Friday, April 20, 2012

Affordable vacation housing

Every once in a while I learn about something and all I can think about is why I'm finding out about this NOW! As I've decided to take a travel break I find out about It's a way to submerse yourself in a city, and as these have kitchens a way to save on food. I can just picture myself shopping in Budapest and staying for a week in my own little slice of Europe. For $134. FOR A WEEK PEOPLE! Granted Budapest is pretty affordable anyway but I'm thinking it would be possible for me to travel to Budapest for under $500 total with these rates (and a free plane ticket of course...which seems to be the only way I travel!)

The site has properties in several cities so if you are planning on travelling to Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, or Istanbul...check it out!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Travel With a Purpose: Pick and Choose Voluntourism

Volunteer Guide offers a variety of time options from 15 minutes to a full vacations. And then from there you can choose what you are interested in helping with:

New Ideas
Animal Welfare
Helping Children
Community Development
Environmental Protection
Health & Safety
Poverty & Homelessness

And if you pick Helping Children you can choose from:

  • Volunteer At Summer Camp for Children with Special Needs
  • Alleviate Suffering of Babies with AIDS and HIV
  • Share Art Appreciation with Children Abroad
  • Build a School in a Developing Nation
  • Help Orphans and Abandoned Children
  • Volunteer For A Medical Mission
  • Teach English Abroad
  • Improve Children's Dental Health
  • Cultivate Music Appreciation Among Children
  • Help Deaf Children Experience Their World
  • Inspire Autistic Children
  • Make Your Gap Year Meaningful

  • Basically Volunteer Guide is the place to find your next voluntourism vacation! Some of the ideas are found in more than one category (helping children and community development has a lot of crossover) so ideas won't get lost if you one look at one section. Look around. See if something calls your name!!

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Sounds of Morocco: Part 2

    I think people are surprised that Morocco is an Islamic country, but the women are so bright and colorful. Many women do wear their head covered but not all, and the colors of their clothes are often indicative of the region they live in. Berbers are the indigenous people of Morocoo and are nomads who live in cave (not to be confused with desert nomads like Bedouin). Our night in Midelt included a dinner at the hotel which had live music and dancers. Somehow I didn't get a video of the high pitched singing of the women (almost like a wail) but the movements are shown. Almost like fully clothed belly dancing. These women shake their hips like Shakira!

    There were some motions to get us to join but we declined. It was a long day, and I probably would have done it WITH someone, but Nancy and Cynde were not inclined LOL!

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Oh how we love lists!!

    So many places where to start? I have friends who don't travel as much as I do and when they ask me where they might go on vacation, I don't know where to start!! Do you want nature or culture? People or peace? Calm or Chaos? I have seen (and enjoyed all of those!) So instead of a place I will tell people a website to check out. It condenses the world into 100 places.  And while you don't have to see them all to be happy, at least you have a place to start!

    I've only been to 17, and frankly a couple on the list I'm not really interested in seeing, but it gives you an idea of what you can choose from!

    1. Los Angeles | California | North America

    23. Seattle | Washington State | USA | North America

    24. Puerto Rico | Caribbean

    30. Key West Florida | USA | North America

    31. New Orleans | Louisiana | USA | North America

    35. Prague | Czech Republic | Europe

    42. Walt Disney World | Florida | North America

    49. New York | USA | North America

    51. Washington DC | District of Columbia | USA | North America

    53. Rome | Italy | Europe

    57. Paris | France | Europe

    73. Las Vegas | Nevada | USA | North America

    74. St Tropez | French Riviera | France | Europe

    75. Venice | Italy | Europe

    79. San Francisco | California | USA | North America

    88. Marrakesh | Morocco | Africa

    97. London | England | UK | Europe

    See how many you have visited!!


    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Travel with a Purpose: Bucket List Travel Adventures

    Bucket List Travel Adventures is based in Toronto and helps travellers who are interested in travel to Peru and Africa. These adventures last several days to include both volunteer opportunites and airfare from Toronto. They do offer pricing from other cities though.

    Description of the volunteer activities:
    Saccaca Community Volunteer Work (B, L, D) We will be volunteering in the Saccaca community 4 1/2 hours outside of Cuzco. Most of our porters for the Inca Trail live in this community and it was a logical choice for our next project. We will be building a local community centre and tasks will include building mud bricks for the project, building, painting, crafts, games as well as many other activities that the whole family can participate in. A chance to get your hands dirty and help out and become members of this community. Overnight Home stay.

    There seems to be quite a bit of hiking as well so make sure you are prepared to work! Rebekah kas shown interest in Peru for her trip...I'm not holding my breath (yet) because she has changed already (twice!)

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Sounds of Morocco part 1

    Our hotel in Marrakech was right behind a Mosque so we woke up at 5:30 AM to this. But I loved it! It's part of the Islamic experience for a traveller!

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    The Birthday Project and the March update

    March was obvioulsy a productive month for my bucket list! I went to Morocco and rode a camel! But that deserves a post of its own (complete with video!) So I'll list the other things I ended up doing (and not doing in March)

    I didn't read a single book or watch a single movie! Which means in April I need to hit the books and press play. I did finish Midnight Cowboy yesterday (it took me a couple days), and wonder WHY DO ALL THE SAD MOVIES WIN THE OSCAR! I think people sit around and change endings JUST TO WIN A STATUE!! If you haven't seen the movie, I hope I'm not giving it away by saying it's sad, but then I figure, it won Best Picture, you should know it's sad already!

    My garden is moving along, so I am going to cross the "plant a garden" portion off my list but still need to learn how to use my pressure cooker when I receive all my bounty! Look at my black eyed peas! LOOK AT THEM!!!



