Three Safe Places for Women to Travel Solo


“Exploring the world out of harm’s way”

While the privilege of exploring the world is usually a soul-enriching experience, travelers must never lose sight of the potential dangers that could be lurking in exotic locales. Indeed, anyone heading to a new city should maintain a sense of alert vigilance in the midst of taking in different sights, sounds, and tastes. The following cities aren’t just interesting places on their own merits, they’re also widely regarded as some of the safest cities in the world, especially for lone female travelers.

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, officially the happiest country on Earth, according to the UN’s 2013 World Happiness Report. Copenhagen can be accessed in the United Kingdom from the Heathrow Airport which is located to the west of London. According to the designated Heathrow airport page on parking4less, the Long Stay and Short Stay car parks are often patrolled and monitored by CCTV cameras to ensure maximum security. In addition to stunning architecture and renowned designer-goods shopping, Copenhagen was recently awarded the 2014 European Green Capital award that recognizes cities with consistently high environmental standards. Moreover, Copenhagen is home to Bakken, the world’s oldest (426 years old, to be exact) amusement park.

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Bakken, the world’s oldest (426 years old, to be exact) amusement park

Ottawa is a diverse multicultural haven that is home to several charming attractions like the Canadian War Museum, Parliament Hill, and the ByWard Market – a world-famous farmer’s market and shopping district with a mind-boggling abundance of local produce, artisanal breads and cheeses, handmade clothing and jewelry, and other specialty items can be had for reasonable prices. Pork enthusiasts can head over to Murray Street, a charcuterie bar where a whole pig’s head (preferably ordered 48 hours in advance) is smoked and roasted for a group of eight or nine people.

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ByWard Market - Ottawa Canada

Oslo is another city brimming with enchanting attractions that can be admired and enjoyed for free. Whether it’s the collection of iron and bronze pieces at the Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park or the massive murals of the Oslo City Hall,  the 7,500 species of plants in the Botanical Garden in Tøyen or the waterfalls and iron bridges of Akerselva River, all of these places (and more) can be explored just by going for a long walk within the city.

Oslo City HallMurals inside Oslo City Hall

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Travel Bloggers: Deconstructing the Work of Ancient Explorers


“The Red Queen Theory states that ‘in order for things to stay the same, they must change.’  Today’s Travel Bloggers are that change.”

Human history started with the record of the written word; “wedge-shaped” writing, Cuneiform, in which symbols were silently pressed into wet clay tablets using a triangular-tipped stylus in Mesopotamia.

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The craft soon evolved into the chinking sounds of words being carved on stone tablets. Eventually, whispering scratches could be heard as humans began inking on papyrus.

Today the ancient sound of written words has a new vibration, a quiet tap, tap, tap on our keyboards. The purpose of these words is the same; but the new sound we hear resonates very loudly in our universal consciousness and tells us an entirely different story than those we have heard for millenniums.

“Travel writing is nothing new; it is as old as the history of man-kind.”

The stories are still the result of global exploration and the words still heard (read) among the restless murmurs of slaves seeking stewardship, truth, peace, freedom and spirituality.

Those slaves are today’s Conscious Travelers and you, the Bloggers, are the explorers who are leading and changing the way.

Historically words from the explorers were used to divide, conquer, rape, pillage, extract and capitalize on the earth’s resources to gain power and riches, we now use them to repair the selfish endeavors of the likes of Christopher Columbus; to sustain and restore that which we have nearly lost in the name of progression.

“Where once the ancient travel writer wrote with selfish disregard in an attempt to colonize or de-humanize, the New Age Explorer uses words to re-humanize

“Travel Writers, more specifically Bloggers who practice and promote Responsible Tourism are revolutionizing the art of travel and deconstructing the works of Ancient Explorers.”

Through our explorations and shared words we have become time-travelers on a mission to liberate our planet.

“We are turning the spool counter-clockwise and re-wrapping the yarns that have unraveled civilization.”

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A Professional Traveler + Freelance Journalist + Photographer = A Valuable International Location Scout!


 
As Professional Travelers, Freelance Journalists/Writers and Photographers we are skilled at ‘seeing’ a place, scene or destination through the eyes of an audience.
This job is not only about discovering and sharing breathtaking or unusual landscapes, cultures or backdrops; it’s about atmosphere and character.

“It’s about turning a visual setting into a tangible feeling.”

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About seeing a place for what it was, what it is and what it could become.
Ours is the art of persuasion, seeing the world as the artist/researchers we are, understanding the subtle nuances of audience expectation and, effectively conveying that message.
As Professional Travelers our minds are like photo-albums over-flowing with images of all the things we’ve discovered on our journeys.
It’s not unusual for someone in the trade to simply see an image and know exactly what part of world it was captured.

