At home we often fall into the trap of not being able to see beyond the world in which we live. We know what we don’t like, but spend too little time discovering new things to enjoy. Tina Jensen’s story is about her journey of discovery in Vietnam, where the things that she would never do at home became her guilt-free pleasures abroad…
“Intrepid’s promise of “discovering worlds beyond your own” conjures up images of new places, faces, experiences, the excitement of the unknown. It gets people thinking. Gets people dreaming. Gets people wanting to get out of the confines of their every day lives and see more of the world. I love it!
If your guilty holiday pleasure is having time to linger over a lager or two, then San Francisco could be your perfect city. Darrin Ratajczak explains why it’s so easy to get to know this famous USA metropolis from the comfort of a local bar stool…
“I’m just going to come out and say it: I love San Francisco. But it’s not the San Francisco that you so often hear about. What I love is that it’s a city of stories and story tellers. Every neighbourhood, every street, every corner, every bar has a story and someone who is more than willing to tell it to you.
One of the great joys of travelling is getting to indulge in delicious local treats. Sure, they might be heavy on the calories that you’re trying to avoid at home, but as Intrepid’s Summer Davis can attest, it’s so hard to resist a heavenly sweet that’s still baked from a secret 19th century recipe…
“It’s true. They’re amazing. As a Portuguese man on a bench told me, they’re so good he could eat ten, or fifteen, without any shame! Warm, freshly baked mini custard tarts, known in Portugal as pastéis de nata or Pastéis de Belem.
As a child, Miss Chanh felt hopeless. She was born with clubfeet and could not run around like the other kids. She had great difficulty walking and had to use crutches to move around. Chanh lives in the very beautiful and mountainous Oudomxay province in the north west of Laos.
Although the treatment now offered through the centres for babies born with clubfoot is non-invasive and highly successful, it was not available 20 years ago when Chanh was born. During her teens, Chanh received an orthotic, but over time it broke and was painful.
Peace on earth – this is something we all hope for, but do we really expect to find it? Dara Leonard went in search of somewhere tranquil and her journey led her to Botswana…
“Have you ever felt 100% at peace with yourself and what you were doing? The first time I had this feeling was when I was in the Okavango Delta. If you can picture this scene… the sun is shining bright overhead, there is a slight breeze on a perfectly warm day. You head down to the water’s edge where the mokoros (local canoes traditionally made from a dugout tree) are all lined up with people from the nearby community there to help load the boats. .
World-renowned photographer Steve Davey knows about everything from making use of ambient light to choosing the right zoom lens, but ask what it really takes to take great photos and he’ll tell you it’s all in your head…
“The single most effective piece of camera equipment that you can take with you on your travels is your mind. If you want to take great travel pictures, you have to think! Snap away with little or no thought or creativity, and you will be lucky to come back with anything other than simple record shots.
Phuong* ran away from home when he was 10 years old. He was born in the far north of Vietnam. His mother lives in China and his father sold him to an extended family member when he was just 7 years old. His adopted family treated him badly, and insisted that he work on the streets instead of going to school. Phuong ran away to Hanoi.
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation staff met him in late 2011 at the local market. Sadly, they’ve been unable to locate a family member willing or able to take care of him. So now Phuong is living at Blue Dragon’s shelter in Hanoi where he’s being supported to go back to school. He’s a really happy, friendly kid and loves going to school every day.
Stepping out of our comfort zones can so often lead to our most amazing real life experiences. For Julie-Anne McMackin you couldn’t get much more uncomfortable than stripping off in front of strangers, but she mustered the courage on her Intrepid Morocco trip…
“I loved getting lost in the chaotic, crowded splendour of the Medina in the imperial cities. I lost my heart to a blue-eyed Berber who would have given Aladdin a run for his money and learnt how to wrap my head in the traditional Berber headdress to protect my face from the windblown sand that shapes the dunes as it races towards the endless horizons of the desert. But the most boundary-stretching, confronting and life-affirming experience of my time in this wonderful country was my visit to a hammam, or local bath.
Bathing in an outdoor onsen (hot spring bath) in Japan is one of those very memorable real life experiences. But mustering the courage to shed your inhibitions could end up a travel blooper rather than a holiday highlight, so David Atkinson helps us take the plunge…
“Bath time had never been so tricky. Here I was, tackle out and goose bumps spreading like a bad rash, prancing between the centuries-old dipping pools of a pristine hot springs resort in Japan. Set against a serene backdrop of mountain scenery, autumnal forests and tiny shrines, the resort oozed a sense of almost Zen-like calm. But inside I was stricken with fear. I mean, what’s the etiquette when getting naked with a bunch of total strangers?