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Embrace the music of the world

Written by Hank Martin in Asia

If you are looking for a real sensory trip take a caravan, by Camel, several miles outside of Dunhuang. As you wind across the vast stretches of golden sand listen for the sound of the world talking to you.

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The Code of The Samurai: Civics, Bushido, and Death

Written by Hank Martin in Asia

Japan wasn’t always an imperial country. At one point they seamlessly blended warfare and government, and not in the military industrial complex way of today. There was a time when the warrior class ruled Japan, living by a code of honor so valiant and deep that its origin is untraceable.

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Are you Looking in the Box?

Written by Hank Martin in Culture, Personal Development

Learning to Create Disruption If your life, your job, your relationship was perfect you would be bored. But, just because something is not perfect does not mean we should not continue working towards perfection. I sat contemplating this the other day as I thought about business. Businesses are systems. In …

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How to Bargain in Morocco

Written by Hank Martin in Culture, Middle East, Personal Development

Bargaining at a market, with a friend, or anywhere else is an art form and a long-lost skill. We’ve become conditioned to accept what the price tag tells us. But, in many parts of the world bargaining is as common as breathing.

Before there was such a thing as money people bartered for goods. The skills and techniques of bargaining are thousands of years old.

These skills are useful even if you aren’t going to be traveling anywhere. Looking to buy a car? How about something from Craigslist or your local newspaper’s classifieds? Even in the U.S. the art of the haggle is alive and well.

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How does the exchange rate affect travel

Written by Hank Martin in Culture, Personal Development

I’m a by the book kind of guy. Lately I’ve been hooked on date regarding U.S. travelers. Using data from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries and historical exchange rates from the Federal Reserve between the dollar and the euro I put together a few graphs. I wanted to …

Animus and Excellence

Written by Breaking Trail in Culture

Colorful, Curious Rebels French music played in my head, it always does when I sip espresso outside of some European Café. I hear Champs Eleysee or Le Vie En Rose thrumming away. Sometimes I think my life is a musical, and I’m the only one that hears the music. Other …

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Speak Like a Wino

Written by Hank Martin in Culture

WINO, often suggesting a stuck up wine drinker who swirls his fancy glass, sticks his nose down into the bowl and lets out a sensual hmmm whenever he sips. We agree, those people are a little neurotic and fun to mock. However, we would like to clear a few things up about the term …

A Handy Guide to Wines

Written by Hank Martin in Culture

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Goodbye, U.S. Citizens

Written by Hank Martin in Culture

Did you know 1,001 U.S. Citizens have already renounced their citizenship in 2014? Where are they going and why are they renouncing?

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Hike Sucha Bella Gorge 

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

On those rare winter days in Slovakia when the sun is a bright yellow disc in a cold, clear blue sky you remember that action makes you human. So you move, leaving Spisska Nova Ves to itself and discarding the little downtown park and bars where you can do shots of absinthe and walk to an auditorium now converted in to a night club.

Each step West you take brings a renewed pioneer feeling, as if you are an adventurer heading towards unknown destinations. Eventually trees with huge, nude canopies frozen by winter’s cold, and pine cones tossed carelessly to the rock hard terra by evergreens appear.

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How to Navigate a European Cafe

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe, Travel Tips, W. Europe

Ahhh…the European cafe, a focal point of any great Europe adventure. With nice weather you can sit outside on the patio and watch people walk through the town square while sipping a foofy latte of some sort. Or, you can proceed inside and stumble your way through the tables scattered …

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Atlantis…The Lost City Uncovered

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

Sometimes when we are are lost in the present the past reveals treasures that show us a new way for the future . It is not every day that a whole city gets frozen in time, unavailing stories and traditions of long ago.  Stretched out on the red sand I …

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The Theatre of Dionysus: Think Big

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

Located near the Parthenon is the theatre of Dionysus, a theatre responsible for shaping European theater today and giving the world the tragic and comedic plays. The greatest of these two was the tragedy, a play aimed at giving audiences a cathartic, life changing experience through the tragic experiences characters underwent.

Museum of Terror- The Horrors of Humanity

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

In the northern part of downtown Budapest, apart from the hospital in a rock and the spas stands a museum designed as both a horror house and monument to the people imprisoned, tortured and murdered within. The black building framed by a granite sidewalk stands out against the other buildings on the street.

Here you will find a tragic story of a country controlled by powers much stronger than itself. These powers, both Fascist Germany and the USSR, ruled through fear, destruction, rape and murder for over fifty years. Visiting the Museum of Terror is a chance to experience the evil that humanity is capable of when left unchecked by morality.

