Basque Country, Spain/France

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What comes to mind when you think of Spain? The cities of Barcelona and Madrid? Running of the bulls or tomato throwing (La Tomatina) festivals?

If you look at a map, Spain itself is quite extensive; it’s the second largest country in Europe. In saying that, you can imagine that there is just so much to see in such a large country.

Today, I’m going to share some photos of an area of North-Western Spain called the “Basque country” (Pays Basque / Pais Vasco [FR/ES]).

The history of the Basque country is so old, that the language itself cannot be traced back or connected to any modern day or any dormant/extinct languages; thus, the Basque language (Euskara) is considered an isolated language, leaving linguistic researchers baffled and confused. Some research has revealed the the roots of the language have been around for as long as 20,000 years and almost 1 million people still speak it until this day.

A majority of the Basque population has type O- blood and their genes have been heavily linked to the Neanderthals.

The Basque country is divided into seven provinces or more formerly known as “administrative districts”. Four of them are in Spain and the other three are in South-Western France, bordering Spain.

I’m proud to have strong family roots to this mystical land and hope to soon explore more of the gems it has to offer!

Disclaimer: 90% of photos/videos are taken by me, but not these ones.
Categories: Basque Country, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wikitongues – Non-profit Language Preservation and Sustainability


I’d like to announce, that I’m very excited to be part of the Wikitongues team! As a Community Organizer, I’ll be assisting by developing and contributing relevant content to the archive of information that Wikitongues has established over the last 3+ years.

What is Wikitongues and what is this archive you’re talking about? Well, listen up, cause’ I’m going to share that with you!

Wikitongues is a non-profit organization with the aim of preservation and sustainability of every language in the world. The organization has been active since 2012, and has grown activities into over forty countries, by a team of over eighty people. Our activities include the production of interview content as we build the most inclusive cultural archive ever made.

So, it basically boils down to this… Our goal is to establish the largest public informational archive of languages in the world. There are thousands of languages that are now extinct or in considerable danger of extinction. We are making positive steps to reversing this dilemma and contributing towards growth and sustainability by establishing this massive, public archive. Anyone can contribute to this meaningful cause by following the interview guidelines, which includes instructions on how to upload/share the interview afterwards. At the moment, we are generally looking for languages and dialects that are rare, near-extinct or are just simply not in our database yet. Of course, if your language is already in our database, we’ll still welcome your contribution with open arms, as it adds to the original existing content, giving readers the opportunity to learn even more about that specific language or dialect. Every bit counts!

Here is an example of a language that is on the verge of death, it’s called: “Tsakonian”.
Tsakonian is a modern Greek language, spoken in the eponymous Tsakonia region of the Peloponnese Peninsula. It is the only living descendant of old Doric, the language once spoken by the people of Ancient Sparta. Though the Tsakonian-speaking community is small, numbering no more than a couple hundred speakers, the language has three distinct dialects, ‘Northern’, ‘Southern’ and ‘Propontis’.


Interesting? Well, here’s something else impressive; Wikitongues recently reached their Kickstarter goal of $50,000 USD; actually, they surpassed the goal with $52,715 USD from people like you and I, which will help bring this project to life. Wikitongues also plans to use the collected pledges to create user-friendly technology and dictionaries to help support language learning of the content we collect around the globe. How cool is that?

If you’d like to contribute some content to this phenomenally exceptional cause, you can contact me by leaving me a comment below and we will find a way to work something out!

You can visit the Wikitongues website by clicking here: http://wikitongues.org/

Categories: Travel, Travel Tips, Wikitongues - Language Preservation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Travel App Giveaway!

Millennial_Explorers

Good day fellow travelers! 

I’ve got some exciting news to share with you all today!

Starting today, I’ll be hosting a giveaway in partnership with “GPSmyCity” to award 20 people, selected at random, free promo codes for the GPSmyCity app.
What is GPSmyCity? Well, I’m glad you asked! GPSmyCity makes popular iOS and Android apps that feature self-guided city walks in over 470 cities around the world.  Each one of the apps contains anywhere from a few to over a dozen of self-guided walking tours for a single city, allowing visitors to explore on foot the best of the city at their own pace. What’s awesome, is that you don’t require an internet connection or a specialized data plan to utilize this app; it runs completely off your phone’s built-in GPS!

