Who’s Yawning Now? Behind the scenes of the newest title.

How did the book “Who’s Yawning Now?” come to be written? It is a children’s photo storybook of animals and birds around the world caught yawning. It tells the animal’s name, where it lives,  what it eats, three interesting facts about each animal, and how endangered it is, as listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is the best-known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system. Information is included on why some animals yawn. 

I have been a photographer for many decades, and about 30 years ago, I saw a huge hippo yawning. It was such a gigantic yawn that I had to photograph it. From there, I thought that it would be interesting to take photos of animals around the world yawning. I then decided that a children’s A to Z book of animal yawns would be a fun book to write. However, I ran into a problem; I had no animals for the letters Q, U, or X.  Instead, I then pulled the most interesting yawning animals together and combined them in the Who’s Yawning Now? book. My book is available on Reader’s Magnet, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I hope you find it fun and interesting. Please leave a review if you do. My favorite animal in the entire book is the Lemur, which is probably the most critically endangered of all the animals that are shown yawning.  

Almost 35% of the 103 species of Lemurs of Madagascar are critically endangered, and one step away from extinction,  according to the Switzerland IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The worst part is that their habitat has been 90% destroyed up to date.  There has been no mandate from the government to stop the slash and burn ongoing policies since the beginning of human life in Madagascar and even more in the past 20 years. The government must educate their people about how this practice destroys the habitat of these delightful animals and changes and destroys the entire biodiversity of this unique island, the 4th largest in the world.  Because rice is the Malagasy people’s primary food, they don’t seem to understand the consequences that the destruction of the forests causes, with flooding, landslides, rivers being clogged with soil, destroying the fishing, and much more.

The most recent problem has been the Chinese who have come to Madagascar with their goal to buy as much land as possible to set up large rice and sugar cane plantations. They come in, and go from one farm to the next and offer impoverished, uneducated people some money. These are Malagasy people who have lived in the same place for generations, and they have no idea what it means to move, or be forced from their homes. When told that they must move because they were paid money for their place, these Malagasy have no idea that what they did will affect the rest of their lives, and with no place to go, they are in worse condition than before. The Malagasy government is allowing all of this to take place rather than kicking the Chinese out.

The poor Lemurs are caught in the middle of this mess, and need advocates such as you and I and many others who can petition the Malagasy government to stop all of this slash and burn practice before the entire island is destroyed. Madagascar has such a diverse landscape, with rainforests, beaches, deserts, dry deciduous forests, with 85% of the plant life found nowhere else in the world. There are still many varieties of orchids and other plants to be discovered and named.  The animals and insects are also the most unusual people have never encountered anywhere else in the world. For example, have you ever heard of a Giraffe beetle? It is a unique looking insect. Also, the Comet moth is the largest in the world and only lives for a week. It has a non-functioning mouth and inner parts. Another little-known animal is the Tenrec, a shew-ke and hedgehog-like mamal. Especially adorable is the Lowland Streaked Tenrec. It’s the size of a large mouse, with a very long nose, and it looks like it has had a horrible hair day with black and bright yellow spikey hair sticking out all over.

Along with the Lemurs, all of the existing flora and fauna are at incredible risk.  All will be lost if the Chinese have their way. The Malagasy government must set proper rules and guidelines for maintaining the forests, and the Malagasy people must be taught to preserve and conserve the gift that they have in defending their lands and forests, and all that live there. They can have so much more through Ecotourism.

You can see all this for yourself when you come with me on the adventure of a lifetime in this bio-diversity wonderland. Join me on my Magical Madagascar Photo Tour, October 2-17, 2021. I have a Malagasy tour operator who has picked out the Best of the Best of Madagascar for us to see and do.

World Awareness to Protect the Pangolins

Do you know what a Pangolin is?  I saw my first Pangolin many years ago in the wild, one evening on safari in Africa.  I was absolutely fascinated with them.  They have an incredible sense of smell and can go instantly to an underground ant nest, dig a bit, and then stick their long skinny tongues down the hole to slurp all the ants up into their mouths, much as people do when slurping up spaghetti.  When they walk through the bush, they often walk upright like a kangaroo, on their two hind legs, and keep their balance with their tail.

