Boundless Journeys Blog

Patagonia with Boundless Journeys

7 Things You Never Knew About the Northern Lights

August 24th, 2015 by amorton

In honor of our new Iceland: Northern Lights Special Event, we’re taking a closer look at the breathtaking aurora borealis, a natural wonder that has inspired civilizations around the globe since the beginning of time.

If you’re looking to get a little inspired yourself this March, our 5-day adventure will take in this event while exploring Southern Iceland by snowmobile, super jeep, and on foot (not to mention kicking back in natural thermal baths, strolling along an immense glacier, and dining out on delicious seafood). But less we digress, here are eight things you never knew about the Northern Lights.

1. In northern latitudes, the Northern Lights are known as the aurora borealis. Down under, the Southern Lights are known as the aurora australis.

(flickr.com/Diana Robinson)

(flickr.com/Diana Robinson)

The aurora australis can be viewed from high southern latitudes in Antarctica, South America, New Zealand, and Australia.

2. The aurora borealis are named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Boreas, the Greek name for the north wind.

(flickr.com/ Sigurður Þ Sigurjónsson)

(flickr.com/ Sigurður Þ Sigurjónsson)

Galileo gave the Northern Lights their name back in 1619.

3. At its most simplistic, the Northern Lights are caused by the interaction of solar wind, cosmic rays, and magnetospheric plasma in the upper atmosphere.

(flickr.com/David Gil)

(flickr.com/David Gil)

The aurora frequently appears either as a diffuse glow or as “curtains” that evolve and change constantly.

4. In August and September of 1859, the auroras that resulted from the “great geomagnetic storm” are thought to be the most spectacular in recent history.

(Church via Wikimedia Commons)

(Church via Wikimedia Commons)

Three years later, the Confederate Army believed the Northern Lights they viewed over Northern Virginia during the Battle of Fredericksburg was a sign from God. The Confederacy did indeed win the battle, and the event was later captured in Frederic Edwin Church’s painting, Aurora Borealis.

5. The first reference to the Northern Lights in Viking history comes in 1230 AD, from the Old Norse chronicler, Konungs Skuggsjá.

(flickr.com/P J Hansen)

(flickr.com/P J Hansen)

The Vikings first saw the lights while returning from an expedition in Greenland, and concluded one of three things: that the ocean was on fire, that the sun was reaching around the world to its night side, or that the glaciers have stored energy and become fluorescent.

6. Auroras can be viewed on other planets, as well, such as Jupiter (pictured below) and Saturn.

(By John T. Clarke (University of Michigan), ESA, NASA via Wikimedia Commons)

(By John T. Clarke (University of Michigan), ESA, NASA via Wikimedia Commons)

Some of these light displays have been observed by the Hubble Telescope.

7. In Iceland, the Northern Lights can be seen from September until mid-April.

(via flickr.com/Diana Robinson)

(via flickr.com/Diana Robinson)

Colder temperatures, bright white snow, and locations away from bright city lights make for ideal viewing of the aurora borealis in Iceland.

6 Reasons Why Traveling with a Guide Makes All the Difference

August 13th, 2015 by amorton

Bhutan Guides1. A local perspective.
Boundless Journeys guides are local to the areas where they travel, meaning you’ll have an insider’s perspective on everything from village traditions and national politics to the best cannoli shop in town. Get to know a destination with the people who understand it best, and take advantage of those last-minute tweaks and fine-tuning of your itinerary that only a local guide can provide.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_04452. An expert companion.
The road is better with a knowledgeable companion along for the ride, adding valuable insights about a country’s history, ecology, geology, architecture, and more. When it comes to scaling a Himalayan pass or circumnavigating Mont Blanc, our guides have the know-how, training, and expertise to make even the most challenging hike scenic, safe, and rewarding.

 

 

 

Expert Dining Guide3. A dining guide.
One of the best things about traveling in new places is trying the local cuisine, and there’s no better resource for steering you toward that perfect hole-in-the-wall café or family trattoria than your guide. Along the way, you’ll be introduced to time-honored dishes, sample regional vintages, and even have a chance to try some quirky local snacks (fermented Icelandic shark meat, anyone?). Plus, you’ll receive the best recommendations for your tastes when dining out on your own.

 

 

 

River Cruise

4. A transportation guru.
Getting from point A to point B while on the road is one of travel’s most tedious—and occasionally, stressful—responsibilities. With a Boundless Journeys guide, the hard part is done for you; from coaches that whisk you to your trailhead and meet you at the other side, to internal flights, boats, ferries, safari and even amphibious vehicles; all transportation is scheduled for you in advance, so all you really have to do is show up!

