Rice paddies

Ecotourism in Thailand: Planting Seeds at Phu Ruea Ruean Mai Rice Farm

If you spend any time at all in Thailand, or any Asian country, you’ll immediately notice that rice is essential to the local diet. Many people, especially from the older generations and in the countryside, eat some form of rice three times a day. Having spent so much time in Asia, Charlie and I have also become a little bit addicted to rice, and quite happily eat it seven days a week, and sometimes for breakfast too!

So naturally I was keen to visit Phu Ruea Ruean Mai resort, an organic rice farm, and learn more about how some Thai people are trying their hand at ecotourism. The rice farm is run by Nu Dee, a young, well-educated woman from Bangkok, and her mother. Nu Dee is one of a small handful of people bucking the urban migration trend, and she argues that there’s more to life than sitting at a standstill in Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams.

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Charlie holds travel blog business card - charlie on travel 1

Growing a Travel Blog Offline – Why You Need Travel Blog Business Cards

When I started Charlie on Travel, like many other travel bloggers I really just wanted to reach an audience who appreciated my writing and connect with like-minded travellers, bloggers and readers. As time went on, my niche as a sustainable and slow travel blog really started to come out and my readership began to grow much more than I had ever expected.

My travel blog was becoming more than just a bit of writing on the side for me. It wasn’t just a journal about my travels – it was my portfolio for finding freelance work, a kind of profile for homeowners interested in our house sitting services, a way for me to connect with other travellers and travel-related businesses, and a talking point when we’re on the road.

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Green eco-friendly accommodation unsplash

Eco-Friendly Accommodation Options and How to Find Them

If like me you are feverish with wanderlust but also keen to be as eco-friendly as possible while travelling, then you might want to look into making eco-friendly accommodation choices. You don’t need to spend a fortunate to be an eco-friendly traveller, but making eco-conscious choices often takes a reasonable amount of research.

Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to end up staying in a hotel or resort that has a negative impact on the environment without even realising it. Collectively, hotels are guilty of excessive energy consumption, unnecessary overuse of water and poor waste management. From bigger issues like building in areas where construction ruins the environment down to the little things like pumping out air conditioning and washing bed linen daily, hotels can leave a huge carbon footprint.

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Charlie freya active sports bra - Charlie on Travel 3 1000

Female Travellers – You Need a Good Bra for Travelling

This is is going to sound like madness.

When I hiked up Volcan Concepcion on Ometepe Island under the hot Nicaraguan sun, not only had I just got food poisoning from eating some bad black beans but I also wasn’t wearing a proper bra. I wasn’t even wearing a real bra at all. Instead I’d cut an old, bedraggled vest top in half with straps that were wearing thin and was wearing that under my t-shirt. Let me tell you, that is not a good idea.

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Learning to make traditional style food parcels

Thailand’s Alternative Community Based Tourism

Those who haven’t visited Thailand, and even some of those who have, might think of its tourism industry as being synonymous with full moon parties and massage parlours, but there’s another kind of tourism which is all about exploring the real Thailand. It’s about meeting communities of Thai people, learning about their life and culture, and respecting the environment.

Community based tourism, which is often described as “travelling like a local,” has been going on in Thailand for decades, but is still not as well known as it should be. Community based tourism seeks to uplift local communities by providing them with a sustainable way to support themselves while providing a rich, cultural experience for travellers.

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LuoDong Sport park in summer taiwan

Teaching in Taiwan: An Interview with Teacher Danny & Teacher Stephanie

I often get asked about my experiences of ESL teaching in Taiwan by people who are thinking about making the move and starting a new career on the island. What I always emphasise is that everyone’s experience of teaching in Taiwan is different – variables such as school and branch, workload, location, personality and whether you’re going solo or as a couple can be make or break. I’m interviewing different teachers in Taiwan to find out their thoughts on island life, ESL teaching and travelling. This interview is part of the Teaching in Taiwan series.

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Semana santa easter week in Antigua Guatemala

3 Weeks in Guatemala’s Antigua for Culturists

I’d only heard incredible stories about Antigua’s colonial buildings painted in a slightly lighter shade of yellow than the Nicaraguan yellow, the misty blue-grey backdrop of volcanoes surrounding the city, and the women dressed in gorgeous patterned Guatemalteca clothing.

Of course, I didn’t think I was going to be seeing any of it. While Luke was busy attempting to make his way from Nicaragua to Guatemala in one piece, I’d flown home to see my family in the UK and was in devastated fits about not only being without Luke but not getting to see Guatemala as well.

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Durdledoor England

The Coastal Path from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a more rugged coastline than in the south of England. The Jurassic Coast, which stretches over 95 miles between East Devon and my new home county of Dorset, is characterised by it’s grassy cliff tops, sheer drops of jagged white rock cliff sides and spectacular geology.

I first walked along the Jurassic coast when I was much younger. Back then, I was enchanted by Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door because they were just how I imagined many places from fantasy novels to be.  All those memories washed over me again when I recently hiked along the coastline.

Even after travelling across different continents, I still think that the short two and a half mile walk between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door is one of the most beautiful walks in the world.

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Macademia nuts drying out

Getting My Nut Butter Fix: Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm in Antigua

You know when I was a kid, I never ate peanut butter. Not because I thought there was anything wrong with it, actually I don’t even recall knowing it existed until the age of thirteen. That seems pretty crazy to most of you, right? Peanut butter isn’t big in England like it is in the States, and mainly it’s just wasn’t something that my family were all that keen on. When I was thirteen however, I had my first peanut butter and jam sandwich – and I was hooked.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that it’s not just peanut butter that I need a regular fix of, it’s all kinds of nut butters. Oh yes. Delicious, creamy, nutty, sticky nut butters. If I was going to run a business, it would definitely be selling homemade, organic, one-ingredient nut and seed butters – that’s another story though. With my nut butter obsession right out in the open now, you can imagine how crazy excited I was when I read that not only is there a macadamia nut farm in Antigua, but they also sell jars of macadamia nut butter!

Needless to say, top of my travel to-do list in Antigua was a visit to the Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm.

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Guatemalan cooking class vegetarian pepian

What I Learned from a Guatemalan Cooking Class

I learned two things from our Guatemalan cooking class: number one is that making tortillas isn’t as easy as it looks and I suck at it, and number two is that the traditional Guatemalan dish of Pepian can be made vegetarian even though not everyone says it can.

We headed to a small town just down the road from where we were house sitting to meet an old Guatemalan farmer whose wife and daughters were going to teach us to cook. We went through the gate into their courtyard area where a long row of women were sorting coffee beans and dogs were sleeping in the sun.

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