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Friday Travel Quiz

August 5, 2011

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our travel quizes, the rules are simple:  Study each question and click on one of the two multiple choice links.  If you are correct, you will be sent to the corresponding website.  If you are wrong, you’re flight will be delayed.

1. What day is International Beer Day?

a. August 5th

b. April 7th

c. January 19th

d. July 4th

2.  Study the picture below.  Where was it taken?

a.  Mongolia

b. Tanzania

c. Argentina

d. Mexico

3.  What is the name of the fruit pictured below?

a. Lychee

b. Durian

c. Prickly Pear

d. Dragon Fuit

4. Which airline’s advertising campaign slogan is, “One Of The World’s Best Airlines”?

a. British Airways

b. Iberia Airlines

c. Continental Airlines

d. Air France

5. Which newspaper’s travel section has a reporter who on assignment biking across America?

a. The New York Times

b. Washington Post

c. The Oregonian

d. The London Herald Tribune

CURRENT EVENTS BONUS QUESTION:

Which airline gave a man on their flight who was suffering from cardiac arrest a sandwich and then charged him for it?

a. American Airlines

b. Air Lingus

c. Air France

d. RyanAir

Happy Travels!

A Recap of Online Press and PR

July 28, 2011

Wandrian Adventures has received some wonderful individual reviews and some great bits in various publications over the past year. Considering that we are a relatively young company, we are proud to present (less than) a year’s summary with such prestigious associations.

John Ricci, the founder/CEO of Wandrian Adventures, says “We like to keep things simple here at Wandrian Adventures. Our focus is on three things. We want to deliver the experience of a lifetime. We want to put travelers in accommodations that are part of that experience (luxury whenever possible). We also want to give back to the community with projects you can see while in-country. (Read more)

We provide memories for a lifetime, the kind of experiences that most of the population of the planet hasn’t even thought of doing. Diving in icebergs of the northernmost city on the planet? Check! Taking a helicopter in to otherwise inaccessible parts of Siberia to go rafting? Check! Surfing or learning to surf the coast of Nicaragua with the masters of the local surf circuit then packing the bus with kids who have never seen the ocean before? Awesome! (Read more)

Wandrian Adventures  focuses on combining adventures, education, and culture into one-of-a-kind adventure travel packages. These small-group trips are both eco-sensitive and sensitive to the cultures the group is visiting. This tour operator has partnered with 1% for the Planet, which means one percent of  Wandrian Adventure’s gross profits goes to companies that support the environment. (Read More)

Get Up Close With The Wildlife and Culture of India where you will spend 14 days tracking the elusive and majestic tiger – on Jeep and on the back on an elephant – at two of India’s most beautiful national game preserves. Also, you’ll see swamp deer, black bucks, Indian bison, barking deer, and leopards. Marvel at the elegant balance and beautiful symmetry of the Taj Mahal—one of the most stunning monuments in the world—and revel in the stark contrasts between New Delhi and Old Delhi in a privately guided sightseeing tour. Prices start at $3,800 per person. (Read more)

In honor of Sex In the City 2, Wandrian Adventures put together an 8-day Moroccan girls getaway package.  Some of the package highlights include exploring Marrakech by foot and hot air balloon, trekking through the Atlas Mountains and meeting the Berber people who call the mountains home, traveling on camelback to a luxurious oasis, private cooking lessons and spa treatments.  The company along with their partners support “Education For All Morocco,” an association that provides lodgings and support to girls from remote villages in the Atlas who wish to pursue secondary education. (Read more)

Electric Fork: Wandrian Adventures has had some prestigious clients, from Explorer’s Club members to members of the Kennedy family. How does Wandrian cater to these tastes?

