4 Powerful Tips To Help You Overcome Culture Shock

Anger. Of all the emotions associated with culture shock, anger was the one I expected the least. I had never experienced culture shock in any real way before, and I had traveled enough to think that I was somehow uniquely immune. Maybe I was just peculiarly cosmopolitan, open-minded, or adaptable to new experiences. Two weeks into a trip to Myanmar, it seemed like I had been correct. Of course I felt the occasional pang of loneliness or problems with communication, but overall I felt comfortable and at ease. Continue reading “4 Powerful Tips To Help You Overcome Culture Shock”

Unusual Places to Stay While Traveling

The appeal for many that enjoy traveling is the idea of getting out of ones comfort zone – and that includes where you lay your head each night. Hotels are convenient if you’re a new traveler and want to have a guarantee of the comfort of where you’re staying. They can also be a necessity if you’re going on a trip that is high impact in terms of baggage, where you need a shuttle service, or with many schedules to accommodate, or if you’re trying to coordinate with a large number of people. But for a smaller and more flexible trip, there are a number of unique and sometime exciting places to stay that are a bit more off the wall. Here are just a few ideas for travelers looking for novel travel accommodations. Continue reading “Unusual Places to Stay While Traveling”

5 Preparation Tips for Traveling Outside the U.S. and Europe

As an American, I’ve always considered traveling to Europe to be “Travel-Lite.” That statement is in no way meant to imply some kind of elitist condescension about what denotes “real” travel or not. On the contrary, European countries, such as Italy, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (which is a part of Europe whether it likes it or not), are some of the most fascinating sites in the world to explore for history, culture, and general atmosphere. Go on a study abroad trip there and I might be your instructor! Continue reading “5 Preparation Tips for Traveling Outside the U.S. and Europe”

Hiking Mt. Fuji: Friendly Advice From Someone Who Made All the Mistakes For You

“Anthea, are those parachutes?!” my friend asked me. And just like that, I was so excited I practically shook in my dusty, busted sandals. I felt that feeling in the pit of my stomach – the one that usually means I’m about to experience an adrenaline rush. “I think they might be?” I said, looking over the edge at the dark, disappearing shapes falling through the thick, white of clouds circling the top of Mt. Fuji, leaving trails behind them. Continue reading “Hiking Mt. Fuji: Friendly Advice From Someone Who Made All the Mistakes For You”

Cuba’s Fusterlandia: Transforming a Neighborhood

Cuba and U.S. relations have improved enough that visiting is no longer impossible. One must apply for the appropriately categorized trip on their visa. Cuba is almost indescribable in less than fifty thousand words, but suffice it to say the culture, history, and nature are uniquely beautiful. And the people are unlike anywhere else – a particular kindness, and an unusual sense of safety for two women traveling alone, was a pleasant surprise. Continue reading “Cuba’s Fusterlandia: Transforming a Neighborhood”

Overgrowth in Chernobyl: Interesting Botany and Wildlife in the Exclusion Zone

What do Korea’s demilitarized zone and Chernobyl, Ukraine have in common? It may sound like the beginning to a poorly chosen joke, but it’s a sincere question with an unexpected answer. Both areas have become nature sanctuaries. Both regions are undisturbed by human activity and construction, allowing animals to flourish and plant life to return unmitigated by industry or landscaping. After the destruction of war and nuclear catastrophe in 1986, Chernobyl’s exclusion zone has seen the return of a number of species to the area, including the intentional introduction of one species. Continue reading “Overgrowth in Chernobyl: Interesting Botany and Wildlife in the Exclusion Zone”

Music and Opera in Mongolia

Overtone singing is the practice of splitting one’s voice so that two tones are audible. The tones can be the same note, or one can remain constant while the other modulates. Perhaps most eerily beautiful is when both tones change at the same time. The effect, you can imagine, is astonishing for those unfamiliar with the talent; an individual singer will produce two haunting voices simultaneously, both the lead and the background to the same song. The practice requires skill and a great deal of work to perfect.
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Stained Glass, Art, and Murals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

I’ve heard Chernobyl, Ukraine is best described as a living museum. It’s perhaps the best way to explain what is now referred to as the exclusion zone because it truly feels like even the cities decomposition is a way of preserving what happened there. The exclusion zone – the region now off limits due to residual radioactivity from the 1986 power plant accident – is largely deserted, apart from the military and scientific staff that are rotated in shifts to maintain its borders and keep a close eye out for fires or illegal settlers. Continue reading “Stained Glass, Art, and Murals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone”

4 Reasons to Visit Sagres, Portugal

If you’re looking for an adventurous and relaxing trip look no further than Sagres, Portugal. Sagres is in the very southwestern part of Portugal. From a bird’s eye view, the shape of Portugal looks like the profile of a face, and Sagres is at the chin. Since it is the most southwestern tip of Europe, Europeans once believed Sagres was the “end of the world.” This small town has a laid-back atmosphere and offers some of the most breathtaking natural scenery. The cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean are stunning, and the physical landscape offers quite an array of adventure activities. If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, you must make a stop to Sagres. Here are four memorable activities to do in this small and beautiful “end of the world.” Continue reading “4 Reasons to Visit Sagres, Portugal”

A Case for Living with a Host-Family, and Switching Families if Need Be

During college, I studied abroad in Spain during my junior spring semester. I knew this was a once in a lifetime experience, and therefore I should take advantage of every opportunity given to me, including living with a host family. While this was a daunting and almost scary idea—living with people I never met who didn’t speak English—I knew that I probably would never have this opportunity again. And so I checked the box in my application requesting a family homestay. Continue reading “A Case for Living with a Host-Family, and Switching Families if Need Be”