My Masai Story Updated with a few more pics and Youtube

A few days ago I mentioned AirBnB and Couch Surfing.  A few people were surprised to know that I had used Couch Surfing in over 60 Countries and I still use it occasionally today. This is the story about my CS profile picture. People were asking where this photograph came from and I love to share a little story about how it came about.

CSProfileAdriannqld

 

This was one of my most fantastic cultural experiences EVER!

I remember back before I had ever left my home country, back in my early 20’s, my partner at the time was reading the a book about the Masai. I was really focused on work making money and going to Africa was not on the cards. There was no way I could picture my self here in this place.

2010 01 01 Africa, Kenya

Chilling with the boys

Maybe I was Couch Surfing and back packing but I was doing the Europe trip. Africa was kind of by chance. And in this village, there is no internet, no Wifi, actually, there isn’t even electricity. At night there was a house however there were no lights or plumbing. There is no running water. There were one or two buildings and the rest were all Mud huts.

This village is one of the many Masai villages that are spread vastly across Tanzania and Kenya. Across the famous Serengeti Savannah. This is the scene for many books and adventures. The Lion King by Disney, was also made out here.

After 10 months of backpacking Europe, my parents wanted to catch up. Since East Timor, Afghanistan, Backpacking I haven’t seen much of them and thanks to the deployments, we were all doing well financially. My parents organized a 2-3 week Safari in Kenya. They paid the Safari, my sister and I paid our flights and spending $. One of the first stops on our Safari (a truck with camping gear and about 12 Westerners) was near this village in Loita Hills, near the township of Narok. Although we were only there for a 2 days, I was at a bit of an advantage being x-military and already speaking basic Swahili.
Within minutes of meeting everyone I was separated from the tour and by myself laughing and playing jokes with some of the Masai. We went on a bit of a walk, saw some huts, and they put on a dance and performance. Despite sounding touristy, and being on a Safari (which is a tour group) it was a pretty unique and ‘green’ eco conscious tour.

At night time the Chief came to our Camp site and told us a story or two about the Masai. At the end of the story, he offered his hut if anyone wanted to spend a night in the smelly hot hut that we had visited during the day. The one with the cow and babies crying in it. Of course, no one was keen. So I said yes. And that was one of the best YES’s I have ever given in my LIFE. While the rest of my Safari were getting ready for quiet sleeps on Air mattresses in their tents, I walked with the Chief and the Masai back to their village. (Two Masai Stayed to guard the Safari from wild animals). The walk was ….. The Chief had his torch out ensuring the lion wasn’t near. Before we got to the hut, I could hear the music.

We entered this hut earlier in the day. We walked in and out as there wasn’t enough room and it was hot, yucky smelly, but something you ‘had’ to see. But this night, there was a gathering inside. Fire blazing, at least 15 people were around the fire with a dance circle, kids at the back, and a baby cow by the fire. The music, was all made from their vocal cords. They were chanting and taking turns dancing. And I must have been one of the luckiest Muzungu (white person) to be alive witnessing this.

The singing and dancing went on for some time. We drank some herbal, home brew drink, and even I had a dance. After everyone left, I went to sleep on one of the spaces, like a bench a foot off the ground, made of sticks, with cow hides over it for padding. The next day I returned to the Safari, breathless. I couldn’t and still can’t describe the sensation, the ultimate travel cultural experience of ones life time. After my family left Africa, I stayed for another month. I hitched a ride back to Narok. Met the village Chief. Bought a small goat. And joined them again. This time, no safari, just me, my 8kg bag, and a goat which quickly became barbequed.

 

 

Motivate Shanghai by the way, is my Coaching & Training Company in China.

These young men on the left of me are the Masai Warriors. They are only young. around 16-18 years old. They have left home. Their job is to patrol the outer perimeters of the villages. They are responsible for chasing and hunting out any Lions or big predators.

The boy to my right, he comes from a far away village. He comes to work and live as a ‘herder’ in this village. He spends his day with the animals making sure they are safe and taken care of. He earns a very small salary. The little kids on the right, are children of the Village Chief. Would you like to see the Chief?

Here is the Chief, enjoying the goat I gave them for having me.

The Chief, and the Goat.

Now the Chief is very fortunate. He has a lot of land under his control. He has some wealth. He also has a fair few children with 3 different wives. His religion is limited. He believes in Nature and “the big daddy in the sky” (as he told me). However his last wife is Christian. The Chief respects this and says, he will not have any more wives now.
One thing with Wealth though, they don’t have luxuries but the Chief’s children go to a local school and focus more on education where some of the poorer kids will work on the farm. Such is life.

Around the School! These buildings are the local school.

This is the school. There are actually a couple of buildings like this. No Electricity, lights, no windows, Hakuna Matata.

But they have desks!

Life is very different here. THEY ARE SO HAPPY

 

The people here are so happy. Its very interesting that they have so little but are so content. It really made me relise that us ‘Developed’ People, are maybe not so developed after all. Perhaps these Africans can teach us a thing or too about having a successful happy life.

Now as we sleep tonight in our beds, these men here, they currently hold all of their possessions in their hands. They don’t have beds. They don’t have blankets. They don’t have bottled water or even a tap. Yet they have many things we may lack.  Curiosity, passion, enthusiasm, and time.

P1301164

Most people see these guys on BBC or something. Most tourist take a photo. I spent the week with them. One day we walked 10km and back, for a Soda.

P1281120

For hosting me, I had to contribute, I don’t free load and I didn’t want any money exchange so I gave them a goat. It was a good goat too.

2010 01 01 Africa, Kenya

Like most of Africa, not enough financial support. This is the school bus.

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Why moving to China could be the worst decision you could ever make

 

Or possible the best!Had you not been in China (or followed NihaoSuzhou Channel), you would never have known of these fantastic things..

 

1

A bookstore where books are sold by kilos

2

A commuter train along Chongqing’s light rail that penetrates an apartment every day

3

A cannon that is used to spray water on smoggy and hot days in Chongqing Municipality

 

4

Pretty girls wearing cheongsam for graduate photo shooting

 

5

A matchmaking event whose attendees are not young men and women but their parents

6

A zookeeper wears tigger costume for an emergency drill, threatening the real tiger how it will end up after an escape.

7

8

And an emergency drill in a zoo where a zookeeper wears wolf costume

9

Almost every student in a classroom wears glasses

10

Peaches so neatly packed…

11

Students tossing textbooks after gaokao, the national college entrance examination

12

A ticket vending machine with English instructions but does not sell any ticket to foreigners.

13

A Bumble-bee who fails to transform into a car when the police arrive

14

Children who are so addicted to diggers that there are actually mini diggers for them in the park

15

A nation so crazy about hotpot that people line up for hours to get in their favorite hotpot restaurant

16

Food prepared, cooked, and served by robots

17

A supermarket where customers like eating fruit so much more than buying any

18

19

Smart inventors of sporting full-face caps which later becomes a worldwide beach fashion

20

Parents who carry every piece of luggage for their children as they enroll into university

21

Lottery winners who receive prizes in costumes

22

A vocational school to train digger drivers with an incredible commencement

23

A woman riding an electric bike with a child in a bucket! Isn’t that a step child or what?

24

A well in Wuhan whose lid is sooooooo fragile

25

A well in Wuhan whose lid is sooooooo fragile

26

Talented students who are so good at claiming their “territory”

27

Talented students who are so good at claiming their “territory”

28

A woman sleeping on a 5-centimeter-wide road fence in Harbin

29

30

So many smart supermarket staff who have so much free time

33

A playground track that turns this sharply

34

An inner city waterway that turns red in Wenzhou city

35

Fresh air sold in cans

36

Obama-fried-chicken

37

A hairdresser who cuts your hair with a sickle

38

 

A hairdresser who cuts your hair with a sickle

39

A crime scene where the casualty is a crab (an expensive hairy crab!)

40

 

A car made entirely of bricks

41

A car made entirely of bricks

42

Giant panda keepers who are so caring

43

Such a beautiful haircut before the National Day

44

 

A vendor who says exactly what he’s selling

45

A vendor who says exactly what he’s selling

46

 

Soldiers who never worry about not having a pan

47

 

Such a strong pool cue

48

A city caring so much about sanitation that a 200-metre-long walkway is lined with more than 100 trash bins

49

 

Eggs that are cooked in the urine of virgin boys

If you know of anything that can top the photos on this list, feel free to send it with us!

Resources: NihaoSuzhou

Why I changed to AirBnB over CouchSurfing

Its 4pm in Shanghai,

I have a new apartment here with 2 spare rooms. I put up my places on AirBnB and Couch Surfing.

Yesterday I got a message from an AirBnB person, Jessica from Seoul, wanting to rent out the room for  a few night. We exchanged a couple of messages, then she booked the room. Not quiet sure if there are any penalty fees yet or references if we cancel, its just the start of my hosting on AirBnB.

Last month I had a great AirBnB experience. My Friend John and I rented out an apartment on Honk Kong Island. Everything was smooth and easy.

John has a full write up on AirBnB here  http://www.nayler.com/blog/default.asp?niid=1719&thisyear=2014

For a quick $25USD head start use this link  www.airbnb.com.au/c/lzhou55  or go through Johns,

Many people know me through CouchSurfing (CS). I have one of the biggest or most experienced profile for CS in China and Australia. I struggle to find  a couch in Hong Kong, I struggle to get a couch anytime I travel with a partner.
Today, and actually occasionally, I get phone calls from people that have found my phone number on my CS profile. Today I got one from a girl asking about renting out my spare room. Lucky for my Intuition and Experience in CS. I asked her to write to me on CS or send a picture sms of some identification, as I have a house and I need to know who you are. She hung up and sent a pile of SMS’s saying I was stupid. This continued with more saying I was a pig. Poor thing clearly needs help. If I was an in-experienced Couch Surfer, I may have hosted her.

Despite having my couch set to Open I have not got what I would consider a fair to nice CS request in some months. On AirBnB, I’m getting nice request from people that want to pay a little to use my house (room or couch) and they have profiles and a verification system with much more integrity then CS. I still love what CS has done for me, and have my CS friends, and even regularly attend CS meetups. However for hosting, I’m using AirBnB.

If you are thinking about the same,

Go to Johns write up http://www.nayler.com/blog/default.asp?niid=1719&thisyear=2014

Or go straight to your free credit here.  www.airbnb.com.au/c/lzhou55

www.airbnb.com.au/c/lzhou55

 

Are you using CS?  My profile is here. Its just that my experience and time here, provides very good reasoning to my opinions and credibility.

My CS Profile

israeli-passport-stamps

Does getting the Israel Passport Stamp scare you? Get into Israel without a stamp instead!

Want to get into Israel without a stamp?

