Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
A trip around the world has always been on my bucket list. I still can’t believe that Jeff and I finally did it. We’ve just returned home to our sunny island home of Phuket, Thailand and finally have a moment to look back on our amazing journey around the world.
.
Before we started this trip, I knew that we wouldn’t have the space in our luggage for souvenirs as we were going to nearly 30 different countries. Even though we have been told we packed light, I can assure you that our bags were anything but light. This inspired me to think a little outside the box for souvenir ideas.
.
My favorite part about traveling is looking back on my photos long after the trip. It is a great way to put you right back to where you were and bring back memories you had long forgotten about. I wanted to do something fun and different with my photos. So I thought, “Why not bring a chalkboard?” I decided to have a photo taken of myself  holding a chalkboard with the name of the country I was in. I wanted a way to visually see each country while having a reminder of myself in that place during that time. Even if I may have been up all night, had not showered in days or was only in a country for a few hours, I wanted to remember all of it.
.
Now, 28 images later, I have a fun collection of pictures that for me, sums up our 159 day, 32,281 mile trip around the world!
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
CANADA:
Even though Canada isn’t too far from my home county, it was still really exciting to go visit! Two days in Vancouver and I was in love! Canada is a great country and Vancouver is a beautiful city!
.
Chalkboard around the world
.
ENGLAND:
Since we only had two rainy days in London, and as it was my first time to England I knew I wanted the cliché photo with a red phone booth!

 

Chalkboard around the world

.
BELGIUM:
Brussels was a beautiful city and I was surprised at how modern of a city it was. We had one of our favorite meals of the entire trip in Brussels, an absolutely amazing beef stew. This photo was taken at the bus station before we boarded to Amsterdam.
.
Chalkboard around the world
.
ISRAEL:
With so much history in Israel, I had a hard time deciding where would be best to take a photo here. While we were driving with a guide through the desert we went to this cliff where you could see a beautiful monastery in the hillside. I thought that this would be a great reflection of this historical importance of Israel.

 

Chalkboard around the world
.
IRELAND:
Green! I knew I wanted this photo to be green, but I struck it rich when we just happened to get some sunshine since it was gloomy and raining during most of our stay. Ireland may have been our first stop, but it was also one of our favorites. Read our “Complete Guide to Ireland” for our best recommendations!
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
MOROCCO:
Oh Morocco! We were here for just a few hours while stopping during a cruise we took early in the year. I had always imaged Morocco as a colorful place, however Casablanca was not what I imaged. This is at the Hassan II Mosque which is the 7th largest mosque in the world.

 

Chalkboard around the world

.
AUSTRIA:
Innsbruck, Austria is a beautiful little ski town nestled in the mountains. We were lucky enough to stay with some wonderful friends here for 2 weeks!
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
SPAIN:
We were lucky enough to be in Barcelona on my birthday in January! Once again, this was a quick stop during our cruise so I can’t wait to get back to explore more!
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
CZECH REPUBLIC:
We met some great friends in Prague and had an amazing time exploring this beautiful old city. While Europe has some of the best beer in the world, I’d bet most of it can be found in Prague, and at a cheap price too!
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
EGYPT:
Egypt just may have been my favorite place on this trip! Not only did I fulfill a childhood dream of visiting the pyramids, but we also got to spend great time with some new friends!
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
HUNGARY:
Budapest is one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. It is a great city where history meets a modern twist. I would live here in a heartbeat! This was the first time we have used AirBNB and found ourselves in this old apartment complex trying to find which apartment was ours!

 

Chalkboard around the world

.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
Even though we spent most of our time in Dubai, we were still able to get out and see the beautiful desert! Jeff and I were both really impressed with Dubai and can’t wait to get back to explore more.

 

Chalkboard around the world

.
ESTONIA:
Tallinn, Estonia is a quant little old city and has so much culture and lots to see. We were only here for one night but enjoyed walking around the old town watching the snow fall.
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
FINLAND:
Finland is also on the top of my favorite places we’ve been to this year! Helsinki is a great design oriented town that is hip and embraces its rich history, although I had to take this photo while up in Lapland exploring the arctic circle and seeing snow fall for the first time in my life!
.
Chalkboard around the world
.
ITALY:
We went to many places in Italy, but it was in Venice during Carnival that I wanted to take this photo. Carnival was such a unique and beautiful way to explore all that Venice has to offer.
.
Chalkboard around the world
.
NORTHERN IRELAND:
While in Dublin, we decided why not take the 3 hour drive with some friends up to Northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway and while we got there right after sunset we were able to catch some light for this photo!
.
Chalkboard around the world
.
GERMANY:
Germany has always been on the top of my list of places to visit in Europe and this year it finally happened! Although we only had 2 days in Berlin, it was great to learn more about Germany’s vast history and how the city has transformed to a modern city with tons of artistic expression.
.
Chalkboard around the world
.
HOLLAND:
I didn’t know if I should write Holland or The Netherlands but in the end it didn’t matter since we had such a great time in Amsterdam exploring the canals!

 

Chalkboard around the world

.
PORTUGAL:
This photo is in Lisbon near the port while it was pouring rain. We had to be quick since the rain just kept washing the chalk off the board, but it made for a fun experience!
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
TURKEY:
Although Istanbul has so much history and culture, it was this pop of color while walking around that caught my eye. I wanted to show a different side to such an old city.
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
SWEDEN:
Since we spent an entire night at the airport in Stockholm we though it would be fun to take photos in the nearly abandoned airport at 2 in the morning.

 

Chalkboard around the world

.
VATICAN:
The Vatican is such a beautiful place and it was very surreal to see all the paintings and murals in the museum, but it was here that meant the most to me. It really is amazing to stand here and thing about all the people that come here to see the pope.
.

Chalkboard around the world

.
MALDIVES:
Holy blue ocean! The Maldives are such a beautiful place. There are 1,190 different islands so it is hard to pick just one. We stayed in Maafushi which is a local island, but as you can see we still had a resort like beach to spend our time.
.
Chalkboard around the world
.
FRANCE:
Paris is a place that every girl longs to go to at least once in her life and I was no exception, I absolutely fell in love with Paris. We had an amazing 5 days here with a good friend who was kind enough to show us around this memorizing city. I can’t wait to get back and eat some more macaroons!

