How To Visit Jaffna, The Forbidden City In North Sri Lanka

Here in Jaffna, Sri Lanka the cows own the streets. They are not scared of anything and when you honk at them they just look at your like "WTF do you want?"

The quickest way to make people want to visit somewhere is to tell them that they cannot. So when I heard that Jaffna was off-limits to foreigners and rare even for ordinary Sri Lankan citizens from the south to visit, well I knew right then and there that I would find a way to explore this beautiful yet war-torn city. Entry into the far northern reaches of Sri Lanka is forbidden without expression permission from the Ministry of Defence. The reasons for this vary depending upon who you ask, however the most common answers I got were because of political […]

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First Impressions: Sri Lanka (And Advice For Other First-Timers)

Galle Fort in Sri Lanka

First time visitors to Sri Lanka tend to assume that the country and the culture are very similar to India given their close proximity (only 28km apart) however nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve only been in the country a couple of days and already I have been overwhelmingly blown away by the kindness of the locals, the richness of their culture, the mouthwatering local cuisine and of course the breathtaking scenery. I arrived at 5am aboard Sri Lankan Airlines, the nation’s only international air carrier. Flying in to Colombo in the dark was a gorgeous experience in […]

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How To Not Act Like An American While Traveling Abroad

Everyone loves a Canadian

So you’re American and you want to travel abroad but are a little worried. Have no fear, the world is nowhere near as dangerous as the American media portrays it. However it is also worth noting that the United States hasn’t had the best global image recently. As such it is all the more important to not offend the foreigners you encounter while traveling. My purpose today is instead teaching you how to not act like an “American idiot” while on foreign soil. (There are already enough politicians doing the exact opposite, no need to hop on the bandwagon.) After […]

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Your Guide To The Phong Nha Caves

The colorful Phong Nha Cave

Tucked away in Quảng Bình province far removed from most tourists lies the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, home to over 300 caves including the largest one in the world, Sơn Đoòng Cave. Back in 2003 the park earned itself a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List and tourism has been slowly increasing ever since. Although the park is quite popular with Vietnamese tourists only a fraction of foreigners make it here. (Most traveling north from Huế and Hội An just skip all the way up to Hanoi, in order to have time to squeeze in a trip to […]

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How Long-Term Travel Changes People Forever

Group Lunch

Last week I celebrated my five year anniversary of quitting my job to travel the world. While it’s no secret that I didn’t start blogging until about two years ago, I have nonetheless learned more in the last five years than I have in the 24 years prior to that. In fact if you’re brave (or bored) enough you can even find some of my old, drunken rambles (I loathe to call them posts) still online; they date back as far as 2008 and were intended only for friends back home, so don’t expect much. Regardless of whether you are […]

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5 Years Ago Today I Quit My Job To Travel The World

Motocycling Around Elephant Reserve

I never thought this day would come. In fact when I first quit my corporate life to start traveling the world I never knew or cared about where I would be in five years. Or even five months for that matter. All I realized was that I wanted — no, needed — to break free from my cubicle and see what all I had been missing out on. For the previous four and a half years my life had been work, sleep, and repeat. I had no social life, no girlfriend, and almost zero free time. It was work, work, […]

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Backpacker Advice: How To Find Romance On The Road

Romance On The Road: Look For Women Eating Alone

Life out of a backpack, always on the move, well it can get tough — especially being alone in one strange place after another. It’s not all glory and glamour, far from it. In fact the road can be a harsh mistress indeed. A lot of us have been there, especially we solo backpackers. Although day in and day out long-term travelers are doing nothing but meeting people, most of these are fleeting connections. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking with random people I encounter along my journeys. But at some point we all start to desire more. After […]

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WordPress Plugins Every Travel Blogger Should Use

The New HoliDaze

It’s the new year and high on everyone’s resolutions is to improve their blog. Mine is five years old now* and I’ve been designing web sites for even longer. I’ve seen things change over the years and I know what works and what doesn’t because I’ve tried it all. That having been said, here is my advice for you.* I started it in 2008 with the name Shibuya Daze but it wasn’t until 2012 that I got serious about blogging and transferred my old posts to The HoliDaze.   Plugins You Should Already Have The usefulness of these first couple […]

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Travel Wisdom: 4 Years & 16 Countries Later…

My Passport

What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveler? Tourists are only on vacation while a true traveler is in it for the learning and the experience. And after four years and 16 countries, I’ve learned a few things.   What have you learned while traveling?share your advice below When on a road trip it is important to remember that roads are not required. Abandoning them often starts the real adventure. Just be sure to have a trusty GPS with you. My Nuvi has racked up nearly 150,000 miles and counting. Living life the unexpected way is always better than […]

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Travel Blogger SEO & Google Authorship


Last week on a press trip I discovered that many of my fellow travelers were unaware of the recent changes Google has made to its search results, including the addition of rel=author. Not that I am surprised, as usually we are busy traveling and writing rather than staying up-to-date on technical details and SEO changes such as that. But given the requests for further information that I have received since these conversations, I realized that this knowledge should be shared with a wider audience. First off, as most of us already know Google searches now include Google+ information and connections. […]

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