Good Morning Monday ~Why I Travel~

~Just two weeks ago I was coming home from Costa Rica after travelling around for over a month. Now I’m home and back to work just as fast as I when I left. Back to the day job and the regular old routine. But while I was travelling I felt like time stood still. It felt like I was gone forever.

The worst thing about travelling… is the travelling part.

Line-ups to check your bags, then more line-ups to scan your other bags and then the terminal gate-wait. Not to mention, the line up to board the plane, the slow pitter patter of shuffling feet, the immigration cards to fill out and all the bags everywhere. Long hours on flights that can get horribly bumpy and cramped. Headaches and nausea can suddenly hit you. Sometimes your legs or arms fall asleep.

It’s the worst!

So why do I travel?

I travel for the stamp on my rugged, worn out passport at my destination.IMG_20160213_175810

I travel for that first glimpse of a place I’ve never seen before.

I travel for the story, the excitement, and of course, the knowledge.

I travel to feel the earth and sand beneath my feet. I mean; to really feel it.

I travel for the joy of travelling.

I travel for the most amazing experiences I’ll ever have. 🙂

These are the BEST parts about travelling!

Travelling is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s helped me appreciate everything on such a deeper level. Travelling gives you something to look forward to and memories to remember forever. It’s extremely difficult to put into words how you feel when you have fear, anxiety, exhilaration and wonder all wrapped up in your belly together like a swirl of emotions all fighting to get out.

I always want to keep coming back to that feeling: Pure joy.

With each flight and bus ride I took on my journey, I would have my hands pressed up against the windows of the buses and planes with that silly little smirk on my face.
There’s a whole world out there and I just went and explored it. Well, a small part of it anyway. 🙂

Travelling changes you. It opens your mind to new things and new sensations. It brings out your inner child and taps into the fascination bursting within your deepest core muscles.  We are not meant to stay in one place on this earth. I believe we were meant to explore and learn about our surroundings. How else will we prosper if we know nothing of the greatness that surrounds us?

Do you feel the same? Do you have a burning passion for travelling around the world, like me?

I want to hear your travel stories!

I also want to pursue a career as a Travel Blogger. It’s been on my bucket list for far too long. So here is where I can start; with you.

The Travel Blog will have to start with some stories of course. There’s a lot of research to be done. And there will be an overhaul of all my current content already on this tiny little blog. I’ve looked into more and more travel blogs to get some ideas on how to make money while you travel as that is what I’ve always wanted to do.  The Freedom-Preneur movement is on an overwhelming up-rise because travel is becoming so much more popular among young people these days.

Over the next year, I will be creating an entirely new blog from a different platform. I’m really excited to start a new project. But for now, I will share some stories with you and I would really love your feedback on my newly discovered content as I try to rebuild my tiny blog after a long hiatus from writing.

So I hope you enjoy my travel stories 🙂 as I always love to share them.

Costa Rica was country #11 for me. How many countries have you been to?

Bucket List

bucketlist

~London, Paris, Spain and Rome~

~To travel far away from home~

~Walk across the Great Wall of China~

~Travel farther east of Regina~

~Save a child’s life who needs saving~

~Brave a deeper sea worth braving~

~Float above the clouds so high~

~Jump out of another plane 40,000 feet in the sky this time~

~Touch a pyramid and gaze at the mighty sphinx~

~Clean up a beach that really stinks~

~Help a helpless animal live out its life~

~Carve a wooden sculpture with a really sharp knife~

~Convince a group to follow my efforts to save humanity~

~To experience health, freedom and longevity~

~Aid the poor and hungry by any possible means~

~Live a life fulfilled by my desires, hopes and endless dreams~

Guest Post- Things I’ve Realized Writing a Travel Blog

vw-camper-336606_1280~Being a travel blogger for a while now, there are a few things I’ve realized. And since this is a guest post, I thought this is the right time to write about it and share it with not just my readers, but T’s as well. This is my first guest post for any blog. So bear with me 😀

I am no travel expert, or some awesome writer, or a critic to lend any tips to my readers. But certainly I can share my experience of blogging for 6 months now and the things I have learnt during the process. I love travelling, cooking and eating a lot and the blog shows my love for it. The thing is, when one starts a blog, he or she is extremely enthusiastic with writing and sharing almost everything they love. Even I went overboard few times hehe 😀 I know the blog is an expression of your passion and being, but try not to go overboard and post a lot of stuff in succession with almost no time gaps. It divides the reader’s attention to your work and each individual post might not get the attention it deserves. Draft the posts for future and click the publish button when it is the time.

