Has Glamping as a Word Become Meaningless? What Happens Next? <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Has Glamping as a Word Become Meaningless? What Happens Next? Author: Greg Watt

The original concept of glamping has suffered from appropriation. The word itself has become so corrupted that it has become meaningless.

All the major dictionaries are in close agreement in defining it through its foundational attributes of camping in luxury. Most authoritative definitions assert that stays are of short duration, located in the open air, lasting a couple of nights or so, and done for recreational purposes. The association with tents is particular and extremely strong.

However, glamping is now depicted in so many eclectic and varied ways that virtually anything can be claimed. Advocates of different and unrelated hospitality offerings contend that their form of place and space are valid and appropriate glamping manifestations. They argue that such marketing representations are acceptable business practices.

This process of substitution within glamping has accelerated in recent years. Here substitution is presented as glamping, but manifests as something completely different, feeding the development of Pseudo-Glamping. Guests are not provided with any actual glamping experiences, but instead, various degrees of simulation are engendered, whereby they believe they have. A process of commodification is occurring in which the brand related to glamping has become disconnected from its conceptual underpinnings.

The incursion of substantial permanent structures such as tiny homes, boats, houseboats, castles, and villas illustrate the level of infiltration. The latter is noteworthy and is perhaps the most deceitful attack on the notion of glamping where urban spaces are stamped over rural environments. It appears that Pseudo-Glamping has become so prevalent that if glamping is to survive, it must rebrand, recast and reassert.

What Makes a Glamper? <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

What Makes a Glamper? Author: Greg Watt

While glamping has established itself within recognised lexicons, the usage of glamper is less acknowledged. Much of this has to do with exclusivity. People that go glamping don’t always go glamping. It’s not an all or nothing designation. Further, is it the pull of glamping that attracts people, or is it the push of some inner need or desire within people that makes glamping something they choose to do? Regardless of the theories that attempt to pigeonhole motivations, reasons are eclectic and confused. For some, it is an earnest search of authenticity and reconnection with rurality; for others, it is as superficial as it is fanciful, to get great instagrammable photographs.

It is clear that as time passes, millennials will have a more significant influence in the direction of tourism and that, as a consequence, more individual and authentic stays will be sought after. What about the future? Is identifying as a glamper just a fad? Or is it something more serious? The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) affected society in ways that couldn’t be predicted. COVID has impacted tourism to a far greater scale, and yet the concept of Staycations and being a Glamper has never been brighter. So, what is the future of being a glamper? The representations, the instagrammable images, are they just a passing phase, promoted by stay-at-home constraints, or are they fuelled by the notion of more sustainable and authentic holidays?

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University Glamping Research Study: Glamping Participant Consent Form. Auckland University of Technology: PhD Research by Greg Watt

This Glamping study is being carried out through the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) which is accredited by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for its higher tourism education, training and research programmes. Research at AUT is carried out within a comprehensive array of academic guidelines. Social research depends on the contributions of those participating and obtaining their consent to participate forms an important stage. Consent ensures that participants are fully informed and have been able to ask questions about the research. Such consent to participate is important when research concerns subjective views, opinions and understandings.

University Glamping Research Study:<br /><noscript><img fifu-featured=

University Glamping Research Study: Research Information Sheet. Auckland University of Technology: PhD Research by Greg Watt

My name is Greg Watt, a PhD candidate at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and I am currently carrying out a study of people’s opinions and views concerning glamping experiences. In particular, I am interested in the viewpoints and beliefs of glamping-entrepreneurs (producers) and glampers (consumers). Glamping is a dynamic form of tourism, which is increasing in popularity and has the potential to contribute significantly to experiential tourism. I believe that your participation will provide valuable insights into the study.

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Glamping Spaces: The Case for Permanent Structures? Author: Greg Watt

Permanent structures have found significant acceptance within glamping space. Cabins, cottages and pods have increasingly been promoted as glamping accommodation. However, dictionary meanings of glamping strongly assert its two-word portmanteau origins. By this reasoning, glamping is exclusively associated with nomadic shelter abodes or tentage. So, what is the case for glamping spaces that use permanent structures as their glamping accommodation?

