Europe, Wanderlusting & Musings

Secret Hideaways in the World You Must Visit Before You Turn 40

Photo Credit: lastmammoth via Compfight cc

When people turn 40 years old, many things come across their mind, one of which is mid-life crisis. They often feel they need to try something new or regain their youthful side by doing extraordinary activities, including travelling and exploring new locations.

A study featured by Independent mentioned that adults at their 40s, in fact, have a higher happiness level than their ‘angst-ridden teens and 20s,’ as the latter still has plenty of uncertainty in their lives while the former “have worked that out and are quite satisfied.” The news portal added that one of the best ways to beat the stressful mid-life crisis is by travelling and not allowing the small things get you down.

The best way to beat any stress is by exploring at least one of the world’s best kept secrets. Just like in the movie “The Beach, there are many places around the world where you can easily be the only tourist around. These magical spots allow travellers to unwind, relax, and be themselves without having to keep up with the busy and noisy life in the city.

If you are ready to backpack and explore some of the best secret hideaways in the world that you must visit before you turn 40, then this post is exactly for you. Read on to find out more.

Appi, Japan
For those in search of the best skiing destinations in Asia, they’ll always come across Niseko, Hakuba, and Nagano in Japan that many Aussies have visited by now. But, little did they know that in the far north of the country lies a secret skiing spot that many locals love to visit – Appi in the main island of Honshu. It has only 21 trails and a few mod-cons you see in a fancy ski resort, but it provides you an authentic Japanese experience as barely anyone speaks English (so, brush up your Japanese before leaving). Nevertheless, the snow in Appi is ridiculously good with less foreign crowd to think about.

Hinatuan River, Philippines
A deep spring river on the island of Mindanao (Surigao del Sur) has many local but few foreign visitors, despite its gorgeous natural beauty. Dubbed as the ‘Enchanted River,’ the Hinatuan River is surrounded by well-preserved flora and fauna while attracting local tourists of its clear blue saltwater that seems to appear out of nowhere. The river has a  deep chasm which is believed to be at least 80 feet deep. It’s the most ideal destination for beginning to even professional snorkelers and divers as huge fishes of different species freely swim here. In a featured travel post by Rappler, a local mentioned that the bluish waters of Hinatuan river have not changed since he was a kid, despite typhoons.

Lost City, Colombia
In Latin America, Machu Picchu has been one of the sought-after destinations by many tourists for its natural beauty and historical value. But, given its popularity, it’s not an ideal place to visit for those who want peace and alone time with themselves. Well, the Lost City in Colombia offers the same value less the number of tourists. Built by the Tayrona people in the 11th century, its beauty up the hills gives you a bird’s eye view of Ciudad Perdida and its luscious green trees. It was only discovered in the 1970s deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, which is why it was largely undiscovered by the tourist hordes. The only way to get there is by hiking, but rest assured it’s a journey you will never forget.

Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

Far from the busy life of Beijing, China has its own natural beauty kept in a remote region of northern Sichuan. The Jiuzhaigou Valley presents tourists with more than 180,000 acres of nature, clear blue water, and green tall trees covering the mountains. It houses Tibetan villages and the best multi-level waterfalls with clear lakes that lets you see things from the bottom. This is exactly where you can find some 140 bird species, as well as a number of endangered plant and animals, such as the giant panda and the Sichuan takin, said UNESCO in its page about the valley.

There are plenty of secret travel destinations that will no doubt fit your travelling personality. Take note that 40 is just the start of your life to explore more of the beauties of the world, and we hoped this list has given you some ideas as to where to go next.

Do you have other secret travelling hideaways to include in this list? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Europe, Godivaworld Travels

Cote d’Azur Structures, Sculptures, Sights and Signs 2016

Although this wasn’t my first European Adventure (lol) this was definitely my most entertaining for various and sundry of reasons which I will no doubt blog about at some point but for now…..I will stay on topic.

As I mentioned on a previous instagram post, there’s something to be said for Structures, Sculptures, Sights and Signs when traveling just about anywhere.   I especially love those things you stumble upon when wandering around, be it in your own city or while abroad.

While on my most recent journey to the beautiful Côte d’Azur  a.k.a the French Riviera in January (2016, for my bday *big grin*) there were so many random visual delights, I figured I would just give them their just due in a post all by themselves.  There was everything from Structures to Sculptures to (random) Sights, and Sounds from Nice to Antibes to Cannes to Monaco and the Schiphol Airport where I had a brief layover.

Journey with me out and about in the French Riviera.

Signs are an important part of travel but I personally like capturing them as a form of art.  From Nice to Cannes to Saint-Paul to Monaco, there were more structures, sculptures, and such than I could capture…but here are some my highlights.

Check out some of the signs I crossed paths with during my journey.

Nice (/ˈns/, French pronunciation: ​[nis]; Niçard Occitan: Niça [classical norm] or Nissa [nonstandard], Italian: Nizza or Nizza Marittima,Greek: Νίκαια, Latin: Nicaea) is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, and it is the capital of the Alpes Maritimes département. The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million[1][2] on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi).[1] Located in the Côte d’Azur area on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region after Marseille. Nice is about 8 miles (13 km) from the principality of Monaco, and its airport is a gateway to the principality as well.

There were some interesting images in and around my hotel in Nice (not to mention the hotel itself) including the sculpture in the lobby that I became enamored with each time I passed her (at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée).