Chalkboard around the world

.
SINGAPORE:
While it was not my first time in Singapore, it was great to be back and see how much this city has grown. Singapore is a beautiful city which great people and beautiful architecture.
.
Thailand
.
THAILAND:
Phuket will always be a second home to me and it is where we began and ended our around the world trip. Living here has really opened my eyes and taking this photo was really important. This photo was taken in a little lagoon in Koh Phi Phi Ley near where the majestic beach from the movie The Beach was filmed. You can see another hidden beach in the background that we could swim to. Taking a long tail boat out to this preserved island and spending the day snorkeling and soaking up the sun is my favorite thing to do in Thailand.
signs_026
MEXICO:
Growing up, my family always spent at least once if not twice a year in Mexico. This year I was fortunate enough to get the change to travel to a new place in Baja called Loreto. It is a great little fishing town located right on the Sea of Cortez.
.
signs_027
.
SRI LANKA:
Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation located just southeast of India and visiting was a great treat for me. There are many elephants, beautiful landscapes and beaches. If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful country, take it!
.
.
.
.


Follow Latitude 34’s board Travel Pinspiration! on Pinterest.

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 My First Time: Taking a Cruise Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

Of all the travel articles to immerse yourself in, one involving dental care is about as must-read as the new terms and conditions on your smart phone’s latest software update.

But, if you’ve ever suffered the misery of oral pain, you’ll know dental problems don’t wait, striking anytime, anyplace, anywhere – demanding you take action. Irritating as it may be, this is when you used to book an appointment to see your local dentist. But times, they are a-changin’, and for many varied reasons this isn’t always an option.

Apart from the odd blip-or-two caused by the recession in the late 2000’s, international tourism continues to grow. No longer satisfied by just an annual 2 weeks’ jolly in the sun, most of us think nothing of going abroad numerous times a year, cramming in a winter ski-ing trip and several weekend city breaks into our holiday entitlement.

 

Who wants dental care overseas?

However, travel is not just about holiday visitors: people travel for business, during gap years and the trend for upping sticks and living overseas seems set to continue as supporting ourselves by working remotely requires little more than a decent internet connection and a laptop.

Notwithstanding all these groups of international travelers who may get caught up in a dental emergency and require the services of a decent dentist, there is another section who travel abroad specifically for dental treatments, who actively plan their holiday around their oral health needs. You may wonder why, but the simple fact is that dental care for populations from English-speaking countries is just too darned expensive, and faced with a huge dental bill they can’t afford, pain and possibly tooth loss, jetting off for cheaper dental care elsewhere in the world is by far the lesser of two evils.

So, where are the top destinations for cheaper dental care?

You’ll be surprised just where you can find top quality dental care overseas, in clinics that are generally well-equipped and in some cases far superior to some you’d find at home.

The Americas

Mexico is one of the most popular destinations in terms of dental travel. It is, of course, a vast country with plenty to offer visitors, attracting sun-worshippers, culture vultures, day-trippers and party-animals to a myriad of appealing locations.

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

From the glorious coastal white sands and turquoise water of resorts such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo san Lucas, to the off-the-beaten-track Pueblos Magicos offering unique history, culture or natural beauty; and from the exceptional biodiversity of its flora and fauna, to the relics of ancient civilizations found throughout the country, Mexico is a smorgasbord of inimitable experiences just waiting to be explored by regular visitors and dental tourists alike.

Americans from the southern states have long taken advantage of the cheaper prices south of Border, with many regularly making the trip to see a Mexico dentist where they generally make savings of around 70%.

Europe

Hungary’s land-locked borders and its position practically in the center of Europe has made it a convenient destination for near neighbors. However, the sleepy town of Mosonmagyaróvár, on the Austrian border, is a surprising hot-spot for dentistry, with the highest number of dentists in relation to population in the world. Traditionally popular with Austrians, it now welcomes visitors from much further afield, including America and Greenland.

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

The Capital, Budapest, is also another favorite destination. Said to be one of the prettiest cities in the world, its stunning historic architecture nestling along the banks of the River Danube and hot, open-air springs offer a relaxing experience to soothe away dental woes, at a fraction of the cost of its more expensive European neighbors.

 

 

Asia

Thailand remains the most popular modern medical and dental tourism destination, providing contemporary, world-class facilities that cater exactly for foreign visitors’ expectations and budgets.

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

From the excitement of Bangkok to the calm of Chiang Mai and the rowdiness of Pattaya to the relative tranquility of uninhabited island’s in Phuket’s Phang Nga Bay, you’ll find a Thailand dentist nearby who’ll cater for all your dental needs – from a simple check-up to a full mouth makeover – and all for around 60% less than you’d pay at home – and in some cases as much as 90%.

So – next time you’re having a business lunch in Poland, or negotiating white-water rapids in Costa Rica, or even sitting at home planning your next jaunt, bear in mind there are top destinations for cheaper dental care around the world where your money will go much further, leaving more in your pocket to spend on seeing the world.


 

Header photo by Charles Clegg


 

Amanda DuffyAmanda Duffy is an expert in the field of dental tourism and has been writing on the subject for a number of years. She is currently a key figure in the editorial team at Dental Departures, a company specializing in dental tourism that help patients save money on their dental care by matching them up with the right clinic.

 

Top 10 Things Americans have told me when I tell them I travel

Top 10 Things Americans Have Told Me When I Tell Them I Travel

 

As an American, I am often surprised at how ignorant some of my fellow Americans can be. We like to think that we are the best country in the world and that there is nothing to learn from other places. After traveling so much, I think I have a pretty educated opinion about how far from the truth this really is. Not to mention how unwilling Americans are to travel, so few in fact that only 36% of Americans even have a valid passport (which is a record high). That means that 64% can’t travel outside of the USA.

Over the years, I have heard some interesting comments about traveling. I’ve put together my top 10 favorites of what people have told me when I told them I was a traveler or about to travel so break out some popcorn and join me in some laughter.

