Category Archives: Australia and Oceana

Miss Trinidad and Tobago

What am I doing here? Revisiting the World Travel Market in London

Vago Damitio. What am I doing here?
Writing about London, from Sefrou
21 NOV 2012

Hard to believe the world is going to end in just a month – or not. One thing for certain though, the world is a big, wide, wonderful place.  If you don’t believe me on that, all you have to do is take a visit to the World Travel Market in London or one of the other massive global travel shows that take place in various cities around the world.

My main purpose in visiting the WTM was to research new destinations to write about, find interesting destinations, and to connect with the businesses and tourist boards for those regions so that when we do have writers visit, we can get the best possible information and resources to share with you, our readers.  My secondary purpose was to travel the entire world by going to one destination.

Miss Trinidad and Tobago I’m happy to report that both goals were met. I was fortunate to visit Trinidad and Tobago – home of the lovely ladies you see here and a fascinating mix of Caribbean, Indian, British, and African cultures.  I jumped to Bermuda, Guyana, Costa Rica, and Mexico before discovering the Maya and Inca trails of  Guatemala, Honduras,  and Central America. In Brazil I was able to drink great coffee and stiff rum and down the road in California, I indulged in some great wines before heading to Vegas to see show girls and Elvis and finally on to Florida for some Disney and Cuban culture.

Tripping around to Asia, I marveled in the beauty of Sri Lanka and felt the spiritual buzz of India’s many regions. I stopped by Japan and then enjoyed some traditional treats in Taipei City before heading on over to the smiling bartender of the Philippines.

WTM SRi LankaI trekked through Nepal, and of course, I had to visit the magnificent islands of the Maldives and the Seychelles before I wandered into the storybook land of the human happiness index – Bhutan.
In Africa I journeyed through the Serengeti  witnessed the great migration in Kenya, Tanzania. The spices of Zanzibar, the mystique of Mozambique, and the party life and wild life of sensational South Africa. Old friends were there and I enjoyed visiting Egypt and Morocco with Henna and Pyramids before moving on to the exotic Middle East. Ultra modern Dubai, Iraq, making it’s way back – after all, the cradle of the world. Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, and the UAE – Syria…not there, but my old friend Turkey filling one of the biggest areas of the entire show. Turkey – so magnificent, so big. Everyone is going to go to Turkey.

London India Travel MarketAustralia, New Zealand, and the sparse regions of the Pacific islands – not very settled. Not very present at the show…too far away I think, but the Aussies were serving plenty of cold beer and at times, the entire show felt like Burning Man.  Different camps and different parties. Fantastic.

London WTM at Excel centerDon’t think that I’ve forgotten about Europe.  I spent time exploring the churches, wines, and culture of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan before jumping into Siberian adventures and back into Russia where I was taught to weave and shown the wonders of a land that might be the most exotic of them all in my mind. Then it was onward, Westward…to Poland, Spain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and don’t forget beautiful, quirky, lovely little Belgium.

From there, North, North to Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the ice fields, volcanoes, and little people (elves) of Iceland. The cold Atlantic sister island to my beloved Hawaii. Yes, I must go to Iceland…I must feel this place.  I must go.

World Travel Market SeminarsAnd, the added benefit of leaving each day to be in magnificent London, the world’s best theme park and to have each end of my trip buffered by visits to Marseille and Aix-en-Province in France. My life really is magnificent. I admit it. I’ll be telling you about some of the amazing places I stayed and saw soon.

There were fantastic talks, seminars, and booths and exhibitors who focused on the cutting edge of where travel is headed in the coming years. The Social Travel Market was gangbusters and told me one thing in particular – those that don’t adapt, are certain to die in the age of mobile and social travel.  Don’t expect to see many travel blogs in the coming years – a few will survive and most will become relics that die as the owners decide to skip paying the $14 domain registration fees each year. If you want to see some of what I’m talking about, you can watch most of the sessions on the WTM YouTube channel.

Photo from Hostelbookers party courtesy of Hostelbookers

That’s me in the hat between  Melissa Ruttanai and Neil Freidman. Paul Dow is on the left at the Hostel Bookers Party in Soho.

In a word, I just have to say, the WTM was magnificent. the chance to meet people from all over the world. The opportunity to meet friends and colleagues – new, old, and future. It was a wonderful opportunity. There were plenty of parties (like this one, photo and drinks courtesy of Hostel Bookers) where we all got to relax and enjoy life.

