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Desert Living in Jordan

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips Leave a Comment

After a brief 10 days of guiding in Israel, I joined up with two new friends to trek from Israel into Jordan. I felt like traveling to Jordan, as well as other Arab nations, was a very important bit of travel to do after touring Israel. With such a heated political situation between many different groups in the area, everybody has their own opinion on what’s going on, who’s wrong and right, and what should be done. I was eager to experience more of the Arab view of the conflict in Israel, as well as experience the culture and country in general. Luckily for me, two of the participants I had been guiding the previous 10 days on Birthright decided to come along with me for the first few days of my trip. Starting out, we had a basic plan, but left most of our specific itinerary to chance – we all traveled with a small backpack and minimal gear, making it easy to move around and adjust our itinerary. Also of note, during this trip I was shooting photos with my iPhone 5 and Sony RX100M2 Starting out, Chelsea, Hannah and I met up at the Florentine Backpackers Hostel in Tel Aviv, Israel – a fantastic hostel, with good basic accommodations, a lively and social rooftop, and within easy walking distance to the old town of Jaffa. Of note, Jaffa has some great street art, and a lively bar and shopping district. To get to Jordan, we took a Taxi on a Saturday all the way to the Sheik Hussein northern border crossing, which was uneventful and easy to get across. Finally, in Jordan! After crossing over into Jordan, we hopped another taxi into Amman, with a quick lunch stop. Even stopping at a roadside restaurant, we were immediately …

Jeffrey DonenfeldDesert Living in Jordan
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Next Week I’ll Be Guiding An Adventure Across Israel

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips Leave a Comment

Coming up starting on May 19th, 2014 I’ll be guiding a ten day adventure across Israel with Birthright Israel and Israel Outdoors. During the trip, I’ll be working with two other expert staff members – Allison Bell and Asher Drimmer, traveling with a group of 40 guests. Years ago, I actually participated as a guest in this exact same trip, and it’s an exciting honor to now have the opportunity to lead it. Israel Outdoors calls this itinerary “Israel By Bike“, but it’s a lot more than just that. We’ll be biking, hiking, swimming, sightseeing, and relaxing all throughout Israel, experience as much as the country has to offer. In addition to the many activities and locations we’ll be discovering, we’ll also be developing our own personal relationships with both the land and the people of Israel. During our trip, we’ll be joined by a few members of the Israeli Defense Force, to learn firsthand what their lives are like living in Israel and serving in the military – a unique opportunity to make deep connections. Here’s a quick outline of what we’ll be up to during our ten day itinerary: Meet and greet at Tel Aviv’s Caesarea – The beachside amphitheater Traditional vibes while staying at a Kibbutz Guest House in the Galilee Exploring the mystical city of Tzfat Biking along the winding banks of the Jordan River Rafting the upper Jordan River Ascend the Golan Heights Hike down the lush Nahal El Al Canyon on the Golan Winetasting at the Golan Heights Winery Exploring the Jordan Valley Tour of the Old City’s legendary Jewish Quarter Personally experiencing The Western Wall Shopping at the Mahane Yehuda market A group night out on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall Secluded stay at the Dead Sea Hotel Sunrise ascent to Masada via the Snake Path Hike to the desert …

Jeffrey DonenfeldNext Week I’ll Be Guiding An Adventure Across Israel
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I’ll Be Appearing At The New York Travel Festival, Speaking About Adventure Travel in Antarctica

