Monthly Archives: July 2014

Diving In

Scuba Diving BookDiving Places Book Diving Safety Book  Diving Fins & Gear Diving Wetsuit

 

 

(Diving Gear – Wetsuit, Diving Gear – Snorkel & Fins, Diving Book – Scuba Diving, Diving Book – Places to See, Diving Book – Safety!)

Rollin in the Deep 

I have a few hobbies and favorite past-times and most of them involve winter sports like skating, skiing, or hockey and as far as summertime hobbies go, its mostly just soccer and the occasional trip to the beach. However, the one activity that I wish I could make into a hobby is scuba diving. Its simply one of the funnest experiences I have ever had. The first time I went diving was off the coast of the North Shore beach on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu a few years ago. The crystal clear waters and vibrant sea life were a sight to behold and the thought of being able to get out and explore the underwater locale was exhilarating. I immediately knew I wanted to make this a hobby. Well unfortunately for me, I haven’t had much occasion to make scuba diving a regular thing for me. Keep in mind that going out and diving requires both time and money, and even though I live in the Bay Area time and money aren’t always readily available so most attempts to go out and make this a regular thing have been put off. BUT I’m hoping that will change soon, and so in preparation for diving to be a thing, I decided to write a little about it.

Now if you’re new to the whole concept of Scuba diving actually being a hobby, then you might want to read up on it. This intro book into the scuba diving experience goes into a little detail about the mechanics of diving, safety details, and other interesting information that can get you on-the-level with basic diving techniques. This is probably at the stage I’m at – I know a bit about diving in general and have a very keen interest in pursuing this as a hobby. But of course the question is now, “Where are some some good or interesting diving locations?” Well as it turns out, people have written quite a few books on some of the best diving locations in the world. It provides details about some of the most interesting and beautiful diving locales, and provides glimpses of those dive sites – just enough to peak your interest.

Safety is always an issue when doing any sort of hobby, and as it turns out, diving can actually be pretty dangerous! Running out of oxygen, running into hostile sea life, pressure sickness, and even getting lost are all real possibilities when diving and can be very dangerous if ignored. Fortunately many of these dangers can be avoided with a little preparation. The safety diving book provides information on various diving mishaps and useful advice on how to prepare for a diving trip and tips on how to take preventative measures against accidents.

When you eventually decide to take a diving trip and when you eventually decide to make it a hobby, you would be in a position to invest in some of your own gear. Personally, I haven’t gone diving nearly enough to purchase my own equipment, but like I keep telling myself, eventually I’m going to reach that point, and I might need a few things. A wetsuit of course is an important part of diving gear. It provides the necessary protection against the cold temperatures of deep water. Fins allow you to get around quickly and cover more distance on a tank of oxygen. Goggles are obviously necessary, unless you want to miss the scenery while you’re diving. And finally a snorkel to save on your oxygen tank when swimming in shallow waters.

Like all things, scuba diving requires practice. You have to learn to monitor your air, learn to breathe properly and conserve your tank, and remember your diving routes. Once you build up experiencer though, you can go on more challenging and interesting dives enhancing the experience even more.

So if you want to really beat the summer heat, look into scuba diving. It can be a bit of a challenge, but promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Vacation on the Road

Road Trip collage

 

( Road trip Book – Scenic Drives in a America, Lonely Planet – California, GPS – Garmin, Eye cover – Travel Eye Cover, Neck Pillow – Travel Pillow)

 

So last week I wrote about a bunch of fantastic places in Europe, and named some of the most popular tourist sites in those countries. Well if you are the conscious traveler, then you would have read that article and saw a giant price tag associated with traveling overseas. Well you wouldn’t be wrong. Vacations overseas are expensive and booking flights alone cloud set you back a few thousand dollars. So the question is, where can I go on vacation that won’t break my bank? Well if you own a car and live in America, I have two words for you: ROAD TRIP!

