Fitness Expert’s Tips for Staying Healthy on the Road

Fitness Expert’s Tips for Staying Healthy on the Road

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We all define traveling as taking a break from our mundane lives. And although that break includes thinking less and sometimes even being reckless, we should not ignore the need to keep a certain routine, which will help us remain healthy during the trip. How? – you might ask. The truth is that with the circumstances as changed as they are when you are in a whole different country, and on the road, sometimes even more than inactivity, stress can be overwhelming and food fast and greasy. Do not give up, though. We said it is hard – not impossible. Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind while traveling.

Walk and Explore

When we are visiting some fascinating destination, we want to see each corner of it. Probably because of our acquired habit of rushing everywhere, we usually take the bus to lead us to every brochure-recommended site. Still, the charm of some city or any other destination cannot be fully discovered by simply going from one previously determined site to another. The charm is in walking around, getting to know some unfamiliar neighborhoods, and even getting lost. An added bonus is that a simple 30 minute walk will help you burn calories and stay in shape.

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Exercise

This is a pretty wide notion. You can exercise in various ways. Rent a bike and ride around the city, hit the hotel gym at least four times a week, etc. Make things more interesting and sign up for a local marathon or some sort of aerobics. If you hate exercising alone and your travel companion does not want to accompany you, tweet for a workout partner. This is a large world which is made small by social networks. A single tweet can help you meet some interesting locals and make friends for life.3 pexels-photo-min (1280x960)

Train Your Brain

You should not neglect mental training, either. Brain games can help you think faster, have a better memory, be more eloquent, a better listener, have sharper vision, but also get things done, try new things and have quicker reactions. Some of these benefits can be clearly linked with your physical trainings. It does not even have to be some game you play in pair or complicated videogame – playing an online game of Sudoku will be just enough to enhance mental fitness. Also, carry a book with you – there is nothing like reading some quality novel on the road. Make a game of it and each time when you visit some country, discover a local author.

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Indulge Moderately

It is normal to want to try every signature dish of the destination you are visiting. Still, if the country you are visiting is famous for its unhealthy and spicy food, you might want to skip a meal or two. Set some ground rules: do not eat after 20h, eat late lunch instead of early dinner, treat yourself with desert just twice a week, etc. Also, try to carry a lunchbox with fresh food (fruits and vegetables) and healthy snacks (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.).

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Put on Your Dancing Shoes

You know how listening to music makes you work out harder? Well, forget all about the workout and dance to the rhythm. Go out with your travel buddies or completely by yourself to meet some new people and dance all night long. You would be surprised how effective it can be. Only 60 minute of dancing can (depending on the type and style) burn 250 to 750 calories. It is obvious that you will not get the same effects with ballroom dancing, but moshing will get you a long way.

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Bon voyage! Remember to stay healthy, smiley and happy.

Blog written by Marie Nieves. Editor @ http://highstylife.com/

 

 

 

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Sydney Beaches, NSW Australia

Sydney Beaches, NSW Australia

When you visit New South Wales, you’ll probably visit Sydney, but don’t spend all your time in the city. While there are some really great places there (which is in another post), Sydney’s beaches are probably where you’ll want to spend the magority of your time. And they’re all pretty connected through coastal and cliff terrain, so it’s possible to make your way from one beach to the next on foot or by car. Always take the scenic route!

Water and boatsManly Beach – You can take the ferry from Sydney, or drive over the Sydney Harbor Bridge

 

2 Open water and boatsManly is a little less touristy than some of Sydney’s other beaches, and has a certain European posh feeling.

3 HeadlandsEvery beach has it’s little pools.  Probably the most famous are in Bondi Beach.

4 drinkOne of our favorite things about Australia was all the cafes and coffee shops. As two coffee addicts, and cafe connoisseurs, we love to check out the local cafe scene wherever we go. Top on our list was Panama House. This was a “coco espresso,” iced coconut water with a shot of single origin espresso on top. We brought this idea home and are now making coconut cold brew.

5 cliffsThe coastal walk follows cliffs, beaches, and small waterfalls along the beautiful New South Wales coastline, which is one beach followed by another and another, each sandwiched between a set of hills and cliffs, creating a series of small bays, or inlets, great for swimming, as long as you watch the rip tides.

7 beachCoogee Beach
When the weather was hot, people filled the beach, it didn’t matter what day of the week it was, if the weather was good, the beach was full of people.

8 Coogee pavilionCoogee Pavilion
This became our local haunt while we were in Coogee. It reminded me of a place in our hometown – The Canopy. It’s a casual, trendy beach bar and restaurant, with a dress to impress feeling rooftop bar. Our favorite thing there was the fish and chips, which we usually shared, since it was big enough for two people.

9 pavillion signAlmost everywhere we went had these open air style windows.

10 ShopsThere were so many great coffee places in Coogee, but Will & Co (a coffee cart inside Pavilion), and Coogee Bite were definitely our favorites.
“Pav” as we learned to call it (Aussis tend towards abbreviations) became a favorite place to sit and have a cappuccino, which they serve with a dusting of cocoa powder on top – another australian coffee practice which I’ve brought back home with me.

