Sunday, November 1, 2009

Friendship makes me more live and healthy

My dear travel friends, today I invite you to read my interview with one of the most active TFT members Eko Nursanty from Indonesia, known on TFT as Santy :).

Santy, you are TFT member since December 2007. How did you find TFT?

I made research about travel and traveler for the ministry of education in Indonesia. At the first step I made a research about how important the role of outside space for the education process of children. Then I continued my research on adult person who likes to use many times of their life outside the home, as a traveler.

Did you like the idea of TFT at first sight?

Yes... I made contact to Marco, I find many things about Marco, his personal blog, his online album..... I used his TFT to find some other friends and talked about traveling for my research..... In the first time I joined with TFT (2007), TFT didn’t had TFT Forum, so I need a community that has a room to discuss a topic. At November 2008, I know that TFT will make a forum to discuss and I joined the be the ambassador to optimize the potential of all Indonesian members by discuss about traveling and making all the places to be beautiful place when viewed from the point of discussion in TFT Forum.

You are a very active member with more than 800 travel friends by your profile. What does TFT mean for you?

It's really half of my life...... ;) For examples. If I think about my research I always think about use some friends in TFT... If I met with TFT members... I always joint them with my students.

Did you meet many of TFT members in real life?

YES....... really made full of spirit to do something with them... Last time....when I made trip with Fokke from Netherlands, Sometimes, I called Fokke...with....Marco. For many times...hahaha... I think TFT always full in my mind.....I met with Indonesian members as a formal events, about 5 times TFT meetings in Indonesia. At August, Fokke and his mother stayed in my home for 5 days. September, Nick and Bibi stayed in my home for 3 days. In October, I met with Vafa and his 12 friends from Iran. After that, we always contact each other……….. and I feel empty after they back home.

Is your family so enthusiastic about travelling as you are?

YES..... my daughter and my husband are TFT members too... WE (three of us) use speaker if we called a friend of TFT by cell phone. If I make plan to visit new destination, can you imagine……….. I always dream about it. Tell and think about it….. and my family really enjoy to discuss about it. And for a new destination, I go with my family….. my daughter and my husband. Sometime with my mother too. But, for the next time at the same destination I go just with my client or my students. My family is always active in my TFT meeting too, they know all the attendees each others, and feel close each other.

Tell us something about your country, please. As I know Indonesia has many of lovely volcanoes.

SO many things...... Ivana.....hahhaa.... but, I will try to tell you..... About beach and Island...... I read about other island in Singapore, and after I visited......So many same and more than Singapore in Indonesia......... BUT we never publish like them.... :) I read about jungle train in Malaysia, in web 61, And after I tried and learn about it.....We have so many train track that really beautiful, but we never publish and write about it.... SO.... I think, there are some things that must to know, especially for TFT members in Indonesia. Everything in here are cheaper..... but, just one city (Bali) that show in international research....

For me, as a European, your country is very exotic. I live in the middle of Europe, my country is surrounded by others countries and I cannot imagine how great could be live in the country of many islands.

YES..... we must make some things to make easier for travelers, first.... And, I try to learn from other country. Especially in public transportation...

What about languages in your country? Do you have one official language or are there more of them?

In my country, so many languages, every Island have variety language. Java language more difficult than English for me..... BUT, our nationality language is Bahasa Indonesia.

Could you be so kind and translate for us a sentences to your native language? For example: Hi, my name is Santy and I like to travel.

Hi, Saya Santy...... dan saya sangat suka jalan-jalan..

I asked to translate because I had once a pen friend from Malaysia and she wrote me few sentences in Malay language. I really liked it and now I wanted to compare both languages. Have you been in your neighboring countries: Malaysia, Papua New Guinea or East Timor?

I go to Malaysia and Singapore every 3 months. Papua and East Timor, never..... :). It's really funny, I have so many students from Papua and East Timor..... and I never bring my students and made research to there.....My trip is always my research journey, so I made coordination with my team about destination that I can use to be sample. And….. Papua and East Timor, are really expensive in airways ticket, so really make me not place them in my listing.

Is that a big difference between Malaysia and Indonesia? Do you use English in Malaysia?

