If you enjoy skiing and have children, you might discover you want to pass along this time honored activity to them. There are some ski resorts that offer training programs for children, and have highly trained staff who will take the time needed to teach children the basics as well as advanced movements on the snow. So whether you plan to teach them yourself, or with a little guided instruction, these slopes offer the best of the bunny hills to get your kids excited about skiing. Oh, and if you don’t have kids, but you want to learn how to ski, you couldn’t ask for better places.
Park City, Utah
This is an area that features three ski areas. It is known for being the location of the Winter Olympics of 2002, and those who are new to skiing will have a beautiful view of the mountains as the beginner courses are located at the top of the mountains. Dogsledding is one of the other popular activities that takes place in Park City. You’ll have the advantage of the Olympic museums and lodges for whenever you need a break.
Big Sky, Montana
Children will enjoy these peaceful slopes. There is no rush to learn how to ski on the first day, as the instructors can take their time and the resort is less crowded. You can take your children on the flat surfaces of Big Sky to learn how to stand on skis and get their balance before hitting the steeper slopes. Scavenger hunts on the mountain are a fun activity for families as well. A large hotel is located in the middle of the resort which features fireplaces and room service.
This is an area ideal for teaching children how to ski. There are various trails ranging from flat pieces of land, to steep hills that will give you the speed to feel the air in your face. There is an ice skating rink and an area with children’s rides as well. Children can snow tube down the hills if they don’t want to ski, and there is an area where children can snowboard through what appears to be an abandoned mine. It’s truly a one of a kind resort for kids.
If you are looking for a popular place to take your children skiing, then this would be it, especially if you want somewhere everyone can enjoy. Many of the trails are safe for the entire family as there is plenty of flat space, and not many trees to get in the way. After you’re done skiing, you can get on the ice skating rink, or go to the recreation center. There are several lodges in the area were families can enjoy a hot cup of cocoa while relaxing in front of a fire before going to bed.
So before you pack up your Hitch City snow equipment from Toronto, take time to look at these resorts that feature family friendly areas for children of almost any age. Most of the family resorts also offer other activities for children who might not want to spend a lot of time skiing.
What are some of the best ski spots you’ve been to?
What if I told you that you could work a great job and still travel as much as your wandering heart desires? What if I further told you that said great job would be a reasonably high paying, socially normal, and stable job in a nice comfy cubicle that your family will approve of and not one of those work for yourself freelance blogger type “situations”? (Hey wait a minute…)
You probably wouldn’t believe me… so it’s a good thing I can prove it.
The Muse posted a helpful list of 10 companies with the happiest employees in the world… *cough*… I mean companies with unlimited vacation times or no policy about vacation times at all.
Now don’t be ridiculous, you can’t get a job at these companies and then go off for an eight month around the world exploration (probably), but you also aren’t restricted to the typical American standard of one week, or two if you’re lucky. These companies take the attitude that happier, mentally rested and healthier employees will ultimately be better workers. This mentality is realized almost the world over, but is a foreign concept in the United States.
In Europe for example, it’s not uncommon to take a 4 – 6 weeks summer vacation around August, while still getting ample time off for the winter holiday, and yet again during the occasional random three-day weekend for a quick getaway. The rest of the world works so that they can support their enjoyment of life, in the United States, it sometimes seems more that people are only alive so they can accomplish their work. Tisk tisk, America, go on vacation and take a cue from these guys.
Whether you want to take a week or so every season to go someplace relaxing and reboot, or a month long summer adventure to open your mind to a different culture and gain some new perspective, these companies below know that when you do get back to work, they are the ones who will benefit from your experiences.
What they do: Collect information and create organized databases for businesses who want to want to focus on the success rate of their products.
Bucket List Destination: The Initiation Well In Portugal
Well, well, well, the boy fell in the well. I never really thought that old saying would come in handy, but when you stumble upon (and hopefully not stumble into) a famous well, what else is there really to say? Well apparently, there is a ton to say about the Initiation Well in Sintra, Portugal. This famous well is a site to see for its beauty and poetic meaning.
When I first read about the incredible Quinta da Regaleira estate, the Initiation Well came up, and all I could think was: what in the world…? The first thing that came to mind when reading about this cryptic and slightly frightening title was: fountain of youth in Portugal? Wrong. The Initiation Well was designed by its owner Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro and architect Luigi Manini in 1900. Leveling out at 27 meters deep, the well acts as a symbol of both a demise into and a rise out of Hell (we guess it really depends on your attitude that day). So clarification: There is no fountain of youth in Sintra, but there is an initiation into Hell…
The well is designed with a staircase that splits into nine different platforms, all of which are adorned in the allegories from a past Portugal’s medieval times, but there is a greater meaning in the well’s division. Since the well itself represents rebirth or plummeting, the spiraling staircase is reminiscent of Dante’s Divine Comedy, a story about Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, which sections the three into nine different circles.