Most have never heard of a Pangolin, and they have no idea Pangolins are the most poached, trafficked, and one of the most endangered species on the planet.  Asians use their scales as a traditional medicine for all sorts of ailments from excessive nervousness, demon possession, malaria, deafness, and asthma, to arthritis, throughout Asia.  The problem is that these poor innocent animals are being poached and horribly mutilated and killed when their scales have no proven medicinal value.  Both Rhino horn and Pangolin scales have the same kind of Keratin as a persons’ fingernails and hair.  And who knows how many Rhino horns have been smuggled as well? People could grind up their own hair and fingernails and get the same results as grinding up pangolin scales and rhino horn.  To be so ignorant of the suffering and pure destruction of these unique animals is unconscionable.  This ignorance of the world, and all those who believe in using these poor animals for a remedy, need to be educated.  The destruction and the poaching must stop! The very rich of China also like to eat Pangolin and show off their wealth by treating their friends and colleagues to poached Pangolin meat.

Indian Pangolin - Poached for their scales which are used in traditional medicine across much of Asia, their scales are made up of the same materials as human hair and nails.
Indian Pangolin

No larger than a housecat, the poor little animals are caught by snares when coming out of their burrows, macheted to death, and skinned to include their scales.   Others are captured alive to transport for meat and have deep cuts, torn scales, and all sorts of issues trying to free themselves.  Most don’t survive. When saved, the poor tortured Pangolins are usually on the brink of death, dehydrated, and very emaciated.  They are taken to specific Veterinary hospitals where veterinarians and volunteers help bring as many as possible back from the point of death.  The head of the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, said that was only about 20% of the total number of poached animals.  The actual number of dead or dying poached and smuggled Pangolins is one million in the past ten years.  The most important thing is to try to get to the Pangolins before they die enroute to Asia.  

Pangolin image. Pangolins hunt and walk on their hind legs.
Pangolin

Some information on Pangolins has been seen lately in National Geographic magazine. Several articles in the newspapers revealed the sheer volume of dead Pangolins and Pangolins scales, seized from smugglers, that were destined for China.  Every news article refers to vast amounts of tons, not pounds, of dead, poached Pangolins and the rescue of some.  One article revealed that authorities seized 97 tons of Pangolin scales from poachers last year. 

Many adopt Pangolins and provide monetary support for their care.  Some are released back into the wild, but in secret protected areas.  Pangolins have only one Pango pup per year, which makes the vulnerability of their lives even more uncertain.

Eye of the Pangolin is a documentary released on Endangered Species Day in 2019.  It shows how these extremely rare African Pangolins are brutally slaughtered.  Check it out, and please help spread the word to help save the Pangolins.

Lemurs are Losing Their Habitat

Scientists are now warning the world that almost every Lemur species is at risk of extinction due to loss of habitat and the destruction of their tropical forest homes.  With 90% of the Lemur population threatened with extinction, what is feasible to make the people aware of the problem and stop the onslaught of Lemur habitat loss?  Apparently, the government is turning a blind eye to illegal logging, slash and burn agriculture, and mining operations in Madagascar.  Additionally, the creation of preserves and their boundaries are ignored by many local tribes, because of ignorance and an oblivious attitude toward protecting one of the most unique mammals on the planet, found only in Madagascar.

Because of much tribal illiteracy, making education and awareness a priority is a significant hurdle to overcome. Part of that illiteracy has allowed the Chinese to purchase over 12,000 acres from poor Malagasy farmers who only see the money offered to them, but don’t understand that the land that has been in their families for generations is now no longer theirs. Then they are left homeless and without any means of supporting themselves.  That has become a major problem in Madagascar more recently.  I have seen this with my own eyes since I lead photo trips to Madagascar. Malagasy people must not be cut off from their land, but must be made a part of the solution, rather than the cause of the problem, such as selling to the Chinese.  The government must take responsibility for allowing this to happen.

Lemurs are endangered due to habitat destruction and lack of concern from the world's people.
Lemurs are endangered due to habitat destruction and lack of concern by the world’s people.

Several tribes have been at the forefront of making positive changes by supporting conservation efforts and linking incentives to conservation efforts.  The Malagasy people are mostly an amiable sort, and do support the tourist trade through ecotourism.  When the people see and understand that increased international aid and resources can be available for them to make a good living through conservation efforts, then everyone is a winner, including the Lemurs.  

