All posts by Thomas Martin

Where to Stop When You Visit Oregon

After returning from Europe, my girlfriend almost immediately wanted to go on another trip, but it wasn’t exactly the type of travel experience I wanted to go on.  She wanted to travel home to Oregon to see some family and friends.

If you’ve ever been to Beaverton, Oregon, you know that it’s a heavily wooded area.  The city center is a few miles south of Portland.  After flying in, our first stop was to see Aunt Margaret.  She’s deaf as can be and can barely walk at her age, but she says some hysterical things if you give her a glass of wine or two.

We flew in around 4 PM and took an Uber to the house.  The first thing I noticed when we arrived was a mouse!  There was a huge mouse infestation, and they were running all over the place. My girlfriend nearly had a heart attack when we opened the door.  And, I’m now thinking that her aunt must be blind because how can you miss those rodents running across the kitchen floor and through the living room.  Pest problems are no fun, so we started calling all the pest control companies we could think of that serve Portland and Beaverton.  Luckily we stumbled upon Banish Pest Control.  Banish is run by a local exterminator named Micheal, who’s an expert at his craft.  We called for a quote, got it over the phone, and he was at the house in less than an hour fixing it.

After an inspection, Micheal pointed out that there was a small hole near the piping that was just big enough for a mouse to crawl through.  He baited the existing mice and blocked up the hole.  Mice infestation problem solved in less than a day.  He stopped back the next day to remove all the traps and that was it.  That was the most affordable pest solution I’ve ever seen.  So, when you have a rodent problem in Oregon, especially in Multnomah or Washington Counties, I highly recommend calling Mike.

Traveling Abroad with Your Girlfriend

One thing that everyone should do before they die is travel abroad. It doesn’t have to be a yearly, but you must go at least once to experience another culture and enjoy yourself.

Dating a woman in the Czech Republic, I flew abroad one time and it was quite the experience. I had only flown in the States, so I was used to a 3-4 hour flight. Flying over to Europe, the fastest flight was 7 hours or more. That’s a long time to sit in boredom if you’re not ready for it.

I arrived at the airport way too early and lugged my bags to the check-in. I snuck some drinks and food through security and into the lounge where I sat awaiting my departure. TSA was having a great time because there were a huge amount of people standing in line. Someone had called in sick, so the line was wrapping around the building.

Upon arrival in Europe, I felt this feeling of adventure, much like when I moved to the city for the first time. I stepped foot on European soil and I was ready to go. I whipped out my cell phone and dialed my girlfriend just in time to hear the dial tone. I had forgotten that my service isn’t going to work over here. I had to figure out what to do next and no one spoke a word of English, so I found a sign that looked like “Wi-Fi” and started punching in numbers like it was my job. The wi-fi failed to connect. I tried again and boom – I was in. I text my girlfriend and waited. She was stuck in traffic on the way to get me.

She arrived an hour late. I have to say I was a bit disappointed since she new I was coming way in advance. But, she looked good, so I know she spent that time doing makeup and such for me. We drove back to the inner city and walked by hundreds of gorgeous apartments, all decorated for the coming holidays. He apartment was an art-deco type with brand new crown molding and luxury furniture. I was very impressed, until I realized that she rented it for the week (so it wasn’t actually hers).

Inside, it had all the amenities one would expect in a beautiful building like that. Multiple bathrooms, multiple showers, 4 bedrooms. This apartment was huge and the rental fee was reasonable. We only ended up staying for about 3 days before traveling to Norway to check out an Air BnB house rental there. The real estate was similar. It was expensive, but the crazy views made up for that.

The whole trip was amazing, but I have to say that after a week of traveling all over the place and getting no sleep with my girl on top of me constantly, I was ready to come back to the states and go to bed.  I will forever remember those moments though because we were only that age once and it’s now in the past.



Best Scenic Places to Travel in 2018

Are you a travel enthusiast? Let your mind drift to the most scenic places of the world. Explore some of the most beautiful places on the planet as we help you unfold the tropical paradise, stunning architectural feats, and small towns that drive thousands of tourists from all the corners of the world.

