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    Welcome to Authentic Journeys - ഓതെന്റിക് ജെർനീയ്സ് - US-India Cross-Cultural Training

May 22, 2020

Cycling in Moab - ESL Video Vlog/Podcast

Welcome to our ESL Podcast

Episode 2 of T-shirt Travel Tales

Cycling in Moab

Watch or listen to the video. To see bigger photos of the places and scenes seen in the video, scroll below. Below the video, feel free to follow along with the transcript. But, please try to do that only after you listen once. The first time you listen through any portion, write down the percentage of what you understand. Then listen to that same section and read the transcript below. How much did you actually understand? I think you will understand more than you think you do!! 

The purpose of these podcast videos are to expose you to spoken English as we make conversation in the USA, talking in a casual and informal setting about things we have experienced or like to do. I hope you liked this episode. Check out our first episode about cycling in a rally in St. George, Utah

[00:00:01] Hi, everyone. I'm Jennifer Kumar from Authentic Journeys. In this episode of T-shirt Travel Tales, I want to talk about MOAB. Now, there are a million videos about Moab on YouTube or online in general. This video is a little different because I'm tailoring my discussion toward English as second language learners or ESL learners who want to improve listening comprehension and learning some words or phrases in American English. So, so, I'm not actually in Moab making this video. I am in Utah, the state of Utah, in the US, where Moab is a small town in Utah. But I'm in Salt Lake City as I make this video. Salt Lake City, Utah, and Salt Lake City is about four and a half miles sorry, four and a half hour drive from Moab. And since we moved to Utah in 2017, we have been to MOAB. I don't know, ten, twelve times. So we've been very fortunate to be able to experience MOAB in many different types of climate, many different types of weather, many different times of the year, many different times of the day, even daytime, nighttime. 

Mesa Arch at Night

So, weather would be snow or sun or rain or wind. Oh, we got caught up at the Delicate Arch when it was windy, one year. That was not fun. I'll talk about that in a different video. So in this video, I want to talk about something we both love to do when we go to Moab, which is cycling. That's what my shirt is, cycling. And I'll take a picture of the shirts. You could see it closer.

[00:01:42] But basically the words on the shirt are that that part of the bike. So, for instance, like right here, it says handlebars. His handlebars are here and brake because that's where the handlebars and brake are on the bike.

[00:02:01] Now, throughout the video, when I talk about certain places, I might try to, you know, embed a picture up here somewhere in that part of the video. 

Welcome to Moab, Utah

That's why I'm kind of sitting over to the side. So the picture hopefully will come somewhere over here. So I want to talk about cycling, road cycling in MOAB. Now, you can actually do some mountain biking in Moab if you're into mountain biking. 

Mountain Biking at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

And actually, that's what most people do that ride a bicycle in Moab. They do mountain biking. They go into the desert areas or they go on a Dead Horse Point State Park or some national park and they do some mountain biking. And as you can, you can go to YouTube and search for mountain biking in MOAB. And those videos will blow your mind. Where are they? Mountain biking on sides of cliffs and everything. No, I won't be doing that in this lifetime. I can assure you that. So we actually do some road cycling within the town of Moab. And we've done it along the Colorado River. 

Colorado River Walkway in Moab - A EASY Walk

And we've also done it inside Arches National Park. So I want to talk about that, because some people might wonder, how can you go cycling in Arches National Park? 

Cycling in Arches National Park

Or can I go cycling and Arches National Park? Well, yes, you actually can. We've done it twice in 2019 and 2020. And we have not had any park rangers tell us not to do it or anything or that it's dangerous or anything like that. 

Cycling in Valley of Fire, Nevada

Like we, not we, but my husband did go cycling and Valley of Fire State Park, that's in Nevada. And we were warned by the Rangers to actually not do what they recommended us not to do it because the shoulder of the road is pretty nonexistent.

[00:03:48] So "shoulder of the road," what is that? Like,some countries, they don't have a shoulder of the road. So in the U.S., how we mark our roads, we have like either a double yellow line or like dotted dotted line for passing yellow line in the middle of the road. 

