Category: Travel

Seven Alternative Wonders Of The World

Over the years, there have been many landmarks that have been considered to be “Wonders of the World.” The first list that mentioned this came out prior to the AD days. This list contained the ancient wonders of the world and contained the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnasus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and Pharos Lighthouse at Alexandria.

Then, there was a list of the New Seven Wonders of the World. These official ones are the Great Wall of China, Petra, the Roman Colosseum, Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and the Christ the Redeemer Statue. If they were to make a new list of more modern wonders, what would it look like? Here are our picks for the new Seven Alternative Wonders of the World.

The Eiffel Tower

There are a lot of manmade structures that have been placed into the lists of the Seven Wonders of the World, and it’s stunning to see that the Eiffel Tower didn’t make the cut in any of them. Located in Paris and created by engineer Gustave Eiffel’s company, it’s perhaps the most well-known structure in the world. Completed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower stands at over 1,000 feet and is visited by more than 7 million people each year.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Compared to a lot of countries around the world, the United States is extremely young, so it’s no surprise that there haven’t been any entries into the Seven Wonders of the World list. However, America has had plenty of manmade structures (and natural wonders) that should be considered for any of the lists. The first in mind is the Golden Gate Bridge, which is an Art Deco design that spans over 2,700 feet over the San Francisco Bay in California. Designed by Irving Morrow, the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937.

The Statue of Liberty

Staying in the United States, the building that has become the overall symbol of the United States should truly be considered a wonder. As many know, though, the statue was designed by Frenchman Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and even put together in large part by Gustave Eiffel himself. The French gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States as a gift, and it currently stands on Liberty island, overlooking the New York Harbor.

Mount Rushmore

The third and final entry of American wonders on the list is Mount Rushmore, which is located in Pennington County, South Dakota. The sculpture was carved into the side of the Black Hills and was completed after more than a decade of work from start to finish. Mount Rushmore depicts some of America’s founding fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln from left to right. Though it’s in a remote area, there are still more than 2 million people each year who make their way to see Mount Rushmore in person.

Big Ben

If you’re not from England and were asked to close your eyes and picture London, the first thing that your brain would probably come up with is Big Ben. The clock tower that sits at the end of the Palace of Westminster is now named the Elizabeth Tower officially, but everyone still refers to it simply as Big Ben, though it’s contested on whether it was named for Sir Benjamin Hall or Benjamin Caunt. Either way, the clock tower was completed in 1859 and stands over 310 feet tall.

Sydney Opera House

By far the newest structure on the list, the Sydney Opera House was completed in 1973 after more than a decade of construction. It has since become the most recognizable building in all of Australia as it overlooks the Sydney Harbour. The SOH has several venues within the structure and has hosted some of the biggest events in Sydney. The building was even considered for the New 7 Wonders of the World list but just missed the cut.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

You probably thought that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was already on one of the lists, but surprisingly it’s not. Originally breaking ground in 1173, it wasn’t until 1372 that the Tower of Pisa was completed. It started leaning long before completion, too, because of the soft ground it was built on. All these centuries later, the building still stands 183 feet in height. Of course, it has become one of the most photographed buildings in the world as people have to see it to believe it and want to remember their visit.

5 Cities Escape Room Fans Must Visit

Escape rooms have caught on throughout the world to the point where some cities have dozens if not well more than 100. One city, in particular, has nearly 200, though the range in quality can be rather large. No matter where you are in the world, there’s a good chance that you’re not too far from a good escape room.

Out of all of the cities in the world, though, which ones are the best for escape room fans? Let’s take a look at the five that every fan must visit. Before we begin the list, we wanted to make sure that countries were only represented by one city. If not for that, the list would be comprised of entirely Chinese cities. With that said, let’s get to the top choice.

Beijing, China

Escape rooms are massively popular in China, with 10 of them having at least 40. Shanghai comes in second place at just over 100 escape rooms, but Beijing far and away leads the pack with close to 200. The best part about having so many escape rooms in one city is that there is a wide range to pick from. You can do downright terrifying escape rooms or something a little more family-friendly with easier puzzles.

