slow travel

Native Traveler's CUBA show!

SPECIAL OFFER FROM BABBEL FOR NATIVE TRAVELER LISTENERS! 

The World's Leading Language Learning App is offering NT listeners a Buy Three Months, Get Three Months Free special offer. Click below and enter the coupon code "TheNativeTraveler".

 
 

“I recall the busy atmospheric streets. The snapshots of lives lived out in the open, and the unmistakable aromas: Tropical Papaya mixed with Tobacco leaf, petrol and musty carpets….” writes Lonely Planet author on Cuba, Brendan Sainsbury. His latest guide coming out in October is an evocative, info-packed read. Brendan spends some time talking with us. Writer Allison Yates transports us into the optimistic resilient heart of the Cuban people in her feature, "me resolvi." And chef Gabriel Gonzalez of Toronto's Mojito Cubano gives us an authentic taste of his homeland. Dig in.

(Allison Yates//me resolvi: 1:04; Brendan Sainsbury//Lonely Planet: 14:14; Mojito Cubano live: 31:04)

 

Allison Yates

IMG_3060.JPG

Allison is a writer and traveler who has done everything from selling pumpkin donuts to working as a cleaner at a uranium mine to fund her life abroad. She's a Latin American enthusiast who loves Cumbia, coconut water, and the Spanish language.

 

Brendan Sainsbury // Lonely Planet Cuba Writer

p0WrqwNt.jpg
Unknown-1.png

Born and raised in the UK in a town that never merits a mention in any guidebook (Andover, Hampshire), Brendan spent the holidays of his youth caravanning in the English Lake District and didn’t leave Blighty until he was nineteen. Making up for lost time, he’s since squeezed 70 countries into a sometimes precarious existence as a writer and professional vagabond. His rocking chair memories will probably include staging a performance of ‘A Comedy of Errors’ at a school in war-torn Angola, running 150 miles across the Sahara Desert in the Marathon des Sables, and hitchhiking from Cape Town to Kilimanjaro with an early, dog-eared copy of LP’s Africa on a Shoestring. In the last eleven years, he has written over 40 books for Lonely Planet from Castro’s Cuba to the canyons of Peru. When not scribbling research notes, Brendan likes partaking in ridiculous ‘endurance’ races, strumming old Clash songs on the guitar, and experiencing the pain and occasional pleasures of following Southampton Football Club.

- (Bio from lonelyplanet.com)

 

Mojito Cubano

mojitocubano.jpg

Mojito Cubano, located at 1510 Queen Street West in Toronto, is run by Cuban chef Gabriel Gonzalez. It's the real deal in authentic Cuban cuisine and casual warm atmosphere.

me resolvi

me resolvi

I open my eyes to a dim room and feel the all-too-familiar sting in my throat. I can’t swallow. My muscles tense as I shift in bed and I close my eyes, hoping I might be able to fall back asleep and will it away. I can’t.

Across the room, my window opens to the courtyard of this building in Old Havana, and I hear the neighborhood waking up.

I went out dancing last night, but it’s not a hangover that’s debilitated me. It’s probably tonsillitis. I ask my friend to tell the lady downstairs that I’m unwell and ask which hospital I should go to.

Turns out, the lady downstairs has a different idea, and it appears I am in her hands. Cubans have their own way of "resolving" problems and getting things done in a country so short on resources for so long. These are the surprises of everyday life post-Fidel-Castro that go on behind the vibrant Instagram shots. And I’ve come to know firsthand these unexpected ways from the moment I arrived just over two weeks ago.

Check out Native Traveler's full-length EASY RIDER show!

 

Special Offer From BABBEL for Native Traveler Listeners! 

The World's Leading Language Learning App is offering NT listeners a Buy Three Months, Get Three Months Free special offer. Click below and enter the coupon code "TheNativeTraveler".

 
 

The Road to Kalamazoo

Our senior producer Cara Ferguson proves that there's a little easy rider in all of us, and hitting the open road on two wheels may be easier than you think.  With getting there half the fun, you might also be surprised at the hidden gems you'll find along the way.  Hop on and listen in.

 

Mike Ball // Snow City Cycle Marine

Mike Ball from Snow City Cycle Marine gives expert technical advice on getting the right bike and the right gear ready for your next road trip. Those living outside the Toronto area can look to their local colleges and motorcycle shops for courses on motorcycle maintenance.

Mike Ball from Snow City Cycle Marine gives expert technical advice on getting the right bike and the right gear ready for your next road trip. Those living outside the Toronto area can look to their local colleges and motorcycle shops for courses on motorcycle maintenance.

