Posts in Videos

Amazing Antigua by Sky and Sea – A Travel Video

Antigua is another level of amazing, with the island leaving even seasoned skippers in our crew astonished by the blue of the water and beauty of this country. I’ve just returned from a month sailing around the breathtaking waters of Antigua and now I’m here to show the country from the sky and sea via drone and GoPro.

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Face to Face with One of the World’s Deadliest Animals in Australia

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Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my! When I think of deadly animals, my mind conjures up images of big bad beasties like these. But I recently encountered on of the world’s deadliest animals, and it looked like it should be in a Finding Nemo movie and not the harbinger of death.

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I have a secret to reveal. When I first started to travel, New Zealand wasn’t going to be the first country I traveled to. No, when deciding where to go for my first trip abroad, I was going to choose Australia for my first a working holiday.

Why didn’t I go to Australia?

Right as I was about to book my package through BUNAC, I saw a show on the travel channel that was “Top 10 World’s Deadliest Animals” of course narrated in an ominous voice. When I saw that 8 out of the 10 deadly animals were in Australia, I decided my first trip better be to a country where nocturnal fluffy kiwi birds were the biggest threat.

There is a line that I’ve heard often repeated about Australia, “Everything here can kill you“. A laugh about it will follow after someone says that, but that laugh is half-joking and half serious. It’s more of a nervous chuckle. Why? Because it is true, that Australia is home to some of the world’s deadliest creatures from snakes to spiders to sharks.

Most Australians will tell me there isn’t anything to worry about with the deadly creatures of Oz, and majority have never seen any of them in their entire lives. Farther north is where some of the more wicked creatures dwell like snakes and spiders, but on bush walks and camping, you just have to be careful and check your boots.

Snakes will scurry off if you make enough noise along a path or use a stick to swat the grass ahead. I’ve been told that Victoria, or in the Melbourne area at least, don’t have many deadly creepy crawly things. There’s one spider that has a wicked bite but isn’t deadly. So I thought I was quite safe coming here.

And then there is the animal we stumbled upon while at the beach that is probably the worst of them all.

Up until that point, the craziest thing I’ve come across was a giant shiny blue and green wasp that looked frightening enough, and an ant the size of my thumb that tried to attack me. Not too bad. I’ve been on hikes and gone off the trails around parts of Victoria and haven’t seen anything too threatening. Just some Echidna hiding their heads from me.

These are the only creatures I’ve come across so far.

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Yeah, he had some attitude issues. As this hell-spawn fire demon was carrying away a meal, he turned on my and tried to take my life. Or at least a finger.

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Cute echidna eh? Though I wouldn’t want to pet the little guy. As I inched closer, head dig fiercely to hide his head in the ground for protection.

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Another insect demon. Though they can sting repeatedly, this wingless wasp is pretty harmless and usually travels solo so you don’t have to worry about running into an army of them.

Those aren’t so bad are they? 

My luck avoiding creatures that could kill me was bound to run out, and last week it did.

It was just another beautiful summer day in Australia, and my roommate and I decided to head to the beach for the day to explore and relax. We went down to Torquay (Tour-key) which is about an hour southwest of Melbourne and is one of the more well-known beaches in the area for the slew of surf companies founded there. Though I still have a deep fear of swimming in Australia because of, ya’ know, gnarly sharks and all, I really didn’t expect to run into anything that day.

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As we walked along the beach at low tide, we all decided to run over to some rocks and check to see if we could find any crabs or cool fish trapped in the small pools. “Hey, come check out this little octopus!” my roommate called out, and we all ran over to see. She was pointing in a pool of water and it was hiding behind some algae, so I tried to lean in and splash the water a bit to make it come out. That was very stupid of me. The tiny octopus popped out, and as it swam about facing us, suddenly it’s small brown body began to light up with electric blue rings.

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Yes, we has stumbled upon a blue-ringed octopus, one of the world’s deadliest animals.

As it lit up and swam about, it now seemed to have no problem coming towards us and my camera that was held close to the water. It didn’t hit me at first, but then I realized I had seen this octopus somewhere before. Turns out, I had seen it on that TV show in 2011 and was one of the reasons I didn’t come to Australia at first.

Any Google search of top deadly animals on the planet and this little guy will be in the top 5. So why is this adorable octopus death incarnate and not a beloved Disney character?

The blue ringed octopus, if it were to sting you, is certain death. The sting causes paralysis and respiratory failure until the organs shut down slowly. Yes, it’d be an incredibly painful death and there is no known antidote for the sting either. Pretty wicked huh? Another fun fact — the blue-ringed octopus carries enough venom to kill 26 full-grown adults within minutes. Glad I didn’t decide to walk in too many shallow puddles! Given how populated this beach was and just knowing how children like to play in rocks I’m surprised this little sucker doesn’t claim more lives than it does.

It’s pretty fascinating and frightening that our planet has such vibrant and beautiful creatures around, and usually the brighter the color the more venomous they are.

Advice to keep in mind for myself and for you when in Australia — watch your step!

