Explore Travel Paradise From the Philippine Islands Which Equate to a Million and One Wonders

The Philippines is one of the blessed and gifted archipelago inside the world. It has the best beaches which are very much endowed with a wonderful set of flora and fauna. It also boasts of an splendid view from the sunrise and sunset! The beaches from the Philippines are your most valuable on the earth this is why yearly an increasing number of folks are choosing to spend time and health of their lives during this paradise.

Sounds enticing enough? But that’s only the general overview within the beaches in Philippines wait til we let you know more about each these beaches and the way each are unique and different from one another and the way in the event you choose the perfect destination based on your personality.

Here’s a quick rundown on the very best and recommended beaches within your Philippines.

First in list could be the internationally acclaimed, Boracay. It’s great white sand and funky waters are perfectly complemented by bars and restaurants. Boracay is ideal for party folks who can’t get enough of beach parties! This sandy dance floor are found on the Panay Island in Visayas.

If you would need to go somewhere that reminds them on your beaches in Hawaii, then Pagudpod is the place to be! The strong winds and waves are so Hawaii and very much ideal for surfers. But what sets Pagudpod from Hawaii stands out as the cultural heritage that you can even experience as soon as you visit Pagudpod.

Hailing belonging to the Philippines’ queen city of this south, Cebu has a justifiable share of pristine white beaches plus the Mactan Island is getting much of this tourists’ attention. At any time you are seeking a beach in the center of the city then Cebu is the top place. In excess of the night life activities, the department stores and other allures of city life would keep your sanity while providing you with the summer zest that you deserve.

If diving may be the name of your game, then you may have an interest to visit Panglao Island in Bohol as your Philippine vacation. Panglao island is legendary for its underground biodiversity that you need to experience.

In need of a pristine and Virgin Islands where you can spend some quiet moments? Try Camiguin. This place is usually tagged because the Garden of Eden in your Philippines not only because of its beaches and also because of the beauty that its waterfalls, cold and warm springs exude!

And last but definitely not the least on our list of wonderful beaches in to Philippines is Palawan! Also tagged as the final frontier in your country, Palawan is indeed gifted with a various ecosystem that may let you experience nature at its finest. From mere swimming, island hopping, diving and snorkeling, indeed there is no such thing as a dull moment if you are in Palawan!

There remain more beaches within the Philippines but it will took us a lifetime to discuss all of them here. Everything is equally beautiful but distinct from each other so take your pick now and have made the effort of your life in the 7,107 islands in to pearl of the orient!

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What Can You Expect From Travel Business Opportunities?

So many people dream about traveling around the world and exploring exotic and historic locations. For some, the romance of travel is the lure itself, while for others there is a yearning for adventure and excitement that you just can’t experience close to home. Few people have the ability to really see the world as they would like to, though, because they have to work to pay the bills. What if you could work and travel at the same time? How amazing would it be to get paid for those adventures and journeys you are dreaming about?

There are, in fact, travel business opportunities that give you the chance to live this incredible dream! No, in most cases you won’t be traveling every day. Many days you will be working from home and enjoying leisure time telling other people about your journeys and experiences, and helping them plan their own adventures. Travel business opportunities, however, do have you out exploring the world and exploring places unknown, too. After all, how can you tell others about the world if you haven’t seen it yourself? You can typically choose the sights you most want to explore, and these locations can spread across the various continents around the world.

The problem with trying to travel during vacation time at a traditional job is that it can take quite a lot of time to build up two weeks of vacation time, and often you really need more time than that to truly explore exotic places. After all, you can eat up two or three days simply traveling to one distant land, which leaves you little time to explore and relax before you have to turn around and head back home. With travel business opportunities, you are working while you are traveling. There really isn’t a rush to get back home but rather a need to really explore and enjoy the places you visit.

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To Explore on Your Own Or Use a Guided Tour – Now That’s the Question

When you think of international travel, are you fearful of getting lost or are you one of the adventure seekers who prefers to get out there and experience the country like the locals do? This is an important decision to make when planning your travel but first you have to be sure each member of your family has a passport so if you have a child, be sure to check into getting a baby passport.

