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Frustrate Me, Inspire Me, Show Me – Thanks Instagram!

Instagram | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International Discovery

Ah, Instagram. It seems like every time I check it, someone else I know (or kinda know) is off gallivanting around the world while I sit at home mentally preparing to clean out the gutters AGAIN. Why can’t I be in Machu Picchu having my mind blown or snorkeling in Bora Bora and making friends with tropical fish that like the water even more than I do? Ugh.

When I think about it more, maybe when the gutters are just about halfway done, what or who we follow on Instagram can be just as much about motivation as it is for keeping tabs on what’s what with who you know (or kinda know). The realm of social media may center on the speed in which a story is delivered or the personal connection you think you get from the friend or company you follow/like/stalk, but it’s also ripe with ideas and inspiration for what to do with ourselves in this great big world.

So here are a few of the Instagram accounts that do just that – display the world, earn my well-deserved applause, or inspire an envy that I’m happy to have.

This Wild Idea

Photographer Theron Humphrey’s greatest subject is his dog, Maddie the Coonhound. Maddie is a model subject, especially when you consider the fact that her breed is prone to follow its nose at any time no matter what. Theron has combined his talent at photography, passion for animal rescue, and thirst for travel into various projects that have taken him to all 50 states, high praise for his first published book, and a fan base of nearly half a million Instagram followers to date. If you’ve ever tried taking a picture of your dog eating a ice cream cone or riding in a shopping cart, it might have been because Theron inspired you to do so.


Is there an organization that takes travel as seriously as NASA? Nope. You won’t find better pictures of Mother Earth than the ones posted here. Or Andromeda. Or Nebula. Or dust particles. NASA’s been pretty hip lately too. They’ve piggybacked off the success of the film Gravity and the new TV event Cosmos to tie in what’s hot in pop culture with their fundamental mission of scientific discovery. When can I go to space?

National Geographic

It’s your bookshelf rows of yellow magazines updated for the age of Instagram. World-renowned for their specialized and in-depth stories, breathtaking photography, and adventurous spirit, National Geographic will put ideas in your head about travel, people, the environment, history, anthropology,  and nearly anything else that you can think of about life on Earth. If you haven’t dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer at some point in your life, just wait… you will.

Poler Outdoor Stuff

It’s a company. They make camping stuff. But they also have a spirit that’s contagious – Camp Vibes. Whether they post about their much-talked-about Napsack being on sale or a new store opening, it’s crystal clear that they really, really, really want people (like you) to get out into the wilderness and see the world. Whether you’re camping in Yosemite or off the beaten-path in Chile, they love to know about it and often repost photos from their followers. Vibes are best when they’re reciprocated.


Keeping us informed since 1851, Reuters reports the world’s affairs from around the globe. As much fun as it is to arrive to a new place with no preconception for what’s going on, a great traveler is an informed traveler. Not only a great resource for knowing what’s going on, but their posts are photo journalism at its finest. That paper and pen is just as important to bring along as your camera.

International Discovery 

We’re new to Instagram! Not only do we want to spotlight our amazing trips, we want you to share your photos. Filter away, friends! Follow us and be sure to tag us @internationaldiscovery so we can share in the delights in your adventures. Keep an eye out for upcoming photo contests, too. We know that sometimes a little prize gets those creative juices flowing with a little bit more umph.

What travel-inspiring folks do you follow in Instagram? Tell us right now! Pretty please!

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Been there. Done that?

Been There, Done That? | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International Discovery

When I was younger and would use poor grammar, my father used to correct me with the exasperating phrase “Ouch- that hurt my ears!” As frustrating as it was to have to stop in mid-sentence, correct myself, and then continue, it was in fact effective.

As an adult, I’ve silently struggled with a similar “Ouch- that hurt my ears!” scenario that I hear people say all the time when talking about where they have traveled or where they want to go:

“Oh, I did France last summer.”

“I really want to do Nepal.”

“I’ve done South America.”

What does this mean, to “do” a country? How could you possibly have “done” an entire continent? Even if you have explored every 6.9 million square miles of South America – experiences are never static. You could visit 6.9 million times and have a completely different experience each trip. And learn something new each visit as well.

