Author Archives: James

Greetings from Chiang Mai!

Back in Chiang Mai, the digital nomad capital of the world

So … it’s been a while since I’ve updated the Pursuit of Excitement. You probably thought I’d given up on the digital nomad life? Wrong. I spent much of this year working harder than I ever have before, driving my freelance earnings to new heights. While I had to focus hard on that to make that happen, it made me realize how much I miss blogging.

And here we are.

What happened between January and now? I spent more than half a year in my old college town of Fredericton, re-connecting with friends, settling my tax situation (the CRA actually owed ME money … funny that), and restructuring my online banking to make offshore bill payments easy and simple.

Lonely Beach, Koh Chang. Paradise.

With those issues settled and my wanderlust returning, I flew out to Western Canada in October, saw more friends, and then left for Thailand in November. After spending some time in Bangkok and Koh Chang (my favourite Thai island), I’m back in Chiang Mai (whoo hoo!).

Over the next 5 weeks, I look forward to networking and meeting fellow digital nomads, and getting back into the habit of blogging again, along with putting the toe in the pool with regards to other projects (e-books, learning to code, exploring the idea of starting new websites, etc).

Let’s see what happens.

Quick Safety Tips When Traveling Solo to Manila

Traveling Solo to Manila is perfectly safe if you follow some common sense tips

Photo by CC user Alvin js5 on Wikimedia Commons

Going on a solo vacation can be an exhilarating experience. You have full control of your own schedule, meaning you can move from one place to another at your own pace. While it’s not as scary when hopping from one state to another, it can be much scarier to jet to a different country on your own, such as the Philippines. Known for its sunny beaches and welcoming locals, it’s one of the best places to go on a budget.

But before you decide to book a stay in affordable hotels in Manila, you need to keep a few safety tips in mind when traveling on your own—especially if it’s your first time going solo. Let’s discuss a few ways you can stay safe no matter what island you decide to visit.

Always Be Mindful of Your Belongings

Tourists are hot targets for a lot of pickpockets. You might own some nice accessories, but wearing them while weaving your way through a packed area such as Divisoria may not be the wisest thing to do. Make sure to keep your bag’s straps on you at all times. If you must put your bag down on the ground, secure it by placing it between your feet, with one strap wrapped around your foot. For your valuables, you may want to invest in a waist pouch, but make sure you tuck it away properly.

Try to Stay Awake During Transit

Once you get onto a train, taxi, or bus, resist the urge to fall asleep, even if you’re exhausted from your itinerary. Unfortunately, you don’t have a travel partner who can watch out for you while you rest, so you need to be extra cautious about your surroundings. You never know when somebody might steal your belongings while you’re snoozing away. At the same time, you might end up sleeping and missing your stop. In the Philippines, you need to tell the driver where you want to be dropped off, or else they’ll keep driving on. If you have a tendency to nap despite your best efforts to stay awake, you might want to invest in cable locks and a mesh protector for your bag.

Learn as Much as You Can Beforehand

Always do your research before going to any particular location. For example, the way you conduct yourself in the U.S. may not go over well in the Philippines. And while you may be exposed to unusual food or practices, the worst thing you can do is to show clear distaste for any part of their culture. Some countries consider certain types of clothing to be offensive or unacceptable. You should also memorize a few useful words and phrases in the local language so that you can ask for help if you need to. In addition, do some research about any facial expressions or gestures that might be considered rude in that area. The last thing you want is to accidentally get into a fight with somebody without even knowing why.

Keep Information About Your Trip Private

While it’s wise to inform your friends and loved ones about where you plan to go and when you expect arrive, you shouldn’t share that information to just anybody you meet on the street. You’ll want to withhold any info about where you plan to go, as well as where you’ve booked a room. Don’t let any strangers figure out that you’re on your own, either. If you have to, pretend you’re waiting for somebody else. Otherwise, people might end up using what you’ve told them to track you down and steal your belongings. This isn’t to say that you can’t trust anybody in another country. For instance, Philippine locals are particularly friendly and helpful, especially when you’re asking for directions. Still, when you’re all alone in another country, it still pays to be safe than sorry.