If you are interested landmarks and the symbolism behind their creation, then the Initiation Well might just be the next place you ought to stop!
Shari Vari is currently one of the go-to discotecas in the center of Rome. It’s easy for travelers to find, as it is literally right up the street from the famous Pantheon, yet it isn’t in any way a tourist trap, and visitors will find themselves dancing the night away alongside locals as well as other foreigners like themselves.The drinks aren’t exactly cheap but they’re on par with other clubs in the area of the same stature.
I arrived for my first visit on 1am on a Thursday night (well, Friday morning) and found that at that hour there was no cover charge and I didn’t have to wait to get in, however, my group was a party of just three women myself included, we did notice that primarily male groups were having to wait in line. The entryway is impressive, clean and classy, but the coat room had such an enormous line we didn’t even bother and resigned to hold our jackets while we danced. We went into the first room, the DJ was good and the bartenders were friendly.
But after only 10 minutes or so, we were so overwhelmed by the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd that we could hardly even dance let alone move at all, so we pushed a bit and made our way to the balcony and then the second room, which were equally crowded. Having multiple rooms meant for music and atmosphere options, more pop and house in one and rock in the other, which was great, but the building size itself meant that multiple rooms made for small dance floors, and I wonder if I’d rather have no music options but a little more room to move.
From time to time spots on the dance floor cleared up and we were able to go for a few songs but the crowd would inevitably push in again, and this is how it was until around 3:30am, just a half hour before closing. I would not go again during prime time on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, but maybe the occasional Wednesday night — if you’re on vacation then every night is Friday night, right? So no big deal. On the plus side, we left only minutes before closing and were pleased to find that the street outside was well lit and there was a piazza always stacked with waiting taxis just steps away.
Shari Vari is a cool place in a very central and accessible location with a friendly atmosphere and good music options… beginning to mid week… but hey, go big or go home right? See ya’ll Tuesday night! Hollaaaaa!
Google Translate Update Allows Tourists To Easily Translate EVERYTHING
Let’s face it. One of the hardest parts of traveling abroad is learning the language basics of the place you’re visiting. How many times have you found yourself flipping through your pocket dictionary to read the menu at a foreign restaurant without getting a chance to enjoy the ambiance around you? Luckily, Google has found the solution!
According to the Google Search blog, the new Google Translate update will soon have the ability to translate almost any foreign sign into English using your Android or IOS’s built-in camera, without the use of an internet connection. Travelers can now save tons of money by avoiding special internet charges outside the U.S., leaving more spending room for biscotti and mini Eiffel Tower key chains. Google is currently offering translations from Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, German, and French to English (with more languages to come soon), as well as a voice component of the app in which a smartphone owner can instantly have their own words translated into another language and vice versa.
Now before we go wandering around Rome and Athens with a virtual travel guide on hand (literally) at all times, we should think about the consequences. Keeping this app open for long bursts at a time can have a negative impact on your trip that you won’t realize until it’s time to go; you can easily lose sight of the atmosphere. One of the essential aspects of traveling is adapting to other cultures and picking up on new phrases and dialects along the way. It’s fun to talk to locals and understand the connection between their language to the traditions, cuisine, and art of the area. If we spend most of our travels relying on technology, it becomes more difficult to genuinely experience and fit in with natives of another country.
With that said, this new update will be great if it is used in moderation. It will be terrific when trying to navigate an airport, find a city, or call a cab, but it may not be so great when trying to avoid genuine communication with others. The modern world of technology has many remarkable advancements like this, but we must always be sure to proceed with caution.
John and Pierre are two men on a mission. The pair are currently on the adventure of a lifetime for a great cause — they’re riding their bikes from London, England to Cape Town, South Africa in order to raise money and awareness for Save The Rhino International, a charity that supports protective rangers and fights poaching to try and bring back the rare species from endangerment across Africa and Asia. John and Pierre are both South African born but have been living and working in London as economists for the past 10 years, though they’ve been expats for a long time now, their great love of Africa couldn’t be more clear by their choice in charity. The two took two full years to plan their journey, thought up by a passion for travel, culture, cycling and adventure and realized the trip would be even more meaningful if done in support of a cause important to their home and on a global scale.
Pictured above, we can see Pierre and John having a rest in a beautiful sun soaked park on a December afternoon in Rome, Italy, a huge milestone in their trip, after quite a few days of riding through much less lucky weather conditions. The guys have earned this break after biking from London, through all of France, and then down through Italy. They said they would take a few days in the city and then fly to Cairo, Egypt for the next leg of their journey, where they’ll bike through Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique before finally arriving in their final destination of South Africa. We’re hoping to catch up with these wild adventurers once they safely reach Cape Town to hear how the rest of the ride went, and how much awareness for the rhinos they raised along the way, but if you can’t wait that long to see how it’s going, can’t blame you, pretty exciting, you can follow them throughout their journey on their blog or on Twitter at @wildbikeride.
