Interesting Things about Interesting Places Archives - Page 2 of 10 - Amazing Journeys

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Wanderlust Blog

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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Under Construction

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

by Erin

The Seven Wonders of the World… UNESCO World Heritage Sites… 1,000 Places to See Before You Die – there are plenty of lists out there of destinations that you should put on your bucket list, but what happens when you finally get to that place and it is under construction?

Millions of people travel each year to these top rated destinations, but in order to keep them upright, clean and open for viewing, there is required maintenance to keep the buildings intact.  Or sometimes, the original building is still taking place years and years later.  Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, for example, began construction on March 19, 1882 and is still taking part in its original build.  The Taj Mahal in Agra, by comparison, was built between 1631 and 1648 and has been completed since then, but needs regular maintenance to keep the building clean and to prevent the four free-standing minarets from collapsing.

So if you get to one of these famous places and it is surrounded by cranes and tarps and construction materials, don’t get upset.  Just realize that this is happening out of necessity to preserve the buildings for years to come and either help to document the construction or get creative with your picture taking!

Dressing the Part

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

by Erin

Have you ever been to a party and found out too late that you were not dressed appropriately?  You are either dressed up too much or are not fancy enough… it’s enough to throw you off your game for the entire night.  Sometimes, just dressing the part makes you feel more comfortable and makes you feel like you fit in.

We have found that one of the most fun parts of travel is donning the garb of the locals!   And not just grabbing a hat for a picture, but really dressing the part!  Like each of the four times we have brought a group to India, one evening is spent dining at a local home wearing sarees, bangles and henna.  We are dressed by experts so we are sure to wrap them the right way, and it is just such a fun experience to look truly local.  Also, you get an instant souvenir (but have to figure out when you get home just how to wrap it correctly on your own).

If the opportunity doesn’t always present itself on land, you make your own party on a ship and dress local.  Each time we are in Greece, we strip the bed, wrap ourselves up in sheets and host a toga party!  The cabin stewards may not appreciate the party as much as we do, but we sure know how to make an entrance into the dining room with a crowd clothed in sheets!

And if all else fails and you don’t have the time to match your outfit to the locals, just figure out what it is that makes them unique and copy them in any way that you can!

Standing out in a crowd

Monday, March 16th, 2020

by Erin

One of the reasons we travel is to see different cultures, meet different people, eat different food and experience different customs.  If you are not willing to do any of those things, you might as well stay home.  

In some destinations, the only thing giving up the fact that we are tourists is that we are traveling everywhere in a group, following a sign, wearing tennis shoes and walking with our cameras up and taking pictures of everything – besides that, we look like everyone that surrounds us.  In other places, we stick out even more, standing out in a crowd, clearly announcing that we are not from here and not quite fitting in.  But in the latter instance, I have always felt welcomed with friendly locals greeting us, showing us something that is unique to their culture or practicing their English with us.

I find that one of the most rewarding parts of travel is people watching and interacting with those that we are visiting.  I encourage others to say hello, not shying away from the fact that we are different or do not speak the same language, but rather trying to find our similarities with creative communication.

I’ve also found that the less we look like the locals, the more they want to take pictures of us and with us.  Walking around China and India, a group of white Americans stood out and we were virtual celebrities in certain places where the locals are not use to seeing foreigners.

So when you are traveling, don’t be shy and hide behind your camera – jump in the picture, make a new friend, interact with the locals and make a memory in a new country!

Weathering the Storm

Friday, March 13th, 2020

by Malori

You have no doubt been inundated with information regarding the coronavirus. This is not the first time since our founding two decades ago that a global event has led to uncertainty around travel, and it won’t be the last.

I want to assure you that your well-being now and in the future is of the utmost importance to us. Those who are traveling with Amazing Journeys on upcoming trips have received personal emails throughout this crisis. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation via the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the State Department. We trust their information as well as the on-the-ground advice from our travel partners and our in-country partners and staff to make educated decisions about our trips, while not overreacting and keeping it in perspective among the other potential risks we may encounter in everyday life, whether traveling or at home.

For those who have reached out to us with concern over our well-being as a company and as individuals during these trying times in the travel industry, we thank you for your concern.  I have weathered many storms during my tenure in travel and I know from experience it’s all about having the right raingear.  We are well-positioned to ride this out.  Fortunately, I am the sole owner of Amazing Journeys and can make quick and well-informed decisions. I run a debt-free operation and have since day one.  What does all of this mean?  Amazing Journeys is here for the long-run.

I strive to be a responsible citizen and so I have asked my staff to work from their homes for the coming days and possibly weeks. As always, please feel free to contact any of our team at any time.

Email: info@amazingjourneys.net
Phone: 412.571.0220
Please be sure to leave a message so that we can return your call

As your Amazing Journeys family, please remember that we are here for you now and in the future. It was travel that brought us together in the first place and not only will we get through this together, but we look forward to traveling together for many years to come.

We thank you for your complete trust in Amazing Journeys and hope we see a day in the very near future when our adventurous travelers are back on cruise ships, tour busses and planes, heading once again to the destinations of their dreams.  And when you do, we hope that you will allow Amazing Journeys once again to help you indulge in your wanderlust.

Wishing you good health and comfort in the coming weeks,

Malori and the Team at Amazing Journeys

Travel and Animal Welfare

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

English as a Second Language

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

by Erin

As I stand here in the Fumicino (Rome) airport, awaiting my transfer to the ship, I am spending my time by observing the Information Desk.  People are coming and going from all over the world and no matter what language they speak at home, 95% are coming to the desk with questions in English. It may be broken, not perfectly grammatical or involve a lot of directionary hand gestures, but everyone knows to try to start the conversation with the Italian Information Desk man in English.