In Short: Do Your Research and Stay Alert

By putting in enough preparation, you’ll find that traveling solo isn’t all that frightening. You might even gain deep, personal experiences you wouldn’t have had on a group trip. Keep all of these tips in mind and you should be able to stay safe and sound on your next trip.

Best Destinations for a Memorable Honeymoon

Tropical destinations such as Bali or Palawan have everything you need for a Memorable Honeymoon

Honeymoon is always the best time in all the relationship. It is because of this fact that most of us try to choose the best destinations for honeymoon. If you are married and all set for a honeymoon, you should know what exactly you need to choose and where you should go so that the most beautiful time in your life become really something to be treasured. Here are the some of the destinations that every newlywed wishes to go.

1) Sintra, Portugal 


If your dream destination is Europe and you are so much into history then Sintra can be an amazing city to visit. It is rich in history alluring landscapes, stunning scenery, intoxicating greenery and above all the very charming residents. It is also a destination that is much affordable compared to France or Italy. The place offers you with great deal of historic monuments and museums to visit. You can also enjoy hiking as well as driving to the neighboring cascais. This place even can provide you chance to stay in an ancient palace where history is lingering all over and Oxygen Jungle Villas hold its name on the top. Tivoli palacio de seteais is the best place that you can choose for a luxurious stay. This place is very near to many of the historical places of Sintra. You get amazing views from this place.
 

2) Ubud, Bali

Ubud is the finest destination for foodies. This place is much specialized with organic food. The restaurants of this place are very much affordable and they even serve with juices that are fresh, healthy and very much tasty. This is the place that is located in the central part of the Bali and can get offers for so many day trips to the temples there. You can eat anything that you want and enjoy the food that is what this place has in hands for you. It has got boutique hotels with statues and Balinese pool among which Viceroy Bali and Komaneka at Monkey Forest are very much popular. 

3) Palawan Province, Philippines 


This is again a stunning destination but not the ones which are much visited by people and so one of the amazing place to enjoy without much crowd. You can say this place as one of the best islands of Philippines. This place allows you to enjoy tanning, relaxing on beach, boating, fishing, diving, snorkeling and kayaking. The
honeymoon destinations allow you to pick finest stay in this place in discount price. 

4) Venice, Italy 

Venice is the romantic city that has got all the charm to attract you. You can enjoy the best Italian food at this place. If you get a chance to be in this place make sure you enjoy gondola rides. You can get a ferry to some neighboring islands. There are so many amazing hotels to stay in this place like Corte Di Gabriela and Gritti Palace. 

5) Istanbul, Turkey 


It is one among the largest cities of Turkey which connects continents of Europe and Asia. Here you find a blend of culture and also many historical monuments. The culture of this place is something that should be explored and enjoyed.

Spend your vacation at one of many Costa Rica resorts

Spending vacation on different cities and countries every year has been a trend these days. In the olden days it was not like that. People spend their vacation in nearby cities, staying in hotels and restaurants.

They stay in hotel and move out for sightseeing, pubs, parties, drinks and bars. They have to move to different places to enjoy all these things. To enjoy partying they have to go to discotheque and pubs situated away from the hotel they stay.

This is the situation for all other entertainments like movies, beaches, cuisines, sports, adventures etc. They were not able enjoy all these things in one place. But the modern day development does not let it as it is. The modern developments have changed this situation and named it resorts.

Resorts are the best place to stay, spend vacation, partying, and sightseeing, beaches, to enjoy massage, fishing, swimming pools, pubs, dances and multiple cuisines. The resorts are usually situated in the out skirts of the city to keep calm and peaceful ambience.

The ambience of the resorts is very important as it is the man factor for the success of the resorts. People get attracted to the resorts because of the ambience that gives peaceful stay and other facilities.

There are different types of resorts are hill resorts situated in hill places, beach resorts are the resorts near the famous beaches, luxury resorts with luxury facilities and the spa resorts for massage and relaxation.

The beach resorts are the famous resorts people always love to spend their vacation. It is the most favourite resort than other types. That is why the Costa Rica Resorts are very famous as they are situated in worlds beautiful beaches.