The app is free to download, but to access their premium features, you’ll need to upgrade for $4.99 USD – but not if you’re selected to win a promo code from this giveaway! You’ll have access to the full app with all the premium features from one out of hundreds of maps to choose from.

You can see the list of cities available for your own device by clicking one of the two links below.


Here are the premium features
:

  • High Resolution Map
  • Tour Route Map
  • Turn-by-turn Walking Directions
  • Radar Showing Direction to Sight
  • Create Custom Walking Tours
  • See Nearby Attractions
  • No Advertisements


HOW DO I ENTER?

 

It’s pretty easy! Follow these simple steps and you will be eligible to win 1 of 20 of these promo codes.

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of this post and select “Leave a Comment/Reply”.

  2. Leave a comment about your favorite city, and a brief comment on why it’s your favorite.

  3. Congratulations, you’re entered! If you’re 1 of 20 lucky winners, I’ll contact you, requesting which GPSmyCity map you’d like. Shortly afterwards, I’ll send you the promo code.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

  • This giveaway is available to everyone, worldwide.

  • This giveaway will start on March 23, 2016 (12:00AM – EST – UTC -5:00 Time) and will end on April 23, 2016 (12:00AM – EST -05:00 Time).

  • Winners will be randomly selected and will be announced on the next day, April 24, 2016 on “The Traveling Buff” Facebook page.

  • Entries that are incomplete or inaccurate will be deemed invalid.

  • This giveaway is hosted “The Traveling Buff”, in partnership with “GPSmyCity.

 

Categories: Travel, Travel Contests, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Travel jobs for Canadians!

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Canada, eh?!

Fellow Canadians! Feeling lost, looking for an adventure/new career and don’t know where to start? Or maybe your qualifications aren’t at a level where they’re being highly sought after… Well, I’ll share some cool ideas with you that I’ve learned about throughout the past many years!

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First thing’s first – a bit biased, but nonetheless, a fantastic career option (no need to explain, you see enough through some of my posts coming back from trips around the world):

Canadian Forces: http://www.forces.ca/en/home

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Don’t want to leave the country but want to have an adventure domestically?

Canadian Coast Guard:
http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/…/Recruitment…/career-opportunities

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Do you want to study abroad but afraid that you can’t afford the international student tuition?

Study in Norway for free:
http://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/…/norway/guide

Study in Germany for almost free: http://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-stu…/…/germany/guide

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Want to fly sky high and see many countries in a short period of time? Compensated well in salary, benefits and vacation? Discounted flight for family? If you can handle living abroad with paid accommodation, then you may want to check out positions for the following airlines:

Etihad Airlines:
https://careers.etihad.com/Etihad/go/Cabin-Crew-Jobs/716001/

Air Emirates:
http://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/english/

Qatar Airways:
http://careers.qatarairways.com/qatarair…/vacancysearch.aspx

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Another way you can live abroad with a decent income is to teach English abroad. Many countries will accept teachers without a degree, asking for a minimum nativity in the English language and completion of a TEFL/TESOL course – which can be completed in any major city or even online. Don’t get me wrong, a Bachelor’s degree will help broaden your opportunities in more countries, but it isn’t required!

Check out this accredited online TEFL course with internships opportunities abroad:

http://i-to-i.com/

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Want to have the opportunity to temporarily live/work abroad with a support system backing you up?

Check out Canada’s “SWAP” program!

http://swap.ca/

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WWOOFing!

No, that’s not a dog barking, but a concept and opportunity much cooler than that!

WWOOF organisations connect people who want to live and learn on organic farms and smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.
WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Volunteers give hands on help in return.

The cool thing about this? You can go to almost any country in the world and WWOOF!

http://www.wwoof.net/

OR

http://wwoofinternational.org/

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Like kids? Enjoy babysitting? Ever think of becoming an Au-Pair?

What is an “Au-Pair”?

