Total Travel TAG
tips | advice | guides
Uluwatu Temple, Bali
Coming Issue 2
Total Travel TAG Magazine | 1
A Note From
Well, here we are. The historic first issue of the Total Travel TAG digital magazine. We
have been working hard since August last year to make this happen. Many bourbon
biscuits and lucozade fueled nights have been had.
We now have nearly 5,000 subscribers. All this before we even launched the first issue.
Growing more, and more daily.
We have been going through all 350 submissions we recieved during the submission
window. We had so many great stories that didnt make the magazine. But, we will be
adding the best ones that didnt make it, along with all the ones in here, to our new Total
Travel TAG website. We hope to have this all ready to go live over the next couple of
The great thing about our digital magazine, is that we have placed clickable links
everywhere. You will be able to click writers social media links, websites, and links within
the text itself.
We will be experimenting with video content over the next few issues. All videos that
we do include will be viewable in the magazine itself. None of this clicking away malarky.
So, without further ado. We welcome you to the first Total Travel TAG digital magazine.
We would love to hear your feedback. So, give us a follow, and let us know what you
would like to see from issue 2 and beyond.
Lee Webber and Tina Bennett
Things to do in...
Off the beaten track
World food pictures
How I fucked up
BECOME A CONTRIBUTOR
We are always looking for people wanting to share
their experiences ith the world.
Whether this is with words, pictures, or both. At
this stage we are unable to pay you for these
contributions. We cant even pay ourselves at the
moment. But we are hoping this will change over
the next 12-18 months.
Coutesy of Bao Vo
1717 meters above sea level, Mount Batur
(Gungung Batur) is one of the few active
volcanoes on Bali, Indonesia. A middle-ofthe-night
trek takes you to the summit, for a
stunning sunrise and incredible panorama of
Mount Agung and Mount Rinjani (Lombok).
If you still want to contribute towards the next
issue, and beyond. Just click, yes, click on the link
2 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 3
Look at our World
week before our next adventure
By far, and away the best element
for me was spending valentines
day in Paris with Tina. Although
the weather was horrendous most
of the day. It was great to see all
the sights with the one I love. A
close second would be meeting
our good Friends Markus, and
Anja from Zornheim, Germany.
We asked to stay for three nights
but was invited to stay for 6.
Not being sure, we said yes, with
trepidation. I have to admit;
Markus and Anja are some of the
most beautiful, and friendliest
people we have ever met. They
even helped us out when our host
in Belgium let us down 2 nights
before we were due to arrive.
True lifesavers! It even meant I
had the chance to experience a
Bundesliga match. All while Tina
was indulging in some German
cheesecake, and tea.
We finally made our way to Paris.
Purposely planned so we could be
in the city of love for valentines
day. It’s just a shame the weather
did not play ball.
None the less, we saw all the
sights that you need to see when
you visit Paris.
It was then just a week until
heading to Australia and the next
huge adventure to begin.
We can’t wait to tell you all about
our Australia adventure in the next
“We were treated
like VIP’s on our
way to Brisbane.
Sitting in economy,
but being served
business class food.
Our First Year
from Look at our World
So, it was back in July of 2015. Tina woke
me up, so softly. She had been up for hours
already, coming up with a name for our travel
This is when Look at our World was born. So,
now what? We had our name, but we had
little else. We lacked social media accounts,
and we certainly didn’t know if any handles
we wanted were available.
We had no idea that, on that July morning in
a single room in a house share in Brighton,
UK. We would be sitting here now, piecing
together our first magazine.
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA DO WE
So, we thought, and we thought some more.
What channels are we going to have? At this
point, it was only a diary, and somewhere for
our friends and family to see what we were
We settled on Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram. We knew that these were the
easiest to maintain while on the road. Who
knew when we would have WiFi, so keeping
the number of social media to a minimum was
Before we knew it, a whole day had come and
gone. Just with social media! However, that
was the easy part; the next part was creating
Thankfully, lookatourworld.com and .co.uk
were free. I must have spent 16 hours a day
for the next two weeks, crafting, and building
this site. Looking at the user interface and
how the end user would navigate the site
itself. It was only recently; we received a score
of 100 for our user experience. Happy days,
and made me very pleased indeed.
It was not without problems, one instance
we can remember was when the whole site
crashed, and all the days of custom CSS had
vanished! So, a sleepless night later, it was
fixed in 30 minutes. So, if anything learned
from this. Sometimes, you need to step back,
take a deep breath, and come back to it later.
The website you see now when you visit our
page has not changed much over the course
of the past 12 months.
SO, WHERE SHALL WE GO?
With no money saved (we didn’t think about
this too much before leaving our jobs). We
started selling everything we owned that was
not of sentimental value. So, bye, bye car. Bye,
bye Xbox One (this turned out to be a nasty
sell. There is more about this on our website).
Before long, we had sold everything we were
going to sell.
Now, was the time for the
Where to go? Where do we sleep? How
long do we spend in each place? These were
all valid, and important questions. So, to
cut a long story short. We had planned a
6-week tour around the UK and western
Europe. Everything was planned and secured.
Every single night was to be spent with a
CouchSurfer. However, then, my operation
date was postponed for a month. Putting all
my plans down the drain. Well, almost all of
them. All but our few days in Cornwall, and
then three days in Wales.
SO, LET US PICK UP AFTER
CHRISTMAS AND OUR TRIP
So, we spent Christmas and New Year back
in England. With a date set for the middle
of January to embark on our 6 week tour
around the UK and Western Europe. Visiting
Hartlepool, Halifax, Castricum, Dortmund,
Zornheim, Cumstadt, Zornheim, and then
Paris (for valentines day. I know, how romantic
am I). All before heading back to the UK for a
We went from zero to 5,000
followers in just under 4 months.
It was crazy!
4 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 5
THINGS TO DO
AROUND THE WORLD
Muskoka Lakes, Ontario
The Big Sur
Pushkar & Ajmer
Ho Chi Minh City
We all wonder about things to while we are on our holidays.
We visit places we have never been to before, yes, we
look at places before we go. But you never know what its
So, we have some great things to do from around the world. From
the bustling Ho Chi Minh City through to the pictureqsue Lofoten
Island in Norway.
Over the next few pages you will find yourself wanting to visit all
these far flung places. I know we have since be inspired to visit all of
the places featured.
Have a good read, and we are certain there is somewhere you will
want to visit next week.
Please note that the opinions and views expressed are the personal
opinions of the writer and not necessarily those of this magazine, we
hope you love them as much as we do”
6 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 7
and have a
great time... you
will fall in love
with it. Just like I
brewing process of the world famous beer. After the tour, you can get a free pint of Guinness
at Gravity Bar which offers you an incredible 360-degree view of Dublin City.
ST. STEPHEN’S GREEN PARK
This park is one of my favourite places in Dublin, and when I am in the city, I am always going
there. St. Stephen’s Green is located in the centre of the city. The main entrance lies at the
end of Dublin’s main shopping street - Grafton Street. It is a perfect place to relax and escape
the hectic pace of the city. You can also take beautiful photos here of the fountains, trees, or
It is Dublin’s main shopping street but also expensive. At the south end of this busy street lies
the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. On three floors you can buy clothes, food, or gifts.
The main reason I love Grafton Street so much are the many talented street musicians you
can find here. During my six weeks stay in Dublin, I sometimes went to Dublin City after work
and enjoyed street music. If I hear great music, I just have to stop and listen.
Ireland’s oldest university was founded in 1592
by Elizabeth I. Many famous people have studied
here. Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and Bram
Stoker are only a few of them. Worth a visit is the
Old Library with the Book of Kells from the 9th
century. It is said to be the most beautiful book in
the world. The Long Room houses over 200.000
books. George Lucas used the Long Room as
inspiration for “Star Wars: Episode II”.
Even Barack Obama
was here to taste
a pint of the “black
Things to do in...
Seven years ago I visited Dublin for the first time. It is a city
that immediately captivates you. Dublin has this unique
atmosphere: The street music, the pubs, the architecture
and it is a place full of history. However, above all the
people make your trip to Dublin something special you
will never forget. You often read that the Irish are always
friendly and helpful. Moreover, that is true. It is easy to
make friends here because they are so welcoming and
kind. You feel like you are home. Even driving a cab was
fun because the taxi drivers were so friendly and always
had interesting stories to tell. I had the opportunity to live
and work in Dublin for six weeks during an internship and the people I got to know
made my stay an unforgettable experience.
After my first visit to Dublin, I swore that I would definitely come back and I have
returned several times since then. One of my hobbies is photography, and Dublin
offers you great photo opportunities with its old buildings and beautiful nature in
places like Howth and Malahide which are not far away from the city centre and can
be easily reached by bus. Of course, I visited the well-known tourist attractions, and
now I want to show you those places which you should see when you are in Dublin.
Dublin Castle was built in the 13th century. Today
it is used for the inauguration of the president.
You can do a 45-minute tour through the State
Apartments. If you want to learn something about
the Irish history, I can recommend this guided tour.
Although it is crowded most of the time, it is worth
a visit. Here you can find pubs, restaurants, and
cafes. In the famous bar with the same name, you
can listen to Irish live music seven days a week.
It is one of the largest city parks in Europe. Here
you can find a large herd of wild deer. Dublin Zoo
which is located in Phoenix Park is the third oldest
zoo in the world and houses over 400 animals.
You can go on board of the re-created famous tall
ship which sailed to America during the famine era.
This guided tour shows you what the passengers
experienced on their journey to the “New World.”
If you want to escape the busy city I have a special
tip for you: Just take the bus to the coastal town
Howth where you can walk along the stunning
coastline. At the end of the cliff walk, you will
see the Baily Lighthouse. Alternatively, you can
enjoy a meal at Howth Harbour. You have lots of
restaurants which serve seafood.
Don’t forget your camera and have a great time in
Dublin! I am sure you will fall in love with this city
just like me
Barack Obama visiting the Guinness Storehouse
It is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Dublin and my opinion a mustsee.
Even Barack Obama was here to taste a pint of the “black stuff.” On seven floors
you get the ultimate Guinness experience and learn a lot about the history and the
8 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 9
Things to do in...
DEAD VLEI/ HIDDEN VLEI/ SOSSUSVLEI:
These spectacular attractions are situated in the Namib-
Naukluft Nationalpark, which is Africa’s largest conservation
area. The whole national park is a dream for photographers
and pictures one of a fascinating landscape on earth. The red
sand dunes are some of the highest in the world by reaching
almost 400 meters. Together with their black shadows,
rocky mountains, rolling plains, animals, and plants, they
create a stunning atmosphere and one of the most incredible
ecosystems in the world.
Sossusvlei is said to be the most popular vlei, whereas Dead
Vlei might be the most beautiful one. It is characterised by
pitch-black Dead Camel Thorn Trees, a white clay pan and
rusty-red sand dunes, such as Big Daddy, which is supposed
to be the highest one in the world.
Its entry is for free, even though you can book guided tours
if you want to. If you want to find untouristic Hidden Vlei (as
the name tells), you should go with a navi in your car where
this vlei is marked. Note: Dead Vlei is only reachable by foot
(15-20 minutes walk), so make sure to take enough water
Tip: Another nice way
of experiencing this
oldest desert of the
planet is in a hot air
This 22.000 m² area gets its name from a large 5.000 m²
endorheic Etosha salt pan and is the right place for any
safari. The national park is home to hundreds of species of
mammals, birds, and reptiles, including several threatened
species such as the black rhinoceros. We got to see the ‘Big
5’ within three days doing our non-guided safari tour. In
every camp, you should check the safari books, where which
kind of animal was seen the other day. The fee is 5€/day per
Person and 70ct for a car. This is a lot cheaper than booking
a safari tour! Because it is a huge national park, it is easy to
from the Day Travels
The city was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German
South-West Africa and is an excellent example of German
colonial architecture. Today, a small part of its population is
still German-speaking. While driving along Skeleton Coast,
you can hardly miss it!
Tip: Get excellent dinner in a simple restaurant named
CAPE CROSS SEAL RESERVE:
On your way, you should totally stop at Cape Cross, which
is a small headland in the South Atlantic Skeleton Coast.
This protected area is home to one of the largest colonies of
Brown Fur Seals in the world. Even though it costs you 3,40€
to get in, it is worth seeing it.
This canyon is the largest in Africa, as well as the
second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia. Even
though you might finally meet other backpackers, it is
entirely worth hiking there. There are some footpaths,
the longest follows 88 km of the Fish River and usually
takes five days. Important to know is that there are no
amenities on the trail and hikers have to carry all their
needs with them. Excellent public viewpoints are near
the camping side Hobas (of course, they are for free)!
Also, visit the hot springs resort of Ais-Ais at the lower
end of the Fishriver-Canyon. We spent a night there
and just loved its comfortable atmosphere.
I am addicted to this place! It is all and only about quiver
trees, but they depict a prime photo motive. This place
is hard to find; it is 13km north of Keetmanshoop on
the road M29. You need to watch out for a small sign
telling you when to leave the main road. Its entrance
is for free, and the campgrounds around are cheap (3-
10 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 11
Things to do in...
Did you ever stop in at a town or city, just
passing through, only to realise you
have fallen in love with the place and
you never want to leave? Ever?
It was like that for me and Seville, Spain.
I was two weeks into an epic ten week trip
around Europe with my primary focus being
Spain. Seville was merely a stop off on my
way to visit a couple of friends in Portugal,
and then a returning transit stays on my
journey around Spain.
The plan was a couple of nights, look around
at the “sights” then head on to my dream
Oh regrets, I have had a few! - Like, why
couldn’t I have spent a few more days, a
week…nay, a MONTH in the beautiful city of
My hostel was situated in a grand old
building near Seville’s beautiful and imposing
Cathedral and right in the heart of the Old
Town too. It was surrounded by lovely old
buildings and cobblestoned alleys, lively bars,
cafes, and shops.
It was also a short stroll to The Alcazar, an
exotic Moorish Palace full of history, and
Seville’s answer to Granada’s Alhambra.
Oh the Alcazar, what a stunning place to visit!
From the moment you pass through the fiery
red gates, you are surrounded by intricately
carved walls, archways, pillars, colourful tiles,
fountains, and lush gardens.
The entrance fee is €9.50 (free for children
under 16, people with disabilities, and
residents); and is open from 9.30am-7.00pm
(April to September, and until 5 pm October
I recommend getting there as early as possible
– not only to beat the crowds (and the heat!)
but once they reach their maximum capacity
of 750, they will deny access.
The Alcazar is right opposite Seville’s
enormous Cathedral of Saint Mary of the
See (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede),
better known as Seville Cathedral which is
the largest Gothic cathedral (and 3rd largest
church) in the world. It dominates this part
of the city and is just breathtaking to admire
from the outside. Although I did not step
inside, I was told by fellow travelers that it
was stunning and a definite must-see… that
is one for my next visit!
Seville is a beautiful city to explore either
by foot through the labyrinthine alleyways
flanked by gorgeous old buildings, or by the
river on one of the many boat tours available.
Traveling this was is a lovely way to get a
different perspective of this great ancient city
– history, architecture, bridges, graffiti, and
local life appear in abundance as you cruise
along the Guadalquivir River. Make sure you
wear a hat, as a lot of these boats lack covers
on their roof decks!
Then, it is off to a cool bar for a glass of local
Vino Naranja – a refreshingly sweet, chilled
orange wine made in the Andalusian region.
On my last night in Seville, I decided to visit
Aire de Seville: a beautiful Turkish Bathhouse
situated in a 16th-century mansion built on
the foundations of a 1st century AD Roman
ruin. For €31 (€34 Fri-Sun) you can spend
90 minutes soaking in the sensations of the
Warm Bath, Hot Bath and Cold Bath, the
Thousand Jet Stream Room, the Steam bath
(or Hammam), before finishing up with a
relaxing float in the Salt Bath. Massages are
also available at an extra cost.
Seville is worth visiting: full of culture,
stunning architecture, great food, people, and
plenty to see. Be warned, though: it can be
scorching in high summer… but that is why
the Spanish invented siestas!
Courtesy of Kwangil Yoo
Luang Prabang, Laos
12 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 13
Things to do in...
The lofoten Islands
3. Å I LOFOTEN AND LOCAL BAKERY
TOP 7 MUST-SEE PLACES ON THE
LOFOTEN ISLAND, NORWAY.
There is no denying of the fact that the Lofoten Islands are on many
travellers’ bucket list. The Islands allure with idyllic fishermen’s
villages, picturesque landscapes and tall mountains. However, how
to decide what to see on a short trip to this beautiful destination?
Here is a list of the seven places you must see when travelling to
the Lofoten Islands:
Å I Lofoten is a small fishing village at the southern tip of the
Lofoten Islands chain. Here end the roads that lead south and after
it comes only vast plains, mountains, and the ocean. However,
as unremarkable the small village may seem at first it is worth
spending some time there. May it be to dine at the restaurant
right at the docks or to visit the several museums where you can
learn about the fishing in Norway or the famous Stockfish; the
village has a lot more to offer than the picturesque fishing huts
and beautiful landscape. While you are there, you also have to try
one of the famous cinnamon buns that are sold in the local bakery.