Fans have been debating for years about the best escape room in Beijing, with some saying that OMESCAPE is the top while others have a soft spot for Mr. X. The latter has been praised for creating a true horror fan experience while also being top of the line in quality and having a production value that would make people think that it was taken directly from a movie set. To make things easier on yourself, try taking a group of 10 to Mr. X.

Budapest, Hungary

If you travel outside of Asia, the city that has the most escape rooms anywhere is Budapest. It might come as a bit of a surprise, but Hungarians are crazy about escape rooms and there are more than five dozen throughout the city. One of the things that attracts people to Budapest escape rooms the most is the price, with even top-of-the-line ones costing around $25.

PLAY! Escape Rooms, Locked Room, and Escape Zone are consistently the highest-rated escape rooms throughout Budapest, with the latter containing a game that has a “Star Wars” theme. While licensing would make that tricky to pull off in some countries, it looks like it was designed by George Lucas himself in Budapest.

Toronto, Canada

If you were thinking that the city with the most escape rooms in North America would be located in the United States, guess again. Toronto, Ontario takes the top spot with three dozen escape rooms with varying difficulty, which is around a dozen more than any American city. From whimsical to downright scary, Toronto has a lot to offer.

The Looking Glass Adventure and The Imaginarium are two of the favorites in Toronto, with most of the escape rooms being quite family-friendly. Toronto receives a lot of praise for having fine actors who accompany you throughout your adventure, making the experience special.

Tokyo, Japan

Heading back to Asia, Japan leads the way for non-Chinese countries as there are around 30 escape rooms in the world’s largest city, Tokyo. Like their Chinese counterparts, there are different levels of difficulty, and many of the escape rooms focus on the horror aspect. Another thing you have to know about Tokyo escape rooms is that, for the most part, they are extremely hard.

Many of the Tokyo escape rooms have a success rate of less than five percent, including the infamous Escape from the Red Room. There aren’t any clues on the walls in this bright red enclosure, and you have to rely on the handful of props to get yourself out. There are others that have higher success rates, but the horror tends to turn up to 11.

Los Angeles, California

We finally get to the United States at the end of the list, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best city for escape rooms is the same one that’s home to Hollywood. With movie-quality escape rooms around just about every corner, Los Angeles has a lot to offer, with some saying that the quality outweighs the quantity in the City of Angels.

Hatch Escapes, Quest Room, 60out, and Black Market have all received praise for their different types of games which range from Jumanji to Red Giant. There are aspiring actors filling up the escape rooms, ready to take you on an unforgettable journey. Sure, it isn’t cheap to get the type of Hollywood production you come to expect from LA, but it’s definitely worth it.

5 Longest Train Routes In The World

While you can certainly take an airplane across long distances between cities, there’s something about taking a train that’s much more fun. On one hand, you’re not packed into uncomfortable seats on a train as you would be on a plane. There is also a lot more scenery and amenities with the ability to get off on stops and stretch your legs.

If you’re a train enthusiast and want to hop on some of the longest rides, then you’re in luck. There are certain train routes that span thousands of miles that are waiting to show you a wide span of the world. Here are the five longest routes you can take across Earth, so make sure to bring your passport too as many routes cross borders.

Moscow – Vladivostok 

Spanning 9,289 kilometers (5,772 miles) from Russia’s capital to the Oceanside city of Vladivostok, The Trans-Siberian Railway is the world’s longest train route. The railway first started being used in 1904 after 13 years of construction. 

The six to seven-day journey crosses through eight time zones, makes only ten stops throughout the trip, and passes through over thirty cities including parts of China, Mongolia, and the Sea of Japan. It’s a fascinating journey and gives you the opportunity to see a variety of places with ease. 

Toronto – Vancouver 

The Canadian by Via Rail offers year-round trips all the way from the west coast of Canada, Toronto, to the east coast of Canada in Vancouver. The 4,466 kilometer (2,775 miles) train journey takes four days and nights to complete and goes through many provinces and takes over 60 stops. It’s estimated over 82,000 riders take the trip annually. 

