Tag Archives: lifestyle

Travelling plastic free on your adventure

why plastic free is the way to go on your next adventure

Though it used to be considered a revolutionary material that was hailed for its ability to be reused, plastic has been doing more harm than good in the world for a while now. More and more discoveries are being made linking the use and disposal of this menacing material to the destruction of the environment and wildlife on this beautiful planet, almost getting to the point beyond repair.

So it’s time for the world to dump plastic for good – pun intended.

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time and it’s set to double by 2025. Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and other sea life, plus a million sea birds die each year due to waste and debris getting into waterways and oceans. Travellers, especially, should be mindful of their environmental footprint, as single use plastics are a big market for the person on the go, and many companies target that market.

So if these statistics strike a chord in your heart, never fear, because even as a traveller, there are plenty of ways you can help out the environment through cutting out plastic. Besides, waste-free travel is so in right now.

As daunting as it may appear at first glance, it’s not as hard as you think to balance your love of travel, with attempting to do right by the planet. Many people view cutting out plastic as too difficult, they view it as ‘losing something’ that brings convenience into their lives. But I implore you to look beyond such shallow notions, and don’t think of it as losing something, but simply swapping for something better.

Taking on this beautifully eco friendly task means reusable travel items will become your new best friend. Napkins, eco-bags, other reusable containers & bottles will become vital to you as you’re trotting the globe. Refillable toiletries will ensure you don’t buy plastic bottles, or bring them with you and then toss them when your done. Not to mention tote bags cut out the need for plastic bags completely.

Another thing to think about is how much plastic is wasted when you eat on your travels? How many of you haven’t even stopped to think about this when you buy a snack, then toss the packaging once your belly is content. This is why I propose giving in to the awesomeness that is the mason jar! Avoid buying packaged snacks when these cool-looking glass jars can be used to keep all kinds of contents, plus they are known for their durability which is something you’re going to want in the hustle and bustle of travelling.

The concept of takeaway is detrimental for the environment due to the excess in which people use it. Ordering takeaway will almost ensure you end up with copious amounts of plastic containers and waste after you’ve devoured you’re meal. So maybe opt for the good old fashioned idea of staying in and cooking a meal, or if laziness kicks in as it does from time to time while travelling, take the opportunity to dine in a restaurant. You’ll get to enjoy a fresh, delicious meal, further immersing yourself in the country’s culture, while also doing good by the environment.

Immersing yourself in other cultures opens your eyes up to life outside that bubble that many people live within. It leads you to approach life with more gratitude for what you have and what’s truly important. Becoming a more conscious individual makes you more grateful for all the things you have, one being this beautiful planet. So learning about what actually happens out in the world should be as big of a push as any to start doing more for the environment, in order to sustain its beauty.

Once you get into the habit of travelling plastic free, it will become second nature to you. After joining the cause to keep this planet remaining prosperous, you’ll find it becoming an overwhelming need for you to continue such an important cause. It’s an unbelievably satisfying feeling when you can proudly say that you’ve gone plastic free while you wander the world.  

Eco-friendly bloggers/influencers:

Plastic free travelling/living is becoming a more highly sought after way of life as time goes on. Even large social media influencers have gotten on the bandwagon. Jennifer Nini, aka Eco Warrior Princess, has created her empire around redefining what it means to live sustainably, she tackles the hard issues surrounding the environment, conservation, sustainable fashion, basically all the core topics regarding living an eco-friendly life.

Others have followed suit as well, with The Green Hub founder, Kira Simpson creating an online platform on her ‘eco-journey’, giving out tips and showing her experiences in going green. She published an article on her website that documented her travels as a ‘Zero-waster’ and the benefits to travelling mindfully. She brings up a good point, in regards to how a traveller who sets out to explore the world’s wonders without a care for their waste and footprint, is “the biggest example of irony”. Its true if you think about it, if you truly appreciate the beauty that this world offers, how can you contribute to the excess waste that’s tossed into our environment, especially in tourist prone destinations.

What else you can do to be a sustainable, eco-friendly traveller:

If you truly want to leave a lighter eco-footprint on this world, think about putting in the extra effort to research and seek out businesses and tour operators that run sustainably, as there are many hotels out there that are committed to being eco-friendly, offering alternatives to plastic and attempting to combat waste.

The Rainforest Alliance is one example of a company that focuses heavily on sustainable tourism, on their website you can actually see what companies and businesses around the world are environmentally certified, and there are many more companies out there doing the same thing in the hopes of making the tourism industry more green. It will make you feel even more fulfilled when you’re trekking it halfway across the world and you know you’re doing your part to help out this beautiful world.

