Spicy Cranberry Salsa Recipe

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/spicy-cranberry-salsa-recipe/

Cranberry Salsa RecipeMerry belated Christmas and happy Hanukkah, friends! It’s been a crazy last few months of 2016. I’ve had some new work projects keeping me busy, plus some family health scares, fear for my country’s future, and yes, these goddamn celebrity deaths (I watched Love Actually for the first time last weekend since Alan Rickman died. Then pre-teen crush […]

The article Spicy Cranberry Salsa Recipe originated at EverInTransit.com

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/spicy-cranberry-salsa-recipe/

Cranberry Salsa RecipeMerry belated Christmas and happy Hanukkah, friends! It’s been a crazy last few months of 2016. I’ve had some new work projects keeping me busy, plus some family health scares, fear for my country’s future, and yes, these goddamn celebrity deaths (I watched Love Actually for the first time last weekend since Alan Rickman died. Then pre-teen crush […]

The article Spicy Cranberry Salsa Recipe originated at EverInTransit.com

My List of Must See Things Do When in Austin

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/my-must-see-to-do-list-in-austin/

View of downtown Austin, TX
Austin is known for its incredible music, delicious restaurants and food trucks, excellent university, and vibrant tech scene. It’s a city on the move, where people who love the outdoors, warm weather, and succulent BBQ flock to live. And with its never-ending conferences and music and sports events, it’s one that attracts people from around the world. Austin is a weird little big city that I have yet to see someone not love.

I’ve been living here since May, and in the last couple of months since taking a break from my travels, I’ve buried myself in two things: writing and keeping active (OK, copious amounts of eating and drinking too).

Since you’ve already seen the writing (it’s all the previous blog posts), I want to share some of the favorite things I’ve done in this amazing city (for when you visit — come stay at my hostel, HK Austin, when you do!). I hope they’ll help you fall in love with it just a little more quickly.

Barton Springs

People relaxing at Barton Springs in Austin
Barton Springs is a pool/creek that everyone flocks to in the warm summer months. Fed by a natural cold-water spring in Zilker Park (see below), the city-run Barton Springs Pool features manicured lawns that are great for lounging on and relaxing with your friends. The wide pool gives you plenty of room to float around and cool off, as the temperature can hit 100 degrees in the summer. The pool costs $3 to get into (for residents, but they never ask for proof), and while there’s lots of space around it, I often prefer to lounge on the creek itself. While the banks are rockier and there are fewer places to lounge, it’s free, it’s the same water, and you can drink and eat along it (something that is prohibited in the pool).

Zilker Park

Gardens in Zilker Park in Austin
Zilker Park is in the heart of South Austin and offers many different types of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, jogging, and anything else you can do in a park. Barton Springs (see above) is here, and there’s a botanical garden and the ever-awesome outdoor Umlauf Sculpture Garden, centered on the artistic works of Charles Umlauf.

The Greenbelt

A trail on the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin
Located in south-central Austin, the Barton Creek Greenbelt contains 12 miles of gorgeous trails where you can bike, run, or walk. There are even beautiful limestone bluffs for rock climbing and,—when there’s enough water in the creek — several swimming holes to cool off in. If you are looking to get out and enjoy the nice weather, this is one of the best places to do it. It’s a favorite of everyone in the city and one of the best things about Austin!

Two-stepping

Performers playing at The White Horse in Austin
When in Rome…err, Austin, two-step! Country dancing is all over the city, with the White Horse being the most famous spot (if you go on Wednesday, they give free two-step lessons). The Broken Spoke is another popular place too.

Movie at the Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX
The Alamo Drafthouse is a local institution with multiple locations, where you can watch a movie, drink beer, and order food. Besides showing mainstream movies, they also screen quirky movies and weird previews, host the local Rocky Horror event, and play many classic and cult films throughout the month. This place is more than just a theater, it’s a place for those who love and appreciate film.

LBJ Library

Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin
Lyndon B. Johnson was one of the most powerful US presidents of the 20th century. A complex man, he helped push forward the Great Society, expanding civil rights and the social safety net, while at the same time expanding the war in Vietnam. His presidential library is in Austin, and while it’s not a “hot” thing to do, I highly recommend a visit to learn about one of the most colorful and controversial presidents the country has ever seen.

Rainey Street

Rainey Street in Austin, TX
This nightlife area is filled with old houses that have been converted into bars. Originally the “hipster” part of the city, it’s now mainstream and teems with people on the weekend. Personally, I hate coming here on the weekends: it’s too crowded and there are too many bachelor/ette parties. I find the scene a little too wild for me (though you may not). Instead, my favorite time to visit is for after-work drinks, when there is just the right amount of people to feel busy and exciting but not overwhelming. From Banger’s for Sunday brunch to Clive Bar, Half Step, and Bungalow for drinks, and Craft Bar for craft beer, Rainey is an eclectic and fun place to hang out — as long as you avoid the weekends.

First Thursday

People celebrating at an event in Austin, Texas
One the first Thursday of every month, the South Congress Hotel hosts a huge event with musicians and an all-night happy hour. It’s one of the biggest nights of the month for young professionals and a wonderful a place to have fun, meet new people (Austinites are very friendly), and drink cheap. You don’t want to miss this if you’re in town. It’s one of my favorite monthly social activities.

