" I'm a Leonard. Our family has this curse. It's kind of like Murphy's Law- things are always going to go wrong, before they come right. "

Twenty Something. Born and raised in Africa, lived in the sweltering summers of Melbourne, Australia, and then the freezing winters of Halifax, Canada. On the endless journey to find a place to call home again. Traveling the world, with nothing but the money in my pocket and an ice cold glass of wine. This is where I write travel advice, musings and the occasional angry vent. Feedback is always welcome. Drop me a line if you have any queries.

email: rogzleonard@gmail.com pinterest.com/prestikgremlin

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A Traveler’s Remorse (Or How You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too)
Traveling is one of the most exhillirating, wonderful ways a person can spend their time. I have so many journeys and adventures I want to go on, and I am always planning and looking into trips and vacations and ways to explore the world. But, sometimes, the idea of being a roaming vagabond is intimidating.
See, throughout my life I have been told to believe that there are two kinds of lives a person can lead: one where the road is their home, and they live out of a suitcase; the other where they live in a perfect little house, in the same old town, with a 9-5 schedule. For the longest time I struggled to figure out which of these lives I would choose for myself.
On the one hand, I want to spend a month volunteering in Fiji. I want to hike through South America, I want to visit every museum and sidewalk nook of quaint European towns. I want to travel through the heart of Africa and back again. The idea of crossing off a new city, or booking that ticket without knowing where it will lead to next, is one of the things I love most about my life.
But on the otherhand, I want to settle down, too. I want to have a place I can call my own. I am not materialistic, but I am sentimental. I want a house I can fill with souvineers and tokens from all of my travels. I want a giant bookshelf, filled with stories and classics. I want a nook by the window, where I can read on a rainy day. I want to hear the pitter patter of little feet on the floorboards. I want a family to wake up early with on Christmas morning. I want the stability and ease of the 9-5 life, too.
For the longest time I believed it was a case of either/or. My friends that live out of their backpacks turned their nose at the idea of owning anything that can’t be picked up and stuffed into their 40l. My friends who grew up in my home town and have never set foot outside of it reeled at the idea of me actually wanting to travel around. I felt like I wasn’t fitting into either category and that I was doing my head in trying to decide which world and lifestyle I wanted to be a part of…
…Until I realised, it doesn’t matter. I can very easily work my way towards both goals. I can travel, frequently enough to see all of the places on my list, but I can also slowly build a stable life for myself. The reality is that I will never be rich, because both lifestyles warrant a fair bit of spending, but that’s okay. I have never been one to dream of a big house or a fancy car (heck, I don’t even know how to drive).
So to everyone that says you have to choose- tell them to shove it. The truth is you can do whatever the heck you want in life. And I choose to travel whenever I can, but instead of limiting my life to a suitcase, I am going to find myself a place to call home, too.

A Traveler’s Remorse (Or How You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too)

Traveling is one of the most exhillirating, wonderful ways a person can spend their time. I have so many journeys and adventures I want to go on, and I am always planning and looking into trips and vacations and ways to explore the world. But, sometimes, the idea of being a roaming vagabond is intimidating.

See, throughout my life I have been told to believe that there are two kinds of lives a person can lead: one where the road is their home, and they live out of a suitcase; the other where they live in a perfect little house, in the same old town, with a 9-5 schedule. For the longest time I struggled to figure out which of these lives I would choose for myself.

On the one hand, I want to spend a month volunteering in Fiji. I want to hike through South America, I want to visit every museum and sidewalk nook of quaint European towns. I want to travel through the heart of Africa and back again. The idea of crossing off a new city, or booking that ticket without knowing where it will lead to next, is one of the things I love most about my life.

But on the otherhand, I want to settle down, too. I want to have a place I can call my own. I am not materialistic, but I am sentimental. I want a house I can fill with souvineers and tokens from all of my travels. I want a giant bookshelf, filled with stories and classics. I want a nook by the window, where I can read on a rainy day. I want to hear the pitter patter of little feet on the floorboards. I want a family to wake up early with on Christmas morning. I want the stability and ease of the 9-5 life, too.