Live to be eco-conscious, travel like the world is relying on your environmentally good decisions. Band together with like-minded eco-travellers, and create a green revolution. If we all chip in to reduce waste when travelling this exquisite planet, just think how amazing it will be for generations to come.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Interview with Justine: 15 years of Inspired

I sat down with Justine, the driving force behind Inspired, to have a look back at what she’s achieved since we opened our doors fifteen years ago. Had the pleasure of discussing her outlook on the growing popularity of ethical travel, her desire to create a company for social good & the bright future of Inspired Adventures

So Justine, have you always been impacted by companies preaching social good?

When I was about 14 I remember going into town with my Mum and seeing The Body Shop for the first time. I’d never seen anything like it before. I loved the fact that they were talking about community trade, ethically sourced ingredients, recycling the plastic bottles – and this is mid 80s. Anita Roddick was at the forefront of this movement, they were discussing women’s issues, no cosmetic testing on animals. It really struck a chord with me.

How does Inspired's adventures impact the lives of the participants?

It is often declaring that you’re going to do something out of your comfort zone; a fundraising challenge requires a lot of preparation and the confidence to go away with people you don’t know and actually completing that is quite transformational. It  can often make a difference in how they live their lives thereafter as they suddenly know themselves to be a bit of a local hero. It is the concept of ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things. 

15 years of incredible work - What is there to celebrate?

We’ve raised – and counting – about $33 million dollars. I think it’s really wonderful to imagine the impact of that money and what it can and has achieved.

For example: We’ve funded a Kids Helpline counsellor on the phone for an entire year.


We funded a piece of video equipment for rural hospitals so they could video conference in with bigger Children’s hospitals in the cities and help pioneer life-saving operations for kids.”

“It’s hard to comprehend what we’ve actually raised.  I say to the team often that it is the butterfly effect of that money that is often quite extraordinary.

Equally worth celebrating is the people are the 6,000 or more who have been on our adventures & the amazing people who sign up to; pledge a minimum amount, spend a year fundraising and getting fit & healthy, going to join a group of strangers and go somewhere in Australia or International, probably somewhere I’ve never been to trek, cycle or run a marathon and put myself out there.  It changes lives. For that year or so it gives people a goal and gives their lives meaning.


As a society the idea of sustainable and socially conscious travel is becoming increasingly popular and supported by the masses - Why do you feel that society is coming round to this phenomenon?

It’s very exciting that we finally are. It’s come an incredibly long way in the last 10 years. For many people it starts with diet and nutrition – avoiding processed foods and eating clean – thinking about different ways of approaching diet. Starting from the ground with not shopping at your local supermarket with plastic bags – making a commitment to the environment at home, one that is very manageable and achievable for us all to begin. It’s a natural progression for people to think about how they travel.

There’s been a real increase in smaller, niche, boutique travel agencies that really have a focus on ethical, sustainable & responsible travel practices. I think it’s become a lot more accessible and as the popularity increases it becomes a lot easier to travel that way. Following the sentiments of “Leave only Footprints”.

I’m really pleased the world is wising up, it seems a natural shift between how we live our lives and how we want to see & travel the world. As a parent as well it’s wonderful to be a good example to kids. Provide those insights and environmentally responsible practices, community education done in a really responsible way and keep educating the next generation.

What do you see as being the future of Inspired?

Creating extraordinary travel and fundraising for the younger generation.We’d like to place a focus on Australian travel, exploring our own backyard. We have an extraordinarily diverse and wonderful country with a lot to learn about the community and our history. Equally growing our New Zealand operation, which is exciting, and looking further afield. Working with other charities in the Asia-Pacific region and constantly look into new destinations & itineraries such as those this year to Costa Rica & Japan.

We’re running lots of Corporate adventures so that’s a wonderful opportunity for development too. It’s important that team-building and Leadership development for staff and inter-company relations to aid Corporates in being better global citizens and having an awareness of responsible travel & ethical practices.

What would you say to inspire other women who look up to you and have similar dreams?

Never give up!

Follow your instincts and listen to your heart, whatever feels right. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Stay very true to yourself and find time to connect with the inner you – your creativity and your passion.

We as women are incredibly creative and passionate. There’s an opportunity to constantly be listening, looking and exploring. Tap into that inner-goddess.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!


Could Pokémon Go actually be making the world a better place?

In less than a month, Pokémon Go has captivated the world, blurring the line between the real and the virtual. The augmented reality app is designed to get people on their feet, explore their city or town and capture Pokémon on their smartphones. PokéStops are scattered around the city, where players can collect Poké Balls, and connect with other players to discover where other Pokémon are hidden, levelling up as they do so.

Love it or hate it, that app actually might be doing a lot of good. And at Inspired Adventures, we love doing good!

