Explore History and Nature at Mesa Verde National Park

Home to 4,500 archaeological sites–including the 600 cliff dwellings that have made it world-famous–Mesa Verde National Park offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to step into the past.

Located in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde is easily reached via U.S. Highway 160 either from Cortez to the west or Durango to the east.

Because Mesa Verde mixes both a treasure trove of archaeological wonders with natural splendor, it is unique in the National Park System and does require a fair bit of planning in order to be enjoyed fully.

Visiting the Famed Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings

The highlight of any trip to Mesa Verde National Park is a visit to the cliff dwellings, built by the Ancestral Pueblo People during the 13th century.

The most famous cliff dwelling, the Cliff Palace, is a sprawling complex of sandstone walls, rooms, and towers nestled precariously underneath a massive overhanging cliff.

During the summer months, visits to the Cliff Palace–as well as to the Long House and the nearby Balcony House–are by ranger-guided tours only, which require a ticket that can be purchased at the Visitor Center at the park entrance.

Since the drive from the park entrance to the cliff dwellings can easily take an hour depending on traffic, be sure to purchase these tickets beforehand.

best preserved cliff dwelling

Not all cliff dwellings require a ticket, however, and some are open to self-guided tours.

Spruce Tree House, for example, is the best preserved cliff dwelling in the park and is free to visit as is the Step House, which includes a restored pit house.

Other archaeological sites are strewn throughout the park, including the Square Tower House and the Sun Temple.

The latter site, in addition to being an impressive archaeological site in its own right, also gives visitors exceptional views of the Cliff Palace.

Timing your Visit

Also remember that although the park is open 24 hours, the cliff dwellings and many archaeological sites are not, with most closing before dusk. Also, the Wetherill Mesa area, which includes the Long House and Step House, are closed October through April.

The rest of the park is open all year.

What else?

While the cliff dwellings are the main draw of Mesa Verde, it quickly becomes apparent to most visitors that history isn’t the only thing this park has to offer.

Welcome to Mesa Verde

The road from the park entrance to the cliff dwellings, for example, snakes its way over mountains and through canyons, affording visitors spectacular views of the Mancos Valley and Montezuma Valley to the north.

Bicycling is also permitted on the main park road between the park entrance and Chapin Mesa, although it can be grueling even for experienced bikers and the narrow and twisting road make distracted drivers a problem.

While Wetherill Mesa Road is closed to bicycles, the Long House Loop, located at Wetherill Mesa itself, is open to bikes and, thankfully, closed to motorized vehicles.

Hiking is also a popular activity in the park, with many trails taking hikers through scenic landscapes and past historic sites.

Although many trails are relatively short, most of them include steep elevation changes that can make them difficult in hot weather or after rainfall.

Because of the sensitive archaeological nature of the park, hikers are required to stay on marked trails at all times.

Two trails, the Spruce Canyon Trail and the Petroglyph Point Trail, require hikers to register beforehand either at the trailhead or at the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum.

Accommodation in Mesa Verde

While the main sights can be done in one day, those looking to visit at a more relaxed pace will probably want to stay a night or two.

Far View Lodge is the park’s only hotel and has restaurants, gift shops, groceries, and other amenities. Located at the junction of the main park road and Wetherill Mesa Road, it is also a prime spot for exploring the various attractions in the park.

The park also has a large campground, Morefield Campground, located near the park entrance, which has hookups, a gas station, grocery store, RV dump station, amphitheater, and laundromat.

Camping in Mesa Verde

Many of the park’s best trails are also located here. While the campground is first-come, first-served all year round, space is almost always available. Both Morefield Campground and Far View Lodge are open only from spring to fall.

Backcountry camping is not permitted.

Mesa Verde National Park is one of the few places where history and nature combine to provoke awe and wonder in visitors.

One of America’s first World Heritage Sites, Mesa Verde continues to be an inspirational place entirely unlike any other in the world.

Get Your Hiking Adventure Trekking

Cappuccino Coffee: A Rich & Colorful History

Cappuccino coffee is one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world.

It’s made from a freshly prepared espresso that has its flavor enhanced with hot milk and steamed milk foam. Then, more often than not, cappuccino is topped off with a sprinkling of chocolate or cinnamon.

Yet, the drink so many people know and love has not always been served the way it is today and the true origin of cappuccino coffee remains unknown.

double sided coffee glass with cappuccino and spoon

A History Shrouded in Mystery

Cappuccino coffee originated in Italy and is believed to be named after the “cappucio” hoods worn by Franciscan monks.

Cappuccino translates as “little hood” and the color of the monks’ hoods bears a striking resemblance to the shade of brown that results from the mixing of coffee and milk in a cup of cappuccino.

Although there can be little doubt about the reason cappuccino coffee received its name it is unclear how long ago the drink was invented.

One popular story states the drink is the invention a Capuchin Monk called Marco d’ Avaiano and that he produced the world’s first ever cappuccino coffee in 1683, after the Battle of Vienna. It’s a great story, but there is no historical evidence to back it up.

