Jan 17, 2012 12:17 - Regina Falkowski | 2,002 views
No cookbook can teach you how to cook better ethnic food than traveling to the country itself and learning from the locals. Whether you are an aspiring chef or just simply love to cook a cooking vacation is the best way to learn the art of cooking truly authentic cuisine. Most of the instructors are expert cooks and chefs who have been cooking for decades using family recipes and traditions that have been passed down for generations. You will learn classic culinary techniques and get hands-on cooking experience making regional cuisine and become familiar with the history and background of each dish you create.
Cooking vacations are great for chefs at all skill levels. Beginner and intermediate cooks will learn an abundance of new knowledge while more experienced chefs will be introduced to new techniques that will enhance their current methods. Cooking vacations also make great gifts for loved ones and it truly is a gift that keeps on giving. If you spoil your parent or spouse with a cooking vacation you are setting yourself up to have delicious home cooked meals for the rest of your life.
Who knew cooking could be so much fun when you do it on vacation. You will learn skills that will last a lifetime while meeting other people from all over the world who share your interest and passion for cooking. When you are not cooking up a storm you can venture outside the kitchen and take a cultural tour around the city, go on a shopping excursion or just kick back and relax by the pool. Many cooking vacations offer all inclusive packages so the only thing you have to worry about is getting there.
If you really want to impress your friends and family this year go on a cooking vacation and blow them away at your next dinner party or holiday celebration. With a spoon as a wand and new recipes to cast you will be making magic in the kitchen that your guests will be talking about for years to come. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and maybe a cooking vacation can add a little spice back into your love life. Whether you want to win over your honey or give your mother-in-law a run for her money (or recipes in this case) an authentic cooking class may be just what you need.
There are many destinations to consider when planning a cooking vacation. You can travel to Mexico and learn how to cook using a host of chilies or make classic enchiladas. Perfect your homemade pasta sauce and meatballs at a gourmet cooking class in Italy. Say goodbye to Uncle Ben and learn how to make a savory Spanish rice from scratch. Visit Poland and learn cooking techniques for making delicious pirogues that will have your grandmother asking you for recipes. No matter what country you travel to a cooking vacation is a great getaway for any cooking enthusiast.
Jan 3, 2012 14:17 - Regina Falkowski | 2,181 views
According to Harvard Medical School over 500,000 Americans, and many more with milder symptoms, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depression that occurs seasonally, most commonly during the winter months. Some symptoms associated with SAD include oversleeping, overeating, boredom, fatigue and depression. The winter season can be a very unpleasant time for some people, and if you experience these symptoms you don’t have to hibernate any longer.
Winter is knocking at our doors, and many of you may already be experiencing early symptoms of the winter blues, but you don’t have to suffer through it. There are ways you can help ease the symptoms of SAD and have fun while doing it. You may not be able to change the seasons, but you can change the way they affect your life.
One major factor associated with SAD is the decreased amount of exposure to sunlight due to a lack of outdoor activity during the winter months. Some symptoms of SAD can be alleviated using medication or therapy, but the healthiest and most effective way to avoid SAD this winter is to get outside and leave your winter blues behind. There are many winter sports and recreations you can participate in to stay healthy this winter. Here are some great outdoor activities that will help get you out of the darkness and into the light this season.
Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular winter sports. Whether you like the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing or the laid back feel of cross country skiing both are great activities that will get you outside this winter. Skiing is an activity that the whole family can enjoy and members at any age can participate in. If you have never skied before, or may be a little rusty, it’s never too late to start hitting the slopes. Most mountains offer ski lessons that can teach you the basic skills needed to tackle any mountain. There are many ski resorts that can accommodate skiers at all experience levels.
Dog sledding is a unique winter recreation that will not only get you outside, but also create a memory that will last a lifetime. In the past dog sledding was used primarily for hunting and travel, but there are many places that offer dog sledding tours as a winter recreation. No experience is required and professional mushers will guide you through the snow covered terrain. Many dog sledding tours offer half-day, full-day and overnight camping trips for different levels of experience. You can even take mushing lessons and learn how to drive your own dog sled team.
Snowmobiling is a great outdoor winter activity for all types of riders. There is very little physical activity involved, so people at all fitness levels can enjoy this sport. Children who are not old enough to operate a snowmobile can still have fun riding with a responsible adult. Snowmobiling is a versatile activity that can range from a relaxing cruise to an extreme sport. Novice riders can take a tame ride and enjoy the scenery while more daring riders can speed through snow covered trails. If you don’t know anyone who owns a snowmobile or you don’t know where to ride, don’t worry. There are many places that offer snowmobile rentals and provide trails for you to ride on.
Snowshoeing in the winter is truly like walking in a winter wonderland. Hiking doesn’t have to end once winter arrives, and with the right gear you will feel completely comfortable in the cold. Simply bundle up, strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit your favorite hiking trails. It’s amazing how the same trails you walk during the spring and fall can seem like a whole new world in the winter time. There are many species of plants and animals that thrive during the winter months that you may not see during other times of the year. Best of all you won’t have to swat at any pesky bugs. If you want to test out the sport before taking the plunge on a snowshoe purchase there are places that offer snowshoe tours. They provide the snowshoes, trails and even lessons if you need them. Snowshoeing is a great activity for people of all ages. There is minimal physical activity involved, so as long as you can walk you can enjoy snowshoeing.
