Tag Archives: Travel

I never knew how to travel until I visited India

Like most travelers who’ve been around the world and back again, I left my heart in India. 

I sit in Mexico as I write this, a year later and still stubbornly refusing to go home and be normal. And no matter what I do, my mind wanders back to India every chance it gets.

So I dig my toes into the powder white sand of the Mayan Riveria and indulge in the waves of memories shamelessly washing over me.  

I think of the afternoons spent riding on the back of a motorcycle in central Karnataka, my fingers full of silver rings slung around the waist of a fellow wanderer, my jeweled skirt flapping in the juicy afternoon breeze, villages of colorful boxes stacked into a green swampy landscape peeling by on either side of the horizon.

I remember squealing on the inside, thinking, without a doubt this was the happiest I’ve ever been and maybe ever will be.

Freedom, sweat, and spice oozing out of every pore.

Stopping in a tiny town, half a kilometer from running out fuel, and skipping from door to door until I come back with three new local friends, two cups of chai, and a water bottle of yellow gasoline to dump into the tank of our ancient Honda. Stealing a kiss from my beautiful blue-eyed companion and riding the bike back through emerald rice fields. Falling asleep on the roof of a hostel, the stars peeking through wisps of mosquito net.  

Fast forward to a hundred other moments of my first four months in India. Lazing in the Goan sunsets, hopping on my scooter with wet hair and skirting the south Indian coastline from one sandy cove of paradise to another. Sneaking barefoot into late night temple ceremonies, the cascades of “om” carrying me further and further from the life I used to want. 


The days of balancing a cup of chai in one hand and a fresh coconut in the other, speaking purposefully and tentatively with a lovely new traveler friend, navigating our blonde selves though an afternoon marketplace with the greatest amount of subtlety we were capable of.

(Six months later, I would fly to Stockholm to see this same traveler friend, and she would fly halfway around the world to join me on a grand adventure in California. Friends for life, I am certain, thanks to Mother India.)  

The night I met a Welsh rugby team driving a tuk-tuk across northern India and hopped in for a nighttime cruise through Agra’s narrowest back alleys, where everyone’s beloved pastime seamed to be corralling a small flock of livestock while simultaneously shopping for tomatoes, bangle bracelets, mustard seeds, and saris, their furry beasts apathetically blocking traffic.

And the absolute hilarity of wide-eyed Indian children popping their heads into the front seat of our stalled tuk-tuk and seeing four blonde heads grinning back at them, the children all collapsing into frowning laughter the way only Indians are capable of balancing two polarized expressions on one face.

Because of India, traveling stopped becoming a temporary interlude in my life plan and became a life plan in its own right. It ceased to be an outlet for another agenda and became something pure and heartfelt.

It became an exercise of utterly reckless abandon that somehow flushed my veins, cleaned out every pore, and pumped fresh oxygen into lungs that gasped for air in other parts of the world. 

I found, like nowhere else on Earth, India exerts a palpable love for everyone moving through her atmosphere. All you have to do is surrender and let yourself be carried away.





5 Travel Destinations That Are Cheaper Due to a Strong U.S. Dollar

The past year or so has brought great news for American travelers, as the U.S. dollar has surged in value against other currencies. That means it’s cheaper for Americans to travel overseas. We took a look at some countries where the exchange rate is notably improved from 2014, when the U.S. dollar was considerably weaker. These five destinations are particularly attractive now.


1. China

If you’ve had your eye on China for a while, now is a good time to book a trip. The dollar is currently strong in comparison with the yuan, which was devalued by 6.6 percent in 2016. The U.S. dollar is now 14 percent stronger against the yuan than it was in 2014, meaning travel there for Americans should be about that much cheaper.