An au pair is a young adult from another country who lives with your family for a year and provides in-home childcare (like a nanny, but better)! Au pairs work up to 45 hours per week, in exchange for the opportunity to live with a family in a foreign country. Because au pairs provide live-in childcare, they offer greater flexibility, caring for your children at times that accommodate your family’s individual schedule.

https://www.aupairworld.com/en

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Like WWOOFING, this is another website posting volunteer opportunities worldwide in exchange for room and board. It’s a great way to learn culture, a new language and of course, to live up a new adventure!

http://www.workaway.info/

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Would you like to sail the seven seas? Sailing from one country to the next on a private yacht or sailboat and get paid for it? Have some skills you can contribute; whether they be culinary or previous sailing experience? Then I think you should check this website out!

http://www.yacrew.com/

OR

http://www.crewunlimited.com/2/cu/crw_joblist.aspx?a=2

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Want to backpack the world on a budget but sleep under a warm and safe roof the for the night? Well, if you’re open-minded, you may want to check outCouchsurfing.com!

https://www.couchsurfing.com/

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I hope you guys enjoy this list that I crafted up for you! Better yet, I hope this inspires you to get out there and try something new!
You’ve got one life to live, make the best of it and start shaping up your legacy!

Categories: Travel, Travel Jobs, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ayr, Scotland

scotland beach

Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom

Walking along a beach on the Irish Sea. Crisp, cool ocean breeze to keep you awake and rejuvenated. Scotland is full of gorgeous, hidden gems…

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Greenland, Territory of Denmark

An aerial view of Denmark’s massive and isolated territory: Greenland.

Not many have seen, let alone stepped foot on this isolated land – although today, I was lucky enough to say that I have done both.

If you think this video does your eyes justice, then just imagine if you’re actually there. It truly is breathtaking.

(Make sure you switch it up to 1080p for some HD action!)

Categories: Greenland, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beja, Portugal

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Strollin’ along the cobblestone streets of Beja, Portugal. Quiet, serene with a cool-crisp breeze and a toasty sun shining down.

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I slowly backed up against this window in an attempt to take a gorgeous snap of this charming city, only to be shocked by this cute but dirty little dog. He springs out of the window without warning, an inch away from my neck with snarling teeth, barking and snapping to his last breath. I thought I had a heart attack.

We all had a great laugh.

Categories: Portugal, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Königswinter, Germany

Old castle-like buildings in lively green mountains; scenic views as far as the eye can see; the ultra-relaxing Steigenburger Grandhotel; fresh, stingingly sweet and pure cherry juice; quiet, quaint and non-touristic town full of welcoming smiles; Rhine river flowing by; succulent Italian gelato ice cream and charm flowing through every corner. Königswinter, Germany is an enjoyable destination where you can take a break from chaotic tourism and just breathe some fresh air with the locals.

View from Steigenberger Grandhotel.    Steigenburger Grandhotel.  Raspberry Gelato Ice Cream.  Rhine River flowing by Köningswinter, Germany.  Königswinter, Germany. Königswinter, Germany

Categories: Germany, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Traveling and Money

Having easy access to the local currency when traveling in foreign countries can sometimes be difficult and sometimes seem impossible. Every country in the world has preferred payment methods and not all of them coincide with your own payment options.

You often hear from people that credit cards are accepted everywhere; while this is mostly true, there are particular places in the world where you will find it quite difficult to utilize your credit card to make purchases. For example; a year ago, I was traveling in Japan, I wanted to withdraw some of the local currency so that I could pay for my meals at smaller food joints like ramen noodle houses. Well, I must have spent 4-5 hours searching for an ATM that would accept my common credit card brand, each machine kept rejecting my card saying that “your card is not accepted”. I was in a new country, I was getting quite hungry, thirsty and lost. All I wanted to do is get myself a belly-filling meal with a cold drink to wash it out on that muggy day, but I was stuck working out this dilemma instead. Eventually, I spotted an uncommon Japanese bank and crossed my fingers that my card would dispense cash. Well, my prayers were answered and voila! After 5 or so hours of ‘suffering’, I felt free again, free to enjoy all the luxuries that this beautiful country had to offer me; but for a short time, I truly did feel like a prisoner, restrained away from my own finances.
Japan is not the only country where I ran into these kind of troubles, but also, I found myself in a similar dilemma when I visited: Peru, Cape Verde, Russia and Kuwait. The best way to avoid these kind of problems is to research ahead of time which banks accept the credit cards that you are in possession of in the countries that you plan to visit. Another option is to have your currency changed over in your home country prior to your arriving at the foreign destination.