John: First and foremost by respecting their individual tastes and not providing a one size fits all approach. We have always said it’s your adventure and your definition of adventure that matters most. We customize all of our adventures and what you see on our website is just a place to begin thinking about what you want to do, where you want to go and it hopefully provides a catalyst for you to begin planning with us. (Read more)

Visit rainforests of Ecuador and areas that are home to the Huaorani, native Amerindians that have long inhabited the headwaters of the Amazon, living as nomadic hunters and gatherers with no outside contact until the end of the 1950s. According to tradition, they migrated to this area long ago to escape from cannibals. The Huaorani speak a language unrelated to any other; their name means “the people”, while everyone else is cowore, or “non-human” (that’s us). (Read more)

John Ricci (is) owner of Wandrian Adventures a New York City-based company that’s committed to responsible travel. Ricci has spent many a night under the stars, having explored 44 countries and six continents throughout his adventures. (Read more)

Three things you should always have when camping for any amount of time: good toothpaste, because it always has a way of making you feel fresh even if you cannot shower; duct tape, for anything, including surgery; and a way to make fire that will work even if it’s wet. I was once on a river in Ethiopia for 29 days and showered in dirty water as much as I could, but after I brushed my teeth, that fresh breath always woke me up in the morning. Once I had a cut that we had to staple shut without anesthesia and it was duct tape that kept it dry day after day on the river. And of course fire is self-explanatory. One other thing is baby wipes. You can use them to “shower” and, like toothpaste, they make you feel fresh. (Read more)

Thank you, each and ever traveler who has recommended us and every publication who has found us fascinating. We promise to keep up the good work.

Our Chief Adventurer is interviewed by Electric Fork Media

July 22, 2011

Our Chief Adventurer is interviewed by Electric Fork Media: What’s the coolest place to go? Why did you start Wandrian? http://ow.ly/5KqWQ

Travel Tech: 4 Things to Never Travel Without

July 19, 2011
Guest blog from the technologically savvy young travelers at 8kaway.com

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Where are your Facebook Friends?
Facebook:
I you don’t have a Facebook account, crawl out of your cave and open one.  For the rest of you, the important lesson I’ve learned, is to actually add the people you meet while travelling as Facebook friends.  Not only will you get to see their photos, you’ll likely make a friend for life.  I’ve gotten connected with jobs from a Facebook friend I rode camels with deep in the Sahara.  I’ve met Germans in Thailand who then welcomed me to their houses when I was in Germany.  I’ve met the same travelers, usually accidentally, in several different countries because I saw where they were on Facebook.  The list goes on, and as many objections as I have to the Zuckerburg Empire, it’s widespread enough to be a traveller’s necessity.
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It’s ugliness is a theft deterrent.
Cell Phone:
This one is contentious, but I think I’ve perfected the art of carrying a cellphone on vacation.  A couple years ago I bought a cheap, unlocked SIM card cellphone — here’s one for a dollar.  When I land in a foreign country the first thing I do is buy a cheap, prepaid, local SIM card at the airport or at a convenient store.  They’re usually about $10, but it gives me a local phone number and a TON of local calling time.  That way, if I’m hopelessly lost, or if a taxi driver is playing the ‘drive the stupid foreigner in circles’ game, I can call the hotel conceirge and have them straighten it out.   But here’s the beauty; nobody knows my new local cell phone number that I don’t want to.  I get to travel with the peace of mind that if my house burns down, the neighbor can call me; but if my boss isn’t happy with me, tough shit– my US cellphone number goes straight to voicemail.

One last tip:  most international cell phones don’t charge for incoming phone calls.  Have anyone who you want to get ahold of you call your international number via Skype.  It’ll cost you nothing and them pennies– here’s a Skype fee chart by country.

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I don’t recommend dressing like King Dork here, but you get the idea.
iPad
I bought an iPad for travel and have never looked back.  Before I would lug around my precious, and much more expensive, MacBook or spend a portion of my day looking for an internet cafe.  Now I watch movies and read books on the plane, keep up with new and old friends on Facebook and Twitter, and I can check email and hotel reservations if I want to.  Most international (not U.S. based) airlines even have free wifi on long haul flights– I’ve definitely booked a hotel or two as the flight began it’s final decent.  I have the New York Times delivered to me every morning regardless of location.  There’s something magical about reading the Sunday Times while sipping coffee next to an elephant in Cambodia.

Here’s the kicker.   The iPad will save tons of space and weight from your luggage in the form of books and computers.  But, I still carry old fashioned paper guide books that I expect to get destroyed as I travel.  And, of course, paper is always the way to go on the beach.