 

 

  1. “Be careful in France, there are Muslims there.”

I could not hold back frustration and laughter when I was told this. Where do I even start? There are Muslims everywhere in the world even in our precious America. What this conversation escalated into was unbelievable. They proceeded to tell me that they were almost killed by Muslims and I proceeded to explain that someone who practices the Muslim religion is different than a terrorist. That is a huge problem here in the good old US of A. This is like saying don’t go to the south there are black people there. Okay, yes but how does that translate into danger? Go places and take in new cultures and new people, I promise it will make you a more educated individual.

 

  1. “You can’t go to Germany, ISIS is there looking to kill Americans.”

Haha! I can understand to an extent when someone tells me to be safe when I travel to a dangerous part of the world, not that it’ll stop me from going, however I am pretty sure that if ISIS really wanted to kill Americans, the first place they would look would be America, not Germany.

 

have told me when I tell them I travel

  1. “Don’t go there it isn’t safe.”

Is anywhere really safe? I’m from one of the largest cities in Southern California where we have major crime just like any other American metropolis. I am just as likely to be robbed where I grew up, as I am anywhere else in the world. But of course, I travel smart even at home. I’m not going to walk down a dark alley at night regardless of where I am. Traveling doesn’t mean you will be unsafe it just means that you should keep an extra eye out since you are not familiar with your surroundings, but you should do that anywhere.

 

  1. “Why would you leave the best country ever?”

Okay, assume that America IS the best country ever (oh and this does not make me unpatriotic). There are many countries that are amazing and even, get this, a few that could be perceived as better. For example, in Germany and Finland anyone, even a foreigner, can get a free education. They do this because they believe (and so do I) that in the long run those educated people will help their economy and community even if they do not decide to stay after their studies. They believe in the overall good of the people, regardless of where you are from. Don’t get me wrong, America is a great country and I will always be thankful to have been born and raised here, but we could learn a lot from other countries as well.

Leaving America to see a new place doesn’t take away from our pride. If anything you will return home having a new appreciated love for our country. After living in another country I came back home to the USA. I love it here and I believe that that life experience made me a stronger person. Just because you leave doesn’t mean you can’t come back.

 

  1. “Haven’t you seen the movie Taken? You shouldn’t travel.”

In all honestly I have not seen this movie, but I feel like I have because of how many people have told me about it. Yes, bad things happen but they can happen anywhere and it should not keep you from experiencing new places. This is also why Hollywood has way too much power on how we perceive the world. Just because you travel doesn’t mean you will find yourself in the middle of a Michael Bay movie. This is one hypothetical situation that some scriptwriter thought would bring in ticket sales. Come on now.

 

gallery_008

  1. “Don’t go to Egypt, they had a revolution.”

Egypt has been on the top of my bucket list for well pretty much my whole life. I ended up going in 2014, which was 3 years after the revolution. So when I had the opportunity to go, I wasn’t going to hesitate. So many of my friends and family begged me not to go. I couldn’t understand why. Yes I do understand that some places have governments that are not as stable as we consider our own to be, yet that does not necessarily mean that the country is unsafe. Egypt has been going through many transitions but after talking to friends who live there and friends who had traveled there I was never concerned. And I was right. It was a great place to visit and I never felt unsafe. They are dying for tourism due to this this stigma and we were welcomed with open arms. If you ever get the chance it is a great place to visit with a vast history and great people.

 

  1. “You’re just leaving to avoid paying taxes.”

This was told to me when I first moved to Thailand. I ended up living there for two years and yes I paid taxes in the US for both of those years. The USA is only one of two countries that, if you are a citizen you must pay taxes, unless you are paying taxes in that country you live in and if US has an exemption with that country for otherwise. When I moved to Thailand I was ridiculed for abandoning my country to avoid paying taxes. I was living in Thailand legally and paying taxes in my home country that I didn’t live in. I would never try to avoid paying for my home country, however many Americans that are expats in a foreign country are denouncing their citizenship because of paying taxes that do not benefit them. In any other place (except the USA and one other country) you only pay taxes in the country you live in, regardless of where you are a citizen, which makes sense to me.

have told me when I tell them I travel 

  1. “You are unpatriotic if you leave America” 

Unpatriotic? Don’t get me wrong, I love my home country and I am very proud to be American, yet that doesn’t mean I have to stay here my whole life. If anything traveling has made me appreciate where I come from even more than I did before. Plus, we could all learn a lot by understanding and experiencing new cultures. Saying that someone is unpatriotic because they leave to go experience somewhere new is ignorant. We love to show off that we are “the freest country in the world” (which is not true), yet we are criticized if we leave? If I’m so free then why are my fellow Americans giving me shit for traveling?

 

  1. “You moved to Thailand? I give it two weeks before you’re a sex worker.”

Okay really? Are Americans that naive to think that anywhere that isn’t America is that evil? While yes, the sex industry is booming in Thailand it doesn’t mean that just because I go there I will be abducted. Or for that matter that I can’t pay my own way and would be forced into selling myself to make ends meet. Thailand is a beautiful country and while every country has problems with sex trafficking, it should never keep you from visiting. Plus you’d be surprised how much sex trafficking goes on in the USA, look it up, I dare you.

 

  1. “You are so lucky.”

This is the worst thing you could ever say to anyone that travels frequently. While yes, I am fortunate that I was raised in a family that encouraged me to follow my dreams, I did not win a golden ticket, no one handed me the life I live and no I am not rich and my family doesn’t not pay for my travel… I work. I work very hard in fact in order to travel. No one gave me this life, I fought for it thus I am not lucky. If it had been my dream to be an accountant and went to school and worked really hard for a good accounting job would you tell me I was lucky? I didn’t think so and my career choice is no different. Anyone can travel, however Americans choose not to. If you want to get out and see the world you can. Just find a way, book a ticket and do it!

 

 


 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 UPDATED: Taking A Chalkboard Around The World (PHOTOS)Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her best friend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.

