Category Archives: Travel

Travel, racism and the importance of being Mexican | Welcome to a new friend: Raphael Zoren

Hello! My name is Raphael, a Mexican-born traveler and Marketing Consultant who started his epic journey around the world in January 2012. Ever since, I have visited 126 cities in 35 countries across 5 continents.

Before I started my journey to the lands beyond my home, I was a very ordinary person. I didn’t hate my life but I didn’t really like it either. I was afraid of change, I was afraid of the unexpected, I was afraid of what society might think of me. I was willing to conform, to never question authority, to finish my studies, work, get married, buy a car, get a house, raise children, die old and never do something remarkable to be remembered for.

Travel changed my life. I’m not that person anymore. I re-invented myself and completely changed my way of thinking, I found a personal meaning of what’s truly important in life and I’ve never looked back to the person I was before. You can read all about my new life in this humble blog of mine. Tell me, are you willing to conform or do you want to be someone else, someone greater?

This isn’t just a travel blog with personal experiences and amazing photographs, no. A Journey of Wonders is, in essence, a quest for a better global understanding among nations and individuals. Too ambitious? Yes, No, Maybe. Only time will tell.

My life calling is to give you the motivation and guidance to explore the many wonders that this world has to offer and to improve your life in a very positive way so please, DO send me e-mails with all your questions and criticisms. Let’s take this journey together!

Who am I? I’m Raphael Alexander Zoren and yes, I might not be the most interesting person you’ll ever meet in your life but hey, I’m sure I can make it to your Top Five ;)

Need help planning a trip? Want to meet up for drinks in a future destination? Interested in advertising or sending me on a Press/FAM trip?

For all these and much more, send me an e-mail to or contact me via our Facebook page and I’ll get back to you within 48 hours!

Travel, racism and the importance of being Mexican | A Journey of Wonders.

A friend of mine recently asked me by e-mail: “Hey Raphael, don’t you ever feel discriminated because of your nationality?”

After two years of traveling to 35 different countries I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, people around the world have a lot of prejudices but…in the end, people of my country are the ones who actually benefits the most from those prejudices.Mexicans, The Master Race?

SAY WHAT? Yes, there are many advantages of being a white American/British/Australian traveler. BUT…being Mexican? That’s the biggest advantage of them all and here’s six reasons why Mexicans have the advantage in terms of traveling abroad.

Romance on the Road: Couples that travel together, stay together!

“Raphael, what is your best advice for traveling as a couple?” Well, I wish I could tell you, but the truth is that I’m fairly new to the game of traveling with a girlfriend so my information is definitely not up to date. But don’t worry, because I’ve prepared two amazing interviews that showcase the hidden life of nomadic couples.

Following from the first part of the “Romance on the Road” series, where we saw the art of international affairs and one-night stands, this article will focus on what happens after you meet The One and decide to travel the world with him/her.

Traveling couples

Our two traveling couples of the day: Amber & Steven and Samantha & Yeison


Nothing quite like Christmas in Germany

Confessions of a Contemporary Gypsy

It’s fair to say that nobody in the world does a Christmas market like the Germans. Frankfurt is by far and away one of the oldest and most popular markets in the great country, and having once been whipped up in the magic of their festive season, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return once again. And I was not disappointed. Second time round, Frankfurt delivered and my German Christmas Market experience was as brilliant, if not better than, the first. Oh, and a wee dusting of snowflakes on my eyelashes definitely added to the ambience.












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In love with Paris. Travel-addicted. Female. |Wecome to a new friend: KleesButterfly

Klees Butterfly

A Slow Travel Blog

by David Herbert Lawrence

Butterfly, the wind blows sea-ward,
strong beyond the garden-wall!
Butterfly, why do you settle on my
shoe, and sip the dirt on my shoe,
Lifting your veined wings, lifting them?
big white butterfly!Paul Klee, Without Title, about 1892. Water-color and pencil.

Already it is October, and the wind
blows strong to the sea
from the hills where snow must have
fallen, the wind is polished with
Here in the garden, with red
geraniums, it is warm, it is warm
but the wind blows strong to sea-ward,
white butterfly, content on my shoe!

Will you go, will you go from my warm
Will you climb on your big soft wings,
as up an invisible rainbow, an arch
till the wind slides you sheer from the
and in a strange level fluttering you go
out to sea-ward, white speck!

via About me | KleesButterfly.

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The Artists’ Colony (Künstlerkolonie) Mathildenhöhe is considered the most beautiful Art Nouveau/Jugendstil complex in Germany.  It provided impulses toward reform in the areas of architecture, landscape art, interior design, and arts and crafts.

darmstadt 231This gentleman is Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig von Hessen (1868-1937). Without the educated and art-appreciative Grand Duke, Mathildenhöhe would not have existed in its current form. Ernst Ludwig had close connections to England, and so he had contact with the arts and crafts movement there, which opposed architectural historicism and low-quality goods. From this evolved a return to the qualities of craftsmanship.
In 1898, Ernst Ludwig called seven artists (among them Peter Behrens, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Albin Müller) to Darmstadt. Those artists created the so-called Artists’ Colony between 1899 and 1914.

Beyonce Freefall Jumps Off Building In New Zealand!

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Beyonce Freefall Jumps Off Building In New Zealand! PLUS New Blue Ivy Photos

Beyonce embraced her inner daredevil this week by doing a freefall jump off a tower in New Zealand!

The singer is currently on the Australasia leg of her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour and while in NZ she signed up to do the adrenaline pumping Auckland Sky Tower jump.

Beyonce posed for a snap in her jumpsuit and harness at the top of the observation ledge before making the brave 192-metre leap off the country’s 328 metre structure. Scary stuff!

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Let’s Geog :Welcome to a new friend: thomas hoather

Geography is always on the move, so let’s catch up with it!


Hello fellow geoggers! If you love geography or would like to know more about this amazing subject then you have come to the right place. ‘Let’s Geog’ was first uploaded in July 2013 and for me is the best example of killing two birds with one stone. When thinking originally about creating a blog my first intentions were to do with education, as I am hoping to expand my subject knowledge before commencing a Geography degree at University, however I then also realised that I love to write, especially creatively (one of my small plays was performed in the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester this year) and I thought that if I created a blog then I can channel my creativity with my love for geography, so ‘Let’s Geog’ was born.

More about me – My name is Thomas Hoather and I am currently 17 years old but will turn 18 in May next year, 19 the May after that and you get the picture.  I grew up in Winsford in Cheshire and I go to Knutsford Academy sixth form. I studied five AS levels and I’m awaiting the results, nails bitten to the quick. I chose Geography, History Conflict, Maths Applied, Psychology and English Language. I decided that I wanted to take Geography on to degree level for, well, many reasons. One is that I have enjoyed geography lessons since about the age of 11 where I was first properly introduced to it in year 7 (or 6th grade for those American geoggers out there), there are great geography teachers at my school, both current teachers are BA human geographers. I just found the whole subject interesting, especially the idea that humans affect the earth and the earth affects humans. The best example of this is with natural hazards such as avalanches. Avalanches can be caused by human activity (e.g. hiking) but this then impacts the humans on the mountain pass by either killing them or making them homeless (there are many more primary and secondary impacts with natural hazards, but these are the main two) I will explore more in my ongoing posts.

Another reason is that the world is always changing therefore so is geography. Tectonic plates, urbanisation, migration even soil erosion is changing everyday due to many internal and external factors and thus the subject has to change to suit this process. Geographers can now use computer software and mapping that they just didn’t have 15 years ago and that makes me wonder, what will geography hold for us in the next 15 years? Therefore I guess that you could say that I like geography because it’s always evolving, like us.

Thanks for taking your time to read this page and I hope that you stay to enjoy the weekly posts that I will be uploading. Right then, have a nice day and keep on geogging.


via About Me | Let’s Geog.