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The Power of Setting in We The Living

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

Have you ever been to a place and thought to yourself, this is just as such and such described it. Take Ayn Rand’s short novel, We The Living, for example. While Rand often garners the title of expert in the art of characterization, her skill in creating a setting in also noteworthy. When I first visited Russia I felt like I already knew the city because I had read her book.

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Must visit places in St. Petersburg, Russia: A Photo Story

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe

Russia, the land of vodka, cold weather, and lots of cranky people. But it is an excellent foray into a style of government, for good or bad, that is very different from our Western Democracy. Stepping off of the ferry that had bobbed me from Tallinn, Estonia to St. Petersburg I found myself in a crowded room that smelled like urine and body odor. People pushed past, jostling for position at the front of the line, fighting to get through customs and into the mother land.

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Watching Sunrises

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East, N. America, W. Europe

A sunrise and sunset have one thing in common, nobody watches them anymore. We are too busy. Can you remember  the last time you watched the sun crank itself into the sky and bring light to the world, or slip behind the horizon in a prism of color? I have …

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Asilah, a City of Shapes, Faults, and Risings

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

If you travel North of Tangier, Morocco and head towards the smell of salt and the squawk of birds you find Asilah standing stout and thick like a dwarf. The legs of the city are thick walls that run beside the beach, foundations buried deep in loose sand. Above the …

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Trusting in Authenticity

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

If you travel through Jerusalem, beyond the Western Wall and Sepulcher of Christ that empower and give meaning to so many, and keep traveling East you pass through kibbutzes trying to give meaning in a different way. At this point, North of you is Jerico, a city surrounded by an …

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How to Bargain in Morocco

Written by Hank Martin in Culture, Middle East, Personal Development

Bargaining at a market, with a friend, or anywhere else is an art form and a long-lost skill. We’ve become conditioned to accept what the price tag tells us. But, in many parts of the world bargaining is as common as breathing.

Before there was such a thing as money people bartered for goods. The skills and techniques of bargaining are thousands of years old.

These skills are useful even if you aren’t going to be traveling anywhere. Looking to buy a car? How about something from Craigslist or your local newspaper’s classifieds? Even in the U.S. the art of the haggle is alive and well.

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How to Make Moroccan Mint Tea

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

I raised my glass and took a long swig, savoring the sweet, minty beverage. My 8 oz. drinking glass was filled to the brim with green leaves. The liquid itself was muddy, the color of melted cane sugar. But the taste was dangerous, very dangerous. It tasted like sunshine in a glass, and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling like a gaggle of kittens.

That was my first experience with Moroccan Mint Tea, or Maghrebi Tea, a tea most popular in Spain and Morocco. This delicious beverage is easy to make, and even easier to drink. It is perfect after a long day of work at the job you hate, or as a way to wash away your worries.

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Staying fit when Traveling- Tel Aviv Fitness

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

My body ached from the sort of tiredness that only 24 hours without sleep can bring. Before me the Mediterranean Sea swooshed into the sand and then receded. It was early morning and, even though the sun hadn’t risen yet, it was light out. The heat of day had yet …

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Israel: A lesson in Religion

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East

The bus rumbles down the black topped freeway; skimming by in flashes of green fields, almond trees and compact cities the landscape constantly materializes and vanishes in a blur. “We have been called the 51st star on your flag” says the bus driver in ray bans and long white Nike …

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Watching Sunrises

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East, N. America, W. Europe

A sunrise and sunset have one thing in common, nobody watches them anymore. We are too busy. Can you remember  the last time you watched the sun crank itself into the sky and bring light to the world, or slip behind the horizon in a prism of color? I have …

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Collecting Sea Glass: Regret and Travel

Written by Hank Martin in N. America, UK

When you walk a long stretch of beach on a windy day your footprints disappear as fast as you make them. The sand is wet and rough, like a dog’s tongue, and now and again you may spot a piece of sea glass. Sea glass is a small piece of …

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Hustle, Failure and Searching for Greatness

Written by Hank Martin in N. America, S. America

For it is not what happens to me that makes me great but what I do, and certainty there is no one who believes that someone became great by winning the big lottery prize. – Soren Kierkegaard In Virginia you can visit Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, finding amazement in the winding …

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The Birth of a Mountain Ultra Runner

Written by Hank Martin in N. America

This is a guest post by Micah Morgan. While Micah loves outdoor adventures that push the limitations of human fitness, he also is a family man with a wife and 2 year old son. He loves learning new things and has a Masters of Science in Systems Engineering and works …

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What is the Dirtbag lifestyle?