Drink a cocktail

Drink a cocktail in Austin, TX
While beer and cheap drinks are still king here, there is a growing cocktail bar scene in the city. I’d personally rather drink a cocktail than be at a noisy bar. If you’re looking for the perfect cocktail, try Firehouse Lounge, Floppy Disk Repair Shop, Midnight Cowboy, Garage, Whistler’s (see above), and Weather Up (but only for happy hour, as their drinks are slightly overpriced).

Whistler’s

Lots of whiskeys
This bar on the east side of the city is one of the coolest in town, and when I’m in Austin, you’ll probably find me here (it’s also pretty close to my hostel). You’ll also find a robust whiskey selection, knowledgeable bartenders, a cool crowd, and a giant outdoor patio space. On the weekends, an upstairs mescal bar opens. Whistler’s also hosts one of the most famous food trucks in Austin, Thai Khun, which serves some of the city’s best Thai food (the khao man gai (chicken with rice) is spot on). This is a must-visit bar!

Music

A crowd enjoying music at Stubb's in Austin, TX
Austin’s music scene is world-renowned, and there’s always some live music going on or a big musician in town. You’ll find a lot of music on Sixth Street and in the downtown area. Most of the bars host musicians. Stubb’s is a world-famous music venue downtown and hosts a lot of big-name musicians in its outdoor venue. Try to see a show there if you can!

Eating

Delicious Austin, TX BBQ
Austin’s food scene is damn good (though it needs a few more ethnic places). From BBQ to American to organic to Mexican, you can’t go wrong here. Here are my some of my favorite spots (longer list can be found here) that will help you put on 10 lbs. before you leave:

  • Bar Chi (206 Colorado St., (512) 382-5557, www.barchiaustin.com) – Decent sushi but an unbelievably affordable happy hour (5-7pm each day). My friends and I come here because it satisfies the sushi craving on the cheap!
  • Wu Cho (500 W. 5th St. #168, (512) 476-2469, wuchowaustin.com) – This is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Austin. It serves a very popular dim sum brunch on Sundays. Be sure to come early as it gets packed during dinnertime and Sunday brunch, and the wait for a table can be up to an hour.
  • Launderette (2115 Holly St., (512) 382-1599, launderetteaustin.com) – Located in an old laundromat, this restaurant is one of the hottest spots in town and serves an amazing menu of Americana and seafood, as well as a decent selection of wine. Some of my favorite dishes include crab toast, burrata, okra, Brussels sprouts, and grilled octopus. If you’re coming for dinner, come early, as it fills up fast.
  • Truluck’s (400 Colorado St., (512) 482-9000, trulucks.com) – This is my favorite steak restaurant because it’s one of the few places where you can also get fresh seafood (crab, oysters, lobster). It’s not cheap, but if you want an upscale steak house, try this.
  • Péché (208 W. 4th St., (512) 494-4011, www.pecheaustin.com) – A New Orleans–inspired restaurant serving Bayou food, with a very friendly staff, tasty cocktails, and an extensive whiskey list.
  • La Barbecue (1906 E. Cesar Chavez St., (512) 605-9696, www.labarbecue.com) – BBQ is a matter of perspective. A lot of people say Franklin’s is the best, but La Barbecue is #1 to me. It opens at 11am. Expect two-hour waits during lunchtime, so get here early.
  • Veracruz (1704 E. Cesar Chavez St., (512) 981-1760, veracruztacos.com) – The best food truck in town (conveniently located across the street from my hostel). It makes wonderful breakfast tacos, and the migas was voted #1 in the country. There is never really a line, but service is slow.
  • Torchy’s (multiple locations, torchystacos.com/in/austin) – World famous (and another spot where the president ate), this taco restaurant has multiple locations around town. It lives up to all the hype! The food here is pretty spicy. I’m a big fan of the fried avocado and “trailer park” tacos. Every location is always packed, so expect a wait, especially on the weekends.
  • P. Terry’s (multiple locations, pterrys.com) – This is the best burger bar in town. It’s delicious and cheap (you can get a burger, fries, and a drink for $6 USD), with filling portions. This is one of my all-time favorite spots in Austin, and since it’s close to my house, I tend to eat here too often!
  • Leaf (115 W. 6th St., (512) 474-5323, leafsalad.com) – This new lunchtime salad place is incredible (also the line is long). Its gigantic salad bar has anything and everything you could ever want to put in a salad. It’s one of my favorite places for a healthy meal in Austin.
  • True Kitchen (222 West Ave. #HR100, (512) 777-2430, truefoodkitchen.com) – This new restaurant is incredibly popular with people after work. All its food is natural and organic. You’ll find healthy wraps, salad bowls, sandwiches, and fresh and flavorful seafood, as well as an incredible selection of wine and cocktails.
  • Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar (1400 S. Congress Ave., (512) 291-7300, www.perlasaustin.com)Some of the best seafood and oysters in town!
  • Home Slice Pizza (1415 S Congress Ave., (512) 444-7437, www.homeslicepizza.com) Hands down the best pizza around!
  • Clark’s Oyster Bar (1200 W. 6th St., (512) 297-2525, www.clarksoysterbar.com) – Another awesome spot for seafood, with an incredible oyster happy hour from 3 to 7!

Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market in Austin, TX
Why visit Whole Foods? I mean, they have those everywhere, right? Well, this one is special. This is the original store — and it’s massive. Its salad bar goes on seemingly forever, there are very good restaurants in the store, the rooftop features patio seating, and musicians play on the weekends. It’s an amazing place that is also a popular spot for after-work drinks and Sunday brunches. Stop by at least once to get your fill (and enjoy the walk in beer fridge).

***Austin is a perfect little city, offering visitors a plethora of activities to fill the 3-4 days most people spend here. It’s a city to live in. You don’t really sightsee here; you get active. You go out, hang out, and eat out. Skip most of the local museums, get outside, enjoy the food, the drinks, and the music, and get the most out of one of the best cities in the United States — and the place I call home!

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

The post My List of Must See Things Do When in Austin appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/my-must-see-to-do-list-in-austin/

View of downtown Austin, TX
Austin is known for its incredible music, delicious restaurants and food trucks, excellent university, and vibrant tech scene. It’s a city on the move, where people who love the outdoors, warm weather, and succulent BBQ flock to live. And with its never-ending conferences and music and sports events, it’s one that attracts people from around the world. Austin is a weird little big city that I have yet to see someone not love.

I’ve been living here since May, and in the last couple of months since taking a break from my travels, I’ve buried myself in two things: writing and keeping active (OK, copious amounts of eating and drinking too).

Since you’ve already seen the writing (it’s all the previous blog posts), I want to share some of the favorite things I’ve done in this amazing city (for when you visit — come stay at my hostel, HK Austin, when you do!). I hope they’ll help you fall in love with it just a little more quickly.

Barton Springs

People relaxing at Barton Springs in Austin
Barton Springs is a pool/creek that everyone flocks to in the warm summer months. Fed by a natural cold-water spring in Zilker Park (see below), the city-run Barton Springs Pool features manicured lawns that are great for lounging on and relaxing with your friends. The wide pool gives you plenty of room to float around and cool off, as the temperature can hit 100 degrees in the summer. The pool costs $3 to get into (for residents, but they never ask for proof), and while there’s lots of space around it, I often prefer to lounge on the creek itself. While the banks are rockier and there are fewer places to lounge, it’s free, it’s the same water, and you can drink and eat along it (something that is prohibited in the pool).

Zilker Park

Gardens in Zilker Park in Austin
Zilker Park is in the heart of South Austin and offers many different types of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, jogging, and anything else you can do in a park. Barton Springs (see above) is here, and there’s a botanical garden and the ever-awesome outdoor Umlauf Sculpture Garden, centered on the artistic works of Charles Umlauf.

The Greenbelt

A trail on the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin
Located in south-central Austin, the Barton Creek Greenbelt contains 12 miles of gorgeous trails where you can bike, run, or walk. There are even beautiful limestone bluffs for rock climbing and,—when there’s enough water in the creek — several swimming holes to cool off in. If you are looking to get out and enjoy the nice weather, this is one of the best places to do it. It’s a favorite of everyone in the city and one of the best things about Austin!

Two-stepping

Performers playing at The White Horse in Austin
When in Rome…err, Austin, two-step! Country dancing is all over the city, with the White Horse being the most famous spot (if you go on Wednesday, they give free two-step lessons). The Broken Spoke is another popular place too.

Movie at the Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX
The Alamo Drafthouse is a local institution with multiple locations, where you can watch a movie, drink beer, and order food. Besides showing mainstream movies, they also screen quirky movies and weird previews, host the local Rocky Horror event, and play many classic and cult films throughout the month. This place is more than just a theater, it’s a place for those who love and appreciate film.

LBJ Library

Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin
Lyndon B. Johnson was one of the most powerful US presidents of the 20th century. A complex man, he helped push forward the Great Society, expanding civil rights and the social safety net, while at the same time expanding the war in Vietnam. His presidential library is in Austin, and while it’s not a “hot” thing to do, I highly recommend a visit to learn about one of the most colorful and controversial presidents the country has ever seen.

Rainey Street

Rainey Street in Austin, TX
This nightlife area is filled with old houses that have been converted into bars. Originally the “hipster” part of the city, it’s now mainstream and teems with people on the weekend. Personally, I hate coming here on the weekends: it’s too crowded and there are too many bachelor/ette parties. I find the scene a little too wild for me (though you may not). Instead, my favorite time to visit is for after-work drinks, when there is just the right amount of people to feel busy and exciting but not overwhelming. From Banger’s for Sunday brunch to Clive Bar, Half Step, and Bungalow for drinks, and Craft Bar for craft beer, Rainey is an eclectic and fun place to hang out — as long as you avoid the weekends.

