Posts in Guest Post

The windy city – ten free attractions in Chicago

Sightseeing in the US doesn’t have to cost you the earth! Here we debunk another expensive city, and bring you some top attractions to see for free in Chicago.

Ahhhh Chicago. The very name conjures up images of prohibition, gale force winds that’ll blow right through your very bones and deep dish pizzas. It might not technically be the “second city” anymore (a title that Los Angeles has surely taken over) but historically it always will be number two for a variety of reasons. And much like its fellow US counterparts, it can often be described as being a tad expensive! NOT SO say we! For here we have racked our brains and plunged into the depths of our knowledge to bring you some of the very best that Chicago has to offer – and all without paying a (giant) bean! Do you see what we did there?! GIANT BEAN! It’ll all become clear in a moment…

Cheap in Chi! Free stuff to see and do in the USA’s second city!

The Cultural Centre

Opening way back in 1897 as a public library, the Chicago Cultural Centre has become a city institution. The architecture is truly amazing, with two beautiful stained glass domes and a commandingly impressive façade. Apart from its visual delights, the centre hosts an abundance of free stuff to do, and you know how much we like free stuff here at Etramping! You can take your pick from free concerts and theatre performances, to lectures and exhibitions, to family events and everything in between! With over a thousand events happening each year, you’ll be sure to find something right up your street!

95th Floor of the John Hancock building

City skylines don’t come that much more impressive than Chicago’s, but seeing the grand spectacle from a great height often comes at a great price. (We’re looking at you – Empire State!) But if you venture to the 95th floor of the John Hancock building, you can gaze out over the stunning city below, right out over the enormous Lake Michigan and beyond. It’s simply breathtaking and it won’t cost you a penny to get up there. It also boasts the fastest lifts in the western hemisphere! However be aware that you’ll be in a bar, so maybe order a tea or something. Either way, the panoramic view is worth a couple of bucks alone. Don’t miss it.

Millennium Park

You can’t get away with doing a feature about Chicago and not mention Millennium Park. Situated right in the heart of the city, this vast outdoor playground comes alive during those late summer nights. It’s buzzing with free music concerts, stunning architecture, unique street art and more. It’s here you’ll find one of Chicago’s most famous and best loved landmarks – the Cloud Gate, which is more affectionately known as “the giant bean”. Visiting it won’t cost you one! Listen to the sounds of some cool jazz at the parks focal point – the Jay Pritzker Pavilion – there’s no better place in the city to chill out at the end of a busy day sightseeing. Don’t miss the free movie showings on the big screen too!

Chicago Botanical Gardens

Taking up 385 acres of Chicago is the botanical gardens – a living, breathing museum of nature. It contains 25 display gardens and habitats housing flora from all over the world, and hosts multiple events year round to entice all the senses. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan city, you can’t go wrong by paying a visit here. It’s also a leader in plant conservation and care and has some great cycle tracks so you can keep fit while traveling.

Navy Pier

The award for Chicago’s most visited attraction goes to the famous Navy Pier, favourite of locals and tourists alike. Here you’ll find a ridiculous amount of things to do for nothing, including concerts, theatre, art exhibitions and more. Stretching right out into the vastness of Lake Michigan, it also offers some of the very best views of the Chicago skyline, so don’t forget your camera for that perfect shot. During the warmer months, you’ll also be able to capture amazing festivals taking place in and around the pier, as all of Chicago comes out to play, so check their website for an up-to-date program of events.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Visit one of the oldest zoos in the States by swinging (like a monkey) by the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. It’s completely free all year round, and you can see all the usual subjects hanging out on branches or chewing leaves 20ft up in the air. The zoo is always a great place to take kids too, if you’ve brought the little darlings with you on your trip – and don’t miss the annual Zoolights festival which takes place every winter. This 20 year tradition illuminates the zoo with over 2 million lights – just as good as going to see the animals themselves!

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Chicago is home to hundreds of amazing museums, and although most of the famous ones have a cover charge, there’s more than one you can enter with free admission. Try exploring the lesser known galleries to find some real diamonds in the rough – like the Museum of Contemporary Photography. As you would expect, the collection consists of a variety of thought-provoking photographs, from some of the Midwest’s finest artists. Make sure you leave enough time too, as with over 1000 pieces on display, you could be here a while. Perfect for when the weather isn’t quite what you hoped it would be – but hey – welcome to Chicago!

Harold Washington Library Centre

You’ll find a book lovers paradise if you visit the Harold Washington Library Centre, as well as regular exhibitions and events that you can attend without paying a dime. The building is equally as impressive too, opening in 1991, and serves as the Chicago Public Library’s flagship branch. Another good choice for those bad weather days, with over 2 million books to choose from, you’ll wish the sun never came out at all! It’s also home to a 385 seat theatre, art collections and stunning internal architecture. Perfect for those book worms among you!

Free walking tours

The best thing about walking is that it’s free. And that it keeps you fit too – which we also like – but being free is awesome. Now you could choose to meander through Chicago’s many famous neighbourhoods and get lost exploring on your own, or you could opt for one of the cities many free walking tours which operate daily through the summer months. For some special care and attention, you must try the wonderful Chicago Greeter program, which matches visitors with a local, knowledgeable guide. You need to register ten days in advance though – as you can imagine this service is pretty popular!