Written by Breaking Trail in N. America

BT sat down with Ben Johnson to talk about everything from travel to money to being a dirtbag. Ben is a phenomenal athlete as well as person. He has competed in the Grand Traverse six times, climbed and hiked all over the world and is just a fountain of information …

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Run with Reindeer

Written by Hank Martin in N. America

While not nearly as extreme as running with the bulls in Spain, this novel event is still sure to get your blood pumping.

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Running like Water

Written by Hank Martin in N. America

Cliff faces, about 2,500 feet deep, box in the mighty Gunnison River on all sides. The stoic rock prison, covered in lichen and imbuing the canyon with it’s black appearance, are just an illusion, though, as the canyon itself is a testament to who is really in control.

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Are you Looking in the Box?

Written by Hank Martin in Culture, Personal Development

Learning to Create Disruption If your life, your job, your relationship was perfect you would be bored. But, just because something is not perfect does not mean we should not continue working towards perfection. I sat contemplating this the other day as I thought about business. Businesses are systems. In …

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Creating Vs. Documenting: Why Technology is Ruining Your Experience of a Place

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development

Cell phones are making us dumb and preventing us from seeing the world. Everywhere I go I see people with phones in their hands. Check out lines. Coffee shops. In cars. At bars. Cell phones have become a habitual activity. We use them even when we do not mean to …

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A Train Somewhere: Preparing for Success

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development

The countryside rolled by, and I moved onward from one place to another. I don’t even remember where I was going that time. That’s sad. Too many train rides. Too many plane rides. Too many car rides. All of them taking me from this place to that place. I was …

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Three Inches Up…There’s a Great Big World

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development

Look up! Look up! Look what your missing! It’s right in front of your face! I watched 50 or more people stroll through town the other day with their heads down. Can you guess why their heads were down?  Yep, because they were engrossed in their cell phones. These were …

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Appia Antica Way

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development

Rome is like a cake. Beneath roads are old houses, a subterranean layer of history eroding away and returning to the Earth. Modern civilization is the frosting on top, a metamorphosizing, gelatinous mass of life shifting at the whims of the time. Some parts of this upper crust are the …

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Anger and Travel

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development

This is what hell is like, I thought, as I looked towards the thrashing, angry ocean fighting itself and getting nowhere. The water rose in frustration and slammed against the beach, grinding rocks into colored pebbles. It was a thing of all motion and no progress, like anger. Can you …

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Maximizing Match Potential

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development

Are you looking for love? Do you worry that you will never find that special someone? Or maybe you aren’t looking for that much commitment. You’d just be happy meeting someone worthwhile from the opposite sex. Well, did you know that only 38% of females snowboard compared to almost 62% …

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Is Colombia Safe?

Written by Hank Martin in S. America

So you are thinking of traveling to Colombia, but are not sure what to expect. Is Colombia scary? Is it safe for you to travel there? Will your life be in danger? All these questions and more are answered.   Misconceptions about Colombia Pablo Escobar. Strippers. Blow. Murder. These are …

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Hustle, Failure and Searching for Greatness

Written by Hank Martin in N. America, S. America

For it is not what happens to me that makes me great but what I do, and certainty there is no one who believes that someone became great by winning the big lottery prize. – Soren Kierkegaard In Virginia you can visit Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, finding amazement in the winding …

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The Difficulties of Life in Bogota

Written by Hank Martin in S. America

Bogota is a sprawling, diverse city that grew faster than its own skin. The transversal streets and other diagonal roads cutting through the grid are the stretch marks. Colombia has the greatest number of internal displaced citizens out of any country. The narcos, their violence and destructive behavior forced people out of the country and into Bogota.

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Colombian Hats and History: Art and Design

Written by Hank Martin in S. America

Look around you. Look at yourself. What are you wearing today? What do your clothes tell the world about you? What do they say about the culture we live in?

Today, many of our clothes have evolved past the practical and into a different arena completely. Take the suit for example, or the tie? Chuck Palahniuk put it best.

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Sneak Peak: Issue 13

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack

Our next issue is smokin! We went through and redesigned our look. It looks awesome, but we might be biased. Issue 13 is packed full of beer stories, relationships and service. Find out more below. Summary: Germany boasts some of the best beer in the world. There are still monastic …

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How many people travel every year

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack

Every year around 10% of the U.S. population travels. But, there is a catch. The numbers are worse than they seem. Breaking Trail is all about choosing rour own path and making rour own decisions. We experiment, traveling with dietary restrictions to give you tips to do the same, figure …

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Photo Story of Capri: Hardships

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack, W. Europe

Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to get daily necessities on an island? Forget a trip to the mall, or a short ride across town to get that tool you desperately need to fix your kitchen sink.