Capuchin Monk & Cappuccino

Cappuccino From a Machine

Cappuccino coffee drinking grew in popularity in 1901.

Up until then coffee was made in small batches.

This changed when a young man from Milan, called Luigi Bezzera, decided the coffee making process was too slow and invented the world’s first espresso coffee machine. Bezzera’s machine made it easy to make a cup of strong, black espresso in around 30 seconds and the fact that an espresso could be produced so quickly made it easier to produce other coffee drinks, including cappuccino.

Bezzera’s creation may have made it easier to make a cappuccino, but early cappuccinos lacked the thick texture that modern-day coffee drinkers know and love.

The milky foam was a later addition that came about when enterprising coffee machine manufacturers decided to add steam wands to their machines.

After the foam was introduced to the drink adding sprinkles of cinnamon or chocolate was an easy next step.

la marzocco coffee machine

Cappuccino Coffee is Introduced to America

By the 1950s, Cappuccino was a firm favourite with coffee drinkers all over Europe.

The drink did not become popular in America until the early 1980s.

Drinking coffee was already an important part of American culture, but many Americans preferred to take their coffee black and a visit to a coffee shop was often more about the food than the drink that accompanied it.

Things changed when a few entrepreneurs noticed how things were done in Europe, where coffee drinking was as much about the experience as the beverage. This was very different to America and the entrepreneurs realized coffee had a potential that was yet to be taken advantage of in America.

However, when it came to coffee drinking, the cultural differences between America and Europe were significant. It was the norm for American’s to pop into a coffee shop, grab a quick coffee and then go, only staying longer if they wanted something to eat.

The entrepreneurs needed a way to encourage customers to stay longer and order more drinks. They achieved this by offering a wider variety of options including lattes, caffè cremas and, cappuccinos.

One only has to look at the present popularity of Starbucks to see how successful the move turned out to be.

American Coffee Culture

Cappuccino: A Coffee Conclusion

These days anyone who wishes to do so can pop down to the local supermarket and buy a sachet of cappuccino coffee to prepare at home and the hardest part of a coffee shop visit may be choosing to opt for a cappuccino or taking one of the many other coffee options that are on offer.

Enjoying a cappuccino has become so easy to do it has become equally easy to take the drink for granted. That is a pity because the beverage has a long and interesting history.

The modern-day cappuccino is not just the result of a monk’s experimentation with coffee beans, water, and milk; or a Milanese man’s desire to speed up the coffee making process.

Cappuccino is a drink that has evolved and improved over the years. In fact, the history of cappuccino is as rich and colorful as the drink itself.

More Coffee Adventures

Chill Out with Iced Coffee from Around the World

No matter the season, no matter the reason, iced coffees always hit the spot.

Americans aren’t the only ones enjoying iced coffee beverages, around the world iced coffees and espresso drinks are popular. There’s more to an iced coffee then, well, ice and coffee.

In the northwest, where American fascination with coffee was born, an iced coffee includes very little flavoring or sweeteners. Seattleites will pour a shot of hot espresso over a cup of ice and add a bit of coffee to fill it to the top.

In California, iced coffee drinks are often created by filling a cup with ice, adding milk about half way up the cup then topping off with strong coffee. A squeeze or two of caramel and whipped cream topping finishes it off.

Ice Coffee California Style

Coffee lovers on the east coast dig coffee martinis. Cold brewed coffee is mixed with vodka and a splash of coffee liquor, shaken in a martini shaker and served in an iced martini glass.

Italians have been known to serve iced coffee drinks on hot days by placing a cup filled with ice under the espresso maker nozzle. They claim espresso begins to turn bitter if cooled slowly.

In France, they like their iced coffee sweet and syrupy. After brewing a strong cup of Joe, they add sugar cubes and spices before stirring and adding ice.

Iced Coffee 101

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you add something hot, like coffee, to something cold, like ice, they both end up diluting and becoming lukewarm. There are a couple ways to counter this rule of science.

Making cold brewed coffee is one way to combat the ice melting issue.

Don’t confuse the cold brewed coffee described below for cold, brewed coffee – the leftovers from this morning’s pot.

Ice Coffee and Straws

When made properly, cold brewed coffee serves as a refrigerated coffee concentrate that can make hot beverages as well as cold.

  1. Start with a pound of freshly roasted, high quality, coarsely ground coffee beans.
  2. Place the beans in the bottom of a one gallon pitcher.
  3. Fill the pitcher with ten cups of filtered water.
  4. Leave at room temperature for twelve to fifteen hours.
  5. Place folded cheesecloth or other fine mesh filter over another pitcher that is one half to a full gallon in volume. Secure cheesecloth with a rubber band around the lip of the pitcher. It doesn’t have to be tight, just secure.
  6. Pour the cold brewed coffee and sludge over the filter, filling the bottom pitcher with a filtered concentrate.
  7. Squeeze the remainder of the essence from the beans by wadding the cheesecloth or filter around the beans and compressing tightly over the pitcher.

Cold Brew Recipe

You can use cold brewed coffee to make a plethora of iced coffee drink favorites.