I know it seems fussy to zero-in on one word (of course I know what is meant by the phrase) – but in the same way that my father would have me stop, reflect on my word use, and correct myself- I think we can do the same for this ubiquitous word usage of “doing” a place. And the issue seems to be systemic.

Eiffel Tower | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International DiscoveryThe phrase to ‘do’ a place is more than just mere words. It is a symptom of a screwy approach to traveling. Traveling is not a checklist. It is not a competition of how many places you’ve been. ‘Doing’ a place sounds like you’ve conquered it. And, ouch. That hurts my ears.

Sure, I understand that if you visit Egypt, you will want to see the Great Pyramids. Just in the same way, a first time visitor to Paris would of course want to visit the Eiffel Tower. But if traveling is merely an agenda of places to see and do – you are in danger of missing out on what traveling is all about.

The people, the sounds, the experiences are infinite. See the World Wonder, but don’t forget to wander the alleyways. Stop-in for a rest in a local teahouse. Overcome language barriers during long conversation with a newfound friend.

Don’t resist revisiting the same place again and again (without fear of missing out on something else) if that’s what you desire.

Because even if you haven’t seen those 1000 Places to See Before You Die as many others before you have, every new travel experience is your own.

And that doesn’t hurt my ears at all.


~ Ashley Hiemenz, Blog Contributor


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New 2015 Educational Tours

Why is now the prime time to start planning your 2015 WorldStrides International Discovery program? The earlier you start planning, the easier it is to recruit. …AND travelers have plenty of time to break up the tour cost into small monthly payments. Better yet, we have five new tours to choose from!

Check out our exciting new offerings for 2015!

New 2015 Educational Tours | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International Discovery

Journey to southern Spain and enjoy the architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona including Parc Guell, Casa Mila, and the stunning Sagrada Familia. Then explore Dali’s hometown and museum before zipping off to Andalucia. In and on your way to Granada, you’ll experience beautiful natural caves in Zuheros and the peaceful palace of Alhambra. Check out the full itinerary.


New 2015 Educational Tours | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International Discovery

It’s like no other place on earth: The lush landscape of Iceland, from steaming waters to snow-capped mountains, will captivate you with its natural wonders. Relax in waters heated by the earth’s core and feel your heart race with thundering waterfalls. You’ll be amazed by the breathtaking sights of Iceland’s natural and geological beauty! Check out the full itinerary.

New 2015 Educational Tours | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International Discovery

Explore the two capitals of Spain when you travel from Madrid to Seville. The Spanish capital of Madrid combines a long and proud history, exquisite art and a vibrant modern culture. Juxtapose city life with life on the river in Andalucia’s capital – Seville. Experience Flamenco, bullfighting, and their unique Moorish architectural styles whilst in Seville. Check out the full itinerary.

New 2015 Educational Tours | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International Discovery

Explore Mozart’s birthplace, King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle, and experience the unforgettable Berlin Wall Museum. This trip across Germany (with a quick stop in Austria) will expose students to the vast history and culture, both grand and terrible, that the region has to offer. Check out the full itinerary.


New 2015 Educational Tours | The Educated Traveler | WorldStrides International Discovery

Journey to southeast Asia and explore the cities of  Ho Chi Minh, Siem Reap, and Bangkok. Experience the Mekong Delta waterways and the Taiwanese klongs. See the Buddhist lifestyle firsthand within the ancient temples such as Angkor Wat and in the Grand Palace with its beautiful Emerald Buddha. Check out the full itinerary.

In addition to the awesome tours I’ve outlined above, we also have hundreds of other tours to choose from. So check out one of our brand new tours, browse our handy tour selector, or even create a custom tour that perfectly meets your needs. Either way we are here waiting to assist you in any way. Happy travels!

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Hi, I'm Julia! I don't get to travel as much as I want to (who does?), but when I do, my goal is to share my discoveries and insights with humor and enthusiasm on all of our social media avenues. On The Educated Traveler blog, the official blog of WorldStrides International Discovery programs, you'll find all kinds of great information about travel and education, tips, news, classroom lesson ideas and more! Subscribe above!


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