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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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Travel

An Alarming New Technique Used By Human Traffickers To Abduct Women

The world we live in is a scary place full of danger and you should always be on guard, especially when alone.  Women should definitely be aware of their surroundings while in public.   Unfortunately, there are predators everywhere and they are waiting for you to be caught off guard.   You never know when danger […]

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The world we live in is a scary place full of danger and you should always be on guard, especially when alone.  Women should definitely be aware of their surroundings while in public.  

Unfortunately, there are predators everywhere and they are waiting for you to be caught off guard.  

You never know when danger will strike, just like it did for Savannah Nguyen’s mother of Appleton, Wisconsin. She was almost a victim of a ruthless crime syndicate that preys on women who are alone.

 

 

In today’s wild world, it’s important to be cautious of your surroundings and thankfully Savannah’s mom was and acted accordingly to avoid danger.  

She was leaving the local mall and was parked in an empty section of the parking lot until an SUV with dark tinted windows pulled up next to her car.  She thought that was weird since every other space in the entire parking lot was empty… she thought that was odd.

 

The mother of four felt immediately uneasy and wanted to get into her car quickly, but she struggled with her keys.

Once in her car, she noticed that there was something under her windshield wiper, but instead of getting out, she locked her doors, started up her car and sped away.  

 

Something in her gut just told her to drive away, and thankfully she did.  She could see whatever was under her wiper blade was flapping away in the wind, but she didn’t stop until she was safe in her own garage.

Her mother rushes into the house and tells her daughter all about what had happened and they investigated what was under her wiper blade.

When they looked under the blade, they found a small plastic bag with a ring inside and a note written on the bag.  The note said the ring was a gift and was free.

 

When Savannah realized what was happening she freaked out, her mother was almost a victim of human trafficking.  She had heard stories of women finding things under their wiper blade and when they got out to investigate, they were abducted.  

Luckily, her mother felt uneasy when that SUV drove up next to her car and she got out of there before investigating.  

 

Savannah wanted to get the word out so she shared her mother’s story on Facebook and the response was epic.  The next key step is for you to share this story and get the word out that human trafficking is real and is closer to home than you could ever expect.  Women and children are getting abducted all over America in big cities and small towns.  

Be safe out there, be aware of your surroundings and if you feel something is off, get out of there and tell someone.

 

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Travel

Stop Checking Your Bags And Start Living Free

Don’t Check your Luggage Airlines and airports are modern marvels which I’m amazed run as well as they do, but even well-oiled machines have their problems. Hundreds of airplanes, thousands of people traveling in different directions and each with bags of personal belongings, mistakes are bound to be made. There are too many moving parts […]

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Don’t Check your Luggage

Airlines and airports are modern marvels which I’m amazed run as well as they do, but even well-oiled machines have their problems. Hundreds of airplanes, thousands of people traveling in different directions and each with bags of personal belongings, mistakes are bound to be made. There are too many moving parts to trust a machine that big, that’s why I never check my luggage.

 

I hate checking my luggage when I fly and you should too. Checking a bag just complicates things and is essentially a waste of my precious time. I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of airline miles and the one thing I can definitively say is that checking luggage is bad news.  

I’m a professional traveler, one who lives out of a suitcase for weeks at a time and I never check my bag with the airlines. Checking luggage is another cost that these airlines tack on to an already hefty price tag. Checking bags cost extra money that I’d rather spend on my trip. Some airlines do offer free checked bags but restrictions usually apply, so its best practices to figure out your carrier’s baggage rules ahead of time.

 

Not only do most airlines charge you to check luggage, they regularly go lost and sometimes are even ransacked by airport employees. My mother had her digital camera stolen from a checked bag, granted she shouldn’t have checked her digital camera in the first place.  Theft and damaged bags is a serious problem that airlines and airports don’t seem to take seriously.

It’s no secret that airlines lose luggage and never give you a good excuse as to why. Many times they are just delayed because they missed a connecting flight, but any delay in not having your personal belongings can really ruin a trip.

 

Is there anything worse on a trip than the airline losing your luggage? How about checking your suitcase and when you get to your destination, something of value has gone missing? These scenarios can ruin a perfectly good vacation, so why put your fun in the hands of others? I’ve been burned by the airlines enough to learn my lesson and hopefully you can learn from my experiences too.