Jeffrey Donenfeld Ask Me Anything, Events, Press Leave a Comment

This year, the New York Travel Festival is taking place April 26-27, 2014 in New York City. I've been selected by the organizers to act as the resident expert on Antarctica.  Read my bio on the NY Travel Festival website.  The New York Travel Festival aims to reinvent the consumer travel show for tech-savvy, immersive travelers. We go beyond booths and brochures to provide interactive experiences to people who see travel as a means of experience, not just escape. NY Trav Fest brings together a unique blend of consumers, media and industry to mingle and discuss the future of travel together. Here's what I'll be up to during the event: Pre-show: Travel Babel Intro Video Saturday, April 26 Expert's Corner - Meeting with general public andanswering questions about Adventure Travel in Antarctica. BOOK MY TIME FOR THIS SESSION Sunday, April 27 Antarctica Trivia Round, 12-1pm ADD TO CALENDAR Antarctica Talk and Slideshow, 3-4pm:  "Surviving the world’s highest, coldest, windiest and driest desert — Antarctica" ADD TO CALENDAR Exploring Earth's Most Extreme Continent - Antarctica. During the '12-'13 Austral Summer, Jeffrey Donenfeld deployed with the United States Antarctic Program to live and work at the most remote outpost of humanity, in the middle of the highest, coldest, windiest, and driest desert in the world - at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, South Pole, Antarctica. Live on the station was extreme in every sense - extreme weather conditions, extremely cold, extreme science, and extremely fun. Join Jeffrey as he shares critically acclaimed photographs and first-person video clips shot while on station, as well as hear how YOU can make your own journey to explore the earth's southernmost continent. NY Travel Festival Full Official Schedule (Bio on Sched) Get your tickets now and come see me in April - use these promo codes: Code 'JEFFZILLA' $30 ...
Jeffrey DonenfeldI’ll Be Appearing At The New York Travel Festival, Speaking About Adventure Travel in Antarctica
From Bluemoon.ee: World map color-coded by level of touristiness, based on analysis of photos on Panoramio. Yellow indicates high touristiness, red medium touristiness, and blue low touristiness. Areas having no Panoramio photos at all are grey. The analysis takes into account how many photos and by how many authors there are in a given area.

A Map Of The Most Photographed Places In The World. Let’s Go To The Least!

Jeffrey Donenfeld Photography, Travel and Adventure, Travel Ideas Leave a Comment

Based on geolocation data from Panorimio, here’s an excellent map of the most photographed places on earth, but together by Bluemoon.ee. While I’m sure a good portion of this map data corrolates with “population density of those who can afford cameras” as Reddit user kingleo1 points out, it’s still an interesting study of where people take pictures. Now, after looking at this map, my first thought is – I want to go find the least photographed places! Who’s up for a trip to Mongolia? Most photographed places in the world via @Earth_Pics – Imgur. And yes, this too.

Jeffrey DonenfeldA Map Of The Most Photographed Places In The World. Let’s Go To The Least!

Is Google Trying To Take Over the Travel Industry?

Jeffrey Donenfeld New Products, Travel and Adventure 1 Comment

Google is quickly developing products for presence in the Travel space, and with their existing scope and technology resources, I can see them making a significant impact if they want, giving emerging startups like BonVoyaging stiff competition. Here’s my rundown of some recent Google Travel projects… Top five travel items that make me think Google may be trying to take over the travel industry: Tour Builder Google+ Travel Google City Experts Are you an expert on all the best places to eat, shop and play in your city? If so, then we want you to join the Google City Expert program and start receiving exclusive perks! The Google City Expert program brings together the most active users on Google Maps who write reviews and upload photos of local places. As a City Expert you will receive: Access to fun, exclusive events in your local area, Free custom swag, Special online recognition Google Field Tripper Google Flights Google tightens grip on future of the travel industry – also puts startups in a tough spot – Tnooz.

Jeffrey DonenfeldIs Google Trying To Take Over the Travel Industry?
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Traveling Through Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Japan, Summer 2013

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips 9 Comments

After spending three months living and working in Antarctica with the United States Antarctic Program, I was dropped off in Christchurch in February, 2013, and spent the next three and a half months traveling up through Australia and New Zealand, around Southeast Asia, and finally up to Japan. It was an incredible opportunity, the trip of a lifetime, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. View Larger Map All of my blog posts about Traveling Through Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia, and Japan, including most photos can be found at: http://JeffreyDonenfeld.com/blog/tag/southeast-asia-travels-2013/ Related Media: All of my edited photos, available on Flickr Video clips on YouTube Global Travel Map During my travels, I travelled technically alone – I wasn’t specifically traveling from the beginning with any other person. However, throughout my journey, I was rarely actually alone. I ended up meeting lots of fellow adventurers and locals in all of the countries I visited. My very general route of travel was: New Zealand – Christchurch, Queenstown, Mt. Cook Australia – Sydney, Brisbane, Sydney Indonesia – Bali, Lombok, Komodo, Flores, Java, Jakarta Singapore Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur Thailand – Ko Lanta, Tonsai, Railay, Ko Pi Pi, Phuket, Bangkok, Kanchanaburi Myanmar (Burma) – Yangon, Laisho, Hsipaw, Mandalay, Bagan, Yangon Thailand – Chiang Mai Laos – Luang Prabang Vietnam – Hanoi, Halong Bay, Danang, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon Cambodia – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap Thailand – Bangkok Japan – Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Tokyo Below I’ve written a few summaries on various topics from my travels, as well as linked to all major media items, and articles written about my time in each country. Adventure Gear After I was dropped off in Christchurch, I had about 50lbs of gear with me, spread out over three bags – my Black Diamond Quantum 55L backpack, my …