Another positive change has been introducing more cacao and vanilla tree farms that have attracted Lemurs since their regular habitats have been destroyed.  There has been a co-existent development of Lemurs eating pesty insects from those trees, along with depositing shade tree seeds in their droppings.  Lemurs are known as the seed dispersers of the rainforest.

Hopefully, the Malagasy government and concerned citizens around the world will become more aware and wise up to the problems that have been created in Madagascar and, indeed, all around the world. We should all look for ways to provide for the people, and protect the unique and unusual animals that live in the most biodiverse place on the planet, which has 80% of the flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. 

Eco-tourism and the dollars it brings to the area, plus the interest that visitors bring does wonders for exposure and awareness in local populations. I am leading another trip to Madagascar, October 2-17, 2021. Visit Magical Madagascar Photo Tour 2021 for details.  Additionally I have written several books on my adventures around the world, including: Family Trip to Magical Madagascar and Beyond, which is about my family trip to Madagascar and Zimbabwe and our adventure of a lifetime.

Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Travel Break

There are a lot of reasons why you should consider traveling to be a part of your life. You can benefit many things out of it while you have fun. The people travel for different personal reasons, but mainly to get away momentarily from real life. Unconsciously, these people who do this from time to time are gaining many things in return. One reason would be learning. Seeing different places will help you acquire a lot of knowledge, such as history, sociology, and geography. Every time they visit a new place, they involve themselves in unique experiences and new lessons. These people would also discover many ways of how things are done. In every place, there are different traditions and cultures. This, way you are exposed to the chance of having an open mind. You will discover that the world is so wide and everybody has their own view of life. Once you have got to prove this to yourself while traveling, you can expand your perspective. This way, you can live life with more contentment, knowing that everybody in this world lives their life differently than yours.

You can definitely get a handful of beautiful experiences that turns into great benefits for your soul while traveling. However, there is a great need for you to prepare to make the most out of your future adventures. Below are some ways you can follow to enjoy traveling to the fullest.

Travel With Friends and family

Whenever you are with the people you are comfortable with; you tend to be yourself more. This is brought up because when you are free of consciousness, you are happier. When traveling, you need to be your happy self to experience the place even better. You should be less worried. As mentioned, the one goal of visiting different places is to forget reality. Thus, you need to be with people who will help you forget the stressful situations in your own world.

Do Your Research

Planning for a trip is as exciting as the day you will be leaving. Conducting research where you should go should be the first thing. If you have a destination in mind already, you should still know all the things you should know about the place to create your itinerary for the whole trip. In this way, you can estimate the cost and know all the tourist spots you should visit. More so, you can gain hacks so everything will be as efficient as possible. World traveler Nicki Geigert has written several travel books documenting her adventures on some of her amazing trips around the world. Be sure to check them out.

Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep

Remember that you are traveling to relax. When you don’t have enough sleep in your system, you tend to become stressed. If you are stress, how will you enjoy the trip? That is why when all the travel activities are done, you have to get rest and sleep as much as you can to prepare yourself for the next day’s fun.

Take Pictures

Having to remember each beautiful moment in your life will give you so much joy. Documenting is the key to help you do this. When you look back at pictures, you get almost the same feeling as when it happened, reminiscing happiness. When you are traveling, you will be having the time of your life. You will want to remember it forever. That is why Nicki Geigert, a travel enthusiast, would always take photographs on each of her trips. She would even document it by writing books. She has a photo journey called Bianca’s Big Adventure. This book is full of stunning images of wildlife in various places. If you want to inspire yourself to travel more to different places to take pictures, this is perfect for you.

Try Out the Cuisine

Exploring different kinds of cuisines is the best part of going on adventures in various places. It is a way of creating a deep understanding of other cultures. Thus, when you are traveling, make sure that you try their food. It can only do so much good for you. One is that you will learn how to cook new recipes for your family and friends to try. Ain’t food the great avenue to the yearnings of one’s soul?

Traveling is all about finding time for yourself, helping you relax to have peace of mind. Hence why you should make every moment last when you are in the moment. The points listed above are just some modes on how to make it possible to savor each moment. Make sure to incorporate them in your next trips!