During their time on the train, travelers can enjoy hot meals from the dining car, multiple-person bedrooms, shower facilities, and different classes offering separate amenities depending on which class you pay for. 

Shanghai – Lhasa

The 4,373 kilometer (2,717 mile) train journey from the largest and most populated city in China and the world, Shanghai, to the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa, is the third longest train route in all of the world. 

Every day at 8:02 pm the train heads out of Shanghai and takes nearly two days to arrive in Lhasa at 6:46 pm, taking 13 stops and showcasing all the beautiful scenery throughout the entire trip. The amenities on board the train are fairly basic, but they do offer meal and beverage services you can pay extra for. The gorgeous sights to see make up for the lack of luxury. 

Sydney – Perth  

The Indian Pacific train route that runs through Australia, from Sydney all the way to Perth, spans 4,352 kilometers (2,704 miles) and brings you from one beautiful ocean to another. It takes three nights to complete the journey, plenty of time to view the Australian wildlife and scenery from the comfort of your train car. 

Australian Train provides different services for the multiple packages offered at varying prices. You’ll have access to bathrooms, complimentary toiletries, beds, and meals and beverages. As well as the opportunity to make stops at popular tourist destinations. 

Dibrugarh – Kanyakumari

From the very southern tip of India and all the way to the tip that borders Tibet is the train route that runs from Dibrugarh and Kanyakumari. The trek takes no less than 28 hours and makes plenty of stops along the way. This includes passing along the southern border of Bhutan while also cutting down through Bangladesh.

Coming in at 3,770.6 kilometers (2343 miles), this trip has a total of 58 destinations along the way for some routes, including the Vivek Express which makes every stop while taking up over 82 hours of time. The train is comprised of 11 sleeper coaches and three general coaches and was introduced in 2011 to commemorate Swami Vivikananda’s 150th birth anniversary, which was one of the biggest celebrations in Indian history.

5 Perfect Items You Never Knew Would Make Your Long Train Journey A Breeze

People that are going on long train rides for the first time might not be fully prepared. When you’re flying on a plane, there are only a few things that you truly need, but that’s also because those trips are mostly short and you’re in a very compact spot. Being on a train is much different, though, as you get more space for storage and get to stretch your legs more freely throughout the trip.

However, the trips are much, much longer on average, especially if you’re going on vacation. If you’re planning on a trip that spans hundreds (if not thousands) of miles, there are some things that you’re going to want with you. Not only will they save you money, but the added convenience will even save you some time. Here are five perfect items you never knew would make your long train journey a breeze.

Insulated Food and Beverage Containers 

With how popular traveling long distances by train is, most trains will have food cars and meals included in your package, or for purchase separately. If you don’t have access to a fresh meal, have dietary restrictions, or just want to keep your leftovers fresh, insulated meal and beverage containers are the perfect items to bring along with you on your trip. 

Keep your drinks hot, or cold for longer than your average beverage container will. You can keep your meals hot, or cold and fresh for up to 12 hours in most insulated containers so you won’t have to worry about food spoilage. 

Luggage Protection 

The last thing any traveler wants to deal with while on the go is an issue with their luggage. Making sure your luggage is safe, recognizable, and easy to carry long distances is essential. Purchase luggage that’s easy to spot and tell apart from the slew of similarly colored and patterned luggage. 

Secure tags with your basic information on them that you’ll be able to spot with ease. Most importantly, invest in luggage locks to ensure nothing happens to your luggage while it’s out of your sight. 

Comfort Items

One unfortunate side effect of lengthy travel is the discomfort that comes with sitting in the same spot for an extended period of time. Bringing light and easy-to-pack items to bring comfort will help alleviate discomfort greatly. 

There’s a variety of neck pillows made with comfort technology that will help you get some rest in your seat and relieve neck tension. You can bring along light mattress toppers to add some cushion to your in-train bed if there are sleeping quarters. A weighted eye mask would be a great addition to help you feel secure and block out unwanted light while you rest. 