Here are some of the ways this humble app has made a positive change in the world.

It has lead to the rescue of abandoned animals

From hamsters to injured dogs, players have found and rescued a number of animals on their quest to catch Pokémon. Sara Perez and Matthew Teague discovered an abandoned cage full of hamsters and mice and took them home to nurse back to health. A few of the hamsters have been adopted so far, with the rest to find homes soon. Another woman also discovered an injured puppy during her Pokémon search. The puppy appeared to have been abandoned, and was taken to the vet for treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery.

It has given new homes to shelter dogs

A dog shelter in the US state of New Mexico has invited players to bring along a canine companion with them while on the hunt for Pokémon. Organiser Haley Bowers said, “A lot of people that like Pokémon like animals, so I figured it would be a pretty good program to combine both the dogs and Pokémon”. The shelter has already experienced a spike in the number of adoptions as a result of this initiative. At least 10 people have filed to adopt, but anyone is welcome to stop by just to take the dogs along for a walk!

It’s helping people find love

You can catch Pokémon, and as it turns out the eye of other players as well.

A couple in Canada have met through the game and have been inseparable since. “I’ve tried Plenty of Fish, I’ve tried Tinder, OKCupid nothing no luck whatsoever and then right away with Pokemon Go I met someone,” said 26-year-old Patrick Toutain. He met Chelsea Lemire on a chat board for Pokémon Go.

“A lot of us grew up with it so to meet somebody else that kind of had the same childhood growing up with it you instantly connect,” said Lemire. “You have to get out of the house to play so you don’t have a choice but to talk to people,” she added.

We’re sure there are plenty more couples who have met through Pokémon Go!

It gets people moving

Perhaps most obviously, Pokémon Go is getting people outside, as the aim is to find Pokémon in your neighbourhood. It is one of the reasons that the app was created in the first place. More people are spending time walking outside, and step counts have almost doubled in the time that Pokémon Go has existed. It has given people the motivation to get up and stay active, for hours at a time.

It is improving the lives of those suffering from anxiety and depression

People who suffer with social disorders, anxiety and depression have found solace in the game, which encourages players to connect with others. Jack Kilbourn, from the UK has battled with depression and anxiety for years. He now spends his time walking around the city in search of Pokémon, connecting with other players who share his enthusiasm for the game. “I’m getting more confidence… Pokémon is encouraging me to get out of the house again and speak to other people – I would never have done that before. I’m starting to feel better again,” he says. And he’s not the only one; hundreds of Twitter users claim that the app has helped them make new friends despite suffering with social anxiety.

It’s sharing knowledge

Pokémon Go encourages players to explore and observe the world around them. It’s a great way for kids to learn how to use maps, and if you’re not aware of the geography of your area, the game helps with that too.

Many businesses are also jumping on the Pokémon bandwagon to varying levels of success. One zookeeper at Birmingham Zoo noticed that many people were visiting the zoo to catch Pokémon, so she decided to make the exhibits more Pokémon-friendly:

Source: Zookeeper problems

Feeling inspired?

Do you feel like doing good? Check out our 2017 calendar!


Aussie charities share bright ideas at Vivid

Everyone in Sydney knows about the festival of lights that happens every winter – and if you don’t, once you see the way the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are lit up every night you will never forget Vivid. This year’s exhibitions were bigger, brighter, and more beautiful than the years before, with Aboriginal song lines shown on the opera house, a cathedral of light, and much more!

A few members of Inspired HQ were lucky enough to go to Taronga Zoo for their inaugural participation in the Vivid festival, an illuminated trail between the animal enclosures called “Be the Light for the Wild”. Taronga Conservation Society Australia showcased the 10 species that they have dedicated themselves to protecting for their centenary: five native Australian animals, like the Platypus and the Bilby, and five that are on the brink of extinction in Sumatra – a biodiversity hotspot of critical natural importance right on Australia’s doorstep.

The amazing multimedia light sculptures of animals ranged from the Sumatran Tiger to the brightly coloured Corroboree frog, and were supported by a cast of characters that included the echidna, crocodile, bush turkey, and even interactive Cicadas that lit up and sang when you cooee. At points along the trail, you could look up and see hundreds of paper lanterns that had been created by NSW school children. They were painted with the faces of frogs, tigers, elephants, and gorillas, and lit the way from exhibit to exhibit.

In case you were wondering what the animals thought of all this, a Taronga representative said that the animals had been slowly exposed to music, lights, and more activity every night for weeks to ensure that they would be comfortable during the Vivid festival. A few animals came out to say hi along the way, though most preferred to stay inside their night enclosures. Giraffes were seen placidly chomping on their feed, high above the heads of the crowd, and small Sumatran elephants meandered around their enclosure near the Sumatran Tiger statue.

