Nick's Travel Bug http://nickstravelbug.com Live Vicariously Through Yourself Thu, 05 Mar 2015 03:18:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 The Museum of the Weird in Austin http://nickstravelbug.com/usa/museum-of-the-weird/ http://nickstravelbug.com/usa/museum-of-the-weird/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:32:36 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5839 A three-eyed two-faced cow? An elephant man? These are some of the star attractions at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas. The city’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and there’s no better place to experience that than at this museum. It’s also fun to play tourist in your own town once in a while. … Read More

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A three-eyed two-faced cow? An elephant man?

These are some of the star attractions at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas. The city’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and there’s no better place to experience that than at this museum. It’s also fun to play tourist in your own town once in a while.

The Elephant Man at the Museum of the Weird

First up was the ‘Elephant Man’. Born with some severe deformities, Joseph Carey Merrick was exhibited as a human curiosity (a.k.a. a freak) at shows and carnivals around England. Doctors and scientists could never really explain the cause of Merrick’s condition and he passed away at the young age of 27.

Three-Eyed Two-Faced Cow at the Museum of the Weird

The next interesting item was this three-eyed two-faced cow, supposedly born alive, and lived for a full 2 weeks on a farm in Pennsylvania. It’s pretty strange, as you can probably tell.

Two-Headed Chicken at the Museum of the Weird

Next is a two-headed chicken. What do you think, is it real?

Here are a few other weird things from the museum, including a zombie and a skeleton pirate.

Zombie Man at the Museum of the Weird

 

Skeleton Pirate at the Museum of the Weird

Lastly, there was a sword swallower who put on a show for us. If it wasn’t impressive enough that he swallowed what was probably an 18-inch sword, he also started juggling while it was down his throat. I don’t really understand the physics of the whole thing, but it’s fun to watch.

Sword Swallower Juggling at the Museum of the Weird

Whether or not this is all real (you be the judge), the Museum of the Weird in Austin is an entertaining way to spend an hour of your afternoon.

Have you been to anything similarly weird or strange? Let’s hear some good stories in the comments below.

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Help Save the Rhinos in Africa with #JustOneRhino http://nickstravelbug.com/causes/help-save-rhinos-in-africa/ http://nickstravelbug.com/causes/help-save-rhinos-in-africa/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 01:00:32 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5809 Rhinos are being killed at an alarming rate of one EVERY 7 HOURS! In fact, in 2014 alone more than 1,000 South African rhinos were poached and that number has only been rising over the past several years. A tipping point has been reached where rhinos in Africa are being poached at a rate faster than … Read More

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Rhinos are being killed at an alarming rate of one EVERY 7 HOURS!

In fact, in 2014 alone more than 1,000 South African rhinos were poached and that number has only been rising over the past several years. A tipping point has been reached where rhinos in Africa are being poached at a rate faster than they can breed and repopulate. If something drastic isn’t done soon, rhinos could be extinct in as little as 10 years.

You might wonder why the rhinos are becoming endangered. It is a common (but mistaken) belief in some Asian countries that rhino horns have healing and aphrodisiac properties. As this craze has gone mainstream, the value of the horns has shot up to upwards of $30,000 per pound on the black market!

Rhinos in Africa horn cut off

Photo by Beverly Joubert

Rhinos Without Borders Project

South Africa holds more than 80% of the no more than 26,000 rhinos left in existence, a large share of them living in Kruger National Park. This year the Rhinos Without Borders project is raising money to translocate 100 rhinos from their current location in South Africa to new secret locations in neighboring Botswana, as Botswana has the lowest poaching rate on the continent. The country’s government has a zero-tolerance policy on poaching and has implemented a “shoot to kill” policy when poachers are found and apprehended. In addition, Botswana has vastly more remote areas that are tough for poachers to reach.

Rhinos in Africa 1

Photo courtesy Susan Portnoy – The Insatiable Traveler

The process to translocate a single rhino costs approximately $45,000. You might wonder why the cost is so high for each rhino, but it’s a very lengthy process. Once a rhino has been selected for transfer, a crew comes in and sedates it. A blood sample and other information about the rhino is collected and analyzed to ensure that the creature is strong enough to make the trip. If successful, the rhinos undergo a 6-week quarantine period before being airlifted to the new secret locations in Botswana. Upon arrival, teams again check their health and set the rhinos off into the wild.

Rhinos in Africa 2

Photo by Beverly Joubert

How You Can Help

Through the organizations Travelers Building Change (founded by Jeremy Scott Foster) and Green Travel Media (founded by Bret Love), myself, along with over 120 other bloggers, are attempting to raise enough money to save #JustOneRhino and move it to a new home in Botswana. 100% of all directly go directly to the project.

DONATE HERE

What’s in it for you? Good question.

In addition to helping to ensure the continued survival of rhinos in Africa for years to come, over 20 sponsors are giving away more than $30,000 worth of travel prizes to donors. Some of the prizes include:

International Expeditions: 10-day Galapagos Voyage for one. Value $5,298.

Adventure Life: South Africa Big Five Safari: Kruger & KwaZulu-Natal + Swag Bag for 2 people. Value $5,000.

