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Ian Hoyt

Best Value Portuguese Wines in New York City

If you’re on the search for the best value Portuguese wines in New York City we’ve searched far and wide so you don’t have to. Finding a good amount of value Portuguese wines in the city was quite difficult actually.

When I think of NYC I think you can find anything you want. Well, it wasn’t like that when it came to Portuguese wines. I have a couple of theories on why it is like this, but the point of this article is to give you a quick shortlist of great value Portuguese wines that you must try.

So after walking all over the city on a beautiful Friday afternoon, and after a quick stop at Jacob’s Pickles to refuel, here are the top options:

Chambers Street Wines

Address: 148 Chambers St A, New York, NY 10007

Xisto ilimitado red, Douro

Xisto ilimitado red, Douro$25.99 / bottle

Beautiful red wine in case you like Malbec! Like walking a violet field!

Xisto ilimitado white

$24.99 / bottle

Here you have an amazing old oak-aged white for 25 bucks. Spices, caramel, vanilla… where’s the cheese?

Sidonia de Sousa 2015 red, Bairrada

$14.99 / bottle

I would compare this to a Pinot Noir or a funky Barbera. I love baga for one reason. Most of them give you that hay, barnyard, turnip and earthy character that is just lovely, but still on the lower end of tannins.

Quinta santa da teresa, Vinho Verde

$15.99 / bottle

I am going to sum this one up in one word: LEES! Who the hell said Vinho Verde is that watery fizzy drink only? Grow up…

Astor Wines & Spirits

Address: 399 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003

Aphros loureiro 2018, Vinho Verde

Aphros loureiro 2018, Vinho Verde$15.99 / bottle

Any wine geek or adventurous person that wants a skin contact wine? YEAH! What a ridiculous price! 100% Avesso here. Down this list you will have a skin contact 100% Loureiro. Please get both and drink them together!

Alvarinho casa capitao mor 2017, Vinho Verde

Alvarinho casa capitao mor 2017, Vinho Verde$14.96 / bottle

Another ridiculous wine that screams lees and batonnage. What a concentration of flavors this is. $15 bucks. FIFTEEN BUCKS!

Casa mouraz tinto 2014. Dão

Casa mouraz tinto 2014. Dão

$15.99 / bottle

Do you want an old fashion taste of Portugal? This is it. A blend of 9 grape varieties. Yes, very common to blend lots of stuff in Portugal. The result? An organic wine that has tannins that tell you that you better go get a ribeye because it will give you a great time!

Filipa pato rosé 2018. Bairrada

Filipa pato rosé 2018. Bairrada$15.99 / bottle

You know, we all have that friend. That friend that thinks they know it all or that always complains it is not good enough. Or the other way around, where that friend is really excited to taste different stuff. This is it.

Please give it blind to your friend, ask them how much it costs and how good it is and then tell them this insane price because here you have an organic rosé sparkling wine with beautiful lees aging.

Please Please Please, of them all, if you had one wine only you could try, please let it be this one!

Union square wines

Address: 140 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Alvarinho anselmo mendes contacto, Vinho Verde

Alvarinho anselmo mendes contacto, Vinho Verde$13.99/case or $17.99/bottle

Great Alvarinho here, literally from a neighbor of mine, beautiful skin contact here. Compare this to the other skin contact we saw above and decide if you like skin contact more with a floral or fruity character.

To sum up, I am a bit disappointed with the poor selection of Portuguese wines in New York City. For the city that it is, I was expecting more.

Anyone can have that great French or Italian wine that everyone knows. But few can find the great undervalued wine from Portugal and I hope I will see more of them next time I visit because back home I taste lovely things with unbelievable prices!

Who the hell am I?

I am Rafael de Lima, aka Raf, owner of de Lima’s wine bar in Porto, Portugal, and de Lima’s wine experiences. Winemaker for fun in Monção, making a weird alvarinho that only my geeky friends get to taste. I am also currently about to finish my WSET level 4 in London. I am honored to say that I make my living spitting wine and making other people discover the beauty of Portuguese wines.

22 Best Things To Do In Porto, Portugal

north portugal vineyard

There are so many things to do in Porto, Portugal that our list could be endless. However, we’ve decided to share only our very favorite things you could totally be doing on your visit to Porto. Whether you’re joining us on our Portugal trip or going at it alone make your next adventure one for the record books.

Be sure to go through the entire list, because the best ones aren’t necessarily at the very top. 😏

1. Take a Porto Walking Tour

Porto Walkers free walking tourAs always I recommend that you start your trip off with a free walking tour of the city. This is great because you get a good overview of the area so you know what you may want to do and what to avoid before your trip really gets started.

We recommend joining Porto Walkers for your tour: https://www.portowalkers.pt/

2. Take a walk along the water

Obviously part of Porto’s charm is its location on the Douro River which will, in turn, take you to the Douro Valley or the Atlantic ocean. Make sure to give the Douro river a walk. If I were you I would block out a whole afternoon and see how far west or east you can go on foot before turning home.

3. Take a break from wine for a cocktail at Royal Cocktail Bar

Royal Cocktail Bar old fashioned porto portugalThere’s plenty of wine in Porto. Odds are you probably want to visit Porto because of this. But anyone that likes a good adult bev knows that you need a break from wine every now and again to enjoy a fine cocktail. The Royal Cocktail bar is the place to go!

Trust us, this place makes the best cocktails in town and you will be thanking us later. There is no bad cocktail here so get whatever kind of liquor you enjoy most.

Where to find it: Rua da Fábrica 105, 4050-247 Porto, Portugal

4. Enjoy breakfast or lunch at BOP Café

Caroline and I discovered this place one gloomy weekend morning when we were craving a good hearty (dare I say American-style) breakfast. Perhaps our inner American was showing or something.

What we ended up getting was perhaps one of the best breakfast spreads of my life that was your classic breakfast you’d get in the states with unique spins that clearly translated into deliciousness.

That unique spin being prosciutto bacon. OMG. We went back three times. 🤷‍♂️

The kicker? Not only is the restaurant themed around records, but they also switch the records out from their wall of what could only be hundreds of records every so often while you dine.

Address: R. da Firmeza 575, 4000-121 Porto, Portugal

5. Enjoy a wine tasting from our friend Rafael

wine tasting in porto portugal
If you join us on our Portugal trip you’ll be seeing plenty of this guy. We have partnered with him to host one hell of a wine trip here in Portugal. He makes wine tastings fun and an environment where you’ll actually learn something.

de limas wine barYou can find his wine tasting here

6. Order the Francesinha

Oh my, the Francesinha. It’s perhaps one of the most iconic Porto specific menu items. Have a heart condition? Afraid of clogging up your arteries?

Well then stay far away because this dish is going to leave you the good kind of hurt.

Francesinha Arco Iris

This dish has ham, sausage and steak basking in a tomato sauce and shielded by the most delicious melted cheese. I have to say, it’s quite the meal and you must try it once.

Where we tried it: Restaurante Arco Iris

7. Explore the Douro Valley

A Unesco World Heritage site since 2001, it’s hard to go to Porto and not explore the Douro Valley. It’s the producer of the Port wines that this region is known for. Whether you take a boat ride or van ride to the Douro region, be sure to have time to take in the valley. This is typically a day trip.

8. Visit Livraria Lello

Livraria LelloI have to be honest, we don’t visit this library just because the lines are so very long.

It’s what some may say, overrun with tourists. If you are a Harry Potter fan then this is a MUST. It’s a beautiful library, but not worth waiting in a line that could be hours long.

9. Get the espresso, not drip coffee

Okay, this isn’t groundbreaking but when in Porto it’s not the place to get drip coffee. Espresso is the go-to coffee drink and so try it out if you’re used to the more Americanized drip coffee back home.

Be warned though, once you go espresso it’s hard to go back.

10. Spend a day for the shops

shop in portoPorto is filled with a bunch of small locally ran and some not so locally ran shops.

