Stop Having a Boring Life - Global Living Blog http://stophavingaboringlife.com You'll never know unless you go Sun, 28 Jun 2015 16:19:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.5 A Night in Bho Hoong, Vietnam http://stophavingaboringlife.com/a-night-in-bho-hoong-vietnam/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/a-night-in-bho-hoong-vietnam/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 16:19:58 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22313 Greetings, Not long ago I spent a night in a small village called Bho Hoong which is nestled in the Truong Son mountain range which is also known as the Annamite Range. The day started in Da Nang and along the way we stopped for lunch in Xaba. Bho Hoong is home to the Co […]

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river_bho_hoong_vietnam

Greetings,

Not long ago I spent a night in a small village called Bho Hoong which is nestled in the Truong Son mountain range which is also known as the Annamite Range. The day started in Da Nang and along the way we stopped for lunch in Xaba. Bho Hoong is home to the Co Tu people which are part of one of the many ethnic minority groups living in Vietnam.

bungalows_bho_hoong_vietnam

It’s not a long ride from Da Nang and home to only 315 people the last time they counted. I’ve been to Vietnam before and spent two months but this was something very new to me. Most of my time was spent in cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An and Hanoi. This was a different experience and I was unaware that there are dozens of different ethnic minority groups which make up a sizeable portion of the population in Vietnam.

volleyball_bho_hoong_vietnam

We arrived in the late afternoon and it began to pour. I can see why the mountains are so green and after an hour or so, it let up and things resumed as before. In fact, things didn’t change much even during the rainstorm as some local gents were playing volleyball before it hit and played through, was quite the sight.

dance_bho_hoong_vietnam

Supposedly the Co Tu people have retained lots of their traditional customs and beliefs and I was lucky enough to experience some of their traditional dance later that night. It was interesting to say the least and I saw it inside the Long House which was nice but seeing it done by the fire is more of the authentic experience but it was too muddy to make it worthwhile or enjoyable.

rice_fields_bho_hoong_vietnam

The next morning I woke up early and went for a tour of the town so to speak. It’s a small place and I think that I may have even passed the outskirts. It’s interesting to see how many of the people live here in a way that I’d assume is quite similar to how they’ve always lived. Naturally, there are some modern conveniences and the like but it seemed to be a place very connected with nature and removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world.

friendly_bho_hoong_vietnam

If you’re looking to explore the Annamite Range aka Truong Son Mountains, Bho Hoong is a place to consider crashing for the night along your voyage. I do recommend everyone visit the mountains at some point if passing through Vietnam because it’s a stunning and peaceful place where at times you won’t see another soul except for a herd of cattle hanging out on the highway without a care in the world.

bamboo_bridge_bho_hoong_vietnam

In closing, I’d like to thank my friends at Cathay Pacific for inviting me to try their services as well as those of Dragonair and partake in their #lifewelltravelled campaign. I’d also like to thank the fine people from Central Coast Vietnam for their hospitality. That said, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.

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Tips hat,

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The Benefits of Slow Travel http://stophavingaboringlife.com/the-benefits-of-slow-travel/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/the-benefits-of-slow-travel/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 21:08:27 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22274 Greetings, I recently wrote a piece for my friends at Flights.com which featured my top reasons to give slow travel a chance. I figured I’d follow up with a more in-depth piece which highlights a few of the reasons why I think slow travel isn’t something to be overlooked. Also, that anyone planning a vacation […]

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Greetings,

I recently wrote a piece for my friends at Flights.com which featured my top reasons to give slow travel a chance. I figured I’d follow up with a more in-depth piece which highlights a few of the reasons why I think slow travel isn’t something to be overlooked. Also, that anyone planning a vacation should further investigate the idea of traveling less to experience more before putting together their next itinerary.

First, I’d like to tell you that when I first started traveling in 2009, I didn’t really have a plan. I just sort of showed up in Vancouver, then Vegas and finally Bangkok. It was in Bangkok that I met lots of other travelers and just started going around with different groups of cool people that I met. It led me all over the world and most of the memorable places which stick with me after all the years are you guessed it, the ones I actually got to know.

If you look at travel like you do friendships; how well do you really know the gent you said cheers to at a busy pub? Do you even remember some of the people you met briefly for a few moments years ago? Now think of the people you went on a crazy adventure with, people that you shared a life changing experience with? People that actually taught you something… Now relate this back to travel. If you want to go places to say you’ve been there and to check off your bucket list, that’s fine but I don’t think that is what most of you are after.

Most of you are after what I’m after and that’s meeting pleasant people from different places, experiencing different cultures and learning a little bit more about the world we live in as well as ourselves in the process. There is no better way to do this than by slowing down your travels and taking the time to smell the flowers, taste some dishes and mingle with a few local minds.