There is plenty for the adventurous traveler to see in this vast country, with some of the most famous tourist sites, including portions of the Great Wall of China, situated in or near Beijing. A tour of the wall and the imperial palace known as the Forbidden City costs around 240 yuan. At $35, that’s about $5 cheaper than it would have been in 2014, thanks to the exchange rate. Everything from hotels to internal flights should be cheaper, too.


2. Switzerland

According to the World Economic Forum’s biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Switzerland ranked last in “price competitiveness” in 2015, making it the most expensive country to travel to. But the strengthening dollar is making it a little more affordable. The local currency is the Swiss franc, which, at the time of writing, was worth about one U.S. dollar. That’s 13 percent less than the franc’s high point in 2014.

According to Lonely Planet, it costs the average midrange traveler around 200–300 Swiss francs a day to travel in Switzerland. With the current 13 percent savings on the exchange rate, you could save $26–$39 a day when compared to the same trip in 2014.

Switzerland is a stunning country, where imposing castles from the Middle Ages dot the mountainous landscape. No trip to Switzerland would be complete without a trip to the Swiss Alps, which have long attracted visitors for hiking and skiing.

Switzerland’s cities, such as its capital, Geneva, are clean and home to some of the most important international organizations, such as the World Health Organization. Smaller villages such as Gruyères have a fairy-tale charm. The town is famous for the Gruyère cheese that is produced there, and offers authentic fondue and tours of the cheese factory where you can learn how the cheese is made.


3. Sweden

According to Lonely Planet, the average midrange traveler spends about 1,000–2,000 Swedish krona a day. That translates to $111–$222, a whopping $92 cheaper per day cheaper than it would’ve been in 2014.

With its many coastal islands and inland lakes, Sweden’s geography has long made it a destination for those looking to spend time on the water, engaging in activities such as kayaking. If you enjoy winter sports, Sweden is also an amazing cross-country skiing and dog-sledding destination. You may even be able to catch a glimpse of the ethereal northern lights in the northern region of Lapland — in particular, the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park.

Even for city dwellers, water is an integral part of life. The Swedish capital, Stockholm, is built across 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. Stockholm is an elegant city, with lively music, art, and fashion scenes. Other cities, such as Visby, contain medieval ruins amid charming cobblestone streets.


4. Spain

With the euro falling in value against the U.S. dollar (down 24 percent since 2014), travel has become more favorable to the 19 countries that make up the eurozone. You could consider a traditionally more expensive destination such as France or Italy, and watch your dollars go further than they have in years. Or you could head to more affordable Spain, where a beer in some parts of the country will cost you just a little over a dollar.

Spain is a diverse country, made up of 50 provinces and five languages, including the official Castilian Spanish, as well as Basque and Catalan.

The Pyrenees mountains offer wonderful recreation opportunities, including winter skiing and hiking along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes. The coast features good diving in the Mediterranean Sea. If a buzzing night life is more your scene, head for the tourist-heavy but beautiful islands of Ibiza and Mallorca.

Teotihuacan Pyramids Mexico

5. Mexico

The dollar-to-Mexican-peso exchange rate is extremely advantageous at the moment, with one dollar worth about 20 pesos. This rate is 54 percent better than it was in 2014. Since this destination is in North America, you won’t have to worry about expensive airfare either.

Mexico is a fascinating country to explore, with beautiful colonial architecture in towns such as Campeche, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas, which have put significant effort into conserving historic buildings.

The Pacific coast is a great destination for surfing and lazing on pristine, white beaches, and it’s often overlooked by tourists heading to the Caribbean meccas of Cancun and Playa del Carmen (which offer their own charm, to be sure).

Living in Mexico City, I will admit to a bit of a bias for this cosmopolitan capital, which offers a vast art scene, delicious cuisine, and no shortage of music and entertainment options to visitors from all over the world.

Regardless of where you choose to go, one thing for sure is that 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the American traveler. Take advantage of a strong dollar and see how far you can go.



