Category Archives: Show

Paradise Island: Mauritius

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Mauritius     Are you growing tired of the hustle and bustle of daily life? Do your bones ache? Are your mind, body and soul screaming for a paradisiacal place of white sand, fresh fruits and pure tranquility? Well look no further, whisk yourself away to the Paradise Island, where an affordable, luxury holiday to Mauritius awaits you. Hailed as having some of the best beaches in the world, honeymooners flock to Mauritius in the thousands, so it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway or just to reenergize after countless rainy commutes to work.

So sit back, start practicing relaxing and have look at the most fabulous things this delightful island has to offer:

Kick off your holiday itinerary by spending at least a couple of days on Mauritius’s stunning beaches. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of a desert island film when you visit the sublime Belle Mare Beach; authentic bamboo huts line the blindingly white sand upon which turquoise waves lap. Recharge your batteries with a deliciously sweet Mauritian cocktail sipped from a coconut shell while reading the latest thriller – heavenly! If you’re feeling brave after your beach recharge, Mauritius is the perfect place to learn to kite surf, a thrilling water sport in which you soar above the ocean like an eagle. You’ll gasp in amazement as you stare down through the clear waters into expansive coral reefs, at tranquil lagoons and rugged countryside.

While in Mauritius, ditch the silver service and indulge in the world renowned street food, which is influenced by a scrumptious combination of cultures. Immerse yourself in Mauritian culture while treating your senses to a banquet as you wander down streets full of vendors offering mouthwatering culinary creations like chili pineapples, spicy samosas and seafood curries. Neither you nor your taste buds will regret this wonderful cultural and culinary experience.

Mauritius

For those who love a good cup of tea, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the verdant Bois Cheri tea plantation for an educational, and thirst quenching, day out. After a guided tour of the factory, plantation and museum, you’ll be treated to a taste bud tantalizing tea tasting session where you can purchase a range of delicious teas to dunk your digestives in after you return.

Come face to face with fearsome reptiles and amphibians in a glorious rainforest setting at The Crocodile and Giant Tortoise Park. Stroll through luxurious, tropical greenery, pet a giant tortoise and stare into the yellow and unblinking eye of a ferocious crocodile at the exciting and entertaining nature park.

Now, can you almost feel the soft breeze of a gently flapping palm leaf? Can you feel that warm, soft sand between your toes? Can you hear the roar of the turquoise ocean? Make these fantasies a reality and book your dream holiday to Mauritius now!

List Of DoFollow Travel Blogs (commentLuv)

Travel Blogs List

For those of you who are like me and are looking to increase your blog traffic, Comment posting is a key ingredient. But sometimes it can be quite disheartening spending hours searching through blogs in your niche to comment on, in order to get you a bit of that coveted “Link Juice” . Whell for those of you that ar travel bloggers you are in luck,, I have put together this list for my own use to build up traffic, rankings, alexa etc. and have decided to make this list a post so that you all could benefit as well. Here is a list of highly ranked travel blogs that allow dofollow comments or have CommentLuv on their pages.  For those of you that do not know, CommentLuv is a free wordpress plugin that not only leaves a link back to your site but also shows a link back to your latest post, which is very helpful in generating more traffic as well as leaving some deeper links into your site. So here is the list , enjoy..

The Planet D
Nomadic Samuel
Traveling The Balkans
Adventurous Kate
Bacon is Magic
My Itchy Feet
Eternal Quest
Smiling Faces Travel Photos
Camels ans Chocolate
Dangerous Business
Go See Write
Hecktic Travels
Oxygen.im
Thrill Me
That Backpacker
Traveling Canucks
Migrationology
Brendans Adventures
Green Global Travels
Over Yonder Lust
2 Wings
Man on the Lam
The Aussie Nomad
Monkeys and Mountains
Budget Travel Adventures
My Spanish Adventure
Tourist 2 Townie
Expert Vagabond
Nomadick Chick
Globe Trotter Girls
Four Jandals
Our Oyster
Mallory on Travel
The Travel Chica
Ikuze (let’s Go)
Roamin Around
Turkish Travel Blog
Wae Gook Tom
Sophies World
Breathe Dream Go
9 Reasons to Go
Changes in Longitude
Trans America
Bohemian Trails
Man Vs Clock
Wild About Travel
Globo Treks
I am Riveted
Spunky Girl Monologues
Don’t Ever Look Back
Never Ending Footsteps
Travelated
Traveling Ted
Love Exotic Foods
Positive World Travel
Katie Aune
MS Listologist
Captain and Clark
This Way To Paradise
Eating The Globe
Travel Scamming
Journey Jottings

Hey, You may also think about adding the commentluv plugin to your own site, if you would like to be featured here, just drop me a note..

