Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life Lesson: Shake It Off

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How To Decide Where To Travel

Here are some of the resources that I have found useful for determining where to travel, how to get there, how to get around and discovering things to do. I usually make my decisions based on...

Cost of Travel Index - This website compares countries by a price/cost index so that a traveler can easily determine where their funds will stretch the furthest.

Flight Comparison - This well known website searches and compares pricing for airfares, hotels and transportation. It does not always capture regional budget airlines, but it is a good starting point. For regional budget airlines I recommend checking out Southwest and JetBlue in the US, Ryan in Europe, AsiaAir in Asia and Lan in Latin America.

Visa Requirements - This website keeps up to date info on visa requirements for various countries. It's always a good idea to double check with official country consulate offices before you show up at the border, but this website is a good place to start an evaluation of requirements and costs.

Passport Photos - This website helps you convert your own selfie into a legal passport photo. You need to take the photo in front of a white neutral background, resize the photo  accordingly, then you can have it printed at any photo store for a fraction of the cost of official passport photos.

Travel Insurance - This website helps you search and buy travel insurance.

Motorcyclist Insurance - HUBB Health Insurance, HUBB Motorcycle Insurance These websites help motorcyclists search and buy health and motorcycle insurance.

Budget Accommodation - and These websites help you find budget accommodation. Hostelworld is mostly for hostels. Airbnb is mostly for home stays. For booking quality hotels and hostels in Asia I have found useful and in Latin America helpful.

Free Things To Do - This website list a number of free things to do in various cities around the world. My friend started this website and I wrote the section for Austin, Texas.

Free Walking Tours - This website helps you identify free walking tours in cities around the world. I've found these types of tours to be a great way to familiarize myself with a city, then I like to revisit areas to explore on my own.

If you know of other great resources, I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Enjoy your travels!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The 2015 Hand Built Motorcycle Show

I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 Hand Built Motorcycle Show that was part of the festivities around the Moto Grand Prix races held in Austin, Texas. There was a amazing selection of motorcycles representing classic, original, restored, racing, choppers, rat rods, cafe racers, trackers, scramblers and even a few adventure motorcycles. My three favorite motorcycles of the show are at the end of this post. Let me know what you think. 

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Gift Guide for Outdoor People

Here's my gift guide for outdoor people. I've used and tested all of these products while hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing or ...