Hm.... there are similar things between Indonesia and Malaysia. But yes, we got economic crisis few years ago and Malaysia not. In my research about traveling system...AIR ASIA the biggest airways in Malaysia have Indonesia as the biggest destination for their flight. So, I think.... for youth traveler, we have so many consumers for their business. To language: sometime, I use Indonesian and English when I’m in Malaysia..... Because I can’t understand all Malaysian words, just part of similar words with Bahasa Indonesia.
Malaysian language base of Malayu language, but Bahasa Indonesia mix about many things other Melayu, it’s mix with local language that we have very…very variety local languages.

What about food and drink in your country? What would you offer us?

Hm...It's so many, ..... WE will Ivana..... Me and so many members will make party for some guess.... Can you believe it.... If I made thread and messages about someone will visit Indonesia, and so many members contacted me, they will gave offer party.....I think the famous food in Indonesia is Nasi Goreng.....but every region have local food, like Padang... the famous food from Sumatera. Is Padang food. There is NASI KUNING like yellow rice if we celebrate something.

And what do the people from sunny countries think about snow, cold and ice?

Hm.... because you asked about what the people ...... I asked to my students now....hehehe. They said, they really dreamed about somewhere that really white in everywhere, soft..... really beautiful......

Lovely answers. How is the weather in your country? Do you have 2 seasons in a year? 6 months plus 6 months?

As a theory yes. But actually there are the pancaroba months, it's mean transition between rains and dry.... And sometimes, unpredictable in pancaroba.

Santy, if you would get a possibility to travel around whole world for a year. How would your travel plan look like?

Hm.... As a mosleem, of course I must going to Maccah the special place in my religion. After that, I must visit Europe, because I teach about Modern Architecture in Europe. From Germany, French, Netherlands..... and the other country.... that list in my Modern Architecture Movement...... :)

Yes, you are a lecturer of architecture. There are many beautiful buildings around the world. You have sure some special list of what you would love to see. Can you tell us at least 5 buildings you would prefer to see?

5 ?? it's really small amount..... ;) I want to see Bauhaus the famous campus that I read about Modern movement in Architecture, not about the building but about spirit of their education process. And than, Eiffel..... Louvre ...... Palm Island in Abu Dhabi. And Wilwauke Muzeum by Santiago.

You are with your students right now. Can you ask them for us if you are a good teacher?

Hahahaha...... how can I tell you about their answer ?? All of them call me "mom”. We discuss about everything like boyfriends, party, etc. Marco confused about it when he made video online with my students, he asked me "your daughter....again ???" hahaha

You must be a great teacher. Except your job and travelling, do you have some another hobbies?

Hm....actually, I like to collect freezer magnets and pins from all of the world. It's about more than a hundred I have.... I dream about many places by my freezer magnets and pin. Here is my collection : It's 2 months ago in picture, I get more the new comer collections now....Sometimes, I use my collection to make trick for my students. I said, I will give them my new collection if they get the best student in final exam to be engineer. And always work…… made them screamed………..”YES…..we will, mom…..” hahaha……

That´s funny. Now very serious question. What are the most important things in your life, Santy?

Hm.... the important things ??? It's really difficult question, Ivana.... Because all is important for me...... my family, my students, my research, my hobby, my friends.... AND I mixed all of them to be one. Always mixed them in all my day. Because I can't do anything without their supports..... :) So, all of them is important thing for me....

In your profile you have written: Friendship makes me more live and healthy. And I am sure, because you have so many friends, you will live next 100 years in a good health. Thank you very much for the interview and I hope I will walk one day with you in your lovely country.

I hope that.... I make some works with government now, to make easier TFT visit Indonesia. (I told to Marco few months ago, when we made preparation of the third TFT meeting in Karimunjawa Island) Please help me with your pray...... AND we will meet someday in reality. Thanks, Ivana..... :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I am in love with Japan

Otilia Negulescu is a TFT ambassador for Romania. I wanted to interview her already 2-3 months ago. We had finally time to do it this Sunday evening. We talked about Otilia’s
travel experiences, her country, what she likes…I wish you pleasant reading.

Otilia, you are a member of TFT since August 2008 and you really like the idea of TFT. How did you find this web page?

In august last year, I decided to travel in Malta and it was a great opportunity for me to find out more about this little country! So I started to surf on the internet searching things about Malta and one day I just found this site! I liked the idea at the beginning and I wanted to find some members in Malta, to contact them and to meet them in my travel there!

Did TFT help you travel to Malta?

At that time actually I couldn't find any member in Malta to meet, even if I wrote them messages.... Maybe they were not so active... I know there were more than 5 members like in last summer! And staring that time I became a promoter of this site! I just spoke with everybody I knew about this and tried to bring new members in TFT community.

You prepared the first TFT meeting. It was in Romania. Could you describe the atmosphere on it?

Yes, nice to remember this! It was in last October! I choose a club in the old part of Bucharest and the name of this place was ‘‘Amsterdam’’. I loved the coincidence of the name with the nationality of the site's founder - Marco! Some TFT members from Bucharest came and we where together for few hours... Had something to eat and to drink... And because it was Halloween then, the atmosphere in the club and in the city was very nice and people were everywhere... And we had warm weather too!

What about your country? What teasers/curiosities are there to attract visitors to Romania?

There are many interesting things for tourists in Romania. It depends on what they are looking for - natural beauties (mountains, sea, rivers, hills, forests...) or human like castles, villages. Romania is a beautiful country! There are many historical places like Peles Castle in Sinaia, Rasnov Fortress close to Brasov, Bran Castle, Suceava Stronghold, Sighisoara Old City, Sibiu, Timisoara, The Old Danube Bridge ''Anghel Saligny'' ... and many others. Also old and wonderful Monasteries like Curtea de Arges, Cozia, Voronet, Varatec, Sucevita, Moldovita, Putna, Neamt, Agapia, Caldarusani.

I think many of us (in the first moment) just think Romania = Dracula :) Can you tell us something about this story? Are there some things about Dracula in Romania?

I think Romania is linked to Dracula name just by the movie and the legend ... Historically considering, Bran Castle was used by Dracula Voivode - from where is the name of Dracula, the vampire - (Vlad the Impaler) as fortified citadel on the fight with Turks after he conquered Brasov (Corona, Kronstadt) in 1460. So, there is no vampire, I'm sorry... Just a cruel voivode in Middle Edge...

I am sure you love your country. Can you imagine living somewhere else? Where?

Of course I love my country!! But if I could choose to live somewhere else, I would love to live in a warmer place like Mediterranean countries ... I like the sun and warm weather very much for all the year.. Coldness I prefer just for short time!

But Romania is quite in the South of Europe, isn’t it?

Yes, but we have 4 seasons, you know... and very cold some winters.

Otilia, I am curious about Romanian language. It belongs to roman language family. Does it mean you can easily use/learn French and Italian or Spanish?

Yes, you're right. There are many similar words with Italian language and learning some other roman language is easy, but it depends of the person... There are people who can learn foreign languages easily or the hard way...
For example, in Italian is ''Buona sera'' in Romanian is ''Buna seara''!!

Thanks for example ...When tourists visit Romania, can they simply use English or French or are there difficulties in using foreign languages in Romania?

Yes, there are many people who know English, at least basics... And French, most of older people from the cities... So, it's not necessary to know Romanian, but I have to tell you, it's a beautiful language.... And if you can learn it until you can read Caragiale, it's really worth it!!

Caragiale? I have never heard about…

Caragiale is often considered the voice of Romanian literature and his native country's best playwright, He reflected the language, people, and concerns of Romania in his work. Caragiale was best known for his eight plays--most of which were social comedies--though he also had an extensive body of fiction, dramatic criticism, other works of nonfiction, and one novella to his name.'' He wrote: "A Stormy Night", "A Lost Letter", "Mr. Leonida Faces the Reaction", "Carnival Adventures" and other beautiful and juicy things.

Thanks for a new information. Let’s get back to you. What does traveling mean for you?

See other places, meet other people, find out about history of those countries, and taste from the local traditional food and drinks...

Do you have some destinations you would prefer to visit?

Yes, I have. I want to visit Japan someday...and other oriental countries. And also this year I intent to visit Istanbul!

Is there something special about Japan for you?

Yes, everything! The civilization, people, the nature there, the language... the art, the technology... I'm just in love with this country, if I can say this....

Can you recall some interesting story or a bizarre situation during some of your travels?

Yes... 2 years ago I was in Italy for 1 week... I had accommodation on Ischia Island and for 1 day I made a travel by bus on Amalfi Coast. On this travel I had a nice guide, which was literate - art University in Napoli - and after few glasses of Limon cello, he started to sing ''Torno a Sorrento'' - which is an opera song.... And we were in Sorrento then!! He was impressive...

I can imagine it :). I know you are a former doctor. Is it useful to have such knowledge in your journeys?

I did this university for myself, but I didn't practice like a doctor.... So, I know what to do in case of emergency, but if you travel in Romania you just call 911...

I hope it will be not necessary. Let ´s go to the most important things in your life. Which are they?

Ohm... Just live my life how I want...

Sometimes is life too hard. What things do make you happy?

Eating chocolate, ''arguing'' with my son, kissing my lover and seeing the sunshine...

So I wish you a lot of sunshine in your life. Thank you very much for the time you spent with me and I am happy we had such a great Ambassador in Romania.

Thank you Ivana for your kindness! You and every TFT member are more than welcome to visit Romania!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Made in Macau

at the Grand Emperor Hotel

It's been more than a week since the Macau trip, and I can still remember the highlights of my recent adventure. The first thing I enjoyed was the fine weather, which I felt the moment I stepped out of the airport. Coming from a tropical country, the cold climate's definitely a treat!

We stayed at the Grand Emperor Hotel. I was really impressed with the accommodations. We checked in at two adjacent rooms, each with a flat screen TV. Hehehe! The hotel also exudes Russian glamour manifested by carriages situated infront of the hotel, paintings of royalties on the walls, and guards standing by the main entrance. If you have enough to shell out for accommodations, I'd recommend the Grand Emperor Hotel. With its strategic location, you won't have a hard time going around town.

After settling in, first challenge for us was to look for a church where we could hear mass. Since there are few Catholics in Macau (and probably the rest of China), it wasn't easy finding one. Too bad the mass was over when we finally found one. We simply headed to Largo do Senado to have dinner. Largo do Senado is said to be the focal point of the city. It is where travelers start their Macau adventure. This also leads to the Macau Museum and St. Paul's Ruins, which is one of the main attractions in Macau. Aside from the impressive tiled paths, Largo do Senado has shops where tourists can buy imported and local goods, especially dried beef, candies and other Macanese delicacies.

Our second day was spent to visit the very famous The Venetian resort and hotel. Before leaving for Macau, a lot of people were telling me that I shouldn't come back without visiting The Venetian. At first, I was puzzled why people are raving about this hotel-resort. When I got the chance to set foot on this establishment, I finally understood why. The Venetian is more than just a hotel. It is a hotel, mall, and casino rolled into one. The interiors are consistently designed to emulate the ambiance of outdoor Venice. Even the food court feels like the European alfresco. There are intricately designed walls, bridge over waters, complete with gondolas and gondoliers who serenade passengers with Italian songs. Our gondolier, Celeste, is a Filipina! The ground floor of The Venetian is filled with everything casino - electronic slot machines, poker tables, and the like.

The next day, we went to St. Paul's Ruins, the Macau Museum, and the Macau Tower. St. Paul's Ruins is one of the remnants of the Portuguese rule and influence. The original facade of the church still stands and serves as a reminder of the efforts of the Portuguese to Christianize the Macanese residents. More of Macau's history can be learned from the Macau Museum. Though relatively small, it does not compromise the information that one can learn about the city's history, culture and lifestyle. Moving on, the view from the Macau Tower is breathtaking, but scary at the same time. Hehehe! I'm no acrophobic, but when I realized I was standing on glass floors, I nearly panicked.  For extreme sports enthusiasts, you can actually bungee jump from the Macau Tower.  Being the highest bungee jump in the world, you'll get a certificate if you do so.  I actually wanted to, but the fee is as steep as the tower.

At night, I walked around the city with my camera and captured the colorful lights displayed by the hotel-slash-casinos. There were a lot! Afterall, Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia. If I were fond of casinos, I would have spent the nights in them.

Overall, I enjoyed traveling to Macau. I am happy to be able to experience their culture, marvel at sceneries, and indulge in the cuisine. Though I encountered some difficulty with the language barrier, being able to communicate without really speaking the vernacular was something worthwhile. Also thanks to the Filipinos we met at times. They really helped us a lot!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to go back, but if given the chance, I would.

Click here to view the pictures.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Travelers For Travelers enables Wiqet for 18.000 members

Amsterdam - Travelers For Travelers (TFT) is the first travel community using the Wiqet Voice & Photo Player. During travels we all want to make lots of pictures and afterwards we like to share these with friends. By using the Wiqet Player you will not only be able to share your photos you can also tell the story behind them! Wiqet is a perfect way to make the profiles of the TFT members (+18K) more personal.

How does the Wiqet Player works? Well it’s easy. You upload your photos (up to 49) into the Wiqet Player. Choose with each photo to zoom in/out or rotate. After uploading your photos, you can record a voice message with your computer. Within the Netherlands you can also use your (mobile)phone to record a messages. This will soon be also be available in other countries. After recording your messages you can ‘drag & drop’ your photos to make sure they are in the right sequence. You can play a Wiqet just like a video (press play) and also use options such as ‘sent to a friend’ or use the html code to put it in your own site, blog or community (like MySpace or Hyves).

Check out this profile as an example:

Especially for websites where people want to meet up with each other, such as TFT, the Wiqet is a welcome tool to make the profiles more personal. You do not only read something about a person and see some photos. Now you actually hear his or her voice message! In each Wiqet the logo of TFT is displayed transparent above the photos. It is easy to use the Wiqet anywhere on the web. When the Wiqet is placed on MySpace, Facebook or on any other website people can easily, by clicking the logo, link back to the website of TFT.

Wiqet ( is developed by Wiqet Media. Everybody can make a Wiqet on and send or place it somewhere. Websites can make use of the Wiqet Webservice. They can integrate Wiqet as a tool and offer it to their users.

Travelers For Travelers ( connects locals and travelers. We just launched our site and in a year time more then 18.000 travelers from more than 226 countries became a member. TFT is a community that makes it possible for travelers and locals to get to know each other online and visit each other in real life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

" Through travel I learn who I am. "

On a windy sunday morning, I had a chance to talk to an interesting man. His name is Marco van de Kamp and is behind the idea and founder of a portal, which connects travelers all around the world - Travelers For

How and when did you get an idea to found TFT web site?

I did a lot traveling in my life and in 2006 I went with my girlfriend for a year around the world. I had my own internet company before I went traveling and when we traveled, the best experiences were with local people, who knew where to go and what to do around their place. So I thought why not make it easy for locals to meet or help travelers, locals become travelers and the other way around.

When and where did you take your first trip in your life?

My first real travel (as a backpacker, not tourist) was 10 years ago, half a year to Thailand and Australia.

Which countries around the world do you find the most interesting and why?

I can start with Holland. I love my country, its cold, its windy, my friends and family are great, everything in Holland is arranged so you have no troubles about healthcare etc.The most beautiful country I think is Venezuela:Beaches, highest mountains, great jungle, strange culture, lazy beer drinking people ;) The most interesting cultural experience we had, was in Siberut Island near Malaysia. People still live like we did 2000 years ago. We spent 2 weeks with those guys and it was a great experience eating some kind of wood and hunting in the forest.

You live in Holland. What other countries could you imagine for a living?

New Zealand, Australia for sure. These, for me, are not the best countries to travel though, but to live in, Yes!

What is your experience with using English as universal language around the world?

Many people cannot speak English so I use hands and feet, that works great. I speak some French and some Spanish, so in Asia/Europe everyone can speak or find someone who can understand/speak English, in South America, you want to learn some Spanish and it makes the trip a lot easier and in Africa you can use hands and feet to explain.

You sure have tasted local cuisine, in which country was that the most interesting?

For this question, I stay with Siberut near Indonesia/Malaysia. Those people do not eat rice or potatoes, they just eat wood. They chop a tree, rasp the wood, put it in water for a few months, dry it, put it in banana leaf and roast it on a fire. It does not taste bad, but to eat it every day, that’s a bit too much.

Ooh. This is really strange. And what was the most delicious food? (Outside Europe :) )

Outside Europe? Thai or Malaysia fresh crispy baked/grilled fish just out of the ocean with sweet and sour sauce and vegetables and some rice - delicious.

How do you decide, where to go next? Could you describe a typical trip somewhere? What do you take with you as an essential equipment?

I like to go everywhere, so it depends on what’s happening. This week, I went to London, because of the World Travel Market and Travel BlogCamp. Last month, I went to Denmark, because of the best windsurfing conditions in Europe.So I always take a sheet. Not a sleeping back, but a sleep sheet, that you can use in hostels. It's great. Sometimes instead of sheet - a hammock, that you can use as a sleep sheet, works great to.

Yep...and what about passport visa? Do you need them often? And I could also ask about visa card as an essential tool in globalized world, when I mention it actually :)

I always bring passport, for sure you need it. And I always try to get money out of money machines with bank card, I try not to use my credit card because it is expensive to get money and they can be copied, that happened to me once. I always bring enough cash to have money to get out off a country without needing a bank.

Lets get more philosophical. What is the point in traveling, in your opinion?

In my opinion "Through travel I learn who I am". It helps to learn what I like, who I like, what I want etc... It is not about the other cultures nature etc, but because the other environment and people, you can learn more about yourselfI think everybody should travel at least 6 months in one go in their lives. You learn so much from it. Let’s say it differently. I think people who have not traveled for a long time have missed out one of the best things in life!

In 6 months, you can probably realize even a trip around the world. That would be a good "know yourself" concept. We could discuss and ultimate "world trip" itinerary. :) What country would yours include?

Only 3 countries and it does not matter which ones, all countries are beautiful. Only 3 are important, so you have enough time to really experience a country/culture. If you arrive somewhere and love it you could stay for a few weeks. It is great to have time. You can relax, let go off planning, enjoy the travel as it happens to you.

Still, is there a travel dream of yours, already realized or yet planned?

Yes, a few dreams. I would love to spend time along the west coast Australia for windsurfing, same in Brazil. I would love to go back to Venezuela again to start the search for diamonds in the jungle with a guy we met. And Iceland must be awesome. Many dreams...

There are probably many more interesting encounters with local people or a local individual. Are there some really strange (or really interesting or hearth touching story) you could share?

I had my appendix removed in Maldives in a hospital where only the doctor could speak English, the beds where really short and the toilet was shared with 50 other patients. The doctor was so nice, he spent (after I left the hospital) a week with us, visiting his friends, the best places to eat around town, the monkeys, it was a really really great experience to get to know him.

The room you see on the picture was as big as the room next door, we had 5 beds (terminal patients and me :)) and the other room 40 beds!

I guess a good traveler should remove his appendix, as prevention, in advance :). It was probably a strong experience. What (and who) influences you in general, in your life?

Deep question. My parents, my girlfriend, my travels, my friends, internet and windsurfing.

The list is understandable, but there is that “windsurfing” part. How did it qualify into the list?

It’s just so my passion. If it is windy I go out and surf, I plan my life around windsurfing. It is the ultimate freedom. With simple equipment, you can use some powers from nature wind and waves to reach enormous speeds, fly high in the sky, float along with waves. It sets your mind free and you are only facing the elements focused on that. It is just great!

Ooh, that was a inspiring description. One would want to try it at once after reading it :)

I hope so. It takes a year or a few to get to a point I describe. Many people stop after a few try’s.
I guess you need a good motivation for everything in life. The TFT people would probably like to know more about your hobbies. Do you read, or listen to music? What genre?

Hobbies: windsurfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, surfing, play the drums, scoutingI like to read books like: “The monk who sold his Ferrari”, “Who stole my cheese”, ”The tipping point”, “Mindmap books”, “7 habits of highly effective people”.I like music, from house to rock, from jazz to tango. I love lots of music, mostly alternative.I love movies - not really the Hollywood movies - but movies like "Into the wild", "Boondock saints" "What the bleep do we know".

Hmm...thanks for interesting tips. I guess we missed to mention a big hobby of yours - the TFT site :) It must really take quite enough time and resources of yours. What are your plans with TFT for the near future?

I spend about 4 days a week full time on the TFT site , so it’s more then a hobby... and the rest of the week only the evenings ;)
Expand the community with more interaction and information for the members. For example the blog posts you are writing. I am working on the Forum for some weeks now, I hope that we can launch that soon.

Thanks for your time and an interesting discussion. And, I have prepared a little test for our SuperTFTAdmin :) Can you identify the location of these three places - It will be enough on the large scale .. So, can you locate these? (No Google allowed and they do not serve hamburgers on the third. :) )

1) Svalbard
2) Galapagos
3) Heard Island and McDonald Island.

Oops, I fail for this test. I only know that near Equador is the Galapagos, Svalbard sounds Scandinavian, McDonald Island must be an island from a British colony somewhere. Same as Heard Island I think.

I think, we could take these as creative (and basically correct) answers, and it proves you will not be lost so easily on your future trips :) Thank you again for your time and we look forward to additional interviews in the future as well as to everything that comes next in the TFT community.

Thank you too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Do You Dopplr?

I never thought I would be fond of social networking sites.  When I started with Friendster, I didn't realize that there are countless networking sites existing on the net, each with its special features and causes.  I was really elated when I learned about Travelers For Travelers (TFT), and I did not hesitate on signing up knowing that I'd be joining an online community of individuals who share the passion for traveling.  Moreover, sharing notes and helping one another in the pursuit of satiating the appetite of setting foot on different lands and experiencing different cultures really sets TFT apart from other networks.  So, if you haven't signed up, I highly suggest that you do.

Anyway, throughout my online existence, I've found another travel-related networking site - Dopplr.  I must admit it's less interactive than TFT, but it is as interesting.  If Twitter answers the question, "What are you doing?", Dopplr answers the question "Where are you in the world?".

Aside from its sleek and easy-to-use interface, an interesting feature is that it can be posted as a widget in your blog, or in other online accounts as well, so that visitors will know where you are in the world, and where you plan to be.  I think this is great for people who love to travel and blog.  It adds an engaging feature in the blog that would make readers anticipate on your next destination.

Go ahead.  Try it and tell us what you think.  Do you think Dopplr is something we could incorporate in our TFT profiles?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

An unexpected guest

Last Easter I traveled from capital city Bratislava where I live to my hometown in Eastern part of my country. My mam was expecting me and we were both delighted to be together again. I hate the journey home by taking bus or train, it lasts too long. So I decided to buy a ticket for a plain and be in 35 minutes in Eastern Slovakia.

The morning was nice and I was in very good mood. My mood got much better instantly after a kind suprise on the plain. I met my former fellow from university. She worked as a stewardess and I could take place close to her just to speak and remember times we were students. After we landed I could see a pilot cabin and talk with pilots a bit. This amusing and unexpected experience made me smiling after I said good –bye to my stewardess friend.

My travel continued, I had to take a bus from the city I landed to another city and then once again take a bus to my home town. I waited for a bus on the bus station and just after few minutes before deparature I met another school fellow. I had to smile. It was just 8 o´clock morning and I already met 2 people I have not seen for years. We did not have enough time to speak, but it was a very joyfull and unexpected meeting.
I thought how nice my day have started and after two unexpected meetings I was sure I will meet somebody interesting yet. It was true.....

While waiting for my next and final bus I spotted a stranger on the station. I knew he was from Asia but I could not recognize his country of origin. Every stranger is very noticeable in this corner of my land, becuase tourist prefer to visit capital city in the West part of the country and only a few tourists come here.
10 minutes before a bus should come I stood in the row and the man stood behind me. I was really suprised he travelled to my home town. There are not many tourists in my town although Bardejov is an old historic town and an official part in Unesco heritage fund.

I decided to introduce myself to the man.
It was cold and I spotted his hands are cold becuase he started to chafe his hands. I offered him one of my gloves :). He did not take it but we could start talking. The man was from Japan and he loved old European history. We took the bus together and after 2 minutes I decided I will invite him to our flat for a lunch. I just wanted to make him happy to get an opportunity seeing how we (natives) live behind our doors. I think this is a dream of everybody who is a real traveller. Most of the time, you can only see the culture in the streets, restaurants, shops...but the real life is behind doors, in flats and houses where people live their real lives.

The japanesse tourist was very delighted and he agreed immediately. I called my mam and informed her we have a guest for lunch - Mr. Michio from Japan. She was suprised but I knew my mam is great.

My mam doesn´t speak any english, but she is very empathetic and understands many things without speaking. Mr. Michio was a great guest. Becuase of Easter, my mam has decorated our flat in a very lovely way, and he liked it. He took many pictures and use his camera. The japanesse people have a good sense for details and he appreciated all decorations my mam did. We offered our guest all kinds of food he could taste and he liked the „compote“ (fruits with sweet water put into bootle and pasteuresied) because he has never eaten this kind of food. We talked about history, politics, cultures, languages, family life....
I knew that japanesse people are very polite. But when I saw our guest having enough of food-tasting and being to polite to refuse another piece, I just asked him to be honest and not to be polite anymore :).

We sat and spoke for a whole afternoon and I am sure we all felt very comfortable / except our quite full stomaches :) /. This man from far suddenly was like our old friend. We spent beautiful hours just speaking, listening and understanding.

In the evening, we accompanied our guest and we really missed him. Of course we exchanged emails and we are still in contact. I think everybody makes advertisement for his country, now I think about Japan just in lovely way because I met a lovely person from Japan. I hope Mr. Michio thinks the same way about my country...