 

 

 

 

Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

 

Winter, the perfect season for a steaming cup of hot chocolate and the thickest duvet you can find at home. Many people would opt to stay in with the heater on, especially at night when the temperature is at its coldest. There are those, however, who try to escape the chill. Bundled up in their most comfortable winter gear, vacationers in the UK walk out of their doors in search of scenic views that are a lot less white and cold. So, to make things easier for you, here’s a list of destinations you can go to escape the cold.

North Yorkshire boasts of a steamy 12m outdoor pool warmer than any waters you would find in the Caribbean. At a delightful temperature of 34C (93F), it’s no wonder people drive up to the Feversham Arms hotel located in this county, about 30 minutes away from the coastal resort of Whitby.

If you want somewhere a bit warmer still, you have the Isles of Scilly where the Abbey Garden is. Find the most beautiful towering palms this side of Britain–palms you only normally see out of the country, and white sand beaches perfect to make you remember summer. Wait until New Year’s Day, and you would have the chance to see plant species of different kinds, reaching up to 200 all in all, some including exotic ones from Australia, Brazil, and New Zealand.

Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

If the thirst for summer in your spirit just couldn’t be quelled, Pembrokeshire has the St. Brides Spa Hotel located in Saundersfoot to cater to your special need. The spa’s glass walls let in the bright sunshine in January as you enjoy their scrumptious food at their beach-view restaurant. Outside, there is an infinity hydrotherapy pool heated to 38C (100F). The bedrooms will teleport you to a seaside world through the seashell and driftwood décor paired with carpets of the seagrass style.

Gwynedd, on the other hand, has the answer to those wanderers who seek to be inspired by architecture. The village of Portmeirion is an Italianate tourist village designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The architect himself said that the design was a tribute to the Mediterranean. Here, you can find the tropical atmosphere you seek through the exotic plants that the microclimate, enhanced by the Gulf Stream, has allowed to thrive. Stay in one of the South Sea hotels, Mermaid or Neptune.

Lastly, people who love the summer brightness can drive straight to East Sussex where Eastbourne, holder of the records for the most hours of sun in one month, can be found. The Grand Hotel, also known as the “White Palace”, offers modern luxuries such as a heated indoor swimming pool.

Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

Winter is coming so plan your vacation ahead. Make sure your travel gear is packed and your vehicles checked. If some of the locations we’ve listed are far from you, why not take a local flight and drive a rental car to get there? An affordable rental car can be easily booked and you can pick up a rental car at Manchester Airport or any other airports in the UK. This will make your winter escapade hassle-free.

 

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

Dream Destination – Belize, Part 2

.In the second part of our Dream Destination – Belize series we leave the beaches and delve into the jungle in search of more adventures, memories, wild life and a place to stay. So make sure to check out Dream Destination – Belize, Part 1 and continue our journey with us in part two – we’ve got a lot to explore and dream up!

Like we said in part 1, we have a lot left of South and Central America to explore and while we don’t know when we will be able to go next, we never tire of dreaming up our next adventure.

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

.

Explore the Jungles –

While jungles can be found in many countries around the world, few countries can boast such a truly wild and diverse jungle as Belize. With over 60% of Belize covered in forest landscapes, a staggering 38% is protected, and safe from deforestation. This fact alone should have and jungle loving hiker packing their bags and booking their flight to Belize as there is simply endless untouched jungle to explore.

There is no other feeling like being completely surrounded by nature and few locations that have the magical feeling of getting lost while exploring a jungle. The sounds are different and unique, there is often the constant sound of dripping water and gorgeous greenery around every turn. Paynes Creek National Park is one of the most vast expanses of protected areas in Belize at over 30,000 acres.

While we love exploring the jungles, always make sure you are covered up and have taken every precaution against insect and bug bites. As anyone who regularly reads this blog will know, I came down with a nasty case of Dengue Fever in Phuket on my birthday last year and it was no fun at all, so always cover up!

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

.

Go Kayaking & Canoeing –

With so much of the land area of Belize covered with dense forest, the waterways became popular years ago as the number one way to get around for locals. With the mighty Mopan river starting in Guatemala and meeting the Macal river, the two bodies of water came together to form the Belize river which winds its way across the country to the sea.

Not only is there great kayaking and canoeing along the river where you will often see a wide selection of beautiful wild birds and large iguanas sunbathing on the banks, there are also many class I and II whitewater rapids which can make for quite and adventurous and exciting afternoon.

Not only does Belize offer some amazing kayaking options, but you can also go canoeing through ancient caves, an exciting and thrilling way to explore the vast natural wonders Belize has to offer.

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2

.

The waterways are so good for canoeing that each year Belize is home to the La Ruta Maya Belize Canoe Race which is an endurance race through 170 miles of the Belize River, the longest canoe race in South and Central America.

So whether your style is a long distance endurance race or a slower pace exploration of the river during a sunny afternoon, the rive provides endless varieties of activities and sites to see.

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

Stay at a Unique Hotel –

Let’s be honest, the first thing that pops into our heads when thinking about trekking into and exploring the jungle is a comfortable and safe place to sleep. While we love a good sweaty afternoon hiking in a hot and humid jungle, it really makes the day worth it when you have a clean and quiet place to relax at after a long day of exploring.

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

.

Lucky for us we found just the spot in the middle of the Belizian jungle. The Ka’ana Resort, located in San Ignacio is nestled among the lush green jungle and provides not only a clean and quiet place to stay during your stay but a downright beautiful and modern one at that.

Watch this video and tell me you don’t want to jump on a plane to Belize right now?

.

.

If you have read any of our hotel reviews on Latitude 34, you will know we are huge fans of hotels which provide a true experience above and beyond just a place to lay our heads. Any place can give you a bed and a bathroom, but it takes a special kind of establishment to think outside the box and provide a true accommodation experience, which it looks like Ka’ana Resort specializes in. We can’t wait to get down there and tell you all about it!

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

.

Check out the Animals!

What trip to the middle of the jungle would be complete without seeing all the wildlife there is to experience? In reading all we can about Belize, we have come to the conclusion that it might just have one of the most diverse animal populations on Earth. World famous of the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef behind the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Belize offers hands down some of the best diving, snorkeling and fishing anywhere in the world.

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

.

