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The Tranquilo Traveler

The Tranquilo Traveler is a celebration of voluntourism, slow travel, and other interesting ways to see the world. Travel writer and award- winning Moon Handbooks author Joshua Berman created The Tranquilo Travel as a resource for world trippers and international volunteers, a window to the author’s travels in Nicaragua, Belize, and beyond, and an update of his books and articles.

Gifts for people who love Nicaragua

Username By Joshua | September 1st, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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PHOTO: Nicaraguan flag and Volcán Mombacho in the clouds, at the dock at Hotel Bahía Zapatera, Isla Zapatera; by Joshua Berman

To honor Nicaragua’s mes de patria, a month-long celebration of national history, independence, culture, and pride, I thought I’d suggest a few gift and/or donation ideas. These are products either made in Nicaragua or spawned by someone’s travels there. Consider buying one of these for your Nicaphile friends, whether they are 100% Nicoyas or gringo wannabe-pinoleros (like me).

NOTE: This is an incomplete list! Please add your suggestions for Nica-themed gifts in the comments section below - gracias!

Bueno. Start with a copy of the latest edition of Moon Nicaragua. I wrote the first four editions of this Moon guide with my coauthor, Randy Wood, after the two of us had served in the Peace Corps there. The 5th edition was penned by Amber Dobrzensky and is useful both for traveling in the country or just reminding yourself of good times there. It breaks down the country by region, explaining the importance of each departemento, city, and pueblo; it lists bus schedules and hotel prices; it teaches you how to point with your lips and say fun words for “diarrhea.”
To keep the gallo pinto cooking, pair your travel guide with a cookbook: Nicaraguan Cooking: My Grandmother’s Recipes, an English language book by Trudy Espinoza-Abrams who grew up in Granada. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Nicaragua

Around Colorado: Family fun in Steamboat Springs

Username By Joshua | August 23rd, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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Playing on the Burgess Creek “beach” is one of the popular summertime family activities in Steamboat Springs. (Joshua Berman, The Denver Post)

The Tenderfoot trail pulls me down the mountain, through another aspen grove, then up a high-banked turn, whipping me around to do it again. This is one of the newly constructed downhill paths at the Steamboat bike park, an ever-improving attraction that boasts 50 miles of trails, 2,000 vertical feet of lift-served downhill riding, and the attention of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, which will hold its biennial World Summit here Aug. 20-24.

But I’m just a novice, an unpracticed singletracker on a green trail, enjoying the quick downhill rush. I’m in Steamboat Springs on a random summer weekend with my daughters (who are playing by the stream below). Every ski area in Colorado has an alter ego in the summer, when existing infrastructure is retooled for warm-weather sports and summer concerts and festivals. I’d heard that Steamboat had particularly fun summer pickings, so we’re here for a sampling. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Travel: My AFAR.com Travel Guide to Colorado is Live!

Username By Joshua | July 7th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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I’m proud to be a “Local Expert” on Colorado for AFAR.com, the website for the best print travel magazine in the world right now. And I’m happy to announce that they have just published my travel guide to Colorado, which is more like a grassroots collaborative collection of “highlights” and “wanderlists” than a traditional print guidebook. Here is the intro, enjoy and feel free to contribute if you have an account with AFAR:

Colorado is synonymous with its primary attraction: the Rocky Mountains, a jaw-dropping geographic wonder of the world whose peaks, crags, and canyons will dominate your view—and your itinerary. Visitors come to Colorado for its world-class ski resorts and numerous outdoor adventures. They come for the national parks, dude ranches, hot springs, and rodeos. They come to Denver for its museums, sports stadiums, pubs, parks, and bookshops. They come to pop a tent, unplug, and walk into the backcountry. In the eighth-largest state in the nation, there is room for everybody. READ THE REST->

Category: Travel, Colorado

35 Fun Gifts for Dads Who Travel

Username By Joshua | June 13th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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I’m a dad. I travel. Sometimes I’m bumbling through airport security with three daughters, diapers and pacifiers flying in all directions; sometimes I’m flying luxuriously solo, rocking my wireless office through Denver International Airport, en route to a new adventure in Nicaragua, Mexico, or Belize.

Both types of Dad-travel require different levels of preparedness and equipment. Since half the battle of fatherhood is having the right tool for the job, I thought I’d offer this travel-themed Father’s Day gift list. Note: The Nicaragua connection to many of these gifts is not accidental. I’ve been traveling there since 1998 and wanted to share some of my discoveries and connections with you — and your traveling Dad.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Travel Gear

Travel Gear Review: Pegasus Wheeled Backpack

Username By Joshua | May 23rd, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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I took my newest piece of carry-on luggage for a test run recently on my DEN -> LGA family run. My Pegasus Convertible Wheeled Backpack, made by ECBC, was compact, tight, and kept both my electronics and clothes organized and safe.

I like.