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Songkran Water Festival Chiang Mai 2014

the crew of songkran 2014
           This is an article written by my friend and fellow Water Warrior Andy Bouchier , about our group of friends and our awesome time at songkran chiang mai 2014, I hope to see Andy’s own travel blog soon as he is an awesome writer.
Songkran Water Festival (Chiang Mai, Thailand) my favourite party I have been to

The Battalion Songkran 2014Anyone who knows me knows I like a good party. I can say I have been to my fair share of great parties in the world… foam parties, (you are covered in foam and it is all you can drink, this is a huge thing in resort Mexico), stage 13 (was a giant rock concert where you could go camping with roughly 30000 people, multiple bands over the course of 4 days), frat parties, party on Halong Bay in Vietnam, full moon party, every party on Koh Phangan, Holi Day in India, various university parties, pubcrawls, ski trips etc… All of those parties were memorable, unique and adult orientated. Many of the parties you need to be drunk to have a good time and I think the mark of an excellent party is if the majority of the people can have a great time without drinking. What Ready for a waterfight SongkranI love about Songkran is it is an all ages party. Thai people are very friendly and not creepy like many people in India can be for a party like Holi Day. So what is Songkran?

What is Songkran?

It is the new year for Thailand. A huge water fight that can take place for several days. People of all ages use anything and everything for the festival. The best place to experience Songkran is in Chiang Mai Thailand. So many people I have met last year said Chiang Mai is the place to go for Songkran. It is an absolutely insane and wild time. Last year I was in Thailand for Songkran but I was in an isolated area of the island of Koh Phangan doing my yoga Songkran waterfightinstructor course. There was a water fight at a small club called Guy’s Bar (not a gay bar, it is a place that plays trance/techno type music for roughly 16 hours straight one day a week every Friday in Haad Tien). It was a fun time but a very small crowd. Celebrating Songkran in Chiang Mai exceeded every expectation I had for the festival.

My reflection of Songkran in Chiang Mai

I thought it would be amusing to write my experience of Songkran similar to a fantasy role playing game. The characters were people I met via couchsurfing and my friend DIno. The weapons, ammo and vehicles were things I observed throughout the four days. Enjoy!

List of weaponsThe weopons Songkran Chiang Mai 2014

bucket- A cheap, entry level weapon extremely effective at close range. Quick reload time and poor long range

magic stick/one shot wonder/pimp stick/magic wand/sir Arthur’s sword/sword of a thousand truths- a powerful and accurate one shot wonder gun/magic stick (this grey stick can reload in a couple of seconds and can hit it’s mark 20 feet away
ice cream cone water gun- this silly looking gun is used to make people laugh and lower their guard. A low pressure water pistol with poor range, low storage capacity and general suck ability. Some say it can bring plus 10 luck with a plus 2 aura silly group boost

rubber duckie pump action gun- this ridiculous looking gun is extremely accurate and has decent range. Often the water backpack is in the shape of an elephant or an angry bird.

Ultimate watergun Chiang Mai Songkranlazer cannon water gun- extremely accurate and has excellent long range. Low pressure and has ample storage capacity. Most effective for long range head shots/ear shots

angry bird guns- come in all shapes and sizes. Thai people love angry bird guns

small water pistol/say hello to my little friend- accurate and short range weapon most effective for sending a message. Poor reload time and poor storage capacity

The garden gun/exterminator- high accuracy with a bonus arc shot. Perfect for shooting people over obstacles. Pros: insane storage capacity of 20 litres. Cons: yet to be determined

List of CharactersDino Songkran 2014

Dino (The Ringmaster/mystro/bucket assassin) assassin/ranger class. This guy adds an aura boost of everyone around him often encouraging people around him to do stupid shit. Dino’s name became a verb. You almost Dino’d that guy (almost killed that guy with a bucket to the face)

Austin (sleeping beauty/Austin Powers/Austin Texas/young Fabio) druid/scavenger class. Sleeps like a greek god. Starts out with no sandals or gun. A scavenger/hunter gatherer type character who takes whatever weapon he can get.

Loretta songkranJub (Jubbs/vegan alcoholic) Jester class. Adds plus 100 luck to the group. Occasional boughts of Chiangnesia and Chiangovers (Chiang is a beer in Thailand that is super powerful unregulated and grossish). Jub came home once with one sandal, no phone and no scooter. His name is now a verb. “Go Jub yourself”, “let’s get jubbed up”. This friendly character prefers watching rugby in his room and pretending to make apps

Loretta (crouching tiger hidden bucket) assassin/thief class. a chinese woman who wanted her home town to be the capital of China (only because it is in the centre of China). Doesn’t hesitate to slap people with buckets of water

Delphine (the French connection) elf class. a high energy French woman who seems to know everyone. Introduced people to a game of inappropriate touching that is apparently popular in France.

Karine- (The water fairy) scout class. Insane Delphine songkranamounts of high energy. Karine floats around Songkran often engaging in battle and losing the group. This one woman show often gets ganged up on by stray Thai people getting assaulted with bucket after bucket. She can get you excited about dirt.

Phil (Smiley) warrior class. Only person equipped to use the garden gun. A one man mortar unit. An exterminator who can outlast everyone with his amazing weaponry. Always spotted pumping with his left hand and spraying everyone with a big grin. Works out once a week and never eats rice or drinks beer.

Karine songkran 2014Frantz- (Christoph Jackman.. cross between Christoph Waltz and Hugh Jackman) ranger class. Weapon of choice is cynical French humor and the one shot wonder

Etsoku- (Japanese Badonkadonk) monk class.  Likes every picture on Facebook and often communicates in several languages

Michelle- (stock queen) elf/paladin class. will come out to Songkran maybe or may stay back to check Chinese stocks maybe. She heals people with buying spring rolls.

