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Touch Down in Jozy Town: Visiting Johannesburg, South Africa

“So, how do Sowetans feel about their community becoming a tourist attraction?”

We were standing by the Hector Peterson memorial in the Orlando West township of Soweto near Johannesburg. My only context before we got here was that Soweto was considered poor and was a hotbed of revolution during apartheid. Soweto was certainly not my idea of a popular tourist attraction, especially one with walking tours, biking tours, and bus tours! Yet, there we stood among local and foreign tourists taking pictures of houses made of corrugated metal like we were in a museum.

Continue reading “Touch Down in Jozy Town: Visiting Johannesburg, South Africa”

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Persuasions in Ice

Visiting Antarctica is not the same as visiting a new city or even a new country. Seeing Antarctica is like discovering a whole new world. A world of pebble stealing penguins, sun-baked seals, and ice. Oh, the ice! Graceful sculptures each of them, floating silently on the water; centuries-old glaciers towering high above us, trapping within them stories untold. So beautiful and composed in their silence—yet, when a thunderous rumble signals a glacier calving off into the ocean, you need only hear it to know how quickly beauty can turn deadly.

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Travel: A State of Mind

Now, more than ever, I feel an urgency to travel. To see as much of the world as possible while I’m still able.

There was a time in the past decade when I longed to visit Syria. The narrow streets packed with little shops, delicious street food, tea stalls at every corner, and the sheer amount of history, made me long for the day I could finally experience the real thing. And if I wasn’t a teenager without money or means back then, I certainly would have! Now, when I finally do have the means, there is nothing left to see. The culture, the history, all wiped away senselessly.

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A Tale of Two Cities: Exploring Cusco and Lima

Visiting cities is hard for us. We’re completely comfortable getting lost in nature without a plan, but take us to a city and we just don’t know where to start. Cue the frantic googling. We took on Cusco and Lima in much the same way – without a plan. So, for those of you who struggle to put together your city itinerary, I hope this list gives you a good place to start.

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The Golden State of Adventure: Whale Watching at Moss Landing

A hush fell over all the passengers except for the sound camera shutters going off in anticipation. Eyes were squinting, scanning the surface of the ocean for the smallest movement. A minute passed. Then another. And the crowd of people around me started to relax with impatience. Even a few wisecracks to ease the tension of standing too close to strangers. Then, a shriek to my left stiffened the whole group and we immediately turned or attention in silence as we saw what we were waiting for – the breach.

And once again, California’s coast left me speechless.

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Visiting Peru? Don’t miss the Amazon

Surprise! Brazil isn’t the only place to see the Amazon. The largest area of rain forest in the world is also accessible from Peru. Your Amazon adventures can start from either Iquitos or, the place we chose, Puerto Maldonado. Located along the Madre de Dios river, a tributary of the Amazon river, Puerto Maldonado is much closer to Cusco where most Peru travelers will likely end up at some point. It’s only an hour plane ride away or, if you have the time and are traveling on a budget, a 10 hour bus ride which you can probably do overnight.

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Life Lessons on the Inca Trail

Let me start by saying there is so much more to Peru than the Inca trail. Admittedly, the trail is probably the most touristy part of the whole trip. I mean, our group of 14 hikers were all Americans. But that doesn’t discount the experience. Not in the slightest.

So who do you trust with a life altering adventure?

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The Golden State of Adventure: Lassen National Park

My husband and I can’t wait to travel to far corners of the globe in search of adventure, but we forget how much of it we have right in our backyard. Besides the occasional drought and the insane housing prices, California is a lovely place to live and has some of the best natural wonders. So to help you non-Californians experience the beauty of California and perhaps plan your own trip one day, I’m kicking off my Golden State of Adventure series, chronicling the best adventures that California has to offer.

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Tea at 18,000 Feet

There is only one cure for altitude sickness in my books – a piping hot cup of Kashmiri Kahwa. Sitting at close to 18,000 ft in a barely furnished army canteen, a steaming cup of this traditional green tea mixed with saffron, cardamom, cinammon, and crushed nuts, sent life crawling back into our numb fingers and wind swept faces.

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Entrepreneurs of Travel: Meet the Richard Branson of Puerto Rico

We were told if at all we see only one thing in Puerto Rico, it should be the island of Culebra. But of course, we took the challenge to the next level by aiming for the uninhabited island off the coast of Culebra known as Culebrita. I mean, it’s not often that you get to enjoy a beautiful beach all to yourself on a deserted island.

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New Zealand: A Gem in a Corner of the Earth

Kia Ora! There’s a certain lilt in the common New Zealand greeting that just lifts your spirits. In eight days, the beautiful Maori greeting for us came to stand for the heart and soul of the country that we were about to fall in love with.

I’ll admit I was more skeptical than my husband when we first got there. Continue reading “New Zealand: A Gem in a Corner of the Earth”

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Hong Kong in Three Days: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving is coming up and all flights within the United States cost an arm and a leg. Naturally one would think flying out of the country is just as expensive. But the cardinal rule of travel reminds us to always keep our minds and our (country) borders open.

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