Fill a glass one quarter full of milk. Stir in two tablespoons of chocolate beverage syrup or Ovaltine. Fill with ice. Pour concentrated cold brewed coffee to the top of the glass. Substitute strawberry beverage syrup or protein shake powder to make a tasty iced coffee treat.

Another way to combat the melting issue is to use the low temperature of your other ingredients to temper the coffee or espresso, making the melt far less obvious. When you will be using milk in your iced coffee drink, you can mix the shot, milk and anything other than the ice before adding your ice cubes.

With a little forethought, you could also place your iced coffee drink glass in your freezer until you’re ready for it. Pour the hot coffee or espresso shot into the frozen glass. The liquid from the coffee or espresso will absorb the cold temperatures, making for a cool cup of coffee in just a minute.

Keep cool. Keep caffeinated. Travel far.

More Coffee Adventures Await

What You Need to Know About Italian Coffee Culture

I’m sure you are already familiar with the words espresso, cappuccino and latte by now, as are most people around the globe.

Italian coffee drinks have now gained worldwide popularity, especially because of international coffee shop chains such as Starbucks, Lavazza and Costa Coffee.

But when you travel to Italy, will you be enjoying your daily brew in the same way as you would back home? Chances are you won’t. Italian coffee culture is unique to the world, and an integral part of Italian everyday culture.

Before you go and sip an espresso in a Milan coffee shop, there are some very interesting things you should know about Italian coffee culture:

The origins of Italian coffee culture

How did coffee become so popular in Italy in the first place?

Coffee was first introduced to Italy in the 16th century via Venice from Istanbul. It was at first only consumed by the wealthy, who viewed it as an exotic treat.

However, coffee was seen as a subject of controversy for religious reasons, as it had originated from Muslim countries. Only after being reviewed and approved by Pope Clement VIII, did it see a large boost in popularity.

Coffee houses started to pop up in the late 17th century, and it became more and more common to go out for coffee.

Italians only consumed regular brewed coffee until the evolution of the espresso in the early 20th century.

visual of consistency percentage of whats in a cafe latte

The espresso machine was patented in 1903, and since then the modern day coffee culture has evolved and flourished throughout the 20th century until today.

The common Italian coffee drinks

Italian coffee drinks are limited to a few fundamental choices.

These are the most common choices:

  • Un caffè – A shot of espresso served in a small cup.
  • Caffè corretto – A caffè which has been ‘corrected’ with a shot of liquor.
  • Cappuccino – Made up of ⅓ coffee, ⅓ steamed milk, ⅓ foam.
  • Macchiato – Consists of one espresso shot with an added few drops of milk and some foam.
  • Marocchino – Espresso combined some type of chocolate (hot chocolate, cocoa, etc.).
  • Caffè latte – Made up of ⅓ espresso, ⅔ steamed milk, and a small amount of foam on top.
  • Shakerato– A shot of espresso shaken on ice.

what is the percentage content of cappuccino visual

Some unique aspects of Italian coffee culture

Drinking coffee standing by the bar.

Italian coffee shops include both a bar area and a seating area, and the price you pay for your coffee will depend on whether you sit down at a table or have your coffee standing by the bar (by the way, the word barista literally means bartender!).

Sitting at a table will incur a higher price than standing, so if you’re a budget conscious person you might consider sipping your coffee by the bar. But, why standing you might ask?

This brings us to the next point about Italian Coffee Culture:

Fast consumption.

Unlike the typical Italian food culture of slow and relaxed eating, it’s coffee culture emphasises finishing your drink quickly and moving on. So if you’re standing by the bar while having your shot of espresso, you’re likely to finish it in 2-3 sips and be on your way.

No “to-go” coffee.

While the culture of international coffee shop chains has enabled you to bring your coffee with you out in a paper cup with lid, the coffee in Italy is meant to be consumed in the coffee shop.

Since it’s also meant to be finished quickly anyway, there would be no point of bringing the same cup of coffee around all day.

Only one coffee in one sitting.

According to Italian coffee norms, you’re only supposed to consume one coffee during your visit to a coffee shop. If you crave more caffeine later in the day, you can just have another coffee then.

Milk only in the morning.

Coffee drinks that contain milk, such as cappuccinos and caffè lattes, are usually only consumed in the morning. Ordering one of these drinks in the afternoon might be seen by the locals as a bit unusual.

Lattes.

While we’re on the topic of milk: If you want to order a latte, make sure you specify that you want a caffè latte, as the word ‘latte’ by itself in Italian just means milk. If you actually do want a cup of milk, feel free to just ask for a latte.

Milk Pouring into Latte creating leaflike design on froth

When in Italy don’t forget latte means milk, while caffe latte is espresso with milk.

Italian coffee in the 21st century

People around the world can’t get enough of Italian coffee these days, which is why we now have a growing number of coffee machines for home use.

Why go outside (or travel to Italy) to get a great cup of coffee, when we can now get it as soon as we roll out of bed and step into our kitchens?

Modern coffee machines, such as the Nescafè Dolce Gusto have made coffee preparation even easier, with the use of coffee pods or capsules instead of ground coffee beans.