Put on your absolute best walking shoes and get ready for a day filled with ups and downs literally. It’s worth it though to see all the fun shops in various corners of this beautiful city.

PRO TIP: Try to choose a day where it may be overcast or not super hot. Going up and down hills can really ware on you so it’s best to get your walk on when it’s tame outside.

11. Try Port wine

Port wine is a Portuguese thing. You HAVE to try it. Port wine is known for being a sweeter wine that is made from many varieties of Portugues specific grapes. It is often served as a dessert wine.

If you want to learn more about Port wine I suggest reading this article.

12. See the azulejo tiles of the São Bento train station

All-around you will see azulejo tiles. The São Bento train station is a great place to see these up close.

São Bento train station13. Get dressed up and go have a photoshoot around the city

Porto is 100% photogenic. Sometimes it feels as if it is a city built out of a storybook.

Every alleyway, river walk, and cafe stop is picturesque.

If you’re looking for a great date activity to do with your partner, I would recommend booking an Airbnb photoshoot and wear something nice and let the photographer get you and your partner’s best side in this beautiful city.

things to do in porto portugal

Selfies are so overrated anyway. 😉

14. Go for a run 😂 🏃‍♀️

I put this on the list because I thought it’d be a fun challenge for those that are runners.

Porto is a city not for the faint of heart. Most of the city is on an incline so going for a morning run may well be a challenge. If you are an active person this will be a fun challenge to take on.

If you do end up running, please send us a message with how many miles (or kilometers) you ran and your route we’d love to hear from you!

15. Eat a Pastéis de Nata

One of my fondest memories of our first time in Porto was checking into our Airbnb only to find a batch of fresh Nata’s from the downstairs bakery and espresso pods waiting for us in the kitchen. I’m a pastry addict and the moment I bit into one of these I think I cried a little from pure joy.

These fluffy buttery layered pastries are filled with an egg custard that, if done right, is the perfect sweet creamy taste you’ve always dreamed of.

As I was writing this article, I tried making my own. Trust me, leave it to the experts in Porto!

Making Pastéis de NataMy suggestion is to get them from São Jorge Padaria e Pastelaria (St. George Bakery and Pastry). It may be a little hike from downtown Porto, but these are fairly priced and quite delicious. Try to avoid the over-hyped tourist nata traps.

Address: Rua do Doutor Alfredo Magalhães 78, 4000-062 Porto, Portugal

16. Have a Portuguese Hotdog or two, or three

There are few things more beautiful and delicious than a Portuguese hotdog. Made of what I believe to be the most delicious sausage ever, garlic, butter, and cheese, you would think this is just like any other dog. BUT YOU ARE WRONG.

I had a few too many and ended up trying to make them in the states when I got home. While they were never as garlicky and buttery as the ones in Porto, they scratched my hearty meal affliction.

Where we ate them: The Traveller Caffé – Praça de Almeida Garrett Nº 22, 4000-069 Porto, Portugal

17. Walk the Luís I Bridge

Walk the Luís I BridgeIt’s nearly impossible to go to Porto and not walk the Luís I Bridge. It’s the epicenter that separates the city so you’ll have to take it at some point. It’s silly how beautiful Porto is and being on the bridge gives you one of the best (read: free) views of the city’s riverside.

PS… Caroline is going to kill me for using this photo.

18. See the street performer man with chickens

I can’t help myself. This is one of my favorite quirky parts of Porto. This man with a few chickens dancing to his music.

I honestly have a range of emotions when I stand and listen to this man play. Since witnessing this I have gone down the rabbit hole to try and discover what his story is. What led him to do this? Why? What is the unique look in his eye as he performs each day?

It’s one of those mysteries I think is better kept a mystery.

Porto busker chicken man

20. Eat a Casa Guedes Pork Sandwich

I’m not sure you can get more authentically Porto than with a Casa Guedes sandwich. If you’re going there don’t get intimidated by the long line, it moves pretty quick.

Their original location is a small shop so be ready to order, take your number and then wait outside for your sandwiches.

Address: Praça dos Poveiros 130, 4000-393 Porto, Portugal

21. Give Tripe a chance

Okay, just stick with me here. So Portugal holds no reservations for not being the vegetarian capital of the world. In-fact pork and meat run through this country’s heritage. So what better place to push the bounds of your meat-eating experiences than to venture into some of the lesser tried products like Tripe.

For the uninitiated, it’s stomach lining. How did I try it? In a tripe stew of course. If you’re given the opportunity, give it a try because food after all is the portal into any true travel experience.

22. Join us for an adventure

I know what you’re saying, Ian why do I need you?

Well to have a good time in Porto you most certainly do not need me. But to have a great time, I think you might.

If you’re looking to take your trip to the next level and explore not only the other side of Porto with our friend Rafael, but also learn wine by joining us in harvesting grapes in north Portugal you’ll want to ponder joining us on our trip.

Learn More About Our Portugal Trip

harvesting grapes in portugalharvesting in north portugal

Learning Everything About The Travelers We Don’t Have

Schonbrunn Palace gardens

Let me paint you a picture. 🖼

I’ve spent the last seven years building and breaking through marketing challenges for other startups. It’s fun!

Whether it was with a local veterinary clinic needing to find a path towards profitable client acquisition, or direct-to-consumer products needing a clear digital acquisition plan to breakthrough stagnant growth, I’ve managed to help solve these marketing problems that run the gamut.

But when it comes to my own business, why is it so much harder?

Ever since I started my life in “entrepreneurship” I’ve always been obsessed with the customer experience.

I remember back when I had my first business, a t-shirt brand for pilots, I would do anything and everything for each and every customer. Even if it meant hand delivering local packages.

It was never strategic, it was just logical… your success is predicated on having customers. Why wouldn’t you care about them the most?

So when I sat down to try and really get a grip on how we are going to get consistent customers for Life Nomading, I knew I needed to put this at the very forefront of priorities every single day.

How could I blend digital with a personal touch?

No one wants to go on a group trip and feel like they’re left in the dark during their decision making. Duh!

Our travelers are about to drop $1,000 to $3,000 on a trip of a lifetime with us. The least we can do is be their lifeline into an adventure.

It’s no secret tourism is competitive. My hypothesis right now is that I believe in my crowded marketplace of group trips, customer service is definitely one of the things I can control and be the best at.

Sure our trips are truly different than those on the market, but quite honestly that is proving to be the most challenging thing to educate right away for new traveler communication. So I think we need to try and get travelers into our brand first, educate over-time.

I also have a small business mover advantage, ie. I have plenty of supply and very little demand at the moment. I can take the time to get to know every email subscriber and every Instagram follower we get. (more on that later)

Okay, so I’m going to care about each and every prospect more than anyone in the industry, logical.

But how am I going to get in front of them in the first place?

Initial Marketing Strategy

Be a ninja on digital. It’s what I know best and quite honestly it’s the best bang for my dollar. We’ve tried hosting happy hours, meetup groups, handing out flyers in person, networking at tradeshows, etc… but those all take a ton of time and quite honestly isn’t all that targeted.

So for now, I want to be everywhere I can be online before going broke.

STEP 1

Build out a 60-second story that hits home our why, our who, and our what. It has worked for other brands I’ve worked with, so I don’t intend to re-invent the wheel, to begin with.

STEP 2

Build out all the nitty-gritty digital marketing assets:

    • Facebook Ads – to get in front of our traveler persona in their ~20’s & 30’s with the video above [performing pretty well at the moment, all the interactions are from people that clearly travel]
    • Google Ads – to capture those already searching for trips to Iceland, Bulgaria, or Portugal [we did get a booking from this last month, but I’m continually cautious that this only really be profitable when the timing is perfect for our related trip dates]
    • Retargeting digital campaigns for all different stages of our website traffic. [so cheap to keep people coming back, a must I believe]
    • Build out email sequences to educate subscribers with Klaviyo for anyone that joins our newsletter, visits our Itinerary pages, etc… [ultimately this is where I end up owning “the rest of the customer story”.]