There are all different levels of “guided” tours so while planning your vacation, investigate and consider the pros and cons of guided assistance while touring a foreign country. Vacationing can be easier when someone else plans your itinerary. Having previously experienced the area where you are traveling, the tour company can insure that you don’t miss a spectacular, rare or historic site but if you try to go it alone, there is a lot you could miss. Many tours are all inclusive, providing the traveler accommodations, meals and transportation and these companies provide an advanced itinerary so the vacationer has an opportunity to enjoy the anticipation of what they will be seeing from famous landmarks, natural sites and historic locations.

If you chose to travel independently, it will be necessary for you to make all the arrangements for travel and accommodations yourself. It is a lot easier than it used to be to plan an international trip yourself because no matter what information you need, it is all as close as your computer. International travel also requires a passport and online passport agencies have made getting quick passports just a click away.

There are both pros and cons to taking a guided tour. If you choose a tour that has a very strict regiment of travel planned, you may find yourself too tired to really enjoy all you are being shown. If you are seeking freedom on your vacation, the schedules and time slots established by your tour guide might cause you frustration and fatigue. On the positive side, a tour group who has visited an area over and over is well equipped to steer you to the places of interest and help you to avoid the sites that would be a big disappointment. Practice makes perfect they say so having the opportunity to travel with an expert on the area you have chosen to visit can be a very good idea. Be sure to check the time table of your sight-seeing and make sure there is adequate time allotted for rest and individual exploration.

Traveling without the aide of a tour group has its ups and down also. If you go it alone, you are responsible for all your own reservations including travel and accommodations. If you are traveling to a foreign country where you don’t know the language, getting around is further complicated. One thing that independent travel provides is flexibility and freedom. If you happen upon a museum or location that is fascinating to you, you can linger as long as you like. If you had planned to go to a certain city but then discovered someplace else you think you would rather visit, you certainly have the freedom to do so although all the arrangements are totally your own responsibility.

The decision to travel independently or enlist a guided tour company to plan you vacation, a lot depends on the type of person you are. Do you see yourself as an adventurer who really doesn’t like anyone telling them what to do or do you enjoy the freedom from planning and worry that is provided when someone else makes all the plans and arrangements? No matter what decision you make, getting quick passports for your entire family, including a baby passport if you have small children, is a necessary part of any international travel so go online and find a passport agency. Whether you do all the work yourself or let someone else handle it, adventure awaits you as you travel internationally.

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Sites Designed For Questioning Travelers

Yes, if you are even an internet beginner, you should be able to find websites. And I’ve tracked down some websites that are just excellent for any traveler and any purpose. Some ezines don’t like too many websites listed in an article because they think the author is promoting her own company or an affiliate. So just add.com to terms below and you will get to the website.

” First, just to find out multitudes of details about various destinations, try Frommers or Fodors. Another wealth of info is the Tourist Office Worldwide Directory (TOWD). For scads of info about luxury cruises go to the Cruisemates site. ShawGuides and SpecTrav also offer lots of ideas for specialty travel packages.

” For maps to carry along on your trip check out the Multimap site. It contains fine quality, up-to-date maps.

” To compare rates and plans for travel insurance, check out the site QuoteTravelInsurance. It lists over a hundred companies and they are the better companies available.

” You can often find cheaper hotel, car rental, and airline rates online. One traveler was quoted a daily hotel rate over the phone for $129 and booked the same room online for $89. If you’re traveling through northern Europe, bedandbreakfast.dk offers rooms with breakfast for typically $50-$80 per night.

” Britain offers some nice housing options. Londonbb.com offers single rooms in Londoners’ homes starting at about $45 per night, and Travelodge.co.uk has a section for lodgings with rates beginning at $29 per room.

” Before you go to Japan, purchase a much cheaper Japan Rail Pass at Japanrailpass.net. Individual train tickets bought in Japan would cost a small fortune.

” If traveling to Hawaii, check out calendar.gohawaii.com. It lists specials and guided tours that most tourists have no knowledge of.

” Every Thursday and Saturday at noon, the Downtown Alliance (downtownny) offers free 90-minute walking tours of downtown New York. They even take you through the New York Stock Exchange and the U.S. Custom House.

