Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week (5.15.09)

Welcome back to Gadling’s weekly “Picks of the Week” feature, brought to you by our friends at travel website BootsnAll. How does it work? We input thousands of travel variables into the Gadling mainframe computer, and out comes five of the best and most interesting travel stories from BootsnAll this past week, ready for your reading pleasure. Got your 5.25″ floppy disk ready? Alright, here’s what we found:

  • The Venice of the… – Venice Italy is arguably one of Italy’s, if not the world’s, most popular tourism destinations. So popular in fact, that it’s spawned a fair share of “imitators.” As Roger Wade points out, pretty much any city that has a canal or waterway is laying claim to the nickname, including spots in Iraq, Russia and India. Check out his list of “Fake Venices Around the World.”
  • Life and Death in New Orleans – New Orleans is renowned for its spooky above-ground tombs, a feature of the city obviated by its elevation below sea level. Jessica Spiegel takes a photographic tour of New Orleans’ many atmospheric burial grounds. Don’t be afraid – the images are downright beautiful.
  • Drunken Culture – go on, admit it. You like to have an alcoholic beverage now and then. Lucy Corne is in on your secret – and knows how to help you make the most of it. She’s compiled a list of 10 places where you can drink and pretend like you’re soaking up all kinds of local culture. It’s OK…we promise to tell everyone that you went to Dublin to see the Book of Kells. No really, go see that too after you finish your Guinness.
  • Staying Healthy – when you’re out traveling, having fun and throwing caution to the wind, it’s suprisingly easy to forget to take care of your body like you might at home. Never fear, Eileen Smith has six cautionary reminders to make sure you spend your trip having fun and not in the hospital.
  • Thailand English – ever considered teaching English abroad? It can be a highly rewarding experience, but also one not without its challenges. Chabli Bravo spent the past seven months teaching English in Thailand and has a few suggestions to make the experience as good as possible. Even if you want to teach English elsewhere, it’s a post that’s certainly worth a look.

Well folks, looks like we’re out of room for this week. We’re just going to have to save all the other great links for next time around. Tune in again next Friday for more Gadling and BootsnAll Picks of the Week.

Do Good Travel: Bridges For Education is a way to head to China–or elsewhere

If you’re looking for a cheap way to travel, and a cultural experience that will bring you past wandering in a country, hoping something significant in your life happens, here’s an organization that looks like a promising possibility.

I read about it in a travel blurb and then headed to the Web site to check it out. Bridges for Education is a short term program where participants teach conversational English in exchange for cheap room and board and a week of cultural tours at the end of the teaching obligation.

The premise of the organization is that, by using teaching English as a tool, tolerance and understanding between cultures is fostered. Originally set up to answer the need for English language acquisition programs in Eastern Europe, the reach has expanded to Zhangzhou, China.

One thing I like about Bridges for Education is that it’s a non-profit organization, non-religious, and it coordinates with other organizations like UNESCO. It also looks HIGHLY organized and well-thought out.

There is a balance between giving of your time and talents and being able to see the country where you’re doing your good works. Although, the trips aren’t free, the price seems doable–although you’ll have to hustle to find an inexpensive flight. The fees cover everything except travel insurance and the cost of airfare to get to the country. Once you’re in the country, you’re taken care of unless you go souvenir shopping. Admission to places during the week tour are also included. For more program info and locations, click here. If you find out it’s too late to sign up for this year, there’s always next summer.

Here’s a quote from the Bridges to Education Web site that captures the flavor of what the organization is about. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” –Mark Twain