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Camera
I have a very nice SLR camera that takes the most beautiful photos ever.  It’s been gathering dust for about a year now.   A couple years back I bought what was, at the time, a revolutionary new waterproof/drop proof camera from Olympus.  The picture quality is solid, but I don’t work for National Geographic.  All I’m looking for is a camera that captures a moment without stopping me from being in that moment.  I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t do something with my SLR because I didn’t want to put a fragile, overpriced camera in harms way.  With the Olympus I can throw it in my pocket (it’s about the size of a deck of cards) and go.  If I drop it, I don’t care; if I drop it in a pool, I don’t care; if I drink too much and drop it in a pitcher of beer, I don’t care; if it gets stolen, I don’t care.  Buy one and learn the phrase, “I don’t care”.

Full disclosure:  I have dropped the thing in a pitcher of beer and taken a photo while submerged.  The photo was a bit amber hued, but the camera is fine.  In fact, I’ve been wanting a new one recently (higher megapixels these days), but I can’t seem to kill the one I have.

Wandrian’s Chief Adventurer on Camping Trip Must-Haves

July 15, 2011

Wandrian’s Chief Adventurer on baby wipes, toothpaste and duct tape as camping trip must-haves (Camping 101 guest post) http://ow.ly/5Fumg

3 Free Internet Resources for Armchair Travel

June 2, 2011

So much of the experience of travel is based on prior knowledge. You travel to the country you know to enjoy the activity you have heard of or seen on TV. But what if you want to blaze a completely new trail? What if you want to visit the destinations that are not advertised, that are not commercially recognized? How do you find those treasures?

 

Aurland, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

MapCrunch provides you with random access to Google Maps’ collection of street view images. You can pick a country to explore, or just click the “go” button to be transported to a random destination. This is a particularly effective method of exploration if you are particular to those destinations that are paved. These images were collected by a specially adapted fleet of Google vehicles (in some cases tricycles) that were fitted with 9 way directional cameras to collect the raw image of every few feet of roadside. (More information)

 

Flickr Related Tag Browser allows you to search their worldwide database of images with a series of tags. So, if you have discovered from wandering the streets of MapCrunch that you really like the looks of the east coast of South Africa and you know you particularly enjoy bird watching while on vacation, type in “South Africa, birds”.

 

HAENA BEACH, KAUAI, HAWAII

Microsoft’s Photosynth is a free app available on various smartphone platforms. People are able to take 360 pictures of anywhere in the world and upload them to the website for others to view and enjoy. These images are not edited in photoshop and are taken by everyday locals and travelers (as opposed to professional photographers). You get the real deal with these images.

 

If you have any other suggestions for armchair travelers, please add your comments below.

The Strange Life of Google Searches

May 25, 2011

For those of you who are unaware, Google Analytics provides a tracking code and service imbedded into your website. You can view the searches that return your website as a result, which can be educational as to what your (potential) clients are looking for. Or, it can be an amusing look into the “search-life” of others. Here are a few of Wandrian Adventures’ recent search terms.

“Cow India” – We’re not sure what this individual was looking for specifically. Are there cows in India? Yes. The best we can offer is a picture of a cow in India, as we assume this individual meant to perform a Google image search.

Adventures of Different People” – We’re actually rather pleased to be the result of these search terms! We cater to very diverse individuals with equally diverse trips and adventures, so we’ll take this to mean we’re doing a good job.

“Can you View the Aurora Borealis from Lake Baikal” – Sorry but, no. Lake Baikal, while great for our Heli-rafting trip, is not northerly enough to enjoy the Nothern Lights. We would suggest Lovozero, which is adjacent to Finland.

“Kodeerimana Homestay” – Actually this is a small part of our, River Regeneration project in Kerala. You also get to sail on a houseboat…

“Muttonbird Island to Milford Sound” – We head in the other direction, from Milford Sound (by sea kayak) down to Stewart Island (by plane) in our Southern Islands Adventure. And yes, the island is filled with a species of seabird that is purported to taste like mutton.

Because of the constantly shifting nature of these search terms, The Strange Life of Google Searches will become one of our monthly posting topics. Please feel free to share the search terms you have discovered for your own website.

Wandrian Adventures in Austin, TX!