The best of Costa Rica is they are situated in two main coastlines, the Caribbean and the pacific. The tourists and the travellers from various parts of the world come to Costa Rica for the stunning resorts with 24×7 parties, the cuisines with famous dishes of all the countries and the beach view.

The best of Costa Rica is there are many best massage centres inside the resorts that will give relaxed mind and body and you will have deep rest and enjoyable stay.

The resorts of Costa Rica are listed in various websites and they offer concessions and discounts for those who book earlier. The early bird booking is available and they ensure not only comfortable stay but also safe stay all the days.

You will want for more if you spend a day in any of the Costa Rica Resorts. Before doing the booking visit different websites and know their facilities. There are many resorts that offer wide range of facilities for decent price.

The facilities given by the resorts will differ as per the cost and the size of the resort. The rain forest is another feature of Costa Rica and the tour guides from the resort you stay will take you to different sights and unseen locations if you want to enjoy sightseeing. Costa Rica is one of the best places to visit and the resorts of Costa Rica are the one of the best resorts to spend.

How to Convert Travel Videos to Be Mobile-Friendly

Use software programs to convert Travel Videos to mobile friendly formats

For the most part people tend to watch their travel videos either on their computer screens or TV using a DVD player. However nowadays seeing as mobile devices screens that are capable of displaying crisp, sharp and detailed videos – watching travel videos on your tablet or smartphone is really not that unimaginable.

Assuming you’re constantly on the go or traveling, being able to watch videos on your mobile devices will let you enjoy them no matter where you are. However as much as it is extremely convenient, the one problem that you may run into is the fact that your travel videos will very quickly fill up the storage space on your mobile devices – and that can be a problem.

Optimize and Compress Travel Videos

Rather than wasting a good opportunity, the best way to work around the problem is by optimizing and compressing your travel videos so that they are much more mobile-friendly. While that may sound somewhat involved, using Movavi Video Converter will actually make it very straightforward.

With Movavi Video Converter you will be able to convert videos between various formats, and so to convert MP4 to AVI (for example) is as easy as adding the MP4 video, selecting AVI from the list of formats and clicking ‘Convert’. When it comes to optimizing travel videos for mobile devices you can simplify that even further and select a preset for the mobile device that you’re using.

Considering there are hundreds of presets available, you should have no problem finding one for your mobile device. Once you do, the software will automatically use the best possible format and settings for the device when it converts your travel video.

If you like you can even use Movavi Video Converter to compress your video further. All that you need to do is adjust the output file size until it falls into a range that you’re comfortable with. Be aware that compressing your travel videos in this way may result in a loss of quality – so be careful when you do so.

All said and done with Movavi Video Converter you’ll have countless ways in which you can edit, tweak and improve your videos. If you want you could cut and combine video segments, improve the video quality, add customizable text, create animated GIFs, extract audio tracks from videos, and crop or rotate the video frame and orientation.

Between all these options, converting your travel video to make it more mobile-friendly will definitely be a piece of cake. Matter of fact you may even find that you can go a step further and extract only the relevant bits from your travel video to save as individual clips for your mobile devices.

Top Anguilla Resorts for a Memorable Vacation

Most top Anguilla resorts are located alongside perfect beaches such as this one ... photo by CC user tiarescott on Flickr

Photo by CC user tiarescott on Flickr

Anguilla is a spectacular island location with magnificent resorts to match. A selection of guests with impeccable tastes visits these parts of the world and to please them, investors have opened up lovely establishments to provide unmatched experiences and total relaxation against the most enviable scenic backdrops. Here are some top Anguilla resorts to visit on your next vacation:

Arawak Beach Inn

One of the best top Anguilla resorts on this list, Arawak Beach Inn is a quaint inn by the seaside and even more exciting is that it is close to two stunning beaches. It is the perfect getaway for anyone who wants to stay away from busy locations. With 17 rooms you can bring the entire family and some friends for a private holiday.

Viceroy Anguilla

Viceroy Anguilla is an upscale Caribbean resort hailed by visitors the world over for the stunning offers you get looking out of the lovely rooms. They paid close attention to details as evident from the upscale furnishings everywhere from the marble bathrooms to the dream sized sundecks. 

