cultural travel

Ancient Mummies Reveal Cultural Story

ancient egyptian mummy




When you think of mummies, where does your mind go? Mine always goes to Egypt.  Now, even elaborate hairstylesfrom 2000 years ago can be recreated through even more elaborate technology. Ancient mummies reveal the cultural story of their time and the environment in which they lived. In some ways, I am saddened that technology can recreate the way a person looked 2000 years ago. It takes the mystery out of exploring culture so long ago. The mummies of the Tarim Basin in western China are far more intriguing in imagining their stories, because their hair, skin and textiles are still intact. Imagining the story is far more interesting to me. What about you? Do you find these technological wonders that can recreate a face and an image of the past a marvel or a downer? Here is an article written in the Huffington post that will either charm you, or alarm you. Ancient Egyptian Mummy’s Elaborate Hairstyle recreated in 3D:

Today, thanks to research and reconstruction work that includes high-resolution CT scans, anthropological analysis, 3D printing and facial reconstruction drawing, this woman, along with two other mummies, are being brought back to life. Their three-dimensional faces and hair, carefully reconstructed by professional forensic artist Victoria Lywood, of John Abbott College, are set to be revealed tomorrow (Jan. 25) at the Redpath Museum at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.


Ancient mummies always reveal cultural story told through the objects that they were buried with and  the manner in which they were laid to rest. If you are a curious wanderer and wish to explore more about the new technologies which unlock the mysteries of the past, then read the full article here.


Pioneers of Cultural Travel

Travel is something that is embedded in the cells, the blood, the DNA. Pioneers of cultural travel did not begin with a golden wand guiding them to unknown places. They took risks, walked through walls of fear, and took the unbeaten path to places that many would be afraid to traverse. One such pioneer of cultural travel is Jim Calio. The Huffington post has a great article about this travel pioneer.

JC: What were your goals when you started out in Africa?
GK I made a decision early on that our safaris would be about appreciating the wildlife and the scenery in the most luxurious way possible and came up with the slogan “shoot with a camera, not a gun” and we stuck with that. Early on I got an old army buddy of mine, who was a brilliant engineer, to develop a refrigerated truck so we could have ice in the bush for the gin and tonic. It was the first time this had been done and it worked brilliantly.

JC: What was the first trip you organized when you started the company?
GK: One of my first trips ever was with Jane Chapin from Adventures Unlimited. She was the exclusive travel agent for A&K. She had somehow heard of me and, when she came to Nairobi, I took her on a safari. I picked up Jane at the old Stanley Hotel and took her into Nairobi National Park. Then, in 1966, I took her off on a longer adventure. I was the guide, and we had a mobile tented camp — with ice and electric lights. She had such a wonderful time that soon she and I were operating 10 safaris a month.


Pioneers of cultural travel exist throughout history in the form of naturalists, theosophists, anthropologists, artists, dancers, and curious people. Jim Calio is one example of a person who has combined passion with an entrepreneurial spirit to create a lifetime of crafting trips for people around the world. What about you? Are you a pioneer, or a curious seeker? Read the whole article here.



A Cultural Foreigner’s Guide to Australia

The world is so vast, it is sometimes overbearing to consider getting on a plane and sitting for 14 hours to go to Australia. A cultural traveler has to be really passionate about seeing Australia before getting on that plane. On the other hand, there is much to do outside of the typical things to see and do in Australia. As an example, the museums alone are worth the trip. A cultural foreigner’s guide to Australia should include the incredible museums along with the architecture they are housed in. In addition to the museums, the indigenous culture is extremely rich in story. In the United States, people have skewed perceptions of the land down under. Ben Groundwater writes a wonderful article in the about western perceptions of Australia.

Everlastings on Mt. Hotham Victoria

Everlastings on Mt. Hotham Victoria

Travel around the world a bit and you meet plenty of people, some who’ve already been to Australia, some who’ve always dreamed of coming to Australia, and those who have no intention at all.

I’ve spent the last three weeks in the USA, and it was interesting to hear different people’s perspective on our country.

First there was the guy on the San Francisco cable car who heard my accent and wanted to know where I came from. “Australia,” I said. The guy smiled. “Wow, you speak really good English.”

