5 ways to make travel transformational

It’s a truism that travelling broadens the horizons — but nevertheless, expanding your mind and altering your perceptions remain some of the most powerful motivations for taking off on a trip that’s out of the ordinary.

And if you’re not satisfied absorbing new experiences as they arise and hoping that they become catalysts for changing your outlook in life, thankfully there are more instructive ways of ensuring that your next adventure is as inspirational as you hope.

With that in mind, here are five ways to make travel transformational.

  1. Languages

If you’re a bit of a linguist, living in another nation for a year will endow you with near-native fluency.

But you can polish your skills before you leave by downloading language apps like Duolingo to listen to on your phone before testing yourself in your favourite overseas spot.

And with many months of communicating exclusively in a foreign tongue under your belt, your new capability might even lead to a job as an interpreter or translator when you return home.

2. Diet

Switching to a new diet and having the discipline to treat it as a permanent lifestyle change can be extremely cathartic.

It might help you lose weight, combat a medical condition or simply exist in a way which chimes more easily with your conscience.

A specialist holiday is one of the best ways to start a new diet away from everyday distractions — the vegan retreats available at responsibletravel.com are an excellent example.

3. Yoga and meditation

Jetting off into the sunset might clear your mind for a couple of weeks but making time daily for yoga and meditation can ensure that you’re calm and collected for life.

If achieving a Zen-like state is one of your lifetime aims, attending a yoga retreat run by Shamballah in stunning Sintra, Portugal sounds about perfect.

Whether you can spare three days or a full week, it’s a wonderfully fulfilling holiday.

4. Keeping fit

If your preferred fitness regime is a little more energetic than pulling the cow/cat pose, there are ways to go for the burn on holiday even if you’re miles from a gym or sports facilities.

Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups can be completed even in cramped accommodation, so there’s no excuse not to bash out a few after waking in the morning.

Plus, drinking plenty of water, taking stairs rather than elevators and exploring on foot rather than by public transport all contribute to staying lean and mean on your adventure.

5. Studying

Unless you spend your sabbatical stuffed under a blanket, your vacation is bound to be a learning experience in one form or another.

But you can also use a long-term break to earn a formal qualification which helps you switch careers when you return.

For example, studying for an MBA with a provider like Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning might help you set up your own business based on travel or any other industry.

That’s our list! Share your own transformational travel tips in the comments section.

5 reasons Melbourne’s great for gap year travellers

With its sunshine, beaches, mountains, diverse culture and dynamic wildlife, Australia’s a honeytrap millions of travellers make a bee-line for.

And it’s a popular base for adventurers on an extended sabbatical break, but those who overlook Melbourne for better-known Sydney might be missing a trick.

Melburnians will tell you that their city is Down Under’s cultural capital and an all-round brilliant place to live — decide for yourself with these five reasons Melbourne’s great for gap year travellers.

  1. Sports

Melbourne’s a mecca for sports fans — attending the Melbourne Cup Carnival is a must for horse racing fans, but this year, the city and its state Victoria are also hosting the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Australian Open tennis, The Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Australian Boomers V USA basketball.

  1. Beaches

Melbourne’s a paradise for beach bums of all varieties, so you’re sure to find a sweet spot to chill out, surf and people watch while you’re in residence. For starters, Brighton beach has beautiful Victorian-era bathing boxes and genteel swimming, Mentone has a brilliant boardwalk and laid-back vibe, while Blairgowrie Back Beach boasts delicious fish and chips.

  1. Restaurants

Foodies spending an extended break in Melbourne can feat their eyes and fill their bellies with a huge variety of culinary treats in the city’s world-class restaurants. There are many mouth-watering eateries to engage with, but with dishes like sea corn tacos filled with crab custard, and signature sumptuous scampi, eating at South Melbourne’s Lume might be the most inspirational introduction.

  1. Accommodation

If money’s no object, Melbourne hosts some of Australia’s finest hotels. You can lounge at high-end apartment hotels like United Places, live in the lap of old school luxury at The Hotel Windsor or mix with the beautiful people at trendy QT Melbourne. Alternatively, find a clean and central backpacker’s hostel at urbancentral.com.au — the cash you save on more spartan lodgings can be spent on socialising.

  1. Transportation

Getting around Melbourne is easy thanks to its reasonably modern and punctual public transport system, which features buses, trains and trams. Whatever your preference, buying a myki card lets you hop between different modes to maximise efficiency and savings. And if you’re catching a domestic or international flight, the city’s air hub has awesome facilities and amenities — for instance, finding Melbourne airport parking with Looking4.com is easy and, once you’re inside, eateries like Baxa and Billie Chu will make your taste buds tingle with Asian treats.

These five reasons Melbourne’s great for gap year adventurers are only the tip of a terrific travel iceberg but they should whet your appetite enough to ensure it claims a space on your next global trip.

