Feeling liberated in Norway!
Preikestolen, Norway

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Feeling liberated in Norway!

My boyfriend and I spent last August in Norway. Our first stop was Trolltunga, 22km of walking through snow, mud, rain, wind and darkness. Two days later we hiked Pulpit Rock, almost half the distance, this second hike seemed like a breeze compared to the first one. We spent the rest of the time relaxing and exploring the beautiful county of Ryfylke – from a 10 Euro/day spa overlooking the lake, gazing at the incredible and numerous waterfalls, to aimlessly driving by the fjords. I have always been scared of heights, and it had been less than a year since

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Tears from Palestine - My homage to a friends wedding

Tears from Palestine – My homage to a friends wedding

Sometimes when I’ve been on the road for a while I get so used to living in the moment, day in day out, that I don’t even realise what I am doing at the time. It’s just a spontaneous action that creates memories. When I woke up that morning, I knew where all my mates back home were going to be that day: at the wedding of two of our friends. I always enjoyed the big events, but I wasn’t going to be there. Instead, I was taking a tour through Palestine. Months of planning had gone into this four

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Meeting the nicest person in Lithuania

Meeting the nicest person in Lithuania

I arrived at Siarliai, a small Lithuanian town by bus to look at the „hill of crosses“. I had just missed the connecting bus that was supposed to take me there, so took a taxi, spending much more than I had planned. We drove through the fields, far away from the city. When we reached the hill the driver looked at me: „Wait? The bus is far away“ – „No, thanks, I can walk“ – „no, I’ll wait, you can’t stay here.“ – „No, thanks.“ I got out of the car and walked towards the hill, hoping I would find

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Get some energetic vibes in Bam - When an Earthquake hit Bam

Get some energetic vibes in Bam – When an Earthquake hit Bam

“Bam is still here!” said Mr. Panjalizadeh, owner of the Akbar Guest House in Bam, Iran. “We get energy from you people who visit us.” In 2003 a 6.6 earthquake hit Bam, devastating the city. Most of my Iranian friends thought I was crazy to drive all the way to Bam. “There’s nothing there,” they said. Nothing could be further from the truth. True, the place had been wrecked, but – after visiting the stunning citadel – I joined Mr. Panjalizadeh for tea in the garden of his guesthouse, seriously damaged by the earthquake and which still resembles a construction

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Mountain Hostel Tarter - Design Hostel in an old farm

Mountain Hostel Tarter

El Tarter, Andorra

The Mountain Hostel Tarter is located in El Tarter, a small village in the north-eastern part of Andorra. Offering only 9 super-cosy rooms, this chic hostel is a perfect home-base for exploring Andorra. The main common area is kept to resemble an actual living room to help you slow down ... More about Mountain Hostel Tarter El Tarter, Andorra

Regretting feeling daring in Tokyo

Regretting feeling daring in Tokyo

Weary from a day of walking across Tokyo, we went to the first restaurant we could find. The owner did not speak any English and unlike in the tourist restaurants across Tokyo, there were no photos on the menu. Feeling bold, we asked for a selection of dishes. We are not fussy eaters however when we looked at the plate of mini crabs on cocktail sticks and chunks of chicken that had been seared, but were raw in the middle. We realized that this was not a sensible attitude to adopt in Japan. We also realized that we would be

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Loosing my Shared-Taxi at the Togo-Benin border

Losing my Shared-Taxi at the Togo-Benin border

Usually, problems crossing borders involve corrupt officials, visa troubles, or unexpected closures… I’m not sure what the locals thought when they saw a tall hairy white man running barefoot from the border in the morning sun, with no luggage, clutching his chest pocket to ensure his passport didn’t fall out – asylum seeker or drug dealer maybe. Truth was, I’d managed to lose my shared-taxi. I was traveling from Benin to Togo, and being a ‘foreigner’, I’d had to be stamped in/out of both countries, rather than doing as the locals do & showing ‘ID’ in the form of small-value

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Varanasi, a City to Die - Travel Story India
Varanasi, India

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Varanasi, India: a terror attack in the city to die

I cannot imagine myself in a more awful yet interesting place than Varanasi. It is one of the oldest cities in India and the holiest city of Hinduism. Varanasi is also considered as Shiva’s favorite city which he never leaves. Above Varanasi hovers a mixed mist of smoke and fumes, so that at night no stars can be seen. The narrow streets are littered with garbage and feces, and cows, pigs, dogs and monkeys are roaming around. Drug dealers and pimps are standing near the Ghats, the stairs leading to the Ganges, looking out for tourists to scam. Many religious

