Over the last 6 months or so I have returned from my last adventure and attempted to settle in to a normal job for a 27 year old male from the USA. The reality of most business jobs these days is that you spend the majority of your time in front of a computer screen. I can tell you that I spend 40+ hours a week providing internet marketing services and nearly all of it is spent staring at a computer monitor. This type of behavior is normal in our society, but it always make me wonder what a caveman would think of this strange behavior. For an outside observer who’s unfamiliar with a computer, a desk job would appear to be the strangest occupation in the world. A human literally sits for unbelievably long periods of time and virtually moves nothing but his fingers and wrists! For a caveman who is used to exerting himself physically everyday doing activities such as hunting buffaloes on the plains, it would seem outrageous! While there is significant financial reward with sitting in an office and you can afford a nice house, car and all kinds of other awesome things, I wonder if the caveman would think the sacrifice would be worth the reward??
If he had to choose between a simple life hunting buffaloes on the plains with his buddies or working 40 hours a week on the computer to support a comfortable lifestyle which would he chose?
Do you love how the TV series Once Upon a Time brings you back to your childhood days? Do you often allot almost half of your day just to watch how Prince Charming, Snow White, Emma Swan, and Anton the Giant shake the modern world? If you grew up believing in happy endings, then you’re probably very thankful for the men behind the TV show for putting twists on each fairy tale. If you can’t get enough of Once Upon A Time, there’s one place that can quench your undying thirst for fairy tales. That place is Denmark, also known as the Kingdom of Fairy Tale. This Scandinavian country is home to many of the world’s most loved fairy tales, thanks to the legend Hans Christian Andersen. During the mid-1800s, Andersen became known to the world for his stories such as The Little Mermaid, The Tinderbox, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Princess and the Pea. The writer’s impact is so big that many theme parks in the country were built based on his works.
In Odense, Andersen’s birthplace, you can find the Fairy Tale Center as well as the Hans Christian Andersen Museum that displays the writer’s creations. In Copenhagen, there’s the fairy tale-themed Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid Statue, and the Nyhavn neighborhood. If you want to get real close to what you’ve been dreaming of, you better fly to Denmark now. Just make sure that you have your cameras with you so you can capture every moment, with your smartphone as a backup camera and as a console to play online games like poker. Traveling from Odense to Copenhagen and vice versa can be tiring so you better take a rest the Danish way: by playing poker. The card game is one of the biggest sports in Denmark today, probably because of the fairy tale story of one of its greatest bluffers, Gus Hansen. Before he became a poker sensation, Hansen, who was among the three Danish players who ruled the Partypoker Football & Poker Legends Cup, was nowhere near the professional scene during his college days. He had his break when he got to play in the 2006 Tournament of Champions where he made a World Series of Poker finish. From then on, he was nothing but sensational. He now has three World Poker Tour titles and one WSOP title.
Denmark is a world of fun and adventure. If you think Once Upon a Time is already awesome, you better think again because nothing can be more awesome than getting up close and personal with your favorite fairy tale characters. When you get to visit the theme parks that the fairy tale country boasts, you will feel like you have planted your feet right on the Once Upon a Time set.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t written a blog post in a couple months now it’s because I’ve been working on another travel information blog project called The Colorado Travel Guy. This website is a collection of fun and interesting things to do in Colorado from hiking mountains to checking out breweries. Although I’m back in my home state for awhile, my thirst for adventure still remains so I’m exploring the area around me in search of the best things to do and sharing them with you!! Check it out…
What’s nice about the life of traveler is that you never really know what’s going to happen next. Often you wake up in a place you’d never even heard of until the day before with absolutely no plan as to what you will do that day. One day during a few month stint of randomly wandering through Eastern Europe, I found myself sitting next to a famous Swedish DJ at a party resort on the Bulgarian coast. Here’s the tale…
It all started with a really long and sweaty walk under the blazing Bulgarian sun with my backpack on. Spending a large portion of my life backpacking on a shoestring budget has instilled certain ‘money-saving’ patterns of behavior in my brain. One of these patterns is never taking a taxi unless I feel like I’m in danger of being robbed or there isn’t public transportation. Now this has probably saved me a bit of money, but I will admit sometimes I take this too far. I have a problem with falling asleep on buses and when I’m traveling solo this can completely change my plans. Trying to head to a hostel in a city called Sunny Beach, Bulgaria I fell asleep on a bus for an unknown amount of time. When I awoke I was a bit panicked that I had missed my stop and no one on the bus spoke a word of English so I decided to just get off the bus and take my chances. The sun was too hot for a shirt so I opted to leak copious amounts of back sweat into my backpack by walking what I found to be over an hour along a highway to finally reach my destination. I checked into a room of four people, which to my good fortune was empty at the time of my arrival so I opted to take a wonderful nap with a fan blasting over my sunburned body.
