Month In Travel: April 2018

On numerous occasions, we’ve written about the dark sides of tourism, as well as how it affects local life and the environment. The people of Venice are no stranger to this frustration, and tensions finally boiled over this week when metal barricades were installed to combat anti-tourist protesters.

This isn’t the first time Venetians have taken action to protect their beautiful city; last year they banned cheap takeout joints.

Venice, Italy

Last fall, we gave a shout out for our friends at Global Degree as they launched their first semester of “getting your degree” while travelling to every country in the world. Just like their tagline says, “Not all classrooms have four walls,” and we think what they’re doing is worth sharing! With that in mind, they just announced on their Instagram and Facebook that they’re giving away $50,000 in scholarships to join them in Central America. That’s reason enough to go back to school!

After that, you can get a job at Qualtrics and get $1,500 each year to have experiences you wouldn’t normally have!

On the topic of things you probably haven’t experienced yet, Travel + Leisure exposed us to a secret wine region in Brazil. Don’t feel bad if Serra Gaucha, the epicenter is Brazil’s wine region, wasn’t on your radar. Not only is it located 900 miles south of Rio, but fine wine production is also a bit new to the country.

We’re a little late in reporting this, but we stumbled across an article in Condé Nast about a free app that gets you through Customs quick. In our experience, nothing short of divine intervention (or being Pepper the orange tabby cat) guarantees passage through Customs in 60 seconds. If you’ve used it, please let us know what you think!

For those of you who don’t know, our founders are both from Canada. Although each month we regrettably have to report a senseless act of terrorism or extreme violence somewhere in the world, we had not reported any incidents in Canada since starting this blog a few years ago. That was until the horrific incident in Toronto last week, when a van plowed through a slew of pedestrians. Although this act has not been called terrorism, it certainly evoked terror and broke our hearts. The unity throughout the city following the attack has been unprecedented. HuffPost Canada covered the vigil, noting that speakers included a Mennonite pastor, a Muslim imam, a Hindu chaplain, Jewish rabbis, and a Buddhist monk.

All this gave us the feeling of a deep sense of sadness for the losses in Toronto, as well as a sense of pride, unity, and gratefulness, seeing Canadians come together in mourning of the lives lost too soon. Ironically, we then stumbled across an interesting article on BBC by travel writer Anja Mutić, who’s from Yugoslavia, a country that no longer exists. Sometimes in our travels, we feel like we’re from everywhere. However, never have we felt like we’re from everywhere yet nowhere at all. The article is worth a read, as it follows the contemplative theme that seems to echo through this month in travel. Imagine if your home country didn’t exist!

Split, Croatia (former Yugoslavia) | Credit Adam Wilson

Another beautiful article from the past month tells the story of a language that’s connected to both the sea and the animals. In fact, the Yanyuwa language is so unusual that men and women speak different dialects and only have passive understandings of each other (a slew of jokes exist here that we won’t touch!). Given that they have a word for the sunrays penetrating the sea, I’d say more of us should be speaking this language. Can you say, “Yurrbunjurrbun.”

Speaking of things that we don’t have awesome words for in English, Sobremesa is the Spanish word for the time you spend at the table after you’ve finished eating. Perfection!

Espresso and desert in Palma Spain | Photo Credit Oscar Nord

Now that Spain is on your mind, the town of Córdoba has an amazing Spring Flower Festival each spring. It may be too late to book a last-minute trip for this year, but it’s never too early to start planning for 2019!

April – well technically the end of March – also marked the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. Side note: we had our own in Vancouver and it was amazing! Cherry Blossom Festival aside, make sure to check out Attaché’s travel guide episode dedicated to Kyushu, Japan. Obviously, we’re late to the party as this show racks up 300k+ views per episode, but we’re hooked. Alex Hunter hosts and gives amazingly gracious and informative overviews of the cities to which he travels.

Cherry Blossom Japan | Credit Sora Sagano

Finally, because we always like to include an old-fashioned list of bests in our monthly update, here’s the SmarterTravels Editors’ Choice Destination Awards for the best travel destinations in 2018. Spoiler alert: Los Angeles was voted the best value.