Besides that, there are also other benefits to slow travel such as it being cost effective. Passing your time exploring instead of in transit, relaxing instead of burning yourself out and meeting interesting locals instead of just the touts who flock to the touristy areas and ultimately want to sell you something. This summer I really slowed down and it was one of my best summers yet in Europe.

The first time I went to Europe I bought a rail pass and went everywhere as I had no plan and wanted to maximize my return on the investment. I had a fun time but it was draining both financially and emotionally. Also, I didn’t really get to know lots of the places I visited beyond the town square. I definitely visited the places, there is no doubt but upon further reflection, I only scratched the surface and didn’t make that many meaningful personal connections.

Back to last summer, yes? I spent most of it in the Balkans and in Spain. I did do some hopping around but also really slowed down and spent time in places I liked. I spent roughly two weeks in Dubrovnik staying in a third floor loft apartment overlooking the Gruz Harbor. I even flew my mother out and we really enjoyed the area like locals. It was one of the most memorable trips I’ve had in ages and in the process met some great local friends; ones we both hope to see again at some point in the future.

Following that I spent a month in Valencia, Spain. There, I rented a room in a flat and developed a great network of local characters whom I’m proud to call friends. I even met up with one of them recently in London for a night out; good times. There are countless ways you can spend the time you have while on a trip and ultimately, none are wrong or right but they all lead you to different experiences. If you’re looking to really get a feel for a place, learn about a foreign culture and make some new friends, consider giving slow travel a chance.

Tips hat,

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Adventures in Annamite Mountains & Hue, Vietnam http://stophavingaboringlife.com/adventures-in-annamite-mountains-hue-vietnam/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/adventures-in-annamite-mountains-hue-vietnam/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 02:35:51 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22217 Greetings, I’m writing this from central Vietnam not long after sunrise and feeling fantastic. Yesterday was one of those travel days where you know you’re going somewhere special and are completely taken back by the beauty in which you feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience. Myself and my new friends spent the […]

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annamite_mountains_vietnam
Greetings,

I’m writing this from central Vietnam not long after sunrise and feeling fantastic. Yesterday was one of those travel days where you know you’re going somewhere special and are completely taken back by the beauty in which you feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience. Myself and my new friends spent the day exploring parts of the Truong Son mountains aka Annamite Range which is a place I had never heard of before and which played an important role in the Ho Chi Minh Highway…

morning_bho_hoong_vietnam

We left the small village of Bho Hoong where we had spent the previous night and drove deeper into the Annamite mountain range. At one point, we were no more than six kilometres from the border of Laos. The views were endless and the highway was almost deserted besides the random herds of cattle who seemed to have no clue that they were actually hanging out on a highway.

Annamite Mountains n Vietnam

The highway weaved through the mountains and all I could see was green, we passed small villages and stopped at a place called Prao to use some wifi and load up on even more delicious Vietnamese coffee. I’m not a huge coffee connoisseur but I will say that Vietnam has some of the best coffee I’ve had anywhere. Something I remembered from my first trip here in 2010 when I spent two months in Vietnam was the delicious coffee.

Vietnamese Soup

From there we entered the Ho Chi Minh Highway which was a vital supply route during the Vietnam war and finally made our way to where I’m writing this now in Hue. Before arriving in the city, we stopped at Minh Mang’s Tomb which is simply massive, sitting on 28 hectares of land and a UNESCO site for good reason. I will note that if you do go, try and hit it early in the morning or late in the afternoon, in the heat of the day it’s quite warm to say the least and it’s worth spending some time there. Also, your photos will be better if the sun isn’t directly above you.

minh_mang_tomb_entrance

Following that it was off to Bunker Hill which is an infamous location from the Vietnam war era. It was interesting to say the least and can’t imagine what was going through the minds of soldiers on either side while those epic battles were taking place. If you are into history, this is one of those spots not to miss and one that can make you feel something, even perhaps make the hair on your arms stand up.

bunker_hill_vietnam

Next it was into Hue, where we checked into La Residence Hotel and Spa where we enjoyed a quick massage after getting settled. I had the Vietnamese Cupping Massage which is something I had never seen before and it was great, a mix of an oil massage with some cupping treatment to remove toxins from the body. It had been ages since I’ve received a cupping treatment and if you do come here, it’s the one to choose as the others are available in most places around the world; this was unique.

sunset_hue_vietnam

Following that it was time for dinner. Myself and my new friend Chi met up with another friend of hers and we tried some local dishes which are unique to Hue. Following that, we jumped on cyclones which are basically bicycle taxis and headed to a small street stall selling another speciality called Com Hen. It’s made with all sorts of tasty ingredients including these tiny clams which are found in the nearby river; recommended.

com_hen_vietnam

To end the night we went on a small tour with our new cyclone driving friends, stopping for sugar cane and this dessert soup which involved fried pork. I know it sounds odd but it was one of the more delicious tasting desserts that I’ve had, ever. I’m not a dessert guy by any stretch of the imagination but I’d gladly have that again anytime. In fact, I liked it so much I was considering going for seconds but they were literally sold out.

streets_hue_vietnam

In closing, it feels great being back in Vietnam and very grateful to have some local friends to show me around this time because I’m expanding my palate. I found that when I traveled alone, I used to have the same thing over and over to some extent because I didn’t speak the language, couldn’t read the menus and wasn’t sure what to try… I’ll tell you this, if you do come to Vietnam go on a food tour right away so the rest of your trip can have a wider array of dishes in it; I’m hooked on Vietnamese food.