“We are known for choosing a destination or location based on the message we want to convey at any given time.”

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We regularly associate a place with its Geography, Topography and Geology, as much as it’s Culture.
In essence, Professional Travelers are libraries, untapped resources when it comes to scouting out locations for print, commercials, t.v. and film.
We are well versed in obtaining permits, clearances and permissions, negotiating deals and co-coordinating  and managing the logistics of the final-shoot and interview for our story.

“We manage our time, travel, finances, people and our foot-print.”

We are organized and professional. We are visual and technical. We are talented artists.

“By mere virtues of our trade, we have become International Location Scouts.”

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Band-aid Tactics Won’t Benefit Tourism in Prince George, B.C.


DSC_4519-002Today CBC Daybreak North in Prince George, B.C. contacted me, they wanted to discuss a  story I had written about the city -  An Apology Letter to Tourists Considering Prince George, B.C. as a Destination. The live radio  interview will be aired Feb. 26th at 8:20 am if you’d like to listen.

Like any person who eats, sleeps and breathes writing, questions started filling my head about how I would address the topic of tourism in P.G. were I in a position like Tourism PG (#TakeonPG) and Mayor Shari Green – also a native Prince George resident.

Green states on her city webpage bio that ‘she is committed to changing the face of downtown Prince George and committed to changing the conversation about Prince George by ensuring the City’s fiscal future is sustainable; however the conversation is getting worse.

Many people believe if we start a positive dialogue about the city things will get better; but they won’t with that alone, they’ll get worse because we’ll seem to be falsifying obvious facts or blind and ignorant to the obvious.

I agree Mayor Green’s and Tourism PG’s intent is admirable but I believe they have strayed from a productive path that will correct the wrongs.

“The first thing Prince George needs to do is take care of its own residents and build a sustainable reputation for the city, after that the fiscal future will take care of itself!”

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Prince George is a hot mess. Anyone who lives in B.C. knows the stigma attached to the city so it’s going to take some well thought out and concerted efforts to elevate its reputation and make it aesthetically and socially pleasing enough to consider it a Destination hot-spot for the global traveler. Yes, it does have that potential and can be done through tourism if it’s done correctly and honestly!

Using truth allows people to be accepting and patient while the city makes productive changes. If we talk out of both sides of our mouth people won’t support Prince George as an up-and-coming Destination that supports both its residents and visitors.

“Yes Mayor Green and Tourism PG … you must support your residents first because they are the ones who will make the travelers visit or stay-cation memorable; not just the art gallery that lacks exhibition pieces or the Exploration Place that mainly markets toward young children, not only the swimming pool or movie theater. It will be the people, the local residents that make Prince George a true and worthy Destination worth remembering!”

Venues such as the art gallery are wonderful but they are considered time fillers and are valued for mere seconds on a travelers clock, in the grand scheme of the holiday, the same with the swimming pool or even a hockey game or concert. Once that’s over then what for the traveler?

Prince George needs to understand people aren’t tourists anymore they are travelers and they want to explore – the Observatory, the North Fraser Back-roads, the lakes, mountains and trails – they want to learn about our history, our culture and how we live. They want to survive a Northern Winter too – they want to experience us. 

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“One can have any degree they choose but if they don’t understand the travel industry, how it’s changing, how the media who reports on it is changing, what travelers needs are and how their needs are changing, it will all be for not and any efforts counter-productive.”

“Inviting the royal baby “Prince George” for a visit, because he is a name-sake, or even hosting the 2015 Winter Games are short-lived attempts that won’t benefit the residents once they’re gone. Prince George will once again fall off the map, except maybe cited as the most crime riddled city by mainstream media again.”

When Ben Affleck left P.G. after filming Reindeer Games years ago, he said this city was a shit-hole – and residents were mad. But why be mad at him? He only stated the obvious truth. At truth that still remains and hasn’t changed in the eyes of the visitor. This should be the focus not the dollar the traveler can bring in and drop off before he heads home!

“Tourism is a billion dollar industry and Prince George is the hub of the North – there are numerous things a traveler would love to see, touch, do, and hear but no one is providing the service.”

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Mayor Green should not only allot some funds to repair the aesthetics and potholes of the city but offer start-up grants and educate people who wish to develop businesses related to tourism.

Green should also prioritize, I won’t say budget because I believe that money is already there, street cleaning money. Those funds  should be allotted first in a Northern town right?

The roads were horribly maintained this winter, but you can bet the main arteries will be clean as a whistle to keep up appearances  for the 2015 games; this in itself shows a blatant disregard and lack of respect for the residents that support P.G. This is absurd, appalling, neglectful and very embarrassing.

