10 Famous City Quotes That Will Give You Wanderlust

Many things can wake up the dormant wanderlust in us. May they be images, smells, sounds, words, or very sudden memories, the result is the same. We start dreaming of being somewhere else. Proust was not the only one to have a madeleine, a flavour that brought back nostalgic moments.

If you suddenly feel the need to go and see for yourself, if your mind takes you away for even just a second, you are undoubtedly experiencing wanderlust. Although the word, in its current form, is fairly recent, the sentiment itself must have been the one shared by many sailors and explorers.

Artists, politicians and thinkers attempted to express the emotions they had when discovering or experiencing those incredible places. Old cities, new cities, beautiful, grandiose or gritty…


Here are 10 quotes to help feed your wanderlust. (Gallery on top of the page)


7 Travel Apps to Improve your Life Abroad

Which new or underrated or growing travel Apps will save the day while you live or travel abroad this year? What would be the ideal “travel pack” among the smartphones and tablets apps? Which apps are broad or versatile enough to be used by a twenty-something studying abroad and a fifty-something on a business trip to Rio or Dubai?

If you spend a lot of time abroad, there is little doubt you have learnt to rely on technology to help you with a variety of small problems. With the right tool, you can order food, buy a ticket, pay a bill. You can look up a time table, and translate your question in any language. However, it doesn’t take long to notice that some popular ‘travel apps’ have a limited focus. In short, not everyone is travelling to New York or looking for a restaurant or an address in Paris.

If you are looking for more than a google app or a hotel booking site, you may want to take a few minutes to check the following smartphone and tablet applications. Useful, practical or quirky, open them after booking your ticket, once you have landed, when you get hungry or are looking to have a great time in a city you have just moved to.

Culture Trip

If you ever sat in a restaurant where you were offered a drink or a dessert in exchange for a good review on an advisor-y website, you then know how biased a recommendation can be.

The UK-based Culture Trip was created in 2011 as a new generation of travel guides. It has what most other travel websites or web-applications seem to lack desperately: the personal touch, the shared experience, the aromas and the colours. With a base of approximately 60 000 posts on food, culture, monuments or simply the best cafes in thousands of cities around the world, Culture Trip has slowly become the new reference guide to every night out, brunch with friends, gallery exhibitions or art and craft shops in your new home town.

Culture Trip for Android  /  Culture Trip for IOS

Waze Navigation & Live Traffic

Although Google map is probably the best known app to help you get from one place to another, Waze is the world’s largest community-based real-time navigation app.  It gives you access to real time traffic and information (for example, the price of fuel has user-updates) in more than 50 languages. Wherever you are traveling to, Waze is there.

One downside to be noted: Waze requires data. And although this may not be a problem if you travel through the European Union, where data roaming is free, it may be a little harder if you are using your australian Sim card in Singapore. Time to look into your roaming options and cost if you are traveling abroad. It is, however, an ideal tool for expatriates or business travellers who often have local data or an international data package. Alternatively, pick up a local sim card from within the airport you landed in, as those are aimed at incoming travellers.

Waze for Android  /  Waze for IOS


Airbnb Experiences

More than a roof over your head, Airbnb now offers a wide range of activities to explore around the world.

Airbnb – Experiences

Very rare are the people who have not heard of Airbnb when looking for a holiday rental. But have you heard of a new category within the app called “Experiences”? This new option aims at offering a wide range of activities organised by hosts.

Would you like to cook in Paris or ride a horse on a Gold Coast beach? How about a ghost tour around Edinburgh with your family? With an extensive list of possibilities at moderate prices, Experiences is bringing a new and ingenious way to discover a city.

Airbnb for Android  /  Airbnb for IOS


In the age of absolute Instagram and Snapchat power, you may wonder why I would talk about Flickr. Probably because after 14 years of experience, Flickr is the preferred option of most photographers, bloggers and photo researchers. More versatile, you can access it via more than just your phone. On the broader screen of a tablet or computer, the higher quality of the photos adds to your experience.

Forget scrolling through hundreds or thousands of selfies or cute pet photos taken in Göteborg, Tokyo or Puebla. Download the smartphone or tablet Flickr app, search the city or region you are interested in and voilà. Let yourself be amazed by the extensive online data base of gorgeous photos. The info option of each photo gives you access to the exact location the photo was taken at. In the same way, many Flickr members join groups. Look up Sapporo, and spend some time musing through the gorgeous “Sapporo by Night” group album for example.

Flickr for Android  / Flickr for IOS

Travelling abroad? Get an idea of where you are going by doing a search on Flickr

Travelling abroad? Get an idea of where you are going by doing a search on Flickr


I have to start this part by saying I have never believed in ready-made travel lists. Hopefully this adds value to including Packpoint to this list of travel apps.

