A Taste of Ghent’s Graffiti Alley

Do you have any interesting street art near you?

We stumbled upon this colorful alley simply by happenstance while walking through the quaint city of Ghent. A haven for street artists, this short stretch is constantly changing as new paint is added day after day. This is an open canvas in a “graffiti-friendly” city.

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Traveling with Servas International

A big happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers (and even if you aren’t :))!  We are very fortunate to be sharing this day of gratitude with a local Couchsurfer, and it has us reflecting on our other generous hosts.

Throughout our travels, we have employed many ways to find low-cost lodging. Some of these are less interactive like house-sitting, where we watch someone’s pets while they are traveling. Other lodging types are more of a cultural exchange like Couchsurfing, and Servas is another option. It is much more focused on the fostering of world peace and values more sustainable travel practices and humanity. When we have the opportunity, this program is a perfect way to gain a better understanding of cultures around the world by living with hosts for a couple of days.

Small Canal in Netherlands

Have you ever heard of Servas? Most people have not as it is relatively small as compared with other similar sites. In this post, we’ll talk about what Servas is and how it started. We’ll also share some of our experiences over the past five months of travel that have made us well-versed in the program. Read on to learn everything you need to know to get started! Continue reading “Traveling with Servas International”

5 Tips for Mastering Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing.com is a website platform for connecting a global community of travelers, facilitating stays with locals or opening your home to visitors. Sometimes hosts can offer a private room and bathroom; sometimes it’s literally nothing more than a couch upon which to crash for a night. It is also a place to organize events in cities around the world.

We have used this platform to host eight amazing travelers, and we have also been hosted once abroad in Norway. All of the people we met through this platform were incredible. They all came from different walks of life, and they shared their own travel stories and cultural experiences with us (like teaching us how to drink like a Russian!).

We are the type of hosts who like to treat our guests to local Portland activities, hikes, and even trips to the coast. We enjoy meeting new people, and every experience is completely unlike the last. There are many reasons to love this platform.

Over our many hostings and stays, we’ve learned a lot.  Here are five tips for mastering Couchsurfing.

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Essentials for enjoying an evening drinking with a Russian

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We Learned How to Drink Like a Russian

Life is full of all sorts of fun experiences, most of which, you never plan for.  In fact, it is the unexpected moments that make the best memories – the ones that stick with you throughout the years and make you smile when everything else dissolves into nostalgia.

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We had one such evening, quite by happenstance.  We had the pleasant fortune to learn what it really means to drink like a Russian.

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The 12 Countries of Christmas

Christmas means a lot to me and my family.  It’s the one time of year when we all come together to exchange gifts, eat far too much food, and socialize and laugh over games and drinks.  In America, it’s a family holiday, and offices across the country are closed for multiple days for the celebration.  We decorate trees in our living rooms, and we hang lights all throughout the cities.  It’s a time of giving and joy and coming together.

I love Christmas.

Spending a year abroad, there’s every chance we’ll spend the holiday in a foreign country.  And we know that not everyone celebrates it the same as we do.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015
Photo by Brianna Shade, used with permission

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Considering… Croatia

Croatia is a Mediterranean landscape paradise. From ancient walled cities and Roman ruins, to the many islands lining the coast, Croatia has it all. There are many well preserved Medieval towns and old forts that are worthy of Game of Thrones, just like in Ireland. Let’s check it out!

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Considering… Peru

Peru gets some of its inspiration from our first trip to Mesa Verde National Park, where we got to see ancient ruins of Native Americans up close (built around 1,190AD). Machu Picchu is one of those once-in-a-lifetime kinds of places that also has ruins, but these are definitely more EPIC. Why have we waited so long? Let’s go! Continue reading “Considering… Peru”

World Travel – Factors in Deciding Where to Go

Deciding where to travel can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many possibilities and narrowing down THE ENTIRE WORLD into something manageable is seems like a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you plan a world trip based on our experience so far. Continue reading “World Travel – Factors in Deciding Where to Go”

Why I Want to Travel the World – Brianna

I have a restless spirit.  Anyone who spends any time with me knows I always have to be doing something.  I honestly don’t know how to sit back and do nothing; I can’t even justify an hour of video games because they simply aren’t productive enough.

The same translates to my physical location.  I love to explore, and I get antsy if I’m living in one place for too long (I blame my military brat upbringing for that one).  The joy I get out of discovering someplace new is unlike anything else; I get bored too easily with the “known.”

But why the world?   Continue reading “Why I Want to Travel the World – Brianna”

Why I Want to Travel the World – Aaron

Traveling the world is a dream I have always had. It is something I’ve always believed only the rich and famous could do.  That is simply not true, and I’m more ready than ever to get out there and spread my wings. Continue reading “Why I Want to Travel the World – Aaron”