Typical road shoulders in Arches National Park

And then on the sides, we have white lines. So the white where the white line.... and then there might be some more pavement after the white line on the side of the road where cars are not supposed to go, but it could be paved. That's the shoulder. So the shoulder's important because that's where cars have to pull over. "Pull over" that's an idiom -- into the shoulder. If a cop is trying to, you know, pull you over with his lights on or her lights on if to pull over into the shoulder. So some of these state parks and even national parks don't have much of a shoulder on the side of the road. So they suggest that it's not always advisable to go road cycling in these in these parks. But, Arches is a little different. We've seen cyclists in the past. So, we tried to go road cycling in arches. So in 2019 and 2020, we both did that. So. Both my husband and I did that, but we actually didn't do it, like actually together because he started down at the visitor center. Now, anyone who's been to Arches National Park knows that the visitor center is kind of lower down in elevation. And when you go up into the park, when you enter into the park, you actually have to go up kind of the side of a red rock cliff with a lot of switchbacks. And that's probably a good, I don't know, 800 to 1000 feet elevation gain just in that short distance, which I don't know what that is, maybe a mile or two. So, I didn't start at the visitor center because I would never make it up that, you know, up that incline at all or down. I'm a little bit scared to go down it as well. My husband started at the visitors center, went all the way up to the Windows section. So, the Windows section, I'll put a picture of that here, what the windows mean. The windows are a part of Arches National Park that actually have you know, the wind has carved windows, what looks like windows out of the rocks.

Cycling to the Windows

[00:06:07] It's very incredible. You can even hike around it, too. It's pretty nice. So he went from visitor center to Windows. I started a little bit higher up in the park. I started Courthouse. So, I'll put the picture of Courthouse here...me standing with my bike at Courthouse. 

Bike poses at Courthouse Towers

And, then, I went to windows. So, I think that's around eight miles one way, a little maybe a little bit more than that. Eight miles one way or maybe nine miles one way. And it's about nine hundred to twelve hundred feet. I forget, exactly the elevation gain throughout that entire duration. 

The Gossips at Arches National Park

Now, when I did that in 2019, I only went one way Courthouse to Windows. And I was --I was pooped out, pooped out, "pooped out." Have you heard that phrase? It means tired, exhausted. Oh, my God. I was so -- I just could and my legs were hurting because of I wasn't used to riding that type of elevation. Most cyclists who are used to it, they're probably laughing at me thinking I'm a pansy. OK, fine. I was a pansy, so I only went one way and it took me about three hours to do that whole one way trip from Courthouse to Windows in 2020. 

Balanced Rock Bike Ride Pit Stop

This year, we also did Courthouse to Windows. But, I also came back. So, I went both ways. This year. I was pretty proud of myself. And it took me, I think, three and a half or four hours. So, I not only was able to do it both ways this year, but I think I kind of beat my time from last year even going in one direction.

[00:07:42] I'd have to check the stats on that, but I'm pretty sure I did. And I was really impressed because in twenty nineteen I did a lot of cycling, so I improved my stamina on a bicycle. I didn't know you could do that as you get older. But guess what? I'm excited to tell you that you can. So if you don't think you can do better at athletics, if you keep practicing at any age, you can get better. It has to happen. 

Multi shades of red rocks

So, yeah...so we did the road cycling and it's incredible. The scenery is just incredible. Like, I want to embed some pictures up here so you could see all those pictures of the amazing scenery. And, when I put this into my actual blog, I'll, you know, have bigger sized pictures so you can see it's just incredible. 

Approaching Windows- with Turret Arch in the Background

So you would know once you see that scenery, not only a pictures, you want to go there and see in person, but once you see in person, it just blows your mind. Have you heard that phrase "blows your mind?" Poof, it blows your mind. It means you can't believe it. It's unbelievable. It's just, you know, captivating. It just makes you wonder, you know, how how did does this even exist? It's just mind blowing. So you can either say blow..."blows my mind" or "blows your mind" or "mind blowing."

Cycling in the desert

[00:09:06] All that means the same thing. It's just it just makes you wonder and just think this is too amazing. I mean, how can it even be real? Right? So, if you get a chance ever in your life to go to Moab or when you get a chance if you don't have a bicycle with you because you're probably traveling from a distance and you don't want to carry that on an airplane, which is understandable, you can rent a bicycle in the town of Moab. As I said earlier in this podcast, that people from all over the world come to Moab for mountain biking. So, there's a lot of bicycle shops in Moab where you can rent a bike. Now, if you're going to go there, see on a very busy holiday weekend, if you know, you can call them a couple of weeks in advance to....reserve your bike so that it will be there waiting for you. 

Wonderful bridge over the Colorado River

Otherwise, if you just show up there and then reserve it, you probably won't get it on a busy weekend, on a busy holiday weekend, especially in the summertime. So, you don't have worry about that. Now, you might wonder, "How do I carry my bicycle up into Arches from Moab?" Well, if you're an avid cyclist, you don't even have to really worry about that if you're staying in a hotel in downtown Moab. You can ride your bicycle from downtown Moab up to the entrance of Arches, and that's like four or five miles.