A Jamaica Trip With the Ultimate Travel Amenity

It was our second night in Jamaica, and I was sitting at a picnic table on a small, rocky beach in Runaway Bay. We were eating a buffet dinner and watching a talent show that combined sideshow stunts by performers — walking on nails and blowing flames into the sky — with gymnastics and G-rated jokes by guests, who included children and a few brave parents. When the crowd applauded, my 18-month-old daughter, Roxie, clapped excitedly with them. In the show’s final act, an otherwise dignified Canadian father with Justin Trudeau-like good looks thrust his pelvis across the makeshift stage as if possessed by the spirit of Elvis Presley.

I had somehow stepped into a scene from “Dirty Dancing,” transported to a Catskills resort, circa 1963. It wouldn’t be the last time, during our five-day stay, that I’d feel this sense of generational disorientation — of being not so much in another country as in another era.

Though my husband, Tim, Roxie and I had already been on the island for two days, we had not yet left the walled confines of our resort. Not only that: We had no plans to leave. Not even once.


It wasn’t that we weren’t interested in seeing the island, birthplace of Rastafarianism, home of reggae and land of rum cake and jerk chicken. But as the parents of an increasingly energetic (and exhausting) toddler, our primary motivation for this trip — I’m embarrassed to admit — was not culture or music or even the lush expanse of the Blue Mountains.

It was babysitting. Affordable, reliable child care and the possibility, at least, of a vacation that actually felt like a vacation.

To that end, we had maxed out our modest travel budget on airfare ($430 per flight) and four all-inclusive nights ($340 per night) before we even arrived. If the trip went as planned, we wouldn’t spend another dollar — beyond tips, of course — after takeoff from New York’s Kennedy International Airport.

The obvious question, and the one that invariably nagged at me when I considered an all-inclusive: Why bother traveling to another country if you’re going to spend the entire time at your hotel? It was a question I didn’t have an answer to.

And yet since I became pregnant, I had been hearing about Franklyn D. Resort & Spa, a modest, charmingly dated property an hour’s drive from Montego Bay, a cruise ship port and the country’s fourth largest city. I had noticed that it was mentioned in Facebook moms’ groups and family travel forums, where I did a fair amount of anxious late-night lurking. F.D.R., as it’s known among its many fans, had devotees — families who returned year after year. And I wanted to know why.

Then we met Lisa Dixon, our “vacation nanny.” And I had my answer.


Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club

I had known, of course, that child care was part of the F.D.R. package. But I didn’t understand how it would work. Would I just leave my child with a stranger and somehow relax? I couldn’t imagine it. A year and a half into parenthood, Tim and I had hired a babysitter only once. A nanny — a word I associate with British period dramas — seemed impossibly luxurious, as out of reach for two working writers as a personal chef or a private plane. But at F.D.R., Ms. Dixon’s time and expertise was included in the price of our stay.

Having descended from a matrilineal line of women who were paid to care for other people’s children, I felt deeply conflicted about the “vacation nanny” concept before we arrived. I worried that it undervalued the work of women like my mother and grandmother. It seemed potentially exploitative.

But the balance between cost and convenience is something with which every parent on a budget must grapple. Most of us make choices, at least occasionally, that we aren’t entirely comfortable with — that raise questions we don’t have easy answers to.

I expected to feel uncomfortable in the hermetically sealed bubble of the resort, but the disorientation came as soon as we were on the airport shuttle bus. I felt uneasy at taking a vacation in another country with no intention of engaging with the people or culture, history or environment — or even just day-to-day life — of that place.



Cape Verde Islands, overflowing with activities

The Cape Verde Islands, the exotic volcanic archipelago on the northwest coast of Africa, has seen a significant tourism boost. According to the National Statistics Institute in Cape Verde, foreign visits to the archipelago have increased by 13.6% during last year, with the islands of Sal and Boa Vista being especially popular tourist spots.

This stunning island chain offers an intriguing combination of mountains, beaches and peaceful seaside villages. The destination is warm, with sunny skies year-round and temperatures varying between the mid-70s in January and mid-80s in September.

