Hi guys. Welcome to another episode of the BigAppleSchool podcast, where the goal is to help you learn English through listening. My name is Benjamin, I'm from London and today I have three guests. Our first guest today is...
Ken from Manila, Philippines.
And last but not least...
Ugur from Istanbul, Turkey.
Excellent. And today we're going to be talking about vacations. Let's get started. So vacations, as we might know, it's an American word, not a British word. In Britain, what do we say? Do you know?
Holidays, exactly. So in the UK, holidays are both 'vacation', so your time off and it's also a specific day of the year, well, specific days of the year. For instance, in Russia you have Russia Day, you have day of the Fatherland, etc.. So those are also called 'holidays' and we also have 'bank holidays'. Do you have bank holidays in your country or in the Philippines, Ken?
Yeah. How many do you have a year?
Well, that's a good question. I haven't been there for a long while. We do have, yeah.
We don't have. We don't have it.
You don't have bank holidays? So banks work throughout the year?
Oh that's pretty efficient. So maybe you should move to Turkey.
Not now, yeah, not right now.
Maybe, maybe. Of course we have a lot of bank holidays in...
Especially the longest one is the New Year.
New Year, yeah, we have it New Year too, but..
Yeah, but we have about ten days.
Oh, it's a nice. Yeah, it's a nice chunk of time.
Yeah. And I think the May holidays altogether, sometimes it's about, it can be about a week.
So ten days. If you said that to someone in America, they would be.. Yeah, pulling their hair out. It would be absolutely incredible to hear that you have ten days off. So, we could discuss vacations, the American words. So 'holidays' when we travel abroad. Would you guys like to travel for a few years non-stop?
Well, personally, I wouldn't. But months non-stop – yes. Yes. I find years to be, you know, way too long. And I don't know where I'm going to get my money to spend on that. But for months, yes. Because I've done it before anyway. And it was great. So I was able to rest well and enjoy my time.
Oh, cool. All right. Well, we'll talk a bit later about where you have personally travelled. So would you be able to, Alyona, have a?
I don't think so. I think if you travel and work like distant online work. So in that case it is probably the thing, but no just for a year. Doing specifically nothing.
Yeah. I believe some countries offer a working holiday visa.
Yeah, indeed. Like it was a welcome travel visa for the U.S.A.
Yeah. Ugur, what about you? Would you like to do a rock star tour of the world?
Actually, I did it partially, like after I resigned my corporate job. So I had kind of a gap year. Not a year, but it well like six months. I did nothing and I just spent the money that I got from the compensation, so...
I traveled to South Eastern Asia before starting my English teaching job in Vietnam. So I toured like six months in different countries and just party. That's it.
I'm happy that you mentioned it.
Kind of, yeah. That was kind of a down time. And yeah.
I'm happy that you said the word 'gap' here. So let's try to explain what a gap year is to our listeners. I mean, Alyona, is a gap year thing in Russia?
I think yes, if you were, for example, fired, what, resigned and you haven't found any particular job yet, so yeah.
What I mean by 'gap year', well at least I think it's more British English. I think it's, I don't know if it's in America. It's the year you wait before university. Yes. When you finish school or in America it's called high school. In England, we call it 'Sixth form college'. The gap between that and university, some people take a year off.
I don't think it's a tradition in Russia because usually after students finish school, they come to universities, colleges, institutes and start their studies there.
Yes. So when they're 18, they go.
Yeah, indeed. Like, the summer is for them to have rest, to switch their minds a little from studies to studies and yeah.
In the UK I did not have a gap year, but a lot of people will go to many different countries, for instance, Africa, a lot of people volunteer for a year in Africa, or they might teach English in China or something like the Philippines. Do you have any, you know, close to that?
No. Well, you know, in the Philippines, we got to finish our studies as soon as possible in order for us to get a full time job. Because, you know, for a practical reasons.
Yeah. And also, 'gap' is like we've kind of talked about. They're kind of expensive. Even if you're volunteering, you still have to pay money for flights and other stuff like that.
Accommodation too, sometimes.
Yeah. So if you're fortunate enough to have one, I definitely would recommend it. But it's yeah. Kind of expensive. How many holidays do you think a person should take a year?
Personally, I think at least once every quarter of the year. So you could be more productive. Productive in a sense that sometimes we just need time off work so that we can, you know, recharge our batteries, yeah. And, you know, do something interesting in our lives.
I mean, you know, for me personally, you have to live life knowing that it's not just all about work. Although for some people, they say that, you know, their job is their world and their their life, basically. But for me, you know, you got to do something else.
Yeah, so it's like a reset. How many holidays you feel, Alyona, would be appropriate a year?
Um, I'm not sure, but I agree with Ken that if a quarter like we do have at schools now. Yes, every quarter we have about a week, I think.
And then summer holidays. So it's a good way to recharge at least.
Usually we have about 28 days for a holiday.
And so it is split in two weeks. You can take two weeks or once in half a year. So yeah, it's a nice thing. But there are some professions when you're, um, I think are some kind of dangerous professions or maybe if the people work in the north of the country. Yeah. So in that case, their holiday is much longer.
I remember my aunt lived in Murmansk, Murmansk region. So it's the north of the country. And she used to have almost all summer long holiday.
And it was pretty nice because even her traveling expenses were paid by her company.
