Posts Tagged With: sightseeing

Helicopter Carrier – Replenishment at Sea

It wasn’t too long ago when I was busy sailing the seven seas – in fact, it was just about a year and a half ago before I made the transition from “Military Warship” to a “Tactical Transport Aircraft”.

I’ve been on several sails engaging in countless roles all over the world, but one of my most memorable experiences while I was sailing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was refuelling an American “Helicopter Carrier”. First of all, I didn’t even know there was such thing as a “Helicopter Carrier”, I’ve only heard of “Aircraft Carriers”, but obviously, they exist! From what I remember, the name of the carrier that we refuelled was called the “USS Boxer”, if that rings a bell to any of you reading this post. The refuelling itself took almost an entire day; “Helicopter Carriers” aren’t exactly a small ship, they’re massive! Every time I looked at it, I almost couldn’t believe it! It really is a technological masterpiece by man – just what all of us are capable of designing and creating when we put our heads together and work as a team.

Take a peak at the video I recorded a while back:

What’s even more amazing, is the amount of fuel that’s transferred throughout this evolution without a drip spilled into the ocean – I mean, consider the fact that two ships are cruising at the same time while this is all taking place, there’s a lot of risk management to deal with. That’s okay though, because professionals are handling every aspect of the job.

If you’re looking for a quick way to Travel, see the world and be paid for it, then you may want to consider joining the Navy. It’s a tough job, you work hard while you’re sailing but you’re well rewarded with time off at your port visit. This bring me into a quote that I utilize everyday in the workplace: “Work hard, play harder”.

If you enjoy what you’re reading, please take your time to “follow” and/or “like” my blog through one or more of the following: “Facebook”, “Twitter” and “WordPress”. You can follow me by clicking on the respective links on the right side of my website. Please feel free to leave comments or questions as well and I promise to leave a reply.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 

– Augustine

 

Categories: Pacific Ocean, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Hostel or not to Hostel?

That is the question!

When I mention the idea of staying in a “Hostel”, what comes to mind? Believe it or not, plenty of people out there in the world think it’s a cheap, scummy and dangerous place to stay; well, let me see… Cheap? Yes, most certainly! Perfect for those that want to budget travel! Scummy? Not if you research into where you will be staying and ensure that there are well-written, unbiased reviews. Dangerous? I don’t believe that there are any dangerous places out there, just travellers that are not using their head, intuition and common-sense. Please don’t base the idea of staying or not staying at a Hostel on the movie: “Hostel”. A movie is a movie.
A stay at a hostel can be as good or as bad as you want it to be, it all boils down to preparation and travel research, but sometimes, even for the well-educated and avid traveller, you will sometimes bump into the inevitable. With proper research and travel skills, you can highly reduce that chances of staying at a crummy hostel and making the best of your trip!

I’ll list off some Pros and Cons for you to weigh out:

Pros

  • Hostels are much cheaper than almost any other kind of accommodation out there. I stayed 8 nights in Cracow, Poland for 140$ USD!
  • Hostels are generally located in the heart of the best districts, usually in better locations than most Hotels!
  • Hostels often offer free Wi-Fi and sometimes even a free Breakfast!
  • Hostels often offer private rooms for just a few dollars more, for those that simply cannot sacrifice a bit of privacy.
  • Hostels will provide you with information and ideas of what to do and see in the area that you’re visiting; not only the major sights, but all the local hotspots as well!
  • Hostels often have a common-room, where you can socialize and meet other travellers just like yourself!
  • Hostels may give you a discount if you own a “Hostelling International Membership” card. (Imagine that! Cheaper than the cheap price you’re already paying!)

Of course, there are so many more “Pros” that I could list, but that should be good enough for now. Time for some “Cons”!

Cons

  • You may have to sacrifice some privacy. (Are you really going to spend all of your time in your room anyways?)
  • The bathrooms are usually shared. (You share the bathroom in your house and you share the bathroom with several other employees at your workplace, what’s the difference?)
  • It might be difficult to get some sleep if people are snoring. (The “Ear Plug” is a wonderful invention!)
  • You run the small chance of running into a hostel that is not properly maintained in several manners. (Don’t you run that risk staying at a Hotel you’ve never been to? Besides, that’s where doing your research comes in; read unbiased reviews!)
  • You run the risk of your goods potentially getting stolen if you are not provided with adequate storage facilities with appropriate security features for your gear to be stored while you’re out exploring. (Again, read the reviews. Travelling is an art and you will learn through experience).