Frangipani Beach Resort

At the Frangipani Beach Resort you will enjoy nothing but special service and attention to all your needs. They are located at the pristine Meads bay beach but not so far away from other stretches of sand. It evokes feelings of closeness perhaps in reflection to the fact that this 19 room resort is a family owned business.

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa is the place to go if you want sumptuous delicacies at your table with excellent wine pairings. It is always a memorable fine dining experience but whenever you’ve had your fill of mouthwatering pickings from the 6 course menu there are beaches to enjoy. They also have a magnificent pool and SPA where you can while the hours away.

Carimar Beach Club

Carimar Beach Club boasts one and two bedroom suites for those seeking generous space. It was once voted one of the best value Anguilla resorts and you can be sure to witness this the moment you book your stay.

The Fountain Residences

As the name suggests this location is an exceptional selection of condos where people can reside as long as they like to enjoy the beauty of Anguilla. The fully equipped kitchens in the one, two bedroom and studio units make meal preparation a breeze. It is easy to get addicted to the stunning ocean views from your condo.

Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa

This is an intimate seaside boutique resort that features modern amenities with impeccable views. You will enjoy Bluetooth sound systems and motion sending climate control units designed especially for you. 

Paradise Cove Resort

This is a stunning oasis in an amazing garden setting in close proximity to the best restaurants. If you don’t feel like leaving your room though, there is the lovely on-site restaurant and a small kitchenette to take advantage of. It is truly the place to go for a real Caribbean experience.

There are many top Anguilla resorts that will ensure that you will always have a memorable experience no matter where you stay. Your preferences will be met to the letter so that you can look forward to another visit.

Photo: buying pork products in a majority Muslim country

In many parts of Malaysia, pork and other goods deemed as haram (forbidden) by Islam can be hard to come by, as many places outside of the cities are majority Muslim regions.

In deference to those that are Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or agnostic/atheist though, stores in these parts of the country often have a dusty shelf towards the back where devilishly delicious pork products and other forbidden goodies can be bought.

Another random fact: these stores have to have at least one person on staff at all times who is not a Muslim to handle these purchases when they are brought to the checkout, as the ones that are are not permitted to even handle these products, much less consume them. Malaysia is a very interesting country to say the least!

Establishing a home base: somewhere to chill until travel inspiration strikes again

photo by CC user kriztofor on Flickr

Clearly, I’m crazy. At least this is what I’m sure many of my travel blogger friends are thinking about me being in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada this time of year. No mountains, no tropical beaches … what the hell is he thinking?

After 14 months in Latin America (posts on this will be coming to this blog in due time … no seriously, I promise it’s coming!), I’ve reached a point where various aspects of my life have converged all at once, leading me to put a halt to my travels for the time being.

photo by CC user Mortadelo2005 on wikimedia commons

I was fresh out of inspiration

They say that too much of a good thing becomes its opposite. Travel is no different.

After spending more than a year on the road through Latin America (while trying to run a business no less), I was mentally exhausted, and even the thought of going to Thailand wasn’t enough to rouse my spirits.

As wondrous as the world is, I need stationary time in my home country of Canada after being on the road for an extended period.

My 14 month adventure was the longest stretch I’ve ever had away from back bacon, maple syrup and a good ol’ fashioned game of hockey, and by the time I landed at Pearson International Airport at the end of October, I was virtually kissing the ground when I got there.

Not because Buenos Aires (I’ll miss the Choripan) or Mexico City (I’ll miss the tacos el pastor) sucked … far from it.

It’s because I love my country so damn much. After filling up on the aspects that I love about this nation for several months (yes, this even includes Tim Horton’s … love cina raisin bagels!), I’ll eventually read an inspirational travel quotes post or stumble across some pictures of Southeast Asia, and then I’ll be planning my next trip.

Guaranteed.

photo by CC user Tyler McCulloch on Flickr

I want stronger relationships in my life

It’s true … if you travel perpetually, your relationships, from significant others to family and friends, will suffer.

Over the past five years, I was more than happy to run amok across the world in search of adventure and life fulfillment.