If you just can’t stand the cold there is no better way to soak up the sun than on a Bermuda vacation. This often overlooked island can easily be compared to the Caribbean with its clear blue water, tropical palms and beautiful beaches, but unlike the Caribbean, Bermuda experiences its off-season during the winter months. This means you can have the beach to yourself, you never have to make a dinner reservation, the locals will be genuinely glad to see you, and you will pay significantly less than traveling to the Caribbean. Bermuda may be slightly cooler in temperature than the Caribbean during this time, but if you’re not a keen swimmer for 1/3 the price you can still enjoy plenty of sand, fun and sun.
Stop counting down the days left till spring or praying that the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow. You don’t have to hibernate this winter and subject yourself to oversleeping, overeating, boredom and depression. You can reduce the symptoms of SAD simply by getting outside and soaking up some sun. There are many winter recreations that will take you outdoors and keep you fit and healthy this season. Find an activity that interests you or plan a winter getaway that will help you kiss those winter blues goodbye.
Oct 30, 2011 22:46 - Regina Falkowski | 2,764 views
It’s Halloween and many of you may be planning a night full of thrills and shrills. Local haunted houses and hayrides are great options for a good scare (or laugh), but if you really want a heart thumping, bone chilling experience a theme park just won’t do the trick. For a real treat this Halloween consider visiting one of these creepy, haunted and scary destinations around the world. You are sure to have a SPOOK-tacular time.
Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House is a well know haunted mansion in San Jose, California once owned by Sarah Winchester. The house is full of twisting halls, secret passage ways, windows that face inside the house and staircases that lead to nothing. There are many stories behind the madness of Sarah’s construction of the mansion. One thought is that Sarah believed she had to build a house and never finish or else she would die. Another is that Sarah believed that if the house was confusing enough to navigate spirits could not follow her around. It is also believed that Sarah fell into a deep depression after the deaths of her child and husband and built the strange house to keep her occupied. No matter what the reason was it resulted in one of the most bizarre houses in architecture history.
The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel located in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints. It is said that the cemetery grounds were once sprinkled with earth brought back from the Holy Land. This naturally attracted many people to choose the cemetery as their burial ground. With too many bodies and not enough space the church began using the bones of the dead to form artistic decorations and furnishings for the chapel. Over 40,000 bodies have been used to decorate this Church of Bones including a massive chandelier in the entrance.
The Aokigahara Forest is located at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. This dense forest is eerily quiet, and has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology, but what makes it famous is its popularity with suicides. Since the 1950’s over 500 people have taken their lives in the Sea of Trees. These woods are littered with bodies, nooses and signs displaying uplifting words to sway the minds of the suicidal. The problem became so great that the government of Japan began annual searches for bodies in the woods. A stroll through these woods may be too disturbing for anyone to stomach.
Chernobyl is a Nuclear Power Plant located in Pripyat, Ukraine that was the site of one of the worst accidents in the history of nuclear power. There were 56 deaths as a direct result of the explosion, and over 4,000 deaths in the following years due to radiation exposure. After the explosion everyone living in the area was evacuated, and for the past 25 years the nuclear site and surrounding areas have been nothing more than a ghost town. Tours are offered for those who want to see the remains of the tragic disaster, which looks like the aftermath of an apocalypse full of abandoned carnivals, hospitals, nurseries, and junk yards over run with new vegetation.
The Edinburgh Castle is a fortress located in Edinburgh, Scotland that dates back to the 9th century BC. This castle is said to be one of the most haunted spots in Scotland and reports of ghostly sightings are not rare. Visitors claim to have seen a phantom piper, a headless drummer, spirits of prisoners from the Seven Years War and the American Revolutionary War, and even phantom hounds wandering in the dog cemetery. The castle is filled with dungeons, subterranean vaults, and underground passageways that would spook any visitor.
San Zhi is a futuristic pod like village located in Taiwan that was originally built to be a luxury vacation resort. During the construction there were numerous fatal accidents that caused the production to be put on hold. Due to lack of funding and motivation the project was never finished and is now an abandoned ghost town. The resort alone gives off a creepy vibe and it is said that the spirits of those who died during the construction are still wandering the grounds.
In 1863 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was the site for one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. The battle was a 3 day massacre that resulted in 51,000 deaths and is said to have been a turning point in the war. Due to the brutal nature of hand-to-hand combat and the high number of deaths in the area, Gettysburg battlefields are believed to be full of paranormal activity with the Devil’s Den area reported as being the most active.
Sep 28, 2011 00:40 - Regina Falkowski | 4,155 views
It’s that time of year again. The smell of cinnamon is in the air. The air becomes cool and crisp. Everything from coffee to candles comes in pumpkin flavor. Best of all, the leaves begin to transform and put on a brilliant show of color. Yes, it is autumn, which is by far my favorite season.
