Travel

7 Things Travelers Always Need To Explain To Others

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Traveling is one of the most thrilling things we can do with our lives. Some people don't get it, but we do. Rooftop Midtown1. Experiences > Things

If we had to choose between an enormous mansion complete with a butler and a designer wardrobe versus a life of traveling everywhere to exotic places, we'd choose the latter every time.

Life gets boring when you spend all your money on material things that lose their excitement easily. Actually living and creating memories last forever.

Galata Tower from Topkapi Palace

2. We're always planning the next trip.

...even if we're on our current one. There are so many places to see in the world and so little time on this earth to explore it.

Perugia, Umbria, Italy

3. We want to go everywhere.

Some travelers make it their life goal to see every country in the entire world. Even if that's not a goal for everyone, you can bet destinations that aren't on the list for your average person are on ours: Romania? Yes! Malta? Absolutely! Namibia? That would be awesome. Mongolia? Why not!

The Beautiful Amalfi Coast, Italy

4. If we're not traveling, we're daydreaming about it.

Whether it comes in the form of reading travel books or "exploring" somewhere via Google Street View, it's always on our minds. We constantly talk about travel and the cool places we've been and want to go - to the point where it slightly annoys our friends.

Lemon groves Sorrento

5. We've learned so much through traveling.

Travel has allowed us to learn so much more than by simply reading a book or hearing about someone else's tales. We experience different places firsthand. We interact with people from other cultures in person. This is perhaps the best way to know the world. And every time we are able to bring back that learning and let it change us.

Beijing Meal

6. Eating different cuisines at restaurants will never be the same after eating it in its original country.

I love all the different cuisine options you can find in America. But Panda Express does not cut it - in fact, I don't think I'd ever be able to eat it again - after trying the real stuff in China. Same goes for Olive Garden which passes off as "Italian." When you've eaten the real deal, the Americanized versions just don't do it justice.

Monaco

7. We encourage those with travel dreams to take the plunge.

Spread the travel love! It's a big, big world out there, and an incredible one at that. No matter how you do it, no matter where you go - it will be worth it. Trust us. Maybe there's that one place (or five) you can't stop dreaming about and it's time to throw out the excuses...if you never go, you'll never know.

Read Next: Can't Decide Where To Go Next? 7 Steps On Choosing Your Next Travel Destination

Periscope: See The World Through Your Phone

  phone we heart it

Today I've had the pleasure of walking along the streets in Paris, watching an Italian chef prepare pizzas in Milan, and listen to live music in Austin, Texas. I got to join a guy and his friend walking their dogs around DC and listen to Brad Paisley's bandmates rehearse music. All without leaving my home.

I can't believe it took me a few months to learn about Periscope, a live video app owned by Twitter. Periscope, a new app on the scene since March 2015, wanted to build the "closest thing to teleportation."

This app is seriously so cool.

What makes this more of a conversational app is the ability to comment. Viewers can type in questions or comments and they pop up on the bottom of the screen. When I was watching a video in France, I wrote, "Hello from Phoenix!" And the broadcaster responded, "Hello, Phoenix!" So fun.

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When I first heard about this app, I thought it sounded similar to Snapchat. (I love the different cities featured on Snapchat Live! Who's with me on that?!) The difference with Periscope is the live aspect - the ability to show what you're currently doing/recording at that very moment and to interact with viewers.

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This afternoon, I tried it out for myself on my lunch break. I walked around campus and answered questions from the people commenting. It was so cool to see people from around the world watching and joining in on the conversation.

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Safety: There is an option to turn the location of your video on, which I find really cool! One of the first updates with the app was to change the location from the exact point to a larger geographical area - so no need to worry about viewers finding your home address. I also haven't seen any "inappropriate" broadcasts, but there is a way to report it and block users if that were to happen.

Updates: I also learned of a new update as of today, which allows people to sign up for an account using their phone number instead of with Twitter. If you don't have a Twitter and don't want to get one, now you don't have to in order to use Periscope.