The Burning of Oz

October 20, 2013 By


Hello fellow geoggers! The world is always changing, sometimes for the better, and unfortunately, sometimes for the worst. This can be through earthquakes, landslides and flooding, but one problem that changes a landscape that I just don’t know that much about is Bush Fires. The reason why I’m bringing this topic up is because currently in Australia ‘a state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales as Australian firefighters try to contain the area’s worst bushfires in more than a decade’. I found this on the Sky News website, and you can find the whole article here. So far they report that ‘a total of 208 homes have been destroyed, another 122 have been damaged, and there has been at least one death’, but how do bush fires start? And why isn’t it a problem here in the UK? Well these were the types of questions that came to mind when I read the article, therefore I decided to go and find out some more information about Bush Fires

Firstly it’s important to take into account Australia’s climate. Australia as a country is hot, dry and prone to drought, thus creating the perfect climate for wildfires to not only start, but to spread uncontrollably as well. However this is only the bones of the Bush Fire body, there are plenty of other factors to complete it. More specifically to Australia, there are what is known as ‘the five seasons’ which reflects the continent’s different weather patterns and how it affects different areas of Australia at different times of the year. For most of southern Australia, the danger period is summer and autumn, however for the area that is being affected in the Sky News article (New South Wales), the peak risk usually occurs in spring and early summer, therefore it isn’t surprising that there are bush fires happening now in New South Wales. Looking at factors more specifically, it is documented that Bush fires tend to occur when light and heavy fuel loads in Eucalyptus forests have dried out, usually following periods of low rainfall. And due to the type of season that New South Wales are currently in, this could well be a factor to the current Bush fire problem.

What the frack?

September 24, 2013 By


Hello fellow geoggers! Recently there has been a big debate stirring around about the use of fracking here in the UK, and I wanted to find out more. In basic terms fracking is where you force liquid into rocks in the earth to force it to crack open and release oil and/or shale gas, and with the talk of riches for Lancashire under the ground I thought that I would ‘dig deeper’.

Just to let you geoggers know, almost everything that I talk about in this post has it’s source linked with it, so you can find out more if you find it necessary.

The UK has significant shale gas resources. The North of England is estimated to have 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in one place.
Britain would be making a big mistake if it ruled out fracking for natural gas on environmental grounds, David Cameron has said, adding that the UK could be “missing out big time” on cheaper energy bills and new jobs because of worries about the impact on the countryside.
Liz Stanton, a Preston resident and Greenpeace supporter, told the Guardian that she was protesting because fracking was not going to bring Lancashire any benefits. “It’s going to bring heavy industrial aggravation, water pollution, and it’s not going to bring the jobs like we’ve been promised.” (you can find out more here)
Campaigners have warned that the drilling could pollute drinking water and scar the landscape. Gas companies in the US have had to compensate residents where fracking practices have damaged the environment. (More on that here)
David Cameron said: “I think we would be making a big mistake as a nation if we did not think hard about how to encourage fracking and cheaper prices right here in the UK.
“If you look at what’s happening in America with the advent of shale gas and fracking, their energy costs in business and their gas prices are half the level of ours.
“Nothing is going to happen in this country unless its environmentally safe. There is no question of having earthquakes and fire coming out of taps and all the rest of it. There will be very clear environmental procedures and certificates you will have to get before you can frack.”
Companies are preparing to start fracking at several sites in Britain, despite a growing protest movement. The technique involves pumping liquids underground at high pressure to split rock and extract gas or oil.
A ban on fracking was lifted by the government last year, after it decided tremors caused by drilling near Blackpool did not mean the technique posed a significant risk of earthquakes.
Pumping water underground at geothermal power plants can lead to dangerous earthquakes even in regions not prone to tremors, according to scientists. They say that quake risk should be factored into decisions about where to site geothermal plants and other drilling rigs where water is pumped underground – for example in shale gas fracking.
Prof Emily Brodsky, who led a study of earthquakes at a geothermal power plant in California, said: “For scientists to make themselves useful in this field we need to be able to tell operators how many gallons of water they can pump into the ground in a particular location and how many earthquakes that will produce.”


maldives holiday | Welcome to a new friend Island Voyage Maldives Pvt. Ltd.

English: Coat of Arms of the Maldives

English: Coat of Arms of the Maldives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Share’ if you like to invite your friend or partner to hold your hand to walk on this white sandy beach of Maldives.

Visit here for more information and pictures of Maldives – The Sunny Side of Life

White sandy beach of Maldives islands

via MHO | MHO by Island Voyage Maldives Pvt. Ltd..

Winter Cometh to Chicago, Travel Company Beginith | GO FOR IT!!!! Generation Passport



Centro– Cartagena, Colombia, October 2013

So, I’m back home from Colombia.  I have a post or two I’ll do on my ten-day visit to Colombia.  Right now though, I am focused on starting my travel company.  This is not going to be easy, as I discovered last night.  But I have faith in myself, my ideas and the international community I have built here.

I was bummed out about coming back home to Chicago. The winter chill is definitely in the air now and it is getting cold.  I am reminded, after seeing my homeless friend last night eating from a branch of a tree, that I have a home.

I tried selling my travel trips last night just briefly.  I got shot down by a few people, when I asked them if they wanted to go to Colombia.  I have never received such passionate “No ways” from people.  One guy even said that was a weird question–asking him if he wanted to go to Colombia.  I explained I was trying to start a travel company, even then he said it was a weird question.  The girl next to him, (who I had already met five times previously) pretended she didn’t know me and her answer was a passionate “No.”  The stuffy Anglo-Victorian vibe is apparently alive and well in this historically WASP town.

I find it pretty ironic that all of these people live within the shadow of one of the biggest international airports in the world, and have such a weird time understanding that the world is a lot larger than a suburb with wealth and homeless people in the woods.  Not that they are wealthy, but the fact that travel is such a taboo here to anywhere other than little mini-Americas, is a little strange.

I met a few people who liked the idea and had enough resources and such to go, but they have children, obligations and not enough time.  I can understand this rationale.  One guy suggested I try marketing to families.  I’d argue that families could come with, as long as they could pull their weight.  as in, the kids could pull their own bags.  Maybe not the best marketing strategy.

On Monday, I have the day off of work and I’m going to try to promote my company at the train station.  I’m bound to think that when some people feel the winter chill, and I’m offering a reasonable escape to Colombia this winter, my idea will catch on.  Besides the cocaine taboo of Colombia, there is still the “Aren’t they going to kidnap and kill you there?” fear.  Why?  Because I bring tourism and money into their economies from wealthier countries?


Those Colombians made me Arroz con Camarones y Juego fresco..  Tienes miedo?

I had another person tell me that some American tourist had their head bashed-in in Turkey, as if all Muslims stand in the middle of the street and chant incoherent rants at Americans all day (like that Argo movie I saw on the plane back from Colombia).  Maybe someone did have their head bashed-in in Turkey, but I know for a fact, that a little child got shot in the head a few blocks away from my over-priced Chicago apartment when I lived in the city a few years back.  Bad things happen everywhere, but you shouldn’t run from fears that don’t exist.


via Winter Cometh to Chicago, Travel Company Beginith | Generation Passport.

Loving Life, Wine, Art, Photography and Golf in South West France | Welcome to a new friend: redstuffdan


Loving Life, Wine, Art, Photography and Golf in South West France

Redstuffdan is a 61 year old shy and retiring ex civil servant who lives quietly in the Aquitaine countryside with his beautiful French wife of 42 years.

His art, like his photography, borders on the naïve and was provoked as a complimentary activity to his recovery from illness. Much of the work is experimental and would best be described, by Dan himself, as an expression of a child let loose in the sweetshop of digital photography and acrylic paints.

His current obsessions are mirrored images and the beauty of nature with a healthy dash of golf and wine in equal parts.

