What I’m Bringing with me to Thailand

Thailand is the most popular vacation destination in Southeast Asia. Offering pristine beaches, undisturbed jungles, incredible opportunities for diving, delicious delicacies, warm and welcoming people, a vibrant culture – and inexpensive prices – it’s easy to see why so many people from around the globe choose to travel to the country. Add to that the fact that it’s a pretty easy country to travel around, and Thailand really is a fantastic destination.

If you’re planning a trip to this glorious country and you’ve never been before, you’re going to want to make sure that you are well prepared so that you can have the best experience possible. Thailand is one of my favorite destinations, so I want to share with you some of my travel tips that will help to make your trip to this country an incredible one.

Understanding the Landscape

Thailand offers a very varied landscape. The beaches are, by far, the most popular attraction. In fact, when you picture this country, images of aqua blue water hugging pristine white beaches is probably the first thing that comes to mind.

Beaches aren’t the only thing that Thailand has to offer. There are acres upon acres of lush jungles to explore, too. You’ll find incredible wildlife in its natural habitat (such as elephants,) and so many different specimens of flora that is unlike anything you will ever see in the United States. The jungles are really quite incredible, so I highly recommend that you don’t miss out on doing a hike through at least one.

There’s also bustling activity to be found in the cities. Bangkok is the major city. It’s the heart of the country and it offers some pretty incredible sites and attractions, as well as very friendly people. Make sure you check out the ancient temples, the palaces, the street markets and shops, and the vibrant nightlife (which is one of the craziest nightlife scenes that I have ever experienced.) Of course, you don’t want to miss out on the amazing Thai food.

Travel Tips

There are some key travel tips that you should keep in mind if you are planning a trip to Thailand. Here’s a look at some of my tips that I think you will find invaluable when vacationing in this country.

  • Reserve your hotel room before you arrive, especially if you are planning on visiting areas that are frequented by tourists. There are some truly fantastic, world-class resorts in Thailand, and if you are planning on taking a luxurious vacation, you don’t want to end up not being able to get a room at one of these resorts.
  • If you aren’t planning a luxury vacation, consider staying in a hostel. Not only are they economical, but they are a great place to meet people from around the world. I’ve had some incredible experiences in the hostels in Thailand, and there are tons to choose from.
  • Wait until you arrive to book any tours. Whether you are planning on going sightseeing or zip lining through the jungles, I highly recommend waiting until you get to the country to book a tour. There are tons of travels agencies located near the tourist areas and they are looking to sell their tours, so you should be able to get an excellent deal.

My 5 Must Bring Items

Thailand is a truly unique country, which means that you are going to need to bring things with you that you probably wouldn’t consider bringing to any other country. Here’s a look at the top 5 things that I always make sure to have in my luggage when I travel to Thailand.

  • A LifeStraw is a must. Thailand tap water isn’t purified enough to meet the needs of Westerners, which means that drinking it could end up getting you sick. Though you can certainly buy bottled water, in the event that you can’t get any, or you want to save some money, make sure you bring a LifeStraw with you. It’s filters tap water, removing elements that could potentially get you sick so you can stay hydrated without having to worry.
  • An international power adapter is a must. They use different outlets than we do in the US, which means that you won’t be able to charge up if you don’t have one.
  • Travel insurance is essential. In the event that something goes awry, you’ll be thankful that you are financially protected by a travel insurance policy.
  • I always bring a travel sheet with me, too. I like staying in hostels, and sometimes, the sheets don’t exactly meet my standards of being clean. With a travel sheet, you will be able to make sure that you have a clean surface to sleep on.
  • Comfortable, supportive shoes are also a must. You don’t want to end up with aching feet after trekking through the cities or the jungle.
Continue Reading

When God Takes You by the Hand and Brings You to Good Places

It seems to me that there’s something common in the faces of the Indonesian holy men – all of them have deep wrinkles in the corners of their eyes. These are laugh wrinkles, like sun rays that seem to prove that an Indonesian holy man lives in blessed harmony, looking at the world through the healthy prism of laughter.

Papa Jero’s eyes were the same. Long beard, droopy hair and pajama-like batik patterned clothes could let me assume the uncle living in a shed in the mountains is a weird hippie. But there’s so much warmth beaming from that hippie, the smile, the eyes. His humble shack on North Bali looking at Buyan lake is always open to his guests, because when Jero has a lot to do, then Jero is happy. Now this weird papa tells himself to be a holy man.

