(The following is a guest post by Ivana Greslikova and Gianni Bianchini of Nomad Is Beautiful, a travel blog focused on responsible tourism, eco-adventures and healthy lifestyles. Follow these digital nomads on their journey on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re a travel blogger interested in guest posting on GGT, email pitches and writing samples to Editor-In-Chief Bret Love at info[at]GreenGlobalTravel.com.)
There are many countries in Southeast Asia that are famous for their breathtaking beaches, exotic food, wonderful people and adrenaline-charged sports. But, for remarkable wildlife, one place leads the pack: Borneo. The third largest island in the world (and the biggest in Asia), Borneo is divided among Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
In Sabah, one of Borneo’s 13 states, you’ll find a staggering 140-million-year-old rainforest that is one of the oldest in the world. Nowadays, this state protects six national parks, which includes three terrestrial (Mt. Kinabalu, Crocker Range and Tawau Hills) and three marine parks (Turtle Island, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Pulau Tiga), which provide homes to a huge variety of flora and fauna.
We spent three weeks in Sabah and gathered a list of the top places that we would recommend to anyone looking for great ecotourism adventures and stunning nature. Join us and discover Borneo, a new world…
Growing up in a lower middle class neighborhood in the South, I didn’t know many people who had traveled the world. Most of my friends’ families had never even left the Southeast.
My dad, whose number came up in the Vietnam draft, had gone AWOL to be there for my birth, shipping out a few hours later to fight in Southeast Asia. And my uncle did an Army stint in Germany when I was a little boy. But, in my mind, that didn’t count.
My grandparents were a different story. They had an Aztec calendar from Mexico. They had petrified wood from California. They had been to Hawaii. They wore silver and turquoise jewelry from New Mexico (where they sponsored an orphanage, which they visited regularly). To me, they seemed incredibly worldly and wise, and I grew up wanting to be just like them.
(The following post was sponsored by the Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa. But our opinions remain our own.)
Little Corn Island is one of those off-the-beaten-path places that creeps into your consciousness, slowly but surely.
We first became aware of it back in December 2010, not long after we started Green Global Travel. Our friend Bryan Akers– Mary’s next-door neighbor and an avid traveler who worked as a drum tech for punk legends Bad Brains– simply raved about it. He described Little Corn Island as a laid-back ecotourism escape perfectly in tune with GGT’s ethos, with no cars, incredible food, superb snorkeling, and widespread use of alternative energy sources.
After reading Bryan’s post, this tropical paradise went right on our wish list. But then GGT blew up, our travel schedule got overwhelmingly hectic, and Little Corn got pushed to the back of our minds. Over the years, we’ve read pieces on Lonely Planet and This American Girl backing up our buddy’s vision of the tiny 1.1-square mile island as a Nicaraguan nirvana.
When we heard that the Mexico-based Colibri Hotel Collection had opened up an eco-luxury resort, the Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, on Little Corn Island, we became even more intrigued. So we sat down with property manager Michael Bitton for a conversation about the island’s culture, cuisine, and other ecotourism offerings.
I’m strangely wired, as human beings go.
I’ve faced a lot of adversity on a personal level, from tragic loss, abuse and bullying in childhood to homelessness, divorce and financial ruin as an adult. But I believe it’s how we work through these challenges in our lives that ultimately defines us. In the end, they either bring us to our knees or teach us how to fly.
Though I was shy and somewhat timid as a kid, I’ve evolved into a person who never shies away from adversity. Instead, I tend to plant my feet, lower my shoulders and confront it head-on. So when I saw the foreboding blanket of storm clouds rolling in over Norway‘s Nigardsbreen glacier (an arm of Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in continental Europe), I steeled myself for a cold, rainy day of climbing.
An Israeli Jew and a West African Muslim walk into an airport… It may sound like the opening line to a joke, but it’s actually the story behind the unique musical fusion known as the Touré-Raichel Collective.
After a chance encounter at a Berlin airport in 2008, Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel and Mali’s Vieux Farka Touré (the son of legendary singer-guitarist Ali Farka Touré) became friends, jammed together, and eventually formed a band. Their music blends West African rhythms and Israeli melodies, with Touré’s bluesy guitar and voice creating a musical dialogue with Raichel’s improvised piano.
We caught up with the duo just before the release of their second album, The Paris Session, to discuss their unlikely partnership, the sociopolitical relevance of their union, and the universal language of music. Click on the video below to listen to their infectious music as you read their inspiring story.