With such a dense and diverse jungle area, Belize offers visitors an absolutely vast array of wildlife from exotic birds to reptiles, wild insects and monkey species. But what is the most unique animal Belize offers? The jaguar.

The Jaguar Preserve  at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most vast and protected areas for jaguars in the world, if not the most. The preserve offers visitors the chance to hike one of the longest hiking trails in the country as well as dorms to sleep in and camping for the super adventurous. The entrance fee is $10, camping is $5 per person and dorms are available for $20 per night.

While the most popular trail, the The Victoria Peak trail, is only accessible in the dry season, with over 128,000 acres, there is endless land to explore for any traveler, from novice to expert. 

.

Dream Destination- Belize, Part 2_04

.

So that raps up our Dream Destination – Belize series. We have learned about the Belize Barrier Reef, the beaches, food, culture, wildlife, jungles and some amazing looking place to stay along the way. I hope you’ll join us in adding a trip to Belize to your dream destination list and we hope to see you there!

If you have already been to Belize, will be going soon or have any suggestions, tips or stories to share, leave them in the comments – we can’t wait to hear from you. Remember, be safe, smile and travel like you mean it!

Images provided in part from Flickr via Sea Kayak ObanDennis Jarvis and Golden Dusk Media

.

.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

Dream Destination – Belize, Part 1

.Each year Marina and I try to put together our dream destination list, a list which is ever growing and rarely gets smaller. While we’ve already checked off some major dream destinations so far this year (Finland, Egypt!) we sure can’t get to everywhere all at once, which is why we have to dream a little bit, something every traveler should do.

We were lucky enough to visit Ecuador and Peru at the end of 2012 and lived briefly in Chile back in 2009, but have yet to truly tackle Central America, the home of this Dream Destination  – Belize.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1One of the best parts of traveling is hearing about places we have never been from passionate travelers around the world. Belize seems to keep popping up, so we’ve compiled a list of all the things we have to do when we finally get to Belize. From adventures to the food, excursions to unique hotels, we’ve mapped it all out – and there is so much we broke it in to two different parts!

Belize has the interesting classification as being the only English speaking country in its region while also being part of the Caribbean and Central America simultaneously which makes for a diverse and rich culture, ripe for exploring!

.Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1 Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

1. Explore Mayan Ruins

Modern day Belize was the very center of the ancient Mayan civilization, and there is no better place to explore these ancient ruins anywhere in the world. Belize is home to the largest concentration of Mayan temples, artifacts, tunnels, paintings, etc. and you can get lost forever exploring these fascination sites. While the Mayan civilization might have reached its peak 1,000 years ago, decendants of the great Maya still live in Belize, including member of the Yucatec, the Mopan and the Ketchi tribes. 

While there are endless ruins to explore, the Caracol, Altun Ha and Lubaantun ruins are among the most popular and easy to explore. But don’t just take our word for it, check out the top 10 Maya sites to see in Belize and read more about each one. 

.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

We have explored ancient temples in Guatemala and climbed the famous steps to Machu Picchu but still have so much exploring to do. There is something about ancient ruins that is endlessly fascinating, and if you let yourself explore and allow your imagination to run wild you are in for a real treat!

.

2. Fun in the Sun

When we say head to the beach, we really mean it in Belize. With over 270 miles of stretching white sandy beaches, there are truly endless possibilities for water activities in Belize. Aside from the gorgeous beaches, Belize offers some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world – including the Belize Barrier Reef and the Great Blue Hole, one of the most draw dropping sites in the world, over 400 feet deep.

.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

So whether you fancy simply laying on the beach, diving in for a refreshing swim, exploring the sea life with a snorkel or going all in for a dive, Belize has some of the best sea life in the world and we cannot wait to explore all it has to offer. The best beaches in Belize are Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placencia and Hopkins Bay so take the time to map them out and don’t miss a single one!

Want to go kayaking? Just wait for our part two, where we delve into the jungles!

.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

3. The Right Place to Stay

On every adventure the right accommodation is key, and Belize is no different. But with so much to explore and experience we have tried to find the best hotel options that offer both a comfortable and elegant place to stay and a full offering of all Belize has to offer without being over the top or insincere, which is hard to find.

.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

Our pick for the best hotel to enjoy the sun and seaside fun is Hopkins Bay Belize, which seems to offer the best of both worlds. With comfortable 1, 2 and 3 bedroom bungalows, it is secluded away from tourist activity, right on the beach and close enough to town to not feet completely cut off from the world, while remaining private and quiet.

While located right on the beach, they offer great fishing, diving and snorkeling tours while also offer complete caving, ziplining and Mayan ruin tours, a list so long we’ll never get through it.

.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

Hopkins bay also offers some really great ways to interact with the local Garifuna people in the village just minutes away. Take a Garifuna drumming lesson and learn the rhythms of the village or jump on the back of a bicycle and join in on a cultural immersion tour, both will leave you with special memories of the native people of Belize.

 

4. The Food!

No matter where we travel in the world we are always on the lookout for the most fresh, authentic and real local food we can find, we’ve even taken Thai cooking classes in Chiangmai just to learn how to make a few of our favorite dishes. With the rich diversity of the Central American and Caribbean influences, Belize truly has a unique and absolutely delicious cuisine.

.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

We are most excited to try Serre la sus, soup made from coconut milk, onions and fish, which sounds very similar to our favorite Thai soups. Obviously the seafood is of huge popularity, which only makes us more excited to try their local seafood dishes, especially the lobster.

Huge fans of spice and pepper, we’ll be putting local Habanero Pepper Sauce on just about everything and washing it all down with a local ginger beer, hows that for a kick to your palette! (We might even have to add in a bit of world famous Belizian rum!)

.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

.

On part two of our Dream Destination – Belize series, we’ll explore the jungle, find one of the most hidden and beautiful hotels, jump in canoes and find some true wildlife!

What are your dream destinations around the world? Leave a comment below and let us know where you want to get lost, explore, make memories and when you plan to get there!

.

Images provided in part by Flicklr via BrettMike Heller and Shezamm

.