When you’re travelling somewhere where you do not have easy access to a good caffè, there are now portable, travel sized espresso makers you can bring with you on your travels!

An example of this is the NowPresso, which is compatible with Nespresso® capsules (and other reusable coffee pods) and can boil water during coffee making.

The NowPresso is the the world’s first portable coffee machine that runs on a rechargeable lithium battery, which is detachable for air travel. The battery takes 2.5 hours to fully charge, and one charge can make 100 cups of espresso when using hot water and 3 cups when using cold water.

Italian style coffee is here to stay, and it’s now accessible almost anywhere in the world. No matter if you’re lucky enough to be in Italy to enjoy a caffè corretto standing by a bar, or when you happen to be somewhere else in the world where they only drink tea, a good cup of Italian style coffee is something to be enjoyed every single day.

espresso for travel

Will Travel For Coffee…

More Posts to Help You Keep Caffeinated on Your Next Heroic Adventure

5 Things About Rome That May Shock You

You’ve decided to make that big jump across the pond and head over to Italy. You’ve read all the tour guides, seen plenty of vlogs and have been fantasizing for what seems like forever, and now it’s finally happening.

But if Rome is your first stop on a European adventure, or if you’ve never been to the city before, then you might be in for a surprise. Here are five things about Rome that may shock you. Knowing them might help you prepare for your trip.

1. Rome Is busy

Anyone who’s been to Rome will tell you how busy the city is, but you’re not going to understand how busy until you experience it for yourself.

Depending on when you go, not only will Rome be full of locals trying to live their daily lives, but it will be filled with tourists as well. The metro and buses, while well-connected, are quite crowded.

Europeans and Italians are going to be traveling during the summer and into the early fall months, so be sure to time your trip accordingly.

Vatican City, a tiny country within Rome, is the center of the Catholic Church’s activities. It is also is the home of the Pope, so if there is a Christian holiday coming up, you can be sure there will be throngs of worshippers, especially during Christmastime and Easter.

During these holidays, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find cheap accommodations in Rome. You might be better off delaying your trip instead of going during a holy time.

Be prepared for the crowds in Rome

2. Pickpockets work 24/7

Professional street hustlers are everywhere.

If you want to blend in and avoid most pickpockets, you should dress as the locals do.

Italians are known for being fashionable yet understated. Clothing is always expertly tailored and often paired with gorgeous, handmade shoes (which are surprisingly reasonable to purchase in Italy).

Tone down your image and leave the digital SLR camera with the extra lens in your hotel. If you don’t feel like being fashion forward, you just have to be more aware of your surroundings than you normally might be.

Keep valuables (like your passport), at the accommodations and keep money and cell phones inside your zipped coats or under your clothing. Don’t make it easy for thieves to rip you off, duh.

Keep your head up and don’t assume someone is offering to help out of the kindness of their heart: Con artists target tourists under the guise of helpfulness, but then expect to be “paid.” Be polite, but be firm. A loud “No!” is often most effective, as they will move on to easier, less-vocal targets.

Roman Ruins Hiking

3. Accommodations are expensive

Hotels are not cheap, even when using discount websites to book them.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to choose from. Locals will often rent out their homes through private vacation rental sites, such as AirBnB. This is a great way to save money since the locals set the rates, not hotel chains.

Another alternative is to stay at an agriturismo–accommodations that are located on a farm and typically offer B&B-like amenities. Often run by individuals who also live on the property, agriturismos allow you to experience their culture and see how they live from day to day.

When you’re looking to stay in the city, hostels are another alternative to major hotel chains. Bear in mind that many hostels cater to a younger clientele and can be busy, noisy places. Check the reviews before you book and be sure there is no age restriction.

Many hostels are run like conventional hotels; you just have to be sure the one you’re staying at caters to your particular needs.

By saving money on accommodations, you’re free to spend that extra cash on the things you want to do in Rome like eat and sightsee.

roman coliseum

4. The food is terrible (unless you know where to look)

Unless you only want to eat pizza and panini, eating in Rome can be a terrible experience.

Most restaurants around the popular Roman tourist sites are expensive and cater to tourists that are desperate for food and willing to pay anything to get it. Don’t fall into this trap. Before you go to Rome, investigate some cheap and delicious restaurants online, and then program them into your cell phone map.

Not only will you have a guide to great eating right in your hands, but you’ll also be able to find your way around the city and explore areas you might never have gone to otherwise.

The best restaurants are where the locals also go, and they usually do not eat near touristy areas.

TeeShirt for Sale in Rome

5. The weather can be wild

Depending on the time of year, Roman weather can vacillate wildly between extremely hot and humid and miserably cold and damp.

Check the weather forecast and plan ahead. You will need an umbrella, a sturdy rain jacket, and comfortable walking shoes.

Although public transportation is efficient in Rome, you will be doing a lot of walking, so leave the heels and dress shoes at home (unless you’re planning on a fancy dinner night).

Temperatures can fall below freezing during the winter, so make sure you pack light but warm clothing (think Merino wool that can be layered).

