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View from the top of #MonteSolaro, #Capri. Beautiful shot from Matador reader @noriblehcim. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
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#travel #italy #blue #water #view

8 travel lessons from your cat

1. Always take the window seat.

My cat always finds the best seat in the house, and that seat is always right by the window. Sure, an aisle seat may be tempting, especially if you frequent the bathroom and you’re on a nine-hour flight to Austria — but when you touch down in a country you’ve never seen before, you don’t want the two people on your right to be blocking 70% of your view.

Whether you’re on a plane to Uruguay, a train from Amsterdam to London, or in a Parisian cafe, the best seat is where you can see everything that’s happening around you.

2. Nap anywhere you can.

Cats sleep 16-20 hours a day, because being “king of the household” is pretty damn exhausting. Traveling can also be exhausting, especially if you’re saving money by opting for connecting flights and early-morning travel times. So if you can sneak a quick nap in on the bus ride from Vienna to Prague or sprawl out on a rock by the water at the Swiss National Park, do it.

Who knows if you’ll actually be getting any shuteye at your hostel after binge drinking with Australian backpackers all night.

3. Always be alert.

Think your cat isn’t paying attention? Drop something that rolls, dangles, or makes a noise, and I guarantee your cat will spring into action.

In travel, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. If you’re in an almost empty metro car, should that guy really be standing so close to you? The man you asked for directions says he knows a faster route, but how could this be a shortcut if he’s leading you farther away from the action at Camden Market? Use your gut; if something doesn’t seem right, get out.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want (especially if what you want is food).

No matter what time of morning it is, if my cat’s hungry, she makes it known — by meowing, licking me, and, if all else fails, knocking the heaviest things her little paws can push off of my dresser until she gets fed.

If you’re traveling in Poland and don’t speak the language, point at whatever delicious food you want but can’t even begin to pronounce. I definitely need my fill of krischickies, and I won’t leave until someone sells them to me.

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Props to Matador reader @yuninthesky for getting through Romania’s Transfagarasan Highway without getting sick. #Travelstoke!
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#view #romania #transfagarasanhighway #roads #travel

  • 2 slices of thick, multigrain bread
  • 1 block of soft and creamy cheese, preferably double, or even triple, cream brie
  • 1 tomato, sliced thin
  • ½ avocado, guacamole’d
  • 2 mushrooms, sliced thin
  • ¼ onion, diced
  • 1 strip of bacon
  • Butter
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

What you’ll have:

  • 2 slices of supermarket dollar loaf. What’s the difference between wholegrain and multigrain?
  • 4 slices of cheese singles, the kind that lists “cheese” as one of the actual ingredients
  • 1 tomato, slightly crushed by that French dude who dropped his groceries on yours in the fridge. Thank God for GMO sturdiness.
  • 1 avocado, secretly and shamefully rung up as brown onions at the self-checkout.
  • 2 mushrooms, but you’ve got three and what the hell are you gonna do with one mushroom? So, 3 mushrooms.
  • ¼ onions, diced (there ya go!)
  • 1 strip of bacon (we’re on a roll!)
  • Butter (wait, what is that black stuff stuck in it?)
  • Chives (brownish because you never think to use your chives)
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • ½ cup water
  • salt/pepper
  • I dunno, just dump some olive oil on it

Step 1: Go to the kitchen. This really shouldn’t warrant a step of its own, but hitting the kitchen at the perfect time in a hostel is an art. This is your third time checking already, and for once, it’s not completely crowded. There’s nobody there but you and that one couple in the corner, the one that looks so cute cooking a restaurant-quality meal together. Silently hate their happiness. Luckily, the dude using six pans and all of the counter space just to burn a single hamburger has finally left, so take his spot before the couple decides to spread out.

Step 2: Choose your utensils. For this exercise, we’ll need a chef’s knife, two skillets, a small pot, a spatula, wooden spoon, tongs, and a cutting board. You’ll find these easily enough, though none of them will be clean. You can wash them in the sink, but all the sponges and steel wool have — what is that, cheese and egg? — stuck to them. Wipe everything down as best you can.

Step 3: Drizzle the 1 tbsp. olive oil (read: just dump some) into one of the skillets and begin heating both on medium flames. There are several burners to choose from, but because everybody forgets to turn them off, only one of them works at any given time. It’s like whack-a-mole with potential gas explosions. Watch as the oil retreats to the sides of the badly warped pans, completely defeating the purpose of putting it in there.

Step 4: While the oil and skillet is heating, wash and cut the vegetables. You’ll be much less stressed later if all the prep work is done at the beginning. Of course, the hostel knife is so dull that you’ll end up smashing the tomato to mush without even breaking the skin, so maybe the stress is just part-and-parcel. Cut using the very back heel of the knife — it’s not ideal, but it will still be sharp there. Nobody knows how to really use knives. Remember, rocking motions.

Step 5: When the oil is hot, add the diced onion. Season lightly — you’ll be salting the rest of the vegetables as you add them and you don’t want to overdo it on the first layer. Add the bacon to the second skillet. While the onions start to caramelize and the bacon starts to sizzle, put the pot on another burner (if you can find one), and add the tomato soup. If you managed to find some milk, add ¼ cup of water to the soup. If not (probably not), add a full ½ cup of water. Keep it on a low flame.

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Whaaat! Here’s Matador reader @sara_not_sarah checking out an abandoned amusement park in #Berlin. Photo by @katiefrench23. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!

