ALL POSTS IN [Culture]

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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Photo Courtesy of Clint Johnston

We appreciate world travelers who fly for free and never pay full price. That’s why we decided to talk to Clint Johnston, author of The Art of Travel Hacking and blogger for his website, Triphackr.com. Clint enjoys sharing tips and money-saving advice after traveling to more than 60 countries. In addition to writing for TravelChannel.com, Clint has had work appear on the Huffington Post and in Wired.

It’s clear when talking to Clint that he is a savvy, immersive traveler who enjoys unusual experiences such as kite-surfing in Brazil, meeting a Haitian voodoo priest and witnessing everyday life in Palestine firsthand. Clint doesn’t travel to add another fresh stamp to his passport; he relishes the priceless culture experiences and off-the-beaten-path excursions that really define travel.

You’ll be surprised to find out what sparked Clint’s love for travel, what’s next on his bucket list, what travel gear he never leaves home without, and what advice he has for first-time travelers.
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Nördlingen, Germany

Photography by Lothar Theobald / Getty Images

If you’re ever in Germany, take a road trip to Nördlingen, a quaint city about 2 hours northwest of Munich. Travelers love the picturesque architecture and surrounding green fields.

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Photography by Claudio Cruz/ LatinContent/ Getty Images

The “Day of the Dead,” or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is a national holiday celebrated in Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2. Families and friends gather together to remember and pray for those who have died. Dia de los Muertos is famous for its ornately decorated skeleton costumes.

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Mickela dances with women celebrating at the Asrlar Sadosi Festival in Navoi, Uzbekistan.

Whose dream isn’t to dance around the world? Mickela Mallozzi, host and creator of the travel TV series Bare Feet, ”experiences the world one dance at time,” and boy, are we jealous. From reconnecting with her family’s roots while folk dancing in Italy to sweating it out with locals dancing salsa in Puerto Rico, Mickela discovers how different cultures express themselves without words.

A classically trained dancer, Mickela has performed on various other TV shows, including Sesame Street, the Today show and The Dr. Oz show, and she is the co-director of the Women’s Travel Fest, an annual conference for inspiring and connecting women through travel.

We caught up with Mickela — between her Riverdancing in Ireland and getting intimate with Argentines over tango — to chat about the intersection of travel, dance and culture.

Find out how Mickela got hooked on dancing around the world, how dance enthusiasts (read: amateur dancers) can join her as she moves around the globe, and what country she thinks has the best dancers. (Hint: It’s not the US.)

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