STEP 3

Don’t let a single opportunity pass with these ads.

I’ve done the math and at the moment, if I generated two bookings a month from our paid strategy, I break even. In November 2019, we got one from these efforts and I was beyond elated. I was also cautious because as this month closes in we have yet to close one for December.

Unlike being a product company where, in my past, we were managing sometimes thousands of transactions per day, this is much different. Getting a few email subscribers a day on our newsletter or followers on Instagram is early encouragement.

So much so, the moment they join our list or follow us I can’t help but send them a personalized message:

I do this same thing on Instagram whether someone follows us or just likes our video ad. I do this in audio memo form in their DMs and this is being received SUPER well. It takes a ton of time to be quite honest, but I’d say I have been getting probably about 40-50% response rate from my audio messages.

I even had a group of two friends pretty much verbally commit to Bulgaria through this outreach. But any good salesperson knows it doesn’t count until the transaction is made.

STEP 4

Learn from the insight I’m getting from every response. Before doing manual outreach it was much harder to understand why the hell people aren’t booking trips with us.

Just in the past couple of months of doing this strategy, I have learned so much from all those interactions.

For the most part, people actually take the time to read our itinerary pages and respond with crazy positive praises and a desire to go on a trip with us.

The issue? They either have a hard time getting off work/school for our few dates available throughout the year (a huge conundrum I’m trying to tackle as a small operator), or they are looking at other destinations for 2020 and will keep us in mind for 2021. UGH!

The nice part is people love our brand and our trips. The frustrating part is how many variables go into having the perfect departure date for the right traveler, and cross paths at the perfect time when they want to book.

Step 5

And finally, to round out my digital strategy, we try our best to keep Instagram and LinkedIn organic posting consistent. Chopping up hours and hours of travel footage into bite-size 15-second clips that will live on those channels for our hard-earned audiences to continue seeing our brand daily.

via GIPHY

Instagram is our wanderlust angle, to show the beauty of travel for those who resonate best with that vibe.

LinkedIn to get those same people when they are behind their desk perhaps a bit frustrated with the slog. And quite honestly, if you’ve read this far you are part of the strategy too 🤷‍♂️

We know for a fact that our trips can be beneficial to those that are too busy to plan a trip, but still want to take advantage of the time off they have from their busy careers.

And that’s why I am sharing my progress with you! I hope you can see behind a company that someday you may decide to support by joining on one of our trips.

My Current Objectives (KPIs)

Right now I am hyper-focused on a few things:

A. Qualified traffic to our website – I say qualified because we generate a healthy amount of traffic from pages that have nothing to do with trips or travel even. My goal is to ensure that all our ads hit the right people because I care more about retargeting them after they’ve first been exposed to us as a brand.

B. Adventure Call Bookings – I completely changed our checkout process recently. It now requires you to book a 15-minute call with us to get approved. My goal this month and next is increasing our call bookings from well, one.

C. Trip Bookings – obvious, we need to book our trips. The even more challenging part is booking out the trips we have that are still 8-9 months away.

That’s where I’ll leave you this week. I could go on for hours but welcome to why you are now seeing more ads and posts from us. 😀

What do you think I could be doing better? Where are the gaps I’m missing? What would you like to hear about more? Share and send me a message or comment on the social post to help a fellow founder out!

What It’s Like Building a Travel Company

Life Nomading Adventures has been around for much longer than you may know.

This blog was a place where I first began sharing my thoughts about travel and life back in 2012.

Life Nomading Office throwbackCan you spot the old school Life Nomading website circa 2015 ⏫

For some, seven years doesn’t seem like all that long ago. For me, it has been quite the journey.

I’ve moved six times, which if you do the math, isn’t very long in one place.

Nomad, amirite? 😂

But what’s even more interesting is the life that this website has taken on since those early days. We’ve been able to educate thousands of readers, share adventures with travelers on our group trips, and connect with one another online to help reach travel goals.

I recently left my full-time marketing career to pursue the ambitious goals I have for Life Nomading Adventures. I’ve always dreamed about this day, but for one reason or another, I never quite felt like it was the right time.

The truth is, this company has never been sustainable for me to focus all of my efforts. But today is the day I give it the chance it deserves.

2020 is our most ambitious year yet for our Life Nomading trips. We have three amazing adventures planned in Iceland, Bulgaria, and Portugal. If I want them to have the most impact possible on our travelers, I know I must put everything I have into it.

I had my aha moment while in Bulgaria this past summer hosting our trip on the coast of the Black Sea.

Life Nomading Bulgaria Group TripOne evening on the trip, as our Guides were getting our travelers situated in a small coastal village called Sozopol, I looked at Caroline and we both smiled. That day, we had watched our trip-goers have one of those life-changing, lightbulb, blow-your-mind moments that you simply can’t plan for, and it had brought us more joy than we could have imagined. We had unknowingly created something special in those late-night planning sessions for these trips and we knew we had to do more.

The impact these trips have had on our travelers is infectious. They create friendships, inspire people to make positive changes in their lives, let go of their past, and give people a reprieve from social pressures and stressors that come with the “daily grind”. We get to see people be their true authentic selves while traveling.

Hosting trips is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. So why would I ever stop doing it?

This transition doesn’t come without many questions for me, personally. How will we be able to grow our business in these early days? How will I make my rent each month? How the hell can we market ourselves with no budget, no funding, and with plenty of competition in the market?

These are all exciting hurdles I’m ready to tackle.

I’ve spent the last seven years marketing other people’s startups, and finally, I feel it’s my time to “cash-in” on my experience.

But as I start this new chapter of growth for our Life Nomading Adventures, I realized that I missed sharing them with this blog I created to do exactly that.

So I’m back! Whether my mom is the only one reading or not, I need to document this progress and I hope you’ll join along for the ride! 🙂

Our business trials, tribulations, and what we’re trying to do here for all of you to see, comment on, and maybe chuckle at.

Every week a small article like this will be available. Follow along here as I try my hardest to grow this travel business into something sustainable and impactful for a small team, our local vendors in our humble destinations, and for the travelers that join us on our adventures.

Let’s get started.

If you’d like to be notified about when these articles are posted join the newsletter below ⬇

Ultimate Guide to Planning a Team Building Retreat

team building retreat

So you’re ready to take your hard working team away for a while, or maybe you’re just planning a day trip to the local park. Regardless of how big or small your retreat is, there are a ton of awesome team building retreat ideas you can implement to strengthen the bonds between your colleagues to in-turn make working at your crazy awesome company, that much better.

Whether you’re a start-up founder or someone on your team that for some unknown reason everyone else entrusted with planning this retreat, have no fear we will lay out all the ideas and details you will need to make sure your T’s are crossed and your I’s are dotted.

So let’s dig in.

What makes a good team building retreat idea?

First thing’s first, what makes an epic retreat that your team will talk about for a lifetime?

It’s actually pretty simple, it should include:

  1. Great food & drinks
  2. Fun experiences
  3. Memorable times to get to know each other on a deeper level
  4. Some level of being organized and “on-the-ball” (itineraries are not overrated)

Now, this may sound easier said than done. I GET it. If you’re not a professional team retreat organizer like us, it can be easy to become daunted by all the logistics involved and the dozens of hours it will take to plan.

But take it slow, and plan your planning time to tackle each of the four points above to ensure not one of them is left to chance.

How to Find Great Food & Drink for a Retreat

Once you decide where your team retreat will be, begin doing good old fashioned Google searches for local food and beverage musts.

iceland food cateredThis is going to take a good chunk of your time if you plan to do it well. Pull up Google reviews, photos, and actually call the restaurants to see if they cater or can handle your group’s needs.

PRO TIP: Make sure to take a survey of your team’s eating habits. It’s going to be really awkward if you plan an epic BBQ feast only to learn that Sally from accounting is a vegan. #awkward

What makes a fun team retreat experience activity?