.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

New York City's Entertainment Scene

New York City’s Entertainment Scene

There are a lot of different reasons to travel to New York City. Some go for the sights, some for the food and drink, some for specific events, and most for the total experience. But in the midst of New York’s unlimited appeals is one of the busiest and most incredible entertainment scenes anywhere, which is enough of a reason to head to the Big Apple.

Simply put, New York tends to attract the biggest names in show business and sports, and it has the venues to support them. If this is part of what you look for in picking a destination, read on for a few words on some of the city’s best entertainment venues.

For Shows

New Amsterdam Theatre

Boasting internal décor reminiscent of European royal opera houses and a name that harkens back to New York’s origins, the New Amsterdam Theatre is full of historical atmosphere. It’s located just a few blocks south of bustling, ultra-modern Times Square and yet, according to a city theater guide, it’s one of the two oldest surviving Broadway venues. It’s the perfect spot for those fascinated with the history of theater in the city.

NewAmsterdamTheatre_1

The Belasco Theatre

It’s nowhere near as old as the New Amsterdam (which was originally constructed in 1903), but The Belasco is still among the older Broadway theaters. It offers the same old-world, vaguely European atmosphere with a slightly cleaner, more modern touch. For my money, this is the most beautiful of the New York theaters.

The St. James Theatre

Located in the heart of the theater district and having hosted shows off and on since opening in 1927 (as The Erlanger), The St. James has long been among the more popular venues. It’s reached new levels of fame lately after serving as the primary filming location for the Oscar-winning 2014 film Birdman.

For Music

Claire Tow Theater

If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art venue at which to enjoy a top-notch musical, symphony performance, or opera, the Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center is tough to beat. Its gorgeous, ultra-modern design is a pleasure in itself, and as discussed here, its terrace sets it apart from other theaters by providing a unique place to congregate between shows and acts.

Radio City Music Hall

If you’re more interested in catching a big act traveling through the city, look no further than Radio City Music Hall. The biggest concerts often take place at the major sports arenas (which I’ll cover below), but this is arguably the busiest and most spectacular music-first venue in the city for popular acts.

BB King Blues Club

New York’s Jazz and Blues clubs, and increasingly even the Rock clubs downtown, are renowned for attracting incredible talent—sometimes established, sometimes unknown, and sometimes on the way up. This page on New York travel highlights the BB King Blues Club, along with the Apollo Theatre, as one of the best venues in this category for a memorable live music performance.

New York City’s Entertainment Scene

For Sports

Yankee Stadium

It may not be as special as the historic ballpark that was abandoned after 2008 and eventually torn down, but the new Yankee Stadium is in some ways a replica of that historic site. It stands across the street from the old stadium grounds and, history aside, is as stunning a venue as there is in the country to watch a baseball game.

Madison Square Garden

Near the top of this list of sports venues to visit before you die, Madison Square Garden is a treat no matter what you see there. It’s probably best known as the home of the New York Knicks, and despite the franchise’s rocky history of late, the arena tends to be packed for home games. MSG is also a stellar concert venue and the home stadium for the NHL’s New York Rangers and the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

These are some of the highlights for those drawn to New York City for its reputation for live events. Each of these destinations offers an incredible and memorable experience, and can be worth the whole trip to New York.

gallery banner

So… let me just be honest, I could write the best article in the world explaining to you why you should travel, but realistically, you’re still not going to. Since I am a photographer and a visual learner, I thought it would be best to show you why you should travel. In all honesty, it doesn’t really matter where you go, it’s the fact that you’re getting out in the world. There are millions of places that you can visit and it doesn’t even have to be far from home.

 

Here are 20 images that I hope will inspire you to get out and see some of the beautiful world we live in!

 

gallery_001
Batu Caves, Malaysia

 

gallery_002
Paris, France

 

Long An, Vietnam

 

gallery_004
Cairo, Egypt

 

gallery_005
Jerusalem, Israel

 

gallery_006
Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

gallery_007
Maafushi, Maldives

 

gallery_008
Cairo, Egypt

 

gallery_009
Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

gallery_010
Berlin, Germany

 

gallery_011
Salla, Finland

 

gallery_012
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

gallery_013
Budapest, Hungary

 

Ben San, Vietnam

 

gallery_015
Istanbul, Turkey

 

gallery_016
Jerusalem, Israel

 

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

gallery_018
Prague, Czech Republic

 

gallery_019
Malé, Maldives

 

gallery_020
Phuket, Thailand

 

ALL IMAGES © MARINA DOMINGUEZ

IMAGES CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT FROM PHOTOGRAPHER.

 


 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 UPDATED: Taking A Chalkboard Around The World (PHOTOS)Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her best friend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.

Hotel Review: Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa

Sri Lanka was a total surprise to us. Not only because of the endless beauty, kind people, amazing scenery and delicious food – but because so many people still believe there is some sort of unrest in the country. Nothing could be further from the truth and no one should ever miss out on a trip to this amazing country, whether for a weekend or a month. Having only a short weekend off from work in busy Dubai, the relaxed island nation of Sri Lanka is a short 4 hour flight away, the perfect weekend getaway – and the Chaaya Tranz hotel in Hikkaduwa couldn’t have been a better place to pick.

Outstretched across the sandy beaches in Hikkaduwa, a quiet little beach town just 2 hours from Colombo, the term “island life” take a whole new meaning. Time slows down, the smiles are more obvious and with the smell of the ocean in the air you instantly start to feel more relaxed.

.

“You know a hotel has done something right when you can relax in their rooms and still feel as comfortable as if you were home.”

.

From the second you walk into the open air lobby, you are greeted by the supremely warm staff, a delicious welcome drink and you want nothing more than to melt into one of their beach chairs and smile as you nod off to sleep in the sun.

.
Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.37.53 PM

.

Each of the rooms have fantastic views over the entire grounds, littered with swimming pools, palm trees, lounge chairs and sandy beaches. Whether you want to lounge in the shade, enjoy a cocktail in the pool, feed giant sea turtles just steps from your room or enjoy delicious food with an amazing view, it is all available within a stones throw.

The rooms are simply perfect. Comfortable, bright and practical they leave you wanting nothing. You know a hotel has done something right when you can relax in their rooms and still feel as comfortable as if you were home.