This article presents the argument that the concept of glamping originates out of society’s desire to engage with nature for leisure and recreation. It is contended that while early participation in outdoor activities occurred through camping, it was also manifested through recreational huts and cabins located in an “untamed bush”. It is asserted that early or archaic second homes (ASH) developed into today’s holiday homes and subsequently into the various eclectic permanent structures forming an increasing portion of glamping space. This historical connection of huts and cabins with the wilderness provides their tenuous insertion into glamping, providing a greater familiarity of accommodation than that of exotic nomadic shelter abodes.

Glamping Experiences:<br /><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Glamping Experiences: Glamping’s Magic Ingredient. Author: Greg Watt

Why do tourists choose the places where they go to? Something about “going glamping” makes it different from just being another form of accommodation.

A few are exquisite, located in beautiful, authentic environments, and possessing spectacular outlooks. These are tourist honeypots, destinations in their own right. However, most must compete with hotels, airbnb accommodations and other glamping-sites. Surely, over a longer term this will result in a race to the bottom …. commodification.

It is asserted that it is the empathetic combination of glamping-spaces and glamping-experiences that prospective glampers are seeking. It is further contended that it is glamping-experiences that are more consequential than glamping-spaces.

For the most part, glampers are urbanites seeking to escape their normal existence and longing for nature-based experiences. Glamping gives access to those forms of outdoor activity, which can be integrated seamlessly. As a consequence, glamping-experiences are well positioned to fulfil the need to “get away”, to have a break, and re-charge.

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Glamping Space :Evolution & Appropriation. Author: Greg Watt

A distinguishing feature of glamping during its evolution, since 2005, has been the nomadic or non-permanent nature of its shelter abodes. While a chasm exists between camping and glamping zealots concerning each’s experiences, they both possess the ephemeral nature afforded by impermanence. Further, the aura engendered by shelter constructions that are cemented in history amplifies a closeness to the outdoors and a unique adventure into the wild. So is the movement towards solidly built shelter abodes constructed from permanent materials dismantling the essence of glamping. Is it an evolution, or an appropriation by other hospitality/tourism players looking to bring the glamping experience into their own offerings?

This article discusses traditional glamping accommodation in the form of nomadic shelter abodes, along with more recent inclusions of permanently constructed rigid structures. Examples of the former include tepees, yurts, safari tents, wigwams, and Scandinavian lavvu and kata. Examples of the latter include treehouses, glamping pods, cabins, shepherd’s huts, gypsy wagons, hobbit holes, caves, huts, barns, cabooses, tiny homes and caravans.

Glamping in the Wake of Covid-19 <br /><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Glamping in the Wake of Covid-19 Authentic & Reflective Experiences. Author: Greg Watt

Tourism is at a crossroads. Over decades, destination travel has become a ubiquitous feature of the developed world. Covid-19 and the likelihood of similar pandemics in the future pose challenges to the viability of international mobility. The perspective of tourists has also changed, with authentic and original encounters replacing hedonic and entertaining experiences. Extraordinary events often create transformative change. Calls for a more sustainable approach to touristic endeavour has led to an intense interest in glamping. As a tourism form, glamping encompasses many of the attributes that are trending within travel. Over the European summer in 2020, interest in glamping increased dramatically over previous years and looks set to evolve further in the years ahead. Themes within glamping spaces will branch out, and glamping experiences will expand, providing a springboard for the industry to develop.

Thunderstorms, Cyclones, Hurricanes, and Typhoons <br /><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Thunderstorms, Cyclones, Hurricanes, and Typhoons The need to know 101 for Travel Planning. Greg Watt

Understanding natural phenomena, ensuring that pre-trip planning takes into account risk assessment, and implementing adequate measures to minimise foreseeable impacts are critical elements to successful travel. Travelling when Thunderstorm activity is high, or when Tropical Cyclones become more prevalent requires travellers to have a much greater knowledge of how these natural phenomena occur. Unfortunately, travellers generally possess a nonchalant attitude towards extreme storms, one that changes dramatically once caught for days on end in one. This article attempts an in-depth explanation of the physical processes associated with Thunderstorms and Tropical Cyclones, and is intended to provide critical background for travellers, when travelling during extreme weather.