Fun experiences come in all shapes and sizes. The biggest tip to keep in mind is cater to your team and not your personal interests.

Getting a survey of things your team loves or fears may be a great way to cut out the white water rafting or bungee jumping altogether.

Another thing to think about while planning retreat activities is to try to be more creative than the cliche team building human chain or three-legged race.

Almost any activity can be made team friendly. One of our retreat client’s recently wanted to go fly fishing for a day in Montana. Even though fly fishing can sometimes be difficult to do as a group, we instead turned it into a mini-competition and made splitting up into groups more exciting for everyone.

Build in down-time for chats & beers

remote team retreatYes, build in free time where your team can just sit around a fire or a living space and get to know each other in an unorganized fashion. Bring out the beers and wine and let people get to know people.

These are often times the most memorable parts of a team-building retreat. When you’re looking for lodging, look for a large cabin or house with great big outdoor areas and big living spaces.

Stay organized, build an itinerary.

You are not too good for an itinerary. It will be your biggest regret if you don’t begin building one early. If you’re managing a group of 5 or more, you’ll want that added assurance that you have every detail marked out and ready to do.

One of our favorite ways to manage an itinerary with teams is building it in Travefy. Travefy lets you input all different types of activities and planning so that your group can see it live and in real time on their phone.

Go ahead, sign up now. I’ll wait…

Team Building Retreat Budgeting

Budgeting for a retreat can be difficult. It depends on a lot of different factors between what your leadership has already approved, to the destination of the retreat, to how bouji your team is with their needs (no judgment at all).

Since our expertise is with helping remote teams that range in size between 5-15 people we will help give clarity on that level.

For a 3-5 day retreat, per retreater be prepared to budget around:
Domestic retreat: $1,500 – $2,500+
International retreat: $2,500 – $5,000+
Local retreat: $500 – $1,000

You might be saying, “wow, that’s quite the investment” and you’re right. But while team retreats are not necessarily the cheapest perk of the year, it’s certainly the best investment you can make to not only help strengthen team dynamics but also reduce your yearly churn and help refresh your team’s productivity.

They work hard. Let them breathe for a few days.

Local Team Building Retreat Ideas

Take to the Park

Sometimes the park is all you need to have an awesome team day. Organize a day where your team gets out of the stuffy office building and into some kickball tournament or just host a MASSIVE picnic.

During day distillery tour

How fun would it be to take your team on a distillery or winery tour during the workday. You’d win some serious props with them. When on the tour try to organize a portion of the tour where the team can work to make their own spirits, wine or beer together.

Wilderness Challenge

While the “Escape” room type days are also a popular team building experience, what if you gather your team together to hang out with a wilderness or survivalist expert for the day. Learn doomsday techniques and work together to see what groups could do the best in survival scenarios. Talk about teamwork!

Unique Team Building Retreat Ideas

Secluded Mountain Week

Whether it’s Iceland in the spring or Big Sky, Montana in the fall. There’s something special that happens when you bring people together overlooking beautiful mountainous views. Your budget will determine where exactly you can go, but trust us there are mountains for all team building retreat budgets.

Visit a neighboring state

Isn’t funny how you can spend so much time in the city where you work and never truly explore your state or the ones bordering you? Get one big bus or van and take a road trip to somewhere new that borders your city or state.

Position this as a fun few days team “road trip”.

Remote team retreat Ideas

“The Work-cation”

Your remote team is unique in the sense that your retreats are most times the only time you all will have in-person moments for the year. Since this is the case, often times we find that remote teams want a longer retreat that not only serves as a time to have fun together but also collaborate and get work done in person. Like a traditional company would.

Treat it as a “work-cation” we like to call it. Go somewhere exotic with great wifi and establish “HQ” where you can work together and then spend the off time adventuring around the rainforests or lagoons.

“Launch day is fast approaching”

Maybe you need a retreat that purely serves an objective. This is totally a thing for remote teams. Although your team is built for getting work done from wherever sometimes big milestones need that in-person touch. Again, go somewhere epic with great views that will make hunkering down a little less annoying.

Don’t forget, if you’re retreating to get serious work done, invest extra in delicious catering that will keep wowing your team while they are heads down for launch.

Reward them at the start and end of the retreat with two days of adventures.

C-suite team building retreat ideas

1 word: Iceland

Iceland is an amazing place. We’d recommend looking at it for team retreats of all shapes and sizes. However, if budget is a concern it may not fit for regular team retreats. What Iceland is perfect for is a great opportunity to get your leadership team together and have a truly awakening experience.

Nothing beats complete, uninterrupted time to brainstorm about company direction in a lodge with heated flooring located on a glacier stream overlooking perfect mountains in the distance.

iceland view from lodge

quite literally the actual view from our retreat lodge

It will inspire leadership to do some crazy awesome new things with the business. Guaranteed.

Iceland is one of our flagship retreat locations and we’d love to discuss helping your team head to the land of fire and ice for your next retreat.

From budgeting to the daunting task of putting in all the hours to find all these epic vendors for your team retreat, maybe you’re realizing this whole team building retreat project is about to be a little more time intensive than you think.

While we encourage you to take it on and make one heck of an experience for your team, we also would love to help take the task off your hand so you can save weeks of work. Our Life Nomading retreat team’s goal is to help craft tailor-made retreats that will cater perfectly to your team without adding extra work hours to your plate.

If you’d like to learn more about how our team can help yours in this process, please visit our team retreat page and fill out the quick retreat questionnaire and our team will reach out today to discuss.

Happy retreating!

Central Park Sailboats

Central Park sailboats

If you love nautical activities and are visiting New York City, maybe the Central Park Sailboats have been on your “must-do” list of experiences while you’re here. If you’re a local just searching for a way to spend a leisurely Saturday check out our thoughts on what it’s like to sail the “open” waters of Central Park.

Is sailing RC boats in Central Park the most exciting activity in the city that never sleeps? Definitely not. We rented a sailboat for 30 minutes and quite honestly that amount of time was just the right amount for us to learn that maybe sailing isn’t our skill set. For most of the time, the wind was pretty tame resulting in most of the sailboat rentals stay still in the water.

It’s hard to get excited when your sailboat isn’t doing anything. Maybe that’s just a product of wanting instant gratification, but it may be frustrating for you too. It took us half of our rental time to really hone in on how to make the sailboat move.

When to Rent

Quite honestly, we arrived right when the Central Park sailboats opened on a Saturday at 1:00PM EST. The line quickly grew behind us and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets much busier throughout the day.

So if you have your heart set on sailing your blues away, or reliving your Stuart Little dreams, I would recommend arriving when the stand opens for the given day, OR be okay with having to wait a bit for an available sailboat on some of the busier days through the week. I heard one mom buy six rentals for her kids, so I’m sure the boats go quick.

Stuart Little Price: $12.99 Stuart Little Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/05/2019

Where is the Central Park Sailboats

Address: E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021

The Central Park sailboats rental stand is located on the east side of the Conservatory Water pond. You will see a little stand with sailboats outside where you can rent your sailboats.

The closest bus stops include bus access to M1, M2, M3, M4 @ 5 Av/E 75 St

For our ultimate guide on New York City public transit: READ HERE

Costs to Rent Central Park Sailboats

In total after tax, we spent $11.98 for 30 minutes of RC sailboat playtime. It’s super affordable, don’t get us wrong. If you’re taking a kid to the park and need to keep them occupied for 30 minutes so you can have a breather than spend the money. If you’re going on a date, walk a little further to the rowboats instead and pony up the extra cash to be romantic.

Central Park Sailboats

We were afraid that they would only take cash, but have no fear they accept cash or card!

Optional add-ons:

  • Rental, Sailors hat
  • Rental, Sailors hat, & t-shirt

You may be tempted to buy the sailors hat like we were. But trust us, don’t do it because you will get done with sailing and be glad you didn’t.

