Monthly Archives: December 2012

How to Enjoy Travel

I have always thought of travel as an essential part of life; no different than eating or sleeping. It shapes who you are and your outlook on life.  It makes you more accepting of cultures, and instills excitement that I truly believe can never be matched. Travel is not only what you make of it, it’s also who you share it with. So how does someone maximize their travel experience? Actually it’s pretty easy! Here are just a few things to consider once you book your vacation:

Find the perfect travel partner! If you seek adventure, travel with someone who wants the same thing. If you are afraid to try new things, go with someone who will push you enough so you don’t back down from an experience. If you hate planning? Go with someone who is willing to get lost with you. Don’t travel with someone who will hold you back. It’s not about boarding a plane, flying across the world and just standing still.

Step out of your comfort zone: Had I never embraced this way of travel, I would have never stepped foot on a cruise, hiked up a 10,000 ft mountain, driven an ATV, taken an overnight train, or shared a room with complete strangers! You have to embrace that life is not about being comfortable. It’s about challenging yourself to try new things and to be open to it.

Talk to locals: Don’t shy away from making friends. I still keep in touch with people who I’ve met on my travels. It’s incredible to have a network of people on the other side of the world. You get to swap experiences, talk about your travels and develop genuine friendships. We are on this planet for a reason, don’t be scared to find out what others think their purpose is.

Eat, drink and do it again: If there is one commonality in travel, it’s food!  Go to restaurants, stop off at the local market, pick up something from a street vendor, or eat at someone’s house. Food brings us together. Try it all or at the very least try it once. Who knows when you will get the opportunity again!

If you can walk it…walk it:If there’s one thing I’ve picked up during my travels is don’t drive a car if you don’t need to. Walking the streets allows you the most freedom to discover. You can find hidden alleyways, paths and shops that you would miss out on had you been in a vehicle. Walking through a city is much more fulfilling.

Try: You don’t have to speak the language, you don’t have to agree with the culture, you don’t have to like the food. But try. There is something to be said about those who are miserable and dismiss any type of experience. Don’t be that person. If you go to France and don’t speak french, try. People will appreciate it, and to be honest it will help you enjoy your experience even more!

Don’t bring kids:I know what people, especially parents will say when they read this. I’m not saying you can’t travel with kids. I’m saying travel is not as enjoyable with kids. Be honest, do you think a 7-year old wants to tag along to see the Louvre? Do you think a toddler should be out until 2am at the local bar or hip restaurant? Just think about it.

There you have it. Just a few things that can help you out when you travel. It’s very important to not only travel, but to enjoy it. You’re already lucky to be able to take a break from life, don’t waste that time on not enjoying the adventure that is in front of you. Safe travels.

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Olympia: Where it all Began

I’m sure by now you have noticed that I’m a huge fan of sport. I like the competitiveness, the discipline and the energy of a live sport.  I enjoy looking around and watching fans scream, cheer and come together for the greaterOlympia good of their team. I was very lucky to visit the place where amateur sport began, and I could only imagine what it was like in those times.

Olympia was the first place to ever host the Olympic games. At the time, Olympic sports were very different. The athletes didn’t represent a country, instead they were meant to only entertain the world. Athletes (only men) would participate in neandrothol-like competition, at times to the death.  As time passed, we obviously witnessed the evolution of the Olympics, but to stand in the very spot where the first torch was lit, where historical greats stood to observe the games is really quite moving.

So what is there to do in one of the oldest cities? Surprisingly, a lot more than just visit the historical grounds. The reality is Katakolan (Olympia) is a port town, so it can’t be compared to larger Greek towns. Stay for 24 hours and then get out.  Here are some tips on what to see and how to get there.

Geotravel: Do not, I repeat do not pay for any type of tour. When you get to the Katakolan’s main town square, locate the Geotravel office. From there, you can pay 7 euros each for a small private drive to all the places on this island. The tour includes Olympia.

KatakolanCarriage Ride: Take a romantic carriage ride through the Olympia grounds.  The area is lined with pedestrian friendly paths and wonderful scenery. A horse-driven carriage will only amplify the experience.

Agios Andreas: A beautiful but tiny beach tucked away on the side of the main town. It’s packed, especially if there is a cruise stop that day. If you  plan on skipping out on Olympia and making it a beach day, get there early or truthfully, you won’t find a place to sunbathe.

Restaurants: You will run into a number of outdoor restaurants as you walk through the main street. Now, which restaurant to pick is up to you. I do recommend looking at the menu and ensure that wherever you choose to eat serves their specialty fried cheese dish. Unbelievable.Argos Atheos Beach

Arte Cafe: Once you are ready to wrap up your day, make sure to stop off at the Arte Cafe and enjoy Greek espresso. The difference between espresso in Greece and anywhere else? It’s served with a touch of cream. Very strange, yet very good. And the view…tranquil.

Olympia: I know a lot of people who visit Katakolan debate on whether or not they should skip out on Olympia. I personally recommend the visit. You don’t have to appreciate sport or be a history buff to be floored by what used to exist there.  It really is worth the visit.

IMG_9628So there you have it. If you happen to stop off in Katakolan or want to see the birthplace of the Olympics, I really do think it’s worth the visit.  Don’t spend to much time on the island, all you need here is 24 hours.

Until next time….

Categories: Europe | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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