A lot Middle Eastern countries are strongly against the Israel, due to the occupation of Palestine. The debate about the occupation is not the topic here. Today we are just talking about the Stamp. The dreaded Israel Stamp. The simple sign of this should result in exclusion to Iran, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia and possibly other countries. This information is valued and important regardless of your opinion on the Israel/Palestine conflict as to get even into most the remaining Palestinian  lands, you will need to pass through Israel. Getting into Israel without a stamp is important to Middle Eastern Explorers.

Israel-entrance-stamps

Traditionally if you were traveling the region you have to construct a touring itinerary so you would visit Israel last, or you have to do it on multiple passports. Most of us don’t have this flexibility so let’s see how your passport can remain free of the Israel stamp.

Passport stamps have bothered “Western” tourists visiting the Middle East for years.

allenby-bridge-map

In the 2000’s to 2013 there was one ‘stamp free’ way in and out safely. This was through the King Hussein also known as Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan.

 Israel border

Inside, the wall between Israel and Palestine

Travelers could travel the Middle East and quiet easily catch a taxi or shared van from Amman Jordan to this border. At and ONLY at this border, the Jordan authorities, on request could give you their official exit stamp on a separate piece of paper. This piece of paper remains loosely in your passport. If driving private cars they would then continue across a large area to the Israel s immigration offices. Those crossing by foot or taxis would embark in official buses to go the route. There is no option to walk.

At a final short Jordan checkpoint the piece of paper with the Jordan stamp is taken and Israel Immigration begins.

The first thing you will notice, besides a lot of people with guns, is that the people holding the guns are generally Teenagers. Their actually High School Graduates, completing their Mandatory Military Service. All Israel boys and girls have to complete this Mandatory Service. Also a lot of fresh US/Russian/European Immigrants also may have to or often choose to do this service.

Israel stamps

bus ride across borders

Here at the Israel Checkpoints you will begin the Israel Immigration process. Arabs and non Arabs are separated and treated differently. Some are treated like criminals, the others are not as fortunate. Luckily you’re probably not an Arab. Anyone who is a considered a possible risk will be held up for interviews. Those that are very clearly safe to Israel or Israeli’s themselves, should pass through relatively quickly. People are separated from their bags and I have heard a lot of stories of theft from bags while they are passing through immigration. (I’ve heard about this from the Airport as well).

Males aged between 20-40 are a primary risk. As is any one with (besides Jordan) other Middle Eastern Stamps in their passport, anyone with Muslim names or passports will probably be held up as well. Waits are generally between 1-12 hours. Also note: At this place there is no WiFi and Jordan Mobile phones will not work in this area.

Most people have informed me that after all the non-Arabs are processed, they then start on the Arabs. Many of these guys are the Palestinians returning home or crossing Israel borders to visit family/work and the like.

After the interviews and immigration checks, if allowed in, you are ready for the Israel Stamp. If you ask, they will put it on a separate piece of paper which stays with your passport for the duration of your stay.

On completion of Israel you can return to Jordan through this same border crossing. A thorough passport inspection will show that you have spent some time in Jordan not Israel. Be aware, getting into Israel without a stamp is not a BIG secret. The other Arab countries know about it. If they suspect that you have been in Israel, perhaps your passport shows a week in Egypt, a week in Lebanon, a week in Syria then 4 weeks in Jordan…. There is a chance they will suspect that you have been in Israel and that suspicion alone can lead to rejection. Hot tip! Learn basic  Arabic, the more the better.

Is it hard to get in to Israel:

In my opinion a non-Arab, non-Muslim should have no real issues. Just the time delay, interview and hassle. Any Arab, Muslim or anyone on their registers as entering before or being a possible Palestinian supporter, volunteer, volunteer could easily be refused.

Lucky your not a Palestinian though. I met a man in my hotel in Amman Jordan. Every day he went to the border trying to get back to West Bank. He was visiting family in a Palestine Refugee Camp in Amman (one of the biggest Refugee Camps in the world) and now the Israel Authorities were not letting him return to his West Bank home. I met him on his 9th day of trying. He said he would keep trying everyday till he got in. Resilient and persistent man.

Israeli lady soldiers

Some cute Israeli Soldiers

2013 UPDATE:

Online research shows that a new Israeli policy has been launched. 

 

The B2 Tourist Visa

b2 tourist visa

Sample B2 Tourist Visa

There’s a policy change in Israel particularly in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. Instead of an Israel passport stamp, they will give you this B2 Tourist Visa an electronically printed slip of paper.

It includes your name, nationality, photo (copied from your passport photo), date and so on. This guy’s thumb is concealing his reference and passport number.

Research from http://overseas.huji.ac.il/gradvisa shows that this policy, applied at every entry point, to every “Western” (i.e. visa-exempt) tourist; it opens up the possibility of guaranteed free movement around the Middle East. You still need to be careful not to pick up tell-tale Egyptian and Jordanian exit/entry stamps.

So here you have it, get into Israel without a stamp! get into Israel without a stamp

Hope this will help you guys if you are planning to travel the Middle East, West Bank and Jerusalem are so amazing and worth the effort!!

Happy travel and enjoy Israel!

 

 

 

youth hostel

Hostels and the future of them!

youth hostel

youth hostel

 

 

Hostels, in the context of travel, are accommodations for travelers, especially for youth groups who are looking for a shared accommodation. ‘Hostel’ means that, at the minimum, there will be some dormitory accommodation. Hostels usually also have common areas, a youthful and traveler orientation, and information on the local area and travel to other locations.

The concept of ‘youth’s  hostels’, as they were originally known, started in about 1910 in Germany and was soon copied in several European countries. Originally, each hosteling organization sought to provide low cost accommodation in rural areas for young city workers which emphasize on hiking, cycling and other healthy activities.

With the advent of international travel, hostels not affiliated to Hosteling International associations were established. These were often known as backpacker hostels. Today, there is less difference between Hosteling International hostels and non-Hosteling International hostels. Both are often referred to as “backpackers.”

  • Hostels provide dormitory style budget accommodation for travelers with multiple guests sharing a room. Many hostels also provide private rooms in addition to dormitory accommodation. Bathrooms are variously shared, communal facilities or en suite. For many hostelers, the opportunity to meet other travelers is part of the appeal.
  • Hostels vary widely in their rules and regulations, with only a few hostels imposing a curfew. Most modern hostels let guests come and go at all hours. Some hostels impose a limit to the number of days you can stay .Though this is increasingly rare and usually not the case in backpacker hostels in Europe, Australia and North America. In few instances the older requirement”s  which is  guests have to provide their own sheets or standard “sleep sack” (a sheet folded over and sewn into a sleeping bag) still exists. Though most hostels now prohibit guests from using their own linens to prevent guests’ bringing bedbugs into the hostel. Towels are often available for rent and are sometimes free.
  • Some hostels have separate accommodations for males and females while others have to shared rooms.
  • Some hostels imposed an age limit to their visitors,  who are under the age limit should be accompanied by an adult.
  • The style of lodging also vary. Some hostels are in beautiful historic buildings, some are resort style camping villages, modern apartment type buildings, some are spartan while others are almost luxurious. Most are clean and comfortable. To find the best hostels, read online hostel reviews on different hostel booking websites.
  • Common facilities often include a shared lounge, laundry room, and kitchen but these often depend on the country. Most hostels now have computers with internet access and also provide free Wifi internet.
  • If it’s your first time staying at hostels, you might want to try somewhere near home and only in one location. See if you like it. Some hostels can be very cozy and welcoming, but having a laid-back personnel is definitely helpful. If the hostel access is 24 hours, you can expect to be awaken at any hour of the day or night as others return to the room, or newcomers arrive. If you share common facilities and people vary in their tidiness and respect for others. There is always a  small risk of items to be  stolen, so you need to take care of your belongings. Ordinarily, dormitories have lockers or secure valuables lockers somewhere. Just follow your common sense and be sure to lock up electronics, cash, and other valuables.

low cost accomodation

 

Booking Hostels

It is advisable to book hostels in advance rather than just walking in with the  that there will be available bed for you.

Many hostels appreciate it when guests book directly with the hostel, because the hostel then saves money on commissions that they have to pay to external booking systems. To do this, use the booking sites, read the reviews, then do a search on the hostel name and try to find their direct contact details.

The 2 main sites for booking hostels are

hostel world

hostel bookers

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many other sites promoting hostels and make booking through the use of Hostelworld or hostelbookers. The hostels then just log into one or both of these sites and set their availability.

Lastly, Tripadvisor.com,  this site is normally more expensive then the rest as it charges more for businesses to be listed.

trip advisor

 

 

 

 

Hot tip. If you want a bed on busy days, such as New Years Eve, try going in or calling them at checkout time. If traveling by yourself, finding a single bed is a simple task. For groups or private rooms, make sure to book in advance.  Print out the contact details and directions!

Also please leave any recommendations or request you have to expand this information.

 

Airbnb

Airbnb is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco. Founded in August 2008, operated and privately owned by Airbnb, Inc. The company is an online service that provides a platform for individuals referred to as “hosts”, generally private parties, to rent unoccupied living space and other short-term lodging to guests. As of November 2012, the company had over 250,000 listings in 30,000 cities and 192 countries. Listings include private rooms, entire apartments, castles, boats, manors, tree houses, tipis, igloos, private islands and other properties.

 

air bnb

 

Users of the site must register and create a personal online profile before using the site. All properties are associated with a host whose profile include recommendations by other users, reviews by previous guests, as well as a response rating and private messaging system

In July 2010, the company received more than 300 emails from users whose livelihood had threatened their ability to keep their homes due to financial hardship from the economic recession.This phenomenon has caused much discourse for the American Hotel & Lodging Association as short-term private rentals continue to disrupt the hospitality industry.

Some people say this is kind of like Couch Surfing only you don’t have to hang out or be interested in the host. Private space, or potentially private space in a new friends home.

 

Guys you can leave your comments, thoughts, new links, etc. with us! 🙂

Shanghai Tianzifang Pic

Shanghai 72 Hour Dash with John Nayler (Internet Blogger/Lightweight Travel Expert)

  • 72-hours-in-shanghai

I have spent 4 years travelling in Australia and about 5 years living and travelling internationally. Having this much time on the road and having entered some 70+ countries, I feel when I say Shanghai is a cool city, you have to believe me, it’s cool and I have solid proofs why I say it.

I’ve told a lot of friends about this place and my good friend John Nayler came to visit. Only its not  easy applying for a Chinese visa .when you are not always travelling  John settled for a 72 hour Transit Visa and hence came the:72 Hour Shanghai Dash.

 

shanghai-travel

00.30am 16 June 2013 John Nayler arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport It’s China and visa’s are required in advance. However there is now a free 72 hour transit visa. Great, John can stop over on his way to Europe. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the 72 hour transit visa had to be transiting from one country to a different country. John came from Kuala Lumpur and was flying back to Kuala Lumpur  to Europe. John got stung with the need to buy a ticket from Shanghai to a third country just to please the Air Asia Immigration staff. Luckily it was done on time and he managed to land in Shanghai with a new Columbian friend in town. (I think she was trying to pick upJohn  by asking to share a taxi .)