For this past trip, I was using my Pegasus as an everyday commuter-type bag, using the roller wheels and filling it with my shirts and business items. I can’t wait to take it to the jungle this summer and see how it performs as an expedition bag — there are backpack straps which pop out, for slogging it across a humid airstrip in the middle of the tropical forest in Central America…  Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Travel Gear

My Family Travel Micro-Guide to Boulder, Colorado is for sale

Username By Joshua | May 4th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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My first guide for Inside.co, a Boulder-based travel app which hires real writers and local experts to produce unique, niche travel guides. Buy mine here.

Round-up of summer travel programs for teens in Latin America

Username By Joshua | April 17th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

In honor of April, National Volunteer Month, here is a guest post by my friend, Neshama Abraham, who just went through the process of signing up her teenage daughters for summer volunteer programs. Here’s what she learned:

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PHOTO: courtesy Campfire Creative; Ben Lewis and Alex Alonso of San Jose, California, builds a retaining wall at the local school in Ollantaytambo, Peru during a two week service trip last summer.

Guest Post By Neshama Abraham

In March 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke from China and emphasized the importance of youth traveling abroad to become global citizens:

“Immersion in another country’s culture does more than help a student’s job prospects,” she said. “It’s also about shaping the future of your countries and of the world we all share. Because, when it comes to the defining challenges of our time — whether it’s climate change or economic opportunity or the spread of nuclear weapons — these are shared challenges. And no one country can confront them alone. The only way forward is together.”

Indeed, participants describe a boost to their self-confidence, improved language skills, and a new world-view from their volunteering abroad. Read the rest of this entry »

Guide to Volunteering in Latin America Free in April for National Volunteer Month

Username By Joshua | April 4th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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Travel guide publisher Moon Handbooks is giving away free ebook copies of its newest niche guidebook, Volunteer Vacations in Latin America by Amy E. Robertson. (Download the entire book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.) It’s all in celebration of In honor of April, National Volunteer Month.

As anyone who has ever volunteered abroad before knows, it is crucial to do your own research before you sign up. Robertson’s new book is a resource which makes that process easier - and more fun, since it is always fun to read guidebooks before you travel.

My travels in Latin America began in 1998 as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, working with the Ministry of Education in Nicaragua for two years, and continued as a trip leader for American Jewish World Service, guiding groups of young volunteers throughout Central America. So  I was excited to see that Robertson had devoted an entire book to volunteer opportunities in the region. She covers Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

I asked Robertson a few questions about writing this book and about where my readers and I should go on our next volunteer vacation.

JOSHUA BERMAN: What is unique about volunteering in Latin America? Why did you choose to focus this book on this particular region/collection of countries?

AMY E. ROBERTSON: I love Latin America’s rich culture and heritage (Mayans! Incas! Aztecs!), the beauty of its natural environment (Beaches! Volcanoes! Galapagos Islands! Patagonia!), and the warmth of its people. Having lived in Latin America for eight years, it is a region that is very close to my heart. It is also close enough to North America - where Moon Handbooks and many of their readers are based - to easily embark on short-term volunteer adventures, which are the focus of the guide.  No jet-lag, and you can reach many of the destinations covered in the guide with just a few hours flight.

JB: What was the most interesting thing you learned while researching this book?

AR: While many of us are aware of the large US-based organizations that offer service trips, I was amazed to see how many small local initiatives are equipped and eager for international volunteers. In addition to the usual volunteer suspects of teaching English or protecting sea turtles, there is a wealth of truly unique volunteer opportunities out there: planting cardons to help provide food for the endangered chinchilla population in Chile; installing solar panels to provide electricity to rural communities in Nicaragua; monitoring the coral reef by scuba diving in Honduras; offering swimming and surf lessons along with environmental education to youth in Peru.

Read the rest of this entry »

No Joke! Humor researchers travel 91,000 miles for laughs, Humor Code book out today

Username By Joshua | April 1st, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

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As a strong promoter of “travel with a purpose,” I can’t wait to read this book about Joel Warner’s and Peter McGraw’s five-continent  experiment to see how comedy travels through cultures. After three years of work, The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny hits bookstores today, April 1. I promise an actual review of the book when I get my hands on a copy, but for now, congratulations to Joel and Peter, and thank you for this free PDF sample of Chapter 1: “COLORADO,” courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Follow the Humor Code: www.facebook.com/HumorCode or @thehumorcode

Category: Travel

Denver Post “Around Colorado” column: Maya Time Travel at Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Username By Joshua | March 17th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »
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“MAYA” AT DENVER MUSEUM OF NATURE & SCIENCE CHANCE TO TIME TRAVEL

I’m feeling very kid-in-a-candy-store as I push through the door into “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,” a massive exhibit in the new wing of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

—March 16, 2014

Category: Travel, Colorado
About the Author
Joshua BermanJoshua Berman is an award-winning author for Avalon Travel Publishing's Moon series. He is a writer, editor, and trip leader, based in Central America and Boulder, Colorado. Learn more about Joshua or contact him here.
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