Packpoint is not just a list maker, it is a SMART list maker. It asks for your travel dates, calculates the amount of days, checks the location, the weather forecast or average weather. Packpoint asks you to enter multiple details, such as your planned activities, or wether you are going away on holiday or business. As such, and although it will of course recommend to pack exactly the right amount of clean underwear, it will adjust the list of possible items to include the various selections you have made.

Are you intrigued yet? The App is free with possible in-app purchases. For your phone, your tablet, IOS or Android system, download here.


You probably already have a favourite flight or hotel booking app. Most of us have. But don’t be mistaken, that’s not what Rome2Rio is.

Rome2Rio is the ultimate travel search engine to include the trip beyond the journey. It helps you carry on your way once you have landed abroad, very far away from home. What are the ways to reach a smaller town in a distant country? This app presents you with multiple ways to get places, find your train after your flight, and where to get off to find a bus or a ferry. Self-described as “a door-to-door travel information and booking engine”, Rome2Rio is the ultimate resource for the avid traveller.

Rome2Rio for Android  /  Rome2Rio for IOS


For many years, I was one of those people who kept restaurant or boutique cards, so that I could visit the place again on a future trip. Now I have Mapstr.

Imagine a mapping app to keep track of all your favourite places. An app that allows to enter coordinates of places you have been to, places you have been recommended, places you hated and want to make sure you do not book again by accident. The tagging system lets you chose the categories and and even create your own : Child-friendly restaurant, bar – romantic, hairdressers recommended by Lucy.

Now you may wonder what the difference is with Foursquare/Swarm. The answer is simple. Mapstr is personal and private. Your friends won’t be notified each time you visit a place. You decide what place you share with whom.

Mapstr for Android  /  Mapstr for IOS


When China lights up

When the sun sets, China lights up; its atmosphere is more vibrant; its buildings resemble giant Christmas trees; the Chinese delight on dinners out and evening exercise in parks or public squares. Evening time is probably the most enjoyable time to discover the country and its lifestyle. It is life after the manic day life.

Evening time is probably the most enjoyable time to discover the country and its lifestyle. From eateries to night markets, lit up facades and giant screens, neon or LED, it is a new world, almost a different country.

So wether you are an expat in China, a student or a traveller, no matter how long or busy your day has been, do not miss out on a little R&R with a walk along the lit up streets of the chinese cities.

This post, “When China Lights Up”, is set as a photo gallery. Enjoy


Curious to see more? Check another related post here.


How to Make the Most of Shopping Abroad

Unless you are on a world tour with a backpack and no space to spare, shopping for souvenirs and buying gifts have become an essential part of traveling. But in many cases, those items end up catching dust on a shelf, unless they were broken during the journey back home. On your next trip, wouldn’t you like to know how to improve your shopping experience abroad?

Improving the quality or safety of the items you buy while on holiday starts with better understanding the options and the problems. So here are, before you fly out, a few simple reminders of how you can go shopping abroad and make the most of it.

Wine shop in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Food, drinks & culinary specialities

The first thing to remember is that a lot of countries have strict biosecurity requirements. If you planned on traveling back home with that delicious Italian cheese, depending on your destination, it may bring you way more inconvenience than just smelly luggage. The same goes with alcohol. There are strict limitations to how many bottles of wine or spirits you are allowed to take back. Buy one too many bottles and you have to officially declare them and pay cost of duty.

You can, however, maximise the amount you bring back. Start by checking the authorised amount for both checked luggage and hand luggage, as you can almost invariably buy liquors and wine in the duty free shops in airports. This said, being greedy and playing at the limit of the rules is seldom a good idea. Putting a nice local bottle of wine, safely wrapped, in your checked suitcase, and buying an other bottle or 2 at the airport Duty Free, should leave you within a comfortable margin of acceptability with most countries and airlines around the world. And if in doubt, check the airline website before traveling. In this regard you may also want to check the authorised items per country.

Another problem you are likely to encounter, is transporting the item(s) securely. Pots break, food leaks, bags pierce. Buying food or beverages abroad needs to be done wisely. If you decide to do so, ensure the items bought are not just wrapped, but sealed. The serious and reliable places that sell items such as spices or cakes to tourists (for example while you are visiting Istanbul or Marrakech) often have systems to seal efficiently the items bought. Stopping in supermarkets where the locals buy their weekly food is, also, a good way to get some local specialities, usually at a reasonable price, but mainly completely sealed for transport. And if you happen to be one of those people that buy with intent, a collector of nice bottles or pretty objects, you can anticipate on the wrapping problems by packing a small roll of bubble wrap in your suitcase before leaving home.