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South-East Asian Weather for Travellers Complex Climates Defy Easy Explanation. Greg Watt

Generally, tourists are oblivious to the narrowness of their expectations during periods of travel, do little in the way of studying weather and climate of the destinations they intend to travel to let alone any research into what they might realistically see and do at the time of their visit. Consequently, a bad travel experience is often a consequence of bad planning and unrealistic expectations. Few if any destinations possess the perfect weather sought by visitors all of the time, and the pressure within the tourism industry to disperse peak season tourist numbers into the shoulder and low seasons has never been stronger. However, for some regions, particularly Asia the impact of climate and weather become important when travellers consider their travel options. Two distinguishing features dominate Southern and Eastern Asia; monsoons and typhoons, both of which have largely determined the annual cycle of life for many Asian communities. A greater depth of information is needed for travellers considering travel to Asia in low and shoulder seasons.

Tourism Toolbox | Robust Buildings – Tourist Bungalow Designs for Extreme Situations.

Tourism Toolbox | Robust Buildings – Tourist Bungalow Designs for Extreme Situations.

Melanesia lies in a global region which is subjected to cyclones, earthquakes, and El Nino events. It is notable that in post-disaster situations, almost everything that is needed has to be imported and paid for with hard cash. Recovery may take years and it is important that the micro-economic environment of islands are stimulated quickly. The role of the tourism industry in re-establishing income for communities was a notable phenomenon in some communities subsequent to cyclone Pam. Income from tourism operations flow throughout small communities, enabling people to re-establish their lives. As long as infrastructure is intact and industry systems are workable, travellers can and will come back to authentic locations. Robust tourist accommodation is critically important for tourism to be able to fulfil this undertaking. es.

Reduce Poverty Village by Village | Tourism Toolbox Vanuatu.

Reduce Poverty Village by Village | Tourism Toolbox Vanuatu.

Tourism Toolboxes provide a pathway for small communities to attain human development on their own terms, where they are able to maintain and control their own cultural identity. The concept surrounds initially imparting knowledge to local communities so that they are more able to provide hospitality and tourism facilities to visitors. The Tourism Toolboxes themselves consist of one off asset developments that are financed by social loans which included within the communities developed business plan. They are only considered once communities have shown a capability to progress with their tourism initiatives.

The John Frum Cult: A Litmus Test of Traveller Empathy. <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

The John Frum Cult: A Litmus Test of Traveller Empathy. Greg Watt

Melanesian Cargo Cults are seen as unique cultural quirks, and public displays and manifestations engender interest across a broad range of traveller typologies. Perhaps the best known today is the “John Frum Cult” domiciled on Tanna Island and Interest has continued as a consequence of such television programs such as “Meet the Natives”, and more recently the film “Tanna”. Imagery associating aspects of local culture with the fiery Mt Yasur Volcano help to portray an almost mythical civilisation set in a past era. So what is the John Frum Cult? There is a huge disparity between truth and publicity that is both disingenuous and discriminatory towards Ni-Vanuatu and Tannese people in particular.

Barcelona – “Must See” Works of Antoni Gaudí

Barcelona – “Must See” Works of Antoni Gaudí

No visit to Barcelona, would be complete without seeing some of the work of Antoni Gaudí and a major “bucket list” attraction for many Tourists is the Sagrada Familia. However, what is overlooked is the amount of extraordinary architecture constructed in and around Barcelona due to Gaudi and it would be easy to base a visit to the famous city on Gaudi’s work alone. Much of the identity of the city is founded on the notable architectural works carried out by Catalan Architects, with the creative talent of Gaudi foremost. For those wishing to understand the City during the times of the Industrial revolution a trip to Cripta Gaudí – Colonia Guell is not only recommended, but essential.ile rural areas cater for just about every soft adventure activity, or if preferred, over the top adrenalin rich pursuits.

Wellington Waterfront – Capture a Moment. <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Wellington Waterfront – Capture a Moment. Greg Watt

Due to the topography of the surrounding area, Central Wellington is compact, with its diverse and substantial cultural, culinary, and event activity concentrated in close proximity within easy reach of the waterfront. Because of its difficult geography and erratic weather, Wellington has developed its own unique identity which is unrivalled in New Zealand. Today, with an abundance of diverse cultural and entertainment facilities, along with a strong events programme, Wellington presents itself as one of the foremost New Zealand destinations. New Zealand’s National Museum Te Papa is an obvious drawcard but is only one of many facets embodied along the Wellington waterfront.

Authentic Travel : Is it our own fantasy ?

Authentic Travel : Is it our own fantasy ?

