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A strange article title, but an even stranger story. I work for a company called Dragoman Overland we deal in overland adventure travel, which for the uninitiated is going around the world in a big truck taking in the culture. This is the kind of trip that people quit work to take, and they can last anywhere from 2 weeks to months to years.So, while traveling across Africa, we run into Ewan McGregor, A-List Hollywood actor and star of Star Wars Episodes 1-3, Moulin Roug...

Ewan Mcgregor Want To Come On An Overland Adventure?

Ewan Mcgregor  Want To Come On An Overland Adventure?A strange article title, but an even stranger story. I work for a company called Dragoman Overland we deal in overland adventure travel, which for the uninitiated is going around the world in a big truck taking in the culture. This is the kind of trip that people quit work to take, and they can last anywhere from 2 weeks to months to years.So, while traveling across Africa, we run into Ewan McGregor, A-List Hollywood actor and star of Star Wars Episodes 1-3, Moulin Rouge, Trainspotting and Shallow Grave. Hes traveling across Africa on motorbike with his film crew, and comes aboard to chat with our passengers and crew. At this point I should state that he seemed no less down to earth than any of our other travelers, and was more than happy to regale tales of his adventures to our passengers like a normal everyday guy. Adventure travel really is a different world its a million miles away from normal life and celebrity status means nothing out there. It was nice to see him unwind, free of the pressures of the media and the paparazzi.Anyway, one of our starstruck passengers recorded some of the dialog its not everyday you meet a celebrity and its just another part of the wonder of overland travel, the complete sense of the unexpected. Said customer then uploaded the video to YouTube to share with his friends. We linked to the video on our website what better way of illustrating the strange goings on of an overland adventure than with this sensational video footage? In fact, the videos still up at the time of writing, so go see it for yourselves: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=RxgGUNY3fhIAll was quiet for all of a few hours, but then we got a call from Ewans production company insisting that we take the link down. I can only assume that they thought we were trying to imply some sort of celebrity endorsement, when really we were just trying to show that anything can happen on a Dragoman holiday. The obvious contrast between "Ewan McGregor" , so happy, chatting freely with contemporaries in Africa that day, and his production company stuck in their suits in their office was enormous. No one cares about copyright protection when youre living an adventurous life abroad, and it must be depressing for Ewan to return to this corporate world after leaving it behind for so long.So, wed like to offer Ewan the chance to join us its a formal invite. Put aside your film schedule and ride with "Dragoman Overland" . This kind of experience is well worth the price and we guarantee youll enjoy yourself, away from the pressures and ludicrously officious nature of production companies and Hollywood management.Ewan, come back and join us on a Dragoman Adventure! I know you had a good time on our trucks and hanging out with us. I saw it in your eyes you cant deny you enjoyed it.

Stress Busters For Travel Operators And Travelers!

Stress Busters For Travel Operators And Travelers!

Busy schedules for work, family and even fun can really cause a lot of stress. And not only can you suffer from this added stress, your family, friends and clients can, too, as it almost addicting in nature.Well, time to take 5! Sit back, relax and read through these Stress Busters and see which ones you can put to use.1) Get your body feeling good, and then your mind will follow. So cool off with some ice cream homemade or some from the local Dairy Queen or other store.2) Relax your body with a wonderful message. Get books on message techniques and learn to give yourself messages with oils. Learn techniques with your significant other and message each other. Or hire a message therapist to step in and help out. With coupons from local vendors, messages can be surprisingly affordable today.3) Another way to relax your body is with a nice warm (or hot) bubble bath. Substitute scented oils if that works better for you. Light candles, put on soothing music and unwind.4) Relax with your favorite television show or movie / DVD / video rental. You can even rent old television shows to watch like series you may have missed and shows from other countries in any number of languages.5) Grab a great book and relax with it in a comfy chair or couch. Or pick up a stack of magazine and check them out from the local library, relax outdoors in the shade with something cold to drink.6) Book a trip just for yourself so that you can relax. This can be a mini-trip, maybe a half day to Amish country, for example, with a buggy lunch tour around the countryside that ends up at an Amish flea market for relaxed browsing and snacking.7) Journaling is a great stress buster. Just by writing out your feelings and thoughts even with incorrect spelling and bad grammar you can release pent up frustrations and stress. Use colored pencils on the pages, magic markers, stickers, add photos, doodles or whatever. Put on some favorite music while you write and enjoy, unwind and de-stress.8) Exercise can also help relieve stress. Take a nice bike trip or hike through a local park area. And carry along a sack lunch or snack.So take time from your busy schedule. And not only can you benefit from these stress busters, your family, friends and clients can, too, as theyre almost addicting in nature, too!