So I made a rough post calendar. Didn’t publish it or anything. But I had it framed out in my mind with few ideas written in a diary. That brings me to my another point. Have your ideas framed out beforehand to stick with your calendar. Of course there are no rules or anything, still jotting down the ideas helps you when it’s the time to write something. All this – making a calendar, and jotting down post ideas helps you build a writing discipline, polishes your writing skills with time, helps you explore and generate new ideas and yes, keeps your set of readers intact. Remember, consistency is the key.

When I started my blog, I had my family and friends read it out even if they wanted to or not haha 😀 ohh everyone does that :p So the thing to remember here is that do not take their praise seriously. Some of it is genuine, some is not. Oh come on! They love you and cannot hurt you. So do make them read it and ask to even share it with others.

Promotions 😀 ohh yeah!!

Keep up with the work, let the blog grow with time, and then analyze if it is generating any buzz. You will know what to do then. Have some goals for your blog. Mine is to be consistent, and post high quality material even if it is one post a week. So frame out your own goals and aims to make your blog better. Also, try making it visually appealing as well. I know some of you don’t wanna confirm to rules, and just pour out what your heart says. I do that too. But then again if you want more readers, do add a picture or two. Any person would love few pictures while reading a piece. Make your blog what you would love to read and see in a blog.

These are some pointers I think are good to make your blog and readers grow. Then again, it is your choice what to do in the end. For me, blogging is expressing and sharing what I love with the world. And have my own identity. I love it when people ask me about my blog. And you should be too. Do what suits you the best and you can add on these pointers if you wanna find your own niche.

P.S I blurted my heart out with no proofreading whatsoever. Advice from the heart 🙂

~Upasana

starfish-74535_1280

Aid Myanmar-A vision of compassion

~These are the children of Myanmar~

Children of Myanmar*There are 18 children residing in a small orphanage in Myanmar, South East Asia. The Dalla Township in Myanmar has about 100,000 people, one hospital and only 20 beds. There is an ongoing water crisis in this part of the world and when I heard what was happening to aid in this situation, I was overwhelmed with admiration and love.

Stephen Fortner founded The Aid Myanmar Society in the summer of 2012 after visiting the area with his lovely wife Marian earlier that year. They discovered the orphanage which is across the river from Yangon, Myanmar during their trip. This homestead is administered by Pastor Joshua and his wife Ruth who care for these young children.

The following year, in 2013, Stephen and Marian returned to the small village. With them, they brought ‘Sawyer’ water filtration kits to the orphanage along with a promise to continue their efforts in helping supply food, water, housing, education and more for these wonderful children.

“…they had decided to make a commitment to support the Hope Centre for Child Development by creating this B.C. registered non-profit society.”

Stephen and Marian

“Ultimately, Aid Myanmar will develop a social enterprise for the local orphanage to become self-sufficient.”-http://www.aidmyanmar.com/

I met Stephen while working at a health clinic, and got to know him through his fascinating travel stories and chatting about his and Marian’s charitable efforts to Myanmar. Once I learned about their passionate vision to help these people, I just had to get involved. All it takes is a few monthly donors to change the lives of these children for the better. A little goes a long way and with the joint efforts of a handful of people, Aid Myanmar has managed to raise enough money to renovate the orphanage, bring more water filters to the village and support the community in many ways. I keep in contact with both Stephen and Marian through Facebook and Hotmail, and enjoy reading their updates about the orphanage. It is so incredible to see such passion and drive to help the less fortunate.

IMG_20140323_0016 2014-02-22 00.30.01IMG_20140323_0033

The entire population suffers from this lack of water, and every single day the people of the village have to line up for water with their buckets at the local reservoir, the only source for clean drinking water.