How Travel Books Change The Way We See The World

Going to another state or taking a road trip is considered traveling. Traveling is an activity that allows anyone to go to places one has never been to before. Discovering the amazing attractions from places unknown. Traveling has the power to change how a person sees the world. With this activity, the traveler can discover new cultures, meet new people, experience new things, and so much more. Traveling will redefine the meaning of life and shape a person into a better person. At times like this where a pandemic is hindering people from traveling to places, traveling books can be a great instrument for anyone to travel without the need to get out of the comforts of one’s home.

Similar to traveling, travel books can also provide anyone a new way to perceive life. Travel books are more than published work with information and images of certain places. It is in fact a book filled with information about the place from the people, its culture, its animals, to the wonderful sights of a country or location. Bianca’s Big Adventure is an amazing travel book by nature photographer, Nicki Geigert. The aforementioned book is an example of a travel book that can change its readers’ perspective and redefine the meaning of life.

Discover the Sights and Splendor of Other Countries

There are amazing places from countries one has never been to before. There are even wonderful attractions in countries that are less blessed. In other words, the world has many beautiful sights and splendor to offer. Travel books allow readers to discover the sights and splendor of other countries right in your hands. The readers of these books will find that the world is truly wonderful, amazing, and have a lot in store for anyone. Seeing the beauty of the world, one can come to appreciate and find beauty in the little attractions. It is just a matter of perspective that changes how a person sees the world.

Broaden One’s Horizon

There are many paths one person can take in life. Two of these paths are to stay in the corners of one’s own world or experience the sights and splendor the world has offered. Choosing the first path would mean missing out on great things. The fear of the dangers in the outside world may comfort anyone but won’t allow that person to enjoy the wonders outside. By reading traveling books, one can broaden his or her horizon just like traveling. One can read about books first before venturing out to places unknown. With travel books, the reader can experience the different walks of life, glimpse at the varying cultures of countries, and find common ground. Hence, this broadens the reader’s horizon. This would open one’s mind to the many possibilities of life.

Learn New Things

Every day, there is a learning obtained. When a person learns new things, that same person will have a change in perspective in life. By reading traveling books, one can also learn a thing or two from the adventures and the particular place. Travel books feature the cultures and ways of a country enabling the readers to better understand how different yet similar the country and people are to them. The reader can do away with the ignorance and prejudice he or she may have with a particular place. One can also learn and discover something about him or herself after reading travel books. Nicki Geigert has authored several other travel books that broaden the reader’s horizons

See the True Value of Life

No matter the age, some people are still confused with what the true value of life is. There is no specific value to be exact. It depends and varies on how a person believes the true value of life is. When reading traveling books, one can come to comprehend the meaning and value of life for them. Once a person finds the value of life, it will truly change the person’s life and perspective. It brings out a different view on things that one may have not seen before.

Set Your Own Adventure

Travel is truly an experience that will broaden your mind and give you a greater appreciation of our wonderful world and all it’s glorious diversity. If you are ready to try an adventure, an easy way to begin is as part of a tour group. Experienced world traveler, Nicki Geigert, is offering her own photo tour: Magical Madagascar Photo Tour 2021. Nicki will lead a small group around the island of Madagascar, exploring the sites, wildlife, and diverse habitat. Her past tours of the island have been a huge success and the 2021 tour promises to the the Adventure of a Lifetime!

Top 10 Destinations to Visit During Summer

Are you looking for ways on how you can have an epic summer? Traveling is the best way to do it. There’s always something appealing about going on adventures to different places during the summertime. Everybody’s out of school, and adults are craving for some sunshine. The nice warm weather gives you the freedom to do activities you wished you could do during the other seasons. Plus, you can pack easily. You don’t need to pack bulky items— giving you more space for some mementos and souvenirs to bring back to your loved ones. Unless you want to travel to cold places during the summer, which is a totally different experience from traveling to tropical places.

