Unexpected Titles in Jakarta – Obama is the Black Hitler

Obama is not Hitler

Unexpected Titles in Jakarta – Obama is the Black Hitler

Travel brings plenty of unexpected surprises and this was one that hit me from out of left field. I would never in a million years have expected to see these books in a Jakarta English language book store and yet – there they were.

By the way, just for clarity – I like Obama and hate Hitler and would never think to bring the two into the same sentence, let alone the same book title. I admit, the idea of buying the book crossed my mind but the idea of having a Hitler book or a book that compared Obama and Hitler was so repugnant that I left the book where it lay and couldn’t even bring myself to touch it.

Dharbanga, India – Home of the Ramayana

by Gunjan Priya

World travel begins with where you live and this guest post from Gunjan Priya highlights one of the most significant cities in India – Dharbanga, India – Home of the Ramayana.

Located in North Bihar in India, Darbhanga is a fascinating mixture of beauty, history and modernization. Hundreds of ponds, mango orchards, flowers and cattle add to its rural look on the one hand while black serpentine roads, the white buildings of Darbhanga Medical College and beautifully colored high rise hotels and other buildings indicate Darbhanga’s steps toward urbanization.

The original name of Darbhanga was ‘Dwarbang’ which literally means ‘gateway to Bengal.’ People link Darbhanga with the ancient epic Ramayana. Another name associated with Darbhanga is ‘Mithila’ which is originated from the belief that Goddess Sita, daughter of King Mithi was born in this region. Mithilanchal region consists of Darbhanga district, and the neighboring towns Samastipur and Madhubani.

Total population of Darbhanga is around 300,000 of which majority consist of Hindus while the others are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. People speak Maithili, Hindi, and most educated people can understand a little English too.

darbhnaga, India adventuresLocated in the alluvial plains of the Ganges River, it has several rivers – Kosi, Bagmati and Kareh– flooding the entire district of Darbhanga every year due to heavy Monsoon rainfall. Darbhanga experiences four seasons in a year. From November to February it is winter there, summer starts in May with hottest temperatures and June sets up with heavy rains. Thus, the best time to visit Darbhanga is from October to November and from February to April.

Darbhanga boasts of being the land of famous ancient Indian scholars like Vidyapati and Mandan Mishra.

The economy of Darbhanga is mainly based on cultivation, but the town area has art, craft, paintings, bakery products and cement factories too. The famous folk art– Madhubani paintings or Mithila paintings originated in this region and even today one can find several Madhubani painting and craft centers all across the town. It is a good source of income for people engaged in handicrafts.

A Local dry fruit called Makhana is another delicacy of Darbhanga. It is grown in ponds and contributes to major portions of the Town’s economy.

Spots to visit in Darbhanga

Darbhanga’ Kings Fort is a beautiful copy of Delhi’s Red Fort and still remains in its glorious color and strength. The local administration has used this fort for housing different colleges of Darbhanga University. Lotuses in ponds inside the fort give a heavenly look to this ancient city.

Temples are another beauty of this ancient town. Shyama Mai, Kalisthan are few famous temples here, where thousands of local people make pilgrimages every day.

Gunjan Priya, is a  freelance Journalist from India. She holds an M.A. in Geography and a PG Diploma in Journalism from New Delhi and loves writing, traveling and singing.

Amazing Vagabond – Chris Guillebeau – Every Country in the World but One

About two years ago, a friend sent me a link to Chris Guillebeau’s website.

amazing vagabond chris guillebeau“Wow. You should do this.” That’s what she wrote to me. As if it were the simplest thing in the world to visit every country of the world. And that is really the magic of Chris Guillebeau – he makes it seem that simple. Maybe he even makes it that simple, though I haven’t met anyone else who is going about things the way he is, so I really can’t say.

Introducing the 1st Amazing Vagabond of 2013 – Chris Guillebeau

One thing is for sure, Chris IS amazing. The website I looked at and was referred to was his blog at http://chrisguillebeau.com/. If you haven’t yet heard of him or his work, let me give you the cliff notes version from his bio page.

I served as a volunteer executive for a medical charity in West Africa from 2002-2006. It was thrilling, challenging, and exhausting—all good qualities to have in an adventure. I gave keynote speeches to presidents, hung out with warlords, and learned far more in those four years than anything I learned in college.

After my time in West Africa came to an end in 2006, I came to Seattle for a graduate program in International Studies at the University of Washington. I enjoyed my studies, but I enjoyed travel even more – during every break between quarters, I traveled independently to countries like Burma, Uganda, Jordan, Macedonia, and 20 more.

And then…he decided to change the world.

Chris is a self-employed dude who set himself the task of visiting every country in the world and created a blog called The Art of Non-Conformity. In 2008 he published a manifesto called (not surprisingly) A Brief Guide to World Domination. I recommend that you download it free from his site right now. In 2010 he published The Art of Non-Conformity and as of right now, Chris has visited all but one country in the world in his quest.  Along the way, he has inspired people, created new projects, and shown countless (I’m sure someone could count them, but I can’t) people how to ‘travel-hack’ i.e. use airline systems of points and rewards to improve their travel and improve their lives. His recently released book The $100 Startup is a entrepreneurial self-help masterpiece that I recommend you read (even if I do tend to think that Chris and the people he profiles are far from the average folk he portrays them to be). You can read my review of it here.

Here is something truly Amazing about Chris – despite his intense popularity, his incredible accomplishments, and his ultra-positive ‘you can do it’ message – you would be hard pressed to find anyone who will say a bad word about him. Compare that with author Tim Ferris who I will profile next week and you will see why that is so amazing. Chris Guillebeau is such a genuinely nice guy that even the hater trolls can’t seem to hate him.

Chris has been featured in the New York Times, Psychology Today, Business Week, Budget Travel, Oregonian, La Presse, Washington Times, MSNBC, Anderson Cooper’s 360 and on a laundry list of great websites you should read if you don’t already: Seth Godin, Slate, LifeHacker, Zen Habits, Behance, Career Renegade, Happiness Project, Rolf Potts - Vagablogging, and literally hundreds of other blogs (now including Vagobond.com).

He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Jolie although where he is at any given moment is incredibly difficult to say for certain.  If you don’t virtually or personally know Chris yet, I recommend you bring him into your life. To help you get started here are his Twitter and Google+ accounts so you can join this awesome vagabond as he changes the world.

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