#FriFotos: Chairs

©KatkaTravels

We’d gotten a late start to the day. Our goal was to visit Iceland’s Golden Circle but our hangovers told us otherwise (there really is nothing better than sleeping in until noon after ending your evening of drinking at 3:30am). Sluggish and dehydrated, and out of time, we stick to the streets of Reykjavik to better acquaint ourselves with the area before our departure in three days.

Walking through the residential district of this Nordic city is inspiring. The voyeur within me stares through the open doors of brightly painted cottages, analyses colourful gardens, wonders at the kooky nick-nacks sitting on Icelandic windowsills. I gather that, despite the harsh winters and economic downturn, the people of Iceland really do like living here.

We stumble upon a wall that is painted blue and scribbled with graffiti. The mural is striking but what is even more interesting are the two modernly-designed, clean, white chairs situated in front of it.

“Let’s have a talk show,” I say to Lindsey.

I like how the bright whiteness of the chairs contrasts with the deep, almost royal blue of the graffiti wall. The choice of colors reminds me of an abstract version of the Icelandic flag.  I get the feeling someone has placed these pieces of furniture here as some sort of artistic installation. Maybe there’s a camera nearby, recording people’s actions, and reactions.

How wonderful it must be, to be Icelandic.

Career-Break Travel with BootsnAll

Recently, BootsnAll held a fantastic interactive RTW chat about career-break travel. One of their innovative methods was recording their Google Hangout session and posting it on Youtube. I really enjoyed watching the experts discuss this topic in-depth. Sometimes, 140 characters just doesn’t cut it – I need to hear it from the “horse’s mouth.”

I am always ready, and never ready, for career-break travel. Yes, of course I am totally capable of packing up my bags and leaving home to travel the world – the motivation isn’t the problem. But at this juncture in my life, I have too many responsibilities that are unavoidable. I have to pay my student loans. I have at least a year of grad school left. My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting married soon. I could leave my family, my home, my dog and my friends behind, no problem, and I have enough money saved to make it possible, but those aforementioned hiccups sadly are causing the delay.

Before the BootsnAll RTW chat, career-break travel depressed me. Here I am, 25, well-traveled but always seeking more, and always jealous of those younger than I who have traveled extensively. “Travel while you’re young,” people always tell me; I freak out visualizing how someday I’ll be too old and full of kids and arthritis to do anything ever again. Hearing miserable adults reminiscing about their study abroad or backpacking stints in their 20s also worries me. I can’t imagine going through life the same way – honestly, it terrifies me.

But hearing the BootsnAll RTW career-break travel chat live was incredibly inspiring. Here are a handful of people who have taken that leap, and guess what? They didn’t do it when they were 25! Sherri Ott, founder of MeetGoPlan said she took her career break at 35. That’s ten years more I have to save, plan and GO! She made me confident that career break travel can occur at any age and that you don’t have to be an early 20s spring chicken to enjoy adventurous world travel. Not to mention, scores of other social media users I connect with are well-seasoned, spritely travelers, and none of them are younger than 25.

So the point is, if you are young and suffer from wanderlust, don’t get discouraged. If travel is a priority in your life (like it is in mine), you’ll make it happen. All of those little trips will eventually lead up to one big, fabulous experience. Whether that career break comes when you’re 25 or 55, it’ll come, it will be wonderful, life changing, and help you feel complete.

It’s always good to have long-term goals, and RTW travel is definitely something to look forward to!

You are never too old to dream a new dream ~ C.S. Lewis

Awesome Trip Alert: Paris and Barcelona, 6-nts for $1099

Some friends and I in front of my favorite landmark, the Eiffel Tower

What You Get: R/T Airfare (New York-Paris-Barcelona-New York), 2 nights accommodations in Paris at the Comfort Hotel Lamarck in the Montmartre district, 4 nights accommodations at the Silken St. Gervasi Hotel in Barcelona, daily breakfast, all hotel and air taxes and fees.

Additional info: Additional Barcelona city taxes of $8.85 (€6.80) per person are paid directly to the hotel at checkout.

