Uncornered Market » Motley Mots http://uncorneredmarket.com travel wide, live deep Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:26:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A New Look at Uncornered Markethttp://uncorneredmarket.com/new-look-uncornered-market/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/new-look-uncornered-market/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:24:36 +0000 http://uncorneredmarket.com/?p=18660 By Audrey Scott

If you’re looking at this article on our website, either on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone you may have noticed that things are looking a little different around here. (And if you’re reading this via RSS or email, we encourage you to hop over to the actual website right now. Otherwise, the rest of […]

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By Audrey Scott

If you’re looking at this article on our website, either on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone you may have noticed that things are looking a little different around here. (And if you’re reading this via RSS or email, we encourage you to hop over to the actual website right now. Otherwise, the rest of this won’t make any sense.)

Uncornered Market has been redesigned!

This has been a long, long process, including several fits and starts over the years. But now we’re finally here with a new look and more importantly, a much better engine.

Why the change?

We designed the original Uncornered Market site and built it from scratch as we traveled through Southeast Asia in early 2007, working in steamy internet cafes and siphoning off wifi signals where we could find them. Although the original Uncornered Market served us well for many years, internet technology, blogging and how people consume online content has changed considerably since then. It was time for a change.

What’s new at Uncornered Market?

That there is a completely new design is obvious. However, it’s the under-the-hood changes that we hope will make the experience on our site more enjoyable and accessible.

New Homepage, New Tagline

Uncornered Market Home
You’ll notice that the actual homepage (UncorneredMarket.com) has changed considerably. We also wanted to better highlight what the site is about through a new tagline: travel wide, live deeply.

We also wanted Uncornered Market to represent all that we do. This is why you’ll see a new homepage that highlights our consulting, speaking, and books (coming soon) in addition to the blog.

You’ll also find links to some of our most popular posts and article series (e.g., Beginner’s Guides and World Cuisine Guides), as well as the latest articles.

Faster, Lighter, More Responsive

This was at the heart of the redesign. We wanted to make the site fast, easy to load and readable on every kind of device. And to improve the readability of articles with bigger font, photos and titles.

We still use WordPress as our Content Management System (CMS), but are now using the Genesis Framework with a slightly modified Genesis child theme underneath. One reason for this is that Genesis 2.0 themes are built to be responsive and use HTML5. As technology improves and changes, our aim is to be able to easily keep up, even as we tinker with and change the look of the site.

Improved 360-Degree Panoramas

Panoramas
It used to be that our 360-degree panoramas were only viewable on a desktop or laptop. No more flash — now our panoramas are full HTML5 and are viewable on tablets and iPhones as well. Not only that, but the viewing experience (especially on the desktop/laptop) has vastly improved. Don’t believe us? Then take a look at this, this and this. Be sure to open them to full screen (four arrows on the control) and take a good spin around.

New Photo Gallery

photo gallery

Since it wasn’t difficult enough to just update our website, we decided to change our photo hosting and main photo gallery as well. We opted to use Smugmug. The reasons for this were many, including SEO, better flexibility with organizing and displaying photos, as well as the ability to instantly resize photos for this site. You can find our photos organized on a continent, region or country level.

The photo switch from Flickr to SmugMug in our articles was also a long haul. A huge thank you to David from Smugmug. Without his technical help we would still be knee-deep in this process.

Your Feedback and Testing

While we originally had plans for more bells, whistles and content to be packed into the new site, we decided to keep things simple with this release, especially since we wanted to get it out there before our next adventure — which begins in just a few days and takes us to places with limited connectivity. Now that we’ve switched over to a flexible theme, we look forward to iterative changes in the future. As we fixed the engine with this release, it’s likely you’ll see more experimentation, particularly in the typography/font and design departments.

As you poke and click around, please let us know if something isn’t working or if something isn’t as it should be. We’d also welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement!

As always, thanks for your support and being part of this journey.

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Do You Ever Pinch Yourself? (Or, Best 13 Instagram Photos of 2013)http://uncorneredmarket.com/best-instagram-travel-photos-of-2013/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/best-instagram-travel-photos-of-2013/#comments Sun, 29 Dec 2013 19:28:13 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14246 By Audrey Scott

Do you ever pinch yourselves and wonder if you’re just living in a dream world? — One of our Facebook fans sounds off, lending us a little perspective on the world around us and the lives we lead The end of the year is near. A time for reflection. A time to take stock of […]

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By Audrey Scott

2013 photos

Do you ever pinch yourselves and wonder if you’re just living in a dream world?

One of our Facebook fans sounds off, lending us a little perspective on the world around us and the lives we lead

The end of the year is near. A time for reflection. A time to take stock of one year’s passing before moving onto the next.

I know, I know. Everyone is up to their ears in 2013 year-in-review posts at this point. We hadn’t really planned one.

Then I began taking stock, going through Dan’s Instagram photos from the year. I’d like to think that Dan’s eye observes moments and captures scenes that some people might overlook, and increasingly he captures them only with an iPhone. I was moved by the beauty and diversity of our world shown through these images.

I couldn’t help but want to share what I thought were the best, the most representative of these.

Selecting only thirteen images out of almost 500 from over a dozen countries proved challenging. It also reaffirmed something: no matter how much we travel and how much we see of the world, we are still in awe of it — from its unlikely moments of enormity to its twinkles of deceptive insignificance.

To have had the opportunity to see and experience such a disproportionately large slice of our world, we are truly grateful.

So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Our 13 Best Instagram Photos of the Year

1. Up in the Air

Up in the air, monsoon storm clouds over Mumbai. #skyart or #cloudporn?
Up in the air, monsoon storm clouds over Mumbai. The beginning of our flight to Kashmir that we thought might be our last.

Up in the Air runner up: Greenland, up in the air. En route to New Zealand.

More Up in the Air photos: Photos from the Airplane Window

 

2. Scotland

Isle of Skye: Black Cuilin range and the triple arch bridge at Sligachan #Scotland #blogmanay
Isle of Skye: Black Cuilin range and the triple arch bridge at Sligachan.

