Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: The Weekly Photo: George Washington in Boston

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: The Weekly Photo: George Washington in Boston

The Weekly Photo: George Washington in Boston

Posted: 29 Sep 2012 08:21 AM PDT

George Washington monument on a cloudy day in Boston

George Washington monument on a cloudy day in Boston

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Save $30 on any International Korean Air Flight: Travel Blog

Save $30 on any International Korean Air Flight: Travel Blog

Link to Travel Blog

Save $30 on any International Korean Air Flight

Posted: 29 Sep 2012 04:55 PM PDT

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Offer expires on November 15 2012.

Save $30 on any International Korean Air Flight

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Save $30 on any International Korean Air Flight from - Travel Directory

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Old Anchor, Nessebar – Bulgaria: Travel Blog

Old Anchor, Nessebar – Bulgaria: Travel Blog

Link to Travel Blog

Old Anchor, Nessebar – Bulgaria

Posted: 28 Sep 2012 02:20 AM PDT

Old Anchor, Nessebar - Bulgaria

Old Anchor, Nessebar – Bulgaria.

Travel Photos: Nessebar photo gallery

Old Anchor, Nessebar – Bulgaria from - Travel Directory

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: How to Travel and Work Around the World with WWOOF

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: How to Travel and Work Around the World with WWOOF

How to Travel and Work Around the World with WWOOF

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 11:06 AM PDT

wwoofing in italyThe subject of WWOOFing around the world isn’t one I’ve dealt with yet is often a question asked by readers. In order to find out more about this unique way to see the world, I turned to frequent WWOOFer and freelance writer Sophie McGovern to tell us all about it.

A storm was brewing in northern Italy, moody clouds rolling over the valley. Inside a farmhouse, my friend and I were dusting shelves of antique books and ornaments. Not something we expected to be doing on our WWOOF stay, but neither had we expected to find a papier-mâché chicken suit in our bedroom.

When it comes to WWOOFing, you just have to roll with it.

Our host, Silvia, was a tough middle-aged woman who ran a small-holding complete with vegetable garden, fruit orchard, goats and chickens. Her English was basic, but she particularly liked to use the term 'strong woman' whenever mothers, independent women and high-achieving ladies in general were mentioned.

As we dusted, lightning illuminated the valley. Silvia was in the kitchen preparing a dinner of goat meat, potatoes and salad – all organic produce from the farm. We had taken no part in sacrificing the goat to the gods of gastronomy, but we had harvested the potatoes and salad that morning, which made them taste especially good.

The builders who were renovating the barn next door joined us for dinner along with the third volunteer on the farm. Italian conversation flowed, accompanied by a generous helping of laughter. My friend and I understood little (our vocabulary extended only to soft fruits, garden equipment and motivational lady talk), but hand gestures and facial expressions sufficed. The other volunteer, an American girl who was WWOOFing primarily to improve her Italian, was soaking up the organic language lesson.

Red wine and rustic bread accompanied the meal, both made at nearby farms and exchanged for Silvia's homemade goat's cheese. Out there, produce was currency. We had been introduced to this and many other principles of sustainable living during our stay. Never again would I underestimate the value of a good wheel of cheese.

At the end of the night Silvia informed us of the next day's tasks: weeding the asparagus beds, picking fruit and making hay in the afternoon, should the sun be shining.

Our inexperience in all things farm-related had not been a problem since we arrived. There had been a few crossed wires – I threw leftovers into the trash instead of adding them to the compost and got told off – but on the whole we found that if you're willing to learn and don't have an aversion to dirt, bugs or early mornings you'll get by just fine.

Round the World with WWOOF

working in a farm in italy with wwoof
WWOOFing stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOFing is a service that matches people looking for work on farms with farmers who are looking for labor. It's more a loose affiliation of like-minded groups using the same name than one large international organization. In order to become a WWOOFer, you will need to sign up for the national organization in the country you want. There is no international WWOOF membership, so you'll have to buy a membership from each WWOOFing country's organization. Annual membership usually costs around $30 USD per country. You don't need any previous experience in farming to do this—just a desire to work.