Authentic travel is a slippery slope, one that is both illusionary and created out of our own personal perceptions. Biking in rural Thailand may bring you closer to rural Thai communities, but is that more authentic than the busy chaos of humanity in Bangkok? David Sze exposes gaping holes in the validity of our travel expectations, pointing out that authentic reality is not a single context, but is multifaceted with a multitude of diverse societal groupings, equally authentic and which collectively make up a country’s national identity. Instead of cherry-picking travel experiences to suit ourselves, we should spend the time understanding why things are what they are.

Cycle Tourism : Fancy a Ride These Holidays?

Cycle Tourism : Fancy a Ride These Holidays?

Cycle Tourism is increasing in popularity. In a bid to re-centre and re-orientate, a number of travellers seek stimulation within the spectrum of experiential travel to balance their hectic lifestyle. The “slow” movement within travel is a reaction against the ever-increasing pace of life, which at a personal level, has become less meaningful and more superficial. Riding a bike to lose oneself has grown from a small niche activity into a significant touristic endeavour. What stands out is the breadth of diversity that is associated with it. Most significant is the diversity of possible destinations, from the organised routes of the European Lowlands, through to the chaotic but cultural rich regions of Asia.

A Must See : Central Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

A Must See : Central Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Greg Watt

UNESCO’s World Heritage sites are recognised as possessing outstanding universal value, and provide visitors with unique experiences within the world’s exceptional Natural Heritage or Cultural Heritage locations . Central Vietnam possesses three cultural sites, Hoi An Ancient Town, Complex of Hue Monuments, and My Son Sanctuary, all in close proximity of each other. The cultural characteristics and timeline of the three cultural sites are distinct from each other and provide diverse slices of ancient Vietnamese history. The sites are a must see for travellers regardless of their personal interest in history and heritage.

Visiting Central Vietnam : Why Does Ancient History Matter ? <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Visiting Central Vietnam : Why Does Ancient History Matter ? Greg Watt

Travellers should consider visiting the south-central area as it has a variety of attractions that are steeped in history. There are three UNESCO heritage sites within close proximity of each other, seemingly unrelated. The interaction and conflict between the Dai Viet in the North, the coastal Champa Kingdom, and the Khmer Empire, have had significant impacts on the development of Vietnam. Taking the time to look at the region’s history not only makes sense of it but provides greater understanding of how the earlier peoples living in Vietnam lived their lives.

Travel  Asia : Ethnically, Culturally, and Religiously Differentiated. <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Travel Asia : Ethnically, Culturally, and Religiously Differentiated. Greg Watt

Situated in almost opposite areas of Asia, China and India differ vastly in their ethnicity, culture and natural landscapes. They sit somewhat uneasily apart, separated by a raft of smaller Asian nations along the coastal expanses and the wall of the Himalayan Mountains in the interior reaches. There is significant diversity in what it means to be Asian, and much centres around the traditional religions that flourished in each area. Religion was not merely a part of life, it was inseparable from the way of life and determined almost all aspects of societal activities.

Are Antipodeans adventurous travellers, or  just marshmallow tourists ? <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Are Antipodeans adventurous travellers, or just marshmallow tourists ? Greg Watt

There is a disparity between the image we hold of ourselves while travelling, and reality. Most Antipodeans say that they want to go back to nature, actually, we want to go back to nature with a few comforts. We want to do it pretty well on our terms ; the internet needs to work; god help you if the hair dryer doesn’t go; and if we see a mouse or a spider then ……..
What is needed, is for Australians and New Zealanders to admit that we make inappropriate travel decisions, and recognise that we are more marshmallow tourists than adventurous travellers. Moving forward, we need to either choose travel that is more suitable to our sensibilities, or understand that if we go off the beaten track we are likely to be outside of our comfort-zone.

Central Otago NZ : Natural Beauty,  Adventure, Gold-Mining, & Culinary Experiences.

Central Otago NZ : Natural Beauty, Adventure, Gold-Mining, & Culinary Experiences.

The Central Otago Region of New Zealand’s South Island possesses a stunning but rugged vista, an interesting historic past centred around gold-mining, along with a multitude of adventure experiences. The landscape is dominated by a bronzed topography, shades of tussock, and outcroppings of grey stone, all of which is softened by hardy grasses and scrubs. The area is one of the foremost adventure destinations in the world with a network of major ski-fields, paragliding, bunny jumping, tramping tracks and cycle-trails being forever popular. Alternatively, some of the finest golf courses are located nearby, fly fishing is acclaimed, and high country horse treks available.