Yes, the good old fashioned road trip. A chance to get out and see what really makes America the land of the free and home of the brave. To experience all of the land of liberty from sea to shining sea. By this point, you are probably thinking “But America is full of great places, where should I go first?” well to help you out with this, you should plan your route, and a Road Trip Book of some of the most scenic routes in America would be a perfect place to begin. Start your trip from your home and plan out where you want to go first. If you live on one of the coasts, try exploring the entire coastline before going cross country. If you live in the Heartland of the country pick a coast and explore it! The point is, of course to have fun and enjoy the experience of the trip, not just to look forward to the destination. But try not to get lost that would definitely put a sour mood on your trip. So to stay on task and get to your destinations bring along a GPS. Sure you could use your Map apps on your phone, but car mounted GPS are designed for road trips and offer great advice on traffic and surprisingly accurate time-of-arrival estimations, meaning if you’re in a rush, you’ll never be late!

This brings me to another point. Make sure to bring along friends and family. While it’s perfectly fine to go on a road trip solo, it may get a little boring and the experience may not be as exhilarating. Plus, if you bring some friends along, you get the added bonus taking turns behind the wheel. And that means less stoping on motels on the highway and less money you have to spend. Instead of having to rest at hotels every few hundred miles, just prop up a pillow throw on an eye cover and take a snooze while your friends make up a few miles.

So what places would I recommend? Well as a Bay Area native, I would have to say that touring California is a must do if you plan a road trip. And since there’s simply so much to do in the best state in the country (totally not biased) read up on some of California’s most popular tourist attractions and see what appeals to you.

Like I said earlier, the point of a road trip is to enjoy both the journey and destination, so don’t get frustrated at some traffic and don’t rush yourself too much to get from one place to another. Just pack your bags, pick a route, and see where the road takes you.

 

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Euro Travel Destinations

Lonely Planet FranceLonely Planet ItalyLonely Planet Germany Lonely Planet EnglandLonely Planet FrenchLnely Planet Italian

(Lonely Planet – France, Lonely Planet – Italy, Lonely Planet – Germany, Lonely Planet – England, Lonely Planet – French, Lonely Planet – Italian)

 

 

For me, Summer vacation is already halfway over and in several weeks I’ll be back to the grind of schoolwork. However I realized that during this summer I haven’t actually had time to go on a proper vacation. This got me thinking, if for some reason I had enough time from between now and until mid-August to go traveling, where would I want to go? The first thing that came to mind was Europe. But Europe is full of different places and cultures so where exactly did I want to go? Well I’ve compiled a list of European countries that I think would be great summer destinations.

First off France. When you think of “vacation to Europe”, France is most likely one of the first countries to come into mind. It is a very popular tourist attraction spot, not just because of the giant iron tower in the middle of Paris, but because of the rich cultural history of France. Whether it’s touring art and architecture in Paris, wine sipping in the south near Marseilles (Marseille) or along the Rhône river, or enjoying the beautiful view of the Alps near Grenoble, you can never get bored in France. However, if you’re not fluent in french, you might want to take along a french phrase book, just in case you find yourself in a room without any English speakers.

Second item on the list is England. For all Anglo-Americans, England is the “Old Country” that place where your ancestors came from on a boat back some four hundred years ago. As far as travel destinations go, England is quite a popular choice, partly because everyone there speaks English. Of course there’s other reasons to visit England: London is a very popular tourist attraction with lots of places to go sightseeing – Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and the River Thames just to name a few. If you want to get away from the big cities you could also tour the English countryside, and maybe stop in to see a few castles along the way. For me personally, I would like to visit the place of my namesake, the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent, mostly just to have a picture of me in front of a sign with my name on it.