It can be a lot of fun to explore travel and even make travel plans online. If you book travel or purchase rail passes or national park passes or whatever, make sure to print off a copy and bring it along. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a rail or bus station, a hotel, an airline gate, or a park or activity and discover that you have no admittance because you aren’t on their “list” or you don’t have proof for entrance.

By the way, it’s also actually quite easy and inexpensive to take agent training and become a certified travel agent. Then you will have added perks to already good deals. You receive travel discounts, you can book others’ travel for a commission, and your travel becomes a tax write-off because you promote yourself as you travel.

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Explore the World With Exotic Train Travel

A time comes in the life, when everybody needs a break from his workaholic and extremely busy life and wants to spend some quality time with his loved ones. The best way is to visit some exotic destinations and famous tourist places of the world. When it comes to travel somewhere in a more comfortable as well as affordable way, the train travel seems to be the most appropriate and best idea.

The train travel is the most exciting and excellent way to visit any desired place as it fastest and the most readily available transport medium. One can explore various amazing places by travelling in these highly comfortable and convenient trains and can make their vacations memorable and rejuvenating. Even trains are the most common and best medium if you want to cover long distances in a comfortable way. The train travel system is extremely vast and is spread to almost every part of the world. What you need to do is, choose a desired destination where you want to visit with your family and book tickets, which are highly affordable, to feel an exotic travelling experience in your dream land.

The train travelling is the most common and convenient medium to visit various attractive tourist destination in the world, which are blessed with extremely majestic locations. If you are planning an amazing holiday in any such mesmerising location then train travel will surely guarantee you the relaxation and satisfaction of exploring that place with full safety and fun. The comprehensive train network of the world offers the tourist a highly smooth and easy access to various beautiful destinations. Now one can explore numerous alluring sights with his family through the excellent and highly convenient train travel.

The various amazing and royal attractions of the world like London, Paris, Switzerland and many more majestic places like Greenwich Park, The London Eye etc. are not far from your reach if you are travelling through train. The Train Travel system of the world is highly efficient and modernized, which offer excellent travel facilities to tourists all over the world. With more advancement in this field, the extremely fast underground trains become popular among people, which provide them seamless travelling facilities in a highly luxurious manner. Tourist from an all over the world can discover the amazing and unique attractions through these highly convenient and super fast train travels. Moreover, this fantastic train system assist tourist to reach their desire destination safely with a great ease.

The train tickets are highly affordable for the tourists and thus allow them to visit various charming locations in a cheap way. If you want to have an awesome experience of travelling in London and various parts of Europe then Eurail is the best medium for you, which provide rail passes at a very affordable cost to the people who comes for travelling in Europe.

The train travel also offer tourist a high standard and world class catering facilities during long journeys. The highly fast and wonderful train system provide a comfortable journey and let tourists to explore various beautiful locations in a more exciting and convenient way. Journeys through cheap rail tickets across world are quicker and are full of high degree of comfort level. Through these well managed and cheap railway system one can access too many places across the world with great ease.

Now plan various exciting holiday tours wit your family and loved ones, as train system is always available to give you and tour family a stress free holidays experience, where you can explore various popular and wonderful destinations that too in a highly affordable and convenient way.

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Adventure Travel Inspiration and How to Find It

All travellers know the feeling, “I want to travel, I want to experience new things and I want to do something completely different to what I am doing now.” The corresponding feeling is usually along the lines of, “But what? Where? And how?”

This is actually made harder with the vast selection of trips currently available, especially to adventure travellers. Below are three ways to make inspiration a little easier for those of you reading with travel on your mind.

Travel Reviews

One of the best ways to find adventure travel inspiration is by reading about other peoples’ experiences. This is easily done by looking at travel reviews. These travel reviews provide an insight, not only into the service and value of adventure travel providers, but also the experiences that people have had. Adventurers are drawn to places of interest, especially ones that not many have been. Never underestimate an adventure traveller’s need for that feeling of exploration.

Travel reviews also provide inspiration through density. For example, the crowds may congregate in Kenya for a Safari or in Peru to hike Machu Picchu, both areas would then receive a high number of reviews. With this knowledge, an adventure traveller can easily pick his or her ideal experience, based on how crowded they want their trip to be.

