Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Support

If you’re concerned for the people of Haiti, you’re also probably wondering how best to help. Organizations world-wide will be pouring money and resources into the country. Our suggestion is to support, which helps people all over the world become more self-sufficient with micro loans. See Kiva’s comments about the Haiti earthquake relief here. A loan (much more valuable than just a donation) through Kiva can be made in amounts as small as $25.

We Don’t Make ‘em Up, We Just Report ‘em

We found this great quote on the Upgrade Travel Better blog. Use your imagination as to its context, or read the whole post.

“Sausages and hams ‘are much more dangerous than people think,’ says Janice Mosher, an official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year’s Travel Resolutions

The rightly famous and ubiquitous Rick Steves recently posted his 10 New Year’s Travel Resolutions for 2010. Rick’s list (condensed) is:

• Take my last glass of wine away from the restaurant and enjoy it under the stars.
• Stretch 10 minutes a day.
• Eat at the counter in market eateries to [experience] all the local action.
• Order more adventurously to delve more deeply into regional cuisine.
• Drink more – and work less – late at night.
• Take time to talk with more people.
• Refuse to let small-minded victims of 24/7 news shrink my worldview.
• Buy clothes on the road and wear them.
• Take more photos with my tripod.
• Make music a bigger part of my travels.
• Embrace technology more vigorously.

We really like Rick’s #8 and 9, so will start OUR list with our variations on those two resolutions of his:

  • Use a tripod a lot more frequently. Always take the tripod with us.
  • Buy local clothes (and shoes!); wear them; and if we don’t want to return home with those clothes (or even ones we brought), donate them to some local charity.
  • Plan ahead more (frequent-flyer trips, reward stays, timeshare trades), while at the same time being more spontaneous on the road.
  • If we can get there domestically by driving no more than a day, drive instead of fly. (For us, even a short flight represents 2 hours to the airport; arriving 2-3 hours before our flight for security; 2 hours for the flight itself; 1 hour for baggage claim; 1/2 hour plus to gather the rental car; and at least 1/2 hour from airport to town or our lodging. That’s 8-9 hours minimum without delays, traffic, etc. A complete day any way you look at it. And we can take a lot more crap on a driving trip; as well as most likely being more affordable.)
  • Buy some local artwork – no matter how small or inexpensive – on every trip.
  • Revise our leisure travel windows into two general timeframes: 5-6 days (domestic trips, mostly driving); 9-10 days (domestic flying; or international trips to destinations where we can actually experience the place in that amount of time). Our other future timeframe is the 2- to 3-month trip, when we have the time, ability, and inclination to truly “live” in a country/place to experience the fullness of it. Of course, those travels would be more for our “retirement” years, but it’s worth considering and on our radar screens.
  • Keep a food and wine diary of every meal, bottle, bite on every trip.
  • Write on the road. Travel journaling; writing projects we’re working on. Don’t stop doing the creative things that motivate and reward us at home, just because we’re traveling and feel we “don’t have the time.”