From Our Authors

Fattoush
Integrating refugees while breaking bread
Published 12/14/2017 in Living among the locals Author Yasmin Helal
By: Worldpal* Food is a universal language that knows no grammar or words, channeling its information over all our five senses. To me, it represents love, happiness and comfort. Food connects people the way that peanut butter and jelly bring two slices of toast together. This is exactly what the German city Potsdam is going for. At an event called Buntes Essen, which translates into Colorful Food, Berlin’s sister city attempts to bring Syrian refugees together with the locals. During the event, refugees prepared local dishes from their home country, creating a warm atmosphere to get us all together over the bread... read more ❯

The bad travel days
Let’s talk about the difficulties of life on the road
Published 12/9/2017 in Living among the locals Author Yasmin Helal
By Amanda Bensted* I had been in Singapore less than 24 hours when I got a text message from home, telling me distressing news about a loved one. I got straight on the phone and spent the next half hour trying to calm the inconsolable. I was already sleep deprived, overwhelmed, and suffering the onset of the flu; this news sent me over the edge. I curled up in my bed in my windowless room and wondered why the hell I did this constant traveling thing. It’s not easy to tell the truth about travel. We’re all so obsessed with painting the idyllic picture... read more ❯

Interviewed on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust
Published 12/8/2017 in Shoes of a Nomad Author Melanie
The following interview was originally published by Tamlyn Amber Ryan on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust – Travel Writing and Photography As part of the next installment in my international version of Guests’ Corner (previously a local South African travel interview section on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust), I chatted to Melanie Kitzan, travel blogger at Shoes of a Nomad. Melanie Kitzan grew up in North Dakota, and during her lifetime, she has been a scientist, attorney, mother, writer and vagabond. She lives in the House of She, near Seattle, with her dogs and daughters. Follow her global travel adventures and stories on her lovely travel blog,... read more ❯

Travel writing tips
5 Simple tips for travel research [Infographic]
Published 12/3/2017 in Living among the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Given how oversaturated the market of travel writing is, your really need to come out with innovative ways to research your destination read more ❯

Rasta Village Ethiopia
A day in Rasta Village – Shashamane, Ethiopia
Published 12/3/2017 in Living among the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Walking around the Rastafari quarter of Shashamane, a small town in southern Ethiopia, I saw buildings adorned by the three colors that the Rasta culture had famously adopted from the Ethiopian flag. In these buildings, settlers originally from the Caribbean with dreadlocks and a genuine Jamaican accent live precisely by the Rastafari doctrine, worship in a Rastafari church, and study in a Rastafari Jamaican school. “Ganja is grown in the soil with the will of God. Who is the white man or the government to tell me that I can’t touch it and that I can’t smoke it?” artist Ras Hailu... read more ❯

The Mind inside the Chador: Female Vanity in Iran
Published 12/1/2017 in Stan Lee Pengelly's Travels Author Stan Pengelly
When I saw the third or fourth Iranian woman woman with a bandage on her nose, I asked my guide, "Do Iranian women get nose jobs?" He said yes, many do because women are required in Iran to wear a chador which only allows the face to be seen in public and women's vanity dictates that the they have to look good. Many young women get a nose job to fix the slightest imperfections. In fact, Iran is second only to Brazil for cosmetic surgeries. I had to... read more ❯

Meet the locals of Nepal
Meet the locals of Nepal
Published 11/27/2017 in Living among the locals Author Yasmin Helal
Bhakti Devkota, tour guide and former porter from Lumle Growing up, Bhakti watched the tourists trekking everyday on his way to school. He saw the tour guides chatting to the tourists and hoped that one day he will be like them. At first, he started working as a porter in 1997, but it wasn’t until a decade later that he managed to become a tour guide. “Behind every porter, there is a long story; he needs to support his family and children etc. But I was never tired with my job, you know, because I know that I will learn more and... read more ❯

In Sri Lanka
The long way home
Published 11/22/2017 in Living among the locals Author Yasmin Helal
I first moved to Dubai in 2005. I’m originally from Egypt but by then I had been living in the GCC for almost 10 years. Back then, Dubai Marina was just a couple of buildings, and Jumeirah Beach Residence was nothing but a sign in Sufouh pointing to a direction that no one knew anything about. The traffic light at Royal Mirage leading to Media City and the American University was where Dubai ended. I lived through the endless construction in Jumeirah and I was among the first to walk into Emirates Mall, or the Mall... read more ❯

azerbaijan, tea, travel
My favorite cups of tea from around Asia
Published 11/22/2017 in Living among the locals Author Yasmin Helal
UPDATE: [2 Dec 2017] Coming from Egypt, a major tea consumer, I’m a tea drinker with a passion for everything that can be labeled as tea.I know there is a lot of fuss going on out there about coffee, but we, the tea drinkers, are still the majority (unless China has switched its national drink). I was never really a coffee drinker so didn’t experiment much with that during my travels. With tea, I experimented everywhere, and heavily so. And I can honestly look back at every cup of tea and say that I have no regrets. This post is for tea drinkers... read more ❯

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 among 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 the island nation, 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... 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 among 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. Not only does watching Mirissa's sunset offer a... 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 among 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, all the while enjoying their stay... 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 among 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 ❯

Lebanon
Crashing Beirut over the weekend
Published 11/16/2017 in Living among 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 among 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, with numerous shops and hotels, for at least half 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... 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 among 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, which became a popular tourist destination just a couple of years ago, the wildest creatures I had ever come across were the white ants and 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 ❯