Breaking the Ice
Getting to Know Iceland, p. 50
Also in this issue
The Blind Cafe, p. 10 Taming Wildlife Tourism, p. 42 Adventures in Salzwelten, p. 62
PHOTO CONTEST WINNER
See back inside cover for runner-ups
First Place Up in the Clouds
On top of Mt. Persis with views of Mt. Index, Baring, Merchant and Gun peaks, and a blanket of clouds. Nate Munk Redmond, Washington
WINTER 2017 On the cover: View of a small ice cave along the Myrdasljokull glacier, Iceland.
Photo Contest Winner: Up in the Clouds
Editor’s Note: Forget Your Fear
Culinary Tours: A Taste of History
Escapades: Refuge Photo Contest Runner-Ups
10 14 16
The Blind Cafe
From Flames to Art
Swedish Engineering Four Corners of the Kitchen: Honey
Photo by Moyan Brenn
Snow Place I’d Rather Be
Ocracoke: Get Off the Mainland
Winter Wonder Down Under
Verbier: The Air is Swankier up Here
Qatar: Doha on a Dime
47 50 54
Travel After Tragedy Taming Wildlife Tourism Travel in the Moment Breaking the Ice: Getting to Know Iceland Shikoku Pilgrimage
Adventures in Salzwelten
Extreme Cammock King
Cambodia: Beauty Behind the Tourism
Traveling to a New Home
Shikoku Pilgrimage by David Gilbert. His photobook can be purchased online at henro.co/
Gluten Free On-The-Go
82 84 86
Gotta Catch â€™Em All
Is Couch Surfing Dead?
On the Road Again Thwarting Vacation Vexation
Assistant Managing Editor
Assistant Managing Editor
Jacob D. Rawlins
Social Media Co-Director
Social Media Co-Director
Editor in Chief
Publisher: Marvin K. Gardner
© 2017 Marvin K. Gardner 4045 JFSB, Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 84602 Printed by Brigham Young University Press
4 ▶ winter 2017
Stowaway is produced as a project for English Language 430R, Editing for Publication, the capstone class of the editing minor at Brigham Young University. All staff m embers contributed to planning, writing, editing, designing, and advertising. The views expressed in this publication are solely the views of the authors and do not represent the views or opinions of BYU. Stowaway takes inspiration from the words of Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Forget your fear
Photo by Austin Neill
a Jolla Cove is a wild amalgam of competing stimuli, but the stench outdoes them all. The water, of course, is beautiful; the sea lions, feet away; the sharp rocks inciting fear of minor injury, everywhere; the cute hermit crabs, plentiful. But the smell is what I will tell my grandchildren about. I might mention the middle-aged agent who offered my brother a modeling contract on the spot or the fact that I treaded water for 30 minutes straight. But the highlight of the story will be the stench. We must have been able to smell it even before we handed the car keys to the overeager valet. And it got stronger as we navigated through the seaside shops down the hill to the beach. Thankfully we could hardly smell it once we were in the water, and we only discovered later that the source of the stench was the ever-hardening heap of bird and sea lion dung on the rocks by the cove.
Despite the olfactory overload, I have rarely enjoyed an experience more than I did that afternoon, and it is filed away in my mind—stench included—as one of those memories that feels like home. Just as strangers can become friends, strange places can become homes away from home. All we have to do is get to know these places. As James Michener said, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” If I had let the smell scare me away, I wouldn’t have been able to experience that time with the ocean, the sea lions, and my family. And while the experience itself was delightful, it was the stench that made it unforgettable. I hope that this issue of Stowaway can be for you an introduction to future homes away from home and an assurance that your fears about travel can be overcome. Scared of
heights? “Adventures in Salzwelten” takes you on a fast-paced ride down a steep slide and makes you feel eager to experience it yourself. Afraid of overspending? “Qatar on a Dime” shows how to enjoy luxurious Qatar frugally. Worried your dietary needs won’t be met? “Gluten Free On-The-Go” suggests some ways you can keep to your diet, no matter where you are. Nervous about visiting a place that has recently survived a disaster? “Travel After Tragedy” assures that with time, even the most devastated destinations can be rebuilt, and tourists can help the rebuilding process. To recast Michener’s quotation, “If you welcome the food, observe the customs, respect the religion and interact with the people,” your travel will be worth every penny, every strange smell, every moment.