What do you think about this app? Comment with your username below (mine is @allyarcher, same as my Twitter) and I'll follow you!

11 Books For Travelers

Best Travel Books Whether you're on the road or dreaming of your next trip, a good read is sure to entertain your travel enthusiasm. From fiction to guides, here are 11 books any traveler may enjoy.

1. Beautiful Ruins | Jess Walter

This is one of my all-time favorite books. Beautiful Ruins travels through time and location between 1950s Italy and present-day Hollywood. This story unexpectedly brings together a group very different people in Cinque Terre, Rome, and Los Angeles, plus a few other places I won't mention so as not to spoil the story. I highly recommend this book, especially if you've been to Italy - or dream of stepping foot among the coastal towns of Vernazza and Monterosso.

2. In A Sunburned Country | Bill Bryson

Bryson's commentary on travels to Australia is both hilarious and informative, leaving you with insider knowledge beyond the average guidebook while at the same time making you laugh out loud. My wanderlust for Australia has grown immensely since reading this book.

3. The Alchemist | Paulo Cohelo

I don't care if it's cliche to have The Alchemist on such a list, because this list would not be complete without it. I've read it four times and every time it refreshes life inspiration as well as provides guidance if I'm ever feeling uncertain. If there's any book you should read next, it's this one.

4. Places To Go, People To See | Kate Spade

I got two copies of this book for Christmas last year, and it wasn't even on my list! My family just knows me a little too well: Kate Spade + travel + cool photos from around the world + neon colors. Yup. It's a great coffee table book and provides endless inspiration.

5. The Happiness of Pursuit | Chris Guillebeau

There's an inspiration theme with this list, but that's what travel is all about. This book, written by Chris Guillebeau (who has traveled to every country in the world), is a collection of fascinating case studies of people following their "quests." Guillebeau inserts short travel stories from his own "quest" of visiting every country in the world throughout the book.

6. Lonely Planet's Guide To Travel Photography | Lonely Planet

This is a practical book for both beginner photographers and those looking to learn new skills in terms of travel photography.

7. Crazy Rich Asians | Kevin Kwan

Not my favorite book, though there was a lot of insight into Singapore and Southeast Asian culture that I found very fascinating! There are a variety of settings in Crazy Rich Asians, including Singapore, New York, Indonesia, and Paris.

12 Books For Travelers

To-Do List - Reading These Books:

8. Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide | Peter Allison

This book was a Goodreads recommendation in a travel list! It's a collection of supposedly outrageously funny essays from African safaris - from a Botswana safari guide, no less.

9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance | Robert M. Pirsig

Like The Alchemist, this is another "travel book list cliche" for a reason. With numerous recommendations from friends and bloggers I'll have to read this book someday.

10. Secret Europe: 50 Truly Unforgettable Places For Your Next Trip | Lonely Planet

I've explored a decent amount of Europe (though there's so much I haven't seen!) and I'd love to learn more from this guide about the sides of Europe you don't easily come across.

11. Eat, Pray, Love | Elizabeth Gilbert

I paged through the first fifty pages or so of Eat, Pray, Love my sophomore year of college and couldn't get past the sad beginning. However, after hearing how good it is - and how good the movie is - one day I'll need to see it to the end. Especially now that I've been to Italy, I know I'll enjoy reading more about the Italian portion of the book!

11 More Places To Add To Your Travel Bucket List

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A few months ago I wrote why Thailand, South Africa, and Iceland top my bucket list. They still do, but the list has grown. I'll be able tick off at least one or two of these this year... and hoping I'll get to the others as life goes on!  

Here's why these 11 places/things to do are on my travel list (and I can't see why they wouldn't be on yours, too).

1. Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro

Hang gliding Rio de Janeiro

I've come across a bunch of photos and videos of people going hang gliding in Rio and it looks awesome. Not only would it be amazing to explore the city, but to also view it from an above perspective.

2. Cape Reinga in New Zealand

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New Zealand has always attracted me due to its natural beauty and isolation. It would be especially cool to see Cape Reinga, the most northern part of NZ where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet.