Thankfully, there are plenty of countries out there that are up-to-par with options in regards to making your own money available to you. Based off my own travels, I would have to say that you’ll never have any troubles when traveling throughout North America (Canada and United States), or most of Western Europe (France, Germany, England, etc). As the world grows closer to each other with communication and technology, so does everything else.

Working as a Flight Steward, I often have to deal with catering agencies around the world to prepare food for our crew and passengers. One of my biggest concerns is not only the quality of food, but also, the accepted method of payment. I often favor when the catering agencies can facilitate an easy transaction by invoicing my unit, although there are many catering agencies out there that want their money upfront, therefore, they request payment to be made through a major credit card. Now, where this becomes a real problem is when the catering agency wants the entire payment in cash, upfront. Often, we find that many countries in the Middle East region (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc) like to have cash for their services upfront and no other way. It’s not always fun to have to carry a large sum cash imprest with you and be accountable for every single dollar – it’s just stress that can be avoided.

When I travel for leisure and it comes to utilizing foreign currencies, I prefer to keep the cash low in my wallet and rely more on my credit cards. Why? Because if I’m robbed or pick-pocketed, I’ll never see that cash again. If my currency remains on my credit card and the card requires a PIN to access the funds, then for the most part, my funds are protected and secure. On top of that, most people would probably realize pretty fast that their wallet is missing-in-action; you can call your bank and have your account locked out from anyone who tries to access your funds, or even have your funds transferred over to another secure account which the credit card itself would not be able to access. Although there is no perfect system, for me, utilizing a credit card is the most secure system as it buys me time to protect my hard-earned dollars and more often than not, your bank will work out an option with you to access your funds as you’re on the road and travelling.

What we need is a system that is universally accepted no matter where you travel, which provides such a high level of security, that it would be impossible for anyone to steal your money. A system where if you lose your card, you could go to any bank in the world and have a new one issued to you. What we need is a stress-free, secure and reliable money dispensing/payment option for the convenience of every consumer, but especially, travellers!

Traveling and Money

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Potw #1: Flattop Mountain, Anchorage, Alaska

Climbing Flattop Mountain - Anchorage, Alaska.

Climbing Flattop Mountain – Anchorage, Alaska.

Here we go, this is the first “Photo of the Week” (Potw) Enjoy!

Flattop Mountain Trail, Anchorage, Alaska; initially, the path was well marked, but not for long. Eventually, you are creating your own path to the 3,510ft high summit. I am by no means, any climbing/hiking expert, but if I were to rate the difficulty level of this hike when comparing to other hikes I have done, I would say it would be moderate. To some experienced hikers out there, you may say that I scored that a level too high – I guess you just have to try it out and judge for yourself. As we escalated the mountain, the temperature naturally decreased and the wind became quite the power horse. It was actually quite intimidating at first; vision was blinded with a constant snow squall and I thought I was going to be blown off the ledge, there was nothing to hold on to.
As far as equipment and clothing goes, you don’t need anything other than a set of warm, layered clothing, maybe a daypack and potentially a set of trekking poles if that’s your style. Definitely protect your face from the harsh, power-slapping wind. Provided the weather is working with you, the hike itself shouldn’t take any longer than just a few hours to reach the summit and scale back down to the base.
Flattop Mountain belongs to a mountain range called the “Chugach Mountains” and is the most climbed mountain in the state of Alaska.
Overall, I had an awesome time on this hike; generally, I was never a fanatic about hiking to begin with, but now, my mentality is slowly changing with many new hiking experiences around the world and more practical, protective and comfortable clothing to complete the hike in.

Categories: Alaska, Anchorage, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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