But all of this leads me to the inevitable conclusion. What did I learn at the World Travel Market in London?  Is there a hot list for destinations for Vagobond or that we recommend to our readers in 2013. There is indeed.  Here is what we want to see and do in 2013.

Here it is – our hot-list Top 10 for 2013!

1) Tanzania and Zambia Photo Safaris
2) Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Holidays
3) Iceland Walking Tours
4) Honduras Eco Tours
5) Sri Lanka for pretty much everything
6) Hyderabad and Anwar Pradesh in India
7) 7000 Islands of fun in the Philippines – all of them
8) Siberian Tribal Adventures
9) The Maldives – Luxury Travel
10) Armenia – exploring the food and culture of the first Christian land

There was so much more to share…but hopefully, I can share it all in person over time.

The best beach in Hawaii and the world

Vagobond Travel Museum – The World’s Best Beaches

Want to know where the world’s best beaches are?  There are a few ways you can find out. One is to go to a source like the famous Dr. Beach – he’s one guy and he lists the world’s best beaches every year. The only problem is that he focuses solely on the USA and he likes to shift the list around to give all the beaches a fair chance. By the way, Dr. Beach’s favorite for 2012? Coronado Beach near San Diego.

The best beach in Hawaii and the worldAs for me – my favorite beach in the world is without a doubt Kalama’s Beach in Kailua on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Not quite as beautiful as the nearby Lanikai Beach but with better waves, Kalamas isn’t as crowded as Kailua Beach Park and has wide expanses of sand. Perfect for body surfing, beautiful views of the Mokulua Islands and a safe and friendly locals beach on an island crowded with tourists.

I wanted to know the very favorite beaches of people who travel all over the world to out of the way places and who don’t necessarily have a commercial reason to list one over the other. So I turned, once again, to the travel bloggers of the world.

La'alao Beach Big Island of Hawaii image courtesy of Stacy KuyfI wasn’t the only one to pick a Hawaiian Beach as my favorite.  Stacy Kuyf of One Travels Far picked La’aloa Beach Park (Magic Sands) on the Big Island of Hawaii (and a few other incredible Big Island beaches.)

Sanibel Island in Florida image courtesy of Green Global TravelA couple of mainland American beaches made it to the list as well. Bret Love of Green Global Travel chose Sanibel Island Beach in Florida. Dr. Jesse Voights of Wandering Educators preferred the Great Lakes beaches of Michigan’s Sunset Coast.

Uruguay Cabo Polonio image courtesy of Michael Hodson - Go See Write It’s not just North America and the USA that have wondefulbeaches though – Michael Hodson of Go See Write  points out the gorgeous Cabo Polonio of Uruguay while Mariana Calleja Ross of My Travel Thirst leads us to this incredible Southern Caribbean Retreat with Aruba,  Bonair,  and Curaçao.  Laura Ann Klien of Edgy June Travels heads to Mexico to get her beach fix in her Doorway to the Sea.

Navagio on Zakynthos photo courtesy of Heather Cowper In terms of European Beaches – there are a lot to choose from. Cristina Cantarelli of The Travloution is a huge fan of the beaches near and in Barcelona while Heather Cowper of Heather on Her Travels recommends  Navagio on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

Turkish Beach at Phaselis courtesy of Natalie Sayin of Turkish Travel BlogIf you are wondering about the beaches of Turkey, Natalie Sayin  of Turkish Travel Blog recommends one of my all time favorites - Ancient Greek ruins and beautiful Mediterranean beach at Phaselis.  Ayelet Weisz of  All Colores shares this off the beaten path beach  in Netanya, Israel.

Beach on Perhentian Islands Malaysia courtesy of Flashpacker FamilyFinally, just in case you were wondering why there aren’t any magnificent Asian beaches…Bethaney Davies of Flashpacker Family shares Tuna Bay on Perhentian Besar in Malaysia. Sebastian Canaves-Borner of off-the-path writes about the paradise he found at Ton Sai Beach in Thailand.

Noosa Beach photo courtesy of Get in the Hot SpotAustralia, the world’s largest island is surrounded by beautiful beaches. What’s the best one? Annabel Candy of Get in the Hot Spot  tells us it’s Noosa Beach and offers a fun filled travel guide for Noosa to boot.

