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Solo Travel can Save Your Life

Solo Travel  Traveling alone is a wonderful thing that everyone should experience at least once in his or her lives. It allows you to connect with your inner self and the environment around you. Far too often, we become so involved with outside forces that we neglect our intimate self. Traveling solo breaks you from […]

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Solo Travel

Traveling alone is a wonderful thing that everyone should experience at least once in his or her lives. It allows you to connect with your inner self and the environment around you. Far too often, we become so involved with outside forces that we neglect our intimate self. Traveling solo breaks you from many of the bonds that tie us down and frees your mind to be alone. Connecting with nature and distant cultures opens up one’s self to an interesting perspective on life. I enjoy quiet time as it is so rare nowadays, that is why I wrote this blog.

Solo travel was my key to finding my true self and opening up my mind to new, exciting experiences.

These are my solo travel tips that can help you survive being alone when on our modern world, no one it really alone.

Off Season

Who likes busy, overcrowded resorts and vacation spots? Not me, or anyone traveling solo. The whole idea of traveling solo is to get away and have some peace and quiet, that’s why traveling during off seasons is preferred. This is effective for multiple reasons, first it’s cheaper and second it’s less populated. I love saving money and I love being alone, win-win. I also advise traveling to the opposite season from your own. Meaning, during summer in the Northern Hemisphere, travel south into the Southern Hemisphere, for their winter.   This will help you isolate yourself from the crowds and high prices.

Single room/ticket deals

Many hotels and resorts have vacancies that they need to fill last minute and these are always great deals. Check ahead so you aren’t left homeless, and keep an open mind, some last minute vacancies are less desirable.

Along these same lines, many attractions and shows will have single tickets available for a huge discount. Theatres and concerts often have single tickets and groups tend to not want to be split up, so another deal for the solo traveler. I find this especially true in places like Las Vegas, Branson and Macau, where there are just so many shows.

Exchange rates

Let the world markets decide where you travel, if you want to maximize your money. Exchange rates can swing up and down and depending on where you are traveling to, and where you are coming from the savings can be huge. It benefits you and your wallet to check these exchange rates before you book your travel. Currently the US dollar to Euro favors the American dollar, so it’s cheaper to travel to Europe from the US instead of vice versa. Save yourself the trouble and do a little due diligence before you pack your bags.

Split rides

New city new adventure: grab an Uber or Taxi and split the fair with someone. This is a great way to save money and maybe make a new friend. The less we are shut off from people the more we will internalize everything, so on occasion, a new friend helps.

Free Museums

Museums and Zoos can be expensive attractions to visit, so look out for cities that offer free admissions. Last time I was in New York City, my wife and I went to the Guggenheim, a wonderful museum that cost us $30 per ticket. That may not seem like a small fee but these little expenses really add up. Check out Washington DC or London, both cities offer free museums and zoos and both are world class. Check out the world-renowned Smithsonian Museum collection in Washington, DC or the British Museum in London.

Solo Travel Organizations

Check out solo travel organization like TravBuddy or TravelChum, which link up solo travelers who want an accomplice to adventure with. These services find potential roommates or travel buddies for you to go on excursions with or just save money on accommodations.

Hostels

Don’t overlook hostels and their guests’ general way of life. Backpackers from all over the world have been utilizing hostels for decades as cheap accommodations but more than that, they represent a way of life. Hostels are home to free spirits, vagabonds and nomads from all walks of life. You are guaranteed to make new lifelong friends staying at hostels and you will really open up your mind to the way other people think and live.

Enjoy your solo travel adventures and I hope you find whatever you are looking for, all your answers are out there, and you just have to find them. When travelling alone, try to use the time to self reflect, meditate and focus on your own spiritual growth.

