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What Does It Mean to Travel Responsibly & Why You Should Care

August 28, 2015 by  

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Ultimately, since the rise of ecotourism in the 1980′s, there has been a shift in travel habits — a move from the all-inclusive resort to seeking out natural environments to witness natural wonders. In addition to being sure your travel excursions are culturally respectful and economically ethical — supporting the local economy and its employees — a crucial factor to keep in mind is one’s physical impact on the natural environment. This is especially important for ecotourism in fragile ecosystems. Here’s a quick rundown on what you need to know:

What makes an ecosystem fragile?

Fragile ecosystems are ones that are extremely sensitive to environmental changes and shifts that result from outside influences and presences. They commonly suffer from the loss of biological diversity, climate change, poverty and human infringement. Examples of fragile ecosystems include wetlands, deserts, mountains, coral reefs and certain coastal areas. Instances of suffering fragile ecosystems include the desertification of semi-arid lands and the significant reduction of coastal wetland areas. ecotourism Photo courtesy of jo Crebbin via Shutterstock. Post-earthquake Haiti has been a fairly recent area of concern. The country’s rainforests contain more endangered species than any other location on earth, and yet because its…

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Eating Ethnosh In Of All Places, Greensboro North Carolina

August 28, 2015 by  

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Greensboro, North Carolina. Uninformed people like myself might envision a whitewashed culinary scene centered around coleslaw, cherry-flavored Cheerwine and pulled pork sandwiches. Surprisingly, this city of 275,000 residents houses an immigrant population representing more than 140 countries of origin who speak over 120 languages. The area has historic roots in a Quaker community and has welcomed refugee resettlement for the last 30 years. My jaw dropped in surprise when I learned Greensboro hosts the largest population of mountain tribe Vietnamese outside of Vietnam as well as people from the Middle East, Bhutan, Mynamar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Ethopia and more. Greensboro Sampler at Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Felicia Perry Photography. I was ecstatic to learn an organization exists to introduce Greensboro residents and visitors to cuisine made by immigrant-owned businesses: Ethnosh. The company takes guests, lured by $5 dinners, into strip malls on the fringes of town and quiet side streets in pursuit of off-the-beaten-path, down-home global cuisine. Guests learn about the owner’s story as they munch on seaweed salad from a quiet sushi joint, greasy empanadas from a food truck parked outside a brewery or barbequed duck from the Vietnamese joint…

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A Summer or Early Fall Getaway to Ontario’s Bayfield

August 27, 2015 by  

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Ahhh yes, a summer or early fall getaway…..a spot to let your eyes gaze out onto an endless sky, an endless lake. To get inspired, to breathe. And it’s all within driving distance of Toronto. I’m talking about beautiful and serene Bayfield, Ontario. Bayfield sits on the edge of Lake Huron. It’s only about 2 1/2 hours west of Toronto and yet, often overlooked by the bigger, glitzy coastal towns along Huron. Sauble Beach for example is a couple of hours north and attracts so many people that it’s often hard to even find a space to lay your towel down on the sand (or even space in the water) without violating someone else’s personal space. Grand Bend is about 30 minutes south and again, it’s so crowded you may not get that beach space you want. Don’t get me wrong, Sauble and Grand Bend are amazing places with so much to do and see. But if you want serenity and space, a place where you can feel time slow right down for you, then hit Bayfield. Great for young and old, couples, families or even solo. It’s between the two giants and in my opinion, better!

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The Alba International White Truffle Fair in Italy

August 27, 2015 by  

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  italy_alba_white-truffle2Some foodie fests are more historic than others: since this is the 84th year for the International Alba White Truffle Fair, it definitely qualifies. Set your sites on Alba, Italy, between October 11 and November 16, 2015. The fair includes everything from truffle analysis to cooking demonstrations to wine tastings. The market is, of course, the centerpiece of the event. It’s the place to come to find out everything there is to know about the truffle by immersing yourself in a unique and headily scented atmosphere. Every truffle on sale at the market has been checked by a special commission before the market opens to the public, and this group of experts will also be available for consultation at the Consumer Help Desk inside the pavilions. The Truffle Market offers visitors the chance to see, touch and smell many, many truffles, sold directly by trustworthy vendors and local truffle hunters. The Truffle Market is also home to the stands of the AlbaQualità food and wine exhibition. Here you can discover wines from the Langhe and Roero, local artisanal confectionery, cheeses, egg pastas, cured meats and other food products from this area.…