Vietnamese Food in Hue Vietnam

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In closing, I’d like to thank my friends at Cathay Pacific for inviting me to try their services as well as those of Dragonair and partake in their #lifewelltravelled campaign. I’d also like to thank the fine people from Central Coast Vietnam for their hospitality. That said, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.

Tips hat,

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Exploring Central Vietnam http://stophavingaboringlife.com/exploring-central-vietnam/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/exploring-central-vietnam/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 11:36:59 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22245 Greetings, I’m writing this at ~6:04am in the small village of  Bho Hoong which is in the mountains and not far from the Loatian border in central Vietnam. Yesterday was a really different day where I left one of the largest and most cosmopolitan areas on the planet, Hong Kong and flew to Vietnam where […]

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streets_da_nang_vietnam
Greetings,
I’m writing this at ~6:04am in the small village of  Bho Hoong which is in the mountains and not far from the Loatian border in central Vietnam. Yesterday was a really different day where I left one of the largest and most cosmopolitan areas on the planet, Hong Kong and flew to Vietnam where I ended up in one of the more rural and remote areas I’ve visited in recent memory. To say I’m pleased to be back in Vietnam would be an understatement and frankly, I can’t believe it has taken me this long as the last time I was here was in 2010 and I loved it.
noodle_bar_hong_kong
I left Hong Kong early and if you’re doing so, you’ll probably jump in a taxi as well. The taxi ride was part of the journey and I didn’t realize how big Hong Kong was. I was flying with Dragonair which is an airline that is owned by Cathay Pacific and services international destinations which are more Asian based. I was there early and had lounge access so naturally had a large breakfast followed by a mandatory trip to the Noodle Bar. The flight was pleasant and in less than two hours time, I was in Da Nang, Vietnam.
motorbike_tour_vietnam
Yesterday was busy, the way I like it and once we arrived in Da Nang it was straight to the back of some motorbikes for a small tour of the town with new friends Chi and Tony. I forgot how insane the streets of Vietnam are in the best way possible, it’s organized chaos and I must have filmed hours of video and snapped too many shots to count. We crisscrossed the town, went through side streets and ended up at this bustling market.
vegetable_stand_vietnam
There, many familiar sights and sounds awaited me as well as countless smiles. After strolling the aisles we made our way to a small stand and tried a local dish whose name I know not and something I had most certainly never tried before. To say I love eating Vietnamese food would be an understatement and I’ve yet to have a dish that I didn’t like. Following the tour of the market we were back on the motorbikes and rode to the top of Monkey Mountain.
da_nang_monkey_mountain
Monkey Mountain is right outside of Da Nang and offers great views of the city and the surrounding area. On a clear day, it’s even possible to see Hoi An in the distance. It’s a steep hill and the bike I was on with my guide overheated so I jumped on another and away we went, all the way to the top. The name Monkey Mountain comes from when the US military was stationed there during the war because obviously, lots of monkeys live on the mountain but I wasn’t fortunate enough to see any on my short trip there.
beaches_da_nang_vietnam
We crossed the mountain and came out near the sea where countless boats floated not far from shore. I also noticed there was an untold number of baskets sitting on the shore. You see, you get taxed per boat and a basket technically isn’t a boat. So instead of having a small boat to get to your big boat and paying double tax, why not just make a really big basket and float out in that to get to your boat? It’s ingenious really and was lucky enough to see a local fisherman jump in one and go out to his boat. I think I’m going to have a basket made where I live, seems perfect for hanging out in the harbour and doing a little fishing but I digress.
Is that your boat one would ask and I’d reply with a “no, that’s my basket!”
lunch_xa_ba_vietnam
Following that we jumped in a truck and left the city towards the Truong Son mountains. Our first stop was in Xa Ba to visit a friend of my guide / new friend Mark. He’s an elder who used to be chief of the Co Tu tribe. I saw lots of memorabilia from the past, shared a laugh or so, some rice wine and a delicious meal before pressing forward to where we are now. When we arrived it was just before sunset and not long after, it started to pour. This was actually quite welcome as it cut the heat and gave yours truly a chance to get a few moments of downtime.
river_bho_hoong_vietnam
Next we were in the Long House which is at the centre of the village  here in Bho Hoong. There we ate a delicious dinner prepared by some locally followed by the tribe’s traditional dance. It was a village affair with men, women and children taking part. Myself and my new friend Chi even got involved, it was good times and a nice experience. Usually, it’s done around a big bonfire but with the rain we decided to skip that and do it in a slightly different and most certainly drier spot.
traditional_dance_bho_hoong
I’d continue but I’m about to shower, shave and get some breakfast. I’m not in Vietnam for a long time and so far I’m having a great time; the way trips should be. This morning we’re off to explore further into the mountains before making our way to Hue. Travel is a wonderful thing and yours truly can think of few things on this planet more interesting and enjoyable than exploring new areas and driving down roads for the first time knowing it will almost most likely be your last.