So awareness of this little country – that’s almost the same size as his – may not be spreading quite as quickly as we’d hoped.

Still, most of the people I spoke to there had the same thing to say: “Australia? Man, I’d love to go there. But it’s just so far, you know?”

A cultural foreigner’s guide to Australia could include not only the wonders of the cities, but also a view of the outback, and the land that is so vast and wonderful. Perhaps Australia is on your list. If not, then consider it as a place that holds a lot of diversity in cultural richness. It is expensive, however, so be prepared. Read the whole article by Ben Groundwater here.

Cultural Travel for Senior Women

In 2012, more and more senior women are traveling alone to places where they can volunteer, give back or participate in a class or learning experience. Cultural travel for senior women is becoming an important demographic for tour companies and for organizations that create volunteer experiences for elders. Older women are choosing less sedentary lives as they age, and more and more women who are single, and or widowed are choosing to go to destinations that are off the beaten track. This phenomenon is happening not only in the United States, but in other parts of the world as well. Here is an excerpt from the Sun Star Cebu:

To attract the aging traveling market, the department is pushing for retirement villages. According to the presentation, elderly travelers are attracted to cultural sites and like traveling on short holiday breaks.

Another trend is that tourists are now more activity-based, rather than destination-based. This means they will consider what activities they want to do on their holiday before deciding where to go.

With this, the department said the trend prompts destinations to create unique activities to lure in tourists. Destinations have to create niche markets to attract specific types of travelers.

The trend also requires tour operators to deliver custom-made tours to allow for a unique and personalized experience.


Senior women_cultural travel

Senior women_cultural travel

Take note you tour operators of the world. There is a market of women who are interested in new experiences and cultural travel to new places. Cultural travel for senior women is an opportunity for women to grow and learn through cultural exchange, giving back life experience, and attending classes in other countries. Would you like to learn more about opportunities to engage yourself in teaching or volunteering in other cultures? Go here to learn more about cultural travel for senior women. Read the full article in the Sun Star here.


Cultural Travel and a Creating a New Life

I love stories about people changing their lives, along with their work, their vision and totally re-inventing themselves. Cultural travel and creating a new life can be as simple as opening your perspective by traveling to a place you have never been to. There are many seniors, however, who are totally re creating a new way of life for themselves by learning new skills, and developing their entrepreneurial interests.  When you are passionate about travel, culture, and exploring new things, it is so exciting to create a new life combining all of those things that bring you joy. Life is like a theater with several acts, and it is up to us to change the act each time the curtain closes. There is a new way  that people are choosing to retire. Rather than sitting in front of a TV, people are learning new skills, going back to school, and traveling the world to learn about cultures. There is a great article about some of these people who have taken the reigns and moved into the second act of their life with passion and with courage. This article, by Kristi Essick presents four extraordinary people who are creating a new second act. Here is an excerpt about Debra Gelb, former executive from Starbucks who is re-inventing her life:

She approached a friend about starting a retail jewelry business, something that would combine her main interests—travel, design, jewelry, meeting new people, nonprofit work—into one company.

The result is Zavida Gemstones, a socially responsible business that buys and sells stones and handmade jewelry from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia and Ecuador, and returns 25% of its earnings to nonprofit groups. One of those is the Khamir Craft Resource Center, an organization in India that helps artisans in the Gujarat region create sustainable businesses.

Re-inventing your life- cultural travel

Re-inventing your life- cultural travel

Cultural travel can be combined with creating a new life in so many ways. There are many elders who are choosing to learn a new skill or craft in another country. Learning how to write, or paint, and combining the interest with travel to another country is becoming increasingly more popular. What about you? Are you ready to do some traveling and create a second life? Read the entire article here.