We sometimes take for granted how lucky we are that our native tongue is spoken so freely throughout the world. In many countries, English is thought from a young age so no matter who you talk to, you can at least have the semblance of a conversation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking down the street in a foreign country and kids hear us speaking English so they come out to say “hi” and are excited to practice their English with us.

We are often ignorant to others languages and customs, assuming instead, that others should bend to meet us where we are, but the beauty of international travel is that you get to learn new customs, meet people who are different from you and push your comfort zone.

So while my go-to language is English, I try to learn a few key words or phrases of whatever country I am traveling to, so at least the locals will know that I am trying – which is often met with a smile and a response back to me in English. 

Malori’s Top 10 List for Scenic Beauty

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

by Malori 

Everyone’s got a top 10 list: TripAdvisor, 1,000 Things to See Before You Die, Conde Nast Traveler, The New York Times, Viator…  I’ve decided to create my own. Having escorted groups to 7 continents, traveled to 130 countries, sailed on 126 cruises, and visited 38 US states, I consider myself to be well qualified for this task.

Today I want to share: Malori’s Top 10 List for Scenic Beauty (OK, I had to go with 12)

There are so many amazing places on this earth that are so beautiful, being in any one of them actually takes my breath away.  I have been so fortunate to have had several such experiences.  And let’s face it, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we may all have different places that excite and inspire us.  For me, it’s where the snow covered mountains meet a body of water, be it a sea, a lake an ocean or a river. 

With many places, an entire region or even most of the country is so spectacular, it would win a top spot on my list, but I went with the more specific destination, just in case you should decide to visit… I promise, it’ll be so worth it!

  1. Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise), Alberta, Canada

  2. Queenstown, New Zealand

  3. Jokulsarlon Beach and Lagoon (also known as Diamond Beach), Iceland

  4. Inside Passage, Alaska

  5. Lake Tahoe, CA

  6. Vail, Colorado

  7. Jungfrau, Switzerland

  8. Flam, Norway

  9. Antarctica

  10. Glacier Alley, Chilean Fjords, Chile

  11. El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina

  12. Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

 

If you can get to any one of these magical spots on earth, consider yourself lucky.  More than one, consider yourself blessed.  I’ll be back with a new list in the coming weeks!  

Follow us on Instagram

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

by Erin

If a picture is worth a thousand words, our Instagram feed is worth millions! 

Our Instagram feed not only allows you to follow along with trips as they are happening but is also where we share travel insight, highlight some of the most beautiful places in the world, show behind the scenes at the AJ office and more. Instagram is an amazing place to indulge your wanderlust!

We’re posting all the time, so click here to follow us on Instagram.  That way, you won’t miss any of the amazing posts we have to share.

Want to see something we haven’t yet posted? Send us some suggestions – we’d love to hear from you!

Goodbye WOW

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

by Malori

Ave Shalom WOW.

I really liked WOW.  As an airline, it had a certain ‘joie de vivre’ and a style all its own.  From the magenta colored planes to the smiling but somewhat snarky attitude of the flight attendants, their uniforms and best of all, just the name WOW said it all. 


But airlines come and airlines go.  If you’ve been in the travel industry as long as I have, you understand it’s just part of the natural selection process. At the bottom of the food chain are the “low cost carriers.” They are actually doomed from the start if you ask me. An airline or any other business cannot operate on a shoestring.  While it may be nice for an airline to advertise uber low fares, they still have to maintain their planes, hire qualified pilots and have some savings for a rainy day, when something goes wrong and you need a back-up plan.  Low cost carriers usually have great fares, a few planes and a “fly by the seat of their pants” position. It’s not sustainable. Add to that the large giants of the sky, the competing carriers who are ready to wage an all out war when a low cost carrier comes into the market.  Advertising picks up, fares drop to match the new airline and before you know it, the new carrier can’t compete with the big dogs.

So while I am sad to see another carrier go, it was only a matter of time.  So long WOW. C’est la vie. Or as they say in Icelandic, svo lengi.

 

Calgary Stampede

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

by Erin


We are so excited to have the opportunity to bring another group to the Canadian Rockies this summer!  The scenery is stunning, the pictures you take will make your friends jealous and you get to experience the incredible Calgary Stampede!


What exactly is the Stampede, you may ask?  Well, it’s only the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth! The Calgary Stampede is an annual, 10-day rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta. It attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions and chuckwagon racing. It is North America’s premier rodeo and western festival and a unique western experience for the world to enjoy. 


The city takes on a party atmosphere during Stampede: office buildings and storefronts are painted in cowboy themes, residents don western wear and events held across the city include hundreds of pancake breakfasts and barbecues.


The Calgary Stampede Rodeo features the world’s best competitors and animals. Every afternoon, cowboys and cowgirls face off in a furious display of skill and grit, with every win building towards Showdown Sunday – the World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo.


One of Canada’s largest music festivals, the Calgary Stampede features numerous musical performances from established and emerging artists in a variety of genres, both at Stampede Park and around the city.  The Calgary Stampede Evening Show is a unique entertainment experience taking place nightly. The evening includes a derby, chuckwagon races and is followed by the Grandstand Show, dazzling audiences with elaborate song and dance numbers and acrobatics, capped off with spectacular fireworks!


So if you’re looking for a truly unique experience this summer, the Calgary Stampede is your ticket!  Grab your boots and your cowboy hat, throw on a big belt buckle and explore this awesome party with us this July!

Canadian Rockies & Calgary Stampede trip info is available by clicking here.