Anka- (mother Russia) assassin class. Who’s Anka? good question many of us didn’t know and were confused but we figured it out. Potentially ex KGB/double agent squirt gun assassin

Neil (Gabe/Bob) in his own class.  Likes to get in Andy Songkrandrunken kick fights with Jub… that should say enough

Stefan (James) ranger class. Rarely spotted, low profile Swedish guy too cool for most of Songkran but boss enough to threaten to unfriend everyone. Prefers socks with sandals

Andy (big man, big big) Orge/Druid hybrid. Prefers head shots and ear shots from a distance

Vehicles

Getting Dinoed Songkran Chiang Mai 2014Scooter- People crazy enough to drive one of these can expect to get buckets of water dumped on them regardless of speed. Young Fabio was doing a border visa run (crossing the border to get a new 30 day visa for Thailand) and got hit with buckets of water while he was going 90 km on the highway. On a scooter you can fit several people often small children with a water gun. Perfect vehicles for drive bys

Pick up trucks- often so many people on the back of a truck there is standing room only. This vehicle is perfect for having a drum barrel of ice water with buckets and magic sticks for maximum damage. This is the perfect mobile mortar unit. Walking by one of these you will almost always get hit with a pimp wand of cold water or a whole bucket of ice water

tuk-tuks- this seems to be the busiest day for tuk tuks as people rarely take tuk tuks but on Songkran people rent tuk tuks and use it as an extremely quick and nimble mobile mortar unit

Songtow- a much bigger tuk tuk but with more protection. You need to attack from the back as the only weak point is in the back of the songtow

AmmoSongkran 2014

street water barrels- These barrels often had water supplied from tap water

ice water- giant block of ice with water

moat water/gutter water- gross reused water, brownish in colour

moat ice water- gross reused water with ice

Communication device-Facebook messenger. I was hoping for something cool like a military sat phone. Almost everyone leaves their phones at home and we kick it old school before cell phones were around with blind communication in stone age times.

Day One

The first day it started the day before it actually started. Doesn’t make sense? No problem. Same same but different. I heard Chiang Mai is the place to be for Songkran and I didn’t know what to expect. Four brave expats/farangs (this is the name given to foreigners) decided to meet up and walk to the old city.

Resting up at the Busbar Chiang mai We parked our scooters at Bus Bar in the early afternoon (it’s a bar made out of buses, overlooks the river and has reasonably priced drinks). Slowly we started to walk to the old city to meet up with a group of couch surfing mercenaries. Several blocks of walking we are assaulted on all fronts. Giant empty garbage bins are used for fuel supply. Some people throw buckets of water on us. Some shoot us with a powerful and accurate one shot wonder gun/magic stick Some kids shoot with little guns. Buckets are being dunked on everyone and no one is off limits. On a scooter? Doesn’t matter you are fair game. Good thing I made the decision to leave my camera and cell phone at home and only bring some money and my GoPro camera. Cute little old people dump buckets of cold water on me…. assassins are everywhere.

The day ends with a giant party at Tapae Gate. Loud music and a very large crowd and lots of dancing. This is the day before Songkran and it is still much better than Holi Day or most of the parties I have been to in my life. Afterwards we decided to meet up at Bus Bar.

Day 2- 4 Highlights

We meet up at roughly 2pm for the next few daysThe After Party Chiang Mai songkran and stay out until roughly 6pm. There is a fairly large group of roughly 13 people. There is so many people at Songkran people get lost really easily. Trying to navigate through stopped vehicles you breathe in vehicle exhaust with walking through gross gutter water (that people probably peed in). A few times I take the one shot and suck up gutter water and shoot people in vehicles. Towards the end of days I would check my pockets for fucks to give and it turns out I had none left to give. Before the start of each day we could communicate on a time to meet via facebook messenger and usually you would have to sort through all the trash being talked on the messages to get through a meeting point and destination. Eventually we became more effective and efficient and would name the group name the meeting point for that day (it took us 4 days to figure this out though)

-Dino was overly enthusiastic and almost causes a scooter to crash as he whips buckets of water at people often in the face. One Thai girl stopped and swore at Dino and he toned it down after that

– Phil needed to fill up his insane gun maybe 3 times total.

-old people were so funny and cute during Songkran. One old guy in a pick up truck would let out this big hearty laugh while he would squirt tourists. I’m convinced old people are just much older kids as they don’t seem to care about things like little kids do.

-the children were so cute during Songkran. Often 2-3 year olds would be in a kiddie pool and would miss trying to hit anyone with their lack of coordination.

-very festive environment everywhere. Everyone was all smiles and having a great time

-I enjoyed shooting many a people in the ear/face with low pressure burst fire. Karma bit me hard and it really hurt (my ear had water in it for a couple days after)

-it was extremely tiring walking around for 5 hours a day getting buckets of cold water dunked on you on hot weather

-moat ice water is really gross but fun.

(also look for Spiderman at the end of this video)

-at one point we found a bridge and sniped people in various vehicles from above

-had a ladyboy shoot my groin area and had a gay guy pinch my arm (losing 50 pounds upped my stock even if it is members of a team I don’t pitch for… I still got it… sorta)

-concentrating full fire power on a single songtow was pretty awesome.