 

72 dash adventure

– 01.30am 16 June 2013 Lujiabang Lu, near my apartment Complex in vicinity of Lujiabang Lu, Down Town Shanghai. The Columbian is still with us. Amazingly, she is trying Couch Surfing for the first time and her host is not answering his phone. Luckily, she  just shared the taxi with one of Australia and Shanghai’s most experienced Couch Surfers. We immediately with a simple agreement, “Well your host isn’t answering, we live here, there is a couch, and here (pointing to the shop just outside the taxi window) they sell beer!

 

 

– 01.30 – 4am 16 June 2013 30th Floor apartment, Shanghai Caught up with John and all the latest. Ms. Columbia or Julie continues to deny any existence of her Columbian heritage and pretends to be a student in Malaysia. It’s a kind ofunbelievable story ; however the world thinks Columbia is all about Cocaine and trafficking. We find it funny and harass her about it. Julie tells us she and most of her friends have never tried it and  we let her off. Needless to say, it’s an interesting story. Not to mention the 3 of us all own properties and like to travel the world without working too much.

– 11.30am 16 June 2013 Breakfast in People Square Well, first breakfast should be Chinese right? Not today. Korean is on the plate and I take Ms. Columbia and John down for a  massive Korean BBQ Brunch. Kimchi, vegetables, tofu, some BBQ meat and raw beef as well just to make it exotic. It’s a high class restaurant so I trust and enjoy the raw beef. After we finished off by BBQing (that’s a recognized Australian word I swear) BBQing bananas and ice cream. Complimentary ice cream, the staff remembered me well from a previous visit. The most expensive meal,  230RMB or about $35AUD. It was the most extravagant though. Just the other week I spent 240RMB here eating with a vegetarian girl friend. Our food bill was actually 60RMB, the other 180RMB was a bottle of wine and a bottle of Soju. No wonder the staff remembered me.

 

people's square Shanghai

– 14.30pm 16 June 2013 Peoples Square to East Nanjing Station. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People’s_Square_(Shanghai) 360 Degree Iclyck photographs were taken along the famous People Square walking/shopping route. We were continually harassed to buy watches and roller skates; however that’s a nice change. Normally they harass me trying to sell sex or massage. We meet up with one of our premium Shanghai connections at East Nanjing Station, Mr Liang Sun. Liang works for a Chinese Yachting Company. A very good connection established between Liang and John.

 

 

Captain's rooftop Shanghai– 16.00 16 June 2013 The Bund We proceed along the famous Bund, Shanghai’s river promenade. A gorgeous place that looks fantastic even through the rain. We head up to a roof top bar, Captains, for an afternoon beer and have a light discussion on the differences between Chinese and Australian Yacht industries while the rain settles. Ms. Julie from Columbia is still with us and interested in how much ‘luggage’ she can hide in the hulls of Yatches so she listens with intent like a deaf man trying to listen to a dog fart. Coffee is 40 RMB and beer is 60 RMB.

 

 

-18.00 16 June 2013 Pudong We head down from the Captains roof top and catch a 2 RMB worth ferry across the river to Pudong, the economic part of Shanghai City. We check out some of the amazing skyscrapers. One of which, the Shanghai World Finance Tower, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_World_Financial_Center is the 2nd highest hotel in the world. It was the 5th highest Building in the world according to WikiPedia;however there is a new building being constructed almost next to it, which has just passed the top of it with a height of over 492 Meters and going. China’s tallest

Flair Tower

 buildings next to each other. We head up to another roof top bar called Flair on the 58th floor of IFC2. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/ShanghaiPudong/Dining/flair/Default.htm Flair is my favorite roof top bar in the city. However with the weather we find ourselves in the middle of a rain cloud unable to see more than 50 meters.

 

 

Shanghau Apartment

– 20.00 16 June 2013 Back to my Apartment We find our way back to the apartment to relax a little and meet my room mate Fred. Fred is an eccentric, totally ‘fabulous’ fashion designer living in Shanghai. Within moments of meeting the conversation has shifted from sex in Columbia, to sex in Australia and back to Fred’s virginity. It’s hard being gay in China. Anyway Fred is a superstar and very well known in Shanghai. A truly wonderful room mate. I’m blessed to have lived with him for so long. Hostels here cost between 40-80 RMB. Hotels from 200-800 RMB per night. My Apartment, 1 room in a shared apartment downtown with Electricity, Cleaner, Internet etc, 3000-5000 RMB per month. Thanks to Fred I pay under 3000 RMB and have the best views in town.

– 21.00 16 June 2013 Street food  We have a local style dinner to show John what its really about. We eat at a small shop which is actually in the garage/entrance way to some apartment. Dinner consist of 3 bowls of Wantons, something that resembles beef, a few dishes of vegetables and 2 large Tsingtao beers. A total of 70 RMB.

– 23.00 16 June 2013 Fancy Italian Bar Departed the street food to get Ms Columbia to her real CS host. It’s been an event full 24hours. We meet her host Stuart in a fancy upmarket Italian Bar. Real imported Italian beer and about 70 RMB each. The Tsingtao is 4RMB in the shop so I know what I prefer. Still, it’s the atmosphere. The Atmosphere was viscous. Stuart’s friend was there trying to pick up a Russian girl whose with her other Russian girl friend liked to yell at me for some reason. Unfortunately my Russian joke is considered funny to Russians with a light sense of humour. It’s not so funny for Moscow women. They leave soon after and Stuart falling asleep at the table takes Ms. Columbia home leaving John and I’m clueless, and also tired.

– 00.01 17 June 2013 Apartment Calling it a night.

 

– 11.30 17 June 2013 Apartment We eventually woke up and started the day. Through We chat, a messaging application like Whatsup, and Fred who was at work, we managed to order breakfast. 30 minutes and 35 RMB later 3-4 dishes of Chinese take-out appear at our doorstep. We proceed on catching up r sight seeing plans are on hold as the weather continues to let us down. An hour later, we are about to leave the house  despite the weather. Suddenly there is a knock on the door and a cheerful Frenchie called Remy is there. Remy is a Couch Surfing Guest of Fred’s who just arrive. We didn’t expect Remy however his enthusiasm is enough to clear the weather for us all to enjoy the city. (I have a feeling Fred  have told me however I forgot thanks to the 4 RMB Tsingtao beers the night before.)

 

John Nayler
-13:30-15:30 17 June 2013 Shanghai sights We covers a couple of tourist sites and do quick video shots of the famous Tians Zi Fang where old school Shanghai meets Boutique bars and Restaurants. It is a place to be seen and to watch. No one’s selling watches and roller skates here. However, western prices for almost everything. After we proceed to TaoBao City, 580 West Nanjing Lu. If your going here, download the China Fake Market Application available on Iphone and Android. Yes there is an application for the fake markets. The Fake markets is a bit of a viscous place though, the Chinese here can be a bit ruthless on soft hearted souls. See this is where Chinese offer glasses at 80-120 RMB yet slowly come down to 20 RMB. However if you were to say to them straight away that you wan them for 10 RMB they maybe abusive to you and claim your being stupid or unfair. This is not such a pleasant place to buy. Perhaps its the Australian culture though, we are not used to it. Not finding what we want here we proceed to the IT buildings at Xizang South and HuaiHai Road. Here John quickly and pleasantly scoops up a good deal on a quality tripod. Go here for any IT required gear.

16:00 17 June 2013 Yuyuan Gardens This area is very popular for its heritage and architecture. Ming Style was built around 16th Century. A gorgeous place well worth ‘of a visit. It is  a public holiday so it is crowded with tourist. However we managed to shoot a short video or two. A Chinese friend Elaine and Mr Liang Sun joined us. Additional note, today we used Taxi’s between each location with an average cost of 16 RMB. All taxi drivers spoke minimal English however our Google maps worked sufficiently.

19.00 17 June 2013 Peoples Park, Barbarossa Mr Liang Sun takes us to a bar called Barbarosa. Turns out this place is numerous lists as one of Shanghai’s top bars and its immediately clear why. Despite being smack bang in the middle of the city, Barbaosa is located next to a miniature lake in Peoples Park. It’s Moroccan style yet we look over the water, and above the tree line we see a clock that resembles the Big Ben and my personal favourite building, a skyscraper that looks like some evil structure from a Transformer SciFi film. And here we are under a ceiling which is hidden by a Moroccan nomadic tent style roof. We join Liangs friends, 3 beautiful women from France and Spain and quickly joined by another gorgeous Chinese girl who happens to be a doctor. There we are, 2 French, 2 Spanish, 2 Australians, 3 Chinese in a Moroccan Restaurants, over looking the Chinese Garden and Big Ben. Needles to say the half price happy hour cocktails, normally 50-80 RMB go down quiet well. Barbarosa immediately becomes our favourite location in town. http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/860 

20.30 17 June 2013 Near Peoples Park Restaurant hunting Since we are in Shanghai, and since happy hour is over, we decide to go for some local food and we find ourselves in nice little restaurant with plates and plates of food, and a collection of empty beer bottles. The bill: less than 50 RMB each.

22.00 17 June 2013 M1nt and M2 We go to one of China’s most popular clubs,M1nt. Only because of the holiday,  its lounge area that is only open. Still the nice staff let us in for a quick video. Shortly after we duck out, jump into 3 taxis and head to M2. One of the biggest clubs in town. It is quiet fancy and totally full of party goers. Super loud music, flashing lights, even a performance by some overweight dark guys pretending to be celebrities. Here you really need tables and space to enjoy so we decide to bail out for salsa. Departing the building John lost his ability to speak. There was a line of Porches, Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s and a Rolls Royce or 2 to say the least all parked around the building. China’s elite, rich and party goers where certainly here not at M1nt tonight. For Shanghai’s best venues, it is often best to call ahead to book a table for entry or have special contacts. Regularly popular ExPats here get invites from promoters to join various clubs with the lure of free tables and drinks. Often its real too. They make money from the Elite, and the Elite want to see ExPats in their clubs so ExPats often get lured in with free drinks. http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/4016/M1NT_shanghai http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/5246/M2_Hong_Kong_Plaza 

 

 

Mural Bar China-01.00 18 June 2013 Mural, Hengshen Lu Normally people go from smaller club to bigger club;however we went from the biggest to smallest. Mural is a Salsa bar and we have some Salsa fans. Here we have a better time than the previous clubs as we have room to move, to dance and a little easier to talk with each other. A couple of drinks outside on the street followed by finishing the night here. Home to bed to sleep. http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/7859/mural_ii

09.00 18 June 2013 Apartment Waking up in the morning, too early as usual although John’s time is almost up. With Remy, remember Freds guest, and the Doctor, ahhh she slept on the couch I swear. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough room for the lovely Spanish girls. Anyhow we all got in Sync with our Smart Phones, Emails, Photographs, Messaging Apps and much needed Coffee.

