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Don’t Ride Elephants on Vacation!

We have all seen photos of people riding elephants in Thailand while on vacation and wanted to check that off our bucket lists. I was just like you until I heard about the appalling torture these poor animals go through, just to get them ready…

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We have all seen photos of people riding elephants in Thailand while on vacation and wanted to check that off our bucket lists. I was just like you until I heard about the appalling torture these poor animals go through, just to get them ready to be ridden.   These majestic creatures are beaten and abused just so tourists can ride them.  AN elephant doesn’t have the rights a human does, so we have to speak up for them.

Don’t feel bad for wanting to ride an elephant, shoot; it’s been a dream of mine for years. I had no clue as to the widespread abuse these poor creatures endured, instead, the incredible photos and videos captivated me. Just picture yourself sitting upon these gargantuan beasts as they trudge through picturesque jungles and wade through uncultivated rivers. Thailand is a land of mystery and undiscovered beauty, so why not ride an elephant to top off the trip? You shouldn’t because it’s only proliferating these animals abuse and neglect.

The elephant is notorious for never forgetting, so why would you want to be apart of a smart animals’ demise.

The Asian elephant is an endangered species as there are less than 2,000 living in the wild in the jungles of Thailand. Many are being displaced due to rampant deforestation and illegal poaching. The elephant tourism industry is responsible for the illegal capture and trade of these endangered animals. These wild elephants, many are captured as babies must then be trained for foreign tourist to ride them. This training is considered torture as violent techniques are employed.

 

Baby elephants are tortured so they will allow people to ride them, which is quite unnatural to them. The process of taming these baby elephants is called “Phajaan” or “the crush.” This process involves stealing the babies away from their mothers and licked in very small cages, where they are beaten into submission using clubs and sticks with sharp hooks on the ends. These barbaric techniques aren’t subject to any regulations, as the Thai government simply looks the other way.

These poor baby elephants are continuously tortured until their spirits are broken and sometimes they die in the process.

An elephant’s spine isn’t strong enough to properly support the weight of a human. Years of being ridden create extreme pain in these animals and often when they stop performing, they are put down. Many organizations try to save these ill-fated creatures before they are killed.

Most travelers have no idea of the rampant torment involved in elephant tourism. An excellent organization is trying to change that, the Elephant Nature Park. Located in the jungles of Northern Thailand, the ENP is involved in the protection and care of mistreated elephants as well as educating tourists.   Over 30 elephants are being cared for on the 250-acre park. Tourists are brought in to learn and care for these regal animals in the proper ways. Here, you can walk the animals; feed them and even help them bathe in a river.

The park offers visitors the chance to make a difference in an elephant’s life and stay connected long after their trip receiving progress reports and updates. Also, the park is registered as a non-profit foundation; so all proceeds go to help the elephants.

Elephant training has been going on in Thailand for hundreds of years, but now their sole purpose is tourism. Before they were used in the timber industry and even in the Thai military.

I won’t think poorly of you if you have ridden an elephant in the past. However, if you chose to ride them knowing what torture then endure, I’ll know how you feel. Sure, the experience would be memorable, but the poor elephants won’t soon forget either. Can you handle being part of hurting these beautiful creatures… I know I can’t.

If you’d like to donate to the Elephant Nature Park (ENP), here is a link. Travel with your heart and let’s stop the torture of these magnificent animals for good.

 

 Photos courtesy of TheGuardian, YouTube, elephant-world, speak up for the voiceless, Kaleenaskaleidiscope 

Read the full article over at the ExpertVagabond 

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Guides

The Many Benefits (And A Few Downsides) Of Traveling After A Breakup

  

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Obviously, breakups can be devastating. And when you’re that low, it’s hard to imagine even leaving the house, let alone going on vacation! But there are actually a lot of great benefits of going on a solo vacation after a breakup. Obviously, there are a few downsides as well. But for the most part, taking that time for yourself to explore and reflect can be just what the doctor ordered when you find yourself depressed and lonely.

Here are all the things you’ll learn when you travel after a breakup.

YOU’LL LEARN TO LOVE YOUR OWN COMPANY

One of the hardest parts about being recently single is the sudden and dramatic increase of time spent by yourself. When you were in a relationship, it seemed like your entire life revolved around time with your partner. So the transition can be tough and being alone can drive you crazy at times. But forcing yourself to travel in those moments helps you make the transition into being comfortable alone much faster. Because you have no choice! You don’t even have friends around to keep you company.