(also look out for the Spiderman in the dune buggy at the end of this video)

-riding a scooter in the heat of the battle was really fun and slightly scary

-Dino shot a cop… Dino don’t give a shit, Dino don’t care

-Jub tried to play the dunk tank game.

-Dino lost his bucket and got it back again.

-bumped into a guy that had the sillest glasses that squirted water from them. Very ineffective but halarious.

-I forgot how fun and cool using my waterproof GoPro camera can be.

Everyday was filled with over-stimulation. It was fun but also a very exhausting experience. It could be very loud, hot and cold, people everywhere, vehicle exhaust, gutter water. People over all ages acted like kids in a crazy water fight lasting 4 solid days. Back to back national festivals in different countries was an incredible experience. Other major parties/festivals I want to see is Carnival in Rio and that big tomato fight. Songkran in Chiang Mai is definitely an experience I would like to do again and would feel comfortable bringing kids to.

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Interview With Dawn Kealing Of “Life, Love & Adventure”

saqqara dawn kealing

   pyramids dawn kealing   Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up; do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

Hello! 🙂 I grew up in a small town near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When I was younger my main focus was to be positive, happy and healthy. I always had dreams of doing things that seemed pretty impossible to me at the time, aka. Traveling the world. In the past couple years everything has changed yet stayed the same, I am still that positive and healthy person yet I have been able to travel the world!

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?punta cana dawn kealing

There was no persuasion needed to get me out traveling the world! The key factor that made it happen though would be my amazing husband. I started working with him at his business and together after some time we financially made traveling possible!

What were your biggest fears before you left home?, and how do you feel about them now?

I can’t recall any specific fears; there definitely was a lot of excitement coursing through my veins as we were driving to the airport! There was also the, as I know now, the normal stresses of making sure to remember all the documents and the stress of my first long flight but everything went smoothly!

How long have you been traveling?

I have been traveling off and on for the past 2 years; we did 2 trips the first year and 4 trips last year.

Where are you now?

I am currently at home in Northern British Columbia trying to bear through another one of our freezing winters!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

dawn kealing petraMy plans for this upcoming year are to work on my blog, A LOT! There are a few goals I have set up for myself to do throughout the year to improve my blog and hopefully get more out of it!

Another plan I have put together for myself is to travel more of BC this summer. I have lived here all my life and am starting to feel like I have traveled more of the world than I have my own beautiful province!

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Most of my travels have been all through Central America, the country that I felt the safest in would be Costa Rica! Everywhere we went through Central America everyone was always so friendly though! 🙂 I honestly think I felt safer in Costa Rica than I do in the town I live in in Canada. We’re the crime capital of Canada says MacLean’s magazine. :/

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger)?

The country that I felt the most on edge in would have to by Egypt. No matter where you are the spotlight is always on you. People trying to bring you into their stores or sell you stuff on the streets, people pulling at your clothes and snickering at you but you have no idea what they are saying.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Oh dear, my most dreaded question haha. I always seem to have issues with jordan dawn kealingborder guards, I don’t know why! When I was leaving Egypt to go to Jordan the border guard started speaking really loudly (yelling) at me and pointing to my lip, which is pierced. I had no idea what he was saying and he just kept getting more and more upset, eventually he let me through but only once I was bawling my eyes out. :/ All the other times have been coming back into Canada, as funny as that seems. I always feel like I am being interrogated for doing some horrible crime yet I have done nothing!

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Other than blogging while I am traveling I don’t do any other types of work. We work a lot a home, taking 2 weeks to a month away at a time is a great break from work for us!

Chichen itza dawnTell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

I think my most jaw dropping experience would be going on my first Hot Air Balloon ride in Luxor, Egypt over the Valley of the Kings and Queens. It was absolutely breathtaking!!

My most memorable experience that left me in awe would be seeing fireflies in Palenque, Mexico. We were sitting on a chair on the porch of our little bungalow and they started flying all around us and through the jungle. I couldn’t help but shed some tears, it was amazing!

An incredibly touching experience was when I organized a trip in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to a local school to donate school supplies.

Last but not least, my most terrifying experience so far in my travels would be doing to Mega Tarzan Swing in Costa Rica. After ziplining for a couple hours and my adrenaline was already up I thought, why not?! Once I got to the end of a super long suspension bridge that was hanging over a valley I tried to run back but the guys pushed me out! It was one of the most terrifying things I have done in my life!!

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Not really, my family has always been super supportive of my decisions. dawn kealing colorfull frogSometimes my mother gets a little worried depending on the places I am traveling to but she is always supportive regardless! The best thing is my little nephew (3), before leaving for my last trip I was at my sisters and he asked if he could come with me. Maybe one day little buddy! <3 I travel with my best friend so there’s no issue there! I have close friends at home and I always meet new friends while traveling but traveling as never affected any of my relationships negatively.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

No regrets is the best way to live! The only thing I keep kicking myself in the butt for is not learning Spanish yet!

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

If I could travel for the rest of my life I would be the happiest person in the world! As of right now I have no reason or want to stop exploring the world so I will continue traveling for as long as I can! 🙂

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

saqqara dawn kealingMy biggest encouragement is to JUST DO IT!! Don’t look back, just go and explore this beautiful planet. It will be one of the best things you ever do! There is so much knowledge to learn out there that you cannot learn in a classroom, traveling is priceless!

