England vs UK vs Great Britain – are these the same?

Do England, the United Kingdom, and Great Britain, all refer to the same place?  What’s the difference, and what’s included in each? Is Scotland a country?  Here’s the answer in a 5-minute video that breaks these down, and I’ve also highlighted some quick answers below that. You’ll understand your initial question in the first 30-seconds, but this clip does a great job with the natural follow-up questions like why the Queen is on Canadian currency, and where do Belize and the Cayman Islands fit in?  Enjoy!

Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained

Here’s a quick breakdown:

England contains about 80% of the population of the UK.

Great Britain includes England, Wales and Scotland. Great Britain is a geographical term referring to the island on which the greater parts of England, Wales and Scotland are situated, and a legal one referring to those three territories considered together. Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles, which is most of the UK but not all.

Where does the name Great Britain come from? The name GB originates from the Latin ‘Britannia’, the ‘Great’ being introduced to distinguish it from Little Britain, which was the French province later called Bretagne, or Brittany.

Sharks, Sea Turtles, Barracudas, & more!

SCUBA Diving in Sipadan in the Semporna Archipelago in Malaysian Borneo — It was my first time swimming with sharks – they were everywhere, and didn’t seem to care much about us swimming a few feet away. Sipadan dive photos below, including sharks, sea turtles, harlequin sweetlips, school of jackfish, surgeonfish, purple antihas, big eye emperors, yellow mask angelfish, triggerfish, butterfly fish, parrotfish, unicorn fish, and more!

Whitetip Reef Shark
surprise visitors during our dive – sharks!

school of Jackfish

1st underwater SCUBA Diving photo of me
1st underwater SCUBA Diving photo of me


Harlequinn Sweetlips

A graceful Sea Turtle swims next to us during our SCUBA dive

A graceful Sea Turtle swims next to us during our SCUBA dive

(Press SL for Slideshow, FS for Full Screen):

Hong Kong above – photography from the Vertical Horizon project

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captured Hong Kong’s soaring heights in his Vertical Horizon project, which is now an 80-page book of photos from his 2012. The 26-year-old French photographer captures the city’s architecture and vertical angles – all looking up. So cool!

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures Hong Kong’s soaring heights
Photo from Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze Hong Kong photography project

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures the vertical angles through a wide-angle Sigma lens with a 10 mm focal length. Unlike a fisheye lenses, he says a sigma lens avoids distorting the urban landscape’s straight lines.

Hong Kong - photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's Vertical Horizon on Visit50

This photo reminds me of the Guggenheim museum in NYC, but it's actually French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's photo from Hong Kong in his Vertical Horizon project
This shot reminds me of the Guggenheim museum in NYC, but it’s actually in Hong Kong
Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's Vertical Horizon in Hong Kong on Visit50
French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze shot these in 2011 and 2012

Hong Kong Vertical Horizon - Visit50

Check out the full 80-page book at the link below –
Vertical Horizon (English and Chinese Edition)

To see more posts on Hong Kong, including some of the best Hong Kong architecture.

50 Sunset Silhouettes – Boracay Beaches

There’s nothing quite like experiencing a breathtaking sunset, and it makes for some awesome sunset silhouettes.

We saw some of the most amazing sunsets in Boracay in the Philippines – below are the first 8 of Visit50.com‘s 50 Sunset Silhouettes!

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beaches


Imagine visiting a place where every afternoon was the most amazing sunset you’ve ever seen…until the next day. Boracay island in the Philippines is paradise. Loved it!

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach Kodak Moment

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -006
Frisbee Silhouettes
Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach Paradise!
I want to go back!
Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -008
These kids were adorable!

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -007

Julian captures the Boracay sunset with his SLR
Julian captures the Boracay sunset with his SLR

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -Julian enjoys the sunset

 You counted correctly – these photos were just the first 8 of Visit50.com‘s 50 Sunset Silhouettes. The rest are coming soon!

Amazing Iceberg Collapse – Caught On Camera

An  arch-shaped iceberg collapsed – and a couple caught the heart-stopping moment on camera!

A Canadian couple were boating in Newfoundland, filming video of the iceberg when they witnessed the massive collapse. It’s fascinating to witness it, until you remember that for every action there’s a potentially lethal icy reaction.  Ahhh!

It’s what happens next that terrified them. In the video you can hear her scream in terror as they suddenly find themselves in danger. In just seven seconds, the vast iceberg suddenly begins to crack, then completely collapses into the water below, causing a huge wave rolling straight towards them.

‘”I think my heart came up, and I swallowed it. I was petrified!” -Wanda Stead

We’ve seen how deadly icebergs can be to even large ships — they were in New Foundland, Canada, which is where the Titanic sank back in 1912. That was due to a collision, but the resulting tidal wave from an iceberg collapse can be just as lethal.

Screenshots of the collapse:

Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada
The calm before the storm – cracks begin to form
Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada
Iceberg collapse – chunks of ice begin to disintegrate

Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada

Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada
Immediately after the Iceberg collapse, a huge wave forms and comes towards their tiny boat

Wanda Stead and her husband tell the story in this CBC article. Screenshots from YouTube.