The world is a beautiful place. If you are looking forward to exploring some of the most scenic locations around the world, browse through our list of the best places to travel 2018:

  • Neuschwanstein, Germany: Wish to escape into the real Narnia world? Visit this classic 19th-century castle location in Southern Germany –drawing its inspiration from the real-world Sleeping Beauty Castle of Disneyland. This beautiful, serene German retreat is a top tourist destination during the summer months –symbolizing peace & refuge all over.


  • Iceland: Would love to witness the breathtaking Aurora Borealis –also referred to as the Northern Lights once in your life? Experience the natural display of euphoric display of varying shades of all-natural sky colors across the Arctic Sky in Iceland –every year. The Northern Lights in Iceland happen to be one of the most sought-after sights by worldwide tourists –especially during the months of August-September. However, the lights are highly unpredictable. Therefore, make sure that you have plenty of time to explore the unparalleled natural beauty of the universe.


  • The Rainbow Mountains, China: Wondering whether this might be true or not? Well, the Rainbow Mountains do exist, and yes, they are colored splendidly –just like a rainbow. The Rainbow Mountains of Zhangye Danxia in China is a sight that you must witness at least once in life. Showing off the potential signs of weathering & erosion explicitly, the Rainbow Mountains are the true instances of pure natural beauty. The dramatic colors & shades across the mountain range are the results of the traces of various minerals in association with the sandstone found in the region.


  • Victoria Falls: Look up to the heavenly beauty of the Victoria Falls –located between Zambia & Zimbabwe. The Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world when compared in terms of the total area. The mesmerizing fall is capable of transporting an overwhelming amount of 1,088 cubic meters per second of fresh, milky water down the steep 350-foot


  • Bora Bora: This is a pristine island that was once an active volcano. The volcano has now subsequently subsided and resulted in the formation of a barrier reef. The natural reef ecosystem enables the display of pristine, sparkling clear waters. The coral reef ecosystem also provides limit waves –allowing for the protected sanctuary.

Mark the top, scenic locations in your to-visit list!

Essential Travel Tips Before Visiting Europe

Are you planning a trip to Europe? Amongst all the places on Earth, Europe is one such place that is the most sought-after traveling destinations in the travel look-book of the world travelers. Europe is one of the most beautiful locations known for its spectacular offering of the best-ever tourist-friendly locations that you would love to explore at least once in life.

As beautiful as it might sound, it is equally essential to take care of a few travel tips in order to enjoy your vacation to the maximum. If you are visiting Europe as a first-timer, here are some of the essential travel tips that you must know about:

  • Make Sure You Have a Valid Passport: Before planning to visit any country abroad, make sure that you have a valid passport of the country that you reside in. A valid passport is a mandatory document that you require for authentication purposes while traveling abroad. In addition to a valid passport, you might also need to apply for a proper tourist visa while traveling to specific countries abroad. Do your research well and be prepared with all the documents before visiting your dream country.


  • Make Reservations in Advance: As a traveler, if you wish to save some significant amounts of money, you can consider making reservations in advance. Especially if you are traveling in the peak season, it is important to go for planning out your vacation and making reservations much before your trip. This turns out to be a smart way of traveling and can help you in saving some big amounts on hotel & flight reservations.


  • Do Not Avoid the Famous Sites & Activities: When you are visiting any place, the famous sites exist there for a reason. You do not simply go to Paris and skip visiting the Eiffel Tower. Though it might appear cliché, visiting & exploring famous sites & doing activities that the place is well-known for make up for a memorable trip. These offer a unique way to enhance your overall experience of going on any trip abroad.


  • Do Not Only Visit the Popular Places: Though it is quite a touristy thing to visit the famous places and do activities that are well-known in a particular place, it is recommended to go out of the scene and not limit yourself to only popular places in Europe. Hit for some overlooked and rarely-visited areas wherein you can get some local experience. Once you are able to obtain the real local culture & traditions of a place, this calls up for a true traveling experience.