    If you have the money, you want the posh lifestyle and don’t have a budget to worry about, then by all means, take the luxury hotel situated in the heart of the city, but if you’re on a budget like me, which is probably most people reading this blog, then you’re going to want to find options that won’t have your wallet screaming in agony.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Enter the URL: www.hostelworld.com
  2. Enter the City and Country you will be travelling to and of course, the respective dates with the amount of people that will be staying.
  3. Click “Search”
  4. Several results will show up, displaying a list of several different Hostels that you can choose from; the best thing to do at this point is to sort all your results appropriately. Click on the drop-down box right next to “Sort by:” and select “Overall Rating”.
  5. Now, all your results should be sorted by the best rated Hostel to the least rated Hostel. Check them out one at a time to ensure that the room that you want is available for the dates that you specified, the Hostel is located in the part of the city you want to be staying in, the price is affordable and the ratings are good. Always keep a keen eye as to what kind of Hostel you may be staying at, as some are themed and even oriented towards “Partying”, which may not be the type of Hostel you want to stay at if you’re trying to get a good night’s rest!

I’ve always used www.hostelworld.com for all my hostel needs. The thing I like about the site is that they provide accurate, unbiased reviews about the Hostel that you could be potentially staying at. Also, when you do decide to reserve your room/bed, you only have to place down 10% over the internet and then pay the remaining balance once you arrive at the Hostel. You also have an option, for just a few dollars more, you can protect yourself from losing your money if a cancellation on your booking is required. You will get credited the balance on the website to be used towards another Hostel in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve stayed at Hostels all over the globe and I’ll tell you from first-hand experience that again, with some experience and research, you will find yourself enjoying your stay at Hostels, whether you’re staying in a private room or a shared dorm. I personally, won’t choose to stay in a Hotel again unless I absolutely have to. The most important thing is that you have to keep an open-mind and with an open-mind, you’ll be a happier person in the end.

Last weekend, Amy and I stayed at a Hostel in the heart of Toronto, the “Entertainment” District to be exact. The name of the Hostel was called: “The Clarence Park” Hostel. We booked a private room that had it’s own bathroom and for 40$/per person/per night, you can’t beat it! We basically stayed 3 nights in the heart of Downtown Toronto for 240$ and the room was PRIVATE! No shared Bathroom either! If we chose to stay at any hotel in Downtown Toronto, 3 nights would have easily costed us 450-600$!

Here’s a snap of the place we stayed at:

The Clarence Park Hostel - Private Room

The Clarence Park Hostel – Private Room

As you can see, the room itself is basic, but very cozy, clean and acceptable! The bed is King-sized, there’s a television (which you can’t see in this photo) mounted onto the wall with cable facing the bed. There’s a desk, comfortable chair, balcony and a private bathroom. In the bathroom, you have the essentials: Toilet, sink and shower. There’s no bathtub, but again, think of the money you’re saving, you’re getting the absolute essentials at rock-bottom price in the heart of Downtown Toronto! A very expensive city to live in. The room itself was very quiet with the balcony door closed; we had no problem obtaining a full night’s rest, every single night!

At the end of the day, you should consider trying out a Hostel, what do you have to lose? Nothing, because you’re actually saving, big time!

Keep an open mind, explore, have fun and always try something different and new!

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

Africa, Caribbean Adventure!

I’m back! From what you may ask? Well, I’m about to tell you!

