From Our Authors

sri lanka, tourism, south asia, southeast asia, travel, responsible tourism, living like the locals, live like a local
The paradoxes of tourism in Sri Lanka
Published 11/20/2017 in Living like the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Being an essential element of tourism, the sector’s workers are the link representing Sri Lanka to the foreign visitors. Because of the key role that tourism plays in Sri Lanka, these workers have become a representative of an era of change that dawned on the island shortly after the 2004 tsunami and exponentially grew following the end of the ethnic conflict in 2009. While being a critical element of the country’s economy, locals working in the tourism sector have been given a front seat to observe the wonder world of tourism as well as the fast changing local culture. Staunch believers In Romesh Gunesekera’s... read more ❯

sunset, mirissa, tropical paradise, jungle holiday, beach holiday, tourism, travel, budget travel, backpacking
Best sunset spots in Mirissa
Published 11/20/2017 in Living like the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Nature takes a new shape and form in the small town of Mirissa, located near the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka. Here, things that you would hardly notice elsewhere like sunsets are extremely scenic, attracting tourists and residents alike. Full moons are also beautiful here and they mark public holidays in the Sinhalese calendar. Yet, this comes only second to the beauty of sunsets in Mirissa. Watching sunset is so popular, with friends and couples heading to certain parts of the beach to enjoy the best view. I also heard that sunrises are equally scenic... read more ❯

Sri Lanka, south asia, south east asia, backpacking, budget traveling, travels, traveling
6 ways to make money while traveling across Sri Lanka
Published 11/19/2017 in Living like the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Thanks to a few factors, like budget airways, the increase of disposable income, the rise of mid-range guesthouses across Asia and Africa, the prevalence of the English language, and the easy accessible to online information, journeying to any part of the world has become quite accessible to most of us. This also means that luxury travel is a thing of the past. Today's travelers are mostly gap-yearers and traveling students who have a limited budget. Thus, many of them seek ways to make a small income that can sustain them without draining their modest savings. From what I have seen, the following... read more ❯

ayurvedic products, ayurvedic medicine, ayurveda, local products, thailand, sri lanka, travel
Local products to buy on the road
Published 11/17/2017 in Living like the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Whether we like it or not, products do shape our experiences. For those of us who are used to owning a certain set of products, it can be pretty hard getting by without them. And don’t pretend like you can survive without your favorite deodorant or sunblock. For me, though, the list is a bit longer than just these two items. One of the things that I learnt while traveling is that there are plenty of alternative products available across Asia that are cheaper and healthier than the usual commercial stuff. Here are a few of the products that I picked up... read more ❯

Watching the World go by from a Train Window.
Published 11/17/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
I got to the train station early, on the day I headed back to Oslo from Stockholm. I spent the last bit of currency I had on candy at the gift shop. My daughters enjoy seeing candy from other countries when I travel. I thought they would especially enjoy the salted black licorice. I checked the train schedule, a giant green board on a wall overhead. It silently changed while I was looking to find my train. It made me smile. The last time I was traveling in Europe by train I was in college, and in those days the train... read more ❯

Crashing Beirut over the weekend
Published 11/16/2017 in Living like the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Beirut is just four hours by plane from Dubai, and the sudden announcement of a long weekend here in Dubai offered the perfect chance to plan a last minute trip to Lebanon’s magical capital. To me, Beirut is more than just great nightlife and snowy mountainous terrains a mere hours drive from the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. The city offers a type of liberalism that didn’t lose its Arabic identity in favor of western ideologies. This made the experience for me more than just about breaking the rules. It was more about being liberated while at the same time celebrating my... read more ❯

Mirissa Beach
8 types of tourists you will run into in Sri Lanka
Published 11/14/2017 in Living like the locals Author Yasmin Helal
The tourism sector in Sri Lanka has been up and coming. When I moved to Sri Lanka in 2015, the tourism industry was at its best since the end of the civil war. Entire beach towns that were once considered remote area are now flooded with tourists for at least three months of the year. Having lived for two years right by the southern most point of the Indian subcontinent, I came across tourists from all walks of life. If you are looking forward to meeting fellow travelers on the road, here is your guide to some of the prospects. The Yogi Like... read more ❯

Van Trump Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park
Published 11/3/2017 in Exploring Wildness Author Thomas Bancroft
Crisp, fresh air – forty degrees -- surrounded us as we started up the Van Trump Trail toward Comet Falls. Massive silver firs, western hemlocks, and red cedars grew over our path concealing the blue sky. Van Trump Creek rushed under the wooden bridge through a narrow gorge providing us with a diversity of sounds and a little movement to the otherwise still air. Some yellow leaves... read more ❯

Building Reflections, London, England ©Yvonne J Butler, All Rights Reserved
Leave Your Comfort Zone!
Welcome to my new travel photography blog. The discussions are one part advice and recommendations on photography, one part story telling of my worldwide adventures, and one part fun chats about my favorite places in the world. Hopefully, the posts are exciting and exhilarating for fellow travelers. Here is my short and sweet introductory post to what lies ahead. Leave Your Comfort Zone! Even seasoned travelers have moments of doubt, fear, and hesitation these days about getting on a plane and visiting another country. Terrorist threats, personal safety, political issues, cramped airline seats, time and hassles in airport security lines are only... read more ❯