Overall Thoughts

In the end, if you’re into remote control things, sailing, or you are with kids this may be the perfect activity for you. For everyone else, I would recommend perhaps renting bikes to explore Central Park or head over to the Loeb Boathouse and rent a rowboat on the water for about the same price for an entire hour of fun.

Ultimate Guide to The Best Time to Visit Iceland

Best Time to Visit Iceland Guide

Traveling to Iceland is a must if you’re like me and have a love for natural landscape adventures. It’s hard not to want to explore a place that is known for all of their natural beauty, still silence and purity. Iceland has similar seasons throughout its year (read: drizzly rain and just a bit of cold always), but some months are better than others depending on what you want to do and see there. Let’s dig into figuring out when the best time to visit Iceland is for any of your crazy activities or desires!

First thing’s first, if you’re looking to take to the beaches in your swimsuit, you’ve found the wrong post. Leave now and search “Cabo” on your next try.

The only swimsuit wearing you’ll be doing in Iceland is in the Blue Lagoon or other natural hot springs around this country that you stumble upon.

But enough about the warm weather chat, let’s get to it.

Best Time To Visit Iceland to Avoid Crowds

It’s no secret that Iceland has become a popular tourist destination.

In fact, some are saying that Iceland is beginning to be a bit over-touristed. However, there are times when the spring breakers and out-of-school crowds are fewer and less photo obsessed than typical. That’s when we recommend you visit if you intend to see all the classic Iceland sights like the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Tourism Numbers by MonthCredit data to https://www.ferdamalastofa.is

If you’re like us, however, and love to stay away from the crowds. Going on your own trek is possible during most times out of the year. You will be just fine traveling to Iceland because sadly, few tourists venture out on their own to explore less popular or undiscovered areas.

Visiting for all the Iceland Tourist Spots?Visiting for Your Own Adventure?Are you a photographer?
Offseason (low season): November through February or MayAnytime during the year and stay away from the Golden Circle.Winter months: read our winter section below for exactly why.

Which Season is Best to Visit Iceland In?

So many variables go into when the perfect time to travel to Iceland is. Do you want to see the Northern Lights, go ice-caving, or maybe see a few whales in the North Atlantic ocean?  Are you going to be preparing for more snow in the cold or more rain in the warmer time? Seasons play an important role in what you can and can’t do in any given Icelandic season so keep reading.

Iceland Temperature Chart by MonthVisiting Iceland in the Winter is for Photographers (November – February)

Photographers get excited because winter in Iceland was made for you!

Winter months in Iceland is cold. Well, cold, if you’re from Florida or Texas that is. Are you from the Midwest? You’ll survive then!

The temperature ranges from a high of ~38ºF (~3.4ºC) to a low of ~26ºF (~-3ºC). Being the coldest season for Iceland, you can imagine that snow and winter weather conditions play a large factor in your time spent here here during this season. It is an island surrounded by cold Atlantic water and wind after all.

Daylight is scarce in the winter so be ready for partial or complete darkness. In it’s shortest month of December, there are times where the “day” is only four hours long. The sun will rise around 11 AM and set around 3-4PM.

But just because daylight is scarce doesn’t mean you should shy away from Iceland in the winter, especially if you’re a photographer.

With fewer tourists around, the black sand beaches and rocky shores are covered in ice and snow. Of course you also have the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights too. You’ll want to come here in the winter with your camera and tripod ready. Bundle up, invest in a few extra layers, and get some gloves.

Your Instagram feed will thank you later. 😉

Top Activities to Do in the Winter

  • See the Northern Lights: We get it, you want to see the northern lights. They’re pretty cool. The winter time, with so much darkness, affords you the most opportunities to luck out and see these natural beauties. Try to get away from Reykjavik because the city lights can make it hard to see this phenomenon.
  • Visit a hot spring or the Blue Lagoon: While hot springs and the Blue Lagoon can be accessed year-round, it makes sense that the winter months offer a sweat warm relief from the relentless cold. If you’re trying to trek to a less frequented hot spring like the Reykjadalur hot spring for example, I would caution you to save that for a warmer months. The hike can get a bit daunting (ie. very slippery) and with little sunlight, I would caution against hiking this in any chance of darkness. I may or may not have learned this from experience.
  • Iceland Airwaves Festival: If you’re obsessed with Icelandic artists like I am, this music festival could be perfect for you. Iceland Airwaves festival is held in November in Reykjavik and brings together emerging and well-recognized artists from around the country.

Visiting Iceland in the Spring (March-May)

Iceland’s spring season varies by who you ask. Typically spring falls anywhere from mid-March through late April or early May.

Icelanders actually consider it springtime when the European Golden Plover, a species of bird, makes its first appearance. The Icelandic media covers the first sighting of the plover bird I’d assume like how in the states we watch the shadow of the Punxsutawney Groundhog on Groundhogs Day. We’re all weird, aren’t we!? (shrug)

In spring, the temperature ranges from a high of ~49ºF (~9.4ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~28ºF (~-2ºC) in Iceland. If you’re asking me, this weather is pretty standard in Iceland in almost any season. It’s pretty safe to assume you’ll need to pack for all weather conditions regardless of the season. Just be prepared to bring coats and rain gear no matter what.

There will be plenty of daylight to keep you adventuring. Unlike winter, springtime in Iceland affords you anywhere from 10 hours in March to upwards of 17 plus hours of daylight in late April early May. You can adventure until you can’t adventure anymore. You have plenty of daylight to get lost for a while.

Springtime in Iceland is “shoulder season” which means that it’s not as overrun with tourists as in the summer which makes it great for doing just about anything.

Top Activities to Do in the Spring

  • Join a Life Nomading Group Trip: We’re big fans of visiting Iceland in the spring. So much so, that we actually launched our very own group trip that we host every year at the end of March in Iceland. It’s the perfect weather, perfect low-key vibes, and always a fun time. Visit our Iceland page for more details.
  • Aldrei Fór Ég Suður: If you’re feeling the music vibes and want to go to a music festival. the Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival may be right for you. Located in the Westfjords which is about a 4-5 drive northwest of Reykjavik, this festival will take you far away from any of the normal touristy vibes. I can only imagine what fun you’ll get into up there with three thousand others. They make this event free to all who want to make the trek up there in April.
  • Sónar Reykjavík: If you’re a fan of electronic music, than Sonar is worth looking into. This event is hosted in late April in Reykjavik. Tickets are on sale on their website for what looks to be about 17.990 ISK.

TIP: March is pretty much the last month where the weather is cold enough to visit ice caves in certain areas of Iceland. I highly recommend you do this, so if you are debating on a spring month to visit Iceland in, try to shoot for March or earlier if possible.

Visiting Iceland in the Summer (June-August)

While you won’t be sunbathing or meeting others during a day at the beach, Iceland does warm up a bit during its summer season between June-ish and August.

Since warmer weather is a popular time to travel in, that means Iceland’s popular spots can get much more crowded. Through the summer months, the tourism numbers get larger and larger making this the peak season for Iceland.

If you’re a serious photographer, a seasoned traveler looking for a less touristy vibe, or wanting a cheaper all around trip to Iceland, than we’d recommend avoiding this beautiful country in the summer. Instead, try out one of their shoulder seasons like Spring or Fall.

In the summer months, the climate ranges from a high of ~56ºF (~13.3ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~44ºF (~6.1ºC). If you haven’t learned by now, you must bring a coat. This weather isn’t bikini or swim trunks weather by any stretch. Get your winter weather raincoat shopping on.

You’ll have all the daylight all the time with barely any darkness. The summer season in Iceland is unique in that you can have days of almost complete daylight in June. It’s crazy! In the summer you will find you have anywhere from 17 hours to 21 hours or more of pure daylight.

I’ve personally experienced this time of the year and it’s very odd going to bed or staying out late and having the sun out like you are partying in the middle of the day.