Hygiene and Medicine Kit

Hygiene and medical safety have become essentials in modern-day travel. You want to make sure you’re prepared, while also traveling light. Bringing travel-sized versions of standard hygiene products and commonly used medicines in your carry-on luggage will help you keep up with a healthy hygiene routine and provide you with relief. 

Bring pain relievers for headaches, aches, and pains from traveling. Bring nausea medicine for any unseen stomach issues. Of course bring plenty of hand sanitizer, wet wipes, lotion, breath fresheners, and toiletries the train may not provide. 

Smart Device with Downloaded Content 

Most trains in developed countries will have access to wifi onboard, though that’s not always the case, especially in countries less developed. If you don’t want to waste your data, bring a smart device such as a phone, or tablet that you can download content onto beforehand while you have access to wifi. 

Make sure you have plenty of room to download your favorite songs, movies, and shows to last the entire trip and then some just in case travel is longer than expected. It’ll help keep you comfortably entertained during your venture. 

5 Countries Where Your Dollar Goes Furthest

Almost all Americans want to travel, but the only problem is that for a lot of us, it’s simply too expensive. Some of these cities across the United States are incredibly pricey, though, and there are many countries around the world where the U.S. Dollar just doesn’t go far enough to make the most out of your trip.

However, there are certainly a number of countries in which you can not only have a great vacation abroad but can live more lavishly than you do at home. If you’re searching for destinations to either travel to yourself or take your family on a vacation, check out these five countries where your dollar goes furthest.


Back in the early 2010s, Colombia wasn’t the cheapest place for Americans to visit, but times have changed since then and the dollar has been stronger in the past few years than just about any other point in the country’s history. While people might have a negative opinion of what’s available to tourists when visiting Colombia, the country actually has a lot to offer from Medellin to Bogota to Cartagena.

Airfare is not significantly cheaper heading to Colombia compared to some other countries, but everything else costs far less. From hotels and restaurants, $50 per day will get an entire family of four very far in Colombia. You can use the money saved to visit some of the nation’s best sights including the Tayrona National Park, Salt Cathedral, and Castle San Felipe de Barajas. If traveling solo, you can spend less than $1,800 in total and live like royalty.


Despite being the second-largest country in the world, India doesn’t have close to a 1:1 conversion rate. Instead, it’s one of the cheapest countries for Americans to visit, costing around $35 with food and lodging. The spending power has only gotten better over time, too.

There are some obvious sites that you’ll want to see when visiting India including the Taj Mahal and the Sri Harmandir Sahib. There are also some lesser-known places for people from the west including the Mysore Palace and Mahabodhi Temple which are must-sees. There’s really no wrong place to go in India, especially if you’re a fan of architecture.


Like Mexico, Chile uses the peso, but their own version stretches further for Americans than Mexico’s does. $1 in the United States converts to over 800 Chilean pesos, and visiting the country costs an average of $36 to visit. This includes food and lodging, making it a no-brainer.

Some of the best natural beauty in the world can be found in Chile, meaning it will save you even more money when visiting the country. The Torres Del Paine National Park and Valle de la Luna are two must-see places, while Easter Island is one of the most popular tourist sites in the world. For a beautiful blend of both ancient and modern, make your way to Santiago to get a masterclass in structure.


Ever since the end of the Vietnam War, the country has been a friendly place for Americans to visit while also having the dollar stretch further. It has become even more so on both fronts in recent years, with $1 USD able to convert into well over 20,000₫, a currency which was adopted as the official currency in 1978. 

Vietnam is filled with a lot of natural beauty, especially if you’re a fan of islands. Halong Bay is one of the most captivating sites not just in the country, but in the world. Ho Chi Minh City is a city that only gets better with time, while places like the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park offer up something for cave fans to enjoy.


Croatia tends to come and go as one of the countries where the United States Dollar goes a long way, but in recent years, it has been a great place for American to visit for a low cost. Starting in 2014, the dollar had a lot more spending power in Croatia, with an average cost of $60 per day to visit.

