The world is waiting for you!
Are you spending some time reflecting on the past year? Thinking about how to make the most of next year? Well then start with some resolutions, or at least this one resolution: Travel.
That’s it. I’m not telling you where to travel or how or with who. Just resolve to do it. Start small, maybe camping for a weekend with friends or visiting your grandmother like you keep saying you will or checking out your first sci-fi convention.
The where and the when don’t really matter. What’s important is that you get out of your house, try something new, open your mind to new experiences and ways of life and open your life to the new friends you’ll make on the road.
If you like your goals to be a little more specific, how about one of these?
- Travel green. Resolve to minimize your carbon footprint, clean up after yourself wherever you go (that includes the movie theatre), and support local businesses whenever possible.
- Travel for good. Take part in a volunteer project in another country and do more than just sit on the beach and visit museums. Build a house, teach, farm, take part in people’s lives.
- Travel for study. Don’t be a tourist, be a student. Plan a semester or summer abroad and see what campus life is like in another country.
I also resolve to provide you with inspiring travel ideas throughout the year, because there’s plenty to see and to out there.
New Year’s Eve is just three days away. Do you have your plans made? If not, have a look at some of these free events happening across Canada.
If you’re near the Falls, join 40,00 others for the free concert in Queen Victoria Park. Our Lady Peace and Simple Plan headline the televised show and there will also be food and beverages available for purchase. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks go off at 8:45 and midnight, but you might want to leave right now to get a good spot.
There’s a free concert happening in Nathan Phillips Square with performances from Shawn Desman, Danny Fernandes, The Stereos, These Kids Wear Crowns and Divine Brown. The show starts at 10:00 p.m. and a crowd of thousands is expected, so arrive early and wear your comfy dancing shoes.
Calgary is having its first-ever New Year’s Eve Bash, hosted by Citytv. The party starts in Olympic Plaza at 9:30 p.m and features Canadian country music artist George Canyon, R&B artist Raghav, multi-platinum selling artist Alyssa Reid, and award-winning Canadian band Down With Webster. Also included: a hockey-themed public art installation and warming zones! That’s right, I said warming zones! Right now, that puts Calgary at the top of my list.
The free party here is happening at Place Jacques-Cartier on the Creemore Springs stage and at the Old Port of Montreal. Live music and dancing begins at 9:30 p.m. and fireworks go off at midnight.
The Scotiabank Family New Year’s Eve at The Forks is an all-day free event with live music, DJs and fireworks. Get the whole schedule at accesswinnipeg.com.
Have a great night!
I always get the best extreme travel stories out of Australia. This time I caught an article about a group of Skyliners who travel the world to jump off skyscrapers, tightrope walk across oceans, and also parachute, base jump and do other insane things for fun.
A guy named Sebastian Montaz-Rosset is one of the pioneers of this new sport and he and his friends put together a film about their adventures called “I Believe I Can Fly.” Have a look at a clip from it here:
That made me dizzy.
What do you think? Is this something you’d want to try on your travels, or are you happier with your feet on the ground?
Reminder! There’s one week left to enter this contest, so use your time off this Winter holiday to try to win some free travel in 2012. You have until December 31st.
I love G Adventures’ new “You’ll Never Forget It” travel campaign. They’ve declared “Tourist Season Is Over” and posted videos of travellers on every continent to show what satisfying, substantial travel is all about.
If 90 seconds of your time could ever motivate you to get off your butt, start saving some money to go on the trip of your dreams, and eventually change your life, these little films will do it.
And if you want to skip the saving money part of that process, enter their contest. Share one of your unforgettable travel moments and you could win a chance to make a lot more of them.
Read the contest details or start by watching the videos.
If you’re trying to find a gift for someone who is exceptionally hard to buy for, here’s an idea: don’t give them anything. Instead, give to people who really are in need and let your friend take the credit for it.
BootsnAll Travel has put together a list of 10 respected, international charities that help locals to become healthier, safer or more self-sustaining. Donate medications, mosquito nets, small business start-up funds, or even a goat to people who are trying to create a better life and you may find that your heart grows two sizes bigger this holiday season.
Read the article to learn more about Relief International, KickStart, Stop Hunger Now, the Nepal Youth Foundation, Women for Women and the other charities that depend on gifts from you to help others.
On the real Mars, this cat would need a little cat helmet.