Traveling during the summer will give you so much convenience. You can choose among different ideal vacation spots; you won’t be experiencing a shortage of options. Don’t let this opportunity overwhelm you, though. Do your research and find out what destination is the perfect place for you to travel. You need to consider every possible situation there is. Worry not! This blog will give you the best choices of places you could visit during the summertime. See the suggestions below:

Dubai

One of the United Arab Emirates’ top traveling locations would be Dubai. If you want to experience an urban city where you can see amazing architectures of skyscrapers and shopping malls, such as Burj Khalifa, this should be a part of your list. This destination is surely a unique one. It is each city travel enthusiast ever dreamed of. From historical sights to active nightlife experience, you sure can get it there.

Hawaii

You probably heard of Hawaii to be on everyone’s bucket lists. The stunning sceneries of the bodies of water sure do prove its worth. From gorgeous beaches to beautiful waterfalls, the island would be the perfect place to visit. If you are someone who enjoys various types of water activities, then the more reasons to visit. Besides the ocean, Hawaii is also the home of active volcanoes where amazing sights and views make it perfect for taking Instagram photos.

Madagascar

There are a handful of reasons why you should consider Madagascar on your future travels. Known to be the biggest island in the Indian Ocean, you can expect enchanting beaches, breathtaking views of nature, and unique wildlife. If you want to know more about this place, you should check out Family Trip to Magical Madagascar and Beyond by Nicki Geigert. This book is perfect for people who want to learn more about Madagascar and Zimbabwe’s striking spots. Reading it would definitely give you insights on how a family trip would go. This book will inspire you to go travel more!

Amsterdam

Who wouldn’t want to go to a place where the strong presence of healthy living is strong. Amsterdam is a place where you can see people walking or biking to get to places everywhere you look. Amsterdam is such a beautiful destination to visit if you are someone who loves a city that is filled with a rich culture. Moreover, the coffee shops there serve the best and premium coffee that’s worth the try.

Cappadocia

The enchanting landscape of this destination is worth it to be seen. This underrated city in Turkey is full of sightseeing attractions that people who like to take photos will definitely visit. Aside from this, you will get the chance to spend your time in elegant cave houses, which will make you not want to go home. The mornings are the best part of the day in Cappadocia when you can hike through valleys and rock sites with a tantalizing view.

Iceland

Experience being drawn to the mystical atmosphere of Iceland. This Nordic European island country is the most sparsely populated area, which is really good if you want peace and tranquility. There are many tourist spots in Iceland that you can go see, but the best place would be the bubbling and steaming The Blue Lagoon. You can enjoy the in-water massages and luxury lounge facilities when you get to visit it.

Bali

As one of the most popular tropical tourist spots in Asia, Bali Indonesia appeals to people for its nature. Known as the Island of Gods because of its religious idols, Balinese ancient Hinduism, which is quite present in the locals’ lifestyle. This last destination on this blog is one of the places that exude calmness into a visitor’s souls. From stunning beaches to spectral temples, you can surely take the best pictures to post.

These are just some of the places that the world has to offer, satisfying our souls with charm. If you want to know more about traveling, you should go check out Nicki Geigert’s other travel books. Her books feature a lot of places and wildlife worth seeing. Hopefully, this blog has given you ideas on where to travel next and if you are are inspired, Nicki is also hosting her Magical Madagascar Photo Tour in October, 2021. This package tour is a 15 day adventure around this magical island and is a trip of a lifetime! We hope to see you there.

Holy Cow!! The Status of Cows in India.

Holy Cow!! by Nicki Giegert talks about the state of cows in India and their unintentional abuse.

Seasoned travel photographer and writer Nicki Geigert take us to India in her book Holy Cow!! However, unlike her other travel photography books, Holy Cow!! by Nicki Geigert focused on one controversial subject— the roaming cows of India. ReadersMagnetReview takes a closer look.

Contrary to popular belief, Hindus do not consider the cow as a symbol of God and certainly do not worship the animal. Hindus consider the cow sacred because to them it is a sacred symbol of life. That is why cows are respected and honored in India.

Holy Cow!!

Holy Cow!! was first published in 2011. It is a travel book that features the cows of India and how the Hindu people treat cows with reverence and respect. However, the book also shows the other side of the tradition, and that is the unintentional abuse of cows. 

Cows are holy in India, and as such are not to be eaten. Because many of these cows are not owned or domesticated, they tend to roam around with no one to regularly take care of them. These cows are not only not fed properly, but are left to exist on grain or ceremonial flowers from a passing worshipper, or left to forage for trash— which is primarily comprised of plastics and paper. Many of these cows die from malnourishment. This book takes you on a journey through India, and no matter where you go, you will always see the cows, always present, always there, somewhere.