If this was all I knew about him I’d think him to be a weirdo. But bit by bit the microcosm of the holy man opens up to us, revealing Hinduist colours intervened with animistic powers and Buddhist rationality. In every expanded family there’s usually one holy man that the god has given special powers to communicate on a bit more powerful level. If there’s someone ill in the family or there’s a quarrel the holy man can help a lot. A holy man has no steady relationship with any temple but if necessary he could take part in sacred rituals.

Usually the power of the holy man is passed from one generation to another. Jero got to know about his role only six years ago when somebody in his brother’s family was suffering from a difficult illness. When the family went to a farmer for consultation, as it’s proper on Bali, he’d told that in their family there already is one holy man. The threads led to Jero and in a magical way the sick became well again. This was followed by some other weir healing cases that papa Jero had to do with until people really started turning to him when they had any trouble. But not always do the methods carry fruit, Jero says honestly.

Sometimes I’m lucky, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes the god talks to him, sometimes he doesn’t. Usually when Jero feels sensation in his chest there’s somebody from the family coming over; if he feels it in his head, somebody from the village is coming; when he feels it on his hand, there’s a foreigner coming. Jero says that money isn’t the most important, health is as important, if not more. Jero understands that the god’s treat doesn’t depend on the amount of the sacrifice. “You have to believe, truly. Even a small sacrifice is a good sacrifice.” In the morning Jero wakes up and says he has a feeling somebody’s coming. It’s less than 30 minutes later when the owner of his land arrives and waves a contract before the holy man.

The contract says that papa and his family have to move because this is a place where a hotel for tourists has to be built. With a pool, of course. But Jero doesn’t worry, he’s happy per se. He baptizes all of us his children and like a modern man he says that one has to love all countries and honor all nationalities. The little papa takes his five European children, who are all much taller than he, into his jeep and drives us to the most beautiful rice fields of Bali, which have also been noticed by the protective hand of Unesco. And then we hold hands and meditate. Our new mom cries when we drink our last morning coffee and try to ask Jero if the god is rightful and moral. If you live your life in an honest way, truth truth truth, then god takes your hand and takes you to good places, Jero says.

That’s all. I think I have to do a little sacrifice to god, really honestly, I’ll let him have mango and banana, truth truth truth, as papa Jero says. Because this really was a very good step of him to take us here.

Continue Reading

Hostel vs Hotel

Hostel vs Hotel—Which One to choose?

Both hotels and hostels give paid settlement and cabin offices for the most part for transient periods however there are stark contrasts between a hostels and a hotel. While hotels offer more customized cabin offices, hostels give more agreeable settlement that is generally spending plan arranged. In a hostel, visitors can lease a bed or a loft in a mutual residence with every other facility shared like washroom, kitchen and parlor region. A few hostels have co-ed rooms while others just give single-sex rooms yet with an alternative of private rooms also. Hotels for the most part offer a less expensive hotel elective both for the tenants and the administrator as some long haul Hostels occupants twofold as housekeeping staff or work area agents consequently with the expectation of complimentary sit tight. One outstanding contrast from hotels is that hostels offer far less protection since all offices are shared, otherwise called mutual settlement. However there is more social association between visitors in a hostel. Actually in a few nations like the United Kingdom, there are hostelling associations that energize open air exercises and social trades inside of hostels. In different nations, hostels are utilized as long haul settlement for specific demographic, for example, medical caretakers and college understudies or voyagers. Thus one can easily state that there is a stiff difference between the hotel VS hostel and this is the reason why there is so much of a preference in this field.

Hotels for the most part give more private and customized settlement like en-suite, with rooms that are completely outfitted with offices, for example, aerating and cooling, digital television, phone and web administrations and also access to the inn bar where snacks may be served. Most hotels give dinners as a component of the convenience bundle. Hotels range in quality and styles and as a rule the expense will mirror the quality and standard of administrations on offer. Be that as it may, for the most part, the enormous overall increment in tourism as of late has seen norms enhance particularly for littler hotels. Keeping in mind the end goal to make correlations in administration quality, some evaluating frameworks were presented. The star rating framework is the most prominent of all with appraisals from one to five stars, with more star rating demonstrating better nature of administrations and offices. Bigger hotels give a considerable measure of extra offices on top of the fundamental ones, including swimming pools, rich eateries, childcare offices, conferencing and other social administrations.