I'm sorry to come in, but, you know, when you said almost like half a year of her not doing any kind of work, just reminds me of some animals. Like hibernation. Yes, if you know what I mean.
Yeah. Well, what do you think? Do you think? What are you?
I agree with my friend. So I guess every quarter, not longer than kind of a two weeks, you know. So that's a kind of a recharging.
Yeah. A week, 10 days, maybe two weeks. It depends on, I think, the weather. It depends on your, maybe where you would like to go, right, so. Traveling around the country, maybe going somewhere.
Well, would you say traveling recharges your batteries? When we say we would like 4 holidays or small holidays a year, is does that have to involve traveling?
Well, how often do you guys travel? So, Ken, how often do you travel?
Um, except for this year, I would say at least twice a year.
Yeah, I'd say I do about.
Twice. Well this year and last year twice. But before that when I was in South Eastern Asia it was kind of more convenient to hop one country to another. So it was kind of a regular kind of thing.
And it's cheaper than the rest of the world. So it was convenient one. Yeah. For the last two years. Twice, I guess.
Yeah. What about you, Alyona?
I think COVID changed a lot and messed up really badly. And I think I traveled during those two years, maybe once.
Just didn't have any opportunities. But before that, when we used to run the school, I didn't go anywhere for three years.
For now I have for... I have about five years altogether that I've never, I didn't travel anywhere except for like the closest city like Kemerovo or something.
Just yeah. Altogether, I think.
Year I guess for us three being here in Russia, it's kind of like a, I mean, it's not a holiday, but it's an adventure in and of itself. I mean, you've been here for quite a while now. How many?
Next month, it will be my fourth year anniversary.
So it's a while. So I guess Russia's kind of like a home in a way, to you, so, but for me, it's still kind of. I've been here for a year and a half, just over a year and a half. It's still kind of an adventure for me, so I kind of consider just being here in and of itself to be not a holiday, but it's just an adventure in that, right?
Yeah, it's going to be like eight months next month so.
It's been quite a while. I've been here.
Yeah. All right, guys. Well, how adventurous are you when you like to travel? Are you the kind of people who. Like to stick to the tour guides recommendations, or would you like to go off the beaten track?
Well, honestly, in my case, I wouldn't consider myself adventurous, although I travel a lot solo, by the way, I don't go with, you know, tour packages. It's just that, because in general, I'm a very cautious person.
I'm not a huge risk taker. So I wouldn't try activities that I think are dangerous, yeah. So I wouldn't go for extreme, let's say, um, you know, some sports during my holiday or would go to some really dangerous places, such as caves maybe, or where else. Yeah, I'd go for the safe route.
Yeah, safe route. Alyona, are you an adventurer?
I've never taken a package tours, yeah. So, every time we went somewhere, it was absolutely unpredictable. Which place we would choose to stay next...
To visit like it can be a restaurant, a museum, whatever. Yeah, it can be mountain climbing if we go, for example, to the Altai or it can be, I don't know, snowboarding if we go to Sheregesh. I love actually our region, we have like two greatest holiday destinations.
I can't wait to check out Sheregesh, I really wanna go there to skiing place.
Very popular destination.
Oh, we gonna talk all about destinations a bit later, but what is your definition of 'adventurous'? What is, what makes?
You without sticking a plan. Just you at spontaneously and just discovered the area.
Whenever you want and whether you like to explore it you can say so just go there, explore if you like it - that will be great, if you don't, alright, next. That kind of things. So yeah, just trying new things.
And also discovering, you know, the delicacies.
Oh yes. Indeed. That's one of the perks of going traveling.
Yeah. Also, I'm kind of adventurous. I like to do some, I mean, I haven't been skiing for so many years, but I love skiing. That was really fun. The problem with skiing is, is that if you have an accident, it's completely destroys, it completely destroys your whole day and your work schedule if you have to get back to work.
Have you had any injuries?
The first time my sister and I went to Sheregesh. It was my second, uh, right then. But it was her first time, and she broke her wrist.
Oh, damn. Was this skiing or snowboarding?
So what happens or she had, so you said Sheregesh, was the hospital there or..?
No, we stayed there for a couple of days so she had kind of a bandage.
Yeah, the cast and stuff, yeah.
Yeah. So she had her hand fixed pretty well and when we returned... So we thought it was just, it wasn't, um...
So it wasn't the fracture, but it was, it turned out, it was.
Yeah, so, the way we saw it was in the local area. You said the medical treatment.
Yes, it was. And I don't know what happened. I think just the she fall badly just fall on her hand.
So, because she wasn't used to fall in according to the rules of a snowboard. Yeah. So it was just an accident.
But we spent pretty nice times, too, yeah. So she just took care of her hand, yeah.
Oh, by the way, for our listeners, some of our listeners are not from the Novosibirsk region. You might be from Moscow, from St Petersburg or from somewhere else. So maybe you've heard of Sheregesh, I don't know. But Sheregesh is a really popular resort in the Novosibirsk. Well, that's Altai actually it's Altai, isn't it?
No, they are too. So, Sheregesh it's more in the north and Altai, of course, it's in the south.
Oh, okay. But which region is it?
Sheregesh it's Kemerovski and Novokuznetski region, somewhere in between of them.
Oh, okay. So, basically it's in Siberia, so.
Yeah, it is. I think if you go by car, it's about maybe 5 hours.