Germany is one of my favorite countries, mostly because Germany is itself quite diverse. Visiting cities in the South such as Munich (München), Nuremberg (Nürnberg), and Stuttgart is a very different experience from visiting northern cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, or Hanover (Hannover) mostly because Germany is historically one big melting pot of various Germanic cultures. Cities like Munich tend to be very spread out and seem to retain most of their historical appeal, whereas cities like Berlin have a unique modern quality to them. Even after it’s rough history in the past century with the two wars and a divided country, Germany has rebuilt itself into one of the most modern countries in Europe since it’s reunification in 1990. And if you don’t speak German, don’t worry! Most people in Germany can speak fairly decent English, and even for someone like me – an American who speaks German – most people will hear my Americanized accent and automatically start speaking English. Pretty convenient.

Last on my list, but certainly not least is Italy, the land of pasta, pizza, and that funny looking tower that looks like it’s about to fall over. Italy of course has a history that dates back a couple thousand years to the Roman period and throughout the centuries has been home to some of the greatest artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michealangelo, Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, and Giovanni Bellini. Italy is also home to some well known cities such as Venice (Venezia), Milan, and Florence (Firenze). Rome of course is one of Italy’s most well known cities and probably one of the most well known cities in Europe. Why? Well besides it’s history as being the seat of the Roman Empire, it is also the location in which the Vatican city is located. As a result, Rome holds some of the old ruins of the Roman Empire, such as the Colosseum as well as some important Catholic sites such as the Vatican and Castel Sant’angelo. And in case you don’t know any Italian, or if you want to start learning, why not bring along a lonely planet Italian phrasebook to help get you by.

If any of these places interest you, check out the lonely planet travel guides to get more information on some of the popular attractions in these countries.

Of course this is not an exhaustive list of countries to visit. There are great places such as the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, and many more. So the question is, where will your next Euro-Trip be?

Fourth of July Weekend

July the Fourth

 

(Chair – Patriotic portable chair, Glasses – Patriot Aviators, Shorts – Patriot Shorts, Tank Top – Patriot Tank, Grill – Portable Coleman Grill, Cooler – Coleman Red Cooler)

Barbecue + Fireworks = Tailgate Opportunity

The Fourth of July. For some people it’s just a date that marks a halfway point that summer is over, but for us living in America, it’s the day that we officially remember and commemorate our Declaration of Independence in 1776 – hence the name “Independence Day”. And in a very American fashion, we honor this historic occasion by hosting parades, barbecuing, eating, wearing the stars and stripes, and lighting up the nighttime sky with explosives. The Fourth of July is, simply put, a nationwide birthday party for America and everyone celebrates in their own way. From my experience, The Fourth is mostly about going to barbecues and watching the fireworks, all while donning some America gear. So, why not combine the barbecue and fireworks into a tailgate event? Grill up a few steaks and hotdogs, open a few drinks, pull up a chair and wait for the show to start. Of course, you’ll need a few things first.

portable gas grill is essential if you’re going to have a barbecue at your tailgate. Sure you could bring steaks or hotdogs with you before you set up, but your food might get cold. Bringing a portable grill and cooking your food on the spot will ensure it’s fresh. Plus it’s a tailgate and will be much more fun to cook it out in the open. A cooler is also important unless you want warm drinks to go with your food. If you’re feeling patriotic, you could also paint the stars and stripes, just to get in the spirit. And what’s a Fourth of July tailgate without some portable freedom chairs to kick back and relax on while watching the fireworks.

Since this is America day, you might as well have get some America themed clothes. A Patriot tank top is a good way to show your American pride and a very good way to keep cool in the summer sun. If you really just have to go all out, throw on some patriot shorts to match your shirt, and if it gets too hot, you have a nice pair of America themed swim shorts. Aviator shades with a freedom theme to them are a good way to keep the sun out of your eyes and a good way to make Uncle Sam proud! You might be thinking all this America themed clothing might be going a little overboard, but when it comes to showing your patriotic side, there is no such thing as “overboard” – let lady liberty know you love her.

If for whatever reason, you’re busy today and can’t make the festivities, don’t worry. We have an unofficial celebration for after Independence Day known as “Fourth of July Weekend” – think of it as the after-party for America’s birthday party. So go out with your family and friends today or this weekend and celebrate America!