Cultural Travel and Solitude

Cultural travel seems like a really good idea until you are on your first journey, alone, to a land where language and communication are a gap to be bridged, and there you are without the comfort of conversation. Cultural travel and solitude go hand in hand if you are truly passionate about travel and knowing yourself. You can learn more about yourself on a trip around the world than you can in many graduate programs or therapy sessions.  You may eat alone, ride on trains and buses alone, and communicate alone, unless you are traveling with friends or a group. But this is how we really learn about people, places, and ourselves. Without the little bit of discomfort, or edge that we feel when traveling alone, we loose the most valuable treasure, which is called discovery. I was once on a train from Bangkok to Chaing Mai on a sleeper car with beds that had cloth curtains. There were 12 or more men in the same car, and I was the only woman. All throughout the night, as the liquor came out of the bags, the men got louder and louder, and I began to feel like a woman with a little less courage than I once had.  Finally, the men settled down and passed out, and I was fine.

Through Cultural travel and solitude, we  discover people, what they eat, and the language of their gestures, their smiles, and their reaction to our sometimes inability to communicate with them. We discover ourselves by what is reflected in our differences, and we learn about ourselves through the solitude.

Here is what Averill Pizarro says:

But what they don’t often tell you is that traveling is also, essentially, a lonely thing. It’s hard to be talkative when there’s no one to talk to, when no one understands (literally — lo siento, no lo entiendo). Sooner or later you will find that there is no one to call, even when you know locals or are traveling with a group, and you will have to learn that it’s okay.

To travel is to go an adventure in solitude. You must be able to sit with yourself for long periods of time without going crazy, and I’ve had only moderate success in this area. I’ve taken to writing more, and drinking more (which, in wine country, is acceptable behavior). Sometimes, I’d wake up in the early morning hours, check my watch, and catch myself singing, “It’s five o’clock in the morning / the conversation got boring…” Other than that, I think I’m okay.

Learning about other places is a great benefit for the cultural traveler, but there are also other gifts along the way. Cultural travel and solitude can be one of the greatest gifts in knowing more about who you are within the context of a larger world that we all share. Read more from Averill Pizarro here.


Cultural Travel, Embrace Diversity

Artists are always in search of experiences which link them to cultures abroad, and provide a thread to people and arts organizations within those cultures. Creating cultural links can transform the perceptions of everyone involved, including the artist, the diverse countries and cultures which embrace diverse art experiences, and the organizations that sponsor these connections. This is a rich connection, and one that should be valued. Cultural travel, embraces diversity, but when you add the arts to this equation, the results are a cultural rich experience that changes lives. In an article by Matthew Caines from the Guardian Professional, he creates a venue for information for “Arts International: Top Tips for creating Cultural links abroad: Here is an excerpt:

Shihui Weng, associate producer, National Theatre of Scotland

Embrace diversity: The only barriers we have in the arts are the artificial ones we put up. I firmly believe the sustainable way of making theatre and arts now is via exciting new partnerships, often internationally, where we push boundaries and stimulate new ideas. The fact that I’m Chinese and working in Scottish theatre is a positive indication that this country does embrace diversity in a big way.

Beatrice Pembroke, director of the British Council says:

Collaborate across the sectors: I think one of the most valuable things we can do is offer international opportunities cross-sectorally and indeed beyond the arts and culture sectors – we should look to where it intersects with the broader creative industries, cultural sector and economy.

The UK creatives we work with often find some of the most exciting and innovative potential in places where there isn’t such a formal and well-supported creative sector, where people have to do several jobs at once and at a more dynamic pace. This throws up other challenges of course but it can be stimulating when you put the two together. A good example of this is our Culture Shift events that we’re piloting in Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Cairo at the moment.

For the artist seeking cultural travel, and who embraces diversity, opportunities abound. As an artist myself, I have learned more by engaging with diverse cultures than in any other creative venue. Seek the experience, and you will find it. Read the whole interesting and complete article here.


Senior Travel, and Tax Deductions

If you’re a person like me, you probably try your best to keep receipts, and then find them in an obsure envelope in the kindling a year later. Try not to be like me. Senior travel, and tax deductions is an art that each of us should get good at creating with….After all, we have earned it, right? I am not an expert by any means about tax deductions, but if you are interested in senior travel and tax deductions, it is good to know what travel expenses are tax deductible. Here is an excerpt from an article in USA today that reflects this question:

“The easiest way is to write on the back of each receipt the following; reason of the expense, name of person you met. The location and date will be in the receipt,” says Vielka Burey-Jacas, a certified financial planner in Miami.

