Like millions around the world, we have watched the recent events in Egypt unfold, with much concern for our local friends. Sadly, the Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) centre in Luxor, supported by our staff and travellers via The Intrepid Foundation, has not been immune from the unrest.
Co-Founder of ACE, Kim Taylor writes: “So far we have had no animals actually injured directly by the problems. But the cost of feed and medicine has already doubled and we have no idea how bad this will get. The poorest people will struggle to feed their working animals and may push them harder to make ends meet, which will make the ACE hospital even busier. The real problem that the hospital will face now is funding, as we will have no tourists visiting and leaving donations for awhile, plus inflation due to the civil problems will hit everyone.”
Sure, stories like Eat, Pray, Love will try to have you believe that holiday romances are possible, but really, what are the chances? Well, here’s a wonderful Valentine’s Day travel tale from Chelsea Fitzgerald that reads like a real life fairy tale…
“My story is quite like a romantic movie. I graduated from college and had gotten through two years of being single and feeling great about it. I had time to discover myself and what I really wanted and set out to accomplish those goals. One goal was to go on holiday to Vietnam. I searched for an Intrepid trip, found Hanoi to Hong Kong and booked the July 25th trip. I flew to Hanoi with the most calm and exciting feeling rising up inside of me, as if I knew this would be the trip to change my life.
The Eternal City of Rome is also known as the City of Love, and no wonder when you think of how easy it is to get swept up in the passion of the place that has been the scene of so many iconic love stories. Intrepid Express reader Lisa Valentine is a romantic by nature and not only by name, but even this great city left a much greater impression than she anticipated…
“I would have to say that my most memorable city encounter, by far was when my husband and I were in our honeymoon in Italy. On our third day in Rome we decided to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Deforestation is one of the root causes of our climate crisis. Tropical deforestation accounts for approximately 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the world’s entire transport sector, so tackling deforestation is key.
The Amazon is estimated to store between 80-120 billion tons of carbon. It is also home to more than 20 million people, including over 200,000 people from 180 different indigenous nations. It is the most bio-diverse region in the world!
Despite all this, deforestation continues at a breathtaking pace. One fifth of the Amazon has already been destroyed forever. If current rates of land clearing continue, the Amazon will be gone within fifty years.
Nazca, a small desert town situated approximately 175km (109 miles) south-east of Lima is most famous for its mysterious drawings; the Nazca Lines. On the plain between the Inca and Nazca valleys, is an assortment of perfectly straight lines, many running parallel, others intersecting. In and around the lines there are also trapezoidal zones, strange symbols, and pictures of birds and beasts all etched on an enormous scale. Many theories abound as to the origin and purpose of the Nazca Lines, so Intrepid’s Chotie Moloney was intrigued to find out more on site…
“In the 1920’s a Peruvian doctor and anthropologist Toribio Xespe was the first scientist to show an interest in the “great Incan ceremonial artifacts”. Maria Reiche, a German mathematician and archaeologist arrived in the 1940’s and spent the next 50 years on the Nazca plain, researching the lines and determined they depicted an Astronomical Calendar indicating the direction of the rising of important stars and planetary events like sun solstices. She believed the Nazca Indians constructed the elaborate formations between 300BC-AD800.
One alpaca, two alpaca, three alpaca, snore – do you think Peruvians count alpaca rather than sheep to bring on sleep? Intrepid’s Chotie Moloney snuggled up in a cozy bed of alpaca blankets on her most memorable homestay in Peru…
“Lake Titicaca has fascinated me ever since I was a child. Imagine living on man-made reed islands in the largest lake in South America and could the colour of the water really be so dark blue that it is nearly purple? I couldn’t believe I was going to actually experience a Titicaca island homestay!
The Intrepid Foundation is now supporting 40 fantastic non-government organisations around the globe. Jane Crouch, Intrepid’s Responsible Travel Manager writes, “I feel incredibly honoured to have regular communications with the many inspiring people who do the extraordinary work of these organisations. They are often up against phenomenal challenges and make very limited resources go a long way towards improving the lives of local people, animals and protecting their natural environment.
Rarely a day goes by without receiving an email of news or thanks for our support, but unfortunately I don’t often get to meet these terrific people. I count on our local staff who manage our relationships with these organisations, which I oversee from Intrepid’s head office. But occasionally I can sever the mouse cord and hit the road to have the pleasure of meeting some of my heroes.
Mountains & Monasteries is an overland trip that promises to satisfy your sense of adventure and spiritual curiosity, and Intrepid’s Tara Kennaway discovers that it offers that and more as soon as she arrives in Lhasa…
“My guide told me on arrival yesterday that I should not shower straight away for two reasons: the likelihood of catching a cold and the possibility of evil spirits invading my body. I don’t particularly want either so am more than happy to wait until midday today, the recommended period.
In the last decade, orphanage tourism has become a growing phenomenon, where well-meaning travellers arrange to go and see orphanages and other children’s institutions in foreign countries – for a brief visit or to volunteer for a short time. This has perhaps been partly fuelled by the media and celebrities visiting developing countries to ‘rescue’ children from their impoverished situation.
We are now hearing many research and anecdotal reports about the problems and many scams that await. Naive travellers are in many cases unknowingly doing more harm than good and their donations may be lining the pockets of corrupt and exploitive people, rather than helping the neediest children. We are receiving this news from across the world – from Central America, Bali, Cambodia, India, Eastern and Southern Africa. Sadly wherever there’s poverty and vulnerable children, coupled with low level government regulation of institutions, there will be people exploiting kids.
Want to discover a suburban oasis admid the jam-packed city of Bangkok? Intrepid Urban Adventures provide the bike, so as Christina Ward discovered, all you need bring is your sense of adventure…
“My mother and I just did the Intrepid Urban Adventure – Bangkok Bike and had a fantastic time. We cycled along the Chao Phraya River to a local ferry, then loaded our bikes aboard and crossed to the other side, known as Thonburi. It really is like another world over there, it’s quieter, less high rises and a labyrinth of canals.