The adventure first started off in Casablanca, Morocco; we only stayed a night, which was okay, considering I’m not paying to go to any of these locations and it’s just enough time to get a taste of the area.
Driving down the streets of Casablanca was wild, not one person followed any traffic regulations, everyone was zipping in and out of lanes, no signalling, cutting everyone off, people running across the street last minute, cars slamming their brakes, horns honking like you’d see in NYC, it was a “dog-eat-dog” world; you get to where you need to go by any means necessary, you probably won’t even get arrested doing it too! I had a good laugh when we drove past what was a driving school in the city. I mean, what’s the point? Nobody is going to follow the regulations anyways! Maybe it was more for defensive driving? How to avoid the other drivers and what to expect in such an unexpected place?
I had a great night wandering the markets and various bazaars; the streets were flooded with them, full of hand-crafted goods and imitation brands of designer products… The market went on forever, with winding streets continuing on and on, my coworker and I got lost, we had no idea how to get back to the hotel. A random shop-owner grabbed our attention, showed us the way to his own shop where I bartered my way to some great prices for some outstanding and unique local goods that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Next stop was the Portuguese island of “Sal” (Salt), in the country of “Cape Verde”, Africa. This is quite an exotic location, pretty expensive too if you fly with commercial airlines, at least from Canada that is. Driving to our hotel from the airport, we noticed that land was quite rugged and desolate. Perfect for a “dune-buggy”! The landscape contained minimal greens and just appeared to be real run down and dry. It was evident that the country itself wasn’t well set off financially and primarily runs off any tourism that they can get. I’ll have to say though, that once we arrived at our hotel, walking to the coast was very gorgeous; but in reality, which beach isn’t gorgeous? The interesting thing about Cape Verde is that it’s inhabitants are a mix of African, Portuguese, Caribbean and Brazilian descent, so there was quite an interesting culture that we were surrounded by, as well as a unique selection of food throughout the meals that we ate there. Rabbit rice to Conch stew to my all-time favourite… Unlimited draught beer! Okay, so maybe that’s not quite a meal, but it’s made of essential grains, isn’t it? Next time, I’m going to remember to bring sunscreen, I have never been so burned in my life! Reading some articles, I heard one of the best brands you can buy is “Hawaiian Tropics”, it may cost a bit more, but apparently it works. Don’t quote me on that though, I’m no sunblock expert here.

Next stop? The Dutch Southern Caribbean country of “St.Maarten”.
Ever seen those videos on YouTube where you see bystanders hanging around on a beach as massive jets are landing in such close proximity? So close, you could almost touch one of the wheels as it’s coming down for landing. You can most certainly see and wave to the Pilot, no doubt about it. Well, that’s the city of “Sint.Maarten” in the country “Saint.Maarten”. I was staying at a hotel right by that beach, which is called “Maho Beach”. A few coworkers and I decided it would be a once in a life time experience to hang off the fence that separates the runway to the beach as one of these jumbo jets take off. Written on several signs all across the fence are warnings “Danger: Stay away from fence, injury or death may prevail”, or something along those lines. Also, while a jet is idling, you should be a minimum of 180ft away from it’s engines, once it switches from idle to full-power, you must maintain a minimum distance of 900ft from the engine when behind the aircraft. My coworkers and I that were hanging onto the fence were definitely under 200ft from the jet’s engines. We were holding on for our dear life; just the aircraft idling was enough power as it was; as soon as that pilot shot up the throttle to full-power, we were in for an ass-kicking. Sand was blasting into our face at fierce speeds; it felt like knives ripping our faces and skin apart. The heat of the engine was burning our skin and the force of the jet-blast wanted to rip us right off the fence and send us flying to only god knows where. We all survived, no injuries and left with an awesome story and memories to remember for the rest of our lives!
An interesting fact about the country of “Saint.Maarten”, the island is divided in half, the Dutch own the North half and the French own the Southern half. I’m not entirely sure what the History behind that is all about, perhaps I’ll be back someday to find out!

Our last stop on the road was Memphis, Tennessee, which is pretty much the land of “Elvis”. Yes, he does live!
We didn’t have a whole lot of time here, so my coworkers and I went out for a famous “Pulled-Pork sandwich”, which apparently the city is known for; damn, was it ever delicious! Every bite you took made you salivate for another, until it’s all gone then you’re tastebuds are just craving for more; that’s where discipline kicks in and you have to convince yourself that your stomach doesn’t have room to fit any more!
To finish off the night, me and two coworkers decided to grab a few beers at some rooftop patio bar on famous Beale St. We were just overlooking the street, people-watching and just reminiscing over our awesome adventure that we had. About an hour later or so, it was time to call the night quits as we were leaving late next morning. My coworker comes up to me the next morning and tells me some shocking news that he saw on his television. The bar that we were lounging around at had a shooting an hour after we left, six people in total were shot, although no one was killed and three with hospitalized in non-critical condition. I couldn’t believe it… Had we stayed an extra hour, we could have witnessed this event or been shot ourselves. Looks like I had a guardian angel watching over me and my coworkers.

