Bespoked travel plans

We’ve written about boutique airlines (here), and we’ve shown how the really wealthy purchase what would be considered out-of-this world experiences (here). For folks with busy lives that leave them little or no time to develop their own travel itineraries, perhaps intermediaries can still be the answer.

Now even plebians such as we can craft unique travel journeys that might erstwhile be the domain of the wealthy. We came across this website after reading Thrillist, and by no means are we in any way linked with them.

Just that this is yet evidence that travel has become mundane.

Yep. We know this is a sweeping assertion. But hear us out.

Try this as an experiment. Type “Paris” into the search field of wordpress. Do you see how many posts come up? While they all may be unique and individual experiences, does this not make one ponder about how common a trip to Paris is these days? Add to the folks on other social media outlets and the ones who don’t (ie social media hermits), there is an incredulous amount of sharings and pictures out there!

Just as we wrote about in naughty cruise journey, people are increasing looking for customized ways to experience travel. Perhaps this is the reason why we see the rise of the ‘Travelers’ – ie folks who want to ‘live’ like a local where they travel too?

What do you look for when you travel? Do you travel with a purpose?

Secret Travels, travel secrets?

Well not all “high end” travel is about luxury. In so many blog posts there are stories of how fanciful the lounges are and how the dining blows you off your feet. But sometimes high end travel is about privacy and discreteness.

This article to us suggests that if you speedy immigration clearance, solitude and/or true exclusivity is what you are after, then opt for a VIP suite experience.

Yeah, the lounges may not be a smorgasbord of fine dining and there might not be showers with Bvlgari shampoo. But the truly super rich (if they don’t have a plane to call their own), would probably be in such private suites and whisked aboard planes without the need to interact with the plebian folks at the airport terminal.

You see, for these folks the transportation part of the journey is probably not the most exciting for them – as it may be for us. While we relish and plan in advance on getting to the airport on time, perhaps crashing in the use of a lounge with all that free food, drinks and wifi etc, these folks simply want to get it over with. If teleporation exists you can bet these folks would be first in line…ok after extensive safety tests…

For some of us, it is indeed the destination that is more important than the journey. Some people sleep it through, others become insomniac. Unless you are in an elite class of travel, you are more than likely to enjoy the transportation part of the journey less..

Is your destination more important than the journey?

Long term effects of travel (flying that is)

You might recall that we made mention about how flying dumbs down your sense of taste (read here). Well, yet more articles had been circulating about the health impact of long distance flying. This is probably applicable to road warriors who ply the skies for work.

We are quite ‘avid’ fans of reading the UK Daily Mail, travel section only of course…all to trawl for a good story. And one of their article suggests a wide range of potential health problems afflicting those sitting for long periods in that aluminium can – hurtling at supersonic speeds. Heheh….as if we all did not know of it already.

The list of acronyms representing the different ailments that can afflict one on flights is quite long. And not being medical professionals, we are cannot comment on whether these effects are real and impactful as suggested.

One thing we did note from the article is the amount of UV and cosmic particles one can be exposed to while on a longer haul flight. Wow, 56 minutes of flying is like 20 minutes on a tanning bed…so on an intercontinental flight of 12 hours…Wonder if that would be less if we flew at night? LOL. Seriously, can someone answer that?

The other would how sitting for long periods might lead to increased cardiovascular disease (not just DVT). Sigh, being office workers how are we to avoid sitting down in meetings or at our work desks?

What do you do in your daily lives that may mitigate the effects of flying? Mel and Suan exercise quite regularly. Do you think taking flight will negate the therapeutic effect of the vacation?

Surmount that travel record!

For all nomad wannabes, James must be your idol. At age 24 he is said to have travelled to 196 sovereign countries around the world. That incredible Journey took him five years, splitting time to read for his graduation from the London School of Economics…

wtiYou see, for doing this he could have been awarded the “Tribal Chief” certification. Recall this is a lifetime award and he need not re-certify. Let his exploits be framed into the halls of fame! Remember this is the highest accolade that one can purchase be bestowed upon from the World Traveler Institute (WTI) – no affiliations with the UNWTO of course…since we made it all up. But since we had no takers, this business venture has not lifted off. Anyone still interested?

If you read the article, you will  note that James did not just dropped everything and went traveling. He actually managed to graduate from the LSE in the process of doing so! Woohoo! Yeah there was a gap year, but can you imagine being to all sovereign countries on this planet in that span of time? The passport must had been fully stamped! LOL.

And funds do run out when you are ‘YOLOing‘…so James was candid about the fact he had to get into all kinds of jobs to support this traipse around the world. Consider that this is a far cry from his current job! Don’t stalk him though.

But the question for today’s post is not about YOLO travel. It’s about what you do AFTER you have completed this “quest” (in our opinion). Aside from sharing the experience to 80,000 followers on instagram, what else would one do? Would it be meaningful?

If you were James (at 28 and visited all the world), what would your life goals be next?

A Novel travel guide

If you read JK Rowling’s book or watched the movie, you might think that King’s Cross Station does have a ‘Platform 9¾’. In that you need to run full speed against the archway beam – “crashing” through to the platform that is between 9 and 10.

Perhaps not as dramatic.

What about novels such as Oliver Twist? Well this little boy walked through London and the novel described quite a fair bit about the landmarks of the city. Though the names have changed and city ‘re-arranged’, quite some of the landmarks remain recognizable. Nicholas Noyes pulled together an excellent page which you might find fascinating. Read his work here. Nicholas suggests that the novel had always been a guide for middle/upper class folks readers to ‘see’ the dark and small alleys of poorer suburbs/sections of the city during Dicken’s time. Comments?

You might recall that Charles Dickens had a rather turbulent or perhaps traumatic childhood. His father was thrown into debtors’ prison and it was only by a fortuitous receipt of an inheritance that the family got out of jail!

Do you know of any other novel that can be a travel guide too?

We wrote about an old Baedeker guide of Paris still usable here. Can you imagine an 1897 guide (in German) describing the city of Paris is still largely relevant? Incredible isn’t it? How much has changed in the place you live in? Will someone from the waaay past recognize anything?

The Dutch re-invented walking

Huh? Who invented walking the first place you ask. You know in Singapore we have been struggling to manage mobility devices. These are the small electric motor driven bicycles, hover boards or kick scooters. The issue is how to share the limited walking path with pedestrians. Bear in mind there isn’t as much of a bicycle culture like in the Netherlands (where we lived a while), sequestering a part of the road for bicycles or these mobility devices.

But today we are not debating this issue.

Rather, we are making reference to the fact such electric mobility devices do not give you any exercise. Ok, perhaps the kick scooter without a motor. Since you are virtually dependent on electric power for movement for most of these devices. How would you like such a device that will get you to where you want and yet give you an exercise?

Consider the “Lopifit”. Instead of cycling, you can now threadmill your way to work (read here). Really? Yep. Walk on the device as if you are strolling or Walking at a fast pace. The choice is yours. Know that as you do your health app in your phone or watch will be clocking the distances covered. Up to 50 miles (80km) on one charge, you can scooter walk your way from Changi airport to Jurong (far western end of Singapore) and back! Now that should help burn some of the calories that you might accumulate later in the day…

Not bad eh?

Since Singapore is moving towards putting in more infrastructure to facilitate these personal mobility devices (PMDs) and goad folks to be car-lite, this invention comes at an opportune time! For a ‘low’ price of just approximately US$2400, you will define mobility in a way no one else will!

Will anyone buy this?