 

 

Spain: Camino de Santiago

5. Real-time knowledge.
You never know what you’ll want to know until you know it, and that’s just what having a guide along for the ride is all about. Whether pondering the origins of some mystical standing stones, the red and green bird flying overhead, or the Buddhist statue you passed on your city walk, our guides fill your experience with real-time knowledge that adds another dimension of richness to your trip. It’s like having a friendly, audio guidebook, right there in your back pocket.

 

 

 

A new friend

6. Personal connections.
Our guides are natural storytellers, comedians, musicians, and lifelong students of history, geology, and the natural world. Previous guests have gone on to forge life-long friendships with their guides, returning year after year to travel with them. Plus, with a local tour leader by your side, you’ll be admitted to intimate village gatherings, women’s workshops, and family dinners—places that might otherwise be closed to visitors. The result? An immersive journey into the heart of a place that you’ll never forget.

5 New Travel Apps and Gadgets That Will Revolutionize Your Time on the Road

July 27th, 2015 by amorton

There’s no question that travel these days is a lot easier than it used to be. Every week, it seems, new advancements are making hitting the road a little bit simpler, with technology and apps that let you book, tour, and fly more conveniently than ever before.

But if you haven’t been staying on top of the trends, never fear. We’ve done the work for you. Here is our list of five travel apps and tech gadgets that are about to make your time on the road even more fun.

 

via Adioso.com

via Adioso.com

1. Practical Flight Search App: Adioso
Designed for travelers, by travelers, Adioso lets you find flights the way real globetrotters do—with a flexible search tool that allows you to browse by region, date, country, continent or even activity (i.e. “Southeast Asia, end of November, 10 days”)—so locking in that perfect trip has never been faster. adioso.com

 

via lacie.com

via lacie.com

2. Long-Haul Flight Solution: LaCie Fuel
Heading to Tanzania with us this winter? You’ve got a few seasons of Mad Men to catch up on, but your iPad can only hold one. Not anymore. With 1TB of storage, the LaCie Fuel allows you to stream up to 500 movies to as many as five devices at once (just in case you bring the kids). Plus, it can store your travel photos—up to 190,000 of them!—so you can snap away while you’re on safari without a second thought. $180; lacie.com

 

dolfi.co

via dolfi.co

3. On-the-Go Washing Technology: Dolfi
When it comes to washing clothes on the road, the future is here, and it’s called Dolfi. Using Swiss ultrasonic technology, this smart phone-sized device transforms your hotel room sink into a portable high-end washing machine—a machine that can even handle delicate or hand-wash-only labels such as lace and silk. Whether trekking the Himalayas or saving yourself a hotel laundry fee on your Ireland walking tour, Dolfi gets the job done, one load at a time. Pre-order $129; indiegogo.com

 

via fieldtripper.com

via fieldtripper.com

4. Best City Guide App: Field Trip
Taking a few days after your Boundless Journeys’ Italy trip for a quick tour of Rome? Let Google’s free Field Trip app be your guide, offering real-time updates on the things that interest you—with subjects like history, architecture, restaurants, and more. Based on trendsetting, under-the-radar recommendations from publications such as Zagat, TimeOut, and Inhabitat, Field Trip’s push notices can be customized based on your interests, and allow you to save places you like for future reference. fieldtripper.com

 

via shop.panasonic.com

via shop.panasonic.com

5. Road Warrior Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS6D
Waterproof, dust-proof, shock- and freeze-proof: the Lumix DMC-TS6D is one of the toughest point-and-shoot cameras on the market. It makes the perfect photo and video companion for that snorkeling and kayaking trip to Palau, while its built-in WiFi for on-the-spot mobile sharing means you can instantly showcase your photo genius for friends and family. $278; shop.panasonic.com

The Best Safari Destination You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

July 9th, 2015 by amorton

We’ve just heard from our friend, Craig Glatthaar, former safari guide and now our local partner in Southern Africa, about some exciting new developments in Zimbabwe. Wilderness Safaris’ newest Zim camp, Linkwasha, is located on the prolific southeastern region of Hwange National Park and also close to the Ngamo Plains, which rival the Kalahari as THE green season safari destination in Southern Africa. If you’ve been wondering if there’s a place with excellent wildlife and great accommodations for Africa’s green season from November-March, look no further than Linkwasha. And now, Green Season specials being offered by Wilderness Safaris are making a fantastic wildlife safari more attainable than ever, with rates of just $360 per person, per night (and NO single supplement!) based on a minimum stay of three nights. Linkwasha can be combined with other camps in Zimbabwe or Botswana to make for an unforgettable – and affordable – wildlife safari.