Scotland runner up: Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish highland loveliness.

More Scotland photos: Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh, Scotland: A City of Stone, History and Ales, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: Celebrating the New Year

 

3. New Zealand

Road trip New Zealand style. Landscape shape shift at Lake Hawea.
Road trip New Zealand style. Landscape shape shift at Lake Hawea near Queenstown.

New Zealand runner up: Sailboat carves our ferry wake in Queen Charlotte Sound

More New Zealand photos: New Zealand South Island Photos, New Zealand North Island Photos, Tongariro Crossing Trek

 

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague: our old stomping grounds. As freezing and beautiful as I remember. (when the sun shines). Prague Castle background, Smetana Museum and Vltava River foreground
After speaking at TEDx Warsaw, we visited Prague, our old stomping grounds. As freezing and beautiful as I remember. Prague Castle background, Smetana Museum and Vltava River foreground.

Prague runner up: Around the bend: A glimpse of Prague’s frosted cake Old Town.

More Prague photos: All Around Prague

 

5. South Africa

Sunset along the Orange River - Northern Cape, South Africa
Audrey snaps a few pics at sunset along the Orange River in the Northern Cape

South Africa runner up: Next up in Cape Town: Abseiling down Table Mountain with a view of Lion’s Head

More South Africa photos: South Africa, Best of Our Trip, Johannesburg and Soweto, Northern Cape, the Land out Far, Cape Town, Masiphumelele Township Tour, Cape Town

 

6. Mumbai, India

The palm peddler of Dadar flower market, Mumbai
The palm peddler of Dadar flower market, Mumbai.

Mumbai runner up: Wee little paan palace, where betel leaf and betel nut parcels are made.

More Mumbai photos: Markets and People of Mumbai

 

7. Kashmir, India

Wake-up call, misty morning view from our houseboat. Nagin Lake, Srinagar #Kashmir
Wake-up call, misty morning view from our houseboat. Nagin Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Kashmir runner up: Kashmir to Ladakh roadtrip. Bus got stuck in a traffic jam overlooking this jaw-dropper.

More Kashmir photos: Srinagar Photos, Kashmir to Ladakh Bus Journey

 

8. Ladakh, India

After the snowblinds, Buddhist prayer flags at Ganda La pass (4950m / 16,240 ft). Markha Valley trek, Day 2, nearing midday #harsh
After the snowblinds, Buddhist prayer flags at Ganda La pass (4950m / 16,240 ft) in Ladakh. Markha Valley trek, Day 2.

Ladakh runner up: Stepping off Kongmaru La pass, 5130 meters overlooking layers of the Zanskar range. Markha Valley trek, Ladakh.

More Ladakh photos:Ladakh Photos, Best Of, Markha Valley Trek, Leh, the Capital of Ladakh

 

9. Costa Rica

One of the more phenomenal sunsets I've been treated to. Taken at the mouth of Rio Baru -- Dominical, Costa Rica.
One of the more phenomenal sunsets I’ve been treated to. Taken at the mouth of Rio Baru — Dominical, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica runner up: Mixed sky, late afternoon at Playa Manuel Antonio. Taking a break after the G Project Summit in the Jungle.

More Costa Rica photos: Costa Rica Photos, Best Of, Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, Tortuguero, Costa Rica

 

10. Ireland

Looking south, the Cliffs of Kerry at dusk. Billed as "the most spectacular cliffs in Kerry" in no fewer than 50 road signs. They weren't kidding. #dna2ireland
After keynoting at TBEX Dublin we took a road trip. Looking south, the Cliffs of Kerry at dusk.

Ireland runner up: Medieval monastic staircase. Skellig Michael in the blazing sun, off the coast of County Kerry

More Ireland photos: Ireland Road Trip Photos, Ring of Kerry, Ireland, Skellig Michael

 

11. Namibia

Namibian desert sundowner. Mother Nature's colors represent. ROYGBIV
Namibian desert sundowner. Mother Nature’s colors represent.

Namibia runner up: Late afternoon drive through petrified dunes. On the road, Namibia style. Namib-Naukluft Park.

More Namibia photos: Best of Namibia, Sossusvlei, Namib Desert, Spitzkoppe, Bushman Paradise, and Namibian School

 

12. Berlin

Life is a convergence which takes time and iteration to unpack.  As I ran past this tree today amidst the foul of confused-season weather and whopping snowflakes, I thought to its late afternoon beauty only one week ago. #Berlin
Late afternoon beauty in late autumn at Tempelhof Park, Berlin.

Berin runner up: Wrinkles of the City, street art in Berlin from JR.

More Berlin photos:Berlin Photos, Berlin Cheap Eats, Berlin Street Art

 

13. Food Porn

Tacos pescado (fish tacos). Muy rico! Pura vida for my mouth in Costa Rica.
Tacos pescado (fish tacos). Muy rico! Pura vida for my mouth in Costa Rica.

Food Porn runner up: Today’s lunch in the sky, en route Tokyo to Mumbai. Japanese food as art.

More Food Porn photos: Indian Food Photos, Oaxaca Food Photos, Japanese Food Photos, Iranian Food Photos

 

Bonus Image

A day trip just north of Berlin, takes us 35km by bicycle to Liepnitzsee to catch some lake time outside of the city. This shot is taken south of Wandlitz, we could hear the train a comin'.
Open tracks. The possibilities seem endless.

Where will 2014 take you? Share your travel dreams and plans below!

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Holiday Greetings and a Lesson from Christmas Pasthttp://uncorneredmarket.com/christmas-lesson-letting-go/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/christmas-lesson-letting-go/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 22:29:29 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14178 By Audrey Scott

As Christmas and the new year approaches, we’d like to wish you and yours a very happy holidays from an unusually warm Berlin! Just about this time of year, we’re often reminded of one of our first Christmases together in Europe and a lesson we learned about the benefits of understanding limits and letting go. […]

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By Audrey Scott

Happy holidays

As Christmas and the new year approaches, we’d like to wish you and yours a very happy holidays from an unusually warm Berlin!