10007488_714698448575015_549171117_n

 

 

In a recent article written in The Washington Post, the water crisis is explained in great detail, which has really opened my eyes to how much devastation this causes: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/waiting-for-water-myanmar-villages-left-behind/2014/04/12/47caa4f2-c227-11e3-9ee7-02c1e10a03f0_story.html

Stephen and Marian are applying for charitable status with CRA. They are dedicated to fundraising and continue to spread this message through the Aid Myanmar website and on Facebook as well : https://www.facebook.com/AidForOrphanageInDallaTownshipMyanmar

After returning home from their latest trip to Myanmar in February, I was so touched to receive a beautiful hand-made ‘Chin Traditional’ handbag, delivered to my 604054_10153966569990444_942937841_noffice by Stephen as a gift for my donations. To come from a place where most of the people practically have nothing, this gift filled my heart with so much love and joy ❤ Along with a thank you card from Pastor Joshua and the children, every donor received their own original handbag as well 🙂 What a beautiful gesture.

My hope in writing this article, is to spread this message of love and compassion. I hope I can raise awareness for this amazing cause and get more people involved. This story deserves to be shared and thanks to Stephen and Marian, the children of Myanmar have a brighter future ❤ Paying it forward and changing the world, one child at a time.

❤ Aid Myanmar ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Go Eat Bugs in Thailand!

~It was a warm humid night in Koh Phangan, Thailand and I was on a mission to find a tasty treat. A treat I had never had before and I was a bit nervous to say the least. There was a specific dish I was looking for that night and I would not rest until I had bugs in my belly.

Yes that’s right… bugs.

I was always told that bugs were a delectable specialty in Thailand and being the curious person that I am I just had to try some crunchy little critters. I was with some fellow travelers I had met during the trip and we stuck together as we walked up and down rows of booths and tables full of food and merchandise. Sweat was soaking through my shirt and my hair was sticking to my face so I slicked it back. My cheeks were beat red and we were about to give up on the bug hunt, when suddenly out of nowhere a local man walks up to us with a huge smorgasbord FULL of different bugs.

bugs2

There were bags and bags of beetles and cockroaches, crickets and grasshoppers, fat juicy worms and slimy larva. They even had charcoal black frogs that had been fried to a crisp. It was the most elaborate bug display I’d ever seen. It was absolutely incredible!

It was time to fill my plate! 😀

Now you may think that a bug tastes just a gross as it looks, but you might be surprised. The grasshoppers and crickets were actually really good! They were salted and crunchy and literally tasted just like a chip that was deep-fried. But there were some other bugs that I tried that were not so good.

The beetles may look like crunchy goodness like the crickets, but when you bite into one you better be ready for a soft gooey mess to squirt into your mouth. Oh my goodness I almost hurled when I bit into that beetle but I actually managed to choke it down. That wasn’t the worst one though.

Worms. Blaaak!

Worms are disgusting. They’re soft and squishy and taste like poop. I couldn’t swallow one because I gagged as soon as I bit into it and spit it out on the ground, which was really disrespectful and I felt kind of bad afterwards. The bug chefs didn’t seem to mind. All in all it was a great experience that I had always wanted to try and since I liked the crickets so much, I ordered a bag full and scarfed them down 🙂 Mmmm.

~Scratch off bucket list. I ate bugs in Thailand!~

bugs bugs1

 

 

Stories of… Thailand

 

 

 

 

Why save the Sea Turtles?

Did you know that the Leatherback Sea Turtles are the largest turtles in the world? turtle

The heaviest one recorded was over 2,000 lbs. That’s incredible!!

Last year I decided to join GoVoluntouring so I could experience my first conservation project and pay it forward to those endangered animals in need. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

“GoVoluntouring is the leading full-service specialist for both volunteering and applied learning programs around the world.”  http://govoluntouring.com/

So, why should we save the sea turtles? A lot of people ask me why I chose turtles in particular. Why is a sea turtle so important?

Well, why is any animal important?

When I was looking for the perfect project I could really focus on I had a hard time choosing. There is no one animal more important than another. Every living thing on this planet is fundamental to our survival. If I could, I would volunteer all around the world helping as many animals as possible.

