Monthly Archives: January 2013

Zentraveler on the Impromptu Travelogue!

Airplane Travel

Airplane Travel

Sometimes all of that planning and saving and getting ready for the next travel trip with visas, passports updated, and of course letting your bank credit card company know by sworn affidavit that you are going out of your zip-code and maybe even a foreign country. You say to yourself or your partner lets just throw a dart on the world map….and wherever it lands that’s where were going.

Or if you are more geographically challenged you can cheat and fold the map so it turns out at least in the hemisphere you want to travel. You and your partner talk it over… make a decision to be spontaneous and just do it. How many of you just wanted to do this all of your life? Oh I’m too structured of a person. I could not even imagine doing such a thing. Maybe this is what some of us really need. This entire blog is about travel opportunities and doing something different.

Cast of the Lines

Cast off the Lines

As a variation to the dart throwing map technique you say: “By golly I’ve got it let’s go to the International airport and try to get a cheap standby. As a reminder you and your partner both pack light and choose light wight carry-on luggage with less than 15 kilos… including the luggage. You do this so you don’t have to pay extra fees to the airlines and can immediately exit the plane upon landing. You say: “who wants to lug all of that stuff around anyway.”Oh by the way we are leaving at four am in the morning… since we have a better chance of a standby flight. As you walk along each airlines desk you look at their departing schedules searching for your next travel destination.

Look there’s a cheap flight going to Greenland it leaves in three hours. We can spend the night and a few days there and then put together the rest of our trip. Perfect you say to yourself…I always wanted to go to Greenland anyway. I heard the people are extra friendly. My friend was stationed in Thule, Greenland and he said you had two choices after spending a few years there… “you could become an alcoholic or go stark raving mad.” He arrived home half and half. Great! My partner says: “and this is where we are headed.”

You purchase your tickets from the new airline and go to an internet cafe and type out your personalized travel itinerary with many options..which can come in handy at the immigration desk. You score a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and your set until departure. Hours later you are airborne and that feeling of exhilaration and discovery has your adrenaline on high. As the clouds roll by you can only imagine what lies ahead. You pick up the new airline magazine and notice a brand new hotel is offering rooms at $19.95 and you say why not… lets give it a go, it cant be that bad can it? And now we have an address for the cabbie, local bus transport, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) or whatever mode of transportation that is available to deliver us straight to the hotel.

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

This sounds like a story from your imagination and maybe I could try to put together a trip, but I have really limited funds. Not a problem Zentraveler says: You simply sign up as an International Courier and tell them you can leave anytime day or night. There’s a flight going to Caracas, Venezuela your total rt cost is $29.00. Are you kidding me? Even if that’s the case, I can’t afford to stay in a hotel and I can’t stand living in a dormitory at some run down hostel. No problema! You simply sign up as a Couch Surfer and find someone in the area who will put you up for a few days. My friend from New Zealand has used this service for the last couple of years and was even picked up at the airport and delivered to a top-notch vacation home on the lake–all free of charge including all of his meals and drinks.

crewing on a sailboat

crewing on a sailboat


So there you have it grasshoppers. If you don’t like to fly you could search the internet and sign up as a crew member on a sailboat. They often times are looking for adventurous travelers who might want to go to Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Italy or the Caribbean with some destinations unknown. As if puling a rabbit out of a hat… if none of the above choices appeal to you and you can speak English… you can search the internet and get a job teaching English in Korea. They will pay your transport, you sign a limited contract… and guess what grasshopper you are now a world traveler. Can anyone say Kimchi?

Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage

QUOTE: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:•Singapore Airlines spends about $700 million on food every year and $16 million on wine alone. First class passengers consume 20,000 bottles of alcohol every month and Singapore Airlines is the second largest buyer of Dom Perignon champagne in the world.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your International Drivers license.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Don’t be a couch potato and keep moving. Ninety five year old women are fighting bulls on the island of Okinawa. One hundred year old women are working their gardens and climbing trees to pick fruit. One hundred five year old men are using karate as a daily exercise… and guess what simply by eating well and keeping very active…most of these folks have never seen the inside of a hospital.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, couch surfing, crewing a sailboat, English teaching Korea, impromptu travelogue, travel trip, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on The Chinese New Year.