But Vivid isn’t just about all the pretty light shows, it’s an opportunity to see the best of the best in music (Hyatus Kaiyote anyone?!), international speakers (Jenji Kohan, creator of hit Netflix series Orange Is The New Black!), creative workshops like the crafty etsy workshop, and great ideas.

Photo credit: Vivid Sydney Facebook
Photo credit: Vivid Sydney Facebook
Photo credit: Vivid Sydney Facebook
Photo credit: Vivid Sydney Facebook

Charities are usually among those who have the best and most forward thinking ideas, and this year they did not disappoint. Amnesty International hosted a workshop called “Art is Our Artillery to Defend Human Rights”, highlighting the difficulty that I think we’re all having in this digital age: how to stand out among the crowd, especially with a challenging idea.

Amnesty International Australia’ Indigenous Rights campaigner, Roxanne Moore, discussed creative strategies showcasing new ideas on how to communicate difficult issues for public action. Roxanne highlighted the potential opportunities we have to show the creativity and power of Indigenous people, using various mediums to communicate their rights, passions and abilities.

beyondblue took this opportunity to set one of their awareness events, The Culture Blue Day, to the background of this festival of lights. With four exclusive Vivid LIVE performances on rotation and in clear view throughout the evening, the beauty of the festival was incorporated organically into the evening’s program of entertainment acts, silent auctions, raffles, games, and a photo booth!

Culture Blue Day is an initiative in support of beyondblue that generates awareness and seeks to reduce the stigma that can sometimes accompany issues of mental illness. This event provided a forum for open discussion of the issue, and a channel through which interested parties could donate funds and make a real difference to the lives of people affected by depression, anxiety and suicide.

These amazing charities have all found creative ways to reach out to community by taking part in a staple of the Sydney winter event calendar, Vivid festival. There’s no doubt that they are innovative and forward thinking in their approaches, and it’s all for a good cause!

Feeling inspired?

Check out all the amazing charities you can support on the adventure-of-a-lifetime by visiting our calendar.


How to survive your first trip to India

So you’ve decided to travel to India? Amazing! It’s a beguiling and incredible place that deserves at least one visit. It can also be confounding and chaotic and send your head spinning if you’re not prepared. Here are our best tips and things we wish we would have known as a first timer in India.

First, and most importantly, drop any preconceived idea that the way you do things is the right way. Across the world, there are so many different customs and cultures – that’s why we love travel! India has its own way of doing things all together, which might appear chaotic and random to an outsider. But hey, it seems to work!

India is a huge country, 7th largest in the world to be exact . Make sure you do your research and know what to expect in the region you’re going to. From mountains to desert to jungle, India has it all. But make sure you go to the right places at the right time. You probably don’t want to be in Rajasthan in high summer (hello 48 degree days) or attempt a Himalayan trek in northern India in January (it’s freezing!).

Anganwadi project_2014_IMG_6924

We’ve gotten used to picking up a cheap and quick SIM card when overseas, but it’s not quite as easy in India. Based on our most recent experience, you’ll need to bring passport-sized photo as well as a copy of your passport as the process is quite involved – and you may need a local to help you navigate the hurdles. It also took two days to activate so plan ahead!

There are SO many people, over a billion actually. So don’t be too precious about your personal space. To give you a comparison, Australia has 2.66 people per km2 – India has 343.68. It will take a bit of getting used to, especially on transport. Trains and buses are generally always packed. Special tip: If you are travelling on an overnight train, make sure you book a berth (bed) and be aware that if you are on the bottom bunk, your upstairs neighbour will likely be sitting on your “bed” until it’s lights out time. We’d also suggest booking First or Second Class if you’re after a bit more space.

VBB_Trek for Vets 2014_Skiu to Chiling_P1110755
Anganwadi project_2014_IMG_6535

You will come across quite a number of beggars, especially children. Many good-hearted people who just want to help don’t realise that giving money perpetuates a cycle of poverty. That money is either going to incentivise that child to stay out of school and try and collect more donations, or you are going to encourage organised-begging (also known as human trafficking). In India, it’s estimated that approximately 60,000 children disappear every year and are forced to work as beggars for organised criminal groups. The children don’t keep any of these earnings or get to go to school. They are often starved so they will gain more sympathy and potentially more donations. You’ll feel really terrible and want to give them something but you need to resist! The best way to help is through established NGOs and supporting the local economy.

Everything is 20 minutes away. Indian time is relative! Everything takes longer than expected, shops close randomly, traffic stops all the time and the locals just don’t mind when things take a while. You will just need to adjust and run on Indian time.

