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Archive for March, 2013

Friday’s Friendly Funny: “Traditional” Irish dancing

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: The ancient iPod

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

The top 10 places and sites to visit in Israel

Here are our top 10 places and sites to visit in Israel (in no particular order):

Jerusalem: One of the oldest cities in the world, sacred to three major monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.


Religious pilgrims have been traveling to Jerusalem for centuries, as Jerusalem is full of significant historical, religious and educational sites. Must-sees include:

  • The Western (Wailing) Wall, which is over 2000 years old. It is the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith, and the most visited site in Israel.
  • The Temple Mount, one of the most important religious sites in Jerusalem’s Old City. It is the third most important site in Islam, and the most important in Judaism. 
  • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the most holy Christian site in the world.

Shrine of the Book: home to the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.

Located in the national Israel Museum in Jersalem, the largest museum and cultural complex in the country, the Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 found on the shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name, and are of great historical and religious significance. They consist of biblical manuscripts from what is known as the Hebrew Bible. (more…)

Why Israel is a country with something for everyone

The first time I visited Israel, it was 1972, a full year before the Yom Kippur War. It was a far simpler place then, with no skyscrapers, no color TV anywhere in the country, and little in the way of luxury goods. It was a time when calculators were golden gifts for Israeli students; transistor radios were treasured by young army recruits; and wineries were known by a single name, Carmel.

I’ve been to Israel many, many times since that first trip more than 40 years ago, when my tour guide made me cry because I wandered away from my group and made everyone late for the next stop on our tour. With each visit, I’ve come to appreciate more and more the amazing diversity and dynamism of this incredible country.

Only 68 years ago, survivors of the Holocaust staggered out of the ashes of the death camps and made their way (mostly illegally) to the shores of the yet-to-be declared State of Israel. I realize there are plenty of political issues surrounding the founding of Israel the nation, and there’s plenty to say about the politics of the region. But despite all of that, no one can deny that so much has been done in so little time. Amazing hardly describes the place. You simply have to see it for yourself to understand what progress, in the face of adversity, means. (more…)

7 more exotic destinations you can visit for the price of a weekend in Las Vegas

One of the most popular presentations I’ve ever given has been about seven exotic locations you can visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. Since I last spoke on the topic, travelers have been eager to know if I’ve added any more destinations to my list, and where they can go in 2013 to turn their ordinary trip into an extraordinary vacation.

So when I was asked to speak at the 2013 Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, I knew this was a topic I wanted to revisit. I spoke for a little over 15 minutes this year, covering seven more exotic destinations to visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. We caught the speech on film for everyone who couldn’t make it, so just hit play to listen in.

After watching my speech, do you plan on visiting any of the destinations I mentioned? I’d love to hear about your travel plans in a comment below.

Recapping our Facebook travel chat with special guest Reid Bramblett

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our latest Facebook travel chat. Reid Bramblett and I had a great time answering your questions, debating travel best practices, and sharing our travel know-how. I want to recap the Q-and-A here on the blog for anyone who missed it.

Q: How is Friendly Planet able to send people to Cuba? Isn’t there an embargo against Americans visiting the island?

Peggy: The answer is a new license called ‘People to People’ which enables us to send American travelers to Cuba to engage in educational and cultural exchanges. This means that in Cuba you get to do all the things that you would long to do in any international destination — meet real Cubans, see how they live, work, study, and generally live their lives — in addition to visiting the important sites on the island.

Q: Hi there, I love history and learning when I travel, what would be some great historical places in Europe to visit that might be a bit off the beaten path or not as widely known as say, Stonehenge or the Colosseum?

Reid: It sounds like you’re interested in ancient sites, and Europe is full of them. For example, the Irish version of Stonehenge is Newgrange, a gorgeous passage tomb just an hour north of Dublin. The west coast of Ireland is filled with Celtic ruins as well. This year is a great time to visit Ireland because of the Gathering. There are many activities celebrating Irish heritage throughout the country. I recommend the Fleadh Nua in Ennis, the most participatory of the Irish music festivals.

As for an alternative to the Colosseum, the south of Italy is filled with ancient Roman and Greek ruins (much of it was once part of greater Greece), from ancient amphitheaters to temples. (more…)

Friday’s Friendly Funny: I declare!