The island of Sal is primarily a beach resort with long stretches of white sand and azure waters. It is the most developed of all the Cape Verde Islands in terms of tourism, and the island offers spectacular marine life with countless species, including flamboyant tropical fish, dolphins and turtles. Besides snorkeling and scuba diving, Sal is considered to be among the world’s top windsurfing locations.


The Resort Group recently opened the luxurious Llana Beach Resort in Sal. However, one of the quainter places to stay is the small, locally owned hotel Odjo D’agua. The hotel features a spectacular open-air restaurant-bar jutting out into the sea. Be sure to try the freshly caught fish in the restaurant.

Boa Vista, the second most popular island in Cape Verde, offers vast stretches of untouched golden sand; rich, turquoise seas; and a unique atmosphere. The entire island is completely covered in sand. On Praia de Chaves, for example, an old ceramic factory covered in sand yet still perfectly intact.

Depending on the time of year, travelers can spot turtles on Boa Vista’s southern beaches, which are recognized as one of the most signficant loggerhead nesting sites in the world. For the greatest chance to see turtles, visit Boa Vista between June and and September.

Although Boa Vista has a few affordable hotel options, the island also features palaces of pure luxury. The Hotel Riu Touareg looks like a sandcastle, whereas ClubHotel Riu Karamboa has a desert oasis feel reminiscent of a sultan’s palace.

Cape Verde has more to offer than its beaches; the islands have fascinating cultural and natural offerings, as well.


Avid hikers will love the mountainous peaks of Santiago. The island offers many unique and diverse landscapes ranging from volcanic rocks to green valleys and barren regions.

On Fogo Island, travelers can climb an active volcano, which is one of the highlights of a Cape Verde holiday. The restaurant at the top of the volcano offers a beautiful view of the impressive scenery of Fogo with its dark rocks and black sands, giving an impression of a lunar landscape. Coffee is grown on the outside slopes while the vines used to produce the famous Fogo wine are grown inside the crater. Both are definitely worth a try.

You can drive up a hairpin, cobbled road into the crater, where hundreds of locals make their home. For a memorable stay in Fogo’s crater, try the basic but tasteful, lava-brick guesthouse of Pedra Brabo or spend a night with a local family.

Ornithologists will be able to spot a great number species endemic to Cape Verde. The Raso lark, which is entirely confined to a single island with a total population of 45 pairs, is one of the world’s rarest birds. The Cape Verde swift, Cape Verde warbler and Iago sparrow are the other endemic species.

History buffs will love a daytrip to the old capital of Cidade Velha, a Unesco world heritage site, and Forte Real de Sao Filipe, the main slave-trading point between Europe, Africa and America, provides an interesting insight into the island’s troubled past. This is where the history of Cape Verde began, and the town has had many famous visitors over the years, including Sir Francis Drake and Charles Darwin.


For culture lovers, Sao Vicente is the place to be. Mindelo, the island’s capital, is proud of its rich tradition of music and art and has a vibrant nightlife with a lively buzz of music throughout the pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.

Music-making is everywhere, and a visit to the Cape Verde Islands would not be complete without experiencing the Cape Verdean morna music in Mindelo, a combination of guitar and violin music often put to lyrics about love.

Cape Verde fast facts:

Getting there

TACV is the national carrier of Cap Verde. TACV has three weekly flights to Lisbon from Praia and one weekly from Sal and So Vicente. TACV flies once a week to Providence, R.I. TAP has daily flights from Lisbon to Praia in peak season. Royal Air Maroc offers regular flights to Cape Verde.

Getting around

Travelers can get around the islands on minibus, which pick up people at unmarked points around town and drop passengers off anywhere on the way, on request. Taxis are also plentiful on the islands. For island hopping, there are several ferries available connecting the islands as well as local flights.


