New York Travel Fest Day Three: If I Can Make It Here, I Can Make It Anywhere……

Bohemian National Hall, home of Czech culture on New York City’s Upper East Side, played host on day three of New York Travel Fest.  No one other than Czech Tourism’s Jiri Duzar was on hand to welcome festival attendants to the beautiful setting and provide a presentation on traveling to the Czech Republic.

A striking group of Thomas A Edison High School students presented the Model United Nations project, for which they build traveling cases addressing specific humanitarian need themes, like water filtration and the fortification of third world housing.  The students distribute the cases, which cost about $250 each to make, to geographical areas where thee local population is in dire need of help, such as Haiti and the Caribbean post hurricane Matthew.  Such an inspiring group of bright, articulate, and caring young people!

During the morning sessions, participants had a choice of two educational tracks: travel start-ups and culture think thanks. I opted to listen in on the  former. During Amping up Your Startup, William Beckler founder of All The Rooms.com and Dmitry Koltunov co-founder of Alice provided a hilarious overview of how being an entrepreneur is just like being Matt Damon in The Martian; you are smart as hell, flying solo searching for your team, up all night trying to figure out how to make things work, don’t eat, and everything that goes wrong has live or die consequences. A good reminder that succesful entrepreneurs don’t just happen overnight but require years of preparation, education, motivation, seed planting, collaboration, and flexibility to align your vision to industry changes along the way.

The Start Up Panel provided keen insights on how a founder should prepare to obtain seeding capital from venture capitalist like David Ambrose, supplemented with real live examples provided by Paul Tumpowsky, co-founder of Skylark, and Alexander Shashou, co-founder of Alice.

Go!Go!Curry USA served a fabulous curry lunch while the Tokyo Visitors and Tourism Center poured generous helpings of sake.

Lunch was a great opportunity to enjoy a relaxing massage; contribute to FLYTE Matt Kepnes’ non-profit foundation providing high school students in underfunded areas the opportunity to experience travel abroad; network with the founders of Locaholic and the Android Privacy Screen Application; or take a test ride into the game changing world of virtual reality.

A foodie debate over New York’s best ice cream place had a few of us (you know who you are) run across the street to put our taste buds to the test at Persepolis, a lovely restaurant serving outstanding Persian cuisine; and I am happy to report that their unique rose and pomegranate flavors had me at hello!

After our brief debauchery, we returned to Bohemian National Hall which transforms into a theater at night.  Festival attendants were wowed with the first ever English performance of Jara Cimrman’s play Zaskok (The Stand-In), a hilarious play about the unfortunate premiere of the play Vasta.

After another succesful and enjoyable day at New York Travel Fest it was time to start the subway journey home while enjoying some art along the way!


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