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to obtaining currency notes from these changers, is on some occasions we were given old versions of notes that were no longer valid… not that the changer did that intentionally, but they too were caught unaware…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

Free guided tours

You know there quite many posts out there recommending where to go and what to do for free. For the budget traveller, this can be both boon and bane. Why you might ask? Well hear us out.

If one is tight with money while out on a journey, having free guided tours as now common in many cities is definitely a plus. What better way to get to know a place then having a knowledgeable local point you the way? Ask the right questions and that can help you plan the rest of your time in that city better. Obtain tips from the guide in a variety of queries. That, at least on paper is the selling point of getting on such tours.

But what about the opportunity cost of doing so? What do we mean?

You see, what one sees and is shown on these tours depends on the guide. It also means your frame of mind could have been influenced by the tour. Because the explanations may not be fully accurate and if one makes a decision base on that, one might go off tangent. Or is that paranoid thinking?

Have you been on a free guided tour before? Share your thoughts!

Gifts for the traveler in you?

Perhaps it is the time of the year again to exchange gifts. We’re not sure about you. But there seems to be an awful lot of stuff we have at home. And we aren’t sure what to gift to other folks that might not end up in a heap somewhere, in the house.

Being practical is probably best, and simple things that go beyond aesthestics would be most welcome in our opinion. Last year, there was a NYTimes post that listed 18 gifts that could be considered for the traveling person (here). We quite like the waterproof phone pouch, as it will be really useful if one gets near/into water… not necessarily intentioned. We’re not sure about the 4k video drone though, even if we like it. You know there are so many restrictions these days about using these devices…

Today though we focus on travel declutter. One good item we think in the list helps one to manage the myriad of wires and connectors that our digital devices have these days. Definitely something to consider.

Now the declutterers out there might slap your faces in disbelief that we would talk about racking up more stuff, being wannabe minimalists that we are. For you see, deep in our primeval self, we are still hoarders…. just waiting for an excuse to prounce.

Do you still gift things to friends and family? What are your considerations when doing so?

Travel Blog topics

When you first started out blogging, what grandiose plans did you have? Or was it all spontaneous creativity that you believed you had that prompted you to make the leap into blogosphere? Did you have a plan at all?

A number of weeks back, we touched on the subject of writer’s block (here). Somewhere in that post, it was postulated there were a few reasons for the blockage and some ways to overcome them. We also shared how we seem to have an endless supply of posts which is published every 2 days (more often too if we wanted). And it does not include photos only posts… that’s for our instagram account. Even though we are actually very actively working folks. Very. We emphasize that.

So today we are continuing that conversation with the thought of having pre-prepared topics. Sort of like meals ready to eat. Simply heat. Wow, did you see that slogan coming? Would you consider any of the ideas Sabina wrote about here?

Of course one needs to be more creative than simply copying these topics. Remember we also said previously that the things you love to do the most can be an endless source of inspiration and creativity? Well, the trick is to make it so. Tweak these topics to suit your own interest and come up with your own list. Expand them as you go along. Be observant and write your thoughts down. Some of them can be topics too!

Before long, we are sure you will not only have your own reservoir of topics and ideas, but also some to share with others!

How good’s your listening?

As you might also notice, there are many people on headphones walking around with their smartphones. Today this would be as ubiquitous as it can get. Since it is also said that there are more than 2 billion smartphone users in the world today though folks may well quote statistics that differ.

Not the point of this post.

We were more interested in how using headphones will affect hearing. This intrigued us because we read of this guy here who can recognize birds just from listening to their song. Wow. Now that surely takes great hearing to be able to first tune in to the chirping and then discerning it. Tweet! LOL.

Where we live (ie the little red dot), its never truly quiet. We have plenty of traffic on the roads and in the skies that contribute to the hustle and bustle of daily life. Then there are the neighbours, the chattering of children and crying of babies… All in a day’s life indeed. Some people simply hate that while others love it. Talk about a man’s meat being another’s poison.

We all encounter challenges in listening in our lives from the office to being at home. How do you filter out the noise?