4. FREDVANG BRIDGES
Heading back north on the E10 you will come across two bridges
that connect the Moskenesøya island with the neighbouring island
of Flakstadøya. These bridges are worth a short detour and a great
chance to take some memorable pictures.
There is no denying of the
fact that the Lofoten Islands
are on many travellers’
Not even five minutes further north the E10 leads right past one
of the most beautiful beaches on the Lofoten Islands. It is perfect
for a short break from all the driving, and the Lofoten Adventure
Company offers fun activities for the whole family.
6. HAUKLAND BEACH
Haukland is one of the most famous beaches in all of Norway.
Turquoise water and white sand surrounded by tall mountains and
green plains. Not even 10km away from Leknes; it is easy to get to
and a perfect spot to shoot remarkable pictures or go for a quick
swim – if you do not mind the cold water temperature.
Reine is a small fishing village in the south of the island chain, and
it is most likely the best known to most people. The village itself is
located on multiple small islands and connected by arched bridges.
It is easily reached by the E10, the highway that runs from the
north of the island chain all the way to the south, which goes right
through. Here is the perfect opportunity to stop for a hotdog or
some ice cream, take pictures or just enjoy the atmosphere before
heading further south.
Reine’s local mountain is famous for its incredible view over Reine
and the neighbouring islands. The ascent is not recommended
by local guides anymore but experienced hikers with a couple of
hours at their hands should dare the climbing. One gets rewarded
with a once-in-a-lifetime view and a chance to shoot pictures
you’d usually only find in calendars.
One could say that this small fishing village is the tourist trap of
the Lofoten Islands. Almost every tour group takes a detour to the
famous Rorbuer, the traditional fishermen’s huts, and the equally
famous small corner shop. Later is an experience for itself with the
displayed goods that were sold here at the beginning of the 20th
“I haven’t been
everywhere, but it’s
on my list.” And those
seven places are only a
few of the reasons you
should put the Lofoten
Islands right on top of
your travel list!
As Susan Sontag put it so nicely
14 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 15
Courtesy of Nina van Rijn
www.mintqft.wixsite.com/mintqft (Coming April ‘17)
Things to do in...
VIENNA (WIEN), THE CAPITAL AND
LARGEST CITY OF AUSTRIA, A LOVELY
CITY FILLED WITH RICH HISTORY,
IMPECCABLE ARCHITECTURE, AND ART. THE
PEOPLE I HAVE MET ARE NOTHING SHORT
OF FRIENDLY, THE GUY THAT SAT NEXT TO
ME ON MY FLIGHT EVEN RECOMMENDED
AREAS TO VISIT IF I WERE TO STAY LONGER
SINCE HE LIVED AN HOUR OUTSIDE THE
I went in late September of 2016 to visit a
friend. The weather was a tad chilly for me (I
am from Singapore) so alter my suggestion
based on how susceptible to cold you are.
For the most of my trip, I was in smart casual
outfits. A shirt, jeans, paired with either a
long knitted cardigan or long vest or blazer
to keep warm and finished off with black
oxford shoes. If you wish, you can bring a
scarf along too. Backpacks and handbags
are safe to carry around but do observe the
general rule of traveling and safeguarding
With all that said, here are my takes on a
short trip in Vienna and how to stretch your
time and money:
MUST DO – 2 TO 4 HOURS
Visit the Schönbrunn Palace (Schloß
Schönbrunn). Although photography is
not allowed within the palace is it still
magnificent to view. (You will not regret it!)
I suggest paying a little more for the Grand
Tour (€16.40) with 18 additional rooms to see
than the Imperial Tour (€13.30). At the back of
the palace, there are public gardens too.
Tip: Wear shoes you do not mind getting a
little dusty! The gravel left a layer of dust on
my black oxford shoes; I learned that the hard
Visit the St Stephan’s Cathedral. Go up
the North Tower (€5.50) for a stunning
architectural detail of the roof!
MUST SEE – 1 TO 5 HOURS
If you only have a short day, I highly
recommend the State Hall (Prunksaal) of the
Austrian National Library (Österreichische
Nationalbibliothek). It is considered one of
the world’s most beautiful libraries in the
world (You can thank me later). It houses the
biggest Baroque library in Europe, complete
with beautiful paintings and statues. So,
you will have plenty to discover in one room
Tip: I suggest paying for a small fee (€3) for
the audio guide! You can get them while
purchasing the entry ticket (€7). Let your eyes
wander while it explains its beginnings and
follow along each description of the paintings
without craning your neck in odd angles. The
best part? You do not have to stand around
reading an information board with others
Tip: Avoid tour hours! I was lucky enough to
be there when there was only a handful of us,
but it did get crowded as I was leaving.
If you have more hours to spare, visit the
MuseumsQuartier. With many cultural
institutions, museums, and shops clustered
together in one area, you will be spoilt for
choice! There you can also view some of the
most iconic works of all time such as Andy
Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele and
MUST EAT – 1 TO 2 HOURS
This may come as a no surprise, but the
famous Viennese Schnitzel (Wiener Schnitzel)
at Figlmüller is one you should not miss.
Tip: Make a reservation! Even during lunch
time, it fills up quickly with a long line waiting!
16 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 17
Things to do in...
At first glance, Marrakech may seem like a hectic city. There is,
of course, the Djemaa el Fna, the main square where snake
charmers, storytellers, acrobats, and monkeys can be seen
arriving at midday as stalls are being set up, but it is after dark that this
square comes alive! The city is also composed of the souks that are
surrounding the famous Djemaa el Fna.
beyond the souks, is the Musée de Marrakech.
The museum is in a Palace that was renovated
in the late 1990’s into a museum of Moroccan
culture. There is a large courtyard surrounded
by rooms that hold each of the artefacts. The
museum consists of traditional Moroccan
artwork, various aspects of Moroccan life and
visitors can get a look at the Berber lifestyle.
Old Berber attire, jewellery, and coins are on
display. The museum is open daily, and there
is an entrance fee of 50 Dirham. (approx.
£4/€5) The museum is located just around
the corner from the captivating Ben Youssef
Madrasa. It would not be hard to walk past
this stunning school as it is hidden away
behind the busy streets of the Medina but
it is what I would consider being ‘a hidden
gem’. It is an ancient Islamic school built in the
Saadian era. It is the Courtyard that captures
people’s heart. It is beautifully decorated,
each wall and doorway embellished with
exquisite detail surrounding a reflecting pool.
This piece of history is open daily, and it costs
a mere 20 Dirham to enter. (just little over a
pound and just under two Euro)
If you want to take a moment away from the
madness and step into a place of serenity,
take a trip to The Jardin Majorelle. It is a
stunning 12-acre garden that was designed
by French painter Yves Saint Laurent and was
gifted by him to the city of Marrakech. Within
the gardens is a vast range of flora and cacti
and buildings of a bright electric blue colourknown
now as Majorelle Blue. It is a must-see
in Marrakech and not just if you are a plant
enthusiast, as I do not have much interest
in that myself, I just loved the freshness of
the whole place and taking in the vibrant
colours around me. Photographers will also
lose themselves within the luminous gardens.
The Gardens are situated in the Ville Nouvelle
Unique handmade and crafted goods are for sale within the maze
of markets, and there are bargains to be had, remember to haggle!
The souks are also a spectacular sight and photographers will find
themselves captivated within. It is important always to ask the owner
of a stall if it is possible to take a picture, it is rude not to, and they will
not hesitate to say approach you about this.
Besides, the electrified streets of the Medina, Marrakech has a lot more
to offer that might make you forget just how busy the city is. Not far
side to this
and are easy to locate. If told by any local
that the gardens are closed today, do not
believe this as the gardens are open daily
and this is more than likely a ploy to defer
you to somewhere else. The entrance fee
is 70 Dirham (approx. £5.50/€6.50)
Marrakech is certainly unique. It is
often first perceived as a bustling city
comprising of dusty streets that at times
can seem over-crowded with passer-by’s,
motorbikes speeding through the narrow
gaps and local men transporting goods on
donkey-back. However, dig a little deeper
and seek out all the hidden wonders that
Marrakech has to offer. Trust me; you will
see another side to this remarkable city.
18 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 19
With over 30
wineries in the
region... Wine not!
Things to do in...
Top 3 Things to See and Do in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
From conquering mountain tops and exploring vineyards to indulging
in mouth-watering cuisine, Kelowna, British Columbia offers diverse
experiences for every type of traveler.
1. RELEASE YOUR INNER ADVENTURER
Kelowna is a stellar hiking destination with trails for every type of explorer
and mountain tops that offer diverse and unique aerial views of the city.
Located just 20 minutes from downtown Kelowna, Myra Canyon is a
restored section of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail that runs approximately
24 km (12 miles) roundtrip and includes two tunnels and 18 trestles. With a
vantage point like no other, cycling enthusiasts and hikers alike will bask in
the astounding canyon and Okanagan Valley views.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY TO MODERATE
LOCATION: LAT. 49.801944 LONG. -119.3125
FREE, BIKE RENTALS AVAILABLE, POPULAR WITH
Mount Boucherie, located on the west shore of Lake Okanagan in West
Kelowna, is what remains of a nearly 60 million-year-old extinct volcano
and one of the best hikes in the Kelowna area. With a top elevation of 758
metres, the mountainside switchbacks and several lookout points allow
for continuous photo ops. Educational signage about local flora and fauna
and possible wildlife sightings also add to the hiking experience. It may be
an hour+ trip to the top, but the spectacular lake and city views are well
worth the trip.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MODERATE TO HARD
LOCATION: LAT. 49.852529 LONG. -119.568067
FREE, POPULAR WITH LOCALS, HIKERS, AND
2. TANTALIZE YOUR TASTE BUD
The dining scene in downtown Kelowna is nothing short of impressive.
From brewpubs to authentic Mexican cuisine, Kelowna offers a diverse
dining experience for every palate. BNA Brewing Co. supports local
farmers and businesses showcasing Okanagan ingredients when crafting
their incredible menu. The interior is cozy, rustic, inviting, and exudes
classic west coast charm. Don’t leave without trying their spicy prawn
tempura with citrus aioli and chives along with a tasting flight (3 x 5oz) of
their current selection of draught beer. Try the Pamela Blond Ale, made
PRICE: $$-$$$ LOCATION:
1250 ELLIS ST., DOWNTOWN KELOWNA
Unique Feature: Enjoy a good ol’ fashioned game of indoor Bocce Ball on
the pub’s upper level
El Taquero serves up some of the most incredible Mexico City style tacos,
quesadillas, tostadas, and tortas right in the heart of Kelowna. Grab a
stool, a side of chips & pico and immerse yourself in the authentic Mexican
cuisine, décor, and music and before you know it, you’ll swear you were
dining in the streets of Mexico. Portions are huge, and the tostadas are a
must. Don’t miss out on Happy Hour from 2-6 daily and enjoy four tacos
and Mexican beer, sangria, or frozen margarita for $15.
PRICE: $-$$ LOCATION:
1443 ELLIS ST., DOWNTOWN KELOWNA
Unique Feature: The salsa bar is fun and yummy (try the watermelon
flavour), and all tacos are served on soft, gluten-free corn tortillas.
3. WINE. BECAUSE WINE NOT?
It’s impossible to visit Kelowna or the Okanagan Valley without tasting
some local wines, mainly because it’s home to some of the highest
quality wine and wineries in the country with national and international
recognition. With over 30 wineries in the region, many are open year
round for self-guided or guided tastings and tours. Sip and savour a vast
array of wines that encompass the flair and flavours of the Okanagan.
PRICE: $-$$$$ VARIES PER WINERY
LOCATION: OKANAGAN VALLEY
UNIQUE FEATURE: TOUR OPERATORS OFFER
STRESS-FREE SHUTTLE SERVICES
20 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 21
Things to do in...
Pushkar & Ajmer, India
from Akshay Nagpal Photography
Ringed by the rugged Aravalli Hills, and home to
the beautiful Dargah of Khawaja Moinuddin
Chishti. Ajmer is an extraordinary blend of
culture and nature.
Located in the heart of Rajasthan, with some of the
most beautiful Jain temples in India, along with two
artificial lakes, Ajmer is a tourist’s heaven.
Fifteen Kilometres from Ajmer lies the ancient Hindu
pilgrimage town of Pushkar. The city with the only
temple dedicated to Brahma (The Creator) in the worl
Said to have more than 500 temples it is in this town;
salvation is said to have be found.
Camel fair of
Pushkar is one of
the largest Camel
fairs in the world.
When planning a trip first question that comes to
mind is “WHAT TIME OF THE YEAR should I be visiting
this place?” Well, the best time to visit Pushkar and
Ajmer is sometime around NOVEMBER. When the
sun is not too harsh, winters are just beginning, and
Pushkar is filled with Camels.
Camel fair of Pushkar is one of the largest Camel fairs
in the world. This fascinating spectacle that occurs
once a year (November) attracts a lot of tourists from
around the world. Filled with competitions, ranging
from “longest mustache” to cricket competitions
between local Pushkar clubs and casual foreign
tourists. There are hundreds of shops selling
traditional Rajasthani items as well as thousands of
camels dressed up beautifully. Making it arguably the
most colourful gathering of humanity and livestock
on this planet.
When visiting the fair, you should go and watch a
traditional Rajasthani dance, take a camel back ride
and participate in at least one competition. Only
then should you move forward and explore more of
the town. Deep into town on the banks of Pushkar
Lake stands the next stop. The famous Temple of the
Hindu God Brahma. The Brahma temple, where Artists
from around the world take a pilgrimage to request
inspiration of Brahma and Saraswati, his consort, the
goddess of the creative impulse, the source of music,
beauty, and eloquence. This should be on the must
visit for everyone visiting Pushkar.
A day at the colorful fair can get tiring, which can be
easily handled by trying out the amazing food Pushkar
has to offer. Ranging from mouthwatering tikki chaat
to Falafel. A lot of options are available, but one dish
that stands above all, and everyone should try is Rabdi
Malpua. This is an Indian version of pancakes (fried in
ghee and dunked in sugar syrup). This heavenly touch is added to the
whole experience by the sunset there. Pushkar Lake, with prayer bells
ringing in the temple and the sun going down, is a sight to behold.
the beauty of the
picturesque Ana Sagar
Lake will absolutely
make the trip worth it.
A half an hour ride from Pushkar takes you to the city of Ajmer.
Home to the ancient shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti (Ajmer
Sharif Dargah). The famous Dargah consists of several white marble
buildings, all decorated with intricate and beautiful carvings, making it
the most beautiful Dargah in India.
Located at the foot of Taragarh hill near the Ajmer Railway Station.
The best time for a visit to the beautiful Islamic monument is either
early morning, or in the evening.
In the center of the city not far from the Dargah, and just about five
kilometres from Ajmer Railway Station, is Soniji ki Nasiyan the temple.
Famous for its City of Gold. Sitting in the double-storey hall, it is a
diorama depicting the Jain concept of the ancient world. Decorated
with Gold, Silver, and precious stones, it is unlike any other temple in
Rajasthan and is worth a visit.
Driving to the outskirts of Ajmer on the Aravalli hills takes you
to the Nareli Jain Temple. This is another beautiful monument in
Ajmer. Spread across hundreds of acr, the temple when viewed from
above the hills is breathtaking. When the sun starts setting behind
the mountains, the temple lights are left open taking the whole
experience to a different level.
Well, known for its food, Ajmer can be a delight for foodies. Along
with various mouthwatering delicacies, you can get a chance to taste
several traditional dishes. Dal Baati Choorma, Lahsun Ki Chutney, Ker
Sangri, Bajre ki roti, Moong Dal Ka Halwa, Ghevar, and Rabdi are some
of the best dishes that are to be consumed during your stay in Ajmer.
The beauty of Ajmer lies in the fact that the city, encircled by the
Aravalli Hills itself, surrounds the spectacular Ana Sagar Lake. The Lake
is one of the most scenic places in Rajasthan. While sitting outside the
Bajrang Garh temple, located near the circuit house, having an icecream
and admiring the beauty of the picturesque Ana Sagar Lake will
absolutely make the trip worth it.
22 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 23
Things to do in...
The Big Sur, California
MATT WYLAN EVANS
In May of last year, my girlfriend decided to
plan a trip to Big Sur, CA for my birthday.
Since we had never been to Big Sur
before, we were not sure what to do while
we were there. After finding many popular
suggestions, such as Bixby Bridge, McWay
Falls, and Pfeiffer Beach to name a few, we
decided we want to try and find something
different and off the beaten path to do as
well. Then, we found it. For a mere $12.00 you
could get a guided 3-hour tour through an old
light station that was built on top of a rock
outcropping right on the edge of the Pacific
The Point Sur Light Station is easy to find right
off Highway 1 north of the old Naval Station.
The lighthouse itself is still lit every day and
is easy to spot, but keep a look out for the
actual gate itself along the road as it is easy to
pass, there is a sign with tour info on it. There
are only two times per day on specific days
to do the tour (the days and times change
throughout the year so be sure to check their
website for the correct days and times for the
season) and is first come first serve so be sure
to get there early. Volunteer tour guides meet
you at the gate and let you through, after
which you drive along the somewhat paved
dirt road to the base of the rock where you
park your car and begin afoot.