We hope you get as much pleasure from his work as Dan does in producing it

photo (8)

via About | redstuffdan.


I think l’ve been Word Pressganged – No, l’m sure l’ve been Word Pressganged. One minute l was securely sailing along in my own little world without too many cares or worries – dabbling with brush, crayon and camera for my own gratutitous pleasure – Then suddenly, bang, the WordPress Gang get in my head and hijack untold hours of my life that are now dedicated to producing not only one blog but three. One dedicated to life in France, CORKS&WALKS, for the website Angloinfo, this one, which is giving me the greatest pleasure and the third where l am attempting to write, with some difficulty, a piece of modern crime fiction/fantasy.

I do not remember the exact moment, or circumstances in which l was Shanghaied by them but l know my life is not the same. I am addicted to my little Canon camera and iPhone and look at everything as though through a lens seeking the perfectly framed photo, l listen more intently to others and read, with an insatiable appetite, about art, literature, the human condition and my grand passions wine, golf and France..

Although l sense l have arrived in this place against my will l know l am really enjoying the experience and perhaps being Word Press-ganged is not such a bad thing after all.

(All the photographs, artwork, other images and text in this blog are copyright and cannot be reproduced without my written permission – You never know, if you ask, l might even say yes)

catching up with Unfamous Diary of Pulubing Turista |”Beggar Tourist”

Ha Long Bay, northeastern Vietnam


I was looking forward to experience the grandeur of Ha Long Bay. In fact, Ha Long Bay was the only reason I came to Hanoi. The journey started around 5 in the morning. The public bus brought me into the beautiful scenery of Vietnam’s rice fields, and high-rise Vietnamese tiny homes covered by mists.

The 6-hour trip taught me three things – first, Vietnamese buried their corpse in the rice fields, which serves as a fertilizer, thus making the rice taste differently delicious. Second, taking the public bus saved us a lot of money, thrice the normal range compared from taking a travel agent, because FYI, Hanoi is expensive. Third, I learned how Vietnamese reaction to a fat person, I was not sure if they were born without seeing a fat person, or it was part of their culture not to be fat, and being one is being different. My friend was harassed many times while we were in the bus. The men would touch her and asked her gender, which was a bit off. The passengers especially the women would look at her from head to foot with their eyes investigating every inch of her body and laughed at her. So sad, but my friend was used to it, she’s been living in Hanoi for a year.

When we reached Ha Long City bus terminal, we took a cab to the Ferry Station. Ha Long City was beautiful. It’s a small city surrounded by small-scale hotels, and beautiful villas mirrored in a small lake. It also has hilly streets where from the top, one can see ranges of the Ha Long Bay. Amidst thousands of people flocking each day to the city, the streets remained peaceful and definitely not crowded. I haven’t seen a town comparable to it.

Passengers in our ferryboat were lovely local tourists. Vietnamese ladies in their best dresses like senoritas traveling on a yacht. They were all looking gorgeous, and very friendly towards us, especially to my friend. Meanwhile, Ha Long Bay was gorgeous. From afar, it’s like giant water drops turned into limestone isles. The feeling was just heavenly different, I was in a vast blue ocean surrounded by giant limestone isles – it was unbelievably beautiful!

Along the bay were ancient fishing boats and a few floating houses of fishermen, and a giant dragon sleeping under the sea.

_MG_1643 _MG_1644 IMG_1607 IMG_1624 IMG_1661

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via Unfamous Diary of Pulubing Turista |

Catching up with winston wolfrider | Challenged myself to travel 4000 miles across the USA on a budget of £2k for World Land Trust.


Maltesers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Erotic Hippo, horny antelope, holidaying giants and no Maltesers to celebrate

winston wolfrider

The adventure around Malawi was the first time Mother and Sister Wolfrider and I had been on a holiday together in over 20 years. The last time, Pappa Wolfrider was also present and it was a short weekend trip to northern France; where I lived for while as a child and where Sister Wolfrider was hatched. Apparently we bought her from the hypermarket, Mammoth, later she questioned this but we kept up the pretence. It’s where babies came from in France, everyone knows that. It was a blissful experience for my sister and I to join Mother Wolfrider on her first time south of the equator! At the age of, well, a healthy a age…I think she expected a fanfare, or at least a short message from the flight deck announcing our passing over the invisible line. I hadn’t realised that it was such a momentous occasion for her and in fact, I think I was asleep. If I had known, I at least would have packed a celebratory box of Maltesers!

I don’t think the Maltesers would have come close to the unforgettable experience that she had with her offspring, when fifty elephants entered our camp. You always dream of having the kind of experiences on safari that really are something to write home about. The three swiss chaps that went to the same spot as us just the week before didn’t see a single elephant and the highlight of their trip, we were told, was killing their own chicken before dinner – something they had apparently never done and I think they found the whole experience of killing and eating something, a rather humbling and important one.

So, within 30 seconds of entering Vwaza National Park in the north-west territory of Malawi, bordering Zambia, we were met with not just one, but two, massively oversized, humongous, healthy looking, great big backsides. Giant African elephant bottoms were staring us in the face from the bush. Quietly stationary, we gazed at what possibly were the largest arses we have ever seen. They then silently disappeared into the foliage. Amazing.

We slowly set up camp. Slowly, mainly because there were dozens of lazy hippo, warthog families, baboon babies, diverse bird life and various members of the antelope family wandering around the watering hole where we had just pitched up to. Putting up a tent wasn’t a priority when things like cracking open a bottle of gin, pondering dinner menus and hogging the binoculars were far more essential. We did however, manage to erect together a couple of tents, untidily throw our belongings inside and then methodically work through more important duties…”binocularing” and gazing at the earths most erotic of creatures, the hippo – what? Such healthy curves…



winston wolfrider | Challenged myself to travel 4000 miles across the USA on a budget of £2k for World Land Trust..

A stomach full of travel adventures | Welcome to a new friend – Ron Evan

The Travel Monster

Hello friends! You can call me Ron or Evan, either way would do. Actually I am really introvert by nature, in that sense I am more able to Hi Friends!express myself through writing. I thought of doing a blog in the past, however, I am too lazy to do it since I am also busy doing stuffs in school, and now I am already working. However, I am really happy that it materialized now.

I was just browsing through different blogs across the world and I was so inspired seeing all their travelling experiences. I told myself, well it would be lovely if I would be able to share my travel experiences to the world. I’m 21 as of the moment, and my passion about travelling started when I was 17. However, even when I was still younger, like 9 or 10 years old, I really enjoyed reading books about Geography. Whether you believe it or not, I even memorized all the capitals of different countries, I’m that obsessed! Up to now, I have several apps on my Iphone regarding Geography, I have here maps, World Factbook, Travelpedia, etcetera.

 Of course, aside from travelling, I do have lots of interest, from singing, to television shows, movies, something on sports, cars, latest technology and gadgets, current news, and many others; so I might be posting entries regarding those things too. Also, At the age of 20, I graduated college with a degree of Psychology, so yes I have a huge interest with regards to Psychology, but no, I don’t read minds. Ha ha. Additionally, I have been singing too since time immemorial, Music comes hand in hand with Travelling – those are my 2 most dominant interests. However, I am way too shy to post videos of me singing, maybe in the future if I would be able to lose all these shyness, but not now! Anyway, thank you for visiting this site of mine, I hope you all have fun reading my articles and posts. This blog is just part of my dreams in life, or should I say this would be the medium where I can voice out and show the world each dreams of mine that I’m trying to turn into reality. Well, dreaming is just free! We should just keep on dreaming of something BIG because when it happens, ITS GONNA BLOW OUR MINDS! Happy Reading folks!

via About Me | The Travel Monster.