As you can imagine, WWOOF opens endless opportunities on an extended travel trip. If you make your way around the world visiting a selection of the 99 countries who participate in WWOOF you can save tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a year. You can also learn skills, absorb languages and make friends.

Over our two month stay we spent zero on food and accommodation in a region of Italy where it will otherwise cost backpackers at least eighteen euros a night for a hostel and fifteen euros a day for food. Over our two month stay that meant a total savings of at least two thousand euros.

Joining Up

biking around sophie mcgovern wwoof
We had joined WWOOF Italia for a modest fee of 25 euros from a computer in our English dorm-room. This is the way it works: visit the WWOOF website, click through to your destination country of choice and go through their membership application. WWOOF is made up of almost a hundred organisations so there is no international membership. See here for a list of participating countries.

Once you've filled out the online membership form and paid the fee, you will be sent a list of participating farms in your country of choice and can decide which ones to contact.

Be sure to check out the WWOOF Independents section of the site, too, for farms in countries without a central WWOOF body. Join this, and you can visit any of the farms in the 50 WWOOF Independent countries.

Choosing a Farm

sophie mcgovern while she wwofs
'Farm' is a fairly lose term. Eco communities, commercial farms, vineyards and back garden vegetable plots are all found on the WWOOF Italia list, and this is also true of most other host countries.

Shortly after joining WWOOF Italia we were sent a list of over a hundred farms. Deciding to spend two months in Italy as part of our gap year inter-rail, we contacted a couple of farms that sounded appealing – one on the northern region of Piedmonte and one in Tuscany- with the intention of staying one month at each.

I always check the travel routes and ticket prices when I'm choosing a farm to ensure that getting there won't be too expensive. Volunteers must pay their own transport costs, so if you're traveling on a budget then ticket prices can have a huge impact on which farms you apply to.

In the case of Silvia's farm, we found that we could get a flight to Milan with a low cost airline then take the train to Asti. Silvia met us there in her beat up old car. Altogether the journey cost less than fifty euros.

Overcoming Problems

muddy feet while on a farm
Granted, Silvia was a bit of a legend, and I have encountered WWOOF hosts on my travels that I haven't got on with as well. On the second farm in Italy we were asked to move a huge pile of firewood that was full of scorpions and had to refuse, then later felt that we were spending too much time weeding flower beds. In this case, you can speak openly to your host and try to find a solution.

If you really don't like a place and want to leave, you have every right to do so, but volunteers are
expected to be respectful of their hosts and give them sufficient notice unless it's an emergency.
In the end, we left the Tuscan farm a week early because the situation didn't improve, but out of the more than thirty farms I have visited across the world this has never happened again.

However, on a farm in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest there were an incredible amount of fun activities that we could get involved with. Making chocolate, coffee, pasta and yogurt from scratch were fantastic learning experiences, as was making a cob bench with several of the other volunteers (cob is a natural building material, and feet are the best tools for mixing it!). Because the farm was also an eco community and nature reserve the tasks changed every day and were immensely varied, from studying the native trees to helping install a wind turbine.

Each farm description will tell you something about the host, their farm and their expectations. Read it carefully and ask for accommodation details, examples of work, weekly routine and food arrangements before you commit. You can also ask whether they have specific house rules and if they are fluent in English. If they're not, don't be put off; this could be a great opportunity to learn a new language!

All in all, WWOOF is a cheap way to travel, a great way to learn and a sure-fire way to have a whole load of adventures.

Sophie McGovern is a travel writer, yarn spinner and full time nomad currently living on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, Thailand. She is a regular contributor to HeadingThere and has written for a number of popular travel blogs. Her first novel, House of Mirrors, is almost finished.

Traveling soon? Book your trip through the links below helps support this site and keep it running:
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Can Skiing Really Change Your Life?: Travel Blog

Can Skiing Really Change Your Life?: Travel Blog

Link to Travel Blog

Can Skiing Really Change Your Life?

Posted: 26 Sep 2012 07:20 PM PDT

It's difficult to describe the exhilaration of hurtling down a snowy slope to those that have never experienced the joys of skiing. A huge number of people enjoy taking a well earned break and heading off to the mountains for their holidays but skiing can mean much more to those who have had their lives radically changed by the sport.