Isn’t that part of the point of travelling? To learn things from other cultures – even small things – and integrate them into your daily thinking, daily life, and maybe even challenge your routines, or at least enhance them…

Blog by Julie Anne Cormier – https://baloobalife.wordpress.com/

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Top Places to Visit in West Africa

Top Places to Visit in West Africa

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West Africa is a huge territory with several dozen states and several hundred million inhabitants. It is the area with tragic history, bright future and friendly and hospitable residents. In this article I shared my experiences from this part of the world in the form of a short guide in which I will present sites that I enjoyed the most during my five months long stay in place where ocean, jungle and savannah meet.

Togo’s Cultural Diversity

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Togo is the gem of West Africa with its white sand beaches, voodoo shrines and untouched hinterland in the north. Tourists can visit Koutammakou, area populated by Batammariba people who live in villages, with tall mud houses, which are also known as the national symbol of this small and beautiful country. Capital city Lome is located on the coast and has some of the best night life in the whole West Africa, with bars and clubs around every corner. Tourists also enjoy Loma’s markets, regular and the voodoo one, which are great for meeting the locals who come here to meet, talk and shop. They enjoy spicy fufu (pounded white yams), a very popular fast food in West Africa, eaten with a variety of different sauces, from spicy ones with tomatoes and peppers, to the ones made with smoked fish, which is a real gourmet treat. Most popular souvenirs that tourists and travelers bring from Togo are voodoo masks and charms that enable travelers to bring part of Togo’s mysticism to their own home.

Mole Savannah, Most Visited National Park in Ghana

Ghana

Ghana

Mole National Park is located in the north part of Ghana and it is a place that resembles similar savannah parks from Eastern Africa. We arrived to Mole from Tamale, capital city of Northern Ghana. Place with friendly residents, traditional houses in the city center and a crocodile pond nearby, often visited by tourists. The only way to arrive to the park is in a 4×4 vehicle, which is also great for driving around the safari park and covering a much wider territory than tourists who decide to go around on foot (with an armed ranger of course). Some of the animals that can be seen in the park are: elephants, monkeys, warthogs, baboons, antelopes, etc. Inside the park grounds there is also Larabanga mosque, oldest and the best preserved mosque made by mud and stick in the whole Ghana.

Accra, West African Metropolis

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This is one of the most cosmopolitan places in West Africa, with high glass buildings, wide boulevards and dusty shanty towns painted in vivid colors. Both tourists and local residents are using Trotro buses to reach their desired destination, share some interesting conversations and hear life stories of people they see for the first and the last time in their life. Sad colonial history of this magnificent land and post-colonial pursuit for prosperity merge in Accra’s architecture. Some of the most notable places to visit in this city are: the National Museum, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and the Independence Square. W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Centre is a place where this famous American author and civil rights activists decided to move to in his pursuit for equal rights for all, and where visitors can see his house, grave and personal library. One of the most interesting places to visit in Accra that completely describes the soul of this mosaic, composed out of life stories, people’s wishes and dreams is Kane Kwei’s Carpentry Workshop, where visitors can see some of the best works of Kane Kwei, famous coffin maker from the fifties, who carved his works into different shapes and was one of the most famous names on West Africa’s applied arts scene. Although Accra is a very hospitable and safe city, sometimes it is really hard to find the appropriate lodging. That’s why tourists are advised to arrange their stay in advance, through websites like MeQasa, where they can meet people who are renting rooms and flats.

Dakar, West Africa’s Entrance Point

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“Teranga” is the name for hospitality in Senegal, and Dakar is the right place to experience it. Senegalese are very proud and respectful people, who like to spend time with tourists and show them every corner of their beautiful city. In Dakar you will see many smiles on people’s faces and have frequent talks with very persistent sellers. It is the place to buy traditional West African clothes, including haute-couture worn by West African Muslims. There are lots of busy and vibrant markets in the city including the fish evening market that also sells souvenirs, as well as Marche Sandaga, one of the biggest markets in town that sells everything from live chickens and fish to Barcelona and Man Utd jerseys. Since Senegal is one of the bird-watching capitals of the world, Dakar surroundings are also great for bird lovers. Iles De la Madeline, are the only nesting site of red-billed tropic bird in Africa and tourists can also find genuine Pink Lake (Lake Retba), whose pink color is caused by the presence of cyanobacteria in the water. Lake Retba is also the popular salt harvesting site, and its salt can be a great souvenir to take home. City itself is the mixture of colonial and Arabic architecture, and some of its main sites are: Dakar Cathedral, Dakar Grand Mosque, IFAN Museum of African Arts, etc. African Renaissance Monument is another great and respected site inside Dakar that symbolizes the end of slavery and the fight against oppressive European regimes in their attempt to destroy the cultural heritage of African people.

