tony bilby in antigua


I visited Antigua a few years ago and enjoyed the still unspoiled natural beauty of the island! I stayed at a typical “all-inclusive” beachfront hotel that turned out to be great for the room and drinks, but not so great for food or culture, so we decided to venture outside the hotel for much needed change and adventure.

Antigua is pretty rural and as you’ll see when you travel across the island, the roads are small and rustic rolling across a landscape of many impoverished people with very little possessions or suitable housing. It forces perspective and a thought provoking challenge to those that believe that living in riches might make for a happier life than those living without, because for the most part, and what I found, was a seemingly happy local population.

As far as tourist destinations there’s Nelsons Dockyard, which is a good place to enjoy a stunning beach, but also brings the history that dates back to the 18th century and British naval officer Horatio Nelson. The beach is surrounded by lush vegetation, hills, mountains, and the historic buildings date back to the 1700’s. Not a bad days trip.

There is also stingray city where you can go to view stingrays and various sea critters.

I would definitely recommend sailing and taking at least one or a few catamaran day trips depending on how much time you have. The views of the island from the sea are breathtaking given the cliffs and dramatic backdrop of different and diverse geography around the island. Like any tropical destination, the ocean is clear and great for snorkeling and diving, but I definitely enjoyed and had the chance to get to know the locals as well.

Tony Bilby with wife and Russell at Russell's restaurant and bar

Tony and Claire with Russell

While on a day sailing cruise, my wife and I became friends with the family owners of Russell’s Bar and Seafood Restaurant. The first time we went we fell in love with the atmosphere and the food was incredible. Our second visit to the venue they had actually closed for a private family gathering, but to our surprise Russell and his family recognized who we were and invited us in to join in the family event.

Antigua is a great island to visit with great beaches and very friendly locals. Make sure to catamaran, tour a bit of the island, and make a visit to some of the local restaurants while enjoying the weather and peaceful vacation!

Granada and Southern Spain

Southern Spain is beautiful, unforgettable, and I loved all of the places I visited.  At the top of the list is Granada.  Nomadic Matt’s travel blog on Spain gives great tips on the top things to do while there.

The architecture and culture is ancient and exciting so there is much to see.  The geographic backdrop, and mountains, remind me a little bit of home in Southern California as well!  If you’re younger I would absolutely recommend a hostel like they do in his blog.  They are cheap, clean, and very convenient.


The Alhambra

The top things to do:

Visit the Palace:

Make sure you get inside the palace as well as roaming the exterior.  I have a million pictures of my time at the Alhambra, and, in my opinion, this is some of the best Moorish/Islamic architecture that you can find in the region.  Parts of the palace are unbelievable, and where it’s situated, within the mountains, rivals some of the best European castles that I’ve been to.

Mirador De San Nicolas:

Sunset, sunset, sunset.  Did I say it enough?  Make sure you get there to view something that is right out of a James Bond or Indiana Jones movie.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains:

They are the tallest mountains in Europe.  You have to hike those mountains!  Make sure to make a day trip out of it and join one of the many hiking tours.  You won’t regret it!

The Cathedral:                 

The cathedral is spectacular with it’s Spanish Renaissance architecture.  Dating back over 500 years, make sure you take time to climb the stairs to the top for view of the entire city.


This area reminds me more of Tunesia and parts of northern Africa than anything else.  If you can, try to take a guided tour of this area and enjoy the ethnic foods ranging from Tapas to other international cuisine.


Flamenco is dramatic and vibrant.  I would share this experience with a significant other along with a bottle of local red wine.  There is nothing like it and the passion and power of this cultural tradition, that continues today, will get your heart pumping.

San Jeronimo:

Visiting this monastery inspired me as a young author to write about the modern versus ancient world. Enjoy the experience, the beautiful paintings, and impressive stained glass.

In addition to Granada, I would recommend visiting Seville and Cordoba during your time traveling the region.  All three cities have unique culture and charm.