Hotels have a tendency to be pricier than hostels which are for the most part spending plan situated. Hotels are more private and customized to particular tastes while hostels have shared offices. Hotels give more discounts to visitors from lavish offices contrasted and those that are accessible in hostels. Hotels give suppers as a component of food and lodging while hostels don’t give dinners but instead procurement to setting up own dinners. This is the reason why in the battle of a hotel VS hostel, the winner is awarded to the hotels only!

Continue Reading

Is Venice A Good Place For Budget Travelers?

Can budget travelers afford to visit Venice?

Italy hold such a historic appeal to all travelers. It is the home of the great Roman Empire, and the great rulers and emperors that the world has heard of or read about as well as the Vatican City that houses the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. Today it is a very common tourist destination for these reasons and more. Italy is known for exotic weather and glorious beaches among other things that draw tourist today. As much as we may all be keen to see the world, the cost can stand in the way of this. This article will explore whether budget travelers can afford to visit Venice. Without knowledge of the city, you can burn a hole in your wallet. So, if you are planning to visit Venice, you are reading the right article, read on.

There are various factors that all tourists will save money on if they know how to, these include food, accommodation, travel and among other things.


Like most parts of Italy Venice is filled with a wide range of food outlets, and other Italian themed snack bars. It can save you a fortune if you pick up a few of these snacks along the way instead of having to pay for meal in a restaurant. You can always visit restaurants when you get back home. Mercato del Rialto is an open market in Venice. If you have kitchen facilities wherever you will be staying while in Venice, picking up some food from the traders in this market can also save you a lump sum.


They say the true charm of Venice is in its waters. If you choose not to miss out on this experience, you may also want to get on the waterbus, and not a private boat. Doing this will save you over three quarters of the potential fee of a private boat. While on land, you can hire a bike for as little as €5 for the day. You can also make use of the local bus service, which is relatively reliable and most importantly very affordable.


Where you go will determine how much you spend in Venice. Most tourist areas are priced for tourism. You need to shy away from this, blend in with the local and have an authentic Venice experience. Wander into local bars and enjoy cheap authentic Italian drinks and their amazing hospitality. Spend some time going through the different markets, tasting local cuisine.


Now that you have had all the fun in the world, you may need to start considering where to lay your head. Venice tourist areas can be very expensive. It is wiser to start planning ahead, look into house share, couch rental, maybe a hostel (venice hostels) and camping websites. Not only do these allow you to meet great people, local and visitors who you would not ordinarily meet in a 5 star hotel. There are various camping sites within reasonable proximity to the beach. These are worth looking into. Otherwise, enjoy Venice.

Continue Reading

A Look at Effective Telemarketing Software for Windows

A Look at Effective Telemarketing Software for Windows

In today’s technology influenced world, almost everyone owns a computer. It is estimated that nearly eighty or ninety percent of these computers are equipped with the Windows operating system from Microsoft. With this in mind, software developers specifically seek out to develop software, which is compatible with this operating system. While this is definitely a good thing for Windows users, it can also create a bit of confusion, when attempting to find the best software for a specific purpose. In fact, trying to find the best telemarketing software for Windows can be rather difficult, since the selection is so wide. Thankfully, there is one software, which stands above the rest.

What to Know

When it comes to telemarketing software, it is important to choose one that will perfect and improve your company’s overall telemarketing campaign. If you’re currently using some type of software, it is wise to examine the features that you like and choose software, with similar features. Of course, you will want to make sure to select software, which is capable of managing all aspects of your call center, including incoming and outgoing calls. While narrowing down your options, it is wise to add the Call Center Now software to your list of potential purchases.

Predictive Dialing Made Easy

In the past, telemarketing was an unpredictable venture, which turned out to be hit or miss. Although it can still be a risky endeavor, the process can be much more efficient thanks to software, which offers predictive dialing. This software is capable of performing tests on specific campaigns, in order to determine the overall effectiveness of each. Once this is done, the software will be able to tell you, whether or not a campaign is worth running. With this in mind, you will have the ability to activate and deactivate campaigns. This will help you avoid running campaigns, which will result in limited success.

