The Best Things to do in Arequipa Peru

Sunset on Volcan Misty

Many people blast past Arequipa while travelling from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and miss out on the White City’s immeasurable charms. Indeed there are lots of things to do in Arequipa as it is a place where old meets new, where classics are reinvented and traditions are upheld at the same time. It is as much a modern city as a walk back in time. It is as cosmopolitan as it remains steeped with tradition.  Outdoor pursuits and urban adventures are equally possible. It short, it’s a city of exciting contradictions and should not be missed.

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How we Saved for a Trip Around The World

Zentravellers on Huayna Potosi

We are currently 4 months and 5 countries into our 14 month trip around the world. By far one of the questions we often get is a resounding “HOW???!!”
In other words, “how on earth did you
save for your trip around the world?” Or my favourite, “you guys must be millionaires!” (HA!) Seemingly not many people can imagine quitting their jobs and living solely on savings for 14 months . Some ask how much we’re spending, other seem curious but are too polite and the social norms of not talking about money prevent them from doing so. So we’re going to put it out there – this post will detail how we saved for a year long trip around the world! In doing so, we hope to inspire others to let go of what may be holding them back from acting on the same dream.
While a trip around the world does not have to be as expensive as you would think, we don’t have our heads in the sand and know that it is going to have a significant cost. It goes without saying that taking a year off work without income and paying for flights, accommodations and food all costs money . In addition, we plan to do a lot of active adventures like hiking, cycling, and scuba diving, few of which are free. We know we can’t do it all but we’re not going to go to a country only to hang out in a hostel or city all day, we want to get out there and see nature and explore the great outdoors!
So, how did we save the money required to fund this exciting trip around the world?

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What is Immersive Travel?

A friend quizzed me recently on the differences between immersive travel and standard-issue travel. I said that immersive travel allows you to see a place for the values that shape its culture, while simply visiting a place shows you only the well-manicured, postcard version of it.  That makes sense though. If you are only travelling to a place for a short amount of time, seeing the highlights will be the best use of your time.  But if you have the time, or the chance to work or study abroad I highly recommend the experience. In doing so, you will begin to peel back the layers of a culture and learn to live real life in a foreign place which is an adventure in and of itself.

Volunteering With All Hands and Hearts

Zentravellers on a roof in Puerto Rico with All Hands

We just finished two weeks volunteering with All Hands and Hearts in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico and it was an incredible experience. We met so many amazing people and helped make close to a dozen homes safer and more resilient to future threats from hurricanes. We even  got to help clear away rubble for a new community garden! People often ask us what we have been doing since we arrived here, so let us walk you through a day in the life of an All Hands volunteer.

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Why Start an RTW Trip with Volunteering?

All hands and hearts team

Travellers are blessed in so many ways and paid in experience, so what better way to give back than to volunteer while travelling? As we planned our 14 month round the world adventure, Mr. Zen and I pondered ways we could give back to the world that has given us so many incredible experiences. My previous time spent volunteering with All Hands and Hearts (All Hands) in post-earthquake Haiti was easily one of the most profound experiences that I have ever had while travelling and I was eager to volunteer with the organisation again, because their commitment to responsible volunteering is commendable.

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Zen in the Wolf Den: the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

With their fiercely staring eyes, pointed razor sharp fangs, and sleek powerful bodies, wolves have captured people’s imaginations throughout the ages. This popularity is perhaps to their detriment since people have begun breeding them with dogs and then swiftly learning that wolfdogs make rather terrible pets. Given how many are surrendered to shelters, who tend to have a kill-on-the-spot policy for animals that are suspected to have any wolf in them, sanctuaries for wolfdogs like the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary are extremely important.

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Hiking (Responsibly) in Tonquin Valley

The Ramparts as you approach Amethyst Lakes

With so many stunning trails and views picking a highlight of Jasper National Park can be a challenge, but hiking in the Tonquin Valley must be a contender. The combination of sky high views of the rugged “Ramparts” range jutting up from serene alpine lakes, and the chance to see rare wild mountain caribou make it as worthy a destination as any. It is also an accessible backcountry trail that can cater to many ability levels and even be trekked on horseback. Considering all these factors, it’s easy to see why the Tonquin Valley is a popular area for locals and tourists alike. But it just may be getting a little too popular for its own good.

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