If you want to help save the rhinos too, but don’t exactly have the time or budget to cycle across two continents, then you can show your support by sharing their story, or even donating to Save The Rhino International through the links on their blog.
For some people, the weekend is a day of relaxation, rest, and countless hours of binge eating and Netflix. For others though, it means one thing: Brunch. According to the Smithsonian, some food historians believe that the concept of brunch traces back to British traditions of hunting luncheons, lavish meals that included a variety of foods. Others believe that brunch derives from the Catholic practice of fasting before Sunday mass, followed by a large midday meal. However, the actual term “brunch” made it’s first appearance in an 1895 “Hunters Weekly” article by British author Guy Beringer. Beringer described brunch as cheerful, sociable, and inciting. His definition of brunch advocated the physical and emotional benefits of light, cheerful meals in place of the traditional heavy, late Sunday meals common in the United Kingdom. But, wherever brunch emerged, its popularity today has revived a dated tradition and spurred a new breed of social consumers: the brunchers.
As the term implies, brunch is the wonderful combination of both sweet and savory breakfast and lunch meals. But, depending where you are in the world, your brunch menu can range from a plethora of culturally infused cuisines. Curious about brunch around the world? Here are 10 popular dishes:
Chilaquiles are a popular Mexican dish typically eaten at breakfast. They consist of fried corn tortillas topped with salsa and cheese.
2. Buttermilk Pancakes
Buttermilk pancakes can be found on almost every menu in the United States, and are a hot item on brunch menus.
3. Matzo Brei
Matzo Brei is a commonly eaten breakfast food in Israel. It is made up of fried matzah and eggs.
A frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelet or crustless quiche.
5. Churros con Chocolate
A churro is a fried dough pastry rolled in sugar. In Spain, churros are served with a thick hot chocolate as a dipping sauce.
6. Cherry Clafoutis
Cherry clafoutis is a French dessert made from fresh cherries and baked in a sweet custard filling, usually served at breakfast.
7. Sausage Rolls
A popular breakfast, lunch, or brunch meal in Australia, a sausage roll is made from a savory pastry puff stuffed with sausage.
8. Pa Thong Ko
Pa Thong Ko is a Thai-style cruller, made from fried dough or bread sticks, and typically dipped into condensed milk.
9. Pork Buns
Native to China, pork buns are made with sweet and sticky glazed pork stuffed into soft baked buns.
10. Onion Rava Dosa
Onion rava dosa is a popular Indian dish made from a crispy thin batter, onions, and green chilies.
Brunch around the world sounds good right about now…
Sea Trees Could Soon Be Changing The Face Of Coastal Cities
Talk about eco-travel…
We may start to see a change to the face of coastal cities around the world, a change for the better. Architect Koen Olthuis, of the Dutch company Waterstudio, has designed a “Sea Tree,” a grand, multi-tiered, floating nature reserve of sorts, consisting of open levels each housing a green habitat. The structure would be partially below water and partially above, both ends containing plants and ecosystems to support natural wildlife of the area including birds, bees, bats, small animals and aquatic creatures. Humans would not be allowed on, aside from possibly caretakers, for the safety of both the people and the habitat.
Olthuis made the design for Sea Trees so that they could be built using oil rig technologies, notably with the hope that oil companies might donate the equipment for construction and maintenance in an effort to show their previously little seen support and commitment to green initiatives and efforts to fight global warming and pollution. While this is still technically only a plan, a near complete design, a potential unnamed buyer is said to have been already expressing a serious and genuine interest in the installation of a Sea Tree, so we will just have to wait to find out where the first one goes up, and hopefully not long after that a trend will begin.
The thought process behind putting a nature wildlife reserve and ecosystem in the water was that: the population of urban areas is constantly increasing, leaving less and less space for natural environments to thrive, or even for the construction of man-made parks. Olthuis believes that waterside cities, be they by the sea, a lake, or maybe even a large enough river, are spending time and money concerned with creating on land green areas when the space simply is not available, when they could be using the plenty readily available water space at equal or less costs. The Sea Trees will rest close enough to shore that the city should see the beneficial impacts that nature preservation has to offer such as cleaner, healthier air and a more stable population of the wildlife required for a balanced ecosystem.
We know we would definitely travel to a city that had one of these!
If you’re headed for the center of Spain, there’s lots to see and do in the capital city of Madrid. The largest city of the country is a lively and friendly place, walkable and easy enough for foreigners to navigate, and it’s as stunning as it is energetic. While any traveler could spend days and weeks on end entertained by all the Madrid attractions, most of us don’t have that kind of time and need to make choices. While you’re planning your vacation to Madrid, consider prioritizing these 10 sites and activities for the ultimate trip.