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Wellington, New Zealand

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Meeting a new friend while Hitchhiking in New Zealand

Our first attempt at hitch hiking was from the suburbs of Wellington, New Zealand, into the city. Almost immediately, a car pulled over to pick us up and as we climbed in, full of elation, we met our (Saint) Helen; who insisted on driving us ALL the way to our destination. We left the car, thinking our paths would never cross again. However, the very next day, on Christmas Eve, while enjoying our picnic of chips, guacamole and Pico de Gallo—along the Hutt River— when our Saint Helen strolled by! We eagerly invited her over join our picnic. While talking

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Rishikesh, India - meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden
Rishikesh, India

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Rishikesh, India – meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden

Located at the foot of the Himalayas, crossed by the river of Ganges, Rishikesh is an important pilgrimage city. From here the Ganges heads to the Himalayas, and from here pilgrims start their voyage to the holy places in Garhwal Mountains – like we did on our trip “On foot to India“ (originally in German: Zu Fuß nach Indien). Like in many sacred places in India meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden in Rishikesh – an absolute dream destination for vegetarians and vegans. Lakshmana, this lion among men, one of three brothers of Rama, whose deeds are written down in

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Chickens, Goats, and Abba - the bizarre bus through Ethiopia
Addis Abeba, Ethiopia

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Chickens, Goats, and Abba – the bizarre bus through Ethiopia

I always use public transport; I believe it is the best way of getting to know a country. On route from Lake Wenchi to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia I had not only the bumpiest journey of my life but also the most bizarre. Chickens casually strolling around nibbling on my toes, two goats strapped on the roof, people sitting on my lap meanwhile the driver also acted as a DJ playing only ABBA tunes for 3 hours. Loved it.

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I believe I can fly - Tobogganing down a 3km narrow piste
Corvara, Italy

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I believe I can fly – Tobogganing down a 3km narrow piste

It was reassuring when, before trying out tobogganing for the first time, my friends admitted to being a little apprehensive. Staring down a 3km narrow piste, with a flimsy wooden sled between me and the compact snow, I took a deep breath and pushed away. Before long we were racing around bends and hitting speeds that sent the trees into a blur. Suddenly it didn’t matter if we tumbled into the powder or got damp from the melt – we were once again 6 years old with absolutely no fear or a care in the world.

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An unexpected surprise at Bus Hostel Reykjavik - Hostel Story
Reykjavik, Iceland

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An unexpected surprise at Bus Hostel Reykjavik – Hostel Story

It was only my intention to stay for one night at the Bus Hostel in Reykjavik, but when my bike – the one I was about to cycle around Iceland for 4 weeks – went missing, I ended up staying two. Little did I know I would meet a fellow bicycle traveller that night whom I got on splendidly with – we ended up sharing our first week together and had a blast; crossing rivers, wild camping and eating far too many cakes. I can safely say I got off at the right (bus) stop!

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Walking solo in a GULAG of the Stalin Era in Russia
Perm-36, Russia

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Walking solo in a GULAG of the Stalin Era – crimes of the past

In Siberia you read a lot about GULAG and their unfortunate guests. So we had to go to Perm-36, a former soviet labor camp where “country enemies” were imprisoned. In a forest 100km northeast from Perm and closed for tick-borne encephalitis, as we discovered after 2 hours in a bouncy minivan, we managed to enter the camp thanks to a kind employee and walked through barbed wire fences and bare dorms with wooden beds. It’s touching to see how people had to live for minor crimes like being late for work or reading censored books.

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Cycling to a hidden Waterfall in Baños, Ecuador
Baños, Ecuador

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Cycling to a hidden Waterfall in Baños, Ecuador

It was a glorious afternoon in Baños, Ecuador so we decided to rent bikes to cycle to a waterfall. We headed out of town and turned off the main road onto an impossibly steep track, following signs to “la cascada” (the waterfall). We pedaled past tiny houses with children playing on the front steps. We heard the thundering sound of water falling down a sheer drop, and a beautiful waterfall cutting through the thick vegetation came into view. We hid our bikes in some bushes, took off our shoes and climbed as far as we could up the rocks at

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Fat-Bike with Ninja - my 3h Stars Tour in the Italian Alta Badia

Fat-Bike with Ninja – my 3h Stars Tour in the Italian Alta Badia

Spending an entire winter in the mountains has its perks; an invitation to fat-bike through the snow being one of them. Ninja, as he is known, is notorious in the Italian Alta Badia region for his outdoor skills. During our 3hr Stars Tour me and my friend experienced cycling on a frozen lake, holding on for dear life as we sped down a piste and learned what it takes to control wheels as thick as tree trunks. After cycling home in the thick, falling snow we smiled and huddled up with a hot chocolate to toast our unique, thrilling experience.

