The Green Island

Sao Miguel: this somewhat hidden gem is the largest and most populous island that makes up the archipelago known as the Azores. Part of Portugal, the island is less than a 6 hour direct flight from the east coast of North America and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who want a little culture mixed into their travels. We spent time on this beautiful island and then flew to mainland Portugal, an itinerary I suggest for a balanced, satisfying and thrilling visit.

The city centre Ponta Delgada is made up of old architecture that you’d expect in any european city, with cobblestone filled streets and small independent hotels and bakeries. I recommend taking a day to explore the city of 45,000 but the real fun in Sao Miguel is the outdoor activities throughout the entire island. We were there to shoot an episode of my travel/fishing tv show Hookin’ Up so we were well taken care of by the local tourism board, allowing us to experience a lot in a short amount of time.

One of the dozens of breathtaking lookout points on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores.

One of the dozens of breathtaking lookout points on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores.

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Vietnam

Vietnam is like Thailand’s slightly less cool, less popular and less experienced cousin, but with just as many good qualities that you want to hang with her too. Make sense? Let me elaborate –

Before we spent 10 days in Thailand, we spent 6 days in Vietnam and it was such a good time. Because the country as a whole is less developed than Thailand, it made for a sometimes more relaxing experience and at other times a more hectic environment. For example, you generally don’t get the crowds that you do in most places in Thailand so if you have a view of the beach, it tends to be totally secluded and “yours” = relaxing (and beautiful!!). On the other hand, because it’s less touristy, many locals don’t know english and many hotels cater to mostly locals so communication can be tricky and a little trying at times = not so relaxing. That said, it’s all good, and of course, sometimes the beauty of travel is not knowing exactly what is going on, taking it all in, and learning from it.

Gorgeous beach to ourselves = soooo relaxing.

Gorgeous beach to ourselves = soooo relaxing.

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Exploring, learning, eating and relaxing in Thailand

A lot happened in Thailand. As I’m sure is the case for most people who travel to and visit the exotic and slightly mysterious south east asian country. I survived a jelly fish sting, a traditional thai hot coffee spill on my bare legs, and multiple work outs on the beach in 40 degree temperatures. haha!

This man was quick to help me out haha....fresh aloe vera, literally from around the corner, being applied to the burn, and the stinging went down by evening.

One of my best friend’s, Maggie, and I started out in Vietnam (blog on that later) then went on to Phuket, then Koh Samui, then Bangkok.

This order of locations allowed us to party, then relax, then learn and explore which I highly recommend.

PHUKET

The most touristy part of all of Thailand, there are some things I recommend doing just once, to experience it, and there are some activities and places that are not totally expected on such a “party island”.

Photo Left: This man was quick to help me out haha….fresh aloe vera, literally from around the corner, being applied to the burn, and the stinging went down by evening.

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Food, shopping and travel tips from Denmark

The Scandinavian countries had been on my list of places to see and explore for quite some time, and lucky for me I found some enthusiastic participants to come along. My cousins and I managed to coordinate our somewhat opposing schedules so that we had 10 days to skip out on work (i.e. actually still working, but from laptops and iPhones at various coffee shops and apartments). We decided two countries was in our cards and chose Denmark and Sweden, and as soon as we left the airport (we started out in Copenhagen), the stereotypes were in full force: clean architectural lines mixed with old european details, a bunch of lookalikes – light coloured hair, tall, lean build and fashionable without taking too many risks, and pastry shops and furniture design houses in every direction.

A typical street in Copenhagen.

A typical street in Copenhagen…and we just finished scarfing down a bunch of pastries.

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Jamaâ El Fna

Our trip to Morocco was filled with novelty, excitement, pleasure and intrigue, however one particularly unique experience was our time spent in the market, Jamaâ El Fna ( also spelled Djemma El Fna). We witnessed both the daytime and nighttime vibe, and although it’s safe to say both displayed a tremendous amount of energy, the latter especially so.

Knowing this had the possibility of being an overwhelming experience, I had booked us a tour guide beforehand. The taxi dropped us off at the main entrance of the market, where we did the usual Moroccan thing – crossed the street while dodging taxis, a few SUV’s and a whole lotta motorbikes…like hundreds of them, some carrying full grown men and women, others with entire family’s wrapped around each surface of the bike, and I’m not talking large Harley bikes, I’m talking what look like regular bicycles with small motors on them. I digress…

After sorting through the sea of people and cats, we find our tour guide wearing the traditional Muslim tunic and an Urban Adventures baseball cap.  We’re about ten minutes late and he explains that he was about to leave but the company told him to stick around for a couple more minutes. This is an important anecdote because a) I think it’s pretty telling of the locals here in Marrakech as they seem to be very punctual people and b) I am certain we would not have had the same rich experience in the market had we not been taken through the nooks and crannies of what is essentially a very large maze, by a local.

The narrow and mysterious alleyways of Jamma el Fna.

The narrow and mysterious alleyways of Jamma el Fna.

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