I awoke to a whirlwind of French as my three roommates had returned from the beach. While I should be able to speak more French considering I lived in Belgium, I was happy when the young Parisians were able to chat with me in English. The sun had began to set and I didn’t know a single person in Bulgaria so I opted to join the Frenchman to a concert at a venue on the beach called ‘Viking Club’ that evening. The show was going to be a Swedish DJ called Basshunter and while I found the name sounded a bit familiar I had no idea of the type of music I was about to experience. After a few beers we walked to a pretty nice club and sat down at the bar awaiting the show. The venue was packed and the number of strange sounding languages was confusing my brain so much I almost forgot how to speak English. Eventually I came to learn that Sunny Beach, Bulgaria was a huge hotspot for Russians on vacation and also some of Basshunter’s most dedicated fans. Now from a trip to the Ukraine I learned two key phrases in Russian that I found to be somewhat useful during the concert. First, I knew how to say ‘Do you speak English?’ Second, I could follow with ‘Would you like to dance?’ Not really doing too well at finding a Russian dance partner I sat down at the bar for a bit more liquid courage. Next to me sat a man who quite literally had a line of drop-dead gorgeous women waiting to just say one word to him. Bewildered and impressed with this fellow I waited until he finished kissing girl after girl and asked him ‘Dude, what’s your secret?’ In a northern European accent, but with excellent English he replied ‘Well, I’m Basshunter, I’m headlining the concert here tonight.’ He was amazed that an American had made it all the way to Bulgaria to see him perform and in between kisses from Russian bombshells he persisted to drink an absolutely outrageous amount of alcohol.
Eventually the show began and the whole thing was absolutely hilarious. The music is of the pop, electro-house genre, but Basshunter was only able to sing a few songs as he was utterly obliterated. For the majority of the concert he just jumped up and down sang a couple words from the chorus and partied. I’m not sure if it’s because I look like I could be Swedish or she saw me speaking with Basshunter, but my one line in Russian worked eventually and I found a pretty girl from Moscow to dance with. The night was a blast and I made plans to see the blond princess the following day on the beach. Not having a phone and not exactly sure of the meeting place I unfortunately never saw the Russian girl again. My French buddies left the next morning and I found myself alone and without plans in Bulgaria once again.
Here’s a live performance of Basshunter if you’re curious….
On a small island of Thailand exists a festival that can only be described as mind-blowing. The name is the Vegetarian Festival of Phuket where the locals conduct a ceremony to cleanse themselves. The festival lasts for nine days and the locals abstain from sex, alcohol and meat throughout the entire thing. During that time a ceremony is conducted where some of the participants invoke the ‘Nine Emperor’ gods within themselves. In order to prove they are acting as mediums for these gods they perform acts of mutilation upon themselves without showing signs of pain. They walk across exploding firecrackers and pierce parts of their body with large knives, skewers and other household items all the while appearing to be completely possessed. Without any prior knowledge of this wild spectacle and during my very first week in Asia, I found myself amongst the locals staring through clouds of smoke from the firecrackers bursting all around me. Overloaded by feelings of wonder, confusion, and discomfort I squeezed through the crowds of exotic people, attempting to photograph some of the madness. The experience was surreal to a level I had never felt before and although photos are never a substitute for the real thing I present to you the Phuket Vegetarian Festival in one sentence per picture style. (***WARNING*** These photos are not for the squeamish or feint of heart!!)
Wearing mostly white, carrying spirit houses over streets of firecrackers.
Invoked by gods making them invincible to pain.
And causing them to bear no scars from these self-inflicted wounds.
No matter what your belief system, this behavior makes you wonder.
Could it be true?
Would people do this if they didn’t truly believe in it?
It’s impossible to ever really know.
But what does it matter anyway, it’s an incredible thing to see!
Words. Sometimes they can be used to paint a picture so vivid and clear they are almost better than a picture. In Uyuni, Bolivia home to the largest salt flats on planet earth I couldn’t possibly begin to describe the sheer beauty my eyes were lucky enough to take in for a few days. Only a camera can come remotely close to portraying the strange landscapes of an ancient sea that dried up to form massive plains of salt surrounded by natural wonders that can only be described as out-of-this-world. With one sentence per picture I present to you the great Salar de Uyuni…
An ancient island of the Incas, now a peculiar cactus riddled land mass poking out of a never-ending plain of salt.