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

It takes a LOT of work, don’t give up, it’s so worth it!! Do what makes you happy, if you get to the point when you’re feeling super burnt out then take a small break to refresh your thoughts and begin writing again! Don’t expect everything to come really easily because it takes a lot of work, join into blogging communities on social media sites or around you if it’s offered. One of my most favorite things about blogging is the love and support from my fellow bloggers in the communities I am in!

Do you write for a blog that you would like to plug?

I have a blog that I strive to update daily; it is called Life, Love and Adventure! It’s a travel blog where I write about all the places I have been so far, where I want to go next and all kinds of travel tips I have learned in my years of traveling! 🙂

A BIG thank you to Roamin Around for featuring me on their page!!

 

 

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Take The Train to Chiang Mai

Train to Chiang Mai

Switching Trains

I just returned to Chiang Mai from a short tour of Cambodia. I had spent 2 weeks in Cambodia with my friends from Latvia, then had the good fortune to meet up with a friend for 3 days in Bangkok. Although I travel a lot, I must say it is quite draining on your system. Don’t get me wrong I love to travel and see new things, experience new cultures, meet new people, eat interesting foods, and creatures. 😉 . But what I have realized the most stressful part of the whole journey seems to be the transport.

Riding in Turbo buses (Silver high top Vans) in Thailand for instance willThai Turbo Bus leave you with very little sleep, your hair standing on end, and as you will see when you get the opportunity, these drivers are all in training for some sort of international Grand Prix. Driving on the opposite side of the road, forcing on coming traffic onto the shoulder. Avoiding all stoplights by turning onto the intersecting road making a u-turn at full speed, then turning back onto the main thoroughfare. (actually a neat idea,,, stoplights can last in excess of 200 seconds in Thailand). That being said they in fact do an amazing job at drifting through heavy traffic.There are handles bolted on to the back of the seats, many of which have been ripped off, either by the sheer terror of the passenger or just simple laws of physics and the steel/plastic handles are unable to cope with the stress.

Siem Reap Tuktuk    Then there are the Tuk Tuk drivers, who refuse to charge anything less the double that of a taxi ride. why…??? maybe it’s just the joy of being able to ride on a smoky, loud, slow, rickety piece of hand made ingenuity..  Then the biggest problem of course with the tuk tuk drivers is that they refuse to take you to your requested destination. You ask them to take you to the train station, they take you to a tour agency trying to sell you a tour package. You ask to go to your $10 per night hotel, they take you to a $200 per night hotel, and go into great detail explaining that it is high season and everything else is booked up. Yes, for those of you who have not been in Asia this is exactly how it works and unfortunately it is not the exception it is the rule.

Ok, now onto public buses, yea you know the ones , they come with great names like “V.I.P. Bus” , “The Hotel Bus”. these tend to drive at about 40kmph. There is a thing here in Asia that it does not matter how unsafe you drive provided you drive slowly. In the dusty roads of Cambodia, 40kmph is quite fast considering you can not see further then a few meters. The toilets do not work, so they will either randomly stop at the side of the road in a field for all the ladies and gents to use the public facilities. “The Hotel Bus” which is a sleeper bus. 2 layers of beds, 1 set of beds on the floor and one at about 150cm off of the floor. 2 beds on each side narrower then shoulder width, and about 4 1/2 foot long. generallyTrain to Chiang Mai managed by some local organized crime syndicate. and all of your valuables remaining with you for the extent of the voyage is also a risk and needs to calculated into the cost of the journey. This trip I had my Iphone stolen by the Bus driver assistant while I was sleeping, less then a meter from him, In less then 5 minutes after using my phone, after getting myself folded into an endurable position, I tried to get a short nap, and could not sleep so I decided to plug my headset into my Iphone that was no longer in my pocket.  Grrr.

old train carriage So after all of these stressful travels, I decided to take the train from Bangkok to Chiang mai. I actually did hesitate before making the decision, because from my experience the train has always been a minimum of 2 hours late. And this time was no exception. This time I had the joy of stopping about 2 hours outside of Chiang mai and wait a couple of hours for another train to come pick us up, as there were some sort of engine problems. So this time we all arrived only 5 1/2 hours late. Although I would still recommend it, It really is not much like traveling at all . there is a dining car ( actually more of a party car) the beds are quite comfortable, and I have always had the joy of meeting interesting fellow travelers to share stories with on the journey. The ticket price was around Train in Lampang area850 baht (approx $26). I showed up at the train station with only about 15 minutes to spare to catch the 19:35 train, and there were plenty of tickets available on a Thursday evening. The evening went fast, met some awesome people, hung out in the party car for a bit, not that I was into the party, but the ambiance was quite interesting. I was able to get a fairly good rest, ( first time in a while) . And I got to enjoy the views of the beautiful country side of northern Thailand.