Tony Bilby

Some food tips as well!

Turkiye and Istanbul!

One of my most memorable trips as a teenager was to Turkey.  Istanbul, Izmir, Cesme, and more……

Look to the Turkish Travel Blog by Natalie Sayin “8 Unusual and Cool Things to do in Instanbul”

8 Unusual and Cool Things to do in Istanbul

for a wealth of information about traveling to Turkey in general.  As for things to do in Istanbul, the article highlights:

Tony Bilby at The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

One Day Street Art Tour – I’ve seen these pieces of art all over the streets of Istanbul during the times I’ve been there. Not only is the street artwork interesting, but the town in general is ancient and ready to be discovered. So many monuments to explore while you are there like the The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Grand Bazaar to name a few, but don’t forget about the streets in general. There is so much hussle and bussle in this city of over 14 million and many different ways to experience the culture; starting by getting right out into the city streets.

Ottoman Jewellry Workshop – Don’t just stop there. There are a million places to find quality pieces of jewelry, beautiful gold and silver pieces that can be hand designed in just a few hours at a fraction of the cost compared to the states or elsewhere. Be sure, however, to haggle and get the price down. It is 100% culturally acceptable and expected that you negotiate price.  Never buy something at face value or without a conversation that brings the price down.

Street Photography Walk – This is a great chance to hone your camera skills as the article mentions and the images of the Hagia Sophia are the most popular and most polarized when talking about Istanbul.  Make sure to bring your best camera and include some pictures of yourself and the family in front of this unbelievable and ancient feat of architecture.

Istanbul Bicycle Tour – Bicycle tours are great for many cities.  I really enjoy and appreciate the Munich bicycle tour over the summer, but a close runner up, if not at par with Munich, is the Istanbul bike tour.   As mentioned in the blog, most if not all of the equipment is included, and this is a great chance to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of this ancient city while moving at a relaxed and enjoyable pace.

Mushroom Hunt – My friend told me many times about Belgrade forest and it must be such a divergence from the City. I look forward to exploring picnicking in this area the next time I head to the country.

The old City Flavours – This is great chance at Turkish coffee and baklava as mentioned, as well as the infamous Turkish doner kebab that I have enjoyed so much during my travels around the region.

Rowing and Sailing around Istanbul – I have personally never done this and I’m putting this on my bucket list the next time I go. This looks amazing and an excellent way to explore the old besieged Constantinople.

Tony Bilby

Also, check out the “davidbeenshere” blog by David Hoffman:


Tony Bilby in Salzburg


Salzburg is one of my favorite cities, not only because of its rich history and timeless charm, but because members of my family come from region. The shadows cast at sunset by the mighty Alps, the ancient ring of cathedral bells that reach deep resonating into my soul, and the echoes of footsteps on stone walk ways whisper to my eternal Southern European spirit like nothing else.

Even today, my eighty-year-old cousin and his wife live in Salzburg, we come to visit every few years, and I’ve been doing so since I was a youngster. I can appreciate Brooke Saward’s article “How Salzburg Stole My Heart,”

as she talks about the Salzburg Dom Cathedral where my distant cousins were married and her reference to the “Sound of Music” that my two-year-old daughter and I watch from time-to-time.

Mozart’s birthplace is a must along with the Mirabellgardens as she discusses. Make sure to drive around the city and up the Alps on a beautiful clear day for unbelievable views along with a visit to the Eagles Nest.

salzburg catacombs

Salzburg Catacombs

I remember riding the unforgettable Hohensalzburg fortress funicular many times as a child. The fortress provides spectacular views and brings you back in time. St. Peter’s Monastery tour is time well spent, but try to wander off from the crowd if you can and visit the catacombs. The ancient catacombs housed some of the earliest Christian refugees; the stories are fascinating. The cemetery carries its own charm and history. Tucked in the middle is the tombstone of an American General. The General fell in love with an Austrian woman and Salzburg during WWII, where he later retired and was eventually buried.

