Are you still country counting?

Yep. Are you?

Because it appears that this still appears to be a oft cited criteria for some folks when it comes to the badges of honour. You know, we do have a certification program that awards you the right to specific title depending on how well travelled you are. How many countries can and will be one of the criteria. More here.

Counting countries.

We wrote about this some time ago (here). Sure we are no Sir Attenborough or the Queen. Certainly we’ve not come anyway near what James did (which is to touch all the sovereign countries on the planet). But is it of any value to compare oneself to the feats that these folks “achieved”? What do you think?

So we postulate. Some might know of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In that theory, it appears that after sufficiently being able to sustain oneself, we humans tend towards altruism of some sort. We begin to seek achievements and recognition. If not in academics, the corporate game, or in this case how well travelled one is?

Our conclusion? It’s perfectly normal to country count. Did you know we also country count? And it is so blatantly presented on this blog site for all to see. Heheh… can you spot it? Wanna hint?

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?

Home of the voyagers

The 15th century was an exciting time. At least from a nautical perspective. During the past centuries, control of the Mediterranean had fallen into the hands of the Ottomans and their allies. As a result, the trade of exotic goods that were in demand in Europe was in jeopardy.

It wasn’t any better with Venice and the other Italian maritime republics in control of the trade either. So folks begun to look for way to sail to the promised riches of India, where one would find the spices and desired goods. Thus the great voyages were commissioned and launched.

Nowhere was this more active than in Portugal, where there was even princely involvement (Henry the navigator). You see, with Portugal’s location in the far west of the Iberian peninsula, it made perfect sense as a base to set off on an exploratory trek around the coast of northwest Africa.

Anyway.

Our voyage was far simpler, a coach trip overland to and from Spain through Lisbon (here). It was not a very long stay, since it was a group tour. So this was but a quick dip of the feet into the water so to speak. Enough to spark desire to return just to examine the city in much more detail.

What would you recommend for us to see and do in Lisbon if there were 3 days?

The Caucasus. Could that be next for us?

Recently (well 3 months back), a friend of ours got on a 3-week journey across Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. You cannot imagine the amount of ‘jealousy’ (heheh) we had when we heard about that. First things that came into our mind was : “oooh it would have been wonderful to get around with your own group of friends“, “why did you not rope us in?“…

So why didn’t she?

For one reason it was a religious group. So we were reticent about joining and she knew that. Second we are completely spent bankie-wise… and thirdly, we are in the midst of a lot of work – officewise and lack of vacation leave days… Thus, the reason we were left drooling over what could have been. Don’t you have those feeling too sometimes?

But let’s get back to the matter at hand. In recent months we’ve heard and read ever so often about red dotters who have been to the Caucasus. And independently too! Now the length of time they spent across the various countries differed, they showed us how ‘old’ we’ve become… whatever happened to that youthful sense of excitement over adventure to get out there?

Shall we consider to take a plane into Baku and then map out a way to Yerevan from there? Or do we need to have detailed plans on the mode of transportation, accommodations and sights prepared before we embark? Lots of questions today. But as you might know (from our past posts) when we blog about it, we mostly actually will do it.

Have you been to the Caucasus countries before? How did you plan you journey?

Train to Busan

We figured that if I used a title that is similar to that of a zombie movie, it might attract more readers. Alright for those not in the know, it is a Korean zombie flick. Look our for it on youtube!

After a hiatus of 4 years, Suan is finally making a ‘return’ journey to Korea, the land of the morning calm. Yeah right. Suan’s anything but calm…the comeback kid had been pacing the living room all evening in anticipation. You see, she has expended a lot of effort into planning and booking the trip. Think of it this way, she had put in more effort planning this trip than all the preparations for exams in school in her whole life! The fruits of this hard work is about to be realized and she is once again having butterflies in the stomach!

So, the usual call by Mel is : “Get over it, let’s go to the airport early”.

So we did, again, as usual, as always…in about 10 hours we will be in Seoul where she will be busy pounding the streets of the city procuring stuff while Mel pounds the office floor. Well from Monday anyway…for the weekend Mel will be the wondering bag holder. The rewards will be just and soon we’ll be in Busan (in a few days), placing our travel handprint on yet another corner of Korea.

Journalog will follow soon!