All visitors to Cape Verde (except holders of some African passports) require a visa. A tourist visa can be obtained without any problems on arrival.

How to pay?

The currency of Cape Verde is the escudo de cabo verde (ECV). Coins come in denominations from 1 to 200 escudos and bills from 200 to 5,000; $1 U.S. is worth approximately 102 ECV.

Exchange counters are located at international airports but not at domestic airports. Credit cards issued by MasterCard or Visa are accepted at major hotels and banks.


The official language of the islands is Portuguese, which is used in most written communication, including newspapers; however Creole tends to be used in conversation.




Aruba Tourism Officials Have a Radical Idea to Reduce All-Inclusive Resorts

Tired of tourists who rarely venture outside their resorts, and who leave their wallets locked in the hotel-room safe, Aruba is moving to limit all-inclusive holiday packages.

The Dutch Caribbean island, located 20 miles the north of Venezuela, has become one of the first places in the world to limit all-inclusive deals, which bundle accommodation, food, drinks and entertainment into one price. Regulations that came into effect in August cap all-inclusives at 40 percent of hotel rooms on the island. They currently make up about a third of the country’s 5,500 rooms.

Popularized by chains such as Sandals and Club Med, all-inclusives are one of the fastest-growing segments of the $550 billion hotel industry, and revolutionized tourism in developing countries from Jamaica to Thailand. Tourists gravitate toward such vacations because they’re budget friendly and easy for families reluctant to stray far from beach-side snack bars. Now, Aruba wants tourists to look beyond their resorts, said Otmar Oduber, the nation’s minister of Tourism.

We are moving away from the trend,” Obuder said in a telephone interview. “It’s very important for us for tourism not to become a negative concept in the life of the people of Aruba.”



“The all-inclusive, particularly in the Caribbean, is a model that prevents other forms of tourism from flourishing because nobody is leaving the resort,” said Mark Watson, executive director of Tourism Concern, a U.K.-based charity that promotes ethical tourism. “People are flying in, going to the resort, not leaving, and then flying back out.”

The all-inclusives on Aruba include Divi Resorts and Spanish chains RIU Hotels SA and Occidental Hotels. Yvonne Swiezawski, a spokeswoman for RIU, which purchased an resort and reopened it as the all-inclusive Hotel RIU Palace Antillas, said the regulations will affect its plans to grow on the island and negatively impact investors’ perception.

“If the regulation of all-inclusive hotels does not allow us to grow on the island, we will be forced to reinvest somewhere else,” Swiezawski said in an e-mail.


The all-inclusive business is a significant part of a tourism industry that supports 85 percent of $2.6 billion economy, according to the International Monetary Fund, which said Aruba is the third-most tourism-dependent country in the world. The sector provides a third of all jobs on the island of 100,000 people, according to the U.K.-based World Travel & Tourism Council. Visitors to all-inclusive resorts spent 21 percent less on average than other tourists last year, the Tourism Ministry calculates.

Aruba isn’t the only place to be concerned by the trend. Last year, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras criticized the all-inclusive concept, which he said, “largely alienates tourism from the local economy.” In 2000 Gambia banned the sale of the vacations, although it later rowed back on the decision. In 2011, business owners in Majorca held a day of protests against the resorts.



Aruba’s new regulations may help local businesses, but they also pose risks, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Margaret Huang in an e-mail.

“With a growing competitive market in parts of Mexico and with the threats of the cruise industry, which is essentially an all-inclusive experience, Aruba may lose its appeal as a competitive tourist destination,” Huang said.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, a Florida-based organization that represents hotel owners, said it recommended Aruba take other approaches to enticing tourists to spend their money outside the resorts.

“Several all-inclusive developers, which were considering investments in Aruba, indicated to us that restrictions on the amount of all-inclusive offerings they would be permitted to provide would force them to reconsider their investments,” spokeswoman Adriana Serna said in an e-mail. “Today’s consumers want choices.”