Cobblers Cove Hotel, Barbados: Seven nights bed and breakfast in a Garden View suite. Value $5,187.

- Yemana Island Hideaway & Spa, Nicaragua: 10 nights’ stay & wellness package for two people at Yemaya Island Hideaway and Spa on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Value $5,241.
  • Vouchers for 2 people at Bali Jiwa Villain in Bali, Indonesia. Value $1,000.
  • (2) Vouchers for 2 people at The Scent Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. Total Value $3,000 ($1,500 for each 2-person package).
  • Vouchers for 2 people at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Koh Kong, Cambodia. Value $900.
  • Vouchers for 2 people at Flower Island, Palawan, Philippines. Value $900.

Plus other prizes including travel gear, hotel stays, and more.

JustOneRhino Sponsor Graphic
Help save the rhinos in Africa and donate here. Remember, no donation is too small. Even if you aren’t able to donate, you can still support the project by sharing this with your family and friends and by using the hashtag #JustOneRhino on social media.

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Visiting the World’s Largest Cat Museum http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/worlds-largest-cat-museum/ http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/worlds-largest-cat-museum/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 00:47:40 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5766 One of the more interesting things I’ve seen on my travels is the world’s largest Cat Museum. That’s right: a museum solely dedicated to cats. Whether or not you think that would be somewhat creepy, you’re right. The museum is located in Kuching, the capital of the Sarawak region of Malaysia. You might wonder what would … Read More

Visiting the World’s Largest Cat Museum is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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One of the more interesting things I’ve seen on my travels is the world’s largest Cat Museum. That’s right: a museum solely dedicated to cats. Whether or not you think that would be somewhat creepy, you’re right. The museum is located in Kuching, the capital of the Sarawak region of Malaysia.

You might wonder what would cause a city to build a cat museum. The name of the city is thought to come from the Malay word ‘kucing’ meaning cat. This fact also explains why there are random statues of cats located throughout the city.

Cat Statue Kuching Malaysia

 

On to the museum!

Things started out fairly normal, or as normal as one could hope for at a cat museum. Some more statues of cats, including some of cats as servants. There were even some porcelain dolls of cats.

Cat Servants

Cat Museum Statue 1 Cat Museum Statue 2

Cat Museum Porcelain Dolls

 

However, the further through the museum I went, the stranger things got. There were several cat paintings that I thought were pretty amusing to say the least.

Cat Museum Painting 2

 

Cat Museum Painting 1

 

Cat Chef Painting

 

It was next that things got flat-out weird. There was an area filled with what looked like cats that had been stuffed. However, the faces looked out-of-place. I happened to see someone who worked for the museum and asked her the reason for the deformed appearances. She told me that most of those cats had been run over in the street, and then their owners had brought them in to donate to the museum. They attempted to make them look as “normal” as possible, but you can tell the skin is stretched across the face on some. See what you think.

Cat Museum Stuffed 4 Cat Museum Stuffed 2 Cat Museum Stuffed 5 Cat Museum Stuffed 3 Cat Museum Stuffed 1 Cat Museum Stuffed 6

After being sufficiently freaked out by the stuffed cats, I continued wandering to see what other things I could find. Of course, there was a Hello Kitty display.

Cat Museum Hello Kitty Display Cat Museum Hello Kitty Case

I appreciated the Garfield display as I used to be a big Garfield fan as a kid.

Cat Museum Garfield

 

Just in case you aren’t giggling enough already, here are a few more cat statues from the museum.

Cat Museum Statue 4 Cat Museum Statue 5 Cat Museum Statue 6

I sincerely hope you find this as amusing as I did. If you happen to be in Kuching on the Bornean side of Malaysia, you should definitely pay a visit to the Cat Museum and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. However, as always, all opinions are my own.

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My 2014 Year in Review http://nickstravelbug.com/bucket-list/2014-year-in-review/ http://nickstravelbug.com/bucket-list/2014-year-in-review/#comments Wed, 31 Dec 2014 18:26:11 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5737 It’s always funny to see how your plans and goals you set out for the year panned out by the end. Occasionally they’re similar, but I usually find them different. I guess that tends to happen as new connections are made and new opportunities present themselves. 2014 turned out to be quite an eventful year, … Read More

My 2014 Year in Review is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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It’s always funny to see how your plans and goals you set out for the year panned out by the end. Occasionally they’re similar, but I usually find them different. I guess that tends to happen as new connections are made and new opportunities present themselves. 2014 turned out to be quite an eventful year, including moving across the country, a great beer road trip, and a trip back to Asia near the end of the year. So without further ado, here’s my 2014 Year in Review:

January

It took a bit of adjustment after just returning from traveling around the tropical islands of Thailand. After coming back from scuba diving, attempting my hand at some Thai cooking classes, and trekking around canyons, it was a tough transition to go through one of the coldest winters on record.

I started the year with a trip out to Chicago for the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show. Of course this also included eating at several of the city’s awesome restaurants.

Instagram Photo

 

As I’ve done the past several years, I went to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. I love going to see all the new models coming out and all the crazy new concepts.