Go to the beach!

Now we wouldn’t recommend this in winter, as Chicago can get colder than the surface of Pluto from November onwards. However, if you’re lucky enough to be visiting in summer – which is when most sensible people should be – then you’re in for a treat. Chicago has got some awesome beaches running the shoreline of Lake Michigan, and there are plenty of activities available, from swimming to cycling, jogging to volleyball. Or you could just simply bury yourself in the sand with a good book.  This season opens on May 26th 2017. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Chicago has got so much to offer when it comes to free attractions. It’s a great travel destination for cheap holidays and we could be writing this post forever. It’s such an incredible place, full of energy and life, and there’s always something going on – even if the weather threatens to dampen your day! They don’t call it the windy city for nothing!

Top Ten Songs to Ease Flight Anxiety

Flying is never easy. Even the most seasoned traveller gets a little nervous when they have to board a giant flying machine and crowd into a tiny seat next to a complete stranger. We’ve all been there. The shortness of breath, the clammy hands, your heart beating out of your chest… Anxiety. It’s no fun. But there are ways to calm it down. Studies have shown that music can actually change the pattern of our brainwaves, easing anxiety and helping to avoid panic attacks. Whether you’re in for a short two-hour flight or going overseas, these songs will help you beat the airplane jitters.


10. “Someone Like You” by Adele: This song’s soft rhythmic verses lead up to an intense chorus. Getting lost in the emotion of the song can help distract your mind and calm your nerves. I’m pretty sure listening to Adele sing the phone book would do the same thing.

9. “Let it Be” by The Beatles: Ok, the lyrics may be a little obvious as to why this one made the list, but it’s not only the song’s message that can be soothing. The gentle piano melodies can actually help slow the heartbeat and set your mind at ease.

8. “Watermark” by Enya: Enya’s music has been used in spas and medical offices for years because of her mystical, calming voice and symphonic sounds. Close your eyes and picture waterfalls and gently flowing green meadows, you’ll be in relaxing bliss in no time.

7. “The Scientist” by Coldplay: This song is soft and melodic with gentle falsetto vocals. The piano is a nice edition for calming effects. Actually, many of Coldplay’s songs would do the trick.

6. “High and Dry” by Radiohead: Radiohead’s some times nonsensical lyrics paired with intense instrumental background tend to take your brain on a fantasy journey. Listen to Radiohead and you won’t even notice take off, you’ll be too busy taking off to a magical musical journey in your head.

5. “Clare de Lune” by Claude Debussy: This is one of the most beautiful piano pieces ever written. Piano in any song can be soothing but this masterpiece will help you softly drift away.

4. “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John: This classic is not only melodic and calming, it’s iconic. Soon you’ll be passionately singing along. Maybe everyone will join in and you and your fellow passengers can recreate the famous tour bus scene in “Almost Famous”.

3. “Breathe Me” by Sia: The vast vocal range and clear tone of Sia’s beautiful voice make almost all of her tracks relaxing. She takes listeners on a journey with her vocals and lyrics, particularly in this song.

2. “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac: Stevie Knicks’ rough, deep tone with the melodic intricacies of “Landslide” makes this song a top choice for easing anxiety. Float away with Knicks’ one of a kind sound.

1. “Weightless” by Marconi Union: Now with this one, you don’t have to take my word for it, there’s scientific proof that this song will ease anxiety. According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, this song produces a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date. It was actually created for the purpose of calming your mind. Marconi Union worked with sound therapists to carefully arrange harmonies, rhythms and bass lines to help slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. In fact, it’s so powerful at calming your mind and body, that driving is not recommended while listening to this song. Flying is ok, as long as you’re not the pilot.

So there you have it, the top ten songs for reducing flight anxiety. Bring your most obnoxiously large headphones, load up your listening device (when the flight attendants say it’s safe to of course) and float away to lala land. You’ll be landing and fighting for first dibs at the overhead compartments before you know it. Safe travels.

About the Author:

Jessica Kane is a writer for SoundStage Direct, the number online source for the best vinyl records and turntables.

Italian Dual Citizenship Requirements and Process

Reclaiming your ancestral Italian citizenship is a bit of an opera. Overall, it’s a gorgeous, sweet, noble experience ripe with beautiful melodies, duets, ensembles and trumpets. Yet there are potential plot twists and difficult, thrilling high notes to consider. Wanna know how to acquire dual citizenship, honor your bloodline and then take a well deserved bow? Find the answers below.

O Patria Mia

Thanks to your good luck, your Italian ancestry entitles you to dual Italian and American citizenship. You earned this by jure sanguinis, the right of blood, occasionally referenced in its Latin form jus sanguinis. That’s right, amico, you only had to be born to earn this right.

There are some circumstances in which your distant Italian ancestral birthright does not guarantee contemporary citizenship by jure sanguinis. In any case there is a ton of paperwork. Let’s examine

  • General rules
  • Documents you might require
  • Processes
  • Restrictions
  • and Fees

O Mio Babbino Caro

As a general rule, you can only claim Italian dual citizenship via jure sanguinis if your ancestors were still Italian citizens when you were born. For example, if your parents emigrated from Italy to the United States 10 years ago, promptly renounced their Italian citizenship and had you, then jure sanguinis does not apply to you.