For the longest time I believed it was a case of either/or. My friends that live out of their backpacks turned their nose at the idea of owning anything that can’t be picked up and stuffed into their 40l. My friends who grew up in my home town and have never set foot outside of it reeled at the idea of me actually wanting to travel around. I felt like I wasn’t fitting into either category and that I was doing my head in trying to decide which world and lifestyle I wanted to be a part of…

…Until I realised, it doesn’t matter. I can very easily work my way towards both goals. I can travel, frequently enough to see all of the places on my list, but I can also slowly build a stable life for myself. The reality is that I will never be rich, because both lifestyles warrant a fair bit of spending, but that’s okay. I have never been one to dream of a big house or a fancy car (heck, I don’t even know how to drive).

So to everyone that says you have to choose- tell them to shove it. The truth is you can do whatever the heck you want in life. And I choose to travel whenever I can, but instead of limiting my life to a suitcase, I am going to find myself a place to call home, too.

gimmesomeroy:

My goal

(via itshadrian)

A Melbourne Memoir (Or a few things I miss about home)

While I don’t miss the awful Melbourne weather (anyone see the ridiculous heatwave they’re going through right now?) There are a lot of other things that make me homesick about Melbourne-

1. Degraves Street coffee.

2. Sitting on the park bench just below Fed Wharf, where all the joggers run and the yarra river flows, taking in the city sky line and summer weather.

3. The best poached eggs a breakfast girl could ask for (and I don’t even mind the price).

4. Playing “Is he a hipster, or is he homeless” on the train home in the afternoon.

5. The fact that there is always something on. An art expo, a theatre exhibit, a concert, a folksy band playing at a hole-in-the-wall bar.

6. Fine dining to suit any appetite. Modern, traditional, asian flare.

7. Sushi. $2 Tuna rolls on the go, to be precise.

Beer gardens, china town, little laneways covered in awe-inspiring grafitti, tourists huddled at stop streets, the bell that rings from a tram, the way the city lights reflect off of the rain covered walkways, the guy who plays the sax under the bridge enroute to flinders, the gelato place outside of Crown, the buskers, chalk artists and the street vendors.

Melbourne, I miss you, sometimes.

Who hasn’t asked himself, am I a monster or is this what it means to be human?
Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star  (via stereograms)

(via hellogiggles)

A Quick Book Review in January

Over the last few months I have become a regular at the local library (If you think there are no good books at the library- the trick is to peruse their online catalogue, alongside Goodreads.com, and place holds on all the books you’d like. The bestsellers and hot-reads seldom sit on the actual shelves, because they’re always in circulation- so if you’re looking for a good book, look online). Anyway, I have been reading book after book while I can, because in several months I’ll be back at uni and my leisure time will be out of the window.

As part of this reading frenzy, I have decided I’ll post a couple of my favourite reads here, every few weeks or so. Just to y’know, keep track of everything (and in no way to brag about how many books I can read if I put my mind to it *wink wink)

The Passage/ The Twelve- Justin Cronin - As you’re aware (if you know me, I guess) I am a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic or in the zombie/thriller genre. This series fits neatly into that category. Cronin paints a world that is reeling after a horrific military expirement that has created Vampire/Zombie thingy’s that are downright terrifying. In my mind it’s the perfect mix between I Am Legend (the film) and The Walking Dead (the TV series). It has a few things I don’t care for, and the plot can be a bit gritty and dark at times, but I am eager for the third instalment due out sometime later this year.

World War Z - Max Brooks - Firstly, let me get one thing straight. The movie and this book should not be compared. If you treat them as two seperate entities, you’ll find both are really good. If you are expecting the film to follow the same plot as the novel- you’re going to get really really pissed off. Secondly, take every idea you’ve ever had about surviving the Zombie apocalypse and kiss it goodbye, because, as this book so happily points out, you’re wrong and you’re going to die. Trust me. When the impending doom hits, I am going to seek out Max Brooks because he has thought of EVERYTHING.