And if you go to the Altai region it's about 8 hours by car. So yeah, pretty close destinations and you can spend with the weekend there. So if you go away for the weekend it's really nice opportunity. There are bus tours. So they can, I think, they go weekly during the season.
Well we, we need to be paid by Kemerovski oblast for... So yeah, come on, governor of Kemerovo, give us...
Some advertisement, yeah.
So guys come to Novosibirsk.
Yeah, come along. So yes, skiing, coming back to adventures of skiing and snowboarding. I would definitely classify that as climbing.
Mountain climbing, that's another adventurous activity.
I tried that once in the Altai, so. But I couldn't breathe normally. I was so tired. I think I managed just half of the root.
Then I was like, oh no, I won't to do that. Please, just let me go.
Well, yeah, different people have different definitions of 'adventurous'. Like some people would like to go to North Korea, for instance, and um, and just doing little things like walking around a hotel is considered 'adventurous' and of course..
Yeah. In North Korea is, it's a..
Assigning you one guide, I guess for each tourist. So you, you're not allowed to tour the city by your own anyway, so.
Kind of restricted, you know.
This is very hardcore, but I listened..
To supervise them, right?
Well, our listeners might know the name Otto Warmbier. Well, do you guys know Otto Warmbier?
Oh God, yeah. He was punished. First he was caught getting I think it was a poster.
Propaganda poster of the North Korea.
And you're not supposed to do that. He, you know, broke the rule, and so he was imprisoned. Then eventually, to make a long story short, he died.
Yeah, he died because he suffered some malnourishment. I don't know the exact story.
Yeah, but there are some, you know, conspiracy theories out there that he may have been tortured, administered some type of drug or tortured even. So, it's really risky. But then again, you know, he's crazy for doing that. He knew there was..
Shouldn't have done that.
Exactly. So as much as, you know, I feel sorry for him, but he did what he did, so you have to face the consequences.
In a very crazy way, I must say. Dangerous way.
Yeah. And, do you guys know 'Bold and bankrupt' star, famous YouTuber?
Yes. I've watched a lot of his videos. I kind of like some of them because he opens new, like perspective. Yeah, because he doesn't go to the popular places where tourists would go, but he would go to the really remote, sometimes dangerous ones. Um, although there was one video that I didn't like because I thought it was rather condescending, but I'm not going to go into details. But yes, I've seen his videos.
It's a great yeah, he has a great channel so yeah. Check out this channel, the name is 'Bold and bankrupt' really popular, he's millions of millions of followers but he yeah, he he's a very adventurous tourist and yeah. Recently he went to Baikonur Cosmodrome, I guess, it's in Baikonur?
Yeah, Kazakhstan. Exactly. But I think it's like the area is I think it's leased to the Russian government. And it's a pretty secret area because. Well, not secret, but it's a very protected area, naturally and understandably so, because there's space technology there and.
It's a launch pad for cosmonauts and even astronauts.
Exactly. And you can't contaminate the area because the cosmonauts have to be healthy, etc.. So, 'Bald and bankrupt' recently went to that region and I think he got arrested and detained because he..
Yeah, I mean, he's okay, I believe. But yeah, as much as I would love to be adventurous, I don't want to risk my existence here in Russia because I really love being here and I don't want to break the laws or anything.
You see, that's the thing sometimes with people they try to push the limit.
And until they are, you know, let's say punished or, you know, if something wrong happens, then they won't stop. So I guess it's a kind of a warning also to know your limits and to make sure that you don't break any kind of law.
I think it's really important to know the laws of the place or the country or, I don't know, the region where you go, because that can save you. A lot of notes, yeah.
Yeah, exactly. You don't need to be a lawyer, but you need to know the laws like the basic.
For instance, in America and Russia, jaywalking is a crime. Jaywalking for listeners means 'walking across the road in a non-designated spot'. For instance, you can cross the road at the traffic lights where you see the green man and the red man. But you cannot just walk in the middle of the road in Russia and America.
Yeah, there are some zebra crossings, especially if they are not regulated by the traffic lights. But you can see the signs. Yes, so you can walk there quite safely, but still laws.
Whereas in England, you can just cross the road wherever you like, not the motorway, which is...
Which is American English for 'highway'. You can't cross the highway or motorway, but you can just walk across the road. It's not a problem.
The same in Turkey. Yeah, they don't care. But you can't get into motorway or highway like pedestrian crossing or something, but the normal street you can just crossing if you like, yeah.
Yeah, well, that's just. Yeah, so 'jaywalking', by the way, is American English is not British English. But jaywalking would be an example of, maybe wouldn't be an example of adventurous tourism. But it's the kind of thing you need to be aware of. Yeah. Anyway, so, Ken, you said you like to travel alone, what are the benefits of traveling alone?
Well, firstly, you decide whatever you want. So there's nobody else who will dictate where you should go, what to eat, what to wear. So there's a lot of freedom, that's one. And the other thing is, it's cheaper because you're only spending money, you know, on you and what you want and what else.
But do you prefer travelling alone to travelling with people?
Well, to be honest with you, the only reason why I travel alone, it's because I don't have any friends who would like the. Yeah, not that. But, um. I don't know. But, um.. But if I were to choose one, I'd rather travel with a group, with somebody else. Because firstly, I don't want to plan, I don't want to think.
