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Ten of the World’s Cheapest Countries to Travel In

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  1. Vietnam

Vying with India as the cheapest of them all, alluring Vietnam goes for a snip. Delicious street food, vibrant emerald paddy fields, smiling locals and the stunning Halong Bay are just a few reasons to pack your bag and head for this enchanting country.

A luxury hotel suite in historical Hue goes for twenty bucks. A guided tour to My Son temple ruins, complete with lunch and a boat trip? That will put you back five dollars! There are bargains galore to be had.

Halong Bay in Vietnam

  1. India

Although not quite the rock bottom bargain that it used to be, India is still up there in the ‘cheapest countries to visit’ list.

Travelling in India is akin to being in a psychedelic dream. You won’t believe some of the sights you will see, both ravishingly beautiful and deeply shocking. From the Himalayas to the beaches of Kerala, every day in India is an assault on the senses.

Travel, accommodation, and food costs are all low and budget travelers will get by comfortably for twenty dollars a day. If you are spiritually inclined, many ashrams are free to stay in.

Listen to some cool tunes for a few rupees – Dharamsala in India

  1. Nepal

Nepal is still recovering from the earthquake it suffered in 2015, but it is open for business and is a worthy destination to put your dollars into.

The country is not only one of the most affordable places in the world to travel in, it is also one of the most stunning. Eight of the top ten highest mountains on the planet are located in the country. Kathmandu is a fascinating city full of medieval temples, mischievous monkeys, and ancient alleyways.

The district of Thamel is the backpackers stomping the ground, offering cheap eats and hotel rooms aplenty.

  1. Thailand

There is a reason that Thailand is a consistently popular destination for budget travelers. Apart from the beautiful beaches, fabulous temples, lively night-life and a captivating culture, it is easy to explore. From the backpacker’s mecca of Kho San Road, buses run visitors all over the country to the most popular spots.

Sure, it is a well-beaten path, but it is also the perfect destination for rookie backpackers who are in the process of finding their traveling feet. It is cheap, cheerful and colorful and a few baht will take you far.

A temple on the island of Ko Chang in Thailand

  1. Nicaragua

Nicaragua has pretty much everything Costa Rica has (and sometimes more!) for about a third of the price! Colonial cities, volcanoes, beaches, jungles and even sloths are all part of the Nicaragua experience.

If you are traveling on an ultra-tight budget, you could get by on fifteen dollars a day. Pitch a tent or string up a hammock for a couple of bucks, live off tasty street food, travel by chicken bus and you will be winging it. Even the entrance fees to the National Parks are only two or three dollars. Viva Nicaragua!

A cathedral in the city of Leon, Nicaragua

  1. Cambodia

Despite the fact that Cambodia now caters to top end tourists, it is still light on the wallet for backpackers and budget travelers. Many hotels and restaurants charge in US dollars, sometimes adding to the cost, but generally speaking Cambodia is still one of the great bargains of the travel world.

Angkor Wat, the country’s crowning glory is high on the hit list for most travelers, and rightly so. There are, however, many delights beyond the iconic ruins.

  1. Turkey

Although not so cheap as many Asian and Latin American countries, Turkey offers a reasonable alternative when traveling in Europe.

Istanbul is an enthralling city full of history and culture. Visiting the major attractions will set you back a bit financially as entrance fees can be high. It is, therefore, best to pick and choose and save yourself a few dollars. Just wandering the streets and visiting the Grand Bazaar is a fascinating experience.

Street food, such as a simit (similar to a bagel) is very cheap and accommodation and travel are all good value. If you are going to the incredible Cappadocia, you can enjoy several days exploring the natural wonders on foot for free, only paying for accommodation (a cave hotel or hostel?) and food.

  1. Guatemala

Another Central American country offering some amazing travel experiences at cool low prices. Guatemala has a reputation of being one of the cheapest places in the world to learn Spanish. There are some reputable schools that run value for money courses.

Known for its colorful markets, you may be enticed to part with more cash than intended! However, with its monkey infested jungles, ancient temples, and enchanting towns, Guatemala remains a favorite destination for many backpackers.

There are bargains galore to be had in the markets of Guatemala

  1. Bolivia

Without a doubt, Bolivia is the best value South American destination for shoestring travelers. If you can live, eat and travel as the locals do, you can survive on a few bucks a day. Tours can potentially add to the cost, as some of the attractions are places that are not easily accessible e.g. the Uyuni Salt Flats and Valle de la Luna. Even taking this into account, it is still an inexpensive country to explore.