9 Reasons Why You Would Like To Travel Solo

A man alone in the beach

A man alone in the beach

While it’s wonderful to share a special trip and new experiences with friends, a partner, or family, there’s a compelling case for travel alone from time to time. Solo travel can work for anyone, whether you’re single, in a relationship, extroverted, or introverted, and here are 9 good reasons why you should try it. This entry is a re-post from since I found this one pretty awesome and on the spot! Enjoy reading.

1. Simple logistics

It can be challenging to coordinate a trip and time away from work with another busy person in your life, and it’s even more difficult when you try to make plans with a group. Usually, these challenges can be overcome by simply planning far in advance, but if you find yourself with some down time and you can’t find a travel partner on short notice, it may be the perfect time to pack your bags and go anyway.

2. Work on your bucket list

Is there something you’ve been dying to try that no one is willing to try with you? Maybe you’d like to go skydiving over the Grand Canyon, see ancient Mayan ruins, or simply eat real Maine lobster. When your partner and friends don’t share every one of your interests, that’s OK, but it’s not OK to sacrifice your dreams, especially when all you have to do is get there.

3. You’re great company

If you rarely spend significant time alone, you may be surprised at how enjoyable it can be. When was the last time you truly listened to only your thoughts and entertained only your dreams? Depending on the destination, a solo trip can be a powerful, introspective, life-changing experience. Imagine sitting on a peaceful beach at sunset or taking an invigorating morning hike without having to make conversation with anyone.

4. Meet new people

If you’re a born extrovert, traveling alone can be a wonderful way to meet locals and make new friends. Often, people who are alone appear more approachable to others. Before you know it, you could be chatting with some interesting folks at a sidewalk cafe or even joining a group of like-minded people for yoga on the beach. The key is to keep an open mind while keeping safety in mind, especially in a foreign land. Chances are, when we travel alone, we also meet another traveller who is alone who would seem to be really interesting.

5. Do everything you want and nothing you don’t want

Have you ever been hesitant to do that half-day at the spa you were longing for because you felt bad leaving your travel partner with nothing to do? When you travel alone, you are not obliged to entertain anyone but yourself.  If you want to “waste” the day sitting at an outdoor bar drinking mojitos instead of sightseeing, you won’t have to answer to anyone.

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Destination of the Month


Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo is the seat of government of Monaco. Though it sounds to be a capital of the small country, it is not. Monaco as a whole is a city state located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by France and is also very near Italy. Monte Carlo houses the the worlds largest yacht charter companies and of course, it hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Monte Carlo also has a variety of world class shops with top notch brands and a Grand Casino where the richest gamblers flock in.


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On the Road (Time Cut: 1969 to 2013)

Who says only the rich and famous can travel? |Catching up with the Unfamous Diary of Pulubing Turista

Georgetown, Penang Island


I took a 6-hour bus drive to Georgetown, from Kuala Lumpur passing through another great town, Ipoh. I came to meet an old friend in Butterworth (mainland), the town across Georgetown, only a 15-minute wandering by ferry boat. An alternative route was the amazing 8.4 miles Penang Bridge, Malaysia’s longest bridge.

Georgetown isn’t only a heritage site, but a UNESCO World Heritage City. It’s the Intramuros of Malaysia, but twice or thrice larger than Intramuros. Better yet imagine the size of Vigan City (the whole city, not the size of the Heritage Village), with everything looking rusty. Georgetown is composed of colonial British architectures built in the 1500s and a fusion of a beautiful combination of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures.

Walking on its skimpy streets surrounded by centuries-old houses and structures was a refreshing treat to my eyes. It’s indescribable feeling observing the old-oooold city operating like a modern metro with those amazing architectures of yesteryears transformed into offices, banks, schools, churches, museums, grocery stores, houses, hotels, hostels, bookshops, coffee shops and restaurants. There was no empty space only the rustic walls, which even painted with artistic graffiti. They have the colorful horse hackney, touristy-looking tricycle and modern public buses.

The Armenian Street is a haven for locals and tourists. It’s such a nostalgic peaceful street at day and a street food haven at night. It’s a meeting place for everyone to eat before heading to party all night!

Just outside Georgetown are shopping malls for the rich (judging by its ambiance, the shops and the crowd), high-rise luxurious residences, condominiums, apartments and beautiful landed houses, near the beach or on top of the hills overlooking the beach.  Most residents live in high-rise residences.

What truly inspired me was the old fishing village. It’s an old settlement area in Penang where stilt wooden houses were built on the sea. If it’s only in the Philippines, it could be considered a very unlikely place to live; it could be called a squatter. But in Georgetown, residents of the fishing village still were able to maintain its cleanliness, especially their wooden pathway, their wooden houses – it’s such a unique way of beautifying and preserving the place.

Georgetown is a timeless gem; it is really alluring and inviting.  Enjoy the photos!

966581_10200242670041692_1586372974_o The Penang Bridge connecting the mainland and the Penang Island

966335_10200242671041717_742990308_o 921760_10200242671241722_1129765130_o 966411_10200242671881738_1529201998_o

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Welcome To Koh Samui Thailand!! | Welcome to a new friend: hooksamui

Welcome To Koh Samui Thailand!!

August 1, 2013 · by hooksamui ·

Welcome To Koh Samui Thailand!!

Koh Samui Thailand

Welcome To Koh Samui Thailand

Koh Samui Thailand

via Welcome To Koh Samui Thailand!! | hooksamui.

Le Puy en Velay : Walking on the St. James Way in France – 50 photos .


46-walking the Le Puy route bicolor

south central france

le puy landscape

Situated in the South-East of the Massif Central, the famous departure point for the so called « Le Puy Route » towards Saint Jean Pied de Port with final destination Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This place is an outstanding historic city and offers many unusual sightseeings to visitors.

Visiting Le Puy-en-Velay is like going on a treasure hunt: the extraordinary chapel dedicated to Saint-Michel  at Aiguilhe, the Rocher Corneille and the statue of Notre Dame de France , the cathedral (World heritage by UNESCO) and its 12th century cloister. 


01-landscape le puy route

route santiago compostela from le puy via podiensis

21-le puy route

48-chapel saint michel le puy

route to santiago de compostela in france- the le puy route

walking and hiking in france

65-walking france ici et la nature


Way of st james le puy to aumont-aubrac

Walking the Way of St. James in France with Ici & Là Nature : Le Puy-en-Velay  to  Aumont-Aubrac : Click here !

64-landscape le puy envelay

rocher corneille-statue of notre dame de france

route santiago pilgrimage the way in france ici et la nature

40-pilgrimage le puy route

route le puy hiking france ici et la nature

42-walking the route puy to santiago

43-walking the st.james way from the puy en velay france


59-our lady

60-our lady le puy

61-lady france le puy


rocher corneille le puy

64-landscape le puy envelay

Way of st james le puy to aumont-aubrac

Walking the Way of St. James in France with Ici & Là Nature : Le Puy-en-Velay  to  Aumont-Aubrac : Click here !

le puy cathedral notre-dame

69-hiking the way of compostela le puy

route pligrimage in france santiago from le puy

05-route santiago le puy france

58-le puy

12-statue st james le puy france

Statue of St. James the Greater. Pilgrims setting out on the Camino de Santiago are blessed beneath this statue…

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Sky View Wedding |Catching up with You By My Side

You By My Side~ -Eat, Love and Travel –

Prince Hotel Shin Yokohama: Sky View Wedding | You By My Side.

Prince Hotel in Shin Yokohama is one of the top ten places on my list of places to have a wedding. I just received the newest brochure of this place and… I still feel this place is top ten because it has this clean and simple look. You may have remember that M and I are both looking for  a place with white chapel… white and clean look.  This church is not surrounded by sea but as you can see from the title of this post, you can see sky from this chapel and reception area located at the top part of hotel.  I am not completely sure where it is located exactly but from the pictures, this place could be our potential place for wedding. But before we decide on where to have wedding, our parents have to have dinner to talk about our future.  Wish us luck~!

via Prince Hotel Shin Yokohama: Sky View Wedding | You By My Side.