Alyona, do you prefer to travel alone or with..?
No, if we talk about traveling here, I love to travel with my sister. She's my best travelling compania. But I traveled alone in Siberian region. And I don't think it's so much fun because for me, the same reason you can't take photos of yourself, right? It's only selfies, yeah. And just a piece of the thing that you wanted to be in the photo.
I'm sorry to interrupt you. One more thing is sometimes you are in the mood to talk, but there's nobody around to talk to.
Like okay, but that's not my thing.
Ugur, what about you? Do you like to travel alone?
It depends. So if you have a group of friends and if you are in the same mood to do the things like together, like, I don't know, exploring somewhere or raving or going to a concert or a festival or whatever. So it will be good for having a group of friends to go there.
But especially when I'm, if I'm in Turkey, I prefer to travel alone just borrowing my family's RV and just.
Oh, you have an RV, that's so cool.
Yeah, there are RV people kind of.
And I just travel solo with RV if I have time.
That's fun. So will you just go to the Turkish..?
Turkish coastline like the South of Turkey, like Antalya or like Fethiye or Marmaris, Bodrum. So, all alone.
Oh, man, that's awesome. I'd love to do that, yeah. I mean, also, obviously, I've traveled here alone. I'm here completely alone. Now I know a lot of people here, but, um, travel alone is kind of... At first, it's kind of scary in a way. You have to. Yeah, I'd much rather travel with people, like most people would.
But if you're alone, um, I definitely recommend staying in hostels and not hotels. Because you automatically just meet people in that situation. Yeah, I've been around the Netherlands on my bike, I mean, only for a few days because it got boring being on my own. But I did that alone, met a lot of people in the hostels, went out on some fun adventures. It can be fun sometimes, but I would 100% recommend traveling with people.
But then again, I met a lot of people who backpack around the world solo. And it takes a real personality to do that.
I think it takes a lot of courage.
Of course. I saw a couple of backpackers or hitchhikers here in Novosibirsk.
You know those guys who have no money and who just: 'Oh, can you buy a roll for me'?
Yes, indeed. So, poor you, yes. Nowadays it's the kind of proper problematic too, just to give away some cash. Yeah, because I don't have any cash usually with me. Just cards, yeah. But to buy something. All right. Yeah, why not.
Yeah. So, would you guys prefer a luxury holiday or more? Or less luxury holiday where you see local sights in a more personal way. What would you prefer?
I think little less luxury holiday because, yeah. Like beach holiday or resort. It's absolutely not my cup of tea, but, like, I don't know, researching something like around the city and interesting places to eat, to see.
I don't know, that's pretty interesting. And staying in hotels or hostels, I don't know. I'd prefer to stay in the hotel, maybe, but sometimes hostel is good as well. It depends on the place, I think. Because I had stories like, not very pleasant about hostels.
Oh, go on, go on. Show us what happened.
Oh, just. It was it was last autumn, by the way. My friends and I, we went to Kemerovo for some festival. And we booked a hostel. And kind of a week in advance or something. And my question was if we could actually check in early in the morning. Early in the morning, like at 5 a.m. or at 6 a.m., something, yeah. So when we came to the hostel, there were no places.
Because I don't know how the administrator, maybe the shift changed and one administrator didn't pass through the information and so our plices were taken.
That's annoying. So did you just sleep on the street?
No, we stayed there, took a shower and just went away.
I would have argued if I were you.
Oh, no, we were so, I don't know, tired and just, we didn't want to mess that up and we were angry first, then we took showers and had breakfast.
It was like we wanted to have a refund, we wanted to write some review on booking or maybe website. Yeah. But then we returned home and it was like, oh, no, just.
Oh, God, I would wrote a really bad review.
Because of the hostel. But before that one horror story that happened was, so I stayed in a hostel and then it was like a room with how many? Six beds. And unfortunately, when you're, you know, with other people, not everyone sleeps quietly. So, they were snoring. And I remember there was one guy who really couldn't sleep and so he kept punching the bed of the guy that was snoring.
And throughout the night it was the same scenario. It was one really sleepless night. And I thought, oh, my God, if this person if he could just shut up. You know, cause the snoring was so loud, it was unbearable. And literally, I didn't sleep throughout the night. I was just. I love this music, so. And that was terrible, yeah.
I have another story about a really good hostel. We stayed in Kazan in Tatarstan. And they were like, you know, rooms for, maybe, four people or something. And as we traveled with my sister, just two of us. Yeah, it turned out we had the whole room for us. For a couple of nights.
Yeah. No one was there. And the administration, the receptionist and the other, the manager. So they were so, I don't know, they were so friendly. It was so cool. And we checked out all for the hostel and... There was some mess with the trains or something. We returned there, we had the opportunity to wash our things and to take showers.
Just for a hundred rubles, something. Yeah. And, uh, we thank them and went to the railway station. Cool. Not everybody does that, of course, here.
Nice. Ugur, have you stayed a lot of hostels?
Yeah, especially in Vietnam. I have one story too. It was kind of a scam, so we booked hostel through booking.com, it was kind of a reasonable price. And it was in Vung Tau. It's a kind of coastal town near Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City. So it was a reasonable price and alright, everything was kind of set and we went there and dramatic the price kind of increased.
