The Global Basecamps Blog

Best in Travel Blogs: Velvet Escape - Be Inspired.

by ali

Keith of VelvetEscape.comKeith Jenkins is the blogger behind Velvet Escape. He left his corporate career to follow his passion for travel and writing, and in 2008 launched the Velvet Escape Blog. He conveys his incredible travel experiences through writing and photography, offering helpful tips and inspiring readers to discover all that the world has to offer. Keith currently resides in Amsterdam and has traveled to over 60 countries and across 6 continents. Despite his busy travel schedule, Keith was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for us. Thanks Keith!

Global Basecamps: Where are you from?

Velvet Escape: That’s an easy question to start with! I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Global Basecamps: When and how did you get hooked on travel?

Velvet Escape: My parents instilled in me a great desire to see and experience the world by giving me a geographic encyclopedia when I was eight. I memorized every bit of information in the encyclopedia and stared at all the photos endlessly. My first trip outside Malaysia/Singapore was with my family, when I was nine, to Hong Kong. I knew all the places and dragged them around the sights! I went on my first solo trip when I was 14. I was in Australia and backpacked from Sydney via Canberra to Melbourne and back. By that time, I knew I was hooked on travel!

Inca Trail Trek Giveaway

by ali

Update: Giveaway has ended.

Enter to Win an Inca Trail Trek!

The Inca Trail is by far the most famous of South America’s many trekking routes, combining beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle, and incredible Inca ruins, it can be considered one of the best treks in the world. Culminating the challenging trek is the arrival at the Machu Picchu citadel at dawn, truly one of the modern world’s most incredible introductions to an ancient civilization.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Season

by ali

Cherry blossom season is considered by many to be the best time of year to visit Japan. They begin to bloom on the south west tip of Japan and continue east and north, gradually traversing the country. Determining when the cherry blossoms will bloom is an annual pastime in Japan, but it is highly dependent on geographical location. In general, the milder the climate, the earlier the sakura will appear. On Japan’s southern islands of Okinawa, the cherry blossoms can open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, they can bloom as late as May. Though it varies from year to year and depends on environmental factors, in most of the major cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, the cherry blossoms typically bloom in late March and early April. Cherry blossom season is the ideal time for a Japan eco-vacation, as you will find the cities and parks filled with people enjoying picnics and participating in "hanami" parties, or cherry blossom viewing.

Early Blossom

Best of Basecamps: Discover Bliss in Japan at the World’s Oldest Inn

by ali

Houshi Ryokan: Komatsu, Japan

Houshi Ryokan

Looking for a truly unique Japan eco lodge? Houshi Ryokan, located in the hot spring village of Awazu in the Hokuriku region of Japan, is the world’s oldest inn. Dating back to the year 718 (some 1300 years ago), the traditional ryokan has been operated by the same family for 46 generations. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The Houshi Ryokan has 100 rooms, as well as a "hanare" (private guest residence), that can accommodate up to 450 guest. At Houshi the names for each room are derived from Saijiki (a book on words and phrases defining the seasons in haiku), and reflect the hotels belief that life is a journey through the seasons. There are 2 indoor and 2 outdoor 24 hour hot spring baths for both men and women (same gender only). They also have 1 family bath that can be privately reserved upon guest’s request.

Keep Your Coins. I Want Change.

by lauren
Child Beggar

When you think of sustainability, the first the thing that usually comes to mind is environmental responsibility. While conserving natural resources, is a crucial component of sustainable travel, it is just one piece of a very dynamic concept. Perhaps the most important and most often overlooked aspect of sustainable travel is the impact on local communities. As world travelers, we must keep in mind our behavior, and the influence it has on the local culture. In order to preserve the authentic qualities of these destinations, we must do our part in taking the appropriate measures to reduce our social and environmental impact.

Destinations in the third world boast a wide range of experiences appealing to the culture or adventure thirsty traveler. Some of the most world renown landmarks including Mt. Everest, the Egyptian pyramids, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal all reside in developing nations. Underneath the grandeur and splendor of these built and natural environments, lies the insistent hand of child beggars. Many Westerners, unaccustomed to this degree of poverty, feel compelled to help these suffering humans, by giving them a few dollars or a meal. This act of compassion, despite it’s good intention, creates more harm than good.

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