Interactive Voice Response System

The Call Center Now is equipped with a very comprehensive interactive voice response system, which can free up your agents, by performing a number of actions in a computerized manner. This system is capable of processing caller’s responses either by voice or through dual-tone multi-frequencies. This specific system can be used to create a variety of helpful applications, which can speed up the process of helping your customers or accepting orders. For instance, you can set up your IVR, as a way to provide your customers with information about their account or allow them to answer survey information.

Improved Results with Progressive Dialing

Before you place a call, it is extremely helpful to gather, as much information, as possible. This will help you get on a personal level with the potential customer or client. With the software’s progressive dialing feature, it is possible for agents to recover and review client information, before following through with the call. This will help to ensure that the agent is capable of pronouncing the individual’s name. Remember that a mispronounced name can always result in a hang up.

Continue Reading

Florida SEO Expert

Do you live in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area and need an SEO expert to help drive traffic to your business?  Florida SEO organizations recommend Brandamos as the Fort Lauderdale SEO expert that you need to contact.

Using a local SEO expert will benefit your business greatly.  With the local expertise your content will be specialized to your specific area, the Fort Lauderdale area. “If your business earns more than $100,000 per year, but having limited success online,” contact Brandamos. They are experts at flushing out strategies to elevating businesses and brands in the online space.

When hiring a corporate SEO firm you will be one of many clients that are all vying for the same top spot on the search engine list.  When you have the same company competing with itself, you can’t be sure that you are getting the very best quality for your precious advertising dollars.

Brandamos works with promoting the businesses that utilize Fort Lauderdale’s 300 miles of waterways and shores in the local area.  With the yachts and ships that enter the Fort Lauderdale waterways bring in over $600 million a year, in that one area of the city alone.  The amount of money that can be made by making sure that your business has the most exposure is immeasurable. When choosing Brandamos, you will be choosing to take your share of the millions that are going to be made with or without you in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Using an SEO expert like Josh Irving will be one of the best things you can do for your business.  The way search engines search for content and query’s by each individual user are growing and evolving every day.  Trying to keep up with the way your information will be found can be demanding and you want to make sure that you are at the forefront of any search that could be related to the services or goods that you provide.  Brandamos will make your site the best of the best.  With the content and knowledge that you will receive by hiring a local expert you will be sure to increase the profits from your online presence.

Years ago, when search engines were new and there weren’t thousands if not millions of pages that offer the same content as you, you could stuff keywords into your content and the unsophisticated search engines would pick it up and direct the users to your site. With the changing technology the criteria is constantly changing and an SEO expert will be able to take on the headache of making sure the search engine finds the best site to suggest to the users, yours.

Brandamos does regret that they sometimes have to turn down potential clients.  It might be a bad business model, but they won’t take on a client unless they can see that their services will benefit the client to the best of their abilities.   The founders say in their profiles that they feel that it is unethical to take on clients that they cannot benefit.  Its amazing to see leads come in and sales made for our clients. There is nothing like it. When you decide that your business could use a professional SEO touch so that your products and services are at the top of the search engines search list, Brandamos will be happy to assist you will all of your SEO needs.

Need more proof that Brandamos is the best, just run a search for local Fort Lauderdale SEO agency, guess whose name is at the top of the list.  That’s right, Brandamos.  If they can create these types of results for themselves, think what they will do for your business.  Do you want your business to be the first thing that users see when they search for the keywords in your content?  Contact the one who’s at the top.



Continue Reading

Drug Abuse and Alcohol Addiction Statistics

Statistics on Drug Abuse and Alcohol Addiction


These problems are more common than people may think

There is a lot of data and statistics out there in regards to drug abuse and alcohol addiction, from the national costs to overdose rates.  It is important to understand these statistics as more than statistics – these are real people with difficult struggles.  You may in fact know someone that is having a drug or alcohol issue, so understanding these statistics is important to knowing the risks involved and creating a proactive plan for you or those you love.


The Cost

The cost of drug and alcohol abuse is a major part of national healthcare expenditure, with alcohol costing $30 billion and drugs costing $11 billion.  If you include crime costs and lost productivity costs, those numbers increase dramatically: alcohol costs $235 billion and drugs cost $193 billion.