Monte Carlo /ˈmɒnti ˈkɑːrl/ (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmonte ˈkarlo]; French: Monte-Carlo or colloquially Monte-Carl,Monégasque: Monte-Carlu) officially refers to an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco, specifically the ward of Monte Carlo/Spélugues, where the Monte Carlo Casino is located.

There was one day I allowed myself to play tourist and and went on a magical adventure to Saint Paul de Vence in the Alpes Maritimes, southeastern France.  Saint Paul is one of the oldest medieval towns in the French Riviera known for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries.

As this is just about Sculptures, Structures, Signs, and such, I’ll stay true to the topic but no doubt will blog about Saint Paul de Vence in a future post.  For now check out these cool sights.

I purposefully left out a pic from Saint-Paul because the hilarity surrounding it was too much to lump in with the others without some context around it.  You kinda had to be there but hopefully you can dig deep into your funny box to see the humor.

Soooo while walking through Saint-Paul with the absolute bestest (yes I said “bestest”) guide EVER, the most randomness events occurred.

FIRST, these pigeons randomly appeared and seemed to be following us along our pathway with the occasional pigeon noise as if to say, “hey there, I’m here too”……

Next, while talking about her cat whom she rescued at one point before making it her own, a black cat appeared out of nowhere just cattin’ along.  Followed by more pigeons perched up high.

FINALLY, I couldn’t help myself and proclaimed, now if I see a horse I am going to just hoist myself up and over this ledge…..Zara our guide says, “oh funny you should say that because Saint-Paul de Vence has a horse…….” and so appeared Horseshoe Horse.

This adventure was everything I could have imagined and more.  Much like life and all its randomness and goodness, I can say my Cote d’Azur adventure was not only a great to start the new year but a representation of all things good/right with my world.

Until the next journey…..always look for the signs!

 

Europe, La vida Loca, Wanderlusting & Musings

A Cote d’Azur Birthday

Greetings from Monaco on this January 9th at 10 something in the a.m…..which is also the best day of all 366 days this year (leap year this year) because IT’S MY BIRTHDAY 🎉🎁👯💃🏿🎶!!

I don’t think the weather Gods got the memo because it’s a lil overcast with a taste of drizzle here in Monaco!

Birthday morning
I can’t begin to tell you how at peace I am as I enter this new year of 42 of my life (my birthday AND 2016)!  It’s truly an internal peace that comes from knowing I control my own destiny; I don’t require the approval of anyone else for my choices and decisions; I am perfectly fine in the skin I’m in; the opinions of others of me is none of my business and therefore I focus on LIVING fully every single day for myself in order to ensure I have lived my BEST life.

This “Journey to my birthday” has been all about self, unabashedly selfish, solely about my needs, wants, and desires mentally, visually and spiritually. 

I visualized this journey a few months ago but without specifics and as the power of mind goes that which we think and truly visualize will materialize (good, bad, and otherwise).


As much as I enjoy traveling with and creating moments/memories with others I needed to do this with no disruptions nor interferences.  So it was designed as my solo getaway to reset, detox, and be all about self.   
There was little communication and not a single invitation extended (although a dear friend of mine invited themselves lol but totally understood and respected my vision…more on that in a later post).  I’m glad I made the decision to be one with myself on this voyage to 42!

As I wrap up this journey here in the French Riviera I will leave with a continued sense of gratitude for all things, moments and experiences; with a continued zest to explore every nook and cranny of this great big world; with a passion to continue to be the best me I can possibly be while hopefully inspiring others to do the same!

For you I say get out of your own way and go for what you want, live your best life and strive to do something that scares you even a little bit for it will be the catalyst to enable you to experience things you’ve only dreamed!

 

Steps of Cannes Film Festival
Hellllloooooo 42 and Happy 2016 to all of you!

~ Godivaworldtravels

cote d'azur

 

 

 

Europe, Godivaworld Travels

My European Adventure

It’s not enough that I was fortunate enough to go to high school in Germany (Mannheim to be exact) but revisiting Europe as an adult to include my old high school was EVERYTHING!  The opportunity presented itself for me to return to Europe with stops in Paris, Munich, and the final hurrah in Amsterdam.

Paris…….”La Ville Lumière” (The City of Light) and otherwise revered as the “City of Love”.  It was a short trip in what would be a 7 day adventure but  no less exciting.  I took the lifts up to the tippy top floor of the Eiffel Tower which provided the ultimate view of the landscape.  Paris truly looks like a postcard from every angle or at best like pages cleanly torn straight from an artist canvas.

Munich…….Oktoberfest! Reminiscent of my teenage years at the various Fests in and around Mannheim where I had the fortune of living during my teen years.  However (with a long pause and tilt of head), being at Oktoberfest as an full grown adult was an experience to be had and should be had atleast once in one’s lifetime! Sitting here writing this got me thinking about revisiting.

The Munich leg of the trip was great not just because of Oktoberfest but largely in part for the opportunity to make a stop in Mannheim to see how much things had changed since leaving my high school.  It was like turning back the hands of time with the exception of a few differences.  Unbeknownst to me (at the time), the base itself was shutting down just a few years after my visit (sometime in 2014 I believe) which made it that much more special to have made the voyage back before there was nothing to go back to.

Amsterdam……..Finally as the last stop on this adventure train which was a great end to a memorable trip.  The highlight of this final destination of the 3-parter was whatever crossed my path.  The only planned event was – believe it or not – seeing Lil Wayne in concert lol!  Amsterdam was everything you’d imagine it to be – sights, sounds, the Red Light district, food, arts, architecture, and so on and so forth!  It is definitely a place I would visit again.

Travel Well!