Jeffrey DonenfeldTraveling Through Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Japan, Summer 2013
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Going Inside the Vinh Moc Tunnels, Vietnam

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips 1 Comment

On our way down to Hue, we made one brief, but solid stop at the Vinh Moc Tunnels. From Wikipedia: Vinh Moc (V?nh M?c) is a tunnel complex in Quang Tri, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War it was strategically located on the border of North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The tunnels were built to shelter people from the intense bombing of Son Trung and Son Ha communes in Vinh Linh county of Quang Tri Province in the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. The American forces believed the villagers of Vinh Moc were supplying food and armaments to the North Vietnamese garrison on the island of Con Co which was in turn hindering the American bombers on their way to bomb Hanoi. The idea was to force the villagers of Vinh Moc to leave the area but as is typical in Vietnam there was nowhere else to go. The villagers initially dug the tunnels to move their village 10 metres underground but the American forces designed bombs that burrowed down 10 metres. Eventually against these odds, the villagers moved the village to a depth of 30 metres. It was constructed in several stages beginning in 1966 and used until early 1972. The complex grew to include wells, kitchens, rooms for each family and spaces for healthcare. Around 60 families lived in the tunnels; as many as 17 children were born inside the tunnels. Since the area above the tunnels was continuously pummeled by bombs during the war, bomb craters are everywhere – and huge. Concrete ditches run everywhere, allowing the people living in the tunnels to sneak around on the surface, and fight against enemies on the land. The tunnels sit on a hillside looking over the South China Sea. It’s a beautiful view. Inside, the tunnels are very very small and cramped …

Jeffrey DonenfeldGoing Inside the Vinh Moc Tunnels, Vietnam
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Biking to the Cave of Prehistoric Man

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips Leave a Comment

After departing the beautifully abandoned Cuc Phuong National Park Resort and stopping to see a few monkeys and turtles, we hopped on bikes to complete the next leg of the journey through Cuc Phuong National Park. View Larger Map There’s a reasonably well maintained concrete road that winds its way through the park – perfect for leisurely biking. Our main stop during our day of biking was at the Na Mo Cave of Prehistoric Man. From Wikitravel: The Cave of Prehistoric man is the site of the one of the earliest discoveries of human habitation in Vietnam. Excavated in 1966, the cave revealed human graves, stone axes, pointed bone spears, oyster shell knives, and tools for grinding dating back 7,500 years ago. Exploring the cave was interesting – it wasn’t particularly difficult to access the entrance – but when we arrived, it was realized that nobody had brought a flashlight or headlamp except for me. I was lucky to have my headlamp with me, but everybody else used the flashes on their smartphones as flashlights – lame, but it worked. In traveling alone through asia, I got to meet all sorts of people – including ones who go caving without a proper light! It was all in good fun, though.

Jeffrey DonenfeldBiking to the Cave of Prehistoric Man
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Riding The Slow Boat To Luang Prabang, Laos

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips 2 Comments

Taking the slow boat to Laos is a travel pilgrimage that I had heard of for years, and after a few days in Chiang Mai, I was finally ready to embark on the journey. View Larger Map From Julie Guesthouse, booking the slow boat was fairly easy – but getting there was a pain. The boat makes its way down the Mekong River towards Luang Prabang, but naturally doesn’t start right in Chiang Mai. It’s necessary to take a bus trip East towards the Thai bordertown of Chiang Kong. The bus ride was a bit of a shitshow – I left the hostel with a few other travelers at about 9 at night, and our first bus broke down, then there was a breakdown in communication with the drivers, delaying our departure from Chiang Mai. By the time we hit the border, it was 3 in the morning. A few quick winks of sleep, and then back up to start the river journey. Luckily, I started with a great breakfast with friends while watching sunrise over the Mekong River After stamping out at Chiang Kong, everybody is piled into a longtail boat and taken across the river into the Lao bordertown of Huay Xai, where restamping happens. Overall a mostly smooth process – although only cash is accepted for the Laotian visa, and there’s no easily accessible ATM near the customs office – bring money. And then, once I was officially in Laos, I got on the slowboat. The slowboat is more or less a gigantic glorified longtail boat. The captain sits at the front, seating is in the middle section, and there’s a cafe, bathrooms, and galley in the rear. Seating is made up of a combination of wooden benches, old car seating, and what looks like old schoolbus …

Jeffrey DonenfeldRiding The Slow Boat To Luang Prabang, Laos