After you park the guides start to take you
up the narrow road that leads to the top of
the rock, stopping along the way to share
fascinating stories of its history and for photo
You are allowed a backpack, and I would
suggest bringing extra water and snacks
since it is a long tour. I would also encourage
a jacket or windbreaker, especially during
colder seasons, due to common cold winds
blowing in off the ocean. Also as a side note
for those of you with small children, there
are no railings along the road as you make
your way up to the lighthouse and the cliffs
are sheer at some points so definitely keep
them close. As you make your way up the
road, the views only get more and more
breathtaking of the Big Sur coast. The first
of the buildings you stop at is the lighthouse,
which you get to go inside! You then make
your way up to the rest of the light station
at the top of the rock, which is surrounded by
an inspiring 360-degree view, where you get
to go through the station keepers’ cabin and
workshop. Finally, you end the tour in the gift
shop where you then pay your fee and can
pick up cool souvenirs and have some snacks
outside at the tables and benches and enjoy
a gorgeous view.
It is an unforgettable tour, and it is only $12!
Bring a Camera as you are allowed to take
pictures of any and all that you see on tour.
Also, the light station volunteers do night
tours and other special events as well. You
can check out dates, times, events, and other
info at their website: pointsur.org.
Courtesy of Sebastian Hofmeier
This photo was taken in Milan, Italy
on Sunday, October 30, 2016.
After a long day of trying way too
hard to get THE shot with my DSLR
on a short trip to Milan, on the way
back to our hostel I took this snapshot
with my smartphone. It turned
out to be my favorite photo of the
trip and a useful reminder to me that
sometimes, you can not find great
pictures, but they have to find you.
24 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 25
Things to do in...
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city of Vietnam,
boasts a population of eight million humans
and seven million motorbikes. Saigon, as it
is still popularly called, will never cease to have
things to do, experience, see, learn, or consume.
The main ‘sites’ are not numerous or massively
impressive – an apparent fact is that one of its
most famous sites is the post office – but the
distinguishing feature of the Saigon Experience is
classes for some sophisticated hip-shaking
accompanied by Boppy Vietnamese pop
Saigon provides you with plenty of fun days
out, too. For a relaxing, paradise-vibed day,
take a ride to the Binh Thanh district to
the beautiful Van Thanh Park (48/10 Dien
Bien Phu), complete with an uncrowded
swimming pool (60k).
Another favorite water-themed adventure is
situated the opposite side of the city - Dam
Sen Waterpark (3 Hoa Binh Street, 140k for
adults), full of rides ranging from the fastwhirling,
adrenaline-filled with names like
Kamikaze and Boomerang, to the leisurely
tyre-rides floating gently down the river.
However, the primary experience in Saigon
is its traffic. Crossing the road is a thrill
comparable to the craziest rides of Dam Sen
Park. Remember to never rush across the
road, as motorbikes are used to maneuver
around pedestrians with predictable, steadypaced
walking paths. Also remember,
motorcycles are always allowed to turn
right regardless of the colour of the traffic
light. If you feel up to it, definitely hire your
own bike (there are many on Pham Ngu Lao
street) and brave the streets of Saigon.
Saigon will, without a doubt, keep you
entertained for ages and ages. Enjoy it
with every sense you have, and soak up the
compelling, chaotic madness. Moreover, the
Firstly, make sure you eat. Banh mis (filled
baguettes), xoi ga (sticky rice and chicken) and the
ubiquitous pho (noodle soup) are best enjoyed at
various street food stalls you can find at every
corner. For a nice local meal, go up to district 3
and enjoy dinner and people-watching at a canalside
street restaurant, for example, Hoa Map on
Truong Sa 922 (prices around 50k).
Western restaurants are also exceptionally
affordable in Saigon – try Au Parc (23 Han Thuyen)
for excellent Mediterranean food; it is easy to find
and conveniently right near the aforementioned
post office, with prices for mains for 150-325k.
without a doubt
will keep you
ages and ages.
For a stunning sunset, pop by the View (195 Bui
Vien), a picturesque restaurant with affordable
drinks and decent food (rice served in a pineapple,
ah). Prices for food range from 100-150k and nonhappy
hour cocktails are around 100k. Note that
you have to go inside the Duc Vuong hotel to get
to the restaurant.
For a proper cloud-skimming experience, visit the
incredible Chill Sky Bar (AB Tower, 26th Floor, 76
Le Lai), just a stone’s throw away from Bui Vien
(cocktail prices from 250k). Just remember – you
will not be allowed in with flip-flops! (Ironically,
murky trainers are usually ok.)
For a cheaper, more practical experience (literally),
find the tiny plastic chairs and 10k beers of 96 Bui
Vien, and start your Bui Vien nightlife experience
Saigon also has a booming coffee culture going
on. Try out the dilapidated old warehouse 14
Ton That Dam – yes, you have come to exactly
the right place – with numerous out-of-the-way
cafes, along with funky vintage shops, hidden
within the crumbling stairwells.
For non-food-related escapades, visit the
green park on Pham Ngu Lao in District 1. Pick
up a smoothie in the morning and chat with
the local students, and in the evening, if you
are brave enough, join the local free aerobics
26 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 27
from Podróze małe i duze
BOAT SWIMMING AT
There is something magical about this
tiny little island in the middle of Lake Bled.
No matter what season you will decide to
visit Slovenia, you will be enchanted by
this place. We went there at the beginning
of September. The weather was still great,
but the number of tourists was lower than
during summer holidays so we could enjoy
the remarkable views just by ourselves.
Lake Bled is located around 50 kilometers
from Ljubljana – the capital city of
Slovenia, near by the Austrian border. In
September it is easy to find a parking place
just next to the lake. You can get to the
heart of the Island by a traditional boat
called „Pletna.” You will get to the shore
and back and will have around 30 minutes
to climb 99 steps of the St, Mary’s Chapel
located on the island. You have to ring the
Bell at the campanile built in XV century –
it will bring you luck. Many couples decide
to get married at this unique place. It is an
absolute must-see in Slovenia!
decide to get
married at this
to do in...
WALK AROUND BOHINJ
It turned out that during our visit
in Slovenia there will be a summit
organized in Ljubljana. That was the
reason why the choice of hotels was
limited; all were too expensive for
us. Because of that, we decided not
to go to Ljubljana at all. Instead, we
have booked a room in a little Inn at
Ribcev Laz – small town in the Triglav
National Park. Sometimes you get
to an amazing place just by accident.
That was exactly what happened to
us. We never expected to find one of
the most remarkable spots in Europe
in Slovenia. However, we did.
Bohinj Lake is located within the
Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps, in the
northwestern Upper Carniola region,
and part of Triglav National Park.
We were stunned by its beauty. In
September there were few tourists, so
wandering around the lake was pure
pleasure. It takes about 3 hours to
walk around the whole lake, but you
will stop every five minutes to take a
picture and enjoy the views. If you are
planning to engage this is the perfect
PARAGLIDING FROM THE VOGEL
I have been thinking about paragliding since I saw “The
Intouchables” movie. Remember the moment when Philippe
is off the Grodnu and his face just glows? I wanted to feel the
same. The office where you could book a flight was located just
300 meters from our hotel. This had to be a sign from above.
The lady at the office told me that it depends on the weather if
I can fly. I left my number at the office and waited for the pilot
to call. He said that we could try to climb the hill, but it will be
just here where he will decide whether we can fly down or not.
I decided to take the risk. Moreover, of course, it was worth it.
The wind was just perfect! I was scared as hell standing at the
edge but when the wind took us above the hills It was one of
the most amazing moments of my life! I felt so happy, powerful
How much it costs:
€14 - PLETNA AT LAKE BLED
FREE - WALK AROUND THE LAKE
€130 - PARAGLIDING FROM VOGEL
€125 - 2 NIGHTS IN RIBCEV LAZ
28 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 29
Things to do in...
THINGS TO DO IN MUSKOKA LAKES,
From lakeside relaxation to sipping wine in the cranberry capital of
Ontario, Muskoka Lakes, named by Travel Gay Canada as one of the
top 10 gay-friendly destinations in Ontario other than Toronto, offers
a vast array of experiences for LGBT travelers.
Located just two hours north of Toronto, Muskoka Lakes, known
as Canada’s “cottage country,” has long been recognized as the
destination to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
Surrounded by Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau, and Joseph, this quaint and
picturesque township is a diverse destination eager to welcome and
introduce LGBT travelers to the natural paradise they so lovingly call
Located in Bala, the cranberry capital of Ontario, Muskoka Lakes
Winery and Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh boasts a variety of yearround
activities for every type of traveler. Designated a Canadian
Signature Experience by the CTC, the winery’s Bog to Bottle Discovery
tour guides guests through the cranberry bog and concludes with wine
tastings and cheese pairings.
LOCATION: CRANBERRY ROAD, BALA, ONTARIO
Unique Feature: Bala’s Cranberry Festival, always hosted the weekend
after Canadian Thanksgiving, is one of the top 100 festivals and events
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Muskoka Lakes is home to an unbelievable array of activities for every type
of traveler. Tap into your inner adventurer and go boating or wakeboarding
on one of the many lakes in the area or enjoy the serenity and peacefulness
of one of the many hiking and nature trails. One of the more popular trails,
Torrance Barrens, is not only known as one of the most incredible geological
areas in Muskoka but an ideal place to view the night skies.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MODERATE TO DIFFICULT
LOCATION: SOUTHWOOD ROAD, TORRANCE, ONTARIO
FREE, POPULAR WITH LOCALS, HIKERS, AND
While Muskoka Lakes may be known for its summer fun, this year-round
destination also attracts winter tourists seeking adventure and rest. Venture
to the JW Marriott – The Rosseau Muskoka for luxury accommodations with
classic cottage décor. While you are here, take advantage of snowshoeing
trails, snowmobiling or dog sledding excursions!
LOCATION: PAIGNTON HOUSE ROAD, MINETT, ONTARIO
Special Feature: In 2014, JW Marriott hosted “Matrimony in Muskoka” proudly
welcoming LGBT couples to be married at the resort.
Whether you are planning the quintessential Muskoka summer experience
at the cottage, basking in the fall colours, or sledding through a winter
wonderland, make sure to contact the local chamber of commerce (www.
muskokalakeschamber.com) and consider the LGBT diversity ambassadors
listed, on the website that are eager to welcome you with their Muskoka
30 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 31
Things to do in...
Home of one of the biggest events in Canadian history,
Kingston, Ontario has so much more to offer than just
being the home of the world famous band, The Tragically
Hip. Being where The Tragically Hip played their final concert.
Kingston is a beautiful, waterfront city full of appeal for all ages.
It has activities all year round, and this article is going to name
one activity to do in Kingston in each season, although there are
Is a good time to visit Kingston and see all of the snow melt and
the flowers start to bloom as well as new and old activities start
to arise once again. An activity that is perfect for the spring season
in Kingston is to go on a hike on one of Kingston’s many beautiful
trails! Kingston has several different trails in the area to discover!
A trail that is worth a
hike on is Lemoine’s
point conservation area
which is surrounded by
A trail that is worth a walk on is Lemoine’s point conservation
area which is surrounded by Lake Ontario and has many different
trails through forests, marsh’s and along the beautiful lake. This is
a great spot to come and relax, get some exercise and see some
beautiful views and wildlife!
ONTO THE NEXT SEASON!
Summer is a prime time for tourists to visit Kingston
because the number of activities that you can do is
endless, just one activity to get you inspired to visit
the limestone city during the summer!
One activity that you can do i the summer in
Kingston is visiting Wolfe Island, which is just
a quick 20-minute ferry ride away from the
city. Wolfe Island is a large island with beautiful
farmland and famous wind turbines that give
power to almost every home on the island, as well
as an excellent bakery and other small shops.
Wolfe Island has so much charm and is worth a
visit! Ah, the season of fall!
Fall is a fantastic time to travel anywhere in but
especially in Kingston! This event is during the
month of October at the historic Fort Henry which
was built in the 1800s and was used to protect the
city of Kingston, but is now a historic landmark
with year-round tours of the fort and also home
to a modern bistro! However, during the month of
October, Fort Fright is where the souls of soldiers
and other creatures come out to frighten daring
guests and seek their revenge!
Each year there is a different theme for the
fort, which can range anywhere from spiders to
zombies to clowns to the cursed hallows! This
event is world famous and is so fun!
Winter is a fabulous time to come to Kingston
and see the beautiful snow fall! An activity to
do in Kingston during the winter is to go to the
famous Feb Fest which takes place every February
in Springer Market Square. Each winter, the square
is transformed into a huge skating rink!
During Feb Fest, visitors, and locals can come and
skate on the ice with their friends and family, watch
professional figure skaters perform, watch hockey
games, compete in hockey games, as well as enjoy
some warm Beavertails (Fried dough not real
beaver tails!) and hot chocolate. This event is fun
for all ages and is a huge hit every year! Kingston
may not be the perfect tropical or European
vacation, but Kingston has a lot to offer all year
round with activities fit for everyone! Kingston
also has a lot of history, culture, and friendly faces
to see! I hope you visit one day!
32 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 33
NERI FATRINA SARI
Things to do in...
On my second time to Korea, I tried a few
things that I had not dont the first time
After 6 hours flight to Seoul, we landed at
Incheon International Airport. We got a Coupon
book of Halal restaurants in Korea to support
the Halal Restaurant Week in November. This
book useful for us who sometimes difficult to
get a Halal meal during our traveling.
In this visit, I also want to have an experience
living in Hanok, traditional Korean houses. I
booked a room at Hanok Guesthouse in the
area near Gyeongbok Palace. Using the airport
limousine bus, we arrived at the guesthouse.
It was gorgeous. You get rooms with futon
bedding that held in the floor. We went in
autumn, at the room was warm.
After taking some rest, we walk to Insadong
area. We saw many groups of teenagers
walking around using the Hanbok, Korean
Still, in the Insadong area, we tried the Halal
food which was mentioned in the Coupon
Books and devoured some homemade food of
Korea. It is delicious!
During this time I tried some Korean Halal food
such as Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup),
Chuncheon Dakgalbi (spicy grilled chicken),
Bulgogi (Korean BBQ), Banchan (appetizers
typical of Korea), Tteok (rice cake), Hotteok
(Korean-style pancake), and of course drink
the famous Banana Milk. All of which were
delicious! Thanks to the Korean government
who had promoted the Halal Food Week!
From the list of Must Visit Place at Korea, this
time I visit:
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace
2. Namsan Hanok Village
3. Nami Island
4. N Seoul Tower
5. Gwanghwamun Square
6. Cheonggyecheon Stream (there’s a Seoul
7. Dongdaemun area
8. Myeongdong area
Beside Seoul, I also visited Jeju island. We took
a domestic flight from Gimpo Airport to Jeju
International Airport. In 1, five days we visited
Seongsang Ilchubong Peak with a bus from
Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal (bus no 701). We
also visited the Teddy Bear Museum, Jungmun
resort using Jeju Airport Limousine bus. If you
want to explore all Jeju area, you need 2-3
days. I will back here one day to explore more
because Jeju has many beautiful landscapes.
I will go back to Korea because there are many
places I want to visit, and most importantly,
Korea one of the safest place for women to
travel alone. Especially now there are many
places to eat which are certified halal for
On my second
time to Korea,
I tried a few
things that I
had not done
the first time i
See you next time in Korea
34 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 35
Courtesy of J. Randy Houk
He used his tripod to capture this moment, as he
was waiting to catch a ferry from Patras, Greece to
OVER THE NEXT FEW PAGES YOU WILL SEE
SOME OF THE VERY BEST PLACES TO VISIT
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK.
36 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 37
When visiting the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, most
people stick to the cities of Arusha and Moshi. There are
plenty of things to see and do there, but, if you go on a little
adventure to a spot between Arusha and Moshi, you will
find a hidden oasis!
In a village called Rundugai, far off the main road, there is
a hot spring (or Maji Moto) waiting for you to jump in! Its
sapphire waters are warm, with a constant current running
through it. The spring is even made complete with a rope
This can be a day trip spent swimming in the clear water,
with a beer in hand, or you can camp out under the stars
for the night and explore. Just bring your tent and some
food to BBQ, and you are all set for a fantastic night in the
HOW TO GET THERE:
A two-hour drive from Arusha town or a one hour drive
from Moshi. This little paradise is seemingly in the middle
of nowhere, but it is easy to drive there and if you get
someone to show you the way it does not take long. You
can easily find a tour company to take you, but you can
also quickly drive yourself if you ask for directions from the
locals once you reach an area called Boma. Alternatively,
you can park your car at a hotel on the main road and jump
in a bajaji (like the Asian tuk-tuk) and ask them to take you
there. You can also ask a motorcycle taxi to drive head of
you and lead the way.
Tip: you will feel
lost at least once
or twice once you
turn off the main
road. Have no fear,
just keep asking
the locals you see
for the Kikuletwa
you will reach
WHAT TO BRING:
Money for transport and fees, a towel and a cooler full of
drinks! You can buy drinks there, but no electricity means
no fridge. I do not know about you, but I prefer my beers
There is a small ‘villiage swimming fee’: 5000tsh approx.