Author bio:

Oliver Hyde

Oliver is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions. You can find him on Twitter

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5 PLACES TO CRASH IN BALI BEYOND KUTA

5 PLACES TO CRASH IN BALI BEYOND KUTA

Twenty one year old me could not get enough of Kuta. Party, party, beach, party and repeat. Straight off the flight, a short taxi and you were slam in the middle of the action. Crazy streets, bustling shops and blaring music. Happy days!

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A few visits (and a few years) later spent discovering some more areas of the ‘Island of the Gods’ I realised there was plenty more on offer in Bali. If you are after relaxing, diving, exploring or indulging you might want to hit up one of these areas…

AMED

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Imagine black sands. Coconuts whilst hanging out in hammocks. Bars with furniture that could well belong to a pirate. Mornings scuba diving and afternoons napping – This is Amed.

If you want that kicked back vibe whilst also being a short drive from one of the best wreck dives in the local area (or even to get your scuba qualification), Amed is somewhere that (as of yet) hasn’t drawn in the sheer volume of people you will find around Kuta.

ULUWATU

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Head to the far south of the Bukit (The small bit on the map below the airport) and you will find Uluwatu. Its cliffside temple full of monkeys and crashing waves is the main draw but it is also a great place to kick back and relax away from the more party heavy spots.

With two awesome bars and beach clubs in the form of Single Fin (cool hangout) and Finns beach club (crystal clear reef waters) amongst plenty of accommodation and food spots you might not want to leave.

CANNGU

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Beyond Kuta and even Seminyak likes Canggu which is sure to be the next big thing in Bali (if it isn’t already?). Think biking through lush green rice paddies, hanging out with surfers and filling up on Acai bowls and you get the picture. With heaps of hip bars, trendy cafes and tranquil dream like villas you can not go wrong.

Tanah Lot, famous for those sunset shots is also just a bit further along and take a bike further afield for miles of untouched beaches and scenery.

TEGGALANG

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Ubud is known as the cultural hub of Bali and is home to the famous Monkey Forest but head slightly north and you will hit Tegalalang. With its natural beauty, rice paddies to explore and jungle like experience it seems a million miles away from your average Bali trip.

It is also a great base to have for a drive and explore Lake Batur after taking the morning trek up the volcano to catch sunrise in all its glory.

GILI ISLANDS

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To be technical the Gili Islands are a whole other story than Bali, but how can we miss them out? These three small Islands (Meno – Romantic, Air – Chill and Trawangan – Party) have white sands, clear waters, plenty of hammocks and heaps of turtles to swim with.

Just a couple of hours by speed boat from Bali and you can find these incredible beaches and slow island life. Oh, and those amazing sunsets!

Still want more options? Head here for a breakdown of even more places and areas to stay in Bali.

 

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Travel Tools For Your Trip

Travel Tools For Your Trip

Whether you’re an avid traveler or you’re just beginning to stretch your travel legs, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the countless travel apps, websites, tools, and resources out there.

 

Before and during my travels, there are a few resources I consistently use to keep my trips organized, fun, and wallet-friendly. I hope you find them useful when planning your next vacation!

INSPIRATION

Instagram: I follow travel bloggers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts on Instagram. Every day I discover a new place I want to visit from the amazing photography that pushes through my feed. It helps fuel my wanderlust when I’m homebound and gives me new ideas for future itineraries.

Niki Insta screenshot

Pinterest: Pinterest is another site to find jaw-dropping photos of places to visit, activities to do, and things to eat. I created a board called Travel Dreams on my Pinterest page so I could tag and remember all of the places I want to go in the future.

 

PLANNING

Agoda: For my recent two month trip throughout Asia, I found Agoda offered the cheapest hotel prices. It’s the fastest growing online hotel platform in the world, and it seemed to beat out other sites like Hotel.com and Expedia.com when I compared prices for the same hotel listing.

 

Airbnb: This is an excellent alternative to staying in hotels. You can book someone else’s home to stay in, or list your own home for other travelers to use. It’s a great way to be able to cook for yourself, have larger groups stay together, get a more local experience, or have the opportunity for a truly unique stay, such as calling a treehouse or a castle your home for a week! I recently used Airbnb to stay in the middle of vineyards in Napa, California, for a quaint wine country experience.

 

TripAdvisor: I use TripAdvisor to get the real dish on hotels and other attractions. I find Yelp to be saturated with fake good reviews that inflate the business’s ratings. So I head over to TripAdvisor to get the honest and up-to-date scoop. It has saved me several times from booking a hotel that looked good on the website, but got truly awful reviews.

 

Skyscanner & Kayak: These are my go-to websites when hunting for flight deals. They scan and compare airline, hotel, and car rental sites for you, and show you the cheapest options.

 

FlightCar: This is a money-saver and a convenience for getting to the airport. I don’t have a parking spot in San Francisco, so I didn’t know what the heck I was going to do with my car while abroad for two months. Have a friend move my car every week for street cleaning?? Enter FlightCar. I registered my car and dates of travel on the FlightCar website, drove to FlightCar on the day of my departure (thus saving on taxi or shuttle money), and then left my car with them for two months so they could rent it to other drivers. At the end, I raked in $200 a month for letting them use my car! And they gave it back sparkling clean.

