Australian State Parks: Free entry on Australia Day

australian state parksIt’s not Hamilton Island, and you’re not getting paid to stay there, but at least they’re not charging you.

National parks throughout NSW will waive entry fees on January 26 to celebrate Australia Day. Premier Nathan Rees said Australia Day was a perfect time to appreciate the nation’s natural beauty.

“Our native bush is an important symbol of what it means to be Australian,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

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How to get around luggage allowances

One of the toughest problems with flying these days are the limits airlines are now putting on their passengers and the amount of luggage one can bring with them on the plane. Often just one piece of checked luggage is allowed for domestic flights (unless you’re flying in Business class), and two for international. Kind of makes you want to go out and buy the largest size suitcase allowed, and fill it to the brim. In case you’re wondering, it varies from destination to destination, but to and from the US, it’s generally 32kg (70lbs) with the total dimensions of the 2 pieces not exceed 270cm (106in).

While there’s generally not a way around the limitations that airlines put on you, as a traveller, we’ve got a few tips that might help you maximise the space you have.

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Travel America. With kids!

I credit a lot of my “worldlyness” (is that a word?) to traveling with my family every summer as a kid. There is so much to see throughout the United States. But what do kids really want to see?

So many kids these days would rather sit in front of the TV and play Playstation or watch a movie. Fortunately for them, portable DVD players/TV’s are readily available, and at a very reasonable price too! Hooking these up in the car for a summer family roadtrip (something I look back on now and cherish) is now very easy, and will keep the kids entertained for hours in the car, between the destinations you’re headed for.

Young Stefan & ErickI can recall one summer in particular growing up where, after spending a few weeks with my Uncle on Vancouver Island (at the K.O.A. Kampground on the Malahat), my parents and brother and I drove 1/2 way across Canada, through Banff National Park, and down through the Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Bryce and Zion in Utah, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona before making it back to San Diego. If you’re looking to stay within the National Parks, here’s a great site that has information historic and easy accommodation in or nearby many of the National Parks in America.

Like virtually every other kid out there, my brother and I had a bit of extra energy to burn off. Ok, so maybe that’s an understatement, but especially after spending hours in the car between destinations, we were already ready to explore and undertake hikes at a moments notice. These hikes, and getting of the beaten path, were really the best ways to see the National Parks of America, and the very best way for our parents to keep us on the edge of exhaustion (which, I’m sure, made the trip a bit more bearable for them)

Really, it’s not that hard to travel with kids. They’re very simple creatures! (Of course, I say this now, after tormenting my parents for YEARS!) While I’m sure it varies from kid to kid, the hikes, the reward trips to our favourite fast food joints, and the occasional gift for being well behaved kept us pretty much inline (oh, and for boys, the ability to stomp, break, poke, and to all in all explore along the way helps too) for the trip.

It took us a few weeks to cover all this ground, but was well worth it. As kids, my brother and I learned a lot. So did our parents. But that was more about my brother and I. Now, at 30 years of age, I look forward to doing this with my kids. Whenever that may be.

Living in Spain – The world was a different place in 1992

petersens in spain

The world was a different place in 1992. The World Trade Towers in New York City stood proudly, Columbine was the name of an alpine flower and Osama bin Laden was unknown.

It was the year that the Petersen family packed up their earthly belongings and moved to Barcelona, Spain. Tajma our cat was placed lovingly in a carrier and sent to Barcelona on a different flight so as to avoid British quarantine demands and Sheriff and Shasta (the two dogs) were sent to live in Canada and Chico respectively. We were on the adventure of our lives.

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Have wanderlust, will travel

earth from spaceHave you got that urge to just get up and go and experience a new part of the country? Or even the world? How about that far end of the local mall that you’ve never been before? It’s not uncommon for one to seek out the unknown, leave your comfort zone, and see what’s out there.

For many the journey stops almost as quick as it begins, staying in a fancy hotel room, ordering room service, and watching TV. For others, it’s getting your hands dirty and feeling what it’s like to not just see the culture that surrounds you, but experience it.

Wanderlust (Middle High German: wandern, to wander, and Lust, desire) is a German loanword. It is commonly defined as a strong desire to travel, or, of having a strong desire to explore the world.

Think you’ve got it? Most immigrants do. There’s a “push and pull factor” that affects the human population.

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