And make no mistake, I’m still all about that as a core life value. However, being in my mid-thirties, I’m now in my prime, which means its the best time to try and find someone special to join me on this wild ride we call life.

The road isn’t the best place to find these bonds, despite what you might think, as everyone you meet is constantly on the way to somewhere else.

My prospects are further thinned by the fact that my dating pool is way shallower than those of others due to the fact that I like dudes instead of gals.

As such, I’m experimenting with trying to find someone in a stable environment that is as inspired and enthusiastic about travel as I am.

This might mean that I might be going on shorter trips in the future (a couple months at the most) in order to make myself more viable to those looking for a long term relationship, but I won’t be restricting myself to two weeks per year either.

As for friends and family, I’ve reconnected with my parents and siblings, met up with pals that I haven’t seen in many years, and plan to link up with even more in the coming months.

Being a digital nomad gives you more than the gift of travel. It also gives you the flexibility to spend time with old friends that mean the world to you, as your inability to meet in the past due to the restrictions of your past career are no longer holding you back.

photo via 401kcalculator.org

The time had come to structure my business & get my financial house in order

When I got into the freelance content creation business, I burst forth onto the scene hustling like a madman, trying to write the best copy I could muster.

My hard work paid off, and won me referrals that allowed me to build the client base that has permitted me the ability to support myself today.

Unfortunately, there are structural aspects to business that simply cannot be ignored, and one of those things are taxes.

I needed to get back to Canada so I could:

(a) pay off back taxes that have accumulated over the past couple of years.

(b) coordinate with smart people locally that could help me build a process that will allow me to deal with my future obligations to Revenue Canada in a much smoother fashion.

(c) begin to pay down other bills that I have been treading water on for a while.

Being here, I can deal with these issues more effectively than being on a tropical island off the coast of Cambodia, so by the time I get the inspiration to take off for a dream destination halfway around the world again, I will be on a stronger financial foundation when that happens.

So, I’m back! Did you miss me? Ask me anything in the comments below!

Best beaches in the world

Attention beach bums of the world, the three best beaches of 2015 are out! So pack your bathing suits, towels, sunscreen and sunglasses and book those tickets get your summer fun in the sun on.

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Isola Bella Beach in Taormina, Sicily

The town of Taormina is 210 meters above the sea level and below is this amazing little beach and secluded island. If you want to have a quick and easy access to this sandy beach it’s better to look for an apartment in Taormina to rent and avoid staying in the nearby villages: the cable car called funivia connects directly the town of Taormina to Mazzaró. Then you just have to cross the coastal road and walk down the stairway. If you prefer rocky coves or pebbles beaches, picturesque bays or secret grottos, there is something for you along the whole coastline. To the north and the south of Taormina are hundreds of easily-accessible natural wonders on the seaside. All are very easy to reach by car, shuttle bus, or cable car.

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Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica

The island of Jamaica has been a playground for beach bums for centuries. On the western side of the island is the town of Negril and the famous Seven Mile Beach. It is the longest continuous stretch of sand on the island, and at the very end is a majestic lighthouse. You will be in awe at the spectacular rock formations and the breathtaking cliffs that surround the entire stretch of beach. Try snorkeling, kayaking, or a glass bottom boat tour while you’re there.

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Porto Katsiki Beach in Lefkada, Greece

The little island of Lefkada is home to Greece’s most secluded yet magical beach: Porto Katsiki. In the heart of the Ionian Sea lies the beach that was named after goats, because for many centuries only goats could reach it. Now there are trails and even partial motor vehicle access, although the beach is still at the bottom of a concave cliff. It’s seclusion makes it enchanting, and it is definitely worth the 35 km drive from the center of Lefkada town.

Dubai On A Budget

Dubai is known for its luxurious fashion, hotels and nightlife. There are plenty of things to do even if you don’t have a luxurious budget. We’ve curated a list of the top 5 things do when you’re visiting Dubai when you’re trying to save a little cash.