In the summer, the less clothing the better, but you need to be careful.

Many religious sites have specific clothing restrictions (women can’t have bare legs or shoulders in churches; men can’t be wearing shorts or go in without a shirt), so check the sites you want to visit and be sure to pack comfortable, cool clothes that also cover your body.

When in doubt, pack a scarf that can double as a shawl, or pants that convert into shorts.

Clothing is relatively inexpensive in Rome, so if you forget something at home, you can pick up what you need at one of the local shops.

Hiking in the Rain Rome

Ohhh, the Memories…

Rome is an amazing city and one that will linger in your memory long after you’ve left, but it does take careful planning, especially if it’s your entry point into Italy.

When you plan, pack accordingly, and keep your head up, you’ll have a wonderful time in the eternal city.

Hiking Poles

Five Major Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad

Remote working was virtually unheard of only a few decades ago. Having a full-time job usually meant working in the same place every day, with a fixed schedule and the same group of colleagues.

With the internet having become more widespread, it is now much easier for people to work remotely.

Over the past few years, a whole movement based on working remotely while traveling the globe has emerged. “Digital nomads,” as they are commonly known, typically have jobs which allow them to be fully remote, such as translation, computer programming or writing.

Here are five major benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle:

using technology to work from anywhere

1. You can live almost anywhere you like

You can base yourself anywhere that’s equipped with electricity and a reliable internet connection. There are even websites that rate top digital nomad destinations, for example Nomadlist, you can see it here.

Looking for something more fantastic, if you’ve always wanted to live by the ocean, or in the shadow of a mountain, now you can.

There’s no need to live in an overcrowded, polluted city just because that’s where all the jobs are.

Digital Nomad Working Mountainside

Also read: Top 5 Cities to Live as a Digital Nomad

2. You can make time differences work for you

Some digital nomads are lucky enough to be able to set their own schedules and work whenever it suits them.

Others need to work fixed hours, especially if they need to be available to take calls or participate in video conferences.

However, even if you fall into the second group, you can make the time difference work for you.

When you’re a night owl, try living somewhere which is 10-plus hours ahead or behind your home country, so that you can work until the early hours while still being able to take calls and contact your team.

Hiking Watch

Also read: Travel + Work: Synching Across Multiple Time Zones (When on the Road)

3. You don’t have to put up with colleagues

One of the biggest problems you might have at work is dealing with annoying colleagues, whether they won’t stop talking when you’re trying to concentrate, or they have a taste for stinky egg sandwiches which they eat at their desk.

Working remotely usually means working alone, from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

If you do get lonely, you can always use a co-working space to meet other digital nomads; unlike traditional working environments, it’s totally up to you.

soloprenuer

Also read: Outsourced Ecommerce Fulfillment Allows for Location Independence, Run a Biz While YOU Travel

4. You can move around regularly

As the name implies, digital nomads are free to move around as much as they want to.

Many stay put in one place for several months, or even years, but others choose to relocate more often.

As soon as you feel the need for a change of scenery, you can book your next flight and go.

Lots of nomads even travel with carry-on luggage only, to make it even cheaper and easier to work while on the move.

Backpacking Season

Also read: Getting Ready For the Backpacking Season

5. You have much more free time

People with regular 9-to-5 jobs usually have to commute. That means a lot of wasted time, whether they’re waiting for delayed trains or crawling along the freeway in rush-hour traffic.

When you’re a digital nomad, going to work can be as easy as walking downstairs and setting up your laptop on the kitchen table, which can save many of you up to two or three hours per day.

You can use that extra time to catch up with friends, pick up some new skills–like hiking or Mandarin–or just wake up later in the morning.

Hiking Trip Essential Preparation

Also read: Essentials for a Safe, Enjoyable Hiking Trip

Remote Work Isn’t for Everyone

The digital nomad lifestyle is definitely not for everyone; it wouldn’t suit those who have time-management issues or need to be close to family and friends.

However, it can be an eye-opening experience for those who struggle to fit into traditional workplaces or who want to see more of the world without being limited to a few weeks of vacation time per year.

Why not give it a try?

Hiking Pole Reviews

The Nomad Cycle: How To Spend A Full Year Working Your Way Around The United States

It’s perfectly possible to work your way around the country with nothing special in the way of education, experience or credentials.

Of course, if you have those things, there’s an even greater world of possibility open to you.

The jobs discussed below form a basic bedrock for full-time travelers and are accessible to just about anyone.

The Nomad Cycle

The Nomad Cycle Chart USA Year Round Gypsy Work

SPRING Nomad Work in the USA

The Harvest Seasons

There are jobs in Florida picking citrus fruits all year, but the really big season in which lots of temporary hands are needed is in the spring.

The hiring process generally begins in February for work starting in March and lasting for about three months.

Agricultural harvest work isn’t as rich in spring as it will be in summer and fall, but there’s at least one other big opportunity for those on the opposite end of the country — strawberries.

California produces most of the country’s strawberries and they are grown there all year, but the prime season begins in spring and carries on well into summer.