$2.50USD. Food is only Chips, Mayai (local dish much like
a potato omelet): 2000tsh Approx $1USD. You can then
wash it down with a warm beer: 4000tsh approx: $2USD
from Liv Life in Wanderlust
When visiting Asia, I advise hitting
the Sinharaja National Reserve in
the southern province of Sri Lanka.
Surrounded by the tropical jungle, I
have been amazed by the amount
of wildlife you can spot around you
once immersed into the rain forest.
The fauna and flora will leave you
From colourful forest lizards
to large butterflies, without
forgetting the kings of camouflage
such as snakes, spiders, kangaroo
lizards or Boyd dragons, you
cross path with some of the most
beautiful species of animals in Asia,
including some species unique to
Sri Lanka. You will be able to cross
an amazing hanging bridge across
fresh water river flowing from the
jungle hilltops, leading to a resort
handled by locals.
One of the best spot during this
three and half hours hike is the
beautiful water hole and waterfall
in which you can have a nice deep
before heading back on the track.
Jumping from rock to rock to reach
the spot; you can be sure about
the adventure awaiting for you.
You will need a guide to
lead you along the track
through the tropical
rain forest. The guide
costs about 1500Lkr
(Sri Lankan Rupee)
which is about 10 euros.
They are friendly, with
excellent English, very
knowledgeable and will
show you how to spot
things that you do not
even imagine bumping
The place is known for
the locals who will take you there
without any problem. The trip to
head to Sinharaja Reserve can be
made from Galle by Tuktuk. Quite
bumpy and hard to go through
when the rain flooded the day
before, I would advise checking the
weather before planning the trip. It
would take about three hours from
I heard about the place while
traveling to the Daintree rainforest
in Australia, comparable to
Sinharaja tropical rainforest in Sri
There is a place in Kos island where
you can experience the hot water
from the spring of the mountain
exactly next to the cold water of
Before we tell you about the hot
water we should explain you the
way to reach the place. It is located
to the most North Eastern place of
the island, reachable by a vehicle,
about 10 km away from Kos town
and exactly where the road ends.
You can reach the area by the
local bus and then walk for 2 Km
in declivity on a beautiful rocky
scenery. If you have a car you can
leave it only 700m away from the
spot, still enjoy the rocky scenery
and fortunately skip the uphill
If you ever
It is a small hot spring under high
cliffs, almost hidden from the
rocks around and separated from
the sea water with just some rocks.
The water of the spring contains
Potassium, Calcium, Sodium,
Magnesium, and Sulfur and as the
locals say “all these elements are
ideal treatment for rheumatism,
arthritis and any gynecological
related issues.”. There are not any
organized facilities there and you
feel close to pure nature, away
from the civilization and especially
not the peak hours. The nights are
silent there and the days bright.
Once you go there, you will notice
that the Therma is full of people
all day. It is common for the
youngsters to visit here for a night
bath instead of going out. Some of
them even spend the night there
with their sleeping bags.
The older generation enjoy to
take their bath at sunrise. If you
are well equipped you can climb
100m north and reach the next
small gulf. Here you will find a lot
of free campers with their tents.
Ready to spend their holidays by
If you ever visit Kos, make sure you
put Therma on your list of places
to visit. The scenery if so beautiful,
it will just take your breath away!
38 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 39
I would like introduce my trip to a forest
resort in Bali, named Bagus Jati.
Most of us may have been to the beach
resort or the Ubud area in Bali. However,
Bagus Jati is not close to any of these resorts.
It is about 40 mins drive from Ubud, located
in the mountain area.
Because of its unique location, the air is a
bit chilly. We had to wear our jacket most of
the time. We called it ‘our superb detox trip’
because of the serenity, and peace it brought
to our body and mind.
The resort has very well equipped chalet that
not only has a huge bathroom but a jacuzzi
as well. You have the luxury of an open air
massage, with all sorts of natural product.
We woke up every morning at 6am to do
some Yoga. Followed by the fresh, and very
enjoyable healthy breakfast.
There were very few guests during my stay,
so your privacy is assured. The peace and
quiet added to the amazing experience.
I would Highly recommend a visit here. Not
only for ladies, but for couples who are tired
of the hustling-bustling life of the city.
Me and my boyfriend were travelling through
eastern Iceland, when we came across a little nature
reserve we had not heard about yet, located near the
We stopped at a parking lot on road number 92 some
miles south from Eskifjördur. From where we parked,
we could overlook the entire fjord. Right below us we
saw a little peninsula with two hills and a short beach.
A small little reserve full of nature to explore.
Since it was a sunny day, we decided to take a short
hike to scout the area.
The trail started out as a steep, rocky and narrow
path. Soon we reached the first valley, and the trail
was now covered in knee high grass. We hiked around
the first hill, passing through some meadows until
we got to the foot of the second hill. 15 min later
we arrived at the top. The most amazing view over
the fjord and the surrounding mountains awaited us.
We made our way down to the beach, following the
tiny, wooden, red markers. As soon as we reached the
beach, we realized that some of the markers must
have gone missing. We were lost. Ironically in reserve,
that was not bigger than eight football grounds. Since
we went too far to double back, we decided to try our
luck finding the path. After what felt like hours, we
finally found the trail. The short hike we had planned
took us almost three hours, but it was worth every
minute of it. The landscape was fantastic, and the
solitude was lovely.
In case you ever find your way into this part of Iceland,
I really recommend a stop at this lovely little island of
peaceful quietness, to go on an adventures hike in a
breathtaking landscape. I does not cost you a penny
and it is a real treat.
And remember to keep a close eye on the little red
Courtesy of Jesús Román
Representation of Mexican independence
war, this is done every September
16 in Cocula, Guerrero, Mexico. The
man with the painted face pretends
to be a native in battle, the man on
the horse represents even a mestizo
general in full fight, rather than a representation
is a game in the locality.
40 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 41
from Worldly Roamer
Ever since I was a child, I considered myself an
explorer. I always go off the proverbial (and
often literal) beaten path in order to discover
something that, hopefully, not many other people
have found before. Even to this day, I roam and
explore until I find an abandoned building to
photograph, or perhaps some street art down an
alley in a not-so-traversed area of a city. I have
found so many interesting things to photograph
throughout my life by heading off the beaten
The September of 2016, I went hiking with
some friends in ‘Govind’ national park situated
in Indian Himalayas that tourists and hikers
from all around the world visit. It is a two-way
trail starting from Taluka, a small mountain
village at 7,000 feet, going up towards
Jaundhar glacier at 14,200 feet through the
Har-ki-dun valley and ending back at Taluka
coming back via the same trail. It took us five
days to hike these 45 miles.
Day One of the hike, the trail went through
green Himalayan broadleaf forests along the
river Tons and we spent the night in a small
wooden cottage in Osla, another mountain
village. Osla has one of the very few temples
dedicated to Duryodhana, the bad guy from
Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic of ancient
India. This temple was built by the people of
Har-ki-doon who worship Kauravas as their
ancestors. Wild Himalayan cannabis plants
are found in abundance in and around Osla
and one may see some of the local smoking it
using a ‘Chillum’!
On day two we started hiking from Osla
through endless meadows of alpine flowers
going over our heights and camped for the
night reaching ‘Har-ki-doon.’ ‘Har-ki-doon,’
meaning ‘Valley of Gods’ is a cradle shaped
Himalayan valley at about 12,000 feet altitude.
This valley is blessed with many natural
elements and every picture you click here is
sure to look like a desktop wallpaper. At night,
if the sky is clear, one can clearly see our Milky
Way in all its glory and get the tripod out to
capture some amazing star trails.
The third day of the hike we walked to
Jaundhar glacier at 14,200 feet and caught
some close-up views of the over 20,000 feet
high Swargrohini peaks. This day is in complete
contrast to the lush greenery of the past few
days and adds an element of high altitude
scenery with its breathtaking landscapes. We
came back to our camp at Har-ki-doon and
spent the night.
We took days four and five to come down to
Taluka down the same trail where our hike
Now, as an adult and when in a foreign city,
the way I explore is to combine it with exercise.
Admittedly, I am a bit of a health and fitness
freak, and, oftentimes, the hotel I am staying in
has no gym. So, what do I do? I wake up early in
the morning and go for a jog (just so long as I feel
safe in the area my hotel is located). My favourite
off-the-beaten path jogs so far have been in
Reykjavik, Iceland. Why? Well, the early mornings
I am out running the streets and alleys, there are
hardly any people around. And I have found some
incredible street art, and perhaps even a Banksy
(see the photo and judge for yourself).
The hotel my
family stayed at
in Reykjavik was
the main street
that is bustling
The hotel my family stayed at in Reykjavik was on
Laugavegur, the main street that is bustling during
the day, but not so much in the early morning. I
would run in either direction on the road and veer
off in the opposite direction of the water. I would
get “lost”, turning corners and finding roads I
ordinarily would never explore whilst with my
family. What I have seen has been extraordinary
to the point where Reykjavik has now become my
favourite place to discover street art. I felt that
everywhere I looked while on a run, there was
art splashed on the side of buildings and even on
back walls of a car park in front of an apartment
building. There is even gorgeous street art located
on the walls of the garage located across from the
Limnos island is the 8th largest island in
Greece. The Limnos Island is located in
the northern part of the Aegean Sea. You
can reach it by boat either from the port of
Kavala or Thessaloniki.
Limnos is commonly known as a windy
island and therefore is a real paradise for
surfers from all over the world. There is also
Keros beach, ideal for surf, sup, windsurf
and Kite-surf practice. The kite spot there
is magnificent to watch from a distance. All
these sails in the air make the atmosphere
Another unique place that captures the
visitors’ attention in Limnos is “Ammothines.”
“Ammothines” is the Greek word for the
dunes and frankly there are dunes
there. They give you the feeling of
being in the desert and the beauty
is remarkable. If someone has a
camera there, he/she could be so
creative with some photographs
and pretend to be at the Sahara
Also, one of the spots worth visiting
is the Salt Lake of Limnos. It is a big
muddy area covered with a thick
layer of nutritious salt, where you
can collect some of it. Be careful
when you head to take it because
the mud gets thicker as you walk
further into the Salt Lake. If you want our
advice, you better leave your shoes behind
and enjoy the walk barefoot. It gives you a
nice chilling sense after all.
Finally, every traveler that can hike for 2
hours must visit the small church of Panagia
Kakaviotissa. The thing we liked the most
there is the fact that the church has no roof
and is the only one roofless in Greece! It is
located in a beautiful location, up on the
mountain, where you must hike among the
windy hills to enjoy its beauty.
Limnos is ideal for campers, backpackers,
surfers and alternative travelers who like to
explore places off the beaten track. Enjoy it!
My advice to everyone who is an explorer at
heart, just get lost! You never know what you will
42 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 43
Edinburgh and San Diego are two beautiful
cities, and the love for their dogs is
celebrated. Scotland’s capital city may not
seem like it would have much in common
with a Southern California beach town. The
architecture, the accents, and most notably
the weather are relatively different. Despite
both being coastal cities, Edinburgh and San
Diego are far apart in their likeness. However,
through all their differences, one small part
of their canine history has connected them
in a unique way.
Since the mid-1800’s, Edinburgh’s Greyfriars
Bobby has become the city’s most prized pooch
and an enduring story of devotion. Bobby, a
Skye Terrier, belonged to a local Edinburgh
policeman named John Gray. Following John’s
untimely death, Bobby’s unconditional loyalty
was demonstrated as he faithfully remained at
his master’s grave for the next 14 years. Leaving
only for food or occasional shelter, Bobby
always returned to John’s side in Greyfriars
Kirkyard, thus earning him the name “Greyfriars
Bobby.” The devoted dog kept watch over the
grave until he too passed away on January 14,
1872, at the age of 16. In remembrance of his
commitment and dedication, a statue of Bobby
SCOTLAND & USA
was placed out front of Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Around this same time, another furry friend was
making his impression over 5,000 miles away
in Southern California. Lovingly named Bum
by his newfound colleagues, the St. Bernard/
Spaniel mix arrived in San Diego as a stowaway
aboard a ship coming from San Francisco in
1886. His free-spirited nature soon captured the
hearts of his community, and he was happily
taken in. Even after being struck by a train and
losing one of his legs, Bum never lost his upbeat
personality. Food, shelter and even medical
treatment were provided for Bum by his fellow
San Diegans until he passed away on November
10, 1898. As a tribute to his positive impact on
the city, a statue of Bum now resides in San
Diego’s historic downtown.
In commemoration of their extraordinary
connection, Edinburgh and San Diego became
Sister Cities in 1977. This officially joined them
together through acknowledgment and
adoration of their furry friends. To symbolize
this friendship, Edinburgh presented San
Diego with a duplicate statue of their beloved
Bobby. Moreover, in return, a statue of Bum
was given to Edinburgh. Both cities now hold
a permanent place for their precious pets.
It is fun traveling to such different and distant
destinations and still finds a familiar face.
If you are interested in visiting each statue
location, here are some helpful hints on where
to find them. Edinburgh’s Bobby statue is set
on a pedestal located out front of the gates to
Greyfriars Kirkyard and across from Greyfriars
Bobby Bar. Bum, often nestled amongst leaves,
is laying at the bottom of Edinburgh Castle
near King’s Stables Road. In California, Bobby
and Bum can be found together in Pocket Park
at the William Heath Davis House Museum in
downtown San Diego.
While the Land Down Under has
a ton sights that should be on
everyone’s bucket list like the Reef
and Kangaroo Island, it also has
a ton of secrets that are tucked
away in all corners of the country.
One of these beautiful secrets is
Lake McKenzie – a freshwater
lake in the middle of the world’s
largest sand island; just off the
east cost of Queensland. The
island is probably the strangest
thing I have seen – it has got
bright yellow sand dunes that
hug the coast and rainforests
full of eucalyptus and palm trees
in the middle. I did not even
know rainforests could survive
in the sand till I saw this island. I
suppose the island is an accurate
depiction of the strange wonder
that is the landscape of Australia;
it feels like it should not work, but
somehow not only does it work,
Getting to the lake is not exactly
an easy drive in your car because,
well, there are no roads on the
island. The best way is renting
an ATV and strapping in for
the ride because if your guide
is anything like mine, he will
insist on providing the “full ATV
experience” which means driving
over every bump in the road and
forgetting that the ATV comes
The lake is just a short hike
through the forest after the ATV
ride. The walk leads to a large
clearing with an awe-inspiring
view of crystal clear waters and
bright white sand. I do not really
think there’s a way to describe
the beauty of that lake – other
than saying that the view is
jaw-dropping. The water is so
clear and vibrant, you can see
about fifty different shades of
blue across the lake. The sand
surrounding the lake is made
from white silica, and it is the
softest I have ever walked on.
The fine grains of silica make it a
perfect exfoliator for your skin!
Moreover, because there are no
inflows into the lake, the water is
spotless – making it a great place
The white sand, blue-green
landscapes, and quiet atmosphere
leave you wondering how
this paradise is even possible.
A local legend does offer an
interesting explanation for the
vibrant colours of the lake. The
natives believe that the island
was created when the goddess
K’gari transformed herself into
the land. The lake is said to be
one of the goddess’ eyes. More
recently a different explanation
has been offered - the organic
matter at the bottom makes the
water too acidic for most plants
and wildlife. A lack of aquatic life
leaves the lake a perfect shade of
aquamarine. Whether you believe
the local legend or the scientific
reason, I think we can all agree
that the blues and whites of this
lake are fascinating and worth a
44 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 45
Courtesy of Nina van Rijn
Showing the modern influence from around the world.
46 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 47
from Look at our World
The beautiful Canggu Club Bali.
multi-functional leisure and sports club
is a one-stop hub for all your needs. We
were lucky enough to get to explore this
beautiful place for the day. The club has a
whopping amount of options available, and
you would need a whole day to do them
all. The club itself has several tennis courts,
extensive trampoline centre, bowling alleys,
child creche with additional after school
activities. They have a fully comprehensive
gym, football pitche, a private spa boutique
area and last but not least a water park
with rides, slides, climbing frames and lap
pool too. It’s an excellent place to spend
the day, just by yourself, or a couple, with
friends or with your family. Not forgetting
the wide range of snack places, sports bar
and a bistro restaurant on site too.
The club itself has several tennis courts,
an extensive trampoline centre, multiple
bowling alleys, child creche with additional
after school activities. They even have a
fully comprehensive gym, football pitch, a
private spa boutique area and last but not
least a water park with rides, slides, climbing
frames and lap pool too. It’s an excellent
place to spend the day, just by yourself, or a
couple, with friends or with your family. Not
forgetting the wide range of snack places,
sports bar and a bistro restaurant on site
Canggu is a former private country club
style venue, but they have opened their
doors to everyone in Bali with introducing
a day pass to all of the clubs facilities. There
is a membership option too, so a perfect
place for the locals to take advantage of,
which is great also as you get discounts on
all the activities and food on site too.
With some of the activities such as bowling,
trampolining and the create, have an
additional cost though but we have to admit
although we had everything available to us
we did end up spending most of our day in
the fantastic waterpark. It was so hot, and
the water was just perfect. There were no
queues for the rides, and we had the best
day, definitely a great place for families to
relax and enjoy the surroundings.