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In closing, I’d like to thank my friends at Cathay Pacific for inviting me to try their services as well as those of Dragonair and partake in their #lifewelltravelled campaign. I’d also like to thank the fine people from Central Coast Vietnam for their hospitality. That said, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.

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Shopping & Soup in Hong Kong http://stophavingaboringlife.com/shopping-hong-kong/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/shopping-hong-kong/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 10:18:14 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22179 Good day, Today I went shopping in Hong Kong and it was amazing. I had long since heard that Hong Kong was a great place to buy electronics so I figured it would only be civilized to peruse what was available while here, yes? I was on my way to Wan Chai Computer Centre when […]

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local_life_hong_kong

Good day,

Today I went shopping in Hong Kong and it was amazing. I had long since heard that Hong Kong was a great place to buy electronics so I figured it would only be civilized to peruse what was available while here, yes? I was on my way to Wan Chai Computer Centre when I asked a gregarious local gent for directions and he asked me why I was going there and if I was a tourist? I said to possibly buy electronics and yes, I am a tourist.

streets_hong_kong

He said that there are better places and suggested I go to Sham Shui Po which was on the red line. You must understand this was all said while waiting for the subway to arrive. When the subway did arrive I was fumbling for my phone and trying to enter notepad; I wrote down Sham Shui Po right as he was entering the train before the doors closed; I had a new mission and it was off to a place I had never heard of before…

electronics_shopping_hong_kong

I took the red line and was there in no time. At this point I’d like to stress that your trip really morphs for the better when you take a chance, expand your comfort zone and ask a local for their opinion. Naturally, you pick and choose whom you wish to associate with but if you’re a half decent judge of character, you’ll often be pleasantly surprised with what your new friend in transit has to say. Suffice to say I asked another gent when I arrived at the subway station where to buy electronics; he pointed to a door and away I went.

specialty_hong_kong

Right outside the exit was a place called the Golden Computer Shopping Centre and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. So you know, Sham Shui Po is a district in Hong Kong and it’s quickly become somewhere that I know I’ll revisit and suggest you do as well if you’d like to get a different perspective on Hong Kong. I didn’t see any tours or tourists for that matter, only local people going about their lives and vendors hawking their wares at beyond reasonable prices.

shopping_in_hong_kong

I cruised through the mall and on the top floor I found what I was looking for and more… I ended up buying everything shown above and all at very reasonable prices. Some were so shockingly low that I didn’t even bother bartering. Also, at one point I offered a gent $30 for the computer cleaning kit and he went over to see how much was, returned and said it was only $25; that was unexpected.

fanny_pack

Following that I bought the perfect fanny pack; yes I did. You see, they are one thing worn around the waist, another if worn around your chest like rounds of ammunition. Backpacks are one thing, man purses another but a fanny pack worn over the chest keeps everything at close reach and out of harms way; even in crowded subways etc… Picking a pocket is one thing but stealing your valuables from under your nose (literally) is another. When you start carrying a few cameras, spare batteries, mobile chargers, phones and more; you need something.

butcher_hong_kong

After that was all said and done I decided I wanted to enjoy a bowl of soup. I ventured far and wide, bought a power bank I didn’t really need and couldn’t find any soup. That said, I’m sure I did pass many places just they had no photos of soup and the few places I did enquire told me that they didn’t serve it. That said, I was determined to get my soup so I continued on my stroll going further and further from the subway stop.

vegetable_stand_hong_kong

I came across another wonderful juice lady and polished off some more sugar cane; I love sugar cane and implore all of you to try some of it fresh at some point in your lives. As I wandered I crossed so many interesting sights and while I didn’t get my soup right away, I did enjoy a serious slice of Hong Kong life and I’m grateful for that. I went from the electronics district to textiles to staples… Then, finally, I came across the perfect soup.

soup_restaurant_hong_kong

I have no idea what the soup is called or what type of meat was in the balls but it was without a doubt one of the most delicious soups I’ve had in my life. I know how to get to the spot and hope to return to it next time I’m in town. I also ordered some morning glory and a coffee for good measure. I enjoyed every spoonful of said soup, slowly sipped my coffee and made my way back to the subway stop after thanking my friendly hosts.

best_bowl_soup_hong_kong

I’m now in my hotel room taking care of some business and later tonight plan on going for a stroll through SoHo to see what’s happening. My short but sweet stay in Hong Kong is coming to a close and quite content how the limited time I had here was passed. I do know that this is my second time to Hong Kong and most certainly not my last. I’ve spent considerably more time in many other Asian countries but Hong Kong is quickly climbing the list for a variety of reasons.

local_chiller_hong_kong

If you come to Hong Kong, leave lots of room in your luggage; you’ll fill it.