—Isabella Markert Managing Editor
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 5
here are two types of travelers—those who want to visit every historical sight and those who are just there for the food. It can be hard to satisfy both the history nerd and the foodie on a trip. But what if there was a way to combine eating delicious food and learning about history while on vacation? This is exactly what happens on a culinary tour. On culinary tours, travelers walk around a city with a guide who spouts obscure facts and stories about the city’s history. The best part? There are stops along the way where you can eat authentic food and experience the city in a more complete way. It’s even possible to schedule a tour during meal times. Gone are the days of wandering around unfamiliar sites with a rumbling stomach. Here are a few US culinary tours to consider next time you plan a vacation.
Sacramento, CA The capital of California has a lot to offer—both in food and history. On the Sutter District Tour, tourists stroll through one of Sacramento’s oldest neighborhoods—the Sutter District of Midtown. Along the way, you will pass historical landmarks and mission-style churches, and stop at local favorite restaurants. Samples include grilled pork spring rolls, banh mi chicken sandwiches, croque monsieur sandwiches, and chocolate crinkle cookies. ▶▶
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Kansas City, MO The KC Streetcar Food and Historical Walking Tour is a combination walking and streetcar tour in the heart of downtown Kansas City. There are six food stops on the tour, which include tastings of East-Coast style pizza, chocolate, macarons, and the city’s famed barbecue. This tour takes tourists through the lesser-traveled areas of the city that are full of delicious local cuisine and fascinating history. ▶▶
From left, photos by Food Group, Shelby Bell, Arnold Gatilao, Jane Thomas, and qasic
A Taste of History
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is known for its exciting way of life and its to-die-for food. On the Taste Harlem tour, you get to experience the blended culture of the city while learning about its extravagant history and architecture. The food offers a glance into the heart of the city by providing samples of Caribbean and African dishes. This tour offers generous portions of food such as chicken and waffles, rugelach, mafé, and black-eyed peas.
On the Historic Annapolis Food Tour, you will go to buildings that have been around for centuries such as Maryland’s State House and the historic Maryland Inn. You’ll even stop at a tavern that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin visited regularly once upon a time. Food samples include authentic eighteenth-century popovers, Smith Island cake, and she-crab soup.
Explore “Port City” by walking down Old Port and stopping at six or seven of its finest venues. On the Old Port Culinary Tour, you will experience old local favorites as well as the hottest new eateries in this historic city. Samplings include fresh lobster macaroni and cheese, New England clam chowder, the original whoopie pie, and cheese from local farms.
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 7
See submission guidelines and read the award-winning issues free at StowawayMag.com. Submit your photos by midnight on
March 1, 2017 Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. See page 1 for a full-size of Winter 2017 Issue’s Photo Contest Winner: “Up in the Clouds” by Nate Munk
8 ▶ summer 2012
The Blind Cafe
Four Corners of the Kitchen: Honey
From Flames to Art
Close your eyes and learn to see.
From ancient to modern, tour the innovative legacy of Stockholm,Â Sweden.
Enjoy the taste of honey across the world.
Art is everywhere in the Brazilian city of Olinda.
Photo by BARRETA
www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 9
10 â–¶ fall 2016
American songwriter Rosh Rocheleau and his band—then called “Rosh and One Eye-Glass Broken”—were touring in Europe. Rocheleau stumbled upon “Cafe in the Dark” in Iceland, a restaurant where blind servers brought food to diners, who ate completely in the dark. The experience stuck with Rocheleau. “The powerful part is I had no idea if these people were black, white, tall, short, blind, wheelchair—I didn’t have that prejudgment of people,” said Rocheleau. “I carried that story with me for several years.” A few years later, in 2010, Rocheleau was in a diversity class for college. He shared his experience in Iceland, and promptly after class a blind woman told him he needs to bring the “Dining in the Dark” experience to Boulder, Colorado. He took her advice. “It started out as something fun,” said Rocheleau. Of course, it became much bigger than that. “The Blind Cafe,” founded by Rocheleau and his friend Rich Hammond, a spoken-word artist from Portland, falls very much in line with the “dining in the dark” trend, in that individuals come and enjoy food in the dark and are served by blind waiters. However, Rocheleau wanted to take it one step further.