Travelers often forget to keep a log of their car trips because it can get so tedious.”Your records must be contemporaneous,” says Jackie Perlman, principal tax analyst for the Tax Institute at H&R Block. “That means that you’re making your record at the time something happened.”

Perlman recalls a couple who proudly showed off Excel spreadsheets tracking the mileage of all the car trips. Clearly, they had just copied and pasted, because each day had the same numbers. “Just because you have a lot of paper does not mean you’ve kept good records,” she says.


So here you go, don’t be like me, follow the rules, and be a good senior traveler. You can follow the advice of experts, (my recommendation) and create a business out of cultural travel that is suited for your needs. Senior travel,  and tax deductions is complex, but with the best advice, can be sorted through to offer a way in which you can travel, be a senior, and enjoy other cultures! Go here  now to read the full article.


A Cultural Traveler’s Nightmare; Cancelled Flights

Maybe this has happened to you. You plan a trip to the other side of the world, and then, after arriving, an event arises that shakes the country up, and in an instant, your flight is cancelled. A cultural traveler’s nightmare, cancelled flights can create an issue that is a job to get through. It is always important to keep an eye on the world news before traveling to other cultures because events can be brewing long in advance of your arrival or departure. As an example, pay disputes or governmental proposals to raise the price of gas, or coups can develop over time, or they can happen in an instant. Watching the news can help you to avoid a difficult situation. Then there are natural disasters that are totally unpredictable. Remember the fires in Russia several years ago that brought European travel  to a complete halt?  If you are thinking of going to Germany in April, 2012, you might want to start watching the news there. Writers Larry Habegger and Andrew Davis for the Chicago Tribune write:

Almost half of the flights at Germany’s largest airport, in Frankfurt, were canceled Tuesday because of ground handlers strikes. The strikes were called over a pay dispute, with Verdi, the German service union, calling for a 6.5 percent pay increase over two years. Verdi has warned that more strikes could follow. If mediation fails, larger strikes could come in April.

This is a prime example of a cultural traveler’s nightmare, where cancelled flights could spoil a whole trip. They also point to several other places in the world where one might be extra cautious before making plans such as Jakarta,Indonesia  and Mali in west Africa. You can read the whole story here.


Ecuador, A Cultural Traveler’s New Frontier

Ecuador is one of the new frontier’s in cultural  travel. The Galapagos Islands are a brief plane ride away from Ecquador  and there are diverse beaches and rolling hills that will bring you to your knees. The Galapagos  are 605 miles west of the coast of South America and an important piece of Equador. Imagine the stars from the southern and northern hemispheres shed into one magnificent sky. If you have never been to the southern hemisphere, it hosts a different night sky than the northern hemisphere.  Crude oil is one of the greatest natural resources of Equador, but it also has plentiful coffee. sugar, bananas, cacao, and tropical fruits. Ecuador is a diverse culture with a mix of religions and ethnicity. The food alone hosts a new frontier of a variety of tastes, smells, herbs and sensory pleasures. If you were to escape to Equador, Jon Steele of Action Sports, ESPN says:

Weekday dawn patrols allow one to lock eyes with local fisherman, whose boat charges through the lineup into open water. Daily trips to the neighborhood tiendas are for picking up fresh fruits, coconuts and pineapples for a dollar. A dinner of chicken, rice and beans at the corner familia restaurante can be picked up for $2.50. Small parakeets fly in pairs and chirp loudly from nearby trees. The rivers are encased by green hills and jungle-lined waterways. Livestock and wild chickens cross the roads wherever they please. Soccer practice takes place on the shoreline every afternoon, and you can watch the “big game” on Friday and Saturday night in the local field for free.


Cuenca Ecquador

There are some great places to visit in Ecuador such as Quito, Cuenca, and of course the Galapagos Islands. Each place has different gifts to offer the cultural tourist. Cuenca has a historical square with exquisite architecture and outdoor cafes and coffee houses and a wonderful market that hosts local crafts, food, vegetables and woven goods.Whether your fun is traveling through the Andes, or surfing,  Ecuador is a cultural traveler’s new frontier. It is a country that has diversity of people, place and beauty, and is filled with cultural treasures.  To read more of the article above, go here….




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