Fans of both modern and ancient history will have something to do in Croatia from the Walls of Dubrovnik and Plitvice Lakes to the Pula Arena and Diocletian’s Palace. Zagreb is the busiest city and has the most to do, while others including Rovinj and Sibenik offer up some of the best sites in the country.

5 Best Tourist Destinations In South East Asia

Southeast Asia is a tourist hotspot, but it still maintains its authentic vibe. Choosing a place to go is perhaps the most challenging part of visiting this section of the world. With so many great options, it’s hard to narrow it down, but to help you get started, this post looks at five of the area’s best travel destinations. 

1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Situated in northwest Cambodia, Angkor Wat is a World Heritage site and the country’s largest religious monument. Its ruins include hundreds of sandstone structures, spanning over 162 hectares. In addition to exploring the ruins of this 12th-century wonder, you can also learn about more recent history at the Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Center and the War Museum located in nearby Siem Reap.

In this traveler’s paradise, you can enjoy the unique vibe of country residents and vibrant cafes, or you can wait until after sunset and hit the clubs. Shopping includes two massive markets offering gifts, souvenirs, food, and more. 

2. Koh Samui, Thailand

In the past, Koh Samui was a prime destination for backpackers exploring the best travel destinations of Southeast Asia, but over the last few years, it’s become a high-end destination full of resorts and posh spas. The white beaches, however, are just as pristine as they ever have been. If you want to get out and explore, the Ang Thong Marine National Park offers trails running through a tropical forest to hidden waterfalls and a 12-meter-tall Buddha statue.

3. Bagan, Myanmar

If you like temples, then Bagan, Myanmar needs to be on your must-see list. Nestled next to a mountain range, this UNESCO World Heritage site features over 10,000 pagods and Buddhist temples built between the 11th and 13th centuries. Currently, the Bagan Archaeological Zone features 3,5000 buildings and over 41 square miles to explore. 

The Ananda Temple features a blend of Mon and Indian styles, and if you want to learn more about the area’s historical architecture, you can head to the town’s Archaeological Museum, which includes countless artifacts, including a Rosetta Stone that’s over 1,000 years old. 

To learn about the area’s modern culture, check out the lacquerware art workshops in Myinkaba. Then, hit the sunset at the Shwesandaw Paya pagoda — with just a bit of climbing, you can catch a 360-degree view of the area. 

4. Bangkok, Thailand

The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is a great jumping-off point for other destinations in Southeast Asia, but this world-class city also merits a stay. Over 24 million people visit Bangkok every year, and they get to enjoy the pleasing contrast of contemporary skyscrapers and ancient temples. You can do a lot of sightseeing in the area’s temples, museums, and the world’s largest teak building — the Vimanmek Mansion. Use a tuk-tuk taxi or a water bus to get around, or simply whip out your phone to contact the local ride-share company Grab. You can also dive into modern culture at the city’s clubs and cafes. 

5. Luang Prabang, Laos

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Luang Prabang features stunning architecture that combines the best elements of French colonial and traditional styles. Its location along the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers offers stunning natural beauty. With just a short hike, you can check out the Kuang Sit Falls or Pak Ou Caves, which are full of mini Buddha sculptures. On most mornings, the town fills with the color orange as local monks take to the streets for Alms Ceremonies. 

5 US Destinations to Visit By Rail

When you think of traveling via train, your mind instantly goes to Europe. In one day, you can travel by rail and see several countries, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. In fact, you can see more than two dozen countries in Europe for around $300, making it a massive bargain. In North America, however, and the United States specifically, traveling is done mostly by vehicle or airplane rather than a train.

One of the biggest reasons why passenger cars aren’t more popular in the United States is that most of the rails are owned by freight companies, making it difficult to schedule passenger cars without being a logistical nightmare or constructing a whole new set of rails. Still, there are some places in the United States that you can reach by train rather easily, with these five being the top spots.

New York City

New York City is the largest and most popular city in the United States, and one of the easiest to get to when traveling by car or plane. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to know that getting there by train isn’t too difficult, either. New York City is easily reachable from other major hubs in America’s northeast, and the local rail scene makes it so that you don’t need a taxi to get around.