If your parents emigrated from Italy to the United States 10 years ago, had you and renounced their Italian citizenship only after your birth, then jure sanguinis applies to you.

Further, if you were born before 1948, then only your paternal Italian ancestry makes you eligible to claim Italian citizenship via jure sanguinis. This is because the law did not grant Italian women the right to transmit their citizenship to their children until 1948. Even so, the general rule still applies if you’re attempting to claim Italian citizenship through your father’s side. Capisce?

If your most recent Italian born ancestors emigrated prior to July 1, 1912, then you are not eligible for Italian dual citizenship via jure sanguinis. Any Italians who emigrated prior to this date immediately lost their Italian citizenship, as did their heirs, perpetually. You would need to apply for Italian citizenship as a non-EU citizen, which eventually requires you to renounce your American citizenship.

You May Pledge Allegiance to Multiple Flags

There is a catch to the above general rule, which works in your favor. Native Italians who emigrated to the United States often became U.S. Citizens without renouncing their Italian citizenship. The U.S. does not require its émigrés to renounce their homeland citizenship.

Consequently, you might still be eligible to reclaim your Italian citizenship via jure sanguinis despite being a third or fourth generation American of Italian descent. You only have to demonstrate that you have Italian ancestor who became naturalized U.S. citizens but never renounced their Italian citizenship and still had a legal right to it.

The Plot Thickens Like All Day Sauce

The stack of documents you need for your application packet varies. It depends on the nature of your ancestral Italian lineage, the nationality laws that were in place when you were born, and whether or nor your naturalized American ancestors renounced their Italian citizenship.

First, collect and list the birth years of every relative in the direct line between your Italian born ancestor and you. Second, compile a list of dates when each of your ancestors who emigrated became naturalized citizens of the United States.

To obtain dates of naturalization, ask living family members who might know, or consult certificates of naturalization. You’ll need copies of these certificates for your application packet anyway. Ask any living family members if they possess certificates of naturalization for your common ancestors.

If none of your family members possess certificates of naturalization for your common ancestors, you may obtain them through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Download, print, complete and mail document g-639 to the address given in the document’s instructions

If there is no record with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, consult the National Archives for any copies of the Oath of Allegiance and Petition for Naturalization that one or more of your ancestors completed.

The Story of Your Family

The following list includes most of the documents you might require to obtain Italian dual citizenship via jure sanguinis. (Naturally, the list skips from 16 to 18.) As mentioned above, the specific documents you require depend on the unique lineage and family members through which you acquire your right to Italian dual citizenship by right of blood.

  • 1. Great Grandfather’s Birth Certificate
  • 2. Great Grandmother’s Birth Certificate
  • 3. Great Grandfather’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • 4. Great Grandmother’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • 5. Great Grandparents’ Marriage Certificate
  • 6. Great Grandfather’s Death Certificate
  • 7. Great Grandmother’s Death Certificate
  • 8. Grandfather’s Birth Certificate
  • 9. Grandmother’s Birth Certificate
  • 10. Grandfather’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • 11. Grandmother’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • 12. Grandparents’ Marriage Certificate
  • 13. Grandfather’s Death Certificate
  • 14. Grandmother’s Death Certificate
  • 15. Father’s Birth Certificate
  • 16. Mother’s Birth Certificate
  • 18. Father’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • 19. Mother’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • 20. Parents’ Marriage Certificate
  • 21. Father’s Death Certificate
  • 22. Mother’s Death Certificate
  • 23. Applicant’s Birth Certificate
  • 24. Applicant’s Marriage Certificate
  • 25. Spouse’s Birth Certificate
  • 26. Applicant’s Final Divorce Decree
  • 27. Birth Certificates for all children under 18 years
  • 28. Declaration of Applicant
  • 29. Declaration of Living Ascendant Born Outside of Italy
  • 30. Declaration of Deceased Ascendant

There is a wonderful list of qualifications that clarifies exactly which documents you need based on your relationship to your Italian ancestor and everyone in between. Some documents require an apostille and translation into Italian.

There is a strong possibility you’ll have to request certain certificates from Italy, such as birth or marriage. You can do this yourself or pay a specialist to do it. The process entails submitting the full name of the Italian ancestor, a date or approximate date range of the event, such as birth, marriage or death, and the town or city where the event transpired.

The request must be sent to the appropriate city’s official archives or Registrar of Vital Records (Ufficio dello Stato Civile). Response times vary between six to eight weeks. DIY fees are as little as $20 to $40. The U.S. Embassy has Italian/English versions of certificate requests on its website.

Prepare and Check Your Packet of Documents

Sift through all your documents in search of discrepancies and errors. Check, re-check, and re-check again. Any differences in dates, names, unclear documents, poor translations, etc., can result in the consul rejecting your packet. Which means you’ll have to schedule a new appointment.

Bear in mind that your stack of documents should include several documents that attest to your citizenship and marital status, such as your birth certificate and marriage certificate. Replacement fees for these documents vary depending on the state you live in and the service you use to request them.

Be sure you have any English-language documents translated into Italian replete with apostilles. More than likely, you’ll need to have your Application for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis translated into Italian. The Italian embassy in Washington DC has PDF copies in English.