Chinese zodiac water snake 2013

Chinese zodiac water snake 2013

The year 2013 will be the Water Snake with some very good predictions. Rich in wisdom and charm, you are romantic and deep thinking and your intuition guides you strongly. Avoid procrastination and your stingy attitude towards money. Keep your sense of humor about life. The Snake would be most content as a teacher, philosopher, writer, psychiatrist, and fortune-teller.

The Chinese Zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year being represented by an animal. The Water Snake is the Yin to last year’s Dragon Yang. That said, the Water Snake does not settle for mediocrity. We’re likely to see significant developments in the area of science and technology this year. Research and development are apt to flourish.

This is a Water year as well, the element most closely associated with education and research, making 2013 a very special year for scientists and scholars. Snake is a great sign, a positive one, with energy that can help us face all of the challenges ahead of us. Let’s take advantage of this vibrant influence to improve our lives — and our world! Research credits: Astrology.com

The legend of the Chinese Zodiac is: (depending on the story) These were the animals that appeared before Buddha or the Jade Emperor in response to an invitation. All the animals of the universe were summoned for a race and a banquet. The 12 animals of the zodiac all headed to the palace. The order that they came in determined the order of the zodiac.

The order is as follows: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, and Pig.

During the journey, however, the animals got involved in everything from high jinx to heroism. For example the rat, who won the race, only did so through guile and trickery: it jumped onto the back of the ox and won by a nose.

The snake, apparently also a little sneaky, hid on the hoof of a horse in order to cross a river. When they got to the other side, it scared the horse and beat it in the contest.

The dragon however, proved to be honorable and altruistic. By all accounts the dragon would have won the race as it could fly, but it had stopped to help villagers caught in a flooding river cross safely, or it stopped to assist the rabbit in crossing the river, or it stopped to help create rain for a drought-ridden farmland, depending on the teller.

Actual History of the Zodiac

The actual history behind the Chinese zodiac is a much less fantastical and much harder to find. It’s known from pottery artifacts that the animals of the zodiac were popular in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), but they were also seen much earlier from artifacts from the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), a period of disunity in ancient Chinese history, as differing factions fought for control.

It’s been written that the animals of the zodiac were brought to China via the Silk Road, the same central Asian trade route that brought the Buddhist belief from India to China. But some scholars argue that the belief predates Buddhism and has origins in early Chinese astronomy that used the planet Jupiter as a constant, as its orbit around the earth took place every 12 years. Still others have argued that the use of animals in astrology began with nomadic tribes in ancient China who developed a calendar based on the animals they used to hunt and gather.

The scholar Christopher Cullen as written that beyond satisfying the spiritual needs of an agrarian society, the use of astronomy and astrology was also an imperative of the emperor, who had the responsibility for ensuring harmony of everything under heaven. To rule well and with prestige, one needed to be accurate in astronomical matters, Cullen wrote. Perhaps that is why the Chinese calendar, including the zodiac, became so entrenched in Chinese culture. In fact, reforming the calendar system was viewed as appropriate if political change was eminent.

Zodiac Fits With Confucianism

The belief that everyone and every animal has a role to play in society translates well with Confucian beliefs in a hierarchical society. Just as Confucian beliefs persist in Asia today alongside more modern social views, so does the use of the zodiac.

The Chinese zodiac also serves the practical purpose of figuring out a person’s age without having to ask directly and risk offending someone. Research Credits:Chineseculture.about.com

QUOTE:”Yesterday is a memory, today is a gift, tomorrow is a hope. Let’s begin New Year with faith, love, and peace. Wishing u all the best! Happy New Year! ”

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Chinese New Year 2013 will take place on February 9 and end on February 24. During the New Year, Chinese people greet one another with unique sayings when they meet each other, whereas on ordinary days, they do not greet those people with whom they do not have a personal relationship.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Water Snakes…They are an important part of nature’s grand plan.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: If you’re a water snake…shed your skin and transform yourself into something that is good for the world.
Watch out grasshopper…snakes love to eat grasshoppers.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under animals of the zodiac, Chinese New Year, Chinese zodiac, water snake