A Very Small Introduction To Berlin

A Very Small Introduction To Berlin

In the past century, Berlin has undergone more identity shifts than Bob Dylan. Too many people, Berlin evokes unfortunate images of World War II or stereotyped images of lederhosen, but the reality is that Berlin is a vibrant city of the 21st century. Often the conflict between Old Berlin and New Berlin overwhelms visitors, so this short introductory guide aims to lay out a few must-see spots within walking distance of each other. Your trip will most likely start at the new Hautbahnhof (main train station), which sits near the German parliament building (Reichstag).A good way to get over the jet lag is to wait on the substantial line to go up to the glass cupola in the building, which provides a good starter view of the city. After the Reichstag, you can walk to the Brandenburger Tor and admire the statue on top of the gate. Adjacent to the gate is the Adlon Hotel, recently more famous for Michael Jacksons baby-dangling escapades than for its glamorous clientele and the fact that Queen Elizabeth II owns part of the hotel.On a pleasant day, this is a good place to sit and drink a coffee or eat a quick meal Berlin is famous both for its sausages and for its dner kebabs, which have been brought to Germany by the substantial Turkish minority. After a dner and some snapshots, the next thing to do is walk down Unter den Linden in the direction of the Fernsehturm (TV tower) and Alexanderplatz. At the Fernsehturm you can stand in a long line again for the opportunity to go up the 368 meters to see the entire city. Once at the top, however, one can eat at the citys highest restaurant, which actually revolves 360 degrees approximately every 30 minutes.There are plenty of quality shops and cafes in the vicinity of Under den Linden, including the large Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus (a book, music, and media store). Unter den Linden intersects with Friedrichstraβe, which is near the historic Museuminsel (literally: Museum island really more of a peninsula). No trip to Berlin is complete without a venture out there, especially to see the priceless antiquities at the Pergamon. Free audio guides are available there in many languages, so even if you are not a classics expert, you will become one! Since Museuminsel is formed by the river Spree, a pleasant way to spend the afternoon is on one of the many boat tours offered by various companies.A popular spot is the art complex Tacheles, located on Oranienburger Strasse. It began as an anarchistic squat and now features bars, galleries, theatres, and a cinema within its walls. During the day it is free to enter and browse or purchase from the galleries of the many local artists who display here.In the past century, Berlin has undergone more identity shifts than Bob Dylan. Too many people, Berlin evokes unfortunate images of World War II or stereotyped images of lederhosen, but the reality is that Berlin is a vibrant city of the 21st century. Often the conflict between Old Berlin and New Berlin overwhelms visitors, so this short introductory guide aims to lay out a few must-see spots within walking distance of each other. Your trip will most likely start at the new Hautbahnhof (main train station), which sits near the German parliament building (Reichstag).A good way to get over the jet lag is to wait on the substantial line to go up to the glass cupola in the building, which provides a good starter view of the city. After the Reichstag, you can walk to the Brandenburger Tor and admire the statue on top of the gate. Adjacent to the gate is the Adlon Hotel, recently more famous for Michael Jacksons baby-dangling escapades than for its glamorous clientele and the fact that Queen Elizabeth II owns part of the hotel.On a pleasant day, this is a good place to sit and drink a coffee or eat a quick meal Berlin is famous both for its sausages and for its dner kebabs, which have been brought to Germany by the substantial Turkish minority. After a dner and some snapshots, the next thing to do is walk down Unter den Linden in the direction of the Fernsehturm (TV tower) and Alexanderplatz. At the Fernsehturm you can stand in a long line again for the opportunity to go up the 368 meters to see the entire city. Once at the top, however, one can eat at the citys highest restaurant, which actually revolves 360 degrees approximately every 30 minutes.There are plenty of quality shops and cafes in the vicinity of Under den Linden, including the large Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus (a book, music, and media store). Unter den Linden intersects with Friedrichstraβe, which is near the historic Museuminsel (literally: Museum island really more of a peninsula). No trip to Berlin is complete without a venture out there, especially to see the priceless antiquities at the Pergamon. Free audio guides are available there in many languages, so even if you are not a classics expert, you will become one! Since Museuminsel is formed by the river Spree, a pleasant way to spend the afternoon is on one of the many boat tours offered by various companies.A popular spot is the art complex Tacheles, located on Oranienburger Strasse. It began as an anarchistic squat and now features bars, galleries, theatres, and a cinema within its walls. During the day it is free to enter and browse or purchase from the galleries of the many local artists who display here.

