The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.


Cape Town is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in South Africa. It is a place that has well and truly been blessed by Mother Nature. It features natural beauty in abundance, and this is merely the beginning. There is also a lot to see and do in the area too, with plenty of different activities for people of all ages and interests to enjoy. So, with that being said, read on to discover the various reasons why Cape Town is a must visit.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - A lot of people described this as the most beautiful garden in Africa, and you will probably agree once you experience it for itself. It is a 528-hectare estate, with a huge range of animals, birds, and plants.

Robben Island - Cape Town is more than just a pretty face. There is a lot of history here too. The apartheid history is something you should never overlook when taking a trip here. A trip to Robben Island is one of the best ways to learn about this dark period. For more than 200 years, Robben Island served as a prison, and it housed Nelson Mandela.

Amazing villas - Another reason why you should consider a trip to Cape Town is that the accommodation here is amazing too. Cape Town villas provide the perfect base for your stay. You can expect luxury in abundance. There are also plenty of different options to choose from, so you will be able to find the perfect villa no matter the size of your party.

Beaches - Cape Town is also known for having some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Blouders Beach is definitely a must-visit, often described as a penguin playground. If you love wildlife, you will love it here. Another popular choice, especially for those looking to relax and do some sunbathing, is Clifton beaches.

Table Mountain - Last but not least, we cannot talk about Cape Town without mentioning Table Mountain. This is one of the most instantly recognisable landscapes in the entire world, not just in South Africa. It is more than a mountain. When it opened as a tourist attraction in 1929, it made an instant impression. Since then, it has attracted more than 25 million visitors, and it is not hard to see why. It is a place that is difficult to do justice with mere words.

As you can see, there is a lot to love about Cape Town, and so it is not hard to understand why so many people want to visit this part of the world. If you are looking for somewhere fun and beautiful for your next holiday destination, this is definitely somewhere you should consider. It has something for everyone, and it will provide a holiday to remember for a lifetime for all of the right reasons.
For anyone who considers themselves to be a true tourist, the continent of Asia is alway one that needs to be discovered. For one thing, it is just so large and there's so much there that you can’t possibly overlook it in favour of other planets forever. What’s more, you will find that the culture is diverse, the people friendly and welcoming, and there is plenty to be learned from travelling around Asia which you might not be able to chance upon when you in other parts of the world. In this post, we are going to look at some of the best must-see Asian highlights, so that you can be sure of planning your next trip to Asia in the right way. As long as you see these, you can be sure that you have seen a decent cross-section of Asian life.


Malaysia

Although it is actually one of the less-visited places in Asia, it is also one of the best-known, and this paradox can be seen clearly in the experience you can have while visiting there. There is a bustling tourism industry, but one which is still a little disjointed, as Malaysia do not get the same number of visitors as, say, Thailand or India. But for anyone looking for a slice of genuine Asian life, there are few places to go which are able to provide that quite so effectively as Malaysia. Above all, what you can hope to get is a great experience of the countryside, with some of the most beautiful National Parks and forestry that you will find anywhere in the world. You can also visit some of the towns and cities such as the stunning Ampang, home to a number of fantastic temples and a good place to stay for some peace and quiet. If you find a house for rent in Ampang you will be able to stay there a while fairly cheap, and see plenty that you would not otherwise expect to see. All in all, Malaysia is a great spot which you have to try out at least once.


India

It is known as being one of the true wellsprings of the spiritual world, and that has always been the case for this particular piece of land. If you want to go somewhere where you can expect to see some of the world’s religions come together in a unique and fascinating way, there is really nowhere better for it than India. This country is vast, and you can easily spend many months they're getting lost and still have money left over at the end of it, thanks largely to the fact that it is dirt-poor culture on the whole. But for a religious awakening or spiritual opening, you will find that there is really nowhere more suited, and if nothing else it is a fantastically engaging culture which will draw you in and force you to open your eyes to many facets of the human experience. You can’t really say you have visited Asia until you have been around India at least a little, so even if just for that reason you should definitely consider this for your next trip.






