COPING UP WITH THE PANDEMIC THROUGH CYCLING

I woke up early this morning only to realize that it has only been four months since the lockdown happened. To me, it seems like it has been several years. Ever since it happened, I just wake up each day with uncertainty, with anxiousness and lots of what-ifs. As a person who loves to travel, this pandemic has basically impacted me mentally. And also the fact that we never know when we will be able to travel again just basically adds up to the worries that we already have. 

Before the pandemic, I have actually tried to save some amount for my future travels. Sadly, I needed to cancel some trips because of the restrictions. But as a person who always tries to look on the bright side of things, I decided to spare some of the amounts I saved to get a bicycle. ‘Well, if I can’t fly, might as-well ride a bike instead!’ , I told myself. Also, the fact that I am based in Vancouver and Vancouver is a great city for biking is just one of the major reasons to own a bike.

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It has been two months since I got my ‘First-Ever Bicycle!’. Growing up, I never had my own. I remember when I was a kid,  I always go to my friend’s house to borrow his bike. So imagine the excitement I had when the Bicycle Store contacted me that my bike was ready for pick-up! 

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After getting my bike, I decided to break it in and cycled around Stanley Park. It was my first bike ride in almost 2 years, the last one I had was when I was in Berlin in Germany last 2018, so I had a bit of a challenge, especially when the track goes uphill. Though challenging, the view at the top made it worth it and eventually I just forgot all  the struggle and basically felt proud of myself which is basically a fulfilling feeling. 

Each day after getting my bike, It has started to become like an inspiration to me to wake up and go to work each day as I just look forward to riding it every after work, which I never felt ever since the pandemic happened. And each time after every cycling session, I just feel better physically and emotionally that  it makes me look forward to the next session.

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Sometimes, I get invited by other cyclists to bike with them, allowing me to discover places in Vancouver that I haven’t been yet, and most of these places have a view to die for. My favorite so far is the beach near the University of British Columbia’s Mall street, it’s just the perfect place to watch the sunset while you get warm in a bonfire while having a platter of cheese, meat, and fruits. 

Being able to go to these places, especially through cycling, and during this pandemic has definitely fed my wanderlust spirit a hundred times more than before it all happened. And for the first time, I started to have the same feeling of appreciation towards local travels to that of international travels. 

Riding my bike not only keeps me mentally and physically fit, which is basically the state we need to be in during this whole pandemic but it has also allowed me to connect with new people who share the same interests as me. Though this whole pandemic has affected the world badly, biking or cycling has helped me cope up with the whole thing, it has allowed me to experience the feeling of being extremely free, particularly when the wind hits you as you go against it. It’s just one of the silver- linings that I cannot overlook. 

Riding my bike not only keeps me mentally and physically fit but it also gives me the feeling of being extremely free, especially when the wind hits you as you go against it. 

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CAMBODIA: ANCIENT LAND THAT TOUCHES THE STRINGS OF HEART.

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” Said Christopher McCandless, and so I.

12 January 2019, my plane lands in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where I meet my brother, with whom I will share the journey; in the morning we take another plane that takes us to Siem Reap, the cradle of Cambodian history, and then our adventure begins.

Let’s get to know the area: we head to Angkor Thom – the last capital of the Khmer empire – and the historical site, take a tour of the city of Siem Reap and eat the scorpion; but it is only the following morning that the real show awaits us…

5:30 am. we are already seated opposite on the shore of a small pond, and in front of us the sun rises slowly, revealing to us the spectacle that we and hundreds of other people await: the dawn that rises over Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world!

The show is simply wonderful, and I feel the joy exploding inside my heart: This is why I love to travel, treasure what the world, and nature, has to offer me.

The next day, a very important excursion awaits us: visit the Tonlé Sap or the “floating village”. At first intrigued and excited, once we arrive the truth hits us strongly: we are in the poorest place in all of Cambodia. The guide takes us to the village school, and a group of children smile at us as they play; my heart breaks in my chest. I never imagined that I was in front of a similar show, but the thing that strikes me most are those children: their smiling faces and their joy overwhelm me, and looking at them I can’t help but wonder if they are cell phones or clothes at the latest fashion to give happiness.

The journey ends the next day, again in Phnom Penh, including quad trips, Buddhist tattoos, and dinners of fried tarantulas. It is a journey that I will never forget, that gave me so much and taught me to appreciate all that life can give, because everything is a gift.

This Travel Story is written by Nick Erba. You can follow more of his adventure on his instagram @Nick_Erba

All Photos in this article are from Nick’s personal archive.

I’m a pastry chef and a travel-vlogger and photographer since 2017.

I think that traveling is the best way to know ourselves, that there is nothing more beautiful than learning all that cultures and places in the world have to teach and that making those moments indelible through photography is simply wonderful.