Visit the website of your local Italian consulate general. Rather like Italy’s various regions, each consulate has a specific way of overseeing the application process. Each website is also a fount of relevant information, instructions, additional forms you may require (yeah!) and lists of recommended professional translators.

Finalmente!

Create a cover letter for your application packet, and schedule an appointment to visit your local Italian consul. You will need to sign certain forms at the consul per the consul’s requirements. As of mid 2017, the fee for a application for citizenship jure sanguinis is $319.40, and the consul only accepts money orders.

The fee in U.S. dollars potentially changes every trimester, so check your consul’s website before raiding any piggy banks. Your total fees depend largely on the number of documents you require, and this depends on the number of relevant ancestors in the direct line between you and your Italian born ancestor.

In your application packet cover letter, specify the city hall or comune in Italy where you desire your registration of your civil status documents. Arrange the order of your packet as follows:

  • Cover letter
  • Application for Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis (with notarization)
  • Declaration of Applicant (with notarization)
  • Declaration of Living Ascendant Born Outside of Italy (with notarization)
  • Declaration of Deceased Ascendant (with notarization)
  • Photocopy of a valid ID showing your current address
  • Your birth certificate with apostille or legalization
  • Italian translation of your birth certificate
  • Ancestors’ certificates starting with Italian-born ancestor and continuing chronologically


Photocopy everything in your application packet twice, and reserve one hard copy in a safe place. Feel free to scan your entire packet into a digital format and keep it handy on a USB flash drive of backed up in a secure cloud.

Perfect Time For A Passeggiata… Or Several

Some consuls allow you to mail your application packet, while others require you to deliver it in person. Since one or more appointments at the consulate are a requirement, and considering all the fastidious sleuthing and preparation you have to do, you may as well deliver the packet in person.

Reward yourself afterward with a glass of chianti or a gelato. You sure deserve it. Clutch your patron saint’s pendant and sit tight. Scoring citizenship via jure sanguinis can take up to one whole year. Ciao!

About the Author:

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Documents International LLC, a leading apostille service for individuals and businesses.

Three Reliable Ways to Support Your Long-Term Travels

There are few things in life better for the body, mind, and soul than world travel. It can give you to the opportunity to break out of a spiritually repressive 9-to-5 routine and truly experience what this marvelous planet has to offer. Traveling will introduce you to new cultures, giving you a unique perspective on life, and will challenge you to exist outside of your comfort zone. Because you are constantly faced with these inspiring challenges, becoming a world-traveler will increase your self-confidence and enable you to become an especially independent self-starter. The longer you travel, and the more places you visit, the more autonomous of a person you will become.


Perhaps you are thinking, “Well, this certainly sounds like a wonderful idea in theory, but how am I supposed to fund all of this globe-trotting on a long-term basis?” It may come as a surprise to hear that traveling for weeks, months, or even years doesn’t have to come with an absurd price tag. In fact, there are innumerable ways to travel with very little cost. Additionally, there are steps you can take to actually generate an income as you travel, giving you the option to continue your excursion for as long as your heart and soul desire.

Work as a Freelance Writer

Anyone with a decent grasp of the English language, and who has managed to recall the simple rules of grammar taught to them in school can make money writing while on the road. Starting as a freelance writer with no experience can be tricky without a degree and portfolio; however, more and more online content sites are hiring first-time writers to produce articles, blog posts, and web content to sell to their clients. Many of these companies only require that you submit a writing sample, or that you pass a spelling and grammar exam before being added to their roster of authors.

Texbroker International is one popular online content site for new freelancers; this content and writing service hires authors on as ghostwriters. As fun as it sounds, this does not mean that you’ll be paid to create tales about the supernatural world; instead, you will write articles on topics you are assigned, which in turn will be consensually published as another person. While the pay is not especially high, a couple hours a day can easily put an extra twenty or thirty dollars in your pocket. A hint for those interested in writing for Textbroker: take your time and submit an outstanding sample article during the application process, because you are paid on a rating system based on your writing style and grammar skills. The higher your initial rating is, the more you will be paid per word.

Apply for Work Trade Programs on Organic Farms

An increasingly popular way to travel the world on a budget (and often earn money while doing so) is to work as a WWOOF’er. WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an ever-increasing movement in which organic farms and sustainable communities offer room, board, and sometimes meals to travelers in exchange for a portion of their time in labor. WWOOF’ing positions are available in nearly every region of the world and, and they last anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more. However, the average length of stay on one farm is three months. Many organic farms, or “hosts”, that offer this type of work trade do so only seasonally, but depending on what type of farm you are working on, and what climate the region is in, year-round opportunities are attainable. For instance, farm hosts on the Hawaiian islands grow and harvest crops during every month of the year, making it one of the most sought-after destinations in the world for WWOOF’ers to travel to.

The best WWOOF hosts will allow you to eat off the land, in other words, you can forage for vegetables and fruits that are growing on the property. Supplementing what is available on the land with inexpensive staples such as beans, rice, and grains, and cooking meals for yourself will nearly diminish the cost of eating while you are working as a WWOOF’er. Additionally, this gives you the life experience of consuming a pure diet straight from the earth, utterly free of processed food products, and will give you the opportunity to gain practice in self-reliance and sustainability. Better yet, a growing number of host farms offer a weekly stipend. The amount of this stipend is typically quite insignificant, but with no other substantial living expenses to speak of, this pocket money can easily be saved to fund a flight to your next farm in another country.