Woman vs. Nature in rural Sri Lanka
Published 10/29/2017 in Living like the locals Author Yasmin Helal
There is plenty of wildlife in the Nile and even in the desert, where I come from. But we never see them; they’re either hiding in the sand or under the water where I never swam. The Nile Delta is also one of the earliest places on earth to be inhabited by humans so the animals ran away a long time ago. By the time I landed on the fertile soil of rural Sri Lanka, the wildest creatures I had ever come across were the white ants and the camels. This, as you might have guessed, was not the case in the... read more ❯

Yoga, Walking, and Stopping the Glorification of Busy in Stockholm, Sweden
Published 10/23/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
The second day I was in Stockholm, I had nothing planned. That is a little unusual for me but yet a very welcome break from the intense schedule I had so far on this trip. I ate at the breakfast buffet in my hotel (I love tasting local and traditional foods when I travel). That day I had a few slices of homemade bread with four or five different fruit jams spread on different corners. I really liked them--they were not nearly as sweet as American jam, and had more fruit. I had some type of yogurt as well, and... read more ❯

Walking in Stockholm Over a Bridge, and Over Another Bridge, and Into an Ice Bar
Published 10/9/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
I took a morning flight from Bergen, Norway, to Stockholm Sweden after exploring the fjords in Norway the day before. I had to giggle at the lightheartedness of the airport restrooms. I have to admit my ignorance, though, as I had no idea the population of Stockholm is three times bigger than Oslo. This fact was quite offensive to my taxi driver, who proudly told me he was a Turk and had lived in Norway for over thirty years now. His three grown children were born in Norway, and they all still lived... read more ❯

Avoiding Vacation Remorse
Published 10/6/2017 in Traveler's Recital Author Nathan Lake
I would guess a fair number of us have had vacations that did not live up to our fantasies. When you got home, somebody asked you if you would go there again and there was at least some hesitation if not an outright "Hell no!!!". And, if you were asked why not, and you were completely honest, you would probably identify one or more of four common issues that contribute to a vacation you would not want to repeat. Let me suggest you give some thought to these things before you leave in order to reduce the likelihood you have to think... read more ❯

Exploring the Fjords in Norway.
Published 10/1/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
My second day in Norway found me shuffling to the central train station in Oslo at the break of dawn. I broke one of my general rules about traveling (don't patronize American based chain establishments) and got coffee at Starbucks inside the train station before boarding the train. The good thing about jet lag is that the constant exhaustion makes the actual local time completely irrelevant. Nonetheless, it still hurt to catch the 6am train after only sleeping a handful of restless hours the night before (the first sleep I really had in over 30 hours). Oslo... read more ❯

Postcard from Penny - Who is She?
Published 9/29/2017 in Penny's Travels Author Penny Frederiksen
Recently I was interviewed by the editor of Battleface-WORDS AND IMAGES FOR PEOPLE WHO GO TO DANGEROUS PLACES. My name is Penny Frederiksen and I live on a cattle property in Australia. I am a farmer, school teacher, travel-writer and photographer. I am in my 50s with four independent children who live and work all over the world. I am fortunate to really enjoy my job as a teacher and the added bonus is the ability to travel every 10 weeks, so I take full advantage of the holidays. I have a lovely balance of a quiet, comfortable life at home on... read more ❯

Finding the Vikings
Published 9/24/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
From the sculpture park, I wandered over near the water, to Bygdoy, a peninsula region of Oslo facing downtown across the water. The walk was farther than I had expected, but it was a nice day and I enjoyed seeing the Royal farm along the way. The heavy clouds gave way as I walked, and the warm sun came out. I came upon the Viking Ship Museum, with a tourist bus parked out front. I cringed, thinking it would be too crowded inside, but the crowd was just coming out as I was going in. Inside were several Viking age... read more ❯

Feet Down in Oslo, Norway
Published 9/10/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
When my feet touched down in Oslo, Norway, it was 5 am local time. The airport was deserted except for those from my flight. I flagged a taxi at the airport to get to my hotel. I love to talk with taxi drivers. They are usually fascinating people, and always have good stories. This driver was no exception, he told me his family had all come to Norway from Pakistan in the early 1970s, and he was born in Oslo. He said he loved living in Norway in the summer when the sun was in the sky for 20 hours each... read more ❯

Flying Forward to Norway
Published 9/6/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
I never sleep well the night before a trip.  I'm too excited to start my adventure, too nervous that I'll oversleep or forget something, too tired from running through my checklist in my head for all the things I have to arrange at home before I go. This time, as I lugged my backpack onto the scale for the Icelandair agent, I was sure I would sleep on the plane.  I didn't. I watched movies, read a book, and eagerly chatted with the young woman next to me. She had just graduated from high school... read more ❯

We are Wandering People
Published 8/8/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
When I was 19 years old, I boarded a plane with a rack full of test tubes and flew off to Germany to work in a research lab for the summer. I was so nervous that I was literally shaking. Nervous from seeing my parents’ sad faces as I walked through security at the Minneapolis airport and headed off into the bustling chaos. Nervous from carrying bacteria in various tubes and vials (pre-9/11 this wasn’t questioned even though the tubes filled my backpack) and nervous that the bacteria might not grow once I reached the lab in Germany. Nervous to... read more ❯

The Folding and Twisting of a Miocene Lava Flow
Published 7/7/2017 in Exploring Wildness Author Thomas Bancroft
The basalt rocks rose from the roadside to the ridge on our right and ran down the hill to the valley below. Endless red-brown blocks the size of basketballs scattered the hillside with no vegetation growing between them. A few dead trunks had slid from the ridge top where hemlocks, pines, and firs dotted the crest. The slope dropped down to a ravine, and Manastash Creek was out of sight over the edge of a steep bank. Then an abrupt cliff rose... read more ❯