The Saturday City: Amsterdam

The capital of The Netherlands, Amsterdam, is famous for its coffee shops, red lights, and canals. But it offers a lot more than that. Founded in 1275 supposedly by two fishermen and their dog, Amsterdam became the seat of the House of Orange, the royal family that still rules the country today. Over the centuries, the city grew in importance and wealth as Dutch colonies were set up around the world and companies like the Dutch East India Company (VOC) […]

The Real OZ Experience

It was the third time the bus broke down. Somewhere right outside a small mining community in Western Australia, our bus had enough and it wanted us to know. So with an explosion and plume of smoke, the bus came to a crashing halt. It was the end of a long journey that began back in Perth. During our first stop, on the outskirts of Perth, our problems began. The bus wouldn’t start. Our driver tried again, looked under the […]

Teaching English Overseas, Part 1: Job Types

This is the first in a five part series about teaching English overseas. Last updated: March 2012 It’s not that hard to become an English teacher overseas. When I began looking for ESL jobs, I thought that without a teaching degree, I wouldn’t find any openings but before I knew it, I was getting lots of job offers. I met people who didn’t even have college degrees that were teaching English. Your ability to get a job teaching English varies […]

Why We Travel

I often get asked why I want to leave home and travel. Wouldn’t I miss everyone and everything? Wouldn’t I get lonely? We all have our reasons for traveling – wanderlust, the love of a culture, the desire to just leave it all behind, the need to forget, or the need to meet new people. Travel becomes a way for people to deal with different situations, experience new things, or help search for a sense of self. Traveling holds a […]

Airline Review: Air Canada

During my recent experience flying the friendly skies, I was “lucky” enough to be on Air Canada. If you haven’t ever flown Air Canada, you aren’t really missing much. Prior to this experience, I’d flown Air Canada once to Vancouver, but that was some years ago before the advent of personal video screens and deluxe economy. Since Air Canada was the cheapest way to get to London, I decided it was time to try the airline again. I can’t say […]

The Saturday City: Utrecht

Utrecht is a city about 40 minutes south of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. A fairly large city (population 250,000) with a university whose proximity to Amsterdam makes it a big residential and commercial area, Utrecht was where a friend of mine lived. Having never seen it (and despite his protests that there wasn’t anything to see), I was determined to see Utrecht. My last stay in Holland was in 2006 and, in 7 weeks, I never seemed to make it […]

The Saturday City: Chester

In honor of me being overseas, today’s Saturday city will be about the one I’m in- Chester, England. It’s an old city, dating back to Roman times. Chester was founded in 79 A.D. as a fortress for northern expansion. The city itself is still surrounded by ancient walls and has one of the most complete wall systems in England. The city grew in importance during the early industrial revolution but is now no longer a center of industry but a […]

Are Guidebooks Worth It?

A few months ago, it was reported that Thomas Kohnstamm made up stories he wrote for Lonely Planet, saying he never went to the country he was supposed to review. The story received wide press coverage and brought up the credibility of guidebooks and travel writers. In reality, he was assigned to write about the culture and history of Colombia, not review destinations. All the reviews and local information were done by people who actually live in the country. There […]

How I Find the Money to Travel

I get a lot of questions asking me how I find the money to do all this traveling. Am I rich? Do I travel for work? Am I a male gigolo? Sell drugs to little kids? Sadly, it is none of those. As I said in a previous post, desire is what motivates and keeps me going. I want to travel so I do. But there is always the practical question of money. No matter how cheap you can travel, […]

Getting Lost in Costa Rica

“Let’s go hiking.” I said in the early morning. “Ok, we’ll go after lunch.” my companions, Yolanda and Maria, replied. Hours passed and I grew anxious, “let’s go! Let’s go!” I said repeatedly, “the day is being wasted!” We were all on a tour of Costa Rica, leaving Arenal National Park tomorrow and I wanted to get a good day of hiking around the volcano. Finally, they acquiesced, we hailed down a cab, and were off to Arenal National Park. […]