It might be too late to travel to the 2014 Olympic games, but there are still plenty of exciting world sporting events coming up! Here’s a list of some of our picks.
NHL Heritage Classic – March 2
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Not for those with an aversion to cold weather, the upcoming Heritage Classic is part of a series of outdoor NHL ice hockey games in Canada. If you can brave the chill, it’s guaranteed to be exciting; nobody loves ice hockey as much as its Canadian fans! Read More
Every four years, the world comes together to celebrate the sports that winter has to offer and the athletes that excel at them. That’s right: it’s time for the Winter Olympics! Take a look at these facts and get excited to root for your home team.
The original Winter Olympic sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating. We can barely imagine the Games without the mysterious sport of curling!
The torch relay for the 1952 Games in Oslo, Norway was conducted by 94 participants…entirely on skis.
The opening and closing ceremonies of 1960’s Squaw Valley Games were produced by the one and only Walt Disney. The 1960 games were also the first to feature women’s speed skating and the first to have a dedicated Athlete’s Village.
The 1972 Games, held in Sapporo, Japan, were the first to take place outside of Europe or the United States.
Ice hockey actually made its debut at the 1920 Summer Games; the Winter Olympics didn’t exist yet!
Tara Lapinski remains the youngest athlete ever to become an individual Olympic champion. She brought home the gold for figure skating at the age of 15 at the Nagano Games in 1998.
This year, for the first time since 2002, the Jamaican national bobsled team has qualified for the Winter Olympics. We are, of course, watching Cool Runnings in preparation.
The 2014 Winter Olympics will also be the first time women will compete in ski jumping.
The 1992 Winter Olympics were the last to be held during the same year as the Summer Games. That’s fine by us…we much prefer only having to wait two years for more Olympics!
After reading about Marius‘s wild life, you’re probably hoping to visit Africa one day. So what better way to start preparing for a trip to Africa than with the advice of Paul and Itziar, who in 2010 traveled the African continent from South Africa to Morocco. Ready for an adventure?
Guest post by Pablo Strubell and Itziar M. Marcotegui
Africa commands respect. Many people imagine an underdeveloped continent with conflicts, poverty, and savage nature, and this is true for some of its 55 countries. However, above all, it is a beautiful and interesting continent. Africa is home to amazing natural wonders and many of its ethnic and tribal rituals are some of the most interesting and impressive in the planet. Add to that thousands of miles of beaches, traditions, and cultures, and it is no wonder African is a continent that captures the imagination of adventurers the world over. With all its diversity and differences among countries and regions, it’s important to be educated before you embark on your journey. Read More
Thinking about visiting Portugal soon? Check out Antonio’s local recommendations. He’s our Portuguese representative and lives in Marinha Grande, a city between Porto and Lisbon in the central coast of Portugal. He joined the team in 2005 and is an experienced exchanger (19 and counting!) He loves travelling with his wife and two children.
The most amazing country I have visited so far is…
Quebec, Canada. It is a region with very friendly people and beautiful nature. I have tried to explore its nooks and crannies, but as it is a vast region, only visited a tiny fraction over a month. I had the opportunity to be treated to some typical delicacies offered by the neighbors, but the best of all was yet to come: a boat trip to see the whales. We had to make a long trip to Tadoussac, but it was worth it because we saw over 20 whales, some of them passing just under our feet! Read More
Did you resolve to be more adventurous in 2014? We’ve put together our top ten excursions to help you get a head start.
1. Spend a day with some native Aussies
Just a quick 45 minute ferry ride from mainland Australia lies Kangaroo Island. If hand feeding a wallaby, hugging a koala, and basking in the sun surrounded by every kind of flora imaginable is your idea of the perfect day, find a home base in Southern Australia and take a weekend excursion to KI.
2. Ski Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
Chamonix, France was home to the very first winter olympics. Today, you can ski down 145 trails spanning 90 miles or try one of the off-trail slopes; there are over 30,000 acre’s worth.
3. See Cappadocia, Turkey from a new angle
Cappadocia’s surreal landscape and perfect flying conditions make it one of the best places in the world for a hot air balloon ride. You’ll fly over fairy chimneys, spectacular stone pillars, and houses and churches carved out of the soft volcanic rock that covers most of the region. Cappadocia is an easy trip from Istanbul; several quick flights are available daily.
4. Dive with whale sharks in Belize
The gentle whale shark has the distinction of being the world’s largest fish, but despite its name and moniker, it doesn’t pose a threat to humans. In fact, its diet consists mainly of plankton, krill, and algae. Whale shark season in Belize’s unique Gladden Split (a section of reef off the coast of Placencia) runs from April to June, and the giants are most often spotted four to five days after the full moon.
5. Rough it in the Canadian Rockies
Get in touch with your inner pioneer on an overnight horseback trip through the mountains of British Columbia. Help herd cattle, sleep in a tent with your horse hobbled nearby, and leave feeling a little rough-and-tumbler than when you arrived.
6. Catch a wave in Costa Rica
Because Costa Rica has access to two different oceans just 6 hours apart from each other, you can count on some stellar swells year round. If you’re looking to improve your technique, there are many surf camps that offer overnight stays and full-day classes.
7. Snowboard in the sand dunes in Chile
Love the idea of snowboarding but not a fan of cold weather? Try your hand (or feet!) at sandboarding. You’ll meet your guide, rent a board, and venture to the dunes of northern Chile. Remember to visit during the subequatorial summer, or else you really will be snowboarding!
8. Hike on a glacier in Patagonia
At last count, there were 356 glaciers in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park. The most impressive, however, has to be the Petito Moreno. You’ll begin by traveling through the Patagonian valley and hopping aboard a ship that will take you to the base of the glacier. No matter what time of year you visit, make sure to wear waterproof boots!
9. Paraglide the fjords of Norway
If the above adventures sound like a lazy day at the beach to you, maybe jumping off the side of a mountain would be more your style. Get a bird’s eye view (really!) of the breathtaking Norwegian fjords, and an adrenaline rush while you do.
10. Spot a whale in Newfoundland, Canada
If you prefer a more passive approach to adventure-seeking, try a peaceful kayak ride among the whales of Newfoundland. The waters are home to 22 species of whales which migrate throughout the year. If seafaring isn’t your thing, you can even see the gentle giants from a perch on an ocean cliff.
Will you be going on an adventure this year? Tell us about it in the comments!
Wondering how home exchange works? It’s easy!
We’ve put together this short video to help you get started. Follow these simple steps and get ready to travel anywhere, live like a local, and stay for free.
Ever wonder what it would be like to spend each day among zebras, giraffes, and wildebeests? Meet Marius, a HomeExchange.com member from a wildlife estate in South Africa!
Marius and his family have been members since 2009 and have completed four exchanges so far. Their favorite has been to a beautiful home in Mauritius in a decidedly un-touristy part of town. They purchased their food in local shops and really felt a part of the surrounding community. “This is just one of the reasons why we love exchanging homes,” Marius says. “You get to experience the real culture and people of that country.” Read More