The dream of tailor made clothes, creative or chic fabric, cut to fit us perfectly.

Shoes, clothes, bags and other jewellery

Most of us have done it or have faced the temptation: a tartan kilt, a cowboy hat or a colourful djellaba, some of us cannot resist. You may be among those who invested some money into a traditional and often locally crafted piece of garment. But the end of the story is almost always the same: we never quite find circumstances befitting the piece of clothing. Eventually, it just ends up forgotten in a drawer (because who wears a cowboy hat to go to work in Helsinki?) .

Yet shopping for clothes or items we can wear is a good idea. A nice pair of Italian shoes or a Shetland pullover are easier to transport than a bottle of whiskey or a Montepulciano. This said, in a world of apparel essentially produced en masse in South East Asia, if you want to bring back a special item that will remind you of your trip and be wearable and affordable, you will soon realise that it isn’t such a simple or easy task.

If shopping is your thing, and you like that world vibe in your wardrobe, better start with a little internet research for local designers, styles, and local factory shops. Each country has its own speciality, from woollen items to quality leather, trendy urban styles or modern takes on traditional clothes, open a web browser, connect to Pinterest, open your Instagram, or check Etsy.

Many big cities around the world have a shopping area/centre dedicated to presenting or highlighting local designers, mixing regional influence with quality and wearability. An ethnical leather handbag or wallet, a scarf, a nice shirt with a discrete logo/pattern that makes it wearable anywhere around the world, a crossover design of modern mixed with traditional design, those types of garments exist in more and more countries. Moving the slider down from typical (or stereotypical) to discretely influenced will allow you to bring back really interesting and often unique clothes that you can wear proudly to remember your trip so far away from home.

If you are hesitant regarding clothes, jewellery is often, especially for women, the easiest go-to option. From a pair of earrings to a crafted bracelet, bought on a market or in a more upscale shop, it’s a no-brainer: light, easy to take back or gift, the world is a full of craft jewellery, belts and other small cotton or leather goods that will fill half your suitcase for a very moderate cost.

Last but not least, for the fashionistas… if your holiday destination is France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and you do not quite know how to approach the more high-end style, look up the shopping outlets. A place like Bicester, easily accessible from London and Oxford, will offer you a large selection of discounts on designer brands, including some very iconic British ones. The same applies to the various designer outlets in France and Italy, and this could be your chance to get back home with a real Italian pair of stiletto at a more affordable price.

South Africa offers a very colourful and very creative diversity of art and craft.

Objects and other decorations

Who hasn’t bought a little Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty during a school trip, or brought back a pottery from a holiday in Mexico or Greece? Objects have three big inconveniences: they break, they are heavy, and if they survive the journey, most of them end up first on a shelf, but eventually catching dust and relegated to a box or upstairs in the attic.

This is not to say it is a bad idea to bring back a decoration for your home, a calendar for your grandmother or a pretty candle holder for your living room. Buying a pretty and decorative item for your home is actually a great way to collect a long lasting memory, one you can enjoy daily, and share with friends visiting you. Three of my lamps were bought in foreign countries. Two were spontaneous decisions although I took my time to ponder on my options of transport. The third was actually a calculated one, bought in a souk in Morocco, with space and wrapping in my case, a budget for it, in order to bring back a very nicely crafted item.

Although the shopping experience is often a more feminine one, hunting for a home decor item can be a nicely shared experience for a couple. Choosing a print for the living room, a throw for the sofa, a representation of an Aztec calendar for the study, all those items can be chosen together during a nice holiday.

The ideal solution is to keep your home in mind, your style, the dominant colours, and pick an item that will nicely enhance the atmosphere and the style.

All in all, if you enjoy shopping and intend to do so while you are on holiday, or more generally while traveling, why not prepare for it in the same way you prepare your clothes in your suitcase? Besides a towel to wrap a fragile object or a bottle of local alcohol, you can look up your shopping options on line just like you look for sights to visit and their opening hours. For example, Istanbul has more than the Grand Bazaar, you may want to try the Egyptian Bazaar or the more tranquil Arasta bazaar for example… Many shopping tips videos exist also on youtube, guiding you through bustle of markets, guiding you on prices to expect.

Last but not least, treat shopping is part of a cultural experience. Haggling is the norm in many countries, on many markets. In other countries, sellers proudly explain to you the meaning or the making of the object you are looking at, teeshirt made of hemp, print made of dried elephant dung, raw silk made in Cambodia. Just enjoy!