1. Parque del Buen Retiro
This large city park is more than your average picnic site. As you walk the grounds you’ll pass sculptures, monuments and art exhibits as well as fountains, cafes, and even a small lake to go on row boat rides. Charming is an understatement.
While the Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain, the Royal family actually lives at a different palace close by, but outside of the city boarders. The Royal Palace of Madrid is however used for conferences and events of political nature, as well as a top tourist stop due to its elegant beauty and rich history.
You know you can’t do Madrid with trying tapas. At El Tigre in the city center you can get a beer or wine (and a big one at that) for around five euros, and included with each drink comes a complementary massive plate of delicious, hearty, greased up goodness.
Search around because some places are way more affordable than others, but you should be able to find tickets for 30 – 60 euros, the lesser including a drink and a show and the more expensive including dinner too. This is a truly unique experience, a beautiful display of art and culture… but… don’t sit in the front row… understandably the performers get a bit, um, sweaty.
The “Broadway” of Madrid is the main strip through the city center. Here you can find epic exhibits of architecture, restaurants, shopping, people watching and of course, a Spanish language Broadway show.
This is your chance to mingle with the locals. Farmers markets pop up on the weekends and during the holiday seasons, and even when venders aren’t around it’s always a populated cross roads and a great people watching spot.
Get ready for the most exciting shopping experience of your life. El Rastro is a massive street market that sets up shop every weekend, filling blocks with crowds and crowds of both locals and visitors. If you don’t mind the packed population, you can come and shop for souvenirs, clothes, vintage items, food, house products… just about anything really.
San Ginés is the most famous churro shop in Madrid for a reason. It’s open 24/7 to provide customers from all around the world with warm, doughy, dipped in chocolate deliciousness. If you didn’t eat a churro, you didn’t visit Madrid. Fact.
Kapital is the king of Madrid’s vibrant nightlife scene. The seven floor club hosts international DJs and musicians every night, and stays open and alive until the early morning hours. This is the go-to spot if you need to include a night of dancing and partying in your trip.
Madrid’s cable car is a fun and affordable activity for any travelers. For four – eight euro, depending on your age, you and your party can hop into a private car and listen to a tour recording in your language as you glide over one of the city’s most picturesque parks, taking in views of Madrid from above including the Royal Palace and the surrounding mountain ranges.
Incredible: Around The World Time Lapse You Have To See
Albert Einstein once said, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” As any experienced traveler will tell you, the best way to enjoy journeying abroad is to take some time to sit back and absorb the atmosphere of your surroundings. No one has abided by this philosophy more closely than Kien Lam, a self-made photographer who spent a year traveling through 17 countries across the globe. 6,237 pictures and one busted bank account later, Lam published Time is Nothing, a video account of his trek that even Ferdinand Magellan would envy.
In a concise medley of both environmental and urban destinations, Lam shows us that the Earth’s beauty knows no limits. Gargantuan mountains, peaceful valleys, exotic villages, historic monuments, and endless skyscrapers headline his travels, providing viewers with a smorgasbord of dazzling locations that tickle the senses at first sight.
According to the Daily Mail, each destination that Lam traveled receives approximately four seconds in the completed video. Lam’s work indicates that a huge chunk of life is (or should be) spent watching how others interact with the world around them, allowing each of us to perceive reality in an open-minded way. Time is Nothing reveals the similarities between cultures and how those similarities contribute to a universal sense of livelihood. The active marketplaces of Morocco vaguely resemble the fast-paced ambiance of cities like London and New York. The energetic ports of Bolivia bear similarities to the popular waterways of Paris and San Francisco.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that the video teaches us is that not making plans may be the best method of planning, as the unknown factor adds zest and excitement to any trip. According to Lam’s own testimony, “After I quit my job last year, I packed a bag, grabbed my camera and bought a one way ticket to London.” Making the one-way ticket decision offers a thrill more exciting than any safari or jungle; the thrill of unexpected discovery.
Thirsty Thursday: The Truth About Sangria In Spain
Not to burst anyone’s bubble… but Sangria is not a drink that Spaniards drink. I know, I was shocked too. But I want to tell you this before you head over there on a trip, better to know now than embarrass yourselves. But let’s back track for a moment…
Sangria does in fact historically come from Spain and Portugal. What happened in ancient times, when the Romans were trotting about all of Europe all willy-nilly like they owned the place (oh, wait they did), they were always planting vineyards everywhere they went because water at the time was absolutely unsafe to drink, so they needed alcohol, delicious wine, to mix with the water and kill the bacteria before they could have it. (What I want to know is, if they were all bloody smashed the whole time, then how the hell did all that architecture happen?). Anyway, to make the weird wine and water mix a little more drinkable, especially for the kiddos (hey, they can’t have bacteria either), in Spain people started adding local berries, herbs and spices to alter the taste. And so, you had the start of Sangria.