Harvest Seasons

Home Improvement

Spring is far and away the biggest season for home improvement projects.

Major retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot will add tens of thousands of employees to their workforce just for the spring season.

This temporary hiring blitz also extends to a lesser extent to general retail chains like Walmart that have lawn and garden departments.

Landscaping & Gardening

As with home improvement, spring is also the time in which gardening activity is at its peak.

Landscaping companies look for seasonal help not just out in the field but also in their offices.

SUMMER Work Options

The general theme of looking for temporary work in the summer is in going to where all the tourists are headed during the high travel season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

One area where opportunities are plentiful is in parks and wildlife refuges.

For national parks, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service are the best places to start.

National parks are the prime choice, as they offer decent hourly pay as well as often providing a place to camp or park an RV.

These positions exist at the state and city level as well, but these parks often only offer non-paid volunteer positions that come with only a place to camp or park as a perk. Jobs through private concessionaires are also available in these parks.

Cities and towns that are located next to the major parks see a corresponding rise in business, and therefore a need for temporary workers.

One prime example is the towns at the five entrance gates to Yellowstone National Park.

These gates span the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana in regions where there is not enough of a year-round labor force to support the summer rush.

Snake Bend Colorado River National Park USA

Summer Camps

Private summer camps for youth also offer a range of opportunities for temporary workers, from camp counselor to chef.

Summer Harvesting

If you’re interested in harvest work during the summer, the first big crop is the cherry harvest which begins in June.

This mostly happens in the states along the West Coast, but there’s a significant amount of cherry farms in Michigan and Wisconsin as well.

August brings both the blueberry and apple harvests.

Both harvests generally last into October.

They’re also both found mostly in the extreme northern corners of the country — Maine and New Hampshire in the east, and Washington in the west.

Alaska Fishing

Summer fishing season in Alaska brings a great need for both workers on fishing vessels and workers manning the canning factories.

There’s such a regular and predictable need for this huge labor force that companies will pay for round-trip airfare for those who will commit to working the entire season.

Cannery workers are also put up in dorms and fed three meals a day, but the hours are long and the job involves standing for 12 hours surrounded by stinky fish guts.

The pay is better than most temporary labor jobs, however, with workers who stick out the summer often coming back with the better part of $10,000 in their pockets.

Las Vegas POKER DEALERS

Las Vegas hosts the World Series of Poker from the beginning of June to early July every year.

About 1500 dealers are needed for this massive tournament, and the majority come from outside the area.

Pay is in the range of $20 to $30 per hour. You need some prior experience as a dealer for this job, but not a whole lot; it may be possible to land a job with nothing more than a solid training course completed recently.

You don’t have to worry about the notorious stink of cigarette smoke that plagues the dealer’s profession either; smoking is not allowed in the table area during the tournament.

Poker Dealer Las Vegas, NV

Festival Work

You can find temporary festival work here and there all over the country all year long, but summer is the prime season.

You shouldn’t have to go too far to find a major music festival, renaissance fair or similar event that runs for at least several days and needs a small army of temporary staff to set up, run concessions, clean up and take everything down.

FALL Digital Nomad

Fall Harvest Time

There are two major harvests that require thousands of temporary workers in the fall: sugar beets in the northwest, and cranberries in the northeast.

Montana is the center of the sugar beet world, while Cape Cod is an excellent starting point for cranberry work.

Sugar beet work is particularly attractive as it doesn’t involve actual picking of the beets. Workers instead work for one of the major sugar companies, who receive the beets from the individual farms that harvest them.

At the lowest level, workers sort and process the beets.

There are even more lucrative positions available for those who know how to drive a large truck, operate machinery like loaders and forklifts, or are trained in the use of the specialized processing equipment.

Cranberry picking starts in September, while the beet harvest work begins in early October. If you’re stuck elsewhere in the country, you may find sporadic opportunities at pumpkin patches.

Retail Holiday Season Rush

The hiring crunch for the Christmas season begins in the early fall.

Just about anywhere in the country, you’ll be able to get on with retail stores, shopping mall kiosk companies or package delivery services.

Amazon’s fulfillment centers make a strong effort each year to attract temporary workers for the Christmas season, especially those who live out of RVs.

These centers can be found in over half of the states in the country, with the largest number of them in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The Postal Service also hires thousands of extra workers at their mail sorting facilities throughout the country for the months of November and December. The application process for this generally begins in September and ends in early October.

Christmas Tree Lots

Christmas tree lots generally open up just after Thanksgiving. They’ll be looking for temporary help until the holiday arrives.

Christmas Tree Sales November December USA

WINTER Nomad Christmas

Ski Resorts

As parks are rich in opportunities for temporary jobs in summer, ski resorts are rich in winter.

The mountain areas of California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are the central places to look for these jobs.

Resorts & Temp Agencies

The winter months are the toughest times for nomads, due to the combined lack of agricultural and tourist industry work.

Resorts in warmer climes may see something of an uptick in visitation during this time, in particular those along the Gulf Coast.