It all began in 1971 in a 450 square foot garage owned and operated by George and Vira. Today Snow City Cycle Marine is the largest Powersports Dealer in the G.T.A. operating out of 12,500 square foot building on Kennedy Road in Scarborough. They successfully sell and service Yamaha, BRP, Kawasaki, and Suzuki product.
 

Heritage Guitar Inc.

Heritage Guitar Inc - pic 2.JPG
Kalamazoo’s history with the guitar dates back to the late 1800’s when a man by the name of Orville Gibson arrived in town and began designing his own innovative mandolins. By the early 1900’s, his company was also producing guitars and other stringed instruments and, throughout most of the next century, the Gibson Guitar Corporation grew to become the world’s premier guitar manufacturer. From 1917, that growth occurred at the historic 225 Parsons Street location, until 1984 when the company left Kalamazoo for good, closing the doors on the iconic factory.
Not long after, a few former senior employees had decided they wanted to continue the tradition of handcrafting beautiful, high quality electric guitars in Kalamazoo. By the spring of 1985, those individuals had acquired space at the former factory, purchased a lot of the old guitar-making equipment, and were ready to roll.
The first guitar Heritage introduced was the H-140 solid body single cutaway electric guitar, which premiered at the 1985 NAMM show in New Orleans. Over the years, Heritage has built a small array of various instruments, including banjos, mandolins, flat tops, and basses. However, with the demand for the guitars increasing, the company decided to focus exclusively on making the world’s greatest hollow, semi-hollow, and solid body electric guitars.
 

Renée Newman // Discover Kalamazoo

Downtown-Kalamazoo-IMG_9060.jpg
Cara and Geoff found Kalamazoo is more than a great name.  Located in Southwest Michigan, about two hours from Chicago, Kalamazoo is one of those mid-sized urban gems, with an vital, eclectic downtown, but never far from lakes and outdoor recreation, homey festivals, and more.
Kalamazoo claims to have a big city mindset with a small town heart. Cara and Geoff agree.
 

Cara & Geoff Hit the Road

 

Geoff and Cara's tips on where to stay

After a long day on a bike, Geoff and Cara insist on comfort — all the necessities, a king suite, upscale linens and comforters, a jetted tub, an in-suite kitchen is a nice touch.  They said they also look for a heated indoor pool, a spa and onsite dining options (in case they're too tired to hit the town)

In Kalamazoo, the Radisson Plaza Hotel delivered on all, and Cara and Geoff were able to explore much of the city on foot from their downtown location.

Loews Chicago Hotel was equally impressive and (much to Cara's delight) had a Starbucks in the lobby. Located on the famed Magnificent Mile, it's close to big attractions like Millennium Park and the John Hancock Center.

The Ambassador Hotel's vintage marble floors, stylized polished nickel sconces, bronze elevator doors, and ornate plasterwork deliver one into authentic 1920’s grandeur, but with 21st century comforts.  Geoff and Cara gushed about this one.

Native Traveler's COLOMBIA show!

 
 

This week, Colombia's dramatic grassroots renaissance and language as a window to culture. Listen in...

(1.13 - Feature//Jodi Cash;  15:00 - kimkim//Tara Davis//Expedition Colombia;  34:00 - Puran Parsani//Babbel)

 

Puran Parsani // Babbel


Puran Parsani tells us about the world's first and best language-learning app.  Founded in 2007 and with more than a million active subscribers, Babbel is ranked the world’s #1 innovative company in education. Their courses are designed to deliver language skills you can use right away. Almost three quarters of users say they’d be able to have a short, simple conversation in their new language within five hours of using Babbel. We tried it—absolutely true.


THE ROMANIAN CHALLENGE

The premise is simple: four polyglots, armed with a handful of starter sentences and impressive backgrounds in linguistic achievement, try to learn Romanian in an hour. The results are pretty mind-boggling. Take a look!

7 MISTAKES ENGLISH SPEAKERS MAKE IN SPANISH

Making mistakes is part of the language learning process, but some mistakes are decidedly more embarrassing than others! Read on to learn how to avoid these seven common (and blush-worthy) errors the next time you try to impress someone with your Spanish skills.

3 WAYS YOU MISS OUT WHILE TRAVELING WHEN YOU DON'T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

Not only can traveling in a country without speaking the language be ocassionally lonely and difficult, but you might be missing out on actual prizes by doing so! Watch the video attached to this article to see what we're talking about.

 

Jodi Cash

Our feature contributor is writer, editor, and photojournalist Jodi Cash. Jodi has worked for Tales of the Cocktail, Flagpole, Mother Nature Network, and Kinfolk. When she's not writing, she relishes life in Atlanta, Georgia and traveling elsewhere with her husband, Oak House frontman and guitarist Gresham Cash.