Canada is launching an experiment that will give 4,000 people free money until 2020

Finland, the Netherlands, and San Francisco, California, have already shown interest in giving people a regular monthly allowance — a system known as basic income.

Now Ontario, Canada, is planning a basic-income trial as well.

On Monday, Premier Kathleen Wynne outlined new details of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, which is expected to begin later this spring and last for three years.

A total of 4,000 people in three regions in the province will begin receiving additional income based on their current salary.

A person in the trial can receive up to $16,989 a year, though the equivalent of 50% of any additional earned income will be subtracted from that figure. So a person who makes $10,000 a year at their job, for example, would receive $11,989 in basic income, for a total income of $21,989.


Eligible recipients, who must be between 18 and 64 and considered low-income, will be chosen through a randomized selection process.

Wynne says one goal of the pilot is to reassure people that their government supports them.

“It says to them government is with you,” she said. “Ontario is with you.”

The premise of basic income is straightforward: People get monthly checks to cover living expenses such as food, transportation, clothing, and utilities — no questions asked.

Along with Canada, several countries are conducting basic-income trials.

Finland’s government launched its pilot on January 1 and is giving 2,000 unemployed Finns $590 a month. In various cities throughout the Netherlands, 250 people will soon receive an extra $1,100 a month for two years. And in Kenya, the charity GiveDirectly has launched a trial version of a 12-year study that seeks to gather the first longitudinal data on basic income.

The concept of basic income has been around since the 1960s. Since then, various researchers and government officials have given basic-income experiments a try, with mixed results.

In general, however, the data seems to tilt in basic income’s favor.

A study published in late 2016 found that people who received unconditional cash transfers used drugs and alcohol less frequently than people who didn’t receive the money. And though it’s easy to assume free money would make people lazy, research suggests the opposite is true. People in one 2013 study worked on average 17% longer and received 38% higher earnings when they got a basic income.

Skeptics, meanwhile, say that because many basic-income trials have been conducted in small villages in the developing world, the findings won’t necessarily translate to developed countries.

Ontario’s trial will begin in the regions of Hamilton, including Brantford and the County of Brant, and in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. The third pilot will launch in Lindsay in the fall.

“Everyone should benefit from Ontario’s economic growth,” Wynne said in a statement. “A basic income will support people in our province who are reaching for a better life.”

Via Business Insider

Travel News: Dubai is Booming

Dubai’s tourism sector sustained momentum in its strong start to 2017 with the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, known as Dubai Tourism, reporting a stellar 11 percent increase in overnight visitation in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2016. January to March 2017 saw 4.57 million travellers visit the city, reflecting over double the growth achieved in the first quarter of last year.

Among Dubai’s top 20 source markets for inbound tourism, China and Russia continued to top the growth trajectory charts with unparalleled 64 percent and 106 percent increases over Q1 2016, delivering 230,000 and 126,000 tourists respectively. Attributable in a large part to the positive regulatory changes enabling citizens from both countries to obtain free visas-on-arrival in the UAE, this performance spike has resulted in both countries moving up in their rankings as key feeder markets for Dubai, with China at number four and Russia at number 11.

Retaining their stronghold on the top three positions were India, KSA and the UK, accounting collectively for 30 percent of total Q1 visits to Dubai, with India becoming the first ever market to record nearly 580,000 visitors in any one quarter, with a massive 23 percent growth in arrivals between January and March.

Despite its 8 percent drop over 2016, driven due to a backward shift in annual school holidays, KSA continued to drive volumes with 440,000 visitors, while the UK rallied growth with its 5 percent increase to mitigate the declines from KSA and Oman, which rounded off the top 5 with 214,000 overnight guests.

The remainder of the top 10 all saw positive contributions, with Iran up a strong 39 percent, Pakistan up 17 percent, the United States up 6 percent, posting a strong recovery over 2016 performance, Germany maintaining stability, and Kuwait bringing up the GCC contribution with 10 percent growth.


Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai Tourism, said, “Q1 2017 has set us off on a very strong trajectory for the year and we are pleased to see our strategic investments and policy reforms yielding such definitive impact. As Dubai continues to evolve and expand the breadth and depth of its tourism proposition, we expect to amplify the appeal of our city as the top consideration not only for first-time visitors, but also repeat business and leisure travellers. Thanks to the support from our visionary leadership, backed by the strength of our stakeholder collaboration, we have made tremendous strides in ongoing efforts to increase the city’s accessibility, minimise barriers to travel, and make it as seamless as possible for prospective tourists to visit and revisit Dubai. China and Russia’s strong acceleration in response to our initiatives are a clear reflection of the importance of such measures as facilitators of tourism sector growth.”

Almarri went on to say that the positive start to 2017 is an encouraging endorsement of Dubai’s overall strategy, saying, “We are prudently aware that travel is among the leading industries undergoing a global transformation. In order for Dubai to fulfil its commitment to the ’10X Agenda’ set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, we must be true innovation leaders. Beyond marketing and promoting the city with the endorsement of all our industry partners, our agenda is focused on amplifying advocacy and putting the ‘voice of our travellers’ at the very heart of defining our future growth priorities. We look forward to the continued support of our government, public and private sector partners as we move a step closer towards delivering 20 million visitors per year by 2020, as well as to collectively creating today, for global travel, what the world may aspire to in 10 years’ time.”




Becoming A Digital Nomad: Work And Travel At The Same Time

As the world is becoming more advanced and technology is slowly shaping up the majority of our lifestyle, the prospect of working and doing the same routine every day is becoming less promising. Today, more and more millennials and like-minded individuals are choosing to be digital nomads.


A digital nomad is someone who works “mostly online” and travels the world at the same time, according to the Interaction Design. As opposed to earning a minimum-wage job in the same location from the usual hours of 9 am to 5 pm, becoming a digital nomad is much more exciting.

As long as you have a stable internet connection, a laptop, and certain skills, there’s no stopping you from becoming a digital nomad. Working for yourself as an online entrepreneur or a freelancer can be very rewarding and the amount of time you can spend on yourself is definitely a major plus.

The idea is becoming increasingly popular nowadays that there are conferences and startups bursting out to help digital nomads develop working experiences and for them to have a chance to share their ideas and socialize. The New York Times recently featured a startup called “Unsettled”, a 30-day co-working experiences for working professionals, small business owners, and creative people looking for a chance to combine work and travel.


Michael Youngblood and Jonathan Kalan, both digital nomads, founded Unsettled and has now reached a customer base around the globe. Kalan explained that the name “Unsettled” is a perfect name for their startup since everyone of us has felt unsettled at some point in our lives, so why not embrace the uncertainty? Kalan also added that Unsettled is about turning something known as negative into something positive.

Timothy Ferriss also wrote a book about the whole premise of being a digital nomad. It’s entitled the “4-Hour Work Week” and it discusses the popularity of the digital nomad lifestyle.

Becoming a digital nomad takes huge dedication and the right mindset. If you’re someone who wants to get out of a dull, corporate job, then maybe consider becoming a digital nomad yourself.




Diving with bull sharks in Fiji is Mother Nature’s most astonishing adrenaline rush

Would you go seeking out gigantic bull sharks in their natural environment? With no cage, no barriers, and nothing between you and those magnificent ocean predators?

To some, the idea sounds absurd – or just plain stupid. To others, it’s an adventure they’re longing for. To those people, I say – you need to go to Fiji.

Fiji is, of course, surrounded by stunning reefs featuring some of the world’s most colorful corals and more types of underwater life than you can count. Diving in Fiji is easy, accessible and safe, with certified dive operators around the country showing off these underwater marvels.


But there’s another type of dive that draws people to Fiji: shark diving.

