Category: Miscellaneous

How to get extra mileage from that trip of a lifetime

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“The trip of a lifetime” is a dream that many of us share but few of us dare to undertake. What’s the reason? Many times it’s not possible to do – in the best of circumstances – during the month we have off from work. Why? Well, if it were, most of us would have done it already.

When we speak of the trip of our dreams, we imagine surroundings and a routine very different from that which we live daily. It is an exercise which requires, above all, time.

In western society, we believe the biggest obstacle to taking “the trip of our dreams” is “breaking” with our daily lives – work, social relations, etc. Let’s not kid ourselves. Most of us would kill to break with our existing lives. Ten hours of a low-paying job, a 2-hour traffic jam, a  sandwich-on-the-run just to return to a 1.000-euro, heat-less studio where we’ll just gripe to our flat mate that things are going “same-ol’-same-ol’”.

In my opinion, the greatest hindrance to leaving is the fear of coming back. We’re overwhelmed with the scary idea that our “re-insertion in society or at our first job interview we’ll find ourselves facing the following query:

-”I don’t see what you’ve been doing for the last year (or two or three) anywhere on your c.v, could you explain that?”

Unfortunately, many companies won’t find any of the following replies valid:

-”I was exploring an infinity of unexplored corners of the world”; “I was breaking stereotypes”; “I was checking out realities diametrically opposed to mine”; “I was learning to reason things without defining them by the dictates of any one society”. (I’ think that’s important).

Painful as it may seem, this is reality. To come to terms with it, let me propose a solution: try to make your trip be significantly co-related with your profession. Naturally, this will only be possible if your profession is also your favorite pastime. If it isn’t, don’t go and mess up your trip.

Following are some examples to help inspire you:

Iosu López: Journalist by profession, this 29-year-old quit his job to embark on a trip that would take him from Alaska to Ushuaia. His premise was to travel only by land to complete his Panamerican journey and to record the many adventures of his trip on his blog. Upon his return, with all the material collected during his 11-month odyssey, he produced a documentary that caught the attention of Fnac. Today, he is a special envoy for the biggest Spanish media agency in New Delhi.

Kepa Acero: Surfer. He travelled around the world living by the slogan: 5 waves, 5 continents. For five months he spanned the globe searching for the perfect wave on each continent, an adventure which he shared with readers of his blog. When he got back, the Basque Television Network ETB dedicated a program to his trip. He has also published an article in the well-known magazine, Surfer Rule.

Lara Dunston and Terence Carter have been travelling since the late eighties. Together they have visited over 60 countries. It’s an adventure which has allowed them, among other things, to work for Lonely Planet. Their last project, Grantourismo, is a trip around the world which during 12 months will take them to 24 countries. The cool thing about this project is that it came about thanks to collaboration with Home Away Holiday-Rentals, which offered them lodging at the apartments the chain has around the world. In exchange, the couple writes about their travel experiences in their blog,and mentions the apartments they stay at.

As you can see, Internet can be a great ally for making that dream trip of yours not only a memorable travelling experience but one valuable for your professional career as well.

Round the world travel, one video at a time // Part two

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This time the videos that we’ve chosen will allow you to visit Egyptians in their heartland, feel the tranquility of the lower slopes of the Himalayas and enjoy the grandeur of The Big Apple. We hope these visual masterpieces inspire on your future trips.

Masr from Javier Morgade on Vimeo.

LAND OF HIGH PASSES from warmeye on Vimeo.

New York City – Timelapse from stimul on Vimeo.

Remember: don’t hesitate to send us those gems that you find along the way during your travels.

“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

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This Jack Kerouac autobiography sends us back in time to post-war America: as readers, we join a group of youngsters — fearless of breaking with society’s traditional values — while they hit the road to embark on a trip that will become more than just a trip, but a lifestyle. A lifestyle in which the destination takes a backseat to what happens along the way.

We travel to Chicago, Denver, L.A. and Mexico DF, but that’s the least of it. The main stage, remember, is the road itself. We’ll go on long trips in which improvisation plays the lead role and a slew of experiences involving sex, drugs and jazz take place.

At times, the graphic description of diverse situations can make you feel like you are in some jazz haunt in San Francisco listening to a black musician blow away on his sax. It was during one of these moments that I was inspired to compile a list of all those players described by Kerouac in his novel and include a playlist of their music which I happily share with you.

Each traveller has a story to tell

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Today we’d like to launch a new section called “Each traveller has a story to tell”, which we’ve been working on awhile. It’s an experiment that we’re really excited about.

The idea is to transform the Moleskine edition of Trourist into a collection of emotional mini-stories. Travel experiences which are remembered with fondness and/or which have come to represent something truly important in a person’s life. The format doesn’t have to be prose precisely. It can be a drawing, a poem, an outline…bring your imagination on and let it flow!