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In closing, I’d like to thank my friends at Cathay Pacific for inviting me to try their premium economy class from Toronto to Hong Kong and partake in their #lifewelltravelled campaign. If you’d like to see more stories from Hong Kong on social media, simply search for #lifewelltravelled on any top network. That said, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.

Tips hat,

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Exploring Hong Kong http://stophavingaboringlife.com/exploring-hong-kong/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/exploring-hong-kong/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 19:10:35 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22177 Good day, Yesterday was grand and my first time back in Asia in a while, I had missed Asia but really had no clue just how much. I flew from Toronto on a direct flight with Cathay Pacific trying their premium economy class; it was lovely. The big question was do I sleep or just […]

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view-the-peak-hong-kong

Good day,

Yesterday was grand and my first time back in Asia in a while, I had missed Asia but really had no clue just how much. I flew from Toronto on a direct flight with Cathay Pacific trying their premium economy class; it was lovely. The big question was do I sleep or just charge into the day and see what’s in store? I chose the latter and glad I did; I spent the day exploring Hong Kong and getting to know the place, I’m hooked.

taxi-cabs-hong-kong

I was in Hong Kong briefly in 2010 after spending ~7 months in Asia and came here to catch  flight to Amsterdam. I spent an afternoon and loved it but then I left and never came back. Believe it or not, I recognized an area yesterday that I knew I had passed years before and even believe I saw the exact bar where I went in for lunch and a drink but enough of that, let’s talk about the present, yes?

lkf-hotel-breakfast-hong-kong

I’m staying at the LKF Hotel which is located in a very central location. So much so that it’s a short walk from Central Station or a short cab ride away. I couldn’t be happier with where I’m staying and love that it’s close to/ in SOHO, that’s the area I explored last time. I decided to take the Big Bus Tour because I think taking a bus tour first thing is a great way to get a lay of the land, glad I did.

big-bus-tour-hong-kong

I jumped on the bus and did the tour, I saw all sorts of sights and crossed numerous areas, some I will return to today; other perhaps in the future. Hong Kong is truly breathtaking with its narrow streets and oh so tall skyscrapers. Taking a bus tour is a good idea because if you’re just walking around you may end up tripping or walking into traffic as you’ll be constantly staring up into the sky. What’s also cool is that the topography is quite hilly but more on that later.

view-lkf-hotel-hong-kong

As it happens, LKF is a stop on the bus tour so I got off and ventured into SOHO to find a small local noodle shop. I found this lovely place which was quite busy and ordered some fish ball noodle soup, one of my favourites. The moment I started eating said soup I realized that I need to start spending at least two months a year in Asia, it just does it for me and the vibrations from this part of the world ring true with this fellow. I also missed the food incredibly, there is nowhere in the world with food even close to that in which you’ll find in Asia, even at some random street stall.

fish-ball-soup-hong-kong

Following that I strolled through the streets of SOHO before retiring for a few moments. You see, the plan was to get sunset from The Peak which is one of the best view points in Hong Kong.  I ended up napping a bit which was a horrible idea because when I woke up, If felt 200 years old, or as though I was a lion waking up after being tranquilized. That said, I hopped in a cab and made my way to The Peak, eager to see the views and what my first evening in Hong Kong had in store for me.

view-hong-kong-breakfast

There is a tram which you can take up and down to get to The Peak but it’s a popular tourist spot for good reason. By taking a taxi you skip all of those lines and nobody said you can’t take it down afterward, right? I made my way to the observation deck where you get the best view and just soaked in the sights with a few hundred other people all as excited to be there as myself, many armed with selfie sticks.

hong-kong-at-night

There, I met a lady from Perth who was flying to London and on a layover as she was also flying with Cathay Pacific. She figured she’d use her layover to explore the city and had one spot left to see before heading to the airport, the Temple Street Night Market. She asked if I had plans to which I quipped “Going to the night market with you” and we were off. We waited in line for the tram which wasn’t so bad and then hit the streets, making our way to the Central Station.

local-bus-hong-kong

Some people ask for directions, others plan things out. This lady was a planner and I’m the exact opposite. We go to Kowloon Station and realized it wasn’t quite right. She was looking for signs when I asked this lady who was not so helpful. That said, the most gregarious and helpful man I have met in ages overheard and brought us under his wing, we needed to catch a small local bus #74 and it he was going that way too; perfect.