First Thursday

People celebrating at an event in Austin, Texas
One the first Thursday of every month, the South Congress Hotel hosts a huge event with musicians and an all-night happy hour. It’s one of the biggest nights of the month for young professionals and a wonderful a place to have fun, meet new people (Austinites are very friendly), and drink cheap. You don’t want to miss this if you’re in town. It’s one of my favorite monthly social activities.

Drink a cocktail

Drink a cocktail in Austin, TX
While beer and cheap drinks are still king here, there is a growing cocktail bar scene in the city. I’d personally rather drink a cocktail than be at a noisy bar. If you’re looking for the perfect cocktail, try Firehouse Lounge, Floppy Disk Repair Shop, Midnight Cowboy, Garage, Whistler’s (see above), and Weather Up (but only for happy hour, as their drinks are slightly overpriced).

Whistler’s

Lots of whiskeys
This bar on the east side of the city is one of the coolest in town, and when I’m in Austin, you’ll probably find me here (it’s also pretty close to my hostel). You’ll also find a robust whiskey selection, knowledgeable bartenders, a cool crowd, and a giant outdoor patio space. On the weekends, an upstairs mescal bar opens. Whistler’s also hosts one of the most famous food trucks in Austin, Thai Khun, which serves some of the city’s best Thai food (the khao man gai (chicken with rice) is spot on). This is a must-visit bar!

Music

A crowd enjoying music at Stubb's in Austin, TX
Austin’s music scene is world-renowned, and there’s always some live music going on or a big musician in town. You’ll find a lot of music on Sixth Street and in the downtown area. Most of the bars host musicians. Stubb’s is a world-famous music venue downtown and hosts a lot of big-name musicians in its outdoor venue. Try to see a show there if you can!

Eating

Delicious Austin, TX BBQ
Austin’s food scene is damn good (though it needs a few more ethnic places). From BBQ to American to organic to Mexican, you can’t go wrong here. Here are my some of my favorite spots (longer list can be found here) that will help you put on 10 lbs. before you leave:

  • Bar Chi (206 Colorado St., (512) 382-5557, www.barchiaustin.com) – Decent sushi but an unbelievably affordable happy hour (5-7pm each day). My friends and I come here because it satisfies the sushi craving on the cheap!
  • Wu Cho (500 W. 5th St. #168, (512) 476-2469, wuchowaustin.com) – This is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Austin. It serves a very popular dim sum brunch on Sundays. Be sure to come early as it gets packed during dinnertime and Sunday brunch, and the wait for a table can be up to an hour.
  • Launderette (2115 Holly St., (512) 382-1599, launderetteaustin.com) – Located in an old laundromat, this restaurant is one of the hottest spots in town and serves an amazing menu of Americana and seafood, as well as a decent selection of wine. Some of my favorite dishes include crab toast, burrata, okra, Brussels sprouts, and grilled octopus. If you’re coming for dinner, come early, as it fills up fast.
  • Truluck’s (400 Colorado St., (512) 482-9000, trulucks.com) – This is my favorite steak restaurant because it’s one of the few places where you can also get fresh seafood (crab, oysters, lobster). It’s not cheap, but if you want an upscale steak house, try this.
  • Péché (208 W. 4th St., (512) 494-4011, www.pecheaustin.com) – A New Orleans–inspired restaurant serving Bayou food, with a very friendly staff, tasty cocktails, and an extensive whiskey list.
  • La Barbecue (1906 E. Cesar Chavez St., (512) 605-9696, www.labarbecue.com) – BBQ is a matter of perspective. A lot of people say Franklin’s is the best, but La Barbecue is #1 to me. It opens at 11am. Expect two-hour waits during lunchtime, so get here early.
  • Veracruz (1704 E. Cesar Chavez St., (512) 981-1760, veracruztacos.com) – The best food truck in town (conveniently located across the street from my hostel). It makes wonderful breakfast tacos, and the migas was voted #1 in the country. There is never really a line, but service is slow.
  • Torchy’s (multiple locations, torchystacos.com/in/austin) – World famous (and another spot where the president ate), this taco restaurant has multiple locations around town. It lives up to all the hype! The food here is pretty spicy. I’m a big fan of the fried avocado and “trailer park” tacos. Every location is always packed, so expect a wait, especially on the weekends.
  • P. Terry’s (multiple locations, pterrys.com) – This is the best burger bar in town. It’s delicious and cheap (you can get a burger, fries, and a drink for $6 USD), with filling portions. This is one of my all-time favorite spots in Austin, and since it’s close to my house, I tend to eat here too often!
  • Leaf (115 W. 6th St., (512) 474-5323, leafsalad.com) – This new lunchtime salad place is incredible (also the line is long). Its gigantic salad bar has anything and everything you could ever want to put in a salad. It’s one of my favorite places for a healthy meal in Austin.
  • True Kitchen (222 West Ave. #HR100, (512) 777-2430, truefoodkitchen.com) – This new restaurant is incredibly popular with people after work. All its food is natural and organic. You’ll find healthy wraps, salad bowls, sandwiches, and fresh and flavorful seafood, as well as an incredible selection of wine and cocktails.
  • Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar (1400 S. Congress Ave., (512) 291-7300, www.perlasaustin.com)Some of the best seafood and oysters in town!
  • Home Slice Pizza (1415 S Congress Ave., (512) 444-7437, www.homeslicepizza.com) Hands down the best pizza around!
  • Clark’s Oyster Bar (1200 W. 6th St., (512) 297-2525, www.clarksoysterbar.com) – Another awesome spot for seafood, with an incredible oyster happy hour from 3 to 7!

Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market in Austin, TX
Why visit Whole Foods? I mean, they have those everywhere, right? Well, this one is special. This is the original store — and it’s massive. Its salad bar goes on seemingly forever, there are very good restaurants in the store, the rooftop features patio seating, and musicians play on the weekends. It’s an amazing place that is also a popular spot for after-work drinks and Sunday brunches. Stop by at least once to get your fill (and enjoy the walk in beer fridge).

***Austin is a perfect little city, offering visitors a plethora of activities to fill the 3-4 days most people spend here. It’s a city to live in. You don’t really sightsee here; you get active. You go out, hang out, and eat out. Skip most of the local museums, get outside, enjoy the food, the drinks, and the music, and get the most out of one of the best cities in the United States — and the place I call home!

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

The post My List of Must See Things Do When in Austin appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Uruguay’s top 3 luxury beach hotels

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/12/23/uruguays-top-3-luxury-beach-hotels/

Uruguay is often overlooked as a destination in Latin America, a continent which boasts big countries with bigger personalities such as Brazil, Peru and Argentina. However, they say that less is often more, and this is certainly the case with Uruguay. Its perfect climate, pristine beaches and romantic old towns are an ideal setting for […]

Uruguay’s top 3 luxury beach hotels is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Uruguay’s top 3 luxury beach hotels appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/12/23/uruguays-top-3-luxury-beach-hotels/

Uruguay is often overlooked as a destination in Latin America, a continent which boasts big countries with bigger personalities such as Brazil, Peru and Argentina. However, they say that less is often more, and this is certainly the case with Uruguay. Its perfect climate, pristine beaches and romantic old towns are an ideal setting for […]

Uruguay’s top 3 luxury beach hotels is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Uruguay’s top 3 luxury beach hotels appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

How These Kids are Giving Back in Ecuador

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/flyte-ecuador/


“Travel itself is very scarce for me, as I’ve never even commuted outside of the northeastern coast of the United States. Everything from the volunteer work to the small details — such as the different smells of the streets and different tastes of the food — will be exhilarating and memorable.” —Gabriella, student at Excelsior Academy traveling to Ecuador this summer

Travel has the power to change lives for the better. It provides an education one can never receive solely within the walls of a classroom. It teaches you about the world and yourself.

Last year, I started The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE) because I want to give those who aren’t privileged or lucky enough to travel the chance to do so. I wanted to create something that takes kids like Gabriella and shows them that, though it’s a big world out there, we’re all really the same. I wanted to share the positive impact of travel with those less likely to experience it.

The more I travel, the more I realize how alike we all are. Sure, there are cultural differences, but the human experience is a shared one: we all laugh, cry, wish the best for our friends and family, worry about our health, and want to live with meaning. We all complain about the long commute and smile at the beautiful sunset.

As Maya Angelou said, “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

You and I know this to be true. People like us know how important it is to have a global perspective. With the world being more interconnected than ever, understanding it has never been more critical – not only to succeeding as a person but also in our interconnected economy.

Yet there are kids who can’t see beyond their own town, who have never had a chance to meet someone from another country, or travel somewhere distant. They live in depressed communities where the world is just some big “other.”

FLYTE was born so that we could help those who don’t have the resources to do so — and with your help and generosity, we’ve funded two trips already! Because of us, 25 students have seen beyond their borders, volunteered in other countries, interacted with different cultures, and now have a passport (so they can keep seeing more). Students like Kaleb from Atlanta:

“Traveling abroad exposed me to different cultures and prepared me for the diverse community at college. Because of this trip, I’ve decided I’m going to study abroad in college.” —Kaleb, BEST Academy student and FLYTE Crew participant, spring 2016

Today, I couldn’t be more excited to announce that FLYTE has partnered with Excelsior Academy in Newburgh, New York, to send them to Quito, Ecuador, this summer!

Newburgh, once a thriving manufacturing center on the Hudson River, has faced deindustrialization and failed urban renewal attempts that have left the town struggling both financially and socially. Complicating the matter, the Newburgh school district is located in what the FBI has repeatedly named one of the ten most dangerous cities per capita in the United States.

With that in mind, we’re going send 15 Excelsior Academy students to volunteer for ten days in Quito, Ecuador. The students will volunteer at Casa Victoria, a grassroots community betterment program located in a struggling section of Quito, and work with local students helping in an after school program. Not only will they get to experience another culture, country, and continent, but they will also give back while there.

As Excelsior teacher Christine McCartney says, “At Excelsior Academy, we strive to create global citizens who recognize their power to enact change at both the local and global level.”

Here are the students talking about why this is so important to them — and what this trip means to them:

Given today’s climate, I think it is more important than ever to promote global awareness and education, and we’re proud and excited to be doing that with our next FLYTE students from Excelsior!