For many people, skiing becomes a way of overcoming difficulties in their personal lives, relieving the stress of a hard work schedule or a way of finding time to spend with loved ones. Here we take a look at some of the many ways in which skiing can change your life.

Relief From Work

One of the principal ways in which skiing can have a hugely positive affect on your life and change your perspective is by providing an opportunity to escape the daily pressures of the workplace. The office can be an extremely stressful place to be at times and usually has a great impact on your personal life and relationships.

Finding a way to forget these pressures, let go and enjoy yourself can be difficult but is usually necessary. Many skiers find that hitting the slopes for a short weekend or longer holiday is the perfect way of forgetting all those little things that weigh on your mind during the typical work week.

Fulfill Ambition

As opposed to those who look to skiing to escape the reality of their usual working lives, many choose to ski as a way of embracing the way you are and what you can do. Murray Bartram, sometimes known as 'The Flying Muzz,' is one such example. Born with cerebral palsy, Bartram was supported by devoted parents who wanted to see his passion for sports realised. After discovering snowboarding and skiing at the age of 14, he fell in love with the sport and became a keen ski racer.

Unfortunately, Murray's father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away shortly after. Skiing became not just a way of realising Bartram's sporting ability but also a powerful means of getting through the grief he was feeling at this difficult time.

Safety Skills

Like any extreme sport, skiing and snowboarding have elements of danger to them. While this is what makes them exciting and incredibly appealing, it also provides the perfect opportunity to learn an amazing array of life saving skills.

Being able to look after someone that's been hurt or injured on the slopes and knowing exactly what it is that needs to be done to ensure someone's safety can be a life changing skill that comes in hand in all walks of life. The same is true of the physical fitness required for a tough day on the slopes.

While it may not seem obvious at first glance, such skills can change lives even once you've left the slopes and arrived back home.

More inspiring snowboarding and ski stories over at Mad Dog Ski, happy skiing!

Can Skiing Really Change Your Life? from - Travel Directory

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Major Dos and Don’ts When Buying a Holiday Home Abroad: Travel Blog plus 1 more

The Major Dos and Don’ts When Buying a Holiday Home Abroad: Travel Blog plus 1 more

Link to Travel Blog

The Major Dos and Don’ts When Buying a Holiday Home Abroad

Posted: 25 Sep 2012 07:35 PM PDT

Are you getting fed up with the rainy skies and lack of sunshine? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to jet
down to your villa in Spain and relax by the pool for a week or two? Perhaps you have considered
owning a holiday home so that you have a place where you could escape every now and then.

Many people have decided to buy second properties abroad as a place to spend their holidays as
well as an investment which will earn them a rental income when they are not using them. The most
popular locations for Brits buying holiday homes are France, Spain, the USA, Australia and Thailand,
but there are beautiful properties available in sunny locations all over the world.

If you are considering buying a second home in a sunny holiday locale, there are lot of things to think
about first. Buying property is not something to rush into, especially if you are buying a home in a
different country. It's important that you take your time and do your research so that you can be
sure you have made the right choice.

Here are some of the main dos and don'ts to keep in mind when you are looking for your second
home abroad:

Do Get the Right Exchange Rate

Exchange rates between different currencies are always changing and this can make a big difference
in your property's value. If you have found your perfect home and the price fits your budget, if the
pound weakens against that currency before you make the decision to buy then you will find that
your new home is no longer affordable. Try to secure your rate of exchange as soon as possible so
that you can get the best rate.

Don't Buy More Than You Can Afford

When you are looking at the gorgeous villas in France it can be easy to fall in love and go over your
budget, leaving your finances stretched tightly. Make sure you create a budget before you start
looking for a home so that you will know what to look for.

Do Get to Know the Area

Before you decide to buy a holiday home in a certain location you will want to know the area inside
out and have a good idea of what it is like in every season. Some holiday destinations are very busy
in the high season yet close up and become like ghost towns in the off season. If you want to be able
to make an income from your property you will want a location which is busy all year round.