Instagram Photo

 

February – March

Aside from trying not to freeze my face off, I managed to road trip down to Cleveland to see The Ataris do a 10-year reunion show for their So Long, Astoria album. They definitely getting older, but still put on a great show.

Instagram Photo

 

April

In April I decided to go and visit a couple of friends down in Austin, Texas. A week turned into 2 weeks, which turned into 3 weeks, and after about a month I decided to get an apartment down here and stay a while. I’m still living in Austin and have enjoyed every minute of it. There’s live music all the time, more food trucks than you could ever imagine, and an endless amount of great people around.

Instagram Photo

 

I also attended my first celebration of Eeyore’s Birthday. Just another way Austin is keeping it weird.

Instagram Photo

 

May

In May I flew back to Michigan for my Mom’s wedding (congrats!).

While I was back in the area, I couldn’t leave without my yearly trip to Cedar Point. There were a couple new rides I hadn’t been on yet, such as The Gatekeeper.

Instagram Photo

 

June

In June I once again headed out to Chicago, this time for BlogHouse. I’d been accepted to spend a weekend living in a giant house with a bunch of other travel bloggers, learning all the tricks of the trade and having some fun along the way as well.

Instagram Photo

 

After BlogHouse, I headed back to Detroit, packed up what I could fit in my car, and began to make the excruciatingly long drive down to Austin. At first I thought it would be fun to drive across the country, but about halfway through the drive I just wanted to be there. I did make sure to stop in Memphis for some delicious BBQ Cornish hen!

Instagram Photo

 

July

Shortly after getting back to Austin, it was time to leave again. This time for the World Domination Summit in Portland. I got into town about a week early and drove out to Bend for a couple of days of beer tastings. I think we were pretty successful.

Instagram Photo

 

Then it was back to Portland to attempt to break another World Record during the Great Namaste and meet a lot of people doing great things in the world during WDS.

Instagram Photo

 

After WDS was over, I headed out for some hiking at the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls. Oregon has some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.

Instagram Photo

 

August

I decided I’d try to stay put in Austin for a bit and enjoy some of what the city has to offer, like the amazing BBQ!

Instagram Photo

 

September

Now you know I can’t sit still for very long. In September I was back to Michigan again for another wedding, this time between two of my good friends.

 

October

I was back in Austin just in time for the Austin City Limits music festival. 3 days of music, 80,000 people, and an incredible lineup this year! Some of the headliners included Eminem, Outkast, and Pearl Jam.

Instagram Photo

 

Also in October, I was invited on a trip out to Malaysia to celebrate the Deepavali Festival. While there I got to visit an orangutan sanctuary, tour the magnificent Petronas Towers, and eat some phenomenal street food up in Penang.

Instagram Photo

 

November

Once I got home from Malaysia I decided I’d try to chill out for a while, but not without trying to pick up some new skills along the way.

Instagram Photo

 

December

For the 3rd time this year I headed back to Michigan, but this time to hang out with friends and family for the holidays. While I was up in the great white north I went to see a hockey game, because that is definitely not something that’s popular in Texas.

Instagram Photo

 

Also, I finally made some time in towards the end of the year to redesign this website. I hope you like it!

 

As you can see, 2014 has been quite a busy year for me. There’s no sign of slowing down in 2015, either. My schedule is already filling up for much of the year and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you want to see more pictures from my adventures, follow me on Instagram.

What were some of your highlights from your 2014 year in review? Please share in the comments below.

My 2014 Year in Review is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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The Magnificent Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/petronas-towers-kuala-lumpur/ http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/petronas-towers-kuala-lumpur/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:49:53 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5681 One of the icons of Malaysia are the magnificent Petronas Towers in the center of Kuala Lumpur. At a height of 1,483 ft (452 m), they are currently the tallest twin towers in the world. Standing at the base almost makes them seem unreal.   Touring Inside the Towers I enjoyed the view of the … Read More

The Magnificent Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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One of the icons of Malaysia are the magnificent Petronas Towers in the center of Kuala Lumpur. At a height of 1,483 ft (452 m), they are currently the tallest twin towers in the world. Standing at the base almost makes them seem unreal.

Petronas Towers Daytime

 

Touring Inside the Towers

I enjoyed the view of the towers the most at night (obviously), but took a tour and went up in them during the day. The tour started by going up to the Skybridge at about 558 ft (170 m). The bridge connects the 2 towers between the 41st and 42nd floors. While there are actually 88 floors, the 86th floor is as high as you can go and where the Observation Deck is. The 2 upper floors are for maintenance, antennas, etc. You can really see how hazy the city is when you’re all the way up there. I’d only recommend doing the tour on a pretty clear day so you can see further.

Tower Observation Deck

 

Night Time at the Towers

Night time is the best time to go and see the Petronas Towers. I honestly couldn’t take enough pictures of them at night, so here are a few of my favorites.

Petronas Towers Side View

Top of the Petronas Towers

Petronas Towers 2

Have you visited the Petronas Towers? If so, what did you think? If not, they are definitely a site to see in Kuala Lumpur.

Disclosure: This trip and the tour were sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. However, as always, all opinions are my own.

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