Bulgaria, where even shaking your head is miscommunication

In most countries, hand signals, a smile and a nod of the head will get you by. In Bulgaria, just throw everything out the window and deal with the fact that you are going to be misunderstood. you don’t know the language. the letters are in Cyrillic. Some hand signals are offensive or mean communism or things you didn’t intend. Lastly, even shaking your head means the opposite of what you think. Correct, nodding your head up and down means “no” whereas happily shaking your head side to side means “yes”. For all you guys out there who think that you were getting somewhere with that beautiful Bulgarian woman, sorry to burst your bubble. She was saying “no”.

Irish National Stud. So that’s where we get the word from.

Yes, it’s a very touristy place and not really off the beaten path. So what (sometimes). It is mind blowing, however so I had to add it. The Irish National Stud farm is about as good as it gets and pretty amazing when you think about the work that these horses do. The guy pictured here has the sole job of making babies. It’s a full time job and can be a bunch of times each day. For each success – 45,000 British Pounds! His name is Invincible Spirit and I guess it would have to be, right? Anyway http://malavoi3.martinique.univ-ag.fr/tramil/fototeca/miniatures/t2/kamagra-oral-jelly-prix.html. It’s pretty intense how well they take care of him as well as the..er…”lesser” horses. Amazing how much cash pours into this business. Also helps if you intend on schmoozing with the upper class. Just don’t tell them you arrived at the place on a bus. Maybe you can make a new acquaintance who can really take you off the beaten path!

Check this guy out here.

Koh Samet – They just need laser beams on their heads

Koh Samet Island has one of those adventure rides where you really didn’t know what you were getting in for. Disguised as a fish farm, and at a very reasonable price, you can walk along floating planks and feed the fish with…. yourself. On both sides of the bouncing planks, should you feel unsteady, you have a choice to fall into the turtle tank or the shark tank, for example. Other tanks (all easily accessible through a welcoming, open top) have less dangerous but still inviting fish to feed. As an added bonus and in case the fish aren’t at a full frenzy, you can buy little fishies to throw in and really stir them up. I actually dug it. Just don’t put your hands too close to the water, watch who you share a plank with and keep to an outside plank!

The Blue Info sign… Learn it, know it, love it

Some people pass these things by without even knowing they are there. The traveler, however, especially the laid-back, unprepared, backpack type traveler lives by them. The blue info sign is the ticket to confidence, the opposite of the confused look. Nothing like getting off a train, figuring out what city you’re in, finding a blue sign and voila! You’re off with a handfull of pamphlets, reservations to some event and a map to your home. The kid behind the counter made a commission, the bed and breakfast lady is preparing your room and most importantly, you’re on the inside!

The Moscow Metro – Those WWII POW’s really can work!

If you do make it to Moscow to see Red Square or……. well, Red Square, you definitely need to make a side trip just to cruise around on the metro. Basically, it’s the Soviet apology to its citizens for the fact that they had to live 4 families to a room. At least everyone could go to the metro to see chandeliers, statues, murals and pretend that they live in a palace instead of jammed into a tiny flat. Created using thousands of Nazi slaves, it is quite an achievement and a testament to what a dictatorship can do with the slaves from another dictatorship.

Graz – Cool and not just because Arnold is from there

Austria isn’t exactly off the beaten path and Graz is one of the most beautiful parts of that well travelled land. Yes, it’s cool because this is where Arnold Schwarzenegger was born but that’s just the cheesy, outer shell. Just a step off that path, into the side of a mountain, there is a large tunnel with dark side-rooms and foreboding bars closing them off. The tunnel is a WWII refuge that served as a Nazi storage place as well as a hiding place for the Austrians when they were finally getting some payback for believing they could jack with the rest of the world. Pretty impressive reminder of what the war was like, swastikas and all.

Barbuda. If it looks like a pristine, deserted, perfect island beach…..

So, this is the kind of place that makes me think “Crap, I either need to start making some money or just accept being a loser in a shack but living in a pretty sweet place.” I hope it’s the first one. Gotta see Barbuda.

If You Need a Reason to Go….Learn Scuba!

Did you know that Colorado has the highest number of certified divers of all the landlocked states? Do you think they’re using those certifications in mountain lakes? Uh, no, not really. Why then does Colorado have all those divers? Because those people get up and go! If they’re not in the mountains skiing, climbing, hunting snowshoeing or whatever million other things mountain people do, they’re busting off to the warm places for a nice dive. Not far from Mexico, eh? Or any other warm place? Grab a PADI certification and then do whatever you can to make it work for you! www.padi.com

If I were in the Antartica…or a warzone… or backcountry…. or

Did you know that you can rent a satellite phone? For about 40 bucks and a dollar sixty a minute you can shout out a HEEELLLP! Or someone can let you now that you need to come home NOW! Regardless, it would be pretty cool to have if it all hit the fan.

Travel insurance and travel health insurance, is there a difference?

In short, OH YEAH! One looks out for your luggage and investment in a trip, the other looks out for you. Imagine this: A beautiful evening on the coast in India, a wonderful meal, all the makings of the beginning of appendicitis. Hours later the pain begins as an infection grows and you begin wondering what is happening in your side. I’ll stop there. Let’s just suffice it to say that you will probably want to be in a hospital where they don’t see death as just another step on the wheel of reincarnation. I’m talking about wonders of medevac to a good hospital and overseas medical insurance. These guys here are one of the best at this.