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Exploring the Cultural Side of India’s Dewa Sharif, Barabanki

August 26, 2015 by  

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Let’s be honest, I travel quite a bit for both leisure and for work, and have been doing so for over two decades. That’s nearly as much time as I spent trying to get formally educated. No points for guessing which one was more edifying. It should come as no surprise then that life-on-the-road has begotten me opinion-altering epiphanies and copious amounts of perspicacity much in the same manner as life-as-usual has for others. Apart from awakening me to the mysticism–in a non-theological sort of way–that is the Himalaya, an undiminished respect for nature, a great aversion to humourless folks, and an undying dread of heaving crowds, it has inculcated in me a healthy disdain for institutional religion and an even healthier disregard for indoctrinated rituals. Both continue to blossom in equal proportion to the swell in dogmatic practices. IMG_5604 That said, should you be rummaging around for encounters of the spiritual kind, shorn off unnecessary rites, they do exist. At Sufi shrines, for instance. Their enticement, at least for me, has always been in the easygoing informality most of them exude. Insistence, if at all, to purchase a chaadar to drape over a grave or a…

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Add NYY Steak To Your Big Apple Restaurant List…

August 26, 2015 by  

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Ask any New Yorker that has dined at the Midtown New York Yankee Steak House and they’ll tell you this: NYY Steak is to steak what the Yankees are to baseball–the cream of the crop, top notch, very best.  Period.  In fact, give one of their 21-day USDA Prime steaks to a Mets fan, and I bet you they’ll even agree! Located on 51st Street between 5th and 6th, NYY Steak is in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, right across from Rockefeller Center.  Its central location makes it the perfect spot to grab a midweek steak, just because it’s a Tuesday, or gather your favorite foodie friends for a special celebration.  The restaurant itself is huge, a rarity in Manhattan, so unlike so many other steakhouses, you don’t feel like you’re dining with the couple next to you, privy to every piece of their conversation.  Always a plus in my book.  Plus, Yankee fans will have the best time touring the restaurant, from seeing Babe Ruth’s actual contract to their custom made signature wall including 86 autographs of legendary Yankee team members. We started our meal with their legendary Greek salad, which I have to say is one of the best Greek salads I’ve ever…

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Foodie Alert: Eating Your Way Through Stockholm in the Summer

August 25, 2015 by  

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stockholm   Stockholm is often called the capital of Scandinavia, and there is a reason to it; it’s the city on fourteen islands. The city on water. The city of contrasts. The city where the new meets the old and creates thus a fascinating ambiance. Stockholm is without any discussion a creative and living city, pulsing with life and ideas, a place that attracts artists from all around the world. City with fresh air, healthy lifestyle, equal rights and liberal thinking. Above photo: Stockholm. Photo courtesy of Adisa via Shutterstock.. Taking all that into account Stockholm represents yet another quality. When it comes to food, Stockholm is a trendsetter who cares what they eat, wanting to eat fresh and light and according to ecological principles. They eat seasonal products because they care about the planet, the environment and their own health. Stockholmers love to indulge, too, especially when sweets, coffee and alcohol are concerned. Yet when talking about everyday diet, Stockholmers prefer the quality over the price. The local food market, represented by local farmers and small tradesmen, is highly supported. The tradition of high food quality is long and there are several proofs of it…

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Where To Go & What To Do In Cartagena Colombia

August 24, 2015 by  

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Surprisingly this was my first trip to Colombia; for some reason South America hadn’t demanded my attention yet in my travels. I was eager to leave the cold December in NYC behind to land in hot, steamy Cartagena. The best part –  it was so simple – no super long flight, and no jetlag. Poof! A quick flight from Miami and I was transported to a new culture. I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by Cartagena. In fact I was sort of expecting it to be an over-touristed cruise stop, that had been cleaned up and wrapped in a pretty bow that really wasn’t representative of the rest of the city, country, or culture – sort of like old town Dubrovnik. But from the first night when I found myself having dinner with locals oozing hospitality and authenticity, I realized I had Cartagena all wrong. In my 5 short days there, I did a lot – some more traditional tourist experiences, some local experiences, and some ‘are you sure you should do that’ experiences. A perfect mix of things to do in Cartagena that has nothing to do with cruise ships.

Get Oriented and Enjoy the View

If you are anything


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