Australia’s blessed with a clutch of cool cities, but for our money, Melbourne might be the pick of the bunch.

Do you have any Melbourne travel tips? Share them in the comments section.

South America Trip Day 8: Nasca lines and tasting wine

Started the day with a small hike up the sand dune to get a morning view over Huacachina and strolling around the morning glow around the oasis. The reflection of the sand dunes in the water is amazing! After that we had a breakfast infront of the oasis to enjoy the view.

Around 12:45 we had to take the bus again. First stop is at a wineyard called el Catado, here we could taste the local Pisco’s and learn about them. The tour was about 45 minutes and included in the Peru hop ticket. We got a tour through the entire winery, and because of the weather and preference of the people of Peru all the wines are sweet. 

After a short tour we tried 4 types of wines and two Pisco types, even bought some souvenirs from there for home!

Back on the bus we passed through the Andes mountains, pretty impressive!

After that we arrived around 17:30 to Nasca to view three of the Nasca lines.
The Nasca lines can be divided in three groups, simple ones with similar lines, geometric figures and the drawings which are the most famous ones. Crossing hands, tree and lizard we could see from the viewing tower. Nice to see it once, but expected it to be bigger.

After that we had lunch in Nasca for 20 soles per person arranged by Peru hop at la Encantana, was not the best but it was okay. We headed to our destination which we are going to reach at 5 am in the next morning: Arequipa.

South America Trip Day 7: Paracas National Park, Ballestas Islands and Huacachina

After waking up, we had to meet at 7:45 am for our first trip: the Ballestas Islands! This place is nicknamed the Poor man’s Galapagos, simply because it is a lot cheaper to see the abundant of wildlife. The islands are a group of rocks located off the Pacific coast near Paracas, housing thousands of birfs and animals like penguins, sea lions, pelicans and other birds.

Oh man, it did not disappoint! We got onto a speedboat with approx 40 other people to head towards the Islands. First we stopped after 10 minutes of boat ride to witness Candelabro, a 2000 year old sand sculpture that is engraved into the Paracas Peninsula. After a few pictures we continued for another 15 minutes to Islas Ballestas.

Man, it was amazing! We saw so many birds on spectacular cliffs made by erosion over the centuries, all of a sudden rocks turn pitch black because of the amount of birds. Penguins roaming around and also hundreds of sea lions (plus babies!) everywhere! Their roars very loud and gives you the chills. Such an amazing spot!

After that we headed back for 30 minutes, at the port some pelicans fishing gave us a show.

After that we ate empanadas from a local vedor for 3 soles a piece and took the Peru hop bus again for the Paracas city tour, also heading to the national reserve.

The reserve is quite impressive, transforming in millions of years from jungle to ocean to desert, giving it a lot of different colors of sand, yellow, black to white.

First stop la Cathedral, a big rock formation in the form of an arch, but this got lost in a earthquake. Two platforms to look from, amazing view!

Second stop is Istmo de la Pennisula, looks like a nice beach side. There are a lot of colors everywhere, thanks to the volcanic activity in the past.

Last stop is the red beach. With a beautiful view on a big red cliff, and a pebble beach it is a great place to catch some wind and relax.

After that we drove one and a half hour to Huacachina, a oasis city just consisting of 8 blocks and 100 inhabitants. Here, sandboarding and dunebuggies are a thing! Through Peru hop we booked for 50 soles each.

Around 16:00 pm we gathered to get the buggy tour started. Man, it was awesome! Our driver, Chino, was driving like crazy. Felt like a rollercoaster the entire trip!
After that we did sandboarding off 6 hills in the dessert. Laying flat on our body and going down with speed, very sweet!
We ended with enjoying the sunset from a desert view and a fast ride back to Huacachina for an astonishing view from the top over the oasis.

We closed the night with a dinner on the roof top of our hostel Desert Nights.

South America Trip Day 6: Tambo Colorado and trip to Paracas

Around 7:00 AM we got picked up by peru hop. Peru hop is a bus that can take you throughout the entire country with a pretty sweet deal.

First stop for breakfast of 40 minutes in Mirasur. This was a weird stop. It looked like a circus.. they had horses “dancing” (was just hopping around), a small swiming pool, some kids slides, an alpaca and some horses, some dune buggies and an overdressed place for food and drinks. We ordered prior in the bus for them to order, and you can get scrambled eggs, avocado sandwich or a pulled pork. Last one was the best, overall not worth the money (we paid 31 soles for two, including drinks). Really a weird touristic spot, recommend you take your own food.