 

Tara Davis // Expedition Colombia

Expedition Colombia owners Tara Davis and her husband Jule Domine share a passion for rivers and wild places. Prior to teaching ESL in Medellín, Tara (a British Columbia native) had gone to university in Colorado and studied political science and environmental issues before going on to work for The Wilderness Society. Her focus was on strengthening the wild and scenic designation of Colorado’s rivers. Her connection to Colombia reaches back to stories told by her father who worked there with the National Geographic Society.

Prior to starting Expedition Colombia, Jules studied hydrology and has traveled to over 15 countries as a hydrologist and professional athlete in the sport of whitewater kayaking.
Throughout his travels, he realized he couldn’t go from one pristine river to the next before it was polluted or dammed. He decided to stay in Colombia and work to protect its rivers. Here remain some of the world’s last wild clean rivers and ecosystems, but more importantly, a community of resilient, resourceful, and warm people brave enough to stand up to protect them. As fate would have it, Jules and Tara fell in love with Colombia and each other.

Together, they now run Expedition Colombia, which they describe as "adventure with a purpose." More than a tourism company, they are a network of entrepreneurs and conservationists who know, care, celebrate, and protect Colombia’s ecosystems and cultures. In partnership with local communities, sustained by these natural environments, they welcome curious and conscious travelers to play an active role in Colombia’s positive and peaceful transformation.

 

kimkim

Huge thanks to kimkim for connecting us to Tara, Jules, and Expedition Colombia.

The founders of kimkim built some of the world's leading travel apps, including TripAdvisor, EveryTrail, and TrekkingPartners. They came together to use all this travel know-how to find a better way to plan and book travel using the help of a local expert.

I agree with them, travel planning is sometimes a painful experience—copious hours researching, too many choices. I love the notion of connecting directly to a local travel expert, someone who knows the destination well and offers curated travel advice according to my interests. And then, how delightfully old and new school, to have the entire trip put together and booked in one place?

The kimkim experts call this the future of travel—bringing the local expert back into trip planning. Apparently, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lonely Planet (and now Native Traveler) see some truth in this.

The Medellín You Won't See On Netflix

The Medellín You Won't See On Netflix

When I told my family that my husband and I were departing for a month in Medellín, Colombia, they were skeptical, to say the least. Like many North Americans, what they knew of the city was based on a blurry image of drug lords, guerrilla wars, and images of Pablo Escobar on magazines and television screens. The amorphous threat of danger in what was once the murder capital of the world still loomed large. 

But in the time since Don Pablo was finally killed on a Medellín rooftop as he tried to flee the authorities, things have been changing in the City of Eternal Spring. The heavy influence of cartels persisted for many years afterwards, to be sure, but after significant government intervention and, even more so, the will of the citizens to reclaim their beloved city, Medellín has begun to thrive.

Native Traveler's SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL Show!

 
 

The United Nations designated 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism. Today we take a look at what that means. We explore how our industry is impacting environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability for better and worse around the world. We learn how, for mindful travelers, sustainability and a richer travel experience may start with thinking first of local people and ways of life in the places we visit. For all this and more, our conversation this week starts in Venice...

(Feature Erla Zwingle at 1:00;  Interview Elizabeth Becker at 13:27;  Interview Kelly Galaski at 38:05)

 

Erla Zwingle

Freelance journalist, Erla Zwingle, has written for myriad magazines on myriad subjects for close to 30 years. She has no specialty, unless you consider "anything" a specialty — from sports, photography, education, phenomena, people, places, and things. Her work has appeared over 25 times in National Geographic Magazine, on topics ranging from population to olive oil, Catherine the Great, globalization, the Ogallala Aquifer, Greece, Naples, the Alps, and so on. Sometimes people call her a travel writer, but she's not. She doesn't write about travel, she travels in order to write about things which happen to be somewhere else.  We're honoured to have Erla share with us her take on her hometown of Venice.

 

Elizabeth Becker

Award-winning author, editor and journalist, Elizabeth Becker, has covered national and international affairs as a Washington correspondent at The New York Times, the Senior Foreign Editor at National Public Radio and a Washington Post correspondent. She began her career as a war reporter in Cambodia in 1972, and is an expert on the Khmer Rouge and modern Cambodia.

In her groundbreaking work Overbooked, Elizabeth helps us understand fully the forces of the trillion-dollar global travel and tourism industry behind the glamour pages of travel magazines.  It's not all a pretty picture, but as Arthur Frommer says, OVERBOOKED is “required reading for anyone interested in the future of travel.”   We agree.