And we showed that, all right, we booked it from the booking.com from that price and you are saying that you need to pay an extra and just 'We updated our prices this morning just before you arrived in here. So you need to just pay an extra'. We refused it. 'Alright, I'm going to call the police', said the lady.
Alright, let's call the police. Alright, call the police so we can talk. And she said 'Okay, if you give me like I'm just giving an estimate like ten, 10,000, 300,000 more dongs. That would be all right instead of 500,000 dongs'. So right, we were kind of in middle way with her so that that was kind of sorted out. So but that was kind of rip off, you know, so yeah, rip off.
Absolute rip off. Yeah. I mean, I've stayed so many hostels over the years, I've stayed in, well, at university, we had to do half. So I studied Italian and Russian at first. So the third year I had spent half the year in Italy and half the year in Russia. And with Italy I had to go there completely alone and I stayed in a hostel for a week, when I was finding a, as I was finding a flat and I got completely destroyed by bedbugs.
Oh, it was so bad. Yes, it was cheap. It was a really fun hostel because you had all these drunk Australian guys who like to party all the time. So they made it really fun and they took they took me out and we had a laugh and everything. But yeah, I had to be a temporary alcoholic for the week because I couldn't sleep because the bedbugs.
It was just terrible, yeah. And it was yeah, it was absolutely horrible. And, and many times I've stayed in well, also I've stayed in many different hostels, so some much nicer than others. And I stayed in this really cool hostel in Budapest, which is called a 'Party hostel'. And obviously you don't sleep there.
But it was really fun. And they take in the owners of the hostel, take you on a tour around the town, an unofficial tour. But it's really cool place. But I've also. Believe it or not, spent many nights on the street itself with friends, of course. With friends. Not alone. Yeah, I mean, it's fun when you're 18 and and if you have a bicycle and it's summertime, it's fun.
I kind of miss it, it's really fun. But yeah, I've stayed in all sorts of crazy places. I stayed in the Vienna train station once. Oh, that was horrible. Sleeping on the floor, stayed in Zagreb on the floor, in Zagreb. Yeah, I've stayed in, um, in the Netherlands also.
I've, that was really fun. So do you guys know Delft? Have you heard of the town called Delft? It's a small town. Um, yeah, in the south or the middle south of Holland. And, yeah, me and my friend, we made a campfire and just slept next to the campfire without a tent, which was really quite fun.
In the street, somewhere?
Down the street, but it was actually, so I should have explained more. So it was by a lake, actually. So just outside of the city. Um, yeah. Because in the city there's a lot of strange people at night. So you have to, you have to go with a group of friends. But it might be kind of tricky if you're if you're a lady, because it could, yeah, bad things can happen. But if you're a guy, I definitely recommend when you're 18. Maybe not when you're 40 or 50 or something.
Yeah, yeah. But who knows? I mean, maybe you could if you're really adventurous, but if it's like a hot area with a beach, why not? And if you have a bike and you have friends, it can be really fun.
That the adventure. I'm kidding.
Yeah, and it's, of course it's free, which is the best part. And you get to save money eating good food throughout the day, but you don't sleep very well.
My sister and I and our other friend we were in Ekaterinburg once, and we stayed night in a railway station.
Yeah. It was like, again, the mess with hotel and train, timetable. So we checked out of our hotel and went to the railway station. But our train was at 7 a.m., or something, it was about 11 p.m., yeah. And so we stayed, I think, up to maybe 2 or 3 a.m..
So we stayed there, took a nap for some time and then we went out.
Yeah. Instead of going to hotel and just giving money them. Yeah. It happened to me too.
Early in the morning like at 3 a.m. or something we went to have a walk in Ekaterinburg, it was the day, it was Sunday to Monday night. So there were no people, no cars, yes. It was quite quiet outside. Yeah. And we had fun, yeah. We found a pizzeria and had some pizzas.
That's cool, that's cool.
Well, let's talk about traveling tips. Do you, how do you pack your bag before you travel? Are you big packers or you light packers?
Now, over the years I've learned that you have to travel light. Make sure that you only bring with you the essentials. That would include toiletries, maybe. Well, depending on the length, of course, of stay. But if normally in my case, about a week or two, so about 3 to 5, um, T-shirts, just one pants, I mean one pair of pants.
Well, which pants? The British pants or the American pants?
I mean, the American. The American one.
Okay-okay, cool. Alright.
Like 'trousers', just to be safe, okay? Trousers.
Well, you could go commando, by the way. You know, by the way, 'commando' means you don't wear anything under.
That's not gonna work. And footwear, at least two pairs.
I'm talking about the things that I take with me, okay. And of course, a camera, a digital camera.
Do you have a big camera or a smaller camera?
Medium sized. So, yeah, those are my travel essentials.
Yeah. Are you a big packer, Ugur?
No, for the last seven or eight years, I've been living my life with my three pieces of luggage. And also I'm kind of not a big packer. But what I found like three or four years ago, so in order to say just space in your luggage, use vacuum bags.
Yeah, so you can just take the air out of the bag, so you can put more into your luggage to just save space.
How do you vacuum seale the bag on the way back?
With the vacuum cleaner. So, you just suck it out.
Oh, so any vacuum cleaner?
Yeah, that works. Yeah, I have like ten bags with me right now, so it's kind of easy to pack.
You save a lots of space in your luggage.
So it's like actually just a normal plastic bag and you just...
