Tag: Ecuador (page 1 of 2)

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Doreen Pendgracs from Chocolatour!

Current city: I live an hour north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Age: Old enough to appreciate cultural differences and personalities

Total countries visited: 35

What makes you interesting: I travel the world in search of the best chocolate experiences. That means I search out the most fascinating and innovative chocolatiers, chocolate makers, chocolate events and attractions and chocolate spas. Yes, I’ve been slathered in molten chocolate from head to toe in a growing number of countries and love it! I’m also a terrific listener. Maybe that’s partly thanks to being a Toastmaster for the past 17 years. But I truly love hearing and telling people’s stories.

What brands do you love: I love NAOT footwear and have worn them for years. Comfort and fashion combined to perfection. I love MAXIM ice-cream bars as they are coated in really good quality chocolate. I love the APPLE brand and have an iMac, MacBook Air, iPad, and iPhone and love how they all communicate and share via the iCloud. I also love WESTJET Airlines and fly them as often as I can for their great pricing, reliability, and friendly staff.

What people say when they travel with you: “When you travel with Doreen Pendgracs, it is a first-class experience. Doreen works with tourism officials to arrange every detail and special extras for the trip and makes sure that accommodations are always up to her high standards. Even having to deal with three days of rain in Miami, Florida, couldn’t dampen her enthusiasm and it was the best time to take the bus tours she’d arranged for us.” And from another friend and colleague: “I was honored and delighted to be Doreen’s travel companion/interpreter on the inaugural Chocolatour to Belgium, France and Switzerland. I was most impressed with her organizational skills, her contacts, and her ability to find great places to stay and great deals for travel. She researched everything before we left Canada and booked interviews with key chocolatiers in all three countries. The entire trip was educational, but most of all, fun!” And from another friend and colleague: “Being stranded behind a mudslide on your way to visit cacao farmers in the Ecuadorian jungle isn’t so bad when you have Doreen along to entertain you for eight hours. She even had the wherewithal to bring snacks, and the generosity to share them with our fellow passengers in the taxi.”

So far, where have you tasted the most delicious Chocolate: I guess if I had to pick one country, it would be Switzerland. Switzerland makes the most amount of milk chocolate, and they are the highest consumers of chocolate in the world (according to some polls.) They really know their chocolate, and make exquisite chocolate creations of every variety and from a wide range of cocoa origins.

What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home and where did you go: The longest time I’ve been away from home has been six weeks. We went to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. I absolutely love Vancouver Island as it is a nature lover’s paradise. Clean air and water, magnificent forests, and plentiful wildlife. What could be better?

What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: My favourite mode of transportation is flying first class on long haul flights. I think my most memorable flight was to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Etihad Airlines. The quality of service was absolutely amazing and having a comfortable bed to stretch out on during the 13+ hour flight was fantastic.

What are your travel pet peeves: I have two. One is when you are in a hotel room and the alarm goes off at 6 am because the cleaning staff had neglected to delete any settings made by the previous guests. I think hotel staff should be trained to always ensure the clock is set correctly, and that any previous alarm settings are deleted when they clean the rooms between guests. My other pet travel peeve is encountering fellow travellers who do nothing but complain because something is “different/not as good as at home.” Travel is and should be an adventure. If you don’t want to take chances and seize the opportunity to encounter and experience different customs and foods, stay home so you don’t spoil it for the rest of us.

What have you learned about yourself during your travels: That I truly love people. I enjoy meeting people from different countries and cultures and feel that I am the person I am today because of the incredible travel experiences I’ve had over the past 40+ years.

Next travel destination: Scottsdale, Arizona later this month. I was there quite a long time ago (BB — before blogging!) And so, a return visit to explore their chocolate scene and familiarize myself with what’s new in their lodging and culinary scenes will be terrific.

TWIPPERS OF THE WEEK

Twippers of the Week: Jane and Duncan from To Travel Too!

Current city: Sydney, Australia

Age: Jane is 60 and Duncan is 61

Total countries visited: 55 countries

What makes you interesting: We both gave up the corporate world, sold up everything, in our 50’s to travel continuously until we cannot travel anymore. We travel the world (including flights and insurance) on AUD92 per day – this is in line with the Australian Aged Pension, although we are not at that age yet.  We are inspiring those considering their transition to retirement or already in their retirement to ‘chase time, not money’ and that ‘age is no barrier when it comes to travel’.

