Archive for December, 2008

Why I’m already rich


  • I have a roof over my head
  • I have food in my belly
  • I have clean water to drink
  • I have clothes on my back
  • I have access to health care
  • I have people who care for me
  • I can read
  • I do not live in fear for my life
  • I have work that does not make me sick
  • I have the ability to help those who don’t

Happy New Year

Photo by: James Fischer


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When I travel overseas I tend to travel light. I make sure I can carry everything I need on my back. Here’s what I take.


In the day pack

  • passport, visas, extra passport photos
  • copies of important documents
  • travel insurance information
  • travel tickets
  • charge & ATM cards, cash
  • maps, guidebooks, phrase books
  • reading material
  • inflatable travel pillow
  • earplugs and eye mask

Specialty Items


  • 2 pairs of hiking pants
  • 1 pair of well loved jeans (lightweight)
  • 1 pair of quick-dry shorts (double as swim trunks)
  • 2-4 shirts/blouses/tops
  • 1 quick-dry tank top (for swimming/showering in communal areas)
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 1 gortex rainwear jacket
  • 3+ pairs socks
  • 3+ pairs undergarments
  • long T-shirt or sarong [cover-up]
  • sun hat
  • 1 pair hiking boots
  • 1 pair of sandals suitable for walking
  • flip-flops for showers
  • long (lightweight) underwear (cold weather trips)
  • gloves / mittens (cold weather trips)
  • beanie (cold weather trips)


  • antibacterial wipes
  • (chemical or mechanical) water purifier
  • analgesic of choice
  • diarrhea treatment of choice
  • infection treatment of choice
  • insect repellent, mosquito net
  • sunscreen, lip balm
  • tweezers
  • small first aid kit
  • contraceptive supplies
  • necessary medications
  • toothbrush, tooth cleaner, floss
  • razor, blades, shaving oil/cream
  • comb and/or hairbrush
  • shampoo, bar soap & container
  • deodorant
  • nail clippers
  • [unbreakable] mirror
  • toilet paper


  •  water bottle or bladder
  • detergent, spot remover
  • pen(s), small notebook
  • flashlight, headstrap
  • multipurpose tool, scissors
  • spoon (fork? chopsticks? spork?),
  • safety pins, rubber bands, cord
  • sewing kit, including large needle
  • (Ziploc®) plastic bags, garbage bags
  • viscose towel (washcloth?)
  • dark glasses, retainer, case
  • lens cleaning cloth/supplies

Usually all this weighs less than 20 pounds (9 kg) when I’m travelling on my own. This time I’m travelling with hubby, so we’ve been able to consolidate some of these items and he is carrying them 🙂

Photo by: Olivia

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by Cherie Carter-Scott

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.”

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”

4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.

6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”

7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10. You will forget all this. 

Photo by: jaime.silva

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I’m currently travelling abroad and of course I purchased travel insurance before I departed. It’s a must have for every trip outside your own country and I wouldn’t travel without it. For this trip I used insuremytrip.com to find a policy which suited my needs.

Travel insurance is a combination of trip-cancellation insurance and 24-hour emergency assistance. It helps you get your money back if, for example, you have to cancel your vacation or go home early. It’s a smart purchase if you’ve planned a major vacation well in advance, but the trick is knowing which policy to buy, if any.

Reason #1 – Medical coverage 

  • Your domestic insurance plan probably doesn’t cover you abroad. Check if your policy covers you outside of your country of residence or citizenship.
  • Domestic health plans usually have limited or no ability to deal with international claims

Reason #2 – Medical costs

  • Cost of medical treatment abroad can be a financial disaster
  • Medical expenses can easily run into the hundreds of thousands
  • Travel insurance companies have the ability and resources to deal with medical emergencies overseas

Reason #3 – Cancellation costs

  • Protect your travel investment if you are sick or injured and are not able to go on trip
  • Trip cancellation & interruption policies can reimburse you for the non-refundable portion of your trip
  • Trip Cancellation plans can also cover your trip costs if your immediate relative becomes sick or injured
  • Can also cover inclement weather, strike, natural disaster, terrorist incident, jury duty and loss of job.
  • If you can’t afford to lose it, you should insure it. 