Colorful markets, spectacular deserts, fascinating mining towns, mountains, and jungles await in the bargain basement of South America.

  1. Mexico

Mexico is easy on the pocket in addition to being a fabulously fun and bewitching country to explore. Follow the usual rules regarding eating delicious street food, buying groceries and staying in basic hotel rooms or hostels and travel by bus and you will happily get by on less than thirty dollars a day.

The Mexico City metro is excellent and is one of the cheapest in the world. A trip to Mexico wouldn’t break the bank and it is a wonderful place to visit.

Margaritas are one of the delights of traveling in Mexico!

 

Originally posted 2017-08-20 12:36:33.

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Tell It Like A Lesbian

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My mother refuses to refer to my partner as anything other than a friend. We’ve been dating for three years and my mother still won’t acknowledge our relationship. Am I crazy for being angry about this and wanting to confront her? I feel insulted and it really upsets my partner. –Clarke

Dear Clarke, You’re not crazy for being upset at your mother. It sounds like you have every right to be angry, especially if after three years your mother can’t even acknowledge your relationship. If talking to her gently about it hasn’t worked after all this time, it may indeed be time to confront her more forcefully, as your partner’s feelings are also being hurt by this behavior. If you decide to confront her and her attitude remains unchanged, it may be time to cut ties. After all, your happiness is what matters most in this situation, regardless of whatever is causing such denial from your mother. You must put the health of you and your partner’s relationship first, and eventually, your mother may come to realize what she is losing because of her denial.

__________

Dear Tell It, Do you have any suggestions for handling depression? I’ve been really struggling with loneliness and I have no energy for anything, even stuff I usually enjoy. I feel like I have no one to turn to. –Otto

Dear Otto, Depression often causes the loneliness and sense of isolation that you are feeling. It’s important that you recognize this as a symptom of your depression and do your best not to isolate yourself as a result. Because depression can take a lot of energy, remember that your brain and body need time to recover. And remember that focusing on self-care is not selfish. Depression is an illness just like the flu and other diseases and should be treated with the same care.

On bad days, make a warm drink that you enjoy, read your favorite book or watch a show or movie you love. Spend some time by yourself to recharge, and then contact a friend or family member to let them know what you’ve been feeling. Make a plan to spend time with them, even if it’s only for an hour or two, preferably away from your house. Getting outside and into a new environment is an excellent way of resetting your brain. While I wish I could tell you otherwise, depression doesn’t just go away. You will likely go through phases of good and bad, and it’s important to learn the symptoms that are specific to you. If you have suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. Hang in there, and remember that there are people who care.

__________

Have questions for Tell It Like A Lesbian? Let me answer them! Submit your questions below (you don’t have to use your real name unless you want to), and see your question answered on our website!

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Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:10:06.


Also published on Medium.

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In December, This Round-The-World Cruise Visits 35 Countries

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Imagine being able to visit 66 ports in 35 countries over 141 days.  Such a trip has never been offered in the past, but now Viking Cruises, based in Los Angeles, is planning one.  

The Viking Sun will set sail on 15 December 2017. Furthermore, Cruise Critic has named Viking Cruises as one of the top 10 cruise lines for gay and lesbian travelers because it frequently partners with LGBT travel agencies and past travelers have reported good experiences.  In fact, the 2017 CRUIZIE Awards for LGBT Cruise Travel awarded Viking River Cruises the ‘Best River Cruise Line for LGBTQ Passengers.’  

So what is this journey going to look like?  Let’s have a look:  

Day 1: Depart From Miami

Miami

On 15 December 2017, the Viking Sun will leave Miami, the international city in Florida.  If you are embarking on this trip and are here in Miami, appreciate the barrier islands and Miami beach.  Here, find colorful buildings, surfside hotels and white sand.  If this sounds good, then spend a few days here, before making your way to the Viking Sun. 

Days 2 to 20: The Caribbean, Central America and Los Angeles

The Caribbean

On day 2, cruise the Caribbean Sea,  which covers an area of approximately 1,063,000 square miles. The deepest area in this sea is the Cayman Trench between Cuba and Jamaica.  Between day 3 and day 5, explore the city of Cienfuegos in Cuba, where a walking tour is offered.  This traveler explored gorgeous flamingoes, boat houses and more attractions.  