For a little Friday fun, check out Matador Network’s article about 8 Amazingly Weird Fake Cities Around the World.
Some of the cities you can’t visit, like the places built by military (and militant directors) for training purposes. But you can visit fake Paris or a fake English town in China or fake Mars in Utah.
What fake city would you hit first?
KLM says they’re going to launch a service in early 2012 where you can choose who you want to sit next to on your flight using Facebook or LinkedIn.
On the plus side, I could see people using this as a way to make travel friends, or maybe as an in-flight dating service. Or maybe you could add “I don’t like to talk to people on planes” to your profile and find someone who also wants to sit in silence.
On the other hand, I imagine expecting to make a new friend on a plane could backfire. If you get on the plane with high expectations about this new awesome person that you get to spend eight hours with, then not only could you have bad food and an uncomfortable seat, but you could also be disappointed to find out that your new bestie is actually kind of boring, or obnoxious, or smelly.
Worst case scenario, your flight could turn into a multiple time zone blind date that no fake emergency phone call from a friend can save you from. You can only stay in one of those tiny bathrooms for so long.
So when the service launches, will you use it? Would you rather choose your seatmate, or take what fate and the airlines hand you?
It’s true! Whistler-Blackcomb says:
“Whistler Blackcomb’s annual “Dress like Santa Day” will take place on Saturday, December 17. A free lift ticket will be awarded to the first 75 people to check in at the Garibaldi Lift Company at the base of Whistler Mountain in full Santa or Mrs. Claus attire.
To qualify, skiers and snowboarders must arrive dressed in their very best Santa or Mrs. Claus costume. The costume must include red or black pants or a skirt for Mrs. Claus, a red jacket with white trim, a black belt, a beard for Santa and of course, a Santa or Mrs. Claus hat.
The meeting time for all Santa and Mrs. Claus participants is 8:00am on the patio of the Garibaldi Lift Company at the base of Whistler Mountain. One free lift ticket per person will be awarded to the first 75 people who meet full costume requirements.”
So get out your Santa hats and practice your ho ho halfpipes.
Awesome photo by the BBC
This year I went to La Tomatina in Spain, where people threw food, got dirty and drunk, and tried to crush each other to death.
A Viking fire festival in the middle of Winter sounds like a luxury retreat in comparison.
If you can make your way to Scotland in January you can get a look at Viking life through Up Helly Aa, Britain’s biggest fire festival. It’s also billed as “The all-nighter to end all -nighters,” so if you go don’t expect to get to bed before sunrise.
And just what is a fire festival? Held in Lerwick on the last Tuesday of every January, the festival marks the end of the pagan Yule season. According to visitscotland.com it consists of “a 1000-strong torchlit procession of ‘guizers’ followed by the spectacular burning of a viking longship or galley. The squads of guizers then perform acts and dances in various halls into the early hours.”
Fire! Dances! People dressed like Vikings! I love it!
Lerwick’s Up Helly Aa isn’t the only fire festival though. Celebrations continue throughout January, February and March:
2012 Up Helly Aa Schedule
|Scalloway Fire Festival
Nesting Up Helly Aa
Uyeasound Up Helly Aa
Northmavine Up Helly Aa
Bressay Up Helly Aa
Cullivoe Up Helly Aa
Norwick Up Helly Aa
South Mainland Up Helly Aa
Brae Up Helly Aa
|Friday, January 14
Friday, February 4
Friday, February 11
Friday, February 18
Friday, February 25
Friday, February 25
Saturday, February 26
Friday, March 11
Friday, March 1
If you don’t want to plan all the trip details for yourself, check out Haggis Adventures’ 5-day Up Helly Aa tour. A Travel CUTS student travel expert can help you book it and find you a student airfare.
I’m checking airfares now to see if I can squeeze this trip in. I’d planned on going to Scotland in the Spring, when the weather is a little better, but they don’t set things on fire then. See you there?
Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
NASA thinks they may have found a planet similar enough to Earth to support life. If that’s the case, and if it also supports beaches and fruity drinks, then sign me up for Terra Nova.
According to NASA, “The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. The planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Scientists don’t yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a step closer to finding Earth-like planets. ”
At this rate, Virgin Galactic should be running a shuttle there by, what… 2085? Let’s just hope you can check your first bag for free.