Many nomads ride out the winter simply by finding a place to settle in and working through a temp agency.

Not matter the shifts in the economy, there’s enough work out there for anyone to stay occupied all year if they are flexible enough.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from working in some digital moneymaking ideas as well!

More Nomadology

 

Essentials for a Safe, Enjoyable Hiking Trip

If you’re like most people, then you don’t prepare to go for a walk. You just put your shoes on and walk out the door. Unfortunately, many people treat a hiking trip as little more than a long walk, and that can be a bad idea.

Think of it this way: When you go for a walk, you stay in your neighborhood. That means that you’re never far from help in the unlikely event that you get too tired to walk home.

When you go hiking, you’re in a completely different environment.

Carrying the proper hiking gear will not only keep you safe but also allow you to have fun. What are the essentials that hikers need to carry?

1. Food and Water

Food and Water

One of the aspects of hiking that is often underestimated is the potential for dehydration. When you hit the trail without carrying enough water, you can quickly find yourself in trouble.

Whether it’s hot out or, when you’re hiking in one of the cooler months of the year in your region–an insulated water bottle for water can stabilize your liquid intake for hot, cold or temperate no matter the outside climate.

Depending on the temperature outside and the distance you plan to cover, you’ll need at least a couple of bottles per person.

Since hiking can wear you out if you’re not careful, remember to eat before setting out. You’ll also want to pack a nutritious lunch.

2. Hat

Wear a Hat or Beanie

Hiking on a hot day can not only put you at risk of becoming dehydrated but also increases your chances of getting heatstroke.

Wearing a white hat is a good way to keep from overheating and will allow you to stay on the trail longer.

If you don’t own a hat, then pack a white towel instead.

When you are hiking in winter weather, of course, a snowcap or beanie will serve to keep you warm.

Bottom line: wear the hat that will protect from the exposure no matter the season of  the year.

3. GPS, Cell Phone, Map and Compass

GPS, map, compass, satellite

No one plans to get lost when they go hiking, but it continues to happen nevertheless.

Taking a GPS device or cell phone can be a big help. In case they stop working, be sure to take a map and compass as well.

4. First Aid Kit and Walking Stick

Hiking Pole Women Horizon

In addition to getting lost, hikers are frequently injured, so it makes sense to carry a first aid kit every time you hit the trail. Since sprained ankles are common, it’s also a good idea to carry a walking stick.

Walking sticks, also popularly known as trekking poles, or Nordic walking sticks come in foldable, i.e. packable, styles, you can see more about them at the Walking Stick Buyers Guider here >>>.

5. Insect Repellent

 

The whole point of hiking is to have fun, but insect bites can quickly make you miserable. Carrying insect repellent is a good way to ensure that you enjoy your outing.


Hiking can be an unpredictable activity. Being prepared for a variety of different situations will allow you to get the most from your trip. You wouldn’t go on vacation without packing the essentials, and hiking is no different.

Related Hiking Posts

The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Hiking

Hiking enthusiasts around the world know that regular romps in the wilderness are not only good for physical health, but for mental health as well. 

As hiking requires physical movement over varied and challenging terrain, it provides a great workout for your body.

Meanwhile, the social and stimulating aspects of hiking, such as taking in beautiful scenery while accompanied by friends and family, provides a workout for your mind 

Few other exercises can so effectively benefit your body and mind at the same time.

When you’re ready to learn about these benefits in greater detail, then read on below to find out about three physical and three mental health benefits of hiking.

Hiking’s Physical Health Benefits

Hiking and Health Benefits Physical

1) Arthritis prevention and relief

Walking is one of the very best activities for relieving arthritis pain in the knees.

Sure, you could walk around your neighborhood or around the mall, but hiking provides the varied terrain necessary for building up all of the muscle groups in your legs.

Recent studies have shown that taking 6,000 steps a day may not only prevent and relieve arthritis, but may even reverse it.

What better place to get these steps in than out on the trail?

2) Weight loss

As it is a form of physical exercise, regular hiking can definitely aid in weight loss (which, incidentally, can further aid in reducing arthritis pain).

You can easily burn around 300 calories an hour at a gentle pace, and you can increase your pace and trail difficulty as you feel yourself becoming fitter and healthier.

Plus, it is very difficult to get bored when surrounded by the great outdoors, as opposed to when running or walking indoors on a treadmill.

3) Diabetes prevention and reversal

Hiking can be a great way to manage both Type I and Type II diabetes*.

Not only can it lower your risk for Type II diabetes by keeping your body in great shape, but it can actually contribute to the reversal of Type II diabetes for those who are already suffering from it.

Furthermore, while there is no known cure for Type I diabetes, hiking can lower the amounts of insulin that your body needs, making symptoms easier to manage.

Hiking’s Mental Health Benefits

Improve Mental Health with Hiking

1) The strengthening of social ties

Humans are social creatures, and while some of us may be more introverted and prefer to spend time alone, we all nevertheless need a network of close relationships in order to feel happy, secure, and loved.

Hiking is a fantastic way to renew and strengthen these relationships, as it allows us to get closer to friends and family while away from the usual distractions of life.