The State of Cows in India

According to a 2012 census, there are almost 6 million cows roaming in India. That figure is from eight years ago and the number of cows has since increased. The rise in numbers of cows in the country has caused traffic and chaos in the streets. Many cows are abandoned by their owners after they stop producing milk and are left to roam the streets; often to die there, causing not only massive traffic but also hygiene problems in communities. The traffic issues caused by cows are unlike anything we’ve ever seen in other parts of the world where animals like deer or elephants cross the streets. These problems are serious and life-threatening to both humans and cows. In one of the northern states in India, nearly 7,000 cows have died on railway tracks since April of 2018. These are just some of the realities that the Indian population must deal with every day along with keeping tradition in their treatment of cows.

Nicki Geigert’s Holy Cow!! presents two different realities of India’s cows— tradition and actual condition. The state of India’s cows is not often discussed in travel and photography books, making Holy Cow!! a unique and remarkable travel book.

About the Author

Nicki Geigert is a Landscape, Travel, Adventure, Fine art, and Nature photographer. Over the years, Nicki traveled to both remote locations as well as tourist spots and has captured wildlife, culture, and people up close and personal. She is the author of several travel books including Family Trip to Magical Madagascar and Beyond and Bianca’s Big Adventure. She also co-authored a book entitled Read! Move! Learn! Active Stories for Active Learning with Carol Totsky Hammett.

Nicki continues to travel the world, and write articles and books to share with others. Nicki is also hosting her 2021 Magical Madagascar Photo Tour and you are invited to join her for the adventure of a lifetime.

To learn more about Nicki Geigert and her works, you can check out her books, or visit her website.

How Traveling Affects Life and Personality

Every beating heart that exists in this world seeks tranquility and calmness. This deep longing is due to the outcome it can do to one’s inner peace—  the kind of inner peace that can alleviate the worries, anxiety, and stress that life can bring. One of the most effective ways to escape the harsh realities in the world is to travel to new places and experience new things.

If you have experienced traveling, you know how much fun and excitement it can be. Yet, it is more than just that. The effects of traveling bring a new whole level in how you view your life. Do you want to experience that? Make sure to check out Nicki Geigert’s travel books about her adventures to exciting new places and get some inspiration on doing it right. However spontaneous your trip is, you still need a strong plan to make every second of it worthwhile. If you come unprepared, you might not experience the wonders of the place you are visiting. So, plan ahead so you can experience all the benefits it has in store for you. 

Even before your travel starts, you feel the thrill of excitement all over you. Whether it’s a short weekend getaway, a visit to a relative from afar, or a group tour, you can never avoid anticipating for it. To hype you up even more on your future travels, this article will examine some of the benefits traveling can give to your life and personality.

Traveling enhances your mental health

Taking good care of your mental health is vital to living a balanced life. How people feel, act, and think are all driven by the state of mind they have. This is because the psychological, emotional, and social welfare is being impacted by it. So, if you want to have contentment in your life, you have to look for a helpful method to achieve it. Traveling is one good way. 

As mentioned above, peace of mind is something that can help a person momentarily forget reality. Having oneself recharge will promote enthusiasm and supply you with more ideas and energy ones you get back. Calmness is all a person needs to provide the best decision. 

Traveling improves your physical health

If you are planning to go on adventures, you should expect to do more walking. Strolling down the beach or walking to a new city helps you get exercise. This activity will not let you feel tired because of the excitement of seeing a unique and picturesque place. Boosting fitness can be all fun and games when traveling. More so, this fun will spark your desire to do more even after the trip. Another reason is that every place has its own food delicacies. You can discover a lot of new healthy recipes to cook. So, if you are bored with making the same meals and snack every day, try to research destinations that features healthy foods. 

Traveling promotes your social interactions

Are you someone having problems with your social interactions with new people? If you are, then going on a trip to a new place will help you. Allowing yourself to meet new people can be a way to get you out of your shell. As you already know, traveling will help you with this issue, especially when you are alone. This way, you can have a chance to interact with new people, building your self-esteem by forcing you to talk to them.  All the more, you will find new friends you can connect with for the rest of your life. 

