Thursday, 15 January 2015

Travel Tip of the Week - Solitude in the clouds

I can't imagine how many pictures I have taken above the clouds yet at the beginning and end of every trip there they are - ten to twenty images that, while beautiful, never completely capture the essence of that moment in time. That time that passes between where you have been and where you are going, the magic and peacefulness one feels when floating above the clouds. Whether watching the sunrise, enjoying the daytime light or capturing the sunset it is never the same  yet the images always compelling.
Perhaps its the anticipation of what lies ahead, different foods, traditions, scenery, history and adventure. Perhaps it is the escape from everyday life, stressors, routine and unbearable weather left behind. Perhaps it is just simply the beauty of being in the moment - no distractions, no commitments, no expectations, nothing to do but just simply enjoy.
For those of us that embrace this experience must we must disregard the impatient glances of other travellers. In doing so we understand that they, sadly, did not likely lie in the grass as children watching clouds shapes form in the sky, trying to explain what they saw to others before the image disintegrated before their eyes, only to be replaced by something just as interesting. Or if they did they have forgotten how to tune out the rest of the world and enjoy something that is both so simple and so complex. We spend so much time trying to create special moments and memories in our lives yet are missing some of the magic right in front of us?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Travel Tip of the Week - 'Stretching out" Your Travel Time

When travelling it is not uncommon to sit for long periods of time, in a car, train, bus or airplane. Not only are we often fatigued when finally arriving at our destination but also stiff and sore from the posture we have held in close quarters. Taking time to stretch on a regular basis helps to minimize the negative affects of travel on our body. Whether suffering from restless leg syndrome, arthritis, knee or hip pain, or being at risk for deep vein thrombosis stretching your lower back, legs, hips and ankles is a proactive way to address some of the issues magnified by travel. Stretching in the restroom, parking lot, train / bus station, airport or in the aisles while you are actually on route can provide both immediate relief and minimize further issues as you begin your vacation. Ankle circles, hamstring stretches, quadriceps stretches, back arches, side stretches, shoulder rolls and neck rolls are good examples of simple stretches that can be performed in limited space. So the next time you have an airport layover, wait in line at customs or long lineup for the restroom take advantage of that time to stretch out those cramped muscles and keep yourself limber for the exciting journey ahead.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Travel Tip of the Week - What Bugz You the Most When Travelling?

When finally arriving at a vacation destination the inclination is to unload the bags, understand the layout of the community and set off exploring. Yet, potentially lurking in the sheets, there are critters who can not only ruin your trip but also travel back home with you and create havoc. I am speaking about the infamous bedbug - the potential experience every traveller dreads.
When we first told friends we planned to backpack in Europe it became apparent that there is a perceived correlation with bedbugs and hostels. Don't let the price of your accommodations give you a false sense of security as bedbugs do not discriminate and can be found anywhere. While we have never encountered bedbugs yet I am sure we will at some point in the future. Before we pay for our accommodations we always go into the room to do a thorough search of the sheets and mattress. Even prior to booking we check reviews for bedbug reports and google "bedbug and the hotel name". Our recommendation is to arm yourself with knowledge, be ready and flexible to change accommodations if the need arises and, if you have unwanted visitors, have a plan in place so they don't become residents in your permanent home. Recently I woke up in a hotel with a few red marks on me but, after a quick internet research, realized they were not bedbugs. However, to be sure, we left our backpacks in the garage when we returned home, wrapped in garbage bags, and unloaded and thoroughly washed and shook out items outside one at a time. Painstakingly tedious but time well spent for peace of mind. Attached is a good resource outlining effective critter control so you can minimize the occurrence of this travel issue.