Reason #4 – Peace of Mind

  • When you go on a trip travel insurance can provide the peace of mind that if you get sick or injured, your medical expenses will be reimbursed and trip cost will be reimbursed. 
  • You can get on with enjoying your trip

Reason #5 – Lost luggage

  • Covers lost or delayed baggage
  • You have to claim against your airline first, but getting them to pay may not be easy
  • Your home insurance policy may cover you
  • Don’t take anything expensive with you if possible. If you do, keep it on your person.

Which Policy?

  • If you travel only once or twice a year or if you travel more than 30 days per trip, then a single trip policy is your best choice
  • If you travel less than 30 days per trip and travel often, then an annual multi-trip travel insurance plan is your best bet
  • If you are traveling as a group, then look at a group travel insurance policy
  • If your travel medical needs are already looked after, but you fear the financial loss if you are not able to go on your trip, make sure you get a trip cancellation policy

Things to Check

  • Will the policy cover your pre-existing medical condition? How long has the condition been stable for? 
  • Is insurance backed up by a reputable administrator and insurance company?
  • Does the carrier have a 24/7 claims handling center and able to deal with medical facilities around the world?
  • Make sure you get a large policy maximum for your travel medical insurance policy
  • Will the policy cover the sports you may participate in while traveling?
  • Read and understand the plan terms and conditions!

Common Travel Insurance Exclusions. Most travel medical insurance policies do not cover:

  • pre-existing medical conditions
  • Cosmetic medical expenses
  • Injury or sickness if you are under influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Hazardous sports unless you get the optional sports rider – check the details
  • Pregnancy related expenses
  • Terrorism, but some plans will cover you it
  • Participation in criminal act
  • Self-inflicted injury

Photo by: falsalama

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A lot of people travel to get away from it all. To leave their stressful jobs behind and to escape to a new location filled with fun activities, idyllic scenery and great food. Often these same people who want to escape their stress manage to fill their vacation with so many activities that they almost need a break when they return to work.

I don’t travel to escape my life. I consider my trips an extension of my life. I use this opportunity to learn new things, meet new people, create new experiences and hopefully grow as a person. I come back from my travels inspired and full of energy. I travel lightly, with only one pack on my back. In doing so I learn to make do with less, to cut away the clutter and allow myself the space to notice everything going on around me.

I travel cheap. I don’t do luxury accommodation. I always stay at a small, locally owned hotel or guesthouse, sometimes even a family’s own home. I eat food from street vendors. I travel on local transport. Sometimes that means I share my seat with chickens. I choose to travel this way because to me it’s more authentic. I’m immersing myself in the culture rather than watching from outside.

I refuse to go into debt to travel and will ensure I have saved the money for all my trips. Travel is my priority, so at the moment it accounts for about 30% of my yearly budget. I will do without in other areas of my life so that I continue to see the world.

Photo by: RoyTC

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Chichen Itza and Merida


I’ve arrived in Mexico and spent much of yesterday at Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins dating from the 5th century AD. The ruins themselves were impressive, although they are in quite a delicate state so it was difficult to get to close a look. It’s hot and muggy here, so I’m certainly glad I didn’t make this trip in Summer.

We arrived in the city of Merida last night and I enjoyed some Pina Coladas at an outdoor cafe while watching the salsa dancers in the plaza. This is what I love about vacation.

We had a late night so today has been pretty quiet. We spent much of the day sitting in cafes lining the main square. What a progressive city…they even have free Wifi in the center of town.

A local school teacher who was on vacation asked whether he could sit with us as he wanted to practice his English. We managed to lose a few hours discussing history, georgraphy and politics. These experiences are what I love about travelling…the sharing of ideas and learning of new things.

Photo by: mac yogi

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Mayan Ruins – Must sees for me


I’m living in the USA for three years. Because my time here is limited, I’ve put together a list of travel experiences I want to have here before I go back to Australia. I have a much larger bucket list of course, but that is going to be a life-long endeavor. I really wanted to bring my focus to more medium term goals that can be achieved while I’m here. These are the places I’m ticking off my bucket list this trip:

  • Chichen Itza, Mexico
  • Tikal, Guatemala
  • Palenque, Mexico

Photo by: Infinite Jeff

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