Adventure News

Read adventure news and updates. One of the most useful sources of inspiration comes from adventure travel industry news. Details of current adventure vacation offers, new destinations available and new activities to try will really get your imagination going. It’s also helpful when you’re on a tight budget – discovering new adventures on your doorstep is the latest travel trend.

How do you find the best deals in the market? Just keep a watchful eye on the best adventure news. Finding fresh adventures is one of the fundamental reasons that the adventure travel market continues to grow (even in spite of economic/political challenges). Travellers are always on the lookout for the next destination or activity and one of the most fruitful sources for inspiration is blogs from explorers and adventures on the cutting edge. New routes through jungles, new epic cycle journeys or a new way to use a helicopter to launch your adventure, these blogs have the answers.

Adventure Travel Market Overview

Finally, finding inspiration can be a simple as looking at the adventure travel market as a whole – what can I do and where?

This might be browsing through an atlas and pointing at the topographic point of interest or looking at a list of adventures on a provider’s site. An easier option still is to utilize some of the powerful adventure travel search sites out there. Simply click on an activity or country and see where or what you can do.

So, if you need adventure travel inspiration remember these three points:

1. Read travel reviews
2. Keep an eye on adventure news and
3. Look out for global adventure travel search sites.

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Enjoy Your Journey To The Fullest With A Travel Cover

Traveling helps you gain new experiences of life, it displays the tradition and custom across the world. It refreshes you from the everyday hectic schedule. The trip will surely give you a new dimension of life. Obliviously, whether you travel with family or alone, business trip or government job purpose, you want the trip to be fun filled and with ease. What wants to encounter trouble while travelling distant countries, cut off from your familiar surroundings? For a moment there will a panic button pressed in your minds. However, unexpected situations do come up and you have to be prepared for them. Accidents, illness, theft, an emergency situation like flight delays, riots, terrorist attacks at the airport might erupt anytime and so you have to be planned to face such situations. To avoid such as unwanted situation and stay financially equipped to combat it, owning best travel insurance would be the masterstroke.
The article discusses some situation that will make you realize how travel insurance can be handy:
Accident/Illness
While nothing may go wrong, but if something bad were to happen you may suffer an injury else fall critically ill due to bad weather as such and needs to be hospitalized. Imagine the costs that would incur on medical treatment in the foreign country. It will make a huge hole in your pockets. A good travel plan will just help you to take care of such contingency and a major portion of your medical expenses will be covered.
Financial Emergency
In case your hotel room gets burglarized, wherein you get robbed or baggage is stolen, then obviously you cannot travel as your passport important documents were kept inside. The result would be you would have to stay for few extra days. Naturally, it will incur costs to protect you from this unexpected financial hit, your policy will provide assistance for these incidents. Your financial emergency assistance will also help you during a loss of travel funds.

Personal Liability
Many times accident happen unexpectedly, you may not be the victim but could help liable for damage or injury caused, in that situation. The mishap is as such that resulted in injury to someone or damage to someone’s property. At such point of time, your Best travel insurance will come to your rescue. It will take care of third party liability cover and make your free from any form of tension during your journey giving a peaceful and enjoying experience.
These day online sites offer travel insurance policies with varied benefits and features. You can visit the comparison sites and compare them in terms of benefits & features, claim settlement ratio, terms, and conditions, etc. and then go for suitable purchase.
Purchasing Best travel insurance online is all about providing travellers an ideal cover against financial emergencies and uncertainties right from the comfort of your home or offices. However, certain factors which one should look for while zeroing the policy would be:
Covers entire patient hospitalization along with daily allowance
Personal accident covers in case of permanent disability/death
Cover for contingencies related to personal possession
Cover baggage, documentation visa or passport loss
Covers Expenses related to trip delays/ hotel accommodation, trip cancellation
So, buy your Best travel insurance policy today for creating happy memories in while traveling abroad!

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Best Travel Destinations – Exciting and Affordable Places to Explore

Traveling is the passion of some people while some people have to travel forcefully. There are various travel destinations in this world and you can choose any one of it for a perfect vacation for yourself with your family or friends. You will also like to go for best travel destinations that can make your trip a memorable one and you can enjoy every moment of your vacation with your family.