Japan

For whatever reason, people often overlook or forget about Japan when travelling Asia, even though it is also one of the biggest tourist spots anywhere in the world. It is one of the much more developed parts of Asia, and you will find that it is, in many respects, alarmingly westernized as a culture too. This may be disappointing, but that is only really the case in the very centre of some of the cities, including the illustrious Tokyo, the busiest city in the world. A long time in this city might not be the most enjoyable experience, but a brief stint there followed by a longer period of time spent out in the countryside could be the ideal way to see Japan for what it truly is. Visiting Japan might even feel like coming home to an old friend - there is something about the land which seems to have that kind of intoxicating effect on people - and you will find that the people are diverse and honourable, honest and humble in their dealings, and happy to help a visitor who treats them with the necessary respect and politeness. There is an undercurrent of kindness through everything the Japanese do. This country is well worth a visit, and doing so will mean that you have gained more of a complete understanding of what it means to be Asian.


Nepal

For an experience which is a little more rough and ready, you might want to think about visiting Nepal. This small country is situated in the Himalayas, nestled alongside India, and it is almost entirely made of hills and mountains. This makes it an especially good place to go trekking, but it is also worth visiting even if you just want to visit the capitol, world-famous Kathmandu. This city had to be rebuilty not too many years ago after a seriously devastating earthquake, and if nothing else seeing how they have done so is to witness what humans can truly do when they get together to achieve something great. The Nepalese are a polite, friendly and hugely welcoming people, and they are always happy to have guests in their home and lodgings at any time. Seeing Nepal is seeing a side of Asia you won’t read about as much - but a side which is enormously respectful, and which commands respect in return.

The four mentioned above are all quite different aspects and experiences of Asia, but they are each equally valid in their own right. If you have visited all four, then you will have a strong sense of the Asian continent on the whole. Whereas if you still have to visit some of them, it is definitely worth doing so in order to ensure that you are going to appreciate Asia for what it truly is.
A lot of students decide to take a gap year so that they can relax at the end of their studies. In fact, regardless of whether you want to earn a living as soon as possible or not, a gap year is a good idea to recharge your batteries and be in a better position to promote yourself to a future recruiter.

You are in no state to build a professional career when you’re still recovering your stressful exams and lack of sleep. Whether you make it a year or a few months, though, there’s a need to plan your gap period. You can’t just spend it playing video games in your parents’ home. You need to create a meaningful time that will be beneficial for you, but also that will look good on your CV. Consider your gap year as an extension of your personality.

Do something amazing for others
If you decide to travel, why not add a social horizon to your travel plan and decide to volunteer? Volunteering abroad is not only a life-changing experience, but it teaches you a lot about yourself too. You could join a charity organization to travel the world and learn to provide support to other civilizations. Whether you end up helping children in Ireland or elephant in Africa, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the memory you’ll keep from the experience. Besides, every recruiter likes a candidate who has an interest in charities, as it shows you can find motivation elsewhere than in a financial reward. You value the result of your action and how it affects the direct audience.



Consider your financial future
You could take a break and evaluate different budget management strategies. For instance, you could get in touch with specialists to consider refinancing options for your student loan, such as Refinancestudent.loan which can help you to reduce your repayments. This will leave you with a better-looking budget after university. Additionally, if you’ve got some room left for investment, Yougfinances.com has plenty of good advice for students. Indeed, you can start placing a small amount of money which will build up your personal investment portfolio over time. The earlier you start investing, the higher your returns on small sums. On a CV, this is the ideal experience to show your financial acumen.


See the world
Finally, every recruiter likes to deal with a candidate who has experienced a variety of social situations and who can adapt to a new environment easily. Traveling the world on a gap year can help you to develop these skills. While you may not want to share photos of your travels, a list of the countries you’ve visited and the languages you’ve learned can make your CV outshine many others. After all, there is a lot to be said about independence, social skills, self-confidence and can-do attitude for those who backpack their way around the planet.


So, from volunteering to becoming a financial genius, what’s your way of making the most of your gap year?
Today's post is for our American readers!

There’s still plenty of time before Christmas to organize a memorable road trip around the States. The southern states, each have a history of strong social realization and awakening. On the one hand, the plantations of the past carry a deep history that still rings true in today’s world. On the other end, there is a world of renewal and discovery that unite the southern US states. Take the road and cross through the peculiar cultures and mindsets of southern America, by crossing from west to east and visiting Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. From an activist state to a multicultural and hard-working state, it’s a historic road trip to discover more about the human mind and maybe, uncover the human spirit and values that come from tolerance, respect and appreciation.