ON THE ROAD

Outbound: Traveling solo? Looking for events or meet-ups happening nearby? Want tips for the best nightlife or attractions in town? The Outbound App lets you find and connect with travelers of all types who will be in the same place at the same time as you. You can sort by traveller type (female-only, caravaners, corporate travelers, families) and by demographic (age, gender, nationality) to connect with like-minded travelers. I’ve used the Noticeboard to solicit advice on upcoming trips, and I enjoy answering other travelers’ questions.

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WhatsApp: This is a no-brainer if you’re traveling overseas and want to connect with people — for free! You can send text messages, photos, videos, and even audio messages. I turned off my data plan and just used WhatApp and Google Hangouts to keep in touch with my family and friends back home.

Google Goggles: Have you ever stood in front of a famous building, statue, painting, or other image, but you couldn’t remember the name of it? The Google Goggles app lets you take a picture of the item in question, and if it finds the image in its database, it will provide useful information about your mystery item.

 

ABOUT: Nikki is an official Outbound Ambassador. She’s an outdoorsy adventurer who marvels at natural wonders, world cultures, and really old stuff. She’s talented at climbing mountains, making crafts, and eating cheese and chocolate. When she’s not off exploring the world, she’s uncovering off-the-beaten path adventures in California. What to read more from Nikki? Visit her website here: www.NikkiNearAndFar.com

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SRI LANKA: PERFECT FOR SOLO TRAVEL?

SRI LANKA: PERFECT FOR SOLO TRAVEL?

When I arrived to Sri Lanka it was the people I fell for first. Everyone who is used to flying solo will know that makes or breaks a trip.

Given its proximity to neighbour India you could be expecting a crazy busy island, where no one would have the time of the day to help you get around.

Fear not, I was shocked to find a relatively compact yet truly rewarding experience. From tea pickers to bike repair shop workers, everyone would gladly take time out to point you in the direction of your next discover and the place they are so proud of, Sri Lanka.

Here are five reasons it quickly jumped up my solo travel recommendation list…

CAVE TEMPLES, HISTORIC ROCKS AND ANCIENT RUINS

DambullaCaves (1)Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle consists of ancient cities, historic ruins, old cities on rocks (Sigiriya, the magma plug of a volcano) and cave temples. Of the eight UNESCO sights of Sri Lanka, five alone can be found in this triangle.

Whether you are looking to see perfectly persevered cave painting in Dambulla, trek up the lions rock and try to understand how a city was built so high in times gone by or discover ancient Buddha tooth relics in Kandy you don’t have far to go for a new wonder each day. A word of warning though, Sri Lanka is cheap but entry to its historic monuments certainly is not.

SigiriyraTop (1)CHILL OUT SURROUNDED BY BEAUTIFUL TEA

TeaFields (1)Heading to the hill country certainly brings the temperature down in Nuwara Eliya above the clouds, also known as ‘Little England’ due to the style of its buildings. It is surrounded by tea plantations and waterfalls and is certainly worth a few days off the tan for. Further along the town of Ella has a great backpackers vibe to it, an ideal spot for unwinding and meeting new friends to travel towards the beaches with.

The vistas and views are easily accessible by bus or hiring a tuktuk so even if you are flying solo you can head out hiking, visit the tea factories and even get a free cuppa at the end of it without splashing too much cash.

SriLankaTeaLady (1)ELEPHANTS WITHOUT CHAINS: PICK YOUR SAFARI

ElephantSafari (1)Sri Lanka has national parks dotted all over, in fact, you will never be too far from them. Hiring a private jeep here is cheaper than the famous Africa parks but there are plenty of operators you can jump on board with for a bargain in a group.

Take you pick: Elephants, monkeys, birds or even cheetahs. Grab the chance to see some beautiful wildlife where it should be, in the wild.

GETTING AROUND LOOKS LIKE THIS

SriLankaTrain (1)Ok, so, the small busses you might be stuck on for what seems like days aren’t quite so glamours, but like I said. The people make a place. Travelling along with the locals is an easy going experience and once conversation is quickly started it will fly by. And think less than a dollar for some long journeys.

The tuktuks lack the hassle that much of Asia has and when you have train views like above, would you really want a travel buddy to distract you from hanging out the open doors anyway?

SriLankaTukTuk (1)THERE ARE WORSE (PRIVATE) BEACHES TO KICK BACK ON

SriLankaBeach (1)If you want to find you own private beach, here is the place to do it. Head south and you will realise that tourism hasn’t struck Sri Lanka big time yet. Jump on a boat in Mirissa to see whales, head to Unawatuna for the ultimate beach backpacker vibe (and seriously good value and great tasting fresh fish) or just get a bike, head along the coast and find a hammock for one with no one to disturb you.

The Stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka, which makes for a killer sunset photo can also be found here. A piece of culture and a fresh coconut in the sand. Sold yet?

