Posts tagged with "explore"

Cruise illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Aqua Expeditions

Aqua Expeditions, the global leader in luxury small ship expeditions, will begin welcoming back travelers aboard its ocean explorer yacht Aqua Blu. Local Indonesian residents will be able to set sail beginning August 2020, while international travelers can expect to depart from September 12, 2020 with enhanced health and safety protocols. These strict measures will be implemented across the company’s vessels in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

At the onset of the recent global pandemic, Aqua Expeditions took early, swift and decisive action to maintain strict antiviral hygiene standards on all three vessels in operation. As a result, the company experienced no cases of COVID-19 onboard any of its vessels.

“Today, more than ever, our employees, customers and partners need reassurance of our ability to offer them the safest experience possible,” says Francesco Galli Zugaro, CEO and founder of Aqua Expeditions. “It is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards.”

Aqua Expeditions river vessels and ocean explorer yacht accommodate a maximum of 30 to 40 guests, allowing for the tailor-made experience it is known for. Its small ship capacity provides ample personal space and constant safe physical distancing among passengers and crew.

All vessels comply with the health and safety standards of the International Safety Management (ISM), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Out of an abundance of caution and as part of its uncompromising commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of the crew, staff and guests, Aqua Expeditions has adopted additional measures to address guests’ concerns about travel, including:

  • Conducting health screenings and pre-boarding medical evaluations for all crew and staff.
  • Introducing a pre-embarkation Health and Safety assessment to be completed by all guests before embarkation.
  • Eliminating crew changes during the entire duration of each itinerary, reducing the risk of potential outside exposure.
  • Conducting daily crew health checks to ensure all health concerns are actively addressed and monitored.
  • Intensifying disinfection standards by developing a combination of manual and contactless disinfection procedures.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing cabins three times a day, ensuring the highest level of hygiene standards.
  • Providing face masks, latex gloves and hand sanitizer to all crew and guests as required in accordance with each destination’s regulations and guest preference.
  • Introducing a Health and Safety Officer aboard each ship whose responsibility is the wellbeing of each crew and guest, as well as the proper compliance and implementation of safety standards.

The dining rooms aboard each vessel already take into account physical distancing but have been reconfigured to further create a dining environment where guests can enjoy their experience without worrying about health risks. This includes greater flexibility and options for table seating and spacing, as well as two sittings for each meal in the dining room.

Aqua Expeditions has implemented a global food safety policy via an internal auditing system, following HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles for cold chain supply protocols, supervised by a qualified food safety officer. Production kitchens around the world are staffed by highly trained personnel who utilize international best practices in sanitation and quality control, as well as usage of products to secure food safety such as antimicrobial fruit and vegetable treatments.

Aqua Expeditions’ small group shore excursions are an integral part of the brand’s ethos. With no more than 10 guests per group, the excursions offer personalized, engaging experiences. The Aqua Expeditions team cleans and disinfects all excursion equipment, prior to and after use. On the Aqua Blu, which sails around East Indonesia, scuba and snorkel gear is distributed to guests to keep for their exclusive use throughout their voyage.

Lastly, each Aqua Expeditions ship is flagged in the country in which it operates, reassuring guests that they are always allowed to disembark in any port or anchorage location on an itinerary.

A recognized global leader in luxury small-ship expeditions, Aqua Expeditions explores the worldߣs most wildlife- and culture-rich destinations aboard best-in-class vessels of stylish contemporary design. Venturing into unspoiled sanctuaries to witness the beauty of nature and wildlife, Aqua Expeditions sails to remote destinations with minimized human interaction, secluded from crowds. Expect tailored five-star itineraries, a highly exclusive 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio with personalized service, a cuisine experience crafted by acclaimed chefs, and flexible, expert-guided adventure activities and excursions for all ages, with a maximum of 30-40 guests per ship. Aqua Expeditions currently operate river explorations on the Amazon (Peru), the Mekong (Cambodia and Vietnam), and coastal yacht voyages to Komodo National Park, Ambon and the Spice Islands, as well as Raja Ampat (East Indonesia). Its fourth vessel, the Aqua Nera, makes its maiden voyage this fall in the Peruvian Amazon.