“[We wanted] to use darkness as a social change movement, as a way for people to connect,” Rocheleau said. Participants in the The Blind Cafe first enter into a room dimly lit by candles, and are greeted by puppies that run around the area. Rocheleau said these puppies are trained by local groups for blind people; often, during the dining experience, these puppies roam around under the tables. The Blind Cafe then asks participants to turn off their phones. Rocheleau shows the group a Tibetan singing bowl—a type of “bell” in bowl form that makes noise when circling the rim with a wooden instrument— and says that every time they hear it
all and all, we fall down the
go off, the audience needs to quiet down. The participants then create a Conga line and enter a room that’s “100%, pure, organic darkness.” For the first 20 minutes, participants eat the food on the table, often fumbling to get to the bread and butter at the center. Rocheleau said he normally encourages individuals to “get a buddy,” allowing diners to help one another adjust to the darkness together. Then The Blind Cafe holds a discussion. “We have a Q and A with the blind staff, and they get to share their story and people get to ask questions,” Rocheleau said. “It’s a really powerful and humbling part of the event.” For the final component of The Blind Cafe, Rocheleau rings the Tibetan bell to silence the crowd, and Rocheleau brings out his band “Rosh and The Blind Cafe Orchestra,” composed of a quartet, a female vocalist, and Rocheleau at the guitar and vocals, and they begin to play.
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 11
12 â–¶ fall 2016
“With the music, we create this experience for people to emotionally open up. You can bawl your eyes out or sing to the top of your lungs or dance like no one is watching—because no one is,” Rocheleau said. After playing a few songs, the band ends with “The Light,” written by another artist but performed by the band. The band teaches the audience the chorus, and invites everyone to join as they sing, “The light that shines through everyone, someday it will be gone—so make me yours, and I’ll make you mine.” “And then we light this one candle that just wakes us all up, and we are brought to the light,” Rocheleau said. “It’s as if we’ve all woken up from some collective dream we’ve all shared together.” Rocheleau sees potential for The Blind Cafe to be more than a discussion about disability and blindness. In the past, he has hosted couple therapy events where couples share their personal struggles—without any fear of others recognizing them—and help each other adjust to the darkness. He plans on piloting a Blind Cafe experience that discusses racism and discrimination. When asked, “Why the dark? Why are these discussions so effective in the dark?” Rocheleau has a profound response. “It interrupts us,” he said. “It breaks down our habitual ways of checking out and not being present.” Rocheleau explained that people have to concentrate on eating, on talking, on listening to the music without the sensory experience of sight to guide them. Rocheleau said one of the best parts of The Blind Café are the relationships it creates, not just between its staff, but between the audience members as well. He recalled one woman who cried and confessed that at the café, it was one of the first times she had been seen as more than a large black woman. Rocheleau illustrates this concept in one of the songs he plays at the the café called “Love and Rainy Days”: All and all we fall down the rabbit hole, Tumble and scratch and bruise our knees. We fall and fall into each other’s thoughts again, Only to wake up with that need Of each other’s company “It’s a really powerful tool for social change,” he said. Because of the powerful and profound experience The Blind Cafe offers, the company is in high demand. Entire school districts as well as huge companies like Pepsi and Apple have taken advantage of the group, and The Blind Cafe travels from city to city hosting events for people to attend. People interested in The Blind Cafe can find more information at theblindcafe.com.
Photo by The Blind Cafe
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 13
hether or not you’ll ever meet an English inventor, the Swedes are known for their pioneering spirit—just look at Anders Celcius, who invented the 100 point temperature scale, or Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite and founded the prizes named after him. In particular, Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, is a thriving hub where Swedish ingenuity is housed.
14 ▶ Winter 2017
Red carpet. Flashing cameras. Designer dresses and white ties. Did the Academy Awards come to mind? Think instead to Stockholm, not Hollywood. Every year on December 10, people across the world flock to this seaside town to celebrate the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death by awarding a little something called the Nobel Prize.
Despite average temperatures as low as 22°F on this day, Stockholm comes alive for the Nobel Prize ceremonies. What used to be just a local event has now become an international spectacle where scientists, doctors, and writers are given the same attention as movie stars. Also in attendance are the royal families of Sweden, members of the Swedish government, and other international
Bottom photo by Vapi Photography (colors altered)
My grandpa is Swedish; my grandma, English. Whenever Grandma would start reminiscing about the glories of the motherland, my Papa, a lifelong chemist, would always reply, “But you’ll never meet an English inventor. Bunch of druids. The Swedes invent things.”
Top (from left), photos by Talas, Adam Baker (colors altered), Guillaume Speurt, Pieter Claerhout, and Clark & Kim Kays.
guests who represent the scientific and cultural interests of their countries. Since 1926, the few who are lucky or talented enough to be chosen for prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, or Literature (the Peace and Economics prizes are
Stockholm comes alive for the Nobel Prize ceremonies.