This assortment of personal nuggets will be created in collaboration with 26 travel bloggers around the world. As each traveller shares an experience which changed his or her life in a significant way, it will be uploaded on the Moleskine edition of Trourist, and form part of a chain that includes the following bloggers whose contributions of time and dedication we wholeheartedly express our gratitude for:

Adam (@travelsofadam), Andrew(@AEEvans), Anjanette (@anjwrites), Anne (@pretavoyager), Ant (@TrailofAnts), Audrey and Daniel (@umarket), Ayngelina (@Ayngelina), Caitlin (@niltiac), Cate (@Catekiwi), Chris (@theaussienomad), Craig (@indietravel), David (@rtwdave), Earl (@wanderingearl), Francesc (@fbalague), Jeannie (@nomadicchick), Jodi (@legalnomads), Joshua (@tranquilotravel), Kate (@katebritabroad), Lauren (@travelerlauren), Lara andTerence (@gran_tourismo), Lindsay (_thetraveller_), Maria (@traveladdictgrl), Meg (@thenotoriousmeg), Melvin (@traveldudes), Pam (@nerdseyeview), Shannon (@shannonrtw), Teresa and Michael (@artofbackpackin)

The result of this experiment, which we hope to pass on to you, will be seen in a few months. Meanwhile you can follow the day-to-day evolution of this initiative visiting twitter at: hashtag #mystorytotell


Five Trourist-Moleskines for five winning experiences

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Of all the experiences shared with us, we believe the following five faithfully reflect the variety of extra-special destinations and moments enjoyed by trourists this past summer:

Javier Leal shares with all of us an excursion he embarked on with his brother to Ransdorp, a tiny village outside Amsterdam reachable by bike. Escaping the city for a day, the siblings were able to enjoy a day by the sea, green prairies and towering windmills. We suggest you read further to get the full story.

Jopeto took us to a very special place in Sofia, his hometown. By this trourist’s account, Toba&Co is a frequent stopover on summer nights where good music and mojitos are a guaranteed attraction. Click in to check out his experience.

Is there a more refreshing way to fight off a broiling summer afternoon than a good ice cream? Susana Paço from Lisbon invites us to sample super gelatti at A Veneziano, an icream parlor which has been perfecting its art since Giovanni de Luca arrived to this marvellous Portuguese city way back in 1936. For the perfect topping on this story, follow the link.

Fabiola Villa shares with us one of the trendiest bars in London. It’s a bar where music is everything so its selection counts — big time. Fabiola suggests grabbing a bite to eat, ordering something to wash it down, sitting outside on the terrace and just kicking back. Get the full experience here.

Can you believe that a group of individuals have converted their imagination, art and freedom into a way of life? Itziar Otxagabia unveils for us L’Elaboratoire, a place so exceptional where imagination and dreams will be transformed into reality. You can read about the entire experience here.

We hope the above five experiences serve as inspiration for your future travels!

Round the world travel, one video at a time // Part one

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We wish to share with all of you those small jewels found in video format on Vimeo. For over a year now, we’ve been registered with a couple of travel groups (Travel the worldWorld, travel and people) where people share spectacular and inspirational videos. Thanks to the subtlety practiced by the people who’ve realized these videos, we’ve been able to take a tele-journey and experience the grandiosity of Berlin and the beauty of Old Havana. Sometimes one doesn’t need to leave home in order to travel.

A masterpiece which perfectly conveys the essence of Berlin.

Little Big Berlin from pilpop on Vimeo.

A trip which will allows us to partake in those experiences lived by Ivan Vania in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

A journey through asia from ivan vania on Vimeo.

An intimate video of day-to-day life in Old Havana

Habana Vieja from Van Royko on Vimeo.

Trourist is present in Vimeo too. Please don’t hesitate to contact us and share your travel videos.

Eccentric sovereigns for tiny territories

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Do any of you know or have you ever visited the Principality of Hutt-River, in the Copeman Empire and the Melziquedek Dominion? What?

Though we like to think that many of our readers are also avid travelers, if truth be told most of you probably haven’t heard of the above now, have you? Why? Well, cos we’re speaking about micro-nations, as in tiny and miniscule, the kinds of destinations that only show up on the oddest, outlandish maps.

These micro-nations are diminiutive entities which have proclaimed themselves independent, soveriegn states … unfortunately, they possess no legal foundation. Those who create micro-nations do so for different reasons, among which are: publicity stunts, artistic expressions, political protests … the list goes on. What really fascinates me though are those micro-nations which are created for the personal amusement of an eccentric personality who appoints himself king and metes out nobility titles and creates his own symbology. You’ll have to admit, it is kind of funny.

Two of the most well-known micro-nations are:

Principality of Hutt-River: in 1970, a farmer from western Australia fed up with his government back home took advantage of an obscure law dating back to the 15th century and declared himself “free” and became Prince Leonard I. He currently makes a living off tourists selling souvenirs.

Sealand: a naval platform built during World War II by the Royal Navy. Said platform was taken over on 2 September 1967 by Paddy Roy Bates who named himself “His Royal Highness Prince King of Sealand”. Despite its small size (550 square meters), Sealand is one of the best known micro-nations, thanks to ongoing disputes with Great Britain, which on several occasions tried to claim the platform on the grounds that it resided within its territorial waters.

