Little things you don’t notice

There are just little things in life that one never really notice. And so it is with the things around us. We use them on a daily basis, come across them all the time. But we never really knew what they are for.

What are we referring to?

Those little features that we somehow missed from reading instructions about their use… heheh. Like a pair of sneakers. Really?, you hallow in disbelief. Do we even have an instruction booklet that comes with the sneakers you buy?

Well… No. But this article is really interesting. Because it tells you what those extra holes on the sides could be used for. And for that matter many other features on everyday products that we do not even take notice of. Such as the little triangle on the fuel gauge panel. Darn it if he had known, Mel would not have to check for which side the fuel pump is located each time he picks up a rental!

But the theme of our post today is about focus.

Because when we travel we will more than often zoom in on the known or ‘beaten track’ sights. It’s on every travel brochure, guidebook and probably the blog of many writers. By the way, it has been a real pleasure for us to read the ones that shared something that is truly off the beaten track. But we digress.

Like how Stephen who shared about the secret gardens of London (here), wouldn’t it be grand if we share the hidden nuggets and gems that one can find? You’ve might have started to notice we are posting more about the sights one can see outside of the glam ones in our little red dot.

Does this goad you into taking a different focus in your travels?

Living alone for 40 years!

This is one of the more interesting article that we’ve read from the Daily Mail’s travel section in a while. Incredible as it may sound, there is a person who’ve spent 40 years living alone. And not in a home in some neighborhood. But on an island off the remote eastern coast of Canada.

Well more like in the atlantic ocean since it is ~175km from Nova Scotia. Ok, so if you read the article it does say that there are teams rotating to the island. So she is not totally alone, though she does not have a companion with her. Especially when those crew members leave for the mainland.

In case you are really curious, here’s a map lifted from the article:Sable island map

Talk about a long journey! No, it is not in the middle of the Ocean, but it certainly far out and isolated enough! But today we are not assessing if Zoe is truly alone. We just want to point out how passion for something brings one to extremes of devotion and expertise. There is an old Chinese saying 行行出狀元, which in modern context means you can achieve success in your chosen path of expertise/line of work etc.

Unlike artists that seem to get a little more glamour for the devotion to their art, folks like Zoe take a backseat away from the limelight. Instead of basking in the warmth of appreciation, they humbly continue on their life’s work. Out in the middle of nowhere as we see it.

Do you have a passion for what you do? Where was the most isolated place on earth you’ve visited?

Running the gauntlet

Reading this article in the local newspaper a few months back reminded us of what we wrote about participating in local festivals (here). This one though was about the annual San Fermin festival in Pamplona, you know the one where folks try to front run raging bulls… But today we are penning a “philosophical” piece and not how to dodge an angry bull (hint wearing red underwear does not work). Heheh.

Really? You inquire.

Yes. Today we are in a serious mood (pss… we are actually in Jerusalem now heheh). We want to remind you that even as you venture into another country and/or culture, it is important to be cognizant of what actions may be construed as disrespectful.

Oftentimes we have heard folks complain while they are on a journey. These gripes can be about the weather, the food, the locals. For goodness sake if this is all that one can think about, then why bother to get there in the first place? Remember we are visiting guests and therefore it is we that have to conscious of local customs + get used to the weather or crowds and food/smell. Not the other way around.

It is thus a sad state of affairs to read of increased cases of bad behaviour on planes, anti-social behaviour at attraction sites, vandalism and so on. And it seems that this is a trend, because simply the number of folks on the road have increased exponentially. You might agree that statistically the probability of occurrence increases with volume…

Being a good traveller helps everyone to have a wonderful experience. What do you think?

P.S: Merry Christmas everyone and have a Silent and Holy night!

Financing a life of travel

Imagine if this stack of money was real and yours!

Ever wish you had an endless stream of income that would finance your traipsing around the world? Wouldn’t it be nice to not worry about how to pay for making the journey? Well we’ve read quite a fair bit of bloggers writing about getting around the world in the cheapest way, seeking out activities that are free to do etc. There have been quite a few who journeyed around the world on bike or foot or public transport too (here and here)!

To us that is all well and good.

But would the journey to Pisa be the same without paying for the climb up the tower that leans? Would one really climb all the way to the Great Wall instead of taking the cable car? Hmmm….. Some things in life are indeed free to enjoy, but many of the experiences would probably not.

Today though our post is not just on the boon and bane of traveling on the cheap.

It’s about financial preparedness. And it is applicable not just for paying one’s travel journeys, but also the journey we call life. When we were young (and your heart was an open book), you might say live and let live…. heheh… sorry cannot help it because it was ringing in Mel’s head (for those G&R fans out there!). Before one get carried away by the travel bug and “squander” one’s youth away, would it not be wise to look a little ahead? For we have said repeatedly; time is but the only thing one cannot claw back or keep in store for later use. You do only live once, but you are also only young and energetic once.

Having a portfolio of assets that repeatedly produce income would be wonderful don’t you think? Like the proverbial goose laying a golden egg everyday. We call our finance independence theory the “Golden egg Goose” concept. You heard about it here first. What do you think?

Look at that flag counter

Sometime last year, we added a free flag counter to our blog. The purpose, as most of you who do the same is to “track” how many people visit our blog and from which parts of the world. If you click the counter you will be brought to the actual counter page.

There are additional attributes that feature details of which state in the US the visitors come from. This feature is free for the US and Canada only, and you will need to pay if you wish to get even more ‘granular’ information about visitors from other large countries.

But today we are not promoting the use of the flag counter.

Rather it is the flags in the counter that we are focused upon. When we look up the flag counter site every now and then, we look at the number of countries that have been captured based on where visitors to our blog came from. And it surprises us to see the names of countries that we don’t even recognize. 196. In case you were wondering how many countries are there in the world. Good as of this year we guess unless we have more secessions…

So by the personal record, we are still around 74 short… heheh. Talk about collecting flags we are also short of 1 state in the US. For some reason we do not have anyone from North Dakota visiting our site. Oh why?

Did not know that there are so many countries in the world? Well, watch out for the handprint stories we are posting on micro states in Europe! Without looking it up, how many of the flags do you recognize and can tell which country it represents?

Reduce, reuse and recycle

Oh wow. Talk about the 3Rs. Shocking were the words used for this story on the web a few months back. Can you imagine drinking a glass of wine poured from this bottle? True. True that there could have been good reasons for doing so. And perhaps readers who know better can comment. But today our focus is on airline waste. So maybe the attendant was not wrong in doing what she apparently did.

You’ve heard about the amount of waste we (ie humans) have generated. There are many a statistic, and one claims that we purchase a million bottles of plastic every minute! Wow. Can you imagine the volume of trash that is building up. This reminds us of the animated feature “Wall-e”. Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth. The story is that by the year 2805 the planet is contaminated with too much waste.

Think we’ll last that long?

There is a guardian article (here) that suggests that 5.2 million tonnes of airline waste is generated every year. And that some airlines are finally attempting to help reduce this load. A wonderful development in our opinion. Here’s a thought. While we do not support budget airlines with no frills at all such as catering, how about making it mandatory for passengers to choose their meals and drinks ahead?

It may sound draconian, but packaged and marketed appropriately (heheh, occupation hazard) this can become a ‘feature’. That way, airlines can work seamlessly with catering companies to prepare the right meals, reducing the “buffer” stock of meals they need to carry with them on the plane. We probably can’t bring back the use of metal utensils on flights anymore (perhaps except in business and first), but perhaps a move towards bio-degradable ones could help?

Wouldn’t you support efforts to reduce waste from your flying?