Welcome to a new friend: Benji Taylor

Benji Taylor Wins

“Mythical musings on music and pop culture…”

Benji Taylor is a relentless traveller and music aficionado whose writings encompass film, music, art, & literature.

His mythical musings on music and pop culture are the eventuality of an anomaly inherent in the programming of the matrix which, despite his sincerest efforts, he has been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision.

ParisianSkiesAs a master of words and magic, he contributes to several sites across the web.

You can follow him on Twitter: @BenjiTaylorWins

via About | Benji Taylor Wins.

Soft Metals – synth revivalists

22/07/2013 06:15:12

Glass basks in the amorous glow of EDM connoisseurs Soft Metals… 

Photo credit: Suzy Poling

In 2011, LA based electronic duo Soft Metals’ sound emerged from the hubbub of a plethora of bands riding the coat-tails of the retro-tinged synth revival, with their debut LP vastly outshining the work of their bland and vapid peers. Their debut proved one thing  that stimulating and meaningful synth-based music was more difficult to craft than many of their contemporaries realised.

Sophomore effort Lenses, released via Captured Tracks on 29th July, sees the duo refining the dense and textured soundscapes that populated their self-titled LP, and opting for sparser arrangements, and an aesthetic revolving around building tension and release. The result is an accomplished dance sound that crackles with intelligence and imagination, backlit by a marriage of vintage synths and 80s style drum beats.

As a collection of songs it’s heavily indebted to the dance floor, and to the night. Many tracks boast a feeling of audible sexual tension, no doubt owing to the fact that Ian Hicks and Patricia Hall – the miss and mister behind the duo – have been romantically involved since the band’s inception.

Ultimately Lenses reflects itself as the light of a bigger, brighter and braver Soft Metals. It’s a superb record that – since it boasts just the right mix of house-flavoured dynamics and reverential 80s sounds  should see the duo finally recline in the acclaim that their sound warrants this summer.

Photo credit: Suzy Poling

Lenses showcases a dancier sound than your self-titled debut. Who were your key influences on this record?




My article on Amsterdam and Canal House for Glass Magazine…

Canals“The key jewel in Amsterdam’s cultural crown, though, is the Rijksmuseum which, reopening after ten years of wide-ranging renovations, triumphantly re-positions itself as an artistic citadel of dreams..”






What Does The Ending Of The Prestige Really Mean?

the prestige

Published originally at WhatCulture

“Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled…” – Cutter

Of late it’s sometimes easy to forget that Christopher Nolan, the genius behind the Dark Knight trilogy adrift amidst a sea of awards and accolades as a result of his labours with the franchise depicting his vision of the caped crusader, previously made a quartet of insidiously intelligent films:  Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, and Inception. All of these films are amazing in their own way and worthy of separate analysis, showcasing Nolan’s developing directorial talent throughout the first decade of the new millennium. Today I’d like to discuss The Prestige, Nolan’s dark and bleak visually spectacular mind-twister of a movie, and my own personal favourite from this quartet of films, which was adapted from British writer Christopher Priest’s 1995 prize winning epistolary novel of the same name. Over the past few years I’ve discussed my interpretation of the events of the movie and its key overarching themes with so many people that I decided it was time to put my thoughts into an article.

The ingenuity of the movie arises from Nolan’s handling of the non-linear exposition of the film which, at its core, revolves around two talented magicians in the early 1900s who become engaged in a lifelong game of progressively daring one-upmanship. The movie’s narrator- Michael Caine’s Harry Cutter- is an ingénieur; he conceives then concocts the mechanisms which facilitate the magicians’ dazzling of their audiences. Cutter explains to the viewer the three key elements of any magic trick… every trick, he tells us, has three crucial stages:

The Pledge – the preliminary object or action;

The Turn– the action or the deed that misdirects and distracts the audience from the true purpose of the trick;

The Prestige- the final reveal which leaves them spellbound.

If you’re reading this article then you probably know the story which, in a nutshell to refresh you, charts via a series of flash-backs and flash-forwards the events surrounding the sentencing of Christian Bale’s Alfred Borden for the murder of Hugh Jackman’s Robert Angier. The murder seemingly occurred as the culmination of a series of escalating trade-offs between the two magicians which had their origins in the death of Angier’s wife Julia who, in tragic symmetry to the death of Angier, drowned performing a water cell act.

Next we will discuss the ending, and then seek to understand how it is representative of the key themes embodied within the movie’s narrative…

Move to ‘Page 2′ to continue…

A Son of Ice & Fire: Who Are Jon Snow’s Parents?

Published originally at WhatCulture

SPOILER WARNING: Whilst the majority of this article relates to theory, speculation and deduction, it contains a few potential spoilers relating to the events of all five currently available “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, and to Season One & Season Two of the “Game of Thrones” TV Series. Where possible, I have omitted any spoiler-esque information unless I consider it essential to the article’s subject matter.


Who is Jon Snow? Our initial introduction to the 14-year old Jon Snow is in the first chapter of A Game of Thrones as he accompanies the man that we the readers are led to believe is his father, Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark, to execute a deserter of the Night’s Watch. As the apparent bastard child of the Lord of Winterfelll, Jon might well have lived a better life than 90% of the population of Westeros, but he has been made to feel something of an outsider by Ned’s wife Cateyln Stark, since his presence has proved to be a constant reminder of Ned’s supposed infidelity.

The alienation that Jon feels arising from his bastard-born status ultimately compels him to leave his half-siblings in Winterfell and join his Uncle Benjen on The Wall as a man of the Night’s Watch. Before he leaves, Ned makes a promise to Jon that, due to the interference of the Lannisters, he is ultimately unable to keep: “The next time we see each other we’ll talk about your mother, I promise…”

What I’d like to discuss in this article are the hints to Jon Snow’s true parentage that are presented within the books (and to a lesser extent the TV series). I believe that it’s quite clear from the raft of clues that the text provides us with that Jon Snow is not in fact Ned’s son – he is actually

Click HERE to find out what Jon actually is…

Top 10 Things to Pack Before You Travel | Old Friend Generation Passport

Top 10 Things to Pack Before You Travel Far and Wide

Try to limit liquids and heavy objects (remember someone tried to blow their underpants up or something so no more liquid over 8 oz. allowed on carry-ons.)


You can relax more if you pack correctly. 

10.)  Dark clothing–no it is not because travelers are goths.  If you are traveling for a long time, you’ll need to wash your clothes.  By the end of the trip, anything that is light or white is bound to be stained.  Pack dark clothing so stains, even if they are there, will not be apparent.

9.) Chap stick, eye drops and contact solution if you wear contacts.  If you’re out in developing countries like I was,  proper contact solution may be hard to find.  An eye infection is not fun to have.  I packed enough bottles of contact solution to last almost nine months in the Republic of Georgia.  This will add a lot of weight to what you carry–make sure these bottles are in your checked luggage or they will be confiscated at the airport!  Bring your glasses too, as touching your eyes a lot in a developing country will likely give you an infection.

8.) A good watch and a good pair of sunglasses.  If you buy a crappy version of either of these, you’ll end of paying more by continually buying shittier pairs.   “Oh, that looks like a cool pair!“–  breaks a few days later.  “Wow, these are a brand name!” -breaks again.  I’ve literally had these shitty Chinese made sunglasses break while I’m wearing them without applying any force to them.  So do yourself a favor and buy a good pair of sunglasses and a watch while you’re at home, and buy them from a trusted store.

I’ve literally had these shitty Chinese made sunglasses break while I’m wearing them without applying any force to them.  So do yourself a favor and buy a good pair…

7.)  Sunscreen if you are a super white person.  I’m talking to you Irish people that burn after 5 minutes outside!  Italians and Greeks and other dark people don’t have to worry about this one so much.