Nepal : Mystical Explorers, Gurkha Soldiers, Trekking & Tourism !

Nepal : Mystical Explorers, Gurkha Soldiers, Trekking & Tourism !

Nepal is one of the destinations that captures the imagination of travellers, that few others can match. For venturesome people, Nepal identifies as one of those last undiscovered places on earth where true experiential travel could be found. However, despite development initiatives it remains an extremely poor country with rural Nepali continuing to live a stoic lifestyle, marginally above the poverty line. The development of trekking has as much to do with returning Gurkha soldiers, as any real desire to create a tourism industry. In many ways becoming a Gurkha soldier was seen as a way in which families could step away from the poverty trap.  With a more worldly outlook, returning veterans kindled the belief that tourism was a way forward, where the dependancy of the Lahure way of life could be diminished and ultimately replaced.

Fancy a Himalayan Trek in Nepal ?  It’s easier than you think.

Fancy a Himalayan Trek in Nepal ? It’s easier than you think.

Who said that trekking is not for ordinary travellers ? The Poon Hill Trek, in Nepal, is a great example of the accessibility of trekking for travellers if they are prepared to do a bit of groundwork, and have a moderate level of fitness. For those who take the time, it will sit beside the most memorable travel adventures that they have undertaken. The Annapurna area in west-central Nepal is renowned for its array of mountain peaks and stunning scenery, making it a sought after trekking region for international tourists. The diverse and contrasting landscapes are a highlight for travellers, and a multitude of treks are available. On the Poon Hill Trek, the crowning moment is the early morning view, and at that moment the appreciation of being surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in the world overtakes those viewing the sunrise.

Vietnam : A Niche Destination for Venturesome Travel ? <br><noscript><img fifu-featured=

Vietnam : A Niche Destination for Venturesome Travel ? Greg Watt

Is Vietnam a niche destination for venturesome travellers ? or merely another Asian country looking for an angle to attract tourists ? Being isolated from the world after the Vietnam War, the country suffered from a lack of development for decades. However, this has allowed it to create a point of difference in todays tourism market, appealing to venturesome travellers, and those who want to visit authentic destinations. While possessing a wide selection of natural and cultural resources, visitors to the country will remember most, the richness and affable nature of the Vietnamese people.

So lets talk about the Homeless : Tourism &  the Case of San Francisco.

So lets talk about the Homeless : Tourism & the Case of San Francisco.

Changing global mobility has seen unprecedented tourism, and consequent pressure on renowned destinations such as New York, Barcelona, Los Angeles, and Rome. In popular destinations, homelessness has been aggravated by the pressure on accommodation by tourists. For travellers in America, it seems that “the homeless” are a part of American identity and there is a perception that living on the street is accepted, and “normalised”. Nowhere is this more apparent than San-Francisco, but it doesn’t take many walks about the city, observing the homeless playing informal chess tournaments, listening to blues and jazz music, or reading classic literature, to realize that homelessness doesn’t always result from a set of simple circumstances. While travel provides a very hands-off situation that requires no moral or ethical thought on our own part, the reality of coming face to face with the homeless in real life poses something completely different.

Climate Change, Cyclones, Pacific Peoples, and Us : Is it a Yawn ?

Climate Change, Cyclones, Pacific Peoples, and Us : Is it a Yawn ?

Is climate change actually a “thing” or is it fake news. The trouble is that the further we are removed from where impacts are felt, the less relevant they seem. For some, it’s even a bit of a yawn. However, Cyclones, Hurricanes, and Typhoons are becoming more of a reality, and affecting, more people in the world than ever before. The effects of climate change are becoming harder to ignore. Understanding what is happening to Pacific people, can help us understand what is to come our way in the future.

Why go to Spain ?  The Ultimate Experiential Destination, or an Overrated Flashpoint of Over-Tourism?

Why go to Spain ? The Ultimate Experiential Destination, or an Overrated Flashpoint of Over-Tourism?

Why go to Spain ? Its an interesting question. Spain is an enigma that for travellers seeking authentic travel experiences. Put simply, it is hard to get past its earlier and not so appealing scramble to provide what can really only be described as chaotic tourism ghettos along coastal fringes. However, fast forward to today, Spain should be foremost as a great destination for any traveller. Travelling through Spain provides visitors with a diverse range of cultural perspectives, culinary experiences, community identities, and historical settings. Cities cater for the most sophisticated, the most exciting, the most casual, or the most grungy entertainment; while rural areas cater for just about every soft adventure activity, or if preferred, over the top adrenalin rich pursuits.