  • Try Packing Light: If you are looking up for some shopping spree while in Europe, try packing light as you start your trip. Keep ample space to fill up with new things & items that you purchase from the famous local markets in Europe.

Make the best of your Europe trip by giving thought to these points.

Top Summer Holiday Destinations in the World

As soon as the term “summer” comes up in your mind, you think about long, beach vacations. The world is filled with top summer holiday destinations that might entice you to turn your vacation mode on. A perfect summer holiday destination calls for unlimited fun and relaxation with your close ones. Thankfully, there are several leading destinations in the world wherein you can experience a truly heavenly and unwinding experience.

If you are looking forward to putting up your vacation boots this summer, here is out list of the best summer holiday destinations in the world for you:

  • Zermatt, Switzerland: Undeniably, as the summer season heat up the environment around, you would like to escape into some cool settings. Switzerland is the perfect summer holiday destination offering the coolest sensations and the best vacation experience to the tourists. Every year, thousands of tourists from across the corners of the world head out to different areas of Switzerland to experience an ethereal holiday atmosphere. You can consider visiting Zermatt in Switzerland that is nestled between the famous Swiss Alps. A vacationing haven for hiking, mountain climbing, and skiing enthusiasts, Zermatt in Switzerland is your go-to summer destination.


  • Paros, Greece: Located in the center of the Aegean Sea, Paros in Greece turns out to be the most beautiful and serene island in the country. Famous for its rural villages and pristine beaches, Paros attracts several tourists from across the corners of the world during the summer season. The whole small town is painted in pure white that aims at striking a perfect balance with the crystal, clear blue skies and turquoise waters of the sea.


  • Seychelles, East Africa: Being synonymous with flawless beach haven, Seychelles in East Africa is yet another famous summer holidays vacationing destination in the world. With smooth, sandy beaches, shimmery coastline, crystal clear sea waters, and palm-lined sea shores, Seychelles in East Africa is definitely one of the most beautiful and serene destinations for spending your summer vacation.


  • Amalfi Coast, Italy: Regarded as one of the most precious gems of Italy, the Amalfi Coast represents the true manifestation of the immense natural beauty of the given landscape. The place offers picturesque views, dense forests, coastal peaks, pastel structures on the cliff –the Amalfi Coast in Italy shines like a bright star during nights and comes alive with the sun’s first rays. The Amalfi Coast is aimed at offering a unique combination of adventure and nature delivering the best-in-class summer holidaying experiences.


  • Bali, Indonesia: The perfect honeymooning haven and the paradise for the backpackers, Bali in Indonesia is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world. Offering a perfect blend of high-rise mountains, pristine sea beaches, reefs, temples, volcanoes, and so more, Bali is a great summer retreat that you would not like to miss out. Bali is also famous for its amazing nightlife and yoga centers.


Take your bag out and plan out the most happening summer vacation this year!


  1. MALTA:

Located in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, this archipelago for you, has the best range of islands that you can choose from for your vacations trip. From eating fish at the Marsaxlokk (a traditional fishing village) to exploring the Gozo Island, do what satiates you more. With a large number of attractions for the tourists in Malta, you can always go for a full-day excursion plan.  The paradise for water-lovers, must go and see the Comin’s Blue Lagoon. The serenity of that water is not at all what we see in pictures. It is a beauty to behold with your own eyes.

  1. RUSSIA:

For art lovers, one’s best choice to visit this year should be Russia. The country is known for its artistic history and culture. The all-time famous, Academy of Fine Arts, has produced some of the greatest country artists, sculptors, and creators.  They exhibit all kinds of paintings of the students and faculty there. The museum displays the work of famous artists as well, but on temporary bases.  Another arty attraction could be the Amber Room. It was brought together in Berlin and sent to Russia as a gift for Peter the Great. At the time of World War II, the Nazis canned the room and took most of it to Germany. Amber Room of this age was completed in 2003, to retain the magic of its old times.


