30th March 2015 Written by Jessica Chehade Trending Conversation

Suffering from PHS? You’re Not Alone Weary Traveller

Post holiday syndrome has been experienced by many a traveller. The melancholy sensation that overwhelms you upon your return home from a trip abroad is entirely valid. There are countless blogs that record travellers’ adventures and the post travel blues that follow. Independent travellers and bloggers, Nomadic Matt and Kristen Sarah are examples of travellers who have experienced and written of the after effects of returning home from holiday. There is an increasing number of blogs and articles online that identify a feeling of emptiness and loss of motivation or joie de vivre in individuals post-travel, either on holiday, student exchange or other adventures abroad.

Amidst all the personal accounts of post holiday syndrome, post holiday blues, post vacation syndrome or what I like to call post travel depression, I was curious to find out if there is a legitimate diagnosis for this feeling or sensation. Many of my international friends and I have expressly admitted to each other we yearn for the day to relive our travel experiences. In my search for validation I discovered that Prof. Humbelina Robles Ortega of the University of Granada, Spain, has officially diagnosed “Post-Holiday Syndrome”.

Professor Humbelina R. O. state’s that the main cause of PHS is that work is associated with “no good moments” as was quoted in an online media release. People who experience PHS may exhibit symptoms such as muscular aches, anxiety, drowsiness, depression, and general feelings of unease and discomfort with their daily routine. Never fear weary travellers, if you have felt this way at some time upon your return home there are ways to repel the post-holiday blues.

Medical News Today outlines ways in which you might overcome PHS and create a lifestyle that you enjoy rather than living for the holidays. For instance, you might decide to shorten the duration of your holiday so that you separate your time off work into two segments in the year, rather than one large segment. Maybe you’d like to establish a period of “re-adaptation” so that when you return home from a holiday you have some days off to come to terms with where you are before returning to work? Small changes like these may help to prevent the overwhelming discomfort of coming home and the traumatisation that comes with significant lifestyle change.

One of my personal favourite tips is to plan other exciting events to attend during the year and extracurricular activities to do. This way, you’re keeping yourself engaged and enthused throughout the year and don’t feel as if working is preventing you from enjoying life. Rather, let every day present itself as a new opportunity for exploration and intrigue. New adventures can begin anywhere.

Image by Jessica Chehade

20th March 2015 Written by Hannah Greethead In Conversation

Wanderlust, Sometimes You've Gotta Answer the Call

Wanderlust comes knocking everyone’s door at some point. Some people wait for it to go away, but others, like Craig and Aimee of Kinging It, open the door and walk right out with it. This adventurous Welsh couple is all about getting out there and seeing it all. If you can't go on your own escapade, you can live vicariously through them by watching their in depth video updates on Kinging-it.com, an online diary where they chronicle all their adventures.

Check out their recent trip to Australia where they visited Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

 

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23rd October 2014 Written by Jessica Chehade In Conversation

To Be Or Not To Be A Student Abroad: A Tale of Wanderlust

“I was in Madrid with my gam gam in 7th grade and I remember walking out of the Prado, looking at the Ritz Carlton across the street and the Goya exhibit banner and hearing the buzz of different languages around me. The palpable energy transmitted through the cries of street vendors, the strings of street performers and the smell of summer in the Cyprus trees; It hit me at once that the world is a wondrous place and if I truly wanted to attain some higher consciousness and become the person I wanted to be, I would have to see more of it before it got dark.” Drew Nelson, 22, 2014

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There is a segment of my history, a small amount of time in my life that I will carry like a medallion around my neck forever. This is the time I went on exchange. A 24-hour plane wasn’t the medium that made this possible; it was my will.

What was your motivation to travel abroad? They ask, eager to hear the tale of your journey. I can’t define the decision making process that provoked this huge feat. I can’t tell you with clarity how exciting, invigorating, rewarding, or enjoyable this journey was for me. I can’t begin to share with you the confidence, independence, trust, and communicative techniques that I developed and enhanced. I can’t show you how much I fell in love with everyone I met or how much I miss them now that they’re not in my life anymore. I can’t express the nostalgia I feel everyday. But I will try. Not through the persuasion of my words, but others.

A study conducted in 2011 with a sample size of 516 people (primarily American college students) revealed that up to 40% of them had “A Case for Wanderlust” (P.O. Sheilds, 2011). The main contributing factor of this wanderlust was previous positive travel experiences. It was found that wanderlust scores grew according to the number of trips the students had taken, resulting in students four times more likely to travel if they had experienced up to twenty trips. The students infected with wanderlust were also found to have the most positive attitudes towards business and leisure travel. They also exhibit the most cultural openness (P.O. Sheilds, 2011). These results can be paralleled in the individual stories of students that have travelled abroad for study. There is little research on the issue of wanderlust and what motivates young adults to challenge themselves and move away from their home, culture, lifestyle, and friends and family. However, this research study certainly sheds some light on the topic and allows us to see that travel is a holistic sport that affects the individual and triggers social and cultural growth as well as an acceptance of diversity and self-reflection.

Drew travelled to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for exchange in 2014 where he lived amongst other foreign students in an apartment close to Erasmus University. He lived there for five months from January to June and studied International Business.

I spoke with him about his experience, asking, what did you expect would happen on exchange? And what were your fears or concerns prior to making the leap from Colorado to The Netherlands? “I had no fantasies or standards binding me to a preconceived idea of what I thought should happen. The only thing I concerned myself with was what could happen… And it was perfect.” Drew is proud as he speaks to me. From his expressions and tone of voice radiate a passion and energy that I‘m familiar with, leading me to reminisce on my own experience. “I never expected to make the friends I did or experience such an electric, adrenaline-charged adventure,” he says. “I definitely thought I would study more, but I've never been so happy that I didn't spend all my time with my nose buried in books. I guess I expected to gain nothing and ended up gaining everything. Weird how that works right?”

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Travel isn’t only for extraverts or the fearless. I’ve interviewed several students that participated in study abroad and there were some who admitted that the fear prior to going overseas almost prevented them from having the time of their lives. They were able to overcome it though, as one of the benefits of travelling and/or exchange is that it enables you to conquer those fears of displacement, isolation, and vulnerability in new surrounds. Matthew, 22, a UWS Communications student who travelled to England, Hertfordshire, with his older sister says, “I feel a hell of a lot more confident in myself. I made a heap of friends. I can communicate with a lot more people easier because I am not so reliant on my mum or anyone else, and I feel a tonne more independent than before.” His main fear prior to exchange was that he would become “easily homesick” and wouldn’t “mesh well with the Brits.” For Matthew this was his first experience of travelling and living away from home and mostly, without the company of Australian family and friends. However, he agrees that overcoming his fears and making the journey was more beneficial than he could have ever imagined.

Amongst the group of young women and men that were interviewed, all openly admitted to me that they would love to travel again, and the main hindrance was saving enough money for their next desired destinations. Regardless of their origin, culture, religion and lifestyle, these exchange students all discovered something new and exciting, and took home with them gold from a mine they never knew existed.

“I was lucky enough to make lifelong friends and learn more about myself, now travelling gives me a type of thrill and satisfaction that nothing else does” Megan, 21, from Santiago, participated in exchange in 2014 at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. For Aly, who was born in Egypt, the burning desire to travel and explore new places began at a young age. His first travel experience away from home was in a summer camp in Mexico, where he and other students taught English to children while travelling around the country. He made the promise to himself that he would never stop travelling, and he kept it. In 2014 January he travelled to Erasmus University (Rotterdam) for a semester of study abroad. In June he decided to continue this journey on exchange in Sydney. Now he resides on Kingswood campus at UWS until his funds drain out and he has to go back home. His greatest challenge so far has been travelling to Sydney, which is 24 hours by plane from home, and too expensive for family to visit him. That was no hindrance however, as he’s here now and fulfilling his goal- to visit as many places as he possibly can, enhancing his academic and cultural education by travelling and studying around the world.

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A year ago, if by some chance I happened across a Shaman, or clairvoyant, or oracle, and they said to me, “You are going to travel the world and make memories that last for an eternity, friends that last even more so, and grow in ways you would have never imagined”, I most probably would have said, “cool”. Not realising that those words would in fact become a reality.

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Now, I realise that travel is the ability to transport you from a place of comfort and security into one of mystery and challenges. This journey will test you. It will make you feel. It will make you think. It will make you reflect on yourself and your relationship with others. It will introduce you to a world a little faraway from home, where you will inevitably create your own home, and build your own family in the friends you make. It will help you grow and prosper in an environment that you were scared to enter. Above all else, it is guaranteed to make you feel good. I believe that everything we do is a lesson to our selves; exchange was the greatest lesson I ever gave myself. And If like Drew, you are driven by some “primal impetus to grow” yourself, “to see more and learn more” and become that “informed worldly citizen” you always dreamt yourself to be, than exchange may be just be the thing for you.

 

Images: Jessica Chehade and Drew Nelson

10th October 2014 Written by Jessica Chehade The Instructions

Looking for the Perfect Travel Companion? Make Sure You've Checked This List.

Prior to travelling the world among many other privileged humans I wanted to find someone to share the joys and wiles of my journey. The first necessary step was finding the perfect travel companion, but how? Travellers around the world have inspired this list, pinpointing exactly what makes the perfect travel partner. This is what they said.

The Essential Attributes of the Perfect Travel Companion:

1. The Experimentalist

Eating is one of the most essential feats of travel. You need to ensure that you are travelling with a person of like-minded culinary prowess, that is, an inner fatty. No one likes a stingy eater. On the road there may not be a lot of range or dietry requirement met so you need this person to open their mouths to an exotic experiment and taste the hidden treasures of a nation.

They MUST be willing to digest the following:

Snail

Eyeball

Liver

Tongue

Or, just the odd stroop waffle or Surinamese baguette

 

2. The Bag Juggler

It's hard juggling luggage with food, coffee, tickets and passports. It's real hard. Make sure you arm yourself with a real do-gooder, someone who's not afraid to get his or her hands dirty for you. The right applicant must be flexible and strong. As world famous companion Samwise Gamgee will tell you, when you're hiking up Mt Doom you need a mate to "help you carry the load".

 

3. The Perpetual Buddha

If, and when you find yourself with a massive burden to carry i.e. saving mankind, deciding to paraglide over the Swiss alps, biking in Bangkok or travelling in time (like proclaimed Sassanach, Claire Randall) you'll need a friend willing to walk beside you. No matter the struggle or journey you'll need this person's calm, talent for understatement, and ability to get lost in the moment to ease your rattled mind.

PS. This person is usually easy to coerce with little resistance or complaint.

 

4. The Gesturer

Surprise breakfast? No worries; the Gesturer is willing to please. They are generous and considerate with a flair for domestication. They like to give, whether it's the last bite of a loaded brownie, the first frothy sip of a Belgium beer or a Parisian bakers treat. Stick with this person to be the lucky receiver of a surprise.

 

5. The Flirt

You may be starting to think, now what's a smooth criminal doing on this list? I'll tell you, they're just plain doing. This is the gal or guy that bends over the sticky bar and coerces the bartender into giving you free shots all night (true story). Maybe they win you an invite to an exclusive hipster club (another true story). The wordsmith; seducer; party animal: this person is an essential item you shouldn't overlook- put that in your flirt trolley and keep on rolling.

 

6. The Joker

This person has been described as, "A stupid person with a funny smile" (stupid: affectionate endearment). They know when stalking you behind a shrub in a grungy Spanish bar is necessary. Occasionally they have breakfast for dinner and dinner for dessert. Primarily however, their cheesy grin and penchant for humour is the finest medicine your parents could send you in dire straights.

 

7. The Navigator

Ever needed someone to look up to, learn from, and lean upon? The Navigator will have your compass pointing in the right direction. In those difficult moments where clarity is needed and you can't decide whether to get down or head to the chopper, the Navigator will show your the way with their natural leadership abilities. Stick with them and you'll know the best restaurants in town, how har to the nearest toilet, and the right numbers to call if you're in deep. Never go hungry in a foreign town again or attempt to read a map when you've got the Navigator.

 

TIP: If you can't find someone who exhibits all of the above qualities you may want to recruit a posse that collectively make the perfect travel companion.

DISCLAIMER: If indeed your travel companion/s turn out to stink, ditch 'em at the nearest airport.

Bon Voyage.

 

Image: Rowane Bechara

25th June 2014 Written by Thestra The Experiments

Travelling the Strangerlands as Part of Corona's "Someplace Else" Campaign: 10 Second City Snapshots - You Sound Like You're From LUNDUN!

This article is brought to you as part of Corona's 'Someplace Else' series: Travelling The Strangerlands with Warhol's Children. You can check out all the pieces here

London is one of the busiest, most picturesque cities in the world. Millions of tourists will travel to London every year, capturing a glimpse of Buckingham Palace, the London Eye on Embankment and Big Bennot to mention Picadilly, Trafalgar Square and the British Museum. Tourist attractions are what London is good at. But what most tourists fail to see is the alternative side to London, where the magic happens, the real London. Here are five things to do in London that will make you ALMOST feel like a local:

1. Walking tours
Founded by Gary Means, the Alternative London walking tours are the perfect way to experience a different side to the city. Take some time to discover the East End, visit graffiti art galleries and marvel over London’s underground street art and music culture. Walking tours also provide street art workshops and biking and walking tours of markets in the city. And to top it all off, the tours are freethat is you only have to pay if you feel it's necessary.

2. Maltby Street Market
Nestled amongst the tourist attractions, this street market often goes unnoticed. In comparison to other markets in London, it is significantly smaller, but the goods here are what matters. Visit Maltby Street for homemade burgers and chips, quirky cafes and bars and street stalls for antique goods and clothing. This market was made for food lovers and shopaholics alike.

3. Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
Are you in London or have you just stepped into a portal and travelled to Kyoto, Japan? These gardens, in the heart of London, make it difficult to distinguish the difference. With elegant ponds and a rushing waterfall, the Kyoto Garden is one to visit should the weather permit. It also has peacock and koi fish, which all adds to the charm. The positive side is that it isn’t St James or Hyde Park, so it isn’t as busy or noisy.

4. Neals Yard
Neals Courtyard is a quirky little spot, bright with colour and full of homeopathic natural remedy stores and organic food markets and cafes. Visit for a quick uplift if you’re feeling unwell, or if you just fancy having something delicious and healthy to eat. The Neals Yard remedies store also sells organic skincare and has been around since the 1980s. Keep in mind, it is quite a small courtyard and can be difficult to find. The nearest underground station is Covent Garden, off the Picadilly Line.

5. Camden Town
Arguably the biggest market in London, there’s no doubt you can’t overlook Camden. It brings in a few million tourists every year, but unlike shopping in Kensington, the prices aren’t ridiculous and you can pick up vintage clothing, jewellery and goods. There are also a lot of talented musicians on the main street. Stop, listen and dance for a while to their music. Then carry on with your shopping.

 

23rd June 2014 Written by Louise Hodder Health & Science

Travelling the Strangerlands as Part of Corona's "Someplace Else" Campaign: Astral Projection - Tourism Of Another Kind

This article is brought to you as part of Corona's 'Someplace Else' series: Travelling The Strangerlands with Warhol's Children. You can check out all the pieces here.

Finally that glorious moment has arrived. Decked out in your superhero pyjamas you turn off the light switch make a straight beeline for your bed. At this point the majority of us doze off into dreamland, although for some other crazy cats, it is the transition into the astral ethereal world. Yup, you got it, I’m talking about astral projection.

Essentially, astral projection is a form of out-of-body experience reliant on the existence of an ‘astral body’ separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it. Astral projection or travel denotes the astral body leaving the physical body to travel in the astral plane.

It’s almost like living a double life except the astral life has no boundaries in space and time.

Ever wanted to go to Europe without spending any money? Or visit somebody while they sleep and hover over their body like a paranormal activity sequel? Then the astral world is for you.

There are evil spirits and demons in this astral world though. Ultimately the traveller has the power; you are in control of your thoughts and therefore, you can control any astral situation. You can probably even get it on with a demon for all I care – probably not in a rose-petals-and-vanilla-scented-candles kind of way though, and more like a squirrel monkey attacking your foetus. If that’s what you’re into, the technical term for this is incubi and succubi.

Many of the stories you hear about astral projection start the same way. They have a tingling urge rush through their body, followed by the confusion of seeing themselves sleeping but feeling wide-awake. The initial fear of being separated from their natural body is very frightening the first time and many try to wake up in fear of not being able to get back to their natural state. Some meet their spiritual guide and once in the other realm, anything’s on. You can visit people from earthrealm, even go back in time – meet Johnny Cash and smoke a blunt with Biggie Smalls. Although you do need a strong guide for big requests, roaming around your house and freaking out the cat is just Astral 101; the big stuff calls for help.

Now, there’s no scientific proof to all this being legitimate since it happens while people are, well, sleeping. Who’s to say whether it's just a wild imaginative dream rather than a real astral plane, I hear you asking. Well, for anybody that has been through this, they can vouch that the experience is something that exceeds the boundaries of scientific proof. For the rest of you hardened sceptics, there are even YouTube tutorials explaining how to get there; only one way to find the truth eh?

5th May 2014 Written by Otto Reitano Trending News

A Little Research Goes a Long Way

Recently, British tourist Naomi Coleman was arrested at Bandaranaike airport in Sri Lanka for bearing a tattoo of Buddha on her right arm. Being a majority Buddhist country, the island is highly sensitive to perceived insults to the religion, and sporting a tattoo of Buddha is a big no-no. There aren’t any explicit laws against Buddha tattoos in Sri Lanka, but the reason given for her arrest and deportation, according to senior immigration official Chulananda Perera, was that she would have been vulnerable if allowed to stay.

While the Sri Lankan government website does give clear foreign travel advice on local laws and customs, Coleman was obviously not aware of these customs. It was a clear case of a lack of research. Coleman had previously visited two other predominantly Buddhist countries, Thailand and Cambodia, without any complications. This may have been a contributing factor, but it still raises the concern of western cultural ignorance. Symbolic tokens of faith in one country may be seen as an insult in another, and it is up to the visitor to inform themselves about cultural norms and customs before visiting a new country.

That being said, it does seem a little odd to put somebody in a cage for sporting a bit of ink, especially when you consider kindness and compassion are two of the core principles of Buddhism. Was this really a matter of misinformation, or does it bring to light the cultural hypocrisy of the Sri Lankan peoples? In the month I spent travelling through Sri Lanka, I cannot count the amount of times I was offered wood-carved Buddhas, or was asked to pay a small fee after visiting a Buddhist statue or shrine.

There’s really no excuse for lacking cultural awareness given the ease of access to information these days, but perhaps it’s the greater issue of xenophobia in Sri Lanka that is being exposed in this story. A tattoo of Buddha might seem offensive, but to say that cheapening Buddhist shrines as tourist attractions to the non-faithful isn’t, is foolish to say the least.

10th June 2012 Written by warholst Pop Cultured

This is Valen Chang and she may have set a world

This is Valen Chang and she may have set a world record for international travel wearing a chipmunk costume. In March this year she travelled from Tokyo to Sydney wearing the chipmunk costume pictured here. Forget business class, she flies ‘chipmunk’. As we see it, not only is she now a world record holder, but she’s thrown down a pretty serious challenge to all international travellers.

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