Stockholm has enjoyed its title of European Capital of Culture. With a mixed history of Vikings and inventors, the city has a rich blend of arts and sciences that invites a respect for new ideas. We have Stockholm to thank for famous doctors like Åke Senning, who in 1958 conducted the first implantable pacemaker surgery.
awarded in Norway) have arrived on the scene at the Stockholm Concert Hall—a tall, graceful building with painted ceilings and a bronze fountain. This hall, or Konserthuset, houses the combined memory of almost a century’s worth of Nobel Prize laureates. Here, with attendees photographed like Hollywood stars, the king of Sweden hands each laureate a medal and a diploma.
Stockholm has over 100 museums—it’s one of the most crowded museumcities in the world! One of these museums (the Vasa Museum) houses the entire seventeenth century warship Vasa, one of the only virtually intact ships from that time ever to have been recovered. Yes, visitors to the museum can see the entire ship. This museum is a testament to the lasting products of Swedish engineering, a tradition inherited by Swedes like the Ljungström brothers, who improved on the Vasa’s technology with their invention of the turbine-powered locomotive.
As the rest of Stockholm matches the timeless grace of the Konserthuset, it’s no surprise that a Stockholm native like Alfred Nobel had his start in the capital of Sweden. Since 1998,
Explore some of Stockholm’s infectious viking history by visiting the city’s old town: Gamla Stan. The old town dates back to the thirteenth century, with buildings such as the
Royal Palace that seem to leap from a fairytale. Only a few meters away from the palace is a monument known as Järnpojke, or Iron Boy, a charming statue that stands—or sits—at only fifteen centimeters tall. In the winter time, residents leave coins and a hat and scarf to carry him through the cold nights. For a more intimate experience, visitors eat traditional Swedish food at Den
Residents leave coins and a hat and scarf to carry him through the cold nights. Gyldene Freden, which has stood since 1722. Stockholm doesn’t rest on its laurels when it invites laureates into the country each December. From the museums, the Old Town, the statue of the iron boy, and the pomp and circumstance of the Nobel Prize ceremonies, this Swedish city commands the respect of the ages.
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Honey Known for its sweet taste, honey is as versatile as it is delicious. People have taken advantage of this ingredient for thousands of years, in uses ranging from medicinal cough remedies to savory sauces. Honey remains a staple food in cultures across the world. The following recipes, all from different countries, demonstrate just a few of the many delicious uses of honey.
16 â–ś winter 2017
Photos by Natalie Hopkins
Four Corners of the Kitchen
Bolivian Tawa Tawas (Fried Bread) 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon softened butter 2 eggs, beaten ½ cup water Canola oil for frying Honey Powdered sugar
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Combine all dry ingredients. Add butter and mix. Add eggs and a small amount of water. Mix well. Continue by gradually adding water and then mix until the ingredients are well combined. (Dough will be sticky.) Place dough onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth (about 2 minutes). Cover dough with a towel and let sit for 10 minutes. Roll dough out onto a floured surface until fairly thin (about one-tenth inch). Using a knife (or a pizza cutter), cut the dough into rhombus-shaped pieces. Cover and let dough rest for another 5 minutes. Heat oil in a pot or heavy skillet. Fry each piece of dough until it is puffed up and golden. Turn fried bread to cook both sides. Place fried bread on paper towels. Drizzle with honey, and then dust with powdered sugar.
Adapted from theslowcook.com
English Honey Posset
1 quart (4 cups) cream (heavy or regular whipping) ½ cup honey ⅓ cup lemon juice 1 tablespoon of lime juice (about ½ a lime) Flavoring of choice (lavender springs, cinnamon sticks, etc.)
In a medium saucepan, bring cream and honey to a boil over high heat. Stir continually until honey is combined and mixture begins to boil. Boil for 3 minutes while stirring. (You may need to lower heat to prevent it from boiling over.) Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and lime juice. Mix well. Add flavoring, if desired. Pour into ramekins. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. (Overnight is best.)
Adapted from theadventurebite.com
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Israeli Honey Challah
Israeli Honey Challah
3 ½ cups flour 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons instant yeast 1 teaspoon salt ¾ cup warm water (not too warm, as it will kill the yeast) 3 tablespoons honey ⅓ cup canola oil 3 eggs 2 tablespoons milk 1. 2. 3. 4.
