The True Origin of Panama Hats

The True Origin of Panama Hats

Contrary to what the name suggests, Panama hats are from Ecuador. Long story short. In the 19th century, Ecuador started producing these straw hats but they didn’t have many customers to sell them to. They came up with the brilliant … Continue reading

My Travel Bucket List

Over the past year, I’ve been adding and removing things from my travel list.  I can’t say that I won’t change it after I publish this but here it is as of today.

AFRICA

      • Ride a camel, visit the Great Pyramids of Giza, and cruise down the Nile, Egypt
      • Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

ASIA

      • See the Sea of Stars at Vaadhoo island, Maldives
      • Ha Long Bay and Pongua Falls, Vietnam
      • Visit the world’s highest nature reserve at Palawan Island, Philippines
      • Thailand
      • India

AUSTRALASIA and Its Surroundings

      • Explore the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo, New Zealand
      • Visit The Kimberley and Whitehaven Beach, Australia
      • Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef
      • Stay in a bungalow on the ocean in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

CENTRAL and SOUTH AMERICA

      • Visit Chichen Itza and swim in the cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico
      • Attend the Carnavaaaal in Rio de Janeiro and see the Iguazu Falls, Brazil
      • Argentina
      • Panama (Feb-2013)
      • Drink something on fire (Flaming Bob Marley shots, Ecuador, Mar-2013)
      • Stand with one foot on either side of the equator (Ecuador, Mar-2013)
      • Spend 4 days in the Amazon jungle (Ecuador, Mar-2013)

EUROPE

      • France
      • Spain
      • Italy
      • Greece

NORTH AMERICA

      • Yosemite National Park
      • Yellowstone National Park
      • Antelope Canyon
      • Explore The Wave
      • Las Vegas
      • Chicago
      • Washington D.C.
      • LA (Jan-2013)
      • Trek through The Grand Canyon (Nov-2012)
      • Ride roller coasters in Orlando (Nov-2013)
      • Attend a Broadway show in New York City (Chicago, 2010)
      • Feel the power of the Niagara Falls (Jun-2009)

Other Travel-Related Items

      • Fly in a helicopter over a scenic part of the world
      • Stay at any of these 48 epic hotels
      • Experience zero gravity
      • Go fly-boarding
      • Go parasailing
      • Go bungee jumping (San Jose, Costa Rica, Feb-2013)
      • Go zip lining (Boquete, Panama, Feb-2013)
      • See a volcano spitting lava (Tungurahua, Mar-2013)
      • Climb a volcano (Cotopaxi, Mar-2013)

Do you have a travel bucket list?  What would you recommend?
Need help writing your travel or life lists? Read this article to get you started.

Flaming Bob Marleys

Flaming Bob Marley Shots

Flaming Bob Marley shots at the Leprechaun Bar in Banos, Ecuador

I had the pleasure of downing one of these little babies when I was in Ecuador.

They’re made from rum, grenadine, mint and banana liqueurs and they don’t taste too bad either, so if you’re ever in Banos, make sure to stop by the Leprechaun Bar.

An Odd Border Crossing

This was by far the oddest border crossing I’ve ever done. And I’ve experienced a few in my day. Flashback to February 2013 – I had just begun a tour with G Adventures. Little did I know what I’d got myself into.

Costa Rica

We left Costa Rica’s hippy, beach town of Puerto Viejo and made our way to the border at Sixaola.  It took us about 1 hour. When we got to the government office, we signed immigration forms and lined up to get our passports stamped for departure. Then, our guide ushered us to the perilous bridge of doom.

Dun, dun, DUN!!!
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8 Ways to Be Happy on a Long-Haul Flight

flight clouds

Peering out the window at 33,000 feet…

Over the years, I’ve grown to hate tolerate long-haul flights. Between 2003 and 2012, I travelled home for almost all Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. International flights became a regular part of my life. I’m fortunate to have been able to make these journeys, however, I’d be lying if I said the experience was always a relaxing one. I’ve put together a list things you should think about to make sure you’ll feel as comfortable as possible in economy class.

It all comes down to the seat. I usually go for a window seat. Partly for the view, and partly because it’s nice to have something to lean against when you’re sleepy. Also, unlike some passengers I’ve had the misfortune of sitting next to, I don’t tend to get up 50+ times to go to the bathroom. If you’ve got a dodgy bladder, do us all a favor and opt for an aisle seat.

Next, I look at the location of the seat. Try and pick a seat far from the lavatory. I was once stuck in a seat nearby, and the smell was awful for the entire flight – never again! Unless you want to sit up stiffly for the entire flight, avoid the last row of the cabin – they have limited seat recline. Seats in the exit rows have the advantage of providing that extra bit of leg room but they do come with a level of responsibility. If something goes wrong, you’ll have to step up and help the crew. If you’re anything like this guy,* then avoid these seats, too. Continue reading

9 Things To Do in Ecuador Besides the Galapagos

Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it’s jam-packed with things to see and do. What with the highlands, the coast, the avenue of volcanos, and the jungle – you’re spoiled for choice! Here are my top 9:

Explore the Amazon jungle. Learn about the Quechua traditions, make chocolate from scratch, see exotic wildlife, dig for gold, go canyoning, and swim in the Rio Napo.

Rio Napo in the Amazon

Rio Napo in the Amazon

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The Day I Jumped Out Of A Plane

Skydiving

It was January 1st, 2013 and I decided to tackle an item on my life list.I made a reservation with a skydiving company in San Diego, CA.

ON THE GROUND
When I got there, I filled out some paperwork stating that if I died, they weren’t responsible. Fair enough. I was introduced to my instructor, who showed me what positions I should take for jumping, free-falling and landing. I paid extra for a video so I could share the experience with my friends and family and boy, was it worth it!

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