durian-hong-kong

We talked for a while as the driver whizzed through backroads seldom seen by tourist Tom and Tara before hitting Temple Street Night Market. I felt at that moment that I had started to see a bit more of Hong Kong and I absolutely loved it. I perused the tables filled of this and that and even found an adapter I had been looking for. The adapter it cost me ~$1.50cdn, the same one in a big box department store was $22 + tax in Canada; I purchased it with a big smile on my face.

soup-stall-hong-kong

At this time, my friend and to leave so we exchanged contacts and I walked her to the nearest subway stop. Then, I was unleashed on the street with a simple goal of finding a delicious bowl of soup. I found this packed restaurant but it specialized in rice bowls, but I was thirsty for soup so I left.

soup-restaurant-hong-kong

Moments later I stumbled up on this lovely little soup stall where all they made was soup, perfect. I sat on the small plastic stools and waited for my soup to arrive, before the plethora of flavours entertained my palate, I felt a rush of memories hit me and they were all good. Words can’t express how much I love the food and vibe of the street stall scene in Asia but I think you get what I’m going for so I’ll leave it at that.

juice-stand-hong-kong

Suffice to say, the soup was delicious and later I hit up a nice lady selling juice. I was going to buy some papaya juice when I saw that she had sugar cane, one of my big weaknesses. I bought the largest one I could find and it made it disappear as though that was my job; I was back in Asia. I looked around on this humid evening at all the lights with signs I couldn’t read and felt like I was back in part of the world that I hadn’t visited in far too long, the far east.

crosswalk-hong-kong

In closing, I’d like to thank my friends at Cathay Pacific for inviting me to try their premium economy class from Toronto to Hong Kong and partake in their #lifewelltravelled campaign. If you’d like to see more stories from Hong Kong on social media, simply search for #lifewelltravelled on any top network. That said, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.

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busy-streets-hong-kong

daily-life-hong-kong

fruit-stand-hong-kong

hong-kong-big-bus-tour

living-in-hong-kong

lkf-hotel-hong-kong-bed

narrow-streets-high-buildings-hong-kong

pottinger-street-hong-kong

side-streets-hong-kong

street-food-stalls-hong-kong

street-meat-skewers-hong-kong

subway-life-hong-kong

temple-hong-kong

temple-night-market-hong-kong

tofu-soup-hong-kong

vases-for-sale-hong-kong

Tips hat,

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Happy Days in Hamburg, Germany http://stophavingaboringlife.com/happy-days-in-hamburg-germany/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/happy-days-in-hamburg-germany/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:14:18 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22159 Greetings, I’m writing this from London and in a few hours I’m headed back to Canada. I’ve been on a whirlwind trip of sorts with all sorts of technical difficulties when it comes to equipment. I’d have liked to have written about this sooner but such is life, yes? Suffice to say, I recently passed […]

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friends_hamburg

Greetings,

I’m writing this from London and in a few hours I’m headed back to Canada. I’ve been on a whirlwind trip of sorts with all sorts of technical difficulties when it comes to equipment. I’d have liked to have written about this sooner but such is life, yes? Suffice to say, I recently passed a few days in Hamburg and loved it; they were happy days to say the least… I was there for The Social Travel Summit which is my favourite annual travel conference. I learned something, met new friends, connected with old and left inspired… What more could a gent like myself ask for?

moments_of_inspiration

Hamburg is an interesting port city in Germany, in fact it’s the second largest port in all of the European Union and the ninth largest city; indeed. Hamburg had a cool vibe to it and the people seemed quite friendly. While there it was mostly sunshine which is quite nice but the day I stayed on there was rain which was welcome. It was welcome because you need to see a city on a grey old day to get a good idea of what it’s really all about. Life can’t just be sunshine and good times, yes?

streets_hamburg

One thing I’ll note is that the internet in Hamburg was some of the fastest I’ve used anywhere. The first hotel I checked into which was the East Hotel had a screaming connection and I was pleased. That said, the other connections I logged into were also very fast which makes this place a pretty decent potential base for the digital type. In fact, I met a few people who were based there for various reasons.

riding_bus_hamburg

We went on some tours which were interesting but it was the day I had to myself where I got to know Hamburg. Somehow I got lost and found myself near the Supreme Court of Hamburg where there are wonderful parks surrounding it; right in the city. I’m a big fan of green spaces in urban areas, they are a place where you can get away from it all momentarily without having to go anywhere. Besides the parks I mentioned, Hamburg has more canals than Venice and Amsterdam combined which is quite cool and a massive warehouse district worth cruising through when in town.

alster_lake_walking_trails

The only disappointment I had was that I couldn’t find a good hamburger… I went on a quest in the centre of the city and couldn’t find any small, local and greasy joints. I asked people on the streets like one would for directions, I was on a hunt for the perfect hamburger. I assumed Hamburg would be all about the hamburger but I was wrong, sadly. Everyone said Jim Block has the best ones and I was like, “that’s a chain, how can it be?”