I am lucky enough to be living in New England where fall foliage is outside my door every day during the season, but if you are planning on visiting an area where fall foliage takes place here are some great activities and destinations for experiencing the true splendor of autumn.
Vermont is one of the best places to visit for a hike in the mountains. It’s not called the “Green Mountain State” for nothing. These breathe taking mountains play a major role in Vermont’s tourism. Vermont is a great place for outdoor lovers to get up close and personal with Mother Nature. Best of all many hikes require little or no skill level so anyone can enjoy a nature trek through Vermont’s colorful countryside.
Virginia offers mountain trail riding at its best. Ride through the mountains on horseback and view the vibrant colors across the state. Enjoy miles of riding trails through Virginia during one of the most scenic times of the year. Horseback riding is a great adventure for families and people of all ages. Nothing is better than open skies above, fresh air and a good horse beneath you.
Going on a bike tour in North Carolina is a great active and scenic activity for the fall. Pedal your way through miles of roads and trails full of fall foliage. The mountains in North Carolina offer great bike rides with amazing views. Breathe in the crisp autumn air on a North Carolina bike tour.
Nothing will bring you closer to the outdoors and the fall foliage than camping in New York. Wake up to the birds chirping and the sun beaming through the turning leaves. You can dabble in any outdoor activity such as hiking, biking, kayaking and fishing since the outdoors are right at your doorstep.
If you are not much of an outdoor enthusiast then maybe a romantic getaway in Maine is the vacation for you. View the fall foliage from inside a cozy bed and breakfast or an authentic restaurant serving the fresh autumn harvest. Take a scenic ride through the countryside or relax and read a book under the transforming tree tops.
Whether you want to embark on an outdoor adventure or kick back on a relaxing vacation fall is a great time for any traveler.
Aug 31, 2011 10:43 - magicjohnson | 3,996 views
Backpacking around the world is a right of passage, like attending a university or going on your first holiday with your friends. It’s a life affirming experience, and one that’ll stay with you for your entire life. In fact with rising tuition fees and the prospect of crippling debts now deterring many from higher education, more and more young people are electing to take an extended period of time out travelling before entering the world of work.
World travel broadens the mind so they say, and while this may be a tired cliché, it holds an element of truth. Nothing else gives one such an insightful outlook and understanding of life as being immersed in cultures totally different from your own. Long term travel is certainly something worth doing, but it does warrant a modicum of consideration before jetting off. What affects your decision to travel?
Can you really afford to go away? This will be dependent on a number of factors including where you plan to go, how long you intend to be away for, what you want to do when you’re away, and whether you are comfortable with working while you travel.
If you plan to backpack around Europe, be prepared to save for a very long time, or fund your trip by working while you’re out there. Conversely, if you are sticking to south east Asian countries which are usually very popular with backpackers then your money will go a long way. Thailand, Cambodia, Loas and Vietnam are all stunning countries that are very affordable.
As I mentioned, in some cases you may need to work to fund your travels. This is an especially pertinent issue if:
- You are traveling long term (many months at a time)
- You have saved up very little money to fund your travels
- You are traveling in expensive countries
Now, you may think that working on your travels undermines the point of going in the first place, but on the contrary, taking out transitory, part times roles can have more benefits than simply keeping your wallet full of the local currency.
Working allows you to make some new friends, provides an avenue to interact with some ‘real’ locals, learn basic foreign language skills and gives structure to your day. So where exactly can you work? Bars and restaurants are a good bet since they’re always looking for additional staff, but other common places to find work are farms or plantations, hotels or even building sites.
How long do you plan to travel for? There really is no standard period. Long term travel can refer to any length trip from one month to over a year. Some people go travelling and never come back home after falling in love with life as a nomad. Again, the length of your trip will depend on your personal circumstances. Do you have a job? Studies? A partner or family to return to? Maybe you have debts hanging over your head. How long you want to wander the world really is a personal choice.
This is the fun part! Where are you going to go? Providing you have the time, money and resources as discussed above, the world truly is your oyster. Popular backpacking locations include the whole of Europe, Australia, South Americaand South-East Asia, all which offer rich history and culture, great weather, friendly locals, good food and a wealth of sights to see. This certainly doesn’t mean that you need to stick to these locations. If you have the money, North America, Japan, and the Middle East are also great options.
As mentioned before, you can use a long term specialist travel company like gapyear.com, roundtheworldexperts.co.uk or RealAdventures to plan your trip around set destinations, or simply travel independently and wander from country to country whenever you feel inclined. To give you some idea, here is a list of countries widely regarded as must-sees:
Travelling is something very personal and will mean different things to different people. They key is preparation and asking yourself a number of key questions. Are you a loan wolf? Would you enjoy travelling alone or are you happier in a group? Do you like structure and organisation or would you prefer to freestyle it? Do you have plenty of money to spend or are you on a budget? Taking all these things into account will make your travel experience much more enjoyable and fulfilling!