round the world Travel Articles

 
3 Pieces of Advice for New Travelers
It’s the last day of the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge.  We’ve had a great time meeting everyone and reading and sharing your answers.  We’ve learned a lot from you and hope you learned too.   So for the final question, we are asking:   Here are Dani’s 3 pieces of advice for new travelers:   1. Smile and Laugh.  A lot.  Travel is fun, it’s exciting.  Don’t be afraid to smile and laugh at things you like.  Smiles and laughter are one of the few universal expressions – so even when you can’t use words, a smile and a friendly chuckle is all you need.   2. Stay Curious. When you are curious you learn. Go into travel with specific things you want to know more about, then seek them out.  Travel is the best education so use it.  And if you ever start to feel ‘blah’, try something new. New experiences and respark curiosity, and curiosity sparks you to try new experiences. It’s a pretty cool cycle to be a part of.     3. Travel Slow. When you stay in a place longer, you make more meaningful connections with people, have more time to discover local treasures, have the time to learn new skills and language, and you really get to know the culture and vibe of a […]
Travel Betters You Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually
When traveling, as well as in life in general, it is important to take care of mind, body and soul.   Feeding your spiritual side with new experiences and feeding your brain with mental activity are just as important in your RTW trip as getting outside and being physically active.  We need all 3 as humans to function well and grow so today on the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked you to get outside and do something new. Dani tells us about a time she rode ATVs in the woods of Mattawa in Northern Ontario. “In 2012 I got the opportunity to go ATV riding in Northern Ontario.  I was psyched as I’m pretty into anything that can pump my adrenaline, I love driving, and this was something new. What I never expected was how physical it would be. Turns out driving ATVs is not like driving a car.  It’s harder. It’s super fun, but controlling ATVs takes muscles, especially as you are going through miles and miles of winding trails in the woods.  Even on the smoother parts, the ATV constantly vibrates, and each little rut makes the wheels want to turn off the tracks. Also, on top of the surprising physicality of it, it takes a lot of mental stamina.  This was my first time, so akin to […]
Strange Cures
Today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked you: One of the ways we gave you to answer is to talk about strange cures you’ve learned while traveling.  Strange doesn’t mean bad or ineffective, some of these cures you may have not heard before but may work wonders.  When you are traveling, don’t doubt the local medicine.  At the very least you’ll get some good stories from it. Here are some ‘strange cures’ sent to us by some fellow travelers:   “My wife Larissa and I were snorkeling in the US Virgin Islands when I was bitten by a jelly fish. It was pretty painful in my side to the point it was hard to move. I stumbled back to our rental apartment when the caretaker there approached me yielding a large machete saying in his island patois, ‘I can fix that.” I flinched because I thought he was about to lance it or cut it out when he swung the machete down on an aloe plant that was next to me. He hacked the aloe leaf into pieces and told me to roast them in the oven and then apply them to the swollen area where I had been bitten. I did so and it worked. According to him the aloe sucks the venom from the body. I have no […]
Working While Traveling – It’s All About Being Creative
I have worked while traveling.  I am working while traveling right now (I’m writing this answer from Medellin, Colombia).  I’ve been a migrant worker planting cacao trees, I’ve bartended in hostels, I’ve photographed for money and barter, and was a freelance steel roadie for 5 years (the job allowed me to travel the USA), and I’m currently writing and running social media from a laptop anywhere I can find wifi.   There are so many ways to make money while traveling, today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked you:   Of course if you can find work online as a freelance writer, virtual assistant, web developer, medical transcriptionist – or any slew of online jobs that is awesome.  But not every can, or wants to do this, and many of these take some time before you actually see real money. So we came up with a few creative ways you could make money while traveling.   Busking: Busking is the art of entertaining in a public place for donations. It’s very common outside the USA, and very common inside it in some places like Las Vegas (all those characters you take your photo with are buskers).   If you have a talent or can come up with a silly way to entertain people you can busk. Keiichi “Kei” Iwasaki […]
The Art of Slowing Down
Slow down and enjoy an experience is one of our Indie Travel Manifesto values.   It is there because, until you learn to slow down, you miss out on life around you.  You need to stop, stop thinking about what you were just doing, what you need to do next, what you need to do now because you have stuff to do next week, etc.  Which is why today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked you:      You may fool yourself into saying, “I’m sitting in a cafe. I’ve slowed down!”, but how many tabs do you have open on your laptop and how many conversations do you have going in your phone?  You haven’t slowed down, you’ve sat down.  Big difference. Not everyone knows how to slow down.  I had no idea how to slow down until my first trip to Zagreb.  I would pass the same man, sitting on the same benches in the park, at least 3 times each morning.  He would be there for a few hours each day but I never saw him DO anything.  My curiosity finally got the best of me, so I woke up early one morning to go to the park and see what it is he is doing. Turns out – nothing. He was doing nothing.  He was a master […]
Learning The Hard Way
Sometimes you learn by doing something the hard way.  With travel this often becomes the case.  No matter how many tips you read before hand, inevitably something will go awry or you end up in a situation where the only way to learn is to do it yourself. So today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked:     Dani tell us one of the things she had to learn the hard way – How to use a squat toilet: “When I was in Croatia, on my first international and first solo trip, I was traveling down the coastline with three people I met in the hostel.  I was the only inexperienced traveler and somehow we came upon the topic of squat toilets. Now I had seen photos of them, and read about them, but I thought they were confined to the Middle East and China (the only 2 places I had ever read had them).  My new friends thought this hilarious and proceeded to school me on the widespread use of squat toilets outside of the USA, and started competing in a “Let’s scare the noob with squat toilet horror stories”. I learned they were used in modern places like France. I learned how easy it is to pee on yourself using them, I heard about fecal-painted walls and that liquid and […]
What is something you’ve learned from traveling?