So why don’t I? Money. It’s the one excuse and roadblock I always run into. Stupid money.

Since I can’t afford to travel the world and volunteer everywhere… I chose an animal I’ve always loved. Turtles 🙂 That’s when I started my “Save the Sea Turtles” campaign and began fundraising.

When I was a little girl I had a pet turtle named Beverly. Why did I name her Beverly? I have no idea. I have an Aunty named Beverly… but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I thought of my pet turtle Beverly when I decided to join a sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica.

I’ve learned only 1-2 turtles make it to sea after hatching. That usually means a single survivor in a nest full of hundreds of babies. Poaching, drag net fishing or just the loss of habitat will prove fatal for most of the baby turtles. There are a lot of forces working against them.

baby-turtle-0

http://fundraise.govoluntouring.com/campaign/1000074

Why wouldn’t I want to save this little guy? He’s so cute!

The project is located in the north of the Caribbean province Limon. The beach is part of the 50km coastline stretching between Tortuguero National Park and the port of Limon, one of the biggest ports of Costa Rica. This beach is extremely important for the Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles. It is an essential nesting ground for them and sometimes it’s also visited by Hawksbill Sea Turtles, which are very rare. This area is very remote and uninhabited, other than the volunteers at the conservation. 

The cost for the conservation is $600/per week and that includes room and board the entire time you are there. The staff provides 3 meals a day and a clean place to sleep. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of the quarters and all the tools necessary for turtle research. In an email I received from my program co-ordinator, she told me this:

“Volunteer work includes assisting the staff with data collection, egg protection of the sea turtles and rescue and rehabilitation duties. It involves night patrols and hatchery shifts as well as daytime work like beach cleanup or construction of the hatcheries.”

Awesome right!? 

I’ve been fundraising for a whole year by posting facebook updates, selling my stuff, having sidewalk sale fundraisers and making jewelry. So far I’ve raised $1400 towards the project, which is a lot less than I thought I’d have by now. But, unfortunately a lot of people can’t get involved due to finances. Most people don’t even have $1 to spare… which is strange because they do seem to have money for other things… just not a dollar for a turtle. A good friend of mine even said that my fundraiser looked like I was just trying to get others to fund a vacation. Which kind of hurt but, I get it. That wasn’t my intention. And if you know me, you know I am not the kind of person to ever have those intentions. I truly want to help endangered animals.

To those people who have supported my cause and actually care enough just to wish me good luck … I am forever grateful. I am so lucky to have those people in my life who care about me. So I will keep on fundraising until I reach my goal and then go save some turtles!There’s a lot of controversy when it comes to volunteering which I’ve obviously learned about since starting my campaign… and you can read about it here:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jul/29/wildlife-conservation-projects-more-harm

and here:

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/lion-pets.html#cr   and a ton of other articles out there.

I share this with you because I want to know what the general consensus is. What do YOU think about conservation? Is this something we can do to change the world?

I personally think conservation is important. So are a lot of other projects out there including feeding the hungry, standing up for women’s rights or even children’s education programs.

My future goals definitely include working as a full time volunteer and humanitarian. It’s what I want to write about. I would love more than anything to be a travel writer and use conservation efforts as my main focus. And so, this is all part of my journey to becoming a successful writer. I want my work to have purpose. To reach more and more people until we see a drastic change. So surely, you can count on hearing about the trip down to Costa Rica next year and about those magnificent turtles.

There are so many sea turtle conservations other than the one I’m getting involved in. If it’s something you’re interested in check out the GoVoluntouring website and browse through the wonderful campaigns. There are many opportunities to give back to the world or even support someone who has a passion for volunteering. You can also volunteer here:

http://www.conserveturtles.org/

OR here:

http://earthwatch.org/

OR here:

http://www.seeturtles.org/

I could go on and on…

5 Reasons You Should Jump Out of a Plane!

~During my travels to New Zealand I met a wonderful girl named Benedetta from Italy. The two of us decided that we would both jump out of a plane together in Taupo, a town on the shore of Lake Taupo in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand. http://www.taupotandemskydiving.com/

Skydiving was something I always wanted to do and since I had someone to go with I just could not pass up the opportunity. Nerves were sharp, butterflies ruled my stomach and my palms were so sweaty I could have filled up a glass. That was the day I experienced the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever felt in my entire life. So why do I think YOU should jump out of a plane to?