The Big Apple has the largest local rail system in the country, and it isn’t even close. More than 2.7 billion (yes, billion) people ride the rails of the New York City Transit Authority each year, which offers around 250 miles in track length. With nearly 500 stations, you can visit Yankee Stadium, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and more all easily within the same day.


Outside of New York City, perhaps the only other city where you could get away with absolutely never needing to drive a car in your life is Chicago. Chicago offers the third-largest local rapid transit system in the country with over 218 million riders per year and over 100 miles of track that take you from airport to airport and baseball stadium to baseball stadium.

Getting to Chicago via train isn’t all that hard, either, as pretty much every railroad eventually leads to Chicago. Outside of New York, it’s one of the biggest hub cities for rail transportation, serving as the midwest’s de facto train capital. Whether you’re coming from Detroit, St. Louis, or Milwaukee, any long train trip will connect through Chicago.


The Pacific Northwest is a bit of an outlier when it comes to any sort of travel in the United States as it serves as basically the only major hub of travel in the area. Whether you’re in Southern California or in Minneapolis, there’s a railway that leads to Seattle.

It can be a bit tricky to get there if you’re heading from the southwest as you have to make your way to Sacramento to get to the northbound train that heads to Seattle, but you’ll be glad that you made the trip. You’ll also get to stop in beautiful Portland, Oregon along the way to spice up the deal.

Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital is known for gridlock traffic from outsiders, but it should get a lot more praise for its public transport. Washington D.C. offers some of the best in the country, allowing those that live in the city the opportunity to get anywhere without needing to get stuck in some of the nation’s worst traffic jams.

Even getting to Washington D.C. is easy as it serves as the major hub of the east coast for national travel. Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and more all make their way to D.C. so you don’t have to fly.


Cleveland, Ohio is a fantastic city that serves as the connector for railways that are heading from the Atlantic coast to the Chicago hub. Washington D.C., Boston, Albany, and Pittsburgh connect from the east while Chicago feeds in from the west.

Though the local rail system isn’t one that gets a lot of love from around the world, it’s still one of the largest (ranking in the top 15). Starting at the Airport, you can travel by train to landmarks including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

5 Best Beaches In The World For Surfing

There are more than 3 million people in the United States alone that surf at least once per year, with hundreds of thousands doing so at least once per week. Around the world, the number is even larger as there are plenty of global beaches that surfers flock to religiously because they have the best waves and are easily accessible for surfers.

With plenty of options to choose from, it can be hard to narrow it down to just a few beaches around the world that rank as the best. However, we did our best research and concluded that these five were the best of the best. So grab your board and make sure that your passport is handy so that you can enjoy these fine beaches.

Black’s Beach  

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Southern California has at least one entry on the list as the stereotype around the world is that everyone from the area is laid back and loves surfing. The Los Angeles area isn’t the only part of SoCal that’s known for surfing, as you can travel south down the Pacific coast to find some amazing spots in the San Diego area.

Swimmers are encouraged to stay away from getting deep into the water due to the swells, but experienced surfers will find Black’s Beach appealing for the same reason. The beach itself is beneath Torrey Pines in La Jolla, which many know for its amazing golf course, but the surfing is just as big (if not bigger) of an attraction. Just make sure that you dress warmly as the water can be awfully cold throughout the year.

Surfrider Beach

Sticking in Southern California, we head back up the coast to an area that’s synonymous with surfing: Malibu. Though the official name of this area is the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, there’s a reason that it’s known as Surfrider Beach to those that live nearby. In fact, this beach was the first to be dedicated as a World Surfing Reserve, earning that honor in October 2010.

Surfing became popular around the world thanks to this beach, which started seeing an uptick in people during the 1960s. Now, it’s considered one of the Meccas of surfing and has areas for those of all skill levels to try their hand at our favorite water sport. The late summer is the best time to visit Malibu and ride the long waves.

