Wanderlust Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

Here at Amazing Journeys, we’re lucky have the best jobs in the world—and we think our good fortune is worth sharing. So, when your next journey seems like a distant dream, take a few minutes to explore our WANDERLUST blog—it’s chock full of engaging tales and helpful tips from our travels around the world. Check out the most recent entry (at the top) or search by your preferred criteria. Consider it motivation for your next embarkation.

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What Exactly Is The Spice Route?

Friday, April 12th, 2013

“He who controls the spice, controls the universe.”

Such were the words uttered by the main character of the movie Dune.In the story, the spice was the lifeblood of a vast empire. For the leaders of this empire, it was essential that at all times ‘the spice must flow.’ The spice trade of the Dune movie was inspired by the historical trade in aromatics from ancient times to the present. At various periods in history, spices have been as valuable as gold and silver. According to a 15th century saying: “No man should die who can afford cinnamon.”

The spice trade was a commercial activity of ancient origin which involved the merchandising of spices, incense, herbs, and other drugs between historic civilizations in Asia, Africa and Europe. These aromatic substances became even more mysterious over time as they were connected in many cultures with the idea of a faraway paradise — Eden

In a few short days, Amazing Journeys will be sailing along the same waters as the traders from the Roman Empire, Medieval Europe, ancient Egyptians and even Colonial Spain. We will be traveling a bit differently, though, as we embark upon a luxury cruise ship for 14 days of ultimate relaxation and unique exploration.  Beginning in Singapore, we’ll make stops in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and various ports throughout southern India before heading home.  A few lucky souls have also taken advantage of an added 4 night tour into Northern India to see the Taj Mahal.

What oil, agriculture, stocks and free markets are today….is what spices, medicine, herbs and other aromatic pleasures were of yesterday.  The next time you sprinkle a little cinnamon on your oatmeal or spice up your kung pao chicken, take pause for a moment to realize that these everyday enhancements were once a means of livlihood and survival for many civilizations.

Our first week in Southeast Asia

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

As we countdown to 2013, Amazing Journeys and 92 Jewish Singles from around the world have been exploring all that Southeast Asia has to offer.  We still have over a week to go on our cruise but check out some of the incredible sights we have already seen!

Traveling Single; A Fast & Furious Growth in the Travel Industry

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

After a long and committed relationship with couples and families, the travel industry is hitting the singles scene full force. There is a growing number of companies exclusively catering to unattached travelers organizing journeys that mix high-end vacationing with coed bonding. Many of these outfits are going beyond the old lonely hearts Carnival booze cruise, rolling out extended excursions to both nearby US National Parks and far-flung locales like Asia, Australia, South America and even Spitsbergen, Norway. 

According to the latest census, nearly half of all adult Americans are unmarried. With young people waiting till later in life to settle down and with more boomers retiring and getting their second wind, the travel industry has a lot of potential single clients. Research has found that 26 percent of leisure travelers took at least one trip by themselves last year. So while many others in the business are just starting to recover from the recession, solo-specific tour operators are reporting two or three times as many 2011 bookings as the industry overall.

Of course, going solo isn’t without its quirks. To begin with, singles-only companies sometimes avoid the single supplement by matching travelers with roommates, a delicate procedure. Then there’s the age factor: Since these trips draw nearly all ages, age-specific trips can lend itself to some people who miss the spectrum to feel left out….yet if a trip is open to too wide an age range it can tend to be too diverse for an interest group.

And women hoping to be surrounded by travel-loving men may be disappointed to discover that the clientele skews so heavily female that a few companies even reserve “emergency” spots for men. 

If you’re already humming the theme to The Love Boat, you’re not far off; while Julie and Gopher may not have been aboard, most early singles tours were cruises. Singles cruises today are no longer limited to just romantic Caribbean getaways.  Quite the contrary as experienced cruisers “outgrow” the fun in the sun idea in lieu of more destination-oriented endeavors.  Indeed, ocean-faring trips are still popular and becoming even more broad with cruising opportunties that not only include Europe, Alaska and Southeast Asia, but unique cruising experiences to far away places like Antarctica, Galapagos Islands and The Amazon.

Still, the singles-travel market now looks much like the general travel industry, with its constant stream of new and more unusual trips designed to appeal to experienced travelers. But no matter how much these companies tout their travel bona fides and stress that they’re not dating services, they say vacationers only care about one thing: more than where they are going, a recent survey showed that they want to know who else is going.