SriLankaFisherman (1)The best news? I already started spreading the Outbound word when I was in Sri Lanka. Head there and get connected as you discover the gem once known as Ceylon!

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5 things you should not miss if you are in Sydney

5 things you should not miss if you are in Sydney

Pic 1 - Sydney (1)

No matter if you are a world traveller or simply an Aussie trying to run from a local town for a weekend, if you find yourself somewhere near Sydney, there are some things you should not miss out on.

Here are five things you should try and do when in.

1. Go to secret beaches

Pic 2 - Balmoral Beach

One of the biggest secrets Sydney has are its quiet beaches. Secluded and sprinkled around Sydney, they have harbours all along the coast and are the perfect place to relax even if you come by foot.
You can pack a picnic basket and a blanket, take a ferry and head towards one of them to discover the secret world they hide. Shelly Beach, Chinaman’s Beach, Balmoral Beach, Redleaf Beach, Milk Beach – it is all up to you to decide which one to visit.

  1. Eat local food 

Pic 3 - Breakfast in Sydney

Sydney is famous for great food, so if you are a food lover – do not skip spending the evening in one of its restaurants. Once you spend the day walking around, visiting famous places, it is natural that you are going to be starving, right?

Take this perfect chance to try out some of these meals: Salted caramel gelato; soup dumplings; Peking duck pancakes; tuna tartare with truffle; yuzu and lotus root; Ricotta hotcakes, banana & honeycomb butter; and if you do not know what to eat for breakfast, order scrambled eggs that will change your life!

  1. Take a Tour 

Pic 4 - North Sydney

The best way to meet Sydney’s soul and see it from all angles is to book your seat in one of the Sydney tours. The best one is definitely the one which provides you to meet the entire city, but you should not miss out on seeing the unusual, stunning nature outside of Sydney as well.

  1. Go to the theatre or concert

Pic 5 - Sydney Opera House

Sydney’s is famous for its theatres and opera houses, so if you are a classic music lover, you should go on a concert or opera performance in one of these theatres: Sydney Opera House; Opera Australia; Capitol Theatre, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace; Sydney Lyric Theatre, State Theatre, and Marble Bar.

And if you are jazz lover, The Basement, Wine Banc Bar, Hero of Waterloo Hotel and Marble Bar should be on your list of the places  to visit.

  1. Take a ferry to one of Sydney’s islands

Pic 6 - Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney’s harbour is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and definitely deserves to give your attention to it. You can walk around it, climb the bridge or jump a ferry and go to one of the islands around Sydney, such as Fort Denison, Shark, Clark, Cockatoo, Goat and Rodd. You can also catch the Circular Quay ferry and meet the nature from distance – in its grandest splendour.

Pic 7 - Sydney Harbour

 

As you can see, there are a lot of interesting places to visit in Sydney. Our another special recommendation is that, if you have the time, take a walk and meet true Sydney on foot – its biggest treasure are its welcoming people.

 

About the author

Pic 8 - Author

 

Marie Nieves, student of economics who loves unusual trips and have a plan to travel the whole world. She has always loved to travel, and she loves to talk about her experiences. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and loves to surf the Internet. An avid lover of photography and regular author on High Style Life.

 

Photo credit:

  1. https://www.flickr.com/photos/blueriotriver/4607954703/in/photolist-82bYoT-b7fnr2-uBkDc-iUkCJS-cAon27-8NTWHa-KCMzj-qCX9F2-fCeyE3-odvEcC-d6WUhS-e2QAtt-oMGnkE-nMnB4b-8HgteW-8Lmzs9-cFPeF-8K3yd8-axJBbU-awSuhW-mQC5H-64tmMH-agYwfU-4WaqW-d6WYMs-hVXsMM-wq6Q51-e6YjLd-aZWz5a-7xhVt8-8KcQ3j-qed4GE-9SZsHm-bV6oLY-cKLMZh-jFD2fM-9e1K4m-48ZF1A-9cK4x2-8qd19w-a7LfaT-osj8bu-AxZn7-azWZeo-mzMds2-b8hspe-8daAic-8HdsWx-4sTWxq-sopFA9
  2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/philliecasablanca/2050515038/in/photolist-48cqFy-9cYTjy-4siwrq-doquZm-5Lnc35-4seuhk-eGEuij-4tRR1Y-9mB1Lb-5YCHvW-eGync8-7fUEb-bqea5f-bD94vk-bqe6Ry-bqe8HC-bqeb3E-bqeaAj-bqe8aN-bD97V8-9WCskw-jvMw1E-jvK7uT-qPP82t-9mB2hh-9mB3P1-9mxYaV-6gk2MJ-72ae4R-72ebeN-fnVabS-72ecVf-72aaer-72aeKn-72edgS-72abrp-72aekg-6HyLAf-72ad9V-72adED-72ebHW-xmjGA-xmjG8-xmjFB-2TPKW-72aaWr-72a9SH-72aa3X-72aawZ-72aaEx
  3. https://www.flickr.com/photos/insatiablemunchies/16422241530/in/photolist-ork6r-orkaJ-r2bhgm-qZomMa-7ezZbR-7ezZjV-deNGNv-nKnHrf-fF5qG-qYa373-vrPC2-aCe3MT-dkThyS-6YdLXN
  4. https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidneiensis/14953490262/in/photolist-oMoxFC-7nYQVB-8Ke8kW-ofr3be-7nVWdo-4hCcHq-8LmoS7-cGW5bw-5rSTFG-7Y8iv-bw9w1V-s5f2TM-8HeXgj-wvn6oz-bVGYAx-qyiggw-fCexM7-KCLm9-cGW4Wm-8LiRCR-xaQgTM-oi3jPq-98fRCV-eQLBjU-8Mdw9F-65tyRp-8LadnB-fnqdmt-8JYhy7-bx1DdV-8Woeay-4TzA1F-8LirYp-8KevJW-oeLFMi-b7fnz4-cUJtQh-fCezsY-cFPeG-8MekLd-b5dqmX-8L3G4j-9YG8gr-8LmTqh-7FBXsM-ei6vjJ-e85NfG-5eHLru-4RbCWh-HfnZE
  5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/paxtonscameravideodigital/14169297968/in/photolist-nA6mCQ-bHeLFg-sm2B6x-5u3Wcw-NBFqA-nyefmB-8kQ2WY-khs7Hc-wiQ4rQ-8R6E5a-8bSn7s-s4CjYx-rp5HgA-8KnEVR-dzm5Wu-dzm439-dzfzfg-dzfzSe-ayGJx6-nRgMDK-9S8aso-bQXDcc-nsThRx-dzgwAr-dzfwaT-dzn1AY-8MgSGY-71HuV3-8KnF5i-Ayh3i-4evE4e-4TDHtJ-6dedBe-6oQdFy-5pc4B-dnTm1-8MdNvM-8MgSP1-4TDH87-ejFLu4-ejMv3b-ejMuEd-ejFQjK-j6B3P-ejMqkq-ejFG7v-5YDjhJ-5Yz53H-5xiS3-ejFLzB
  6. https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidneiensis/14872977245/in/photolist-oEgTYa-9RfbCQ-8knTGy-8kodnw-82bYPk-8JVmM6-m4GNE-7hWneR-8zsv89-fBYhqV-6DVSEK-8kjPUT-fALQjS-dJjhie-8wZmDN-8Mzfqm-dGgGdH-odsrQb-pbqPnG-psVawV-ofpDgP-9bGPb2-bCrSgG-pMNqJ5-oFukxV-cDTR9q-8rfhQZ-2EjPs4-axFNtV-rryViJ-e44rTX-9oX4Tu-ohQArF-8JYkXf-6n9gcM-rryY17-4W1QyG-dmNxcR-8HggYq-aHKaap-6mHpe8-eYZW18-7s4grU-eBCSZ8-aauHqA-jxwdmi-oQzZZ-qhvmGS-82sQHc-7kXtfc
  7. https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewwu88/16108295783/in/photolist-qxre8D-ofswnr-5pfu1-4hFy9J-fykWtw-jNtS7T-7moufj-sbvV5p-KCU5a-9Lx2Jw-dbDkk-9hqAjw-7onEL2-97ZhPJ-aFjRDk-8NX8w9-cHyph7-dgWWG7-pMHQqr-9oX49f-iGW6QY-fCCJiQ-ejRdSX-pDAjMe-6mb6m3-s6ZWab-odFyoU-3QWCKp-ptwL6e-8zpCSr-a8XCCM-6mHomP-e85N8j-aHoKf2-veLQne-8K3g6r-4L4yCL-mHMh4b-oEgTYa-9RfbCQ-8knTGy-8kodnw-82bYPk-8JVmM6-m4GNE-7hWneR-8zsv89-fBYhqV-6DVSEK-8kjPUT

 

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Choosing Your Perfect Travel Bag

Choosing Your Perfect Travel Bag

For weeks now, you’ve been researching the Internet or pacing up and down the isles of outdoor adventure stores looking for your perfect travel bag to head out on your next outbound adventure. I remember those days quite fondly, researching for hours trying to learn all about the perfect travel bags for your travels. However, once I got out in the field, I quickly learned that there were a few important factors that I did not consider at the time. Most importantly, knowing whether you are pursuing a simple travel adventure, a working holiday, a hiking adventure, or a combination of all three activities.

Type of Travel Adventure

While reading many travel blogs, from other experienced travellers, two common themes became apparent. One, the number one packing issue is bringing too much stuff, especially clothes. Everyone kept reiterating not too bring too many clothes and pack light. For many, this is true if you’re simply travelling. However, there are a few things I’ve learned about choosing the right travel bag for your travels since leaving. I’ve now put together a multi-part series on my thoughts and lessons learned in picking the right travel backpack.
After 5 weeks in travelling in India, I was glad to have headed the advice as much as possible, using packing four packing cubes, when packing my travel backpack. While I still packed too many things, it was mostly little things that were replaceable that I eventually had to abandon in India. The second theme, whatever you pack you can find in another country. Everyone continues to discuss how many clothing or pharmaceutical items are replaceable or purchasable in other countries. While this is true, there are a few significant consequences and sizing factors that can result of this advice depending on the type of travel your pursuing.