My motto is “SIC PARVIS MAGNA”, “Greatness from small beginnings”, as Sir Francis Drake said, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world.

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Top Reasons Why I Love Sydney and Why You Should Too!

My most special travel moment was in Sydney, Australia. I went there alone. I went there for a purpose. I’ve been looking for a place where I can settle down and Australia definitely gave me that reassurance. Specifically, Sydney. It gave the vibe of both countries that I love; The Philippines and Singapore.

Sydney is pretty much comparable to Singapore when it comes to the lifestyle and the cost of living. But work-life balance is definitely more achievable in Australia because they discourage over time, and promote wellness and family time.

Also, they have natural resources which is similar to what the Philippines has. Although they have more wild animals that you can get to interact with. I have ticked all my boxes there. Carry a koala, pet a kangaroo and feed an alpaca! And surprisingly, I’ve had the best coffee in Australia, which is now my favorite, the soy cappuccino.

I’ve also done the Bondi to Coogee walk. A clifftop coastal walk that features stunning views, beaches, rock pools, cliffs, and bays. I had an amazing and relaxing time! I had a lot of memorable moments, my firsts experiences. That was probably the most memorable one. I’d love to come back and do it again.

So, the walk extends for six km in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, prepare your hiking outfit. After the walk, my friends and I took an uber and went to a café called Doyles on the wharf, in Watson’s bay. And oh my god, I had the best coffee and fish n’ chips there ever! A must try! I remember I spilled my coffee on the café’s carpeted floor and they replaced it for free. It was quite embarrassing but the people there were so nice. The people there are so warm.

The first time I went to Australia was early spring, September 2018, and then I came back this year April 2019, which was autumn. I have been wanting to experience the summer there and swim in the famous Bondi beach. I will definitely go back to it.

They say that part of living in Australia is dealing with insects of all kinds but I’ve been there twice, I’ve been to Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide but I haven’t dealt with any insect so far.

Also, some people said that they have experienced racism there but I believe that racism is everywhere. There are good and bad people everywhere. So there’s nothing to be scared of. When you go there, just be yourself, have fun and don’t do anything stupid.

This Travel Story is written by Gladys Dimagiba. You can follow more of her adventure on her instagram @gladysdima 
All Photos in this article are from Gladys’ personal archive.

Gladys is a thriving Filipina banker in Singapore who loves to wander around the world. Some of her unforgettable travel moments include her visits in Indonesia and Australia.

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Barcelona: A Vibrant and Gigantic Amusement Park

Barcelona is like a gigantic amusement park, a city where every locality has something different to offer. Barcelona has many different features which are facing the Mediterranean Sea.  It is filled with great and unique architectural buildings that are undeniably a work of art.  A mouth-watering dish like Paella is worth a try. 

I would say that this was our best trip so far because it didn’t only offer the preserved history of vibrant España but also their citizens, who are very accommodating and truly talented. We have visited Barcelona’s top attractions; however, our top 5 would be the Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, La Ramblas, Arc De Triomphe, and Mount Tibidabo. 

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Park Guell is one of the main tourist fascinations of Barcelona. It is very interesting for people like me who wants to know more about the unusual world of the works of Antoni Gaudi. However, you’ll have to pay an extra amount in order to enter the monumental zone to see the famous view of the park. I would describe Park Guell as an original masterpiece and an exotic architecture. 

The Sagrada Familia is still under construction up to this date, the construction has began in 1882 with Gaudi being the one behind the design of this religious architecture. The design is out of the ordinary and every details are well-thought of. Moreover, I was enormously impressed by the grandeur of its interior as well as the beauty of the church itself. 

La Ramblas of Barcelona is the pedestrian-like promenade that is lively with various stalls and vendors along it. Within the promenade, we passed by their ‘wet market’ or popularly known as La Boqueria that is definitely clean and well-maintained.

The Arc de Triomphe, similar to the Arc located in Paris, France is worth a visit as well. This arc served as gateway to the Word Fair in 1888.                   

Lastly, the Mount Tibidabo, which has many attractions and is best known for its funicular which was once considered an attraction. But what really amazed us was the oldest amusement park in Barcelona that is situated on top of the mountain and retains some of its oldest rides that are completely functional even up to this date. On top of the Ferris wheel ride, you can see the panoramic view of the whole city of Barcelona that is truly breathtaking. 

Barcelona is a city where you have to see and experience it yourself. You might have a different perspective about it but all in all it truly amuses everyone by its wonder. 

This Travel Story is written by Rommel ‘Roms’ Ramirez. You can follow more of his adventure on his instagram @romsramirez or facebook Rommel Zubieta Ramirez
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE FROM ROMMEL ‘ROMS’ RAMIREZ PERSONAL ARCHIVE.

A nurse by profession, but a traveler by heart. I love traveling to places that is rich in history and diversity. I am a professional dancer, that being said, I prefer being in places that is full of creativity, culture, and positive vibes. 

Traveling means a lot to me. It is a humbling experience of being able to see places for yourself and reminisce the journey and people that I’ve met. Having conversations with locals in any specific city adds up some learning about that specific place I’ve visited. Exploring the world is something that no one can take away from us. That makes us human, the eagerness to learn, to experience, and explore the world. 

ROMMEL’S TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

CAMERA BODY: NIKON D7200 –CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM HERE

CAMERA LENS: NIKON NIKKOR 50MM F1.8 CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM HERE

MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY KIT: IPHONE X CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM HERE

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Exploring Armenia, Top Things to See and Do in This Historic Country.

Armenia is a country in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. It is famously know for its monasteries as well as being the first-ever Christian nation. Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. It is situated just at the foot of the famous Mountain, Ararat. I decided to visit it ever since it has became a trending destinations for expats who are residing in the United Arab Emirates. So I check for cheap flights going there from here in Dubai, and as a budget traveler, one thing I always look for whenever I travel to a new destination is the flight cost, as it’s what takes most of the percentage on the budget. 

I flew with Flydubai going to Armenia. I took a morning flight and I was able to arrive there in the afternoon. Flights to Yerevan from Dubai usually takes around three to three-and-a-half hour.  I went there on Spring time and it didn’t disappoint. Armenia basically has 4 seasons and I guess each season is unique on its own, but there’s just something about spring that made me want to visit it during that time. Uhmm I think maybe because it signifies new beginnings.

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So upon arriving and collecting my luggage, I took a cab from the airport to Yerevan, the main city. Seeing a glimpse of the city from afar, I instantly fell in love with it. It just has this vibe where you can sense so much history in it. Its streets and and all these old structures made it felt as if I have traveled back in time.  

In this article, I will be sharing some of the gems which I stumbled upon while exploring the city on my first day as well as the top things to see and do in Armenia.  

REPUBLIC SQUARE

Republic Square is the central town square in Yerevan. The best place to go during sunsets to see their famous dancing fountain play. Here, you can also witness some buskers showcase their talents.

YEREVAN CASCADE

The Cascade is a giant stairway made of limestone. If you to the highest point of the cascade, you can witness the stunning view of Yerevan from a bird’s eye view. Definitely a must-visit place when in Armenia. 

YEREVAN OPERA THEATRE

Designed by the Armenian architect Alexander Tamanian. This structure is also known as the ‘Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet’. Definitely a site to admire when you are exploring Yerevan. 

NORTHERN AVENUE

Northern Avenue is a pedestrian only avenue in the center of Yerevan. It is sometimes referred to as Yerevan’s high street.  Here you can find countless cafes, pubs and shops. 

YEREVAN VERNISSAGE

Yerevan Vernissage is a large open-air market in Yerevan, Armenia. The name of the market is the derived from the French word vernissage. The market lies along Aram and Buzand streets at a length of 350 metres, connecting the Hanrapetutyun street with the Khanjyan street. 

reference: Wikipedia

HISTORY MUSEUM OF ARMENIA

The History Museum of Armenia is a museum in Armenia with departments of Archaeology, Numismatics, Ethnography, Modern History and Restoration. It has a national collection of 400,000 objects and was founded in 1920.

reference: Wikipedia

VISIT GEGHARD MONASTERY

Your visit in Armenia wouldn’t be complete without being able to visit Geghard Monastery. Geghard is only an hour drive from Yerevan, but you also avail different tours that will bring you here which you can avail at your accommodation’s reception. 

photo by: @iamvh_

LAKE SEVAN

Definitely one of Armenia’s highlight, Lake Sevan. A large, high-altitude lake in eastern Armenia. A must visit place for nature lovers and landscape photographers. 

photo by: @iamvh_

GARNI TEMPLE

The Temple of Garni is the only standing Greco-Roman colonnaded building in Armenia and the former Soviet Union. An Ionic pagan temple located in the village of Garni, Armenia, it is the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia.

reference: Wikipedia

photo by: @iamvh_

TSAGHKADZOR TOWN

Tsaghkadzor, is a spa town and urban municipal community, as well as one of the most popular health resorts in Armenia, located north of the capital Yerevan in the Kotayk Province. 

reference: Wikipedia

When visiting Armenia, I highly suggest to first-time visitors to allot at least three full days to be able to see most or maybe everything that this country has to offer. There are just tons of things to love about Armenia! Beauty just overflows from its breathtaking landscapes to its historic streets.

What I love most about Armenia are its people, they are just one of the most hospitable people I’ve ever encountered in my entire life. They offer you wine and food whenever you go for a visit at their houses, they offer to tour you around the town for free, they give you great tips for the best places in town according to your own preference, etc. These alone are enough for me already to plan my second visit there anytime soon.

Have you been to Armenia? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below!

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