Yes sometimes means no. Indians I’ve met are incredibly hospitable and polite. This can mean it’s hard to get a straight answer, especially when what they mean to tell you is ‘no can do.’ Instead of yes/no, ask questions that require a more detailed answer. For example, better to ask ‘I”m worried I won’t make it to my train with the traffic, should I book the 9 AM or 10 AM?’ than ‘Will I make the 9 AM train?’.

VBB_Trek for Vets 2014_Leh_Indus Valley_IMG_0450

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3 Chinese customs westerners don’t get

Throughout history, China has been shrouded in an aura of mystery and exoticism. Even now with many cities like Beijing and Shanghai becoming more accessible and welcoming to foreign visitors, traditional customs are alive and strong. In fact, some of these traditional customs mean the norms of life and respectful behaviour in China can seem to be the exact opposite of those in the west. So to avoid some serious shock factor, we’ve put together a few cultural pointers that you should know before travelling to China to avoid giving or taking offense unnecessarily!

1. A good meal is a loud one

If a local invites you to dinner, expect a noisy, bustling restaurant rife with chatter and, of course, an abundance of food. In fact, such an atmosphere is called rè nao (热闹), which strangely enough translates to ‘hot and noisy’, and means a lively vibe that guarantees a good time. The Chinese also tend eat with (comparatively) noisy gusto, with occasional slurps and other sounds. They just don’t seem as particular about eating and chewing noises (though you shouldn’t go to the other extreme, either!)

It’s also worth remembering that mealtimes are communal. Everyone eats from the same dishes at the centre of their table, often with their own chopsticks. Every now and again, hospitable hosts may even drop special morsels in your bowl. If you’re not comfortable with this, try asking for an extra set of ‘public’ cutlery for sharing the food.

Other tips for a successful meal:

  • Never finish off your plate or empty your glass as it shows you’re still hungry or thirsty (even if in reality you’re totally content), and prompts your host to fill it up!
  • Don’t stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl. It’s extremely bad luck because it resembles a tombstone offering.
  • Thank your host for refilling your glass by tapping the table with your index and middle finger.
chinese-meal-feast china blog
chopsticks-noodles china blog

2. Your love life is everybody’s business

Get ready to be asked some personal questions, like “how old are you?” or “are you dating?” or “when will you get married?” Marriage and family are extremely important to the Chinese and when you throw a strong sense of community into the mix, you can see why asking these sorts of questions can be considered as innocuous as asking “what do you do?” Think of it as a friendly, if somewhat blunt, curiosity.

While not many appreciate being on the receiving end (even locals!), you can see where it may come from. Elders are held in high esteem and hold a lot of authority in families. Likewise, parents have traditionally been responsible for finding a spouse for their children. To this day, it’s common for anxious parents to play matchmaker. So it makes sense that finding a partner is very rarely a private or individual concern.

Speaking of nosy questions, other topics like salary and cost of living aren’t taboo either. Anyone can ask you these questions ­- from taxi drivers to shop keepers. So consider yourself warned!

blog modern-chinese-wedding-red-shoes

3. Shield yourself from the sun at all costs

When you see the Chinese out and about on a sunny day, you’ll see many umbrellas out, along with other (sometimes more elaborate) ways of protecting themselves from the sun. It may seem strange to think that complementing someone on a sunny glow could be offensive, but the Chinese are definitely an exception. Interestingly, within the western world, tanned skin was not considered beautiful until as recently as the last eighty years.

In China and many other Asian countries, pale skin is considered appealing, as it’s a sign of prosperity and wealth. Throughout history, fair skin has been revered as one of the classical signs of beauty simply because those that could afford to stay indoors stayed fair, instead of working on the fields. This deeply ingrained idea continues in modern society. You can find all varieties of sun protection from hats and full sleeves, to whitening creams, lotions and gels.

Other tips for what to expect:

  • Squat toilets are still the norm in many areas. It’s the healthier way to use the bathroom, but you will want to bring your own toilet paper, as it’s not always supplied.
  • Don’t drink tap water – have it boiled or purchase bottled water for around 2-5RMB.
  • When crossing the road, don’t assume cars or motorbikes will stop for you, and check both directions. Pay careful attention to how locals cross and stick to large groups of people.
  • It’s not uncommon for large families to all live under the same roof, and we’re talking 3 or 4 generations worth! Familial ties are extremely important in China.
  • If you have blonde or red hair, expect to receive a lot of attention when in public. People will openly stare are you and sometimes even point you out to friends and family by sticking their finger in your direction. Don’t be offended, the Chinese are just curious!
  • Spitting and mucus clearing are common in China. Just go with the flow. Although interestingly, the government is trying to encourage citizens to abandon this habit as it’s quite unhygienic. You’ll find the younger and more urbanised Chinese people won’t engage in this habit!