We had an excellent day, and we know you
would too definitely check this place out
next time you’re in Bail.
VISIT THE BEST
THEN VISIT THE
INCREDIBLE FINNS BEACH
OMG, this place
is just incredible.
Book a table in
bed in advance
This stunning beach club is on the Berawa
surf break around ten minutes from
Seminyak, Finns is a beautiful beachfront
club with stunning views and has a delicious
restaurant food too. Easily accessible by
car and plenty of parking as well. They
have these gorgeous daybeds, set on the
white sand and right next to the infinity
pool with the underwater sound system.
It truly is a wonderful way to spend a lazy
day in the sun, with your beverage and
food needs taken care of too. Absolute
We had lunch here, the food and drinks
were top quality dishes which isn’t so easy
to find in Bali. I had a mango smoothie, it
was so good I could of drank the whole
thing in one as it was so delicious but I
reframed, I had the steak sandwich with
crispy rustic potatoes for lunch, and it was
to die for. The steak was perfectly cooked
with just a hint of pink and the caramelised
onions with the mustard was the icing on
the cake, yum yum.
Lee had a chocolate milkshake (his
absolute favourite), and he chose Finn’s
burger, and it was also superb. Lee was
even asked how he would like it cooked
(which just doesn’t happen over here that
often). With the crispy potatoes I had, you
know the type of potato, they’re so bad for
you, but they taste so damn good too.
We were both in the mood for dessert, so
I chose the dark chocolate salted caramel
tart with coconut ice cream, this dessert
was to die for; I was in absolute heaven
and recommend it. Lee had a baked
apple crumble with honeycomb gelato;
it tasted like heaven in a bowl, with tiny
pieces of honeycomb in the crumble itself.
It reminded me of home, definitely an
excellent twist on a British classic.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Finn’s restaurant is a little pricey compared
to other places to eat in Bali, but this is no
ordinary run of the mill place. It’s a truly
wonderful experience, and you get what
you pay for here. Finn’s may not be a cheap
eat by any means but what you do get
here is top quality food and an excellent
experience of pure luxury.
A great place to spend the whole day,
definitely get there early though if you
want one of the day beds as they fill up
fast on the beautiful Bali days.
Finn’s is a real slice of luxury like no other
in Bali; the staff are friendly, chatty and
so attentive too. We felt so relaxed and
looked after it was an awesome experience
and one I would recommend.
48 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 49
WHAT IS, THE MEANING OF
TRAVEL TO ME?!
I sit there, like a child flying for the first time,
staring out the window of the plane. I am 1
week away from my 31st birthday. What am
I doing with my life? I feel like I am always on
the run, but why? I am constantly hopping on a
plane, trying to live my life to the fullest. In the
process of seeing the world, I contemplate why
others are traveling. Is that couple on vacation?
Why are those parents bringing their child to
Las Vegas? Why do that businessmen act like
he is better than me as he reads the Wall Street
Everyone has their life and seeing parts of
strangers’ lives as he or she travel, wondering,
makes me question if I am missing out on
something. Travel is what I love, but it is also a
way for me to escape. I run to the airport when
I need to clear my head of all the chaos. I run to
the airport when I break up with a lover. I run to
the airport when I am bored, happy, sad; I run to
the airport, period. I frequently end up in places
I never considered. Whether it be Hawaii on a
whim, small town Indiana because I was bored,
New York because my friends and I all realized
we have the same off days. London because
a friend ended up there last minute or Buenos
Aires because it is finally the weekend with no
plans and I have always wanted to go to Fuerza
Bruta. The list of excuses for to anywhere and
everywhere with little to no notice is endless.
Staring out the window this particular evening,
I wonder if how I live my life is normal. I ponder
this thought as I see thousands of people
traveling with friends or family or solo traveling
for business with their family waiting for them
at home. I have traveled the world, but more
often than not, it is by myself. Am I supposed
to be traveling with at least one other person
because that is what is normal? What does that
even mean? I tried dating a German man once,
and after knowing each other for less than ten
days, we had our whole life of travels planned
out, but he walked out on me while in Berlin
after knowing each other for a total of 19 days.
Hmm…..maybe normal, whatever that is, isn’t
for me. I know there are other single females
such as myself who travel the world, but we are
a diamond in the rough.
Well, until I figure out the meaning of my life, I
will continue to stare out the window of the crj-
700 as I have made yet another spontaneous
decision not to go home, but to fly to Ohio to
see a good friend of mine.
Happiness is key, and travel makes me happy.
It is where I belong regardless of how everyone
else in the world chooses to live his or her life;
in the sky, planning or not, for that matter, my
next solo trip.
MY FIRST ADVENTURE IN
My first ever adventure began when my
girlfriend thought of something crazy. An
idea just occurred to her to go south of Cebu.
That time was around 5 in the morning. She
texted me if I was free. For no reason I just
replied “yep, all free”
She then she told me about her itinerary for
the day. First, was to go swimming with the
Butanding (whale sharks) at Oslob, Cebu.
Next was to go waterfalls hopping nearby.
From that moment on, I was beginning to see
more of what nature has to offer. It was an
overwhelming experience, and from then on
I promised myself to never stop wandering.
It was the start of the first of the many
adventures to come.
Most of my travels are based in the Philippines
since I was still a student back then. One of
the places I conquered was Dumaguete City.
To say that it is nice place is a massive
understatement. Dumaguete City has a lot to
offer, from the tranquil, laid back environment
and rich history, to the friendly people as well
as the cheap yet delicious food.
They are also rich in marine life. One
beautiful place filled with this is Apo Island.
NIÑA CHRISTINE A. PANEBIO
I had the opportunity to visit Apo Island with
my partner. Personally, that was the best
experience I had so far. There were turtles of
all sizes everywhere, corals are rich, vibrant,
and very well protected. You just had to swim
a few minutes from the shore, and you’d be
swimming with amazing sea turtles!
From Dumagute, I did not miss a chance of
visiting the Island of Siquijor. At first, I was
quit reluctant to go there because of the
many stories my folks used to tell. You see
Siquijor, according to old folks was a place
where people practiced witchcraft, but I went
anyway. I couldn’t be happier.
We visited Salagdoong beach, a famous
beach for cliff diving. There are three
different levels, each level is quite high. In my
case I decided to just indulge myself with the
view. The beach was blessed with white sand
beaches and clear water. I swam for hours not
minding the heat of the sun while waiting for
my friends to finish cliff diving.
When they were done, I remembered I
smirked at them for having bruises all over
their body because of the impact of the water
from the jumping. But later on, I realized I
should have gone with them as well, I can
only imagine the feeling of what it was like to
fall and plunge into the blue waters, and tell
stories of how you overcame your fear and
the bruises that came with it.
Man, I would be proud to show those bruises,
for they tell a story, an experience one can
never take away from you.
Our day took us to Cantabon cave, wherein
we walked for almost 2 hours. My friend and
I were the ones always behind because we
were taking our time, taking it all in.
The day was finished with a trip to the
infamous Balete tree, which in local tradition
is a haunted tree. We had to lower our voices
down since that tree was believed to be
Being able to travel is a luxury, not anyone
can do it even if they wanted to. I say I
am well blessed to have witnessed these
beautiful places. I only hope for the best that
these places will not be abandoned. So that
other people can explore and love them as I
have loved every place I have been to.
50 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 51
CULINARY TRIP AROUND
from Brolloli and Friends
Finding the traditional food in the U.K. from a
person that used to know little about British
What is the famous food from Indonesia? Most
Indonesians would answer “Nasi Goreng” (fried
rice). What about Taiwan? Beef noodle or stinky
tofu (a fermented tofu which has an unpleasant
smell). Singapore? Most would say “Laksa” (a
spicy noodle soup that is a combination Chinese
and Malay cuisine). The U.S.A.? Burgers. Italy?
Pizza, Pasta. The same question came across
to my mind before my two weeks vacation in
the U.K and would be my first trip visiting the
What is the
food in the U.K.?
To be frank.
Initially, I could
only think of fish
For an introduction, I am from Surabaya, Indonesia
and currently living in Taipei. In this trip, I would be
accompanied by my Taiwanese friend.
Both of us knew less about British food, a bit
skeptical about the taste and had not done any
British cuisine research before this trip.
Here is our British food list other than fish & chips.
LA PAIN QUOTIDIEN IN COVENT
Baked scone, clotted cream, and soft-boiled eggs
from Le Pain Quotidien at 48-49, Covent Garden,
The Market, Covent Garden Piazza, Henrietta St.,
London WC2 8RF, UK. I would give it five a star
rating because the scones were good. I have never
had a scone as good as that one. My friend was
happy with the clotted cream. The eggs were good
CAFE ZIQUE IN GLASGOW,
The large Shetland mussels, and a full
breakfast menu that had a black pudding
(it is made from pork fat, suet, onions,
oatmeal, animal blood, generally pork.
A traditional food from England and
Ireland), baked beans, bacon, eggs
and sausages, from Cafe Zique at 66
Hyndland St., Glasgow G11 5PT, UK.
I liked the mussels, enough so that I
would give the mussels another 5-star
rating. The breakfast would get an
equally impressive 4-star rating. The
scrambled egg was too mushy; I would
give Cafe Zique an overall rating would
be 4.5 stars.
SKIFF INN IN SWALWELL,
Mussels in Mariniere (shallots, garlic,
cream, and white wine) sauce, and
homemade steak and kidney pie with
shortcrust pastry menu from Skiff Inn
restaurant at Clasper Way, Swalwell,
NE16 3BE, UK.
I enjoyed the homemade pie; the beef
gravy was excellent, I gave it another five
stars. The mussels were not too bad, but
I did prefer the ones we got in Glasgow.
The rating for both dishes would be 4.5
LOXLEYS IN STRATFORD-
A beef roast rib with Yorkshire pudding
is a traditional British meal, finished off
with a rum & raisin crème Brulee for the
All this came from Loxleys at 3 Sheep St.,
Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6EF, UK.
Yorkshire pudding just a batter (eggs,
flour and milk (if you want the real deal)).
We were satisfied with the food. I would
give five stars. My favorite dish so far.
You can tell, I like the food here in the UK.
THE LEGENDARY SAVOY HOTEL
IN LONDON, ENGLAND
The last stop on our culinary trip was
an afternoon tea experience from The
Savoy Thames Foyer (part of The Savoy
Hotel) at Strand, London WC2R 0EZ, UK.
What an experience to have afternoon
tea in that special place was a nice choice
although the bread and cakes were just
okay. I would give it four stars rating.
We didn’t intentionally make a plan to
complete a culinary trip or list down what
we are going to have.
However, in the end of our vacation, we
could have a list full of traditional British
food that we had no anticipation of
eating. We enjoyed the traditional food,
broadening, and changed our view about
After all, British food was not that bad.
52 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 53
AUSTRALIA HAS TICKED
OFF MANY THINGS ON MY
Since this is my
with any travel
writer. I am
going to share with
you something that
means so much
to me that no one
A real honour for us here at Total Travel TAG!
My 2016 has never been better,
especially given this opportunity to
share my experience with you. Let
me start by introducing myself; I am Junee
Aguelo, the voice behind the blog Cebu
Travel Junkie, from the tropical country of
the Philippines. I was exploring Australia
when Look at our world noticed my feed
and popped the great news to me on
Traveling to the Land Down Under was not
like any trips you guys have; coming there
was purely for business, as I was sent by
the company, and exploring the continent
was just a side dish.
I was excited for the next big step of my
life and at the same time scared. Since it
will be my first time to be away from my
family for an extended period of time; first
time riding a plane, solo; first time to be
in a foreign country; most especially, first
time as a solo traveler.
It is true what they say, leaving your
comfort zone will take much courage, and
it was not until the night before my flight
that I packed my things. I admit I was a
bit scared to get on the plane, but, having
traveled since I was just a toddler and being
on the aircraft was like catching up with my
long lost buddy.
Before coming to Australia, I had my
expectations about the country, in fact,
I even researched the best places to visit,
and I was disappointed when the results
were mostly pubs and buildings. However,
when I got there and during my stay,
Sydney, actually made a mark in my heart;
from the people down to the buildings; and
she will forever hold a special place in it.
from Cebu Travel Junkie
Sydney helped me realized my dream of
living in a safe neighborhood, which I have
only seen on my favorite TV series. She
was the first one to take me on a ride via
train as well as the first one to take me on
a sky ride via the cable car in Taronga Zoo,
and it was a great experience.
The buildings, which I hated, it is even more
beautiful when they outshine the stars at
night. The Opera House, their famous
landmark, I realized that it is roof reflects
the color of the horizon; white or bright
yellow when it is midday; and orange-red
when it is almost sundown.
What amazed me were the people. Despite
the constant warning of my cousin to
beware of them; they made me believe in
humanity again. I could not believe how
gentle and kind they were. There was a
time in Central Station where I got lost
while looking for the platform going to
the airport. I had with me my luggage, and
someone offered to carry it going up the
stairs, and it was not just a 10 step stairs.
This happened not only once, but it also
happened while I was on the way out of
the lodge that I was staying.
What made this so special is that I have
crossed off many items from my bucket
list just in a single trip. As a self-confessed
wanderlust, it has been my life’s dream to
travel the whole world no matter how long
it will take.
Australia just set the bar high. I do not
think I can ever look at the world the same
LIVING AND BREATHING
THE PARISIAN LIFESTYLE.
I know I’m the different one on the metro
My hair is up. My dress is long and it’s
only 6:30pm. Dinner doesn’t even start until
Although no one says anything, I know I
am the one getting glanced at, the one that
people tell stories about when they get off
-- “there was this girl all dressed up, I wonder
where she is going.”
But I get off, eventually, and stumble up
escalators and crowded stairwells until finally
I see the sky. And with the sky, the facade of
the Palais Garnier comes into view.
I try to keep calm. I am Parisian now, these
things are normal. Going to the ballet on a
Tuesday night -- not typical, but not atypical
here. I greet my friends, kisses on cheeks and
grins on faces. Let’s ask that lady to take our
picture, my grandmother will want to see this.
The bell sounds, the lights dim. People
crowded on marble steps, heels clicking and
stumbling upstairs -- higher, higher, until I
reach the fourth floor and the attendant
points me to a seat that might be wide
enough for a four-year-old but certainly isn’t
from Tales and Times of a Traveling Twenty
large enough for me. I squeeze in, hearing at
least three different languages swirling in the
air around me.
“Sarah, tu es
the bottom of
my heart, “Oui.
Bien sûr. Je suis
The music starts. The dancers appear. And the
world slips away.
When it all ends, there’s nothing to be said. The
words do not seem right, because nothing in
either French or English could describe what
it is like to be a part of that audience while
knowing that this is my country now,
that I am not only there for a day or two
squeezing every moment into a 24 hour
day. That I’m there learning and living
and throwing myself off the metaphorical
fourth-floor balcony, doing things I’m not
comfortable doing and speaking words that
feel funny in my mouth without knowing
the result. Taking the opportunity to watch
something so incredibly beautiful.
Moreover, I walk down the marble steps,
lingering until the crowd has left and all that
remains are the couples waltzing on the
steps to a cheesy recording playing from an
old stereo. Moreover, I twirl a little, swaying
my dress that feels like magic to the notes.
Moreover, when a friend asks “Sarah, tu es
contente?” I respond from the bottom of my
heart, “Oui. Bien sûr. Je suis contente.”
Studying Abroad in Paris, France has been
one of the most rewarding experiences of my
life, and I cannot recommend the experience
of a semester abroad enough. The Palais
Garner (metro stop Opèra) in Paris hosts
the national ballet of France as well as ballet
and opera groups from all of over the world.
Tickets (and gift cards!) are not expensive and
can be purchased from their website.
54 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 55
Was I crazy to not
refund my ticket to
Cairo and opt for
a different destination that
had less political fragility? In
December of 2011, everyone,
Egyptians and travelers to
Egypt, all expressed the same
sentiment: if you played it
smart around Tahrir Square on
Fridays, you should be okay.
Traveling on the heels of Arab
Spring brought me to sites like Couchsurfing
to gauge the atmosphere.
Stay alert and mindful. This advice was
already a mantra of mine. As a woman who
traveled alone, I had already developed a
sixth sense for detecting danger.
I barely planned my 3 ½ weeks. The agenda
was lax. I hoped to stay with a local,
preferably a woman, but no women were
available. Instead, I arranged to couch surf
with an English teacher from the UK. I would
figure out my itinerary once I arrived. I ache
for nature: caves, mountains, lakes, deserts.
I assumed three days in Cairo would suffice.
An “ambassador” couch surfer, deemed
for his dedication to the community’s
positive values, offered a ride to my host’s
apartment, the location would be revealed
once I phoned.
Before taking off, the ambassador messaged
me. Change of plans. He was stuck working
the parliamentary elections and would be
sending somebody else instead. My flight
delayed provided me with extra time to vet
this new person. I did not really know the
ambassador, which left me a little hesitant
about this sudden change of plans. I cursed
myself for not taking the time to prep. The
Institute d’Egypte had burned down just
five days earlier inciting my family to beg
for me to cancel my trip. However, I am
cheap and stubborn.