6.)  Protection from the rain.  This is one that I always blew off as not being that important but it is.  If you’re hiking around a city or countryside and all your stuff gets wet, it can be a real setback–a real pain that can be avoided.  Rain comes quickly too.   A lot of raincoats are very heavy so you should at least have a poncho or a tarp to keep you and your bag dry.

5.)  Backpacking bag not luggage bag.  If you’re gone for a long time, you’ll regret traditional  luggage.  You have to be mobile and luggage is a setback for walking up stairs and through crowded cities.

4.)  Proper Electronics– depending on what your needs are.  If you bring any electronics, you will need at least a simple international adaptor for different plug sizes.  If you bring a cell phone, make sure it is unlocked.  If the phone isn’t unlocked, you won’t be able to use different sim cards in it in different countries.

3.)  Nalgene bottle–tough, light weight, and easy to clean with minimal smells.  Much better than traditional water bottles.  Large opening for filling up with water.  Good for hiking and daily use.

2.)  One nice shirt.  One nice pair of pants and a nice pair of shoes if you can manage. Perhaps something to make you smell ok at a moments notice too.  You can be a backpacker, but you don’t have to look like a backpacker all the time.  You never know when you might have to look like a real person.  You might have to meet with important people when traveling–be prepared.  My friends have met Hillary Clinton and the President of the Republic of Georgia.  I’ve brushed with diplomats and you never know when you’ll be invited to some sort of important event.

You can be a backpacker, but you don’t have to look like a backpacker all the time.  You never know when you might have to look like a real person.

1.) Bring as little as possible–less is more when traveling.  You’ll be charged extra if the weight of your bag in over 50 kg (approximately 120 lbs.) on most airlines.  Try to limit liquids and heavy objects (remember someone tried to blow their underpants up or something so no more liquid over 8 oz. allowed on carry-ons.)

 Pack smart and learn from your packing mistakes!

[Terry: OK, I like these guys and generally I agree with them. However, having wandered around some of the world’s more UN hygienic places (Beirut, El Salvador, South Africa and Banda Aceh Indonesia), generally in conditions ranging from “Unrest” to “Holy Shit, Let’s Get Out Of Here,” I feel that they have missed one absolute essential.

Yes, “Monkey Butt” “Crotch Rot” “Jock Itch” or to put it simply, CHAFING.

Caused by an insufficiency of underwear, chafing can stop you cold almost as fast as drinking the water (I have edited television news by shouting from the bathroom). I not only strongly recommend Ex Officio underwear but a layered method where you have a pair of cotton u-trou under a pair of Ex Officio long-leg briefs.  I managed to make it through a fairly difficult time in Indonesia where there was no power and the “shower” was a concrete tub and a bucket (well, it was “fairly difficult” for me–several thousand Indonesians died which is one of the reasons it was my final time practicing “death tourism”.) while my anchor and cameramen were reduced to tiny mincing steps and constant screaming. 

It’s also nice that you can wash Ex Officio in the sink, roll it in a towel, stamp on the towel for a while which gets out all sorts of inner frustrations, unroll, hang and wear the next day.

To be honest, I don’t know what women would do in a similar situation but I strongly suggest that they DO whatever it is.

I feel that this has been a Public Service Message.]

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Welcome to new friends | International Bellhop

Meet the BellhopsThe Bellhops:

We are simply a collective of writers and designers who escape work by blogging and writing and discovering new lands for travel, and reminiscing about travels past. Travel with us as we explore all of the most beautiful, unique, and relaxing atmospheres that Mother Earth has given to us.

Check Out Time: Your Discretion

via The Bellhops | About | International Bellhop.

Chandlery | Gift Shop

International Bellhop -- Chandlery Store

Welcome To the Chandlery

Nearly 800 Years Ago: Candle-makers and their shops were some of the first municipal-based businesses — meaning, that they were supported by the state (A loosely connected feudal system that was governed by lords and land-owners. As naval conquest and exploration via ships became the world’s fascination, people started to travel the world on ever-growing ships that became the formidable beasts of the seas. Within the bellies of these sea-beasts, were small shops — usually near the entry to the storage decks — that took on the name of “Chandleries.”

As marine travel progressed, and the world saw architectural masterpieces such as The Titanic, The Mauritania, and The Queen Mary, these shops became full decks and were the basis of the first shopping malls and business centers. Many hotels and businesses still offer the same type of stores that replenish your stock of goods and toiletries while traveling, and still honor the tradition by naming them The Chandlery.
In-Fact, Vanguard Group — a financial institution with a campus in Scottsdale, Arizona — have a Chandlery that offers their employees basic necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, snacks, gifts, and even gift basket packages that you can send to co-workers or clients, right in the lobby.

In the same fashion that Vanguard offers Chandlery services to its business community, we offer the same resource to our readers.

Full Store Coming Soon

Shop online and send your  travel supplies to the hotel before you leave,  with a tap on your phone.

The Lavender Fields of Provence | Pressed Words (Catching up with old friends)

The Lavender Fields of Provence

Visiting the lavender fields of Provence, France, has been a prominent lust on my travel bucket list for some time now. To catch the lavender, you have to time your trip just right – if you’re too soon you miss the bloom, and if you’re too late, they may have already harvested the beautiful flowers to dry. Luckily, not only did we catch the lavender, but we were also treated to speckles of red all along the landscape, as the poppies were still mildly in bloom as well. But before any of that, we had a slight road-trip ahead of us, up into the French AlpsIMG_0165^ ^ I spy with my little eye. . . . IMG_0184^ ^ We followed a driving route mapped in the Michelin Green Guide to the French Alps. In the book, the tour is called the Valensole Plateau. We wound into the mountains, and after more than an hour of navigating twisting roads and rocky slopes, we were treated to some stunning views.IMG_0199^ ^ This was our first glimpse of the lavendar fields, far, far off in the distance.IMG_0236^ ^ In the middle of the green mountains, we spotted a true-blue oasis. The driving route took us in a curve around the entire lake, and we vowed to come back for a swim later if we had time.IMG_0214IMG_0225IMG_0221

For an almost infinite amount MORE

via The Lavender Fields of Provence | Pressed Words.

[Terry: I’m sorry. I mean, I’ve been to Provence and even to a factory where they pressed lavender and stuff and smelled the fields and all but MY NOSE WOULD HAVE EXPLODED HALFWAY THROUGH YOUR FRAGRANT (and possibly flagrant) ROMP!

When my daughter forces me into a Sephora, I’ve got two sniffs before everything above my eyes goes numb.]

Welcome to new friends: Joe Platt and Lynda Renham-Cook| Generation Passport

Generation Passport

Generation Passport is the end product of two years of traveling and teaching.  It is an online travel magazine and blog.   The goal of Generation Passport is to not only inspire generations of people, but to teach them how they can use the internet to work and travel in the modern world or “Work and Travel 2.0.”

In 2011, I traveled across Asia.   I have accumulated thousands of photos and had the experience of teaching in the former Soviet state of Georgia in 2012.  Travel has taken me out of  a bubble existence  into  a world that hasn’t even been documented yet or is just known to very few.  Generation Passport reflects the sum of my knowledge, and other’s,  from working and traveling with the use of technology.

In much of the world, there are people who consider themselves trapped for economic reasons or by life circumstances.  The internet has given travelers and workers tools  that didn’t exist  even a few years ago.  For example:  did you know you can travel across the world with free accommodation based solely on your character and a network of travelers?

I hope to take this generation of people, young and old, away from the negativity of the modern world and show them that it is possible to work and travel in the modern age.   Generation Passport  will adapt and change as the internet resources for travel change.

This is a collective effort and I need writers.  Contribute?  Join the club!  

I’ll give you a picture and biography slot below me for your help.

Start here…the very first post from January 2013– Generation Jobless or Generation Passport?