#colors #abandoned #travel #adventure

Rampart Ridge, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. Photo by @mrmoosefish while on an evening hike with his 11 year old daughter! Talk about #travelstoke!
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#clouds #sky #rampartridge #washington #nature #hiking #adventure #travel

9 experiences on Easter Island

Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is a small volcanic island halfway between Oceania and South America. It’s mostly famous for the Moai, massive human figures carved from stone by the Rapa Nui people between 1250 and 1500 AD.

I’m lucky to have recently visited this tiny dot of an island in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. It was an immersion into an unexplored culture, where you can ride a horse all the way up a volcano and hear stories about the Birdman religion and sacred ceremonies. Among other things:

1. Land at the most isolated airport on Earth

Rapa Nui is located halfway between French Polynesia and Chile. It’s the most isolated inhabited land on the planet. Unless you own a boat, Mataveri International Airport is how you’ll arrive. Be sure to buy tickets for the national park as soon as you get off the plane (even before passing through immigration) to get a discount. Also, the airport runway crosses the entire island and is possibly the best place on Earth to see planes come and go…even if there’s only one aircraft per day.

2. Get the stamp!

rapa nui passport stamp

Photo by the author

Daily flights to Rapa Nui arrive from Santiago, meaning you get a Chilean stamp on that hard-worn passport of yours. But go to the downtown post office and they’ll be gracious enough to stamp your passport with their own Rapa Nui stamp.

3. Swim the clearest waters in the South Pacific

One characteristic that protects Rapa Nui from predatory tourism is the lack of postcard-ready white-sand beaches. There’s but one, Anakena, pristine as a Pacific paradise advertisement, complete with picnic tables, a line of very impressive Moai, carritos (shacks) selling unbelievably delicious empanadas de atun and, if you’re lucky, even a traditional marriage complete with all-white clothing, family members, and music (like when I was there).

The natural blue, cold, and cool waters are perfect for diving; sea turtles can be seen when snorkeling right off the beach.

4. Bump into ancient petroglyphs

rapa nui ancient petroglyphs

Photo by the author

I was roaming around some rocks by the sea, right in front a souvenir shop. There weren’t any signs — I just wanted to get closer to the sea and here looked as good as any. But then I saw a rock shaped like an animal — a frog, maybe? Right next to it there was something carved on a rock. Then more. And more.

Rapa Nui is an archeologist’s heaven — minus the curious visitor walking over ancient markings, of course. That’s why, 30 seconds later, the owner of the souvenir shop appeared on the road above the rocks yelling at me to get out of there immediately.

5. Check out the Moai

Ahu Akivi, Rapa Nui, July 2014 / @ Gaía Passarelli

Photo by the author

Moai translates loosely as “to whom” in the Rapa Nui language. Makes perfect sense once you understand what those enormous statues stands for — not gods or aliens, but ancestors watching over the land and sharing mana (vital energy) with their tribes. It also explains why the Moai were torn down when tribal wars devastated the island.

The best place to see them is…just about everywhere. I mean it — if not careful, you risk stepping on Moai remains near an ahu and getting mad stares from tour guides and park rangers. Two spots are remarkable: Rano Raraku, known as he “Moai factory” because that’s where the most figures were excavated; and Ahu Tahai, which is guaranteed to deliver the sunset of a lifetime and is walkable from the island’s downtown area.

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Editor’s note: I first came across Daniel Chafer’s work at MatadorU’s travel photography program, and was immediately captivated by his imagery of water.

Daniel has been living at sea for more than six years, giving him next-level access to surf spots and beaches across the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Below is a collection of some of his shots that I most responded to.


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Cane Garden

I hadn’t been camping for a while and wanted to find a location where we could watch the sunset over the campsite. We’d just managed to surf the right spot at the right time—a rarely breaking right point called Cane Garden Bay. We heard of a bay just north of Cane Garden, so we decided to navigate our way around the back roads to find it.

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Sharing stoke

I asked this local man, Tafari, if he’d heard of the bay north of Cane Garden. He told me he’d take us if we didn’t tell any travelers of this spot. We got to the top of the road and looked out to the ocean, only to see the kingdom of heaven. Tafari asked if we had anything to drink. All we had was warm orange juice, so we gave it to him.

Intermission
4 11 portraits that reveal the real faces of the homeless by Joshua Thaisen 3 16 images of life on the streets in LA by Joshua Thaisen 3 10 experiences you can only have in the Guianas by Karin-Marijke Vis
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Beachcombing

The island of St. Thomas is home to many reef breaks, and in the US Virgin Islands the picturesque little beaches are covered with driftwood, coral, and colorful shells. Early one morning I checked the surf report to find the swell was up, so I drove to Hull Bay to find a perfect 3ft wave. On my paddle back to the beach I found a pile of beautiful shells and couldn’t just walk away without creating something.

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Navigating the sea

After doing loads of research on different islands to explore in the Caribbean, we figured if we penciled an outline to our journey we wouldn’t mind being lost as long as we knew we were heading south to St. Lucia. Sailing the Caribbean is a lifestyle; you have the luxury to choose what private seashore you’re anchored in, or find a beach with nobody around.

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#Travelstoke Postcard from #Toronto.

Do you guys like these video tours from #MatadorN Creative Director @spoart? If so, let us know in the comments and stay tuned for more! #travel #canada