    These fantastic peas were grown straight from a bag from the grocery store. Did you realize you could grow those beans you buy to cook? You don't have to buy special little packts. Grab a few from a bag you intend to cook and grow some more!

    I had meant to Drink Absinthe in Paris when I was there but OK SO OOPS! Totally forgot to do this, so I guess I will have to go back to Paris one day. What a tragedy! Since I need to complete 12 items in '12 to keep my Bucket List moving, I switched something out. I decided to perform a Random Act of Kindness for a stanger. I got the idea from Stephanie at Filling My Life Bucket. I also liked her criteria so I wanted it to be a baby with a soon due date, a single mom, and a list that had a couple things bought (so I know it was real!) I forgot to add a a link to my site so she would know I wasn't a creepy stalker, but I did let her know that she was getting a gift on my birthday :) So Happy Birthday to me! and congrats to Amanda B from Hampton, Georgia who is getting this adorable thing (Rebekah loved hers!!)

    Eventually I want to take part in a complete Birthday Project. If you've never heard of them it's an organization who helps you give on your birthday instead of worrying about receiving! You do a random act of kindness for every year you were born. But I want to keep it to the monetary limit of the age I am too. So I think next year I want to do 39 random acts of kindness and spend $39 doing it! If you need an idea for your birthday or for you bucket list, check it out!!

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Bucket List: Fashion and Wellness

    This is a pretty weak section for my Bucket List. I'm sure as I read more lists I'll come up with more ideas but this is it for now~

    Spend 3 months getting my body in optimum shape

    Learn Krav Maga

    Master the Pincha Maurasana pose
    Take a makeup lesson

    Run a half-marathon
    Walk a full marathon

    Be able to do the splits
    Do 100 consecutive pushups

    Complete the Tough Mudder

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Travel with a Purpose: All Hands Volunteers

    There are a lot of volunteer projects that charge money. All Hands does not. Once you get yourself to the project they take care of your food and shelter and general needs. HOWEVER, this is NOT a spa day. You WILL work. You will learn and you will make a difference. This is one organization I am very interested in because they work on timely disasters. So if a major earthquake or tsunami hits and you want to know how you can help out a foreign area beyond donating money. This is a fantastic idea.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Fears of travelling debunked

    I think that most people who love to travel get a lot of flak from people who don't have the wanderlust. Why go outside the country to see things when our own country has so much to offer? I get this question ALL THE TIME. I try to be polite. Personally, I want to travel to great distances as young as possible because I see my parents and aunts and uncles and frankly aging sucks. I probably won't want to fly 6000 miles when I'm 70. But then again knowing me I probably will. Regardless, why wait? It's not that I don't want to see America. I do! It's just that most of it is a car ride away (and I live in Texas people!) My parents own an RV I will likely inherit someday so I can RV my way across the country in my 70s and 80s. But for the next 30 years I want to see the rest of the world. And here are some great travel fears debunked.

    My personal favorites (and the ones I hear the most are):

    One of the biggest fears about traveling is crime. And I admit that crime is a concern for me while traveling. It certainly can happen so you have to keep yourself safe. But some people take this fear way too far.

    My family was all up in arms over the fact that I booked a private excursion for us on Jamaica. Images and stories of past horrid crime were flowing freely. I calmly called the company and discussed their fears and then looked up facts. Turns out that San Antonio is probably more dangerous that Falmouth, Jamaica any day of the week. Though I'm not planning a trip to Kingston any time soon.

    I’ve heard some people cite terrorism as a big concern when they decide where and when to travel. However, I think it depends on the events going on in the world and the country in question. The less prominent terrorism is in the news, the less likely you’ll hear it being used as a reason not to travel.

    You wanna hear about this? Travel to an Islamic country. I can't tell you how many ignorant comments I got about Morocco before I went. And the worry about it being "near" Libya. Buy a map people.

    It’s always a good thing to check out the diseases you might face while traveling. You don’t want to catch malaria, dysentery or typhoid while enjoying your travels. However, you can preempt a lot of these diseases by getting immunization shots. If you keep clean and avoid dirty water, you’ll immensely decrease your likelihood of catching anything.

    Ok I do consider this a real worry. But it's not stopping me. We have a great health system here and I have good insurance. I got my shots and watched the water I drank and foods I ate and I was fine.

    Jet Lag however is a mofo!

    So what are your fears? What is stopping you from seeing what you want to see? As you get in your car to drive to the store (which is far more dangerous than a terrorist threat) know that traffic abroad can be just as deadly. But it doesn't even put a dint in our activities at home? Why would it stop me abroad????

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Eiffel Tower pictures

    I went to Paris with a plan. I wanted to show my aunt as much of Paris as I could. I had already been to Paris twice. I like it, but I don't love it. It's beautiful and legendary and all, but when I think of the whole world out there, this is one of the places I don't think of as required. But everyone wants to see this:




    My aunt had made the comment during the day that she didn't understand what was so romantic about Paris. I had taken her to eat and the Louvre and to eat and to see the Arc de Triomphe and to eat. I realized that I took her to see MY Paris. MY Paris isn't romantic because *I* am not romantic. I don't like chocolate much, flowers wilt and die and frankly I can open my own door. But my aunt wanted to take her husband (who is romantic) to Paris next year and I realized I was doing her a grave injustice by showing her the foodie side only. So I took her back and showed her this:


    And my personal favorite:


    She fell in love as most people do. This is by far one of the most beautiful sights in the world. I think I read somewhere that this is the most recognizable landmark in the world. If you find yourself in Paris be sure to take the Metro to the Trocadero. Once there it's easy to find the view. However, the metro itself is like casting dice, switching eight times, jumping through fire and then spinning three times. Don't do this your first day. Get to know the Metro first before you plan your excursion here. But as you can see it's completely worth the ticket!
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