If you learn how to pack your carry on bag correctly and only bring the bare essentials, anyone can forgo checking of bags altogether. Now I understand that not every trip allows you to go checked bag free but to ease your travels I suggest you make an effort. Packing smart and planning ahead are your two keys to victory and a hassle-free experience.

 

I always tell people that if you can’t wear something multiple times during a trip then you probably don’t need to bring it. Of course, circumstances arise where you need to bring something special, in these cases you can make sacrifices to make it all fit. I tend to pack one less of everything I think I need. If I’m packing two pairs of jeans, I’ll toss one last second and go with my gut.

Always remember that hotels have laundry and it’s easy to do a quick load or two mid-trip to essentially double your wardrobe. Resorts and higher-end hotels will even offer a laundry service so you don’t even have to break a sweat. I love staying at AirBnb’s where you can choose laundry as one of your search criteria, so you know you’ll have in-house laundry.

For some people packing light is a terrifying ordeal and you can’t imagine not having choices. Sounds like my wife, but once she planned ahead and packed smart, she was amazed at how convenient packing light truly is. Save yourself the hassle of having a bulky bag when you get to your destination and enjoy the freedom of packing light.

Time is the most valuable asset we all have and you only get so much, so save as much as possible by not checking a bag. Arriving at the airport hours in advance and waiting at the gate for an hour or so is a real drag and is seriously cutting into your pina colada time. Save yourself an hour on each end of your flight and get your vacation on.

 

Tips to Pack Smart

Russian Doll

Everything has a home when you are packing smart, so learn from the Russian Dolls that your grandmother probably had. Russian dolls perfectly fit inside each other to save space, think about this principle with packing. Socks balled up can fit inside your shoes; extra purses should be packed with underwear or other small garments. If you pack like this then you will be amazed at how little space you actually need.

Plastic Bags

Pack each individual article of clothing in a plastic bag that has a zip top enclosure and vacuum seal each bag by sucking excess air out.  This packing trick is an excellent way to make extra room in your luggage and also helps you organize your bag.

Make a List

I’m a list maker and a double checker, but these practices actually help with packing smart. I try and plan out my outfits by checking what the weather will be like and packing accordingly.

Layers

Layers are your best friend when packing light. Believe me when I say that three shirts and a windbreaker pack much easier than a bulky winter jacket. Each layer can be worn separately to create varied looks.

Pack smart, pack light and never check your luggage again.


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Woman Finds A Puppy Abandoned In An Airport Bathroom With A Note

What would you do if you were traveling in an airport and you found an abandoned puppy in a bathroom with a note detailing how it was abused? Well, that is exactly what happened recently at the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.     A woman found a tiny 3-month-old chihuahua mix with a […]

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What would you do if you were traveling in an airport and you found an abandoned puppy in a bathroom with a note detailing how it was abused? Well, that is exactly what happened recently at the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

 

A woman found a tiny 3-month-old chihuahua mix with a note that said the owner was fleeing an abusive relationship and couldn’t afford to take the puppy with her but didn’t want to leave it with her ex-boyfriend who has already physically abused the dog.

 

 

The note said, “Hi, I’m Chewy, my owner was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t afford me to get on the flight. She didn’t wad to leave me with all her heart but she had no other option. My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet. I love Chewy so much, please love and take care of him. XOXOXOXOXOXO.”

 

 

 

Luckily the woman who found him alerted authorities and the little guy has since been relocated to Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue. This rescue has covered all of little Chewy’s veterinarian bills and has nursed him back to health. Now, the story of little Chewy has gone viral and there are tons of families that want to bring him home.

Chewy is being fostered and is currently up for adoption but so far, Connor and Millie’s has been absolutely flooded with people wanting to adopt the little guy. The ending to this story is very happy as he has another shot at a good life with a family that will love and cares for him.

 

 

It’s things like these that make us realize it is good in the world and we just have to look for it extra hard sometimes.

Animals shouldn’t be mixed up in our relationships and especially not in fights. If you see something say something…
Animal abuse is a serious crime and should be treated as such.

Luckily, little Chewy got out and is finding a new, safe home.

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