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…
Posts Tagged With: adventure
Strollin’ along the cobblestone streets of Beja, Portugal. Quiet, serene with a cool-crisp breeze and a toasty sun shining down.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I felt like I needed something to spice up my blog a bit… Something for all you readers to look forward to and learn about! So with some thinking, I’d like to bring along the “Travel Photo of the Week“!
Basically, I’ll post up a photo that I took from one of many countries and cities in the world that I’ve visited and explain what was happening in the photo, where I was, what it’s like, smells, sounds, interactions, culture, etc…
I’m thinking that “Travel Photo of the Week” paired with a few lines will be a quick, brief and excellent way to learn about the world, without have to read extensive articles to fabricate an image in your mind.
Feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer them right away!
Keep your eyes peeled, the first photo will be available soon!
Just arrived in Winnipeg (Winterpeg is more appropriate), Manitoba, Canada for a quick en-route stop to drop off some passengers and pick some up.
The province of Manitoba pretty much develops into a frozen wasteland throughout their long Winter months; you can’t survive for long out there without the proper gear and warm shelter. Most families and friends are grouping around a cozy fireplace while other are defrosting in Winnipeg’s newest outdoor spa, called “Thermëa”. While I can’t say exactly what the “Thermëa” spa experience is like, I can tell you what you’ll most likely expect as I have been to another spa called “La Nordik” in Chelsea, Quebec which is owned by the same company. I went to “La Nordik” countless times and they never cease to impress and relax me… Outdoor waterfalls (both cold and hot), steam rooms that smell like eucalyptus, relaxation rooms, professional-therapeutic massages, Swedish-style saunas, outdoor bonfires, heavily-salted and mineralized pools to replicate the Dead Sea, gourmet restaurant and so, so much more… So what are you waiting for? If you’re suffering the winter blues or simply just being frozen alive, come to Quebec or Winnipeg and defrost yourself in luxury while you still have the chance!
Challenge yourself to the things that scare you in life; more often than none they will bring you the most exciting, rewarding and memorable experiences.
This quote strongly relates to many of my own experiences.
It’s dark, quiet and a frigid -30°C here in Yellowknife – Canada’s Northern frontier. Unfortunately it’s just a quick stop in to pick up some passengers, so I don’t have time to check out anything.
I heard that the Northern Lights are absolutely breathtaking here… I’ve never seen them myself, but can’t wait until the day that I do!