5. 6. 7.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and yeast. (Use an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment.) Add the salt, water, honey, oil, and 2 eggs. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to combine (about 4 minutes). Then increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth (about 3 minutes). Lightly grease another large bowl with nonstick spray or oil, and then transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Place dough on a floured surface and divide it into three pieces. Roll each piece into a rope (about 12 inches long). Place the ropes side by side on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pinch the ropes together at the top. Take the piece on the left, lift it up, and cross it over the center piece. Lift the right piece and cross it over the new center piece. Repeat until the dough is completely braided. Pinch ends together and tuck them under the loaf. Cover the braided loaf loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Whisk the third egg with the milk. Brush egg wash onto the loaf just before baking. Bake loaf until a deep golden brown and fully cooked through (40–50 minutes). Cool before serving.
Adapted from purewow.com
Japanese Teriyaki Sauce 1 cup water 5 tablespoons packed brown sugar ¼ cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons honey 1 large clove garlic, finely minced ½ teaspoon ground ginger ½ tablespoons cornstarch ¼ cup cold water
Combine the water (1 cup), brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger in a medium saucepan and set over a medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the ¼ cup of water and mix until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the other ingredients. Heat sauce, while stirring, until it thickens as desired.
Adapted from tasteandtellblog.com
18 ▶ winter 2017
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red one, a pink one, a teal one—all squished together. Welcome to Olinda where the colorful homes welcome visitors to one of the cultural centers of Brazil just 20 minutes outside of Recife. The area’s picturesque situation, with the clear blue water and lush vegetation, won over Duarte Ceolho, who founded the city in 1535. Ceolho, a Portuguese nobleman working in sugarcane, also appreciated Olinda’s strategic location at South America’s easternmost bulge into the Atlantic ocean. At one point he exclaimed from the top of the hills, “O beautiful situation to build a town!”
20 ▶ fall 2016
But this Latin American paradise was destroyed when the Dutch sacked and burned the city in 1630. The Portuguese ousted the Dutch in 1654, but most structures in the city had to be rebuilt. Out of the flames of destruction came colonial architecture that today has earned Olinda the title of the best-preserved colonial city in Brazil along with the first Brazilian capital of culture. Contrasting with the simplicity of the houses lining the streets, over 20 Baroque-style churches pierce the skyline with their heavenpointing spires. More than one of these churches have stories behind their construction that are just as
fascinating as the architecture. For example, the Church of Miracles was supposedly built over the location where a cow miraculously found water during a drought. When the cow’s owner found him, the whole town rejoiced at the discovery of the much-needed water. The city survived, and the miracle was memorialized by building a church. Many of the churches of Olinda have similarly fasinating stories. These background stories and the architecture of the Olinda churches intrigue many visitors every year. In your wanderings through the pictureque streets of Olinda, be sure to not miss these three churches.
Photos by Prefeitura de Olinda
mes to Art Catedral Alto da Sé Catedral Alto da Sé, also known as Church of the Savior of the World, looks down from a hilltop and marks the highest point of Olinda. Duarte Coelho most likely made his famous statement about the beauty of Olinda on this hilltop. The back courtyard of the church is open to the public, and from this vantage point, visitors can take stunning pictures of the city and its meandering streets stretched out below. The church is one of the many reasons this city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Construction began in the late 1530s, and
by 1676 it had become the cathedral of Olinda. Originally the church served as a Jesuit monastery and college. If you take the time to attend a service there, take a moment to appreciate the religious art that fills the niches. And be sure to notice the columns that were originally built with rock from the nearby reef.
Mosteiro de São Bento
The next stop on this brief Olinda church tour is the Monastery of Saint Benedict. The dramatic centerpiece of the monastery is the massive cedar altarpiece. The beautiful curves,
florid details, and intricate designs are covered in gold. The dimensions alone are awe inspiring, measuring 13.6 meters high, 7.9 meters wide, and 4.5 meters deep. The gilded piece even caught the attention of the Guggenheim Museum and was dismounted from its home in Brazil for the Brazil: Body and Soul exhibit in New York in 2001. Now that the altarpiece is safely back home, visitors to Olinda can continue to admire the piece along with the imposing rosewood doors, sandstone columns, and carved cedar walls of the monastery. Next to the church itself, but still inside the complex, is the building
Catedral Alto da Sé
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 21
where the first law school of Brazil was established in 1828. Although law classes are no longer held there, it remains a significant landmark for Brazilian law.