Stopover in Johannesburg

Johannesburg rarely appears on the list of recommended destinations, unless you are coming for business, or landing at OR Tambo Airport before heading to Kruger Park. The city of 5 millions has long suffered from a reputation for violence and crime. But the recent years have brought a second wind to the city of gold, and the art scene is blossoming.

Downtown Johannesburg view from the Carlton Centre

So if you give it a chance, Johannesburg, Jozi as some call it affectionately, is likely to surprise you. The city may not be known for famous monuments, but it offers a large palette of cultural and historical experiences. Enjoy a unique shopping experience at the artisan market in Rosebank, plan a historical visit of Constitution Hill, the sadly famous jail which hosted both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, or take a drive to the Cradle of Humankind, one of South Africa’s eight World Heritage sites.

If you make a brief stopover in Johannesburg, here is a short list of activities, each doable over half a day, allowing you to maximise your time in or around the city. The list is, of course, just a sample of possibilities. More amazing activities are possible, although some will require driving further or following a booking process. All the options mentioned underneath are easy for those who have not had a chance to plan.

One of several cubs at the Lion Park in Johannesburg

  • The Lion and Safari Park:  Rated as one of the best animal attractions in the world, the park offers a chance to see lions, giraffes, cheetahs, ostriches or even meerkats. If you are in South Africa but do not have the opportunity to visit one of the great animal reserves, the Lion and Safari Park will provide you with a very exciting alternative.


  • Apartheid Museum : Impressive, moving, fascinating, deep, challenging, chose your own adjective, for this visit will be yours to experience. Unlike most museums, the Apartheid Museum is open every day. Not only does it take you through the history of the Apartheid regime, but it also highlights the history of immigration in South Africa via the examples of multi-ethnic families. In both an instructive and a chilling way, the entrance to the complex has segregated entrances, and you will enter the museum according to the ticket randomly delivered to you.

Ndebele Houses at the Lesedi cultural village


  • Lesedi Village : The Lesedi Cultural Village is a showcase village, that aims at presenting different  south african tribes: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Pedi and Basotho, with their traditions, languages, original tribal habitat  The arrival at the place may feel “staged” as you are welcomed with dances and cheers, but as the staff slowly pulls you in with the visit, and the presentations, the experience switches from entertaining to fascinating. As a visitor, it is a chance to witness dances, hear specifics about the history of those tribes and what makes each of them unique within the South African mosaic structure. This is your chance to try and learn to say words in Xhosa, hear the story of the Pedi warriors and why they wear kilts, interact and ask questions. You will laugh, you will learn, you will leave the place with a very moving feeling that you have felt, for a quick moment, the deep essence of this fascinating country.


  • Cullinan: If you have more than a day of spare time during your Johannesburg stop over, you may want to consider a drive to Cullinan. The diamond mine is famous for the record breaking diamond of the same name. If you are not excited at the idea of visiting a diamond mine, you can also go there for the historical village itself. Trading post style of houses, Culling is a real postcard village, with cafés and restaurants, small art and craft galleries, we stopped there for a couple hours before heading back to OR Tambo Airport. Located East of Pretoria, count an hour to drive back to the airport.


Although this post only covers a few highlights and suggestions of activities, all close enough to Johannesburg, Soweto was not mentioned. It will be the topic of a separate and specific post.


7 Ways to Survive a Long Haul Flight

Have you ever felt a little overwhelmed by the length of time you were going to spend on a seat, in a small confined environment, on a long haul flight? If you ever wondered how to survive such a lengthy journey without starting to bite your nail or taking a sleeping tablet, you may want to read this.

I flew on my first trans-atlantic flight in 1988. I was 17, and my seat allocation placed me next to a funny Australian car dealer. My school-english had not prepared me for his accent, and i spent most of the flight listening to him, and asking him to repeat words over and over again, until I started figuring out “Kaaaaaa” was car, etc. Back then, the flight entertainment was a single film on a big screen that was rolling down from the ceiling. The before and the after were left to you to organise.  In those days, passengers had to rely partially on one another to keep entertained and busy for part of the time spent in the air.

Long-haul flights can be all sorts of things: exciting to those flying to Thailand or South Africa on holiday, or a curse for those frequent travellers who do the classic intercontinental commute more often than they’d wish to.

Inflight entertainment is usually the only activity on board of a plane.

Inflight entertainment is usually the only activity on board of a plane.

A lot of websites and blogs have already addressed this topic, bringing up solutions such as the choice of the seat on the plane, wether or not to eat during the flight in order to impact the metabolism and trigger less jet lag. And yes, they all advise you to exercise, take a little walk and stretch your legs on the plane. The best post I read on the matter was probably the one published on Lifehacker and I much prefer to give them the credit than try and re-write what they have already done very well.