Billions of dollars are being put into resources for a preventable problem – unfortunately, there haven’t been any dramatic decreases in drug or alcohol abusers, and the costs seem to be rising from year to year.


Youth Statistics

While there may not be promising results from surveys and research in adult drug and alcohol users, there is generally good news for youth.  2014 saw a decline in over the counter and prescription drug abuse in youth.  The most significant drop was in the use of Vicodin: 2014 statistics reported that around 5% of high school kids used Vicodin recreationally, down from 10% in the previous year.

Statistics are also very promising with drinking.  There is a major trend of reduced drinking in high school aged children, and that trend is predicted to continue into the near future.  Binge drinking also dropped from 2013 to 2014.  The percentage of high school seniors who binge drink is under 20% – the peak was 32% in 1998.

Cigarette smoking is at its lowest rate in recent history, and has reduced by as much as 50% in the past five years.  The average percentage of daily cigarette smoking in teenagers is around 5%.

Illicit drug use has also been on the decline in the past few years, and despite the increased use of heroin in adults 26 and older, its use has been declining in teenagers.

While there are great statistics on drug use in teens, there are also areas that are cause for concern.  Many teens report that common drugs such as marijuana are very easy to come by.  While it is easy to get these drugs, there is a marked decline in marijuana use in high school students in the United States.  Many teenagers believe that regular use of marijuana isn’t unhealthy, so the number of high school users may increase in the near future if that attitude trend stays the same.

There has been an alarming increase in the use of electronic cigarettes in teenagers, with around 17% of high school seniors regularly using them.  While the tobacco in electronic cigarettes is inhaled differently than traditional cigarettes, the long term health impacts of electronic cigarettes are still unclear.


Adult Statistics

Statistics on adult drug abuse and alcohol addiction are less promising than the youth statistics.  In fact, over 50% of people over 26 years old have reportedly used illicit drugs at some point in their lives.  Over 87% of people 26 and older reportedly drank alcohol at some point in their lives.  These numbers are much higher than many people may think, and with so many people using drugs and alcohol, the more cases of drug abuse and alcohol addiction will arise.


Overdose Rates

There has been an alarming rise in overdose deaths in many categories of drug use.  In 2011, almost 18,000 people died from overdosing on prescription drugs – this was three times the number reported in 2001.

2011 also saw a dramatic increase in deaths caused by heroin overdoses.  Almost 5,000 people died from heroin overdoses, which is almost twice the number reported in 2010.


Treatment Options

If you or someone you know has a problem with drug abuse and addiction, it is vital to get help as soon as possible.  At Meridian Treatment Solutions, we provide the care and expertise that you need for a successful recovery.  We provide the structure and support needed for recovery, and have personalized treatment options that fit each individual patient.

Whether you’re struggling with drug use or alcohol problems, our staff is ready to put you on the path toward recovery.  We have a strong community of people with similar stories that you can rely on for help and guidance during these difficult times.  Don’t wait for treatment – the longer you wait, the more problems can occur from excessive drug use.  It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible in order to ensure the best possible recovery outcome.

Continue Reading

Finally, the Spring/Summer ‘09 campaign is here!

So we’ve been patiently waiting for the day to reveal our newest campaign to all of you….and that day is today.

“in a FAST PACED WORLD” is the theme for our Spring/Summer 2009 campaign. We were inspired by the idea of [others] who are living, working, breathing in our fast world yet they are somehow existing at a different speed. We like people who take time to slow down in our superfastechnologicrazy world….people who make art, use pencils, typewriters, ride bikes, sit in parks, sip their drinks slow and watch the rest of the world go by.

Take a look through the campaign images, we think they’re amazing, and comment back to let us know what you think of the campaign, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Also check out the amazing work of our friend Peter Dawson who shot the whole campaign here

Continue Reading

Jason and Laren from Invisible Children visit COO HQ

Steve and I met up with Jason and Laren, two of the three who started Invisible Children, for some breakfast and hang-out time.  By the simple act of telling a story that gripped them they have transformed the youth of America into a fund-raising, world-changing force.

They stopped by the [city of others] HQ out in LA and left rockin’ a pair of jeans each. Here we are, best buds in a classic jump shot:

Check out the screening schedule here because IC is probably going through your city and your school.

Continue Reading
Continue Reading