DSC01809Joe Platt

The founder of Generation Passport, writer, photographer, traveler, English teacher and EMT-B.  Joe has backpacked Asia and was the first foreign teacher in two schools in the  former Soviet state of Georgia through the program Teach and Learn with Georgia.  He hopes to teach others how they can use the internet to work and travel 2.0.

*Note:  Soviet artwork and propaganda is an interest of mine.  I am not a communist.

Lynda RDSCF6331 - Copy (2)-1enham-Cook

is a bestselling novelist and freelance writer. She is associate editor for the Scavenger magazine online and has written for other News Agencies as well as  British magazines. She has also spoken on BBC radio. She writes Romantic comedies which have all made the top ten humour chart.


via About | Generation Passport.

Top 10 Cool Things You Don’t Know About In Asia

There are things out there that you don’t know about.  I’m lucky in that I’ve been to places that people don’t know exist.  However, no matter how things are for you or where you live Your Backyard is Another Person’s Mystery Land.

Essentially, outer space is here for you to find on this planet.

Top 10 Cool Things You Don’t Know About in Asia

10.)  Thai menthol

thai menthol

Poy-Sian menthol–dropper on far left, inhaler and cap.  source

Thailand was the first country I went to in Asia.  The cab drivers and tuk tuk drivers were sniffing this little bottle of something.  Had I been in the U.S., or anywhere else, I would have thought it was some kind of  illegal substance.  Thai menthol comes in this little bottle with an inhaler.  You can unscrew the cap and use the dropper.  You put two small drops of it on your temples and you feel like you are in a halo of menthol–like floating in space.

9.)  Betel nut

betel nut

Betel nut in Myanmar (Burma) source

I admit, I still don’t know exactly what betel nut is.  I made loop in Asia and in Myanmar there was this strange red substance in people’s mouths and on the ground.  I thought “oh what is this?”  So I bought one and began to chew it.  It is a little nut wrapped in leaves and it makes you feel happy when you chew it.  I’m not classifying it, because I don’t know what it is.

And I thought when chewing it…”this is stupid…this is stupid…WOW I FEEL REALLY HAPPY ALL OF A SUDDEN!”  Then I started laughing for no reason.

8.)  Cheap street food




Should You Start Shooting Heroin or Should You Go Traveling?


China, 2011.

Instead of altering your mind with drugs, you are altering your physical reality you are accustomed to.   So travel is a reverse drug–you don’t change, everything around you changes.

So I turned on the T.V. and saw the A&E show Intervention.  If you don’t already know, the show is about people who have various addictions and undergo an intervention by friends and loved ones to stop their addiction.

Well, this one episode was about a drug addict on the west side of Chicago, not too far from here, who squatted in a vacant building.  During the show it mentioned she had spent thousands of dollars on drugs–something like $40,000 plus dollars on drugs.  $40,000 dollars.

I then wondered what kind of travel you could do with that kind of money.  With $40,000 plus dollars you could probably go over to various parts of the world, exchange that for the local currency and live like a king for  a while.

  • You could probably go couchsurfing for a few years
  • probably start a business on an island
  • probably go to China and rent a penthouse in every major city
  • disappear somewhere
  • hitchhike for years
  • get away from all those losers who make you want to use drugs
  • get to a region of the world where you can’t talk to anyone
  • find losers to hang out with in a different country
  • make yourself not a loser
  • resolve whatever problems made you want to do drugs in the first place
  • get on drugs that make you not want to use drugs
  • replace traveling for drugs
  • buy a gym membership
  • live on a dollar a day in a third world country for the rest of your life and then reincarnated life after that
  • jump out of a plane
  • take a motorcycle around the world, maybe even a few times–and buy the bike
  • probably a car too if you want
  • go to South America
  • buy a camper
  • get some sort of education
  • buy a computer to educate yourself
  • dress up in a suit n’ tie or formal attire and go to a high end benefit and look really cool with a rented luxury car and donate thousands of dollars.
  • pretend you are cool–you can do this with less money


Chinese baby confused at  sight of crazy white man, China 2011

This is not to bash drug addicts.  My point is that traveling is almost a kind of therapy, when done correctly.  It almost alters your consciousness because you are put into large groups of people and terrains that are not native to your birth culture.  These people don’t act like you, think like you, or maybe they don’t even look like you.  Instead of altering your mind with drugs, you are altering your physical reality you are accustomed to.   So travel is a reverse drug–you don’t change, everything around you changes.

…there is no greater drug than travel.

I think a lot of people get into drugs because they are bored.  Maybe that is why rural America has a crystal meth problem.  And of course, a lot of people make money by having you on drugs and certain groups are kept in their place by them.  So instead of spending time and money on drugs, find a way to escape–quite literally  Because there is no greater drug than travel.


‘fog’ Chongqing, China 2011

[Terry: This is SO COOL. Why does it only have 1.3 Million followers? ]

Kota Tinggi, Johor Bahru « Unfamous Diary of Pulubing Turista

Hey Sweetheart We Get Rewrites

Kota Tinggi, Johor Bahru


My old friend who just came back (this time, for good) from the US invited me to attend her brother’s wedding.  Her description of her hometown was ‘Kampong’ or an old Malay village. I and another friend were expecting a barrio ambiance and a chaotic transport system, but Kota Tinggi showed us the opposite.

Kota Tinggi is a cute little town in Johor, Malaysia. It’s an Asian version of Herndon in Virginia – progressive, calm, clean, with no transportation, with 1 to 3 persons walking on the streets, and definitely not crowded yet it has the spark that attract people to visit.

The streets were wide, clean and very calm. Despite having variety of shops, old coffee houses and restaurants, huge malls and air-conditioned supermarkets, it was still a glee to spot people walking around. Our theory was because In Kota Tinggi, everyone drives their own car.

We explored the town the day before the wedding and we loved it even more. The trip to the Kota Tinggi waterfalls was like old-time movie scenery with dusty unpaved winding road covered with huge trees, greenly plains and mountains. The most amazing experience was our firefly river cruise. Looking at the brown river, I imagined a giant anaconda and reptiles underneath. The cruise started at 7pm, and the boat brought us to the uninhabited area, where no lights, not even a flash of a camera, we waited and suddenly fireflies started showing up and gave us a great show of lights. It was one of the most amazing nature trips, that portion of the river was twinkling like Christmas lights. It was a jaw-dropping experience. We actually forgot ghost stories and folklores of fireflies as guardians of a giant tikbalang (demon horse).

It was a good reunion of old friends. I got to meet her family whom I knew from her stories back in the States. I got to meet her loving parents, her brother and his family from Shanghai in China, and experienced Malay traditional wedding, Malay generosity and the Malay Kampong spirit (Bayanihan to Filipinos) during the wedding. They had put a lovely tent just outside their house, grandly decorated. There were three wedding ceremonies – traditional ones happened in the bride’s house, next was at the groom’s and finally the modern non-traditional wedding vibes at the hotel with family and friends. All scheduled in different days within the 2-week wedding ceremony. The first and second ceremonies were both a 24-hour community wedding, with neighbours and technically everyone in the town can drop by, help with preparations and during the ceremony, and celebrate and greet their best wishes to the newlyweds. How lovely isn’t it?

Note: Below are mobile photos. Enjoy Kota Tinggi’s calmness!

563954_3674460972393_775849435_n 165906_3674361409904_1272430858_n the town center250808_3674333289201_997465936_n the wedding giveaways – egg and juice for fertility283762_3674382290426_1788187506_n the firefly river cruise 292454_3674410691136_1316595332_n old chinese restaurant315352_3674357129797_1707773175_n

Much More at Kota Tinggi, Johor Bahru « Unfamous Diary of Pulubing Turista.

Summerfair 2013 | Fabulous 50’s

Hey Sweetheart We Get Rewrites

Posted on June 3, 2013 by Travel Spirit

via Summerfair 2013 | Fabulous 50’s.