Igreja do Rosário
Behind the white, rather simple walls of this church lies a fascinating story that explores the issues of slavery and race in Brazil. Just the name, Church of the Rosary of the Black Men of Olinda, begins to tell the history of this structure. The church was built in the late 1600s when slavery was in full force in Brazil. Black slaves weren’t allowed
22 ▶ winter 2017
inside churches, so they would gather around outside. Many slaves in Brazil integrated Catholic beliefs with their native traditions. Eventually, freed black slaves were allowed to form brotherhoods that built churches such as this one. The Church of the Rosary is the first of several Brazilian churches built by black brotherhoods. During a restoration project in 1988, professionals found the original paintings on the wall. They had been crafted to resemble the gold and precious gems found in other churches that the brotherhood could not afford to place in their own church. As the revelers dance in front of a backdrop of colorful street art and in between colorful masterpieces of architecture, the theme of Olinda’s yearly art festival seems appropriate: “Olinda, arte em toda parte.” Or in other words, “Olinda, art is everywhere.”
—Heather J. Johnson
From top, Mosteiro de São Bento; Atarpiece in Mosteiro de São Bento; and Igreja do Rosário. All photos on this page by Prefeitura de Olinda.
Snow Place I’d Rather Be
Ocracoke: Get off the Mainland
Winter Wonder Down Under
Verbier: The Air is Swankier up Here
Qatar: Doha on a Dime
Take advantage of the winter lull in Glacier National Park.
Ponies, pirates, and clams! Oh my!
Perth, Australia, will surprise you.
Find out what makes Verbier synonymous with skiing in Switzerland.
Visit the world’s richest country without breaking the bank.
Photo by StockSnap
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 23
I’D OW E SN AC ER PL TH RA BE S
ettling in for a peaceful day of fishing on the edge of a pristine glacier lake is a dream come true for many vacationers, if only thousands of other vacationers weren’t looking for the
24 ▶ winter 2017 24 ▶ winter 2017
exact same thing. Many people retreat to the mountains for peace and quiet, but they often don’t find it at Glacier National Park—at least not during the peak summer months. However, vacationing at Glacier National Park for a week during the winter is an ideal mountain getaway. A great way to kick off your week away is with the Amtrak Empire Builder train to see the beautiful mountains starting in Whitefish, Montana. The Empire Builder runs right into Essex, which is in the heart of the park’s rugged peaks. Essex is home to the Izaak Walton Inn, which is dedicated to providing an authentic Montanan experience. The inn has a
This is Glacier National Park in the winter, and you are alone and at one with the mountains.” The park is a must-visit destination, so take advantage of the peace and quiet of the winter lull at Glacier National Park.
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no-electronics policy, so visitors can enjoy a distraction-free experience. Many of the roads are closed during the winter, so snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing are the only way to access the beautiful trails through the park. The east bank of Lake McDonald, also known as Going-to-the-Sun Road, is a popular (but not too popular) spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Snow-adventuring newcomers can join in on walks led by park rangers on Saturdays and Sundays. The rangers can help you get acquainted with the area and with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. If you’re looking for something more extreme, ditch the cross-country skis for some downhill skis and head out with a backcountry skiing guide. Make sure that your guide is avalanche certified before hitting the rugged glacier terrain. A peaceful day of fishing is still a possibility during winter—ice fishing, that is. All lakes are open for year-round fishing, and the banks will not be packed with other fishermen during the winter. Don’t forget to dress warmly and bring your pole and ice drill. The solitude of winter in Glacier National Park is infectious and keeps travelers coming back year after year. Tim Johnson, a frequent visitor of the park, describes the winter serenity: “Tracks that covered the whole snow covered road at the beginning begin to diminish until finally, only one beautiful solitary line of singletrack remains.
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 25
Get Off the Mainland D
on’t let the name fool you—this island doesn’t have anything to do with the slimy green vegetable or the quintessential soft drink. Think pirates. Think “hoi toide.” Think undeveloped beaches. Think wild ponies. Think the perfect island getaway.
Wild about Wildlife
The adventure begins as you travel to the island, which sits off the coast of North Carolina as part of the Outer Banks. The island, which is less than ten square miles, is only accessible by ferry and air. The ferry ride gives visitors their first look at the wildlife of the region. Visitors can’t miss the gulls following the ferry, hoping for a handout, but the unobservant might
miss the show sometimes put on by the bottle-nosed dolphins. If the dolphins aren’t in the performing mood, pull out your exotic bird bingo because over 400 species of birds have been spotted on Ocracoke. Not into the ornithology scene? The wild pony herd is a good alternative. The horses are currently cared for by the National Park Service. No one quite knows the history of the Ocracoke horses. The most popular theory is that they are descended from mustangs thrown overboard by Spanish sailors in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. One thing is for sure—there is no horse like an Ocracoke horse. They even have a different number of vertebrae than a typical horse!
