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Travel Adventure of the Year – The Ultimate Train Challenge 2013

Want to join the greatest Travel Adventure of the Year? Over 15,000 miles from Europe to Asia! Then sign up for The Ultimate Train Challenge 2013.

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If you are looking for the ultimate adventure for 2013 then we think that we might just have the challenge for you. It’s called The Ultimate Train Challenge 2013 (UTC 2013).

The concept was thought up in late 2011 when three travel bloggers completed an epic train journey from Lisbon to Saigon in just 31 days. And we are super excited to tell you that they have developed it so that now anyone can do it this year.

The Ultimate Train Challenge 2013

Ultimate Train Challenge 2013

YOU make your own schedule. YOU choose your own route. YOU decide how far you are going to push yourself. YOU decide where, when and how many places you are going to visit.

All within 31 days of crazy overland travel by train only.

Although it is about 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) to navigate, you will still have enough time to stop and explore outside of the train carriages. Your options are endless. Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Venice, Moscow, Beijing, Hanoi. Just some of the great cities to hit up along the way.

What do you get for your entry fee?

Apart from endless memories, experiences and one heck of a travel adventure, you get a crazy amount of extra goodies!

In short, you can blog your trip on the UTC 2013 website to keep your family and friends up to date with your journey. Including a live-mapping feature on the site, so you can everyone can keep up with you in real time. But that is the boring part…

There are lots of prizes and sponsors onboard (pun intended) who want to reward you for taking part.

Intrepid Travel is offering two fabulous 15-day tours to the first ones to cross the finish line in each direction. Intrepid Travel are also throwing a fun pre-launch party from both starting points. Eurail is offering up at least four of their Global Passes that they will be raffling off and giving away as prizes. And HostelWorld is offering two free nights’ stay in each city beforehand.

And that is just the starting point. You can check out all the goodies here.

But wait, that’s not all. In order to keep up with the latest developments on new sponsors, prizes and other news, you can sign up for their free newsletter via this link also. As an extra bonus, they will be giving away a new Samsung Galaxy SIII to one lucky subscriber from all the newsletter subscribers in February.

  • If you register by February 15th, the entry fee is $295 US (approx. £183 / €223).
  • If you register from February 16th to April 30th, the entry fee is $395 US (approx. £245 / €298).
  • And because you are entering from this post, you will get $30 off your entry fee. All you need to do is enter the code “FJ13UTC ” on the “Referral” line on the entry page to get the $30 discount.

enter UTC12

Ultimately this trip is not about the prizes or pre-event party being thrown in both cities for everyone.

It is about having a travel adventure you are going to talk about for years. It is about challenging your limits and doing something that very few other people have done.

From one corner of Europe to the far flung corner of Asia…. all by the best mode of transportation you can use to experience the vastness and wonder of the planet we live on. TRAIN.

And it’s all about Charity

The UTC 2013 team has also partnered up with Blue Dragon’s Children Foundation in Vietnam to raise some needed funds to help out their cause. We are asking each participant to raise $500, and Intrepid Travel has been generous enough to agree to match each donation dollar for dollar, up to a $10,000 total.

So not only are you doing this whole adventure to challenge yourself, the entire group is going to do a small part to make the world a better place.

Your World. No Rules. Logo

 

How to take part

On the Your World, No Rules website, they explain everything you need to know about this event. They have also put together some travel resource pages for you to help decide on your route and work through your visas.

What are you waiting for? Grab some friends or just do it on your own. Live your life with no regrets.

This will be the adventure that will change your life. And don’t forget… on that sign up page please input FJ13UTC in the “Referral” box to get $30 off your entry fee and tell them that you found the Ultimate Train Challenge 2013 from Four Jandals!

enter UTC12

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Nico

    January 16, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    Sounds like a really great experience, but I’m not sure if my boss will give me a month off work

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      It is a lot of time to take off but with the right amount of planning then I am sure you can manage Nico 😉

  2. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    January 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Sounds like a great trip. I always prefer to travel overland (not just because I hate to fly) but because you see so much of the countryside that way. Have fun!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Just got back from going on the Eurostar from the French Alps and it was brilliant! In between doing work and watching movies I got to just gaze out the window. Much better than being squeezed into a plane 🙂

  3. Michael Hodson

    January 16, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Cole, many thanks for the support. If any of your readers have any questions about the UTC, they can feel free to email me. Would love to get some of them out on the rails for massive fun (and some great prizes up for grabs).

