Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How far in advance should I apply to volunteer overseas?

Your dorm is packed and you’re ready to go. Exams are finally over. But what do you do if you haven’t scored that perfect summer job yet? The good news is that it’s not too late to apply to volunteer overseas this summer.

While some programs have hard deadlines, many organizations accept volunteers on a rolling basis, with summer being the most common time for departures. Although six to nine months is an ideal length of time to prepare to volunteer overseas, it’s not out of the question to be on a plane and on your way within two weeks of submitting a volunteer application.

To help you get going, we’ve compiled a list of the most common items you’ll find on your pre-project preparation checklist and tips on how you can fast track the process:

Read more on the Verge Magazine website»

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Make It Good

"Sometimes when you come back after a trip, you fall into a routine. You forget to find that astonishment or new way of looking at things within your city. . .It’s triggered automatically when we’re in that travel mode, but what I find fascinating is that each of us can find that newness in our everyday lives. It’s one of those things that spurs creativity or can bring on new ideas. You need to go away or into that space where you’re actually alone to make sense of it all." 
 -Dev Aujla,  co-author of Making Good: Finding meaning, money and community in a changing world, shares his thoughts on why travel is important to find a sense of purpose. Read my full interview with Dev here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Got Hurt Feelings

Hi friends (and fans?),

After much deliberation, I've begrudgingly set up a Facebook fanpage for this blog. You should probably like it, because only two people have so far. (One being me and one being my brother. I'm sure my Dad will probably like it at some point, too, so then I'll have at least four followers.)

Otherwise, I'm going to have to listen to this song on repeat for the next two weeks:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hiking to Machu Picchu: My Top 5 Tips

1. Book Early

Although more than 70,000 tourists visit Machu Picchu every year, only 500 permits are issued for hikers on the Inca Trail each day—two-thirds of which are reserved for porters and guides. Don’t show up in Cusco expecting to book your trek a few days before you leave; this is the kind of trip that is going to take booking four to six months in advance.

Hiking with a local company should cost around $500 (cost breakdown here), while North American companies will charge up to $1200 for the same service.

Monday, April 09, 2012

5 Greenest Hostels in North America

Countless hostels claim to be environmentally-friendly, but soon Hostelling International’s Boston location will have the paperwork to prove it. This June, the hostel will open its doors as the first LEED-certified hostel in North America.

“We decided to go for the LEED certification because we felt that it was a recognized indicator of how green you are,” explains Deborah Ruhe, Executive Director of Hostelling International New England. “LEED certification holds you accountable.”

Using integrated design philosophies, the hostel was renovated to meet LEED Gold standard requirements. Originally built in the 1880s, the historic building will boast countless eco-friendly features, ranging from the basic (low-flow toilets and showerheads) to the high-tech (elevators that recapture energy as the descend).

Read more on the Verge Magazine website»

Friday, April 06, 2012

Backpacking Beauty for Dummies (that means me).

I find it endlessly entertaining that my travel blog pops up in Google when people search for "backpacking makeup."

Granted, I was once an award-winning beauty queen (and by once, I mean for one night). But I've never been what we'll call the most "put-together" girl. In fact, when I go travelling, my face usually approximates something like this:

Um, if anyone knows Matthew Craig Cool (also known as MC Cool), can you ask him to get in touch with me? He was pretty much my favourite person that I've met at a hostel ever. 

No, seriously. Even when I'm not drunk on a train in Eastern Europe circa 2003, I have a difficult time pulling off any sort of sexy lady look when I'm backpacking.

Monday, April 02, 2012

10 Eco-Friendly and Community-Focused Trips: Tread Lightly

“Take only photos and leave only footprints,” goes the backpacking mantra—but not all footprints are good ones. Those left by tourists, including backpackers, can sometimes be detrimental to a country’s socio-economic, environmental and cultural preservation.

Now is not the time to stop travelling—it’s simply the time to be more conscious of how we travel. And the good news is that more and more travellers are starting to do just that. By choosing adventures and activities that are good for the heart, the spirit, the environment and the mind, tourists can contribute to the development of communities—all while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

Read more on the Verge Magazine website»

"Tread Lightly" is an excerpt from a feature that I co-authored for Verge's Winter 2012 issue.
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