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared- Jonas Jonasson- This is something a little more light hearted than my other reads so far. AND IT’S FRIGGIN BRILLIANT. Every so often a book comes along that just does it right. In all of its simplicity the Hundred Year Old Man is one of those little stories that just finds a spot in your heart and stays there forever. It doesn’t happen often, but I am so glad I have found this book. It is hilarious and smart and just downright goshdarm adorable. The story starts with a centurian who decides to run away from his old age home to embark on one last adventure…. and the only spoiler I will give you is this simple quote: Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be.

Enjoy!

2013 in review

2013 was the year of zero accountability for me. I was living abroad by myself. I didn’t have to answer to anyone. It was doing whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it. It was living paycheck to paycheck. Partying during the week. It was living in a hostel with a bunch of germans. It was flirting with people and then leading them on solely because they were “cute Canadians wearing plaid”. It was a summer spent almost always at the beach, or at one party or another. It was amazing, in so many ways, don’t get me wrong. But I am so very tired, so very tired.

2014 is going to about getting my head screwed on. About thinking before I leap for a change. About fixing my eye on the future and working towards it. It’s about taking responsibility for my actions, and not just doing whatever the hell I feel like.

Here’s to 2014. Here’s to growing up.

Sometimes it’s Better to Walk Away from an Argument 
I posted recently about how I try not to read comments on facebook because the stupidity of most of them has made me question my faith in humankind. Well, another thing I have decided is to not stay friends with people that post infuriating things online in the first place.
See, like most people, I love a good argument. It’s totally okay to be opinionated, and to express your opinion from time to time. I am opinionated to a fault, I have a view on everything. The thing is, though, that if you’re about to dive headlong into an argument you have to make sure you do two things: 1. accept that there is the possibility you might be wrong, and in which case, rather than make an ass of yourself, learn from what the other person is saying. 2. That there is a fine line between trying to get your point across, and being downright rude or insulting to the other person.
I recently realised that sometimes the problem is that people don’t always want to change their opinion. They’ll start up an argument purely to piss you off. I had an encounter like this on facebook not to long ago, and at first it left me reeling. This person I went to high school with (sadly, always had been a bit of a ‘know-it-all’) disagreed with something I posted as a status. Long story short, she disregarded my opinion on the matter (something close to the heart, too), commented a lot of nonsense (she clearly didn’t know exactly what she was even arguing about) and insulted me, Canada, my family and pretty much everything I stand for. I was fuming.
Until I realised, no matter what I said back, no matter how articulate my response, it wouldn’t make a difference. I could come up with the perfect rebuttal; I could use all of the logic in the world to defend myself, and she wouldn’t have changed her mind.
So instead I did something else- I chose to ignore her rude remarks, and deleted her off of facebook. So simple, so easy. Sure, she probably had a thousand nasty things to say about that, but what do I care? I’ll never have to hear or read them. It was then that I realised, sometimes instead of working yourself up about something someone said, it is better to just walk away.
I’m not one to give up, particularly when it is an issue close to the heart, but some arguments can’t be won. I’m glad I walked away from it, and it made me realize that there are other people online (and in real life) that I don’t have time for anymore. Life is too short to get worked up by idiots. rather just delete them, and move on.
rant over.

Sometimes it’s Better to Walk Away from an Argument

I posted recently about how I try not to read comments on facebook because the stupidity of most of them has made me question my faith in humankind. Well, another thing I have decided is to not stay friends with people that post infuriating things online in the first place.

See, like most people, I love a good argument. It’s totally okay to be opinionated, and to express your opinion from time to time. I am opinionated to a fault, I have a view on everything. The thing is, though, that if you’re about to dive headlong into an argument you have to make sure you do two things: 1. accept that there is the possibility you might be wrong, and in which case, rather than make an ass of yourself, learn from what the other person is saying. 2. That there is a fine line between trying to get your point across, and being downright rude or insulting to the other person.