Balut – would you eat Duck Fetus?

Balut — Would you eat Duck Fetus?  They eat Balut in the Philippines, and Balut might be the only food I refused during my entire trip through Asia.

When I’m traveling, I always want to sample the local food, and I’ll try almost everything. I’ve tried guinea pigs (cuy!) in Peru, grasshoppers and scorpions in Thailand, and just about every organ or body party of a cow, duck, or chicken that you can think of in mainland China (including duck intestine, pig brain). Where do I draw the line?  Balut – duck fetus. Duck fetus is not for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to try eating Balut, which is a Fetal Duck Egg.

What is Balut?   Balut is fertilized duck embryo – the embryo is allowed to grow and mature for about 17 days until it is quite clearly a baby duck. That’s right. A baby duck, with all its baby duck parts stuffed into a shell with the yolk and egg white, now crisscrossed with blood vessels and feather-like growths. Yes, sometimes Balut is even has the beginnings of feathers. At this point Balut is soft-boiled and eaten whole.

Snorkeling in the Philippines – Malapascua Island

While I’ve never gone snorkeling with so few fish in Malapascua, Philippines, the water was clear and we had a great group and our first ever encounter with a Sea Snake! I’ll post about the Sea Snake soon, but in the meantime, here are some fun pics from our snorkeling experience below.

With hardly any fish and great visibility, we mostly just played. Our international group of friends were from Italy, Sweden, England, Holland, and the U.S.


 I’m often asked, is there good snorkeling in Malapascua?  If you’re looking for clear water, it’s wonderful. If you’re looking for lots of fish, I don’t recommend. With that said, I had an amazing time!



Snorkeling in the Philippines near the Island of Malapascua




Sea Snake in Malapascua Philippines Visit50 Feb2011

Diving with Grey Reef Sharks – best shark video ever!

Imagine being surrounded by Grey Reef Sharks while SCUBA diving – it’s all captured in this awesome 5-minute diving video of Grey Reef Sharks in Nassau, Bahamas, at the Ray of Hope shipwreck. I love the ominous music too. Check out the video of SCUBA diving with these “Apex Predators” below:

Grey Reef Sharks, Nassau, Bahamas

Photos and videos of the Grey Reef Sharks were shot by Sarosh Jacob while SCUBA diving with a Panasonic Lumix ZS7 camera.

I just posted the story of my first time entering shark infested waters – surrounded by sharks in Borneo!

Meet the Macaques

Malaysian Borneo – The monkey I saw most often on my trip through Asia was the macaque. Long-tailed macaques are not shy (although sometimes aggressive; be careful!) and that made for some wonderful closeup photos like this one (below) from Bako National Park, an island in Malaysian Borneo.

Macaque monkey in Bako in Borneo - some readers suggested this pic as a cover photo for the next Lonely Planet
Cover photo for the next Lonely Planet Malaysian Borneo?

Another travel photographer said this wildlife shot of a long-tailed macaque (the monkey in the above photo) should be the next cover of Lonely Planet Borneo (Travel Guide). Perhaps! I’m really flattered by the compliment, but I need to thank the photogenic monkeys that were so kind to pose for me.

Getting this photo:  Shots like this are challenging, because this monkey didn’t pose for me, and macro shots aren’t compatible with motion and you can’t predict eye contact from wildlife. You need to be in the right focus to have the monkey crisp with the background blurred so it pops. In contrast, I love the composition of the lower photo, but I had to use my zoom so the depth of field is much more flat.

Macaque monkey in Malaysian Borneo on Bako Island
Surprised, or hungry?

Pronunciation – yes, the correct pronunciation for this monkey is actually Muh-kok. [Giggle giggle]

Up close with Borneo’s Proboscis Monkey

I was fascinated by Borneo’s Proboscis Monkeys, not just because of the rare chance to observe and photograph an endangered species in the wild (only found in Borneo), but also because the seem so human-like.  Imagine a monkey with a distinctive huge nose (a male proboscis monkey’s nose can reach up to 7 inches in length!) and a pot belly, that often walks upright (rare for mammals) and sits a little like humans sit.  Their name, Nasalis larvatus, literally translates to “long nose,” and you can see why (below):

Proboscis monkeys, the most distinctive looking primates on the planet | Bako National Park in Borneo | Malaysia
Proboscis monkeys, the most distinctive looking primates on the planet

Sometimes Proboscis Monkeys seem so human-like!  This proboscis monkey was frantically eating as if he hadn’t eaten for days! Take a look in this video clip from my time in Malaysian Borneo:

Bako National Park also has bearded pigs, which greeted us upon entering the island. So when we heard a typical pig sound later in the day, we were surprised to hear these honking sounds coming from proboscis monkeys.

Proboscis monkeys live on a special diet of leaves, flowers and seeds of vegetation found only in rivers, mangroves, and peat swamps
Proboscis Monkey in Bako National Park, in Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
female probiscis monkey in Borneo. Females have much smaller noses

Orangutans are much more closely related to humans, but the mannerisms of proboscis monkeys made me stop in my tracks and want to observe them all day. And I did.

50 Countries & 50 States by Age 50