Summer Tip: Bring a sleeping mask if you have a hard time sleeping with light leaking into your room. This will be critical because I kid you not, you’ll think it’s the afternoon all day long.

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Top Activities to Do in the Summer

  • Whale Watching: Summer in Iceland is prime whale watching season. With the temperatures warming up, the various whale species (Harbour Porpoise, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Orca’s, Blue Whale, Minke Whale, and Sperm Whales) come out to play. You can depart for whale watching in various parts of Iceland. Departing the coast of Reykjavik for your whale watching adventure is fine, but for some of the best experiences travel to Northern Iceland to Akureyri where the more diverse species of whales are spotted.
  • Icelandic Horseback riding: Iceland is known for a special species of horse simply called an “Icelandic horse”. They’re most notable for their small pony-like size, however they are not to be confused, they are a full-fledged horse. Size shouldn’t matter! If you’re an equestrian lover you won’t want to miss your chance in riding one of these while here in the summer since they are the only breed of horse in thecountry.Icelandic horses
  • Secret Solstice Festival: Be warned, if you watch the video below you will book your ticket to Iceland and partake in this music festival. There’s something about the potential of cracking open a few cold ones while partying in the middle of a glacier that gets me excited. Am I the only one?

  • Iceland Ring Road Trip: With the weather being the warmest in this season it makes renting a camper van and exploring the entire country much more attainable. The Ring Road is an 800-mile long road covering the outskirts of Iceland. Convince your partner or best friend to come along, and rent a camper van to explore the country for a week or two. Every mile of Iceland is a whole new landscape and a road trip like this would leave you inspired, to say the least.

Ring Road Iceland MapVisiting Iceland in Autumn (September-October)

While September and October in Iceland is definitely shoulder season for the country it has great offerings from fair temperatures, decent daylight time, and somewhat smaller tourist numbers. You’ll get a little bit of the winter AND summer benefits all in the course of a two-month window.

During Autumn in Iceland, the climate ranges from a high of ~50ºF (~10.1ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~36ºF (~2.2ºC).

You’ll definitely have enough daylight in Autumn in Iceland for activities. In Autumn, Iceland experiences anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of daylight. While Autumn is certainly not the season with the most or the least hours in the day, this season will afford you plenty of time to take adventures without all of the summer tourists.

Top Activities to Do in Autumn

  • Round-Up Season (RÉTTIR): Round-up or Rettir season is when all the farmers in Iceland go to fetch their sheep and horses that have been roaming for the season. This is a part of the year where neighbors and fellow farmers gather to sort the thousands of livestock to take back to their farm. It’s a very Icelandic thing to do. We’d recommend you try to partake!
  • Northern Lights spotting: If you read, winter is a great time to watch the northern lights, but autumn is also an opportune time to take a rental car and get lost somewhere away from the city to watch the Northern Lights if you’re lucky. Monitor the Northern Lights Forecast to see where the best chance of visibility will be on your trip.
  • Reykjavik International Film Festival: We all love a good film festival. If you’re in the city around this time the Reykjavik Film festival may be worth checking out at the end of September and early October.

Cost of Visiting Iceland by Season

Traveling to Iceland is undoubtedly one of the more pricier countries to visit currently. In general, the diagram below is a good guide to see which seasons are more or less expensive taking into account: lodging, food, airfare, rental cars, activities, etc…

WinterSpringSummerAutumn
$$$$$$$$$$

 

Not-So-Scientific Seasonal Cost Analysis: Iceland

We decided to run our own little Iceland cost experiment to see what kind of pricing fluctuations happen for different seasons in Iceland. Prices below are meant to be as rough benchmarks for two people traveling together in the varying seasons for 6 days / 5 nights.

Airfare

x2

Airbnb

x2

Compact CarBlue Lagoon x2~Avg Total
Winter$957$1,098$372$192$2,613
Spring$891$1,098$258$192$2,439
Summer$890$1,086$642$192$2,810
Autumn$863$1,080$414$192$2,549

Chart based on data for 2019 & 2020 season data.
* Car rental using Compact size via Hertz
**Airfare found via Google Flights and using the cheapest, non airline specific. (WOW airlines is no more remember RIP)
***Airbnb metrics are the “average” price given from Airbnb for a given window.
****Blue lagoon price for two on peak time in the day.

What we found

Our research found that for a couple traveling to Iceland, your biggest cost changes depending on when you travel, is your rental car. In the summer months, a car rental can be more than double (2X) than in the Spring or Winter seasons.

That money adds up quick!

Luckily, airfare, Airbnb lodging, and activities seem to stay pretty competitively priced during most times of the year.

Cost Tip: One variable not mentioned in this experiment is the cost of fuel for your rental car. If you’re an American traveling to Iceland you will be sticker shocked by gasoline prices so prepare your budget accordingly. Most of your trip involves driving and burning that fuel.

When Should You Visit Iceland to Save Money?

Iceland’s spring season seems to be our winner when it comes to saving the most money while adventuring to this beautiful country.

While we think most of our numbers are pretty accurate, please don’t take our cost analysis as gold. Pricing varies depending on many factors. Do your research or let us handle all of that for you!

When’s Our Favorite Time to Travel to Iceland?

The springtime. Spring is affordable and gives you access to almost everything you can get in winter and the summer months (ice caving, Northern Lights, access to roads). We love the spring so much that we offer a yearly Life Nomading group adventure trip there in March were we take up to 12 travelers and have one heck of a time.

Woohoo, you’ve made it this far! Congrats, you’re now pretty frickin educated about when some of the best times to visit Iceland are. As you can see, Iceland is great in any season you visit, it just depends what your travel goals are. With a climate that stays pretty consistent and plenty of things to see and do you can’t go wrong any time of the year.

If you’re headed to Iceland, but would prefer to join a group of other millennial travelers this could be the perfect opportunity for you. You’ll save even more money, see and do things you wouldn’t think were possible, and get to meet others along the way. For more information about our trip be sure to visit our Iceland page.

Whether you’re a photographer looking to capture the still life and Northern Lights, or a college student with time to visit Iceland in the summer, we recommend to just take that leap, book your tickets now, and go.

New Zealand: The Best Way Up is Chocolate

Dirk Frey Life Nomading

Dirk Frey Life NomadingIn our first Travel Tale, we take a peek into our friend Dirk Frey’s stories on the road around New Zealand. Listen in as he shares some of the highlights from his stint exploring and living in New Zealand, a country with many interesting characters, endless Lord of the Rings references, and even a special folk music festival.

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Credits

Guest: Dirk Frey – Thanks Dirk for sharing your stories!

Hosted & Narrated by:

Editing: Laura Samulionyte

Show Transcript

Caroline Lloyd: We’re just going to be chatting over a beer

Dirk Frey: Well if it’s going to be over a beer then… let me get a beer.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there fellow nomads. This is Ian and Caroline and this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Welcome back, fellow nomads. It’s Ian and Caroline and welcome to the first episode where we take a listen to some of your stories, stories about what makes traveling so special.

Caroline Lloyd: This week on the Life Nomading podcast. We sat down with an old friend, Dirk Frey.

Dirk Frey: I am currently a programmer for a CNC machine at a cabinetry company and I do woodwork there too.

Ian Hoyt: Now Dirk has an interesting connection with Life Nomading. That is Dirk and I grew up on the same block.

Dirk Frey: Ian and I we go way back then. We were in the same neighborhood. We were the neighborhood kids growing up. I Dunno, we are the same bicycle crew, I was thinking that I was hanging out with Dan and the culdesac and Ian was uh, playing with I think more like Halley and chase and Ricky and there was big gap and then I saw him again in Cincinnati and we reconnected.

Caroline Lloyd: But when Ian and Dirk reconnected years after their col-de-sac had days, they realized that they had grown to love a common interest, travel.