Shanghai adventure-11.00 18 June 2013 Cool Docks I have heard about this Cool Docks for sometime and never been. It’s close to the apartment and on way to the Airport so we head there for Brunch. Now in China Copy Write and Advertising is kind of unrestricted. It’s great to buy DVD’s 5-15 RMB each. However the Cool Docks is a prime bad example. I don’t know how or why anyone would call this place cool. It’s the most unimpressive thing I’ve seen in Shanghai. Even the 50m view of Rain from the Pudong Roof tops was better. So we quickly get back in a taxi and head to the Magalev station for a Brunch closer to the Airport. Top tip, eating at the Train Station or Airport is always better then eating at home and rushing to make it on time. 12.00 18 June Magalev We have Brunch of Chinese Fast Food under the Magalev. Brunch cost a total of around 70RMB for 4 of us. PS. John I still have your change. The Magalev is a fast train experience. 431Km/hr in Peak hour. Quiet a thrill. 300Km/hr in off-peak or bad weather. We say our good byes here as John races off at Peak Hour speed to Pudong Airport. That ends Johns 72hour dash. Or more like 60hours. Areas covered. My fabulous 30th Floor Apartment and surrounding shops/restaurants. Peoples Park, People Square, East Nanjing Lu, YuYuan Garden, Pudong, Tian Zi Fang, 1 x Fake Market, IT Building, and a few of Shanghai’s best bars and clubs. Biggest expenses, a beer or drink in upmarket establishments, 70 RMB per drink. If you were to buy in Convenience store, large Chinese beer is 4 RMB each. Bacardi, Breezer, Jack Daniels 15-24 RMB. Biggest expenses are meals in upmarket establishment, 80 – 120 RMB per head, less if one meal, more if a variety of shared meals or courses. If you were to eat on street- without minimal risk of Diarrhea 20-40, RMB, eith small to medium risk of Diarrhea 7-14 RMB .Taxi-we use taxi almost everywhere, 14 RMB base cost, most short journeys. Fare becomes 18 RMB after 10pm. Our longest trip was 30 RMB. To either of Shanghai’s Airport from Down town would cost 200-250 RMB. Subways,  3-4 RMB per trip. Some trips up to 7 RMB, all ours 3-4 RMB.

My recommendations: Do China on the cheap. Don’t risk to have diarrhea; however you can safely eat at many medium class establishments with meals for 20-30 RMB. If your really watching your health like I do, stop in at Family Marts frequently. Here they sell Salads and Sushi for 4-10 RMB. There is an abundance of fruit stalls as well. Eat healthy and frequent small meals. Do not drink tap water. Buy water from Family Mart, 2 RMB. If you’re going to fancy places, have a  bottled water on hand because if you buy a water in a fancy place expect to pay 10 times more then at Family Mart. Also if you eat the Family Mart way, when you go to fancy establishment you can be comfortable eating much less. Water served to you by classy Restaurants is fine, water from faucet is not.

Be careful of thieves;however many people, including myself, feel Shanghai is safer then Paris and Barcelona.

Be careful of Tea Ceremonies, if strangers, particularly young students invite you to Tea, that is a common scam. If you find your self in that situation, take a good look at yourself, your being scammed.

I feel you can touch a Chinese city in 72 hours, although you can’t get a feel for China in such limited time. That concludes the 72 hour Shanghai Dash. China is fantastic and Shanghai is one of my favourite cities in the world. Hope to see you here.

 

How to find cheap airfares around the world!

How to get cheap air fares?

Flights on the Cheap

Book on-line. Almost all low cost carriers sell their lowest cost fares exclusively through their own website. These are  generally the cheapest way for the public to purchase tickets. Do you know the cheapest airline carriers?  If not, most of them are listed below for you. A lot of travel sites appear to offer discount fares which appear great at first. These sites generally don’t quote surcharges, taxes and other costs. These sites and agents often earn commissions from airlines which are how they make their money and stay in business. Go direct to the Airlines. Unless you have some special connections 😉

Don’t assume major carriers will not give discounts. Check the major carrier websites too. Major carriers often have more frequent flights and a higher capacity to fill. We most strongly recommend you to use www.skyscanner.net This is the Google for Plane Tickets. With this site you can perform very broad searches such as:

‘Sydney’ to ‘Everywhere’ for the month of ‘June’.

This site is the most recommended. Be aware. There are still a few low cost carriers that are not listed in this site. The Majority of airlines around the world are listed making this the best starting point.

 

skyscanner

 

Low cost carriers & on-line services. Low cost carriers often impose (very) low baggage allowances. These can be as low as 10-15kg for one item only but some carriers offer generous allowances. Don’t assume & check the carriers’ rules before booking. They generally rigidly enforce excess allowances at check -in and require cash or credit card payment or they will refuse boarding. Don’t expect in-flight power sockets, music, video or magazines. Their website may have “on board” information that explains services that are available. Parents with small children should call the airline and ensure any special requirements are available prior to booking. Change of facilities may be simple or non-existent. Seating options may not be available or be very restrictive (i.e. bulkhead seats which offer no legroom). Many low cost carriers do not provide meals, water or in flight entertainment. Some sell these on-board, but not all. With security arrangements changing around the world do not assume you can bring food or water on board. Check their website carefully prior to booking. Some airlines permit pre-booking of upgrades for meals, baggage and other services at a discount at booking. Walk-up payment is often over-priced or the quantity is not available to meet demand. Be flexible and prepared prior to your flight. (Tip – Take tissues in case of low toilet paper supply) Seat allocation for low cost carriers is generally either pre-booked as a preference at the time of booking or is not available until check-in. Once again, check the airline website carefully and read the terms and conditions prior to providing credit card details. To obtain best seats, it is essential that you arrive as early as possible to the airport for check-in and seat allocation.

Low cost carriers: Some airlines offer budget flights from one continent to another.

 

jetstar    Air Transat    Jet Air Fly    Air Asia    air berlin

Iceland Air    Iceland Express    Point Afrique    Atlas BlueJazeera Airways

Condor AirlineEurofly Air Arabia

 

  • AirArabia- has cheap flights from the Middle East to South Asia, North Africa and Turkey.
  • AirAsia- X flies from Malaysia to Australia, China, Taiwan, India and used to fly European destinations at London-Stansted and Paris-Orly. Sadly AirAsia announced 12 Jan 2012 the cancellation of its European routes: Paris Orly, London Gatwick. AirAsia is currently flying from Kuala Lumpur to Saudi Arabia, hopefully their flights to Iran will resume soon.
  • AirBerlin- based in Germany, flies intercontinental to Asia, the Americas, and Africa
  • Air transat is a charter airline that flies from Canada to points in Europe, Florida and some Caribbean countries.
  • Atlas Blue low cost flights between North Africa and many European destinations including France, Spain, Italy and the UK.
  • Condor- based in Germany, flies to Europe and the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
  • Eurofly- operates flights between New York and various locations in Italy.
  • Icelandair- flies from Iceland to North America and Europe.
  • Iceland Express- flies from Iceland to Europe and to New York and Winnipeg in North America.
  • JetAirFly- flies from Europe to Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Dominican Rep., Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya, Algeria, Jordan, Thailand,
  • Jetstar-is flying in East Asia and Australasia up to Hawaii
  • Jazeera Airways- is connecting airports in Middle East to North Africa, South East Europe and South Asia.
  • Point Afrique flies from France to Mali.

 

Hot Tip

1. As you visit these Cheap Airline companies, subscribe to their newsletters. This is a great way to be notified of new sales.

2. If you have time, regularly watching or paying attention to specific newsletters will help you identify patterns in their sales offers. Air Asia, for example will have a sale with the cheapest tickets running out quickly and the sale will continue with little tickets. When the sale ends, a new one generally starts within a week, and these may be for a later date. It is possible with a little luck, to buy discount tickets on almost all your flights, all the time (with prior notice)

Leave a suggestion! If enough people show interest here, we will set up a system for receiving all low cost carrier. Sales Offers and presenting them nice and easily for you. We can also for a small fee or donation, have our IT staff help you find the best flight.

If interested, please leave your comments and suggestions.

 

Want more good info like this?

Check out my friend’s article over at StagKissBudapest https://www.stagkissbudapest.com/blog/how-to-find-cheap-flights/

 

raise hands

Volunteering while travelling is simply amazing. And also dodgy…

Volunteering whilst traveling is a great way to ‘make a difference’. However, it’s not just about giving. Living and volunteering in a foreign country is a great way to know the different culture, meet new people, learn about yourself and the bigger picture. Hey, you may even gain a few new skills and life long friends. If you’re only on a short trip, take time to visit an orphanage, hospital, or the like. Those with more time can contact local NGOs, tourist offices or embassies, to inquire about longer term volunteer possibilities. Volunteer tourism is booming! Lots of people make money, and seek to make money from volunteers. We share this information freely to help you and your friends find genuine volunteer positions. Places where people profit from your efforts, not from your money. We believe we can make a difference, it is important to be in position where you and your efforts are appreciated and needed. Not in Volunteer tourism places which charge fees and make cash profits from you staying there.  PLEASE POST FEEDBACK, especially if its negative, we will delete any negative volunteer organisations and continue promoting and supporting the best.   helping people There are several ways to combine traveling and voluntary work:

  • In Europe, young European citizens can participate in the EVS program (“European Voluntary Service”), which allows you to work abroad for 3 months up to a year,funded by the European Union at some kind of charitable organization.
  • If you would like to combine traveling and working on an organic farm, the WWOOF-ing – Willing Workers on Organic Farms – might be something for you. You can be sowing seed, making compost, gardening, planting, cutting wood, weeding, making mud-bricks, harvesting, fencing, building, packing, milking and feeding livestock any of 80 countries.
  • Another organization with opportunities beyond the scope of just organics is HelpX. Ordinary people can join and offer vacancies here. Vacancies are more like working in a resort, private farm or anything like that, and instead of money, you’ll paid with free accommodation, possibly food and other benefits.
  • If you want to experience new cultures and ways of life by doing volunteer work, exchanges with hosts in different countries, check out Volunteerstays.
  • Workaway has a large database of options for those wishing to travel and volunteer in exchange for lodging and food. They have a worldwide selection of hosts from over 100 countries with a wide variety of opportunities including gardening, babysitting, art projects, language learning and animal care.