A taste of Alabama
Alabama is better known for its engagement in the Civil Rights movement, and more precisely in Birmingham where the social movement for acceptance and equality started. You can find permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Civil Rights Institute about the 1960s movement and some of the persistent issues. Whatever your origins, you will find it humbling and mind-opening to come close to the great men and women who have changed the rules in the country. After all these mind-blowing facts that stain the past of America, you might want to relax in a nice and friendly place, such as the Quality Inn & Suites Greenville in the famous Camellia city. You’ll soon find out that Alabama is a state of changes! Make sure to let their force to change for the better inspire you.

Mississippi, an old world with a rich history
Next door to Alabama, Mississippi offers a mixture of spectacular sights and sweet hospitality. However, you shouldn’t forget that this sense of welcoming was very different a few centuries ago, as portrayed by the eerie Windsor Ruins. Built in the late 19th century by a wealthy plantation owner; the mansion was destroyed by a fire that left only its Greek-inspired column, leaving the visitors to wonder what the mansion looked like in its time. But after this introspection in the past, dive into the once futuristic engineering of Mississippi: Head over to the Dunn’s Falls to appreciate the beginning of a new engineering intelligence.

What not to miss in Texas?
Texas has a very long history of multicultural influences. There was a long history of interculturalism and Mexican influences that you can still experience through the landscapes and the local flavors. Remember the positives about Texas from Houston to the typical Texan cuisine that mixes flavors and influences. In other words, Texas has proven itself an inspirational state that thrives in the union of many backgrounds.

Give yourself the gift of social awareness this Christmas, by discovering the worst and the best of humankind. Take a tour in a world of generosity, intelligence and open-mindedness during the darkest hours of the history.
There’s much to be discovered in any city. There’s the centre, the urban sprawl, the small towns, nature, and so on. You can easily lose yourself discovering all the different facets of a destination; that’s what makes travelling so much fun. However, to get to the heart of a country, you need to head to its biggest city. Some people will disagree with it, but if you’re in a place where most people live, the place that represents the past and the future, then you’ll never be too far from the heart of the country. Below, we take a look at the biggest cities in five of the world’s most iconic countries.

Rome, Italy

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Italy is special throughout, but Rome? That’s something else entirely. With thousands of years of history under its belt, this is the home of one of history’s greatest civilisations. Around every corner, you’ll find monuments, buildings, and streets that date back thousands of years. Get lost wandering the historic centre, and you’ll be walking through some of the world’s most celebrated attractions. A joy from start to finish.

Tokyo, Japan


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Tokyo: the biggest city in the world! Hypermodern, bigger than eyes can comprehend, and a joy to explore, the rise of Tokyo is nothing short of miraculous. You have to see it for yourself to really understand. If you’re planning on going, make sure you take some comfortable shoes and prepare to be wowed!

Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa is one of a kind, both in relation to the rest of the continent and the wider world. ITs biggest city is Johannesburg, an economic powerhouse which is home to around 11 million people. Book yourself into the Protea Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers, and you’ll have a host of terrific attractions waiting for you. There’s the Apartheid Museum, the Nelson Mandela Bridge, and of course plenty of nightlife. If you’re travelling in the hope of seeing what South Africa is all about, you could do a lot worse than getting intimate with its biggest city.

New York City, USA

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Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston: all fine cities. But let’s be real here, nowhere in the United States - nowhere in the world - compares with the greatest city of all, New York City. A densely packed city, it represents the best of America: innovative, creative, always looking forward (though always with a respectful nod to the past), and just ever so slightly overwhelming. From Greenwich Village up to Harlem and beyond, you could spend years exploring the iconic streets and still never get bored. Bigger and better than ever, the future is going to be just as illustrious as the past for this city.

Paris, France

Of all European capital cities, none are revered quite as much as the biggest city in France, Paris. The lifestyle, the people, the history, the beauty of its buildings and quality of its culture...this is one city that oozes charm. Visit during spring and summer, and you’ll have no complaints exploring the historic streets.
Wouldn’t it be more fun to venture a little off the beaten path when you visit even the most famous places in the world? There are always places to explore in top tourist destinations for which the majority of visitors won’t think to search. If you need some inspiration as to where you should begin your adventure off the beaten path then here are some ideas.