People come from far and wide to splendor at its wonder.
Flamingos glide above the glasslike puddles stretching toward the salt and mountains.
Llama and Alpaca graze along the grassy wetlands at the foot of a volcano.
The path to adventure…
An altitude where the desert meets the snow.
One the shores of murky red waters.
No animals should exist in this barren world where the flamingos thrive.
An endless desert where even a shadow appreciates a cold beer.
When you aren’t feeling good doing much of anything is far from a fun experience. Especially when it’s the type of sick where your not sure whether the food entrance or exit hole is going to release what I like to refer to as ‘the demon.’ Unfortunately this is a reality when traveling abroad, especially when you love eating street food in third world countries. A question I unfortunately discovered the answer to during one of my bouts with ‘the demon’ was, ‘Does being in paradise lessen the effect of being sick?’ It’s a reasonable question as being in a gorgeous place makes a lot of situations better, like waking up early or doing boring work. However, I can honestly tell you that unless your paradise is a comfortable bathroom then it does not improve your situation. The following tale is my experience with ‘the demon’ in one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen.
Tayrona National Park on the surreal Caribbean Coast of Northern Colombia can quite truthfully be called a paradise. A thick, lush jungle covers mountains for miles, ending in a series of beaches so beautiful you need to rub your eyes to make sure they are real. The coastline is dotted with gargantuan, perfectly rounded grey rocks that look like something of a different planet. The place has a raw and ancient natural presence where it seems like dinosaurs still might actually live. Equipped with hammocks my travel buddy and I took off intending to camp in the national park for a few nights. After an amazing short trek through a dense jungle containing spiders the size of my face and the horrifying sounds of howler monkeys we arrived at a beach so amazing we decided we must sleep on it no matter what the cost. Now technically it’s illegal to camp outside the designated camping areas which cost money, but there wasn’t a soul around, the sun was beginning to set and sometimes adventure means breaking the rules. Our hammocks were equipped with mosquito nets which were more than necessary in a land where the mosquitos carry dengue fever, yellow fever and malaria. The jungle was so dense leading up to the beach it was hard to find any trees far enough apart to hang hammocks, but eventually we found two adequate palm trees. The problem was that there was only one good spot to set one up a hammock on the whole beach so we came up with a creative solution, bunked hammocks!!!
As we weren’t supposed to be spending the night on the beach we refrained from making a fire and ate a dinner of canned tuna, crackers and fresh coconut water under the light of a couple headlamps. We used rocks and fallen coconuts to throw at the fresh coconuts on the tree above our hammock and managed to collect quite a bit of the delicious nectar. After a restless night sleep trying to get comfortable on the ‘top bunk’ hammock surrounded by mysterious jungle sounds and high winds, I awoke to an extremely distraught stomach. My travel buddy was experiencing the same phenomenon and the beach didn’t look quite as beautiful as the night before. As we packed up our gear and set off into the jungle ‘the demon’ started churning our stomachs and we had to take frequent jumps into bushes to do our business. The walk to the next campsite took nearly the entire day and was nothing short of spectacular from a scenery perspective, but our condition would not allow us to enjoy even a minute of it. An extremely strong sun, lack of toilet paper and the ‘huge spider web’ phenomenon were all contributing to our extreme discomfort. This phenomenon is when you are walking through nature and you accidentally run into a spiderweb. Now unless you are petrified of spiders this isn’t usually such a big deal you usually just brush it off and even if the spider managed to stick to you somehow it’s small enough that you probably won’t notice. This is simply not the case for Colombian jungle spiders. These things are literally the size of your entire face, so you can imagine when one of us broke through a web on our way to release ‘the demon’ in the bushes we involuntarily did a dance, screaming “Is it on me!?? ” After a couple naps on various beaches we made it to another campsite, but not wanting to pay the fee we snuck off deep into the jungle, set up our hammocks once again and tried to ride out another night.
The next morning we awoke feeling slightly better which was a good thing because it turned out to be a strenuous 5 hour hike to get back to civilization. The funny thing about this adventure is that whenever I’m talking to someone about my time in Colombia they often ask me if I visited the notorious Tayrona National Park and wonder what it was like it. When I respond that it was absolutely gorgeous, but one of the most miserable experiences of my life people are often confused! To this day I’m not sure if it was the canned tuna or the coconut water that brought on ‘the demon’ and unfortunately I find myself avoiding both whenever I can…