But most importantly ...

… remember to have relax and soak it all in! Don’t be too preoccupied with not committing a faux pas. Just remember to keep an open mind and enjoy the experience! One of the joys of travelling is the eye-opening encounter with another civilization. The Chinese are forgiving with foreigners, and will be delighted if you make the effort to speak a few words and even try to use chopsticks. So good luck, and have fun!

China Great Wall
Chinese pipes blog
Forbidden City at Sunset
China blog

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Amazing Books That Will Inspire You to Travel

It’s no secret Team Inspired love to travel and take on epic adventures. But where did that love come from? For some of us, a good (nay – really good) book did the trick. From stories of walking across the harsh Arabian desert, to evocative descriptions of the beautiful country we call home, to the arduous but self-changing journey that comes with hiking over 1,770 km along the Pacific Crest Trail, the world is a truly incredible place, made even more enticing by the stunning prose of some of our favourite authors. So whether you’re seeking some travel inspiration or just want to escape in a sea of exquisite words, check out 10 amazing books that will inspire you to travel.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild is a 2012 memoir by American author Cheryl Strayed, detailing her 1,100-mile (1,770 km) hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. It’s a tale of perseverance, inner-strength and getting back to what’s truly important in life. Also, if you need some motivation to tackle a big hike or trek – this will definitely give it to you!

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City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Darymple

City of Djinns reveals the layers of Delhi’s centuries-old history, highlighting an amazing collection of characters along the way – from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls. Our CEO, Justine, had this to say about the book:

“This book had a profound effect on me, peeling back the layers of Delhi it made me realise there is so much more to a place than what meets the eye. Dalrymple has turned what can often be seen as a chaotic, polluted, squalid city into a destination bursting with the richest stories going back in time leaving you to marvel at the relics left and their great history.”

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Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

What is travel? Why do we travel? Is it ethical? How does it impact people, nature … the world? Michelle de Kretser seeks an answer to all these questions in her book Questions of Travel. It’s imaginative, transformative and highly moving.

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Simple but full of so much wisdom, The Alchemist is a story of self-discovery, questioning how far you need to travel in order to discover yourself. This story is a true testament to the transformative power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

Island Home by Tim Winton

Island Home is a compelling investigation into the way our country makes us who we are. Inspired’s Operations Manager, Rachael, had this to say:

“Tim Winton’s Australian landscape memoir has got me itching to explore this vast island we call home. A rich, descriptive and evocative book about the significance of place across time and how important country is to First Nation’s people, white Australians and migrants alike.”

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road details Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady. It’s a story of the trials and tribulations, joys and transformations that travel can bring to a person. This novel is a true inspiration, remaining a classic since it was published in 1976.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

 Who hasn’t dreamed of quitting their 9-5 job for a life on the road? Vagabonding is just about that, chronicling how anyone armed with a carefree and independent spirit truly can achieve the dream of lengthy overseas travel. It features handy tips like how to finance your travel, choosing a destination, adjusting to life on the road, volunteering and working overseas and how to reassimilate into ordinary life when you go home … if you choose to go home!

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Strange, unique, but highly entertaining, The Great Railway Bazaar is a modern classic of travel literature. The Direct-Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Delhi Mail from Jaipur, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur and the Trans-Siberian Express create Theroux’s ambitious journey by rail through India and Asia. His travels cause him to come into contact with an array of places and people, food, faiths and cultures. Featuring plenty of humour and sardonic observations, this novel is the perfect read for the passionate explorer and the armchair traveller.

Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge by John Gimlette

Between the Orinoco and the Amazon hides a beautiful forested land that man has barely touched. Much of Guiana never witnesses sunlight, and new species are often tumbling out of the dark. Award-winning author, John Gimlette, sets off on an adventurer to discover this coast, writing up its amazing story. His journey takes him into the deep jungle, from the hideouts of runaway slaves to penal colonies, bizarre fortresses, remote Amerindian villages, a ‘Little Paris’ and a space port. He comes face to face with rebels, outlaws and sorcerers and follows the trail of a brutal Georgian revolt. Outlandish but written in beautiful prose, this story will have you hooked from the beginning.

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

Arabian Sands chronicles Thesiger’s amazing adventure through the dry “Empty Quarter” of Arabia. Thesiger truly disliked the rigidity of Western life, “the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets.” To escape the humdrum of his life, he set off to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European. This classic novel remains and invaluable tool to understanding the modern Middle East.