Teach Me about Pirates
Thinking about those Ocracoke horses may get history buffs hungry for more; luckily, Ocracoke is a feast of historical sites. Ever heard of Edward Teach? Probably not. How about Blackbeard the Pirate? Ocracoke was one of Blackbeard’s seasonal hideouts. It’s a perfect location
26 ▶ winter 2017
for pirating unsuspecting merchants, and the views aren’t bad either. But the idyllic life of a pirate couldn’t last forever. Blackbeard’s last battle with the British Royal Navy ended in his death at what is now known as Teach’s Hole, which is just off the shore of Springer’s Point in the Pamlico Sound. The story goes that the island got its unique name from Blackbeard praying, “O Crow Cock, Crow!” the night before the deadly battle. Check out Ocracoke’s Springer’s Point Preserve and walk the terrain favored by one of history’s most infamous buccaneers.
It’s a Hoi Toiders’ Business
Learning about swashbucklers and exploring 16 miles of pristine, wild beaches works up an appetite. Nothing beats the hand-caught seafood of Ocracoke. Located on the harbour, the fish house is the last of its kind. Here watermen—clammers,
Bottom left photo by Captain-Tucker; right bottom photo by Chriz067
oystermen, and fishermen—come and sell their catch. These waterman care beyond just selling seafood. They are eager to teach the public about Ocracoke’s 300-year-old maritime culture. Listen for that distinctive Ocracoke brogue. Get away from it all. Head to the island with one grocery store, one gas station, and limitless places to explore.
—Heather J. Johnson
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Experience Energetic Urban Perth
Greater Perth boasts a population of two million, but the city proper doesn’t seem crowded; there are enough people to bring energy but not so many that you feel you can’t
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walk at your own pace. Shielded with a light jacket from the delicate night chill, visitors may pass several trendy cafes, chic boutiques, a Baskin Robbins, and perhaps a live band playing ritzy jazz music. For an intimate look at the city, visitors can take a chocolate walking tour with Foodi. This three-hour tour travels quiet lanes to Perth’s finest chocolatiers, and while munching on chocolate, visitors learn about the history of the city and the art of chocolate making. To contrast this intimate look at the city, visitors can climb the 271-foot-high Swan Bell Tower for a view from above. The tower was built to commemorate the new millennium and houses twelve 600-year-old bells that once rang in St Martin-in-the-Fields, a church that still stands in London. The tower is a striking symbol of the city’s aspirations for the future and reverence for the past.
Take a Stroll through Old World Perth An afternoon that begins with eating fish and chips at Cicerello’s Fremantle can never go wrong. The restaurant is housed in a 100-yearold wharf with charming décor: newspaper front pages detailing wild fishing stories, a shark-bitten fishing boat suspended from the ceiling, and a vibrant aquarium, lending color to the wood-framed room. The Indian Ocean is but one
Left bottom photo by Learning Lark; above photo by akeii
erth, Australia—a coastal city sitting relaxed and cross-legged in the southwest corner of the country—surprises you with its urban vibrancy and old world charisma. In the movies, Australia is a paradise of eternal summer. But the truth is that the country offers a depth and richness that must be experienced to be understood. The eternal summer ends for a few dreary months in the middle of each year, but Perth, like a seasoned storyteller, slows down not for loss of things to say, but for dramatic effect.
Down Under Right bottom photo by Pascal Subtil (photo has been cropped)
minute away, and with the winter sun still high, it may be warm enough to slip off your shoes and walk along the water’s edge.
Perth is a crossroads, a meeting place for both true blue descendants of convicts and new immigrants starting again. Another delightful eatery is Tranby House. The white-walled cottage is one of the oldest buildings in Perth, and its spot among eucalyptus trees by Swan River is idyllic. Visitors may sit inside the historic building or under umbrellas outside, sipping herbal teas or hot chocolate in flower-adorned tea cups. Then come out tiered serving
trays laden with the high tea selection: finger sandwiches and cakes, scones, and cookies to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Meet the People of Perth Architecture, tours, and food all create a colorful background, but the most salient part of Perth’s story is the people. Perth is a crossroads, a meeting place for both true blue descendants of convicts and new immigrants starting again. A middle-aged Czech couple selling gelato from their small shop. A young piano teacher holding lessons in her home studio. A
Chinese family throwing their annual Christmas in July party. School children wearing collared uniforms, playing chasey in the playground as their teachers watch on. Perth is a city with a storied past and a promising future. And in winter—the weather milder, the pace slower—the story continues with a beauty and richness unrivalled.