Luggage

 

Consequences of Purchasing Clothing On The Road.

If you’re pursuing a working holiday adventure in Australia or elsewhere in the world, the biggest challenge is deciding on what clothing to pack. While I headed the advice of others to pack light and purchase items I needed once I got to Australia, I found the biggest challenge was reserving space for items purchased here. Ultimately, this led me to a pattern of dumping off fairly new work clothes at the conclusion of my stay in each city. This would include such items as dress shoes, dress pants or slacks, and dress shirts, as most of my work experience was business oriented. However, for others, it might be different if you’re working in hospitality or construction. As one might imagine, this became a costly experience in Australia and New Zealand to purchase new work clothes in each city.

The other factor is that clothing, in different cultures, is made in significantly different sizing than what some may be use to if you’re from North America. If you find yourself on the slightly bigger side, then finding specific types of clothing can be hard due to limited sizing. This can result in costlier expenses if you’re adamant about purchasing those specific types of clothing.

No Perfect Universal Travel Bag

Using my own example, it’s primarily related to my own personal experiences of the working holiday, however, you’re intended outbound adventure may compose entirely of travel and no work. If this is the case, then your backpack or luggage requirements are entirely different than mine. I’ve believe that for a working holiday, there really is no one bag that perfectly fits all my personal requirements. As a photographer, I travel with my equipment in a dedicated bag designed specifically for my photographer gear. My carry-on backpack doesn’t provide a lot of space for other personal items that some might be able to take in their carry-on bag.

 

Travel_Luggage-2

 

However, don’t expect to fit multiple pairs of shoes and work clothes in that bag as well. My new technique to try and get around the issue of over-packing is to compress my loose items as much as possible through compression sacks. In the next part of the series, I’ll discuss how and why to compress your loose items.

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How To Win The Fight Against Jet lag

How To Win The Fight Against Jet lag

 

Over the past few years of travel, I’ve been a serious victim of jet lag. My first day in Europe, I took a nap that lasted into an all day/all night coma and awoke at the ungodly hour of 4 am – a time where no sleeping pill will do the trick. My second time in Europe, I managed to take a catnap of only three hours. The real kick in the gut was when I traveled over to Australia from the USA. I had no intention of adjusting quickly, as I would be there for a year, and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep for three weeks straight (it’s times like these that make you happy that there are places like Leesa that make comfortable mattresses). So as I prepared for my journey back home from Australia, I knew I had to get it right this time.

After researching tips and tricks and putting into practice on my own, I think I’ve finally hit the nail on the head. After almost 30 hours of flying and layovers, I managed to not only make it through my first day at home, but also go out that night with my parents and stay up late!

I decided if I could manage to succeed over jetlag on my upcoming trip from home to Thailand then I would write about my own personal tricks to jetlag. And here I am, another 30 hours later of flying with four stopovers, and I’m alive and kicking.

So how did I manage to beat jetlag after being so defenseless just a year prior? I’ll let you in on my tips right now:

1. Do the math

The most important thing you can do to ensure you will ease right into the next time zone is to figure out what time it is in your final destination. Set your watch to the local time, and try your best to take a nap (or sometimes a very much needed sleeping pill) in sync with when it would be a normal time to sleep at your destination. If you can manage to sleep even a little bit at the local sleeping time, this will help so much.

2. Eat Breakfast

I know it can be insanely tough to wake up when the airplane lights turn on after a little snooze. Even if it is normally 2 am in your hometown, the airplane is putting on the lights for a reason – it’s morning time at your destination. If it’s a longer flight, they will serve breakfast, and although it may be an ungodly hour to eat breakfast, you need to get on a normal eating schedule. This will wake up your metabolism and get your eating habits in sync, as well.

3. Exercise

For me, the best way to completely relax on an 8-hour plane ride is to have known I worked out at least 12 hours prior to my flight. You feel relaxed, refreshed and, at least in my case, very happy. Exercising will keep you body burning calories, your endorphin levels high and all around, keeps you energized for the long haul. Alternatively, I always love to exercise when I land. No matter how tired I am, I find if I get right to it, walk around the new city I’m in or even go for a run in the hotel gym, this will keep your energy levels high throughout the day. Also, staying healthy while traveling is vital to ensuring a successful trip.

4. Keep Moving

To go along with the previous point, as soon as you land, you have to keep yourself moving. I found that the reason I slept half the day away in Ireland was because I allowed myself to take a “cat nap.” I like to put everything away once I arrive, put on my waling boots and hit the town. Whether it’s a walk on the beach, a hike in the mountain or just grabbing a coffee with a friend, you have to keep both your mind and body stimulated.