Natural Disasters : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ?  Reflections of Disaster Relief in a Small Island State.

Natural Disasters : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ? Reflections of Disaster Relief in a Small Island State.

Natural Disasters are becoming more common in Oceania, and have caused major destruction on many remote islands. Pacific Island nations are not sufficiency resourced to build resilience within their communities. So what has happened on Tanna Island since Cyclone Pam caused such widespread damage in 2015 ? Did Vanuatu’s natural disaster mechanism work ?; and what are the short-term and long-term ‘needs’ of island peoples after such a disaster. This article discusses the case of Tanna Island after Cyclone Pam struck.

Natural Disasters, the Media, and Tourism : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ?

Natural Disasters, the Media, and Tourism : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ?

Our failure as a global society to provide any substantial headway after natural disasters is a tale of repeating lessons to be learnt. Do we as a society show a callous disregard and indifference to our fellow humans in the face of our own lives, or are we bombarded by so much media ‘news-bites’ that we have become hopelessly impotent. History seems to indicate that our performance is wanting, and while we want to know about the societies that we visit, we do little to help in times of adversity.

Organised Travel : Is going cheap a savvy or stupid option ?

Organised Travel : Is going cheap a savvy or stupid option ?

There is a propensity for travellers to adopt a more ’systemised” travel style that encompasses both their accommodation, and how they travel and see the world. Much is this is based on cost so is going ‘cheap’ a savvy or stupid option ? The old adage “You get what you pay for” is generally true and travellers going for the ‘cheap’ option thinking that they are going to get a ‘classy’ travel experience are invariably disappointed. Of course if you are young – ‘cheap travel …….’ is often the only option.

Esso Kapum, o neto do vulcão (Esso Kapum, the grandson of the volcano)

Esso Kapum, o neto do vulcão (Esso Kapum, the grandson of the volcano)

Esso Kapum is a popular entity on Tanna Island, & sought after tour guide. “Gente Extraordinaria” sought Esso out to discuss what makes Tannese people happy. Esso is heavily involved in the tourism industry on Tanna, and discusses balancing life in tourism with Living on the Land, all under the shadow of Mt Yasur Volcano, the biggest tourist attraction in Vanuatu. While the clash of traditional and Modern life would seem to dent a happy existence, Tannese people appear able to balance life in the two worlds with a smile.

DRIVING IN TURKEY…….. REALLY ?

DRIVING IN TURKEY…….. REALLY ?

Driving Turkey proved to be a great way to travel, allowing us to visit places that were not publicized & providing insights into its history, cultures & religions. Many travellers going to Turkey rarely see outside of Istanbul, and while it is certainly one of the Iconic cities of the world there is much to be explored in the rest of the country. Thrace and other sub-regions of the Marmara Region, the Cappadocia sub-region of Central Anatolia, and the Aegean Coast are all areas that are almost impossible to see properly without a car. Importantly, having a vehicle allows for a more authentic travel experience and interaction with the local Turkish people.

Pacific Cyclones | Are we listening yet ? Personal thoughts on Cyclone Winstone.

Pacific Cyclones | Are we listening yet ? Personal thoughts on Cyclone Winstone.

Are we listening now ? It seems that humanity has inbuilt mechanisms to become desensitized to the full impacts of such natural disasters. We simply remove any consideration of ongoing effects from our consciousness. Now, after so many cyclones in a row, who was affected by Cyclone Pam ?, or Cyclone Winstone ? Written in the hours before Cyclone Winstone was due to hit Tanna Island, almost one year after Cyclone Pam, it is both a reflection and a contemplation of the future for Tanna.

A San Francisco Must | Riding the Golden Gate Bridge : Part 1

A San Francisco Must | Riding the Golden Gate Bridge : Part 1

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the truly iconic structures of America. It has lost none of its Majesty over time and is a must for all travellers going to San Francisco. Cycling the Bridge can take a little as three hours or so (one way) or the whole day, depending on what you are wanting to get out of it. The actual time depends on whether you bike there any back or catch the ferry at Sausalito. There is a lot along the way that is interesting and an integral part of San Francisco’s history, making for a great day and having numerous stops only enhances the trip. The bike ride is suitable for all ages and fitness levels and so is a must do when visiting this gateway city to the United States.