Another major benefit of doing a work trade as a WWOOF’er is the experience you’ll gain, and if organic farming or gardening is something you want to do regularly, you can easily capitalize on this hands-on learning experience later on. Several WWOOF’ers with some formal educational background in agriculture have said that they gained more knowledge of organic farming in three months of working on a host farm than they did during several years of sitting in a classroom.

Become an Employee While Hostel-Hopping

Hostels are undoubtedly a substantial part of any budget traveler’s itinerary, but some are not aware that many of these culturally-diverse crash pads frequently hire some of their guests. Often these are low-paying positions, and a hostel may require a certain amount of notice and planning before they can sponsor you; however, the perks are well worth it. Not only will you get to earn extra cash during your travels, but you’ll surely form friendships with people from around the world, and will become increasingly familiar with the region that you’re visiting. This is because employees at hostels are often in charge of directing their travelers to places of interest in the area, conducting tours, and accompanying travelers on local outings.

Depending on your destination and the need for workers at the time you apply, many hostels may not be available to pay you for your services with cash; instead, they may allow you free or discounted lodging and possibly meals in exchange for your time. A more lucrative alternative to working or volunteering at hostels is to become an employee with one of many resorts, hotels, cruise ships, and national parks that hire seasonally. These may require full-time work schedules, but the pay is decent, and there are hundreds of desirable locations to choose from.

These are but a few of the many ways you can earn or save money while wandering the globe, making it completely feasible for pretty much anyone to become a world-traveler.

About the Author:

Jessica is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide internet fax service for individuals and businesses.

10 Reasons You Should Start A Travel Blog While You Are Teaching in China

Blogging is a completely different world filled with every single thing that occupies a big chunk of every blogger’s heart. You will discover a wide variety of niches in the blogging world, but one thing is common: they are writing something personal – something that consumes their day.
As you begin a new chapter of your life as a teacher in China, your personal experiences are worth writing down. Your highs and lows, and your new discoveries are gems to the world. If you are in a need of a little convincing, here are the ten reasons why you should start a travel blog:

1. It somehow keeps you sane.

Miles away from home, people from the past would write on journals to let out every single overwhelming experience they have had. Blogging works just like writing a journal only that you invite people to interact with you, and be part of your experience. You can be very personal about your journey yet giving the world a chance to walk with you.

2. You discover new things. 

With the chance to share your experiences to the world, it also pushes you to keep on trying something new. China is a beautiful country. As a foreigner, you have yet to discover so many things about this wondrous country. And when you begin to blog, you get more inspired to discover more.

3. It helps you grow. 

In the pursuit of discovering new things about China, you will also stumble upon lessons that would help you grow as a person. You will gain experiences and you will be with people who will help open your eyes and bring you to a fresher and newer perspective about travelling, about people, and about life.

4. You create an audience. 

You create a community of people who are more than willing to see you grow, and learn from your journey. This community is one of the reasons that encourages you to try out something new.

5. You teach people.

With the community that you have created, you also help open their eyes to the realities of teaching abroad and you welcome them to a life in China far different from what the media would always present.

6. You create opportunities.

You become a key that opens a door of possibilities for your readers. They will begin to discover their passion by simply reading your blog. You attract companies to partner with you, too. And because of this, your readers find opportunities out of being part of your community of readers.

7. You build your brand. 

You might know that in a pool of applicants, recruiters are always looking for people who are experts in their fields. Blogging allows you to build your personal profile. It is like an online portfolio of who you are as a foreign teacher in China, and even as a tourist (if you are also considering it as a job you can take on in the future).

8. You attract recruiters.

As mentioned, recruiters are always on the hunt of the best people to hire. They want someone who showcases their skills and talents into the job. Blogging is a very good tool in connecting people and companies to each other. If they noticed your exemplary passion for teaching, they would be the first one to knock on your door without you even applying.

9. It gives you a chance to connect to people.

This is completely different from creating a community. Blogging gives you chance to meet people from the different walks of life. Some readers would connect us to tour guides, drivers, executives, and/or companies that would expand our horizons and would lead us to be better versions of ourselves.

10. You are a good medium of change.

Before you know it, you become an influencer. You affect people simply by what you post. With this kind of power, you are a good medium in getting a message come across to people. What you write affects your readers in some way or another. You can be a stone thrown out in the pond that creates a ripple of change.

So while you are packing up for your next flight, I hope you are already thinking of your blog name. You are like the Little Prince who travelled the world and shared his wisdom to people. You are a story definitely worth blogging about.

How To Prepare For An ATVing Weekend

Photo Credit: Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Board

If you’re ready to tackle the weekend in style, then off-roading may be on your list of things to do. However, as with all extreme sports, you can’t exactly go off half-cocked if you want to make sure that you have a good time. Safety and preparedness are always a top priority, which is why you should follow these steps about what to bring ATVing. Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, it’s always good to know what’s important before heading out.