Tony Bilby

Also, check out Brook Saward’s “World of Wanderlust Story:

The Birth of Society. The Cradle of Civilization. The Middle East.

Few things stoke the fire of passion in my heart like travel. Well, sales does too I guess. But right now, I’m talking about travel. There’s just something about experiencing different cultures, tasting unique cuisines, drinking exotic beverages. Traveling expands your mind and warms your heart. It expands your horizons and reminds you what matters. It has the potential to change your entire perception of the world while simultaneously inducing a deep appreciation for everything that surrounds you. This said, I always keep an eye to the future and an ear to the ground for possible destinations that could be worth visiting.

Recently, CNN released an article that caught my attention. Titled “Iraq? Crimea? Mali? Could these be the travel hotspots of the future?” I found myself immediately taken away with the possibilities. With all the internal strife associated with the Middle East, it hasn’t exactly presented itself in my mind as a priority vacation destination. However, reflecting, visiting the cradle of civilization doesn’t just seem like an amazing trip, it almost seems mandatory. I mean, how can we neglect the former site of the Babylonian Gardens? How can we ignore what was Mesopotamia? How can we not show appreciation for the mighty Tigris and Euphrates? We can’t. Well, we can while it’s dangerous; but we can’t forever.

Tony Bilby International Travel

Middle East

Iraq is, of course, a country many would express hesitation in visiting given recent events. Yet, their government is making tremendous strides in tourism rehabilitation. Dedicating significant funds to the industry in recent years, Iraq actually cites that nearly a million tourists visited just last year. More than that though, Iraq expects that number to explode to 2.3 million in 2025. While certainly a bold prediction, it is not altogether out of the question. Iraq houses many religious sites of the utmost significance, and is a country of extraordinary beauty. Clear blue skies stretch as far as the eye can see. A rich history rises from the land along with mighty mountains. I have high hopes and optimistic imaginings for the future of this formerly war-torn country.

Tony Bilby at a great plain

Middle East

Iran also beckons me to visit. Sanctions are falling and investments are rising. Even under sanctions, Iran was boasting an impressive five million tourists every year, and the Iranian government plans to quadruple that by 2026. It is also worth noting that one David McGuinness, owner of Travel the Unknown, claims his tourism business has seen a 1,000 percent increase in revenue over the last three years. If that isn’t illustrative of Iran being on the up and up, what is? One site that particularly calls to me is the ruins of Persepolis. This was the booming metropolis where king Xerxes took up residence. The history, the distinction, the prevalence of culture and tradition in Persepolis as well as Iran as a whole leaves me, quite frankly, astounded.

The Middle East is a region recently fallen on hard times. Yet, that is no reason to write it off or forget about. It is the Babylonian Gardens. It is the birth of society and the cradle of civilization. It is the Mecca, of well, Saudi Arabia; and I for one, plan to pilgrimage for less than religious reasons, but not to Saudi Arabia. Probably more like Iran or Iraq, at some point anyway.

Travel + Benefits

Tony Bilby, Map, Travel, Benefit, Healthy, Psychological

Map of the World

When one travels it often leads to a different perception of the world that we inhabit. When closed off without ever having the good fortune to experience how others live, we can find ourselves in a locked  cage of naivety that simply doesn’t represent the way the rest of the world thinks. Frankly, I think travel could have a tremendous impact on reducing bigotry, racism, and judgmental ideologies. Of course, to implement any sort of program where everyone is forced to travel is a utopian fantasy that will never be accomplished. However, the rationale stands, or so I believe it does, and it is for that reason that hereafter I will extoll a few of the benefits I have personally encountered over the course of my own travels. Of course, all I say will be backed with scientific evidence from this academic study done at the University of Tennessee.