Follow Aqua Expeditions: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Pop Smoke Virtual Tour

Rolling through in style, you can now experience a fully interactive tour of New York and London, while virtually exploring the places that meant most to Pop Smoke. First, fans can choose their Pop song of choice to bump in their virtual Rolls Royce during the tour. By tapping different locations, fans will unlock exclusive, never-been-seen-before footage. Saving the best for last, the tour ends at the new mural of Pop Smoke in Canarsie, Brooklyn. There, fans can leave a message and scroll through a gallery of photos taken at the mural over the past couple of weeks.

Take the Virtual Tour HERE.

Listen to Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon Deluxe HERE.

360 Magazine, Abha Alsoudah

Saudi Summer

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has unveiled a new campaign, called Saudi Summer, to encourage residents to explore the Kingdom this year, in lieu of a holiday abroad, following the lifting of lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19.

The campaign launch follows extensive research* by STA, revealing that 57 percent of Saudi residents are concerned about travelling on holiday by plane, but 85 percent are still planning to take a break of around ten days this year. 78 percent expressed curiosity in exploring their country.

“Saudi Summer comes as a wonderful opportunity to discover multiple tourist destinations in KSA, alongside its historical, natural and cultural treasures. The campaign also contributes to enhancing efforts by the Ministry of Tourism to revive the tourism sector, which was most affected by the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis,” said His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the STA.

Starting from 25 June and running until 30 September 2020, the Saudi Summer campaign is promoting ten locations across the nation. The ten areas are: Jeddah and KAEC; Abha; Tabuk; Khobar, Dammam and Ahsa; Al Baha; Al Taif; Yanbu and Umluj; and Riyadh.

Together, these locations offer fertile valleys, quiet beaches, dense forests, cool climates, mountain peaks, buzzing cities, historic villages and more. Travelers are encouraged to visit multiple destinations to take advantage of the different packages and activities available, from sea trips and diving, to museum visits and hiking.

“The tourism sector resumes its activities with a renewed spirit and great hopes for moving forward at an accelerated pace, to achieve our aspirations in harmony with Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to pursue economic diversification, attract investments, increase revenues and create job opportunities for citizens,” said H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb.

Saudi Summer is led by the STA in close collaboration with the private sector. The STA’s main role is to position the Kingdom as one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, by developing its tourism product and promoting it on a global scale.

Najd, Saudi Arabia
Rojal Village, Saudi Arabia

Sustainable Vacation Planning: Tips and Tricks

Americans aren’t great at planning vacations. So much so that a large tourism industry group, the U.S. Travel Association, is encouraging workers to begin planning their getaways on Jan. 28, dubbed National Plan for Vacation Day

But planning a sustainable vacation – one with a small environmental footprint that is respectful of a destination’s people and culture – is an even taller task, said Jonathon Day, an associate professor in The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University.

Jonathon Day, chair of the Travel Care Code initiative and author of the book, “An Introduction to Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel,” provided these tips for making vacations more socially and environmentally friendly:

Shop local: “Visit local businesses and enjoy authentic experiences from your destination. Visiting farm-to-table restaurants, local arts-and-crafts stores and farmers markets all make a bigger contribution to the communities you visit.”

Be waste wise: “Bring your best habits from home. Plan to recycle and minimize waste, particularly plastic waste when you travel.”

Limit your carbon footprint: “Be a fuel-efficient traveler or purchase carbon offsets for those flights you are taking.”

6 Trips to Broaden Your Kids’ Minds This Summer

Now that school’s out for summer, enroll the whole family in a crash course on nature and wildlife with Natural Habitat Adventures

Summer vacation may mean “no more pencils and no more books,” but it can also be a great opportunity for the whole family to learn something new together. Natural Habitat Adventures, the world leader in eco-friendly wildlife-focused expeditions around the globe, offers nature-centric trips designed to get explorers of all ages trading their tablets and phones for GoPros and binoculars. From sailing “Darwin’s Laboratory” in the Galapagos on a private ship to taking moonlit treks through the jungles of Costa Rica, Nat Hab’s family adventure trips are designed around conservation, curiosity and quality time – all disguised as a vacation.