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6 Things to Know Before Heading to Nepal

If you’ve ever heard anything about Nepal, it was probably something along the lines of “it’s one of the most beautiful countries with the kindest people”. And let us tell you, it’s one hundred per cent true. Nepal is one of our favourite places; from its mesmerising landscapes, rich culture, hospitable people and epic trekking trails and hikes. But we’re sure you already know this, right? Nonetheless, we’ve put together a few things to remember before heading to Nepal.

1. Nepalese are some of the most welcoming people you’ll ever meet

One thing we know to be true is that while the Nepalese don’t have much, they will give you all they have. Nepalese are some of the most loving and genuine people you will ever meet, and without a doubt you’ll leave Nepal with a very deep respect and admiration for them. Here are a few tips on how you can show your respect whilst in Nepal:

  • The traditional way to greet someone is placing your palms together in prayer style and saying “namaste” or “namaskar”
  • Be respectful with your clothing choices, cover knees and shoulders
  • Public displays of affection are often frowned upon so resist the urge to smooch your loved ones!
  • If you’re ever invited into a Nepalese home, remove your shoes before entering (same goes with temples)

070806_Nepal_wise man_photographer Michelle Barret Dean

2. It’s still in the process of recovering

On April 25th 2015, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,000 people and leaving more than 21,000 wounded. It was the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless and entire villages were flattened across the country. Historic buildings were destroyed or left in ruins, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Durbar Square. To this day, many Nepalese are still in the process of rebuilding their lives, and a visit to Nepal can be quite confronting. However, it is also completely eye-opening to experience the tenacity and resilience of these people, and how despite all they have lost, they will welcome you into their country with open arms and unwavering kindness.

3. Tourism hasn't been impacted as much as you think

After the earthquake it’s understandable you might be a bit apprehensive to visit Nepal anytime soon, but tourists aren’t as impacted as you might think. Travel inherently brings risks but if you are alert and mindful, you will have an amazing experience. Today in Nepal, hotels and restaurants are still open, kids are going to school, street vendors are going to work each day, Kathmandu traffic is its normal loud and bustling self, people still pray and go about their normal days. You might hear some extra hammering and witness extra construction work but it should not deter you from travelling there. In fact, now is the perfect time to go and perhaps lend a helping hand.

In terms of transport safety, let’s just say it’s not required by law for motorists to wear a helmet. Most of the roads are unpaved and feature large potholes and mountainous terrain. Keep your wits about you and don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing.

World Vision NZ 2015_Locals_Photo 17-10-2015, 10 48 39 PM

4. Dal-bhat will become your new favourite meal

The food in Nepal is nothing like you’ve ever experienced, with dal-bhat being the staple item of choice. Using a spoon in your right hand, prepare yourself for some (literally) finger-licking good food. Dal-bhat is basically comprised of steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup and whilst it doesn’t sound like much, it’s actually very tasty. And with no infiltration of McDonalds (who have failed to make their mark in Nepal, to which we say yay!), your best bet to surviving in Nepal is to eat and do as the locals do. Indulge in dal-bhat for brekky, lunch and dinner, alternating every so often for some delicious momos (dumplings).

5. It’s dry and polluted but utterly mesmerising nonetheless

Nepal’s climate is very dry, much drier than other countries in Southeast Asia. In addition to that, Kathmandu and the surrounding Kathmandu Valley are often quite dusty and polluted, but don’t let that stop you! It might take you a few days to get used to the air, but once you do, Nepal is your oyster. From insanely beautiful treks to heart-pumping adventure activities, taking the time to reflect in stunning temples and eating tantalising food, Nepal will leave you craving more.

[ File # csp7188786, License # 1319250 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / bbbar

6. You’ll leave Nepal forever changed

Nobody comes back from Nepal without being changed in some irrevocable way. The utterly spiritual nature of the country and its people will ensure you keep coming back for more, time and time again. It’s just one of those places that truly makes you appreciate the beauty of nature, culture, history and power of the human spirit. We love Nepal!


Time: GMT+5:45. Nepal is five hours and 15 minutes behind Australia (AEDT)
Capital City: Kathmandu
Primary Religion: Hindu
Language: Nepali (but there are about 123 languages spoken there!)

Nepali (or Nepalese) is the official language of Nepal, however many traditional languages are still spoken. English is somewhat understood in major cities. Try communicating with locals using these common phrases:

English Nepali
Hello/goodbye Namaste
How are you? Tapailai kasto chha?
What’s your name? Tapaiko naam ke ho?
My name is ____ Mero naam ____ ho
What is the cost of this? Yesko kati paisa ho?
Yes (it is….) Ho
No (it is not) Haina
Good/not good Ramro/naramro
I know/I don’t know Thaaha chha/thaaha chaina
Please Kripaya
Thank you Dhanyabad
Enough Pugyo 

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Business for Good: The Good Beer Co.

