Travel

Help Me Grow The Blog

For the past year of writing here, I've tried to keep as consistent as possible and allow things to grow naturally. The blog has grown, but at a fairly slow pace. My goal with this website is to fly more, bring more reviews to the website and be able interact with people.

That is where I'm coming to all of you, those who read the blog on a regular or semi-regular basis. I want to expand the readership. The more readers, the more time I can dedicate to writing, reviews, and videos. I've started to expand the reach a bit with the new Fly Vegetarian Youtube Channel, as well as some streaming content over on my Twitch.tv Channel.

If you like what you see, I'd love it if you could help me reach new people. 

Some ways you can help:

  • Share the website with friends on social media
  • Share particularly interesting articles
  • Check out my Youtube Channel
  • Check out my Twitch.tv Channel
  • Like Youtube Videos
  • Subscribe to my Youtube Channel
  • Follow me on Twitch
  • Encourage People You Know To Check Out The Website
  • Share Facebook and Twitter pages with Friends

I've been motivated over the last year with the growth of the website and want to continue to write here for a long time to come. The readers are the most important part of any website, without you I'd be sending posts into the ether to never be seen. I appreciate all of those that have supported me up until now. 

I want to sincerely thank everyone who stops by to read my posts. I look forward to the next year of the blog.

Edit Photos With Me

Last night on a bit of a whim, I went live on Twitch.tv to edit some photos and I really enjoyed doing so. For a few hours I edited photos and told some stories of my trip to South Africa. 



If you are interested in watching the editing process, want to ask me some questions while I do so, and just hang out, you can stop by my streaming page. Twitch.tv/artanith is where I will be streaming, and hopefully soon I'll have a chance to get a more locked down schedule so people can have a regular time to join me. 

For now, I've uploaded a full video of the event to Youtube, so if you still want to keep up with the editing process, check out the Youtube video below. If you like what you see, come like and subscribe to my Youtube channel or come follow, subscribe or donate to my twitch.tv channel. Either way i hope you enjoy the process as much as I enjoyed going through it.

Best/Worst Destinations of The Year

It's been a pretty eventful travel year for me. I've been to France a few times, Argentina, China, England, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Hawaii, and more states around the US. Looking back on the places I've been, there are a few stand outs for me. So here are the best and worst of my 2016 destinations.



Best - Cape Town

My end of the year trip started in the planning stages as a way for me to set foot on my 6th continent, and many people who had traveled to Cape Town, raved about how great it was. As my planning evolved to add Dubai, I personally started to get more excited for Dubai than Cape Town. Dubai is a flashy city and I really could not wait to see all that it had to offer.

Cape Town and Table Mountain

Cape Town and Table Mountain

Once I landed in Cape Town, the whole area won my affection and my focus shifted quickly away from Dubai and back to Cape Town. Downtown Cape Town is nothing to write home about, but the surrounding area is so full of vibrant history, nature, and people, you just can't help but fall in love with it. My driver put it an interesting way, Cape Town has an insect that bites you and does no harm, but once it does you can't help but want to come back. While a funny little tale, it is true on some level, the city and surrounding country are so captivating, you almost immediately realize you'll be back.

The Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point and the associated national park is a must see destination. Rarely have I been to a place with so much natural beauty.



Worst - Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires like Cape Town was an effort to grab my 5th continent, but Buenos Aires had quite the opposite effect on me. Landing at the airport, I almost immediately felt uncomfortable, and there are very very few cities that have ever done that to me... honestly it's the only one so far. While my taxi driver was great, the attendant wanted money from me just for showing me where the cars were. We literally walked 200 ft at most... no I don't have any cash for you.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

Once we got into the city, it quickly became clear that the name "Paris of South America" was a very poor name. There were a few spots that reminded me of Paris, but for the most part, those buildings that did remind me of Europe were every 7th building or so, the remainder of the buildings looked run down, weathered and in major disrepair. 

Walking the streets, 2 separate people attempted to scam me. Shops were not open on the weekends, the main avenue felt like it was ignored and no one really liked the city in which they lived. 

Eventually I did find a nicer part of the city, but that still left me unimpressed. I found a single art museum I enjoyed, other than that, I left with a sour taste about Argentina and South America in general. The people were rude, and generally unfriendly, quite literally the opposite of what I've found almost any other place in the world. Argentina left me with a desire to visit any other part of the world except South America. Maybe that's a harsh point of view, but I have no desire to go back, much rather go to South Korea again where I felt welcome and had many interesting things to do.

2017

Next year approaches fast and I'm thinking about my next destinations. On top of my list is Hong Kong, I've long wanted to visit what has been described as an amazing city. After that, there are many European countries I have yet to make it to, and I feel the need to focus more on Europe this year.

