January 10th, 2017 //7am

How to learn a language the exciting way and get a large bite of that chocolate …

written by Phil Hill 

In this modern day we have access to the internet and a whole host of apps and businesses that make the whole world seem accessible from your home: Wanna see what’s going on in Barcelona? – A simple google search will give you all the information at your fingertips, right? The geopolitical situation, live video stream, photos of seasonal changes, you can close down your laptop at the end of the day feeling better about yourself and that you have learned something about the culture you’re so fascinated by. On day two you might wake up with a new found enthusiasm to learn the language. So you jump into your favourite chair, out with the laptop and into the web. This time your search is a little more honed. Google search: “Learning Spanish”, wow it could be so easy …download an audio program and listen away… but…, repeat after me ….Is this experience rich?

Culture and times are changing, gone are the quick fix throwaway days, people are now reversing the trend of ‘time for money’. These days it is ‘money for time’.
So go, put on that adventure hat, pack your bags [like a Pro], get the blood pumping, go feel alive & sign up to learning a language the only way it should be done – immersed in the culture!

Let me ask you one thing: When you see your favourite chocolate bar in a shop, do you want to have a look at its packaging from afar and leave or do you want to unravel it and have yourself a large bite?

The same principle here:

Why look at a picture of a Paella, if you can go and taste it, why listen to a video tape of a Spanish lady, when you could interact with her and have a laugh, why act like you’re asking for directions to “X”, if “X” could actually be an exciting destination of your own choice?

And finally, when you get to sit in the plaza of your chosen location absorbed in the beauty of new things, sipping on local coffee & listening to the ebb and flow of this beautiful language, you will realise that you should pat yourself on the back for a decision well made. Life is made up of moments and life is short, why continue the mundane, when you can have this instant as a cherished memory.

You will be surrounded by likeminded people open to life in a safe and secure learning environment, you will be combining travel with a skill that will be greatly valued on you CV, you will make lifelong friends & most importantly: your understanding of everything will change, I guarantee it.

September 3, 2016 //12pm

Don’t weigh yourself down – pack like a pro!

written by Andie Hill /

Travelling equals adventure, buzz, expansion of your boundaries….. But at the start of it all, it means having to reduce your wardrobe to a practically and inevitably uncompromisable 10%. And should you miss out on planning your luggage cleverly – you’re in danger of turning into your own pack-donkey with your luggage controlling you and your trip.

For most of us (excuse me if I’m biased, I am a girl!) packing our daily necessities into a bite sized bundle of fluff can become a true challenge. I had to learn the hard way, starting with a 30kg backpack on my 6-week trip through rural Mexico and continuing the journeys, slowly adding on more and more wheels and begrudging my once so beloved items in my trailing agony.

So whether you are keen to take on the quest to achieve a “carry-on only” trip or if it is all about shrinking your belongings into the 20kg hold allowance, let me give you an introduction on how to convert the burden of packing into the most efficient and memorable act of travel prep – one, you can be proud of:

donkeys_of_moroccoSome suitcases weigh a staggering 5 kg, and you haven’t even packed anything into them yet, so invest some time in finding a particularly light weight one (not two, not three – ONE!) that follows your very step (on wheels or convertable). And one of limited capabilities, that just holds the weight you are happy to carry up the impending flights of stairs.

Choose to take only versatile light clothes that match in different ways and can be easily layered on you for different weather conditions.

A washing machine or laundrette is never far away, so really – more than 1 week worth of stuff is bordering on decadence.

Loose all wrinkly clothes, they are high maintenance and will only encourage you to waste your precious time in a new culture by doing domestic ironing.

Leave the denim skirt at home, which only works with that one trench-coat, which only works with those pink coloured wedges which can only operate on non – cobbled streets. You heard me!

Get a microfibre travel towel – super light weight, fluffy, compact goodness – aaaaahhh!

Buy all shampoos, creams & gels at your destination. Unless your are going on a north pole expedition or you are visiting indigenous tribes in the rainforest there’s no need to even bother thinking about the stuff at the time of packing.

luggage4Between the Equator and 40 degrees Longitude – flip flops go a long way.

If it has not been in your laundry on a 2-weekly basis, it’s unlikely, you will really need it.

Get ONE multi-port charger that charges ALL your different electronic devises. Boom!

An E-reader can apparently hold up to 3500 books and weighs around 170 grams.

By all means, forget about those high heels, you are using once in a blue moon and instead, use your personality to impress.

Apply psychology whilst packing and hold the thought: the more space you leave in your suitcase on arrival – the more incredible and exotic items you get to bring back at the end of your trip – do not underestimate Spain’s amazing fashion shops …

Now venture off into the sunset, FREE BIRD!

June 13, 2016 // 2pm

5 Reasons why you should learn to speak Spanish

written by Andie Hill /

Study Spanish

1. On your next holiday, you won’t need to look like a fool when trying to exchange information with the hostel owner. You won’t need to feel too “out of the box” to leave the beaten path and explore. Even volunteering in local communities won’t be a big deal: You’ll be able to chit-chat with a choice of 400 million native speakers across 21 countries – so what are you waiting for?

2. Your CV could possibly do with a little refresh and Spanish language skills will definitely give it that more sophisticated academic polish, you were looking for. You never know where this could lead to … a better position, more money & stardom? Go on, surprise the crowds !

3. You’ll get the chance to rediscover your little inner nerd and by the way, learn stuff that enables you to understand a whole new culture through the way things are being said.

4. You will finally understand the meaning behind your favourite La Bamba – party song , whilst singing it is becoming second nature.

5. Let’s be honest, Spanish language sounds awesome and is packed with passion – so completely worth while using it! Now how many times have you caught yourself using that boring old excuse of how having the English mother tongue has always been hindering you to steel yourself for the challenges of modern day interculturalism? Oh Piffles !!!

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