What brands do you love: We travel with Osprey carry-on luggage and Osprey Daypacks for our technology. Over the last 18 months on the road, they have done us proud.  For technology our laptops are Apple, Jane’s phone is an Apple, Duncan enjoys his Samsung phone and we use a Panasonic Lumix camera.

What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel is a freedom that brings new experiences and adventures every day of your life.

What item will you never leave home without and why: Our power board for our technology, Jane’s laptop, and phone. Needless to say our Australian Passports.

Describe the last time you tried something new: In November 2017 we traveled to Kerala and Goa in India and had an amazing overnight houseboat journey on the backwaters of Kerala. Such a peaceful experience, the only ones on board, and the food were incredible.  A memorable experience for us both.

What is your best and worst travel memory:

Our worst travel memory: would be having our passports and credit cards stolen in Quito Ecuador.  We were on our way to Otavalo, a 2-hour bus journey, to visit the largest market in South America. It took us 3 months to have our passports, visas and credit cards issued.

Our best memory: we can’t decide between trekking Machu Picchu and our very first hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Most magical place on earth and why: A tough question this one!

Jane: My most magical place on earth would be – Tikal National Park at sunrise, hearing the jungle waking up around as we wait for the mist to clear over the temples and the sun to rise.

Duncan: Macchu Pichhu and entering the sacred valley after our four day Inca Trek.

If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go and why:

Jane: I would love to be able to chill for a week on a small island in the Maldives, with lots of books to read and enjoy time off from ‘blogging’.

Duncan: To visit the Northern Lights and ride on a toboggan driven by dogs to an ice retreat.

Next travel destination: We are off to Brisbane and Noosa in Australia for 2 weeks. Part of the trip is to present at a conference, catch up with some friends and revisit these 2 cities which we haven’t done for quite a while.

TWIPPERS OF THE WEEK

Twippers of the Week: Paula and Gordon from Contented Traveller!

Current city: Wollongong, Australia. This is our home by the beach, and we love it. We are only here a few months of each year now that we work as professional travel bloggers. When we are here, we feel as if we are on holiday. Its 8 am in the morning and we will walk across to the beach for coffee. Gordy will go for a surf and I will work on our website in a little café.

Age: 60 and 61.

Total countries visited: 51 (though Math is not my strong suit).

What makes you interesting: For some reason, in an interview we were referred to as ‘Seniorpreneurs.’ We both come from corporate careers and became travel bloggers. Many people want to be like us, ‘when they grow up.’  We love people, and we are good at communicating with them. This transfers when writing for our blog which has won many awards  by keeping our readers informed, and amused at the same time. We ‘keep it real!’

What brands do you love: Merrell, North Face and Icebreaker, because we both love to ski. Apple anything and everything. I was going to name our apartment the iApartment. Panasonic for our camera equipment.

What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel is all about serendipity, and it’s those random events you cannot plan for. Meeting local people, eating local food, and trying to immerse in the culture, mostly through watching people go about their daily lives. What Gordon sees, and I see, and how we interpret these things can be vastly different, and that’s a good thing.

#1 thing you must do when traveling: Walk around a lot, people watch and eat!

What destinations are on your bucket list: South America, as we haven’t been there yet. Chile because our friend comes from there, and Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador are all appealing.

What is the best part about having a travel partner: From a work perspective, it is great because we can balance out the blog with two of us working on it. Also, Gordon does all the adrenaline stuff, like diving, etc. On the flip side, I have a habit of picking up people, and these end up being great stories …well Gordon wasn’t very happy when I picked up a man who had just been released from jail, but there is always a story in a story. Apparently, he is/was a world-renowned videographer. Also, we actually really like one another. Ok, we may get divorced a few times a trip, but we make up quickly.

What is your most favorite travel memory: I’m like a child when I travel. I get so excited seeing new things. Maybe staying on a houseboat on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam, where people thought we were locals, and waved to us. Also, I had a broken leg from skiing and it was nice to wave my crutches at them. I adore Amsterdam.

If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I want to say back to Amsterdam, or Ireland, but perhaps to South America, and the Galápagos Island.

Next travel destination: Skiing in Nozawa Onsen in Japan, our home away from home, via Bali.