Traveling helps you make new memories

The recollections of emotions are what keeps people moving forward, making them do better than yesterday. Memories are the biggest part of one’s identity. That is why making new ones is essential.  The feeling of going through your memory lane through photos feels like you are reliving that very moment. Thus, creating more memories could make your life more exciting. You can do this by simply going on a road trip or a holiday group trip to the mountains with loved ones.

In conclusion, doing things out of your comfort zone like experiencing different environments, can surely enhance your personal growth. This type of recreational activity broadens your outlook in life and makes you realize that you can do so much more. Trying to find a place to visit next? Nicki Geigert’s books on her trips to new and exciting places might stimulate your travel bug. Check out her experiences through writing, as well as her upcoming Magical Madagascar Photo Tour. You are invited to sign up for our next adventure, October 2-17, 2021.

5 Interesting Facts About The Indian Culture

5 Interesting Facts About the Indian Culture

India is a diverse country with a rich and interesting culture. It is best known for its magnificent temples, mouth-watering spicy food, stunning clothing, amusing classical dances, and more. Aside from the aesthetics and delicacies, India is also quite known for its unique beliefs and traditions. One of the most distinctive and intriguing of these is the belief of many Indians in the holiness of a cow. This belief stem from a Hindu tradition – Hinduism is one of the largest religions in India – that sees cows as a ‘caregiver’ or maternal figure that should be deeply respected.

Holy Cow by Nicki Geigert is a great book that gives people a glimpse of this unique traditional belief in the sanctity of the cow in India. It takes its readers on a journey through the country where, no matter where one goes, he or she will always see the cows. At the same time, one can also see a grim illustration of the unintentional cow abuse in India, which the author herself has documented through her photographs.

Aside from the belief in the sacredness of cows, there are plenty of other unique beliefs and traditions in the Indian culture. Some of them are controversial, while some are astounding. To learn more about these beliefs and traditions, here are five interesting facts about the Indian culture that might prompt you to want to visit India:

Elephant as a symbol of pride and royalty

Indians are generally fond of animals. Interestingly, the Indian culture loves to designate meanings to animals. Just like cows, which, as mentioned, are considered sacred by many Indians, elephants are also very much respected and revered in India. For the Indians, elephants are a symbol of pride and royalty. Because of this, it is common for people in the country to spend time with elephants through elephant spas, for example, which permit visitors to bath, feed, and play with these animals.

A wide variety of dessert

The largest spice market in the world can be found in India. Because of this, India is very much known for its spices. Aside from its mouth-watering spicy food, however, India is also a place where a wide variety of tasty desserts can be found. In general, the country has around 140 kinds of desserts. These desserts are special compared to the desserts found in other countries because they are usually mixed with herbs and spices.

The left hand is considered unclean

Indians treat their bodies as a temple because they believe that their bodies are sacred. Several body parts, such as hands, fingers, and feet, have significant meanings in India. In terms of hands particularly, the Indians have this certain belief that the left hand is considered unclean. For this reason, the left hand should not be used for eating nor for setting up anything, as it should only be used for cleaning.

Fondness for welcoming guests

Indians are fond of welcoming guests into their homes. They generally love to establish friendships or relationships with other people. If ever an Indian family invites you to their place and offers you food, you should take it as an honor. It is usually a sign of adoration, love, or respect. As an honored guest of an Indian family, however, you have to at least offer them a gift for being a good host. Giving a gift usually signifies that you appreciate their hospitality.

A love for temples

The love of the Indians for temples can be obviously seen in the stunning structures that are built around the country. As mentioned, temples are indeed a popular feature of India. Temples are an integral part of the Indian culture, especially since different types of religion are abundant across the country. These temples are generally considered as a symbol of sacredness. Indians and tourists alike go to these temples often to pray and worship. Aside from this, they also go to temples to express their gratitude to the gods for their festivities.