Slovenia, Eastern Europe.
It’s baffling but fascinating that Slovenia is one of the less-common tourist destinations in Europe, despite it having just as much to offer in terms of both a stunning natural environment and a rich tapestry of culture. It’s a hidden gem in itself, so go wild when exploring this country; soak up the ancient castles and popular wine regions, but don’t be afraid to venture a little further and explore the alpine scenery.

The Philippines, Asia.
The Philippines is a beautiful country in the heart of the continent of Asia. It receives a fair share of visitors but there’s so much to see in this wonderful place that many don’t truly grasp the opportunity to fully experience this place. You could visit the Chocolate Hills or its many beautiful islands, but you could also be a little bit more of an adventurer and go kayaking around the Boracay beaches. Don’t be afraid to delve a little deeper and explore a little further than most people when you visit this fascinating country; there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Northern Territory, Australia.
Obviously, Australia isn’t off the beaten path in itself, but it might as well be, once you look past Sydney, Byron Bay, and other famous tourist destinations. This mammoth country is divided into several relatively huge states and the Northern Territory is definitely one of the most fascinating of the bunch if you’re a fan of awe-inspiring natural scenery. You should certainly venture off the beaten path (with an experienced tour guide, of course) so as to really soak up mother nature in all its glory. If you head on one of the Ayers Rock tours then you’ll see fantastic sacred sites such as Uluru (a gawp-inducing sandstone rock) and other natural spectacles situated in the heart of stunning desert landscapes. Australia’s cities are fascinating but its natural landmarks are on the next level.


Island of Sardinia, Italy.

Last, but not least, you should head to Italy. Of course, this country is one of the more popular European tourist destinations, and you may have visited it before. If you step outside of Venice, however, there’s a lot more to see in this beautiful place. The island of Sardinia is home to many famously rich and exotic beach resorts, but the island has another side to it. Head inland and you’ll see Sardinia’s local life; the capital city, Cagliari, is a hub of fascinating culture. Just north of the city, you’ll find the Barumini Nuraghe and many other ancient stone towers that form an intriguing part of the island’s great history. That’s really a lot more to this island than beautiful beaches.

People travel for so many different reasons. Whether it be to see family, see the world, or generally just gain some useful life experiences. Charity work all over the world can change lives, but make sure you prepare yourself - this is no ordinary vacation.

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Time Management

When working is such a demanding environment takes a high level of time management skills. If you’re working with animals, you’ll need to make sure you’re allowing enough time to complete important tasks such as feeding or cleaning. If it’s with children giving medical aid, it’s so crucial that you’re seeing enough children a day to make a difference. There are hundreds of thousands of children across Africa needing urgent medical attention. If you’re administering medication, you’ll need to balance your time management with attention skills to make sure everything is done correctly.

Management Skills

After volunteering a few times, you may be offered the opportunity to return as a project manager. The role will require you to think on your feet, and have a good level of all the skills required to volunteer normally such as teamwork, communication skills and work ethic. Having a team of people under your management can be a daunting thought, and if you’ve never had to do something like this before, it might be worth taking some extra training from companies such as Training Connection. They can offer an invaluable into how to effectively manage a team of people, and keep everyone happy.

Communication Skills

It’s most likely that you’ll be travelling abroad to a country where there is going to be a huge language barrier. So learning how to easily communicate with people who are not native to your language is essential. You need to be able to use simple words, and even utilise technology to assist you. Google translate or other similar services can really help you overcome this barrier. Learning to communicate with your team is just as important. Being able to make friends with the people you’re most likely going to be with for a while, and talk to them as equals will make your time abroad a happier experience, and you’ll end up making friends for life.

There are so many other skills you’re going to need, but once you’re out there and in the thick of it, they should all come to your naturally. You’ll make great friends, see places you’ll never have seen before, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Not only for you, but for the people or animals you’re going to be helping.

The Alamo, football, BBQ - there’s so much that Texas is famous for. Texas is a wonderful state to visit, with great cities that are ideal for a short stay. Being a large state, you’ll want to plan your trip to Texas wisely to make the most of your time there. Here’s how you can take in the best of Texas for a trip to remember.
Your pick of the cities
Texas is home to some of the world’s most famous cities. Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio are all popular destinations that offer a true flavor of Texas. Put aside any stereotypes you have about cowboys and country, as a visit to one or more of these great cities will surprise you in unexpected ways. If you get the chance to stop off along the way be sure to explore some of Texas’ smaller cities.  Amarillo, Pasadena and Mount Pleasant are great options for passing through, with accommodation at hotels like the Super 8 hotel in Mount Pleasant, Texas offering great value to help your travel budget. With friendly locals there to welcome you wherever you are, it won’t be long before you fall in love with the Lone Star State.