May 20, 2011

We are excited to be working with a few passions of our BDM to create new (and unique!) trips including, barefoot running, Web and Travel app development, and that pesky Nicaraguan learn-to-surf trip we’ve been working on for way too long. These passions are a perfect match to her new home, and Wandrian’s latest location, Austin, TX! She will be officially moved and settled in late June but is taking some time to enjoy the adventure of the United States on the road. Not all unique and life-investment travel has to be outside the United States, in fact, some of our greatest adventures can happen while camping in West Virginia. It’s this idea that drives our latest trip development. You don’t have to leave the U.S. to have the Wandrian experience. (Stay tuned!)

Hopefully our BDM will have time to write a blog post about camping and the road trip. She’s likely to come up with her best ideas sitting on the lake shore underneath a tree. (Congratulations on the move!)

4 tips to Maximize Vacation Happiness

May 17, 2011

The very act of taking a vacation has been linked to an increased level of (self-reported) happiness. The New York Times posted an article on the increased level of happiness in the weeks leading up to the planned trip. This happiness comes in the form of excitement and anticipation.The more excited you are about a trip, the longer your happiness boost will be pre-trip.

1. Plan a trip you are absolutely thrilled with.

Most interestingly in this study, happiness on the trip itself was variable and depended on the conditions of the trip itself. A difficult travel partner, missed connections and other stress caused the trip to realize only small happiness increases.

2. Vacation with like minded travel partners and have your trip planned in advance.

In general, the happiness level returned to baseline upon the traveler’s return, except when the traveler did not return to a pile of work and reported having a very relaxing vacation.

3. Give yourself a few days to relax once you get back home and slowly re-introduce work.

Vacations and travel have been shown to provide a higher happiness dividend per dollar than possessions or other status symbols. Experiences provide more and have a greater impact on the individual than a new car or other material objects.

4. Budget vacations as mandatory. Travel is an investment into your life.

Wandrian Adventures: Interview

May 11, 2011

The stunning temples of Cambodia

Most of our blog posts to date have been looking outward, toward customers, destinations, or what it’s like to travel with Wandrian Adventures. This afternoon we have the pleasure of looking at what it’s like to work for Wandrian Adventures, with BDA Tracy E. Bartley, or, as she is more often referred to, Employee #1.

Tracy, why “employee #1”?

John, Wandrian’s founder, refers to his employees in the order they were hired. I was the first, but I also get a kick out of how it makes me sound like the best!

How long have you been with Wandrian Adventures?

Not that long actually, I’m just finishing up my first year.

What do you typically do in a day?

The only consistent parts of my day are in social media and e-mail, the rest varies from rock-climbing with an event sponsor, redesigning the ‘face’ of the webpage, to meeting with web development groups to potentially offer a super-niche trip… I’m very excited about the possibilities of the latter, but I can’t say more on the subject quite yet.

Peaceful in Yellowstone

Where did you last travel?

I spend three months in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

What is the worst experience you’ve had while working with Wandrian?

Good question. I’d say all in all it’s been amazing, but I do have a particular dislike for the New York Times Travel Show. I’ve been two years in a row and I have hated it both rounds. Many of my favorite travel experiences occurred in countries (or even entire regions of the world) that are not represented. The overwhelming majority of trip offerings are for cruise ships, Florida, or others that give you a “vacation” experience without actually connecting with the incredible diversity of the culture and people of the destination. I love Wandrian because it offers directly experiential trips that are  life-changing and life-enriching. It’s what travel SHOULD be.

Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo

It seems you are working for the right company.

Yes, I think so too.

Any suggestions for fellow travel lovers looking to become similarly employed in the industry?

Get involved in every project, event and group involving travel you can find. The more connections you already have (or better yet, have created), the more useful a potential travel employer is going to find you. Besides, being involved in the travel community is always a good time!

One last question before you go, what is your favorite travel story or memory?

Hah, that would be the time I accidentally pepper-sprayed myself, got malaria and decided to join the locally popular style of a shaved head all in 24 hours. If you want the whole story you’ll have to come to the upcoming Travel Story ThrowDown.

You can read more about Wandrian adventures on our home page,

http://wandrianadventures.com

and about Tracy E. Bartley and her travels on her blog.

http://tracyebartley.com