Tag Archives: Brazil

I am my business

Hello from LifExchange.  I am Shari – owner, operator, marketer and inspired entrepreneur.  I was recently told that my blogs, newsletters, etc were not personal enough.  I am my business.  I love to travel and it has changed my life!  I woke up one day in a job that did not move me and my wonderful husband said enough, it is time to open your own company.  After a bit of laughing and shaking my head I realized he was serious.

In Ghana
In Thailand

I have traveled to Peru, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Ireland, England, Germany, Turkey, Ghana, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Thailand, South Korea, China, Spain, Morocco, Israel and a few other places in my life’s journey.  He was right, why not help others find their dreams, passion and inner self the way I did.  So LifExchange was born and 1 year later here I am.

In our first year we had 115 students from 8 countries come to the US to Work and Travel.  We have signed-up our first American to go overseas with a company who has hosted over 5,000 Americans and the possibilities for what is next is endless.  But I guess the real question is why.  Why do I believe everyone and I mean everyone needs to travel abroad?

I think there is a sense of both self and community at a global level that is only found with international travel.  For me that “self and community” opened a world of love, laughter, and fun along with a deeper understanding of peace, humanity and the importance of the common good of others.

My plan is to write a series of short blogs sharing how I came to feel this way and some of the experiences that taught me these life lessons.  However I do not want to end my first personal post here so let me share one trick of international long flight travel that has worked for me.

My philosophy on flying.  Any flight no matter how far is just a matter of scheduling like any day in your life and it can fly by.  Example – a 14-hour flight to China may be ¼ a book, 8 hours sleep, a 2 hour movie and then another ¼ a book – presto – I am in my destination.  A 9 hour flight to Brazil – one hour reading, 2 two hour movies, a 1 hours nap, 1 hour for food, bathroom and drink breaks, and 2 more hours of reading.  So simple, the day fly’s by and I am at my destination (no pun intended).  You need to be sure if the flight you have booked does not have personal movies on demand that you buy a cd player and some movies to bring with you.  This is key.  I plan all flights like a day I would schedule for business.  Like life my schedules are flexible and open to change but as a planner this helps me pass the time quickly.  Oh, I almost forgot the one exception.  And this is BIG.  Speak to your neighbor!!!!  It is not planned but you may end up next to the most interesting person, a local to give you advice, a new friend to explore with or a random contact that you find yourself calling for a job 5 years later or the most fascinating conversation you could imagine.  Then again if you have the other kind, you know who I mean, you will be glad you have that movie on hand.  Here is the deal, you never know who is just next door.   Take the time to start your international experience on the flight.  Because this is where your travels begin.

Till next time,

Jim and I in Israel


11 Safety Tips and other Tidbits for International Travelers

1.     Use the same safety precautions you would at home!  I live in NYC and there are everyday precautions I use when I travel and at home – Avoid walking alone on deserted streets after dark, keep your money in a secured location, carry a cell phone when possible.  Most mobile carriers have international plans or you can buy a prepaid cell phone at many airports to be used for local or emergency calls.

2.     Learn about the local culture – pick up a travel book before you depart home.  Read about the place you are going to visit.  Some great travel guides will tell you where the best local pubs and eateries are.  Don’t just visit the designated tourist site’s, go to a coffee shop and chat with a local to learn more about the city you are visiting.  One of my best travel days many years ago was when I found a group of tourists from Sao Paolo on the same tour as myself in Curitiba.  They were local to the country but we were on the same adventure.  We quickly became friends as they taught me how to order brigadeiros with my coffee con leche and what stops were worth seeing with my hop on hop off bus pass.

3.     Know the local currency and understand the exchange rate.  The quickest way to loose money is not to understand it.

4.     Transportation – Before you even depart check out the public transportation routes and schedules.  Find out if you need any special license or an IDP to drive.  Want to travel by taxi? Find a Taxi Stand – You can usually find a taxi stand on the street in any country in a large city — even if you can’t read the words, you’ll notice taxis congregating near the sign. Generally, only taxi’s authorized to carry passengers are allowed to stop at these taxi stands, meaning the taxi is as safe as that country mandates, and the cab driver licensed. Look for these cab stands at foreign airports, too.

5.     Have copies of everything – It’s a simple rule, but a wise one.  I always find it useful to copy my passport, travel itinerary and tickets, driver’s license, and other pertinent paperwork.  I keep a copy on me and leave a copy with someone I trust back home.  If you have your belongings stolen or lost your trusted friend or family member can fax or email you copies to assist in retrieving lost bags, visiting your embassy for emergency passport replacement, etc. – this can save hours of headaches.

6.    Do you know how to pack smart?  Take advantage of those “hidden” spaces – For example, place small items inside your shoes or the pockets of shirts or jackets you pack.  Pack extra bags in your bag – Packing a duffle bag in your luggage gives you extra space to bring things home with you. It’s also a good idea to bring plastic sandwich or grocery bags for laundry or other items.   Don’t pack what you can get at your destination – many hotels have a hair dryer in every room, along with many toiletry items, so you don’t need to pack them.

7.     Learn the laws and customs of the land you’re visiting – you are responsible for your behavior and knowing local rules and regulations.

8.     Crime can be found anywhere – “It’s about body language, awareness and intuition,” says Robert Siciliano, a personal security expert and the author of “The Safety Minute.” If you look like you know what you’re doing and where you are going — even if you look like a tourist — you’re a lot less likely to be targeted.

9.     Travel with less cash.  Most countries these days have access to ATM machines; pack your debit card.  It is worth the piece of mind of not carrying loads of cash and less hassle then travelers cheques in many locations.  Naturally when you hit the streets in NY, Rio or Rome you will want to carry cash for a little shopping, or street food just be thoughtful about your plans for each day and plan accordingly. Some ATM machines even offer better exchange rates than the airport or your hotel. Just be cautious of ATM fees as they can add up, and avoid using a credit card.

10.     Want to take an extended trip on a budget?  Try a Work and Holiday Adventure. With many countries to choose from this is an opportunity to make some pocket money while living abroad.

11.  Travel is about having an adventure of a lifetime – having new experiences, visiting new places and creating new memories.  I wish everyone a safe journey as you head to your next destination.