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What not to miss
Texas attractions are diverse and cover everything from hipster hotspots to sites where history was made. Depending on the type of traveler you are, you can join in the hustle and bustle of the city or relax and enjoy the laid-back vibes, particularly in the summertime when the weather really heats up. If you hit up Dallas, a selfie with Big Tex is essential and music fans of all genres will love Austin’s eclectic music scene. Sports fans can party with the Cowboys or Rangers and see true American sport at its best. It’s a thrill a minute in the Southwest so be prepared for an action-packed few days.

A taste of Texas
Ask anyone who’s been to Texas for a review and the common theme will be the food. Texas is renowned for its huge choice of food from authentic Texas BBQ to vegan delights, so it might be worth making a list of everything you want to try before you arrive. If you can time your visit alongside the State Fair of Texas in the fall, there’ll be even more tasty temptations to try and a fantastic atmosphere to go with it. Alongside the fantastic food scene are top bars and nightclubs that cater for all, showing you exactly how to party in the USA. Make sure you bring your appetite with you, you’ll need it for the foodie delights.

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When discovering a great state like Texas, make sure you’re prepared with all the right travel essentials to ensure you get the most out of your stay. Bring your camera to capture those Insta-worthy sights and make memories to last a lifetime. A destination to tick off your bucket list, Texas is a place that will surprise you and definitely leave you wanting to go back for more.

We all hear occasionally about a place that is so amazing you just have to go there. Then when you do, you’ve already heard so much about it and seen so many pictures and videos that it feels less special. Everyone has their own example of a city that left them cold despite the hype. London? Paris? New York? Each of them has disappointed people in their thousands.

A part of the reason for this is quite simple. The more visitors that come into a city the less it retains its unique character - the things that make it special. You go abroad to soak up the culture of the place you’re in, but it feels like you might as well be watching it on a big screen.

In truth, to get that authentic feeling you don’t need to change your plans that much. By all means you should visit the countries you hear so much about, but just give the big tourist destinations a miss and get a more authentic experience.

France: Paris Is Passe - Nantes Is Not!

In truth, Paris is perfectly nice (Nice is nice too), but it has been built up by decades of hype into something it just can’t live up to. Whereas over in the west of France, unheralded, lies the true gem of Nantes. In many ways, places don’t get much more French than this.


A particular highlight is the Machines Of The Isle Of Nantes - a menagerie of mechanical animals including a 12-metre tall elephant which carries almost fifty people at a time for a 45-minute ride. A word of advice? Try this and the magnificent Sea Worlds Carousel before you visit the wonderful Gauttier-Debotte chocolatier. Your stomach will thank you.

Australia: Sydney’s Superb, But Perth Is Perfect

While Sydney gets most of the hype and Canberra is the capital, other parts of Australia can go unfairly unnoticed. Among those, Perth is one that really deserves more attention than it gets.

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Round about half way through the walk around King’s Park (one of the world’s largest city parks, you’ll fall in love with the views. The sporty theme that runs through the streets will have you crying out for West Coast Eagles tickets and a chance to experience the madness of Aussie Rules football. Take a walk and sample the pub life down by Fremantle Harbour, and you’ll want to move here.

The UK: London’s Lovely, Edinburgh Is Epic

It may be heresy to say it, but once you’ve seen the major sights of London it can feel like the box is ticked. Unless you have unlimited funds, even a weekend of shopping can melt most credit cards - it’s not a cheap trip!


400 or so miles further North, you’ll find the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Not only is it kinder on your wallet, it’s easier on the eye too. A focal point is the Castle, of course, but Edinburgh is so compact that you can walk to most places. The iconic Royal Mile can take up a full day if you have it to spare, but the view from Arthur’s Seat is the one part of Edinburgh you cannot miss. With museums and eateries (and drinkeries!) to suit all tastes, Scotland’s jewel is a trip you’ll never forget.