Thanks to you, FLYTE raised over $88,000 last year to fund two classroom trips abroad – one class from Atlanta went to Mexico and another group from D.C. went to Cuba. Because of those and our 2017 summer trip, 43 students will now have passports, thanks to you!

Today, I’m asking again for your help to send another group of kids overseas. Each trip costs $35,000 to run. I personally donated $15,000 to FLYTE this year and will make another large contribution in the coming year, but the more money we raise, the more students we can affect. We’re part of the Google Giving network now, are applying for grants, and pitching FLYTE to bigger organizations.

But this community is the lifeblood of FLYTE…and without you, we’ll never make this organization fly (get it?! hahaha!).

But, seriously, not only does your donation help fund this ten-day trip, but its impact will continue to ripple outward, into the city of Newburgh, as the students come back and begin to work on community projects in their own town.

Donations can be made via our Crowdrise page (minimum $10). To add some perspective: $100 covers a student’s passport fees, $350 covers accommodation for one of the students, and $2,500 funds an entire student’s trip!! But no matter the size of your donation, every little bit helps us get these kids closer to Ecuador! Moreover, some donation levels get some awesome swag:

$50 – For donations of at least this amount, I’m offering my e-books How to Teach English Overseas and The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking, and my guides to NYC, Paris, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Hong Kong.

$100 – For donations of at least this amount, you will get the e-books and city guides PLUS a signed copy of the print book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and a FLYTE t-shirt (US shipping only).

$250 – For donations of at least this amount, you will get all of the above PLUS an hour of travel planning with me, a souvenir from Ecuador, and a thank you card from the students!

Excelsior Academy Goes Global on Crowdrise

Additionally, as FLYTE is a registered 501(c)(3), your donation is fully tax deductible (if you’re in the US)!

If you are thinking about giving to an organization this holiday season, please consider donating to help us take our next student explorers to Ecuador!

Every donation makes a difference, no matter how big or small.

Together we can continue to give back and spread the travel love!

Thank you again for supporting this amazing cause. It means the world to these kids, their parents, and their teachers.

With love,

Nomadic Matt

P.S.Here’s the link to fundraising campaign again!

P.P.S. – Here’s a super awesome and shareable Adobe Spark page that has all the essential information you want to know about FLYTE! You can share this page with your friends, family, and on social media! Please help up spread the word!

The post How These Kids are Giving Back in Ecuador appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/flyte-ecuador/


“Travel itself is very scarce for me, as I’ve never even commuted outside of the northeastern coast of the United States. Everything from the volunteer work to the small details — such as the different smells of the streets and different tastes of the food — will be exhilarating and memorable.” —Gabriella, student at Excelsior Academy traveling to Ecuador this summer

Travel has the power to change lives for the better. It provides an education one can never receive solely within the walls of a classroom. It teaches you about the world and yourself.

Last year, I started The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE) because I want to give those who aren’t privileged or lucky enough to travel the chance to do so. I wanted to create something that takes kids like Gabriella and shows them that, though it’s a big world out there, we’re all really the same. I wanted to share the positive impact of travel with those less likely to experience it.

The more I travel, the more I realize how alike we all are. Sure, there are cultural differences, but the human experience is a shared one: we all laugh, cry, wish the best for our friends and family, worry about our health, and want to live with meaning. We all complain about the long commute and smile at the beautiful sunset.

As Maya Angelou said, “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

You and I know this to be true. People like us know how important it is to have a global perspective. With the world being more interconnected than ever, understanding it has never been more critical – not only to succeeding as a person but also in our interconnected economy.

Yet there are kids who can’t see beyond their own town, who have never had a chance to meet someone from another country, or travel somewhere distant. They live in depressed communities where the world is just some big “other.”

FLYTE was born so that we could help those who don’t have the resources to do so — and with your help and generosity, we’ve funded two trips already! Because of us, 25 students have seen beyond their borders, volunteered in other countries, interacted with different cultures, and now have a passport (so they can keep seeing more). Students like Kaleb from Atlanta:

“Traveling abroad exposed me to different cultures and prepared me for the diverse community at college. Because of this trip, I’ve decided I’m going to study abroad in college.” —Kaleb, BEST Academy student and FLYTE Crew participant, spring 2016

Today, I couldn’t be more excited to announce that FLYTE has partnered with Excelsior Academy in Newburgh, New York, to send them to Quito, Ecuador, this summer!

Newburgh, once a thriving manufacturing center on the Hudson River, has faced deindustrialization and failed urban renewal attempts that have left the town struggling both financially and socially. Complicating the matter, the Newburgh school district is located in what the FBI has repeatedly named one of the ten most dangerous cities per capita in the United States.

With that in mind, we’re going send 15 Excelsior Academy students to volunteer for ten days in Quito, Ecuador. The students will volunteer at Casa Victoria, a grassroots community betterment program located in a struggling section of Quito, and work with local students helping in an after school program. Not only will they get to experience another culture, country, and continent, but they will also give back while there.

As Excelsior teacher Christine McCartney says, “At Excelsior Academy, we strive to create global citizens who recognize their power to enact change at both the local and global level.”

