Together We Can Change the World

My name is Scott Johnson and my dream was to create an organization that promotes self-improvement through personal reflection, travel, and philanthropy. Why those things? Because I’ve lived and studied in Europe as well as traveled to more than 30 other countries – which has provided the most extraordinary and enlightening experiences. Additionally, I’ve volunteered at various charities and been a Big Brother youth mentor for more than 10 years – which has taught me humility.

I believe the value of these life-changing experiences are truly beyond measure and desperately needed in the world today. The media is often full of fear, hate, and misinformation, creating a perpetual state-of-fear and anxiety for much of the world. We can overcome this though, by supporting good causes, seeking more information and new experiences, and inspiring those around us to do the same.

Win Epic Trips is a nonprofit adventure fundraiser and culmination of everything stated above. The goal is to inspire the world to be more supportive of great charities by offering donors the chance to win amazing adventures. Every quarter we fundraise for a new charity and create new trips to giveaway. Our first charity is Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southern Nevada, a remarkable agency which I’ve supported for over decade and can personally vouch for.

The ultimate reward of travel philanthropy is that you end up living a remarkable life, full of interesting stories, unique friendships, and extraordinary life experiences. You become an Epic Storyteller.

By supporting great charities and going on grand adventures, we can create a culture of philanthropy and personal growth. Together, we change the world.

Join us at https://epic-fundraisers.org/win

Scott Johnson
Founder & Principle Fundraiser   

Valle de Guadalupe – 5 Star Wine & Food

The Best Least Known Place for Wine & Food

Only a two-hour drive from San Diego and a beautiful one at that – hides Valle de Guadalupe.

It boasts over a 100 wineries, dozens of outstanding farm-to-table restaurants, and charming B&Bs all over the place. Sandy roads still connect all these amazing places and usually have few cars on them. The views and tasting menus from the vineyards make you constantly question how so few people know of this place.

Our favorite vineyard was Las Nubes and restaurant was Deckmans – both of which are featured in this Bloomberg article. At Deckmans, we had a 2lb bone-in Ribeye (which dreams are made of) for like $50, and after getting a bottle of wine with dinner, plus one to-go, plus appetizers and dessert, the bill came to a whopping $100.

There wasn’t a negative thing to say about the entire trip, the conversation was how soon can we come back!

Do yourself a massive favor and get here before everyone else does.

 

Hội An Vietnam – Ancient and Beautiful

Hội An is traditional and authentic, its’ beauty is absolutely enchanting.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Town Hội An, the city’s historic district, is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th century, with a remarkable covered “Japanese Bridge,” dating to the 16th century.

It’s easily one of the most beautiful night markets and provides the rare opportunity to glimpse into what the past might’ve looked like. A small river divides the city and is dotted with little boats that provide cheap rides and sell floating lanterns. There are tons of delicious and cheap street food vendors, including several native dishes to Hội An. Another city staple is their history of fine fabrics and tailored clothing, you can find wonderful tailors all of the city.

From local art galleries to ancient temples, mixed with trendy small cafes and bars – Hội An is the shining jewel of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

 

 

Beale Street Music Festival – Cheap & Awesome

The Beale Street Music Festival

This music festival is the most modestly priced big music event in the US. Considering a 3-day pass is only $125, for names like Incubus, Post Malone, Erykah Badu, Queens of the Stone Age, just to name a few – is unheard of. Not to mention the BBQ and other Memphis area attractions, it’s a no-brainer if you like music and good deals.

Checkout more details here Beale Street Music Festival

A Time Warp – Havana, Cuba

Havana has a unique and enchanting allure, like a glimpse into the past, set to a tune by the Bueno Vista Social Club.

It’s a mixture of colonial buildings showing various stages of age, dotted with local and boutique restaurants, most having patios and mixing delicious mojitos. When you’re sitting in the Old Quarter, it’s difficult to not feel like Hemmingway might have just left before you got there. The streets linger with nostalgic romance, like dried roses on an antique armoire, faded beauty which remains beautiful, but just in a different way. It always feels festive too, the people are so lively energetic.

The Absolutely Don’t Miss List:

  • Fábrica de Arte Cubano – the coolest combination of art gallery, club, music venue, restaurant, and bar, we’ve ever seen with no second place. 
  • 304 O’Reilly – they have amazing craft cocktails, juices, and food. It’s a tiny place, but not one you want to miss – we had to go back several times. 
  • Sloppy Joes – it’s a restored relic of times long gone, a place worth having a drink.