After that we went on a long drive towards Tambo Colorado, a well preserved Inca complex dating back to 1440 a.d.! We spent an half hour here, getting to know about the history of the sight. It is located in the middle of mountains and a river bedding, making it a strategical location. The locals from that time (Andeas tribe) were ruled by Incas and it served as an adminstration sight for them. The inside is a small labyrinth, built like that to make sure intruders could not storm the place. There is also a small museum with some findings and paintings how the sight looked like back in the day. The buildings are made of stone and clay, because in the area there is only one inch of rain per YEAR. So yeah, quite dry. That is why they used clay, which absorbs the heat for the winter and stays cooler during the summer. Some of the stones still show its original red color.

After that 1,5 hours bus ride to our final destination of the day: Paracas!

The afternoon we had no plans, so we just strolled passed the beach. We First went to a restaurant, know that here in Paracas food dishes are a bit more expensive than other places in Peru: between 24 and 45), were I had the local fish curry with an amazing red sauce with white fish and shrimp accompanied with rice and fries while Sam got the famous local raw sea food dishand: Ceviche. This dish can be prepped raw or slowly cooked, having everything from octopus to fish to shrimp in it with a sour sauce, interesting cuisine!
After that we went to the beach to enjoy the sun and at night went to a local bar for some drinks with the rest of the Peru hop people. 

Tomorrow we have our sightseeing trip through Paracas and we are going to the Ballestas Islands!

South America Trip Day 5: Lima, Peru

After waking up around 5:30, Oscar, our guide from the Amazon, has arranged taxis for us. First 25 soles to get to the airport of iquitos with our cab driver Fredy. After a breakfast at the airport we had a two hour flight back to Lima. Here, cab driver Walter, also arranged by Oscar, was waiting for us to take us to our first hostel to collect our luggage and drop us to our hostel in Miraflores, the beautiful neighborhood of Lima. After 45 minutes drive we arrived.

After a quick check in to our hostel condors house, we decided to walk around. We first went to the large shopping mall of Miraflores, Larcomar. Here there are a lot of options for food.

After that we continued to walk to Barranco, the artist district of Lima. Here you can find a lot of typical balconies but also street art everywhere.

From here we walked to the beach for a drink, then got an uber back to Miraflores to huaca pucllana, the inca fortress remains in the city. Unfortunately we came on a Tuesday, only day it is closed for public. But there is a restaurant with a view you can enter for free. Entrance fee normally is 15 soles per adult from 9/17 amd 17 soles from 19/22.

We walked towards the inca market, the big street shopping area of lima, where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs.

we ended the day to enjoy the sunset in the love park. Be sure to walk over the small walls to enjoy the best view ever!

Quick local junk food and back to the hostel for our 6.50 pick up next morning by Peru hop. Next destination: Paracas!

South America Trip: Days 2-4 Iquitos, Amazon of Peru


The alarm bell rings at 3:00 am, after a quick change we get in the cab to the airport to get our 5:30 AM flight to Iquitos with ViaAir. After a very comfortable and beautiful flight, taking us sunrise over the Andes mountains, we arrived at Iquitos. Here, Oscar from Erics Adventure picked us up. First stop, Iquitos centre where Oscar fixed us a local Sim card with 24 GB for 80 soles.

After that we stopped in Iquitos city centre, where a lot of bars and the corners of the amazone can be seen. Especially the plaza is a pretty place to snap some pictures. Not to mention the ferry that has stranded on the dried banks gives a neat view. After that we went to the port, where a big food court is in front of the boat loading dock. Here, we tried some nice local dishes including tortoise eggs and banana tasting like potatoes (5 solas for a meal, 10 for four tortoise eggs).

First stop with the boat: fundo pedrito. A small fish farm who also hosts the world’s smallest monkey, kaimen, tortoises and big paiche fish who you can feed. Normal entrance is 10 USD, we had it included in our tour.

After that we headed to our lodge around 12:30 with a welcome passion fruit drink. 13:00 the drums went for lunch. During the lunch we got fried dorado, bananas that taste like potatoes, palm tree salad and some local fruits.
We had another hour to spare, so what better way then chilling in a hammock!

after that, rubber boots on and off to the locals! 10 minutes with the boat and we arrived to a local tribe, a few ladies wearing traditional wear and their kids. They hand make bracelets, dreamcatchers and other souvenirs (sell for 10 soles each). They painted us with a fruit paint making a difference in married (square) and single (one line on each cheek). After that they made us participate in their traditional dance, got the opportunity to fire a blow gun and buy some things. After that we drove with the boat for a relaxing view.

After dinner we chilled for an hour with Oscar playing the guitar singing local songs. Then we went for an hour long night safari on foot where we saw tarantula, frogs and a lot of other bugs. 21:00 back to get to bed and be fit for day 3.


After a 7:00 am breakfast we left arouns 8:00 am with the boat, first stop: dolphins!