Next time I take a trip, It will either be by plane, train or the best will be on my motorbike. See a country by motorbike is a whole other story. All The Best on your next journey.. And by the Way….. Take The Train…Finally Home in Chiang mai

 

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Stepping Up and Diving In with Jonny Jenkins

Pedestrian Crossing With Jonny Jenkins

Jonny Jenkins Temply top    Today I am Interviewing Jonny Jenkins of Http://stepupdivein.com

      Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I grew up in small town Canada, amazing upbringing that I can only look back upon with the fondest of memories. As a kid I was hoping to earn a full ride scholarship to the states for Hockey, get a great education and eventually take over my dad’s Chartered Accounting business.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

I was raised by parents that always pushed the value of travel. However, there was one key factor that eventually kicked my butt into gear and get out there… my mom up and moved to Spain and was there over Christmas… thus my sister and I went out to visit her for the holidays, and do a little traveling… the bug was caught and a cure never found.

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

I can’t say I had many the first time I left. But about the fourth time I left (age 24) I was fearing that I was starting to miss opportunities in the real world… Now I’ve realized that I add much to my resume with the experiences, such as volunteer, working abroad or learning new languages, that has augmented my resume greatly and should I ever decide to return for a ‘real life’ back in Canada, I’m well aware that I’ve a great set of skills for potential employers, that much more considering the value of diversity is becoming increasingly important.

How long have you been traveling?Jonny Jenkins Tikal

Call it a decade… 6 months a year for a decade at least… but this time I’ve set out to not go back. The last time I was back ‘home’ was about 7 months ago now.

Where are you now?

Kathmandu, Nepal

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

Oh man, loaded question. The year I don’t have too planned out, but the next four months are packed. Specifically because I’m turning 30. Although I don’t put much importance on the number, I set some goals while I was home to get done before my 30th, so I’m just polishing those off now… they are:
– Speak 5 languages fluently – Currently at 3 fluent, 1 written/read, 1 in class every day, 1 other not far, and 3 more in shattered sentences… (total of 9 floating around and bumping into each other.

– Get to 30 Countries – Honestly I’ve never been one to collect stamps, but as I approach 30 years old with just under 30 countries, thought it would be a good benchmark to make and then make sure to get to one new country each year for the rest of my life… 30th country (most likely Tanzania) looks like it will be about 3 days after my birthday

– Be on the top of Kilimanjaro – Recently I’ve figured out that the date makes it a tough climb, so I’m putting this goal back a couple of weeks and hope to summit within a month of the day.

– Finish my book – Again just using the day as a point to have it done… Spending a lot of time writing these days, should be done by the day, though I will have to edit and rewrite much of it, so I’m not pushing to publish by the day.

I also have a 3 month stint for volunteering in Nepal and a 3 month stint volunteering in Ethiopia on the books…

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Long list… Canada is Canada… it’s pretty difficult to feel safer than there. I guess otherwise the safest have been Western Europe and parts of the States.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

Jonny Jenkins Ice CreamI’m not one to feel on edge. But, probably at times in Thailand because it was my first 3rd world country.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Too many to count… The majority of which happen in between the American/Canadian border. Including getting caught with firewood (apparently you can’t do that), getting caught with a wallet of a wanted narcotics trafficker in the vehicle (though we didn’t know the guy), getting lost looking for my guitar at customs and (by having my alarm clock go off) create a bomb scare… need I add more?

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Certainly, was a Scuba Instructor for awhile, have worked as a drop in English prof, much volunteering… and now looking to create a career on the road in between my writing and environmentally sustainable developments.

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

Jaw Drop – Scuba diving with a Whale-shark.
Left in Awe – Hiking North Coast Trail in Canada (does that count as traveling?)
Incredibly Touching – The goodbye letter from an indigenous school high in the Andes of Ecuador after spending 4 months volunteering/living there.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Friends – I’d say I’ve held onto the major relationships and appreciated them Jonny Jenkins Tajamulcomore… but I’d be lying if I said I don’t neglect these relationships at times.

Family – This one hurts to be honest. I’m really close with my family, and especially now that there’s a younger generation around I feel like I’m missing out on their upbringing… but I’ve become the ‘traveling cousin/uncle/son’ … And I like to think they understand… they certainly tell stories about me, and the younger generation is learning certain geography based on ‘where in the world is Jonny?’

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

One – Lived in Germany about a decade ago and never learned German. I find regrets a waste of time, so let’s just say that I plan to remedy this.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I see a point where I will again get into living in Canada 3-6 months a year, having another ‘home/eco project’ 3-6 months a year and exploring for whatever time is remaining.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

Jonny Jenkins Landing in OntarioHmm… At the end of the day, what kind of stories would you like to be able to tell your children/grandchildren? Do you want to have stories that involve you as a protagonist, or rather ones that you heard second hand and are merely retelling someone else’s tales? There’s nothing wrong with learning vicariously and we all have some responsibilities… but the moment you leave your hometown you’ll realize what responsibilities are actually important for you and your happiness and which ones have been but society’s view of who you should be… and really, if you look at your surround society, are you willing to say that they have all the answers?

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Absolutely, it takes time. Get into writing, don’t worry too much about the finicky little things to begin with. Whatever keeps you motivated, focus on that. The way that SEO works, you won’t be able to get ranked too high until you’ve got some longevity to your site… so write what you enjoy.
Furthermore… actually travel. Get to places where others go as that brings search queries but also get to places that others don’t, as that brings intrigue. Start now… even if you aren’t blogging much, having the site up will help you in the long run… And do EVERYTHING you find interesting… others might as well.

