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The Internal Traveler

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Biking Spain’s Camino de Santiago: A Journey of Body, Mind, and Spirit

The pilgrimage route of Spain’s Camino de Santiago (“Way of Saint James”) is full of the history, legends, and traditions of the seekers and adventurers who have followed it for the past 1,100 years. Easy Rider Cycling tours offers guided trips for modern-day pilgrims who want to experience the historic route by bicycle. 

 

The Camino de Santiago (“The Way of Saint James”) is an 1,100-year-old pilgrimage route across Spain ending at Santiago de Compostela, where, tradition has it, the bones of the saint are buried. Seekers and adventurers from around the world sojourn to Santiago under their own power – by foot, bicycle, even donkey – to earn that most esteemed souvenir: the compostela, or certificate of completion. It’s a challenging journey, complete with mountain passes, unpaved roads, and weather that can be less than cooperative. Easy Rider Cycling Tours, an adventure travel company that specializes in European bike trips, has been guiding bicycling tours along the Camino since 1998.
 
“Each person’s experience of the Camino is unique,” says Easy Rider founder Jim Goldberg, who has guided the tour several times. “Most of our biking guests come for the challenge, the history, and the personal sense of achievement. Very few are in it for religious reasons, although we did once have a church group who brought their own cycling priest! But most people (myself included) do find themselves moved by the journey, even those who least expected to be.” An Easy Rider guest agreed: “The Camino de Santiago bike tour was an exhilarating, breathtakingly beautiful trip…Our surprise reward was that it was also a powerful spiritual adventure.”

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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What Kind Of Traveler Are You?

How well do you know your travel style?

Like any tribe, we wanderlusts are a varied lot: old, young, rich, poor, introvert, extrovert, wild, not so wild, and everything in between.

Some of us wouldn’t think of leaving home without a Smartphone and laptop. For others, tossing off the technological tethers is the very essence of a vacation. One traveler’s heaven can be another’s hell.

At best, knowing what kind of traveler you are can be liberating. At the least, it can save a marriage, friendship or a family holiday.  

So, what kind of traveler are you? Take this quiz to find out.

1)   Baggage

a.             The size and heft of your luggage is a running joke in your family. No matter how good your intentions, you still end up paying out at check-in.  

b.              Where you once saw the wisdom in packing for every condition your trip may require, rising baggage fees and lost luggage stats have you down to a reasonable one checked bag maximum.

c.             You are a carry-on only kind of traveler and could teach seminars on how to travel light. You load up the travel vest, slip on your security-friendly shoes and snub your nose at those lesser mortals still schlepping their yesteryear coffin-sized suitcases.

 

2)   Action

a.              You worked 360 days for this weeklong vacay and you plan to enjoy every minute of it. From the breakfast buffet to the afternoon museum exhibition and midnight tango lessons, you didn’t travel halfway across the world to just hang out.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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The Internal Traveler: 3 secrets to leading an awesome life

In a world of rising sea levels and plummeting economies it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. To stay balanced, some of us pack our bags and head out into the wild blue yonder. Others seek security in work or family. A few turn to cheetos, Jack Daniels or repeat episodes of Two and a half Men. Neil Pasricha blogs.  

Launched in June, 2008, his site, 1000 Awesome Things, a simple platform for gratitude gone viral, is read by millions of people eager to redirect their attention to the simple pleasures of daily life. 

Listen to Pasricha’s amazing story in this heartfelt talk, The 3 A’s of awesome, from TEDxToronto, where he reveals the 3 secrets (all starting with A) to leading a life that’s truly awesome.

 

 

Author’s Note: I love helping people learn the ins and outs of travel, but have always wanted to have a blog that covers a wider range of topics, and is relevant to individuals interested in taking the internal journey to a life of meaning.

So I’ve decided to start a new series, The Internal Traveler, featuring topics like happiness, transformation, relationships, and what is right with our world, to help others be informed and inspired in those areas.

This is the first in that series and I’d love it if you’d use the comment box below to share your thoughts, ideas, or suggestions. Better yet, if you have wisdom, insights and experiences you’d like to share, drop me an email —I’d love to have you involved! 

Bon voyage,

Ellen

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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6 Tips for Making Travel More Meaningful

Most of us with a taste for wanderlust already know we want to travel far, travel thoughtfully and travel often. We know we should be more open minded and spontaneous, more courageous, playful and appreciative. It’s just that we sometimes need reminding. Or, I do anyway. Here’s a shortlist of ways to help make your adventures more meaningful.


 

1. Open yourself to possibility

When someone suggests something that at first feels outrageous, or outside your comfort zone, open your heart and mind to the possibility that it might contribute to better understanding or experiences.

 

2. Embrace wildness

Give yourself opportunities to experience the restorative power of wilderness and wild places. It’s impossible to feel disconnected or alone in the natural world.

 

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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Photographing Scotland: How To Open Up And See

Travel and photography are natural partners and whether you’re carrying a sophisticated DSLR, a pocket-sized point-and-shoot or an iPhone, today’s technology has made it easier than ever to look, snap, and share.

But seldom does a photograph succeed because of technology. It succeeds for one reason: because the person behind the camera took the time to see. If you’re like most travelers, you want to bring back memorable photographs of your trips. Yet how many of us are packing everything but time to see into our vacations?

On a recent business trip to Scotland I discovered a one-day photography workshop on the Isle of Mull, an island off the country’s west coast boasting some of the finest and most varied scenery in the Inner Hebrides. Traveling solo and without a car, the opportunity to visually explore with a local photographer sounded like the perfect compliment to a week of indoor meetings.

Who knew it would be pouring and blowing a gale on the one day I had available for the excursion. But despite the conditions, photographer Sam Jones of Islandscape Photography met me, and two other intrepid travelers enrolled in the workshop, at the ferry, prepared to either tough it out in the rain or shuttle us to the local distillery for a tasting tour.

Read my full story on photographing Scotland at National Geographic Traveler

view photo gallery  

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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How To Survive Reentry After The Vacation

The worst part of travel isn’t the security checkpoints with prison-issue wands, puffs of air blowing in your face or gloved agents pawing through your belongings. It’s not the airline seats with their lumbar supports that spear your spine or the $2.25 you pay for a small bottle of filtered tap water at airport restaurants.  It’s not the jetlag—which can be so brutal that your left foot doesn’t know where your right foot is walking—or the suitcase that vanished with the travel clothes, gadgets and gear you have spent half a decade assembling.

The worst part of travel is actually coming home. One day you are in Peru, gaping at Machu Picchu or in the Canadian Rockies, heli-hiking amid the granite spires of the Bugaboos. Maybe you’ve been cycling in Italy, trekking in Nepal, cruising down the Nile in Egypt, or sauna hopping in Finland. The next day, you open the door to your digs and…chaos.

The answering machine is blinking, there are hundreds or thousands of emails, the snail mail spills over the edge of a huge tub and stares at you from the floor.  There are bills to be paid, deadlines to be met, appointments to be kept. Your hair needs new highlights, your car is due for servicing, there’s a leak in your office, you forgot to send your sister-in-law a birthday gift. The exotic fades as you slip into the quotidian and start trouble-shooting, catching up, returning calls, and squirming in the dentist’s chair.  Hooray! You are home.

I have not yet figured out how to make homecoming a celebration.  But I have a few tips if you are as overwhelmed as I am when you step over your own welcome mat.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".