Just about this time of year, we’re often reminded of one of our first Christmases together in Europe and a lesson we learned about the benefits of understanding limits and letting go.

The Ghost of Christmas Past in Prague

Over a decade ago we moved from San Francisco to Prague, Czech Republic just before Christmas. We’d come from winding up our lives in San Francisco, having sold everything we owned and packing our lives into six suitcases. We arrived in Prague smack in the cold of winter without jobs and a long-term place to live. We thought back to the “are you crazy?” questions our family and friends asked when we’d announced our plans.

And we wondered for a moment if in fact we’d lost it.

So there was doing to be done. But we quickly realized that everything in Prague shut down for the holidays. Real estate agencies were off for the week, as were recruiters. There was nothing “productive” we could do.

So we had no choice but to let go. And sometimes, that’s the most productive thing you can do.

As it turns out, this was just what we needed. We spent the week eating Christmas cookies (ours and the some of the nice old lady’s living next door — when you are new in town in Prague, you must exchange Christmas cookies with your neighbor!), drinking tea and reading our way through the entire Harry Potter series. It turned out to be one of our best Christmases ever.

Not only was it wonderfully peaceful and romantic, but it also yielded remarkable clarity. An empty to-do list and going offline will do that. And so we began the following year refreshed and ready to take on just about anything. (We did so by finding an apartment almost immediately and jobs shortly thereafter.)

The Ghost of Christmas Present in Berlin

As we close out this year — a full year — we take note of the lessons of Christmas past. We’re spending the next week in Berlin focused on cookies, reading, friends, and clarity — not necessarily in that order — as we continue to think about and carve out plans for 2014.

First Christmas market of the season. 1€ glühwein...wee!Alt-Rixdorf, #Berlin
Enjoying our first Christmas market of the season in Berlin.

One Last Bit of Holiday Advice

As the holidays can often feel overwhelming, exceptionally busy and filled with expectations, a suggestion: breathe. This simple act can do wonders to slow things down and to bring once foggy notions into clearer perspective.

And with that, if you are celebrating, we wish you and yours a wonderful and relaxing Christmas. And to everyone, much joy and peace in the new year!

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Exploring Berlin: Virtual Tour Week and a Giveawayhttp://uncorneredmarket.com/berlin-virtual-tour/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/berlin-virtual-tour/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 05:41:03 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=13675 By Audrey Scott

This is about Berlin, chunky quotes, something new we’re trying this week, and a few giveaways to tie it all together. Berlin. A city we love, a city we’ve chosen as a base. As we dig into Berlin and meet others who’ve done the same, we learn a little bit more about the city through […]

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By Audrey Scott

This is about Berlin, chunky quotes, something new we’re trying this week, and a few giveaways to tie it all together.

Berlin. A city we love, a city we’ve chosen as a base. As we dig into Berlin and meet others who’ve done the same, we learn a little bit more about the city through them — its layers of history, humanity, creativity, and culture.

Berlin Photos

This week we’re undertaking something a little different to bring more of this to light. We’ll be enlisting the help of Berlin friends and experts to help — on what we’re calling a Virtual Tour of Berlin.

Berlin: One City, Multiple Perspectives

Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery - Friedrichshain, Berlin
East Side Gallery, street art along the Berlin Wall.

How would you describe Berlin? Not an easy task. So we asked several Berliner friends and experts on Berlin to share with us their view on Berlin and what makes it the city that it is. Here are a few:

History’s eternal problem child, Berlin refuses to grow up and be respectable.” – Ben Perry, long-time Berlin resident and friend

———

“Berlin’s obvious attractions include abundant space, a spirit of tolerance, a relatively low population, an excellent cycling network and public transport links, easy access to a countryside dominated by forests and lakes, and a commercial infrastructure that’s largely independent. But its more complex and nuanced aspects – the stories and characters, the dark history and unexpected delights of its interzones and edgelands – are best discovered via patient exploration and home-made sandwiches.” – Paul Sullivan, founder of Slow Travel Berlin

———

As the fall of the Berlin Wall acts as Year Zero for the city, it is much younger than other European capitals. Because of this, it feels more open to strangers and strange ideas, and the creatives here are less competitive and more collaborative. This makes it a great place to work in a creative field or in tech, or to distinguish yourself as a blogger. Moving here is the best thing I ever did.” – James Glazebrook, co-founder of überlin

———

“Berlin, Berlin: There’s this special energy in Berlin—so much potential, so much history and so many interesting people doing interesting things. The Berliners (not the donuts, but the people who live here—international or not) are making Berlin what it is today…and what it has been in the past.” – Adam Groffman, Travels of Adam

———

“Berlin is like a hole. You sink deeper and deeper and you can’t get out.”

“Is it a good hole or a bad hole?”

“Oh, it’s a good hole, the best hole in the world.”Veroniki Alexopulos, a long-term Berlin resident from Finland

———

Berlin. Full of juxtaposition, this rebellious, orderly, outspoken, lively, relaxed, historic, innovative, green (in summer), grey (in winter), urban island in the East of Germany and the heart of Europe is a magnet for international artists, creatives, techies, beauties, tourists, history buffs and partiers – and truly the city that never sleeps.” – Luci Westphal from Moving Postcard

A Virtual Tour of Berlin

And so we’re very excited to share our Berlin during a “Virtual Tour of Berlin” on Google Plus this week. Tapping into the inimitable pace and vibe of the city, we’ll examine a few aspects of the Berlin experience: life, architecture, art, food, neighborhoods, sights, history, and the urban and green spaces that define its streets.

Eyeing a new set of wheels. How far can she go? #trabant #Berlin
Trabant adventures in Berlin

In addition to sharing some of our favorite places in Berlin, we’ll also explore a few new parts of the city (for us). All week we’ll share our experiences and post photos and local tips on the G Adventures Traveling Community.

