Piccolo Venice Travel

Food. Travel. Photography.

Resources For Learning English Online

I figured I’d put together this post for anyone who’s looking to visit North America from a non-English speaking country. Learning English can be very challenging. Even if you can read English or understand it when other people speak it, it can be hard to get to the point where you can engage in conversation with other people.

While you could buy a book and learn that way, there are a lot of resources for learning English online. If you take advantage of these sorts of resources, you’ll be able to improve your understanding of the English language.

You don’t need to travel to a school in order to take English classes. There are a number of course that are available online. If you take some of these courses, you’ll be able to get help from a trained instructor. They’ll also be able to provide you with some very helpful resources.

There are a number of different classes available. Some of them are free, while others charge a small fee. People interested in learning this way should take a look at all of the options they have. From there, they can work to find a class that’s a good fit for them.

Here are a few online classes that you may want to consider:


Effortless English Club


Flash Cards

talkingpeopleIf you’ve learned the basics of English, but want to hone your knowledge, you may want to try using flash cards. Flash cards can help you to practice English words until you get more comfortable with them.

There are a number of flash card apps that are available for phones and other mobile devices. Using something like this allows people to brush up on their English no matter where they are.

Online Communities

Sometimes, the best way to learn English is by interacting with other English speakers. There are a wide range of communities on the internet that you can be a part of. If you join one of these communities, you can have a chance to practice English in a low-stress environment.

Message boards and Facebook groups can be particularly helpful. Because of the way they’re designed, users will be able to take their time and decipher things slowly. In time, their English skills will improve, and they’ll get faster.

It’s important for people to find resources for learning English online. After all, you can’t improve anything without practice. If you take the time to work on your English skills, you’ll eventually be able to become a fluent English speaker. There are a lot of great tools out there; make sure you use them.

Choosing The Best Camera Lenses For Travel

If you plan to travel soon, you are likely trying to decide what photography equipment to pack. Choosing the right lenses to take can really impact the photos you shoot. You want to get the best image quality possible while travelling. If you are having trouble deciding what lens or lenses to take, consider the advice in this article.

First, consider the weight of the lenses you own. If you are flying, you will want to pack lenses that are considerably light. Heavier models can be a hassle to carry or pack. If you were to pack all of your lenses and equipment, your bag would be too heavy to carry. Try to pick out one or two quality, light lenses to take.


Next, consider which of your lenses are most versatile. There are so many different things to shoot when you are travelling. From scenery to portraits, you want to be able to capture it all. This means a lens such as a macro lens will not be the best choice. Choose a lens or lenses that can properly shoot a large variety of subjects.

Lastly, consider the possibility of your lenses being lost, stolen or broken. You may want to leave your most expensive lenses at home because of these factors. If you are staying with family in a safe city, this may not be a factor. If you are going abroad to a foreign city, you should pack lenses that are not too expensive.

Keep these factors in mind as you begin planning your next trip. When you choose your lenses carefully, you will get the best possible shots.

Remember to carefully pack your lenses so they are not damaged during travels. This will ensure you can enjoy shooting throughout the entire trip.

Best Unknown Hidden Gem Restaurants In California

California is quite a large state, and so there are plenty of hidden gem restaurants. Of course, there are also the top-rated restaurants and favorite celebrity hot spots which are easy to find in any of the major directories like yelp and trip advisor. If you want to pay too much for your food, get in a traffic jam, have trouble making reservations and end up disappointed in a sea of faces, that’s up to you. Instead, you could be hitting up these hidden gem restaurants in California that not everyone knows about.

When I was looking up the best unknown restaurants in California, one site had two ads at the top of the actual listings. I was surprised to see Wingstop listed there. Okay, Wingstop is great and all, but it’s definitely only listed there for advertising purposes. Let’s get to the real listings, the real hidden gems.

black-fig-LA-restuarantThe Tulip Cafe and The Black Fig are two of listings. The Tulip Cafe is located in downtown Los Angeles, and The Black Fig is located in the Arts District. One thing about Los Angeles is that not much can be hidden in that city, but these restaurants are indeed considered hidden gems.

Next up on the list is Papilles Bistro, and you can find this favorite spot in Hollywood Hills. A good restaurant in LA is first going to be one that the tourists don’t flock to in droves. You want to stay away from that scene and instead be eating with the locals. Of course, there are other cities besides Los Angeles, but to unpack all the best unknown restaurants in California would take quite awhile.

I’ll give you some more listings to consider for next time you eat out at a restaurant in California. Nabeeya, Yuko Kitchen and Aroma Restaurant are three more options. Check out the cuisines for each and pick your next dining out experience.

I know this is a short one, let me know on twitter if you like these types of mosts as I have no shortage of food recommendations from around the world.

Learning Travel Photography & Hitting The Road

Another blog post from our recent series of travel photography related posts.

Travel photography is so much fun because you not only get to have those new and unique experiences, but you get to bookmark them as well with great photographs. You’ve treasured those memories, and you can even get into freelance photography as a job and not just a hobby. It’s really up to you how far you want to go with everything.

When you’re traveling to a new location, you’re going to want to make sure that you do some research so that you know all the great places to take photographs. It’s still going to be nothing like exploring the place in person, but familiarizing yourself with the territory is always good.

sunrise-beachMake sure you have all your photos backed up. Depending on the type of equipment you have, you might benefit from having a good portable hard drive. Laptops also come in handy of course, and these days it’s almost like people can simply just use their phones. I took some great photos of the Myrtle Beach sunrise by simply using my phone.