Gold Coast

Most of the people of Australia live on the eastern coast, and for good reason. Not only is this where all of the favorable weather is, but it’s also home to some of the best surfing in the world. More specifically, the Gold Coast of Australia is where the surfers down under heads to have a good time.

Situated in the state of Queensland, the Gold Coast has a sunny climate that allows people to head out for surfing on a year-round basis. Even as far back as the 1920s, the Gold Coast has been drawing in surfers with signs and buildings dedicated to the sport. Even one of the suburbs of the region is called Surfers Paradise, and it’s hard to argue with that name when the waves and weather are so perfect.

Banzai Pipeline

Like Southern California, you can’t think about surfing in the United States without mentioning the state of Hawaii. The 50th state brings in surfers from around the world all year, and there are a lot of beaches to pick from. If you were to ask all of the expert surfers what their favorite spot in Hawaii is, though, there’s a good chance that they would say it’s the Banzai Pipeline.

Known by some simply as “The Pipe”, this area of the Ehukai Beach Park is in Oahu and is where a reef break creates some of the best waves that have ever been seen. It wasn’t until the 1960s that it became a popular destination for surfing, and since then has been home to a lot of competitions. Be warned, though, as the waves at Banzai Pipeline can be so large that even the most experienced surfers can face danger.

Jeffreys Bay

We end the list with a visit to South Africa where the small town of Jeffreys Bay is home to the best surfing spot on the continent. When surfing became a worldwide phenomenon in the 1960s, Jeffreys Bay exploded in popularity and was established as a “hippie” spot in the country.

In the years since, Jeffreys Bay has been known as a great tourist destination with world-class waves. Even the famous film “The Endless Summer” was shot at Jeffreys Bay, helping it gain worldwide recognition.

5 Must-See Landmarks in Wise County, Texas

Wise County, Texas isn’t among the largest in terms of population in the state with under 70,000 people, but it does have a rich history. Sitting outside of the Dallas metro area, Wise County has several cities and towns and has grown considerably over the past few decades. Everyone that moves to Wise County is introduced to its history through several notable landmarks, with these five being the most must-see that Wise County has to offer.

5. Wise County Heritage Museum

When it was first opened, the Wise County Heritage Museum was the home of Decatur Baptist College, which was the oldest junior college in the world. The hall was constructed in 1892 and finalized for $20,000, serving as a prep academy for Baylor University. However, the school moved to Dallas in 1965, leaving the building vacant.

Thankfully, Wise County didn’t take long to turn the building into the Heritage Museum after a quick restoration. Several new additions were made to the Wise County Heritage Museum which includes exhibits like a funeral coach from the 1890s, fossils, a machinery room, and much more. The museum is open to the public and costs just $5 to visit.

4. World’s Largest Bowie Knife

The Bowie knife was introduced in Arkansas in 1830, but Arkansas isn’t home to the largest one in the world. That honor belongs to Wise County, with Bob Hadley coming up with the idea to promote the town of Bowie, Texas, the namesake of the knife itself. The original Bowie knife was 9.5 inches long and a quarter-inch thick, and the large monument is more than 20 feet tall.

There’s an entire storyboard for visitors to look at that shows information about the invention of the knife, as well as the monument. With a length of more than 14 feet and a weight of over 3,000 pounds, the Bowie knife was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the largest Bowie knife in the world after construction in 2016.

3. Texas Tourist Camp

At the intersection of US 287 and US 380, you’ll find a few monuments of the past, with the Texas Tourist Camp and Petrified Wood Gas Station welcoming travelers from near and far. The Tourist Camp was established in the 1920s by E.F. Boydston, and its popularity peaked throughout the post-war era of the United States.

The Texas Tourist Camp was certainly a product of its time, and some of the facilities started to close in the 1960s. Eventually, the Petrified Wood Gas Station followed suit, shutting down the pumps at the end of the 1980s. Just a few years later, the property was purchased and remodeled, making it an attraction for locals and tourists to visit.