You’ll be eating alone, sleeping alone, and doing every other activity in-between alone. It’s a trial by fire, but when you make it through you’ll be more confident and comfortable with yourself than you’ve been in a while.

YOU’LL MAKE FRIENDS YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE

Sure, going on vacation with a partner can be wonderful. But you’re unlikely to connect with any strangers or make any new friends on a couples vacation. Which is fine, of course. But making new friends and interacting with locals can be a very enjoyable and fulfilling part of a good vacation. And when you’re vacationing alone, you almost need to make new friends and make a few connections to make sure you don’t go crazy!

Plus, meeting new people, especially while in a different country, can really open your mind to new experiences and perspectives. And sometimes that’s what a great vacation is all about.

YOU GET TO BE SELFISH

When you’re in a relationship (at least a healthy one), there’s going to be a lot of compromising. You’ll have to go to all kinds of events and watch all kinds of TV or movies that you would never waste your time with but you do anyway because your partner really wants to. But after a breakup, that all goes out the window! And you get to be as selfish as you want and only do the things you want to do. It’s the best part about a breakup.

Now just consider how great that kind of selfishness is on a vacation! Most vacations are chock-full of activities every day. And now you don’t have to cater to anyone else’s needs and wants! It’s all about you, baby. So do exactly what you want to do. Even if it’s nothing at all.

YOU’LL GET YOUR GROOVE BACK

As we alluded to at the beginning of this article, a breakup can cause some serious depression, loneliness, and maybe more importantly, some serious self-doubt. Much of those post-breakup days are spent wondering what you did wrong and if anyone will ever love you again. It’s a terrible place to be and it can be very difficult to break out of.

But going on a solo vacay can help you regain your confidence and relearn how to trust your gut as fast as possible. You’ll be the only one making any decisions, and even if you make a few wrong ones, no one has to know but you. And, for the most part, that’s the best way to regain confidence in yourself: decision making. Trust me, after relying on only yourself for a week or two, you’ll return home more confident than you’ve ever been.

IT’S EXPENSIVE AS HELL

And now it’s time for the negatives of traveling alone after a breakup. I’m sorry! I promise I’m not trying to bring you down, there are just a few important negatives that are worth mentioning. Like that fact that traveling alone is a lot more expensive than traveling with a partner. All of a sudden you’ve gotta pay for 100% of everything? What the heck is that?!

But this isn’t that hard to avoid. Just be smart about your choices. Find some cheap airfare and lodging. And look into visiting places in their off-season so the prices won’t be too jacked up. You can still make it happen, I promise!

A LOT OF THE FUN OF STAYING IN A FANCY HOTEL DISAPPEARS

One of the best parts of traveling with a partner is getting to enjoy all the extravagant luxuries of a fancy hotel together. Wearing the robes, ordering the room service, taking advantage of the free couples massage. Getting to laugh and make jokes to each other while you enjoy the amenities make it all the more fun.

But, unfortunately, it’s just not as fun when you’re by yourself. Frankly, it’s a little depressing. It’s almost like, “What’s the point?” Ya know? But here’s the twist… you ‘ll save a lot of money by not bothering with the fancy hotels! See, I twisted it! It’s actually a positive!


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Destinations

Where To Stay In Paris

  

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Paris is known as the most romantic city in the world. But Paris is also a very large city, so if you bought the plane tickets then you may still be wondering where you should stay. The Eiffel Tower is not a hotel, so you probably need to do some more research to learn where you should stay in this beautiful city.

We talked to our colleagues and, of course, if you’re a traveler like we are then you should know this beautiful city. This is one city that is quickly crossed off any European traveler’s list. We have visited Paris countless times and so we know the best neighborhoods for you to stay in to make the most of your amazing Paris vacation.

MONTMARTRE 

Montmartre is one of the most special neighborhoods Paris has to offer. Tons of tourists flock here daily, but thankfully they have had no effect on the wonderful charm this neighborhood has to offer. Montmartre is hilly and the locals love this place of residence.

You will be charmed by the beautiful streets, shops, and restaurants around here and you can learn about the amazing history Montmartre has in the art world. Staying in Montmartre is a great way to fall in love with beautiful Paris.