However, besides sleeping, or eating, what is there REALLY to do on a plane once the doors are shut? Here are a few ideas and thoughts, collected over the years, and “with the help of my friends”.

Bring your own entertainment

Why, I hear you ask. Nowadays most flight companies have in-flight entertainment. I would agree if I had not flown with Air Egypt or Air China and realised that not all planes have individual screens with a wide selection of films. And among those that do, some prefer to provide you with a broad selection of 40 year old films with little to no language options. This is precisely in those circumstances that a book, a couple of magazines, and some films on a tablet can allow to make it through the journey. Equally, if you fly more than once a month, come the second flight and you have already watched all the films that had your interest.

Last but not least, you could be allocated a seat with a broken TV… on a full flight.

Stretch your legs… with a purpose

You should not stay seated too long on a plane. On an average, getting up every 3 hours is a good balance. Ideally it should be more often, but this is a plane, not a train. Taking a walk is not easy, as there is literally nothing to do on a plane once you are stood up, even less so when everybody else is sleeping and the lights are off. You can however take a chance, and in the middle of the night, walk all the way to the back or the middle of the plane. There you will find the galleys,areas where the flight attendants prepare meals, drinks, and eventually sit down with a magazine. Follow the smell of coffee and ask for a cup, or a fresh glass of water.

Seize the opportunity of standing to stretch your muscles and drink a lot of fluid. Alternatively, and if you feel self conscious, lock yourself up in the toilet for a few minutes, crouch or do a series of tip toes.

If you are lucky, other passengers will also be in the galley, with the same purpose as you. This is your chance for a little interaction, a potential 10 minutes on a 15 hours flight….

Think and plan.

As many of us live a very fast paced life, planning, thinking, digesting thoughts, have almost become a luxury. Wether you are on your way back from a business trip, back from holidays abroad or heading back to your home country with a long list of relatives to catch up with, your schedule has probably not left you that much time to make proper plans.

Time to make lists. You are not sleeping and everyone around you is. Grab your smart phone or tablet, switch on your light,take a small notepad, and write. Put down those thoughts that start coming now that you FINALLY have time: things that need your attention in the office, birthday presents, updates that need sending. It can also be a good time to remember things you were meant to do, or analyse recent events. Check those traveling Apps you added to your phone. Start planning your holiday visits, museum opening times and restaurants to try out.

Tidy up

It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, we all tend to throw a lot of things very quickly in our bag, wallet, briefcase, while traveling: city maps, business cards, shop receipts, small objects. This is particularly the case on your flight back.

A friend who regularly flies to Mumbai was telling me she always tidies up her handbag and wallet on the plane: business cards, receipts, entry tickets, etc.

Personally I sort out my photos, both on my smart phone and on my camera. It doesn’t matter why or where I travel, I am one of those “trigger happy” people with a camera. Plane journeys are my favourite time to delete those totally unnecessary or failed photos. that down time allows to conclude your trip. The mind has time to reminisce recent events that are brought back by the various snapshots.

Read or Play

You don’t have to be a child to play, it is a great and relaxing form of entertainment. A friend of ours is terribly anxious every time she has to fly. The bruises on her husband’s wrist say it all, she doesn’t enjoy the experience at all, take off and landing particularly. When she has to fly on a distance or a type of plane that doesn’t include films on a screen, this otherwise very relaxed and sweet couple plays games on a tablet. Yahtzee, Mahjong, card games, all seem to help get her focus away from the fear of flying. Generally speaking, books, magazines, crosswords or sudoku games are among passengers favourites.

Nurture yourself

On board of a plane, the air is particularly dry. A whole night spent in a pressurised environment, with a moisture level usually between 10 and 20%, will let you feel dry, puffy, uncomfortable. Some of the most common resulting problems on a long haul flight include dry skin and dry eyes, dry nose with cases of nose bleeds.

Some women come equipped: face mask to apply discretely when the lights are off, moisturisers, body lotions. As the amount of “liquids” and other cosmetics is limited in the cabin (5x100ml), you may want to plan a detour via the duty free shop before heading to your gate.

Nurturing isn’t and shouldn’t be limited to female fliers. In a world where cosmetics for men are a growing market, nothing stops business travellers or long haul flight travellers from using a lip balm, hydrating their skin or using a sea water nasal spray to improve their comfort.

Not sure about the face mask on the plane? You may want to read this post 😉

Human Interactions

If you have tried all the above, and you are still left with a fair portion of time, you may want to consider the old and very classic option of socialising with the person next to you. There is no guarantee of success, but you can approach it like that box of chocolate quote…

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