Ian Hoyt: And that’s not an uncommon shared passion in the normal world. But coming from a small town in the Midwest, it’s a bit rare to venture that far from home.

Dirk Frey: I thought it was impossible. I guess. I don’t know why people in like Findlay, Ohio were just raised like, I guess it was so expensive for our parents growing up and throughout the 80s and stuff to fly to like Europe. You had to like set aside like maybe 10 grand to do like a proper, Europe trip back then or something. And that’s in like 80s dollars and stuff. Think about flights for two grand each way, you know, France and, and stuff like that. So it was a lot more expensive. And prohibitive talking to people from Findlay. Sometimes it’s just like, so wait, so what is it like there? They don’t like Americans do they, or they’re like, or they might say something like, I don’t know if I could handle French language all around me or, or just people speaking Spanish.

Caroline Lloyd: So how did Dirk become this adventure seeker that he is today?

Dirk Frey: So I would, I wasn’t into travel or even I would say the outdoors and particular until into college, a couple of years basically I met some guys, I would say, uh, some rock climbers who I befriended and ended up becoming some of my best friends in college. And I joined the mountaineering club at UC. And so I got really into the outdoors and rock climbing and I go out in the nature with them. And then they were, one was the son of a air force pilot and so he was kind of an air force Brat and traveled around with his family from like state to state and out of the country a lot. And so he’s always talked about his grand travels and stuff and always wowed me. I was like, wow, you can get out of Ohio on. I was also amazed that you know like 19 years old or 20.

Ian Hoyt: One of the most dramatic changes in mindsets for Dirk was actually a road trip from coast to coast, casually seeing pretty much all of the US on just a couple of hundred dollars. Was it luxury? No, but the memories seem to be worth it.

Dirk Frey: It just showed me like, oh, on a shoe string budget and just like as long as you have good friends, even if you hate each other halfway through the trip because you know Joe is six foot eight, he’s taken up all the room to sleep. Having the friend and having that connection and by someone to share the glory and the misery altogether from the highs and the lows of the trip. And then also like it’s something when you’re a young person and like I think that’s one of the best things you can do in America is road trip because you get to go from like temperate forests to plains to a mountain desert to like the ocean, the other side of the ocean. So it was just like seeing all the sides of America stopping in, making goofy jokes with your friends and listening to music. Yeah.

Caroline Lloyd: And it’s all about those little moments. So we decided to ask Dirk about some of his favorite travel moments, things that stuck out in his mind, poignant memories, things that made the journey worth it.

Dirk Frey: There are times that I can think of a travel idea or a story in my brain and like my heart’s still kind of swells with, you know, the pride, a camaraderie that like I, I’m glad I was here in this time and space at this juncture with these people.

Ian Hoyt: And before we jump too far into Dirks incredible stories, we need to set the stage a little. He was on an extended excursion inspired by his childhood dream that started in the backyard of Findlay, Ohio. A little adventure movie called Lord of the Rings.

Dirk Frey: I quit my job for a bit and I traveled around the world for six months and four of those months were just on the island of New Zealand, South island in particular. And I decided I wanted to do a big bike trip and I was going to ride a bike and just bike around all of the South Island. And I went from Christ’s church and I went up into like near the mountain ranges. And that’s why I was saying that Lord of the rings would come in later because I specifically stopped at every location. That was super important to me. Having watched the extended cuts of the DVD releases, I was on a working holiday visa. So in New Zealand, Americans are allowed to work for one year you get a tax number. And so after the bike trip I uh, lived and worked in Christchurch doing various jobs. Like I worked in a kitchen, I was the stop go guy at the traffic.

Caroline Lloyd: So this particular tail started on a biking trip with the little sprinkle of local New Zealand serendipity. I should also mention that Kiwis are what New Zealanders are referred to in this story.

Dirk Frey: I was biking and uh, you know, after 60, 70 kilometers on the bike that the heavy gear and it’s like, okay, this is a good stop. And I’m on my way. I had to keep going uphill slightly because I’m going into the mountains to go to this certain mountain called Mount Sunday and I get to a bar and I decided to have like a beer and maybe I’ll get to know the locals a bit and it’s just all crusty old New Zealander Kiwis who are working on the sheep farms and it’s kind of the off season so there they’re drinking more than having to work with these times.

Ian Hoyt: And one of those crusty old Kiwis he starts talking to.

Dirk Frey: He wasn’t from New Zealand. He was from some place between Scotland and England and his accent was just as thick as you could possibly imagine that. But he was like, “Nah, you can’t do that on the bike, man.” I was like, Nah, I was just pedal real slow. I was like, no, no, you can’t do that in the bike.

Ian Hoyt: After finally convincing Dirk that biking up the incline was a terrible idea. They loaded up the bike in the man Subaru.

Dirk Frey: He invited me to his sheep station up in the mountains and we put it in the back end and we’re going over like potholes and shit and it’s dark out. I thought I was going to set up camp, but he’s just like, no, you’re going to come to my house and you’re going to sleep in this bunk bed. I’m like, okay, sure. Okay. And yeah, no. And I just, I went along with it cause I was really tired. I was like, I don’t have the pedal, any extra of this mountain and if I don’t really have to. And he was super nice and we, uh, shared a breakfast and it was really beautiful scenery. And once I, this dawn opened up and it was just mountains on either side and showed me his sheep dogs and stuff. He’s got no classic radio stations up there. So he has these tapes of singers from the 60s and it like use these cassette tapes that he puts into scar to place singers and stuff. And one of them is somebody who had the car before and it was a Maori track. And so they’re not aboriginals, they’re the people before any of the Europeans came over the Maori people. And so like there are traditional chants and the Haka call. So it’s cool. And it puts you in New Zealand when you’re going into everything.

Caroline Lloyd: And this was just one stop on his biking journey. Dirk continued on his trip to his final destination, which was actually determined by a run in earlier in his trip. He had met some people that had invited him to a festival. The Waihi Bush festival to be exact.

Dirk Frey: What I did was I got back onto couch surfing, which I hadn’t done in a while. I found a place to stay that was near the beach and Christ church and these guys were super, super nice and accommodating and they uh, put me up in a bunk bed. I would do my best to like be a good guest and I would even like try to introduce them to some American culture and customs. And so like, the best thing I could do is like, I can make really good Reuben’s but oh, they appreciated it. And like, I mean like I, I went all out to like make them dinner and stuff and like I even bought some things cause I was like staying for free and I wanted to give back to them and they were very gracious and say, well if you, uh, want to do some more volunteering over again, we had this thing called Waihi Bush festival and basically one of their dads owns a farm out in the rural parts of New Zealand and they hold a folk festival every year. And I was just like, Oh yeah sure. I mean like yeah, like it’s in February. I’m like, ah, that’s fine. That’d be a one month after my biking trip. And so like I did the whole biking trip and I could go into that for a lot more things, but I had to like haul ass to get to the festival, the tail end of the trip. But it was so worth it.

Ian Hoyt: Now you can only imagine something exciting would happen at an event called the Waihi bush festival. But trust me, this wasn’t anything you ever could have imagined.

Dirk Frey: There was a, there was a suicide that happened before and I don’t know if this is a British or New Zealand culture, but they made jokes about it to get over it. And it was something that like, you know, you just, just like what you do when you travel, you experience different cultures and way people process things are different. And so instead of letting the suicide, I mean people were down about it, but they didn’t let it hang over the whole festival. So they would make jokes about it and say, sang this song. It’s called when you’re feeling down the best way up, is chocolate. So the song goes, so when you’re feeling down the best way of this chocolate, it’ll help you get you through the day.

Dirk Frey: It felt like a movie almost playing out to me. Cause there’s these characters and there has these highs and lows and it was just like this whole story and dancing.

Caroline Lloyd: But ultimately what Dirk experience came from a collective experience. It’s an ideology that stems from people and how people and moments alter perspective. Oh and don’t forget chocolate.