  • Street food tour in Kreuzberg highlighting our favorite Berlin cheap eats.
  • Canoe tour of Berlin with Berlin on Bike.
  • Street art tour and workshop with Alternative Berlin.
  • Walking tour of Kreuzberg, one of our favorite neighborhoods, with Context Travel.
  • Museum and exhibition visits, from the Curry Wurst Museum to antiquities at the Pergamon Museum. Big thanks to visitBerlin for providing us with Berlin WelcomeCards and Museum Cards.
Sailing into a Berlin sunset
Sailing into a Berlin sunset

We invite you to explore Berlin with us! RSVP here for the event. Connect with us on Google Plus. Share your own Berlin photos and stories on the Traveling Community.

Google Hangout on Air with Berlin Experts – August 22, 1PM EST

On Thursday, August 22 we’ll be hosting a Google Hangout on Air at 1PM EST/10AM PST (7PM Berlin time) to talk even more about Berlin and answer any questions you might have about visiting or living in this city. We’ve asked Berlin residents and experts Adam Groffman from Travels of Adam, James Glazebrook, co-founder of überlin, Giulia Pines and Natalie Holmes from Slow Travel Berlin to share their expertise on, experience in and love of Berlin with all of us.

So let us know your questions on Berlin! Ask them in the Virtual Tour Event, on Twitter with #gadvBerlin, or in the comments below.

Berlin Giveaway

We realize that we’re a bit nutty about Berlin, but we’re not the only ones. A couple of our partners were also excited about this week and offered prizes so that you, our readers, could enjoy some of the same sort of experiences we are having this week.

Berlin prizes include:

How to enter? It’s easy! Answer: what’s the first thing you want to do when you get to Berlin?

Just leave a comment below. Tweet us @umarket and use the hashtag #gadvBerlin. Leave a comment on the Google Plus Virtual Tour of Berlin Event page. Or, sign up for our newsletter.

Just be sure to submit your entry by Monday, August 26, 2013. Viel Glück!

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Spring Dreaming: G Adventures Gift Certificate Giveawayhttp://uncorneredmarket.com/spring-gadventures-giveaway/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/spring-gadventures-giveaway/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2013 16:03:03 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=13148 By Audrey Scott

Winter hibernation is coming to an end. ‘Tis the season of spring dreaming and doing. Think of it as prime time to dust off all those New Year’s resolutions, evaluate them, and begin doing those things that matter most. And soon. Years have a nasty habit of sneaking by before we know it. Does your […]

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By Audrey Scott

Road trip New Zealand style. Landscape shape shift at Lake Hawea.
Road trip, New Zealand style

Winter hibernation is coming to an end. ‘Tis the season of spring dreaming and doing. Think of it as prime time to dust off all those New Year’s resolutions, evaluate them, and begin doing those things that matter most. And soon. Years have a nasty habit of sneaking by before we know it.

Does your spring dreaming tap into wanderlust and travel? If so, we’d like to help you make it a reality.

Here’s how: A G Adventures Giveaway

We’re giving away a £300 ($450/€350 equivalent) gift certificate to use on a G Adventures tour of your choice*.

Here’s the question to get you dreaming:

If you win, where in the world would you use this prize?

Although G Adventures doesn’t go absolutely everywhere in the world, they do offer tours in over 100 countries. So there’s a good chance they have something going on in the place you’re itching to experience for yourself.

Dan and Audrey, why are you doing this giveaway?

We originally received this prize by winning the Hostel Bookers Blogger Award for Community Spirit. We thought it appropriate to celebrate by giving the prize away to our readers.

And, we do giveaways for products or services that we would recommend to our family and close friends. It’s because of our experience with G Adventures that we believe this prize has a worthwhile value attached to it.

By way of relationship background, we’ve been working with G Adventures since the end of 2010 as members of their Wanderers in Residence brand ambassador program we know the company and its tours quite well. In fact, we’ve taken six tours with them over the last few years: New Zealand, Japan, Iran, Tanzania, Bali and Antarctica.

How do I enter to win?

This part is pretty easy.

The contest runs from Friday, April 5 to Monday, April 15 (11:59 PM EST). A winner will be selected randomly and be announced by April 17, 2013. You must be over 18 years old to be eligible to win.

1) Sign up for our newsletter. This one is required. Bonus: it automatically gives you two entries.

2) Like our Uncornered Market Facebook page with this entry form. Bonus: this will make you feel amazing.

3) Add a comment below answering the question above about where in the world you would use this prize. Have fun and dream big. “Where would I like to go? I’m thinking it’s time to raft down the Amazon!”

*Fine print for the G Adventures gift certificate:

  • £300 (or equivalent) off for one participant aged 18 or over.
  • Used with any guaranteed departure G Adventures small group tour departing before 31 December 2013 and booked before 30 September 2013.
  • This prize does not cover any additional extras or optionals, Meals and flights are excluded unless indicated as an integral part of the tour.
  • Not valid on trip type Independent or any MS Expedition trips.
  • The prize has no alternative monetary value.

Thanks for entering and good luck!!

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Happy Holidays and Celebrating the New Year at Hogmanayhttp://uncorneredmarket.com/happy-holidays-new-year-hogmanay/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/happy-holidays-new-year-hogmanay/#comments Mon, 24 Dec 2012 15:28:59 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=12395 By Audrey Scott

As Christmas and the new year approaches, we’d like to wish you and yours a very happy holidays from what was a snowy Berlin (damn you, warm front!). Before we go offline for the next couple of days, we have a couple of announcements for you: our upcoming New Year’s celebrations at Hogmanay in Edinburgh […]

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By Audrey Scott

As Christmas and the new year approaches, we’d like to wish you and yours a very happy holidays from what was a snowy Berlin (damn you, warm front!).

Before we go offline for the next couple of days, we have a couple of announcements for you: our upcoming New Year’s celebrations at Hogmanay in Edinburgh and a giveaway featuring some of our travel photos.