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Hopefully we get a few signing up soon Michael!

  4. Peter Lee

    January 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Wow, this journey seems awesome. This train covers ultimate cities like Berlin, Paris, Prague, Venice etc. The Ultimate Train Challenge is good but I think time duration is too long for this. Glad to read about charity through this long trip and you offer good advise. One should try this challenge if he has time. This adventure is not only to challenge to oneself but also for charity.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 17, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Agree with you Peter. It is a really tough call to make because while the train journey is really long, you will end up on the other side of the world! Perfect if you want to head in either direction though 🙂

  5. Curious Nomad

    January 21, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    This looks like an epic adventure if you love trains! I saw @hobonora’s YouTube video and it inspired me to add it to my bucket list. If I can get time off work and the entire budget for the trip is reasonable, I’d be in. What do you think the estimate budget for the entire journey flying from the U.S. would be?

    • Cole Burmester

      January 22, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      Hmmm tough call with the extra flight thrown in. We have estimated that it would be about $2000 – $2,500 with no sponsorship for the journey itself. But with the sponsors on board there is a high chance you could get discounted, or free, accommodation and train travel.

      • Curious Nomad

        January 25, 2013 at 7:53 AM

        Thank you! I’m going to do the research and prep just in case my life plans change.

        • Cole Burmester

          January 25, 2013 at 8:28 AM

          Good luck with it! Lots of extra info on the Ultimate Train Challenge website too regarding costs, visas, etc

  6. laura

    February 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    A train adventure sounds fun i would do it for sure

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Adventure Travel

Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East

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Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.

What makes the Middle East such an exciting yacht charter destination?

Dubai: Glamour and shopping

An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.

Abu Dhabi: Art and architecture

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.

Oman: An understated gem

The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.

At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.

Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.

The Kingdom of Bahrain: Home of diving

It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.

Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.

The Red Sea: Reefs, diving and beaches

The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.

Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park

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If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.

This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.

You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.

There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.

The Rim Trail

This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.

When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.

Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.

Navajo Loop Trail

On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.

Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.

Mossy Cave Trail

This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.

Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.

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Adventure Travel

Tips Before Sending Christmas Photo Cards

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Finally, it is that time of the year! You are excited that you can gift shop for your family and friends, and maybe even spend time with them. Sending them a Mixbook Christmas photocard is a unique way of letting them know how much you value and care for them, especially with the Christmas spirit.

Below are some tips to keep in mind before mailing them the photo cards.

Take a Photo-shoot

Nothing beats the joy of a casual and fun family photo-shoot in matching outfits for the holiday season. You can also play around with different fun themes and ideas for your family photo card. For instance, you can have a matching pajama party theme and take amazing photos.

On the other hand, you can also try out a Santa theme photo-shoot, with matching red trousers, complete with the white beard, black boots, and red hats. Have fun while at it! Remember, a high-quality photo with happy faces can spruce up your holiday cards. Plan the shoot in advance to avoid the last-minute rush trying to capture a perfect angle.

Confirm Addresses

It will be sad to go the extra mile, customizing holiday photo cards only for your friends and family not to receive them. Before mailing the photo cards, kindly ensure you have the right address on the envelopes.

Additionally, you can include a mail-back address for your recipients if they need to send one to you. Seal up your envelopes and also include holiday stamps to add a unique style.

Find Your Design

Your Christmas card design plays a significant role in the general outcome of the card. The plan includes different aspects such as size, colors, format, and foil options. You can also play around with different trim options and photo orientations before settling on the final outlook. Mixbook photo cards can help you create suitable, fun, and engaging designs for your loved ones. Plus, you can experiment with different designs.

Return Favors

Have The Joneses been sending you holiday photo cards for the last three years and you haven’t mailed them one? Now it will be a perfect time to return the favor. It’s courteous and mindful of people who appreciate you and your family. Let them know that you also love and think about them.

Be Unique

Many people will send out holiday photo cards. However, what will make yours stand out? Select your photos and incorporate a unique design to complete the look. Additionally, you can also hand write the address of the envelopes with your recipient’s names.

You can also include a special event that happened during the year. Share the moment with your family. Moreover, let every personality in your family stand out in the photo.

Additionally, think of the personalized messages you can send to your family. Think outside the box and let your photo card express what you feel. However, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, ignoring limits of your budget. Be you: that is all that counts in the end.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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