I had another great day yesterday at Summerfair 2013, which is an annual event held at Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati.  I finally met a friend, Kelley, who has been a Facebook friend for a couple of years, for the first time at this event!  I only have a handful of people on my Facebook that I’ve never met…usually a friend of a friend.  Anyway, we arranged a meeting time and we really clicked!  She’s intelligent, warm, and as you can see beautiful!


We had a great time walking around Summerfair, which is a fine arts and crafts fair, with over 300 artists from around the Country.  The event also has performers, and play areas for kids!  This is their 46th year and more than 20,000 people attend to view and purchase the art!  Artists apply to exhibit their art at the fair in ten categories including photography, painting, wood, ceramics, fibers, leather, jewelry and 2D/3D mixed media.

Summerfair raises money for a variety of arts opportunities, to include awards, scholarships and exhibitions to artists and small arts organizations in the Tri-State area.

We stopped to talk with some of the artists and I requested permission to photograph their art and sometimes them.

Kelley and I both enjoyed the energy and vibe of this artist…Tracy McKay.  He paints with his hands…


Another interesting thing about his art is that he uses Barbie dolls in some of his pieces.  Check out his website here.


This artist makes really cool bird feeders and lanterns…


For More Click HERE

Welcome to a new friend: Steven Wiseblood | Eastern Sea Star

Eastern Sea Star

I stayed in the Philippines for 7 months last year. I stayed in Manila and in the Cagayan Valley. Many posts are about the Filipino culture, food and places.

I am now back in South TEXAS after living in the Philippines for almost 7 months last year. I learned a great deal about the Filipino people, language and culture and I hope to return someday to retire there. I am in the process of writing three books about my adventures in the Philippines. I will post images of the book covers so you can preview what the books will encompass. I hope to do a new post daily (or at least several times a week) from now on, so I hope to be seeing a lot more of you 🙂


yours truly,

the blog’s Author,

Steven Wiseblood

via About me | Eastern Sea Star.

trying not to make the same mistake twice

ImageThroughout our lives we make many mistakes.  In the day to day process that we call life I make many small mistakes but it is the big mistakes that I really learn from. Sometimes I try to be oh so careful…but  can we ever be careful enough to avoid invading the space of others…to constantly be walking on this ice.

Riding the Kalesa in the Cagayan valley


The Kalesa, or Calesa, is a horse drawn carriage and they  are frequently seen in Tuguegarao and in Tuao in the Cagayan Valley of the northern Philippines.


The Calesa is an economical way to get from one place to another. In Tuao Cagayan it will take you from one place to another for 10pesos (about 25-cents US). There is  enough room in the cabin of the calesa to bring the things home that you bought at the market! The calesa can hold about 6 Filipinos comfortably. Sometimes if there are a lot of people there is room for one or two people to sit up front with the driver.Image

I have one foot here in the states and one foot in the Philippines

ImageMany times it feels as though, although physically I am in Texas, in the United States of America, I am walking with one foot firmly planted here in the states while my other foot is still planted in the Philippines. Many times I imagine myself still walking down the streets in Santa Cruz, Manila, or in the beautiful Cagayan Valley. I spent seven months in the Philippines and it was a very enjoyable vacation. It inspired me to write three books about my stay there. I will talk more about my books in future posts.


[Terry:  I worked for 18 months researching the Philippines for a new documentary “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust” which has just come out.  Most of my time was spent on the period between 1910 and 1945 when it really did seem as if the Philippines was a colony but not treated as one. A place where Manuel Quezon could fight the Americans at 21 and be President of the Commonwealth and as good an American politician as any at 50. The mix of American, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and European Jews–the “cultural goulash” of Manila (as one writer put it)–was absolutely fascinating. I’m glad to see Filipinos show up here on my blog. Your country was amazing before and is amazing now.]

1940 4 24  LP  complete Quezon Marikina speech doc Jews to come in gradually says Quezon  story about MARIKINA Hall text of speech  copy

Welcome to a new friend (I think): Layas Na– Unfamous Diary of Pulubing Turista

Ako ay isang pulubing turista. Bagong salta ako dito sa wordpress. Sana po’y magustuhan nyo ang entries ko. Ako po’y pa-byahe byahe sa labas ng bansa kahit kapos sa budget, pero madalas ay libre naman ang mga ito. Sana ay matuwa kayo sa blog na ito at makapagbigay inspirasyon sa kabataan. Warning lang po, sa totoong buhay, wala akong kwentang kausap.

[Translated with Google Translate]

I am a beggar tourists. New settlers me here in wordpress. Hopefully nyo am only a relish my entries. I am only a yetflight flights out of the country even short of budget, but often turn them free. Hope you rejoice in this blog and provide inspiration to the youth. Warning lang po, in real life, I kwentang talking.

About « Unfamous Diary of Pulubing Turista.


I almost didn’t want to add this entry because of too many historical and biblical facts that I have to write. But thank you, Wikipedia. So this entry is mostly Wikipedia-ish. I am not quite sure how accurate my memory is, to the reason I check Wikipedia because the time I was at Urfa, I was not paying attention to ‘which is which’ during the ancient times. I was just simply amazed by Urfa’s exotic and ancient beauty.

Urfa was our destination after a week in Istanbul, where I left my heart and soul. Yet Urfa had been a surprised, the 3.5 hour flight was a journey to wonderful snowy mountains, long snaky-rivers, huge clouds shaped in all things possible. Of course, I was traveling with great friends who made the 3.5 hour noisy, annoying and interesting gossips LOL.

From Urfa airport, we travelled an hour to the city, we observed there was really nothing except for huge land mass and scattered small mountains along the way. The driver surprisingly understood our Tag-Bis (Tagalog and Bisaya combined), and looked at us and said, WELCOME TO MESOPOTAMIA! And that’s how we started to wonder what else can we see in that empty Mesopotamia. My friend who once lived in Kuwait knew what to expect, he said, it might be looking like Kuwait. He was right! BUT, Urfa was unbelievably more fascinating.

more at

201667_1809393026860_7287920_o Coffee shops outside the Customs Inn

201667_1809393066861_1784813_o Old men playing cards




Mystic Town

I didn’t realize Mystic’s relatively popular.

Mystic Pizza

Mystic became an international hit due to Julia Roberts’s movie “Mystic Pizza”, which was filmed at Mystic’s old-time favourite pizza parlour. But no thanks to Christopher Lao, because I was not informed, as well, of this Hollywood’s Did You Know.

When I returned to the Philippines, apparently a friend was eagerly excited upon hearing that I’d been to Mystic. My friend exclaimed, “oh my God, oh my God! So did you go to see Julia Robert’s Mystic Pizza?” uh-uh she lost me. I was like, “what?”

I’d been there with friends, twice. Yet, we never heard of the famous Mystic Pizza.

After receiving a huge slapped with the word I-G-N-O-R-A-N-T embossed to my right and left cheeks. I emotionally tried contemplating on the moral of this story – that I should check interesting places to see before jumping to see an interesting, unfamiliar place.


Cover of


Honestly, with or without “Julia Roberts” movie, Mystic town without a doubt is a promising destination for travellers and tourists who are seeking simple leisure, alive yet peaceful.

Mystic is a feel-good-town. The town reminisce of the good-old-days of little American towns by the port. The century-old wooden built shops and houses by the river are still the same picturesque piece of art. The wonderfully crafted old fishing boats are still a pleasing beauty.

There are no mystics or abracadabras, but Mystic never gets old and weary. It is the same small old town – no malls, no gigantic modern buildings, still narrow streets, still friendly smiling locals. Perhaps, the only thing changed is the number of luxurious cars parked in front of the local shops.

If there is a chance that you come across an old-town called Mystic, please take a photo

Tourists look into the famous pizza parlor in ...

of Mystic Pizza, I’d love to see. #

Mystic Village

Mystic River


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