With all of this, you should be aware that at first it will be an investment… think of it as around a year (give or take) before your blog starts to give back… so make sure you have enough to live off of for that long.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug?

Http://stepupdivein.com

By using humor, photos, stories and advice, I hope to engage everyone in such a way that, in the very least, it breaks up the monotony of a given working day; and, in the most, inspires others to get out there and see the world for themselves. I’ve always been a storyteller, and try to get very deep into cultures by staying for longer periods of time, learning the local language and finding a role in the society (typically volunteer) so that my relationships with said locals are not just economically driven… and then I come back to that storytelling bit to tell others of the hilarity and ridiculousness in my own mannerisms… I do my best to respect all others whilst being comically self-deprecating and love to hear from anyone/everyone.

The Odyssey – 30 Stories that made me 30 Years old

I won’t plug my book just yet… But the premise is this: Our generation is potentially the first in the history of mankind that has had this gap (in between 20 and 30) open up. The stories of an eccentric traveler are used to exemplify the diversity in which ‘this odyssey’ can be undertaken…Jonny Jenkins Abbot Ridge

Interviewing Fellow travelers.

travel blog interviews

I have been traveling for quite a few years now, and it seems that one thing is universal, that all travelers have an interesting story to tell. So I am making a special category Just for you fellow travelers, with a story to tell.

So Travelers, Travel bloggers , please take the time to respond to the following questions below, feel free to ad a bit of your own ideas, then email them to me and I will get them posted as soon as I can. Just a hint roaminaround.com is a PR3 and I would love to help you out with your rankings, so everybody,,, tell us something interesting….;)

Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

How long have you been traveling?

Where are you now?

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Any major life targets, that you are working on?

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

If you are a travel blogger, do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug, write out a brief description here?

Please include a picture or 2 so that we can show you off.

Instructions: Please copy and paste the questions, preferably into a  word document or just an email, feel free to adlib , ad your own questions if you like. And don’t forget the pics. I will go through them as fast as I can and add them to the blog.

Please send interviews to: interviews (at) roaminaround (dot)com

Live Life To The Point of Tears

Live Life To The Point Of Tears

Awe

“ An experience of such perpetual vastness you literally have to reconfigure your mental models of the world to assimilate it”

I saw this video a few months back and it really struck me. What divides those of us who seek to live our life in awe and those who spend our lives in the supposed safety of routine? What keeps us from doing the small things that can pull us out of routine and fill our lives with a bit of interest, enlightenment, maybe even craziness.  It appears that as human beings we are either to lazy, or unconsciously wrapped up in the security of routine that we are unable to realize it. For those of you who are not like me and would buy a ticket on a relative whim and fly to the amazon to look for gold. there are little things that can be done in order to live life a bit more fully… how about putting on your “Sunday Best” and take a walk in the park. or taking a different route on your way home from work, turn off the radio and absorb a bit of your surroundings.. We are not talking major things here.. Life is so short and this world is so vast, and shall I say it ” AWESOME” ..

And I will not suggest that you stop there. The world has so much to experience. Nearly every day in my life there is something that send chills up my spine, or brings a tear to my eye just from interacting with different cultures. People who have nothing according to our limited western views (yet have everything but many of us as westerners are to jaded to see). Will go out of their way to help a stranger in need.  These are the moments in our lives that make the final cut. These are the moments that separate us from routine and bring us to a higher level of understanding into the beauty that is possible in human nature, and forces us to drop our cynicism that so many of us have made such an integral part of our lives.

But what about safety and security, you may ask. What is safety? What is Security? We are traveling on a planet hurling through space at a speed in excess of 18 1/2 miles per second. People live their lives in the security of their jobs, and wait till they come into retirement to maybe go and see a few things. Unless of course they are layed off from their jobs and sit at home in fear of their little bit of saving dwindling away. Are we living a life of trying to make it safely to death? For those of you who are religious you may say, that it does not matter, because your happiness will come in eternity.. Well let me let you in on a little secret ..

….. Eternity is now…..

      Some of us believe that we only have one shot at life on this beautiful planet, and are we going to be so irresponsible to let it slip by and not experience as much as we can? All the while screaming the excuse that I am responsible and have a real job, and do not have the time to go gallivanting around the world, I have responsibilities.. I need to keep the hampsterwheel spinning….

Well I should stop rambling here,, check out this Awesome video, watch it every day till you realize a way to escape your routine and start seeing life in a different way. I have included the transcript below and a brief description… And the next time someone asks “Do you know where your spending eternity..” just remember. ” Yea… I am spending it right now…”

Published on May 22, 2013

Psychologist Nicholas Humphrey has proposed that our ability to awe was biologically selected for by evolution because it imbues our lives with sense of cosmic significance that has resulted in a species that works harder not just to survive but to flourish and thrive.

Join Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz. New episodes every Tuesday

Watch More Shots of Awe on TestTube http://testtube.com/shotsofawe

Here is the transcript,, read several times,, 😉

0:12

I think a lot about the contrast between banality and wonder,

0:18

between disengagement and radiant ecstasy,

0:23

between being unaffected by the here and now

0:26

and being absolutely ravished emotionally by it.

0:31

And I think one of the problems for human beings

0:33

is mental habits.