Photo via iStock
Cut to the 1960s at the World Fair in New York, USA. A booth from Madrid introduced Sangria to Americans in it’s more modern and evolved form: A wine punch, made usually of red wine, fruit, water and perhaps either soda, juice or sweet nectar of some kind. As you probably know, the obsession commenced immediately, and ever since then, American tourists have been hopping the pond in hopes of a Sangria-filled Spanish vacation, and that’s when they’re unpleasantly surprised.
Today in most of Spain, Sangria is one of three things which are as follows. 1. A cheap, sweet drink for rascally teenagers. 2. A drink to enjoy without getting slammed when at a public festival with your family. 3. A tourist trap.
Buying Sangria at a bar is probably the fastest way to let everyone around you know you aren’t from there, and asking your new Spanish friends where the best Sangria is at might get you a few laughs. If you really want to try it, try it, Sangria it up, tour away you little tourist you, but just don’t be let down when it is not the affordable sweet party nectar you are used to seeing at bars back home. If you want to go more authentic Spain, but really had your heart set on that fruity glass of goodness, instead try calimocho,a cocktail of red wine and coke, if you’re in northern Spain, and if you’re in southern Spain order a tinto de verano, red wine and lemon Fanta, for a similar sangria taste and feel.
When you have the right gear, travel is always possible!
The Ultimate Packing Checklist For Your Trip To Any Winter Wonderland
A little snow and ice is no excuse to stay home and wonder about the travels that might have been if only you could get someplace warm. Winter is actually a great time to see a lot of places because it is the off tourist season and the crowds are gone and the rates are down. Europe in particular is known for having lower airfare and hard-to-believe hotel deals from just after New Years until around the end of March. I know, I know, you’re imagining yourself dredging through snow drifts and slush, hands too shaky to even snap a photo, just wanting nothing more but to stay tucked inside your hotel with your cocoa. It doesn’t have to be that way! When you have the right gear, travel is always possible and positive. Here are five absolute must haves to get your winter travel packing checklist started.
Warm and waterproof is your mantra. Understand? Quality winter boots that will keep you warm, dry, steady and still looking nice will not be cheap, but they’re an investment and if you spend the money now they will last you for many a wintery walk to come. DSW has some good options.
Or ear muffs or a headband if you’re going to be all worrying about your hair and whatnot, so long as you keep those little ears and most of your head warm. This really depends on exactly what your winter travels include, but whether you’ll be frolicking about town or speeding down the alps, REI pretty much has you covered.
3. Convertible Mittens
The benefit of convertible mittens versus classic gloves or mittens is that you don’t need to take your whole hand out when you need to do something that requires naked fingers like use your phone or maybe even get out your metro card. When it’s Elsa-status cold, you put mittens on first, before the jackets, so that way you don’t have to worry about that dreadful wrist gap letting the freezing air in. Now, the best part about Etsy is you can customize your order.
4. Thermal Underwear
Sorry not sorry. Thank me when your whole self is warm and toasty all day long. Hanes knows what I’m talking about.
5. Snow Pack
A snow pack is the best way to go to lug around all of your gear during winter travels. Suitcases inevitably get wet and dirty from being dragged through slush while duffle bags don’t help when you’re already trying to maintain balance on a slippery route. Marmot snow packs all have ample room for a good weeks journey if you’re using it as your primary luggage, plus it can also hit the slops with you and carry everything you need for a day of snowy fun, including skis and snowboards.
If you’re a travel freak and you spend a lot of time wandering around the world, sooner or later you’re going to wander right into a foreign hospital. If it hasn’t happened yet, just wait. And when it does happen it’s going to happen to be your weirdest injury on record. You’ll see. There’s no way this is going to be easy, but it’s a traveler right of passage, and it’s a way to add another badge to your backpack. I know, it’s tough, that’s why I’m giving you a heads up, at least you’ll be a little bit prepared. Here at the seven stages of visiting a foreign hospital… yikes!
1. Yep, about time.
Your mates back home have a running bet on how long this would take. You knew this was inevitable, and frankly you’re impressed with yourself that you’ve lasted so long.
2. Where is check-in?
If you really bit the big one and have to head over in an actual ambulance, the hospital will be a lot smoother, but if you however, can manage to begrudgingly limp in on your own, have a blast finding the correct entrance, and then even more fun figuring out exactly which employee you need to address. You might assume it’s the one behind the counter, but good luck finding the counter in a medical tent.
3. Tell me where it hurts.
When at a foreign hospital, hope for a visible injury. The kind where you can simply point and the non-English speaking staff can just infer that you’d like the bleeding to stop. If your illness is internal however, and you do not speak your host language, prepare yourself for the most physically and emotionally uncomfortable game of charades of your life.
4. Wait what’s in that IV?
All they can manage to communicate to you is that it’s something for the pain… and you’re going to have to accept that at the end of the day that’s all you really need to know.