Have a cold one and help save The Great Barrier Reef!

What if we told you that you could get the Great Barrier Reef out of hot water, just by having a cold one? It seems like an Aussie pipe-dream; drinking our preferred bevie whilst saving our beloved reef.

The good news is: it’s not a pipe-dream! Thanks to James Grugeon, the brain-man and founder behind The Good Beer Company, we can now do some social and environmental good while indulging in our favourite Aussie past-time: drinking beer.

The Good Beer Co. is Australia’s first social enterprise beer company. Its mission? Good Beer that does good. In partnership with enviro-savvy microbreweries around Oz, The Good Beer Co. brews quality crafts beers that are inspired by a select charity partner, to whom at least 50 per cent of profits will be donated.

For their first enviro-friendly cause, The Good Beer Co. has launched a crowd-funding campaign for production of its first drop, Great Barrier Beer, which will see at least 50 percent of profits go to the Australian Marine Conservation Society (how good is that!?).

Crowd-funders will also get the opportunity to be the first to enjoy its easy drinking beers, and have a say in future beer recipes, labels and causes. All brews will be made from quality Australian products, as well as being environmentally friend through their ingredient sourcing and production.


It’s no secret that our beautiful Great Barrier Reef is at a tipping point, having lost about half of its coral cover in the past 30 years. Unless we take action now to protect it, the outlook for this natural wonder of the world looks bleak. Yet by helping to crowd-fund ‘Great Barrier Beer’, Aussies will be helping reverse damage to the Reef and ensure its protection for the future.

And, for later brews, The Good Beer Co. will partner with craft brewers across Oz who are committed to supporting important charities. So when Aussies choose to drink Good Beer, they do good too. Need we say more?

Visit their website here, or donate to the cause here.

We can't wait until our case arrives at Inspired HQ!

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Fitness Series: Sky-Lab Aerial Yoga

We all know yoga. But aerial yoga? Tell me more! We’ve recently discovered aerial yoga, which basically is practicing yoga from a suspended hammock. We know hanging from the ceiling in a cocoon of material sounds strange (and quite frankly a little terrifying), but once you learn to “trust in the hammock” there are some amazing benefits of practicing aerial yoga.

We had a chat with Shari Veitch from Sky-Lab AntiGravity Yoga to find out more about aerial yoga. Check it out!

  1. Tell us about aerial yoga. How did the concept originate?

 At its most basic, aerial yoga is a fusion practice. Christopher Harrison, American dancer and acrobat developed it 20 years ago in the USA. It combines elements of yoga (taking its roots in traditional yoga form), so you’re preforming shapes similar to a floor base yoga class but you’ll do them upside down or in the air! Aerial yoga also takes influences from pilates, core development and dance. Its major influence comes from silk trapeze, which is an aerial apparatus. So really you’re combing all those beautiful elements that come together in a really dynamic practice.


  1. How did you come to try aerial yoga for the first time?

Before creating Skylab, I was a professional dancer and doing a lot of pilates. But I’ve always loved yoga and it was my go-to class when I wanted to do something for myself. I started focusing more on my yoga practice, and at the same time I started working in aerial arts as a dancer in a contemporary company. I had a lot of different loves and when I discovered the practice of anti-gravity yoga, I knew I had found everything I loved in one apparatus!

  1. What can someone expect out of an aerial yoga class? What does a typical class look like? 

People are often scared when they first try aerial yoga, because you do spend a lot of time hanging upside down! What you’ll get out of an aerial yoga class, however, is a decompression of the spine – that’s one of the main benefits from an anti-gravity practice. It’s just so good for your body! Another key benefit of aerial yoga is that nothing touches the floor. The hammock is wrapped around your pelvis and is holding you up in space, so you have zero compression happening on the floor. That allows traction through the spine, helping you feel taller and lighter! In a typical class you’ll find we do a lot of pilates and yoga inspired moves, but in a hanging hammock!


  1. Can anyone do aerial yoga?

Yes! Everybody can do it! It is so accessible because the hammock is measured to your body height so it’s at hip height for you. It makes hopping in an out of the hammock like hopping into a chair! The hammock acts like your support or a teacher assisting you through the whole class, lifting you and aligning you from the ceiling. It’s a challenge, but yes, definitely anybody can do aerial yoga and reap the benefits!

  1. How has aerial yoga changed your body and your fitness?

I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life. Aerial yoga is an incredibly balanced practice. After I class, I don’t feel like I’ve overworked or underworked any part of my body. You’re constantly using your core stabilising muscles, even when you’re sitting in the hammock because it forces you to sit upright. You’ll feel more balanced, flexible, toned and overall lighter from practicing aerial yoga, I can guarantee it.

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