[00:10:35] ,So obviously, going back and forth, that's going to add eight to 10 miles. But if you're an avid cyclist, you know, I don't think that's going to matter too much for you. But if you're not really that much of an avid cyclist, you can ask the bicycle shop if they can rent a carrier for you to put on your car. Or maybe they will help you to carry the bicycle up. I wish I had taken a picture of this to put this picture in this video, but I don't think I have a picture of it. But one year we actually saw a bicycle taxi in Moab. So what that was was like, you know, people who were renting bicycles could actually, I guess, call something like an Uber to take them up or bring them back down from a park. And the Uber had a bicycle rack on it that they would put your bicycle on and take you up into the park with your bicycle and then bring you back down. So, yeah, if you are traveling from a long ways away and you don't have a bicycle, you can always rent one. And there's all different kinds of bikes to rent. But that will save you from worrying about that. So these are some ideas for bicycling and Moab. And, I hope you like some of our pictures. If you're seeing this video on YouTube You can hop over to the blog link. That should be under the video somewhere where, you can actually see full sized pictures of some of the things I was talking about in this video. So, do you like these videos of T-shirt travel tales? There'll be others. I have done a couple already. You can search my blog for that or this YouTube page for T-shirt travel tales and hopefully you'll find more episodes. Thanks for listening. And, if you have any comments, questions, so hesitate to leave them on the bottom of this video. If you have watched the whole thing, thank you so much. I appreciate it. I'm Jennifer Kumar. I manage Authentic Journeys. I do cross-cultural training and coaching, especially for offshore teams or people who work outside of the US with people in the US on a virtual team who want to understand how to communicate more effectively across cultures or for expats living in the U.S. who also are in the same predicament. So, if that sounds like something you're interested in, you can go to my website - authenticjourneys.info. You can call me. My phone number in the U.S. three eight five two one eight zero nine four seven. My email address - info at authentic journeys dot info. And, I have a WhatsApp number. That's an Indian number. So, the country code is nine one nine five three nine three four seven five two nine. Thanks for listening and see you next time.

[00:13:13] Bye.

See the rest of the photos in the video! 

May 20, 2020

Confidence With American Clients and Business Partners

Working With Confidence With US Americans in Virtual Environments
Everyday, people just like you visit the Authentic Journeys' site and blog to learn tips to improve business interactions with Americans. Since our inception in in 2010, we have amassed over 30 lakh/ 3 million visitors! In this series of posts, I will answer some common questions professionals browsing the site have emailed us about. 

Authentic Journeys is predominantly intended for people from India, who are either working in the United States, or working with clients from there. What are some of the main difficulties and opportunities you talk about? 

How can this information help your clients prosper in the United States business climate? 

Americans clients and customers strive on a structured, documented approach. Many of the Indian corporates I coach that work with US clients or counterparts hold regular status update and StandUp meetings, they typically have ongoing relationships to complete complex projects. Often the Indian service provider comes to the meeting without an agenda, ideas or questions and expects the American customer to drive the bus. This is acceptable in Indian business culture, but not for working with Americans. Most Americans expect their service provider to set the tone for the relationship from day one with expectation setting, sharing the reporting structure, keeping structured meeting agendas, notes, asking and answering questions, problem solving and acting as an equal participant. Some teams I coach in India expect the US counterpart to direct them, to tell them what to do. This disturbs the balance. People on both sides are confused of their role as both are thrown off their cultural roadmap. In many situations, the Indians have to adjust to the American style. Resentment sometimes sets in. In unique situations, situations I enjoy the most, we mediate between the US and Indian teams to create a better communication plan and lines of understanding. 

Note, while the business predominately works to bridge the business culture gap between India and America, U.S. cross-cultural training programs, virtual team building programs and others have a wide reach and can help bridge the culture gap between U.S. onsite teams with teams based globally. Content delivered to individuals and small groups face-to-face in India and the U.S. and worldwide through virtual methods using experiential and integrative learning methods. 

Listen to Jennifer Kumar talk about how she conducts online, virtual training programs to upskill your virtual team and client interactions

Related Posts: 
5 Reasons To Attend Cross-Culture Training 
Differences and Similarities: India vs. US Business Culture as identified by training participants after attending our sessions.

May 18, 2020

Improving Your Online Home Office Presence - Free Webinar


This webinar will address how to keep the trust and confidence of your North American colleagues while working at home for the first time.

About this Event
COVID-19 has forced many office workers to move to working from home. This is a new, unfamiliar experience for many employees, who are used to working in-person with their colleagues each day in an office environment. The home office environment has raised many questions especially for internationally educated professionals who are new to the work culture of North America.

