Friday, March 9, 2018


Yokohama: Japan’s “Second City”

No movie has ever quite been able to perfectly capture the magic of Japan covered in snow. This time of the year is not the vacation for the masses, but it makes for a wonderful trip as the temperature is usually around 50 Degrees Fahrenheit and makes for comfortable weather when running around a big city. The beauty of the temped streets cannot be captured by a camera, but rather must be observed in person.

Yokohama is a metropolis known as Japan’s “Second City,” quite like our Chicago. Inhabited by three million people, it is hardly small and offers a quaint and more relaxed version of the Tokyo hustle and bustle.

The Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is an amusement park with aquariums, rides, and theaters. The aquariums are so spectacular, it is hard to match that experience with anything remotely close in the United States. The park is home to a multitude of creatures and does not skimp on the park rides. A Pirate Ship ride called The Viking swings you to and fro, higher than you can ever imagine, without inversion.

For the more science- minded tourist, there are lots of museums, including the Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum. It holds forward thinking marvels of all shapes and sizes, along with some of the coolest gadgets in the 21st century. This is fun for all ages too!

As far as appetite is concerned, there is no shortage of amazing dishes to try. One such dish is from the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, where they serve-you guessed it- Ramen Noodles! Far from our measly plastic packages, these noodles are cooked to perfection and served with a variety of mix-ins. The bowl is yours to fill as you please. Another wonderful dish you must try is called Nikuman. This is like a meat pie or pasty, but the dough is soft and fluffy and the insides are filled with meat and whatever else you may desire.

Yokohama is a destination for not only all ages, but for the timid and bold alike. There is something for everyone here and it would be a shame to miss out on traveling to a destination this amazing.

Monday, February 5, 2018


Jakarta, Indonesia; Not To Be Missed

Ever wondered about the exotic land of  Indonesia, in Southeast Asia. The country has a moderate climate that doesn’t drastically change. They have many amenities and adventures to embark on, as well as the exotic feel of one of the true hidden gems of the world. Based on the currency of Indonesian, the Rupiah, if you were to buy a  McDonald’s Big Mac, it would cost you roughly 31,000 Rupiah which is just $2.40 in the US Dollar. Cheap, fun, and a far superior spiritual experience than you expect.

The biggest tourist spot here is Jakarta. The heart of the cultural diversity that comes with any nation with more than 1,000 islands surrounding it. Remember how cheap it is there? Now consider the phenomenal shopping. A shopper’s paradise called Pantai Indah Kapuk, or PIK, avenue mall is similar to New York’s Fifth Avenue. The promenade has quite the diverse retail selection and tons of food.

Another draw to the area is the Yoga Retreat option. After shopping, visit an ashram and take an hour yoga class, or simply stay at one of these incredible resorts and come out of it renewed and ready for the next stage of your life.  You can also hike the natural wonders in a few of the nearby National Parks.

In Menteng, a name for the central part of Jakarta, lies a treasure trove of diners, bistros, cafés, and amazing street food. You can get anything you have a craving for. A few of the must hit spots are: Aneka Gorengan: Pasaraya Grande, where you can get Gorengan which actually means “fried things.” They are light, small snacks that are a quick grab or a sit down meal. There is also Bakpao Lombobattang: Jl where you can get Bakpao, which means “meat dumpling.” Sort of a cross between a pot sticker and a pasty, this small bun is filled with meat or vegetables. Amazing. While you are in Jl, you can go to Sate Khas Senayan: Jl where you can try the Jakarta specialty Sata. Their famous skewered meats have charmed tourists the world over.

 Finally, you have to try Roti Bakar which is available at a restaurant by the same name in Jl. Literally, it means “fried bread,” but it is much like a funnel cake that has died, gone to heaven, and skipped back down for a second run. Your taste buds will thank you.

Overall, Jakarta is not to be missed. It will change the way you look at Asia.

Monday, January 29, 2018


Paradise Island: The Name Says It All

Just off the coast of Nassau, Bahamas sits a tourist’s haven. This tourist spot has perfected its welcoming persona. The island caters specifically to the wanderer spirit. There is no need to exchange currency as the US dollar is accepted everywhere. Perhaps better known of the exotic tropical vacation spots, is Paradise Island.