Know Proper Loading Procedure

You may have seen many videos of people trying to drive their ATVs or dirt bikes onto a truck via a ramp, and almost every time they wind up biffing it or damaging their rig. If you aren’t sure how to load your vehicles onto a truck bed, then look up the right way to do it. Don’t risk injury before you’ve even been out on the trail.

Wear the Right Gear

No matter how much of a tough guy you are, you can’t deal with getting your foot or leg pinned between your ATV and the ground. Serious injury happens when people are careless and reckless, when most of the time it could be avoided by wearing safety equipment and practicing correct procedures.

Bring Extra Fuel

Even if you plan on being out for a couple of hours at most, you don’t want to risk running on empty and having to drag your ATV back to the truck. Plus, more fuel means that you can stay later if the mood strikes.

Bring Spare Tires

You never know what can happen on the trail, which is why you should buy cheap ATV tires and bring them along. It’s much better to have spares and not use them then to need them and not have them.

Tool Kit

Repairs may need to happen on the road, including changing a tire. Don’t get stranded because you don’t have the right tools to do the job.

If you need any of this equipment or more for your ATV excursion, check out bikebandit.com for ATV parts and accessories to make your trip even more memorable.

[x_alert heading=”DISCLAIMER” type=”muted”]This is a sponsored post. On occasion, Lost Boy Memoirs accepts sponsored articles or guest authors but all opinions expressed here are of the guest author and not of Ryan Brown or Lost Boy Memoirs.[/x_alert]

7 Out-of-the-way Destinations that You Should Visit

When planning to travel, it’s quite common to end up choosing some of the most popular places as your trip destinations, but this has the potential to leave you disappointed. Too many tourists and packed flights can really put a damper on your experience. Perhaps you’re a seasoned traveler who has simply run out of new locations to visit, or maybe you’ve never traveled at all and want to start with someplace that flies under the radar. Either way, the following list of locations are a bit more off-the-beaten-path while still being sure to offer you a fantastic experience. Over at eTramping, Agness and Cez have picked these 7 lesser travelled locations for you to consider when planning your next adventure.

#1 Antarctica

When looking for an out-of-the-way destination or seeking a little solitude, simply look to the continent at the end of the world. Perhaps there is no definitive end to our globe, but visiting Antarctica will certainly make you feel that you’ve reached it. Solo travel to Antarctica is not quite feasible but the solitude you’ll experience there is of a grander scale anyway; vast lands uninhabited by humans means no cities or streets, no man-made structures or distractions. You’ll get to experience pure, unadulterated earth. You’ll see the wildlife of the arctic in its natural habitat while cruising alongside whales through the Drake passage, which is the fastest and most travelled route for cruise ships.

Speaking of Antarctic Cruises, you’ll need to decide which option suits you. If you’re adventurous enough to go on a shore excursion you’ll want a smaller cruise ship with less passengers; ideally under 200. There are plenty of charters to choose from that will do land and Zodiac excursions. If you just want to enjoy the scenery from the safety of the ship, then a larger, cheaper cruise line should fit the bill. (And speaking of bills, the difference between these two types of expeditions can run you around $10,000! So, budget accordingly)

#2 Tibet

Next on our list is Tibet; sitting at some of the highest elevations on earth, Tibet is certainly out of the way! There is no shortage of natural wonders to experience when you tour Tibet, with the region touting the highest mountains on earth, the largest canyon in the world (Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon), and stunning rivers and lakes.

There is bound to be an adventure waiting for virtually every outdoor enthusiast. If the great outdoors isn’t your thing you’ll certainly be enchanted by the many palaces, temples and monasteries to be seen and visited. Get yourself a tour guide and experience the culture of Tibet, from relaxing with a hot cup of Butter Tea to enjoying a Tibetan Opera, there’s undoubtedly something to suit everyone’s tastes.

#3 Alaska

Unless you are an avid outdoorsman, Alaska may not seem like an immediately appealing travel destination, but the state actually has much more refinement to offer than one would think. Alaska may be known for its fresh seafood, but you can also find classy eateries like Sacks Café and Restaurant offering up ground filet mignon burgers and live jazz shows. Likewise, if you’re not up for a wilderness adventure you can always stay at the Anchorage Hilton or The Hotel Captain Cook which offers its own health club in addition to fine dining.

There are various museums and festivals to be experienced as well, such as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival which offers art workshops ranging from one hour to one week long.

#4 South Africa

When it comes to locations that you absolutely have to visit, South Africa is undeniably at the top of the list. Not only is everything in South Africa still pretty darn cheap (1 US dollar is equal to roughly 13 Rand, or 1 Euro to 14 Rand), they also offer almost everything anyone could ever want to do or see. Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Paragliding, Surfing, Hot Air Ballooning, and Skydiving are just some of the outdoor activities you’ll enjoy there. In Cape Town you’ll experience everything from fine dining and world-class shopping to whale watching, along with all-nightclubs and casinos for entertainment.

You can visit Kruger National Park in Limpopo and experience a 4×4 adventure, go on a game walk or follow some of the mountain biking routes through the glorious wilderness of South Africa. You’ll see a wide range of wildlife including African lions, leopards and elephants, the Cape buffalo, and the rhino; better known as Africa’s Big 5. There are also a number of museums, heritage sites, and art galleries to keep you busy, and if that’s not enough, there’s the Cape Town International Jazz Festival which is one of the top ranked jazz festivals across the globe.