Nothing is cheap today. Wherever you go, you will have to pay higher bills. Some travel destinations are really very expensive as they are some best travel destinations of the world. Yet, one should be aware of the fact that all expensive things are not the best. Although, there may be some expensive travel destinations in this world but it is not at all important that they are best travel destinations. It is quite possible that there are destinations which are better than these expensive destinations and can provide you much to explore.

Paris, New York and London are few well known destinations of the world. These are famous all over the place and everyone wants to explore these amazing cities at least once in their life time. But there are few travel destinations which are getting overcrowded and thus, tourists try to neglect such places and look for a better place for their vacation.

It is always better to look for cheap and best place that is also less crowded. You can enjoy the cultural heritage, natural beauty, excellent infrastructure and amazing landmarks of such places. It is surely a great experience exploring such best destinations of the world that too at such cheap budget.

Some of the well known and best destinations of the world are South America, Egypt, Bulgaria, Mexico, Poland, Laos and India. These are some places which are not just famous for their amazing landmarks and excellent infrastructure but are also blessed with natural beauty that can win any heart. Tourists from all over the world visit these destinations in the hope of returning with great memories.

South America is an excellent place today and is getting popular day by day. It has many countries that are cheap and are flooded with scenic beauty and excellent places to explore. Food is just amazing out there while people are friendly in South America. Egypt is also one of the best travel destinations of this globe and is famous for its Pyramids. Apart from Pyramids, there is also a well known Nile river which is a must watch, if you are planning to explore this amazing country.

Mexico contains some fascinating beaches which can be found nowhere else. It is also having a pleasantly relaxed pace which is just superb and is nowhere in the north of the border. India is a great place to explore. It is rich in culture, architecture, natural beauty and friendly people. The most exciting thing about India is that it is cheap to explore and is one of the best travel destinations of the world.

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Hello From Sicily – My Italian Language Learning Adventure – Exploring the Beauty of Sicily

Sicily – the name alone conjures up images of an exotic island, a mysterious and fascinating past. I have wanted to explore Italy for some time now since I had not been there for a long, long time, and when I was pondering which region of Italy to explore Sicily came to mind. I figured this island would offer a combination of fascinating history, rich culture, scenic beauty, and an opportunity for a wide variety of activities. One activity I definitely wanted to pursue was to combine my journey with language studies: my earlier language study trips to Havana and Cuernavaca, Mexico, not only got me closer to the Spanish language, but these on-site language learning experiences really allowed me to explore the culture from within.

So this time I was going to focus on learning Italian, and I was able to locate two language schools in Sicily that would both provide a totally different experience and a different way of exploring the island. Armed with no prior knowledge other than having read through an Italian grammar book, I was going to see how much of this beautiful language I would pick up in my three weeks in Sicily.

My first eight days were spent in Taormina, a gorgeous mountain-top town on the eastern side of Sicily, whose main distinguishing feature is an ancient Greco-Roman Theatre that is still in use today. The town itself has to be among the most picturesque destinations anywhere, with its beautiful buildings, narrow streets and passageways and stunning views of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean.

Shortly after my arrival I got to meet the people at the Babilonia Language School where I would be learning Italian for a week and exploring the culture of Sicily. My accommodation was in a lovely 13-room privately owned hotel that has been operated by the Sciglio family for more than 50 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Sciglio are in their mid-eighties and continue to work extremely hard, without even a thought of retirement, and their son Salvatore works with them. In an interview I learned more about the hotel’s history and the family’s involvement in this business. On the second day I joined my first guided excursion with the Babilonia language school: a guided hike to the ancient village of Castelmola which was followed by a tasting of Sicilian delicacies in a local bistro.

My first weekend in Sicily promised to be great: an excursion to the ancient town of Siracusa and an exploration of the gorgeous coastline just east of Taormina, including the town of Mazzaro and Isola Bella. The following Monday was my first day of language studies: first we went through the placement test, and then we had our first lesson which included some unique yet effective teaching methods. The next day was May 1, Italian Labour Day and a national holiday: a perfect opportunity to rent a car and drive into the countryside surrounding Mount Etna, Europe’s largest volcano, which by the way, had erupted the night before.