If you’re fed up with your country and wish to emigrate to one of these far-out destinations, following is a list of micro-nations, sure to satisfy all tastes and persuasions. If, in turn, you wish to head up your own personal enclave, there’s also information available on how to do that. Whatever your decision, good luck! ; )

The Iveragh Peninsula, one of the most scenic sites along The Ring of Kerry (County Kerry, Ireland)

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Cahersiveen and its surroundings are among the most scenic sites in all Ireland. This small Irish village, located along the route of The Ring of Kerry, is renowned for the hospitality of its inhabitants and the cozy pubs they frequent.

During the two summers I spent there, I was left agog with the wondrous landscapes this area has to offer. Fifteen kilometers from the village one can find deserted beaches, historic ruins, breathtaking palisades and mountains with spectacular views of the entire Iveragh Peninsula and deserted islands whose waters will astound you for their icy temperatures and crystal clarity.

I lived memorable experiences there. Unfailingly, I enjoyed Derrynane National Partk or whenever we embarked on an excursion along the cliffs. These day-trips invariably culminated in a dip at one of the above-cited deserted beaches, the most spectacular being Finian’s BayBalinaskelligs, the beach at Derrynane National Park and Glanleam, a tiny cove with a tropical touch.

Another experience worth living is a visit to Ballycarbery Castle and the Cahergal ring-shaped fort. Both of these sites, a mere 15-minute stroll from the village of Cahersiveen evoke the history of this country and the mysticism of this land.

Another suggestion I overwhelmingly endorse is stopping to knock back a robust beer or two –if it’s a Guiness, all the better– at one of the pubs frequented by locals. During the summer season, on any given night, you will find locals getting together at these pubs to sing Irish folk songs to the rhythm of a bodhran, harp or violin. My favorite pubs are: Mike Murts and The Ancher.

If fine dining is your thing, I recommend The Point at Reenard Point, where you can also catch a ferry to Valentia Island. My favorite dish as I recall was one which offered a variety of fish and fresh seafood. Thanks to the good relationship that the restaurant’s owners have with Spanish fishermen who fish in local waters, you can also find some exquisite wines here from La Rioja.

Lastly, what is undeniable a must-do is a day trip to Valentia Island. You can rent a bike in Cahersiveen and pedal your way to the ferry just 20 minutes away. Circling the island is done relatively quickly, but the best part will be the verdant countrysides and wonders of nature you will encounter along the way. One hour from Knightstown by bike is Fogher Cliffs. The view from here, looking out to sea and southwest Kerry will leave you speechless. If you’re continuing by bike, I advise you to stop and get re-fueled at The Lighthouse Café that opens only during the summer season. Ten minutes away, you’ll come across the Glanleam beach, by far one of my favorites because of the intimacy of its atmosphere and the tropical feel one experiences from the abundant flora.

So, without question, if you’re travelling to Ireland, you can’t miss this part of the route along The Ring of Kerry, one of the most scenic sites you will ever visit.

Ballinskelligs Bay. Photo by Willi Morali

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton: A journey to get in touch with the deepest feelings of our travels

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The moment I read a review of The Art of Travel in Hellen Todd’s blog (Hellen’s Travel Corner), I was sure I had a new candidate for my summer reading list.

The Art of Travel is a brilliant work by Alain de Botton. Normally, when we travel to a destination, we tend to accumulate tonloads of information on where we should go and what we should do; rarely do we hear anything about the “why’s” and “how’s” of these trips. In his 254-page book, De Botton invites us to think about the real motivations people have when purchasing a plane ticket to places unknown.

Throughout The Art of Travel, we are treated to a philosophical approach to travel in an entertaining way via a perusal of some of the greatest thinkers, writers and artists. Icons of the caliber of Gustave Flaubert and Vincent van Gogh act as our guides in the journey to get in touch with the deepest feelings of our travels.

De Botton’s book has made me think and contemplate not only on the trips that i have taken to date, but also the most common day-to-day events that occur along the way.Often we travel imagining that we are going to discover and experience things which we could never find at home, but this is not necessarily true. Sometimes our daily routines blind and preclude us from enjoying all the beauty that surrounds us, small details that abound everywhere but are ignored. With that in mind, I’d like to finish my thoughts on this book with a sentence which Hellen Todd includes in her post;

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust

Big adventures for small travellers on Tokitan.tv

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Tokitan.tv is a new adventure launched by Haritz Rodriguez. Vís a vís his video blog, he aims to touch base with the traveller all of us carry within and have them live experiences and adventures that are do-able by just about anybody. His travelling philosophy can best be summarized by the following slogan: “BIG adventures for small travellers“. Since a video is worth MORE than a thousand words, we’ve decided to share with you this trailer:

On Tokitan.tv, you and others will be able to watch videos of Haritz’s trips and excursions sailing across the Greek isles, surfing in Lapurdi, trekking through the Pyrenees or listening to the sound of deers bellowing in Soria. These videos deliver fun, originality and spontaneity and last about five minutes, not to mention that they are also informative and a cool way to learn new things.

We’ve known Haritz personally since we started developing Trourist and, if truth be told, we must admit that our working philosophies are very similar.

We wish you all lots of luck with this new adventure and hope you enjoy these videos on an ongoing basis.