#5 Uruguay

If you don’t think of fine wines, high-rise hotels, inviting sandy beaches, and the world’s longest carnival when you think of Uruguay, then it’s probably time that you visit this often overlooked country. Uruguay is a top ranked Latin nation for peace, economic-freedom, income equality and liberalism. The country’s capital city, Montevideo, boasts a rich culture and is known for its architecture, music and art.

You can visit a number of important museums there including the National Museum of Visual Arts and the National History Museum of Montevideo. Uruguay can offer you a nightlife akin to that of Miami Beach if you visit Punta Del Este, or you can take it slow and immerse yourself in the history and culture of the country by visiting its former most important city, Colonia Del Sacramento.

#6 Cayman Islands

Visiting the Cayman Islands is truly a trip to paradise. Imagine a sparsely populated, white sand beach in the Caribbean, stretching as far as the eye can see. You’ve just imagined the famous crescent-shaped, Seven Mile Beach of Grand Cayman. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and parasailing are all activities to enjoy on Grand Cayman and when you need time to recover from those adventures there’s plenty of beach bars to grab a cool drink and relax at. The Cayman Islands actually offer you plenty of options for relaxation aside from their beaches as well. You’ll find no shortage of spas, salons, and yoga studios. There are also museums, golfing, Stingray City, the Cayman Turtle Farm, and the botanic park to enjoy.

#7 Fiji

Another paradise stop not to be missed sits in the heart of the South Pacific and is known for much more than just fancy bottled water. Fiji is comprised of a diverse blend of cultures ranging from the native Fijian to peoples of European and Chinese descent. This diversity will shine through in every aspect of your trip to this tropical island country.  The main attractions of Fiji will be scuba diving, white sand beaches, experiencing the rainforests and botanical gardens, and the many festivals and ceremonies that occur throughout the year. Dining options range from American to Japanese cuisine but trying out the local specialties is a part of the Fiji experience you don’t want to skip.

Of course, if the lure of pure paradise isn’t enough for you, there is always plenty of golfing, sailing and shopping to be done.

We’re confident there’s a location here suit everyone, but what do you think? Do you know of any gems that should have made the list? Please let us know in the comments, and share your experience if you’ve visited any of these ones!

7 World Foods NOT to Try on Your Adventure

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Wherever you go in the world, you’ll always find somewhere offering a selection of delicious cuisines. While all the countries on this list fall under that bracket, they also serve up some rather questionable dishes.

1) Monkey Brains – Indonesia  

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Let’s kick it off with a doozy. Monkey brains isn’t some clever name for a standard meal, it’s quite literally the fried (or in some cases raw) consumption of the brain of a simian.

In Indonesia it’s believed eating these brains will help cure impotency, which as a result has seen monkeys in that country violently hunted. Eating them has also been proven to cause fatal neurological disease.

2) Yak Penis – China 

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One restaurant in China specialises in serving exclusively penis on their menu – with the Yak’s being the largest, and therefore least appetising, on offer.

The as such named Guolizhuang Penis Restaurant has earned a reputation for its unique style. Albeit that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

3) Sardinian Maggot Cheese – Italy 

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This is arguably the food you’d most want to avoid on your adventure – the Italians are renowned for their amazing food, but this dish is far from one of their best.

This cheese, known as ‘Casu Marzu’, is made from sheep’s milk and has live larvae inside it. This dish is hard to find (we’re not even sure it’s legal), but some people claim it is still available on the Italian island.

4) Baby Mice Wine – Korea 

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Live babies are plucked from their mothers at birth and dropped into bottles of rice wine to ferment. Grim stuff.

This health tonic is supposed to taste like raw gasoline, so we’re not really sure exactly what the appeal is. 

5) Fruit Bat Soup – Palau 

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If you’re trying this food on your Palau adventure, then something has gone seriously wrong for you.

The bat is thrown (living) into a boiling pot of coconut milk, before vegetables are added. Disturbingly, other than a quick wash, there is no other prep for the fruit bat – meaning you eat its eyes, hands, feet, organs and even fur.

6) Balut – Phillipines 

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Things only get worse for us, with the latest item on our list coming in the form of a duck or chicken egg that’s been allowed to mature to the point where feet and a beak have formed, before being boiled.

The result of that is a hard-boiled egg which contains a mini bird inside when you crack open the shell. Err… Lovely stuff.

7) Hakarl – Iceland 

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Iceland has received publicity for all the right reasons recently, but their bizarre cuisine of Hakarl could set their public image back a touch.

This dish encompasses a shark which has been gutted, buried for 2 weeks, then exhumed and hung for 2 months. You’re eating a dead, decaying and rotten three-month-old fish.

These are seven of the worst dishes in the world, and are well worth avoiding on your adventure. Find any more out there? Let us know. 

Malang is a Must Visit when in Indonesia

In East Java there is a city that should be visited by travelers, and even locals, located between the highest mountain in Java and an active volcano — that city is Malang.


If your’e like me, outdoors and hiking are the best part of travel. But when I can explore ancient ruins or temples along with that? BONUS! Malang holds a rich history, dating back to the 8th century and was the capital city of the Singhasari Kingdom in 1200 AD and has ancient temples to show. But it also has modern charm, influenced in part by the Dutch and expansion of the railway in the 1800’s fusing Indonesian and European architecture and charm. With mild temperatures year-round and an ongoing government supported preservation of the culture and colonial history, this makes Malang a favorite spot for many Indonesians and Europeans alike.