I recently realised that sometimes the problem is that people don’t always want to change their opinion. They’ll start up an argument purely to piss you off. I had an encounter like this on facebook not to long ago, and at first it left me reeling. This person I went to high school with (sadly, always had been a bit of a ‘know-it-all’) disagreed with something I posted as a status. Long story short, she disregarded my opinion on the matter (something close to the heart, too), commented a lot of nonsense (she clearly didn’t know exactly what she was even arguing about) and insulted me, Canada, my family and pretty much everything I stand for. I was fuming.

Until I realised, no matter what I said back, no matter how articulate my response, it wouldn’t make a difference. I could come up with the perfect rebuttal; I could use all of the logic in the world to defend myself, and she wouldn’t have changed her mind.

So instead I did something else- I chose to ignore her rude remarks, and deleted her off of facebook. So simple, so easy. Sure, she probably had a thousand nasty things to say about that, but what do I care? I’ll never have to hear or read them. It was then that I realised, sometimes instead of working yourself up about something someone said, it is better to just walk away.

I’m not one to give up, particularly when it is an issue close to the heart, but some arguments can’t be won. I’m glad I walked away from it, and it made me realize that there are other people online (and in real life) that I don’t have time for anymore. Life is too short to get worked up by idiots. rather just delete them, and move on.

rant over.

photojojo:

What do you do when you’ve just moved and you’re awash in cardboard boxes? Create mock movie sets of course! 

Lilly and Leon use household objects and leftover boxes to recreate famous movie scenes with their son Orson. 

Welcome to the Cardboard Box Office

via IO9

(via feelingfickle)

The Inevitable post about the New Year.

I was going to write this long rambling bit about how 2013 was awe-inspiring and how I want that and so much more for 2014, but instead all I am going to say is this:

Life isn’t about making and breaking resolutions once a year. It shouldn’t be divided into 12 month segments and remembered as a sequence of numbers. 2013 was a mix of both excellent times and horrible times and amazing adventures and eye opening challenges. I expect 2014, and every other year, for that matter, to be the same. So instead of writing an unrealistic list of goals for 2014, I have just the one:

Live life to its absolute fillest. Everyday. Always. No regrets.

This Christmas I am being a bit of hermit. Skyping the family, drinking some eggnog, watching Love Actually and hiding out inside, snuggled up next to our lit up Christmas tree and reading a good book. The only thing that could make this holiday any better would be if it started to snow again on Christmas day. Fingers crossed.
Happy Holidays, everyone.

This Christmas I am being a bit of hermit. Skyping the family, drinking some eggnog, watching Love Actually and hiding out inside, snuggled up next to our lit up Christmas tree and reading a good book. The only thing that could make this holiday any better would be if it started to snow again on Christmas day. Fingers crossed.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

(via irenesire-deactivated20140721)

