If you’re planning a trip to China, chances are you’ll be hitting Beijing for the Great Wall, Shaghai for the futuristic architecture and Xi’an for a little panda and Terracotta warrior action, but an emmerging destination making a big play for US tourist attention is the city of Suzhou. Located about 60 miles west of Shanghai, the vibrant city of Suzhou (pronounced Sue-Joe) has a long and rich history dating back some 2500 years.
photo credit: Cory Hatchel
With long line ups, delayed flights and crowds of irritated people at the airport, there is no doubt that traveling during the Thanksgiving and holiday season can be a real challenge. As Thanksgiving and ‘the busiest day of the travel year’ approaches, here are a few of my tried-and-true tips on how to survive “terminal madness” at the airport and make your journey more enjoyable during the travel crunch…
When I was a kid, I spent an inordinate amount of time spinning my desk globe, selecting with the touch of one finger where I hoped to travel to someday as an adult. The world had so many far flung exotic destinations that peeked my childhood curiosity. Flash forward a decade or two … that same precocious kid was now working as a professional travel writer, adventure travel expert, top travel influencer and on-camera travel TV host,dedicating much of her life to exploring the globe. Funny how things work out. I’ve had the opportunity to explore the world and experience some life changing adventures:
80 countries, 7 continents and a myriad of weird and wild travel experiences. I worked on a show called Word Travels, a 40-episode TV series about the real lives of travel writers, broadcast worldwide on National Geographic Adventure, Travel Channel UK in over 100 countries and 21 languages. I wrote a book called “Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel” and was featured as a travel expert by such outlets as CNN, ABC Nightline, New York Times, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure, Forbes Traveler, MSNBC, E! News, Outside Magazine, Travel Channel, etc. My mission soon became to empower others with travel tips and tricks so they could turn their own travel dreams into a reality.
While there are an endless amount of awesome things to do and see, I recently wrote an article for Travelocity about some of my favorites. In no particular order, here are my Top 20 Amazing, Life Changing Adventures to Add to Your Bucket List.
As an adventure travel expert, with some 80 countries under my belt, I have many top travel spots around the world, but one that’s closest to my heart is certainly Provence. A scenic region in the southeast, the classic French countryside of Provence boasts sleepy villages, Roman ruins, unparalleled wine tasting, spectacular dining and a rich history of inspiring artists like Cézanne, Picasso and Gauguin. From Cannes, the Mediterranean mecca for moviemakers, to the markets of Marseille, to Saint Rémy de Provence (where Van Gogh painted one of his most famous paintings, The Starry Night), there’s no shortage of celebrated places to visit. I recently wrote an article for Travelocity about my Summer road trip through Provence, one of the most magical regions of France. (Keep reading.)
Tips for Cheap Travel This Summer
Memorial Day weekend often marks the unofficial start of Summer, which means it’s time to start thinking about one of my favorite things….you guessed it…Summer travel! But how do you plan an amazing summer adventure without breaking the bank? As a travel expert, wanted to share a few of my tips and tricks to help make your summer travel more affordable.
When you think about the term ‘adventure’ some extreme images may come to mind: Daredevils base jumping from jagged cliff faces, hurling themselves into the air. Thrill seekers rafting down torrential foaming rivers, darting danger at every bend. Risk takers, with a need for speed, sand boarding down dunes on a quest for their next rush.
For many, adventure is synonymous with such extreme experiences, but adventure can simply be the thrill of the journey into the unknown: that moment when you stray off the beaten path, interact with locals and experience the unexpected beauty with wonder.
As an adventure travel journalist, travel influencer, female travel blogger and travel addict who has been in the business for the past decade, I’ve had the good fortune to experience a spectrum of adventure travel experiences across some 80 countries and all seven continents. Among a few of my most memorable moments: I’ve kayaked with penguins in Antarctica, hiked along the Great Wall of China, camel trekked in Jordan and swam with whale sharks in Mozambique.
While I will admit that some of the world’s most bizarre experiences in some of the world’s most foreign spots do hold an exhilarating appeal (like when I ate deep fried scorpion in Beijing or spent a night in a former prison in Latvia), “adventure” doesn’t have to be extreme or weird or dangerous by nature. You also don’t have to travel all the way to China to infuse a little adventure into your life. There are plenty of adventures to be had close to home, in your own back yard.
There was a time when I knew as much about Puerto Rico as I do about Quantum Physics. Nada. My cultural and historical references for this exotic U.S. territory were limited to lyrics from 1960s musicals (i.e. the catchy “I want to live in America” tune sung in West Side Story, that paints Puerto Rico in a somewhat disparaging light). So what to expect from this Caribbean nation of 3.6 million people, nestled between the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands? A hub for adventure activities across rainforests, oceans, canyons and caves, the country has a lot to offer the thrill-seeking tourist.
As if to welcome our tour group, a thousand wolf-like canines, chained and fierce, howled hauntingly. Pairs of multi-colored eyes (one blue, one brown) calculated our every move. It was a Stephen King novel, Arctic style. There I was in Illusiat, an isolated coastal city in the Western part of Greenland, preparing for my first dog sledding experience.