Various agencies of Western governments send volunteers abroad: the US Peace CorpsBritish VSOCanadian CUSO and so on. These are among the best volunteer jobs. All expenses — immunizations, travel, lodging, etc. — are normally covered and there is support — training, medical insurance, emergency evacuation if needed — and some sort of small salary. When you come back, these organizations look good on a resume. On the other hand, these positions are harder to get and usually require a heavier commitment, typically two years. As an alternative, or to complement the working holiday, many people have chosen to embark on a volunteering experience. These meaningful experiences allow individuals the chance to give back to the international community, whether this is teaching in underprivileged schools, working with animals in Africa, or helping with community development project. Typically there will be a fee to participate in these programs, and participants are not paid. Most famously, Prince Harry embarked on a volunteering Gap Year in 2004 when he went to South Africa. There are many organizations offering gap year placements. A few of these are:

  • Frontier Conservation specializes in scientific and conservation projects in locations such as Tanzania, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Fiji and Madagascar.
  • Global Vision International is an award winning volunteer abroad organization running projects all over the world.
  • volunteeringGap Year Diver, specialists in gap year and career break scuba diving trips. Marine Conservation initiatives, learn to dive, become a Divemaster, teach in local schools, community work, Instructor training, language learning and much more.
  • The Great Projects. Beginning life as the multi-award winning “The Great Orangutan Project“, the Great Projects now offers a wide collection of projects, used to showcase working models of animal conservation tourism around the world and promotes the importance of setting standards in endangered animal welfare and conservation in the tourism sector.
  • Yomps, Gap year, career break and adventure specialist, from volunteering in Africa to learning to surf in Ecuador, Yomps has it all.
  • Shumba Experience Specialists in conservation and veterinary projects in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
  • Xtreme Gap The adventure travel and extreme sports gap year company.
  • Global Vision International Specialists in gap year expeditions such as marine expeditions in the Indian Ocean and exploration in Patagonia. GVI also has over 150 volunteering projects around the world.
  • Gap Medics, Specifically aimed at students looking to go to medical or nursing school – Work experience and volunteer opportunities in The Caribbean, India and Tanzania.
  • Africa & Asia Venture (AV) – a founding member of the Year Out Group, offering 5 week to 5 month group volunteer projects in the developing world with 24/7 support throughout.
  • RealGap UK RealGap DE, Specialists in gap years, career breaks & adventure travel holidays. RealGap are experts in providing unique & exciting volunteer projects, working holiday programs & backpacking packages across the world.
  • VentureCo Worldwide, specialists in South America Gap Years. Combining language courses, volunteer projects and adventure travel.
  • The Leap, a family run British organization that offers gap year placements in Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.
  • Gap Year Ghana, small organization specializing in volunteer placements in Ghana, West Africa.
  • Raleigh Youth and education charity offering challenging environmental, community and adventure programs for 17-75 year old in Borneo, Costa Rica & Nicaragua and India
  • Projects Abroad, Global organizer of overseas voluntary work placements. Projects Abroad runs placements like Teaching, Care, Conservation & Environment, Medicine & Healthcare, Sports, Culture & Community projects and Journalism.
  • EDGE of AFRICA, Small organization that offers volunteer and internship placements in Southern Africa. Conservation, community and sports volunteer placements available as well as family and tailor made positions.
  • VAE Kenya, a small UK organization that organizes challenging teaching placements in rural Kenyan schools.
  • Skills Venture, a new company that runs short sabbaticals for US and UK business professionals, spent providing mentoring and consultancy support to entrepreneurs in Kenya.
  • Cross-Cultural Solutions(CCS) is a non-profit organization that offers 1-12 week volunteer abroad programs in 12 countries, where you work side-by-side with local people, stay in a CCS Home-Base, and learn first-hand about local customs by participating in Cultural & Learning Activities.
  • Praktikawelten offers more than 300 volunteer projects in 17 countries as well as work and travel programs in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

There are also various organizations that recruit volunteers. These may not cover the major expenses such as airfares and travel insurance. Some charge a fee for placement. A few of these are:

  • volunteerAction Volunteer Alliance (AVA)offers affordable volunteer opportunities abroad.
  • AFECT offers volunteering opportunities to assist Burmese refugees in north Thailand
  • Akha Asia has volunteer placements with Tribes and Indigenous Peoples
  • Center for Children in Need (Thailand) offers short and long-term volunteering in a grassroots orphanage for abandoned Burmese children. (http://www.volunteeringthailand.blogspot.com)
  • Ikando Volunteer & Intern in Africa
  • Global Vision International (GVI) has worldwide volunteering opportunities
  • Volunteers and Interns for Balinese Education
  • Year Out Group, a British organization promoting gap year volunteering
  • Overseas Working Holidays, an Australian organization that offers guaranteed placements in regions such as Africa and India.
  • Thai-Experience specialized in placements in Thailand.
  • Travel to Teach with jobs in Southeast Asia and Latin America.
  • Volunteer Abroad offers volunteer programs in Latin America, Asia, and Africa
  • Mundo Exchange non-profit organization for volunteering in Guatemala and Thailand.
  • Earthwatch lets volunteers work on scientific field research projects all over the world for 1 – 3 weeks.
  • Projects Abroad offers a diverse range of volunteer placements in 26 different developing countries – for students, gap years, grads and qualified professionals from 2 weeks and up.
  • The International Humanity Foundation works in Indonesia, Thailand and Kenya and is always looking for volunteers.
  • Intiwawa offers free volunteering in Peru. Opportunities mainly include social and educational projects as well as nutrition and water.
  • Mozvoluteers  offers affordable volunteer projects and medical elective placements in South Africa and Mozambique.
  • Mijn Bestemming Peru Dutch organization focusing in volunteering free, internships, work and support to communities all over Peru.

      Guys you are free to leave your comments, thoughts and new links anytime!   Update, June 2013: Spicy Guest Hostels, (Spicy Kho Tao, Spicy Pai, Spicy Chiang Mai), Nook Guest House (Kuching Malaysia) and Reggae Mansion (Penang and Kuala Lumpur), have various positions open for backpackers to stay, work, party and live for 1-3 months.

bag for gadgets

Adrian’s Travel Gadgets

Having been to some 70+ countries or so. I’m frequently asked about what travel gadgets I carry. I made this list for my readers and friends.

The following are the travel gadgets I always bring while travelling:

GoPro2 HD:

When traveling, we want to be as smart and light as possible. I don’t mind spending a bit more products are going to produce good results. I’m not a professional photographer. I’m a light weight traveler. So I recommend the GoPro range. It’s one of the best Video Cameras in the market. It’s very unique, different and most popular. It features a small Fish Eye Lens capturing 170 Degrees. That’s huge! It’s also very power efficient as there is no display, take photographs and videos, and look at them much later. No time zooming in and out at party shots, just take them or take burst shorts. Go Pro is the best when doing adventure, especially Motorbike Riding around Thailand or Goa. It’s only downfall is lack of flash so night shots can be a bit blurred. Still, I used the camera in video mode in some of the best clubs in the world.

 Go pro HD

 

 

 

Smart Phone

Normally I would recommend using an old phone as buying the latest and greatest but costly. However, on my last trip to Hong Kong, I gave in and bought a Samsung S4. I’m actually not so impressed as my old Samsung did most the same things, was much smaller and a third of the price. I would recommend older smartphones for travelers. New phones make you more of a target for criminals.

In validating my S4: Replaces a camera more than ever, big screen for maps, reading ebooks, recording interviews, almost replaces my laptop. However an older smart phone can do most of this.

I have a separate post for Mobile Phone Apps which you should definitely check out. Another less known tip is to have a little piece of paper with a note tucked in between your phone and its protective case. On this note leave an alternative phone number, email address and a little message, something like “thank you so much if you can return me, there will be a small reward as well not to mention a lot of good Karma”. Simply way to help get your phone back if lost.  A lot of people that find phones/camera really want to return them to their owners; it’s simply a matter of making it possible for them.

 smartphone

 

 

MiLi Power Crystal PowerCell

This is the most important gadget I carry. My Power Cell comes with a pile of attachments. Normally I just carry 2 attachments which allow me to quickly recharge the Power Cell itself, my Smart Phone (Samsung S4), GoPro, External Speaker, PicoPix (Portable lightweight travel projector).

 mili power

 

 

PicoPix

As I do some presentations while traveling, I carry a PicoPix. Recently I had a break from traveling and did some teaching work. For the kids I would often play English videos and songs using the PicoPix. It was so much fun. Not to mention staying in a hotel room or at a friend’s place and being able to share my personal and all time favourite movies with this little device. I also have some 1hour Music Video’s from Ministry of Sound, DJ Tiesto and Triple J which are great for small parties. This device works for about 2 hours per charge, just enough for watching  a movie. It can connect to laptop, USB drives or Micro SD card.

 pico pix

 

 

Laptop/Notebook/Pad

When I started backpacking in 2007 I used my 15inch Toshiba laptop. Thank God those days are over. In 2009 I broke the laptop screen while being squashed on a train with a big crew of youngsters coming from the famous Exit Festival in Serbia to Budapest Hungary. In 2010, I finally got a mini Laptop. 10 Inch Asus Eee PC which I still have today (well in the cupboard at mum and dad’s). In 2012, I upgraded to a 12.1 Inch Asus Eee PC which I find just the right size for me. Size matters. I would love to go a Mac Air, however the Mac Operating System is something I’m not excited to learn. Next might be a Lightweight super fast 12.1 Inch or perhaps I abolish Laptop for a larger SmartPhone. Hmmmmm. Lightweight Travel, Rise of the Roaming Entrepreneur is here. Isn’t it great to be alive today.

 laptop

 Here you have it guys, the travel gadgets I travel around the world with. Feel free to share with us the travel gadgets you bring with while traveling. Have a techy travelling guys!

switzerland

Adrian the Traveler

Hi, I’m Adrian and I am a Traveler!

I’ve traveled around  of the world a lot. I’ve been blessed with two legs and a good passport. Even if I had a ‘bad’ passport, I would never let that stop me from traveling.

Travel broadens the mind. It increases your perspective so much. Not many of my friends traveled much as I do. I had my first overseas trip at the age of 24.
I stayed with some distant relatives places and in hotels. It was good. Not as good as I thought it would be though. Later I found this network called Couchsurfing.org then it all changed.

I started having backpackers stay at my house. I would meet them every Wednesday night at a regular meeting place. This backpacking and Couchsurfing is so much fun. You get to meet so many cool, friendly, amazing, trustworthy, open people. It’s really inspiring.

Soon after I had enough money saved. I actually invested my money after the 2008 Global Crisis started, so when the Market was recovering, I had enough money to travel long term. I have now entered a total of over 70 countries, 4-5 years travel outside Australia and learned the basics of few languages. I’ve met thousands of amazing people around the world. It’s astonishing to me, the way that by simply being open, warm and welcoming to people, that they return the same qualities and can become memorable friends. 🙂

Couch Surfing London

Universal Language

Teaching English as a Foreign Language ( TEFL )

TEFL

An increasing number of people choose to go into TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language.), not as a gap year option straight after university, but as a life-change option much later in life. Whilst taking a TEFL qualification and ‘going traveling’ might appear straightforward, and almost a logical thing to do for recent graduates, it can become a much more substantial project later in life.

