No Man’s land

This is a nicely written piece by the NY Times here. You might think the article is about places like the demilitarized zone in Korea or the border crossings in the West Bank, but noooo….. it is all about a place on this blue planet that has been abandoned by humans. And why you might ponder?

The narrative of an island that is preserved to this day though totally uninhabited.

Imagine being marooned on the island, with only favourable conditions as the criteria for getting out. Back to “civilization” and the comforts of a life we know better. Truly ‘better’ or simply more luxurious? Or like in the movies Mars, a matter of life and death? Any experiences to share?

We wonder often too about what we’d do if we were financially independent and have the luxury of time on our side. Will we make these ‘no man lands’ a place that we fill and stake claim to?

If the context was about travel, do you have the feeling of wishing to get back to your comfort zone after a long journey away? We wrote about how this lady had lived along for 40 years (here), will you consider living at the edge of the world and stake it out with the spirit of a frontier pioneer?

Snail mail is still cool

Yes we think so too. Because wherever we go, we try to buy postcard(s) and post them to ourselves and our friends. Today we fondly look through these cards that we have “collected” from around the world.

This article (here) though speaks about the seeming herculean effort that is required to bring the mail down from the top of a 12,000+ feet high mountain to send it all around the world. But you know we don’t focus our posts on these linked stories.

Instead we refer to the fact that as pen and paper goes the way of the Dodo, a chapter would have passed when we can physically hold a piece of memory in our hands. As opposed to having all of it on our digital devices. We don’t know about you, but we surely feel different being able to flip the post cards and reading our almost illegible and faded handwriting. On a sunny afternoon, sitting together looking out from our little box in the sky (ie apartment), we enjoy leafing through these memories.

Call us old school. Who cares?

The only disadvantage is that with the fading, these old cards and documents do have a limited life. Whereas digital supposedly keeps them for perpetuity (read our VR views here). What are we to do?

Do you still send snail mail?

Changing money

Reading this post some months back we were inspired to write about our experiences trying to obtain local currencies in the countries we traveled to. Now bear in mind that our little red dot has a high density of money changers. They stock currencies from around the world and can even procure some for you if you give them some lead time.

The downside though to obtaining currency notes from these changers, is on some occasions we were given old versions of notes that were no longer valid… not that the changer did that intentionally, but they too were caught unaware…

Or the other consideration that if you get damaged (not even torn) notes, most folks will not accept it for payment or exchange. This is true whether one gets the note from the home country, at airports (where they apparently rip you off) or at bureaus in the country you head to. Which makes e-payment so attractive. Some day, we will all seamlessly have access to payment platforms in the countries we visit without the need for currency notes…

Perhaps exchanges and paper notes will become mostly obsolete?

Tell us. When you travel to a foreign country, how would you like to be able to make payments? Do you prefer good ole fashion paper currency or e-payments?

Pack rafting. Heard of it yet?

We too were a little dumbfounded when we first came across this term. Rafting we are very familiar with. Pack rafting? Now you have heard about aqueducts right? The structures that the Romans are credited with constructing to transport water to their cities. So that the fountains can sing and the taps never stop grinning.

Heheh. Well not so drama (Singlish) but something close. Not anywhere close to the feature image though…

Some months back, we read this article in the SCMP (here) introducing folks to the adventures of paddling a raft on an aqueduct in northern Wales. Ah you might say! The Romans did not build such structures in Wales. And you will be right. For the Pontcysyllte was constructed in 1805.

While we shall not steal the thunder from the original article by paraphrasing on this post, what we can say is that at 38m above ground, it is definitely not for the faint of heart where height is concerned. But if we were ever to be in the vicinity, we will surely be signing on to raft along the aqueduct and share with you our experience. When we get back to Wales of course!

If you get to Wales, will this be one of the adventures you embark on?

Don’t you love lighthouses?

Lighthouses.

You know the buildings they build along the coast line, often at the confluence of stretches of water that can and often will be treacherous to the sailor bobbing like a cork in the sea. We were inspired to write this post after reading and enjoying the beautiful photos of lighthouses from around the world here.

This is a compilation of lighthouse photos we’ve captured over the years. Its a humble collection and nowhere near the spectacular ones in the link above, but it’s a start. Perhaps some day we will have a collection of these venerable structures standing up to the elements.

Do you love lighthouses? Climbed up one before?

Around the world in 245 days!

Heheh… not in 80 days but 3 times as long. Can you even start to imagine the amount of laundry you’d have to do to keep from smelling like the durian fruit? Happy New Year!

Can you stomach being aboard a cruise ship for almost a year? Well, if you have say £67,000 to spare (and that is per person), then this one’s surely one to put on your list… 113 ports in 59 countries. Now if you were looking for some way to increase your ‘how many countries I’ve travelled to’ count, surely this will bump up the score.

If this article (here) pricks your interest, well start saving or borrowing and make your booking. You still have some time…

It has been more than 13 years since we last set foot on a cruise ship – and the small yachts that we’ve been do not count. Eight months is a very long time. Might not be a cruise a single traveller will consider we think, but who knows? Well the comment at the start of the post about laundry wasn’t really a joke. Because the logistics of rotating clothing will be but one of the challenges. Unless one intends to buy and keep changing the OOTD, every day!

But hey!

We’re talking about a grand adventure where more than 50 countries will be touched. Sure is cost a small fortune, but it’s YOLO ain’t it?

PS: alternatively one can seek a job aboard the cruise… perhaps one cannot get off at all ports, but at least a stab at half of them?