Between days 6 to 17, visit other countries lying in the Caribbean and South and Central America: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Then briefly visit  Mexico and Los Angeles, before cruising the Pacific Ocean.   

Days 30 to 43: French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji

Nuka Hiva, the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia

French Polynesia, an overseas French possession, consists of more than 100 stunning islands, stretching across more than 2,000 kilometers. Start cruising the South Pacific and visit Taiohae, the main town of Nuka Hiva (pictured above) in French Polynesia.  You will also visit Tahiti and Bora Bora, known for its scuba diving.  

The 15 gorgeous islands that make up the Cook Islands could provide a hint of paradise.  Warm tropical waters, crystal clear waters and aquatic life are just a few of the treasures that can be found here. Then in Tonga, discover white beaches, coral reefs and tropical rainforest.  Continue this tropical holiday in Fiji, which also has beaches and coral reefs.  

Days 44 to 113: New Zealand, Australia and Asia

New Zealand

In New Zealand, go on an extensive tour that includes the Bay of Islands, an enclave of more than 140 islands with beaches and water activities. Find an abundance of wildlife, including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, and gannets.  There’s even a camping ground here.

Go on to cruise the Tasman Sea, and discover several attractions in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, located in northeastern Australia, consists of golden beaches, thousands of reefs, and hundreds of Islands with dolphins, sharks, and colorful fish.     

Then cruise the Timor Sea and start exploring the culture and beauty of Asia. See Indonesia, and then go on to visit Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong , Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and India.  During this journey explore Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, which has beautiful islands topped with rainforests.  

Days 114 to 131: The Middle East, North Africa and the Central Mediterranean

Malta in the Central Mediterranean

Cruise across the Arabian Sea, and tour several countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Oman, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia. There is also a stop at Malta, located in the Central Mediterranean.  See wildflowers, plants, prehistoric sites, and walk to discover Malta’s natural beauty.  

Days 132 to 141: Europe

Murcia (Cartagena), Spain

See Portugal, England, and explore the beaches and hiking trails of Sardinia, the Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. In Spain, Murcia is a university city with beaches, water sports, wine, and historical sites.    

Want to explore these countries, and Interested in this cruise? Call Viking at 888-850-6260 or find out more here.

Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:08:07.

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Same-Sex Marriage in the US: A Decade of Change

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On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court announced the decision to make same-sex marriage a right in all 50 states. People all over the country celebrated, pride flags were flown, and for the first time, the White House was lit with rainbow lights. The decision was a landmark victory for the gay-rights movement, but behind it all was decades of litigation, activism, and advocacy.

In 1996, a law called the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It defined marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” in the United States constitution. Individual states were able to recognize same-sex unions, but on a federal level, the words wife, husband, and spouse, were reserved specifically for heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples were also denied social security survivor’s benefits and were unable to jointly file taxes. For almost a decade, the DOMA remained.

After 40 years of being together, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer traveled to Toronto to get legally married in 2007. A year later, their union was officially recognized by their home state of New York . In 2009, Spyer passed away at the age of 77. She left her entire estate to her wife, Windsor. Because of DOMA, the federal government did not recognize their union as a marriage and Windsor was required to pay over $300,000 in taxes on her inheritance. Windsor decided to challenge this because she was legally married and should have therefore qualified for an unlimited tax deduction on the inherited estate. After approaching several gay-rights advocacy groups, she was repeatedly denied and was unable to find representation.

Finally, Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP agreed to take on the case. In 2010, her case was filed and made its way through the circuits and in 2013 it had reached the United States Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Windsor and announced that DOMA had been unconstitutional. By the same margin, the Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage three years later.

In September of 2017, Windsor passed away at the age of 88. She left behind a legacy of activism and change, and hope. At her funeral, Hillary Rodham read a eulogy. “Because of her, people came out, marched in their first pride parade, married the love of their life. Thank you, Edie,” reported the New York Daily News.“Thank you for being a beacon of hope, for proving that love is more powerful than hate.”

Edith Windsor has helped to change the lives of thousands of LGBTQ couples and her legacy will continue to live on. Do you have a story of how legalizing same-sex marriage changed your life? Tell us in the comments!

Originally posted 2017-10-25 13:58:13.

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