Teaching English is a great way of taking in a new life direction. It is a great way of  “giving something back”. TEFL usually involves teaching English to individuals or small groups of motivated students with a genuine desire to improve their English. Teaching is usually in private language schools and whilst it is possible to teach in the UK, USA, Australia, and the like, most people start by gaining experience abroad.

Teaching English as a Foreign LanguageIt is for this reason that TEFL can represent such a huge life change. You might end up quitting a secure job, forsaking a regular salary, selling or renting out a house or flat, and most certainly finding yourself many miles from good friends and family. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with. It might also be a very long time since you’ve been through a change of a similar magnitude.
If you’re at the stage of wondering whether TEFL is for you, just click on the TEFL link and get in touch with Cactus TEFL, the TEFL course admissions service, who will be able to advise you more.

If you’re ready to start leading a life-changing option such as TEFL, or if you want to start looking at how you might move towards this sort of goal, then maybe we should talk. In just a few sessions, you might find you’ve cleared those limiting beliefs, barriers and fears that have been holding you back all this time.
The most internationally recognized TEFL qualifications (the Cambridge CELTA and Trinity Cert TESOL) is only a 4-week course subject – that means that approximately 6 weeks from now – YOU could be jetting off abroad!

 

For an absolutely great international guide, check out Wiki here. If you have any other suggestions or favorite pages related to teaching welcome to share.

army backpack

What’s in Adrian’s Backpack?

Having spent a few years backpacking, I like to think I have a few things figured out!

 

My Backpack:

backpackType: Tactical 5.11 (a Military issue although you can find one online)

Weight: 12-16kg (although I always manage to carry it on board the plane)

This was issued to me by the Australian Army prior to my Afghanistan trip. Its been carried for over 4 years now and is still in great condition.

Valuables kept down the bottom. Earplugs, Earphones, kept up top and will be easy to access.

Once configured,organised or packed, develop the habit of always putting things in the same place. This serves 3 purposes. Firstly, its much harder to lose anything. Secondly, if you lose something, (or stolen), you’ll know it much quicker. Thirdly, if you need to get to something quickly, quietly or in the dark, you can find it with your eyes closed in seconds.

Be an organized Backpacker!!  (+ you save money if you don’t have to re-buy things)

 

Contents:

2 x Jeans, (wearing one, one in bag)Clothes To Bring 2 x casual shirts,
2 x Semi-formal, (good enough to wear to presentations/speeches)
1 x Thermal Pants and Top
1 x Singlet
4x underwear, socks (easy to buy abroad, if you don’t get to wash, easy to buy more)
1 x Running shorts (I enjoy running in new places)

1 x Runners suitable for almost everything.

1 x Lightweight towel (for me its actually the red sheet)

 

Occasionally, I may pack or buy $30 Formal shoes if I’m doing a lot of formal events.
Changes in Season:
If it’s summer, I would swap 1x Jeans for 2x Shorts.
For winter, I pack 2 pairs of thermals which I change regularly, and a jacket that I wear everyday.

 

 

Sleeping Gear

1 x Lightweight Blanket, (I have a special Red Masai, African Blanket)
(I tend to stay with friends, Couch Surfers, or hotels, so very rarely need to use my own sleeping gear. However I still tend to use my blanket. If in Iceland or really cold weather, I would carry a lightweight sleeping bag.

 

Toiletries:

toiletriesAbsolutely minimal. Every few days I find some. shampoo/conditioner/shaving cream.
2 x Toothbrush. I carry 1 in my Jacket Pocket in winter/snow as I often sleep unexpectedly at different houses while my bag is left elsewhere or in a locker.
EarPlugs, a must have!!
1 x Spoon, (no knives, no need for fork, spoon does it all)
Ukon (gold packet) a special Japanese medicine for preventing hangovers :-)
1-3 x small hotel soaps, most places have soap, just in case.
1 x Small sunscreen (sometimes mosquito repellent)
1 x Multivitamins. (often I’ll just put the required amount in a little plastic bag instead of the bottle)
1 x Smallest cologne you can find (It’s nice to smell good sometimes)
1 x Mach 3 Razor
1 x Lip Balm (sometimes carry)

 

Electrical GearTravel Gadgets

Asus 12Inch  (I have used smaller, although smaller is too hard to work)

Philips PicoPix PPX2330 (For doing Presentations or watching movies)

GoPro2 (Best video camera available for me, still photos are great too, but not so good night shots)

Smart Phone, Android (Samsung W). I prefer Android, small, older model. No need for S4. (2013 Update, just bought an S4)

1-2 Smallest power adapters possible. Cheapest if bought from local markets (not in Airports or Western countries)

1 x Mili Power Crystal 2000MAh (It charges my Smart Phone, Go-Pro and Projector)

Various SD/USB Memory devices

 

 

 

Other:

sim, visa and cards 2 x Notebooks. Old school paper still rocks. 1 small notepad for phone no’s etc, I carry in my back pocket and a larger for learning languages, drawings, journals etc.

1 x Copy of Passport, Medical Insurance, and my family’s contact details.

Spare cash cards. It is very easy in some countries to start a local bank account. Using their cards and having money on it is a great back up and fees are cheaper than using my Australian card.

SIM Cards. I always buy a local SIM Card on arriving in a new country, it makes it so much easier to contact locals. Then I post on Facebook, Weibo, etc, my new phone number. Sometimes I use an Australian Skype Dial in number, and then divert it to what ever SIM card I am using.

Note: The latest Iphones/Smart Phones often use Micro or Nano SIM cards. You can cut a normal SIM to Micro size easily with scissors (easy to cut the wrong way too,just take your time and double/triple check before cutting)

Note: I also put these little notes inside my camera, laptop and camera cases. Generally people want to return items to their owner, you just have to make it easy for them.

 

Remember, minimalist travel wins. That’s part of reason travel is so great. You don’t have much. You don’t really need much. Its amazing actually how little we really need. If you have to think about, probably better leaving it behind. If doing a long trip, I like to send packages home occasionally, a box home, and send any items not used in the last month home.

Bulgarian Night Club

Cool Undiscovered Cities: Eastern Europe, Sofia

When I started what was to be, a 5 year back packing trip, Europe was certainly the hottest destination. But for me, it wasn’t just Europe. It was all about the East. East Europe!

Most the backpackers I had met in Australia/Asia tended to go and talk about places like Amsterdam, London, Paris and Barcelona. Yeah cool, but what about the East? And I’m not talking about places like Czech or Hungary. Now I could be completely wrong, and welcome to comment if I am, to me, East Europe is composed of the countries bordering Russia. Mainly the Baltic’s to the Balkans. Actually, I met almost no one that had been along the far eastern edges of Europe and that undiscovered lands, is where so much of the magic is.

FYI: My motivation behind this is that backpackers and tourist hear so much about those mainstream places. I love to write a few words about my favourite cities in Europe, and well, it’s probably going to be these cool undiscovered cities in the east!!! Cities like Minsk, Sofia, Talinn, Beograde, Kiev! Oh my so much fun!!!

Now today, we are talking about Sofia, Bulgaria. The country has a population of just over 7 million and its capital Sofia has has around 1.2 million. (www.wikitravel.org/en/Sofia). Bulgaria is a beautiful country for traveling, hiking, and fun. Getting amongst nature in winter (ski resorts in the southern mountains) and in summer (Sofia and the coastal towns especially Varna). I first arrived and traveled the country in spring, later visiting in Winter. I must say the country and in particularly the capital Sofia is one of the most delightful places on earth!

Sofia

Now for those that don’t speak much English, fear not, the younger generation are taught English, although they rarely get the chance to practice. So if you meet those wanting and willing to practice English, you are bound to have fun. Particularly if a beer or music is involved.

A great starting point for making friends would be to access the Couch Surfers (CS) and other international groups that get together regularly. When I first arrived in Sofia I proceeded immediately to a CS meeting which proceeded to an outdoor party. After that, a local girl drove me back to my hostel at around 3am. Actually, I ended up doing that a lot!

Cool undiscovered cities, Sofia

Bulgarian Lunch!

 

I spent most afternoons and nights drinking and partying with different new friends; arriving home just before sunrise. It was great! I stayed mainly at an awesome hostel (I have a big write up about hostels here that you can check out if you like). There are a couple of great hostels actually and a lot of Eastern Europe tends to have some really funky places. Now at this hostel, for my stay, I would regularly sleep in till about 1pm. Trying to sleep through the noise of young backpackers was not always easy, they always seem to be unorganized and loud in the morning! However around lunch, I would normally awaken by local calling me to come out for brunch and recovery beers. Ahhh! What an amazing life!

 

If you don’t have the local connections, I can honestly say, you probably wouldn’t have half as much fun. But if you don’t have connections or the social confidence (I have an article here about Social Confidence) just grab a couple of bottles of beer and step into one of the parks in the afternoon. Beer is sold for roughly a US Dollar per liter in 1 to 3L bottles . Drinking in parks is allowed, socially acceptable and just part of the culture there. Try it, Love it, Living Lavida Sofia!

Sofia like all cities has a night club scene. Now I’m never a guy that goes to random bars to pick up women. So I’m not one to comment there. Honestly, it’s so much fun being with Bulgarians that although I used to be recognised as an expert with women, here, I was just blown away by the ability to meet up with local friends and share good stories over $1 per liter beer. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of my best Bulgarian Friends Mihail was at the time creating a big website for Sofia tourism. He has since returned to working in a JOB. I’ll never forget when Mihail burrowed a family members car and drove our crew to the vineyards south east of Sofia. Our crew consisted of 2 x Bulgarians, 2 x Aussies, 1 x Cypriot. We stopped and visited a famous temple where a Monk discovered enlightenment (I thought this stuff only happened in Asia but I was wrong). We went on a bit further to a wine area where we ended up in a cave which was used as a cellar. Returning after a couple of glasses to Sofia with a few bottles of the preservative free, organic Bulgarian wine.  

FYI: One of the few other cities I’ve had this much fun is Cebu Philippines. This city is a call centre hub, so friends in that industry would often call up in the early morning to join them in early morning/day drinking with beer about the same price as Bulgaria. However Sofia, Minsk Belarus, Toulouse France, Tartu Estonia or Kiev Ukraine would get my vote for the 5 funnest cities in Europe.

Danger…Eastern Europe tends to suffer from corruption. You have to be a street smart in all cities. DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH anywhere! It doesn’t matter where you are; if you’re too drunk, things can easily go wrong. Chances of getting robbed increase dramatically with alcohol content and displays of valuable cameras, iPhones, etc. Chances are greatly reduced by having small money, looking a little local, being friendly or smiling, not being an easy target or loud mouth. Besides, always know when to walk the other way….. and run!

Cool undiscovered cities, Sofia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
By the way, I was joking by that run comment. I never had problems in Bulgaria, however some loud mouth drunken backpackers at the hostel did. With Mihail, Yana and awesome Bulgarian friends, it’s bound to be one of your favourite cities in Europe too!