Cross-cultural work expert Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director and CEO of Authentic Journeys, will address the following topics in conversation with Brent Edwards, founder of the Career Welcome Mat Network and expert on networking for newcomers.

How to stay in touch with your co-workers? How to stay visible with your manager? How do you enhance your office profile while working at home? How to best keep your profile at the office during virtual meetings? What physical and verbal clues should you be watching for online? How to stay on good terms with my co-workers when every encounter feels like a formal online meeting? How to communicate professionally when all my co-workers are at a distance?

Please join our guest Jennifer Kumar and host Brent Edwards for this webinar on Tuesday, May 19th from 7:00 – 8:00 PM EST.


Jennifer Kumar – our guest

Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director and CEO of Authentic Journeys, is a cross-cultural expert in office communications between North American and office environments in India. With COVID-19 all communications are at a distance, she brings significant experience in distance communications transferable to the COVID-19 crisis. https://www.authenticjourneys.info/

Brent Edwards – your host

Building on 30 years of sales, marketing and product development experience in the Greater Toronto Area market, Brent Edwards is eager to assist newcomers with improving their professional networking skills.

A prior volunteer with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, helping to organize enhanced citizen ceremonies for new Canadians and a two-time mentor with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, Brent's 15 years of people leadership experience and ten years as a Toastmaster has equipped him with the coaching and feedback skills needed to coach newcomers on their professional networking. Brent has been a guest on New Canadians TV.

May 15, 2020

Tour of St. George - ESL Podcast Episode 1

Tour of St. George - ESL Podcast Episode 1
We are all missing "normal life" - which means different things to different people. For many of us it probably doesn't mean to #stayathome and work from home day in and out.... 
I thought to start a series talking about things I like to do outside of quarantine....all through the t-shirt collection I have amassed in our travels. 

In this first episode, which I am calling T-shirt Travel Tales a podcast I am making for English as Second Language learners who are also interested in learning about the USA and American English, I want to talk about the Tour of StGeorge bike ride... something I am still surprised I was able to complete

In this series, I hope to introduce you to some cool activities that can be done in Utah and cool things to see. (Mostly, it will be in Utah, but some other US states will be represented as well.) 

Enjoy Episode 1!!

And, a big THANK YOU to Red Rock Bicycle Company and Ride Southern Utah (that hosts this ride and others) for allowing us to share about this event and our experience here on our blog at Authentic Journeys! 

Here are a few more pictures of cycling in StGeorge, Utah.
Southern Parkway Route 7, Border of Utah and Arizona

Dixie Hill- Landmark of St. George City

Thank you for visiting the blog and listening to the episode!
Check out episode 2- Road Cycling in Moab, Utah.

Jennifer Kumar is a cross-cultural business trainer and coach who loves to cycle and hike the American Southwest. See more hiking and cycling adventures hereLearn about her work here

May 10, 2020

Togetherness and Team Bonding at ThinkPalm During Lockdown

Authentic Journeys has many memories working with ThinkPalm, one of the companies headquartered in Infopark. I was always excited to attend their team engagement events. I remember fondly attending a home cooking event where the entire office was broken into teams, and each team displayed home cooked food on their team table. As you go from table to table, you can taste many unique foods and donate money to the tables you liked. The money donated would go to charity. I forgot how that part was organized, but I thought it was a novel concept and one we wouldn't see in the US because it's rare that people would probably even be [legally] allowed to bring home cooked food into the office and share in this fashion. But, there was no such restrictions in India, everyone could cook tasty treats from their native place, bring them in, and we could all partake in a giant sadya. 

Of course, this also happened in pre-pre-pre social distancing days. Such events seem a distant and fond memory as now we are all working from home in what seems like solitary confinement, and not able to see each other in the same building or the same area. Yet, the Thinkpalmites still find ways to connect and participate in fun team building activities with their colleagues! 

Team ThinkPalm Doing Team Building Activities While Working From Home

Togetherness and Team Bonding at ThinkPalm During Lockdown
Stay home, stay safe team collage.

Earth Day Photo Collage
Thinkpalm team celebrates Earth Day 2020 from their respective homes during #stayathome 2020.
Thank you to ThinkPalm for all the wonderful memories and sharing your team bonding while working dispersed from home. Wish you all the success in your endeavors!! 

Also on our blog, Manoj KP, Director and CEO of ThinkPalm shares 10 Tips To Work Effectively with Americans [From an Indian perspective]. 

Other companies I have showcased in this series:

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.