Holidays 2012

Christmas in Berlin

As for us, we will spend Christmas and the next few days in Berlin, going offline (mostly) and taking a break with friends, plates full of Christmas cookies, pots full of tea, and a virtual stack of new books. This will be our time to be still and get ready for a new year filled with travel and projects across all corners of the globe.

But before we disconnect…

We’re kicking off the New Year at Hogmanay in Edinburgh!

In Scottish, hogmanay means the last day of the year. In more recent years, however, Hogmanay has been synonymous with Edinburgh’s new year’s festivities, torchlight processions, concerts, and fireworks that say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new. And the Scots definitely know how to party, as celebrations last for days.

Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Hogmanay Press Office

We’re looking forward to taking part in this year’s Hogmanay. We are among a group of bloggers going to enjoy and share the event through the aptly named term Blogmanay. As we’ve never been to Scotland we’re excited to get a wee taste of Scottish spirit, music, and of course, whiskey. Oh, and kilts. (Stay tuned for embarrassing photos.)

Here’s a small preview of what’s in store for us during Hogmanay:

  • Torchlight procession through the city (Dec. 29) – the photo above pretty much says it all for this one
  • Concert in the Gardens (Dec. 31) – with Simple Minds as the headlining act
  • Street Party (Dec. 31) – beneath Edinburgh castle with three stages, endless music acts, an estimated 80,000 dancers and midnight fireworks.
  • Keilidh (Dec. 31) – Scottish music and dancing at its finest.
  • Dogmanay (Jan. 1) – kicking off the new year with dog racing.
  • Loony Dook (Jan. 1) – welcome the new year with a plunge into icy water anyone?

No shortage of activities and options, right? Exciting and overwhelming. We’ll do our best to live up to the task and live to tell the tale.

Once the new year is rung in properly, we’ll spend a few days exploring Scotland’s Loch Ness and Isle of Skye. It’s only a sample of Scotland, but we’re happy to have the opportunity now to see it in winter so we can plot some further exploration next time.

If you’d like to follow along in our (and others’) Hogmanay experience, keep your eye on the hashtag #blogmanay on Twitter and Instagram. The Blogmanay website will serve as a central repository for all this content from all corners of the Hogmanay-meets-blogmanay social media and online world so that you can take part in the celebrations from wherever you may be in the world.

Uncornered Market Travel Photography Printstagr.am Holiday Giveaway

This is for those of you who love travel photography and would like some inspiration in the new year. We’ve teamed up with Printstagr.am to deliver a selection of fun prints, a 365-day calendar and a mini-book made from a selection of photographs we’ve posted to Instagram (including from Japan, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Mexico, Egypt, Berlin, Amsterdam, etc.). Winners can choose to have us design their prize or design their own with our prints.

Absolutely anyone can enter. Shipping is international (and free, for winners). To enter: easy, just click here – Printstagr.am Giveaway

Disclosure: This campaign is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is sponsored by VisitScotland, ETAG, Edinburgh Festivals, Haggis Adventures and Skyscanner.

The campaign bloggers were sourced and managed by iambassador. As always, all opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

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It Happened In Monterey (Or, How We Met)http://uncorneredmarket.com/monterey-how-we-met/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/monterey-how-we-met/#comments Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:26:46 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=12078 By Daniel Noll

This is a story about finding love just when you’d sworn off looking for it. In early September, Audrey and I co-presented at a conference in Monterey, California. Monterey just also happens to be the place where we’d first met almost exactly 15 years before, where our joint approach to life on the road got […]

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By Daniel Noll

This is a story about finding love just when you’d sworn off looking for it.

In early September, Audrey and I co-presented at a conference in Monterey, California. Monterey just also happens to be the place where we’d first met almost exactly 15 years before, where our joint approach to life on the road got its start.

Dan and Audrey, Monterey
The driveway where it all began, 15 years later.

In the driveway, the exact spot where our lives together began, we got to thinking how best to answer another oft-asked question: “So how did you guys meet?”

This is the story, roughly and in brief, like we might tell it at a bar. His and hers, back and forth, crumpled unlined notepad paper, speckled with red wine. History, revision, and an occasional differing point of view.

—–

Dan: As I walked down the street vaguely wine-addled, I witnessed two young women emptying a small car of a large pile of worldly collegiate possessions. One of the women looked up. She took a long gaze at me, then dropped her bags, her breath apparently taken away. Her name was Audrey.

For her, this was love at first sight.

—–

Audrey: Imagine that scratching sound where the record-player needle gets pulled across the record. Let’s reintroduce ourselves to the truth.

—–

Dan: You want the whole truth? OK. So much for keeping this short.

It was August 1997. I had been living in San Francisco in a jaggy one bedroom, 495 square foot apartment. To its miniature defense, the building had a hot tub on the roof and featured a full view of the Golden Gate Bridge and a sliver view of the Bay Bridge.

I shared this abundant abode with my friend Tony. I drove a VW Cabriolet. I was told nickel-for-a-rich-man-so-many-times that my hair made me look like Flock of Seagulls. So basically, I rolled with a circa mid-1980s look. But I could cook, sort of. I drank wine, and not just white zinfandel. I wore double-breasted suits with suspenders to meetings with clients and somehow thought that was appropriate.

I was dating. Women. A few of them. I was a management consultant and spent a lot of time on the road. (This makes me sound like I think I was a player. I was not. I was simply confused.) Anyhow, by mid-August of that year I had sworn off dating for an indefinite spell, if only to clear my head. No more dating, at least not for a while.

Then something happened.

I got a phone call from a friend. (Or was it an email?)

You want to come down and meet me in Monterey? I’m headed back for a couple of weeks.” An elementary school friend then stationed in the U.S. Army in Korea had planned a visit back to Monterey, California to see his girlfriend.

Monterey. Friends. Weekend. A free place to crash. Tony and I could take a drive down the coast, tool around the area, and hit the Monterey Wine Festival.

Sure. Why not?