In the waters of Beqa Lagoon, just south of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, lies the protected Shark Reef Marine Reserve, home to a massive population of sharks. And for nearly 20 years, Beqa Adventure Divers has been leading groups of scuba divers down into the depths to observe them.
This is the real deal. The shark dive at Beqa Lagoon is often called the world’s best, giving divers the chance to get close to eight different species of shark, including those of the lemon, nurse, and silvertip varieties, along with the main attraction – spectacular bull sharks. The team has got a reputation for safety and professionalism, and is deeply involved in marine conservation.

But, even so – diving with bull sharks? Without a cage? Really? Are you crazy?

Well maybe I am, because bright and early one morning I find myself gearing up to explore Beqa Lagoon and spend some quality time with those sharks.

After a short boat ride out to the reef, it’s time. As I strap myself into my gear, I wonder if the hearts of my fellow divers are skipping every other beat, just like mine? If they are, you wouldn’t know it: we share foolhardy grins as we do the final safety checks, then plunge into the cool ocean.


The team let loose a few more heads. Soon, around 10 massive bull sharks are swooping through the water above and in front of us, enjoying their feast.

The team are poised around the group, armed with long poles to make sure no food comes too close and no shark pays us too much attention. The sharks, some over 3m long, ignore us completely. They’re focused on their meal, leaving us to gaze in awe at the incredible display.

All too soon, the sharks finish eating, and begin to drift away. The dive masters signal that it’s time to move on. We visit two other sites, watching our leaders hand-feed schools of lemon and nurse sharks. They’re almost playful, and water is filled with energy. 

Finally, we break the surface and re-join our boat.

“Well, that was rubbish,” comments one of the dive masters.

“What?” I demand, genuinely shocked, still dripping wet. “We saw at least 10 bull sharks!”

“Yes,” he said, shaking his head. “Only 10. In high season, we see 80, maybe 100. It’s much better.” I think my mouth was hanging open. I need to go back in high season.

To dive with bull sharks, you’ll need to be a certified open water diver. PADI or SSI certification is available from most dive centers in Fiji and Australia.

Beqa Adventure Divers operate year-round from Pacific Harbor, about four hours from Fiji’s main airport at Nadi. You’ll see the most sharks in the winter months. Shark dives start from $155 (FJD 245) for a single-tank expedition.

BULL SHARK Carcharhinus leucas  FIJI.
Read more at http://elsewhere.nine.com.au/2017/04/24/13/35/beqa-adventure-divers-shark-dive-fiji#kiHYYPtfRZJhHmTE.99

Barack Obama Snaps Yacht Photos of Michelle on Tropical Vacation

Since leaving the White House in January, Barack and Michelle Obama have truly been living their best life. In the past few months the pair have traveled to Palm Springs, California, signed massive book deals, brunched with Bono in New York City, and even went kitesurfing with Richard Branson off his private island. But it’s the duo’s latest adventure that has social media in a frenzy.

As Travel+Leisure shared on Thursday, the Obamas recently boarded David Geffin’s 138-meter luxury yacht called the Rising Sun for an island-hopping adventure around French Polynesia. Other passengers onboard included Oprah, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, Tom Hanks, and Rita Wilson.

The group has already gone for lunch on Vanilla Island, stopped at Le Taha’a Island, and will likely continue on to Bora Bora. The trip will end at The Brando, a luxury resort where the Obamas have been staying for the past three weeks while working on their respective memoirs.


While the trip alone would be cool enough, it’s what Michelle and Barack were caught doing on the boat that has everyone talking.

In a new photo, if you look closely, you can see that after being president of the United States for eight years, Barack has graduated to being the ultimate Instagram husband.

Onboard the ship, Barack, like any good husband and dad, used what looks to be his iPad to snap a few glamor shots of his stunning wife — and people simply cannot get enough. Check out a few of the best social media reactions below.