In regards to a group of students who studied in Japan, it was written that “the overseas group increased in flexibility and independence and became less conventional.” The students themselves then claimed more positive side effects including “personal growth, increased tolerance, improved self-understanding, greater openness…” (page two). It keeps going. With increased flexibility and independence came the ability to be less conventional. The students developed a stronger personality that will now impact the way they live the rest of their life. Rather than be frightened into societal normalizations that can all too-often force people to behave as someone else, these students have been exposed to the fact that there is an entire world out there that does not live the way they do, that does not hold the same judgements that they do, that does not fear the same things they do. With greater understanding comes greater acceptance, and greater understanding comes with greater exposure.


Even Nolan Bushnell, the founder of the Atari corporation, agrees and claims “a significant number of my big-money ideas have occurred to me while on vacation or on foreign travel. At work, you’re on automatic pilot…But you go to France…you have leisure” (Page 3) It this ability to get away from routine, that ruthless mind-numbing routine, that gives your brain the space it needs to formulate new ideas that it simply wouldn’t have otherwise. So it is not just acceptance that becomes more prevalent, but creativity as well. I strongly encourage you to take a look at the academic journal linked so that you can see for yourself the way the journal quantifies these seemingly abstract concepts that at first glance, are difficult to, for lack of a better word, quantify.


The authors mainly substantiate their claims by drawing upon previously done research and exploring the meaning of “culture shock” and what its true impact is upon individuals entering different regions or psychological arenas for the first time. Regardless, travel is good for the soul. It is good for the mind. It is good for the world.

Also, check out “StampAbout Jake and Chad’s” video regarding travel benefits:



Tips for Munich Travel

Munich is potentially the most beautiful metropolis in all of Germany. Boasting history stretching back over half a millennium while simultaneously showcasing innovative technology in the way of the famed BMW museum, this cosmopolitan paradise beckons hordes of tourists to experience its one-of-a-kind personality every year. Between countless facets of entertainment and the intriguing history prevalent on every street, there is honestly no place I’d rather be. It is for this reason I’ve decided to put together a quick and easy guide so that you may truly take full advantage of the city.

Take Public Transit

I know in America, this can often seem like a foreign (pun intended) concept unless you live in one of the major cities. But the fact is that the public transit here is precise, pristine and quite frankly, nearly perfect. Don’t waste your money on overly expensive cab/car services when a perfectly functional public transit system exists to cater to the city’s inhabitants’ comfort. Clean and on-time, I really can’t say enough, but you get the point.

Visit Museums

So much history beats as the lifeblood of the city, driving the metropolis’s perpetual ambition to improve, which is perhaps evident in the the fact that Munich is constantly on the brink of emerging and exciting technologies. That said, you should pay a visit to the BMW museum. Filled with the latest luxury models and boasting all sorts of technology, the museum actually necessitates two separate buildings in order to house everything it has to exhibit. One space is reserved for a more car-oriented theme while the other area is often used to showcase different artistic creations. By infusing culture and luxury with friendly customer service, the BMW museum has been one of the most enjoyable exhibitions I have ever witnessed.

Take advantage of the nightlife.

Munich nightlife is an absolute blast when you take into consideration the fact that the city is quite young (mean age of 29). This leads to a vivacious electricity that immerses the streets when the sun goes down, as laughs and smiles parade around town in palpable euphoria. This said, do be sure to check out the original Hofbrauhaus bar. This venue is literally over 400 years old and boasts a remarkable atmosphere that is simply unparalleled. Get to know the residents of Munich and mingle with other tourists doing the same as you as you sip some of the most delicious beer available in the country. Although the options are fairly limited ranging from the darker dunkel to a lighter option, there is still something for everyone; and even if you think there is nothing for you, just risk it and give it a chance. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I hope this helps during your Germanic travels. Godspeed and Guten Tag!