locks_bridge

Finally, I gave up and went into Jim Block for a burger, the place was packed. I thought I had found the mecca of all hamburger like things in Hamburg, Germany but I was wrong. The burger was uninspired to say the least… Later I went to a place called Otto’s as supposedly they have great burgers. Truth be told, the burger was “alright”. Seriously though, everyone at street stalls were selling sausage and it appears they forgot about the hamburger…

golf_hipster_sale

I’ve gone on far too long about hamburgers and now I want one. That said, attached are some photos from my time and if you’re touring through Europe, I do suggest you pop into Hamburg as you’ll probably enjoy it. I went out a few nights and into some pubs, clubs and cafes. They all had some incredible character much like many of the citizens there. Hamburg was a place that resonated with me and I would definitely like to return in the future, could even stay for an extended period quite happily.

chilling_beer_street

dancing_building_hamburg

graffiti_hamburg

street_life

sunset_dancing_building

Tips hat,

P.S: More photos later, having boring tech issues with all my devices…

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A Night in Miami, Florida http://stophavingaboringlife.com/a-night-in-miami-florida/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/a-night-in-miami-florida/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:43:25 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22145 Greetings, I’m writing this from a plane that’s quickly reaching its cruising altitude on the way to Europe. Last night I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday night in Miami’s world famous South Beach. As one could expect the strip was packed with people from all over the country and the world letting loose, […]

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marriott_stanton_view_south_beach

Greetings,

I’m writing this from a plane that’s quickly reaching its cruising altitude on the way to Europe. Last night I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday night in Miami’s world famous South Beach. As one could expect the strip was packed with people from all over the country and the world letting loose, enjoying the festivities and wonderful weather.

miami_south_beach

Not long ago I was chatting with my friends at Marriott Rewards and as it happens they are celebrating their 1,000,000th mobile check-in via their app for smartphones. Since I was coming through Miami, we decided to collaborate and let me give it a test run, to say it makes things easier would be an understatement and I’m sold. They made a cool video to capture the millionth check-in and you can watch it below. If the video brightened your day, consider giving it a share.

To continue the celebration and give back to all those using the app Marriott has decided to run a sweepstakes until the end of the year giving away millions of Marriot Rewards points. For full details you can click here. Below is a quote from Marriott Rewards which sums up the sweepstakes well:

“From April 2 to December 31, 2015, Marriott guests who check-in with the mobile app during their stay at a hotel in the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have a chance to win a grand prize of one million Marriott Rewards points or monthly prizes of 100,000 Marriott Rewards points.”

marriott_mobile_app

What I liked about mobile check-in is that it’s efficient and saves you time. When you reach the hotel, you go to an express desk so you don’t lose time in the lobby and can get on with your evening. Also, on check-out, you can just leave the keys in the room and leave without having to deal with the lines in the lobby.

“With the Marriott Mobile App, check-in is simple. Guests can check-in after 4 pm the day before their arrival and will receive an automatic notification when their room is ready.”

suite_marriott_stanton_south_beach

I stayed at the Marriott Stanton South Beach and loved it. Since it was a Saturday, the beach was packed and enjoyed watching the action from the balcony attached to my suite. First priority was to do some shopping and take a stroll along the beach. Later in the evening I linked up with an old friend and we stopped for a seaside pint before starting our quest for sushi which never really materialized.

morning_streets_south_beach

That said, we still got our salmon fix at a stellar sandwich spot called Europa. I’m not a sandwich guy by any means but gladly devoured the delicious North Star which came with smoked salmon, brie, pickled onions and more. If you’re in South Beach and wandering around on Washington just south of 5th Street, do look into it; it’s become a new spot for me and look forward to trying another sandwich or just the same once more next time I’m in the area.

north_star_sandwich_europa_south_beach

Following the sandwiches I decided to retire to the room. I guess I’m getting older or perhaps just wiser but when I have a nice suite, I enjoy spending some time in it. Not long after that the night was complete and now here I am. I’m not sure when I’ll be going back to South Beach but hopefully sooner than later.

view_concierge_lounge_marriott_stanton

Big thanks to my friends at Marriott for their hospitality, it was much appreciated. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.

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First Impression of Hamburg, Germany http://stophavingaboringlife.com/first-impression-of-hamburg-germany/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/first-impression-of-hamburg-germany/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 05:33:19 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22140 Greetings, The time is 6:45 am and I’m writing this from my room at the East Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. Yesterday was my first introduction to Hamburg and I must say that I quite liked it. I liked it so much that on the way to the hotel from the airport in the taxi, I […]

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chilling_hamburg_germany

Greetings,

The time is 6:45 am and I’m writing this from my room at the East Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. Yesterday was my first introduction to Hamburg and I must say that I quite liked it. I liked it so much that on the way to the hotel from the airport in the taxi, I told my friend Rachelle that I could consider renting an apartment here for the month…

When you know, you know in life. The more places one travels the more one knows what their eyes like and what sensations and feelings hit home. Hamburg is a beautiful city with a long history and a good feeling to it. Immediately upon arriving in Hamburg I passed out for a few hours after a rather long commute from Managua, Nicaragua.