If you’re in a place with quite a few tourists like I am, it’s going to be better if you can work outside their schedule. This will give you the most peaceful opportunities for photographs, such as the sunrise I was talking about. Look for places with the best views, and it helps if you stay in a hotel with a nice view. You can always make it a practice to take those types of pictures from where you’re staying and make them into a travel journal of photographs.

One thing you might want to do is start a travel blog, and you can post updates to your blog on various social media sites. Make sure you have all of the other equipment you need and get ready to take some great photographs.

How To Communicate When On The Open Road

Traveling the world and seeing new things is the dream of many people on this planet. That being said, the stress of not being able to get one’s point across due to the language barrier causes many to give up on their dream. Instead of doing that, why not have a plan to allow one to communicate more effectively without the months or years of study required to be fluent in a language. #TheOpenRoad

Read on for some quick tips on how to do so. Oh and don’t forget to check out my last post on places to travel.

Let’s face it. One is not going to hold complex conversations about politics with a complete stranger in a foreign land with just a month or less of training. When one is traveling to a new place though, common phrases are a necessity to getting around. Understanding this and practicing how to say these key sentences will quickly get one acclimated and closer to being conversational in a new language.

By practicing a few of these and learning the key answers, in particular the words you need to get your point across, is all that is necessary to get over the barrier of not understanding. At least making this effort will signal to a foreign person that you are trying, and for most that is enough to create a small bond one never would have had achieved any other way.

Finding a local to help you get your point across is always a great strategy. If you’re a native English speaker then you shouldn’t have any problems trying to find someone who can help you. Use one’s hands to describe in combination with the expressions learned will go a long way in getting any point across. Be careful of this though as it can backfire on you. When I was in Asia a few years ago, I told someone who was heckling me to “Shoo” with the classic brushing away hand action. Little did I know that in Asia the brushing away action actually means for someone to come closer, oops!

Another great way to pick up a language is to take an online course or a class at your local college. Yes, this takes more time but you’ll be able to work through structured training to get some great results. I know a few people from my time traveling in India who were trying to learn english online, they took a relatively cheap course called, How to Learn English. Within days they started to see a real difference in their communication skills. Being part of a Facebook group also made communicating with others who are also learning a lot easier.

The same goes for people trying to learn Spanish, French, etc. Online language training can be a great way to start learning a new language. A popular example of this is Rosetta Stone.

Youtube is a great way to hear languages being spoken by native speakers. You can learn about local dialects and hear slang terms that you may not learn in a structure course. One tip I found on youtube is using movies to learn how to speak a language, movies are a great way to learn how people speak naturally in conversation and what’s relavent in popular culture (well, if you’re watching current films). Check out the video below to see what I mean:

If you’re really trying to get more of a grasp on a language before you travel. You can use technology to your advantage as well. Many mobile applications can greatly assist one in communicating effectively but never use it as one’s primary crutch. Apps such as Duolingo can we a great way to learn the basics of a language, in fact, if you spend long enough with the app you can find yourself quite proficient in a language.

Do you have any language learning tips? Reach out to me on twitter!


Travel To These Countries In 2016 #DiscoverTheWorld

Traveling is such an exciting opportunity, especially when you’re traveling the world and seeing different countries and experiencing the culture of those countries. There are attractions, shopping centers, festivals and of course all the great restaurants with unique cuisines and more available for your discovery and enjoyment.

So which countries are you prepared to travel in 2016? Check out this list of the top countries for people to visit in the new year.

Would you imagine that Greenland would be on the list? I would never have thought, not because Greenland isn’t a great country to visit. It’s a great country, and you might want to now add it to your list of future destinations. Uruguay is another really interesting find when looking at the list of top 10 countries to visit for 2016.

One country that you might expect to be there is Fiji, and a great time to visit is during the holidays. Latvia also makes the list, and the next one, Australia, is a rather large destination that you might want to visit over and over again. So many people travel to the Gold Coast each and every year.

Are you wanting to experience diving and snorkeling in a place that you might not have even heard of before? The premier diving and snorkeling destination of 2016 is Palau. Poland, the US and Japan also make the list of the top 10 countries. There is only one more, and I saved the best for last, as it is #1 on the list.

The country is Botswana, and there, you will get to experience the African safari and jungle. That would definitely make for a unique and interesting vacation! So which one of these countries will you pick first?

What Are The Best Photo Locations In Los Angeles?

If you are a photographer in the Los Angeles area, you have many opportunities to shoot great photos. Whether you are visiting or reside in the area, the hot spots for photographers are abundant. This article gives you some examples of the best photo locations and tips for shooting in the area. Use this advice to get amazing snapshots throughout Los Angeles.


Do you like urban styles, art, and culture? Then shooting in The Art District is ideal for you. This area of Los Angeles is widely known for being home to amazing graffiti work. The art in this area is constantly changing. You can use The Art District as a repeat shooting location as the graffiti is ever changing.

Local law enforcement suggests that photographers only shoot in this area when it is light outside. This reduces the risk of getting your camera or equipment stolen. It’s also wise to travel with a group if you aren’t familiar with the area. Stick to shooting before the sun goes down in order to stay safe.

la-city-imageLittle Tokyo is another district that’s ideal for shooting very unique photos. The Japanese culture blends with the Los Angeles scene, giving you an incredible look into both worlds. Shooting here is popular among photographers who like art, fashion, and city life snapshots. Apply the tips given above about traveling during the day and protecting your equipment.

These are just two of the many examples of great photo locations in Los Angeles. Consider browsing the city’s official website for information about local parks, buildings, live shows and more. These can be great places and events to shoot. As you can see, Los Angeles provides ample opportunities for photographers who want to take memorable, unique and high-quality pictures.