Here are the students talking about why this is so important to them — and what this trip means to them:

Given today’s climate, I think it is more important than ever to promote global awareness and education, and we’re proud and excited to be doing that with our next FLYTE students from Excelsior!

Thanks to you, FLYTE raised over $88,000 last year to fund two classroom trips abroad – one class from Atlanta went to Mexico and another group from D.C. went to Cuba. Because of those and our 2017 summer trip, 43 students will now have passports, thanks to you!

Today, I’m asking again for your help to send another group of kids overseas. Each trip costs $35,000 to run. I personally donated $15,000 to FLYTE this year and will make another large contribution in the coming year, but the more money we raise, the more students we can affect. We’re part of the Google Giving network now, are applying for grants, and pitching FLYTE to bigger organizations.

But this community is the lifeblood of FLYTE…and without you, we’ll never make this organization fly (get it?! hahaha!).

But, seriously, not only does your donation help fund this ten-day trip, but its impact will continue to ripple outward, into the city of Newburgh, as the students come back and begin to work on community projects in their own town.

Donations can be made via our Crowdrise page (minimum $10). To add some perspective: $100 covers a student’s passport fees, $350 covers accommodation for one of the students, and $2,500 funds an entire student’s trip!! But no matter the size of your donation, every little bit helps us get these kids closer to Ecuador! Moreover, some donation levels get some awesome swag:

$50 – For donations of at least this amount, I’m offering my e-books How to Teach English Overseas and The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking, and my guides to NYC, Paris, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Hong Kong.

$100 – For donations of at least this amount, you will get the e-books and city guides PLUS a signed copy of the print book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and a FLYTE t-shirt (US shipping only).

$250 – For donations of at least this amount, you will get all of the above PLUS an hour of travel planning with me, a souvenir from Ecuador, and a thank you card from the students!

Excelsior Academy Goes Global on Crowdrise

Additionally, as FLYTE is a registered 501(c)(3), your donation is fully tax deductible (if you’re in the US)!

If you are thinking about giving to an organization this holiday season, please consider donating to help us take our next student explorers to Ecuador!

Every donation makes a difference, no matter how big or small.

Together we can continue to give back and spread the travel love!

Thank you again for supporting this amazing cause. It means the world to these kids, their parents, and their teachers.

With love,

Nomadic Matt

P.S.Here’s the link to fundraising campaign again!

P.P.S. – Here’s a super awesome and shareable Adobe Spark page that has all the essential information you want to know about FLYTE! You can share this page with your friends, family, and on social media! Please help up spread the word!

The post How These Kids are Giving Back in Ecuador appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/travel-personal-development/

man sitting on a mountain while traveling
With the explosion of websites, podcasts, and conferences teaching you how to improve your life (this one being no exception), it’s clear many of us want to become a better version of ourselves. We all want to be the person we imagine we could be if given just the right circumstances.

We want to learn more languages.

We want to be less awkward in social situations.

We want to eat better.

We want to read more.

We want to work out more.

We want to travel more.

We want to be more active.

We want to be more independent.

The list goes on and on!!

So often we go through life without really thinking about where we are heading. One day turns into the next and all those things we desire to do and become seem to pile up while we look for the perfect day to start.

Over the last year, I’ve had my ups and downs and have been working hard to make changes to my life. It takes a lot of work to change. Even one or two changes to change your life requires concentrated effort and persistence. But to make a hundred changes? That is biting off more than you can chew. No one has the mental energy or time to do that.

That’s why most new year’s resolutions fail. We create a long list of things to accomplish in the new year but, in the end, most of us give up, overwhelmed by all we want to do.

So when people tell me all the ways they want to improve their lives, my advice to them is to travel for one simple reason:

Travel solves a plethora of self-improvement goals in one fell swoop.

Picture this: You’ve booked a flight to Kiev. You don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. And, to top it off, you’re going alone. You land in Kiev. Now, you have to navigate signs in a different language, ask people who probably don’t speak your language well for directions (maybe pantomime and point at maps indicating where you want to go), get to your hostel, make friends in the dorm (no one wants to be alone), and get around and sightsee the city during your stay.

By the time you leave, you’ve learned how to communicate even when you don’t speak the language, figured out how to navigate an unknown place, learned to turn strangers into friends, learned how to be independent, and solved a slew of problems that came up as you made your way around a foreign country.

During one trip, you got better at communication, problem solving, languages, social situations, and improved your confidence in your ability to do new things and handle unexpected situations.

Why? Because you had to. You had no other choice.

And you didn’t even know you were doing it.

People always ask me about the moment I realized I “changed.” While there are moments in your life that ripple through the years, for me, there was no single instance that I can point to that turned me from a shy introvert who never traveled to someone able to plop down in any city, find my way, and turn strangers into friends. It was a process that happened slowly over time.

Before I set out on my first trip around the world, I had never really lived outside my state, hadn’t traveled much, had a small group of friends, and had only been in one relationship.

I was a nerdy introvert. While the old parts of me are still there (I’ll still gravitate towards my friends at a party rather than talk to someone I don’t know), it’s become a lot easier for me to talk to new people when there’s no one familiar around. While I still run through all the “what ifs” when I get on a plane to a new destination, when I land I hit the ground running (and wonder why I was ever worried in the first place).