2. J.T. Brown Hotel

Chico, Texas is certainly not among the largest towns in Texas or even Wise County. However, it does have one of the most notable landmarks throughout the county in the form of the J.T. Brown Hotel. The hotel is named after the colonel that founded the town in 1876, with the hotel being built just over a decade later.

R. Lee Morris owned the hotel from the early 20th century until 1965, and it has since become a landmark for Wise County. The Brown Hotel started to show its age during the 2000s but was purchased once more and underwent renovations to bring it into the 21st century and introduce a new generation to its rich history.

1. Waggoner’s Mansion

There aren’t too many mansions in Wise County, which makes the Waggoner Mansion stand out so much in Decatur. Also known as El Castile, the WWaggoner Mansion sits on more than 13 acres of land and has 16 rooms in total. It was constructed in 1883 by Daniel Waggoner, who owned a nearby ranch.

Waggoner also owned multiple banks, oil mills, and a coal company, so owning such a large property isn’t a surprise. The home was purchased during World War II by the Luker family and has since become a nationally recognized historic building. It was added to the NRHP in 1974, though the inside is closed to the public.

The 5 Happiest Countries in the World

We can all be as patriotic as we want about our home countries, but that doesn’t always translate into true happiness. There are many factors that contribute to the overall happiness of the citizens of any given country, including work-life balance, affordability, weather, and much, much more. Though a country can be lacking in one of those departments, it may excel in the rest, making its citizens happier overall.

When looking at the happiest citizens around the world, which ones are truly living their best lives? You’ll find that there’s a certain part of the world in which its citizens are happy and have all of their big-picture worries taken care of while their day-to-day lives lack a lot of stress. Here are the five happiest countries in the world based on the general consensus of their citizens.


Located in Northern Europe, where many of the world’s happiest countries reside, Finland was crowned the happiest country on Earth for five whole years in a row. The country’s gorgeous landscape full of clear freshwater lakes, mountainous forests, and great air quality make it a comfortable and beautiful home to proud Finnish folks. 

Their extraordinary education programs, relaxed style of living, helpful nature, and pride in taking care of their homeland make it easy to see why they’ve earned the title of the happiest country in the world. 


Denmark is a close second to Finland in the rating of the happiest country on Earth. It’s not hard to see why. Denmark is another Northern European country tucked away within the serene, fresh air, nature-focused land. Denmark is known for their healthy balance of work and play, universal healthcare, and free education system. 

The people of Denmark believe in taking care of and giving back to their country, knowing they will receive proper treatment in return. Their helpful, peaceful, comforting nature makes for a healthy environment enjoyed by all who get to experience the beautiful country. 


Not surprisingly, Iceland is the next Nordic country on the list of happiest countries on Earth. The Northern European country is known for the land’s intense and magnificent beauty. The towering glaciers, fjords, and pristine snowy landscape is a wondrous sight for those who are lucky enough to view them. 

As if the beauty of the land isn’t enough, Icelanders believe in a strong sense of fairness and justice, paired with low crime rates. Residents believe in equality, celebrating gay pride, practicing equal treatment and pay for men and women, and ensuring the community is taken care of financially. 


Switzerland is comedically known for its neutral standing, which isn’t really that far off from how the people of Switzerland truly are. They’re a peaceful community of Nordic people in the gorgeous landscape within Northern Europe. The vibrant green mountains are unbelievably stunning. 

Along with that, they’re also known for their perfectly crafted chocolate confections. Chocolate is known to release feel-good chemicals and is just downright delicious. Though the Swiss don’t let the sweets drag them down. Outdoor activities and healthy exercise regimes are a big part of the lives of the residents of Switzerland, keeping them mentally and physically fit and happier overall. 


The final Nordic haven named one of the happiest on earth is The Netherlands. Nearly all of the residents of the lovely country feel their life is comfortable and happy, and that their mental health is stable.

 Like many of the previously mentioned countries, The Netherlands offers financial support for its residents, a generous and healthy sense of community, and a great work-and-play balance. Physical and mental health is a priority for the people who call The Netherlands home. Their life expectancy is among the highest because of this. The rest of the world could stand to learn from these five beautifully happy and content countries.