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Lanquín, Guatemala: Home to the Sacred Waters of Semuc Champey
Lanquín, Guatemala

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Lanquín, Guatemala: Home to the Sacred Waters of Semuc Champey

We arrived in Lanquín, Guatemala after being packed like sardines on an 8-hour bus trip from Tikal. The scent of burnt foliage from the ubiquitous slash-and-burn stung our noses as we exited the bus onto the orange mud road that had led us into the depths of the Mayan jungle. We’d come for Semuc Champey (Mayan for Sacred Waters). The clear turquoise lagoon flows from an underground cave in the middle of the jungle, beckoning visitors to bathe with the fish. Colorfully-clad Maya sat at the water’s edge, observing us with reluctant fascination as we graciously explored their sacred oasis.

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Ticking of the bucket list: Cage-diving with Great Whites
Cape Town, South Africa

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Ticking of the bucket list: Cage-diving with Great Whites

So, this is a sneak preview of my old Bucket List: – 14. Learn how to swim – 15. Go cage diving with Great Whites And then one day in November 2014 I said: “Sign me up for the cage diving with great white sharks, please”, ok so I may have skipped a step with learning to swim, but really how essential was it to know how to swim when going cage diving with Great Whites? After attending an amazing International Civil Society Week in Johannesburg, South Africa, I jumped at the chance of taking a two day trip to

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Danger and Fear Climbing the Italian Dolomites Mountain
Dolomite Mountains, Canazei, Trentino, Italien

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Danger and Fear Climbing the Italian Dolomites Mountain

Having experienced many exposed and challenging Via Ferrata, I thought my rational fear had subsided over time. That was until me and my friends had to cross an icy bridge that was completely open to the elements. Without the usual pseudo protection of my carabiner clips and iron wire, I suddenly felt extremely at risk. Either side of the foot-wide ice-crossing were drops that had no bottom and considering we were climbing on a mountain that stood over 2000m tall, my guess is that if I had slipped, I would not be re-telling this story today. If I learnt only

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Skydiving 15,000 feet over Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

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Skydiving 15,000 feet over Queenstown, New Zealand

Absolutely petrified. That’s one way of describing my anxiety before jumping out a plane at 15,000 feet. But I had never done anything like this before so that made it desirable. What makes traveling different is the unknown, the ability to experience new things without over thinking it. So that’s what I did; at 15,000 feet of course. And I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life. Complete silence as I free fell into nothingness. It was exhilarating.

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In The Footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi and Napoleon

In The Footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi and Napoleon

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. When you walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, the journey begins with a day-long hike through the Pyrenees, starting in France, ending hours later in Spain. Most pilgrims continue to Santiago de Compostela, another 790km away. My son and I wanted to be like most pilgrims, even though our plan was just to walk for another two days, ending in Pamplona. We climbed high into the mountains and came down through a thick forest, arriving late afternoon. But my feet were covered in blisters and

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Sharing Rum with New Friends in Cuba

Sharing Rum with New Friends in Cuba

I tell time by looking at the sun’s position. Spanish, Italian, French, German are my mother tongues for a beautiful moment. An island of poetry in every wave that crashes on the Melecon. Humble and proud, humid and alive. Pilgrimage of Hemingway, home of heroes, this is Cuba. Don’t hesitate to share the shade of a palm, don’t hesitate to pass around the rum with strangers – now friends. Get on the bus heading anywhere and stop where it pleases you, you will be welcomed. I came filled with stories of precaution, and left, left my heart in Cuba.

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Getting Lost on Purpose in Tokyo - Discover Hidden Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan

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Getting Lost on Purpose in Tokyo – Discover Hidden Tokyo

When we headed over to Japan we wanted to totally immerse ourselves in this wonderful country we had traveled half the world to experience. With awe and wonder we decided instead of being intimidated by the complexity and challenges of this new land, that we would embrace its exhilaration. We set off to wander, no particular destination in mind other than exploration. To see the details, to come across the unexpected and to embrace the idea of being totally lost and the thrill of expectation. Getting lost is part of the adventure, it is where the city to takes you

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The Sleeping Dragon - Dalai Lama And Me
Salzburg, Austria

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The Sleeping Dragon – Dalai Lama, Salzburg, and Me

I can feel the snowflakes softly falling from the sky. They land gently on the tip of my frozen nose. At the top of this mysterious peak, famously called “sleeping dragon” by the Dalai Lama, I am alone. It is just me and the mountains. Okay, that’s not exactly true. It’s just me and a dozen yapping crows soaring through the mist. Up here on Untersberg, as I look down at Salzburg below, I know that it’s me against the world. That it’s just me and the silence that threatens to engulf me whole.