It was an unusual Monterey weekend. While a bit of fog graced the peninsula that morning, it burned off early. And with the Monterey Wine Festival underway — something that Tony and I would take advantage of from about the time doors opened around noon — a perfect day was served.

After a few oysters, tapas and a dose of mid-afternoon wine tasting-qua-guzzling, we opted to head back to the apartment for a recovery nap.

I cut my way down the street, probably feeling cool, but looking much less, haphazardish. There were two young women, a little sun beat, emptying crates and bags from a scrappy, well-worn gray Volkswagen Golf GTI.

As Tony and I approached, he suggested that we might help the young women unpack their car. Their destination: the same house where we’d slept the night before. Points to Tony for chivalry in time.

Hmmm. This could get interesting. Who needs to swear off women for a while, anyway?

—–

Audrey: I had just driven across the United States, a 3,000 mile road trip from Virginia with a close friend, in my 10-year old VW GTI. “California, here I come!” I felt. Living in California, graduate school, Peace Corps. Three life goals coming together within a year.

Road Trip Volkswagon

Me and my GTI, the final leg cross-country, up the Big Sur coast.

Boys would play no part in it. Nope. This was going to be my year.

So I laughed when my housemate’s boyfriend, Tom, half jokingly warned me of his friends visiting from San Francisco: “They’re trawling for women.”

As I began unloading my life from the car, I heard offers of help ring from the foot of the driveway. Two guys, a little worse for wear from the sun and fun, introduced themselves and quickly joined in to help carry my stuff.

Dan’s memory of my being struck by love? Perhaps a misread of my amusement: How eager these two guys were to help. A little too eager I’d say.

—–

Dan: Ouch.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was a bit of a haze. There was interest, some jockeying. We went to a local pub en group, returned home, and continued to chat. Audrey put away, rather impressively, a few Boddington Ales.

As everyone else peeled off to sleep, Audrey and I stayed up. I don’t recall all that we talked about, but it was apparently a lot because we were up almost the whole night. Travel was certainly part of it. I was mesmerized by Audrey’s international background — from a family of diplomats and missionaries, of a life overseas. I felt like the local boy trying to figure out the world, even as I prepared for my first trip abroad to India and Indonesia that winter.

We talked economic theory, too, recovering Econ majors bound in shared nerd-dom. We even discussed the Coase theorem.

Who on earth opens a relationship by talking about the Coase theorem?!

In no way did the scene sing romance. This was not a bar out of the Frank Sinatra song, It Happened in Monterey.

—–

Audrey: I’m good with this version of events. It was fun. Goofy, really. I didn’t think much about it. I was leaving in nine months and there was no point in meeting anyone, Economics majors or otherwise. Easy come, easy go.

Or perhaps because I was leaving in nine months I was more open to taking chances.

—–

Dan: On my way out the door back to San Francisco, I gave Audrey my details: “Here’s our address, my cell phone.

Audrey’s friend, Sarah, was scheduled to fly out of San Francisco late the following afternoon. Their plan: to visit San Francisco and stay with Audrey’s brother. (Maybe I pulled off being cool, but I’m sure I double-checked the number at least ten times before I handed it over.)

Just in case things don’t work out with your brother and you need a place to stay.”

Come late Monday afternoon, I got the call. Rather conveniently, things hadn’t worked out with Audrey’s brother, and there were Audrey and Sarah, planless and no place to stay but chez Dan and Tony.

It was also Audrey’s birthday. With Tony’s counsel, we collected provisions from an Italian deli or two in North Beach and headed out to a cliffside spot in the Presidio with a sunset view of the Golden Gate.

California picnic
Birthday picnic at the Presidio.

No impromptu birthday picnic could beat this. I’d stolen Audrey’s heart, though in reality it was pretty much Tony’s idea, so maybe he was the one doing the stealing for me. Thank goodness someone in the story used good judgment. We get by with a little help from our friends. Sing it with me.

Everything was left open-ended. No commitment to continue that either of us can remember.

But alas. The following day when Audrey took off back to Monterey, she also conveniently left behind a pair of shoes. “Easy come, easy go, eh?

Eventually, she got the shoes.

And I got the girl.

—-

Epilogue

During the weekends that followed, we jumped out of an airplane at over 15,000 feet, hiked together in Yosemite, and earned our scuba diving certifications in the uncomfortably cold waters of Monterey Bay.

A couple months later, I left for my first trip outside of North America to India and Australia (hence, the scuba diving classes). Audrey left several months later for the Peace Corps, which would take her away to Estonia for 27 months.

Time was short. When we think back, we feel like we squeezed every ounce of experience out of those first few months together.

This was how we — and our approach to life — came together in those early days.

Nowadays, we spend 24×7 with each other. For the behind the scenes on that story, you’ll just have to wait for another post.

Dan & Audrey on the California Coast
How about another 15 years?

—–

Disclosure: A special thanks goes to our transportation sponsor airberlin for carrying us from Berlin to San Francisco so we could attend the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) in Monterey and coincidentally, revisit the site of where we first met.

airberlin

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Speaking at Conferences, Hiding in Yurts: An Updatehttp://uncorneredmarket.com/summer-2012-update/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/summer-2012-update/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 07:31:37 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=11286 By Daniel Noll

This is a story about crisscrossing North America, speaking to audiences in Vancouver, Miami and Denver, recharging in a defunct hippie commune outside of Seattle, preparing to speak to 1,000 people in Portland, and apologizing for withholding a few pages of our story from you over the last couple of weeks. Have you ever followed […]

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By Daniel Noll

Mt. Rainier on a Clear Day - Seattle
Our recent view of Mt. Rainier on a rare, clear day in Seattle.

This is a story about crisscrossing North America, speaking to audiences in Vancouver, Miami and Denver, recharging in a defunct hippie commune outside of Seattle, preparing to speak to 1,000 people in Portland, and apologizing for withholding a few pages of our story from you over the last couple of weeks.

