Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


ALWAYS be prepared at Post for an evacuation

Go Bags should be ready to grab and go, and don’t forget about pets.

Remember, FLO follows you wherever go. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Staying in Touch While Separated

Use all communication avenues open between you and post. These days we rely on electronic mail and telephones to provide speedy connections; with added equipment one can easily add photos, videos, and even real-time communication via web cameras. If your family does not already own a digital camera, computer, or web cam, this would be a very good time to get one, or better yet, two. However, good old “snail mail” is still a very viable option and most people appreciate a             hand-written note or drawing, especially from children. Buy greetings cards and presents ahead of departure; stock up on ‘Forever’ stamps if post has U.S. mail capabilities; make sure the computer, phones, cameras are in functioning order; set family ground rules for communications: e.g., length of calls; sharing air-time when Dad/Mom is on the line with one person; agree to not draw negative conclusions if one party misses a phone date; decide together which dates are the most important not to miss: e.g., birthdays, anniversary, and set up a family calendar showing schedule of calls, R&Rs, etc.

For more information request our Separated by Service guide from FLOaskUT@state.gov or visit our Resources for Parents and Children site

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fitness:  Tips for Staying Motivated
Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness programs but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly. Here are seven tips to help you stay motivated.
1. Set goals. Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.
For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day three days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk.
2. Make it fun. Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep you on your toes. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a health club or martial arts center. Discover your hidden athletic talent. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery — and you’re more likely to stick with a fitness program if you’re having fun.
3. Make physical activity part of your daily routine. If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up and down sidelines while watching the kids play sports. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises while you watch TV at night.
4. Put it on paper. Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write it down. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated.
You may also find it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals — and remind you that you’re making progress.
5. Join forces with friends, neighbors or others. You’re not in this alone. Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner or other loved ones. Play soccer with your kids. Organize a group of neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club.
6. Reward yourself. After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.
 7. Be flexible. If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.
Now that you’ve regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your goals, make it fun and pat yourself on the back from time to time. Remember, physical activity is for life. Review these tips whenever you feel your motivation slipping.
By MHN Member Pulse

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Are You Ready for Change?
Nobody’s perfect, so there’s probably something about your life, habits or routine that you’d like to change. Maybe you want to eat healthier or exercise more. To improve your chances of making a long-lasting change, try these tips.
1. List the benefits of healthy change. To increase your chance of success, remember to pick just one or two areas of your life that you want to change. Then write down exactly what you could gain by making a change. You might note that you’d have more energy if you exercised, for example, or lower your blood pressure if you ate healthier meals.
2. Evaluate your readiness for change. Behavior change happens over time, not overnight. Knowing where you are in the change process can help you develop a plan for moving forward – and ultimately achieving lifelong change. Which stage of change describes you?
             Considering making a change – You’re thinking about change, and see some of the benefits. You see a lot of roadblocks, too, though. You’re just not sure if change is possible or will be worth the effort.
             Planning or taking some action – Change now looks like a real possibility, and you believe that the benefits will be worth the work. You have a plan for overcoming roadblocks and you’re starting to lay the foundation for change.
             Making the change – You are making the change, and working hard to make it part of your routine. You are committed to your goal.
3. Move towards change by creating a S-M-A-R-T goal. A S-M-A-R-T goal is:
            Specific – You know exactly what you need to do.
            Measurable – You can track your progress easily and objectively.
            Attainable – You have a clear vision of the steps you’ll take.
             Realistic – You are honest with yourself about the challenges, and have a good plan for confronting them.
             Timely – You have a clear, reasonable timeline.
Example of a SMART goal: For the next three months (timely and measurable), I will go for a brisk walk (specific, realistic and attainable).
When creating your S-M-A-R-T goal, try to frame your goal in terms of what you can control.

4. Stay on track. It takes time for a healthy change to become a solid habit. In the meantime, you’re more likely to stay committed to your goal if you:

  By MHN –  for unaccompanied tour employees and family member to log on to MHN go to and use the company code:  unaccompaniedtour  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Are you experiencing the Post-Holiday let-down   Don’t be too hard on yourself; as many as 1 in 4 Americans suffer from low-grade depression after the holidays according to Marie Hartwell-Walker, ED.D. at Psych Central. The adrenaline was flowing with all the hype and excitement. It’s hard for even the most resilient not to feel a letdown. 

A few things you can do about it:

  • Take a meditative few minutes a couple time a day
  • Call a friend
  • Do something small, but positive for yourself every day
  • Do random acts of kindness

Friday, January 2, 2015

Best Trips 2015 by                          National Geographic Traveler
National Geographic Traveler presents the New Year's must-see places. Whether it’s India’s literary hub or Switzerland’s mountain majesty, these 20 go-now destinations will send you packing.