The New Luxury Travel

The New Luxury Travel

“There has been a dramatic change in how we define the concept of luxury travel over the past few years, largely due to the current economic climate," Engi Bally, Public Relations and Marketing Manager of SilverDoor, told A Luxury Travel Blog. "It has pushed consumers away from conspicuous consumption towards more authentic, simple and genuine experiences that incorporate elements of environmental awareness and social responsibility."

Mother Tongue: Book Review

Mother Tongue: Book Review

Part of me wishes I could be a part of Christine Gilbert's family. In her travel memoir, Mother Tongue: My Family's Globe-Trotting Quest to Dream in Mandarin, Laugh in Arabic, and Sing in Spanish, Gilbert details her experience (trying to) learn several languages. Her ambitious plan, conceived while she was preparing to give birth to her her first child, is to move to immerse herself and her family in three different countries (China, Beirut, and Mexico) to learn three different languages.

Airlines Behaving Badly

Airlines Behaving Badly

United Airlines has changed its employee booking policy. As of Friday, crew members must be booked 60 minutes in advance and cannot bump passengers that are already on a plane. Well, duh. 

This policy change has come about because of a recent incident, captured on video. Normally I don't like to judge an airline or any other company on one incident. Even with video evidence, I'm aware of the fact that I don't know what happened before the cameras started rolling. 

But—wow—this video is crazy.

Change of Summer Plans

Change of Summer Plans

For the past two years, I've been planning a trip to Russia and Mongolia with a friend. Our original plan was to take the Trans-Siberian Railway in the summer of 2015, but that was quickly scrapped for a trek up Kilimanjaro. Last summer, we again changed our minds when she decided she wasn't willing to quit her awesome job as a flight attendant quite yet. 

We've been talking about it all year, but yesterday she confirmed that she, once again, wasn't ready to quit her job. What now?

My Year of Buying Nothing: Winter

My Year of Buying Nothing: Winter

My first "year of buying nothing" started the second day of January in 2010. I was back in southern Ontario after two years in South Korea, and I was working part-time at a local Chapters bookstore. I got the idea from a radio story about a family who had challenged themselves to go a year without buying anything. I was driving home when I heard this on the radio, and I realized Christmas had just passed the week before: I had everything I needed. And more. 

So in 2017, after taking a look at my apartment and everything that's in it, I've decided to give it another shot.

A Surfing Lesson at Ikaria Surf School, Greece

A Surfing Lesson at Ikaria Surf School, Greece

We sat on foam surfboards under a tree on the beach, waiting for our surf instructor to start our afternoon lesson. My board was yellow; Joel, my British, pre-teen surfing companion, had a blue one. While we waited, I asked him about his surfing know-how. He and I both had limited experience (I downplayed my surfing trip to Hawaii and ignored my surfing lesson in Tofino), so I would feel more comfortable. I really am not that good. There was a chalkboard nearby with the name Nikolas written on it, along with a few surfing diagrams, so I figured that was our instructor and his handiwork. (It wasn't.)

Becoming Canadian

Becoming Canadian

"Any day is a good day to become a Canadian citizen," the judge told the crowd of future Canadians, including my Serbian friend, "but this ceremony is occurring during a very special week." I turned to meet the eyes of my friend beside me, my friend's Canadian wife. She and I both thought he was referring to the contentious American election happening that very day, just south of the border. As it turns out, he was referring to Veteran's Week, celebrated around Remembrance Day on November 11. 

It was weird to think of someone becoming Canadian. For most of my life I had taken it for granted, having been privileged with the honour the day I was born.

A Drive Around Chios Island

A Drive Around Chios Island

As Greece's fifth-largest island, it's necessary to rent a car to see all of Chios. Of course, I didn't know this until I got there. I had spent all my research time (which was admittedly not much) on finding a surf spot in Greece, neglecting to really look into what to do on Chios. Other than spending time with the refugees there (and a visit with a friend who was spending her summer across the water in Izmir, Turkey), I had no other plans for my time on the island. 

Upon arrival, I got bored quickly. The port city of Chios is quite small, and beyond cafe-hopping, there wasn't much to do. So I took notes from the in-flight magazine I stole from my flight from Belgrade. They had a feature on Chios, so I made a list of all the highlights and turned that into a road map for a day trip around the island. 

My 2017 Travel Resolutions

I resolve to learn French…again. A few summers ago, I spent five weeks immersing myself in French while living in a small Quebec town. In the mornings, I took French...I resolve to learn French…again. A few summers ago, I spent five weeks immersing myself in French while living in a small Quebec town. In the mornings, I took French classes at the local high school. In the afternoons, I went to workshops and learned more about Québécois culture. In the evenings, I hung out with my homestay family and watched TV and movies en français. And I got pretty good by the end of the summer! 

Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Museum

Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Museum

According to legend, explorer Christopher Columbus could make an egg stand on its end. (If you're curious and near a fridge, try it now before you read on.) Columbus demonstrated this in defence of his discovery of the New World. Surely if he hadn't found it, he was told, someone else would have. Historian Girolamo Benzoni wrote the tale in 1565:

Columbus was dining with many Spanish nobles when one of them said: 'Sir Christopher, even if your lordship had not discovered the Indies, there would have been, here in Spain, which is a country abundant with great men knowledgeable in cosmography and literature, one who would have started a similar adventure with the same result.' Columbus did not respond to these words but asked for a whole egg to be brought to him. He placed it on the table and said: 'My lords, I will lay a wager with any of you that you are unable to make this egg stand on its end like I will do without any kind of help or aid.'