Cool Undiscovered Cities: Eastern Europe, Sofia
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Cool Undiscovered Cities: Eastern Europe, Minsk

When I started what was to be, a 5 year back packing trip, Europe was certainly the hottest destination. But for me, it wasn’t just Europe. It was all about the East. East Europe!

Most the backpackers I had met in Australia/Asia tended to go and talk about places like Amsterdam, London, Paris and Barcelona. Yeah cool, but what about the East? And I’m not talking about places like Czech or Hungary. Now I could be completely wrong, and welcome to comment if I am, to me, East Europe is composed of the countries bordering Russia. Mainly the Baltic’s to the Balkans. Actually, I met almost no one that had been along the far eastern edges of Europe and that undiscovered lands, is where so much of the magic is. 

FYI: My motivation behind this is that backpackers and tourist hear so much about those mainstream places. I love to write a few words about my favourite cities in Europe, and well, it’s probably going to be these cool undiscovered cities in the east!!! Cities like Minsk, Sofia, Talinn, Beograde, Kiev! Oh my so much fun!!!

Today, I am starting by highlighting Minsk (Belarus) one of the coolest, undiscovered cities in the world. In fact I hope to bring a few cool undiscovered cities to you in my blog. I’m actually very busy as a Coach helping people to make passive income to follow their dreams, but I really want to get a few of these cool undiscovered cities out there!

Minsk2

Minsk’s population is predominantly Russian and native Belorussian. The Belorussians being those that have been here forever! These guys have there own language which may sound or look like Russian, however it’s DIFFERENT. And sadly becoming less common. I as a traveler, learned less than a sentence in Belorussian and focused on Russian as I thought that would help me further with my travels. However if you learn some Belorussian, it would be extremely cool, and perhaps, unusual. If your a local, please what do you think and whats the current situation?Minsk1

Tourists here are very rare. Tourist assistance, tourist information is pretty much unheard of. One day, I actually took a photo of a couple, because I believe they may have been tourist. This makes Minsk a city, which is really like something from the Get Smart Movie. As a long term traveler, I was able to blend in, however, if I was talking with friends ANYWHERE, I couldn’t help to notice people listening (in a friendly way)

According to wikitravel.org/en/Belarus. Belarus is under a dictatorship and the city itself feels like a mixture of USSR/KGB/GetSmart/1960 Spy film. Also note, according to my Lonely Planet, it says “Belarus is a breeding ground for Super Models”. While that could be true, Eastern Europe itself is full of beautiful people, both men and women….

Yes gentlemen, the country is full of beautiful women! But no, there not easy! And to any Belorussian women reading this, please take pride. Belorussian women display show good dress sense, great complexion, healthy bodies, wonderful personalities and very intelligent.

Now, back on to other adventures.

Drinking in Eastern Europe is great. Drinking in in Minsk is Fantastic!  When having a drink with friends, the table generally tended to look something like this:

A bottle of Balbash Vodka (Product of Belarus),

Unmixed glasses of Vodka, juice, Coke, water, Tonic

Plates of fruits, meats, olives, onion, fats/lard

And all for a a price of, well under $40 USD in a decent club or bar. It’s simply awesome! Drink straight high quality vodka, topping up with water; eating foods in front of you and all this with beautiful people. Hangovers are avoidable if you are disciplined 🙂 However after too many fun nights in a row……

biggest-drinking-country-belarus

I stayed with at least 4 hosts in Belarus and one of these was with the Rock band “Floor Sixteen”. That was insane. Here are some of the pictures of what could be, the coolest undiscovered city in Europe!

 

 

Cool Undiscovered Cities:  Eastern Europe, Minsk
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And by the way, if you don’t like this post, don’t worry cause,belarus_smiley_designs_cork_coaster-r73ef571df551407f82ce4789d59cb8ec_ambkq_8byvr_324

 

Van,

Best Travel Websites

Hi Guys!

As you all know, I’m a travel addict. Formerly an Internet junkie, here are some of the Best Travel Websites.

 

wiki travelskyscanner

1. www.skyscanner.net – This is the Google for Plane Tickets. Example search is ‘Sydney’ to ‘Everywhere’ for the month of ‘June’.

2. www.wikitravel.org – My no.1 resource page on new locations. On Google or what ever you use type ‘wikitravel’ ‘Sydney’ or ‘Australia’ or ‘Antarctica’. Check it out www.wikitravel.org/en/Antarctica

 

The next sites are all equal rating depending on your travel style.

hostel world

hostel bookers

trip advisorescape artistcouch surfingbe welcome

 

 

hospitality club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hostel World or Hostel Bookers. These two sites are the hostel main booking sites/engines used throughout the world. Slowly hostels in Central Asia, Middle East, Africa and remote countries are starting to use these sites as they get on to the Internet. Many other travel sites and blogs sell or resell accommodation by utilizing these two companies. I use these sites as a research tool. I use Hostel World with Wiki Travel. These Hostel Webpages are per-dominantly Western Backpackers. Wiki Travel on the other hand is for a broader range of travelers. Next, the Trip Advisor is for more commercial travels. I know a lot of accommodation and restaurants which have gained much new business by and sometimes charging more than their competitors by establishing themselves on Trip Advisor. In my opinion, Trip Advisor is like a Lonely Planet. Please note. All the above systems, including Wiki can be manipulated by false references.

Escape Artist has been around for over 10years and is a great resource tool. Created in America, primarily for American ExPats. It contains so much information it’s not funny. Personally, I haven’t found the need for anymore information services as SkyScanner, WikiTravel, and Couch Surfing has done it all for me.

Couch Surfing, is one of the worlds best websites for making friends and staying with locals abroad. Millions of users have profiles and interact online to exchange tips, assistance, views and then organize meet ups and plans to accommodate each other. I’ve personally helped thousands of people here, hosted over 100people in my apartments and my Mum & Dad’s house. I’ve stayed in 1-200 homes. Most of these experiences were directly through Couch Surfing or people I’ve meet through Couch Surfing friends. Adrian on CouchSurfing. Oh and it’s all free.

Be Welcome is another hospitality site like Couch Surfing. It was actually made by Couch Surfing volunteers who were unhappy at Couch Surfing organizers. Couch Surfing is a company. It was founded through donations although it was and is a company, so Be Welcome is ‘owned by the people’  voting for head positions and direction. Personally, I hope and encourage all CouchSurfers to join BeWelcome. Although BeWelcome doesn’t have the funds that CouchSurfing has. A side note, CouchSurfing donations have been used to fly Organizers on world trips and have week long parties in places like Istanbul. BeWelcome Organisers have daily jobs and struggle to raise any money. Adrian on BeWelcome

One last site is Hospitality Club. Outdated now, this site was pre-Couch Surfing couchsurfing. Note: The first forms of couch surfing was over 30years ago via mail.

OK, I wanted to keep this short and just the best. If people would like to add their own welcome, now go on, get out there!

Peruvian Woman in Fashion Markets

International Travel & Fashion Blog

Peruvian Woman in Fashion Markets

Introducing Tammy’s Travel and Fashion Blog

I would like to introduce to you my friend Tammy. Tammy is one of the super travelers I meet occasionally around the world, so I’m sharing her story to all of you.  Tammy has lived in four countries.  Pre-dominantly in New York, where she works in the Fashion industry.  At the end of this year, Tammy will pass the 100+ Countries mark.  Visiting over 100 countries before reaching the age of 30 is quite extraordinary, not to mention that she is a SUPER COOL CHICK!

So this is Tammy’s travel and fashion blog where she talks about Travel and Fashion.  Check it out.
www.edgymix.com

Main Dishes

Healthy main dishes from around the world

Healthy Main Dishes

Here are healthy main dishes recipes, including favorite ingredients like chicken , potato, beef , pasta , Mexican chef salad, shells and meatloaf.

Caribbean Rum Chicken Recipe

Check out our Caribbean Rum Chicken RecipeCaribbean Rum Chicken

Ingredients 

  • 4 (110g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

 

Method

  1. For the marinade, combine brown sugar, lime juice, rum, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, pepper and parsley. Mix well.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a large resealable plastic bag, add marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Turn chicken over occasionally.
  3. Add oil to a nonstick pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Add chicken and cook it for 5-6 minutes on each side until chicken is reach golden brown color. Squeeze lime juice over chicken and serve.

 

Makes 4 Servings

Serving Size: 1 chicken breast

nutrients per serving
calories: 211
total fat: 5 g (25% of calories)
saturated fat 1 g
cholesterol: 66 mg
sodium 412 mg
carbohydrate: 6 g (14% of calories)
protein: 27 g (62% of calories)
fiber: trace

 

 

Basil Mashed Potato Recipe

Check out our Basil Mashed Potato Recipe
Basil Mashed Potato

Ingredients 

  • 4-5 medium red potatoes, washed and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Method

  1. Steam, microwave or boil potatoes until tender.
  2. Mash well with fork, adding sour cream, basil and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Makes 4 Servings

Serving size: 1/4 recipe

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 162
total fat: less than 1 g (1% of calories)
saturated fat less than 1 g
cholesterol: 6 mg
sodium 33 mg
carbohydrate: 36 g (77% of calories)
protein: 4 g (22% of calories)
fiber: 3 g

 

 

Beef Stew Recipe

Check out our Beef Stew Recipe Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 900g lean sirloin tip
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into pieces
  • 2 medium celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cups small mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can (450g) no-salt added tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons flour

 

Method

  1. Trim excess fat from beef and cut it into cubes.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef and brown on all sides. Add remaining ingredients except flour, salt and pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer until beef is cooked and vegetables are tender (about an hour)
  4. Combine flour with a small amount of water in a bowl. Whisk until completely dissolved. Add liquid to stew and continue heating until thickened (about 5 min).

 

Makes 8 servings

Serving size: 350 g

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 268
total fat: 7 g (26% of calories)
saturated fat 2 g
cholesterol: 68 mg
sodium 130 mg
carbohydrate: 19 g (31% of calories)
protein: 27 g (43% of calories)
fiber: 3 g

 

 

Honey Mustard Salmon Recipe

Check out our Honey Mustard Salmon RecipeHoney Mustard Salmon

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 4 salmon fillets, 150g each
  • 1 small yellow pepper, cut in slices
  • 1 small red pepper, cut in slices
  • 1 small green pepper, cut in slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix the first 3 ingredients above to make the marinade.
  3. Place each salmon fillet on piece of parchment paper large enough to fold over and completely cover fish.
  4. Poke holes into each fish fillet with a fork. Divide marinade between each fish fillet and then top with 1/4 of the pepper slices. Add salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Wrap the parchment paper over the fish and then wrap in tin foil. Bake until done, about 20 minutes.