Today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked a bunch of seasoned travelers to tell us 1 thing they have learned from traveling.   From silly to serious here is what fellow travelers have learned from traveling:     “I learned the hard way that, if you are prone to getting carsick yet sometimes travel via chicken bus, sit in the front.” – Jen Miner, The Vacation Gals “Skip your Lonely Planet—talk to bartenders and taxi drivers. Your guidebooks don’t know the best places to go. Bartenders and taxi drivers have their ear to the ground and always know what’s happening around town. Talk to them about where to go or what to see, and you can trust that you’re being given good advice.”   – Jeremy Scott Foster, travelFREAK “Travel has thought me that people are much quicker to open up to you if you show that you’re open to connecting with them. Just smiling at someone can ignite a conversation or turn the most grumpy salesman in a friendly chap.” – Sofie Couwenbergh,  Wonderful Wanderings  “I’ve learned that the level of customer service varies from country to country and city to city. What one is accustomed to back home can be very different (both good and bad) from what you experience when travelling so you just have to […]
What is your “Ah-Ha” moment?
For Day 20 of the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge, we’re asking you:   Here to tell us her ‘ah-ha’ moment is Dani, our head of social media:   “I’ve had a many ‘ah-ha’ moments when it comes to learning things on my travels, but the one I come back to is what happened to me on my very first international trip. I got off the airplane in Zagreb and headed to the line of buses that take you to the city.  I stepped onto the bus, and asked a little old Swedish couple, sitting in front, “Do you speak English?” Yes they nodded. “Is this the bus to Zagreb city?” The older women couldn’t hold back any longer.  She started giggling, grabbed her husband’s arm and says “Oh honey look! She has such a cute accent!” It was then that reality smacked me in the face… I was the one with the accent now! It was such an ‘ah-ha’ moment because up until that time it never dawned that I’m now the foreigner. This is not my country. I’m the one that speaks English funny. It was such an eye-opener for me. And also a great conversation opener, as I guess my shock of realizing I’m the outsider was apparent and the husband and wife quickly sat me down and started […]
How do you enjoy the simple moments and details when you travel?
Traveling around the world is exciting, its new, its a rush, but like any other drug, you might find yourself one day just ‘chasing the next high’.   Sometimes you get so caught up on finding that next big adventure, that next big adrenaline rush, that you become jaded to the small nuances that make the world beautiful.   Dani tells us what she does to step back and appreciate the small things: “I stop and sit.  I pick a park or somewhere relaxing and just sit and watch everything around me – the people, animals, the trees and the clouds.  What I don’t do is pull out my phone or camera.  I leave technology and distractions behind and just sit for at least an hour. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s downright frustrating just sitting and not doing something. I feel awkward. I want some kind of distraction – but that defeats the purpose of appreciating the small things.   When you force yourself to stop and sit, you start to actually SEE everything around you.  And you’ll realize there are a lot of little details that you’ve been missing out on with your ‘go go go’ mentality. “   This is such a great and simple exercise to practice. How do you seek pleasure in the simple moments and […]
How Can You be a Responsible Traveler?
Today we are super-excited to have Diana Edelman, author of DTravelsRound, co-founder of the Responsible Tourism and Travel Collective (RTTC), former full-time volunteer at the Save Elephant Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and all around ecotravel and responsible tourism expert guest post today on the Indie Travel Challenge.  Diana gives us her advice on:   “After working in the responsible tourism industry for a few years, I am always conscious of my travels and how they are — or could be — more responsible. I’ve seen the first-hand effects of what traveling irresponsibly does to animals, as well as cultures, and know how imperative it is that myself, and others, try to become more responsible in our adventures. Ecotourism is a vague term that encompasses a lot. By definition, it involves traveling to areas which are natural and minimizing the impact of those who visit. It affords travelers an opportunity to see nature, wildlife and more without causing harm. It is absolutely important to me. As places around the world become desecrated because of people visiting, species become extinct and importance is placed on “see it before it’s gone” is the new buzz term, it is incredibly important to me that preservation efforts are made. There are many ways people can travel more responsibly. Little things like shopping and eating locally, staying […]