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Warned about the children of Cambodia

Warned about the Children in Cambodia

Be careful and judge each situation for yourself! We were warned about the children of Cambodia asking for hugs and stealing your watch yet we saw none of this. The children we’ve met so far are blind to prejudice, race, gender, religion… They simply wanted attention and we spent afternoons in Sihanoukville, Cambodia throwing them around the ocean, chasing them up and down the beaches, we taught them card games and they smiled proudly as they practiced their English. They had little but were content, it was beautiful to see. I don’t know what’s next but I’m so happy living

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Are there wolves in Umbria? Nicola did not reply

Are there wolves in Umbria? Nicola did not reply

“Are there wolves in Umbria?” Just silence from Nicola while the howling was still coming from the valley. We were alone, sleeping in a tiny tent in the wood along Spoleto – Norcia, Italy abandoned railway. We had been too adventurous cycling along the hills and camping in this isolated spot. Maybe we (and by we I mean Nicola) could have learned how to light a fire to protect from the animals; maybe we were going to be attacked by a pack of wolves. “Nicola?” He quietly answered “A few”. Wolves sounded far from us, but I felt frightened and

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Climbing 300 feet high in Bangladesh

Climbing 300 feet high in Bangladesh

Oh, what a wonderful experience it was! The first time I was able to climb about 300 feet high hill at Rijuk Waterfall, Ruma in the Bandarban district of Bangladesh. Yeah, last year during Rainy Season I got the chance to visit one of the most natural and beautiful Rijuk Waterfall. I got scared of heights, it was risky to climb because of rainfall, but I didn’t take a single moment to think when I got an offer to climb. And of course, I didn’t forget to manage a smiling snap while climbing that hill.

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This Self-Educated Highway Builder in China impressed me

This Self-Educated Highway Builder in China impressed me…

While taking a 20-hour train ride on the perimeter of the Taklimakan desert in northwestern China, I had the kind of humbling, education, and above all else, wonderful encounter with a local that all travelers crave. A young Han Chinese man approached me on the train. My new friend spoke virtually no English, so I gleefully relished this chance to practice my Chinese. Over several hours he would tell me about how he had attended a two-year professional school to quickly find a job building highways in order to help pay for his younger sister’s school fees. She was going

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Freezing Christmas Sea Swim and I survived
Clacton beach, Essex, United Kingdom

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Freezing Christmas Sea Swim and I survived

The annual Christmas sea swim has been taking place for almost 60 years on Clacton beach, Essex, United Kingdom. The low mumble of excited folk, showing off their Santa hats whilst sipping mulled wine, increase the tension as everybody stands, half naked and raring to go. Without much warning, hilarity sets in and the crowd go storming towards the calm sea’s chill – the low-risen sunshine flickering on the tide, screaming his invitation to jump right on in. Arms flail and cameras click; toes hit the water and it is now or never, keep running or quit? Within what feels

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Blocked Road and The Tuk-Tuk Driver Saved Us
Luang Prabang, Laos

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Blocked Road and The Tuk-Tuk Driver Saved Us

On our bus-ride from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, Laos a truck blocked the entire road and no vehicles could go through. We were all stuck there in the highest mountaintop and the driver told all the passengers that we could be stranded there for days. People began to camp out, but we had a train to catch back to Thailand, so we walked down the mountain to the other side for hours until a kind tuk-tuk driver delivering groceries to small villages rescued us. Thanks to this experience we got to see the most majestic landscape of Laos!