Cuba itself can appeal to virtually anyone with classical Havana, the turquoise waters and white sand beaches of Varadero, an authentic colonial experience in Trinidad, and the rustic appeal of Viñales, where the red dirt and tobacco plantations warm the soul.

Nat Geo’s 2017 Best Travel Photos

When it comes to the outdoors and photos, it’s hard to come close to the contributors for National Geographic. We look at our own DSLR cameras and wonder if they working properly! Cheers to all the amazing photographers who have the patience and eye to catch such beauty in a single frame.

“Our photo editors chose the most the striking travel photos from the past year. Board the longest train ride in India, sail on the world’s largest cruise ship, and venture to the Nevada desert for Burning Man.” (National Geographic) 

VIEW THE BEST TRAVEL PHOTOS OF 2017

 

5-Days in Hanoi

Sometimes referred to as “Paris of the Orient”, Hanoi is equally as exciting and lovable with every cafes on every corner and street food in-between. There are so many things to do and see in Hanoi, we thought it best to create a must hit list with museums, unique food, and cultural experiences.

  • Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword), take some nice pictures on the Red Bridge, enjoy some ice-cream on Trang Tien Street
  • Water puppet show, 57b Dinh Tien Hoang Street (show time: 3:30, 5:00, 6:00, 8:00, 9:15 pm)
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda, oldest Buddhist pagoda in Hanoi
  • Museum of Ethnology, Nguyen Van Huyen Street (a must if you want to see a broader picture of Vietnam’s 54 peoples. Closes on Mondays)
  • Temple of Literature (first university of Vietnam)
  • Tan My Design, 66 Hang Gai Street (3 generations of Hanoi’s finest silk and embroidery products) Hillary Clinton bought a scarf here
  • Hoa Lo/Hanoi Hilton prison, Pete Peterson the first ambassador to unified Vietnam and Senator John McCain used to be prisoners here
  • Drink some ‘Bia Hoi’ in Ta Hien beer street. Remember to cheer others with ‘Mot, hai,ba dzo’ (1,2,3 bottom up!) if you want to be like a local
  • The Hung Snake Restaurant – cobras are selected and cooked for you 10 different ways
  • Bun cha Huong Lien, 24 Le Van Huu Street (famous diners include Barack Obama and chef Anthony Bourdain)
  • Giang Cafe, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street (famous for egg coffee) (a must)
  • Pho Thin, 13 Lo Duc Street (very famous for noodle soup with chicken)
  • Cha Ca La Vong (grilled fish)
  • Book a cyclo tour if you want (make sure to bargain and agree on the number or hours and price before getting on one)

 

The Food of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires literally has it all, gorgeous people, sultry underground jazz clubs, spectacular architecture, and heavenly meat.

A Few Terms You Should Know Prior to Eating 

Parrilla: Translates to both steakhouse and the actual grill
Bodegones: Classic Buenos Aires neighborhood eateries serving local comfort foods like grilled meats, pastas, and beef or chicken
Asado: Barbecue, also the shortened term for tira de asado, short or long ribs
Puerta Cerrada: Closed door restaurant, by reservation only, generally in the chef’s home, serving a fixed tasting menu
Cenar: To eat dinner, typically quite late, around 9 p.m. to 11 p.m

Here’s some spots that we drooled over and you shouldn’t miss.

Don Julio

When people around the world talk about eating meat, they are all talking about Don Julio – Carnivore Heaven. While Don Julio is no longer a secret, the upscale steakhouse still captures the hearts and stomachs of locals and travelers. This is the place to experience what the Argentine parrilla is all about: top grass-fed sirloin, rump, and skirt steak, crispy sweetbreads, and Malbec by the bottles. Since eating here, we wake up with drool on our pillow and steak on our minds many mornings…

I Latina

If you’ve eaten enough beef to get the “meat sweats”, yes that’s a thing, then I Latina will round you out with some balanced nutrition that is absolutely delicious. With a refined spin on Caribbean flavors, a seafood-rich menu that features Colombian, Peruvian, and Argentine ingredients, the contrasting flavors will delight your palete. Standout dishes include a tropical play on ceviche served with mango, fresh coconut, and lychee and a deconstructed arepa—pulled beef and citrus avocado salad on top of a crispy patacón—showcasing varying temperatures and textures.

Cafe Rivas

Café Rivas feels like it would be the corner spot that you’d always go to for comfort food, if you also wanted a serious wine selection. Located in a beautiful two-story building on the corner of a cobblestone street in San Telmo, it has an old world ambiance accompanied by live piano music on weekends. It’s an awesome chill spot to grab a bite.