Despite even exotic destinations, it’s really the social side of the trips that has prompts many to sign up again and again.The preponderance of repeat bookers, though, can be intimidating to travelers who show up without knowing a soul. Travelers also report that the trips sometimes develop their own cliques, and even the companies admit that there are often one or two people who need a lot of help being eased into the group. Amazing Journeys, for example works diligently to “cater to the solo traveler”- expressing to first time travelers that everyone traveled with us for the first time once.  By nourishing the lasting value of repeat business while cultivating and catering to first time travelers, Amazing Journeys has had exceptional results in blending the two sources into each and every successful trip.

Preparing for China

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As our travelers prepare for their upcoming journey to China, there are a lot of things to consider. What should I wear? What should I buy? What will I eat? In preparation for our trip, we wanted to highlight a few of the differences that will be noticed along our travels through China.

Food
The American version of Chinese food and the Chinese version of Chinese food are quite different. The American version is catered more towards our taste buds and aren’t quite as risky when it comes to ingredients. We are also looking forward to becoming skilled chopstickers.
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Drinks
The Chinese culture places an emphasis on tea, specifically the tea pouring ceremony. As opposed to the American coffee ritual of running down the street to your local Starbucks , there is a specific science and precision to the ceremony which is very unique to take part in.
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Bathrooms
As our travelers have already been warned, there is a noticeable difference between Western bathrooms and Eastern bathrooms – mainly, the seat! It takes some practice and balance to master the Eastern toilet but we are looking forward to the challenge and know that we will all come home having mastered the squat and having tones glutes to prove it!
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Height
For those of us who are taller than the average American, it is quite an experience to walk around China – you feel a little like Godzilla. I am 5’9” so I am 6.5 inches taller than the average Chinese woman. The average Chinese man is 5’5” as compared to the average American man at 5’10”.

Language
As many of us have learned throughout years of travel, there is often a language barrier that makes travel fun. Sometimes you are able to follow along because of the Spanish classes that you took in high school or you can kind of figure out what a sign says because words are similar to English. This, however, is not the case in China. The language, the letters, the signs – they are all in a completely different language that we are going to have fun interacting with.
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This will be an exotic adventure to a land very far away, with people and experiences unlike anything found at home. We look forward to reporting back all of the exciting and interesting differences that we experience while diving into the Chinese culture.

The State of the Travel Industry

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Malori and Stacey just returned from World Travel Market in London and are happy to report that all is good in the travel industry!  We met with tour operators and vendors from over 250 countries around the world as we planned and got ideas for future Amazing Journeys in 2012.  In addition, we attended lectures given by travel insiders from around the globe as they presented the state of the travel industry.

“Green” travel options were a big topic.  Vendors from every corner of the globe are stepping up to the plate to offer sustainable tourism, becoming more aware of water shortages, carbon footprints and taking a stand to keep the world from being overused.  Along those lines, we attended lectures on keeping religious sites truly sacred by limiting the amount of tourists at any one place at a given time.  It’s a responsibility we must all embrace if we are to have a world to share with the next generation.

Trends in growth for travel include Asia, leading the recovery from the 2009 economic downturn with more people visiting countries within Asia, as well as the “new middle class” within China who are beginning to travel within their own country and abroad.  Latin America is offering more adventure and sporting event opportunities with Brazil being the favorite destination.  Africa is getting ahead of the pack with “Space Travel” opportunities, offering travelers in-room telescopes to look at the night sky, night-vision safaris, Astro tourism, clear night skies in Africa and wants to actually take up traveling in space to compete with the US.  Adventure travel is appealing to more individuals than ever before and 85% of those polled worldwide, list adventure travel as a priority when making plans to travel.  And finally, there are the beginnings of interest in Iraq as a growing area for tourists (think Vietnam).

While in London, Stacey and I selected hotels in London for our upcoming British Isles trip.  You’ll love what we found and we can’t wait to share it with you in the coming weeks!

So there you have it.  We have toured the globe in only three days at World Travel Market.  Where do you want to go in 2012?  Now is the time to let us know as the planning has begun!

Only in Southeast Asia

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Click here to see a short video about our recently concluded tour of Vietnam and Cambodia: Amazing Vietnam