There are no definite plans in the works yet, but this year will hopefully become bigger than 2016.

Dubai, A Culture At Odds With Itself

Preparing for Dubai last month, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. If I listened to everyone in the US who had never traveled there, they would likely have you believe that I'd explode as soon as I touched down at the airport. On the other hand, people who had actually been to Dubai had made it clear just how fun the city could be. Personally I had no idea which was more true, so i went in cautiously and found an interesting culture, one I feel is quite at odds with itself.



After getting to my hotel, in Dubai, I wanted to know what to expect. In the US, we have a view of the Middle East as requiring certain types of clothing in all situations. Looking this up, I even found travel websites advising me to wear pants at all times and make sure my shoulders were covered. 

There is good reason for this, if you got to the Mall of Dubai's website, it lists exactly this. Knees need to be covered, and shoulders need to be covered. Also it mentions no display of public affection toward one another. Reading through all this, I took the advice to heart and dressed appropriately. Many of these rules stem from the history of the country and the religious background of many citizens. Past culture is driving many rules in Dubai.

On the other hand, Dubai is quickly building to become a global city and for good reason. Dubai's ruler is trying to future proof the city and plan for when the country no longer can subsist on the profits of oil. The vision here is impressive and the city is all the better for that vision in my opinion. Dubai is on the fast track to becoming a tourist destination, more so than the level it has already reached.



There in lies the problem though, creating a globalized city will bring a global audience to your front doors. As these travelers make their way to Dubai, they will inherently bring their culture with them. Much of the world's culture now is unafraid to show skin, have short shorts, tight pants, and outwardly show affection between partners, gay or straight. This is a global culture that is likely to move back in the opposite direction.

When you walk into the Mall of Dubai for the first time, it is immediately obvious that this global culture has landed squarely on Dubai. Men and women alike wear shorts showing knees. Tight pants, low cut tops, and skirts that are very short are in abundance. World culture is alive and thriving in Dubai.

Yet the rules of the Mall still stand that all of these things are not allowed. The world's culture isn't something that anyone can run away from though. The Mall doesn't have 1 or 2 patrons with this type of clothing, it is literally 90% or more of the people in the mall. Security doesn't attempt to curb this trend either, and the new culture looks to be ingraining itself into the United Arab Emirates culture. Locals seem to be adopting these trends more and more.

None of this is bad or good, but it is an interesting perspective I've never gotten before. Let's be up front, no one tried to blow me up, or even approached me with anything remotely negative to say, not even a dirty look. Dubai is a wonderful place to visit, but it does have rules that you should be aware of. The city is in the throws of a major cultural shift from what I have seen, but the old culture still heavily influences laws. Every so often people do get jailed for things we would find to be crazy.

This is why I say that Dubai is at odds with itself. It is changing though and in my eyes it is for the better. I did really enjoy Dubai, I'd certainly return and it might be a place you would enjoy too. 

86,045 Miles... 45 Flights... 25 Airports... 1 Awesome Year

It's been a pretty eventful year in travel for me. 2016 has been the first year that I started to travel like a crazy person, and I loved every second of it.



My travels this year started with a work trip to France, my first time flying with Delta in years. 

Aix En Provence, France

Aix En Provence, France

Soon after, I made my first major miles based flights in business class to Argentina. A lackluster place to visit if I've ever seen one, but some great and not so great flights made for a memorable experience. Not to mention my first time aboard a Boeing 787, the aircraft I helped design right after graduating college.

United 787

United 787

Weeks later I boarded a flight to Hawaii where me and my girlfriend spent a week on vacation. This is where we were engaged, now my fiancee, we fell in love with Hawaii. Returning to Hawaii is a must for us, the islands are someplace everyone should get the chance to visit.

Pololu Valley, Hawaii

Pololu Valley, Hawaii

Another quick trip to France for work.

Then the last minute, spur of the moment flight to Beijing, China. Well as spur of the moment as it could get having to still get a visa from China.

Beijing Forbidden City

Beijing Forbidden City

A few trips back to see family in NY were sprinkled in throughout the year, but the next and biggest trip was my Cape Town and Dubai trip. Having just finished this, it really put a nice finish on the year of travel. 

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai

I have a few more flights to go this year, but mostly short flights to my hometown, and to possibly see a friend in Florida if I have the cash to make that happen. Overall though it has been an awesome year, blowing away all my previous years of travel, I've seen more countries and flown more miles this year than my last 2 years combined.

Next year is coming fast, and I'll be off to the races as soon as I can. There are so many places left to see, and so many I want to revisit. The travel bug has bitten me hard, and I don't think it'll stop any time soon.