With air vent on, and you just put the vacuum cleaners head up there. And you just suck it up.
The size of the bags shrinks down. So you can put whatever you want into your bag. And it's also great for the airlines, so you don't need to pay an extra luggage charge for that.
Oh, God, so I'm just going to say, 'Pobeda', sort your stuff out. 'Pobeda', they really don't tolerate any like a millimeter over and 'Ryanair' in Europe too, so that's such a good idea, so when you stay at hostels, you just say, 'Can I borrow your vacuum cleaner?'
No, so when do you find the vacuum cleaner, so you need to ask or so that's that's the time that you need to just have your own the backpack or whatever. It's just essential.
Oh, okay. Yeah. So, yeah, are you a big packer, Alyona?
Oh, yeah. Indeed, some kind of packered packer, yeah. So, everything, I take everything just in case of emergency. Some emergency kit, yeah. First aid kit, yes. Some, I don't know, scissors, different kinds of charges for my laptop, for my mobile.
You take your laptop with you?
It's too heavy to carry it around.
Yeah, but you can watch movies.
It's a kind of small, yeah.
Yeah. Several changes of dresses, I don't know, a tracksuit, maybe? A couple of pairs of shoes, yeah. So and I turned out to have not 3 pieces of luggage, but 30.
Oh, is it like taking your whole house with you?
Right, yeah. So I'm terrible. Really, it's like especially when I travel with my sister. So we turn out to have like full hands of our luggage, really. And uh, I don't know, when you travel by train, it's kind of okay.
Because there is some, uh, space, the upper shelves, so. And if you travel by plane, so that can be a problem.
Yeah, exactly, yes. The storage compartments are not big enough. But like I've said before, I loved, well, previously I've been on many cycling holidays and I packed pretty like with the exception of bike tools, because the worst thing is if you're in the middle of the countryside and you have a flat tire or your chain brakes, or if something wrong happens, well, something else happened.
So I brought quite a few tools and I would spend three weeks before traveling like I really meticulously packing the tools. And, and yeah, I used to, um, one of my hobbies, my previous hobbies was making leather bags. So I used to make leather bags just for my cycling holidays so I could fit the tools and like, it's like a perfect space. And yeah, the tools are quite heavy sometimes. And yeah, especially if it's like spanners and stuff like that.
You see, that's the thing, because I hate traveling with lots of things with me, it's too heavy, it takes so much energy.
Why are you punishing yourself? It's like giving yourself punishment.
I don't know, I can't doing that.
If you're not biking, you have a good rack, then it's okay. It can't be too heavy, or else you're just going to have a horrible time keeping your balance. But yeah, well, I guess if you have an RV like you said, then you can you can bring a lot of stuff.
You need to keep on balance, so if it's so kind of heavy, they don't let you go through the tolls because you are heavy.
Cause they have the scale?
Yeah, so you are riding kind of scaled through every tool that, yeah. So you need to be a balanced, kind of.
I thought that only applied to trucks. I didn't realize that was...
Our resolves or kind of, yeah.
That's so interesting. Yeah, when I was driving around America, I definitely noticed that the trucks had to be weighed and stuff.
And I read the same, same.
Yeah. Um, any precautions that you guys would take when traveling?
Vaccinations maybe depending on the country that you're visiting.
Oh, because in Asia I guess you have to.
Similar kind of vaccinations like going to Vietnam. That was kind of malaria vaccination. It was a must because of the mosquitoes and I've taken.
Insurances are important.
I never had that myself, but my friend who traveled to South Korea, so she had some emergency situation and, so, yeah, because she had the insurance. So it was for free. Like it was prepaid in the insurance company, but anyway, so the emergency helped pretty well, yes.
Well, so I guess you had to pay, I don't know, like, a $100 and then after $100.
It's covered it, I guess, right?
So she pays a little premium and then they cover the rest. Yeah, that's good.
You also have to research the country well, especially learning from horror stories of previous travelers so that you don't get into the same trouble and, you know, avoiding scams. Just like what happened to Ugur. So that would help a lot.
Yeah. I mean, of course you can talk about crime, but different country, well, Brazil, for instance, as yeah. Filled of crime, really dangerous place that there'd be some precautions that you should take like, for instance, don't rent a flashy car if you have money or don't...
Yeah. Don't wear jewelry and stuff like that. And you're going to be okay. Yeah. All right, well, let's talk about where we've actually been. We've already briefly mentioned the places that we travel, but what would you say are the most amazing places or the most amazing place that you have ever visited?
2016, I guess. Oh, it was right after my reassignment for the corporate. Yeah, that was my kind of gap year or half-gap year, so Hong Kong was the best place so far. Yeah.
Cool. And what made the city interesting?
That was kind of a small city, but kind of a country, kind of a lively, never stopping, never ending, kind of fairytale. So, you can do any time, anything, any time of the day, whatever you want in a sense.
Could you ever see yourself living there?
Yeah, but it's kind of expensive.
It's really expensive, isn't?
Very expensive. So, one of the, I guess, most expensive cities in the world to live in, I guess. With Switzerland and Geneva and Tokyo, yeah.
So Hong Kong is your number one?