3. Explore Patagonia

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Because I'm sure photos of the Perito Moreno glacier don't do it justice. Same as anywhere else in the region at "the end of the world." I'm sure when you're actually there, you just go wow. I'd love to explore this part of South America; it would be so different than my previous travel experiences of mostly staying in big cities.

4. Go to Charleston, South Carolina

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I've been to South Carolina a number of times but never to Charleston. I'd like to change that one day!

5. See the Pyramids in Egypt

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The Egyptian pyramids (and the tombs) were perhaps the first item I had ever added on my travel bucket list many, many years ago. I remember studying Egyptian culture in elementary school and found it extremely fascinating. Since then I've always wanted to take a trip there.

6. Walk Along the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

This is one of the things I'll be doing when I'm in China this summer!

7. Go on a Yacht Week in Greece

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If you've been reading this blog for a little while, you already know how cool I think The Yacht Week would be. Any of their trips sound amazing, but Greece especially (or Thailand!).

8. Go to the Top of the Rock in New York

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New York is an incredible city and I'm beyond excited to be back there next month. While there I want to partake in at least one touristy activity, which includes going to the top of the Rockefeller Center to check out those amazing views.

9. Spend a Summer in New England

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Preferably in Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, or the Hamptons. I've never been north of New York City in the US and have always wanted to go to those New England spots, especially in the summer.

10. See The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

I've flown over the Grand Canyon countless times but have never made the trek up there to see it in person. Everyone says it's breathtakingly gorgeous in person. Considering I'm currently living in Arizona, I'll need to take the 4-hour drive up there sometime soon.

11. Step foot on all six inhabited continents by age 30

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This has been one of my goals for a while now. I'm giving myself about 6.5 years to do this, and by the end of this summer, I'll have been to three of the six (half!). I want to see and explore as much as I can of this great big world of ours.

Interesting Video About Maps That'll Blow Your Mind

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paris maps I can stare at a map for a long time, daydreaming about where I want to go in the world. I already knew that maps aren't quite to scale, but this interesting video shows just how not-to-scale they really are. For example, Madagascar is larger than the UK and takes up the size of a few states in the US. Watch the video below and I'm sure your mind will be blown with at least a few of these, just as mine was.

h/t Buzzfeed

10 Things Travel Taught Me

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Sedona 7

It can be difficult to sum up how travel changes you or what you learn from travel.

I feel like a lot of the time this happens when people asked how your trip abroad was. When I got back from my study abroad program a few years ago, all I could really say was, "It was amazing," because it was amazing. It's difficult to describe it in more detail to someone who doesn't share that common ground.

But as the years have gone on and I've been able to travel a little more, I've been able to reflect on what I've learned so far.

1. People are very similar

Humans have the same basic needs: to be fed, to have shelter, to be loved. We want to surround ourselves with positive people, friends, and family. We want to better the lives of others. We want to learn and to grow.

People are very similar, even if their ways of eating, living, or loving are vastly different than your own. They don't do things in a "weird" way, they just do things differently. And that is okay.

Florence

Florence

2. The world isn't as scary as you think

It's important to keep your wits about you while you travel (just as you would in any city) and to research the cities you're visiting beforehand to be aware of tourist scams. However, most people are nice people, and the world isn't as scary as you think.

In Paris, I encountered girls asking me if I spoke English, thrusting their "petitions" (scams) into my face, but I simply ignored them. However, there were quite a few people I encountered as a solo female traveler that weekend showed nothing but kindness.

Also read: Solo Travel Stories That Confirmed My Faith In Humanity

3. Your appearance doesn't define you

When you travel, you can wear what you want, put on makeup if you want, or do your hair if you want. You'll never see these people again, so what does it matter if you decide to not make your hair perfect or wear the same thing two days in a row?

Istanbul Mosques

Istanbul Mosques

4. ...But it is still smart to respect customs, especially in terms of dress

When you travel you're likely to come across religious locations. In Italy, you're required to cover your shoulders, knees, and toes in churches. In Turkey, females must wear a headscarf in mosques.