A SERIES OF
EVENTS LED TO THE
BEST TIME EVER!
my sister. It is the Egyptian way.” So I stayed.
A series of unfortunate events and optimism
led to the most adventurous three weeks. I
lived with Mostafa’s family, befriended his
best friends, and together we road-tripped
across Egypt, celebrating the new year by
the Red Sea, and hiking the desert. “You have
given me a chance to explore my country,” he
said over a cup of tea.
Chaos was still ravaging the country, but
for us, we had found a way to suspend our
distrust in the unknown. With open hearts,
we allowed a series of mishaps to form a
friendship that still lasts today.
from Crystal Takes Care
“I can not just abandon you.
I am now responsible for
you. You’re my sister. It’s the
Mostafa on Crystal whilst getting in trying to get in touch with the CouchSurfer in Cairo.
Courtesy of Beata Jarek
Hanging Houses, Villajoyosa, Spain
Mostafa messaged. He was a medical
student, in his late 20’s, and an amateur
photographer. Mostafa said I could pick
him out from his fedora. I told Mostafa he
could pick me out quickly from my bright
Moreover, there he was in his fedora hat
and a big smile. He stood out from the rest,
a snazzy pizzazz that served to comfort
me. “I have to say,” he said, “thank you for
coming. Everybody is scared to travel to
Egypt right now. They see all crazy things
on the news. So wow, it makes me happy
to see some brave souls.” “Do you mean
it is brave to trust you, a stranger, for a
ride?” I laughed. In his neon blue sedan, he
offered me a selection of juices and snacks,
“I did not know which flavor you liked,” he
said, “so I got all three.”
We killed time at the Sun City Mall, close
to the airport, as I tried, without success,
to get in touch with my host. My lodging
plans were now a bust. Instead of driving
to a hostel, Mostafa insisted I return to
his home where his family just welcomed
a litter of kittens. “I can not just abandon
you. I am now responsible for you. You are
56 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 57
Traveling became a huge part of
my life: saving for it, planning
trips, living the nomad life and
even writing about it. Everything now
is related to a map and a plane ticket.
The more I traveled, the more I started
realising what I liked the most about the
places I visited.
Somehow I have always ended up taking
pictures at some colourful alley covered
with people´s paintings. Moreover, no
matter how many places I visit, that
is one of the things that always keeps
me wondering on the streets for hours.
Every place is different, now I am writing
about the ones that I visited and fell in
HAS GIVEN ME A
PASSION FOR ART
from Eso Que No Todos Ven
To me, nothing screams the word
“embellished” more than Northern
Irelands capital city. Working class,
industrial, and very affected by civil
war not that many years ago, Belfast
resurfaces between the ashes, especially
through music, literature, art and every
culture expression you can imagine.
Graffiti is all over Belfast, but mainly in
the area between The City Hall and the
Cathedral. Here you will find yourself
walking around charming little alleys and
even parking lots full of art.
While in Miami, I heard about a
neighborhood called “Wynnwood,” I had
to check it out. First of anything, because
I was told that my beloved serigraphs
master, Shepard Fairey painted some
walls over there. Looking for some
information about it, I found out that
a man called Goldman create an open
space, with free entrance during the day
known as “The Wynnwood Walls” where
some of the world most famous graffiti
experts participated. Beautiful place to
visit, as so the whole neighborhood, full
of design shops, studios, and galleries.
From the graffiti
in Belfast and
to the incredible
building art in
Santiago de Chile.
You can always
admire world art!
One of the most breathtaking places
in East Europe, the gorgeous buildings,
Charles Bridge and Prague Castle made
me a fan of this city. In search of Urban
Art here, I was sent to the John Lennon
Wall. At first look, it may seem like just
a wall, but when you hear about the
meaning of the place, it is not. The wall
was painted by fans of Lennon after his
dead as a tribute. Authorities painted
over the wall several times because it
was considered a rebellion act at that
moment. Every time they covered it,
the following day new poems, songs
and portraits appeared. Now THAT is an
SANTIAGO DE CHILE
At the north side of the Mapocho river,
not far from Santiago´s Downtown,
is located “Bella Vista” district, what in
English would be called something like
“Beautiful Sights.” This was the place that
I loved the most of all Santiago. It has nice
bars and restaurants. The house of writer
Pablo Neruda is here (La Chascona) and
also the Metropolitan Park. Bella Vista´s
walls are full of colour and art, and even
Well, here graffiti gets an entirely new
meaning, as they are not like the ones
we are used to seeing. This Holy City is
where most Hindus come to die or to
be cremated and thrown into Ganges
River, with the hope that Mother Ganga
free them from reincarnation. So, given
the spiritual sense of the place, It´s not
weird that images painted on the wall
are mostly referred to their gods and
goddesses, or people who inspired them
as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela,
and Mother Teresa.
58 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 59
THE MOST UNHELPFUL
POLICE OFFICER EVER IN
from Cold Pasta and Red Wine
“Chris,” I thought I heard my husband say from
somewhere that was not in bed next to me.
“Someone was in the apartment.”
“Whose apartment?” I thought I was dreaming.
“This one. Ours. Someone was in here.” By the
time he got to “in here,” I was in the living room.
“I do not think he got anything.” Mike looked
around. “I think I scared him.”
“He got my laptop case and my new camera.” I
think I was screaming. “My new camera.”
It was 3:00 am in the morning of our last day in
Prague, and the day was not off to a great start.
While we had been there more than two weeks, I
still wasn’t comfortable and was looking forward
to leaving. The rude awakening did not help.
Mike thought he heard our apartment floors
creak. Located in an ancient building in Old Town,
the apartment had wood floors throughout.
Of course, the floors and pipes tended to “talk”
at times, but nothing had woken us before.
At first, Mike thought the noise was someone
walking around upstairs, but the start-and-stop
movement made him realize someone was
creeping around in our place.
He glared at me.
“Why you no
He got up, tip-toed into the living room, flashed
on the light, and saw the apartment door closing.
By the time he got to the door and opened it, the
hallway was empty and dark. That is when he
called to me.
As we dressed quickly, we tried to assess what
was missing. Everything the guy took was mine—
camera, laptop case, license, credit cards, cash,
and a few irreplaceable personal items.
Since our cell phones did not work in the Czech
Republic, we could not call the owner or the
police. One of us needed to walk the three blocks
to the police station to report the incident. I knew
where the station was in the maze of streets,
so Mike watched me from the window as I took
off. Upon my arrival, I rang the bell, and a leery
policewoman admitted me to the dreary room. I
told her I spoke English, and she motioned for me
Two minutes later, a dour policeman appeared.
I babbled that we had been robbed, that someone had broken
in, that they took my camera, wallet, and more.
He glared at me. “Why you no chase him?” I tried to explain, but
my words were white noise to him. I handed him the owner’s
card and asked him to call and tell Mira what happened.
“Why? Already gone.” He pushed the card back at me.
“Tomorrow. Translator. Come back.” He marched through the
Deflated, I returned to the flat. I emailed Mira and hoped he
saw the email when he woke up.
At 8:00, Mira arrived with an English-speaking policeman
and crime lab technicians (CSI PRAGUE!) who took photos,
got fingerprints, and gave us two pages of legal documents
in Czech that told us our rights as crime victims. Because the
officer did not understand English, Mira translated and said
that the police probably wouldn’t find the man, and even if
they did, they would not do much.
“Here, court drags out a long time,” he said. “You might wait
ten years, and you might win, but criminal only have to pay
500 Czech crown. Too much work for too little.” He sighed.
Mike sighed. I sighed.
Still dazed from the violation, we flew over the red-roofed
city the next morning. I looked down and wondered what the
burglar was doing with the pieces of me he had taken.
gone.” He pushed
the card back at
back.” He marched
through the door.
We couldnt get out of Prague quick enough
60 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 61
9 DAYS AND 479KM ALONG
THE MANALI-LEH HIGHWAY
with no hands.
The 479 kilometers long Manali-
Leh highway is one of the most
picturesque routes in the world to
road trip on that attracts travelers and
bikers all around the world.
It traverses some of the highest
motorable roads in the world and consists
of five mountain passes, going as high
as 5,100 meters above sea level and the
total elevation gain is over 13,000 meters
(4,000 meters more than the height of
Having seen all the breathtaking pictures
of this route, road tripping here was on my
bucket list for over a year. The July of 2016,
I booked myself for a cycling/camping/
road trip on the Manali-Leh highway with
an adventure tourism company.
Hundreds, if not thousands of people do
it on motorcycles every year, but very
few individuals in the world do it on
push-bikes losing thousands of calories
which make it a truly rare experience.
Being a 19-year old inexperienced cyclist.
Naturally, the thought of going through it
Reaching Manali with my bike, I met the
people who were going with me. Including
two mountain-bikers, employees of the
company I went with, two videographers
hired by the same company to film our
trip for advertisement purposes, and a
49-year old man from Sydney who was a
client like me.
Being weird and aloof, I did not get
comfortable with any of these until the
first night of our trip at our camp in Marhi.
When the filmmakers offered me a smoke
we got talking. I can neither confirm, nor
deny if it was Himalayan cannabis that
we smoked that night, and the nights to
Om Namah Shivay! We ran out of our
“stuff.” It was the 8th day of our 9-day
tour when we reached Rumptse, the
village where smoking was banned. This
region being near India’s border, we came
across army check points. At one of which
we asked the soldiers if they had any
cigarettes, they could spare. They said
they do not smoke because then it gets
harder for them to breathe in the harsh
high altitude environment.
We did not find anything up until later
that night when one of the truck drivers
that stopped in the village to spend the
night gave us his only pack of tobacco
joints. We could not thank him enough.
Climbing was not particularly challenging
for me, but it was very slow, and at times
it felt like we had been climbing forever.
Slowly making our way up to the high
passes. Averaging just 6-7 kilometers per
hour through thin air, with little oxygen
took every last bit of my patience more
I was still faster than most of the other
cyclists outside of our team (some solo,
some with other adventure companies),
the exception being an Austrian group
of three, one of which was Jacob Zurl, an
ultra-cyclist who holds the world record
for cycling the distance of this same route
in just 39 hours that he did in 2014. This
time, he took it slow and did it in 8 days
camping along the way and taking in the
Of course, descending at as high as 90
kilometers per hour and filming it (I had
been helping the guys film) controlling
our bikes with one, sometimes with no
hands on the handlebar felt like pure
adrenaline. The roads while descending
all five passes except Tanglang La were
broken down, and so it was like riding
downhill off the road, sometimes through
knee high glacier melted water streams.
The shocks are not easy on the body, but
we sure looked cool doing it.
62 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 63
WE LOVE FOOD. MORE ACCURATELY. WE LOVE EATING FOOD. BUT THERE IS
NOTHING QUITE LIKE SEEING WHAT FOOD YOU CAN FEAST YOUR TEETH INTO
FROM AROUND THE WORLD. SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, FEAST, AND SALIVATE
TO YOUR HEARTS CONTENT ON THE LITTLE BEAUTIES YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE
HAVE SENT INTO US.
WE VISITED THE TASTE FOOD TOURS. WHILST
ON THE INDIAN FOOD TOUR. WE SAMPLED
SOME EXCUISITE PANIPURI. JUST FEED ME THIS
TASTE OF THE OCEAN DOWN AT THE UMII
JAPANESE RESTAURANTS JUST OUTSIDE
SOME INCREDIBLE CHURROS DOWN IN ANDALUCIA.
THESE CAN BE FOUND IN THE HISTORIC TOWN OF
OLD FERNVALE BAKERY, QLD, AUSTRALIA. MMMMM,
MY FAVOURITE PIE PLACE. ESPECIALLY THIS PORK
AND APPLE PIE. FEED MY BELLY!
A VERY DELICIOUS TIGER LOAF WITH CHEESE AND
BUTTER. JUST PULL APART GOOD!
SOME DEVINE CHOCOLATE HEAVEN IN BRISBANE AT
THE ALCHEMY RESTAURANT AND BAR IN THE HEART
OF THE CBD.
GREAT FISH AND CHIPS WITH CURRY SAUCE. A VERY
NORTH OF ENGLAND. YOU CAN GET THIS AT
YORKSHIRE FISHERIES IN BLACKPOOL
CHRISTMAS 2016 IN SPAIN. YOU CAN TAKE THE LAD
OUT OF ENGLAND, BUT YOU CANT TAE ENGLAND OUT
OF THE LAD. TURKEY AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS.
SOME OF THE INCREDIBLE FOOD YOU CAN EAT DOWN
AT EAT STREET MARKET, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA. GO
HUNGRY, LEAVE IN A FOOD COMA!
SOME DUTCH FRIES WITH SOME CURRIES MAYO. OMG,
YOU HAVE TO GET YOURSELF SOME IF YOU FIND
YOURSELF IN AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS.
64 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 65
So what better place to start out
Q&A segment, than with the
creators of the magazine. Look at
our World started their travels only
back in September of 2014.
What is even more amazing, is that
the whole idea of blogging was
only meant to be a diary to keep
friends and family up to speed with
their travel antics.
So, with that, the Look at our
World website was born, and the
NomadicBrits social media handle
With ZERO social media experience,
well, in fact ZERO experience in
writing. The following just grew
and grew. It was in December of
2014 those numbers had reached
It was then over the course of the
first 12 months that figure grew to
over 50,000! Such an incredible
achievement from 2 wannabe
travelers, wanting the world.
SO WHAT MADE
YOU COME UP
WITH THE NAME
LOOK AT OUR
I was asleep one morning. Tina
woke me up saying.
“I have a name for the website.
What do you think of Look at our
I knew straight away that it was the
one for us. So it was that morning,
the domain was purchased, and
the hard work to build the website
SO HOW LONG
DID IT TAKE TO
WEBSITE YOU HAVE
Well, the website you see now is
still an ever-evolving site.
However, generally, from nothing,
to the first workings of the site.
You are probably looking at
around 1,000 hours of creation.
That includes the image creation.
Everything you see has been
ITSELF. WHO IS
IT THAT HAS THE
FINAL SAY ON WHERE
YOU BOTH HEAD OFF TO?
We are a great pair. We both have
the same passions on places to
go. We always knew we would
be heading over to Australia for a
large part, as Lees mum and sister
(and now niece) live over there.
However, regarding where we both
brought places to the table, the
other had not thought of. It was
good, as we both saw things we
would not have if we had traveled
LOOK AT OUR
SO WHAT MADE
YOU GO AROUND
THE WAY YOU
Well, neither of us are people that
enjoy the cold. Hey, we have spent
our whole lives experiencing the
cold that England can bring at
Also, we quite liked the idea of
following the sun around the
So we headed to the UK first,
before going over to Holland,
Germany, and then a monster 12-
hour drive to Paris for Valentines.
That was Lees idea, and something
Tina did not know anything about.
Ok, so we were in a part of Germany
(i cannot remember the name of
where). We were due to be driving
to Brussels 48 hours later to our
next CouchSurfing host.
That was until we got a message
from him saying, sorry I will not be
here. I need to be in Poland, it is
the children’s half term. However,
my flatmate will be around.
With that, we looked at each other.
It was in that instant; we decided
that we would look to see if we can
extend our stay where we were.
Then, ask our CouchSurfer in Paris
if we can arrive a day earlier.
So thats the Look at our World social media statistics. Thats a total
following of 51,003 followers in 15 months, all from having ZERO social
However, it was a comment on
Facebook Lee had made, that gave
us the perfect outcome.
We had stayed with a lovely couple
in Zornheim, Germany. After a
week staying with them, they then
asked us if we wanted to stay with
them again for two nights.
All for free using CouchSurfing. I
must admit, it did mean that Lee
got to go and see a Mainz football
SO IT LOOKS LIKE
YOU HAVE MADE
FOR LIFE IN
You bet we have.
We have already planned to see
them later this month (February
2017) for ten days.
We even got a German advent
calendar from them last Christmas
delivered over to us.
We will be sure to take an English
package of goodies that’s for sure.
SO HOW DID YOU
MANAGE TO KEEP
UP WITH THE
With great difficulty. In both Holland
and Germany we could only use our
phones when we had Wifi. Which was
even harder, when one of the German
hosts did not have Wifi.
It did mean, though, that we did not
upload as often as we would have
liked. However, when we got to
France, we could use our phones for
free (because of the phone plans we
have in England).
This meant, Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram updates from our past few
days in Germany.
When we got to Australia, it was great.
We were able to use our phones there
as well. So for the rest of our travels
around, we had no issues with not
having data on our phones.
Which was great when we needed
Apple Music, or podcasts to keep
us busy on our 5,000km trip from
Ipswich, QLD through to Port Douglas,
and back again in 2 weeks!
5,000KM IN 2
WEEKS! THAT IS
It is like driving from Malaga, Spain
straight through to Helsinki, Finland.
It was mind numbing at times. When
Lee was driving, as Tina was not
insured on the hire car. It was no less
than 8 hours driving. We even had a
12 hour driving day once.
I BET YOU SAW
Oh, that we did. We Jet Boated
around Sydney Harbour, held a Koala,
drank some home brewed lager in a
brewery, and went on a trike tour.
That’s just to name a few of the
places we went. All without paying a
penny. That’s right, it was gratis, free,
no money changed hands. We must
have had over $10,000USD worth of
free places to stay, things to eat, and
great things to do.
