From the category archives:

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There’s A Spell For That: How To Magically Transport Yourself To The Land of Harry Potter

by Alan Rider

Is it possible to wear out a DVD?  The question came to mind this past weekend as my son watched Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix for what seems like the millionth time since he opened the package on Christmas morning.  Add his new-found habit of walking around the house practicing his “spells” with a home-made magic wand and I think it’s safe to say we have a die-hard Harry Potter fan in the family.
Which is why I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at the ensuing excitement when I casually mentioned the fact that the Universal Orlando theme park was opening a huge new attraction called “The [...]

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Matadors, Machine Guns, Monster Trucks & More: 4 Politically Incorrect Adventures

by Alan Rider

Come on, admit it: There’s something you’ve always wanted to do, some extraordinary experience you’ve always wanted to have, that you just don’t talk about for fear of what people might think.  Well, you’ll find no judgments here.  Provided it’s not illegal or immoral, I say go for it.
If you’re one of those rare folks who don’t harbor such secret fantasies, allow me to put a few outrageous ideas into your head. Here are four thoroughly un-PC adventures that promise to be so unforgettable you’ll have a hard time keeping them to yourself:
Fight A Bull
There’s just something about squaring off with a quarter-ton of bad-tempered bovine that’s bound to make [...]

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Mardi Gras Mentoring: How To Kill Time Between Parades

by Alan Rider

If you’re headed to New Orleans for Mardi Gras weekend, you’re in for a real treat.  I can tell you from personal experience that I sincerely doubt there’s a friendlier place or happier time on the face of the planet.
By this point you probably already know the two dozen parades that roll through the city’s streets between now and Fat Tuesday are the big attraction here (if you need parade info, check out my friend Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide).  What you might be wondering, however, is what to do with yourself in the hours before or after all those floats roll by.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share [...]

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A Mondo Motorcycle Tour

by Alan Rider

Despite a bad wreck, I still love motorcycles with the kind of completely irrational passion normally reserved for sports teams.  And given the fact that bike sales have gone through the roof in recent years, I figure I’m not alone in this mania.
But here’s something few people understand: Even though we might all look the same to the folks trapped inside their shiny metal boxes, there are basically two distinct types of motorcyclists.
The first and by far the largest group generally likes to spend their time polishing chrome or going for a leisurely afternoon ride within a couple hours of home.  Then there are the folks for whom their bike [...]

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6 Simple Solutions To The Boring Vacation

by Alan Rider

Let’s face it: Vacation days are precious commodities.  So why would you want to squander them on the same old ho-hum travel destinations and activities, especially when you can have a downright mind-blowing experience you’ll be telling stories about for months to come?

Fortunately, all it takes to transform your next getaway from boring to boffo is to make a few minor changes to the way you approach the planning process.  With that in mind, here are six suggestions you can use to help make your next vacation downright unforgettable:
Ditch The Destination Mindset
Instead of focusing on where to go, spend some time thinking about some of those things you’ve always wanted [...]

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A Mind-Blowing Mardi Gras: How To Go From Spectator To Participant in One of New Orleans’ Glitziest Parades

by Alan Rider

I’m looking out at a sea of outstretched arms and upturned faces.  The noise is just this side of deafening, a long pulsating chorus of “Hey, Hey, Hey!”  In response to their pleadings, I’m chucking handfuls of cheap plastic trinkets at the crowd while dressed in an outfit so garish it would make your average clown costume look downright somber.
If this sounds like something straight out of one of those freaky dreams where you wake up sweating and shaking your head, well, you’re close.  Except this surreal scene was very real.  And very, very fun.
You see, while I’d been to a lot of Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans over [...]

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Finances, Fitness, And Fear: Overcoming Obstacles Between You & Your Next Big Adventure

by Alan Rider

If you’ve been putting off your next big adventure because of the steep price tag, you might want to take a minute to check out this great post on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog.
The reason I bring this up is because “I can’t afford it” is one of the most common objections I hear when I ask people what’s keeping them from making their dream trip a reality.  But personal experience has taught me that this issue of finances—along with two other frequently-cited deal-breakers I call fitness and fear—are a lot easier to overcome than most of us might believe.
To illustrate my point, I thought I’d take a minute to [...]

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