Linkwasha_2015-05-72 Linkwasha_2015-05-93Linkwasha_2015-05-1 Linkwasha_2015-05-111

So, why Hwange? Hwange National Park, and specifically the pans in and around the Ngamo plains, are exceptional right after the arrival of the first summer (i.e. November) rains. Sandy soils support extensive stands of broad-leafed woodland that are a profusion of green. Along with the saltpans, acacia scrub and grasslands, this rarely visited corner of Zimbabwe is home to some of the densest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. With the nutrient-rich green grasses that sprout forth after the rains and the mixing of two habitats – the pans and the fringe woodlands – this area can support a huge variety and high density of wildlife. Elephant, buffalo, sable, eland (Africa’s largest antelope), roan, giraffe, wildebeest, impala and even gemsbok all congregate to feast on the rich grasses. Of course, where the grazers go, predators follow, including lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, African wildcat, serval, honey badger, civet and spotted hyena.

Hwange_MM__Wildlife_Nov__2014_003 Linkwasha_2015-05-269Hwange_2015-05-232 MM_Hwange_Oct_2014_082

In short, the incredible variety and density of wildlife species in the area surrounding Linkwasha Camp make it a truly spectacular environment to witness and explore. During a stay at Linkwasha you can join legendary Zimbabwean walking guides as they take you to the fringes of these pans in one of the most intense, up close and personal wildlife experiences to be found on earth.

Linkwasha_2015-05-304

 

8 Things to Know About New Zealand’s South Island

June 25th, 2015 by amorton

Known for its snow-capped Alps, misty valleys, and ancient rainforests, the landscape of New Zealand’s South Island is unlike anywhere else in the world. Boundless Journeys is returning to Kiwiland this winter, and we want you to join us! If you’ve ever considered adventuring in New Zealand or are just looking to expand your travel horizons, here are eight great reasons to visit New Zealand’s South Island:

1. In Nelson, they don’t just look at art, they wear it.
The country’s second-oldest city (and oldest on South Island) is known for its quirky and charming arts and crafts scene, helmed by its famous World of Wearable Art Show and Museum.

Jane Nearing World of Wearable Art

Scenes from the annual World of Wearble Art Show. (via flickr.com/Jane Nearing)

2. Buy the Lord of the Rings’ ring in Nelson.
Jens Hansen designed the original “ring” for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and created more than 40 variations for the films. Today, Hansen sells replica gold and silver models (and world domination) from his acclaimed jewelry shop in Nelson.

The One Ring

(via youtube.com/Melusaaste)

3. Marlborough is the place to go to sip the world’s best sauvignon blanc.
Known for dry weather and hot, sunny days and cool nights, Marlborough’s mountainous coastal climate creates the unique expression in its grapes that makes the region one of the best places to grow sauvignon blanc in the world.

Sauvingnon Blanc

(By Agne27 via Wikimedia.org)

4. The local dolphins are friendly.
Since the late 1980s, a group of locals from the Kaikoura Coast have been running wild dolphin encounters with pods of dusky dolphins, which guests can view by boat or swim alongside in the ocean.

Friendly dolphins

(via flickr.com/Mark Groves)

5. The colonial homes incorporate unique building materials.
In Kaikoura, pay a visit to the Fyffe House, one of the region’s first colonial homes. Built in 1842, the house’s foundations were constructed using whalebone scavenged from the surrounding beaches.

Colonial homes in NZ

(via flickr.com/ Allie_Caulfield)

6. The country’s sheep outnumber people seven times over.
Meet the locals at the Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass, where hotel guests can take in a slice of life at the 6,000-acre working sheep station. Watch the sheep dogs herd, bottle-feed lambs, and learn about merino wool and sheep shearing—still done with old-fashioned hand blades in order to leave the animals enough coat for the cold mountain weather.

NZ lambs

(via flickr.com/kiwinz)

7. Even the rocks are interesting.
In Punakaiki and Paparoa National Park, unique geologic formations of heavily eroded limestone form vertical shafts and stacks of what are known as “Pancake Rocks”. As the high tide rushes in and under the limestone, geysers of seawater burst through the holes, creating “blowholes” in the formations.

Fascinating NZ geology

(flickr.com/empty007)

8. The UNESCO World Heritage sites are a big highlight.
Te Wahipounamu, on South Island’s western coast, comprises 10 percent of New Zealand’s entire landmass. Here, successive movement of the glaciers over the millennia has created a scenic land of fjords, cliffs, lakes, waterfalls, and other rare habitats that shelter 800-year-old podocarp conifers and the kea, the world’s only alpine parrot.