Have you ever followed a story – maybe on the web, on the radio, on television, wherever – and all of a sudden the story line seems to trail off, maybe even go silent? The protagonist is there one minute, gone the next. And you’re thinking to yourself, “Sh*t, that was just getting good.”

Sound familiar? We pressed the pause button on some things here on the blog and unwittingly left you behind.

So what have we been up to? Speaking, mainly – speaking at conferences and events, drawing meaning from our travels, sharing them with audiences in various contexts, and tying together multiple themes.

In the midst of all this, we’ve enjoyed heckling each other on stage. We’ve left crowds laughing, sometimes crying, often inspired. And while we’ve shared some lessons, we’ve learned a few of our own along the way.

Whirlwind: A Recap of Last Few Weeks

Vancouver: The Future of Tourism (FoT)

Hiking at Deep Cove - Vancouver, BC
Enjoying the view at Deep Cove near Vancouver before Future of Tourism.

This event sponsored by our partner G Adventures gathered more than 500 people in one of Vancouver’s biggest theaters to discuss sustainable tourism.

The audience was one of the larger ones we’ve spoken to. Jitters? Sure. I drank a gallon of water before going on stage, didn’t time my final bathroom break well, then felt a burning desire to dance while I spoke.

Despite my inner squirm, the evening went very well.

When you care about the message and that message aligns with your story, nothing can stop you. Not even your bladder.

According to the U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), more than one billion people are expected to cross borders for the purpose of tourism in 2012. A force for good? A force for harm? It all depends on the decisions we make.

To this end, we spoke about the confluence of travel, technology and human connections. We shared stories from Bangladesh to Iran to Tanzania to Nicaragua demonstrating how technology can enable travelers to make informed decisions in line with their values so that tourism dollars can find their way to benefit local communities and people.

Our final message: Not only can travel change your life, but it can also change the lives of the people you meet.

What do you think?

Miami: EyeforTravel

Amtrak Train Travel in Florida - Orlando to Miami
Taking the train to Miami…plus never pass up an opportunity for an iPhone photo.

The following week, we switched gears, donned our business hats, dressed like grown-ups (getting out of the adventure clothes and spiffing it up was oddly refreshing) for EyeforTravel in Miami, a travel industry conference focused on online marketing strategies.

Even though we spoke on separate panels, I still found a way to heckle Audrey by urging my crowd to roar with applause so as to disrupt her talk taking place next door.

In this life, in this business, marital rivalry dies hard.

I spoke about how story can be used as a differentiator for brands and how to employ storytelling techniques in online content and social media. Audrey spoke on the use of social media sharing pre-, during, and post- trip for both exposure and conversion.

Sounding like double-speak? Let me tell it straight: tell good stories and generate quality content, and regardless of the context, you’ll set yourself apart.

The topic that seemed to draw the most interest, however, was our nomadism. “What do you mean you don’t have a home?”

A common theme, a common question we continue to work on. Read to the end for the latest developments.

Colorado: TBEX Keystone

Last weekend, we spoke at TBEX, a travel blogging conference now in it’s fourth year. The knockout venue from 7,000 to over 11,000 feet: Keystone, Colorado. At almost 800 people including bloggers and travel industry folks, this conference demonstrates that travel blogging continues its march to maturation.

Taking a Break at the Continental Divide - Loveland Pass, Colorado
Taking a Break at the Continental Divide – Loveland Pass, Colorado

We spoke on a panel – in our oxygen deprived state – on how to leverage one’s skills, blog and brand into new, off-blog business opportunities. While there is no cookie-cutter approach to building a business and making a living from blogging in this vein, we underscored three tricks here: use a planning process, leverage all your skills, including the ones you had before your blog, and most importantly, look to what’s NOT being done.

Easier said than done, we understand.

Like any conference, the best part is putting faces to names, going beyond the avatar, to meeting the actual human beings we continue to interact with every day online.

Bainbridge Island, Seattle: Recharge

Mexico, Egypt, Japan and multiple speaking engagements – all on different topics — in rapid fire. Terrific exercises and terrific experiences. But at some point, the constant movement catches up.

Needed: time and space to recharge.

So we did what all people do when they feel the need to recharge. We retreated to a defunct hippie commune on an island in Seattle’s Puget Sound. We holed up in a yurt on Bainbridge Island, took stock of where we’ve been over the last couple of weeks, and ruminated on where we’re headed.

A Yurt on Bainbridge Island, Seattle
Yurts. No longer just for Mongolia or Kyrgyzstan.

Then we were invited to speak again.

What’s coming up?

We’re in Seattle for a few days before heading south to Portland for the World Domination Summit (WDS) in early July. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, don’t let the boldness of the name put you off. The conference brings together digital entrepreneurship with a more general theme of carving out a remarkable life in a conventional world.

To a crowd of 1,000, we’ll speak about how and why we embarked on our journey. We’ll address the challenges and opportunities of staying married while traveling and running a business together, and the motivations, aspirations and machinations that seem to hold it all together.

Of course, we’ll serve up a few stories to make those points while reflecting on what we’ve learned about ourselves, each other, and our world as we’ve made our way.

All this in thirty minutes. Clearly, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

From there we will return to Berlin, Germany. A familiar ring, you say? It remains one of our favorite cities, a place to return to that feels like home. We’ll finally finish the redesign of the site, catch up with stories and photo essays from Japan, Egypt, and Mexico, and work on some new trips and projects for the fall and winter.

The Importance of Stillness, The Importance of Story

The opportunities before us over the last few weeks have been edifying, affirmative and quite possibly transformative. But the constant activity and movement has left little time for reflection, little time to continue threading the stories that underpin our blog and our connection with you.

So we pick up the pen again.

Thanks always for your patience. Good things are happening. We look forward to continuing to share our journey with you.