“Sea, Serenity and Satisfaction.”  All of these is not very far if you are near the Maldives. The country is famous for its beaches, blue lagoons and reefs can serve as a real breath of fresh air (literally) when you set the Maldives as your holiday destination. The underwater wildlife is a beautiful experience for those who love nature in all its styles. The bioluminescent phytoplankton (again, what?? Okay, read, BIO-LUMI-NES-CENT PHYTO-PLANK-TONS) in the waters at Vaadhoo Island, which emits blue glow naturally are just a miracle to behold. They are also known as fireflies of the shore. Other magical experiences include swimming with the whale sharks (YES, NO KIDDING!), impeccable shopping street at the Maafushi, one of the country’s biggest islands, flying on the seaplanes to reach your favorite beach resorts and what not?!

  1. DUBAI:

There are a few preferable destinations in the world that offer so much in one banquet. Dubai is the most luxurious destination and an amusement itself for its history. Choosing Dubai over other Holiday destinations would be decent because it has a great deal of entertainment, fun, shopping, adventures and other festivities all-round the year.  Formerly known as the hub of exquisite malls and shopping centers is now offering much more than that. Only naming the most spectacular places of Dubai would take a whole month because the list is too long.  Palm Jumeirah (the artificial island), The Dubai Fountain, Warner Brothers World, Al Bastakiya and the Old Fort, Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, The Mall of Emirates, Desert Safari, Old Souk (the famous gold-jewel market), etc., to mention just but a few.


All you need to know about Burj Al Arab

If we want to talk about luxurious places, we must speak about the Burj Al Arab. The hotel is the only one with seven starts of the earth. From its unique appearance to its expensive services, this place has been cataloged as the best hotel in the world by far. To mention one of its particular characteristics, this place was built on its artificial island, 280 meters from the coast and it has a height of 321 meters.

As you might imagine, a night here costs a lot of money, just a selected group of people have the opportunity to be a guest in this Hotel. This place is well-known for its expensive facilities, amenities, and of course, its world-class food. If you’re one of those that can go to enjoy a unique and luxurious experience, here you have some facts about the place you may consider interesting.

  1. Burj Al Arab was designed to imitate the sail of a ship
  2. The architect of the hotel is Tom Wright and he was working on this project since 1994. He worked hard to make an edification that was the icon of Dubai.
  3. The construction began in 1994 and ends in 1999 where the hotel opened its doors the first of December. They needed 250 designers and 3000 companies to carry out this project successfully.
  4. The total cost of the construction was only $650 million. What do you think?
  5. The smallest suites have 170meters and the largest covers 780 meters.
  6. The restaurants of the hotel use at least 10 tons of chocolate per year and they’re exclusively made from raw cocoa beans.
  7. The building possesses the highest tennis court in the world.
  8. All over the construction, you might find gold that they used to embellish the structure because there are 1790 meters with 24-carat gold leaf to enhance the interior.
  9. Apart from the gold, they also used 29000 Swarovski crystals to decorate the ceiling of the Junsui lounge.
  10. The Al Muntaha restaurant is ubicated 200 meters high, on the top of the building. If you’re having a luxurious dinner here, you’ll be blown away by the view of Dubai.
  11. Another of its restaurants, the Al Mahara, has a seawater aquarium that holds 990000 liters of water.
  12. 70,000 cubic meters of concrete and approximately 9,000 tons of steel were used during the construction process.
  13. Some of the famous people that have been enjoyed this luxurious place are Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Lewis Hamilton, Claudia Schiffer, and more.
  14. How many lights has this building? Around 28000 light fixtures around the hotel.
  15. And for the pools, they used millions of mosaics to decorate.
  16. The spa of the hotel was awarded the most luxury Spa in the world.
  17. Are you looking for the reception? Don’t worry, you can find one on each floor, for a total of 60 reception desks.
  18. All the female team that works on the greeting desks uses gold accessories in the shape of Burj Al Arab.