Te Wahipounamu in NZ

(via flickr.com/Jocelyn Kinghorn)

8 Tips for Easing the Effects of Jetlag

June 1st, 2015 by amorton

Most citizens of the world are infinitely familiar with that ever-present traveler’s companion, jetlag. You know the feeling: chronic exhaustion, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, insomnia … the list goes on. But while there’s no steadfast cure for jetlag—a temporary disruption to our circadian rhythms measured by the plasma levels of certain hormones, changes in body temperature, and more—there are some things you can do to lessen its effects and adjust your internal clock. Meaning you’ll be on your way to enjoying that Himalayan hike or epic safari game drive that much sooner.

(via flickr.com/David Berkowitz)

(via flickr.com/David Berkowitz)


Read the rest of this entry »

Wines of the World: What to Sip in Croatia

May 15th, 2015 by amorton

 

Croatia is a food-lover’s paradise, a place where you can taste the countryside while trading stories with honey makers, fishermen, and olive farmers. But our 2015 National Geographic Traveler Tours of a Lifetime winner is also one of Europe’s most talked about emerging wine destinations, with more than 800 wineries and a history of viticulture that dates back for centuries.

Today, 64 indigenous grape varieties and a new system of wine appellation are introducing Croatian wine to the world, dividing the country into four regions, 12 sub-regions, and 66 appellations. And while it’s easy to see how even the most enthusiastic oenophile could struggle with the fine print, finding your next great bottle of Croatian wine isn’t as hard as you think. Read the rest of this entry »

The Top 10 Quotes That Inspire the Adventure Traveler

May 1st, 2015 by amorton

As travelers of the world, it’s heartening to share in the journey with others who enjoy the thrill of the unknown road as much as we do. And even if we’re on our own, it’s comforting to know we have the wise words of those who have gone before us to offer a sense of camaraderie, courage, and inspiration. Whether you post them on your bedroom wall or tuck them away in your passport holder, here are 10 quotes that inspire the adventure traveler in all of us.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel
read only one page.
– Saint Augustine

 

Ibn Battuta Quote

(via flickr.com/Latin America for Less)


Read the rest of this entry »

Spend A Night in These 5 Historic European Hotels

April 23rd, 2015 by amorton

Spring is a great time to plan a hiking trip in Europe, and after long days on the trail, our carefully selected boutique hotels are the perfect place to rest your head. But what you may not know is that many of our favorite properties are also housing centuries’ worth of history. From famous writers’ hideaways to a medieval traveler’s hospital, here are five of our favorites. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Assemble a First Aid Travel Kit for Your Next Adventure

April 2nd, 2015 by amorton
(via flickr.com/Chris Zielecki)

(via flickr.com/Chris Zielecki)

When traveling in remote or developing areas of the world, it’s never a bad idea to bring along your own first aid travel kit to ensure you’re prepared if the unexpected happens. There are a few basic types of travel medical kits, and each serves a variety of purposes: straightforward Basic First Aid for treating minor injuries, Health Kits to help with common travel-related illnesses, and more comprehensive commercial kits, such as an Adventure Medical Kit, for treating potentially serious injuries sustained during activities like mountaineering or river rafting.

What kind of kit you require depends in large part upon where you’re traveling and what you’ll be doing, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer some great travel planning resources to help protect you while you’re on the road. We recommend visiting the CDC directly before trying to assemble or purchase your own kit, but here’s a quick rundown of each type to get you started. Read the rest of this entry »

Testimonials

Turkey Turquopise Coast cruise trip"This was an exceptional journey. Turkey has such an ancient history that is there to observe. The trip made the most of our time, was very efficiently planned, led by an exceptional guide. We visited so many ancient sites, observing layers of history going back to 12,000 BC, at the same time engaging the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea."
- Suzanne Scheer, Turkey: Istanbul to the Turquoise Coast

Boundless Journeys Facebook
Boundless Journeys Twitter




*Required

For Reservations & Customer Service:
Toll-free: (800) 941-8010
Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET
[email protected]

Home Office:
Boundless Journeys
998 South Main Street, Suite 2
Stowe, VT 05672 USA
Phone: (802) 253-1840
Toll Free: (800) 941-8010
Fax: (802) 253-1844
Email: [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions
Click to view FAQs about our journeys.

Travel Editors & Writers:
Please visit our Media Gallery.