Twipper of the Month – October 2017

Twipper of the Month – October 2017: Gareth Leonard from Tourist 2 Townie!

Like many travelers featured on TWIP, Gareth realized he wasn’t living the authentic life he always dreamed about. After graduation, he became the Director of Marketing for a startup and helped the business grow into a multimillion dollar company. In October 2009, after many long hours and living someone else’s dream, Gareth found himself at a crossroads between a career in business or pursuing something he truly loved to do. Since his study abroad in London during his junior year of college, Gareth realized he wanted to travel differently by moving away from guided tour groups and get to know foreign communities on a more authentic and intimate level. He decided to drop everything and booked a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina where he learned Spanish and bartended at a local brewery. From there Gareth created a five-year plan and a list of goals for each country he visits along the way. From learning, how to salsa dance in Colombia to living with monkeys in Ecuador, Gareth is on a mission to get out of his comfort zone and be more than just a tourist. Why? Gareth wants to be that local who has their own seat at the bar and has unlimited knowledgeable about where he lives. Through his videos and blog posts, he not only educates his followers but travels deeper and truly understands a place through the people and their culture. It’s because of this passion that we named Gareth as our Twipper of the Month for October!

TWIPPERS OF THE YEAR 2016

Twippers of the Year 2016: Stefan and Sebastien from The Nomadic Boys!

“In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with,” writer and illustrator Charles Schulz knew this, but Stefan and Sebastien made it a reality. Their blog has turned into a guide for LGBT communities by interviewing gay individuals around the world, so their followers can understand restrictions or complications that can arise by being gay in different countries. Forging a network for a worldwide connection among the gay community isn’t easy, especially when some countries aren’t as accepting as others. For these two though, nothing can stop them on their path to a better way of living. It’s because of this consistent drive to self educate about different cultures through travel, that we choose The Nomadic Boys as our Twippers of the Year for 2016!

With humble but comfortable beginnings in a London flat with normal jobs and stable lives, Stefan and Sebastien decided they needed a dramatic change.Their comfortable lifestyle was fine, until it lost its shine. Boredom of the everyday grind had set in. The Nomadic Boys left London in 2014 to begin their adventure around the world. Now, Stefan and Sebastien explore the world together. As their travels bring them closer together, their followers are reminded that love really can, conquer all. From swimming like mermaids to hosting luxury Galapagos cruises, these boys dive into new culinary experiences and inspires romance in a way that draws people to them in droves, particularly in the gay community.

Traveling the world as a gay couple, brings perspective to their way of life. Largely supportive of LGBT businesses, The Nomadic Boys bring support where it’s sorely needed in countries with anti-gay laws, restrictions or social structures. “We started to collaborate with hotel brands, tourism boards and speak at conferences to promote gay travel,” said The Nomadic Boys. There are some places in the world that wouldn’t be safe for a gay couple, and in some cases be downright hostile, but that doesn’t stop these men. Spreading the love is the only way to win, and The Nomadic Boys are well on their way to victory. Congratulations to The Nomadic Boys for being our 2016 Twippers of the Year for 2016! TWIP on our friends, TWIP on!

Read on for Stefan and Sebastien’s travel update for 2016.

What was the best trip that you went on in 2016: Our gay luxury cruise to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador with some of our readers, which we’re really excited to repeat next year.

What is your most favorite travel memory of 2016: Playing with the Galapagos sea lion pups while snorkelling just off the coast of Española Islands. They are so curious and extremely cute.

Who was the most interesting person that you met during your travels in 2016: Our queer tango teacher in Montevideo, Uruguay, Rodrigo.

What motivates you to travel: Meeting gay locals and learning what it’s like growing up as gay in their country, and about each different gay scene in each new destination. This is extremely fascinating and most eye opening thing when we travel, particularly across Asia where it’s illegal or very taboo to be gay in most places.

Describe the last time you tried something new: Ecuadorian food! It’s so varied with influences from the jungle, Amazon and the mountains all mixed in one to create some delicious, exotic flavours.

What have you learned about yourself during your travels: Travelling has made our relationship stronger and we’ve learnt a great deal about each other. For example, when Sebastien is tired and/or hungry, Stefan must keep a safe distance to maintain the peace.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start traveling: Just do it! You’ll never look back on your life and say “Boy I wish I spent more time in the office!”

Where are you traveling in 2017: Latin America, particularly in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia.

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