Living among the locals

The elephant riding debate

elephant riding in sri lanka
Who wouldn’t want to go on an elephant safari? Roaming the jungle on the back of this magnificent animal is every novice traveler’s dream. And even if it doesn’t cross your mind, the opportunity will be right there, waiting for you, asking you, to seize it. This is what happened to me. When I visited the Chitwan National Park in…

Integrating refugees while breaking bread

Fattoush
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…

A day in Rasta Village – Shashamane, Ethiopia

Rasta Village Ethiopia
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…

Meet the locals of Nepal

Meet the locals of Nepal
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…

The long way home

In Sri Lanka
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…

My favorite cups of tea from around Asia

azerbaijan, tea, travel
UPDATE: [22 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…

The paradoxes of tourism in Sri Lanka

sri lanka, tourism, south asia, southeast asia, travel, responsible tourism, living like the locals, live like a local
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…

Best sunset spots in Mirissa

sunset, mirissa, tropical paradise, jungle holiday, beach holiday, tourism, travel, budget travel, backpacking
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…

6 ways to make money while traveling across Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, south asia, south east asia, backpacking, budget traveling, travels, traveling
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…

Local products to buy on the road

ayurvedic products, ayurvedic medicine, ayurveda, local products, thailand, sri lanka, travel
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…

Crashing Beirut over the weekend

Lebanon
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…
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