A Guide to Surviving Winter (For those of us who aren’t from Winter Countries)
For those of you who were born in this wintery wonderland, please ignore this post. For those of you who, like me, hail from a warmer climate and were brought up believing Canadian winters are a picturesque “christmas card” kind of thing, read on:
1. Onions have layers, so should you
In Melbourne, for example, winter isn’t a huge deal. Yeah, it gets a bit nippy, and the rain is a bummer, but for the most part it’s bearable. Melbourne winters are akin to mild Canadian Autumns. It’s easy to look stylish, because a reasonable coat and a decent brolly is all you need. In Canada- this is not the case. When the weather drops below zero (and I mean way way below zero) you’re going to need more than a nice coat. In Halifax, add the fact that you’re most likely going to face chilly weather with bits of ice and rain and snow all swirling about, and you need to think about waterproofing your layers too. Fashion goes out the window, with most people resembling Russian peasants crossed with arctic explorers. Thermal vests, jumpers, cardigans, infinity scarves tucked into your jacket, a warm jacket and then a toasty raincoat or coat, thick mittens, a full beanie (or Toque, as the locals call it), ear muffs, and sunglasses if the snow glare is really bad. And that’s just a normal chilly day. You might look like a puffy school kid, but the alternative is having your ears freeze off, so choice is yours.
2. Snow is pretty, sleet is not
Before I moved to Canada, I had the same idea about snow as pretty much everyone else from the Southern Hemisphere: it’s pretty and white and soft and heavenly. I was wrong.
When snow is falling, it’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong. Downtown, for a brief little while it’s like the whole city becomes this sleepy town covered in a blanket of white. But then pedestrians trudge it into the ground, plows push it into mounds which grey with dirt and polution, and it goes from being a white blanket to a grey and miserable mess.
In Halifax, which has milder weather than most of inland Canada, barring maybe Toronto which is quite south, snow doesn’t last long. After maybe a few days of snow, the weather goes up, the snow turns to slush, and next thing you’re sloshing your way to work through puddles of what I can only describe as grey coloured Slurpee.
3. Black Ice is terrifying. The invisible enemy, if you will.
Here’s the thing about Halifax, and maybe other parts of Canada, maybe? It snows, it’s pretty, then it gets trudged into compact snow on the pavement by pedestrians, the weather warms up, it rains a bit, covering the snow in rain, maybe even melting some of it, forming puddles; then the weather drops again, sometimes by 15 degrees in the span of a few hours, and suddenly all of the rain and puddles freeze, and turn into solid, slippery ice. So basically one minute you’re walking through a snowy winter wonderland, the next you’re slipping on ice and cracking you head open on the road/pavement. I’m not even kidding, it’s terrifying. If you’re here long enough, you will definitely hear stories, or even slip once or twice yourself. Be careful. Buy those thingamabobs you put on your shoes if you want, but don’t slip- because I’m almost certain basic travel insurance won’t cover it.
4. Do as the locals do, but with a pinch of salt
My friends are Canadian, and from even colder cities than Halifax (which isn’t saying much because pretty much everywhere in Canada, except maybe Vancouver, is colder than Halifax) they are used to winter, in fact, you could say they thrive in it. There is a lot you can learn from friends and canuck locals- from how to dress appropriately, where to buy winter goods at a better price, how to salt your driveway and pavement properly, the best soup recipe’s, etc. But one thing you need to remember is that you aren’t Canadian. Whilst your Canuck friends might be able to wear a tshirt and flip flops when it’s -1 outside, you probably can’t do the same without catching a nasty cold and cursing profusely into your third cup of Lemsip. Another thing to bare in mind is that your winterized friends mean no harm when they tease you for constantly saying “My god, it is so cold,” or when you are the one wearing several more layers than anyone else. They’re used to the extreme cold, but you aren’t, and that’s okay. Enjoy the novelty of a snowy winter before it wears off, and just remember, when they visit you in Australia one day, it will be you having the last laugh as they melt in the scorching Southern Hemisphere heatwaves. ;)

A Guide to Surviving Winter (For those of us who aren’t from Winter Countries)

For those of you who were born in this wintery wonderland, please ignore this post. For those of you who, like me, hail from a warmer climate and were brought up believing Canadian winters are a picturesque “christmas card” kind of thing, read on:

1. Onions have layers, so should you

In Melbourne, for example, winter isn’t a huge deal. Yeah, it gets a bit nippy, and the rain is a bummer, but for the most part it’s bearable. Melbourne winters are akin to mild Canadian Autumns. It’s easy to look stylish, because a reasonable coat and a decent brolly is all you need. In Canada- this is not the case. When the weather drops below zero (and I mean way way below zero) you’re going to need more than a nice coat. In Halifax, add the fact that you’re most likely going to face chilly weather with bits of ice and rain and snow all swirling about, and you need to think about waterproofing your layers too. Fashion goes out the window, with most people resembling Russian peasants crossed with arctic explorers. Thermal vests, jumpers, cardigans, infinity scarves tucked into your jacket, a warm jacket and then a toasty raincoat or coat, thick mittens, a full beanie (or Toque, as the locals call it), ear muffs, and sunglasses if the snow glare is really bad. And that’s just a normal chilly day. You might look like a puffy school kid, but the alternative is having your ears freeze off, so choice is yours.