5. Keep Those Lids Wide Open

I know this is the easiest advice to give and the hardest advice to take, but it’s imperative to just stay awake as long as you can. If you can keep moving throughout the day, it makes it so much easier to stay awake until a normal sleeping hour, than if you allow yourself to nap. The times I stayed awake the entire day, I woke up with little to no jet lag!

Now, I know it all sounds easier said than done, and trust me I’ve been there once, and I definitely will be there again. If you absolutely need to nap, no biggie! The most important thing you need to do while traveling is to listen to your body, but if you can follow a few of these steps, I promise it will be so much easier to transition into local time and enjoy your adventures.

ABOUT: Kelly Schwantes (otherwise known as KP) is an Outbound Ambassador. Florida-born, Sydney-based KP has traveled to 30 countries, studied in three and lived in two – all before turning 22. In between trips, KP likes to practice yoga, write, run on the beach and plan the next big adventure. If you want to read more, check out her blog on all things travel: www.whereintheworldkp.com

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Gili Islands – A Scuba Diver’s Paradise

Gili Islands – A Scuba Diver’s Paradise

Just a ferry ride away from Bali are the beautiful islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno.

I stayed on Gili “T”, where I put my new scuba certification skills to the test. And this was the absolute perfect location to do it! The water visibility was amazing and the ocean teaming with an incredible variety of coral and fish.

Sunbeds

When I arrived and checked into Gili Yoga, I was half-drugged from the dramamine I had taken, just in case my seasick-prone-side decided to rear its ugly head. And I was incredibly hot and fatigued after lugging my suitcase from the dock in the dead heat of the midday sun. A fun fact is there are no motorized vehicles allowed on this tiny island, just bikes and horse carts. Which is fantastic. Except when you are about to keel over in a medicated state. And I couldn’t take a nap because I hadn’t realized this was a Muslim island, so the afternoon prayers were playing on the loudspeaker, rather close to my lodging, right as I was checking in.

Horse and cart

That aside, Gili T and I totally got along.

I rented a bike and in a leisurely couple of hours, I circled the entire island. These are some of the quaint eateries, hotels, shops and beaches I discovered along the way.

Beach Gili

Shelter

Beach Store

Beach coral shackSwingbeach bar

I carried my snorkel mask everywhere I went because I never knew when I might spot a turtle just 10 feet offshore. I’d wade in waist-deep, duck my head beneath the water and be surrounded by as many as six hawksbill turtles feeding on the sea grass. Totally amazing.

I stopped to get a massage for $15 or less at one of many massage spas, whenever the urge struck. That happened often.

I spent hours in the late afternoon sun ambling along less-crowded stretches of beach, combing the sand and shallow waters for shells. This is one of my favorite things to do on any beach in the world, especially in the wee morning hours or as the sun is fading. You never know what you’ll find. I entertained myself making word art with the prettier pieces of coral I found.

Outbound coral

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And I went scuba diving. It. Was. Awesome. I’d wake up and walk over to Manta Dive to join the 9 am dive, where we would cruise for 10 minutes on a boat to one of the many dive sites. On the first day, I dove Shark Point.  We descended to a 60 foot shelf, then did a drift dive where I wanted to shout “Wheeeee!” as the current whisked me along like I was at a water park (so fun!), and then did more exploring at a 30 foot shelf. We saw three baby whitetip sharks, turtles, needlefish, anemones, lionfish, blowfish, angel fish, sweetlips and clownfish, not to mention huge sea fans and coral. The second day I dove Manta Point, and although I didn’t spot any mantas, I saw more sharks and lionfish, along with a cuttlefish, a bandit sea snake and a bat fish.

Niki Wetsuit

Sea Snake
Where’s Waldo?

Turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although Gili T is known as the ‘party island’ of the three Gilis, I was in bed by 9 pm each night. I was flying solo, and I had been traveling for almost two months straight. I was happy as a clam (pun intended) to just chill. Plus, I was a little nervous about my first dives post-certification, and I didn’t want to be hungover and feel like death on the boat. Or worse, I didn’t want to put myself, and the little hole in my heart, at risk of any danger by not being in the best shape possible.

Gili sunset

My verdict of Gili Trawangan: hooked. I would definitely return to the Gilis, and next time I’d check out Gili Air and Gili Meno. Have you been to the Gilis? Which island is your favorite?

STAY

Although my room at Gili Yoga was fine, I probably wouldn’t go back. On my bike ride, I decided I liked the south side of the island best for lodging and the north side best for hanging out during the day to swim and snorkel with the turtles. I wouldn’t necessarily stay in the north as it was fairly removed from the main strip (unless you want quiet & seclusion) and there were unlit and non-bike-friendly sections of the road.

So drum roll…these south island hotels would entice me to go back: Hotel Vila OmbakThe Trawangan Resort, and the Pearl of Trawangan.

ABOUT: Nikki Near and Far is an Outbound Ambassador. She’s a San Francisco-based adventurer who marvels at natural wonders, world cultures and really old stuff. She’s talented at eating cheese and chocolate, making crafts and climbing mountains. If you’d like to read more visit: www.nikkinearandfar.com 

Nikki Coral

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