A look at the stunning Sarinbuana Eco Lodge in Bali, a sustainable lodge featuring private bungalows in the heart of the island.

Finding Serenity at Sarinbuana Eco Lodge

Calm. The moment I arrive to Sarinbuana Eco Lodge and walk down the narrow path surrounded by lush jungle vegetation, a good two hours from crowded roads, I feel it. It’s everywhere as I walk towards the main part of the grounds, in the soaked pathway, in the droplets clinging to the leaves, in the thick, humid air.

A look at the stunning Sarinbuana Eco Lodge in Bali, a sustainable lodge featuring private bungalows in the heart of the island.

The tension I’ve been housing in my body for months (despite indulging in massages nearly every day in Thailand for two weeks prior) leaves my body. Apparently, I need this calm and respite more than I know.

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A review of Majahuitas Resort, an eco-resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Eco Love at Majahuitas Resort

A review of Majahuitas Resort, an eco-resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
We wait down the hill in Boca de Tomatlan. It’s humid, but a fan blows gently on us, cooling me down … and my french fries. Icy cold Corona placed on the wooden table in front of me, I look off into the distance, squinting for signs of a little motor boat coming to whisk me and my friend away for three days of bliss at the Majahuitas Resort, an eco-friendly property tucked into a private cove south of Puerto Vallarta.

At 4 p.m., as scheduled, our boat arrives and the driver grabs our suitcases and drops them in the boat, then takes my hand and guides me down into our transport as it bobs ever so gently on the water. Once my friend, Mike, is in, our journey begins.

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Planning a trip to Krabi, Thailand? Add kayaking to your list!

Getting Prehistoric in Krabi

Planning a trip to Krabi, Thailand? Add kayaking to your list!
Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Tourism Authority of Thailand during my time in Krabi.

My paddle dips into the glassy green water of Bor Thor, and the shrimp start dancing.

Hundreds of tiny creatures pop out of the water, hop across it like rocks skipping, and then dive back down into its depths.

“We’re almost there,” our guide, Man, who also graciously volunteered to steer my kayak, informs us.

Our three fire-engine-red kayaks skirt around a small turn and into a mangrove forest and then we see it: a half-moon emerging from the water and moving upward into a towering karst shrouded in palm trees and other jungle foliage.

We’re kayaking in Krabi — something I honestly never thought I’d do. Mostly because, let’s be real, I’m not so skilled at kayak navigation.

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The Gift Guide for Travelers featuring only sustainable gifts and gifts which give back to local communities. For more, visit www.dtravelsround.com

The Best Gifts for Travelers

The Gift Guide for Travelers featuring only sustainable gifts and gifts which give back to local communities. For more, visit www.dtravelsround.com

There are so many gifts for travelers on the market, and will soon be an onslaught of online gift guides for travelers. But, this guide is different.Welcome to the second edition of The Feel Good Gift Guide, which highlights some of the best gifts for travelers in your life.

Why?

Below, you will find only sustainable gifts that are either locally sourced or give back to communities. So, keep that special traveler (or travelers) in mind and get shopping for the holiday season today and give the travelers in your life something special! And, people who know me, these are ALL excellent gifts for a certain person you know.

Enjoy!

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The reality of elephant tourism in SE Asia. An in-depth post on the truth about riding elephants, shows and more in Southeast Asia.

The Truth About Riding Elephants

The reality of elephant tourism in SE Asia. An in-depth post on the truth about riding elephants, shows and more in Southeast Asia.

I watch, happy tears swelling in my eyes, as the first of two rescued ex-trekking elephants walks off of the truck, backing out slowly and cautiously placing her hind legs, one-at-a-time, on the ground.

It’s pitch black, save for a few flashlights and one camera light. Around us, cicadas, frogs and crickets all compete to pierce the oh-so-still night.

She walks softly, crunching dried grass, as we follow behind her. Slowly, slowly she walks. To freedom. At the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.

From this moment forward, she will never have to strap a 200-pound bench to her back. From this moment forward, she will never have ropes cutting into her. A bull hook threatening to slash her ear, forehead or neck. She will never have the weight of a person on her. But, most importantly, she will never again be exploited for a human’s need to cross “riding an elephant” off of some bucket list or posing atop her back for a selfie.

Even though I no longer live in Thailand, I receive emails from readers regularly who ask: Should I ride an elephant? What’s the truth about riding elephants in Thailand and the rest of the world?

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Giving Back: A Look at FLYTE

Flyte
If there is one thing I know, travel isn’t a born right. It is a privilege. And one many around the world don’t have the opportunity to experience.

That’s why I am in love with the new charitable foundation set up by Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt — FLYTE (Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education). Over the years, he has become an advocate for many things centered around responsible tourism (such as being outspoken against swimming with the dolphins and riding elephants).

The basic idea of FLYTE this this: the foundation will fund overseas school trips for underserved high school kids. The organization will help fund and organize trips for teachers who want to put real world context into their lesson plans.

I was fortunate when I was in high school to have a very supportive family and when the opportunity came up to perform at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, I was able to do so. However, I know that is not the case for many people in the US.

That’s why Matt started FLYTE.

Responsible Tourism

Questions to ask about volunteer vacations

Questions to ask about volunteer vacations

Editor’s Note: I recently contributed to a book about volunteer vacations and how to be responsible when choosing one. Details are at the end of this post.

I remember when I first booked my volunteer “vacation” to Thailand. My friends thought I was nuts.

“Who takes time off of work to go and work in a foreign country?” they had all asked me when I announced I was spending one week of my 12-day holiday as a volunteer at Elephant Nature Park (ENP).

I’ve never been one to take conventional vacations, so while everyone else questioned what I was doing, it made sense to me. After learning about ENP and Save Elephant Foundation, and the vital role travelers play in keeping both the foundation and the park alive, I felt it was important to go and give back.

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