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

 

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Welcome to Cuba

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Travel Talk: What The Art of Non-Conformity means to Chris Guillebeau

Life, work, and travel: Those are the three concentrations of The Art of Non-Conformity (AONC) project, founded by Chris Guillebeau. The Art of Non-Conformity project’s mission is to inspire people to live unconventional lives, make their own choices, and change the world. Chris started the project after volunteering and traveling inspired him to strive to achieve significant, personal goals and help others to do the same. He didn’t want to perform a desk job he wasn’t passionate about, but instead wanted to lead others to follow their dreams.

So far, Chris has accomplished some pretty impressive personal and professional goals: he’s visited 192 of 193 United Nation member states; contributed pieces to CNN, Business News, and Huffington Post, among other news outlets; published two books — The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Startup (a New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best seller)—as well as several manifestos; started the successful World Domination Summit to help connect like-minded individuals who share the values of community, adventure and service; and many others—and Chris is only 34 years old! We invited Chris to answer some questions for our blog audience as our latest post in the Travel Talk blog series. Read on for some of his thoughts on travel and inspiration in his own words.

1) You’ve been to 190 countries, and set a goal to visit all 193 United Nation member states by age 35. Your goal date of April 2013 is only a month away. How close are you to meeting this ambitious goal?
I’ve now been to 192 countries. I went to Guinea Bissau in December and Tuvalu in January. So I’m pretty sure I’m on track. 🙂

2) Tell us about The Art of Non Conformity (AONC) project you started. What sparked the creation of this project?
I had moved back to the U.S. after four years in West Africa. I was turning 30 and feeling dissatisfied with what I had done to that point — I felt like I lacked convergence. I decided to start AONC as a platform for my writing and a community for other unconventional people. Within a year, it had become a full-time career.

3) Do you typically travel alone? Does your wife ever travel with you?
I do typically travel alone, yes. Jolie recently accompanied me to India for a two-week book tour.

4) Since you’ve visited almost all of the countries you set out to visit by this year, do you still have any destinations on your bucket list to visit?
I don’t really have a bucket list, but there are certainly plenty of places I’d still love to visit. I haven’t yet been to Palestine, and I haven’t done Antarctica either. Both of those will be coming up at some point.

5) What has been the most interesting destination(s) you’ve explored, and why?
There are so many! I don’t have a single favorite or “most interesting.”

6) You’ve run at least 10 miles in over 25 countries. How do you decide which countries to run in? Have you faced any challenges running throughout the world? If so, what are they, and have any countries in particular been a challenge to run in?
I don’t usually decide in advance. Some of it depends on my current training — if I have a race coming up, I’ll run longer. How long I’m in a country also affects the decision. The biggest challenge in much of the world is the climate. It’s very hard to run 10 miles in Kuwait during the summer. On the other hand, I ran a half-marathon in Cuba recently and had a great experience. After the race, most foreign runners donate their shoes to Cuban runners, who sometimes run shoeless otherwise.

7) Have you ever been surprised, either pleasantly or disappointingly, about a destination you’ve visited?
I’m constantly surprised. Much of travel relates to how context shapes experiences. I didn’t expect to love the Solomon Islands, but it turned out to be a beautiful place. I was intimidated by Central Asia and the Russian-speaking world before I went, but then I relaxed once I saw how incredible it was.

8) What travel tips would you like to share with our readers?
I share a lot about “travel hacking” on my blog, or how to see the world for free using Frequent Flyer Miles. But I think the more important aspects of traveling will reveal themselves to you as you go. Don’t be afraid! Step out — the world is waiting. Also, never check luggage.

9) Where in the world are you headed next?
I recently resumed the on-going book tour for “The $100 Startup” by visiting 10 U.S. cities. This month I’m going to Korea for the launch of the local version there, and in April, I’ll be in Norway for the final country. Readers can always find out about tour dates by visiting 100startup.com/#tour. Tickets for our big party in Norway are available at endofworld.eventbrite.com.

Thanks Chris! Be sure to visit The Art of Non-Conformity website for all the latest on Chris’ next adventures.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Twice as much

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.