Expand your family’s horizons with these summer experiences:

1. Go exploring in “Darwin’s Laboratory”

Come face-to-face with an outstanding array of wildlife, including sea lions, marine iguanas and giant tortoises on Nat Hab’s 10-day Family Galapagos Adventure. Made famous by evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, the Galapagos archipelago is the very best place for young explorers to learn about evolution, natural selection and how animals adapt to micro-environments. Sail aboard the National Geographic Islander, a family-friendly ship with a specialty research- and adventure-focused kids’ program on board. Record wildlife sightings in your field notebook, listen for underwater life via the ship’s hydrophone and stretch out in special family cabins designed to sleep up to three. Off-ship, don a wetsuit for snorkeling, paddleboarding and Zodiac adventures with your naturalist Expedition Leader, where you can come mask-to-nose with penguins, turtles and seals.
Priced from $7,650
Dates: July 20 & 27, 2019; July 4, 8, 18, 23, 2020; Aug 1 & 6, 2020

2. Seek out lions after sunset in the Maasai Mara

Make conservation the centre of the conversation on the Family Kenya Adventure, an 8-day, custom-crafted itinerary featuring the Maasai Mara’s charismatic creatures whose futures may be at risk. Learn about poaching and pachyderm rescue during a visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and make friends in high places at the Giraffe Center before heading along the Great Rift Valley into open grasslands. Stretch out in an unfenced luxury tented camp set in the middle of a Maasai Mara private conservancy, and go for guided walks under a sprawling blue sky while keeping your eyes peeled for zebra, hippo and elephant. Later, as evening falls, head out on a sunset game drive in search of lions and other predators to discover life on the plains after dark.
Priced from $7,995
Trip arranged upon request

3. Journey to Peru’s lost Incan Empire

Immerse your family in the emerald-colored jungles and incredible ancient ruins of the Peruvian Andes on a 7-day Custom Family Machu Picchu Adventure. Witness amazing feats of centuries-old civil and hydraulic engineering and learn about Incan astronomy and architecture while exploring the Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Meet with local Quechua people in Pisac and learn about advocacy conservation projects from the students of Tikapata School. Stay in private stone casitas along the Urubamba River, and experience 15th-century life in Machu Picchu with tales from your private Peruvian guide. Later, compare ancient civilizations with natural Amazonian marvels in the world’s largest tropical forest basin, where kids will take riverboat tours in search of pink river dolphins, or go ashore to scout for the scarlet and green-winged macaws, howler monkeys and leaf-cutter ants that call the Amazon home.
Priced from $4,495
Trip arranged upon request

4. Safari closer to home in Yellowstone National Park

Embark on an unforgettable wildlife adventure without leaving the continent on Nat Hab’s 7-day Hidden Yellowstone Wildlife Safari. Learn how this North American ecosystem works, understanding the importance of ecological balance between predators and prey, and follow naturalist Expedition Leaders into lesser-known areas of the park where bison, bighorn sheep, bears and wolves live largely undisturbed by tourist crowds. See the secret lives of Lamar Valley wolves using a high-powered spotting scope and talk fire ecology—how nature recovers from the ravages of wildfires—with your guide. In an extraordinary natural setting selected for conservation by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1872, guests can engage in enlightening conversations about how hunting along Yellowstone’s perimeter affects the ecosystem inside the park, and why competing political interests threaten the park’s apex predators even to this day.
Priced from $5,295
Dates: August 27 & 29, 2019

5. Scout for sloths on horseback

With its neon-billed toucans, jungle-fringed rivers, mist-cloaked cloud forests and towering volcanoes, Costa Rica is like something out of a child’s imagination. Encounter geothermal phenomena and extraordinary tropical wildlife in one of the most biodiverse places on Earth on this Custom Family Costa Rica Adventure. Join scientists and conservationists at ecological research centers for some interactive exploration of the country’s rain forest ecosystem and discover how cacao beans are transformed into tasty treats with chocolate-making lessons. Soar above the forest canopy on a zip line, search for sloths while on horseback, brave a nighttime bat walk at the 850-acre Tirimbina Rainforest Center and take in the views at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, adjacent to the country’s most famous volcano.
Priced from $5,095
Trip arranged upon request

6. Dog sled across the Arctic tundra

No time for a summer excursion? Surprise the kids with a mid-term getaway to the planet’s “living laboratory” when it comes to climate change in the North. The Arctic tundra around Churchill, Manitoba is one of the nature’s last great frontiers—for now. Learn about its delicate ecosystem and the impact of a warming world on Nat Hab’s 6-day Churchill Arctic Family Adventure, where naturalist Expedition Leaders lead a family-focused adventure that’s all about pairing environmental awe with conservation awareness. Helicopter over frozen Hudson Bay in search of polar bears, race through the boreal forest on an authentic sled dog ride, and climb aboard Nat Hab’s special Polar Rover, a monster-sized truck specially designed for up-close wildlife observation—look for caribou and Arctic fox. In evenings, take in the stunning night sky—and if you’re lucky, the northern lights.
Priced from $5,995
Dates: Nov 16 & 18, 2019

For more information about Natural Habitat Adventures, visit www.nathab.com.