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When the Walls Danced: Living Through an Earthquake in Mexicohttp://uncorneredmarket.com/earthquake-mexico/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/earthquake-mexico/#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2012 15:05:55 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=10804 By Daniel Noll

I remember earthquakes from when I lived in San Francisco. Fortunately, they were relatively infrequent and insignificant. Yesterday, I experienced a real one. Our neighborhood here in Oaxaca is usually full of noises. Horns, sirens, beeps, megaphones. The gardeners chopping, the tamale guy chanting, the gas truck tooting, the water guy whistling, dogs howling. It’s […]

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By Daniel Noll

I remember earthquakes from when I lived in San Francisco. Fortunately, they were relatively infrequent and insignificant. Yesterday, I experienced a real one.

Our neighborhood here in Oaxaca is usually full of noises. Horns, sirens, beeps, megaphones. The gardeners chopping, the tamale guy chanting, the gas truck tooting, the water guy whistling, dogs howling. It’s the city’s soundtrack of life.

Tuesday, around noon, we heard a different sound. Audrey and I had just come off giving a 90-minute online webinar. We were grateful to execute our presentation in unusual and relative silence.

Then minutes later, it happened.

It sounded as if a siren blared from a truck just outside our front window.

Are the elections coming? Maybe it’s an overzealous tamale guy on a bicycle with a megaphone.

A few seconds later, the siren went off again. Ominous.

Audrey laughed, “Imagine if this happened ten minutes ago in the webinar?”

Seconds later, a rumble began that felt as if a tractor trailing were driving past our front window.

Then, another siren.

The truck didn’t go away, the house shook further.

This was something bigger. Maybe the truck was about to come through the front window.

The rumble grew further still; it twisted.

Trucks do not do this. And, they do not make trucks this big.

The Space Shuttle, maybe?

Our front window grates wobbled, glass inside. The back door, heavy and wrought iron, swung back and forth, slamming into the jamb. Our huge dining room table began to vibrate, the hutch began to sway.

“My, how stunningly flexible these walls are,” I thought, mesmerized by how they seemed to wave around me.

At the same time, the ground began to shift, moving back and forth under our feet. The back door continued to slam.

After a few seconds it dawned on us: this was an earthquake! And those sirens, they were the citywide seismic alarm that gave us a few seconds before the shaking began.

Although we would eventually understand that the motion came from the earth, it was as if someone had grabbed the house from above and shook it from side to side in an attempt to pry it loose from its foundation.

Audrey and I turned to one another: “What’s that thing about standing in a doorway?”

You know those horror film characters who wait too long, who just don’t have the sense to get out before it’s too late? That was us. But nothing made sense because the earth was moving.

The earth is not supposed to move.

I’m certain I’d received earthquake training somewhere along the way, but I found it easy to dispense with the rational as I stood there transfixed by the walls dancing around me.

“Audrey, grab the keys. Let’s go!”

The whole thing transpired in 30 seconds, maybe just 15. I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you. When the shit comes down, time perception bends.

“Let’s get the hell out of here! Forget the keys. Let’s get out of here! NOW!”

Run for Your Lives

We ran out the front doorway, spent a split second in questionable safety under the arch, then hopped further across the courtyard to another doorway and out into the street.

In the middle of the street, clear of anything that could fall on our heads save a telephone pole, we just felt safer. We spun around just like we might if we were in a film about an earthquake. It’s silly, but that’s what you do. You look around and you try to figure out what is going on.

Meanwhile, the ground continued to shimmy. It felt like it was bubbling. The road felt like rubber.

Is this thing ever going to stop?

On the Street

When you fear for your life, you leave everything behind. Your shoes, your laptops, even the keys. Everything. All that matters is that which is living.

We were outside. We were safe, unless of course the ground decided to open up. You don’t really don’t know what’s coming. The uncertainty is the most terrifying bit of all.

The street filled with people; everyone staggered out from their homes, mobile phones in hand.

A group of women down the street crossed themselves.

Our landlord’s maid, probably in her 60s, stood fully composed in the doorway as the ground continued its boogie.

Audrey turned around, “Es tipico?” (Is this typical?)

“Si,” she gave a nod. Her hands came up even to the ground, then down. “Calm,” she suggested with the motion. We obviously looked shaken.

“Pero, muy fuerte,” she continued. But, very strong.

Another woman stuck her head out from next door, “Muy fuerte.”

A hound dog pup rounded the corner at full speed, freaked out.

Capturing the humor in the moment, Audrey remarked about our landlord, a dentist with an office in town: “Let’s hope he wasn’t drilling in someone’s mouth.”

Settling Back

The good thing is, everyone appeared to be OK. News reports seem to suggest that the damage, at least in Oaxaca, is surprisingly limited. We could hear a few things crash and fall here and there, likely dislodged during the quake. Amazing, really: it was a 7.4 magnitude earthquake, centered 100 miles away and very shallow at 12 miles deep.

Now I understand why all the buildings here are squat, one and two stories.

As I write this, the tamale vendor chants his “ta-ma-le, ta-ma-le!” like clockwork through his megaphone as he rides his bicycle down the street.

Things have returned to normal, at least for the moment. We value these sounds.

It’s not an earthquake alarm, and that’s all that matters.

For those of you wondering, we haven’t seen Malia Obama (President and Michele Obama’s daughter) during her spring break trip to Oaxaca. If it weren’t for the fact that the earthquake coincided with her visit, we probably would have never even known.

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Happy Holidays…and a Christmas Camelhttp://uncorneredmarket.com/happy-holidays-camel-egypt/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/happy-holidays-camel-egypt/#comments Sat, 24 Dec 2011 09:13:17 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=9983 By Audrey Scott

From atop a camel at the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, we would like to wish you and yours a very happy holidays! Wherever you may be, whatever you happen to celebrate, we hope your holidays and new year are filled with joy, peace and a little bit of adventure! — Dan and Audrey

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By Audrey Scott

Christmas Cheer and Camel Rides - Giza Pyramids, Egypt
Holiday Cheer and Camel Rides

From atop a camel at the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, we would like to wish you and yours a very happy holidays!

Wherever you may be, whatever you happen to celebrate, we hope your holidays and new year are filled with joy, peace and a little bit of adventure!

— Dan and Audrey

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