Dirk Frey: It’s always better to make memories with friends I think. It’s really rewarding. I won’t say I won’t knock my solo trip or the amount of time I got to contemplate and just sit and stare at really beautiful scenery. But yeah, it’s the memories we make with others. It’s pretty great.

Ian Hoyt: So that’s it for this episode of the Life Nomading podcast. I hope you enjoyed the very first Travel Tale?

Caroline Lloyd: It’s that until someone writes in with a better title. So send in your input. And on that note, if you would like to be featured on this podcast, you have a great story to tell. Feel free to send us a message on Instagram @lifenomading.

Ian Hoyt: And if you get a second, we’d love to hear your thoughts about this new format of the Life Nomading podcast. And you can do that by going to iTunes and leaving a review. We would so appreciate it.

Caroline Lloyd: So that’s it for this week. I’m Caroline

Ian Hoyt: and I’m Ian and until next week go explore something. See yah.

It’s Your Turn

Life Nomading Podcast Artwork

Caroline and I have learned a lot while podcasting the last couple of months. What we realized is that our favorite part of travel is swapping stories with other travel friends and learning about other countries through the experiences others had outside the typical tourist traps. A community helping others explore.

We want those stories to be shared with everyone, from everyone. That is why, we are launching a new series on this show. We’re bringing in you! Share some of the most fun, adventurous, or perhaps sketchy moments during your trips around the world with our listeners.

All bets are off. From brief moments with locals that left an impact on your life, to near-death experiences, we’re not sure what kind of stories we will uncover, but we are excited to share them.

If you have a story that you think is worth sharing with our listeners, please don’t hesitate for a second to reach out to us we want to learn more about it.

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Credits

Hosted by:

Editing help by Laura Samulionyte

Show Transcript

Ian Hoyt: Hey there fellow nomads. This is Ian and Caroline and this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there fellow nomads. It’s Ian and Caroline and welcome back to the Life Nomading podcast.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re going to keep this short and sweet for right now. This is pretty much a public service announcement.

Ian Hoyt: A PSA, if you will. So I’m sure you’ve heard some of our episodes prior to this, right? And we talked about like what is home, we’ve talked about different travel tips, packing luggage, getting through the airport, stuff like that. We’ve been all over the place. I think that’s fair to say, right Caroline?

Caroline Lloyd: It is. But we kind of realized that that’s, we kind of want to go in a different direction.

Ian Hoyt: And it kind of gets back to what Life Nomading is all about. We’re all about community and the way you interact with travel

Caroline Lloyd: You don’t want to sit there and listen to us preach about how we travel all the time because quite honestly everyone travels differently.

Caroline Lloyd: So we kind of want to take that and turn this podcast towards you. So we’re going to start a little series

Ian Hoyt: By series She actually means it’s what we’re going to be focusing on here on out.

Caroline Lloyd: But we just want to hear your stories. We want to hear what travel is all about. And those are the experiences that you take away from a destination and continue to tell.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, absolutely. So what does this mean for the podcast? What does this mean for you guys? So we realize that everyone has, like you were saying, those stories those things that just need to be out in the universe. I know I have plenty, but I’m going to, I’m going to hold back my stories for later. And I know you have plenty as well. But what you can do if you’re listening and you have, oh, I got that story from the middle of Brazil, or I have that crazy story when I was adventuring in, I don’t know, Portugal.

Ian Hoyt: Who knows? You have that story you want to share with us. We would love to talk to you about it on this very podcast. So what you need to do is you need to go to www.LifeNomading.com/episodes and that’s going to take you to our podcast homepage. You will see clearly an application button where you can fill out and request us to reach out to you and talk to you about those awesome stories you have.

Caroline Lloyd: And if you don’t want to be interviewed, we still want to hear your stories. So if you just want to like shorten it and sweeten it and send them over, um, and kind of like describe what your experience was that you want to share. You don’t have to talk. We know that public speaking isn’t for everyone, but we would still love to hear it.

Ian Hoyt: So I don’t know Caroline, I don’t have a name for this yet, but you know, I think you suggested what? Travel Tails.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. Fondly recognizing Dragon Tails or The Ferry God Parents, or Airport Allegories it has to be, uh, uh, what is that? Alliteration.

Ian Hoyt: So our homework is when we launched these next week, yeah, we’ll have a better name for them. So we’re really excited. This feels more right to us and what we’re about at Life Nomading. We hope you guys will love listening to these awesome, crazy and sometimes risky tales from people’s travels around the world.

Caroline Lloyd: We have a couple up our sleeve, but if you guys have anything that you really want to share or say, don’t be scared. If it’s too boring or you know, not exciting enough, not exotic enough, we still want to hear them. So just go ahead and submit them.

Ian Hoyt: So that’s all we have for this episode. As always, if you’re excited for these upcoming episodes, be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, wherever you enjoy listening to our podcast most. Hit that subscribe button. Yeah, and we’ll see you back here next Monday for that first storytime travel tale allegory airport. Allegories. So until next time, I’m Ian and I’m Caroline and, uh, go explore something. See you soon.

How to Walk on Glaciers in Iceland

glacier walk iceland

There are endless, and I mean endless things you can spend your time doing when you decide to go on an adventure to the beautiful country of Iceland. But nothing quite beats taking an Icelandic glacier walk or ice caving adventure. Our Life Nomading Iceland trip admittedly does this on our five-day trip and it’s quite a hit. I mean who wouldn’t want to walk on glaciers, right?!

glacier walk iceland and ice cave

But as much fun as glacier walks can be, there are a few key things you should be prepared for when you are going to go on this type of adventure:

Wear the proper attire for a day trek on ice

Depending on when you travel to Iceland, attire will certainly change a bit.

You can count on having to wear a coat, but be sure to wear comfortable pants that allow you to walk and move like an agile cat on the ice.

Additionally, be sure to bring a small, lightweight backpack that you can put all your things in during the day.

Keeping your hands completely free while you walk on glaciers and around ice caves is essential so you can use your hands to anchor yourself on slippery moments or to catch your fall.

Trust me, I slipped once and scratched my camera lens because I had to use it to stop my fall. NO FUN! Learn from my mistakes, people!

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Use the restroom beforehand

I know this sounds like common sense, but the last time we took a group ice caving we had a few that found that they needed to use the restroom pretty badly. We are far from the nearest restroom so try to do your best to make sure mother nature won’t call while you’re out adventuring.

Bring a snack

Walking on glaciers and ice can make for a tiring day.

Bring some cliff bars Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. or granola snacks to give you a boost of energy as you’re spending the day experiencing something pretty magical. The last thing you want is for your hanger to distract you from the moments of epicness currently happening around you.

Make sure to wear crampons and a helmet

ice caving in iceland

Crampons are spiked chain webbing you put on the bottom of your shoes to increase traction while walking on the ice. I’m not sure that there is any other way to do a glacier walk in Iceland without them so if for some reason your tour guide doesn’t give you these, be sure to ask why!

Additionally, it is so crucial to wear a helmet. Especially if you are doing ice caving you want to protect your noggin from any potential melting ice chunks or wipe outs. While not big, I have experienced little chunks that fall from time to time from the caves and I’m sure it would not feel good if you didn’t have a helmet on.

Find a trusted glacier walk operator

Obviously, we’d love if you joined one of our trips to experience this and many other moments in Iceland. But if the stars don’t align, regardless, we urge you to find a local glacier and ice caving guide with positive reviews and a great a safety record. Ice caving and glacier walks can have an element of liability with it being a slippery and sometimes unstable environment. Having someone lead the way that is an expert in Iceland glaciers and educate you on safety procedures is so vital!

I encourage you to try and make sure to find a tour group that includes ice caving or glacier walks in Iceland. It’s a great outdoor activity to do while you are there and it’s a ton of fun! Just remember to take your time when walking, watch where you’re going and try to take any safety precautions to prevent slipping or injury. You’ll do great, and have a ton of fun in the land of fire and ice. 🙂