Following that I met up with new and old friends to do a bus tour before the opening reception of the Social Travel Summit. This is the second year it’s running and it looks like it’s going to be another great time. We headed near the port for dinner and drinks and yours truly retired uncharacteristically early. You see, I’ve got a busy month and really want to learn from these sessions so the only reasonable thing to do was get as much sleep as possible after a long trek.

When people think of Germany, places like Berlin and Frankfurt most often come to mind. That said, Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and the 9th largest city in the European Union, that’s a pretty big deal. Not only that but the Port of Hamburg on the river Ebe is the second largest in Europe after Rotterdam and the tenth largest in the world, that’s no small feat and I’ve visited a few port cities.

I’d go on but the conference starts soon and I’d like to hit the gym first. Truth be told, I knew very little about Hamburg before arriving but so far, so good. I’m here for another few days so we’ll see if my tune changes. That said, I doubt it and when the conference is over I’ll be spending a day on my own or with a new friend that I met at the airport exploring the city SHABL style to see what this place is really all about.

Also, yes the hamburger was invented here; will have to have one of them for good measure. Something else worth noting is that supposedly Hamburg has more bridges and canals than Amsterdam or Venice; possibly the two of them combined. I’ve simply scratched the surface but Hamburg has joined the ranks of those cities I’m keen to know more about. It’s also situated in a good location for those looking to build European bases during the summer season…

Tips hat,

P.S: Didn’t take many photos but filmed A LOT of video…

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Off to Germany for STS Hamburg! http://stophavingaboringlife.com/off-to-germany-for-sts-hamburg/ http://stophavingaboringlife.com/off-to-germany-for-sts-hamburg/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 02:58:12 +0000 http://stophavingaboringlife.com/?p=22133 Hello friends, I’m writing this from a friend’s house in the heart of Managua, Nicaragua. It’s the big capital city which is night and day from the quiet beaches and paths of Little Corn Island. I’m here because tomorrow I catch a flight to Miami, spend a Saturday night then go direct to Germany for […]

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sts-4-1

Hello friends,

I’m writing this from a friend’s house in the heart of Managua, Nicaragua. It’s the big capital city which is night and day from the quiet beaches and paths of Little Corn Island. I’m here because tomorrow I catch a flight to Miami, spend a Saturday night then go direct to Germany for STS Hamburg. What’ s STS Hamburg you ask? It’s the Social Travel Summit which is an annual travel blogging conference and without a doubt, top in class.

I believe attending at least one conference a year is important to learn what’s happening in the industry, best practices in different areas I’m active in, network with my peers and catch up with some old friends over drinks. What separates STS from the other countless conferences is that it delivers real value to me and hosts the industry think tank. This is a place where all the different stakeholders in the industry get together and discuss issues affecting all of us and come up with solutions to overcome them.

Some other conferences tend to cater to entry level bloggers as there are more of them and their model appears to be appealing to as many people as possible to sell the most tickets. STS is geared towards bloggers who are more established so the sessions tend to be more advanced and the sponsors more interested in getting to know the bloggers. Other conferences are so busy that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd; STS is a great place to get some casual face time in.

A few sponsors include but are not limited to: Visit Berlin, Mercedes, Hamburg Tourism, MSC Cruises, Canadian Tourism Commission, German National Tourist Board, Curacao Tourism Board, Visit Norway, Visit Stockholm, Booking.com, Tourism Ireland, Visit Britain, Skyscanner, Expedia, Emilia Romagna Tourism, Latvian Tourism Development Agency and more… As you can see it’s one of the events not to miss for those in this growing industry.

After Germany I’m off to London for a few days before heading home. Then I’m going to Hong Kong and Vietnam before returning to Little Corn Island where I’ve left two houses that are currently under construction on hold. This is a most welcome break as I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for quite some time and for the first time ever, I was getting sick of the island. You love paradise? Try managing two construction sites, materials and such;  you’ll quickly understand how everything you love about it on vacation can cause all but the coolest of customers hair loss.

Building on Little Corn Island is not easy but it’s going to be worth it. My first project, the small one is nearly complete and there is no better feeling than locking the doors for the first time on a house you’ve built. This could be anywhere in the world but when it’s on a small Caribbean island with the odds stacked against you and it just happens to be your favourite place on the planet; it’s extra special.

I digress.

It’s late so I’m going to wrap this up; stay tuned for more shablesque(sic) adventures.

Tips hat,

P.S: Can you spot me in the photo above?

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