 

Kelly Galaski // Planeterra Foundation

Kelly Galaski is Program Manager heading up global programs for the Planeterra Foundation.  Established in 2003, by global adventure travel company G Adventures’ founder, Bruce Poon Tip, Planeterra Foundation is a non-profit organization that has contributed millions of dollars towards projects in areas of social enterprise, healthcare, conservation, and emergency response.  Their focus is on grassroots, community-based projects that empower some of the most vulnerable populations in the places that G Adventures travels. 

 

 

Erla Zwingle's Venice —

scenes from Via Garabaldi and more

Check out Native Traveler's full-length BUDGET TRAVEL show!

 
 

The best part about travel on a shoestring is not always saving money.  Today we learn all the tricks, hacks and insider strategies from the masters, Matt Kepnes (nomadicmatt.com) and Dani Heinrich (globetrottergirls.com).  First though, we head to Spain's Costa del Sol to hear how such budgeting strategies can actually make for a richer, more transformative experience.  Listen in...

 

Jess Simpson // A Gypsy Gene

Jess is a freelance travel writer with bylines for Paste Travel, Mental Floss, UAB magazine, al.com, Bustle, and Birmingham magazine. She loves long runs in new destinations and music-fueled yoga sets. Her mom jokes that when she was a kid and anyone said, "Jess, do you want to go..." she would jump up and down, squealing, "Yes!" before any destination was named. That trick still works.

 

Nomadic Matt

Matthew Kepnes runs the award winning budget travel site, Nomadic Matt, and wrote the New York Times best-seller, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. After a trip to Thailand in 2005, Matt decided to quit his job, finish his MBA and head off into the world. His original trip was supposed to last a year. Over twelve years later, he is still out roaming around and teaching others how to do the same.

 

Dani Heinrich // GlobetrotterGirls

26444388650_2277a33d46_b.jpg

Dani's mission is to inspire curiosity about the world and provide the tips and tools she's gained first-hand to help you see as much of the world as you can for yourself. At its core, GlobetrotterGirls remains the first-hand account of a girl exploring the world.

Housesitting in Southern Spain

Housesitting in Southern Spain

Saving money is what drew us in, initially. We’ve been traveling for 18 months, 13 countries, in perpetual motion. We’re experiencing so much but, frankly, we’re exhausted. And grossly over budget.

When fellow travelers suggest housesitting, we shrug it off. After all, we sold our own house to embark on this grand adventure, free and unburdened. The responsibility—caring for a stranger’s home—seems… well, like a step backwards.

But the value equation is becoming irresistible. I care for your home and pets, you provide me with a free place to stay.

A listing for a villa on southern Spain’s Costal del Sol soon catches our eye.

Check out Native Traveler's full-length WALKING CITIES show!

 
 

There's just no substitute for covering the ground, step by step—noting landmarks, feeling the lay of the land, mind-mapping the pattern of streets. I'm a big fan of walking cities to know better both the place and the people. In this show, we learn all the good reasons to lace up and stride out. Come along.

 

Leslie Garrett // Journalist & Author

Our feature contributor this week, Leslie Garrett is an award-winning journalist and author of more than a dozen books.

Our feature contributor this week, Leslie Garrett is an award-winning journalist and author of more than a dozen books.

 

Suzanne Urpecz // Co-Founder & Lead Culinary Ambassador of Savour Toronto

At 34 years old, Suzanne was living the dream—she was her own boss, had just married the love of her life, and was planning on buying a home and starting a family. Those plans came to a screeching halt when, upon returning from a trip to Australia, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Read the rest of Suzanne's story   here  .

At 34 years old, Suzanne was living the dream—she was her own boss, had just married the love of her life, and was planning on buying a home and starting a family. Those plans came to a screeching halt when, upon returning from a trip to Australia, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Read the rest of Suzanne's story here.

Savour Toronto:

Founded in 2013, Savour Toronto is an award-winning company specializing in creating exceptional tailor-made food and drink experiences. They are dedicated to supporting Toronto's food and dining scene with a team of passionate and dynamic local experts.

 

Jane's Walk

Jane’s Walks are free, locally-organized walking tours in which people get together to explore, talk about, and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation.  A Jane’s Walk can focus on almost any aspect of a neighbourhood, and on almost any topic you can think of. Walks can be serious or funny, informative or exploratory; they can look at the history of a place, or at what’s happening there right now. Anyone can lead a walk, because everyone is an expert on the place where they live!

Jane’s Walks are free, locally-organized walking tours in which people get together to explore, talk about, and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation.

A Jane’s Walk can focus on almost any aspect of a neighbourhood, and on almost any topic you can think of. Walks can be serious or funny, informative or exploratory; they can look at the history of a place, or at what’s happening there right now. Anyone can lead a walk, because everyone is an expert on the place where they live!

 

A Taste of Savour Toronto