5. Emergency contact numbers.
We all carry them (well you we should), but if you think whatever aliment landed you in the hospital in the first place hurts, just wait until you have a 5,000 -mile-away panicked Nana on your hands after she got a phone call in broken English about your damaged pancreas. She is on the first flight and she ain’t happy about it.
6. Who wants to play “Operation”?
Not you! Not after seeing that operating room, and by “room” I mean “hut” and by “hut’ I mean “under the tree in the doctor’s front lawn.” Where’d you get your degree again? Do I have to go to sleep for this? Isn’t that the same tool I just saw your gardener using? But wait, I thought it was my left knee that was shattered?
7. Oh, wait, so like it’s fine?
After all the fear and anxiety you realize that while the medical situation in some places might not meet the standards at home, it doesn’t change the fact that people still get hurt there every day and their doctors find a way to fix them. They’ve done this before. Just say thank you, and from now on, stay out of trouble.
Never take any animal for granted during your travels.
5 Critically Endangered Species From Around The World
Many of the animals we learned about as children might be booted into the dinosaur section of the future generation’s elementary school classes. As depressing as that sounds, that is the outlook thanks to the continually developing world and demand for resources. Animals that we think are common in other parts of the world are becoming more common in textbooks and less common in the wild. Just take a look at the World Wildlife’s endangered species list that consists of species ranging from “critically endangered” to “least concern.” As travelers, seeing exotic animals in their natural habitat is rated as high as visiting their native countries. After all, what would be a trip to Africa without seeing gorgeous zebras? Or how disappointing would it be to visit Peru without saying hello to a funny llama? While these animals aren’t endangered, there are many that are, there is no telling what the future will hold.
Take a peek at five critically endangered species from around the world, and remember how lucky we are to see these so many stunning creatures during our travels.
With a population of around 30 individuals, this subspecies is located in the Russian Far East. A pretty unexpected place for a leopard to be, right? The main threats to this species are logging in the forest and poaching-not only for the leopard fur, but also the prey species the leopards need for food.
The Black Rhino nearly faced extinction when early 20th century European colonists killed the rhinos for food or sport. Their population is a little under 5,000. Their habitat is tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, deserts, and xeric shrublands. Habitat loss is an important threat, but poaching for the rhino horns is their biggest threat. Just in 2010, 333 rhinos where killed in South Africa. That is nearly one per day. The Javan Rhino and Sumatran Rhino are also critically endangered.
This species of gorillas is located in the lowland montane forests and rainforests of Cameroon and Nigeria, which are about twice the size of Rhode Island. There are between 200 and 300 individuals left according to estimates by researches that look for indirect signs like nest counts. Because the population is so small, there is a risk of inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity, which affects reproductive capabilities. It is illegal to kill gorillas in Cameroon and Nigeria, but lack of enforcement keeps the law from having its full effect. The Mountain Gorilla and Western Lowland Gorilla are also endangered.
Located in Vietnam, this animal is often called the Asian unicorn. The saola was only discovered in May 1992, but sadly, the species is already in danger due to hunting and habitat loss because of growing infrastructure in the region. The population is unknown, but scientists predict the maximum could be a few hundred while the minimum could be as low as a few dozen.
The species used to live alongside the Baiji dolphin in the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia. In 2006, the Baiji dolphin was declared extinct due to human activity, and the Yangtze Finless Porpoise faces the same threats. The population is between 1,000-1,800, and the threats deal with the lack of food supply due to overfishing, pollution, and ship movement.
Work Exchange Is PERFECT For Everyone With Wanderlust
Traveling around the world is a dream that people often hold their whole lives. They make promises that they’ll travel when they retire because then they’ll have time and money. Or, they say they’ll start saving a little bit now and maybe they can knock off something on their bucketlist in a few years. The excuses are endless for why people don’t travel, but the number one thing on the list that holds people back is money. However, it doesn’t have to be. If you don’t care for the over-the-top luxurious travel, there are plenty of options for cheap travel. Believe it or not, traveling could be cheaper than staying at home (specifically if you live in New York City…but, I digress).
Options like the ones below allow you to work in exchange for housing and oftentimes food as well, hence the name work exchange. These options help you immerse into the culture, but still give free time to explore the must-see sights of the city. These cheaper travel options can also help you extend your travels to much longer than one or two weeks. You get to become a local, understand the community, and make new friends. Working and traveling is the most fulfilling experience you can get, and it happens to be one of the cheapest experiences too.
WWOOF stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.” The website links potential volunteers to organic farms in nearly every country across the world. In exchange for 4 or 5 hours of working on a farm, with animals, and other activities, the farm provides you food, a place to sleep, and typically a welcoming group of friends and family in a new country. This experience is ideal for anyone trying to escape the constraints and business of the city. The rural traveling option helps you explore the smaller towns that surround the major cities. Sometimes, you can find a farm that is still in day-trip distance of major cities so you can explore them on the weekends.