Anyone for some Lap-Lap ? | Vanuatu  Cuisine

Anyone for some Lap-Lap ? | Vanuatu Cuisine

We all assume that disaster response springs into action after a disaster and that aid gets through to those in need within a reasonable space of time. The critical point is that often major delays ensue, distribution is fragmented, and people in need suffer. While some regions receive aid expeditiously, others suffer for many weeks on end. If you are travelling to a Disaster Zone in the near future, think about taking a Food Package – It will be greatly appreciated. Better still, just take enough clothes and personal effects to fill your hand luggage and take a full food package as your main luggage.

Travelling to Disaster Zones ?  Think About Taking a Food Package.

Travelling to Disaster Zones ? Think About Taking a Food Package.

We all assume that disaster response springs into action after a disaster and that aid gets through to those in need within a reasonable space of time. The critical point is that often major delays ensue, distribution is fragmented, and people in need suffer. While some regions receive aid expeditiously, others suffer for many weeks on end. If you are travelling to a Disaster Zone in the near future, think about taking a Food Package – It will be greatly appreciated. Better still, just take enough clothes and personal effects to fill your hand luggage and take a full food package as your main luggage.

Shopping on Remote Pacific Islands ?  Freight – Getting the Goods There.

Shopping on Remote Pacific Islands ? Freight – Getting the Goods There.

When we visit remote places, there is still an expectation of being able to buy commonplace things, with little appreciation of what it takes to get them there. Mostly, goods get distributed to outer islands by local ferry, in an archaic cycle carried out by old ferries and barges that seem more at home in the times prior to the World Wars. However taking the time to watch how the goods actually get to where they are supposed to be, leads to a new respect of how the islands make the best of, and adapt to the resources available to them. The casual observer is left pondering how those receiving goods, invariably receive every little item that they have had shipped.

It’s Cyclone Season : Remembering Cyclone Pam .

It’s Cyclone Season : Remembering Cyclone Pam .

Cyclone Pam passed over Vanuatu almost three years ago to the day (12-14th March 2015) it is relevant to look again at the Cyclone that commenced the present onslaught of Pacific mega-cyclones. Its impact is still being felt strongly in the islands that it desolated, and a full recovery will not occur until some years into the future. What happens when the next Cyclone impacts these islands ? Cyclone Pam was the first of the Pacific “mega-cyclones” and at the time it was considered to be one of those rare freak catastrophes that hit only once in a thousand years. Since then there has been at least one Category 5 “mega-cyclone” in the Pacific every year since.

The ‘Around the Island’ Trip – Efate Island, Vanuatu.

The ‘Around the Island’ Trip – Efate Island, Vanuatu.

One of the popular things to do while in Port Vila, is ‘Around the Island’ (Efate) which depending on how your approach it can take as little as a couple of hours, through to a whole day. I suppose its like anything, its up to you what you take out of it ….. if you just sit in the car, watch through the window and never stop to get out, then its likely to be a pretty boring trip. On the other hand, if you get out, explore a bit, walk along some beaches talk to the local villages and stop at a few of the local restaurants and stops, then I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

Food | The Essence of Ni-Vanuatu Life.

Food | The Essence of Ni-Vanuatu Life.

Food provides the best experiences for travellers to comprehend the “otherness” of another culture, and quickly illustrates the distinctiveness that differing cultures embody. Food, meals, toiling in the fields and rearing animals often only gets a cursory glance by tourists who mainly want the quickest route from attraction to attraction, but sometimes the greatest insights can be obtained by just sitting and observing everything around oneself at mealtimes. Travellers are more content to absorb what is presented to them and obtain a more global or substantive picture of the communities they are visiting.

Pacific Mega Cyclones : Experiencing a Category 5 Cyclone.

Pacific Mega Cyclones : Experiencing a Category 5 Cyclone.

When experiencing massive natural calamities, I think there is a threshold that occurs, when things start to break around you, strong things such as trees that have been around for a hundred years or more. When homes disintegrate, and flying debri fills the air, there is a realisation that no one is safe, and whether you survive or not is purely a matter of luck. The South Pacific’s new reality | Mega-Cyclones.