Don't Forget About the Government

Do a bit of research on the political stability of the country you are considering buying in. Is there a
chance that the country's government might become unstable? If this were to happen, what result
would it have on foreign investors and property prices? Is there any chance of a future government
confiscating the land or other assets?

Do Research Your Rental Potential

Many people who own holiday homes abroad will rent them out during the rest of the year
while they are not using them. They can be rented to tourists who will also enjoy spending their
holiday in your beautiful retreat. Renting can be a great way to offset the cost of the property,
but some research needs to be done to determine the rental market. Take a look at the other
similar properties in the area to determine how much they make from rentals and which is the
most popular type of property in that area. Also consider how long the rental season is and what
demographic of tourists often come to the area, for example families, elderly or couples.

Buying a home abroad requires a lot of research and planning ahead, but when you are lounging in
the sun on the terrace of your sun-soaked villa while sipping red wine it will all be worth the hassle.

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a property abroad. Don't forget to also look into
overseas property insurance so that you can protect your second home.

Author Bio

Charlotte loves blogging about Prestigious Technology, Food and Drink covering a range of luxurious
topics from high-end fashion to special car insurance. She likes to shop, discovering products and
eating healthily.

The Major Dos and Don'ts When Buying a Holiday Home Abroad from - Travel Directory

Medical tourism in Mexico

Posted: 25 Sep 2012 12:18 AM PDT

Mexico is a wonderful place to take a vacation with it’s sun, sand, warm and friendly people. It’s history, food culture and ambiance make it a wonderful place to visit. However, to fully take advantage of the warm weather found year round in Oaxaca one should have a body to go a long with it. Fortunately there is a clinic in Oaxaca can do liposuction for individuals who might be interested in the procedure.

Mexican Liposuction

This procedure is one that is often used for individuals who desire to have a toned body. Liposuction is a procedure that is done by a few different methods, some of which are minimally invasive. It involves sucking excess fat from beneath the skin out of the body, usually involving key areas like the legs, thighs stomach etc.

So it isn’t just liposuction. Invasive procedures like tummy tucks that require general anesthetics is being offered by world-class Mexican clinics. Those who are in the mood for a vacation can take advantage of the expertise of the Mexican surgeons for a fraction of the money, it would cost in the U.S. The site pegs the overall cost of a tummy tuck in excess of $10,000.

Not Just in Los Cabos

If you believe these world-class facilities are only found in world-class resorts like Los Cabos, think also of Tijuana, nearer the US border, or in the capital, Mexico City.

Those who wish to vacation to the area might want to consider medical tourism and have a procedure done at the same time. Doctors in Mexico (Oaxaca)are well versed in the arena and can get the procedure done with the same degree of skill that many U.S. practitioners have. There are plenty of satisfied customers who go south of the border to have these procedures done and are quite satisfied with the results.

Affordable and Customized Packages

Custom packages are available for those who wish to travel to the area and get their plastic surgery as well as take advantage of some tourism in the process. Mexico has a number of board certified plastic surgeons who have credentials to be able to perform the procedure of your desire. Travel arrangements can often be made in conjunction with the clinics so people can rest easily knowing that their arrangements have been made.

In many cases medical tourism in Mexico is a great way to accomplish two different things. An individual can have some R and R and also get a plastic surgery procedure of their choice performed by a board certified surgeon.

In some cases the Mexican surgeons have more experience in the procedures than U.S. doctors. Some of the Mexican clinics are state of the art and offer first rate care to their patients. Those who have been considering a plastic surgery procedure, but are afraid of the costs, should consider what the clinics south of the border have to offer. Read more about the breakdown in prices against US surgeons.

Then Go Relax

Many individuals are pleased and satisfied with their results and would do it again. One can go online to request a quote for the procedure of their choice, and the area of Mexico they would like to have their surgery done. It is an easy thing to do, and a way to make sure that you get the results from liposuction that you have always dreamed of. Take advantage of the low cost options that plastic surgery in Mexico has to offer the consumer.

Medical tourism in Mexico from - Travel Directory