0:35

Once we create a comfort zone, we rarely

0:37

step outside of that comfort zone.

0:38

But the consequence of that is a phenomenon

0:41

known as hedonic adaptation.

0:43

Over stimulation to the same kind of thing,

0:45

the same stimuli again and again and again,

0:47

renders said stimuli invisible.

0:50

Your brain has already mapped it in its own head,

0:52

and you no longer literally have to be engaged by that.

0:55

We have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not,

0:59

and hearts that neither feel nor understand.

1:01

There’s a great book called The Wondering Brain that

1:04

says that one of the ways that we elicit wonder

1:06

is by scrambling the self temporarily

1:09

so that the world can seep in.

1:11

Henry Miller says even a blade of grass,

1:13

when given proper attention, becomes

1:15

an infinitely magnificent world in itself.

1:18

Darwin said attention, if sudden and close, graduates

1:22

in surprise, and this into astonishment,

1:24

and this into stupefied amazement.

1:27

That’s what rapture is.

1:29

That’s what illumination is.

1:31

That’s what that sort of infinite comprehending

1:34

awe that human beings love so much.

1:37

And so how do we do that?

1:38

How do we mess with our perceptual apparatus

1:41

in order to have the kind of emotional and aesthetic

1:44

experience from life that we render most meaningful?

1:50

Because we all know those moments are there.

1:52

Those are the moments that would make final cut.

1:54

Only in these moments we experience a fresh,

1:57

the hardly bearable ecstasy of different energy

2:01

exploding on our nerve endings.

2:03

This is the rhapsodic, ecstatic, bursting forth

2:08

of awe that expands our perceptual parameters

2:11

beyond all previous limits.

2:13

And we literally have to reconfigure our mental models

2:16

of the world in order to assimilate

2:19

the beauty of that download.

2:21

That is what it means to be inspired.

2:25

The Greek root of the term means to breathe in, to take it in.

2:32

We fit the universe through our brains,

2:34

and it comes out in the form of nothing less than poetry.

2:38

We have a responsibility to awe.

It’s more fun in the PHILIPPINES

Banaue Rice Terraces

This was written by one of my blog followers, who really loves their country and wanted to put in a good word, so I agreed to publish her note. The Philippines is definitely on my list and it is always great to hear from a local how much they love their country.
puerto princess undergound river To travel to the states has long been one of my dreams in life since I was a kid, Recently I was looking into the visum usa-ESTA form, while dreaming of my plans to go to the states. I realized, why would I still crave for going to another country to have fun, where in fact I’m already into a place that offers all ; my needs , and my desires. Philippines, for me is the best country that every individual should never missed. From our beautiful and awesome sceneries like the beaches mountains, our culture, lifestyle, and of course, we Filipinos itself.
The Philippines is famous or I should say well- known for many outstanding natural and man-made resources. and I’m also very proud to say that in our country, can be found one of the seven wonders in the world, “The Puerto Princesa Underground River” also known as “The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River , a truly fascinating view of unspoiled natural resources .Next we have the Chocolate hills in Bohol. Yummy right? but sadly, it’s not really a chocolate if you think. It’s was called “chocolate hills” because it was really like that when the season is sunny or hot, a chocolate brown to be exact, and if it is wet season or rainy, the hills are all covered with green grass. Clever isn’t it?Chocolate Hills
Next in line we have the Banaue Rice Terraces in Benguet. This ones really awesome! come to think of how did the Filipinos carved those mountains and formed it like terraces? hmm… think think think! to tell you honestly, I’m not one of those who made these, of course, I wasn’t born yet that time…. Actually, my ancestors did. And what’s even more amazing is the fact that they only use their “bare hands” in building it. This was the reason why we Filipinos tend to call it the “eight wonder of the world”, in order to commemorate their contributions.. they made us even more proud to be a Filipino. Another is the Taal Volcano in batangas. it is the smallest volcano in our country, because if you see it on top view, it’s really small but they say that it’s one of the largest volcano in the world according to some reliable source. Sounds confusing isn’t it? Maybe someday, I’m going to visit it to see and witness it myself, if God permits! hehe.
Banaue Rice TerracesThere are lots or more outstanding tourist spots that you can find here in the Philippines , but since I don’t have much time , hmm… Anyway, Now, I’m going to tell you some possible activities here in the Philippines that I can consider, Amazing, electrifying, and death- defying. The Water Rafting in Mindoro, Kayaking, Paragliding, Para-sailing and of course, my hometown’s very famous Edge coaster.. In my town also, we have the festival which is the “SINULOG”… and it is well-known all over the world. Foreigners from other countries simply love to come here, enjoy and experience this wonderful and memorable celebration. I have so much to say but I guess that all for now.
Remember, If you are searching for a special place to for leisure; have some fun, and be entertain, then your into the right place. Indeed, I’ts more Fun in the Philippines!

Sky Full Of Dreams

Yee Peng Festival

This is one of my favorite pics from the Yi Peng Festival That was back in November, Here in Chiang Mai. Sky full of Dreams.

Yee Peng Festival

Useful information about this festival, Times and dates, how to get there etc.,  can be found in my friend’s post here

http://misstourist.com/magical-lantern-festival-yi-peng/