If you watched Jurassic World and wished that the park could be real (though without the death and carnage) and you too could roam the park with living dinosaurs, then you're in luck. If you're in Melbourne, Australia before October 9, 2016, you should definitely take time to visit Melbourne Museum's Jurassic World Exhibition. I visited and was very pleasantly surprised.
On many a travel wish-list you'll find a clear night sky and view of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, the spectacular natural light show of brilliant colours that play across the Arctic sky.
And that is most definitely a part of my bucket list to experience one day, preferably from a glass igloo in Finland's Kakkslauttanen Arctic Resort.
Unfortunately, wherever you go to view the lights, it's not like you can simply turn up and will definitely see them, it depends a lot on the weather circumstances of the day, such as cloud cover and light pollution, as to whether or not the night sky will be filled with colour. I know several travellers who have ventured to Sweden, Finland and Alaska specifically to witness this natural wonder, and have come home with their dreams dashed as it wasn't visible for the entirety of their stay.
What Are the Northern Lights?
Modern technology is a wonderful thing for the avid traveller.
With video calls and the internet it is easy to keep in touch with loved ones back home. Even when spending months (or even years) away from home as you adventure the globe, it can feel like you never even left. In the eradicating-homesickness-and-getting-on-with-the-good-stuff kind of way, I mean. And if you're savvy with these things, you can even record your conversations for posterity, or for the internet to have a good, amazed, laugh.
While on a round-the-world trip this past December in Australia, Roger Ryan decided to Skype his parents at home in Ireland. He's lucky they answered.
They thought he was on a bus.
He was definitely not.
Ever since I was a young boy, my grandfather used to take me haggling at many of the swap meets and farmers markets in and around the areas of Mississippi and New Orleans, where I grew up. It was early childhood exposure to this odd and electrifying culture of buyers and sellers that’s stayed with me throughout my life. Not to mention that it’s helped me to save a ton of cash.
Travel and Haggle
Over the past few years, travelling the globe, I can’t help but be drawn to these same places of trade. Flea markets and bazaars, thrift stores and farmers markets. There is no better way, in my opinion, to view the best a culture has to offer, than by seeing what the locals literally have to offer... for sale.
These can be intensely personal experiences with their own set of rules and expectations; each different culture has a set of their own. So let me give a few words of advice to help you get a bearing no matter where in the world you want to haggle.
Haggling is Expected - if You Don't it Could be Dangerous
Lake Hillier, or as most people know it, 'oh my god that lake is freaking pink, that's insane', is a pink-coloured lake on Middle Island, in Western Australia, off the coast of Esperance.
From above, the lake water looks bubble gum pink, with a strip of vegetation, dunes and glorious golden sands separating it from the blue Southern Ocean.
But wait – did you think there was only one pink lake? Why, no! There is in fact a second pink lake in the vicinity, with the aptly (though not very creatively) named Pink Lake being seven kilometres from Esperance.
But Why Are TheY Pink?
Before I lived in South America I’d always figured it was a hot place. And it is, except for the part where it’s really not. There exists a region at the base of Chile and Argentina called Patagonia. At its southernmost tip is the closest you can get to Antarctica without actually being there, and weather-wise, boy do you know it. Thermals people, thermals.
When thinking of cruising and cruise ships, there are often two contrasting images that come to mind: a ship full of seniors, or a ship full of drunken party animals. But I was pleasantly (and thankfully) surprised to be wrong!
The shipboard lifestyle is luxe (especially to someone whose travel usually involves a backpacker's budget), the buffets are amazing, and what better way to get to exotic locales than by splashing in the pool, watching theatre shows and visiting the spa? Sure beats twenty hours in a cramped seat on a plane, or on a local bus in which the locals are holding... I don't know... live chickens next to your face. Getting there is the hardest part of travel, but on a cruise ship it can be the absolute best.
I was lucky enough to board MSC Cruise Lines for a seven-night cruise from Venice, Italy (when I say I was lucky, I mean my friend and I used cash monies), with ports including Bari, Italy; Istanbul, Turkey; Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Katokolon, Greece.
Here is what I learned about cruising:
You May Have to Hunt to Find People Speaking Your Language
Funnily enough, when boarding a cruise ship in Venice, the majority of cruisers were from European countries and didn't necessarily speak English. Go figure – Love Boat, you lied to me.
Except for a short stint in Buenos Aires (great city, mind the pavements), I’ve lived in Melbourne, Australia my entire life. Unlike everywhere else in the world, if someone were to ask me “What should I go see there,” I’d look at them blankly and maybe mutter how nice my couch is to sit on in my PJs of an evening.
As people keep telling us, Melbourne happens to be the most liveable city in the world and, don’t get me wrong, it’s nice and all, not too crowded, pleasantish weather (but bring an unbrella just in case), really good food culture... I wouldn’t promote the public transport but at least they try.
So instead of squishing into an airplane seat between two strangers for endless, endless hours, we decided to explore our own city like the tourists do; with fresh eyes, filled with wonder. Like we haven't been here before.
We're hitting up the tourist hotspots, and why not start with SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. Because penguins!
The Aquarium is made up of a number of interactive exhibits, built mostly for those less than four feet tall (nope, not me). A lot of the tanks have little hidey-holes underneath them with thick glass domes so that the little'uns can peer above them at fish swimming above them. Wish there were adult-sized ones.
In this section of the site you will soon find personal travel stories, reviews of travel destinations and attractions, travel hacks and the absolute-must-do adventures, destinations and activities on our bucket lists that you will want to add to yours as well.
Blogs coming soon include:
But in the meantime, do you have a funny, scary, wild or everything-that-could-go-wrong-did-go-wrong travel story that is an absolute hit with your friends? (Been there. It all started when I bought a bracelet at a voodoo shop in New Orleans...) Do you have a genius travel hack that you think the world should know about?
Do you want to see your story on this site? Tell us what happened at popculturetragic [at] gmail [dot] com and it could be published right here!