The wonderful thing about a hotel like the Chaaya Tranz is that with views so amazing, you simply don’t want to do anything but get out and explore – exactly what every traveler dreams of.

.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.39.25 PM

.

One of the best parts of the stay was easily the food. Hotels like this sometimes relax when it comes to food as their stunning setting does so much of the work for them, but not Cinnamon Hotels, whom go well out of their way to not only offer some of the most delicious local offerings, but also give you a taste of home if you need it. (but trust us, go for the local food, it is to die for.)

The breakfast buffet is stunning and the setting could not be more welcoming – you’ll never want to leave.

While you might be tempted to spend the entire stay sitting in the beautiful pool or on the golden sands, don’t miss out on all the hotel offers, including an amazing spa that will relax you like you never thought possible. Imagine having just finished a full body massage and then slipping into a comfortable lounge chair on your balcony as you fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean – amazing huh?

.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.39.15 PM

.

Like with all hotel stays it really is the little things that make all the difference. Cheap plastic shampoo bottles being replaced with ceramic containers, staff that go out of their way to make you feel well attended to but not overbearing, waiters who keep your drink filled without hovering around and the most important part of a hotel room – a bed which you can absolutely melt into, making sure they take the extra steps to give you the most comfortable sleep possible.

Staying for a weekend is only torture because it goes by so quick, but regardless how long you stay, you will never forget your stay in this amazing little gem on the Sri Lankan coast. Hikkaduwa is a perfect little beach town which, thankfully, is a perfect balance between authentic Sri Lankan life and all the comforts tourists desire. Take a short walk around the town and you can find amazing hand crafted items to take home and take a certain back street and you’ll find beautiful small Bhuddist temple perched on a nearby hill.

Whether flying from close by Dubai or from the other side of the world Sri Lanka needs to be on every travelers list, and if you make it to this perfect little country we’ll gladly point you to Hikkaduwa and one of the best seaside hotels we have ever stayed at.

.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.47.43 PM

.

.

jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Breaking Up

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Breaking Up

 

So here it goes again, that same familiar feeling that I crave yet despise. My bags are packed and I’m just counting down the minutes until I have to leave for yet another airport, but this time is different. This time I’m leaving heartbroken yet rejuvenated. This time I’m leaving to start my life, again. I came to Dubai to visit Jeff so we could go to a blogging conference in Sri Lanka. It was nothing like I though it would be. This trip, this adventure has been one of the most difficult I’ve had to date. It wasn’t hard because of the travel, but instead because of what I have learned and what I am now leaving.

 

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Breaking Up

Meeting all the other bloggers at the conference was eye opening. Here they are, the top travel bloggers in the world who are all coming together to share their stories and their insight and somehow, with our little blog, we were invited to join. There are a thousand things I learn logistically about running a blog; SEO, social media, but the most important thing that I learned was how to put myself into our stories. There is a lot about our story that we haven’t shared so for the first time this is me; honest, open and exposed.

“There is a lot about our story that we haven’t shared so for the first time this is me; honest, open and exposed.”

 

Our story started back in 2010. I was in photo school in California and meeting Jeff for the first time at a gallery opening for a project he had just completed. I was memorized, I was taken away by his stories of his travels, something I had never done before. We became inseparable, best friends. Everyone kept telling me that he wanted more, but I was too naive to listen. That friendship lasted even after college until we finally started dating. He became so much more than just my best friend and I was certain he was it for me. It wasn’t long after we got together that we decided to quit our jobs and travel the globe. We moved straight to the other side of the world and started our lives in Thailand together.

 

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Breaking Up
Jeff & Marina in college, one of the first photos of us ever.

The next year would be the most difficult for me. I left everything I ever knew, everyone I had ever met and was in a strange place, a place were I would grow to love but at the same time resent. I was scared and felt so alone, even though Jeff was by my side. We started the blog and things on the outside were picture perfect, but inside I was screaming to get out. I had everything most people wanted so why was I so depressed? I think for me I wasn’t ready to be everything to someone, I was still young and selfish and unconsciously grew to resent Jeff. He was so strong, he had it all figured out and it made me insane with jealousy. We did everything we could to make it through, but for me all I wanted was to go home. Even after traveling non-stop for 6 months together, a trip that was perfect, I just wanted to run away. I needed a break to figure myself out and emotionally get back on my feet. It’s ironic looking back now at how good Jeff and I were during this trip, when all we did was have the time of our lives.

 

When I got back home I jumped right into another relationship, a relationship that ended up hurting me in every way a person can be hurt. It wasn’t right and it was exactly what I needed to ignore the pain of the breakup with Jeff. That relationship ended badly to say the least. While I was home ignoring those feelings, Jeff was back in Thailand facing them head on. For me it was out of sight out of mind. Coming to Dubai to visit Jeff, where he was busy starting a new chapter, should be easy, I was moving on, I started seeing someone else, someone good and so was he. I thought it would be like before were we could just be best friends and hang out like old times.

 

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Breaking Up
Desert safari in Dubai

I arrived in Dubai to reunite with my best friend and yet my ex boyfriend. Everyone told me what it would be like, but I just shrugged it all off telling myself, “you’re over him.” Nothing prepared me for the rush of emotions I felt when I walked though that door. It was him, but he was different and he wasn’t alone. Since we had been friends for so long before and since he had taken the past six months to get over me, something I just ran away from, he treated me as one of the guys, but for me it was like he had just taken a hammer to my heart. I never expected to feel that way and didn’t know how to handle it. I played it cool. The three of us hung out all night, and they had no idea how much I was hurting on the inside. That night I cried myself to sleep, I couldn’t handle knowing he was in bed with another girl just on the other side of the wall from me.

 

When we went to the conference we were faced with the awkward conversations of explaining that although we had started a couples travel blog we were no longer a couple. Everyone had questions, “How?” “You guys get along and travel?” “Wait, you’re both seeing other people?” They had no idea how I was feeling on the inside. We hadn’t been together since we broke up, since he had moved on, since I thought I had but clearly hadn’t.