This is very similar to WWOOFing. Workaway connects you to potential hosts, and there are farming opportunities here as well. There is more variety in the types of work you can do through Workaway though. You could volunteer at a guesthouse in Brazil, renovating a summerhouse in the United Kingdom, or help teach English in Madrid. The options are endless, but this website is the resource to help you find what works for you.
This website has more variety of job options, and some of them might pay you. Each option has different volunteer costs as far as what they will give you in return for work, but many will give you free housing if you work a certain amount of hours. There are a range of options from volunteering at national parks to being a seasonal cook.
The ever-so-popular Santorini is only one of the 1,400 Greek islands in total, of which 230 are inhabited. Choosing which one to go to is a task in itself. Whether you’re looking for the views, nightlife, history, or nature, each island has a unique edge to it.
Once you’ve chosen an island, taking a ferry is the only way you’re going to get there. So whether you’re ready to Instagram a Santorini sunset, windsurf in Paros, or party in Ios, here’s what to expect on the ferry ride there.
I guess this is a given because in basically all of Europe it is difficult to find free WiFi. Luckily hostels are pretty good about free WiFi, but expect to pay up for a few hours of WiFi on the ferry. The ferries have comfortable lounge areas, so if you don’t want to pay for WiFi, your best bet is bringing along your travel journal or simply take a nap. The ferry makes for a good nap day during your travels since the rolling Aegean Sea beneath you lulls you to sleep.
There’s no perfect temperature.
There are three areas on a ferry. One that is entirely enclosed (and will likely be hard to find seats), another that’s halfway enclosed, and finally, the outdoor deck. Even in the summertime, one minute you are hot and one minute you are cold. It gets windy and cold on the deck even when it is sunny outside. Layers are key.
It might storm and you’ll be stranded at sea for a few hours.
When the waves pick up and the storm clouds come out, the ferry stays anchored for a while. No need to stress, though, you won’t actually be stranded at sea. You are probably within swimming distance (maybe) of your island, and there are too many waves for the ferry to dock. The anticipation is a struggle because you can LITERALLY SEE THE ISLAND FROM THE WINDOW.
Listening is key to not missing your island.
If you see someone frantically running around the ferry, they probably thought they missed their stop. The announcer speaks in Greek, and there is a recording that announces where you are arriving in English, but let’s be honest with ourselves, mo one ever understands those damn announcers on the subway, and it’s no different on a ferry.
GOOD TO KNOW: The Best Way To Prepare For Studying Aborad
Studying abroad for college can be exciting, yet also tricky to properly adapt to. Not only will you be studying at a college or University far from home, you will also be needing to acclimate yourself fully to an entirely new country with new cultures and ways of life. You must do all of this while maintaining your grades at a high level and fulfilling your college responsibilities. None of this is impossible, but as you will be juggling a variety of different responsibilities at one time, certain tips can help tremendously to ease this entire process.
How to Best Prepare for Studying Abroad
When preparing to receive your education abroad, there are a wide range of tips that can help prepare you for making a smooth transition. The first thing that you should do the moment you’ve decided on which country you’ll be studying in, is to read up fully on everything there is to know about that country. Find out about crime rates in the city you’ll be living in, and make sure to understand some of the most basic laws. As anyone in an USC online LLM program should know, you don’t want anything to jeopardize your stay in a foreign country, particularly a simple mistake that merely happened because you didn’t know any better.
If you have any prescriptions you need to take for a medical condition, make sure to bring a few months’ worth with you when traveling to your new home, as well as your prescription. You must first make sure the prescription drugs you are using are legal in the country you’re traveling to. One thing to keep in mind no matter where you are living, is that it’s essential you always keep your personal belongings close by and within reach. For instance, those that have a purse should keep it strapped around their shoulder or sitting in their lap wherever they are, while other carriers like wallets and backpacks should be tucked away and kept close.
How to Adapt to a New Country
Moving to a new country can be a huge culture shock to anyone, even if it’s a country that’s still relatively similar to the one you’ve lived in before. Every country has its own traditions, which can make it tricky to adapt quickly. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be too difficult and shouldn’t take too much time if you follow a few tips and guidelines. For starters, it’s essential you know all of the traffic and road signs for the country you’re going to be living in. These will differ from the country you lived in previously, and you put yourself at risk of getting into an accident by not learning them.
If the country you’re moving to speaks a different language, it’s recommended that you learn at least a few common phrases, as they will help greatly in everyday life.
Lastly, it’s important to simply understand that you will face difficulties. By accepting this and properly anticipating these difficulties, you will be prepared to adapt and adjust to living in a new country in no time.
Understanding Your Educational Program When Studying Abroad
When traveling to a new country to study, make sure you know every detail about the program or host institution you have chosen. It’s important to be aware of all of the program requirements and learning opportunities you will be tasked with when studying abroad. For instance, if you are currently studying law and want to do so abroad, make sure that the program you are entering provides credit towards a J.D. degree for study abroad. Don’t be surprised by new information last minute, make sure you’re ready to face anything.
