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Surprising Vietnam War Tourism Reactions


I am a travel blogger addict. As a new years resolution and in an attempt to clean up my life I’ve cut back on the amount of travel blogger subscriptions i have. This one im definitely keeping: Alex in Wanderland. She’s in Vietnam now and found a lot of mixed reactions, felt a lot of strong emotions and got a totally different point of view about the war from the perspective fron the Viaynamese point of voew. Definitely worth a read. Following is a short section of het colorful blog post here:

“My reaction to the sites and museums we visited was extremely emotional. Half the time I found myself genuinely ill about the horror America has helped cause in Vietnam. Specifically, the short-sighted use of Agent Orange, which not only killed or maimed half a million people but has gone on to disfigure unknown generations, and poison countless food and water sources. The other half of the time I felt an indignation boiling up at the biased and propagandized views being fed to Vietnamese nationals and international tourists. War is a two-sided hell, but the atrocities of the Viet Cong against the South and yes, against Americans, were completely absent from the discussion. But as they say, history is written by the victors. I think most Americans would find it difficult to travel through Vietnam and not have some bit of identity crisis. I found myself thinking we had no business getting involved in the first place, while simultaneously outraged at the US’s lack of interference during the Khmer Rouge occupation of Cambodia. I found myself sympathetic to the terrorized civilians of Vietnam, while at the same time empathizing with the terrified young American soldiers, many of whom fought a war they didn’t believe in. I found myself embarrassed, and I found myself confused. Mostly, nationalities aside, I found myself mourning the fact that so many humans on this Earth suffered so deeply for so long. Visiting Vietnam gave me a perspective on war I didn’t previously know I was missing, and made me reflect deeply on the war my country is involved in today. It seems to me that the wounds of the Vietnam (or American) War are still very fresh despite the decades that have passed. I hope as time begins to heal them we can all learn from a more balanced, two sided story of a war gone horribly wrong; and that we can move forward into the future and learn from the mistakes that were clearly made.


Danakil Depression in Ethiopia: Not for Everyone


Well, my husband is not up to visiting Ethiopia so I’m very glad Jill from Jack & Jill went and gave such in dept reviews of the most amazing natural site in Ethiopia, The Danakil Depression.

Check out Jill awesome report here:…

At 1st glance, Danakil Depression in Ethiopia – Eritrea border seems like an arid desert. So hot and inhospitable that nothing should live here.

But on driving through we found patches of oasis inhabited by Afar people – known for their independence and ability to live in areas where nobody wants to – and geological formations so varied, so strange, and so beautiful.

First and foremost, Danakil Depression is where Erta Ale volcano and its sloshing lava pool is located. Then there’s Dallol. Our group can’t make up their mind which between Dallol and Erta Ale was the highlight of the trip. Erta Ale gave me a glimpse of a nightmarish vision of hell. Of glowing red against pitch black.

While Dallol is where colors seem to burst forth from the ground, where you get to walk on earth the color of rust among chimneys spouting out acrid fumes of sulfur. Without the scorching heat and the rotten egg smell of sulfur, I can easily believe I was walking in a fairy-tale land where the munchkins live.

Protect Your Money While Traveling



Travelers to South America should take a significant amount of time considering how to protect their possessions and valuables before leaving. Even more important than protecting property, however, is protecting the money you take with you on your trip. A little planning beforehand can save you headaches later on.

In terms of protecting the money you have on you, look into wearing a money belt to keep your money close to you and away from the hands of pick pockets. It is also very important to remember that protecting your money involves more than protecting just the travel money you take with you.

Before you travel, look into recommendations from experts as to where debit and credit cards can be used, and what fees your bank may charge. In the event that you lose one of your cards, make sure you have the cancellation department phone numbers and information written down and stored in a different place than your cards.

Along with the above phone numbers, you should also have your insurance information readily available. Once you’ve researched travel insurance quotes and found a provider that is right for you, talk to them about any valuables that you plan to bring with you on the trip.

One of the most important things you can do to protect your information and money is to avoid logging on to important sites over unsecured connections. Banking information is the most important to be careful with, but it is also important to think about every site you visit and the fact that others may be able to see your passwords at wireless hotspots.

Make sure you have different passwords for all of your important accounts so that someone who gains access to one will not be able to log onto others. Look into options to make your internet use safer while traveling.

If you are staying in a hotel room, make sure not to store passwords on public computers in the lobby or leave any information up after you leave the computer. If you need internet on the go, consider purchasing a portable wireless access card. This can be safe in terms of protecting your personal data.

Following these tips will help you stay safe no matter where you travel to.

Photos by

How to Achieve Your Travel Goals




Turn your vacation daydreaming into travel reality with these 8 steps If you’re half as travel-mad as me, you might already have in mind lots of goals you’d like to achieve in regard to your travels. It’s easy to have lots of dreams of trips you’d like to take and things you’d like to see, but it’s not so easy to do it and keep up with all the other parts of life. You’ll increase your chances of achieving these dreams if you sit down and write some travel-related goals. Here’s how I do it.