If the Mayor feels she needs to change the conversation of Prince George, then there is a real problem that is not being addressed and has been addressed incorrectly in the past.

The best way to make changes in any situation is to step outside the box and view it from a different perspective. It offends me that the city ignores the obvious and falsely represents itself to its citizens and potential visitors. 

Marissa Harvey from CBC Daybreak North asked me if I thought my negative slant on the ‘Apology Story’ could be construed as counter intuitive and I don’t.

“Writing for Tourism is a different can of worms especially when we are writing for the new age traveler who has a new set of ideals and expectations in a changing industry and who want to ‘live-like-a-local’ while on holiday.”

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If I as a writer gloss over what I don’t think a company or Destination would like me to say I am deceiving my audience and devaluing myself and my craft.

I have written reviews for service providers that had negative connotations and the owners were always thankful – it’s the research they need to make changes in order to stay competitive. Like the retail owner who hires mystery shoppers to test the staff performance.

I think people write for different reasons, some for the money and some because they want to share the world and simply love what they do – I am one of those people.

Historically the only outlet a writer had was mainstream media and they had very little say over the angle or perspective the commissioning editor wanted them to take.

“With the advent of the internet more people have become writers because we no longer have to “pitch” and pray to be heard (or read). Bloggers have changed the entire industry – both in the way people want to read about a destination and experience it, and how destinations must now market themselves.”

Bloggers and Freelancers have created the need for thoughts and emotions for today’s traveler and they are pivotal in the success of marketing a destination or service in a ‘Responsible’ and truthful way.

As writers we are not the ones selling the product and  it isn’t our job or concern to sell it. That job remains with the business owner, or travel agent, magazine or DMO.

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Online writers are keyboard marketers yes, but I don’t feel that should be our primary focus – ours is simply to  share experience, let the others determine how to sell travel and our audience will decide if they want to pay the price according to our experience.

The word ‘sell’ is a relative term. If you come to ‘? Market’ based on a review from your friend who had good dealings with a clerk named “Kelly”, and purchase an apple from me – I sold you, on behalf of the owner, an apple. You friend merely sold you on an idea, not a product.

A mainstream writer is told by the commissioning editor what angle to take. The writer compiles the story based on the angle and sells IT to the editor who then publishes it in the medium. The writer sold the idea to the editor – the editor and the business who paid more for the story to run than the writer received, sold the destination.

If a restaurant gets a bad review they don’t pout – as savvy business people the owners make fitting changes (they don’t take short cuts) so the next review is good. If they don’t know how, they research  or find someone who does. And if they don’t make changes then they don’t care about their customers and are just in it for the money; money that won’t sustain the business for very long because it isn’t a renewable resource when people’s pockets seem to shrink because they feel deceived.

“There is an untapped tourist market in Prince George but the way to effectively access it is being overlooked by political mindsets with superficial band-aid tactics as a remedy.”

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Top 2 Ways to Become a Trusted Travel Writer: Loyalty and Truth


Do you ever write stories that have negative connotations or do you gloss over them and only focus on the positive?

As Travel Writers our loyalties lie with the Traveler NOT the Destination or service provider.

“Your job is to evaluate and test the service or Destination such as the store owner who hires ‘secret shoppers’ to evaluate the staff.”

The reason for this is two-fold:

1. It sheds light on the hows and whys of improvement.

2. It shows you respect your audience; the reason we write in the first place!

“Your job as a Travel Writer is to be truthful. Although you might not be employed by a media outlet that mandates how you practice your craft you are still bound by writers ethics.”

Leave the fabrications to the powers that be.

As a Travel Writer the most important thing for you to remember is you are not selling a Destination but sharing an experience; based on that alone your audience will decide if they want to buy and, the company or Destination will appreciate your honesty and decide what changes, if any, need made based on your review.

If you hone your words respectfully and honestly, you will become a trusted and valued writer.

Please share our world truthfully – don’t sell it out for a buck – that’s someone else’s job.

Welcome To 1Life196Countries


Welcome to 1LIfe196Countries.com
Welcome to 1Life196Countries.com

 I don’t travel conventionally, so I don’t write for this site that way either. You’ll find some of my proper writing under the headings My Destination Network, Examiner.com and Reviews.

The stories you’ll find here are my musings and, how I unwind after a contract or a sponsored press trip.

You’ll find some interesting narratives and the odd diatribe such as  Tasteless Tourism on the Racist Train!

In the mood for some brain-jarring? Check out the Little Outspoken heading – I hope you’re hungry because there is some serious food for thought hiding in there!

Get comfy, grab a drink – poke around and enjoy yourself!

Maybe, even save a horse or three!

OH! And leave a comment or two – good, bad or indifferent!