 

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Breaking UpIt wasn’t until we returned to Dubai that I completely fell apart. There is nothing more agonizing then the pain of getting over someone, yet doing it in front of them. Jeff did everything he could to still be my best friend and to be there for me, but there was nothing he could do. So now I’m back in that moment, waiting to leave for the airport to return back home. A part of me wishes that he would just ask me to stay, but I do know that there is a reason we fell apart in the first place and decided to end our relationship; those reasons haven’t changed. I’ve never felt this way before. On one hand, we still want the world and are so inspired to push the blog to the next level and travel full time, but on the other hand we’re both just trying to survive and live our lives. For me that means getting over the love of my life yet at the same time I’m about to board a flight to go back and tell the man I’ve been dating that I’m not over my ex, that I don’t know how to be with anyone right now. He’s a good man and deserves to know the truth. If I had known I felt this way I wouldn’t have started seeing him. I ‘m leaving one side of the world with a broken heart to go back to the other side to break someone else’s.

 

“We now have two different perspectives on the world and are lucky enough to

share them with you.”

Traveling has taught me so much about myself. It has made it so easy to run and hide from the things I am too scared to face, but now I welcome the challenge of new beginnings and the next chapter. .Jeff and I will always be the best of friends and we will always travel and I am thankful to have him in my life. Getting over the heartache and moving forward both as friends and as business partners will be the first step.

 

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Breaking Up
Always celebrate the good times!

Life will always throw you curve balls but it’s when you come back a stronger person you realize why it was so difficult in the first place. Traveling has given me strength I never thought I had. Moving home has been anything but easy, but I have made some amazing friends who want to experience new places and start to travel. I’m thankful for these past few years and I am thankful for Jeff. He has inspired me to always be stronger and better. My life would never have been the same without him and although it is difficult for him not to be with me yet I am finally ready to move on and am looking forward to the next chapter.  I will never regret the choices that have lead me down this road. Jeff’s friendship has made me stronger and I’m so happy for him and his new life. He is doing incredible things and sharing this blog with him is a blessing. We now have two different perspectives on the world and are lucky enough to share them with you.

 


 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 UPDATED: Taking A Chalkboard Around The World (PHOTOS)Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her best friend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.

 

 

 

 

Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Yas Island

There is rarely a week that goes by I don’t pass by a Radisson Blu and wish I was staying there at that moment. With so many popping up all over the world, even in some pretty remote places, I’ll always be down to try another location and that is just what I did in Abu Dhabi a couple weeks ago when I tried out the Radisson Blu Yas Island for a quick weekend getaway from my hectic life in Dubai.

Just an hour or so south, Abu Dhabi offers a ton of entertainment, dining and relaxation options many rarely experience as they stick to Dubai and dare not venture outside of the glitz and the glamour. Settled right on a beautiful golf course and right by the coast, the Yas Island location is not only in a scenic and serene setting, it is just steps from Ferrari World, one of the biggest attractions that Abu Dhabi has to offer.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 10.11.19 PM

 

The hotel boasts an impressive lobby, a delicious restaurant with plush outdoor seating, a massive pool area and to top it off, an amazing Belgian Beer Cafe, which I was ecstatic to find – you’d be surprised how hard it is to find a good dark beer in Dubai!

The rooms are light, airy and offer huge balconies overlooking the golf course and pool area. With cast views the area is notably more silent, a welcome relief from busy city life. Rarely did I think how close I was to Dubai, I felt like I was miles away laying in the pool with a cold drink in my hand.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 10.11.32 PM

 

As with all Radisson Blu hotels, the buffet options are absolutely world class, especially their ‘super breakfast’ which rivals any breakfast spread you have ever witnessed. That paired with the available late checkout, always friendly staff and stunning views made the short overnight trip feel like an entire week.

After prying myself away from the scenery and beer cafe it was an easy jump over to the Grand Mosque, one of the most truly stunning buildings I have ever witnessed – even more so than the Taj Mahal. If you are ever in Abu Dhabi forget Ferrari World and head for the mosque, it is well, well worth it – and if you need a comfy place to stay you know where I’ll be.

.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 10.17.05 PM

.

jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Opus_Header

Hotel Review: Opus Vancouver 

 

Opus_01When you’re on vacation you probably don’t want to spend too much time in a hotel, however you still want it to be comfortable and feel like your at home. Vancouver is a great city full of culture and many things to do. Whether you want to spend the day jumping from brewery to brewery or lounge at the park and see the sights, there is something for everyone. After a long day exploring coming back to the right hotel is key.

I had never been to Canada before, and although I grew up in Southern California I was excited to see all that Vancouver had to offer. Some friends and I drove up from Bellingham, Washington and went straight to the Opus Vancouver hotel in the Yaletown district. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Yaletown is a great little area to be in. The hotel was really close to the Vancouver Skytrain and we could get anywhere we wanted to go as well as close to dozens of great restaurants and even walking distance to a brewery. You can also walk down to the water and explore or lounge in the park.

Opus Vancouver

When we arrived we were greeted with a welcome drink and our room was all ready for us. The small boutique hotel is really modern with a twist of homely comforts. The room was a good size and the king bed was amazing! After a long drive, it was great to open the hotel room door and jump onto the cozy bed. The room even had an iPad that was ours for the duration of the stay, which was great to help us research and decide where we wanted to go. Even though we were there in March and it wasn’t too cold, the bathroom had heated floors, which felt great in the early morning!

Here is a video tour of the Opus Vancouver!

 

The Opus Vancouver Hotel is rated one of the best boutique hotels and I could quickly see why. They have a great coffee lounge which doubles as a bar at night and as an avid coffee lover, I approve! The staff was so helpful and eager to help with anything we could ever need and the valet even went to grab a bag we left behind out of the car for us and brought it to our room. They even have a turn down service at night and leave some sweet treats on the bed for you! Who doesn’t love a candy before bed?

Opus Vancouver

There isn’t one negative thing I can say about the Opus Vancouver Hotel. It was the perfect choice for my first trip to Canada and I can’t wait to come back! So if you’re looking for a comfortable and affordable hotel, look no further! The Opus Vancouver does it right and will not leave you disappointed!

SOCIAL

10,661FansLike
12,288FollowersFollow
2,429SubscribersSubscribe