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Travel

Travel Photography Tip #1 : Vantage Point

Vantage Point: A beautiful and instagramable travel photograph doesn’t just appear out of nowhere, instead, it is created. Photography can make anybody nervous and unsure about your approach, but a good eye is a start. Having a keen eye is crucial to being a photographer, but what about us normal, non-professional picture takers? That’s why […]

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Vantage Point:

A beautiful and instagramable travel photograph doesn’t just appear out of nowhere, instead, it is created. Photography can make anybody nervous and unsure about your approach, but a good eye is a start. Having a keen eye is crucial to being a photographer, but what about us normal, non-professional picture takers? That’s why I made this blog, for people who want amazing pictures but don’t know where to start. Let’s get your Instagram account some hearts and maybe some recognition from your friends and family.

I’m no Ansel Adams or Annie Leibowitz, but I sure as hell can take some cool travel pictures that will turn heads. I take the time to know the proper protocol that a professional may follow and I practice. That’s what is so convenient about digital photography, you can trial and error all day and all you have to do is erase your memory card and start all over again.

 

My first tip for taking amazing travel photography is Vantage point. This is the view that a photograph is taken from. When I speak of vantage point being important to photography, I’m talking about changing up the normal human eye level view. The most common vantage point for travel photography is eye level because it’s the easiest. Sometimes to make an omelet you must crack a few eggs.

A novice photographer will take most pictures from eye level and the results will look average at best. To spice it up here are my 4 keys to changing your vantage point.

 

1- Height

Get above the action to make a photograph memorable. A bird’s eye view is always a crowd pleaser because it’s not our normal view. The higher you get the grander the scale will become. A little work like climbing up a ladder or scaling some stairs will increase the majesty and magnitude of your photos.

 

2- Look Around

When taking a photo from eye level, scan around and see if something up or down takes your attention. A simple scan of your environment will sometimes reveal a very interesting subject and angle. Architecture and statues will benefit from this perspective. Sometimes an unusual perspective will be fascinating for the viewers. 

3- Subject’s Perspective

This is a harder concept to grasp but when shooting a subject, look at the world as it would. Meaning that if you are shooting a dog, try getting low and shoot it as if another dog was taking the picture. Similarly, if you are shooting a stature, try and get up to a higher vantage point to shoot it at eye level.

 

4- Get Dirty

This may be the most important and most overlooked tip for taking a great travel photograph. Sometimes you have to get dirty to get the job done. We all know you are wearing your new outfit but if you want a lasting pic, maybe you’ll have to ruin that shirt if you want the shot. If you aren’t totally prepared to lie on the ground or stand in a puddle to get the angle that makes the subject look epic, you will fail. Don’t be afraid to look odd, twist your body to contortionist levels to snap the most impressive picture.

Good luck out there and hopefully changing your vantage point will start you on the road to taking professional level pictures and ramping up your Instagram account.

 

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Destinations

Britons Get Stuck Abroad Due to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

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Britons get stuck offshore as they await the lifting of the recently imposed travel ban to and from the UK.

Many Britons get stuck abroad due to the recent travel bans imposed. Worries related to taxes, jobs, and Brexit get exacerbated as UK residents are forced to have lengthier stays in their current locations.

As more and more nations start imposing travel restrictions to and from the United Kingdom, more and more Britons get stuck in their present locations offshore. To halt the spread of the recently pinpointed highly communicable strain of COVID-19 virus, UK travel has come into a standstill.

23-year-old Heather Alder, a resident of Edinburg, went to Aarhus, Denmark with her fiancé last week. They had to visit her fiancé’s father and take him to do several tests for cancer. Alder and her fiancé were planning to go back to the UK this week but are now stuck in a farmhouse in Denmark due to the recent travel ban. “Even if the travel ban is lifted in a few days or weeks, we don’t know whether we can leave and we don’t know whether we can get back in easily,” Alder mentions.

Alder was able to secure a new job last month and she is grateful that her new boss has been so kind as to allow her to travel to Denmark. “My father-in-law’s house is about as remote as Denmark gets, so we’ve had to install new WIFI in order to be able to work from here. My boss has been wonderful about it all, but my partner is studying and working part-time for a Danish company, but pays tax in the UK. If we get stuck here for longer, we might have to report it, and he could end up having to pay tax in Denmark, where income tax is at 48%. This would have a big impact on our finances. It’s very stressful,” she shares.