The next day it was back to school, and Alessandro, the director of the Babilonia language school, gave me a personal history lesson about Sicily and also explained the origins of that famous Sicilian institution, the Mafia, to me in detail. That evening I joined in a cooking class in a private home offered by the language school. I was going to see first-hand how a real multi-course Italian meal was prepared, using authentic, locally grown ingredients. And of course, I would have a chance to taste the finished delicacies afterwards and partake of a nice meal with other language students and the local Ferrari family.

My language studies the next day were followed by a visit to a local pottery painting artist, as Babilonia also offers pottery decoration courses, in addition to hiking, biking, golfing and diving programs. Perched on the rooftop patio of a Taormina hotel, with a perfect view of an ancient palazzo right next to Mount Etna, I learned about Sicilian pottery painting techniques. In the late afternoon I joined another excursion to hike up the southern flanks of Mount Etna. A visit to a winery and a nice dinner followed.

Then I had reached my last day in beautiful Taormina and after my final language lessons it was time to say goodbye to the folks at Babilonia, and to my co-students, whom I had gotten quite fond of. With the exception of the occasionally grey and drizzly weather, my experience in Taormina had been great: the language learning, the interesting excursions and activities and the interaction with my international co-students had been a really great experience. I was a bit sad to leave Taormina where I had gotten so comfortable.

But a new adventure was about to begin: I took the train to Milazzo on the northeastern side of Sicily, where the next day I would embark on a seven-day sailing trip through the beautiful Eolian Islands, offered by Laboratorio Linguistico, a Milazzo-based Italian language school. After meeting some of my six shipmates, who were really cool by the way, we were off on our sailboat, the 4 cabin “Solitaire II”, to our first destination: the island of Lipari, the largest of the Eolian Islands, and an extremely scenic place.

Our expert skipper Francesco, a licensed captain, also happened to be the co-owner of the language school, and one of our two resident language teachers on this sailing trip. After Lipari we continued our sailing trip to Salina, a neighbouring island, where three of us went on a driving tour to see local villages and also the house where “Il Postino” was filmed. An Italian lesson on the backyard patio of a bar was our first introduction to Laboratorio Lingustico’s language teaching program. Of course Francesco and Franco, our second teacher and co-owner of the school, conducted all conversations during the entire sailing trip in Italian only, which allowed us to be fully immersed in the language all the time. After we had nourished our brains, a Sicilian seafood feast capped off our second day on the boat.

On the third day we set sail for the island of Stromboli, which is still an active volcano. The town of Stromboli features such narrow streets that they are impassable to regular vehicles. No wonder the local “carabinieri” (Italian police officers) have to ride in golf carts.

After a somewhat turbulent late-night voyage from Stromboli to Panarea we arrived late and anchored in a bay off the island. On a gorgeous morning the next day we first had another language lesson – where else but on the outdoor patio of a bar in Panarea, surrounded by gorgeous sunshine and beautiful flowers. Panarea is an extremely photogenic destination and offered great opportunities for hobby photographers like me.

Our voyage continued to Lipari again where we would end an eventful day with a scrumptious outdoor feast on the main square. The next day three of us went on a driving tour of this beautiful island and from the south end we already saw our next destination: the island of Vulcano, which also features an active volcano. We anchored in a bay off this island, enjoyed some Italian lessons on the boat and after a delicious on-board dinner, our shipmates Franco, a gifted guitar player, and Agnieszka, a talented singer, entertained us with soulful melodies by candlelight on the back of the boat – magical moments that I will not forget for a long time.

Then our final day on the boat arrived: we hiked up to the “Gran Cratere”, the active crater of Vulcano. Yellow rocks and thick clouds of sulphur announced that the forces of geology were indeed active right underneath our feet. And the view from the top over the six other Eolian Islands was breathtaking. After another Italian lesson on an outdoor patio overlooking the Mediterranean we had to say goodbye to the Eolian Islands and start to head back to Milazzo.

