Reasons to travel (rather than sitting at home!)

People travel for many reasons, each with their own little motivation. Be it the need for relaxation, discovering different cultures to see friends, chances are everyone has something. The list goes on and on, and generally, not many people need much convincing to go travelling. However, there are times when one would rather just sit down and do nothing at home, lazing about the whole day without doing anything productive. As dismal as it may sound, it’s a safe bet to say that the large majority of people have been in that situation before. Work and the responsibilities of everyday life get to you, and all that’s on your mind is shutting down for a while. Nothing to be ashamed of, but is it the best thing to do? You could sit and do nothing at home, or travel somewhere else and then do nothing. An enticing proposition, is it not? Without further ado, let’s look at some reasons to travel around rather than sit at home and stare at the TV.

image via pexels

Wanderlust

The world spans far and wide, but life is short. Many people have that insatiable sense of wanderlust which just cannot be quenched by sitting around at home or checking out holiday destinations online. They need the real thing, the feeling of being in a new place with new people, new weather, new shops and suspicious looking foods with ingredients in languages other than their own. The call of the unknown, slowly exploring every nook and cranny of an otherwise alien to you location. It’s something that cannot be explained in words, only experienced.

With a purpose

Some people travel to different countries to help others. People usually go to less well-off countries to support the locals there. Volunteers from all over the world travel to places like India and Africa to try and make a difference in whatever way they can. Be it by helping homeless children get off the street or helping the local wildlife thrive. It is something everyone should consider at least once and if you really do not want to or cannot then the next best option still stands. Donating to or participating in charity adventures such as No Birds Bash involves both helping others and travelling making it a perfect fit in this scenario.

image via pexels

For fun

If you are travelling somewhere in your spare time and you are not having fun while doing so, you should try to realise why that was. After all, travelling itself is not an unfun thing, other than the lack of legroom on the plane it’s usually a blast. Maybe it was a one-off trip which turned out to be bland and the location which you had your expectations set so high for turned out to be not much different than several other places you’ve seen. If that happens, do not get discouraged, the world holds more different types of settings and opportunities for adventure than there are ants in your backyard. Getting put off from travelling for a while by a single trip is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, and if you ever hit that moment then just remember, that you travel for fun first and foremost. Do not be afraid to go to more exotic locations, somewhere across the world completely different from your usual place of residence. This does not mean you have to go and live in the jungle for a month, but countries far from the west such as Japan, have such staggeringly different cultures that you can explore the world anew. Be it amidst a busy metropolis like Tokyo or in a tranquil countryside like Kyōgoku. There’s something for everyone.

Post written in collaboration with Jay Donnelly.

Seeing the world while helping others

Seeing the world while helping others – there’s a thought!

A lot of the time when we travel, we do so for our own pleasure. Whether we are jetting off on holiday or are heading off on an adventure of a lifetime, often it’s for our own enjoyment that we are travelling. While that is all well and good, there is another kind of travel that it is worth considering undertaking – travelling to help others.

Have you ever considered doing some exploring that will allow you to help other people (or animals)? Studies have shown that travelling to help others is one of the best ways to travel, as well as one of the most popular. Many travellers choose to travel in a way that allows them to help those less fortunate than them because they find that the work they do is totally and completely rewarding, and enhances their time abroad.

Does the concept of seeing the world and helping other people out at the same time appeal to you? If the answer is yes, then you may be interested in taking advantage of one of the ideas below.

Do a TEFL program

Are you an excellent teacher? Do you have patience and understanding? Then perhaps doing a TEFL project – AKA Teaching English as a Foreign Language – could be ideal for you. The fact is that when it comes to travelling abroad and helping others at the same time, teaching English as a foreign language could be the ideal way to do that, especially if you are someone who loves to teach and is understanding and patient. (For anyone wanting a future career in teaching, this is definitely the ideal way to travel and do your bit for the world.)

Raise money for charity

Not born to be a teacher? How about opting to raise money for charity instead? The fantastic thing about choosing to raise money for charity is the fact that there are so many different things that you can do, from undertaking a sponsored skydive to looking into charity walks, there are various options to choose from. How about, as you travel around the world, you find a new way to raise money in each country that you visit, and then donate it to a local charity of your choice? Just think how much money you could raise.

Join a conservation project

Do you care about animals in a big way? Then the perfect way to give something back while travelling could be to join a conservation project. Whether that means helping sea turtles in Fiji, orangutans in Borneo, or big cats in Costa Rica, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you are able to see the world while giving something back to it, and a conservation project could be the perfect way to do that.

Travel is a vital part of life; it’s something that every single one of us should aspire to do. However, so is helping others, which is why combining the two can be a great idea, and a fantastic way to make more of your time seeing the world.

Post written in collaboration with Beth Turner.

Alphabet Dating - P is for Punting

Alphabet Dating – P is for Punting

P is for Punting but it can also stand for Peaceful and Picturesque.

What is punting?

Punting is simply travelling along a river in a flat-bottomed boat (known as a punt) while a guy or gal uses a pole to steer the boat. I guess it’s the English equivalent to one of the gondolas in Venice, although a professional punter (is that what they’re called?) might disagree.

Peaceful punting

Punting Canterbury

It’s quite a popular thing to do if you visit Cambridge (punting on the Cam) but as we live a lot closer to Canterbury, our punting experience took place on the Great Stour River.

Our trip was booked through Westgate Punts and was very peaceful and relaxing. I kept expecting the Boatman to start singing but then I remembered that this isn’t that kind of place. We saw plenty of nature including ducks, moorhens and their little fluffy baby chicks, as well as beautiful blue dragonflies that kept bobbing around near the boat.