2. Snow is pretty, sleet is not

Before I moved to Canada, I had the same idea about snow as pretty much everyone else from the Southern Hemisphere: it’s pretty and white and soft and heavenly. I was wrong.

When snow is falling, it’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong. Downtown, for a brief little while it’s like the whole city becomes this sleepy town covered in a blanket of white. But then pedestrians trudge it into the ground, plows push it into mounds which grey with dirt and polution, and it goes from being a white blanket to a grey and miserable mess.

In Halifax, which has milder weather than most of inland Canada, barring maybe Toronto which is quite south, snow doesn’t last long. After maybe a few days of snow, the weather goes up, the snow turns to slush, and next thing you’re sloshing your way to work through puddles of what I can only describe as grey coloured Slurpee.

3. Black Ice is terrifying. The invisible enemy, if you will.

Here’s the thing about Halifax, and maybe other parts of Canada, maybe? It snows, it’s pretty, then it gets trudged into compact snow on the pavement by pedestrians, the weather warms up, it rains a bit, covering the snow in rain, maybe even melting some of it, forming puddles; then the weather drops again, sometimes by 15 degrees in the span of a few hours, and suddenly all of the rain and puddles freeze, and turn into solid, slippery ice. So basically one minute you’re walking through a snowy winter wonderland, the next you’re slipping on ice and cracking you head open on the road/pavement. I’m not even kidding, it’s terrifying. If you’re here long enough, you will definitely hear stories, or even slip once or twice yourself. Be careful. Buy those thingamabobs you put on your shoes if you want, but don’t slip- because I’m almost certain basic travel insurance won’t cover it.

4. Do as the locals do, but with a pinch of salt

My friends are Canadian, and from even colder cities than Halifax (which isn’t saying much because pretty much everywhere in Canada, except maybe Vancouver, is colder than Halifax) they are used to winter, in fact, you could say they thrive in it. There is a lot you can learn from friends and canuck locals- from how to dress appropriately, where to buy winter goods at a better price, how to salt your driveway and pavement properly, the best soup recipe’s, etc. But one thing you need to remember is that you aren’t Canadian. Whilst your Canuck friends might be able to wear a tshirt and flip flops when it’s -1 outside, you probably can’t do the same without catching a nasty cold and cursing profusely into your third cup of Lemsip. Another thing to bare in mind is that your winterized friends mean no harm when they tease you for constantly saying “My god, it is so cold,” or when you are the one wearing several more layers than anyone else. They’re used to the extreme cold, but you aren’t, and that’s okay. Enjoy the novelty of a snowy winter before it wears off, and just remember, when they visit you in Australia one day, it will be you having the last laugh as they melt in the scorching Southern Hemisphere heatwaves. ;)

This blog entry was inspired by the recent Marie Claire article on tourist deaths in Laos. Read it, here.

How Sometimes I’m Embarrassed to be a Tourist (Or “No, thank you, I don’t want a photo with your monkey”)

Remember that saying “Be a traveler, not a tourist”? Well it’s true. Tourists are the walking, breathing, beer guzzling reminders of everything that is wrong with Western society. To a tourist, anything and everything is built purely to entertain. Nothing is off limits, and they’ll pay large sums of money to get what they want.

Tourists flock to foreign lands and spend millions at resorts and spas. They take advantage of the exchange rate, and think little of the way their spending affects the local community. It’s a sad truth that a lot of people aren’t willing to face.