Most luxurious hotels you’ll want to book this 2018

We’re in March already, and you may be wondering where to go this summer and where you’ll stay. If your new year’s resolution was to travel more, we have for you an exceptional list of the most luxurious hotels of the year. Some of them haven’t opened yet; you can be the first guest!

1. Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel (Montecito, Santa Barbara). A place with an outstanding setting in the heart of California. By summer, you could enjoy this fascinating place with a stunning landscape, unique climate, and remarkable residential architecture. With approximately sixteen acres of beachfront real state, Rosewood will offer 124 guestrooms and 37 elegant suites. You’ll be in one of the most beautiful beaches in Santa Barbara, what do you say?

2. Como Uma Canggu (Bali). For this one you don’t have to wait, it opened the past February 1st and is waiting for you. Situated on Bali’s south coast, you’ll enjoy of a panoramic view of the beautiful beach and its rolling waves. Exceptional cuisine, services, wellness, and luxury everywhere.

3. The Dixon (London, England). A new hotel in the heart of London where all the creativity and art take place. It’s the latest accommodation in London that focused on offering unique aesthetics and amenities services that will be pure art, culture, and heritage of the local history.

4. Viceroy (Cartagena, Colombia). If you’re looking an outstanding place in South America, you should go to Viceroy, a whole new space full of glamour, sun, ad unique views. Their opulence will amaze from the moment you enter the lobby and appreciate cascading waterfalls.

5. Sheldon Chalet (Denali, Alaska). “Magnificence Manifest” is the first thing you can read on their website. If you stay here, you’ll be at 6000 feet in elevation with a view like no other, luxury accommodations and exquisite services. And as if it was not enough, you can watch the aurora borealis dancing around the sky. Is a unique opportunity in a place that you’ll remember forever.

6. Jewel Grande Resort and Spa (Montego Bay, Jamaica). Opened in January, this Caribbean resort can offer all you need. Astonishing villas with all the services included, could be the perfect place for you this summer (or now). If you want to be away wholly, check this fantastic hotel paradise that is one of the best this year.

7. Amanyangyun (Shanghai, China). To conclude the list, we’ll give you the newest and most luxurious hotel in Shanghai, China. Is already open, so, you can go there now. With an ancient touch, this resort count with 26 houses with private pools, yards, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to explore China’s heritage of arts, philosophy, and culture. Also, you’ll have the most exquisite international and local cuisine.

Traveling is a unique experience that everybody should experience. If you have the resources to go wherever you want, don’t doubt it and plan your next adventure! If you pick one of the listed above, you’ll not regret it, on the contrary, can be a trip that you’ll never forget.

Countries To Consider Visiting In 2018

We are still in the first months of 2018 and the year is looking up to be a great one. If part of your resolutions this year is to travel more and explore the world, then chances are you have been thinking of great destinations to visit, if you already haven’t settled for a couple. In this article, we’ll be mentioning two or three destinations that we think are worth visiting this year.

Let’s go.


Chile is a long and thin country on the west coast of South America that’s separated from the rest by the soaring Andes mountains to the east, the Atacama Desert (the driest desert in the world) to the north, the Pacific Ocean to its west, and the impassable wilds of Patagonia to the south. Though a small nation, Chile, which celebrates 200-years of independence this year, has so much to offer.

From volcanoes, massive glaciers, fjords, and ancient forests, to fertile valleys and parched dunes, the nation is considered a land of high contrasts. There is so much to see and do in Chile.

Though not a very common destination, Chile is quickly becoming the traveler’s haven. If you are looking for a beautiful and scenic travel destination in the southern hemisphere, then try Chile.

South Korea

This Asian nation is a small playground for Asian modernity. Neighboring the dreaded North Korea, South Korea is separated from its northerly neighbor by a fearsome border. However, it is, by all means, a safe, exciting and a rather fun nation that offers a range of dazzling experiences, over 5,000 years of history and culture, and forward-thinking ways.

South Korea is also known for its hilly, green countryside that’s dotted with centuries-old Buddhist temples and cheery trees, plus it sub-tropical islands, coastal fishing villages, and high tech metropolises like Seoul which make it one of the top Asian destinations to visit in 2018.