Well here are 5 reasons:

1. To overcome fear– Fear is something we all live with. Whether it be a fear of small spaces, a fear of spiders or even a fear of talking to people. But let me tell you, if I ever had any previous fear of heights… well that fear was crushed when I jumped out of a plane strapped to a stranger. Not only can I say I am no longer afraid of heights, but I can also say that I would do it again in a heartbeat just to feel that crazy rush all over again.

2. To experience something completely different– Skydiving is like no other feeling in the world. Bungee jumping, skiing, skateboarding… you will never feel the same intensity as you will jumping out of a plane. OK maybe something like cliff jumping would be even crazier… maybe I’ll try that next? 😛

3. To push your own limits– Everyone has their limits. You may be sitting there shaking your head thinking, “Nope, I could never do that!” But what if you did? What if you went against everything your mind was saying? What if you ignored your fears and doubts and just went for it?? Which brings me to my next point:

4. You gain strength and trust– When you jump out of a plane something incredible happens to you. I can’t really put into words how it felt… you just have to go do it… but I can tell you that when I hit that ground again I felt like I could conquer the world. Not only did I gain strength as a person but I learned to trust myself to go experience life. The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and self-worth you gain from pushing yourself to the limit is indescribable.

5. You come back to earth– Talk about ‘The Ultimate Grounding’ experience. When your breath is shallow and your heart is in your throat, your body tenses up and you freeze like an iceberg. Letting go of that feeling… well that happens part way down. You don’t actually think you’re going to live. But you do! When the air hits your face like a thousand tiny prickles and your eyes water so much that you can’t see a thing, that’s the greatest rush. But when you finally hit the ground once again, your mind and body come back. Within one minute it’s over and you feel more grounded than you have ever felt before.

In the end, after it was all said and done, I could honestly say Skydiving was the single most sensational experience of my life. Aside from all these wonderful things, the number one reason you should go jump out of a plane… is to say “I did it!” 🙂

So go jump out of a plane!!

IMG_9964 IMG_9969  IMG_9980IMG_9989IMG_9962

What am I Doing with My Life?

~I close my eyes, the clock rewinds and I see myself in my early twenties. My skin is a bit softer and my spirit is less jaded. I am 20 years old and I am wondering what I should do with my life. Should I go to college and get a career? How will I find the perfect job? What if I get a student loan and can’t pay it back? Is this what I really want?

~I don’t know what I want to do with my life.~

Fast forward.1795724_10153783477570444_852409181_n

Now I am 21 years old and my mind is full of new-found knowledge. I am a Dental Assistant. Why? I have no idea. One day I went to a career counselor and took a Myers Brigs test and this test told me all the professions I would be best suited for. I took the test and now I am a Dental Assistant because there were so many things to choose from. I just closed my eyes and placed my finger in the center of the paper. Now I have a career.

Fast forward.

Now I am 23. I worked in an office for a short while and saved a bit of money. What if I could travel the world? What if I could experience new things? What kind of adventure would I find? Is it possible to live your dreams?

So I travel.

I take out a loan and I take my life savings and I don’t care what anyone says. I travel. I have the most incredible journey I could ever imagine. I see animals I have never seen before. Colors so bright. I am so happy standing in the ocean with hands in the clean air and I just…cry. I cry for the happiest moment of my life. I jump out of a plane in New Zealand. I cascade down white rapids in Thailand. I dive into a cave in Fiji. I live and work in Australia. I never want to come back.

Fast forward.

I am in an office again. I am 26 years old. My student loan payments are behind and I’ve racked up a credit card. All I want to do is travel again, but how can I make that happen? How can I get out of this debt? What am I going to do? What am i doing with my life? I wish I could travel again.

So I travel.

Fast forward.