"But tourism is good for the local community," they argue. Is it? What hard evidence is there to back this comment? The truth is, aside from sustainable tourism endevours and "grassroots" programs, a lot of tourism is actually detrimental to other cultures. How? well for one- tourism provides a fake lifestyle, designed to suit the tourist, not the local. Pristine infinity pools, cheap cocktails, live entertainment in a variety of sorts. Harmless on the surface, but when you look a little harder, it isn’t difficult to see where things get dark…

One example is animal abuse and exploitation. Scenario: You’re in Thailand, and you pay a meagre 500 Baht to spend the day at the zoo. The zoo is actually a horror show of run down cages, filled with drugged animals on chains, and tour guides that are not only exhausted from 12 hour shifts, but also have no proper training. But, how often do you get to see a tiger in such close proximity? So you pay the additional 200 Baht, crouch down next to the chained beast and get your photo taken. Then you walk away saying it’s animal cruelty but that it’s not your fault, it’s theirs. wrong.

See, when you fork out the money for such tacky souvineers and photographs, you’re providing an income for someone, and they see this as a money making opportunity. For the tourguide or zookeeper, this money means food on his table, or a pair of shoes for his son. The sad reality is, however, that the zookeeper isn’t the one raking in the profits. Tourism is a pyramid scheme comprised of resort-owning fat cats, and minimum wage employees. Your souvineer spending is not filling the pockets you think it is. Problem is, if you’re willing to pay, there will always be someone willing to exploit the animal. This isn’t just in Asia, either. Canned hunting opportunities in South Africa are another example. We can hate Melissa Bachman as much as we want, but the reality is that someone local provided her with the opportunity to flaunt her cowardice, and pay a pretty penny for it, too. The only way animal rights can be asserted is if tourists stop seeing foreign wildlife as their own entertainment and rather pay for sustainable, ecological tourist opportunities instead. If there is no demand for animals in cages, people will stop putting animals in cages, it’s that simple.

The same can be said for human exploitation, although the solution is a much more complicated one. Prostitution rings, strip joints, Ping Pong shows, they’re all exploiting women that are unlikely to see more than maybe 5% of the money that pours into this industry at best. But to the average drunken tourist, it is hard to remember that it’s a person standing on that stage, and not just a fun night in a foreign land or an exotic notch on the bedpost.

The article above highlights another problem with tourism in developing nations: spoilt students that basically flock to resorts purely to drink themselves into a stupor. Not only is it unbelievably dangerous for a multitude of reasons, but it’s embarrassing. You’re stomping all over somebody’s culture by getting as beligerently drunk as possible and throwing your name away in their cities or towns. Have some respect. For example, in Thailand most of the locals are very conservative. They’re humble and have strict rules about social etiquette. Unfortunately though, because of the popular tourist hotspots and the risque nature of the industry, you can often find Thai vendors sporting innapropriate attire, or selling bracelets and shirts riddled with profanities it’s unlikely they even understand.

So, instead of being an obnoxious tourist, remember that these cultures and environments are not purely here for your entertainment. There is nothing wrong with exploring a foreign society or world, but remember that this holiday spot is somebody else’s home. Remember that the wildlife you admire in awe won’t last if it keeps being exploited. Travel with an open mind and a willingness, sure, but with self control and respect, too.

You See These Red Wine Lips, They Didn’t Dream Up This (Or My Christmas Challenge)

Remember how I said that part of 2013 was to try new things and take a leap into the unknown? Well this December I decided to add another item to the list. I wore red lipstick for the first time. See, I don’t usually wear a lot of make up. A bit of blush, a quick swipe of liner, and a little mascara, and that’s about it.

Well, this past week I attended a Christmas party, and decided to be extra festive by wearing a bold red hue. I was nervous- I don’t quite have the pout for lipstick, and I haven’t really worn it before- but I figured, why the hell not? and do you know what? I loved it. It’s amazing how a little bit of colour can change so much, create so much confidence.

I’ll definitely be rocking red lips more often this festive season. Look out, boys.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (via manufactoriel)