Traveling forced me out of my routine. It helped me become independent, take more risks, be ok with change, get better with people, learn more, and be more versatile.

Travel is not some panacea. The baggage you have comes with you on the road. There is no place far enough away to escape your problems. But what travel does is give you the space to be someone else and improve your life. It allows you to say “What would the new me do?” and then do it – without worrying that someone you know might notice. It puts you into situations that force you to better yourself. It won’t instantly solve your problems — only you can do that — but at least, on the road, you have a clean slate to try.

As the new year approaches and you create your list of resolutions, cross them all off, and just write one down: to travel alone more.

It is the ultimate way to become a better, more confident you.

The post Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/travel-personal-development/

man sitting on a mountain while traveling
With the explosion of websites, podcasts, and conferences teaching you how to improve your life (this one being no exception), it’s clear many of us want to become a better version of ourselves. We all want to be the person we imagine we could be if given just the right circumstances.

We want to learn more languages.

We want to be less awkward in social situations.

We want to eat better.

We want to read more.

We want to work out more.

We want to travel more.

We want to be more active.

We want to be more independent.

The list goes on and on!!

So often we go through life without really thinking about where we are heading. One day turns into the next and all those things we desire to do and become seem to pile up while we look for the perfect day to start.

Over the last year, I’ve had my ups and downs and have been working hard to make changes to my life. It takes a lot of work to change. Even one or two changes to change your life requires concentrated effort and persistence. But to make a hundred changes? That is biting off more than you can chew. No one has the mental energy or time to do that.

That’s why most new year’s resolutions fail. We create a long list of things to accomplish in the new year but, in the end, most of us give up, overwhelmed by all we want to do.

So when people tell me all the ways they want to improve their lives, my advice to them is to travel for one simple reason:

Travel solves a plethora of self-improvement goals in one fell swoop.

Picture this: You’ve booked a flight to Kiev. You don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. And, to top it off, you’re going alone. You land in Kiev. Now, you have to navigate signs in a different language, ask people who probably don’t speak your language well for directions (maybe pantomime and point at maps indicating where you want to go), get to your hostel, make friends in the dorm (no one wants to be alone), and get around and sightsee the city during your stay.

By the time you leave, you’ve learned how to communicate even when you don’t speak the language, figured out how to navigate an unknown place, learned to turn strangers into friends, learned how to be independent, and solved a slew of problems that came up as you made your way around a foreign country.

During one trip, you got better at communication, problem solving, languages, social situations, and improved your confidence in your ability to do new things and handle unexpected situations.

Why? Because you had to. You had no other choice.

And you didn’t even know you were doing it.

People always ask me about the moment I realized I “changed.” While there are moments in your life that ripple through the years, for me, there was no single instance that I can point to that turned me from a shy introvert who never traveled to someone able to plop down in any city, find my way, and turn strangers into friends. It was a process that happened slowly over time.

Before I set out on my first trip around the world, I had never really lived outside my state, hadn’t traveled much, had a small group of friends, and had only been in one relationship.

I was a nerdy introvert. While the old parts of me are still there (I’ll still gravitate towards my friends at a party rather than talk to someone I don’t know), it’s become a lot easier for me to talk to new people when there’s no one familiar around. While I still run through all the “what ifs” when I get on a plane to a new destination, when I land I hit the ground running (and wonder why I was ever worried in the first place).

Traveling forced me out of my routine. It helped me become independent, take more risks, be ok with change, get better with people, learn more, and be more versatile.

Travel is not some panacea. The baggage you have comes with you on the road. There is no place far enough away to escape your problems. But what travel does is give you the space to be someone else and improve your life. It allows you to say “What would the new me do?” and then do it – without worrying that someone you know might notice. It puts you into situations that force you to better yourself. It won’t instantly solve your problems — only you can do that — but at least, on the road, you have a clean slate to try.

As the new year approaches and you create your list of resolutions, cross them all off, and just write one down: to travel alone more.

It is the ultimate way to become a better, more confident you.

The post Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

The 5 best places to spend Christmas abroad

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/12/19/the-5-best-places-to-spend-christmas-abroad/

Our favourite destinations for Christmas getaways involve lots of sunshine and warm weather.  It’s hard to beat the idea of escaping the short wintery days, swapping your Christmas jumper and grey skies for a swimsuit and two weeks of beautiful sunshine. Here are some of the best places to visit at Christmas time: Barbados Being […]

The 5 best places to spend Christmas abroad is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post The 5 best places to spend Christmas abroad appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/12/19/the-5-best-places-to-spend-christmas-abroad/

Our favourite destinations for Christmas getaways involve lots of sunshine and warm weather.  It’s hard to beat the idea of escaping the short wintery days, swapping your Christmas jumper and grey skies for a swimsuit and two weeks of beautiful sunshine. Here are some of the best places to visit at Christmas time: Barbados Being […]

The 5 best places to spend Christmas abroad is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post The 5 best places to spend Christmas abroad appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.