In conclusion, the Indian culture is indeed rich and interesting. It is filled with aesthetics and delicacies, and it is home to a number of distinctive beliefs and traditions that could not be found anywhere else in the world. Despite the controversies that might be surrounding some of its beliefs and traditions, such as the unintentional cow abuse in the country as documented in Holy Cow by Nicki Geigert, the animals, food, and temples in India as well as the attitudes of the Indians are a manifestation of just how intriguing but beautiful the Indian culture is. Hopefully, the interesting facts about the Indian culture tackled in this article have convinced you to consider visiting the lovely country soon

5 Best Photography Locations in Madagascar

Magical Madagascar— An amazing destination for a family adventure.

Madagascar is best known for its unique wildlife and biodiversity. It is home to an abundance of flora and fauna species found nowhere else on earth. Its distinctive ecology has even led some ecologists to refer the island country as the ‘eigth continent’. Currently, Madagascar is considered as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world.

Aside from its amazing wildlife and biodiversity, Madagascar is also known for its striking landscapes and sceneries. Most of the tourists who come to the country just cannot turn their cameras off when in these astonishing and picturesque places. If you are a photographer, either professional or amateur, who has long been planning to go on a solo or family trip to Madagascar, then this article is perfect for you! Below are five of the best photography locations in Madagascar that can surely satisfy both your eyes and your lens.

Avenue of the Baobabs

Avenue of the Baobabs is located in the Menabe region of western Madagascar. Its name is derived from the fact that the place is filled with baobabs lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon’I Tsiribihina. Baobabs are deciduous trees with enormously thick trunks and large edible fruits. It is the national tree of Madagascar. The odd but beautiful appearance of the baobabs found in the Avenue of the Baobabs makes the place a great spot for photoshoots. Every year, hundreds and thousands of travelers go to this place to see the wonderful trees personally. Because of this, the Avenue of the Baobabs has also been a center of local conservation efforts.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is located in the Melaky region of northwest Madagascar. It is popularly known for its dramatic forests of limestone needles called ‘tsingys’, which are created by vertical and horizontal patterns of erosion. The unusual formation of the rocks in Tsingy de Bemaraha makes it an irresistible place for photographs. Travelers are usually stunned upon seeing the unique scenery that the national park offers. This uniqueness has convinced the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare the place as a world heritage site, which means that it is a protected area where no one is allowed to trespass.

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

If you are more of a wildlife photographer who loves to capture photos of stunning animals, then you should not miss visiting the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, which is located east of Antananarivo. The national park is the most popular reserve in Madagascar. It protects a wide range of animal species including the indri lemur, mouse lemur, woolly lemur, long-eared owl, wagtail, Madagascar falcon, and numerous species of reptiles and invertebrates. The exquisiteness of the flora and fauna found in the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park surely delights all of its visitors, especially the wildlife enthusiasts.

Les Trois Baies

Les Trois Baies is a series of beautiful bays with astounding beaches located in the north of Madagascar. Along the stretch of its long coast are many coves and inlets perfect for chilling both under the sun and in the water. The Les Trois Baies, which consists of Baie de Sakalava, Baie des Pigeons, and Baie des Dunes, boasts of a starkly beautiful environment. Its white sand and clear, blue water are very picturesque and worthy for the gram.

Nosy Be

Speaking of Instagram-worthy beaches, Nosy Be also boasts of an alluring environment that will surely captivate both your and lens. Nosy Be is the top beach destination in Madagascar, which is located off its northwest coast. It is the largest and busiest tourist resort in the island country. It has all the ingredients that you need for some stunning Instagram vacation photos – soft white sand, turquoise waters, and mouth-watering seafood. Aside from its breathtaking environment, Nosy Be is also great for the numerous water-based activities that it offers. It is a paradise for the adventure seekers who want to try such activities as diving, snorkeling, and sailing.

No one can deny that Madagascar is indeed a paradise on earth. With its unique wildlife and biodiversity, rich culture, and astonishing landscapes, Madagascar has proven time and time again that it is an ultimate travel destination. So, if you are looking for the perfect place for some photo tours, then The Red Island is the one for you! Go ahead and take that solo or family trip to Madagascar now.

If you are inspired for the adventure of a lifetime you can learn more about Nicki Geigert’s upcoming Magical Madagascar Photo Tour 2021 where Nicki will lead you in a fabulous 15-day journey as you photograph all the wonder that Madagascar has to offer. The tour will feature all the sites mentioned here and so much more. We hope to see you in Magical Madagascar in 2021!