SOUTH PIGALLE

Paris has a wild nightlife and South Pigalle is a neighborhood that proves it. You will find tons of trendy bars and it seems like new ones are added each and every day. But there aren’t just bars here, there are also plenty of wonderful restaurants too.

French food is some of the best food on the planet and you can happily pig out at the many delectable dining options that South Pigalle has to offer. If you are tired of eating heavy foods and need something fresh to clean your system then head to the organic market that takes place every Friday at Place Anvers.

BELLEVILLE-MENILMONTANT

Belleville-Menilmontant is home to a bunch of hip new art galleries. Check this place out if you want to see the emerging art scene that Paris has to offer. There are a lot of bars too because artists love to drink, so don’t worry, you can still get a taste of Paris’s thriving nightlife as well.

This is a great neighborhood if you want to experience just how multicultural Paris really is. You can find Brazilian food, Sicilian food, and even Rwandan food in this wonderful neighborhood.

OBERKAMPF

Oberkampf is right next to Menilmontant and is where West-African food reigns supreme. Once you’re done eating some tasty treats, then you can go check out some live music at the many live music venues around here. Then hop into a cocktail bar and drink some delicious cocktails and then get some more late night eats.

This is one more neighborhood in Paris that has tons of bars and clubs, they seem to flood every neighborhood all over Paris, which is a good thing. But partying shouldn’t be your top priority in Paris, eating should.


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Featured

Prepare Yourself Accordingly For High-Altitude Vacations

  

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Some of the most amazing and breathtaking vacation destinations out there are at very high altitudes. That’s why they’re such great vacation spots! Amazing views of nature! Whether the nature is covered in snow or various greenery, the sights and sounds of high-altitude towns and cities are always worth it.

But that high altitude can really cause problems for you if you’re not careful. So you definitely want to be properly prepared so your vacation isn’t ruined just because you’ve never been that high above sea level before. Luckily for you, I’m about to go through everything you need to know to make sure your high-altitude vacation goes off without a hitch.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Seems easy enough, right? You should do this before every vacation. But specifically, when it comes to high-altitude destinations, you’ll definitely want to look into what other people have experienced while being in that city, enjoying its various sights and hikes, or even just flying into the airport. Let other people’s experience be your guide!

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE YOUR TRIP

There are a lot of medications out there that treat altitude sickness, but many of them require a prescription. So be sure to sneak in a quick visit to your doctor before you go. If medication isn’t your thing (and we wouldn’t blame you), there are also plenty of natural remedies that can help. Specifically, things like ginger tea and lavender oil can be very helpful.

DON’T PUSH IT

If you’re anything like me, you always try to make the most of your vacation and end up completely exhausted by the end of it because it was just non-stop activities. But you have to be careful and take it easy when in high altitudes. Especially in the first few days as your body acclimates to the change. So if you’ve got plans of taking a big hike, save it for the backend of your trip.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE IN SHAPE

Well… at least as in shape as you can comfortably get. Don’t get me wrong, even the fittest person in the world can still come down with a bout of altitude sickness. But it also should be easy to believe that the better shape your body is in, the better chance it has to stay healthy during an aggressive altitude change. Not to mention, if you’re taking a vacation in a high-altitude spot, you’re probably about to do a lot of hiking!

STAY HYDRATED

Duh. You should always stay hydrated. Your body constantly needs water, dummy! But high altitudes can definitely lead to dehydration. And, in case you didn’t know, dehydration is bad for your body! And this doesn’t just apply to the days you’re actually on your trip. You should do a little prep work and try and drink more water than usual in the weeks leading up to your vacation as well.

TAKE IT EASY ON THE ALCOHOL

This is a tough one, I know. What’s a great vacation without some alcohol?! But, you have to be really careful with your alcohol intake while in a high-altitude location. Alcohol can contribute to dehydration no matter what altitude you’re in. So it’s probably a good idea to not double down on your chances of getting dehydrated. A few drinks are fine but don’t overdo it.

EAT!

Our bodies tend to burn more calories when in high altitudes. And this can obviously be dangerous as you’ll need that extra energy to continue to enjoy your vacation. So go crazy! Eat more than usual and just load up to make sure you have the proper energy levels. You’re welcome!


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