No one brought up Africa, but the beaches in Morocco, at least are pretty awesome. Here are a few Asilah, Tangier, Essaouira, Tetuan, Agadir…so I’m guessing the rest of this huge continent has some pretty stellar beaches too…

Last but not least, the beautiful Alexandra Kovacova shows us her favorite beaches of the Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines in this very bikini centric  photo-essay.  She really is a crazy sexy fun traveler!

Where’s your favorite beach in the world? Come share it with us at http://www.facebook.com/vagobondtravel

Robert Louis Stevenson and David Kalakaua

Robert Louis Stevenson – Writing Vagabond

Robert Louis Stevenson was an explorer, writer, poet, essayist and speaker. Stevenson was one of the great literary geniuses the world has produced, and everyone knows him because of his most famous works Kidnapped and Treasure Island. Of course, who can forget two of the strangest characters ever, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, who were created by R L Stevenson.

Robert Louis StevensonThose three examples would suffice to introduce the creative genius that Stevenson was. He was born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson on 13 November, 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland, to parents Thomas Stevenson and Margaret Isabella Balfour. His father was a lighthouse engineer, which was their traditional family profession as well.

Stevenson was the only child in the family. He was considered to be a bit odd by his friends and schoolmates because his behavior was eccentric, to say the least. In his younger years he made only a few good friends. As a result, he turned to writing, publishing his first ever work at a young age of sixteen with help from his father, who himself was fond of writing. Stevenson’s writing genius was recognized right away and his work found an audience of all ages. However, rather than writing, Stevenson was more interested in traveling, and he visited a cousin in England in 1873 and subsequently he settled there for a while.



Further Reading on Grandma Gatewood

A Life: Bigoraphy of Robert Louis Stevenson
Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson
Travels in Hawaii
An Inland Voyage and Travels with a Donkey
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde
A Tale of Two Roses
Treasure Island
Kidnapped
Travel to Samoa, Hawaii, San Francisco, or the UK

Stevenson met his soon-to-be wife, Fanny Sitwell while in London and she shared his enthusiasm towards the fine art of writing. Stevenson visited his parents back in Edinburgh from time to time, and meanwhile he became more and more popular in London academic circles. In 1875, Stevenson visited France to take medical treatment because of weak health. He liked the French environment very well, and visited France several more times during his life. In 1879, he went to San Francisco and he also stayed there for a couple of years, all the time writing accounts of his travels and creating new stories.

Stevenson’s family suffered from a long history of weak health, and for this reason he searched for a suitable place to stay that would suit his weak constitution. He traveled to many places in Scotland, England and the US, but the environment didn’t suit him in any of these places.He needed a warm tropical climate, and he found it in the Pacific. Not only did he go to Hawaii and Samoa but also to Tahiti and many of the smaller islands of the pacific islands.

Robert Louis Stevenson and David Kalakaua

Stevenson hosting King Kalakaua in his home

Stevenson resided in the Kingdom of Hawaii for a time and became great friends with King David Kalakaua and his sister Lilioukalani (who subsequently became the last monarch of Hawaii before she was overthrown by a consortium of U.S. businessmen and missionaries.) There were rumors of a romantic affair with the beautiful Hawaiian Princess Victoria Kaiulani but one thing for certain is that they became great friends and had a wonderful friendship. He penned this poem for her before he left.

[Written in April to Kaiulani in the April of her age; and at Waikiki, within easy walk of Kaiulani's banyan! When she comes to my land and her father's, and the rain beats upon the window (as I fear it will), let her look at this page; it will be like a weed gathered and pressed at home; and she will remember her own islands, and the shadow of the mighty tree; and she will hear the peacocks screaming in the dusk and the wind blowing in the palms; and she will think of her father sitting there alone. - R. L. S.]

FORTH from her land to mine she goes,
The island maid, the island rose,
Light of heart and bright of face:
The daughter of a double race.

Her islands here, in Southern sun,
Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone,
And I, in her dear banyan shade,
Look vainly for my little maid.

But our Scots islands far away
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
And cast for once their tempests by
To smile in Kaiulani’s eye.

As the ship left King Kalakaua brought the Royal Hawaiian Band to play farewell to his good friend Stevenson.

death of Robert Louis StevensonStevenson finally settled on the island of Samoa, where he also breathed his last, on December 3, 1894. Though he lived for just 44 years, Stevenson has become immortal through his works which have inspired travelers, vagabonds, and adventurers .