(Reference: www.stockvault.net)

Abra boat rides across the creek

Dubai’s climate can be a bit unbearable to tourists who aren’t familiar, which is why this first option is not only inexpensive, but it’s also a nice way to cool down while viewing the historic center of Dubai at the Abra Dock. When you get there, you can take this boat for a whopping quarter. That’s right, a full $0.25 for this boat ride that will cool you off as the wind comes off of the water. This boat embarks from Old Souk to several spots along the river including Spice Souk, allowing you to cool down and get familiar with the Arabian banks.

Dinner against the Creek

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(Reference: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeowatzup/4325886562 )

If you plan on spending your day at the Creek, whether it’s at a store or walking around after your boat ride, you can have an inexpensive meal against the waters of the creek. You can stay cool and watch the city buildings of historic Dubai light up your dinner backdrop. This is a great opportunity to try new cuisine such as Middle Eastern food. There are shish kebabs, vine leaf sarma, lemon with rice, bread with hummus and much, much more. But there are plenty of Islamic customs you want to make sure you follow at dinnertime so you’re not looked down upon.

These customs include:

  • No PDA with your partner while eating in public (you may even get arrested for doing so)
  • Cannot drink with your meal, but they offer “hubbly bubbly” for after your meal
  • Smoking tobacco from a hookah type setup

The Burj Khalifa

(Reference: www.stockvault.net)

The world famous Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. If you get too close you may not be able to get the entire structure in one photograph for your digital scrapbooks! While it’s not typically easy to get inside the Burj Khalifa, there is an Armani Hotel inside, but you won’t be allowed in without a reservation. If you’re looking to head up to the very high observation deck to see Dubai at it’s highest, you’ll have to pay a whopping 400 Dirhams or $108 bucks.

But thankfully, there’s a cheap way to get into this stunning and exquisite structure. If you book in advance, you can save almost 75% and get a ticket for $34 or 124 Dirhams. At first, you may pass because of the original price, but knowing you can book in advance will allow you to indulge when you’re actually in Dubai by saving so much money!

But that’s not the only exciting thing about the Burj Khalifa. The newest “Mission Impossible” movie was filmed in Dubai and Tom Cruise even sat on top of the needle without any harnesses. As he did this, he was able to overlook Dubai at 2,722 feet above the ground. Tom Cruise performed these stunts directly for the fourth installment of “Mission Impossible”. If you want to binge watch on “Mission Impossible”, you can hit up Netflix before the newest movie comes out. But if you’re planning to watch it in Dubai, you’ll have to unblock it on their Internet due to restrictions.

Karachi Darbar

The Karachi Darbar restaurant is actually a chain of restaurants in Dubai that’s pretty inexpensive but serves delicious cuisines inspired by the traditions and cultures in Dubai. Their eclectic neon signs draw you in for food that has a punch of flavor. Reviews all over the Internet continuously boast about their cheap prices for how good the food is. Some of Karachi Darbar’s more notable foods include Haleem, Roti, Peshawri mutton, Kadai, and Tandoori. If you’re looking to try Middle Eastern food for the first time without burning a hole through your pocket, you may want to stop in at a Karachi Darbar.

Gravity Zone

This destination in Dubai is for the adventurous only. Feel the thrill at Gravity Zone’s “adrenaline sports” location by bungee jumping a whopping 300 feet or roughly 25 stories! Your feet will be tied to the elastic bungee cord system and their guides will calm you down or help push you over the edge (in a good way, of course). There are three types of jumps including the tandem jump, the FAB bungee jump, and the single jump.

Prices vary, but for the basic, single bungee jump, you’ll be looking to pay $98 USD. This is the priciest on our list, but if with all the money you have saved, you’ll have more than enough to take a jump! This location even holds the Guinness World Record title for the most bungee jumps within 24 hours. With the previous record being 105 jumps in 24 hours, a man accomplished 151 jumps in three sections during the 24 hours. While he made the world record jump early in the morning, he decided to go for much more.

Conclusion

(Reference: www.stockvault.net)

Dubai is the heart of fun, culture, and adventure. Two of the five places on our list hold world records including the Burj Khalifa and Gravity Zone. Between the great food and many inexpensive adventures you can go on throughout your day while getting a taste of another culture, there’s no reason to not visit Dubai!