Charging your phone with a stove

Folks who venture hiking for significant periods will know this. That out there in the middle nowhere, your digital devices may not last long. And thus one needs to be sparing in their use. But what if you’re told that you will have a source of power to charge your phone out in the wilderness?

If this product truly works as the article suggests, then one would be truly shooting two birds with one stone – we mean with the stove in more than one way.

For imagine using this stove and plugging it into your phone (and/or camera) to charge, even while it is used to cook your food or boil water. Such a luxury isn’t it? Yes it will require you to chop some wood and fire it up. Some might balk at the idea of potentially damaging the environment that way. Perhaps the use of solid fuels might work too?

Point is – would you go to this length to put some juice into your digital devices when you are out in the wild? Some people go into the woods to get off the grid so to speak. Others simply want to be disconnected because they are so wired into the digital lifestyle when at home or at work. But does the idea of being able to capture beautiful vistas out there and being able to send them out to the world excite you? Think about it for a moment before you respond.

For the hikers and trekkers amongst readers out there, would this be something you’d consider?

Large Tarmac letters

Have you ever wondered what those large numbers on the airport tarmac is all about? Street signs perhaps? Well, that’s close. Today’s post is a short one. Because we feel you need to click on this link and watch the short youtube video.

It’s a marvel to learn a few things about geography.

So after reading the article you will know what the numbers mean. For those who did not click on the above link (tsk tsk), they are representations of cardinal directions between 0° to 360°. But it is truncated. Thus if an aircraft’s compass is not working, the pilot can still tell in which direction his/her plane is approaching the airport.

Now you see why they paint the numbers so large… the better that they can see you be seen so said the big bad wolf article… And hopefully now it makes sense to you why there are letters on the tarmac.

But we are not only sharing with you what we’ve learned about these markings and numbers. Recall our post on the language of pilots? Flying is still a complex business, and we are not referring to the business of running an airline. The control of a complicated aircraft with millions of moving parts all coordinated by software is the deal we are talking about. You will come to read our take on the advent of pilotless aircraft in a future post.

Think about that for a moment. No pilot. If that happens, will we still need the large letters on the tarmac?

Travel may become trickier

News about potential changes to the US visa waiver program first surfaced 4 months ago (read one of them here). You would also recall the ban on electronic devices larger than a handphone on planes flying in from certain countries to the US and UK that was hoisted on travellers without warning though that’s been scaled back..

Now if programs like visa waiver are suspended, it invites tit-for-tat retaliation because emotions run high. At first we thought requirements like ESTA was only for the fees that governments collect… but quite a few other countries (here) have implemented their own.

In addition, many countries around the world are starting to axe manage temporary work visa approvals as well. Thus it may be that much harder to get into Australia in the future to pick fruits… Suddenly, it’s like globalization going in reverse – being rewound but at 2x or 3x speed.

We think this is a harbinger of even more restrictive travel in the future. In the sense it may not mean less people are allowed to criss cross the earth, but rather that it will be much more onerous than it is now. As if we are not already complaining about it! Some day we might have to board airplanes only after passing through security checks wearing nothing but hospital gowns because it makes checking for illegal stuff easier. LOL… hmm… you heard this prediction first at our blog!

Where do you think the future of traveling is headed? A decline or continued unabated growth? Which do you prefer?

Cuisine that gives you a high

We say that gastronomy is one of the important aspects of any journey. To us anyway. As you might have read in our posts and journalogs, we make it a point to test out the local food scene wherever it is possible. While we are no connoisseurs, we do give our reviews of dining establishments. So we wonder if we would be too “high” to remember anything should we dine in some of the restaurants in LA if this article is really true.

So Amsterdam wake up! Los Angeles is catching up with you in legalizing “soft” drugs. And they are putting it into food too!

There has always been approved medicinal use for marijuana in the US. But what we refer to is how it has been sneakily upping the game with “weed” resturants! If you did not read the article, be assured that it is all rather fancy and pricey too. No back of the alley kind of thing. At least for now. More affordable “finger” food events are available for those who seek an introduction to such dining experiences. Intrigued?

While we are not proponents of loosening the stance against the misuse of drugs, we are also cognizant that abuse can happen in a host of other substances too. Just as consuming too much sugar can also be detrimental to one’s health, one cannot blame the substance alone. It cannot defend itself against your arguments! We should focus instead on ensuring people are educated about its use.

Like DUI, don’t drive after you’ve had a meal in such a restaurant. The author described how the “high” he felt. Being behind the wheels feeling this way would be risky for both driver and everyone else in the car and on the road too.

Come January 2018, will you flock to LA like how neighbouring Europeans go to the Netherlands for an opiod fix?

Unusual Hotels

Have you stayed in an unusual hotel before? Some of the pictures in this article make one wonder how is it like to stay in one. Did you see the picture of the hotel in the link? That one’s along the southern edges of Taihu (太湖), a freshwater lake about 100km from Shanghai. We wrote about traipsing about the lake recently (here).

It was strange for us to observe that of the polled millenials, ‘only’ 42% have stayed in house or apartment rentals (the equivalent AirBnBs of the world), which would imply a large segment. And it appears to be in the west. Because it also seems such unusual hotels seem to be the rage more in Asia. At least this is what the article seems to be driving at. No details, so can’t dissect it… the trouble with statistics. Depends on who the ‘barber’ is presenting it.

The theme though of this post is : innovation.

In a competitive world vying for a share of the hearts and minds of consumers, it is key to stand out from your competition. It is also critical to have brand / value proposition that appeals to a targeted segment, group, whatever. Sure we said AirBnB is revolutionizing travel (here), but there probably will be limits to where they can reach. And hotel chains around the world are attempting to respond, sometimes in ways that amazes. So nothing remains static.

And it is not only in Asia that one finds such innovative and bold attempts to offer differntiated travel experience. One will find them all over the world. Indeed, as we hurtle towards the 2020s, we may yet witness even more innovation when it comes to having a night’s stay while on your journey(s).

We might not be staying in these unusual hotels, but we sure would like to see them. Wouldn’t you?

Dance your way to your next journey

There are so many ways to live up your travel journey experiences. Some opt for the opulent and overtly luxurious, while other revel in the joy of being “one of the locals”. Some might consider cultural and artistic pursuits to be paramount yet others yearn to have a taste of the places they journey to.

How about adding dancing at a formal ball to your journeying experience? One where you will be waltzing away in an ornate ballroom. One where you can be combining culture (the dance) with a tour (the location of the ball). Unlike sitting passively listening to an orchestra, here you would have some liberty to express yourself and enjoy it. Try swaying too much on your seat the next time you attend a symphony and you’ll see how the people around you respond. LOL.

Of course you can also tap dance your way across town, if without the taps on the heels of your shoes… Singing (in the rain?), ok humming as you traipse along the streets taking photos and saying hi to the folks. Absorbing the sun shine (on a rainy day?), makes my soul, makes my soul trip trip away…. so an old song from the 90s went.

Seriously, does music and dance figure in your mind when you are exploring a new destination? We think it is one element that should not be missing when you travel. Just like missing out on Jazz when you are in NOLA, it would be truly the sound of silence if one ignores the iconic music each city/town or even rural countryside brings.

Will you take a dance to the street or in the ballroom in your next journey?