WORTH OF FREE
THINGS? HOW ON
You will hear a lot of bloggers talk
about numbers. Yes, it helps to have
numbers. Because without the sort of
figures we had at the time. Businesses
will not even entertain you.
However, with a stunning website
that Lee designed, and built. Along
with Tina’s excellent marketing skills.
We contacted places, in exchange for
a write-up on our site.
We can’t let you know all our secrets.
However, let us say we had a large
amount of success.
SO ARE YOU GOING
TO BE SHARING
The long, and short answer is YES.
However, we have yet to start to
figure out how we will do this. We
have a few ways of doing this.
However, we are more than likely
going to be creating a membership.
This membership will be very well
priced against what you potentially
will be able to save with obtaining
things in return for exposure.
INDEED, NOT ONLY
FOR YOU BUT ALSO
FOR EVERYONE READING
THIS. SO WHAT’S NEXT FOR
We are very busy with one thing or
We have a wedding to plan for, the
next issue of the magazine, and some
more very exciting things coming very
soon. We cannot share with you just
yet. However, let us say, we cannot
wait to share it with you when we can.
Well, thank you for your time today.
If you want to hear more about
how you too can get increase your
following like Look at our World have.
As well as finding out the tricks that
saved them over $10,000USD on free
food, things to do, and place to stay.
66 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 67
Courtesy of Michael Leahy
There are a lot of great spots to watch the sun set.
But Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy is truly hard to
68 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 69
A LITTLE BIT OF
FREEDOM: HOW TO
DRIVE IN AMERICA
from She loves everything and nothing at all
America is not just a country for the drivers; it is the
country in which it can be tough to reach all the hidden
depths of the continent’s natural beauties without a
car. By the age of 16, almost every schoolchild collects
a small amount of money to buy an old car to be
proudly driving it to school and parties. Moreover,
after that what can be told about adults.
While preparing for the trip, a huge number of online
resources about the peculiarities of driving behaviour
on US roads were examined. Here are the three most
- Almost in all states (except New York and
Pennsylvania) it is possible to turn right on a red light
if there are no restricting signs and no interference for
the other drivers.
- If there is a yellow school bus with flashing lights on
the road, then it is necessary to stop and wait until the
lights are off.
-There are a lot of so-called ‘All Ways’ crossroads
where the rule of the right-hand does not work.
Usually, there is a ‘Stop’ sign in front so all must
stop first and then the first one who arrived at the
intersection can cross it.
In general, all the drivers are polite and friendly, but
the secret of this discipline is because of the rather
rigid penalties system. Apart from the payment of the
rather significant penalty. Your insurance will also be
notified about the violation and from that moment,
for this person, the payment for the insurance will be
doubled over the next three years. Moreover, so on.
One of the most watched for violations are speeding,
and talking on the phone, in the repair working area
and school zones. Penalties are twice as high here,
and a record of the violation is stored for five years.
5 YEARS !!
So, except for the standard traffic rules, such as
fastening your seat belts and not breaking the
speed limit, it is necessary to remember some more
peculiarities in order not to blush in front of the local
No parking in places for disabled people, near
the fire hydrants, in the places with the yellow
stripe on the pavement, and locations for
motorcyclists. These are quite strict rules, and
the car can be easily towed to the penalty
This pleasure will cost at least $500. At the same
time when parking in permitted locations do
not forget to pay in individual machines. Most
importantly is to put a check on the dashboard
near the windshield of the car. If the check is
not there, but in your pocket, you still will be
welcomed with a fine.
For those who like alcohol, the allowable
rate is about one bottle of beer or a glass
of wine. Although it is still not worth your
safety. Fines for drunk driving starts at $6000.
Transportation of open alcoholic beverages in
the passenger compartment and even in the
trunk is strictly forbidden - penalty even when
the driver is sober.
Police also monitor highways. Many roads
have special lanes for more rapid driving in a
traffic jam. There is HOV lane which you can
use when there are more that two people in
the car, sometimes often referred to like the car
pool lane. There are also TOLL lanes which are a
paid road. The number of passengers does not
matter if you travel in this lane.
In America, police officers are not sitting in the
bushes and waiting for the victim. They move in
the stream and monitor the situation. If there is
a police car behind you then there is no reason
to panic - perhaps they just check the car
number. If there are then flashing lights or siren,
then you should stop at the next available safe
point. There is no need to run joyfully towards
them. According to the rules, it is necessary
to stay in the car, do not make any sudden
movements and keep your hands visible all the
time. Bribes in America will not work because
everything is documented by the video camera
on the police car windshield.
Most interesting is that during the whole
trip almost nothing of this was encountered
by us. Just a couple of times we came across
this strange ‘All roads’ intersection and to be
honest, I did not manage to understand how
they determine who should go first. Every time
it was turning into a show of unprecedented
courage and faith that they see me and won’t
drive directly into the car.
However, the overall driving experience was
very pleasant. Drivers are phlegmatic enough
not to get nervous or angry if someone behaves
stupidly on the road. A couple of times I saw the
guys saying thanks with the help of emergency
lights although here it is not common. Usually,
they thank with the hand.
Highways are taken care of. They are special
reflective markings on the road that help a lot
when driving at dusk and night. Also, they are
convex, so when leaving the road, you will be
shaken to death causing the driver to wake up.
In the US large cars are a common choice for
the Americans, you will hardly find the small
two-door cars at the rental office. However, it
is an advantage. From the personal experience
for the driver, it is much easier to travel long
distances in a crossover car rather than in an
You will face no problems with gasoline either.
There are three types of fuel - 87, 89 and 91. For
the rent cars, 87 will be okay unless something
is specifically marked. So for example for $20
Nissan Rogue could easily drive for 400-500
Gas stations are located on the highway about
every hour and even more often. The process
itself is not hard- put the gasoline gun into the
car, you go to the cashier, and you give a certain
amount, go back and choose the required type
of fuel. It is possible to pay by card as well, but
I have not tried. Plus there is a $1 charge for the
In general, it is easy and inexpensive to rent a car
there. Of course better to do that in advance in
a few months before the trip. I booked through
a regular site www.rentalcars.com at the Alamo
operator. Crossover Nissan Rogue 2016 (yes
completely brand new) cost about $380 for
seven days. You will hit with all kinds of add-on
insurance. Importantly no additional fees were
charged meaning that the amount stated at the
end of booking did not change. Do not forget
that some distributors require a card deposit of
If you do not want to stand in long lines at the
rental place. You are sure that you will take the
car, it is possible to confirm the reservations in
advance. You just go directly to the cars. In the
parking lot, cars are usually arranged according
to the body type. Find the right one, and you
can choose any of the proposed 10-15 cars. At
the exit, there is a special booth. Here you have
to show your reservation, driver’s license, and
a valid credit card. Typically rent offices are not
located at the airport, but all of them provide a
free shuttle bus to and from the airport.
Well, that is probably all. All the most important
points are highlighted. In general, my father
likes to say that the car is some level of freedom.
No more so than on this continent. When in
front of you, there, dissolving into the horizon
road, your favourite music is playing. Hands on
the wheel, you can feel the soft vibration of the
motor engine, the freedom is incredible!
70 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 71
A JOURNEY TO
from Pure Organic World
IT HAS BEEN AN EXCELLENT SUMMER, BUT LIKE
ALL GOOD THINGS, IT MUST SADLY COME TO AN
So while I sit back to reflect on all of the amazing
memories, there is one in specific that tops them
It was just another day exploring Crete with my
two cousins, Brandy and Jon, who came to visit my
husband, Dan, and I in Greece.
During their visit, we sunbathed on numerous
beaches, dove off 25-foot cliffs into the sea, and
strolled along the ancient alleyways that make
up the Old Venetian Harbour in Chania. Towards
the end of their vacation, they both wanted to
do something different than the typical tourist
stuff – which led us to experience something
OUR GOAL WAS TO VISIT THE CAVE
There are two caves of Zeus: one where Zeus was
born, and another where he grew up. However,
we did not realise that until after, we had driven
headstrong into a tangled mess of unpaved, and
unmapped roads; while managing to get lost with
no guarantee we would be able to make it out of
this mountain labyrinth (and for what seemed to
be hours on end).
HOLD ON, I’M GETTING INTO THE
THICK OF IT… LET’S BACK UP…
Before we left the house, we packed up three maps,
several large water bottles, and a few nutrition
bars. With spotty wifi on our cell phones, we drove
off sometime around mid morning from Chania.
Heading straight to the national road (Crete’s
largest, longest road that resembles a highway –
connecting all of the major cities on the island)
Following three different maps (not counting our
“trusty” Google maps because the internet was so
scarce), we were on our way to see Zeus’ cave!
We exited the national road just before Rythmeno
and continued on a secondary road (which is just
another name for an old, uneven paved road on
WE DROVE FOR WHAT SEEMED TO BE SEVERAL
HOURS UP A SWITCH BACK MOUNTAIN ROAD
IN A SMALL, UNTRUSTWORTHY 4 CYLINDER
MANUAL EURO CAR
While passing sheep flocks and goat herds as
they grazed the hard, clay soiled terrain. We were
headed to the greater area of where the cave was
supposed to be…
Trying to find these caves
with ZERO internet.
Google Maps not working
was a nightmare!!
coach. Who knew
where we would
be heading. Hell.
Who knew where
we were anyway!
…but once we made a right turn
towards what seemed to be the
correct path, we knew we had taken
a very wrong detour when the road
turned to dust. Literally.
We could not turn around until we
found enough space for a 10 point
turn – kid you not.
The roads here are extremely narrow
with small rocks to big boulders that
are scattered everywhere. One flat
tire and we would be screwed. I
mean, I know all three of us could
handle changing a flat, but trying
to drive out of here on a spare
tire would be suicide – for the car
WE WERE LOST. THERE
WERE NO SIGNS. NO
WE HAD NO IDEA WHERE
WE WERE. HELL! ALL
THREE MAPS DIDN’T
KNOW WHERE WE WERE,
We were tired, hot (no AC in the
car and it was at least 80 degrees),
famished and exhausted. All we
wanted to do was reach this damn
cave. Come on Zeus! Help us out
Then, off in the distance, we saw a
shuttle bus driving. Alas! Civilization! We
decided the best thing to do would be to
follow it. Maybe it was going to the cave,
too! We backtracked our route and drove
up another rocky hill where we found the
shuttle bus parked on the side of the
road with a church at the top of the hill.
I got out of the car and approached the
man sitting in the driver seat. He, of
course, spoke tiny English and pointed
up the hill for us to meet a tour guide.
THAT IS WHEN WE MET
DANAE. SHE WAS SPEAKING
IN FRENCH, LOOKED
AMERICAN, BUT WAS GREEK.
It threw us for a loop. She informed us
that we stumbled upon a Cretan home
cooking tour that traveled to a shepherds
home… moreover, this was the French
Both Danae and the shepherd, Andreas,
tried to give us directions to Zeus’ cave,
but informed us that it would take at
least another 4 hours to get there!
We all looked at each other and rolled
our eyes. There was no way we would
continue driving to the other side of the
island. It was already 2:00 pm, and we
still had a long way to get back home.
As I looked around, I saw roast meat on
a spit over a handmade fire pit, sharp
meat hooks hanging from the shed and
a bloody butcher knife gouged into a
wooden tree stump. Instant thoughts
came to my mind of a Halloween horror
Danae had told us that the shepherd had
prepared a delicious home cooked meal
for the tour group (ah… makes sense)
and since we were technically lost, he
wanted to provide us with a meal as well!
He handed us some roasted goat meat
with his bare hands… it was so bizarre
but awesome at the same time. I mean,
it does not get any more “real” than that!
The Shepherd signaled us to sit with
the tour group under his thousandyear-old
oak tree. We were in awe
of his hospitality, as well as Danae’s
enthusiasm to join them. We thanked
them both numerously as all three of us
were blown away by their generosity.
She explained to the tour group what
happened to us… all in French. They
all smiled, and as we sat down, Danae
handed us forks and cups.
We tried to communicate with the other
guests (Brandy knew a little French) as
a cute little old gregarious French man
kept pouring our wine out of a plastic
We ate a delicious organic home-grown
Cretan meal and drank refreshing organic
We listened to stories and laughed along
with strangers who soon became friends.
It was such an incredible moment.
IT IS CRAZY! WHO KNEW
GETTING LOST IN THE MIDDLE
OF NOWHERE FOR HOURS ON
END WOULD SOON LEAD US
TO EAT AND DRINK DELICIOUS
ORGANIC CRETAN CUISINE
WITH THE FRENCH IN A
PRIVATE SHEPHERDS HOME?!
It was such an amazing experience, and it
tops all of my other adventures on Crete
72 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 73
WHAT YOU FIND IN THE
SKIRTS OF A HURRICANE
Luckily, it rarely happens. Certainly, it
is rarely something you plan for. But
sometimes you just encounter urgent
circumstances that ask of you to move into
the discomfort of uncertainty, while still
dressing up in the larger gowns of group
From time to time, I am called up to join
a group of students as they travel to a
destination in Latin America. This November, I
had one such job for 12 days in Costa Rica with
young students of culture and sustainability.
Costa Rica, being one of the most biodiverse
nations along with an interesting geological
composition and, at the same time, home to
one of the most ambitious and successful
educational frames for future visions in
sustainability and poverty prevention. Right
down my alley, that is what I thought.
The gap between rumour and reality
The morning of November 21st, after a night
of sleep over in San José, we drove towards
the Caribbean Coast to begin the first day of
from Pocket Journeys
educational tourism near Limón, at EARTH
University. The weather was decent, the
humidity high. We settled into our rooms
on campus where we would be spending the
next four days engaging with students and
their field projects. Everything was smooth
and easy. No electronic distractions – only
nature – and I had already pictured myself
hunting down rare species of frogs in palm
trees before bedtime.
Instead, I woke up to rumours of a tropical
storm brewing 250km off the Costa Rican
coastline, to make landfall as a hurricane
within 48 hours. His name Otto measured
and weighed, but not following straight lines
on a map. The dining room was buzzing with
lively debate. It has claimed three lives in
Panama; one told his neighbour. It will not
make landfall in Costa Rica, but in Nicaragua,
another said, the third nodding in agreement
and added, but we will get the rain.
In the face of a possible emergency we did
what was prudent: made a plan. Find a valid
source of information; monitor the situation,
contact local authorities for perspective,
and stick to the plan to avoid uncertainty in
the group. As the flow of information was
ticked in, we continuously evaluated possible
scenarios and appropriate responses – along
with answering emails from concerned
mothers. I learned that a hurricane lingers a
lot as if it needs to consider its move.
Our primary concern was safety. Another
concern was related to being stuck due to
flooding and mudslides blocking our exits.
However surreal, our program that morning
sent us into the subtropical habitat for
teachings on biodiversity. By the time we
got back, Otto was a Category 1 hurricane,
which would likely make landfall Midnorthern
Costa Rica. Limon, avoiding the
eye of the storm, would still be affected by
heavy rain and flooding. I believe, we were
safe at EARTH University, but we would
risk getting stuck for several days. Our next
stop, Fortuna, at the volcano Arenal, was
less prone to remain unmarked by events
and the area would probably be closed and
the volcano inaccessible. We did not know,
and safety first. The most sensible move was
crossing the mountains into San José while
the storm passed. The Pacific coast was now
issued a tsunami warning as Otto made his
way out. Geez, where to go?
After days of waiting and a broken program,
we finally made it to the Pacific, only to find
that national emergency had closed all parks.
Luckily, the beach is fun even in pouring,
tropical rain for the dedicated optimists.
MY PERSONAL AND
EXPERIENCE OF BATANES
Philippines northernmost and smallest province
located at the confluence of the West Philippine
Sea and the Pacific Ocean.Dubbed as the home
of the winds and nature’s playground.It is also
composed of three islands, the Batan Island,
Sabtang Island and the Itbayat Island.It has
six municipalities, 29 barangays, 230 square
kilometer territorial waters and 4500 square
To begin with, my personal and unforgettable
experience in Batanes, last Oct 2016, my sister
and I went there for six days, and this is both our
first time to visit the place.
As the plane landed at the airport of Batanes, my
heart skipped a beat because I immediately fell
in love, love at first sight actually because, the
airport itself has a magnificent view that I never
wanted to take off my eyes from that beautiful
Mt.Iraya from behind us. Then, off we go to our
hotel, it felt like you were at your home. It is a
two-storey house with a kitchen, dining room,
living room, veranda and a garden plus they also
have a bike for rent in case you want to roam
We spent our first-day tour at Batan Island. We
opted to rent a tricycle for a more fresher air
to breath and a cheaper way to roam around.
Every time we trek, we leave our personal
belongings (cell phones, wallets, etc.) with our
tour guide. Telling us no one would steal it from
the tricycle. I did not think he was not lying
because Ivatans (Batanes people) are known for
being honest. In fact, there is an Honesty Shop
in Batanes. Moreover, as we returned from our
trek, our things were still there, it was an amazing
experience, the honesty of the Ivatans are their
Batanes, as considered nature’s playground,
you will see breathtaking landscapes and
seascapes around the province.The “Rolling
Hills” stole my heart, these are seemingly
endless waves of rolling hills with a view of
the region’s three major islands. They also
have the boulder beach-it is a rock bay
popularly known for its long stretch of rocks
due to Mt Iraya’s eruption in 400AD.