In general, knowing the cultural clothing customs will not only help you blend in, but show the locals you care enough about their culture while you're spending time in their country.

5. You can communicate with body language just as much with words

It's best to know at least a few phrases in the foreign language before you go and to attempt to use them. However, unless you're fluent, there will be parts of your conversation with others that sound entirely like gibberish. I've had a number of conversations where body language and/or the usage of hand signals were the majority of the conversation.

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6. I'm better at directions than I thought (and other soft skills)

Navigation was never my strong suit. When I got my driver's license at age 16 I was constantly getting lost...in the city I grew up in. Traveling forced me to be aware of where I was going and to be able to find my way around. Slowly but surely, I became more confident with directions to the point where I was leading tours for my job in Europe to cities I hadn't been to before.

When you travel you learn so much that is applicable to everyday life. Independence, communication, and cultural understanding are a few soft skills one tends to pick up abroad.

7. You can learn more from the world than you can from a textbook

Going off of the above point - travel makes you wiser beyond your years. Going to school isn't something to be taken lightly, and even if you build off your education, there is so much to learn when you travel. You get life experience that you could never get by reading a book or watching a movie.

8. Material things aren't important

The more I travel, the more I realize I don't need a ton of material things. When you're traveling with just a small suitcase of possessions, it becomes clearer that you truly don't need a ton of stuff. Growing up on vacations I used to love to take home souvenirs. Now I'd rather spend it on experiences versus tacky trinkets.

I'll cherish the memories of the times I spent on a boat cruising through the Mediterranean or clinking beer steins with Germans at Oktoberfest more than snow globes that say "Cannes, France" or "Munich, Germany."

switzerland interlaken

switzerland interlaken

9. Give it a second chance

It's important to give things another shot, because not everything is perfect. I fell ill with a terrible stomach ache a couple days before my weekend in Switzerland - a country I was extremely excited to visit as it held a high spot on my bucket list. I also lost my debit card in Turkey the weekend prior and had to borrow cash from friends throughout the weekend. And to top it off, it was really foggy, so even if I had had money to go skydiving, the weather conditions weren't safe.

Needless to say, the weekend in Switzerland was my least favorite trip in Europe.

But it wasn't Switzerland's fault. There were just a number of factors and unfavorable coincidences that all happened at the same time. I'll be sure to give Switzerland another chance if the opportunity arises. You can't totally judge something entirely based on one experience.

Denver Horses 4

Denver Horses 4

10. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to grow

One of my college professors once said something along the lines of, "When you look back at a past relationship, you have three periods: the comfort of being in the relationship, the break-up and grieving portion - which is undoubtedly the toughest part - and the part where you move on from it. Which part did you learn the most? After the breakup, when everything seems unfamiliar and tough and scary. You're out of your comfort zone. But after you've gone through it, you'll look back and realize that the point when you were out of your comfort zone was when you learned the most."

Moving to DC (a city I'd never been to) the summer after college for a job was out of my comfort zone. Moving to Italy at the end of that summer to work in Europe was even more out of my comfort zone. Leading a group of students by myself from the thermal baths through the Hungarian metro was, you guessed it, out of my comfort zone. But I did it. I pushed past the fear and got through it, and learned so much from doing so.

After all, facing your fears is the only way to get over them.

You'll Need To Go On A Yacht Week After Watching Their New Videos

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Last year I had just learnt of The Yacht Week, where you go party sailing on yachts in Greece, Thailand, Italy, Croatia, and the British Virgin Islands. I'm always craving the sun and the sea, and spending a week on a boat exploring a new country sounds nothing short of perfect. I was recently catching up on YouTube and was captivated by their new promo videos, showcasing a mix of fun, sun, wanderlust, and a little bit of hedonism against a backdrop of sparkling coastline. One of these days, I must go on a Yacht Week. After you watch it, I'm certain you'll feel the same.