Over the recent years, South Korea has proven itself as a dream destination – a welcoming and engaging place where all the benefits of a high-tech country are perfectly balanced with a reverence for Asian old ways and traditions.

However, do not be fooled by their seemingly traditional ways, South Koreans know how to rock. Their calendar is packed with tons of events and festivals, meaning that there is a celebration almost every other day to attend during your stay.


Djibouti is an African nation that is ideally located for that dramatic effect. This somewhat lean country is currently going through the process of being ripped apart into three by diverging tectonic plates. This, as a result, creates some spectacular geological sights and landscapes.

From the sunken lake shores that gleam with huge salt crystals to Martian-like deserts spewing tons of steam from fumaroles to magma seething beneath an ever-thinning crust, there is just so much to experience here.

Geologically speaking, these are a sprint finish sign – but to us, humans, all this is in spectacular slow motion – a good reason why you should consider making plans to visit Djibouti before the year ends.

Apart from the unique geological wonders to see in Djibouti, the nation also has an intoxicating culture and his home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the North Eastern part of Africa where you can even go whale shark diving. If you want to see Mother Nature at her best, then visit Djibouti.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Japan is a truly beautiful place. I know it may sound a bit odd but the very air of the Kyoto prefecture is different. There’s a quiet and sweetness in the air that whispers to your soul. Talking about Ryokans with the last post rekindled fond memories of Fushimi Inari Taisha.

You may not be familiar with its name but I’m pretty darn sure you’ve seen in it several films, TV, and game appearances. Personally, my favorite is in Memoirs of a Geisha–seeing Chiyo  Sakamoto run through the Torii Gates is always a cinematography treasure. That scene, incidentally, is the reason why I wanted to see Fushimi Inari Taisha to begin with.

The Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine of Inari. For those unfamiliar with their Japanese Deities, Inari is the Japanese God of foxes, fertility, rice, tea and sake, agriculture and industry, of worldly success, and is one of the principal Gods of Shinto. This shrine takes quite a bit of exertion to get to. Its seat is at the base of Mt. Inari–233 meters above sea level–and it would take approximately around 2 hours to walk to.

Truly though, it is worth it. Depending on the time of year, crowds can be pretty thin or crazy heavy. This shrine apparently draws in several millions of worshipers and tourists per year. The busiest would be during the Japanese New Year which clocks in a minimum of around 2.70 million people over a three day period.

When the team and I were there, we were lucky enough to catch the place when crowds were pretty thin on the grounds. We were all able to truly bask in the quiet serenity of the shrine. You have to try it. When you get there, just close your eyes and listen. There is something utterly other worldly about the place that it’s pretty seductive.

While there, I got to talk to one of the locals and I learned a lot more about the place. Turns out the Fushimi Inari Taisha was the focus of imperial patronage during the early Heian period–when Emperor Murakami was in power. He had ordered messengers to carry written accounts of important events to the guardian deity of Japan.

In the years of 1871 to 1946, this shrine was declared as one of the Kanpei Taisha (官幣大社). This meant that the Fushimi Inari Taisha had the proud claim of being in the first rank of government supported shrines.

One of the features I particularly enjoyed were all the fixtures of foxes on the ground. Foxes are generally considered to be messengers to deities, particularly Inari’s.

Do you see how lovely those red orange gates are? Those structures are called the Torii gates. They date back to 711 AD and there’s over 10,000 of them. What’s really lovely about these gates is that each and every single one is donated by a company or an organization. It symbolizes their prayers for good fortune in the future and their way of giving thanks and reverence for their prosperity.

Here’s a bonus tip for you all. When you exit the shine, find a little side street nearby (to the right, specifically). There isn’t any information about this online but this street is the best place to buy food and souvenirs. It’s a sort of local market put together by the family-owned shops to help the shrine guests and their way of keeping the place alive. So not only is it quite industrious but it also reflects the inherent respect and love the Japanese have for their shrines and history.