Honestly, it was my first time to see a lot of
big rocks on a beach, a huge beautiful rocks.
Stone houses are also found at Sabtang
Island, the locals say, these houses are sturdy
enough in case typhoons/tsunami will
devastate their place.
Also, lastly, on the photo, the Mount Carmel
church or popularly known as the Tukon
church. To give you a little introduction about
Ivatan’s religion, approximately ninetyseven
percent are Roman Catholics, and
they appreciate visitors observing traditional
dress code whenever they enter churches.
Going back to Tukon church, the design was
based on the traditional Ivatan stone houses,
the roof is concrete red bricks, and on the
ceiling, you will be amazed by the paintings
of different municipal saints painted by
Ivatan artists. It is one of the most beautiful
and unique church I have seen in my entire
Batanes is a must-see place on earth and
must be included on your bucket list. Their
beautiful and breathtaking nature, honest
people, good food, and their quiet and
serene surroundings will give you a complete
relaxation and would make your vacation
worthwhile. If you would ask me if I will go
back to that place again, I will and would
always love to come back there.
Batanes is a
74 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 75
WHO KNEW PERTH
COULD OFFER SO MUCH!
from Lady Redot
This is my third time traveling to Western
Australia, Perth. Every time it is different and
given me many unforgettable memories. The
recent one is the most incredible and thrilling.
Want to find out more? Read on.
I arrived at Perth International Airport on 17th.
I planned not to self-drive as I want to travel
differently. I took Transperth Bus 380 from the
airport and travel to Perth City where I am staying
for the next three days before my friends arrived.
The first day was more of exploring the
neighbourhood. After check into The Pensione
Hotel Perth, I took a stroll around the city area
looking for a decent restaurant. I realised that the
shops closed very early at 5 pm. It is unbelievable
quiet. Hence, I walked into the supermarket –
Woolsworth and grab some essentials. Finally, I
have settled my dinner with a burger and chips
and back to my room to prepare for the next
adventure ahead the next day.
I am so looking forward today as I signed up for
a 14000feet Tandem Skydive. It is one of the
activities that I would like to achieve in my “Bucket
List.” Thinking about it, I have completed two this
year – first is the hike up to Mount Bromo and
second is this Skydive.
I am very excited and looking forward to it.
Friends around me are asking, “Am I scared?
Nervous?” The fear does not come to mind.
I took TransPerth Subway towards Mandurah
Line, reached Rockingham station and took bus
550 to Skydive office. There had been a delay,
and I have waited for an hour before getting
instructions before the jump. I need to be
“kneeling” position upon falling and hands to be
held on to the clips around my chest. The group of
participants went to Rockingham beach to take
a look at the team before. I guess Skydive like to
assure us by allowing us to see how safely these
Hopping on to the bus, it took us another
30 minutes to the Take Off point. My group
consists of 2 guys and one other lady who are
all celebrating their 21st Birthday. Okay, I am
celebrating my 31st! (Not that bad too!) The
plane took off, and the view of Rockingham was
breathtaking and beautiful.
While we were on the plane, Androx, my coskydive
coach made videos of my entire journey
and experience. He was humorous and trying his
best to make me feel comfortable with all the
uneasy feelings crawling up in my tummy.
The red light went on, here we go. My eyes were
shut for those 10 seconds! It happened too fast
way before I can think or scream of my lungs off.
The parachute is up, and this is the moment where
I started to enjoy the view. The ocean, beach, the
coastal line was so scenic and amazing. The sea
was in turquoise blue and with the bright sun
shining on a gorgeous day.
Androx gives me a 360-degree view of
Rockingham. The pressure of turning round and
round was very disturbing, and I keep yelling “I
hate this.” The entire sky experience happened
too fast, and we are soon landed on the beach.
I am so pleased and proud of myself! I did it!
The entire experience is so amazing and
memorable. I must admit it is quite addictive and
I am planning to do a second time when I visited
Note to all readers before signing off:
“Get out of your comfort zone, take the first step,
and you find lots of unbelievable experiences out
76 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 77
THE MOST INCREDIBLY
FRESH, BLUE CRAB IN
Environmentalists and the Turkish Tourist
Board often boast about the excellent work
being done on Iztuzu Beach.
It is pure golden sands stretch 4 kilometers
separating the Mediterranean Sea from
the Dalyan delta, except for the narrow
strip that joins the two waters. The delta is
a vast area of narrow seaways formed by
tall reeds growing out of the river flowing
down from the freshwaters of Lake Ortaca,
passing the picturesque town of Dalyan
where the tourists can access the beach most
favourably by riding the taxi boats. Chugging
along these winding waters for 13 kilometers
is an amazing experience in itself as you pass
ancient Lycian rock tombs carved into the
mountainside, then brush against the reeds
with each meandering turn until you arrive at
the natural expanse of the golden sands itself.
This is a protected area forbidding night time
access between May and September and no
umbrellas on a strip close to
the waves to allow loggerhead turtles to
lay their eggs in the sand and allow them to
You might spot a loggerhead turtle peer
out of the water before vanishing again just
about anywhere on the delta.
However, what you will not see, unless you
look for it, are blue crabs that have also
blue crabs liked
Anyone who lives in Dalyan owns a boat.
My wife, Alison and son Alexander hired one
and filled it with beers and chicken pieces.
Captan Osman took us out to an area away
from passing boats and in the shade of 10-
foot tall reeds where we wrapped our hooks
with chicken pieces and threw our lines as far
out as we could. Then we waited: I had one
hand holding the line, the other holding a
beer. Eventually, I felt a tug and very gently
I began pulling up the line. Then, still, several
feet below the surface, the crab became
visible as it clutched the chicken piece. This
is where being in the shade helps as I appear
to be part of the reeds, the crab could not
see me. Just as it reached the surface I pulled
harder, and it dangled above the water for
a split second, and immediately Alison, who
had been waiting beside me, pushed a fishing
net underneath it. Once out of the water, the
crab released its claw and dropped into the
net. We had caught our first blue crab!
These are rather large crabs. Perhaps seven
will fit in a standard bucket without being
able to crawl out. Then Alexander began
pulling them in, too. Moreover, by the time
we finished, we became very proficient at
catching them. Who knew even crabs like
With Captan Osman’s expertise, we had
over twenty of these on the boat sitting in
buckets to remain wet. Then we tied the boat
to a rock behind the beach, lit the barbecue in
the traditional Turkish way, using newspaper,
twigs, and charcoal, and enjoyed a cold bottle
of Efes beer. When the coals were white hot,
we humanely killed a crab with a knife before
placing it on the grill. In just a few minutes, we
began enjoying the freshest most delicious
crabmeat ever. The meat inside the claws
tasted particularly sublime.
Not forgetting that the most fantastic sandy
beach is right there, we enjoyed a day like no
Courtesy of K. S. Brooks
There are many amazing national parks in the United
States, so to me, the Grand Canyon isn’t the be-all
end-all. But at dusk, when the red sunlight had finished
bouncing off the rocks, and then the supermoon rose, I
have to admit it was pretty inspiring.
THIS WAS JUST ONE OF THE MANY BLUE CRAB WE
CAUGHT THAT DAY.
78 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 79
WE HAVE ALL BEEN
THERE. THAT MOMENT
WHERE WE PROPER
WE HAVE THREE
FROM PEOPLE THAT
HAVE HAD SOME REAL
80 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 81
STUCK IN THAILAND
WITHOUT ANY MEANS
OF GETTING CASH
Before traveling to Thailand, my friend who
had arranged for my tickets had assured that
I could withdraw money from any ATM at
Thailand by paying an additional service tax.
I ensured that I carried enough cash before
travel but being a shopaholic girl, I exhausted
all my money.
I was at Bangkok then when I stepped into
the ATM outside my hotel. I inserted my
card only to get a regret response. I thought
there was a problem with the specific ATM
and tried another. To my dismay, I got the
same regret message. This time, I was tensed
and grew restless. I tried another and then
another and all in vain.
I immediately called my friend at India
and reported this. He said Indian cards are
supposed to work and that I should try
again. Helplessly, I tried again, but it did
not work as I knew. I was traveling alone
in a foreign country with no local contacts.
I called Somnath, my friend again and began
to blame him for misguiding me about
Indian cards working at Thai ATMs. Somnath
suggested that I should go to Indira Market,
an electronic market near the Baiyoke
Towers. He said there were Indian stores
there and I could seek help from them.
I rushed to Indira Market and spotted an
Indian store. I lamented my situation to the
fellow shopkeeper and tried to push the
Indian emotional button by saying,” I am
from India brother. I am alone in Thailand,
and I am unable to withdraw cash. Can
you please swipe my card and give me some
money in return?” I felt I was able to convince
him. He took me to another shop that was
run by a women. He explained to the woman
that I was in need of money and asked her to
help. I saw some hope that got lost when the
women said she would not withdraw cash
unless I purchase something expensive, a
minimum of 5000 baht. I did not want to buy
something that expensive. I tried to convince
her, but there was no way she would listen.
She asked me to try at the hotel as I was
their guest and they would help me out.
Meanwhile, I called my brother in India and
asked him to call up the bank and ask them
for a solution.
I called my
brother in India
and asked him
went to the hotel and asked them to
PUJAN GUPTA CHOUDHURY
swipe my card and give me some cash. I was
hopeful they would help me as I was their
guest. However, to my surprise, the lady at
the counter blatantly refused to help. She
was rude and said they were not a bank. I
requested her reminding her that I was their
guest and I was in need of money. Moreover,
I was not lending any money from them. I
was only asking them to swipe some money
out of my card and give me some cash. The
lady’s response was bitter. I did not know
what to do then and helplessly began to cry.
Just then my brother called and said that he
spoke to the bank and guided me how to
enable international transaction by logging
into the bank’s site. I did so and went to the
ATM to try, and it worked. I was happier than
ever to have the cash at hand.
It was then that I pledged always to ensure
that international transaction is enabled
before I travel outside my country.
If you have ever been to Singapore,
you know it is a pretty amazing
airport. I have wandered around
that airport thoroughly; watched
a movie in the theater, seen the
butterflies in the garden, strolled
through the sunflower garden,
taken a selfie in the transit area,
played video games upstairs,
gotten my feet eaten by hundreds
of fish at the spa; the list of
activities is endless.
It all started out with a 4-hour
sit in between connecting flights
while on our way to Bali. Before
my friend and I even left the US,
however, we decided to leave a
day earlier. We wanted the luxury
of first class, so we switched our
tickets to make that happen. Our
4-hour sit in Singapore would
now be a 28-hour sit. We were
excited to thoroughly explore this
While studying the various aspects
of the airport and planning on when
to fit in a nap at the transit hotel,
a lady at the left baggage area told
us about a tour of Singapore. This
is a tour that takes you out into the
city of Singapore you are welcome
to sign up for if you have large
airport to appreciate the time in
My friend and I jumped at the
chance to explore the city until our
flight on to Denpasar. All you need
to do at the sign up is to show your
boarding pass, and if you want to
stay in the city longer than the
length of the guided tour, the only
requirement is that you are back
behind security before midnight.
We signed up at 7 am for the 9 am
tour and even without our next
boarding pass in hand, the guides
still let us go; we told the guides
we would check in when we got
back to the airport so we would
have our boarding pass to get back
through security, or so we thought.
After the tour of Singapore with
our very knowledgeable tour
guide, it was time to get our
boarding passes. The only problem
was, unlike the US, where we can
check in 24 hours prior, we had to
wait until 4 hours before departure.
Well, this cannot be right, maybe
we can convince the agents
otherwise, or so we thought. We
had no clothes and limited funds
since all of our belongings were
behind security and if we did not
get back behind security, we were
screwed. This is where the rush of
uneasiness settled in very quickly.
OUR GOOD, BAD,
AND UGLY DAY
The shock, stress and angry
traveler rage got the best
of us as we argued with the
ticket agents as best we could
and tried to get back behind
security. We were at a loss.
The tour of Singapore was not
worth this trouble; we were
locked outside security with no
way of convincing the agents
to give us our boarding pass
more than 12 hours before
our allotted 4-hour check-in
time, and we did not want any
problems with our passports
for future travels.
After several attempts to get
behind security, we managed
to get a hold of people in
charge of customs. They had
us sign forms and then led us
through security to get our
bags and then walked us back
outside security since we still
did not have our boarding
passes in hand. By this time,
we had 5 hours to kill, so we
booked a day room at the
Capri by Frasier to take a nap
and cross our fingers we could
get our boarding passes as
close to midnight as possible.
After a relaxing nap, Jetstar finally
gave us our boarding passes just
before midnight, after an entire
day of stressing, where we found
a comfy couch to cuddle up in to
rest a few hours more before our
5 am flight on to the beaches of
Bali. The real vacation was finally
Just a side note, I was having a
hard time how to write this, so it
sounded appealing to others. I am
going to try to think of how else
I can word it. Also, I do not have
many pictures because all my
photos got deleted, but I would be
happy to go back to Singapore to
get more pictures if need be!
After several attempts
to get behind security,
we managed to get
hold of customs.
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There are worse places to be stuck in than Bali,
but trust me, it is not always intentional…
My friend Nikki and I had just finished a
fantastic holiday. We were in good spirits,
and I was wearing my luminous neon yellow
Gangnam style top to match my mood.
It was at Bali airport gate, just as our flight’s
boarding had started, that I realised I had lost
my purple folder that held my passport and
boarding pass. So I had been of possession of
it just twenty minutes previously at passport
THE DAY I
UP IN BALI
After rummaging through Nikki’s bag, my
bag, and my brain, I ran off to retrace our
steps. There was no sign of my passport in the
toilets – the only stop we had had between
passport control and the gate. Panicked, I
stammered my predicament to the cleaning
lady, who pointed me to customer service,
who in turn told me to talk to security at
I started running back, stopping only to take
off my flip-flops as they were impeding my
run. I got to immigration and told the security
guard: “I have lost my passport and boarding
pass. What do I do?” He was understandably
confused and tapped the shoulder of one of
the immigration officers.
“You have lost your passport?” Mr.
Immigration Officer was flabbergasted.
“When does your flight leave?”
Mr. Immigration Officer promptly left his
desk and the passenger he had been in the
process of dealing with.
There were many concerned airport officials,
many phone and walkie-talkie calls, and
a little nagging feeling of deep, deep
embarrassment at the back of my gut.
No lost and found purple folder.
It was approximately five minutes till takeoff,
and I had to run back to the gate. Fingers
crossed Nikki would have found it… She had
I started, slightly crazed and void of all feeling,
desperately going through my bag, knowing
it was hopeless; the gate officials were
reminding us the flight has to leave NOW;
our names were announced on the airport
loudspeaker. last call; Nikki was asking “What
do we do?” and I, the experienced, confident
traveller, was telling her hopelessly honestly:
“I don’t know.” Amid all this, however, I did
remember to make a point of putting on my
hoodie so as to cover my ridiculous Gangnam
Style top. Now that would have been just too
When the airport officials went off to tell the
plane that it has to depart without us, I found
a suitable corner to cry in.
While blubbering to my dad on the phone,
lent to me by the Friendly Main Airport
Official Guy, the airport officials came to
us with exciting news. Someone had found
it! We dashed to customer service, where
they were holding MY PURPLE FOLDER.
With its joyful elephant and singing bird and
exceptionally ironic ‘Good luck!’ on it.
There is no excitingly mysterious reason for
its misplacement. It was found at the airport
restaurant. It came back to me now - the
restaurant had an excellent sign in front
of it that I had to get a picture of. So, I put
down my purple folder on a table, put down
my bag, took out my camera, put away my
camera, picked up my bag… so didn’t pick up
We were escorted out of the airport, and I
felt like a criminal being caught just before
the final escape.
We managed to get decently priced tickets
booked for the next day, a VOID stamp into
our passports, and suddenly there was a taxi
waiting for us, taking us back to central Kuta.
It was a horrific and an incredibly
embarrassing experience (though we did not
complain too much about an extra full day in
Bali...) However, considering circumstances,
everything went amazingly. The Bali airport
staff were magnificent, so helpful and
friendly despite me being the dim-wit of the
The next day we tried again, and this time
managed it through passport control and
even through the gate onto the plane out of
The lesson of the day: Never travel in a
THE SAID PURPLE FOLDER THAT CAUSED ALL THESE
Ready to board the plane.
Shit, where is my passport!
With the gate closing, and
still not passport in sight!
JUST ONE OF THE MANY THINGS YOU CAN SEE WHILST
WANDERING AROUND BALI AIRPORT.
VISA DEPARTURE STAMP. VOID! OOPS. IT DOES MEAN
THAT I GET AN EXTRA DAY IN BALI.
84 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 85
Villa and Spa
in Legian, Bali
Book your stay HERE
86 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 87
Whats coming up in
- More of your personal experiences
- More off the beaten track
- Unforgettable culture experiences
- Best of Instagram
- More breathtaking photos
- Build a website on a budget
Plus so much more!
88 | Total Travel TAG Magazine