Start out by thinking up a list of a handful of “big dream goals”. I’m not a bucket list kind of gal, but I do have some big dreams, some “one day” adventures – seeing penguins in Antarctica being one of them.

This is the place (in a notebook or on computer) where you can imagine you’ve won the lottery and you can do anything you want – a proper “there’s no wrong answer” brainstorming session. I don’t expect I’ll be able to achieve all of these big dreams in my lifetime but I certainly never will if I haven’t even thought about them.


Next step is somewhere between dreams and reality – I have a list of countries I would like to visit. You don’t have to have a reason (my reasons are often obscure!) but if something about a country draws you in, put it on the list.

For example, my list includes Colombia because I have some very dear Colombian friends, Mongolia because the idea of staying in a ger fascinates me, and Namibia because I almost went there once and became so interested in the place by researching it.


Make a timetable for the possible time slots you have for traveling over the next five years (or longer if need be – perhaps if you are restricted by children in school, your own education, or other factors). A five year plan is ideal, I think. Consider when you’ll be able to take leave from work or other restrictions and map out your free time slots.


For each possible time slot on your travel timetable, pencil in a possible destination. Here’s where you can start to get practical and consider the appropriate lengths of trips, the distances involved, the costs, the seasons, and so on. But do try to include at least one of your big dreams – if it’s in your plan you’ll have a good shot at making it happen!


For the next two years or so, set appropriate goals for the amount of money you need to save (you might need to do a little research to get a realistic estimate – but that kind of research is a whole lot of fun!) and for when you need to prepare which parts of the trip (booking flights, for example). Be specific both in the nature and the timing of these goals and make sure they are concrete actions.


For many of us, saving the money for a trip can be the trickiest part, especially if it is a little way into the future. Create some very specific savings goals to start putting the money away towards your trips. I recommend monthly savings goals and a separate account if you can’t trust yourself not to touch the extra money!

This might also be a good time to consider what kind of things you can change to start making saving that money even easier. For example, not buying your lunch or dining out a little less often – these can be very small sacrifices to make compared to taking off on some fantastic travels.


I adore getting ready for a trip – looking for great deals on flights, hunting down some accommodation (or just getting ideas for spontaneous stays once I get there), daydreaming about some of the places I might see and things I might do.

Yes, I really think the preparation is almost as good as actually going on the trip! That makes it a great thing to do gradually as part of your travel goals so you are always working towards a bigger goal.

Create a timetable with some reminders in your calendar or whatever kind of system you use so that you can keep working on your trip and are also organized when the time arrives.

Even if your next trip is five years away, there is plenty of interesting preparation (reading, researching, and so on) that you can do far ahead of time, and then as the countdown goes on you can add activities like booking transport and accommodation to the list.


Apart from having a bunch of goals and plans written down somewhere, I highly recommend having something related to your travel goals on display in a prominent place (on your pin-up board, for example). This way, you are regularly reminded that you have these goals and you will get to travel somewhere exciting soon.

For example, I’ve had some glossy brochures about Tasmania, my next destination, hanging in my living room for the last few months so I can delve into them and start daydreaming about some of the gorgeous landscapes I’ll experience once I get there.

Seeing something concrete about your travel goals (especially if it looks beautiful!) will also make it easier to do the harder parts like saving and sacrificing.

So, don’t listen if others think you’re crazy to sit down and make a set of travel goals. All this will make it much more likely you’ll achieve them and during the periods when you can’t hit the road, you’ll have plenty of ways to keep dreaming about it.

About the Author Amanda Kendle is an Australian travel addict who’s visited more than thirty countries. She works as a travel blogger, blogging trainer and social media consultant and is trying to get a novel publishef. Notify me of followup c

South American Destinations to Beat the Winter Blues



Those of you in the northern hemisphere are freezing your buns off during the long winter. Poor road conditions, shoveling snow off your driveway, and endless teeth chattering are just some of the side effects you’ll have to endure until spring. Why not escape to South America?

In the southern hemisphere, the temperatures are warm and the beaches are inviting. Score some last minute holiday deals, pack your bathing suit, and check out these fun spots in South America.

Florianópolis, Brazil
What could be a better cure to the winter blues than some alone time with the over 40 white sand beaches found along Florianópolis? The endless coastline isn’t the only eye candy to admire – this is where the hottest Brazilians can be found.

Even if you’re not into partying all night with models at Miami-style clubs, there are spots for laid-back hippies, like Lagoa da Conceição. The best part? All of the jealous comments you’ll be getting on your new Facebook album.

Montanita , Ecuador Moñtanita is one of those little beach towns where you come to a month later and wonder what happened?
Even though Moñtanita is about 5 blocks by 5 blocks big, here you’ll find first-class dining options and clubs worthy of any major party city. The waves are huge here, and December to February is a fun time to come and party with all other South Americans on holiday. If you’re going for broke, there are campsites around and $3 lunches to be had if you look hard enough.