Tourist or Traveller ? Musings of a Traveller : Judith Fein

Tourist or Traveller ? Musings of a Traveller : Judith Fein

If asked, most people who travel will likely identify themselves as “travellers”, rather than “tourists”. Perception and reality however, is often different and many professed travellers would be shocked by a realisation that in fact the “traveller” shell that they surround themselves with is in fact only skin deep. So what is part of the makeup of a true traveller ? Judith Fein is a celebrated travel writer with an enviable travel history, and her Tedx talk goes to the heart of what inherent attributes within ourselves make us “travellers”.

Want to Step into the Past ? | Walk a “Kastom” Trail on Tanna Island.

Want to Step into the Past ? | Walk a “Kastom” Trail on Tanna Island.

Kastom is extremely strong on Tanna Island and is still the main governance of Ni-Vanuatu life on the island. Travellers know very little about “Kastom”, and even less about the important role that kastom trails play in the relationship between different tribals and their social interaction. To minimize hostilities between tribes, kastom trails evolved which demarcated each tribes boundaries and often led from “Nakamal” to”Nakamal” of the various villages in a locale.

Vanuatu Flights – what are the best connections

Vanuatu Flights – what are the best connections

To many, it seems that Vanuatu is one of those places that is difficult to get to, but a little bit of investigation proves otherwise. Most visitors to Vanuatu come from either Australia or New Zealand and a substantial number of flights are dedicated to these countries. Increasingly however, travellers from both North America and Asia and finding that Vanuatu is a great country to visit. Having intermediate hubs in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, along with New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea now makes it relatively easy for anyone from many countries to get to Vanuatu with only one or two stopovers from their main port of departure.

Chief Jack Kapum – A Vanuatu Coffee Visionary.

Chief Jack Kapum – A Vanuatu Coffee Visionary.

Things that are profound, require the culmination of a substantial number of contributions from a significant number of people, but are nearly always instigated by a single defining action. The decision of Jack Kapum to cross the floor in the Vanuatu Parliament in favour of supporting coffee production on Tanna has proved to be insightful. After a unsure beginning, coffee cultivation on Tanna Island, Vanuatu is providing a future for many on the island.

Weather in Vanuatu ?

Weather in Vanuatu ?

Getting a handle on what the weather is likely to be like is an important facet of travelling to Vanuatu. Vanuatu forms a long string of Islands which lie almost vertically and parallel to the lines of longitude and at a latitude of between 13 degrees and 21 degrees south. Because of its range in latitude, Vanuatu’s climate changes from its top (near the equator) to its bottom closer to New Caledonia. The Banks Islands near the top has high temperatures, high humidity, and rainfall all year – whereas Tanna Island in its Southernmost region has quite distinct seasonal changes and where the highlands can be quite cool in the dry season. The island of Efate (the main island where Port Vila is located) lies centrally and accordingly, has distinct seasons, but which are both generally warm all year.

Port Vila Food Market | The best in the South Pacific ?

Port Vila Food Market | The best in the South Pacific ?

Port Vila produce market is one of the biggest and best produce markets in the South Pacific. All the vegetables are freshly grown organic from the surrounding districts making the central Port Vila Market up there with the best of them. Not having the rich cultural history that has infused Asian cooking, there is not the array of spices and exotic greens present. However, Vanuatu is a country that is covered in lush vegetation and generous yearly rainfall, and as a consequence has areas of deep loamy soils ideal for the production of just about anything you want to grow.

When you really need to cool down | The Mele Cascades

When you really need to cool down | The Mele Cascades

Mele Cascades are a series of meandering waterfalls of differing sizes which jump down from the plateau immediately behind Mele beach. Go to the start of Devils Point Road, at its junction with the islands ‚ “Ring Road”, and turn to go away from the coast. The Mele Cascades entrance is located just at the bottom of the switchback road which climbs the escarpment and has been affectionately named “Klems Hill”.

Take a trip to Klems Hill and ‘The Havannah’.

Take a trip to Klems Hill and ‘The Havannah’.

“The Havannah” is one of only two tourist resorts around Port Vila which can justifiably call themselves four to five stars facilities. The trip out to the Havannah provides a great insight to the landscape of Efate. The drive up the switchback known as Klems hill is truly an experience, and would arguably be one of the steepest roads in the South Pacific. The view is exceptional though and on a clear day one can see right down along the Mele Bay coast, Port Vila and beyond. The road itself has been upgraded as a part of the Millennium project which saw the complete ring road sealed. The drive while steep in part, affords great views of the harbour.