As long as you follow the aforementioned tips for studying abroad, and do your best to adapt to your new home, you will find that doing so provides many more opportunities you couldn’t have possibly imagined. These moments are the ones you will never forget.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.
Part of what makes the holidays so magical and exciting are the incredible light displays illuminating cities around the world. Created with thousands of lights, these entertaining and sparkly creations are a tradition of the holiday season. Some people create their own elaborate light decorations in their backyards, but the massive holiday displays take curb appeal to the next level. Light shows add to the holiday spirit and are a fun, laid-back tradition during the season. That’s why we’re asking you to bundle up and venture out to see what light displays and shows are in your town. But first, get inspired and mesmerized all at the same time at these light displays from around the globe.
These blue and white LED lights cover Tokyo’s Midtown in the Roppongi Hills district. The light display is called the “Starlight Garden.”
There is, like, more than a million awesome things about the holiday season. One of them is the magic of Christmas trees. The smell of pine along with the bright lights and beautiful ornaments are just the thing to swing even the most Grinch-esque people into the holiday spirit. The Christmas tree at home that still houses your ornaments from elementary school are wonderful, but the towering trees in cities around America bring huge crowds of locals and tourists alike for a community tradition.
In honor of that, we’ve rounded up our favorite Christmas Tree lightings from across the United States.
National Christmas Tree Lighting, Washington D.C.
The first lighting was in 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge was in office. Each year, the President does the honor of lighting the tree, often with the assistance of the First Lady and schoolchildren. The Christmas lights are even energy efficient — they use LED lights.
During the Great Depression, the demolition workers at the Rockefeller Center construction site saved money to buy a Christmas tree in 1931. Since then, the Christmas tree has changed dramatically. It started as a modest tree during a dismal time in America and has grown to become tradition in NYC.
This one is quite the unique Christmas tree. Each year, local lobsterment donate lobster traps, and volunteers help to stack them and decorate them with buoys. The community’s wide effort brings out the unique holiday spirit in this town, as well as various other New England cities.
This is one of the several LA area Christmas tree lightings. The lighting ceremony includes Santa’s arrival down the Promenade, musical entertainment, and of course, the Christmas tree lighting itself.
Delray Beach has been home to the 100 ft. Christmas tree since 1992. Kids can even go inside of the Christmas tree to see animated elf scenes and more! And of course grown-up kids like ourselves are also welcomed.
5 Unforgettable Moments While Camping In The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon, which borders Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, is one of the iconic natural wonders of the world. People come from around the world to visit the array of reds, oranges, and yellows carved deep into the Earth. While the view from the rim of the canyon is awe inspiring, the experience from camping in the Grand Canyon offers an entirely different perspective. From the rim, the Colorado River is overlooked and barely seen — only peaking out at certain spots. The sunset rolls over the canyon’s walls as reds and oranges change to blues and purples until the sun finally slips out of view. But inside the canyon, you watch the sun pass over the towering walls around you. The canyon is beautiful regardless of where you see it, but the experience from staying overnight in the canyon is totally different. Here are the 5 unforgettable moments from my experience camping in the Grand Canyon.
We were camping at the Indian Garden campground, the midway point between the bottom and the rim. The group I was traveling with took a late night walk to a wide open rocky space we could lie down on. From the moment we looked up, we started seeing shooting star after shooting star. They’re a novelty closer to the cities, but here, far from any cities and artificial light, the stars dominated. Every constellation you normally can’t see shone bright. This is an aerial view of Indian Garden:
2. Camping on the same grounds as a group of blind hikers
Hearing about the feat of this inspiring group was one thing. Being on the same campground as some of them was another. Hiking with a huge pack on your back all day long will obviously be exhausting, but doing that without being able to see would be unimaginable.Their hike was a 24 mile hike from rim to rim. They were an inspiration and motivation for the next day hiking out of the canyon.
3. Hearing the roar of the Colorado River
As I said earlier, the Colorado River is overlooked from the rim. The river peaks out occasionally, but at the bottom, the river reigns king. It roars over everything else and becomes the main focus for hikers. You would never guess how loud and fast the water is until you see it yourself.
4. Cooling off in a tiny offshoot of the Colorado River
There are some swimming holes in the Grand Canyon, and we found a small one to rinse off in near the edge of the Colorado River. At the rim there was frost on the ground and we were bundled up in the cold. At the bottom, the temperature was drastically different and the cold water was refreshing after hiking and camping for a few days.
5. Reaching the rim and returning to reality
The bustle of tourists from around the world inundated us. It only solidified the major difference between the two different Grand Canyon experiences. Little did they know what they were missing out on by walking along the rim. And if you’re wondering what the first thing we did when we reached the top… we bought was an ice cream cone. Two scoops, obviously.