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Start Doing

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack

We can be our own worst enemies at times. Procrastination from fear of the unknown, from daunting work loads, or from laziness prevent us from DOING. “

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Live Today

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack

That day you have been waiting for, that future happiness you hope to find and have been saving all of todays to reach…live that day today.   I hope this inspirational life quote helps you live your dream today.

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A Pale Blue Dot: A Dose of Inspiration

Written by Hank Martin in The Backpack

Travel makes the world seem so large, but in the grand scheme of things it is nothing more than a pale blue dot. It’s hard to have this perspective when there are so many new and exciting things to see everywhere you go.

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Save Money Traveling

Written by Hank Martin in Travel Tips

Did you know we are in a brave new world? Technology has reached the point where it has made the world accessible. The sheer volume of information available to us lets us get degrees for free online, study languages for free and find out information about anything. With the help …

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The Imagination of a Traveler

Written by Hank Martin in Travel Tips, W. Europe

I think about why I travel all the time. I am so obsessed with the psychology of travel that I asked professional travel writers, photographers and journalists. I then wrote about using travel as a way to combat depression and the downs of life, and the idea of running as …

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Doubt and Travel

Written by Hank Martin in Travel Tips

Again the phone pressed to my ear rang and rang. The electronic buzzing was annoying at this point. After a long night of travel we were tired, and still I was not able to reach our contact in Jerusalem. The plan was to meet up with him, spend the night …

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How to Navigate a European Cafe

Written by Hank Martin in E. Europe, Travel Tips, W. Europe

Ahhh…the European cafe, a focal point of any great Europe adventure. With nice weather you can sit outside on the patio and watch people walk through the town square while sipping a foofy latte of some sort. Or, you can proceed inside and stumble your way through the tables scattered …

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30+ Essential Travel Books

Written by Hank Martin in Personal Development, Travel Tips

There is nothing I enjoy more then escaping from the world and into a good book. When you bury your nose into the pages of something special you find yourself transported to a different world. Some books inspire. Some books take you around the world. Some books even help you …

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Traveling as a Vegetarian

Written by Hank Martin in Travel Tips

I tear open the package to find that it smells good, like sugar cookies. But, I’m still leery. Can this freeze-dried meal really serve as an adequate substitute, or will it give me stomach pains for the rest of the day? But my hunger outweighs my fear of spending the …

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Collecting Sea Glass: Regret and Travel

Written by Hank Martin in N. America, UK

When you walk a long stretch of beach on a windy day your footprints disappear as fast as you make them. The sand is wet and rough, like a dog’s tongue, and now and again you may spot a piece of sea glass. Sea glass is a small piece of …

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A Tower Worth Mentioning

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

I spent an hour in Paris once, driving around the sparkling Eiffel tower at midnight and then leaving town again. That was all I needed to see. It was the second time I had visited. The first time I officiated a wedding under that same metal wonder. You could say …

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The Spain that Sucks You in, Spits you Up and Steals your Passport

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

The night started off with tapas and sangria.These are obvious delights when in Spain. But this happy-go-lucky place known as Barcelona has a dark side that can make a fool out of any passer by and destroy a good night in the city. Barcelona is known for its crime. Pick …

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Watching Sunrises

Written by Hank Martin in Middle East, N. America, W. Europe

A sunrise and sunset have one thing in common, nobody watches them anymore. We are too busy. Can you remember  the last time you watched the sun crank itself into the sky and bring light to the world, or slip behind the horizon in a prism of color? I have …

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Bologna at Night

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

It is dark out and there is a man crouched under a nearby bush smoking crack. The further I plunge into the Bologna park the more movement I hear. There is a rustling of leaves there. A sniff and cough in front of me. The sound of footprints from behind …

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Villa D Este: Gardens, Grottos, Frescoes and 100 Fountains

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

High above, and outside the city of Rome there is a mansion of decadence where you can avoid information overload. From the park bench outside of the mansion you can look towards the octopus city of Rome that spreads with large tentacles. Here you can watch the sun set on …

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Taste of the Earth

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

Have you ever wondered what dirt tastes like? I have. So I did what any rational person would do and tried it. I set out to wine regions throughout Europe with this question in mind. I visited Tuscany in Italy, Porto in Portugal the Greek Isles and the Baden region …

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The Imagination of a Traveler

Written by Hank Martin in Travel Tips, W. Europe

I think about why I travel all the time. I am so obsessed with the psychology of travel that I asked professional travel writers, photographers and journalists. I then wrote about using travel as a way to combat depression and the downs of life, and the idea of running as …

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