After all, there’s a reason why they call it the “Paris of East Java”.

Here’s is a mock itinerary and a taste of what Malang has to offer, and why everyone interested in Indonesia should visit.

Want Temple hopping and History?

One spot for the Laura Croft and Indiana Jones types is Singhasari Temple located just 10km north of Malang is a quick taxi or moto ride away. The site around the temple is believed to be the official court of the ancient Singhasari Kingdom’s Javanese court. It is also believed to be a funeral dedication to the last Singhasari King, partially unfinished, with Shiva and kala or lion-like heads adorning the structure. If you like history, make rent a motorbike or hire a driver and explore here.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Gear Up For Glorious Hikes and Mountains!

Mount Semeru and Bromo Semeru dominate the horizon around Malang, being that the city is surrounded by these mountains and connecting national parks. If you’re an outdoors lover or like hikes, can you imagine anything better than a trek above the clouds 3,700 km on East Java’s highest peak? Mount Semeru has a diverse flora and fauna, surrounded by pines and lakes, and has camping availability or village stays and can be hiked round-trip in 4 days time.

Photo Credit: bromoeastjava.com
Photo Credit: bromoeastjava.com

Are you daring enough for a crater climb? Mount Bromo, connected in the same national park, can be a bit intense to hike due to the altitude and sulfur from the active volcanos in the region. But one can rent horses for the trek up, or there is a staircase that takes you 250 steps up to the base of the ancient crater giving you spectacular panoramic views of the mountain and the exhilaration of being atop a volcano!

Photo Credit: movies.nationalgeographic.com
Photo Credit: movies.nationalgeographic.com

Is it the Beach Life for You?

Indonesia is quite famous for its beaches, and I’m sure after a day of exploring temples and mountains you’ll need a little R&R. Balekambang beach is a hot spot for its white sand beaches stretching over 2km, but the main attraction is Ismoyo Temple, an ancient Hindu temple perched on a rock in the sea battling time and the endless waves. Relax in the sun, take a swim to cool off in the clear blue ocean, and cross the connecting bridge and take in a sunset at the temple.

Photo Credit: ichsannurfajar.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: ichsannurfajar.wordpress.com

Headed to Malang? Here’s how to find a great place to stay!

Given Malang is a tourism hot spot for Europeans and Indonesians alike, the guest houses and hotels have stepped up their game. Hotels like the Everyday Smart Hotel Malang make for a modern and comfortable stay while providing all the assistance for tips and trips in the area, with free wifi and 24 hour check-in. Before you head off to explore beautiful Malang, check out Traveloka to book your flights and stay and save the hassle of searching when you arrive!

Returning to Canada: the pull of Ontario

Night view of Skyline

I’ve always said I would go back to Canada again ever since my trip there in 2013 for the TBEX travel blogger conference. If not just to sample that awesome Poutine again, to see the hundreds of other sights and sounds that I couldn’t fit into our three-week blogger road trip.

So, what would I do if I had the chance to go back?

Well, I feel like I didn’t get to see much of Ontario while I was there. A lot of my time was dedicated to the conference, but I know I missed out on a whole lot of exploring. Okay, so I got to go to a party dressed as a vampire, but what about the national parks, Niagara Falls and the best nightlife that Toronto can offer?

Here’s a brief overview of what I intend to do when I head back to Ontario… I haven’t decided where I’d go from there yet. Any suggestions?

1. Niagara Falls
I am so bummed I didn’t get to see this while I was there. So close and yet so far away! To start with, I’ll be heading to the area just behind the Falls, to bag myself a hotel room. Normally I’m not too bothered about where I end up staying, but when they offer incredible views right on the edge like this Fallsview hotel, there’s no way I’m missing out on the chance to wake up there!

2. Tours and attractions
I’ll probably spend a while in this part of Ontario, as there are so many things to see here. Just around the Falls, there’s the Cave of the Winds experience, the Hornblower tours, the Niagara’s Fury experience and so on. Aside from that, I’d like to check out the Niagara Falls State Park and the view from the Skylon tower.

3. Toronto City
After that, I think I’ll head north to Toronto City for a few days. The Royal Ontario Museum is just waiting for me to go. I don’t normally get to see sights like this from the places I’ve been, but given how popular it is in the area, I think it will add another perspective to how I see Canada. I’ll probably go and make friends with some pandas at the Toronto Zoo too – it’s the largest zoo in Canada!

4. North Bay
After the bright lights of big city Toronto, I’ll be heading up north again to North Bay. This seems like a quiet little town, but I really want to check out Lake Nipissing. I’m partial to camping, and when I found out that there were great fishing lakes here, as well as glaciers, this place had to be on my list. I’ll be exploring the uninhabited Manitou Islands while I’m there too, so you can expect some spectacular photography. If you’d like to learn more about North Bay, click here.

So, aside from the usual crazy encounters, strangers that become friends and getting lost, that’s where I’ll be starting my next Canadian adventure.

What do you think? Have I chosen the right places? Are you off to Canada soon?