Now I am 28 years old. I traveled down to Mexico for a short trip. It was a tease. It was not long enough to satisfy my desire to travel. I am no longer a Dental Assistant. I am struggling with debt. I have anxiety which really puts a damper on things. I am a Personal Trainer, but that’s not making me any money. I want to write again.

So I write.

I am struggling for money. My first career didn’t work out. My second career is not really working as well as I’d hoped. But I am happy. I love life and I know one day if I am patient, I will travel again. I’m staying positive.

Fast forward.

Now I am 30 years old. My skin is not as soft as it used to be. I am slightly jaded but that’s OK. I am no longer a Personal Trainer. My first career didn’t work out. My second career didn’t work out. I am happy. Why am I happy? Why would I be perfectly OK that everything didn’t work out?

Pause.

Because now I write.

NOW I follow my dreams. I follow the path I was truly meant to be on. I was never meant to be a Dental Assistant. I was never meant to be a Personal Trainer. I was never meant to stay here forever.

I was born to travel the world. I am a writer. I was always meant to be a writer. I was always meant to be a traveler. No one can ever tell me anything different ever again. I will not conform to the everyday norm. I will not just go get a job because it’s what everyone else does. I will not sit here and let life pass me by any longer. I will write. I will travel.

What am I doing with my life?

I know what I want to do with my life.

I am doing whatever I want. I am finally following my dreams.

Right now.

sexy-499099_1280

So you want to be Travel Blogger? Me too!

globe-454479_1280SO I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to talk about Travel Blogging  as I continually warp my blog over and over. I’ve landed on a new look I really like and I’ve made changes so my blog is more responsive.

Now let’s talk about being a Travel Blogger! 🙂

Travel Blogging is one of those professions everyone secretly wants to have. Wandering around the globe with only a backpack hanging off your shoulders, stopping to “work” beach side from a lovely little café in Europe somewhere or just relaxing while you write your next post from a hammock tied to a tree in some humid rain forest in South America.

OK these are my visions of being a Travel Blogger. What are yours?

During these past few months I’ve gone into great detail on how to be a Journalist and the many ways people make money as freelancers. You can post online to magazines and newspapers, send pitches to print publications or send portfolios to publications who are specifically looking for completed articles.

Well guess what?! Travel Blogging is pretty much the same thing.

Most travel blogs I come across do a hand full of the same things Journalists do, like pitching to an online magazine. The only difference I’ve found is that those bloggers are pitching to travel publications. It’s the only difference I can find.

sign-429419_1280

In many cases, it’s a matter of finding ways to make money. As I’ve stated in earlier posts you can make money on the road by writing for magazines, using ads on your blog, direct sales or copy writing. If you take a look at Sebastian’s blog from Off the Path, you will see he does a number of these jobs to make ends meet:
http://www.off-the-path.com/

Another great site I stumbled upon is The Travel Bloggers Academy. It has a course you can take through their website, which is a couple of years old, but still has relevant information.

http://travelbloggeracademy.com/how-to-become-a-travel-writer/

Aside from posting on your blog about amazing places you’ve been, Travel Blogging can go as far as you want to take it. If you want to keep travelling, you must find ways to make money.

My travel blog is still in its beginning stages so I’m just discovering the many ways to actually make this work. If you have a look at my post from yesterday you’ll see all the changes I’ve made:

https://thetinywriter.org/2014/10/23/thursday-thoughts-on-blogging-201/

The next step for me is triple checking that I don’t have copyrighted images on my blog. If you want to use Word ads, that’s a crucial thing to be sure of. You can’t have any ads promoting through your blog if they are not your own or from legitimate free-to-use sites. It may take some time, but go through ALL of your images if you’ve taken them off the internet and if you don’t know about an image then email the website you took it from.

I hope this helps!

Travel Blogging is a “Dream Job” everyone wants to be in whether they say so or not. What separates you from the people who are keeping it a pipe dream?

GOING FOR IT!!

Happy Travel Blogging! xo

accessories-84528_1280

PS: I just started using Zemanta as well. This plugin helps you find related articles, tags and images through its own search. Pretty cool right?! Check it out: http://www.zemanta.com/

That’s where these articles came from: