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7 Netflix Instant Movie Suggestions for Travelers

If circumstances have left you homebound this holiday season, the perfect cure for your wanderlust is a good travel movie.  I’ve compiled a list of 7 streaming movies on Netflix Instant right now.


7.  Transsiberian

An American couple seeking to smooth out their rough marriage buys a ticket on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. But a chance meeting with two other passengers ends in accidental murder and high intrigue.



6.  The Last Emperor

Recounting the last years of China’s Ching Dynasty through flashbacks and flash-forwards, this Oscar-winning epic charts the life of Pu Yi (John Lone) — who ascended the throne at age 3 — from coddled aristocrat to enlightened insurgent to ordinary citizen. Co-starring Peter O’Toole as Pu Yi’s Scottish tutor and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, the lavish drama collected nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.


5.  The Motorcycle Diaries

This foreign-language drama tells the incredible true story of a 23-year-old medical student from Argentina — future revolutionary Che Guevara (Gael Garcia Bernal) — who motorcycled across South America with his friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) beginning in 1951. Walter Salles’s film is based on Guevara’s diaries of the trek, a deeply personal odyssey that ultimately crystallized the young man’s budding political beliefs.


4.  Return To Paradise

Americans Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix), Sheriff (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) spend a carefree summer together on the beaches of Malaysia. Two years later, a lawyer (Anne Heche) tells Sheriff and Tony that Lewis has been sentenced to death for drug trafficking. If both go back to claim their share of the drugs, each will go to prison for three years; if only one goes, he’ll be jailed for six years. If both refuse, Lewis will die.


3.  Wild China

This six-part series uncovers some of the most exotic and uncharted natural habitats hidden within the vast and diverse topography of China, including Yunnan’s forests, the Tibetan plateau, the Silk Road and the Mongol steppes.


2.  180 degrees South

Inspired by pioneering outdoorsman Yvon Chouinard’s freewheeling 1968 van trip to Patagonia, South America, a band of bliss-seeking surfer-mountaineers sets out — in 2007, by boat — to remake the journey in this adventure documentary. Jeff Johnson and his buddies hug the coast, stopping at the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island before arriving in Patagonia — a region that’s still breathtaking but is now besieged by environmental threats.


1.  The Way

When his son dies while hiking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in the Pyrenees, a grieving father flies to France to claim the remains. Looking for insights into his estranged child’s life, he decides to complete the 500-mile trek to Spain.
Did I miss one of your favorites?  Let me know in the comments.

Posted June 21st, 2019.

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What is CouchSurfing? Should You Try It?

A few years ago I flew to Los Angeles to see Natalie, the coolest chick I’ve ever met. During my visit, Natalie filled me in on the “secret” world of Couchsurfing – traveling the world by sleeping on other people’s couches for free.  Couchsurfing appeals to people that want to see other cities and countries but don’t have the money to stay in hotels every night.  This community works because it is founded on trust.  The people that offer up their couches (or guest room in my case), are often travelers themselves and they want to help out like-minded people.

Two weeks ago we hosted our first Couchsurfers.  You are probably saying to yourself, “You mean to tell me, you let strangers sleep in your house?”  Yes. Yes we did – and we lived to blog about it.


After Natalie told me about Couchsurfing, it took me awhile before I began actively using the on-line community.  I decided to do this because I am a big advocate of frequent travel and I want to help make it possible for others.  I was relieved to see that there are several built-in safety features on Couchsurfing.org:

  • identity verification — Members donate to the Couchsurfing organization using a credit card in their name.
  • address verification — The Couchsurfing site mails you a postcard with a code which must be entered on the site.
  • profile — A good Couchsurfing profile is more thorough than a job application.  It includes photos, occupation, education, personality, interests, philosophy, what skills you have or want to learn, and languages you speak.
  • vouching — Established members confirm you are who you say you are and your good character.
  • references – Guests and hosts leave a positive, neutral, or negative reference.
  • friends – Couchsurfing members you know in real life can “friend” you on the site.


The first Couchsurfers to sign up to stay with us were two 21-year-old guys from the U.K. Our excitement for the novel experience was tinged with a bit of nervousness.  What if they’re criminals?  What if we don’t like them?  What if they don’t like us?

Our worries were natural, but totally unnecessary.  Archie and Alister charmed us with their accents and entertained us with travel stories from their 7-week trip along the east coast of the United States.  In return, we stuffed them full of pizza and cookies and served as ambassadors for our city.  The guys spent their days on the beach and at night we shared tips we’ve learned along the road.  Archie and Ali’s 2-day visit flew by and we were sad to see them leave.


Because of our excellent first experience, we immediately agreed to host another traveler – Carolyn, a professional photographer from New York.  Her current project on global climate change prompted her trip to the nearby Everglades.  She spent 9 months Couchsurfing the world and stunned us with her story of catching malaria in Kenya and not finding out until several stops later in Amsterdam.  Two bottles of wine and countless stories later we knew we had a new friend.

We loved meeting these three nomads and their tales have inspired us to go out and have our own Couchsurfing experience abroad.   What’s your opinion on Couchsurfing?  Would you consider having a stranger sleep on your couch?


All images courtesy of couchsurfing.org


Posted June 21st, 2019.

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London in a Day

Can you really see all of London in only a day?  Probably not.  But when we were given the chance to spend 23 hours in the city, we were determined to see as much as possible.

The first thing I noticed when we landed at London Heathrow was the amazing variety of shops and restaurants right there in our terminal.  You could literally never leave the airport and have one heck of a vacation.  Daniel reminded me about our tight schedule and spurred me to stop the wide-eyed wandering.

As you can see by some of the photos below, the summer Olympics were in full force during our trip.  Prior to our arrival, I imagined crowded streets and impossible public transportation but London was so organized that everything ran like a well-oiled machine.

The quickest and lowest priced way we have found to see and learn more about a city is a bus tour.  The London Big Bus Tour had the added advantage of a free boat tour ride in your ticket price.  We grabbed the boat first and had fun ride up the Thames River.  (Be sure to get a window seat because there are so many great photo opportunities from Big Ben to the London Tower.)  We disembarked at the Tower and grabbed the Big Bus.  (The best seat for photos is the front seat on the top level.)  We listened along to the recorded guide which covered all the major sites and some of the country’s rich and interesting history.

After a mandatory dinner of fish & chips with a pint of ale at a true British pub, we wound our way to the London Eye – the world’s largest observation wheel.  Extended hours for the Olympics allowed us to take a ride after midnight.  You won’t get a better bird’s eye view of the city than the London Eye.

Although we planned to stay awake for our entire time in London, I needed to grab just a few hours before our continuing flight to America.  After about 2 hours of searching, we were lucky to find a delightful bed & breakfast for  £75  (about $120 US) without a reservation.

Even though we were only able to get a taste of London in a day, we cannot wait to go back and explore more of the country.

“Our annual trip to Europe this year included an all-too brief stay in London. I have to agree with Samuel Johnson, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.””

Posted June 21st, 2019.

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This volcano owned and operated by Dionisio Pulido

Posted June 21st, 2019.

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