Tony Bilby, Beer, Munich, Germany, Travel

Munich Beer

Also, check out this video by

The Ninth Planet

The Cosmos


These past few years have seen some wild shifts in the way we perceive the empty space around our planet. Out there, swimming in the unwavering stillness of space, a new planet has joined our Solar System. Beyond the recently re-incorporated planet of Pluto, spins a frozen giant three-times the size of planet Earth. This super-Earth or mini-Neptune is a frozen giant, drifting so far away from our sun during its orbit that until now, we had no idea it was a neighbor.

With a revolution around the sun taking an estimated 20,000 earth years, this cattywampus trajectory is not only responsible for it’s until now secret existence, but that it’s surface is nearly entirely frozen through. Though it’s gotten plenty of names from admirers, “George’s” appearance has caused quite an upset in the science community.

There is still so much we don’t understand about the space around our world. Endless in all directions, to start calculating the infinity of space is to spend your life hunched over figures and equations. Predicted to travel along an egg-shaped orbit around our sun, scientists are trying their best to study “George” before it slips past us and won’t be back to visit for another few thousand years.

Signs of this giant have been around for years. Pluto was first discovered when astronomers noticed strange gravitational anomalies past Neptune. Initially confused how such a small planet could be creating such a distortion, scientists were puzzled yet pleased that pluto, the then latest addition to our roster of celestial bodies, was found at all. This latest planet has finally put those mysterious questions to bed while simultaneously opening the floodgates to new and wonderful mysteries to explore.

Uber and Business

Once thought of as a passing fad, Uber has grown roots and taken hold. Now a full-blown means of mass transit,  Uber has given the centuries-old Yellow Taxi a run for its money. In just a few short years, Uber now accounts for 41% of the total ground transportation all over the world. With more affordable prices, the ability to make your own hours, and no overhead, Uber is recruiting drivers faster than they are getting people to their destination. But what new service is Uber offering its business clients?

regarding UBER


Analysts attribute the rise of ride-hailing services to several factors. Chief among them, Uber is usually cheaper. Prices, however, aren’t the only contributing factors to Uber’s rise. On average, Uber riders are ranked very highly on online forums, where Taxi drivers languish near the bottom. This is not to say that Taxi drivers are notoriously mean, but the experience of hailing a ride from Uber’s free app cuts so much hassle out of a trip that they naturally appeal to the consumer.

Uber has become the go-to for business professional looking for a ride. The business of renting cars and waiting for Taxis is a dying, and quickly. Uber, along with their drivers are too free to handle their business. Uber represents the millennial-side of business, the freedom afforded by modern technology and the willingness to be your own boss. How could any Taxi service compete?

Holiday Travel Tips



The holidays are upon us, and the flurry of flights and family trips means that airports and roads are clogged with traffic. Oftentimes, airlines will increase the price of their most desirable tickets, ensuring that you pay the price when visiting your family. But what are some ways to beat the holiday price hike? How can you turn holiday stress into a way to save some spare cash? Below are some quick tips to ensure that your money goes to your family and not the travel agent this season.

Flexibility: During the holiday seasons, it’s important to avoid traveling before or immediately after the holiday in question. Ticket costs spike on these days because airlines know how eager families are to see each other, and then to escape when the initial charm has worn off. Be flexible when setting your holiday travel schedule. This means that spending the holidays with your family either a little before or after the actual date can save big dollars.

Bundle Up: Though it might be cold where you’re traveling, I do not mean to layer up. The more you can group together when organizing your vacation, the better. A flight bundled with a rental car and hotel can save you hundreds if done correctly. Don’t be afraid to invest a little time in your price hunting. Your bank account will appreciate the extra effort.

Air Miles: Did you know that thousands of airline miles go unused every year? Don’t be afraid to break open your cache of free flights and use them during the holidays. Some credit card customers don’t know that with each swipe, they’re accumulating miles that could save them even more. Failing to take advantage of such an excellent program will only cost you money and frustration.

Following these tips will guarantee a happy holiday if travel is in your midst. For more information on useful holiday travel tips, click here.