The Brexit deadline is on 31 December 2020 and Alder does not know whether or not she will have to apply for a Denmark visa in case she will be forced to stay in the country for a longer period of time. “It’s very concerning that on top of everything, I now need to sort out my status here before Brexit. Due to Christmas closures, that means submitting documentation so I can apply as an EU citizen for the right to stay by 23 December. Nobody seems to have an answer as to what Britons in Denmark should do in the new year. Obviously, all our documents are in the UK, where we can’t return, which is making the whole process maddening and extremely worrying. The combination of Brexit and coronavirus has turned what was already a difficult situation into an unmanageable one,” Alder says.

The recent travel bans have caused further strain on many UK residents who are presently out of the country. Many of them complain about the need to go back to the UK in time for the resumption of work after the holidays. Nonetheless, Britons get stuck abroad and have to deal with the necessity of securing extended visas in their present locations and seek ways to do virtual ‘work-from-home’ arrangements while awaiting the lifting of the said travel ban.

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Travel

Tim Duncan Steps Up When The Virgin Islands Needs Him Most

NBA great Tim Duncan is really putting his money where his mouth is, as he returns to his homeland of the Virgin Islands to help in hurricane relief. 

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NBA great Tim Duncan is really putting his money where his mouth is, as he returns to his homeland of the Virgin Islands to help in hurricane relief. This is Duncan’s third trip back to the U.S. Birgin Islands since September when two category 5 hurricanes decimated the island. Back to back storms Irma and Maria ravaged the small island nation with heavy rain, 150 mph winds and devastating storm surges. Now Tim has dedicated his time, money and resources to rebuild his home islands.

 

Immediately following the first hurricane, Duncan started an online crowdsourcing campaign aimed at reaching a million dollars and he even pledged to match the first million. What a bold and thoughtful move, especially since no nations were stepping up.
Duncan was 13 when hurricane Hugo ravaged his island nation, so he knows first hand how difficult it is to rebuild after this sort of tragedy. He vowed to help his former home and he actually is doing it. Many times when celebrities offer their help, its all show, not with Tim, he’s the real deal.

 

16 months after he retired from the NBA, Tim is surrounded by fellow volunteers as he sets up tables for food distribution. SOme of the people ask for pictures and autographs, but that doesn’t bother him, as long as the line keeps moving and the people get fed.
This trip Duncan personally delivered an entire plane full of supplies, food, and medicine. The kind of stuff these people need the most, so he knows just how important this really is.

 

 

On this day, they originally planned to feed 500 people but ended up feeding 2200.
Duncan grew angry over the US government’s lack of urgency with relief efforts, even though the Virgin Islands are an American territory. That’s why he started the crowdsourcing fund which to date has raised over $2.6 million.

 

Duncan said, “I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter or anything, but holy s–t if social media isn’t the way to go.” None of this incredible relief effort would’ve even happened without Tim’s initial push.
Duncan didn’t just rush into this because he wanted to do it right. We have all heard horror stories about charities trying to help but end up failing miserably. He wouldn’t let this happen so he got help from his trusted advisor Wendy Kowalik.

 

Wendy interviewed San Antonio food banks to figure out the best ways to get bulk food and she researched airplane charters to get the food and supplies to the Virgin Islands.
So far Duncan alone has helped feed 10,000 of the islands’ 50,000 inhabitants and he has only gotten started. He said, “Sh*t happens, and you fix it…”

 

Duncan went on to say, “It’s only been a month and already people are forgetting about Harvey and what happened to Houston.” He continued, “Six months from now, people will forget about what happened here, even if there’s still no power on the islands. People have lost their homes and they’ve lost their shops. They’ve lost everything. Buildings are damaged and roads are ruined. I don’t know how to fix those things, but I didn’t know how to raise money or do food distribution or charter jets, and we figured all that out. We’ll figure this out, too. We’ll figure out how to rebuild the islands.”

 

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