About Natural Habitat Adventures
Natural Habitat Adventures has been a leader in responsible adventure travel and ecotourism since 1985. From polar bear tours in Churchill to small-group Galapagos cruises, from Alaska grizzly bear adventures to African safaris, our journeys, led by professional naturalist guides, reveal the planet’s most extraordinary nature destinations. As the world’s first 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company—and the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund—we offer eco-conscious expeditions from Antarctica to Zambia with a multitude of adventures in between. For more information, visit nathab.com.

10 Ways to Keep the Family Physically and Mentally Active This Summer

With summer break upon us, many parents will be scrambling for ideas of how to keep their families active over the next couple of months. Staying active, both physically and mentally, can help families avoid the dreaded summer brain drain, where kids tend to lose some of what they learned during the school year, and it can help keep the body healthier. Plus, you can make some great family memories and everyone can learn something. There are numerous ways for the whole family to keep active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area.

“Summer is a great time to engage your family in something new,” states Ed Shaffer, General Manager for WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. “By seeing and experiencing different things over the break, their mind and body will stay active and challenged. The Pigeon Forge area offers plenty of opportunities for the family to make memories together.”

Here are 10 ways to keep the family physically and mentally active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area:

  1. Explore Art. Check out the illusion artwork at WonderWorks, some of which have hidden objects. You can also play brain games by answering riddles along the way.
  2. Get climbing. WonderWorks offers a 50-foot tall indoor ropes course, where you can be challenged and have fun. The four stories of ropes over over 50 different obstacles and activities.
  3. Play tag. There’s nothing like a family-friendly game of laser tag to create fun memories. WonderWorks offers offers an interactive laser tag option that is a great experience for the whole family.
  4. Be awed. Don’t miss The Wonders of Magic show at WonderWorks, starring Terry Evanswood. Considered the best magic show in the state, it won’t disappoint!
  5. Start digging. Visit the interactive sandbox at WonderWorks, where every hand motion and sand movement leads to more to explore.
  6. Take a hike. The wonders of nature and benefits of spending time out in it cannot be overlooked. Pick a trail that is appropriate for all ages of those in your family, and head out for a nice hike.
  7. Learn something new. Visit a nature center, where you can take part in guided activities, learning about things in the environment.
  8. Family bike ride. Head out on one of the area’s paved bike trails, such as Riverwalk Greenway, and explore by bike. Those who are not local can rent bikes for the journey.
  9. Visit goats. Give the kids a hands-on experience with animals. Families love stopping by to see and feed the animals at Goats on the Roof.
  10. Go downriver. A fun family experience for everyone, head out for a couple of hours of family tubing or rafting. This experience provides an exhilarating experience for all.

“We are blessed to live in an area that offers many family friendly activity opportunities,” added Shaffer. “Combining WonderWorks with some outdoor activities will help keep your loved ones physically and mentally strong and growing over the summer break.”

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, log onto their site: http://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/.

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. http://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

Austin Adventures: Family Appreciation Month

Through hard work and dedication to the details, Austin Adventures has grown to be the #1 Family Adventure company in the country. For over 35 years they have been taking families to the national parks of the West as well as special places around the globe. As a two-generation, owned and operated active travel company, family travel is in their DNA.

For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar that all ages will want to attend.

“Between work, school, athletic and social schedules, planning and scheduling a family vacation has never been more challenging, often to the point of missing the opportunity all together to create lasting bonds and memories within the family,” explains Dan Austin, company president and founder. “Austin Adventures is fully committed to helping anyway we can. Our goal is to take the stress out of vacation planning and then deliver an experience second-to-none.”

On Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT Austin Adventures invites kids and parents to a live webinar focused on helping families (especially the kids) with their vacation planning. Anyone considering a small group vacation tour now or in the future is encouraged to attend. For information and to register click here.

The seminar will be hosted by Kasey Austin, Outside Magazine 2014 Family Guide of the Year. Making a cameo appearance will be Dan Austin, company visionary and travel industry legend. Together, The Austin Family has set the bar for family adventure travel for decades, so much so, they are often referred to as “the First Family of Adventure Travel.”

During this informal and informative webinar focused on the younger generation, Kasey will offer tips and insights on planning and visiting America’s National Parks along with other popular family destinations.