Beautiful Canterbury, Kent

Much to our amusement we also saw a large husky type dog swimming in the river at one point, with me joking about it being the weirdest looking duck I’ve seen. Don’t panic though folks – the dog soon got out of the river and rejoined his owners!

Husky dog having a swim

Our boatman also pulled over to pick some blackberries off a bush which he and hubby ate. I was pretty dubious but sounds like they were quite sharp tasting so I didn’t miss out on much there.

I’ve visited Canterbury many times but seeing it from the river showed me parts of it I had never seen before. Our boat ride lasted around 50 minutes and was a pleasant way to start the day!

sitting on a punt

Punting Canterbury

If you enjoyed this then you might like some of my other alphabet dating adventures, which you can find right here.

The City of Love: 10 things to do in Paris

10 things to do in Paris

10 things to do in Paris

Paris is the epitome of every love story, a place of romantic proposals, fantastic food and watching the sunset from the Eiffel Tower. It is somewhere many of us have on our bucket list to visit and some point in our lives. The magical and romantic reputation of this city is hard to match by any other. But what is there actually to see and do in the city of love? Let’s take a look…

Eiffel Tower

1. The Eiffel Tower

Constructed between 1887-89, this is the tallest human-made structure in Paris. It has become the city of Paris’ icon and is the home of thousands of proposals each year.

Notre Dame

2. Notre Dame Cathedral

Unlike the Disney film, you won’t find Quasimodo in here! This medieval Catholic church is stunning and is a great example of gothic architecture.

Musee Louvre

3. Musee du Louvre

You may have heard of this museum, as it is the most popular in Paris. In 2016 it was the world’s most visited Museum. It is the home of the most famous painting in the world: the Mona Lisa. It would be worth booking cheap flights to Paris just to see this stunning piece of artwork.

Arc de Triomphe

4. Arc De Triomphe

One of the most famous monuments in Paris, the Arc De Triomphe was built in 1806 and remains an architectural marvel for visitors from across the world.

Moulin Rouge

5. Moulin Rouge

You may remember the film based on this fabulous place starring Nicole Kidman, but the Moulin Rouge in real life is the birthplace of the can-can. It is the home of seductive dance and cabaret and is held in high esteem by many. It still holds shows regularly, so why not take a look if you are in the area?

Luxembourg Gardens

6. Luxembourg Gardens

Covering an impressive 23 acres of land and spanning the space which meets at Luxembourg palace, the gardens have become a popular tourist attraction amongst holidaymakers and houses the Medici Fountain, which was built in 1620.

River Seine

7. River Seine

The river Seine flows through the city of Paris like blood through veins. It is truly the heart of the city, and you can take tours along the river while looking at the beautiful town of Paris.

Sainte-Chapelle

8. Sainte-Chapelle

If you enjoy Gothic architecture, then this is the ideal place for you to visit. It began construction in 1238 and was the residence of the French monarchy up until the 14th Century. If you are a history buff, this place will blow you away!

Musee D'Orsay

9. Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay is one who holds mainly French art, furniture, and photography. It contains the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the world. Adorning its walls are artists such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet, and Manet. It is located on the left bank of the river Seine and is an impressive place to visit.

Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre

10. Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre

Translated into English as ‘Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris,’ this Roman Catholic Church is certainly a sight to behold. It is located at the highest point of the city, and this domed building allows for an impressive view over Paris.

If you like this kind of post, why not check out 8 Things to do in Queensland, New Zealand.

Post written in collaboration with July Marson.

A view from the top: St Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City

Did you know Vatican City is the smallest country in the world? Pretty cool, huh? It’s not just a city in the middle of Italy, it is an actual independent city-state, where it issues its own stamps and passports and everything. So when in Rome… you can’t really pass up an opportunity to go see it for yourself! My favourite part of Vatican City was climbing the dome of St Peter’s Basilica to get some spectacular views over St Peter’s Square and Rome.

view from the top of St Peter's Basilica

Because the Vatican City is a religious site, the dress code must be respected – no shorts, bare shoulders or short skirts. For us visiting in November, this wasn’t a problem as it was pretty chilly. We also found the queues in November perfectly fine, it took us around half an hour to get through security checks. Again, this might be somewhat more lengthy during summer.

There are two ways to climb the dome – climb all the way by foot (551 steps) or go part way in the lift and climb the rest (320 steps). There is a slight price difference, obviously climbing by foot is slightly cheaper.

People standing at the highest point of the climb at the top of the dome (St Peter's Basilica)
People standing at the highest point of the climb at the top of the dome

Pros – The view! The climb is quite an experience but it’s worth it when you reach the top, even just for bragging rights and a quick instagram snap.

Cons – 551 steps is A LONG WAY! My dad didn’t even bother coming up the dome with us as he hates heights but to be honest, I think he might have found the climb too much of a challenge. In addition to the number of steps there are also parts that are very narrow, especially where you’re climbing inside the curve of the dome.

View inside the Basilica from the interior balcony - St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
View inside the Basilica from the interior balcony

Surprises – After the initial climb (or where I believe the lift may take you to) you reach the interior balcony where you are still inside the dome and can look down on the people visiting inside St Peter’s. At first we were a bit like, is this it?! But then we realised you can climb a little further to get those spectacular views from outside and over the square. Oh and there’s a cafe and shop on a terrace part way up too.

Verdict – When in Rome… make this a priority.


If you liked this then you might enjoy the view from Campanile di San Marco in Venice or any of my other View from the Top posts.