Bariloche, Argentina
While not exactly warm, this breathtaking town in the middle of Patagonia makes an excellent destination during the southern hemisphere’s summer. The mountains rising up on all sides make for a picturesque scene.

Bariloche also makes a great base for hiking in Patagonia. While you’re in Argentina, spend some time in the cosmopolitan capital of Buenos Aires. From there, you can skip over to Punte del Este in Uruguay or Mar del Plata along the coast for some beach time.

American Attitudes About Traveling



Courtesy of The Westin Resort, Cancun in Mexico

Americans treat vacation as a guilty pleasure, rather than a right. That helps explain why the average American worker this year will take just 12 days of their 14 vacation days, leaving two vacation days unused, according to a 2011 study for travel Web site

The study looked at attitudes toward vacations in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. Harris Interactive surveyed 7,803 employed adults online in September and October 2011.

Some results: Europeans lead the world in vacationing, and Brazilians rank high too. European workers generally receive more vacation time — and take more – than peers elsewhere.

The average European employee earns 25-30 vacation days in a year and tends to use them all. Brazilians treat vacation as Europeans do – as part of being employed, not a luxury.
Brazilian workers receive 30 vacation days and usually enjoy every one of them.

Americans treat vacation as a luxury rather than a fact of life. Americans receive roughly half the Europeans’ allotment of vacation time. In 2011, Americans employees earned 14 vacation days and took 12, down from 15 days given and 12 taken in 2010.

American vacation habits are more like Asians’ than Europeans’. Asia represents the most vacation-deprived region in the 2011 study. Japanese workers took just five vacation days out of 11 available, while South Korean respondents took seven of a possible 10 days of vacation.

Money and planning are the most commonly-cited reasons for not taking vacation. Overall, 22 percent of respondents said they believed they could not afford a vacation, and 20 percent cited “lack of planning” for leaving days unused.

The United States leads the world in money worries: one of three Americans say that they can’t afford vacation. However, almost half of US workers describe their financial situation as “solid” or “good,” reinforcing the notion that Americans view vacation as a luxury.

Brazilian respondents were least likely to see money as an impediment, just 6 percent. Brazilians instead chose “lack of planning” as their top reason for not taking a vacation, the study found.

For more on the 2011 Vacation Deprivation study, visit


Gay Travel Expanding



The gay travel market is becoming more exciting and vibrant as I discovered at World Travel Market 2011 held in London UK this month. With more nations legalising homosexuality and equality of marriage destinations across Europe, Americas and Asia
are beginning to realise their gay travel potential.

Within Europe Israel, Switzerland and Sweden are emerging as the new must-visit destinations leaving the traditional Lesbos, Gran Canaria and Sitges behind.

Tel Aviv has been breaking down negative preconceived perceptions to make it the hottest gay city of the Mediterranean. With daily flights now from Heathrow, Luton, Manchester, its annual Gay Pride in June and the new September annual gay art exhibition – gay travellers will be basking in the Tel Aviv sun and hitting the clubs before discovering the hidden gems off the beaten track in Israel.

Switzerland’s Arosa Gay Ski Week has risen in acclaim in recent years and now a fixed date in the winter calendar, running between 8 – 15 January 2011 – more gay travellers are taking on the Swiss slopes every year. Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium – the only Belgian city outside Brussels to stage gay pride, Antwerp actually did it first, with the annual “Pink Saturday” in the 1980s – but with new links by EuroStar and flight routes the historic city is more connected to the rest of Europe than ever before.

The SAS Love is in the Air campaign to find two couples to marry mid-flight drew international attention. Sweden is also home to the first openly gay premiership football player, a tolerant and inclusive nation. Stockholm launched its gay guide blog three years ago and has since ran its Leading Ladies of Stockholm campaign making it a premier lesbian destination.

Heading East, and both Turkey and India have begun engaging with the gay traveller; Further Afield, a database of handpicked gay-welcoming hotels and vacation properties, is soon to add a group of places in India.

Across to North America, and Fort Laurderdale was the host of the IGLTA Convention -this growth spot has become one of the most popular winter spots for North American travellers seeking the sun. It’s also now one of the best value destinations for international tourists during the summer.

In Latin America, while Brazil has been popular with gay and lesbian travellers for sometime with the infamous annual Rio De Janeiro carnival and the largest pride event in the world held in San Paulo, expecting over 4.5million visitors in 2012. The country has only recently recognised equal civil unions and marriage making Brazil the top LGBT destination in South America.

South America also plays home to emerging destinations Mexico, Venezuela and Chili as gay and lesbian travellers seek new experiences off the beaten track.

While over 80 countries continue to refuse to recognise homosexuality the world is getting bigger for the gay and lesbian traveller as equality becomes part of every day life.