As an incentive to register and attend, every family that participates will receive a coupon worth $250 off their next Austin Adventures family vacation. Plus, all participating kids (age 6-12) whose parents end up booking a 2019 family national park adventure will receive a logo-embossed backpack (on Day 1 of the trip) packed full of swag (logo water bottle, trip journal, field guide, hacky sack, stickers and more).

“I had so much fun sharing my passion for our National Parks last year, I couldn’t wait to do it all again this year. Sharing the parks with the next generation of adventurer really is my passion. I am looking forward to sharing what we know and have learned from our 35+ years of taking families deep into our national parks,” said Kasey Austin.

“Dan and I will draw from our own experiences and help families with real time information that can assist them in making the most of a park vacation, whether with us or on their own. There will be a follow-up email survey as well as ample time for questions and answers.”

The webinar will help Austin Adventures kick-off their second annual “Family Appreciation” Month. Dedicated to celebrating and encouraging family vacations worldwide, this observance comes on the heels of the company’s 2nd wildly successful “Alumni Appreciation” month held in December, 2018. Throughout the month there will be dedicated e-newsletters and blogs on family travel, special incentives, travel agent promotions and for extended families, an offer of a free trip for one guest in groups of ten or more booked.

To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure. See: http://www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/.

Austin Adventures has led the field when it comes to family adventures (twice being acknowledged by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the #1 Tour and Family Tour Operator in the World). For 2019, there are over 40 family adventures planned across the globe. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular National Park itineraries on the current Austin Adventures roster. All adult rates are per person, double occupancy.

Grand Canyon National Park: 6-days/5-nights from $2,998; children from $2,398.

Alaska- Kenai Fjords National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $3,328.

Bryce & Zion National Parks: 6 days/5 nights from $2,798; children from $2,518.

Yellowstone National Park:  6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Grand Teton National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,968.

Yosemite National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $2,958.

Glacier National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,638.

South Dakota – Black Hills (Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments / Wind Cave NP): 6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Banff to Jasper National Parks 6 days/5 nights from $3,098; children from $2,478.

About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent over 35 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multi-sport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. They have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.

A Perfect Valentine’s Getaway with San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize

With a temperate year round climate, farm fresh cuisine and unique adventure experiences, Belize is a perfect three day weekend getaway to escape the winter months. Daily, affordable nonstop flights are offered countrywide from Minneapolis, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and other major travel hubs making a visit to Belize easier than ever.

The San Ignacio Resort Hotel, a premier full-service Belize resort, located in the Cayo district, is within a scenic 90-minute drive or 30-minute flight from Belize City. The hotel boasts first-class amenities and accommodations for those seeking to relax and enjoy a beautiful tropical resort, yet offers nearby adventures for those wanting to explore inland Belize. In addition to stunning jungle views, San Ignacio Resort Hotel offers impeccable service, extraordinary dining options at its Running W Steakhouse & Restaurant, a tennis court and is in close proximity to San Ignacio Town.

Plan your Three Perfect Days in Belize Package starting at $1,446 per person, excluding airfare.

  • Roundtrip transfers from and to Belize international airport
  • Accommodation in the luxurious Honeymoon Suite – boasting exquisite views of untouched rainforest
  • Assigned Personal Butler upon check in
  • Daily Breakfast
  • 2 dinners at the Running W Steakhouse at a reserved Balcony table
  • 1 Private dinner in balcony of your room
  • One 60-minute Luxury in-room wellness treatment per person
  • 1 Full day tour at Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya sites
  • 1 full day tour at Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve with an exclusive picnic day trip with hiking trails and optional swimming in private cascades and natural pools.

To book your trip visit www.sanignaciobelize.com.

Trailblazing Women in Travel History

It’s not just men who love adventure and trailblazing into the unknown. Yet for some reason it’s men who’ve gained the notoriety of being explorers and adventurers, with the history books filled with pages of their exploits. But women aren’t the wallflowers they’ve been represented as through the years. Women, in both past and the present, have traveled from one end of the globe to the other using horses, cars, ships, planes, and trains. Today women are celebrating women…and all their accomplishments. And why wouldn’t being pioneers of travel be on the list of these achievements?

Most of these female explorers are forgotten when we look at those who have travelled into new territories and gone on amazing adventures around the world. Yet women have been travelling for thousands of years, with evidence going back as far as the 4th century. The earliest mention of a woman traveling is from 381 A.D. when the Abbess of Egeria travelled on foot up Mount Sinai. Her pilgrimage diary outlines her thoughts and experiences from those many years ago.