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From Zero to Kilimanjaro, the Highest Peak of Africa
Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

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From Zero to Kilimanjaro, the Highest Peak of Africa

This was it. What was I thinking? “Stephanie, you have never climbed a mountain in your life, never mind starting with Kilimanjaro.” At that stage there was no going back, it was time to take on the challenge. After spending two months living with a Massai Tribe, the decision came to tackle Kili with three friends. This was an experience I will never forget. These overwhelming feelings of happiness, fear, tiredness, excitement and anxiety all at once. Standing at the highest peak of Africa I told myself, this was my time. It was time to challenge myself and do it

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The Dangerous Roads in Morroco Across the Atlas Mountain

The Dangerous Roads in Morroco Across the Atlas Mountain

Traveling through Morocco by car is a great way to see this diverse and beautiful country. But the roads in Morocco can be diabolical. We rent a car and take off from Marrakesh airport. Within 5 minutes we were lost having missed the un-signposted turn off to our destination. On entering the highway we were greeted with an overturned truck. We journey over the High Atlas Mountains. A steep, winding and rugged road, the main danger is not the drop offs, or the wandering sheep, or even the overloaded trucks. The greatest danger were the Mercedes taxis that come hurtling

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Machu Picchu's Gigantic Aura - Reminder Why I Travel
Machu Picchu, Peru

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Machu Picchu’s Gigantic Aura – Reminder Why I Travel

On day three of the classic Inka Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, we reached the summit of Abra de Runkuracay eager to take in the views around us. The day was unusually warm; wispy white clouds rolled in and out of the deep green valleys, aided by a gentle breeze. We scuttled up to the highest point we could find. Even though the clouds obstructed much of the view, I could feel the enormity of the valley we were perched above. I searched for snowy peaks in the distance, searched for the river far below. In that moment, I

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Don't make Elephants angry - my elephant experience in Botswana

Don’t make Elephants angry – my elephant experience in Botswana

When I visited Botswana in hope to get close and personal with Elephants, I certainly got my wish. I remember it clearly – we were sat in the open-top jeep, observing quietly as the herd of Elephants trundled across the road ahead. All of a sudden a loud trumpeting sound came from behind us and we realized this angry, tusk-less mother was warning the others of our presence. In panicked haste, we sped off as she tried to catch us up until we were stopped dead in our tracks by the biggest bull Elephant I have ever seen. My friend,

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Shooting Stars in Wadi Rum (pun intended)

Shooting Stars in Wadi Rum (pun intended)

Jordan is a strange country. There are big cities, forgotten majestic mausoleums, mountains and depressions, but most of all there are deserts. My boyfriend and I traveled around Jordan in August (not so hot as people said) and we lived for more than ten days in a Bedouin tent camp in Wadi Rum desert, southern Jordan. We put ourselves in some awkward situation with our guest Kaled, who is quite a notable person in Bedouins village, especially struggling to eat with a single hand and annoying him with our Italian chitchat, but he was so kind not to kick our

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Kuala Lumpur

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From Hell to Heli-pads

From monkeys climbing on my head to sleeping on train floors to cocktails on top of the world… Travelling gives you the greatest opportunities and the weirdest lessons, both teach you a lot about who you are (and what you can handle). One night it’s an overnight bus with jagged metal arm rests, A/C in your face and two Asians crammed on one seat watching you sleep and the next night you’re being taken for cocktails on a helicopter pad overlooking Kuala Lumpur. 12 hours can make a big difference. One night we were sleeping in a floating bamboo shack

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Gambia and my favorite part of it: The Children!

Gambia and my favorite part of it: The Children!

“During my trip to Gambia I found a lot of beautiful beaches and landscapes, but my favorite thing about one of Africa’s smallest country is its people…specially the children! They love to ask you to teach them things and some of then even learned how to do the rock sign!“

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Enjoying The Beauty Of The Moment in Granada, Spain
Granada, Spain

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Enjoying The Beauty Of The Moment in Granada, Spain

“Enjoying the beauty of the moment, that’s what our travels are all about!“ “And what are you doing for tonight?“ “Same thing we’re doing right now: enjoying and going with the flow. We are not in any hurry, this is the most beautiful thing about traveling rather than being on vacation.“

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A Paelle Pan and a Harpoon, please!
Malaga, Spain

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A Paella Pan and a Harpoon, please!

My very first backpacking trip by myself started in Malaga, Spain. It was also my first time at a hostel, so I was really new to all this travel scene. At the hostel I met lots of nice people, and two 18-year old guys from Berlin. We talked, had a beer or two and after a while they told me they were celebrating their high school graduation with a flight to Malaga to travel around Spain. They only had €80 with them for 2 weeks of travelling, and they spent already €15 on a paella pan and €25 on a

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7 Worst Travel Tips for a Weekend-Trip

7 Worst Travel Tips for a Weekend-Trip

Pack your luggage for your weekend trip, and get prepared for another pleasant travel experience. But so cool a weekend trip may be, there are some points to consider. What should you pack, and what should you do in your destination? We had a close look on what you need ... read more