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Live the Dream: “EX-PATS” Series Launches on YouTube


The idea of chucking it all and decamping to a new exotic land has surely crossed many a world traveler’s mind. This is a passing daydream for some, but for others, it’s a calling—a chance to truly immerse oneself in a foreign culture and community, and to reinvent one's life.

If you’re interested in what the experience of being an ex-patriot is all about, the risks and the rewards, we invite you to watch the new web-series EX-PATS on YouTube’s Reserve Channel. Created in cooperation with Travel + Leisure (our editors are advisors on the show), the series takes viewers around the world to profile ex-pats who’ve made the move and have some wild and wonderful stories to share.

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Ritz-Carlton and Jean-Michel Cousteau Launch Environmental Program for Travelers in Puerto Rico

 201206-b-ritz-carlton-dorada-beach-2jpg Skip guidebooks and Google searches, and grab your snorkeling gear and hiking boots—there are new ways to learn about, and explore, Puerto Rico.

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Oceans Future Society, an organization dedicated to preserving the environment, is opening a Puerto Rican branch of their award-winning environmental education and adventure program, Ambassadors of the Environment. 

Located on the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach Reserve, the program will weave knowledge with experience.  Participants will learn about Puerto Rico’s coral reefs, wildlife, wetlands, and Taino culture via snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, archaeological exploration, and other activities.

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TODAY Show: Places to Reinvent Yourself

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel really can transform your life, and these are a few of the trips that will make it happen.

Globe Aware Volunteer Trips

A volunteer vacation in another country can help you put your life into perspective. Globe Aware, for instance, operates trips in 15 countries, from Costa Rica to Cuba, Brazil to Vietnam. You’ll assist in rural schools, build wells, and deliver supplies to orphanages, teach English and computer lessons, or distribute fruits and vegetables to low-income families. Travelers come home and say that every aspect of their week was meaningful, and that they felt that they were able to give back to the community. Rates range from $1,140 to $1,390 per week depending on the trip. Cost covers meals, accommodation, and on-site travel (but not airfare).

Related: See the Best Life-Changing Trips

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Tech Thursday: Two Fab (and Secure) Camera Bags

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Anyone with an SLR camera knows there are about a million cases to choose from to lug around your camera, lenses, and accessories. But recently, I was shown a couple of cases from Lowepro that I absolutely love. The Flipside Sport (pictured above) is a backpack-style case that’s perfect for outdoor/adventure photography. It fits securely over your shoulders, but also has an extra strap that clasps around your waist. Plus, since it’s made for outdoor activity, there’s a special H2O compartment on the side that’s designed to allow a sports straw to feed through, so you can rehydrate without digging through your bag. On the other side? A convenient spot to store a modest-sized tripod.

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Choose Your Seatmate Via Facebook and LinkedIn

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Dutch airline KLM has recently launched Meet & Seat, a program that ensures that you’ll probably LIKE your seatmate, even before takeoff.

Meet & Seat allows passengers with reservations to view the social media profiles of other passengers who’ve already selected their seats and who have opted to share their Facebook or LinkedIn info. The service is not yet available on every KLM flight.

I can think of few instances in which I would employ Meet & Seat: Say, if Viggo Mortensen were flying coach and decided to identify himself via Facebook. Not likely, right? I guess I will continue to use airplane time to read novels and trashy magazines and not chat with my seatmate until the landing gear has been engaged.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of KLM.

Book Now! T+L Trip of the Month - Exploring Alaska with Black Tomato

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Travel + Leisure's March Trip of the Month is an adventure in the far north with U.S.- and U.K.-based tour operator Black Tomato. In association with Travel + Leisure Elite Traveler, our travel club for deals on hotels, cruises, and more, the Trip of the Month offers T+L readers exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime itineraries from the world’s top tour operators.

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Find Your Inner Commando at Machine Guns Vegas

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MSNBC.com Travel
  |  Blam-blam-blam! Pa-pow-pow! Ber-t-t-t-t-t-t, ber-t-t-t-t-t-t!

If that sounds like a good time, you may want to set your sights on Las Vegas’ newest attraction, Machine Guns Vegas (MGV), which opened its doors Monday. Part gun range, part ultra-lounge, MGV invites visitors to grab the automatic weapon of their choice — Uzis, AK-47s and more — and get in touch with their inner gangster or SEAL Team Six commando.

“You’d be amazed at the number of people who come to Vegas and want to shoot a machine gun,” said co-owner Genghis Cohen. “It’s an experience you can’t have in a lot of places in the world.”

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Q&A: VJ Pogo Helps You Hear the World

Nick Bertke is commonly known as Pogo, the Internet sensation whose music videos have garnered a cult following worldwide.  He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and now lives in Australia.  As a teenager, he began taking film clips from Disney movies, spliced their sound bites into distinct melodies, and then posted the remixed product onto YouTube. At first they were taken down from the website, presumably for copyright infringement, but with their viral popularity, he was soon commissioned by Disney to make them for the company.  

Now, at age 23, and after a few international tours, he is traversing the globe to work on a more personal project, called World Remix. Using film shot by his own team, he is showing us his travels with an ear for its sounds and an eye for its sights.  I had the opportunity to talk with Nick about this unique career.

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Russian Scientists Reach Lake Under Antarctica

Associated Press |  After more than two decades of drilling in Antarctica, Russian scientists have reached the surface of a gigantic freshwater lake hidden under miles of ice for some 20 million years—a lake that may hold life from the distant past and clues to the search for life on other planets.

Reaching Lake Vostok is a major discovery avidly anticipated by scientists around the world hoping that it may allow a glimpse into microbial life forms, not visible to the naked eye, that existed before the Ice Age. (...)

"It's like exploring another planet, except this one is ours," Columbia University glaciologist Robin Bell told The Associated Press by email. (...) "There is no other place on Earth that has been in isolation for more than 20 million years," said Lev Savatyugin, a researcher with the AARI. "It's a meeting with the unknown."

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Book Now! T+L Trip of the Month: Turkey - From Cappadocia to the Coast

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Travel + Leisure's February Trip of the Month is a classic two-week itinerary in Turkey. In association with Travel + Leisure Elite Traveler, our travel club for deals on hotels, cruises, and more, the Trip of the Month offers T+L readers exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime itineraries from the world’s top tour operators.

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