After a 20 minutes or so drive we reached a lake with dozens of dolphins, gray and pink ones, showing their upper parts to breath. For 20 minutes we floated on the water, seeing several dolphins showing us their beauty and lots of birds on the small islands surrounding the lake. After that we switched boats, on our way to the next destination.

For an hour we had to go through a small river seeing a sloth, a lizard and a lot of birds.

Later on we stopped at a spot where the biggest tree of the amazone are located. Walking through a meter deep water and playing Tarzan! We continued to our next stop,a lodge for our lunch. Had to wait for an hour, so hammock time!

After some rice, fish and bananas we went back to our pitstop island, here we visited a shelter for abused wildlife. These creatures get taken by the police from homes who use them as pets and get sent here with a mission, to get back into the wild. In the rescue center we got the chance to get on a picture with a sloth and a huge yellow anaconda. There were also toucans, monkeys, aligators, an anteater and tortoises. Once we went through the whole lot we visited upstairs of the center, here they make their own medicinal oils and alcoholic beverages for impotency and vitame intake. Got to taste them all!

Back on our usual boat for some dolphin sight seeing at 17:00 pm. This time we were not so lucky as in the morning, only one pink dolphin showed his snout. There were a lot more tourists at the lake this time, making it more difficult to spot the dolphins. We headed back for our 19:00 pm dinner and relaxing time.


After another early breakfast we went for our morning program: catching piranha!

First we stopped quick at the dolphins lake once more, and there were a lot jumping everywhere! Pink and gray ones.

After that we stopped at a small bar where we fished for piranha old school style, with a stick and a wire with some chicken on it. Caught 7!

Came back to the lodge around 11:15, some hammock time and lunch at 12 with our freshly caught piranhas, super tasty! Had to pay 12 soles for my two beers, then drove back to iquitos for an hour by boat.

After that our American friends had to leave for their flight and Oscar joined us for a trip over the market to get the chilis they use over here, Sam loved em! Market was huge, lots of souvenirs, herbal medicine, meat, fish and fruits. Weird side note, a lot of vendors are women, giving breast feeding to their newborns and a lot of black vultures are swarming everywhere!

After that Oscar dropped us at our hotel in Iquitos, Saris house.

Quick food at a local fast food joint with chicken leg and rice (19 soles) and chicken breast with fries (18 soles) we were ready for a shower and some sleep.

South America trip: Day 1, arrival to Lima, Peru

As an aftermath of our wedding, we decided to backpack for 5.5 weeks in South America! Can you think of a better honey moon for a travelling couple? I think not!

Early in the morning waking up at Eindhoven to catch our 9:30 am flight to Lima via Amsterdam, great excuse to get up early! 
After my sister dropped us at Schiphol, we were suppose to catch the flight that goes via Paris to Lima. Because of the weather conditions we got a free upgrade from KLM: direct flight at 13:15 to Lima!

After a long wait, our 12 hour journey began. 4 movies, 1 whisky and some beers later we finally reached our destination at 20:00 pm local time: Lima!

Our first trip will be the morning later to visit the Peru part of the Amazon. Because we had to catch the early flight at 5:30 to Iquitos we decided to get a hotel nearby the airport to get a few hours of sleep and to leave our big luggage there. The hotel arranged a pick up for us, which is recommended. There are a lot of Taxis outside the airport and it is hard to see the difference between real and fake. The real cab drivers always show their identification. The 5/7 minute trip costed us 12 soles one way. Before you get in a cab, be sure to either use the ATM or exchange Dollars for soles, else you have to pay more expensive in Dollar.

Once we reached our hostel, packing began for the next day. We booked our flight in advance via Vivaair. Be sure to print your boarding ticket or buy the check in service, else it will cost you 16 USD per person. Luckily the area our hotel was in had a internet café, or something like that with the old school big monitors and printers from the beginning of time, but with some basic Spanish and help from our hostel it was easily arranged.

Quick shower, 4 hour sleep, next stop: Amazon of Peru in Iquitos!

Half day trip to Rhine Falls (Rheinfall), the largest waterfalls of Europe

The Rhine Falls (or in German, Rheinfall) is located on the north of Switzerland, just across the boarder of Germany. The waterfalls are not so high (just 23 meters) but their width (150 meters) makes up for it! If you are on a trip through Switzerland, Rhine Falls is definitely worth a stop!

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Travel the World by RV: Trips for Every Continent 

When most people think of RVing, they think about taking a trip around the US. Maybe seeing a couple of national parks or just going up to a lake for the weekend. But there are destinations all over the world that make for an incredible RV trip that we often don’t think about. Whether it’s Europe, Africa, or Australia, every continent has a route that is sure to change your life. Dreaming of seeing the world? Today we have some incredible trips for you and your RV regardless of the continent you choose.

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