In the 19th century, wealthy Victorian women began to travel for many reasons, both personal and political. Still others travelled to locations around the world where they felt they could make a difference, engaging in the missionary work that men didn’t have time for. Many women travelled so they could research other cultures, writing books about their adventures. And not only did women travel to see the world, many are known for their efforts to advance feminism, leading the way for other women to follow in their footsteps.

From 1871 to 1885 Marianne North, a British naturalist and painter, travelled to six different continents where she painted flowers and plants. She voyaged by ship to South America, Asia, and Africa…travelling on her own when she couldn’t find a “satisfactory companion” to pursue her passion of painting the different flora around the world. Her paintings and letters to friends about her travel experiences are a great narrative of what travel was like for a solo female traveller.

Another well known explorer in the early 1900s was Gertrude Bell, who travelled all around Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. As a writer and an archaeologist, her books give women today a clear picture of what it was like to travel to foreign countries.

“All the earth is seamed with roads, and all the sea is furrowed with the tracks of ships, and over all the roads and all the waters a continuous stream of people passes up and down – travelling, as they say, for their pleasure. What is it, I wonder, that they go out to see?” – Gertrude Bell.

It’s easy to see that women throughout history have travelled for the same reason we do today – for adventure and to satisfy our curiosity to see the world. Spread across the years, we’re highlighting seven of the most influential and trailblazing women in travel. With their unique backgrounds, and their drive and determination, they’re a true inspiration for women around the globe.

6 Facts about Haji Ali Dargah You Didn’t Know

Haji Ali Dargah covers about 500 yards of the Arabian Sea. Mumbai city is well versed with this place and the royal structure holds immense importance in the lives of each individual. If you belong to a city of temples like Mangalore, you’d surely want to visit this famous dargah in Mumbai.

Here are some interesting facts and the history surrounding this admirable place.

  • It is named after the wealthy saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, the greatest Muslim Saint. To make a pilgrimage to Mecca, he gave all of his fortune and possessions for noble deeds. During his journey to Mecca, he died, and the body in the coffin came back floating to Mumbai. The shrine was built at the same spot. In the year 1431, the mosque was built in his loving memory. The Dargah is about than 587 years old. Due to the impact of visitors and the saline winds, the structure is constantly eroding. Renovations were carried out in the years 1960 and 1964. After which, the upgrade was again started in the year 2008.
  • The tomb is based on the Indo Islamic architecture. It is situated 5oo metres from the coast and is built on a tiny islet. It is located in the vicinity of Worli, at the centre of the Worli Bay.
  • Almost 8000 visitors come to pay respects every day, and the most interesting fact is that not everyone who comes here is a Muslim. The causeway to the Dargah is not bound by any kind of railings. So the access to the spot majorly depends on the tides. During high tides, the causeway gets completely submerged in water making it inaccessible from the city.
  • On 26th July 1949, a storm hit the Mumbai city causing a great amount of destruction, but Haji Ali Dargah stood unharmed. Every building of the city suffered harm and loads of damage. Waves kept crashing the shore, and the people inside the dargah were scared that they would drown. But with the blessings of the saint, the waves bowed the walls without harming a single person in the dargah, and people returned back to their homes without any damage.
  • There is a story called the Pothole Story, which revolves around a miracle which happens every year. During the monsoon time, the city is all covered with potholes and rough roads. But the path of the mosque has never seen any damage for people to reach and pay tribute.
  • A feminist movement called ‘Haji Ali for all’ was launched by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and Bhumata Brigade. The movement aimed to secure equal rights to pray. With the persistent efforts of the people, Supreme Court on 26th August ruled that women could enter the sanctum sanctorum.
  • There is lesser known tale surrounding the almighty’s dargah. Once the saint saw a poor woman holding a vessel and crying. She was crying because she had accidentally spilt the oil and was scared that the husband would beat her. To this, Haji Ali asked her to take him to that spot where she had spilt the oil. Upon reaching there, the oil came oozing out from the soil as soon as he jabbed a finger into the soil. The woman was overjoyed and filled her vessel. Later, Haji Ali Shah had a disturbing dream that he injured the Mother Earth. Soon after this, he got ill and asked his followers to put the coffin into the Arabian Sea. Miraculously, his casket just got stuck offshore of Worli where the Dargah was constructed. Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most visited mosques in Mumbai, and the history attached to the place is significant. So it’s your chance to see for real the purity of the place.