I’m back home now, just taking it easy, getting caught up with my Kung-Fu classes and catching up with my Piano lessons. I’m awaiting a promotion to my next rank, which I’m due for, same for a medal. I wonder when they’ll show up? Hmm…

More adventure to come soon enough!

Check out these snaps from the trip!

Sint Maarten, Saint Maartena

Sint Maarten, Saint Maarten

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Morocco

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Sint Maarten, Saint Maarten

Sint Maarten, Saint Maarten

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Categories: Cape Verde, Morocco, St.Maarten, Travel, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pack, pack, pack!

Spent another day at a beach in Penticton; this time, instead of “Sudbury Beach”, we went to try out “Skaha Beach”; they’re both great beaches, but I found “Skaha Beach” to be much more relaxing and enjoyable. There were adequate washroom facilities nearby, a stand to grab yourself a refreshing “Hawaiian Shaved Ice” cup and most importantly, dogs are allowed on the beach, as long as they’re on a leash.

After a winding four hours, driving around snow-capped mountains and drop-dead cliffs, we’re now finally back in Abbotsford, BC, where I have been staying for the past week. The weather here is nowhere near as hot as it was in the valley; there’s a big, big difference. Bring lots of sunscreen!

Also, for those that never have been to Penticton and would like to visit; I just wanted to point out that there is in fact, an airport that you can fly into there. So if driving along winding mountain-side roads isn’t your thing, you can skip it all and come straight to Canadian paradise. I would recommend taking an adventure and going by road, but in the end, it’s your vacation and it’s totally up to you! Just keep in mind, even in Penticton, you need to book your hotel in advance, it does get to be a busy place in the Summer and rooms get booked up fast!

This week has just flown by so fast, it’s already my last night here in British Colombia, so it’s been nothing but packing, packing, packing since we got back. Packing for what you ask? Las Vegas! We leave tomorrow morning from “Vancouver International Airport” for a full week stay in the “city that never sleeps”. We’re going to be staying in the “Flamingo” hotel, which is one of the original and oldest hotels on the strip. I’ll be sure to write a review about it at some point during my trip, so you’ll at least get an idea if it’s a good hotel to stay at or not.
Tomorrow night we’re also seeing a magic show @ 7pm. His name is “Gerry McCambridge” and he specializes in illusions. Should prove to be a fun and interesting show; I can’t help but say that I’m pretty damn excited too!

Here are a few snaps from Pentincton:

Sudbury Beach, gorgeous.

Sudbury Beach, gorgeous.

Me diving for a frisbee at Skaha Beach.

Me diving for a Frisbee at Skaha Beach.

Mango Juice and Beach Sandals @ Skaha Beach

Mango Juice and Beach Sandals @ Skaha Beach

The "Family-in-law" @ a rest stop on the way out from Penticton. We felt it was necessary to bring on the tiger / dinosaur face!

The “Family-in-law” @ a rest stop on the way out from Penticton. We felt it was necessary to bring on the tiger / dinosaur face!

Categories: British Colombia, Canada, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Opening!

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It’s new, primitive and there isn’t a whole lot of content at the moment, but that’s completely understandable considering that this is the first post that I’m writing for this blog. I am still getting used to all the features that WordPress.com has to offer and learning how to navigate my way through all the different tabs, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it!

If you’re here viewing my blog as early at the first post, then I want to thank you for taking your time to read up on what I have to say!

If the blog hasn’t already spoken for itself already, then I’ll speak for it and say that this is in fact, a full-on travel blog, so if traveling is your high, if traveling excites you and you live to travel or you at least have the aspiration and goals to do so, then this blog is definitely for you!

I’ve already been to 18 countries and I just turned 24, there are many more to come shortly! I want to travel until the day I die and I plan to see every bit of the world and every bit of it will be shared on this blog.

My goal on this blog is to provide you with a constant flow of new posts, photos and videos which will present you with an insight into what life is like in foreign countries and endless cities and also, how to effectively travel in various ways! You will learn what my life is like as a Flight Steward on a day-to-day basis as well.

I want to let you, the reader, know that I encourage a social atmosphere on this blog/website, meaning you are free to send me any questions, comments, queries about anything you have on your mind and I will do my best to answer them for you. If I find your question to be interesting, then I may feature it on a new post with my answer included.

I really do hope you enjoy this blog as more content posts/stories become available in the future, so please take a moment and follow me! You won’t regret it!

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

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