Just as I thought our 7 day sailing trip would come to an anticlimactic end, one of my shipmates announced “DOLPHINS!!!”, and indeed four of these playful sea creatures were accompanying our sailboat, jumping in and out of the water, and having fun with us. The excitement continued when we ended up catching three tunas on a fishing line we had been dragging behind our boat. The following decapitation and evisceration scene though was a bit hard on my tender vegetarian soul…

So we had reached land, and to celebrate the conclusion of a wonderful sailing trip and one of my shipmates’ birthdays we enjoyed another big Sicilian feast in Capo di Milazzo. The next day, we had a chance to relax a bit in our five-bedroom apartment conveniently located above the Laboratorio Linguistico Language School and do simple things like laundry and sit on the balcony. Franco, our language teacher took us on a guided walk of Milazzo which features a huge fortification that dates back more than 1000 years.

After saying goodbye to my roommate Claudia I spent my final Sunday in Sicily in the picturesque medieval town of Cefalu, about a two-hour train ride from Milazzo. That city’s medieval core and huge Norman cathedral together with the ruins of an ancient castle on top of the rock that towers over the town left me with many vibrant treasured memories. Now I only had two full days left in Sicily.

Following a tour of the Milazzo headquarters of Laboratorio Linguistico I went on a country excursion into the surrounding Nebrodi Mountains with my two Italian teachers Francesco and Franco. We visited the Rocks of Agrimusco, a cluster of mysterious-looking rocks on a high plateau with a gorgeous view of Mount Etna. Then we headed into the hilltop town of Montalbano Elicona, an authentic small Sicilian town, completely untouched by tourism. I finally had a chance to snap some pictures of the locals who love to congregate next to the church and discuss important issues of the day.

My final day in Sicily had arrived – I had to say goodbye to the great team at Laboratorio Linguistico and board the bus towards Messina and from there to Catania from where I would catch a plane in the early morning the next day. After my arrival in the late afternoon I had a chance to briefly explore this city, the second-largest city in Sicily, and get ready for my flight home.

On this trip I found out that Sicily is gorgeous, and a visit in the late spring around April / May is perfect since everything is in full bloom and the hoards of tourists do not really arrive until June, July and August. Sicily has remained amazingly authentic and is fortunately free of many of the signs of mass tourism that mar other Mediterranean coastlines.

Taormina and the Eolian Islands are all stunning destinations, but the Sicilian hinterland in itself holds many hidden treasures. The history, architecture, culture and scenic beauty are astounding. And seafood lovers will definitely fall in love with this destination.

I myself really enjoyed the language learning experience at Babilonia and Laboratorio Linguistico – as a matter of fact, my three weeks in Italy took me all the way up to Intermediate level and when I came back I was quite capable of communicating fairly competently in this new language.

The people were great: the staff at both language schools was very helpful and knowledgeable, and the interaction with my co-students from all different countries was a real treat. Our crew on the sailboat in particular came together really nicely and some close personal bonds had developed after this experience.

Without a doubt, language study travel is one of the best forms of travel in my opinion, giving you the chance to learn, to expand your mind, and to really discover the local culture. And without a doubt I’ll be back in Sicily – this fascinating island has so much more to explore.

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions (www.travelandtransitions.com). Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences & interesting life journeys, interviews with travellers and travel experts, cross-cultural issues, and many other features.

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Interview Preview: Bruce Poon Tip – Global Adventure Travel Entrepreneur with a Conscience

Yesterday I had a chance to meet Bruce Poon Tip, owner and CEO of G.A.P Adventures, one of Canada’s most successful travel entrepreneurs. You may wonder, what is he like? Bruce is the owner of Canada’s largest adventure travel company, an attractive man of about 37 years of age, dressed in casual attire and not afraid to speak off the cuff. Certainly a charismatic personality who was able to captivate last night’s capacity crowd at the G.A.P. concept store in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

In 1990 Bruce went on an organized backpacking trip to Thailand where he had a chance to explore the people and the country on $10.00 a day. This experience gave him the idea to create G.A.P Adventures, today Canada’s largest adventure travel company that now sells thousands of different trips and annually sends 40,000 passengers on their own small-group adventures. G.A.P has about 300 employees today, headquartered in Toronto, with operational offices in various countries of Latin America. It’s most recent endeavours are the G.A.P concept stores which have recently been opened in high-traffic areas in Toronto and Vancouver, places where travellers can research their adventure trip, get more information about their desired destination and book their once-in-a-lifetime experience supported by good advice with no sales pressure.

