Competition is a good thing?

Vacations. Trips. Journeys. Today we take them for granted. Be it sea, air or land, travel has never been easier or better worded – accessible. We recall as young kids going to the then Paya Lebar airport (yeah it’s an airbase now) to send off loved ones. It was such a big event that entire families turn up. Wow.

Over the years, flying and indeed cruising came to be common-place. It used to be folks who went on vacations often would buy lots of souvenirs and food as gifts for friends and family. Today, some folks can actually count the airport as their second home. Talk about owning a large piece of real estate (dream of many red dotters) heheh…

So this article intrigued us.

No. Not the fact that low cost airlines have brought fares down. That’s a given. Our perspective is drawn back to the issue of how sustainable this all can be. You might know of our rants (here, here and here) about how crowded it is getting to be. Many cities are simply reeling from too many visitors that their infrastructure were not geared up for.

Thus competition is great. Wonderful in fact. But it seems to have spawned ‘side effects’ no? Like the leader of our little red dot inferred last year, too much a good thing might be bad (referencing sugary drinks and the link to diabetes). Just like the cost of sugar-laden products have come down, so has the cost of air travel.  Too many folks circulating in sightseeing cities like the sugar level in blood might cause a host of problems.

What do you think?

Educational travel for children

In the past few years, our little red dot had been making strides towards childhood education. While the focus might had been on early childhood development, development for kids in their pre teens would be important too some contend. And we are not referring to enrichment classes such as music, abacus etc.

It was thus an interesting article (here) for us to chance upon again.

Now those of you with kids hear this. Before you run off and book the next journey, heed well to do sufficient research. For aside from ensuring that the experience will indeed be educational for your children, it should also be safe. For many of the places where these can be had are also in the third world. Not only would personal safety be a consideration but also risks from diseases caused by food and water.

Think about it. Imagine being able to facilitate your child to understand that in the wide world out there, that remains many many folks living in squalid conditions. Oh fortunate we they all are!

But would it be possible to also experience the same in your own home country? Chances are the answer being a big Yes! We are not sure about where you live. But in our little red dot, there remains pockets of poverty. Unbelievable but true and that is a sad fact of life. Perhaps that can be of consideration.

Do you have children? Well we don’t have any. We wrote about getting them to be a ‘travel agent’ too (here). What do you think about such an experience for them?

Preserving heritage with VR

If you had read us for some time, you might know that we are VR enthusiasts. We’ve written about the potential for the use of VR in a couple of posts here, here and here. Today we want to share yet another vindication of our belief, one where we foresee huge benefit.

Some might recall our post and essay on the Silk road (here). We shared about our adventure in the deserts that span between trading posts. And we also shared about the Buddhist grottos in Mogao (莫高窟). You might recall that we did not have photos of the interior of the grottos. And that was due to the ban on flash photography, or indeed photography of any kind. And mobile phones back then did not have cameras… sigh. Plus our film photography skills weren’t exactly stellar…

What if you were to know (here) that there are folks mapping out 3-dimensional maps of the grottos, murals and all?

We have shared our view that the sheer volume of tourists cannot keep growing without causing some form of overload of not only the transportation links, but also the infrastructure at the destinations. Some experts have deemed it a potential catastrophe because of too much love to death from visitors. We support creating a digital repository to preserve heritage before they are lost. No question about that.

So these questions keep coming up: should VR be encouraged so as to reduce the number of actual on ground visits? Can VR truly replace the on ground experience one gets? How about if the VR was near the actual location, but rather than stepping into the actual place, one takes a virtual tour?

What do you think?

Complicated booking classes

Oh no. Semantics. We recalled a year back we were looking for cheap flights from Newark to various destinations within the US. And it was so complicated. From booking classes (first, coach, basic) to seat location (main cabin, aircraft wing, pilot’s lap etc), to seat choices where you pay extra… so many options to have to choose from.

And then for us who are used to NOT paying for checked baggage, darn they charge US$25 per piece! In some cases, you might choose a seat where you pay more but don’t get any more service than the fella sitting next to you. Who could have paid what – like a hundred dollars less. And it borders on misleading the consumer.

This article some months ago illustrates this issue.

And today we what we want to focus upon is simplicty. Decluttering. You know in our daily lives we strive to live simple. Less complex is better. Get rid of unwanted stuff or those that do not really add value. Can airlines do the same in the way they offer their product? Afterall, it is first and foremost about getting people from point A to B. Safely. And comfortably where possible however you define that.

Getting ‘freebies’ is really nice, and let’s be honest who doesn’t want them? But we have to remember airlines are businesses too. So yes, they do want to profit from the endeavour of getting you (and us) to our desired destinations. We respect that. Surely they can get back to basics and KISS? You do know what that means right?

Don’t you think it is time for airline to declutter their complicated booking classes and options?

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?