Visit Alicante And Torrevieja When You Want A Great Trip

Visit Alicante And Torrevieja When You Want A Great Trip

When you want fun in the sun in a place where you can relax, have a grand adventure, and find excitement and memories to last a lifetime then you should consider Alicante, Spain as a wonderful vacation destination. This city is located in the center of the gorgeous Costa Blanca region of Spain. There is so much to explore in the entire region and in the city itself that you never run out of things to do. Whether you are a solo backpacker looking for a good time, or a young couple looking for a romantic getaway, or even a retired couple looking for somewhere that offers exciting outdoor activities combined with rich history and culture than Alicante would suit all of your needs. There is so much to do in the day and evening that you will want to return to Alicante year after year to continue exploring this fascinating city. The beautiful weather and lovely scenery will give you the perfect backdrop to any type of vacation that you would like. To get the most out of your Alicante vacation experience you will have to find the perfect hotel. You can find amazing deals for Alicante hotels all year round, from great winter deals to hot summertime deals. No matter when you want to visit Alicante you can get a deal that will allow you and your family to enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank. Youll be able to find an affordable and lovely Alicante hotel that can give you any amenities you wish from the Internet to room service, youll be able to find an Alicante hotel to suit your budget and needs. When you find a suitable hotel youll be able to enjoy your vacation in peace and quiet or going out and living it up. To get the best deal on a hotel in Alicante, then start your search by going no farther than your home office. Thats right, all you need is the Internet to find a great deal on your Alicante hotel. Just browse on your favorite search engine and you are sure to come up with a wide array of options for getting a great deal on a hotel in Alicante. So book your hotel today and the sooner you will be soaking up sun, exploring Spain, dancing, and even playing golf. You can also get an excellent deal on a car or your flight to Alicante. If you really want to save money on your trip to Alicante then make sure you go online to book your ticket to Spain. Whether you are traveling from the U.S. or elsewhere in Europe, a cheap ticket is yours if you search correctly. Getting a good deal on car rental can also be booked ahead of time if you turn to the Internet. If you get a good deal make sure to drive to Torrevieja and Benidorm as well. Remember that every penny you save on your flight and hotel is a penny you can use wining and dining in Alicante.

Mexico As A Concept And Not A Reality Part 3

Based on my going-on five years of expat experience in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico's Heartland, I do not think the current expat guides such as Howell, Merwin, and Luboff, apply here. It is so stark in fact, that the difference between Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende is almost like comparing apples to oranges. Here are two cities, two Colonial Mexican Heartland towns, so close, and so different. What's changed it? The Gringo presence and the Mexican's subsequent adaptation (subjugation?) to the Gringo presence.Is this a bad thing? Is it bad that the Americans have swept into towns such as San Miguel de Allende and with their money effectively changed it from uniquely Mexican to something all together different? My view is that it is a bad thing. My traditional understanding of expatriation, one about which I feel passionately, prevents me from seeing the changes in San Miguel as something good. It prevents me from seeing the Gringos in San Miguel as expatriates. What that city has become is a playground for the rich Gringo. The Mexicans in the town live to serve the Gringos. That is something with which I take great exception. However, for most Americans, living in Mexico would be impossible without a town like San Miguel whose entire infrastructure has been redesigned and functions to serve the American who wants to live there. I cannot argue with the fact that what San Miguel now is, is what it is, and there's no going back to what it was. The ultimate sadness is that the town's Mexicans I am not sure ever had a choice in the matter.Mexico as a ConceptSo, what is the Mexico as a Concept that draws Americans to towns like San Miguel de Allende or any Prime Living Location in Mexico? What is the Concept of Mexico about which the popular expat guides, online websites, newsletters, seminars, speak? What Concept or Image of Mexico is attracting the American who wants to leave the U.S. to live here?Primarily, Americans think they can come and live here because Mexico and her people are just like us. I mentioned this in our first book, The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico. I tried using the phrase, "Don't forget, Mexico is not America." throughout the book to try get across the point that is very much lost on Americans: "Mexico is not America." Americans typically do not hold any depth of cultural awareness and too often think that all that is necessary to live with Mexicans is throw some money or technology at them under the guise of "Now, we gringos are here to help these poor third-world Mexicans" charities and soon the Mexican will jump through America hoops and be "just like us." I've often wondered if Americans would be so willing to move here if they knew in advance that there is not someone "just like me" under that Mexican's mestizo skin.Do not think me glib or disrespectful here. This American woman in Guanajuato was once telling me how the Gringo Charity to which she belonged was here so that they might help these "little brown people." At first I thought I had misheard her until I asked my wife in private who had also heard this hideous remark.I remain convinced that Americans think they can come to Mexico to live because Mexicans are just like Americans, only in a different wrapper. That seems to be the extent of America's cultural awareness. I cannot begin to count how many times I have heard the following two statements from the mouths of American expats:1. I know they understand what I am talking about and are pretending they don't.2. If they are going to work for me, they are just going to have to adapt to me and assimilate my ways, including speaking English.I really wonder if Americans would come here if they really knew what lies deeply layered underneath the surface of the Mexican mind?Americans, and especially Texans, think that because they've eaten tex-mex, attended some cross-border festivals, have driven across the border to go shopping, worked with a few Mexicans in a construction project, screamed at a few of those projects' Mexican workers, had a few Dos XX beers while camping in Reynosa, can say "Yo quiero Taco Bell," that they've pretty much mastered Mexican culture and living in Mexico will be a cinch. Americans (and don't forget those Texans) delude themselves into thinking they know Mexicans. They are more willing to admit that there are vast language and cultural differences between themselves and the Chinese than they do with Mexicans.They are convinced they are cultural experts when it comes to Mexicans and therefore willingly pack it up and move here based on this delusional Concept about Mexico: Mexicans are just like us; Mexico is just like America. They can handle it, they reason, because after all, they are just Mexicans and are just like us.NEXT: Mexico As a Concept and Not As a Reality part 4