One afternoon out on the trail with a close friend can be worth more than hundreds of text messages!

2) Reduction in feelings of depression

Renewing and strengthening social ties can also be a big part of helping the symptoms of depression, but the benefits of hiking for depression don’t stop there.

Researchers have found that spending time out in nature is actually a much better strategy for reducing the symptoms of depression than, for example, walking around a shopping mall.

While depression is a complex mental illness with no simple cure, hiking can definitely be part of a strong depression treatment plan.

3) Stress relief

Just as hiking can help fight depression, it can also help fight anxiety and stress.

When school, work, or your home life have you down, then it is healthy to take a breather now and then to spend some time far away from your worries and stresses. Moreover, hiking can even serve as an upper body exercise when you utilize trekking poles on your journey.

If you give yourself a break and surround yourself with some natural beauty for a time, then you will likely return to your life ready and able to successfully handle whatever it throws at you.


Ready to hit the trail? See the Heroic Adventures side-by-side comparison of the most popular trekking poles here >>>


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Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Take a Second Look

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is often just a minor pit stop for tourists who land at the airport and almost immediately board busses for Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat, or the white sand beaches of Sihanoukville and its islands.

Phnom Penh, with its modern cafes and sky scrapers, French colonial buildings, and shopfront row houses mixed among gorgeous Buddhist temples and local markets, should not be overlooked at it really does have something to excite everyone.

Many travelers who take the time to see any part of Phnom Penh will simply grab a tuk-tuk and zoom off to visit the more popular tourist attractions such as the Royal Palace and the infamous Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

While important in their own right, these sites barely scratch the surface of a complex and engaging city that is undergoing massive and rapid change.

The National Museum 

Cambodia National Museum

The National Museum for instance, located just behind the Royal Palace, offers a museum experience that is unlike most others. Most visitors quickly notice is that the museum is open air. The window openings are protected by large wooden shutters during the night, but when open, air, and sometimes birds, freely pass through.

Not surprisingly, the museum contains one of the largest collections of Angkorian and Pre-Angkorian artifacts in the world.

What is surprising however, is that the majority of this collection was gathered after the ouster of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 as they had abandoned the museum and destroyed most of the artifacts during their reign of terror. The museum also contains a small, but hopefully growing, collection of artifacts from Cambodia’s French Colonial era.

Nightly, behind the museum, a traditional dance show is held with young artists who are rekindling their culture of dance and music that was all but lost during decades of civil war, genocide, and rebuilding.

Stability has finally allowed the arts to return and the Traditional Dance show is one of the best ways for tourists to witness them.

traditional dancers cambodia

Like any large city, the local neighborhoods of Phnom Penh each have their own distinctive character and charm.

Walking the streets, or taking a tuk-tuk ride through a local neighborhood is a rewarding experience, especially if you are able to explore several different areas and witness a variety of locals going about their daily lives.

From the busy streets surrounding the riverfront packed with local street vendors, markets, and small shops to the much more upscale BKK1 area with its Starbuckseque coffee shops and a new Krispy Kreme, there is a neighborhood that will make most everyone feel at home.

Walking a neighborhood is also an excellent way to see the architecture of the area.

The ornate metalwork that makes up many of the common fences that surround most buildings and villas can easily be called works of art.

From the French colonial buildings with their curved corners and balconies to the hand carved roof brackets, the architecture of Phnom Penh does not disappoint either.

French Architecture in Phomn Penh Cambodia

Many concrete walls, especially those surrounding the numerous wats (temples) around the city, are also intricately detailed and very worthy of close inspection.

For those who are interested in construction as well, Phnom Penh is growing at a phenomenal pace and new construction, in its concrete and rough brick form, can be seen all over the city in both low and high rise buildings.

Local Market – Local Life

Cambodia Local Market

Most tourists who venture into Phnom Penh’s markets visit Central Market and more recently Toul Tom Pong market, commonly called The Russian Market. While each of these has its charm, there are many local markets where the people of Phnom Penh do their daily shopping.

Unlike Central Market or The Russian Market, local markets will have little to no souvenirs and instead will be stocked with fresh fruits and meats, tools, kitchen appliances, and other daily needs.

A local market is a great place to interact with Cambodians, witness the variety of foods and goods, and practice some of the common travel phrases like “How much is this?”.

Local markets are also an excellent place to dive into a fresh bowl of noodles or whatever is on the menu that day.

Cambodians are often friendly people and more than happy to help you through the buying process but remember that modest haggling is expected.

Even if you don’t purchase anything, seeing a local market is not an experience you will soon forget and for many is one of the highlights of any trip to Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh Up-and-Coming Center of Business & Culture in Southeast Asia

Phnom Penh, once known as the Pearl of Asia, is again an up-and-coming center of business and culture in southeast Asia.

Unlike in its past though, today’s Phnom Penh is not just limited to Asia but is becoming a truly international city that is a worthwhile addition to any traveler’s schedule.

Off the path City See it Now

It’s Never Too Late For a Heroic Adventure