Paradise Island has so many different amenities that it is so hard to narrow down a few. The whole resort island is family friendly, and they have anything and everything you would want on a tropical locale. The hotels are budget friendly and some are all- inclusive, making this destination as worry free as possible. Take a dip in the sea with playful dolphins at Dolphin Cay, try your luck at the craps table at the Atlantis Casino, or experience a truly spiritual connection at sunrise at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Well Being Center. In grand fashion, there are boat tours, snorkeling, parasailing, jet skis, and so much natural wonder, you will never be bored.

One of the great tourist pulls is the gorgeous Aquaventure Water Park.  You may recognize the giant waterslide from any number of movies, but the true wonder is where the slide ends; you free-fall down into a tube that ushers you right through an aquarium of sharks and sea life. This is truly a unique island experience.

Eating in the tropics can be a true highlight of your trip, and Paradise Island has risen to this expectation. Arguably, the best place on the island is Café Matisse. They serve Italian food, but you must make a reservation, as it is very popular. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville serves American food and is revered for their excellent burgers.  If seafood fits your fancy, there are not many better places to eat it than on an island.

Paradise Island is a destination that proves island life is for everyone. The best food, dancing, and shopping anyone could ask for is wrapped up on one unique little island.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hong Kong

Hong Kong: Rich With Culture

China is perhaps the most diverse and expansive country in the world, with a blend history and culture among its cities. One of these historical and cultural cities is Hong Kong; a culture-rich and unique experience that is on the “must-see in your lifetime” list.

Hong Kong is the perfect destination for people who want an authentic Chinese cultural experience, without the language barriers. Most of the locals speak Cantonese AND English. This is not only helpful, but it turns Hong Kong into a hot tourist destination.

There are always fun things to do. Hong Kong has it’s own theme park (that doubles as a zoo) and even Hong Kong Disney, if you’re a Disney-lover and wish to see the Magic Kingdom on another side of the world.  There is also the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Part of a worldwide effort to capture the natural wonders of the area these parks inhabit, the Geopark is home to some of China’s most beautiful natural surroundings, including giant volcanic rock formations. You can also visit the 208 foot statue of Buddha, hike the “Dragon’s Back,” visit some breathtaking and ancient temples, and end your day soaking your feet at one of the many lavish spas. 

Shopping is usually a tourist’s favorite activity, and there are plenty of wonderful places to collect treasures to take home. Tsim Sha Tsui in the Kowloon region of Hong Kong has something for every fancy. There are stores like Prada, places for antiques and even bargain spots. You can also go shopping for more expensive antiques and art, but it comes with a caution from locals and frequent travelers. You should find art auctions for these things, as believable replicas are all over the place.

Like any giant city, there is nothing more exciting than the array of food choices. The entirety of Hong Kong offers amazing chow mein, Mu gu gai pan, chop suey, and anything you can dream up from an American Chinese restaurant. However, never have you tasted rice and noodle dishes this amazing. The best thing to do is venture out, but for a truly authentic and unforgettable experience, you must get Dim Sum. It literally means “touch your heart” and boy does it. There are tons of places like this, but one of the best is Sun Tung Lok which is right in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Hong Kong isn’t just a place on the map; it’ll change the way you look at life.

Friday, January 12, 2018


London; A City With A Past

The Heartbeat of Europe is, without a doubt, none other than exciting London. Filled with history, this beautiful metropolis is a solid square mile, dubbing it The Square Mile by locals. You don’t have to spend much time here getting your sight-seeing done. On every corner of every street is a story, most much older than the United States. Many of the wonders of the city are in movies and television shows all the time, but the real majesty of the city gets absorbed through the cobblestone ground under your feet.

High above the busy streets of London soars the London Eye. The most unique Ferris wheel you will have the pleasure of riding, this tourist attraction takes you hundreds of feet over London in a room that looks out over the River Thames. The view is exquisite and the memories you take away last a lifetime.

You may have heard that the Queen’s Guard are very serious and all that, but did you know that they will shout at you if you get in their way? Quite the amusing experience if you happen to witness it. Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London are close by and you can take a tour of them both. The Tower of London has a rather dark past, but you get to see the crown jewels and walk amongst some of Britain’s most thrilling history.

The food in London is sublime. With so many choices to choose from, it is quite difficult to pick a favorite, but the thought is that you must hit as many as you can before you leave. So eat up.