<< Have you ever Encountered deadly animals abroad? >>

In Jacmel Haiti Abandoned Coffee Factories Become Vibrant Art Galleries

In Jacmel Haiti, we ventured down a shaded side street and into an avenue of crumbling factories that seemed all abandoned. But behind those rusted red doors was something of a secret discovery.

Haiti always has something surprising to show.

Part of the surprise is that Haiti hasn’t been a destination on the top of most lists to travel to, so much of what’s to see and experience is unknown. But I’ve already gone through the reasons why you shouldn’t judge Haiti by its media coverage and why it is one of my favorite places to visit. Besides just those surprises of the unknown, when I visit Haiti I always feel like I’m having some profound experience — more so than I feel in other places.

It isn’t the monuments of history like Rome, where I lived out a childhood dream exploring the Colosseum. It isn’t moments like bungy jumping for the first time and the feeling of death and life gripping you within seconds of each other. As always with Haiti, it’s something more engrossing, more powerful, and more raw. It’s the feeling of the air around every experience there. In every interaction. In every step and touch and taste and smell and smile. It’s old and fragile yet ready to burst at the seams with life. There’s just some things that hold it back, and a part of that is that the world and people look at Haiti like a crumbling ruin that should just be passed by without a glance.

As I’ve come to experience from both of my trips to Haiti, one in 2012 and the last in 2015, is that no matter how it looks to the naked eye, Haiti always holds surprises within. And with that said, it was no different when we came upon an avenue of apparently abandoned buildings. As we wandered the side streets of Jacmel Haiti, we found a small gallery hidden behind a half-opened red iron door of a cracked building.

Inside, we met Prince, the owner of the gallery who we had the pleasure to learn from about the history of those very buildings. And he gave us a private tour of the abandoned factories connected, ones that held the past of a prosperous Haiti frozen in time behind locked doors. Inside those crumbling shells told the story of Jacmel, a booming port city in the early 1900’s — and those buildings were coffee factories processing coffee brought in from the hillsides.

It wasn’t just another abandoned place, because I do my fair share of urban exploring. The whole time walking through those halls and hearing the history gripped me, and nearly stole my breath. I could feel the “once upon a time” of it all. But more importantly, it was what beautiful things were happening behind these crumbling facades that was the surprise. Instead of passing it by without a glance, we chose to peak in and discover what was really beneath the surface. Now it’d your turn to.

Come check out the video that I’ve put together about this experience, and share your thoughts after!

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Old iron doors this heavy duty were a sign of a prosperous business.

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Century old coffee machinery still intact.

 

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Near the coffee machinery, Voodoo drawings on the wall. Our guide said some people sneak in to have ceremonies here.

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I could feel this profound “once upon a time” sense here, almost as if I could see the machinery running and the business bustling.

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An old well that is said to be cursed by bad Voodoo spirits, or so I was told.

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Old desks with paperwork and transaction receipts still cluttering the surface.

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An old bottle of rum, nearly 100 years old, stands defiantly dusty against time. On the label it noted all of the health benefits of rum. Ain’t that something?
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Automobile lubrication charts that were used as mock instructions on up keeping the coffee machinery.
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Century old ledgers and receipts, handwritten, noting sales of tens of thousands of Haitian dollars worth of coffee lay scattered on the ground.
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“These were once all coffee factories” our guide said as he took me to the rooftop.

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“It wasn’t the earthquake” he told us in his harsh cigarette voice, “it was just forgotten.”
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The intricacies of the arches and doors show just how wealthy this factory once was.
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Across from the crumbling factory, he had more to show us. More of the abandoned factories that weren’t just “forgotten”.
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An art gallery and studio was created from the ruins of one factory to make an inspirational space for young artists.

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Some artists favor traditional art, others modern. Much on display was also different mediums used to depict Voodoo culture and history.
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Political art, amongst the rest, was prominent here with the young artists using their skills as their voice.
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A young Haitian artist paints a traditional piece with other students, depicting history of Haiti using different symbols.

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Quotationmark

Again Haiti left me in wonder. For it is only here that I feel I see such an inspirational rise from ruin to create beauty from decay.”


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Scuba Diving (and Almost Dying) in Ponza, Italy

An easy day on the water relaxing and scuba diving they said. And it was, until that part I nearly died. Maybe that is a little overblown for the sake of drama, but when you are meters deep below the surface with lead weights strapped to you starting to fall unconscious, you might freak out as well. Everything began and ended fine, because I wouldn’t be writing to you today and showing you this gnarly video if I was dead, but there was an in between bit that I thought I was doomed.

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Video: Surviving the Bumbling Death Bus from Jaipur to Jaisalmer, India

Traveling from city to city in countries around the world by some sketchy mode of transport is nothing new. Driving three people on a motorbike was pretty easy. Hanging from the back of a songthaew wasn’t so bad. Hitchhiking in New Zealand? No sweat. But sometimes you take a ride in something and immediately think to yourself, “Will I survive this? Probably not…”

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