Why this trip is awesome: I’ve been to Paris and I love it. I haven’t been to Barcelona, and I want to go. What a great way to see two awesome cities at one awesome price! I’d love to spend Valentine’s Day in two of the world’s most romantic places. Flights between cities also helps you save time and maneuvering between countries. Take a quick trip through Paris’ must-see attractions and then take your time appreciating all Barcelona has to offer.

Dates: Select departures November-March.

Book by: October 19, 2013. Click here to book.

Information courtesy of Travel Zoo and GoToday Travel

Do You Travel Write, or Travel Wrong?

© KatkaTravels

I am loving this article by Pam, acclaimed travel writer and photographer over at Nerd’s Eye View. Her recent review of TBEX Europe ’12 was insightful and thought-provoking, but most of all, led me to this little gem about the travel writing format.

Everyone does it: when trying to encapsulate our emotions about a place, travel writing can sometimes come off more promotional than relevant.  I struggle with this a lot – how do you make a place sound good without making it sound “good?”  Even if you truly feel that the beaches of the Bahamas are “gorgeous beyond belief” or “the hot place to be in 2013,” it still sounds like someone paid you to say so.

However, Pam helped me evaluate how to “Travel Write, not Travel Wrong.”  Of course, this insight is purely subjective and obviously, there is no absolute perfect way to write about travel.  Above all, it is important to remember your purpose for writing.  If you want to make travel more promotional, and if that’s your strength, go for it!

I especially love these few lines:

I am glad you had an awesome time on someone else’s nickel, now, can you tell me something genuinely interesting, new, insightful, enlightening, peculiar, maddening… about the destination? Or am I just reading about you and your friends (or a group of bloggers) having a good time? Whose voice am I hearing when I read about your travels? Yours or a voice heavily filtered to please a sponsor? When you sit down to write, do you think about who you’re writing for?

I started travel writing because I had stories that I wanted to tell. I have experiences that may be relatable, or may be totally distant. But I think sometimes my travels are interesting, and that my style of writing is different from other authors out there.

Pam put into perspective a form of travel writing I need to improve on. Are the words on the page genuinely interesting, or just something I think people want to hear? Is there a way I can craft my topics into narrative form so that it sounds less like an advertorial campaign and more like an adventure?

Or, think about it this way:

Many people write for travel in hopes that readers will live vicariously through them.  They had such a good time at the Great Wall of China, why shouldn’t their readers feel the same way?  Except, everyone’s travel experience is different. You may have thought the Eiffel Tower was “amazing and beautiful” and someone else might think it’s “ugly and out of place.” Instead of trying to replicate your trip for others, why not just share an experience you had?  Don’t try to make it sound awe-inspiring, or critical, or preachy.

Just write it how you want to remember it, and let your readers have an adventure of their own.

What are some of your tips for travel writing?

Awesome Trip Alert: Rome, Florence & Venice 9-Night Trip w/Air, $1119

Me cruising around the canals on one of Venice’s famous gondola rides.

Italy is the home of my peoples, and this feeling resonates as soon as I touch down in the Boot of Europe, via airplane, coach, train or vapiatto.  I can’t wait to get back and explore this beautiful country again!

What You Get: R/T airfare from NYC (arriving in Rome and departing from Venice), regional hotels provide 4 nights in Rome, 3 nights in Florence, and 2 nights in Venice, rail tickets between all three cities (second class, what a great way to experience the European train system!), daily breakfast, air taxes and fuel surcharges.

Why this trip is awesome: You get to see a self-guided version of Italy’s gems, with ample amounts of time to do so.  And for THIS price?!  Airfare to Italy alone can be upwards of almost $798.   With a nice, wide window to travel you can be choosy about when your Italian adventure begins.

Dates: November-March (select dates at $1119, but all dates are discounted).  Not so happy about wintertime travel?  It’s a good thing!  The cities will be less crowded and the temperatures are still fairly warm.  I traveled in the dead of January and many days I didn’t even need a coat.

Additional info: Additional city taxes of approximately $17-$25 (€13-€19) per person are paid directly to the hotel at check-in.

Book by: October 3, 2012.  Click here to book.  (Prices will appear as $1299 per person on the rate calendar. Enter the Travelzoo exclusive promotion code TZIT10 for the $1199 price)

Information courtesy of TravelZoo and Go-Today Tours.