German Laws Affecting Travelers

Know the German LawsGermanys popularity as a world-renowned vacation destination continues to grow exponentially. Each year, more people visit Germany from hundreds of countries spread throughout the world. Over 2.2 million Americans made Germany their choice for travel in the first six months of 2006 alone. Your travels throughout this magnificent country can be enhanced greatly by knowing a few laws and regulations native to Germany and Europe.Entry and Travel in GermanyA valid passport is required to enter and move about Germany. For business visitors staying less than 90 days, a Visa is not required for Germany and other countries that are members of the Schengen Group that includes neighboring countries Belgium, Netherlands, France, Denmark, and Austria.European regulations require that passports be stamped for documentation of entry into countries, but not all German points of entry are staffed to ensure this function is carried out. It may be necessary to arrange in advance to ensure that a proper stamp is available upon entry. Travelers without this stamp may be questioned at their time of exit without this proper documentation.Safety in GermanyNo matter how rare occurrences happen, travelers should always be aware of possible terrorist organization activity. While these instances occur in Germany much less frequently than in other parts of the world, its open border agreement with other European nations should be noted. Additionally, there have been a few, isolated past incidents of racial discrimination and aggravation of travelers. It is recommended that travelers avoid as much as possible areas where protests and demonstrations take place to maintain a maximum level of security. Know the locations and emergency contact numbers of local German law enforcement whenever traveling in Germany.Driving in GermanyDriving in Germany can be a surprisingly pleasant experience for many visitors from other countries due to Germanys distinct courtesy standards that its citizens enjoy and follow.For many, a vacation in Germany wouldnt be complete without a drive down the world-famous Autobahn, which has stretches that are devoid of speed limits. Accidents and automobile fatalities are notoriously low even on high-speed stretches of highway due to Germanys laws governing driver courtesy. It is generally illegal to pass on the right side, where slower traffic is to stay. Additionally, the legal blood-alcohol limit can be significantly less than in other countries than in Germany, helping to ensure public safety.Seatbelts are required to be worn by all vehicle passengers in Germany. Traffic officers can typically collect fines on-the-spot in routine traffic stops. If the driver does not have the funds to pay the ticket immediately on hand, the vehicle may be impounded until the fine is collected in certain circumstances.Be sure to review local German laws regarding BAC limits and driver safety before getting behind the wheel.Importing/ExportingGermany has particularly stringent laws that apply to bringing in items and paraphernalia that pertain to World War II. Additionally fascist, racist, and Nazi propaganda in print or on computer or audio media is strictly forbidden to be transported in or out of country unless for very select circumstances usually reserved for official historical and research purposes only.

Summary

A strange article title, but an even stranger story. I work for a company called Dragoman Overland we deal in overland adventure travel, which for the uninitiated is going around the world in a big truck taking in the culture. This is the kind of trip that people quit work to take, and they can last anywhere from 2 weeks to months to years.So, while traveling across Africa, we run into Ewan McGregor, A-List Hollywood actor and star of Star Wars Episodes 1-3, Moulin Roug...