ALL POSTS IN [Culture]

Ernest in Berlin. (Photo Courtesy of Ernest White II)

Oftentimes, we’re inspired by people who are living the dream and making a career out of traveling the world. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several travel journalists, including Ernest White II. After several conversations with him a few years ago, Ernest inspired me to spend 3 weeks in Brazil. Not only that, he also became my personal tour guide in São Paulo, teaching me the city’s history and introducing me to a few locals, which made the trip extra special. And as you will learn, Ernest enjoys traveling, but it’s the cultural experiences that drive his passion to explore the world.

What was the first experience that really sparked your interest in travel?

The summer before my senior year of high school, I went on a foreign exchange trip to Sweden. I haven’t stopped traveling since.
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Spinning prayer wheels in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo Courtesy of Leo Tamburri)

The scale of the devastation from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday is staggering. As of Tuesday afternoon, it was reported that more than 4,600 people have died, 9,000 were injured, and 8 million are struggling to put their lives back together after Mother Nature tore their Himalayan country apart.

While you are tuned to the news, like so many good-hearted people across the world, you are asking, “What can I do to help?”
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Finding entertainment can be surprisingly complicated in the entertainment capital of the world. Los Angeles’ sheer size makes careful planning paramount in executing a fun day out on the town. But it’s a mistake to focus only on the established culture hubs. LA has no real center, and neither do its cultural offerings.

There’s no shortage of things to do — it’s all about looking in the right places.

Jane Lynch Annie

‘See Jane Sing!’
May 1 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Actress Jane Lynch is known for playing characters who, in striving to project normalcy, reveal a core of surreal madness that’s as fascinating to watch as it is hilarious. Probably best-known for her role as no-nonsense coach and principal Sue Sylvester on Fox’s Glee, she also made her debut on Broadway in 2013 as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Prepare for a night of musical shenanigans.

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Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/courtesy HBO

Fans have been waiting for the highly anticipated fifth season of Game of Thrones, which starts this Sunday. The cast and production crew have traveled to several countries to film scenes for the popular HBO show, including Northern Ireland, Iceland, Italy and Morocco. But for the new season, it’s Seville, Spain; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Magheramorne, Northern Ireland, that will take center stage.

With all the buzz, we’d thought we’d take a look at the new season of Game of Thrones by the numbers to highlight the epic scale and resources it takes to produce this show, according to HBO.

- 5 countries
- 151 production sets
- 193 countries where the show is seen
- 240 days to film
- 166 cast members
- 1,000-plus crew members
- 5,000 extras

And make sure to check out our photo gallery of ‘Game of Thrones’ destinations to see the film locations from the show’s upcoming and previous seasons.

Photo Courtesy of Julia Dimon

She’s a travel journalist, TV personality and hard-core adventurer, and if you ask Julia Dimon, she’ll happily tell you she’s a travel junkie, too. Her travels have included experiences that some of us can only dream about, such as snorkeling with whale sharks in Mozambique, attending gladiator training in Rome, dogsledding in Greenland and eating deep-fried guinea pig in Ecuador.

In addition to writing her new book, Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Travel, Julia has been featured as a travel expert on TV and in numerous publications, including Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Forbes Travel, Budget Travel, Outside Magazine and the Chicago Tribune.

Julia continues to travel the world, but she also takes time to offer words of wisdom to eager travelers at events such as the New York Times Travel Show, which is where I met her. I decided to not only get the scoop on what drives Julia to travel, but I also wanted to get her advice about saving money when planning trips, solo travel for women and much more.
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Photo Courtesy of Zim Ugochukwu, Travel Noire

For some people, travel is all about those unique, immersive experiences. But what happens when you are the ethnically different outsider visiting a homogeneous travel destination that is not exposed to much cultural diversity? Well, it’s these types of experiences that Travel Noire tries to capture with its network of nomads around the world, offering an Afro-centric perspective that has been missing from mainstream travel resources.

Zim Ugochukwu, founder of Travel Noire, is leading the charge to provide a website to showcase African and African-American travel perspectives and to encourage people of color to make travel an integral part of their lives. And as you will soon discover, this first-generation Nigerian — born in Rochester, MN — has the expertise to provide advice about everything from solo travel to expat life — definitive reasons why Zim is our type of traveler.

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Photo Courtesy of Robin Bennefield

The biggest parties of the year in New Orleans and Rio are Mardi Gras and Carnival. But in Puerto Rico, it’s the San Sebastian Street Festival, or Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, when thousands of Puerto Ricans and tourists pack the streets of Old San Juan the third week of January for 4 days of parades and over-the-top revelry.

There are no revealing costumes or skin-bearing for beads during this family-friendly festival that kicked off Thursday and lasts through Sunday. It features Puerto Rico’s hottest musicians and DJs on stages in 4 of the city’s largest squares.
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Photography by Walter Bibkow / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Cuba has long been the holy grail of travel destinations for many American passport holders, tempting them with the difficulty — or, for many, the near impossibility — of ever traveling there. For decades, US citizens who wanted to visit the island had to apply for special licenses, justify their travel to government agencies, or avoid the law altogether by entering Cuba via other countries.

But starting Friday, things get a whole lot easier. Under the new standards, travelers can visit Cuba without applying for a license if they qualify under one of 12 categories of authorized travel, which include family visits, research, education, public performances and humanitarian projects.
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The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo Courtesy of The Franklin Institute)

Leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today — especially in science, technology, engineering and math.” — President Obama

From the Oval Office of the White House to boardrooms of the nation’s leading companies, there has been a growing call to better prepare US students for future employment opportunities by educating them more in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics project that STEM-related jobs will grow to more than 9 million by 2022 — an increase of about 1 million from the current count.

What does travel have to do with getting more kids interested in STEM? A lot, possibly.
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Samantha Brown talks to a Voice of America reporter at the Newseum during a White House Travel Bloggers Summit event sponsored by Turkish Airlines. (Photo Courtesy of Turkish Airlines)

The US Department of State has kicked off an initiative to encourage high school and college students to study abroad. And it wants you to join the conversation by sharing your thoughts — via Twitter — about why study abroad is important, using #StudyAbroadBecause.

The live Twitter conversation comes on the heels of the announcement by Evan Ryan, the assistant secretary of State for educational and cultural affairs, that a new US Study Abroad Office will launch in January. The exciting news was announced at the first White House Travel Bloggers Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
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