You see, I'm running all those places that are, you know, on top of my head? But, um, I think I would, I would have to say Thailand, because I really had my most memorable trip there. Well, first I was there as a volunteer. I did this work away thing and I was with other, you know, co-volunteers from different parts of the world, Brazil, from Poland, from Australia. And one thing I like about Thailand, especially Bangkok, is, you know, it's a very modern south, southeast Asian city, but at the same time it is full of culture. So lots of temples to visit and, well, Thai people are very nice, they're very friendly. And the only thing I don't like is the weather. It reminds me of the weather in the Philippines.
Yeah. Humid, hot. Yeah. But I would say Thailand.
And what's your favorite place you've been to?
I've never been able to travel abroad for family reasons, but I traveled in Russia. And this can be Kazan and Kaliningrad region.
Oh, cool, we went to Kaliningrad.
Not only Kaliningrad, but also the region because my family lives there and we stayed in Chernyakhovsk. So this is a city kind of built by German, yes. And it's really cool because there is no asphalt. So, just only those stones on the pavement.
Really, absolutely no asphalt. And, you know, there are a couple of castles. One is absolutely, I think, ruined, but the other one is been reconstructed and restored. And the people who take care of that, they made a nice tour, we didn't even pay for it. Just, we came there to, look at the castle and they showed us, I don't know, even the tunnels which led from the castle to the nearest areas like the escape tunnels, something. That was really cool, yeah. And the Baltic Sea. Something really.
I would love to go there. Is it expensive or is it more expensive in the Russian mainland?
I can't say because we didn't pay for our accommodation, we stayed with our family. We have all family in Kaliningrad in Chernyakhovsk, and in one more village or closer to them, in between, yeah. And so that's the huge part of our travel and expenses wasn't paid at all. So yeah, but the food there like mostly European brands present it if we talk about, I don't know, chocolate, maybe sausage or whatever, yeah. And local things that I brought from Russia.
Yes. So that was cool, yeah. I'd love to go there one more time. So I'm planning to go to St. Petersburg or maybe Kaliningrad this year, so we'll see if I manage. But yeah, that was really.
A circle. I'd love to go that route. So I know there's, there's been a bit of annoying situation when Lithuania has closed the train lines, unfortunately. But you can still fly there, can't you?
You don't have to have visas. So if you cross the border by train, so you have to have at least your abroad passport.
But if you fly, nothing is necessarily, like nothing like this is necessary. Just we flew from Moscow there and my cousin met us.
So cool. So now I guess the flight goes from Petersburg. Then there's a little corridor, that skirts.
Baltic countries. Cool. Well, let us know, guys. If you've been to Kaliningrad, let us know about your opinions there.
So, my favorite places. Okay, I've been really fortunate over my life, so my parents are really. Yeah, they're really generous and help me travel a lot, which is really nice. My favorite places, I would have to say number one. Well, I recently went, that was Utah in America.
I didn't actually go to Salt Lake. That's in the north of it, but I went to Bryce Canyon. And you got, it's so hard to explain. It's kind of like the Grand Canyon, but it's like being in a 'Star Wars' movie. It is absolutely stunning. And and I went there a couple of years ago and, well, two years ago and yeah. Drove there, went camping with a friend. It was just absolutely stunning.
Other place I would 100% recommend is Scotland's, Scottish highlands so is everyone says 'Oh yeah, Scotland's beautiful' and yeah, there's a lot of beautiful places in the world, etc. But when you go there, the colors are so epic. The brown mixed with the dark green. It's just, it really is special and it's...
Yeah, it's very poetic, definitely.
I'm following one group on Instagram, 'Travel in Scotland'. Amazing views.
The castles, the shore, maybe, the planes, the highlands. Just something.
Yeah, really special. And another place I would definitely recommend is Budapest. Budapest was such a fun city is what the reason why I love it so much is because you have modern European infrastructure mixed with this ratty, kind of...
Rustic, yeah. Not everything's perfectly painted. I just love that mixture of that. And then also Belgrade, another great place, Belgrade. So yeah. Really fun. So what? Yeah. What about your home countries? Where would you recommend? Well, you recommend, of course, Kaliningrad, but, um...
And Novosibirsk and region because you can go to the Altai and to Sheregesh in different seasons.
Yeah. Well, what about the Philippines, what should people check out in the Philippines?
You know, that's funny because I've traveled to several countries, but I haven't explored my own country, although it doesn't mean that I don't know anything about popular tourist destinations. But in the Philippines, I would recommend, if you like, white sand beaches or nice looking islands, that's a highly recommended place, Boracay.
Then, if you're into underwater diving, you want to explore underwater caves, we have also Palawan. That's really exotic. Um, well, if that, if you're into that kind of thing. And then we also have like a city on top of a mountain. It's called Baguio City.
It feels like perhaps being in Switzerland in a way. And it's also great because you're on top of the mountain and the view is just breathtaking. So I would recommend those places.
Well, Turkey obviously has a lot to see.
Yeah. Primarily Istanbul, I would recommend. All to come Istanbul. So there are lots of places to visit.
And Cappadocia, of course. So you have lots of options if you want to visit Turkey. So you can just visit cultural sites, or you want to just do a beach holiday or just a resort holiday like Turkey to be around and the Mediterranean or Aegean Sea. So, Antalya, Izmir, Bodrum, Marmaris, Kas, they are.
Turkey is a great place. That really is cool. I mean, oh, by the way, is there actually, can you go skiing in Turkey or they don't have?