In every great city, there is a famous park. In London, this is Hyde Park. In this picturesque botanical wonder hides Speaker’s Corner. A place of freedom of speech without persecution, it is a must see. Go and soak up a bit of profanity, or get into a debate about Thatcher. All in good fun, of course. Also, there is a beautiful Memorial Fountain for Princess Diana at which you can pay your respects. If you like riding horses, there is also a horse riding area with trails around the park. There is truly something for everyone here.

In every nook and cranny in the city, someone famous (or infamous) has an homage (usually a sign) to their presence.  You walk down the streets on the shoulders of Dickens, Churchill, Shakespeare and King George VI. Their spirits guide you down pathways and share their history in ways no tour guide could express. Walk down Abbey Road with The Beatles. Smell the flowers of Kensington Garden with Peter Pan. Take this city and make it part of your soul. The memories the streets carry give London a truly unique experience for any traveler. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Ambergris Caye, Belize; Island Hopping at Its Best

Hiding along the southern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is exotic Belize! This gorgeous country lies in Central America, and is home to some of the more exciting terrain in the southern Hemisphere. Proof of this can be found along the Eastern coast of Belize; on the island of Ambergris Caye.

Island life in the southern hemisphere is a world all its own; with Mayan ruins, a barrier reef and a ton of wildlife nearby, you can’t go wrong. This charming archipelago is a definite vacation spot that needs to be on everyone’s list.

Swimming, sailing, and whale watching abound, this island is chock full of fun things to do. Scuba diving is one of the most exciting adventures here, because the Lighthouse Reef is close by. Take a short class and leap into the water to get an experience you will never forget! There are also incredible opportunities to swim with dolphins and manta rays.

About 50 miles north of the island is The Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef. Truly one of the more spectacular sights on the planet, the 407 foot deep sinkhole makes you feel like you’re looking into the soul of the Earth. This natural wonder is discoverable by boat, or for the more daring, a helicopter tour! It’s definitely not to be missed!

Back on the island, the locals have cooked up some island fare that draws crowds from all over. The Hidden Treasure restaurant is exactly as its title suggests. The ambience is stunning with golden lights draping over a rustic wooden atmosphere. The food is outstanding, with Caribbean dishes and tons of seafood to choose from, this dining experience will be worth your stay. Delices de France is billed as the best food on the island. A French bistro in Central America hardly seems appropriate, but the food is straight off the streets of Marseille. Along with these, there are plenty of Italian, American, and Latin spots to choose from. You won’t go hungry.

Belize is exciting in itself, but there is definitely something to be said for the islands surrounding some of the vacation destinations that are more popular for tourists. Never doubt the archipelago of the world. 

Friday, December 29, 2017


Curacao; An Island Paradise

In the southern Caribbean Sea lies Curacao. One of the best kept travel secrets of island life, this beautiful escape takes you on a journey through culture and authenticity unmatched by its sister islands. With less tourist traffic, Curacao offers a more relaxed vacation with all the amenities of the more populated stays.

Christoffel National Park is the island’s most popular tourist destination. Home to the highest point on the land, the hiking and tours are something to see. The park closes early to offer a guided sunset tour that wildly enhances the beauty of our celestial surroundings. Few places around the world have this charisma and character.

Two beaches on the island allow you to wade into the crystal-clear waters and feel the sand between your toes. The island has rocky and sandy wading so water shoes may be needed!  

One of the newer attractions is The Amazonia Tour. Going back to its Mayan and native roots, this tour takes you on a journey through the past and introduces you to a strong influence in the present. The temple ruins and pyramids will transport you to a time when civilization was much simpler. This unique experience is both museum and zoo, taking you several places and periods in time at once.

A trip to Curacao sets the stage for some truly wonderful dining experiences. Korral Curacao is an open-air sushi bar under a huge umbrella hut. Across the island sits Déjà Vu, a rustic French bistro inspired restaurant with tons of island fare and charming ambiance. Maybe you’re into vino? There are tons of wineries and wine bars on the island, gathering the plentiful Caribbean flavor with the robust tastes of the world. Whatever the flavor you crave or mood you are in, Curacao has a dining experience for you.

When you need to escape, but don’t want the hustle and bustle of the Nassau or Turks and Caicos, Curacao is there to quench your island thirst. Get moving.