For his entrepreneurial savvy Bruce has won numerous awards, besides receiving an award as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, Bruce has been also been honoured as one of Canada’s top 5 entrepreneurs by Canadian Business as well as Canada’s 100 leaders of tomorrow. Profit Magazine named him in their 20th anniversary issue cover story as one of Canada’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs of the last 20 years. Bruce also received the Global Traders Leadership award from the government for his ground breaking ideas in exporting services.

Recently Bruce was asked by the World Bank and UNESCO to represent a team to visit the Peoples Republic Of China to lecture on Sustainable Development. In January of 2002 Bruce was the only Canadian operator invited to speak at the United Nations Launch of the Year Of Eco Tourism in New York. Bruce defied the odds once again last year by winning Canada’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as the National Citation for Entrepreneurship.

G.A.P’s additional awards include having two trips chosen among the TOP 25 Adventures in the World by National Geographic Adventure magazine, the Ethics in Action Award, the Global Traders Award and the Clean Air Commute Award for five straight years.

Although a consummate business man, Bruce Poon Tip has a conscience and he has founded his entire entreprise on the concept of sustainability and established travel practices that show consideration of natural surroundings and local cultures. By limiting the travel group size to 12 people, by taking local transportation and staying in small, locally owned hotels and guesthouses, G.A.P travellers are able to minimize their footprint in foreign communities and get maximum exposure to local culture.

Planeterra is a non-profit organization founded by G.A.P to give back. Today Planeterra raises funds for a number of community projects, international charities and an endowment fund to ensure long-term support of community development and conservation projects for years to come. Some of the community projects that G.A.P sponsors through donations include a community school in Ecuador, a foundation in Honduras to help women start their own businesses, an NGO in Costa Rica for environmental and wildlife conservation projects, a local battery recycling project in Chile, a drop-in center for street children in Cuczo, Peru, and many more. G.A.P Adventures itself also initiated a Women’s Weaving Project in Peru that taught local women ancient weaving techniques as well as natural fabric dye processes. Today all G.A.P travel groups visiting the Sacred Valley in Peru have a chance to see and purchase high quality textiles produced by these weavers, all sold at fair trade prices.

As another example of the innovativeness of his company, Bruce shared with us the story of how he went out to purchase the “Explorer”, the world’s first purpose-built expedition cruise ship. In March of 2004 Bruce went on an expedition cruise through the Antarctic and fell in love with the experience. He figured he need to buy his own expedition cruise ship and started looking for suitable vessels. In April of 2004 he found the “Explorer”, a historic expedition ship with a capacity of 112 passengers and a crew of 60 people. The ship had been docked in Genoa, Italy, for many months due to the financial problems of its owners. Just another 2 months later, but after many complications, G.A.P took possession of the ship. Only another 4 months later, after extensive restorations, the Explorer went on its inaugural journey and today offers expedition cruises to such unique places as Antarctica, the Amazon, Spitzbergen, and Greenland. (Incidentally, G.A.P. has agreed to sponsor our first Travel Story Contest and the grand prize winner of our contest will win an exciting adventure cruise on the Amazon in the Explorer – all thanks to G.A.P. Adventures.)

G.A.P’s innovative business ideas don’t end here. G.A.P also has a travel TV Show: Great Adventure People TV shows viewers the world – G.A.P Adventures style. The camera accompanies small groups of G.A.P Adventure travellers and follows them on unique G.A.P. adventure trips- cycling through the fascinating country of Vietnam, exploring exotic Morocco, and hiking, biking and rafting through captivating Spain and Italy. New episodes can be seen in Canada on CTV and will soon also be available in Great Britain on the UK Travel Channel.

G.A.P is a unique company, with a unique philosophy and a unique way of operating. I am looking forward to interviewing Bruce personally and to finding out how he is able to combine a successful high-growth adventure travel business with his dedication to social causes and sustainable travel. Stay tuned for some interesting insights into a brilliant entrepreneurial mind….

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions(http://www.travelandtransitions.com). Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the transitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys.

Submit your own travel stories in our first travel story contest(http://www.travelandtransitions.com/contests.htm) and have a chance to win an amazing adventure cruise on the Amazon River.

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