 

Makes 4 servings

Serving size: 1 packet

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 201
total fat: 7 g (33% of calories)
saturated fat 1 g
cholesterol: 62 mg
sodium 288 mg
carbohydrate: 7 g (15% of calories)
protein: 26 g (52% of calories)
fiber: 2 g

 

 

Smoked Ham and Rosemary Pasta Recipe

Check out our Smoked Ham and Rosemary Pasta RecipeSmoked Ham and Rosemary Pasta

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked egg noodles (approx. 3 cups uncooked)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 450g mushrooms, quartered (approx. 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 230g smoked lean ham steak, cut into strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and salt to taste

 

Method

  1. Prepare noodles according to directions on the package.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion and saute until transparent. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until tender (6-8 minutes).
  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in flour. Stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add wine, mustard and chicken broth and mix well. Bring sauce to boil over medium heat. Stir in ham, rosemary, salt and pepper then cover and simmer until heated through.
  4. Pour sauce over hot noodles and toss to coat.

 

Makes 4 Servings

Serving Size: 230g noodles and 170g sauce

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 343
total fat: 7 g
saturated fat 2 g
cholesterol: 63 mg
sodium 993 mg
carbohydrate: 40 g (14% of calories)
protein: 23 g (62% of calories)
fiber: 3 g

 

 

Mexican Chef Salad Recipe

Check out our Mexican Chef Salad RecipeMexican Chef Salad

Ingredients 

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 450g ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 can no salt added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fat-free thousand island dressing

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut tortillas into thin strips and place on a cookie sheet. Spray both sides lightly with cooking spray. Bake about 5-8 minutes, turn over with a spatula and continue baking until lightly browned and crispy (5-8 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
  3. Brown ground turkey and minced onion in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add seasonings and cornstarch and mix well. Heat until thickened.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. In large mixing bowl, combine cooled turkey and lettuce and toss well.  Top with green onion, tomatoes, kidney beans and dressing and gently toss.

 

Makes 6 servings

Serving Size: 2 cups

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 266
total fat: 7 g (22% of calories)
saturated fat 1 g
cholesterol: 46 mg
sodium 586 mg
carbohydrate: 30 g (44% of calories)
protein: 23 g (34% of calories)
fiber: 7 g

 

 

Turkey Marinara Sauce Recipe

Turkey Marinara Sauce RecipeTurkey Marinara Sauce

 Ingredients

  • 450g ground turkey breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (850g) no salt added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (850g) no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

 

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.
  2. Add turkey breast and brown until almost cooked through. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove bay leaves and serve over your favorite pasta.

 

Makes 9 servings

Serving Size: 230g of sauce

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 173
total fat: 5 g (33% of calories)
saturated fat 1 g
cholesterol: 30 mg
sodium 180 mg
carbohydrate: 16 g (36% of calories)
protein: 13 g (30% of calories)
fiber: 4 g

 

 

Stuffed Shells Recipe

Check out our Stuffed Shells Recipe

 Ingredients

  • 36 jumbo pasta shells (approx. 1-350g box)
  • 450g part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 recipe of our Turkey Marinara Sauce or 2 jars (750g) low calorie pasta sauce

 

Method

  1. Cook pasta shells al dente in a large pot of water. Drain and rinse well. Do not over cook or the shells will be hard to stuff.
  2. Combine ricotta cheese, eggs, 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and parsley and mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 230g of sauce evenly over the bottom of the baking dish. Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon of cheese filling and place open side up in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining shells.
  5. Pour remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking another 10-15 minutes or until cheese browns a little.

 

Makes 12 Servings

Serving size: 3 stuffed shells

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 301
total fat: 9 g (26% of calories)
saturated fat 3 g
cholesterol: 37 mg
sodium 328 mg
carbohydrate: 33 g (43% of calories)
protein: 23 g (31% of calories)
fiber: 3 g

 

 

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

Check out our Turkey Meatloaf RecipeTurkey Meatloaf

 Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 teaspoons reduced sodium Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 500g ground turkey breast
  • 230g lean ground sirloin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 16 reduced sodium saltine crackers

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Mix eggs, dried thyme, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, mustard and milk.
  4. Mix ground turkey, ground sirloin, onions and garlic in a large bowl. Add liquid ingredients, parsley and crackers and mix with a fork until mixture doesn’t stick to the bowl. If mixture sticks you can add a little more milk.
  5. Place meat mixture in a 9″x5″ loaf pan. Pour ketchup/brown sugar mixture over the top and bake uncovered for about an hour.

 

Makes 8 servings

Serving Size: 90g

 

nutrients per serving
calories: 251
total fat: 11 g (41% of calories)
saturated fat 4 g
cholesterol: 70 mg
sodium 248 mg
carbohydrate: 12 g (19% of calories)
protein: 25 g (40% of calories)
fiber: 1 g
healthy appetizers

Healthy appetizers from around the world (Includes kangaroo)

Healthy Appetizers

Whether you need quick nibbles to satisfy pre-dinner hunger pangs or you’re hosting a party, this collection of tasty, healthy appetizers is sure to hit the spot. These appetizers are party-ready in 30 minutes or less, and the emphasis is on delicious and healthy ingredients like fresh bell peppers and Australian low fat, high protein Kangaroo meat. You’ll find tasty ideas that will have people eating in no time.

 

Black Bean Hummus Recipe

Check out our Black Bean Hummus RecipeBlack Bean Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can (425g) chick peas
  • 1 can (425g) black beans
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Pita bread or raw vegetables

Method

  1. Drain black beans and chick peas and reserve liquid.
  2. Put all ingredients in a blender (except reserved liquid), cover and pulse-blend until finely chopped.
  3. Add enough of the reserved liquid to reach the desired consistency. Cover and put in fridge for about 2 hours or until chilled.
  4. Serve with wedges of pita bread or raw vegetables for dipping.

Makes 16 Servings Serving Size: 60g

nutrients per serving
calories: 73
total fat: 2 g (31% of calories)
saturated fat trace
cholesterol: 0 mg
sodium 162 mg
carbohydrate: 10 g (54% of calories)
protein: 3 g (15% of calories)
fiber: 3 g

Chicken Satay Recipe

Check out our Chicken Satay RecipeChicken Satay

Ingredients

  • 450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup seafood (hoisin) sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 8 wooden or metal skewers

Method

  1. Place chicken breasts between plastic wrap, flatten gently with a rolling pin to 1cm thickness. Slice each breast into 3 or 4 strips.
  2. Put remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add in the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Set oven to broil (260 °C). Thread chicken pieces onto 8 skewers. Broil 10cm from heat for about 4 minutes each side. Chicken can also be grilled.
  4. (If you use wooden skewers, please soak them in water for 20 minutes to prevent burning.)

Makes 8 servings Serving Size: 1 skewer (approx. 60g)

nutrients per serving
calories: 108
total fat: 1 g (4% of calories)
saturated fat trace
cholesterol: 33 mg
sodium 254 mg
carbohydrate: 10 g (37% of calories)
protein: 15 g (59% of calories)
fiber: trace

Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry BBQ Sauce Recipe

Download Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry BBQ Sauce RecipeTurkey Meatballs with Cranberry Bbq Sauce

Ingredients

  • 600g extra lean turkey breast mince
  • 1 can (450g) jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/6 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Method

  1. Combine cranberry and barbecue sauce. Put in a pot and cook on medium fire until cranberry sauce is melted.
  2. Place egg white in a large bowl and beat lightly. Add turkey, spring onion, orange peel, soy sauce, black pepper and ground red pepper and mix well with hands. Make into 28 balls.
  3. Spray large frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add meatballs and brown evenly. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 1-2 hours or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center.

Makes 14 servings Serving Size: 2 meatballs

nutrients per serving
calories: 116
total fat: 3g (23% of calories)
saturated fat 1g
cholesterol: 26 mg
sodium 129 mg
carbohydrate: 14 g (37% of calories)
protein: 9 g (59% of calories)
fiber: trace

 

Stuffed Fresh Mushroom Recipe

Check out our Stuffed Fresh Mushroom RecipeStuffed Fresh Mushroom

Ingredients

  • 500g large fresh mushrooms (about 24), cleaned and stems trimmed
  • 600g extra lean turkey breast mince
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced spring onions
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/6 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Method

  1. Remove stems from mushrooms; finely chop enough stems to equal 1 cup.
  2. Cook turkey with chopped stems and garlic in a frying pen over medium-high heat until turkey is no longer pink. Spoon off any fat. Stir in bread crumbs, spring onions, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, ginger, egg white and pepper flakes, if desired; mix well.
  3. Brush mushroom caps lightly with the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce; spoon about 2 teaspoons stuffing into each mushroom cap.
  4. Set oven to broil (260 °C). Place stuffed mushrooms on a rack. Broil 10cm from heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until hot.

Makes 12 servings Serving Size: 2 mushrooms

nutrients per serving
calories: 57
total fat: 2g (30% of calories)
saturated fat trace
cholesterol: 15 mg
sodium 193 mg
carbohydrate: 4 g (27% of calories)
protein: 6 g (44% of calories)
fiber: 1g

 

Roast Beef and Cream Cheese Roll Recipe

Check out our Roast Beef and Cream Cheese Roll RecipeRoast Beef and Cream Cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 large whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 9 slices deli roast beef
  • 1 can (225g) mild green chili, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups alfalfa sprouts

Method

  1. Spread 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture on each tortilla and top with 3 slices of roast beef. Place 1/3 of the green chili and 1/3 the alfalfa sprouts on top of the roast beef.
  2. Tightly roll each tortilla and place seam side down on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each tortilla into 6 slices.

Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 3 slices

nutrients per serving
calories: 204
total fat: 6g (29% of calories)
saturated fat 3g
cholesterol: 15 mg
sodium 473 mg
carbohydrate: 26g (51% of calories)
protein: 11g (21% of calories)
fiber: 2g

Kangaroo and macadamia salad recipe

Download Kangaroo and macadamia salad recipeKangaroo and Macadamia Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 dried lemon myrtle leaves (or 1/2 tsp lemon myrtle seasoning)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs macadamia oil
  • 2 tbs Australian Bush Spices Red Meat Blend or chopped fresh thyme
  • 600g kangaroo loin fillets
  • 2 cups each baby spinach and rocket leaves
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (75g) roasted macadamia halves
  • Honey mustard dressing
  • 2 tsp honey mustard
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) macadamia oil

Method

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the lemon myrtle, rosemary leaves, garlic cloves and macadamia oil to a paste.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the spice mix.
  3. Add the kangaroo fillets and turn to coat in the spice mixture.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  5. Heat chargrill pan or barbecue over high heat.
  6. When hot, add the kangaroo fillets and cook for 2-3 minutes each side for medium-rare or until the fillets are cooked to your liking.
  7. Transfer to a plate and rest, covered loosely with foil, for 5 minutes.
  8. For the dressing, whisk the mustard, vinegar and oil in a bowl until combined.
  9. Combine spinach and rocket in a large bowl. Slice the fillets 1cm thick and scatter over the leaves with the onion, capsicum and macadamias.
  10. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.