We have skiing. We have some like five or six skiing resorts, yeah.
Amazing. So you really do have everything in Turkey.
Yeah, winter sports. We have winter sports. We have a limited time of winter sport.
Two and a half months or something.
So could you ski and surf in one day in Turkey?
Yes. Around September or late, yeah, October. You can do it.
That's a bucket list things to do.
And everywhere is just one hour away from one another, just one hour flight. So, Turkey is not a huge country like Russian, Russia, sorry. So you can go one and to another just within one hour with the flight, so you can do the thing that you said, yeah.
Well, most of our Russian listeners can travel to Turkey, which is great. So what to see, my brother, the reason why I mentioned ski and surf is because my brother, he lives in California, so just outside of Los Angeles. And he just did a ski and a surf one day, which was so cool.
You can do it in Turkey, too.
If I'm not mistaken, we can do something like that in Sochi.
I'm not sure about surfing, if the waves are pretty good for surfing.
We can go to sea nonetheless.
But at least you can have a nice day on the beach.
Yeah, I'd love I've. I've been to cross the top. I've never been to Sochi itself. I'd love to check out that region.
Yeah. If the weather is not hot, like my mom last year, she went to Sochi in March for the 8th of March. Went to Sochi in the international Women's Day. And she and her friend, so they for a week explored Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana and...
The weather was all right?
Yeah. The Olympic village, so they enjoyed it so much. And the weather was quite nice. There were some showers, if we're talk about that region. So it's okay. But anyway, it was cool.
They even stayed for some time at the beach and, I don't know, washed their feet, yeah.
Yeah. Well, let's list, so adventure vacations. What would you, just pick one place? Which place would you say is the best place for an adventure?
Scotland? Yeah. Good choice.
Why not? If you're into. If you're into that kind of thing.
Mountaineering and Sherpas, yeah.
That would be kind of a different kind of approach.
Brazil or South America, kind of.
Some kayak or maybe rafting.
I'd love to check out India. I've never been to India, but I would say that's probably a really big adventure. Yeah, it's definitely adventurous country to go to. Yeah, I've watched so many YouTube.
YouTube videos. Yeah, Goa Beach and, yeah. Um, historical vacations. Where would you go for history?
I would say Athens, Greece. The Acropolis.
Ankara, I visited that was great. Or Thailand, like, Ken said. So there's too much history in there.
Cambodia is a really fun place. I've heard apparently I was reading many years ago, I've read 'The Lonely Planet Guide'. Do you guys know, the famous publisher in the West and they've just published Travel Guides, and they said that there was this really crazy place in Cambodia where you can.. It's pretty nasty, but you can buy, you can rent a machine gun and shoot cows.
In Siem Reap, I guess. Siem Reap.
Yeah. It's not exactly like a nice thing to do, to shoot chickens and cows, but you can.
Tourist attraction in a way.
So it's quite a famous attraction in Cambodia.
So yeah, I don't know if you guys would be interested in shooting. No, I definitely would not want to shoot a cow, but. No, but that's like one of the biggest things I've heard about Cambodia. But it's supposed to be a beautiful place.
Yeah, that's. That's great. Yeah. What about you?
Oh, historical. Well, Egypt. Yeah, Egypt. Pyramids, yeah, that kind of stuff. Yeah. Shopping vacations.
The first thing on my mind is Hong Kong.
Yeah, actually. I would say that is the number one shopping destination, yeah.
Tokyo, Hong Kong. Plus, if you have a layover or just stopover in Dubai. Dubai, yeah.
Yeah, it's just so expensive. Well, Tokyo is expensive obviously.
I don't know if Dubai or Tokyo's more expensive, but.
I guess, Tokyo is more expensive than Dubai, I guess.
Maybe. What about party vacations?
Well, the Brits love to destroy the Mediterranean. Yeah, we have invaded Spain. We've invaded Greece, Turkey. Yeah. If you go to a lot of these beachside towns in the Mediterranean, you will see signs, advertising, British breakfasts, because the British, a lot of these British party tourists, they don't even care about the local cuisine.
Which is full English, please.
Yeah, it's a shame, cause there's a lot of good cuisine everywhere. But, yeah, the full English breakfast. Why? Because it's the best breakfast for hangover.
You'll feel full after that. You don't need to eat something like four or five hours.
So if I had to pick one party town, where would it be? Um, maybe, actually. Well, Budapest actually is a real fun party city. And Prague.
By the way, Moscow would do as well.
I would go for Bali and Ibiza.
Oh, Bali, yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah, Ibiza, yeah.
Oh, there are a lot of party goers in the Philippines. Or, like, Australians who come and destroy the towns and.
Well, not to my knowledge, but I just suddenly remember this particular street in Bangkok where there are a lot of foreigners. Khaosan Road, literally, you know, street party going on every night.
Yeah, Brazil for parties, absolutely. I should have said that. So I was born there. Well, guys, let us know what your recommendations are. Have a go at writing in the comments section. Practice your English writing skills, so let us know what you feel is a good adventure vacation, where you would like to go to relax, where you'd like to go to party.
We would love to hear from you, and if you're interested in our courses, check out our websites. www.BigAppleSchool.com and you can also find other interesting podcast episodes like this one. And we also have some articles which you can read about grammar and other related topics. So we'll see you next time. Thank you very much. Bye for now.