the walls to learn about its place in the community.
Botanical Gardens and Parks – visit a garden and stroll among the native plants that make that area and region unique.
Roadside Markers – pull over for a few minutes to read a roadside marker and discover the history of that special place.
Historic Neighborhoods – drive through a neighborhood that exemplifies the architecture of the city or an important community in that town.
Coffee Shops and Diners – find the oldest or newest, great coffee shop or eatery. (I’m not talking about a Starbucks unless you are in Seattle, and then, by all means, visit Starbucks in Pike Place.)
Museums – stop by a museum, either big or small, to see what is being collected and displayed.

With all of our business travel, it is important to spend time during trips learning about the community we are visiting. You will feel inspired, refreshed and connected in new ways.


Taking 45 to visit a museum in Shanghai, China

Artists share their work with travelers

How many times have you been walking through an airport and noticed the art in display cases and on the walls, but just hurried on by?

While some of the art installations in airports are by local students, others are commissioned works by professional artists. In Charleston, SC travelers are treated to seagrass baskets from the renowned artist, Mary Jackson. In Atlanta, GA, I recently saw the work of Robin Price for the first time.

The art in airports has been growing in stature as airports have become larger with more luxury stores and services for travelers. One really never knows what you will see or whose work will be on display. Even though you certainly have somewhere to be, and sometimes very little time to get there, pause for a moment to enjoy the artwork in the airport.


Hotel lobby chandeliers tell my family that I have arrived safe and sound

Traveling for business can be exciting but one is still far away from family and friends. A fun way to say that you have arrived at your hotel is to snap a photo of the lobby chandelier and send a quick text message.

It is amazing just how different the lights are from hotel to hotel, even if you are a loyal customer to one hotel chain. A quick text message and a photo brings your family into the moment and lets them know you have arrived safely.

Architectural details, flowers, and decorative elements

While you are moving through the world, pause to look at the small details that surround you.  Whether you are on a vacation or a business trip, or simply walking around the place where you live, slow down and see all that you can see.



Sharks’ teeth come in all shapes and sizes

I learned something new at the beach.  I learned how to easily find sharks’ teeth.

I have to confess that the first tooth I found literally washed up to my feet as I sat watching the kids play in the ocean. From that one tooth, a bit of an obsession formed.  I looked for small black teeth on the beach from then on.

Why do we find sharks’ teeth on the beach: 

Sharks continually shed their teeth, and some shark species can shed approximately 35,000 teeth in a lifetime. In order for these teeth to fossilize, they must sink the seafloor and be quickly covered by sediment. Rapid burial is important for fossilization for a number of reasons. First, the sediment acts to protect the teeth from the weathering, abrasion, and scavenging that could occur if they were exposed to open water and currents. Secondly, burial also limits exposure to oxygen and bacteria which are responsible for decay. The process of fossilization is a slow one that usually takes thousands of years. Depending on which minerals are present teeth can be found in a wide variety of different colors, ranging from blue/grey to black to orange/red to white to green. Fossilized shark teeth usually have a black root with a grayish crown.  Fossilized shark teeth can often be found in or near river bed banks, sand pits, and beaches. If the tooth was found in a creek 50 miles from the nearest ocean, it is safe to assume that the tooth is a fossil. When you find a shark tooth at the beach, you may need to look at its color to figure out its age.

How to find sharks teeth: 

Walking along the ocean’s water line, as the waves are rolling in and out, I look for a little black “ T ” or “ Y ”among the small broken shells.  The black fossilized teeth really do stand out against the yellowish sand and once you find your first tooth, it’s easier to know just what you are looking for. I did realize after a while, that I couldn’t find any teeth on days when the shells that were rolling in were large. I only found teeth when small broken shells were coming in and out with the tide. I think this has to do with the weight of the teeth, but that’s just my guess.

So next time you’re at the beach or even near a river, keep an eye out for sharks teeth. Happy hunting!

You can find big and small sharks teeth at the beech.