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The Air is Swa 30 â–¶ winter 2017
ankier Up Here www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 31
he world-class ski resort of Verbier lies in the southwest of Switzerland in the canton of Valais. When it comes to skiing in Switzerland, no resort is more idyllic than Verbier. Although not a familiar name to many Americans, Verbier certainly does not go unnoticed. Celebrity regulars include Jamie Oliver, Leonardo DiCaprio, Princess Mary and Prince Frederik of Denmark, and the ever-fashionable David and Victoria Beckham. Jeremy Rollason, Managing Director of Alpine Homes International, calls Verbier “the benchmark for Swiss ski resorts.”
While Verbier is a great place from which to admire the Alps, skiing is the main focus. The ski and snowboard terrain in Verbier is incredible. If you want to satisfy the skiing needs of your beginner child, your daredevil teenager, and your ski-savvy self, Verbier is the place. Verbier’s own network of pistes is connected to a larger, four-valley system. The Four Valleys encompass six different ski resorts— Verbier, Bruson, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, and Thyon—and the 4 Valleys Pass gives access to all of them. Visitors can also choose to buy a pass with access to only the local Verbier ski area and beginner slopes.
A combined total of 412 km (256 mi) of downhill skiing and 205 individual pistes served by 93 ski lifts make up the Four Valleys, one of the largest ski areas in Europe. Verbier is at the center of the Four Valleys and has been called the capital of the Four Valleys ski circus. And while it has ski and snowboard terrain for all abilities, it specializes in steep off-piste slopes, thus attracting expert skiers from around the globe.
Another perk is that Verbier is extremely accessible. The airport nearest to Verbier is Geneva. Driving time from Geneva to Verbier is about two hours and ten minutes. Three other international airports (Zurich, Lyon, and Milan Malpensa) are all less than four hours away. If you decide against renting a car, the resort is still easy to get to. There are airport shuttle services to Verbier from the Geneva Airport and there is always the impeccable Swiss railway. Rest assured that no one does transportation better than the Swiss.
Let’s face it: skiing in the Alps comes with a high price tag. Another
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Left, photo by LEO TRIPPI, www.leotrippi.com—Swiss Chalet rental company ©Yves Garneau
And he’s right. But perhaps he still isn’t giving Verbs (as it’s known) quite enough credit. In the skiing world, Verbier is considered one of the world’s premiere ski resorts, and it sets a standard for ski resorts around the world. So what makes Verbier so special? Verbier offers everything a visitor could want in a ski resort. It’s in Switzerland, so there are amazing views of the Alps. As you swoosh down the mountain, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the highest Alpine peak—Mont Blanc—as well as the most iconic—the Matterhorn. And the town itself has an abundance of Swiss chalets and plenty of charm.
reason to choose Verbier is that there are a few more affordable options. If there is room in your budget to stay in a glitzy chalet in Verbier, there are plenty to choose from. But remember the five resorts in the Four Valleys area that aren’t Verbier? If you’re looking to spend a little less, look into one of the villages associated with those resorts. These satellite resorts still have access to all of the terrain of the Four Valleys and have their own versions of the more local Verbier Ski Pass.
(n.) trail, especially a downhill ski trail; often combined with the word “off,” as in “off-piste,” to describe backcountry skiing.
With its village at 1,500m (4,921 ft.) and slopes up to 3,330m (10,925 ft.), Verbier’s altitude promises a good chance of high-quality snow throughout the season. On the trip of a lifetime, it’s a good idea to go to a
ski resort with an abundance of snow. Verbier’s altitude also makes it a safe bet for early or late season trips.
If you’re going to ski in the Swiss Alps, you might as well do it in style. Verbier is a place to be seen, and skiers flock to the resort not only to enjoy the challenging terrain but also the exciting nightlife. Excellent restaurants, shops, bars, and clubs mean the evenings are as exciting as the days. Après Ski literally means “after skiing,” and no resort does it better than Verbier. Yes, Verbier is the quintessential Swiss ski resort. For some, skiing in Verbier is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. For others, it’s a repeated occurrence. Either way, Verbier’s Swiss charm, classy comfort, exhilarating slopes, unforgettable views, and even celebrity sightings will make for a ski trip you’ll never forget.
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34 â–ś Winter 2017
From top, photos by Omar Chatriwala and Open Source
Bottom, photo by Kris Krüg; top, photo by Laika slips the lead
jewel in the desert sands, the Qatar peninsula sits surrounded by crystalline Persian Gulf waters. In its early days, Qatar was sustained mainly by the pearling industry, with fluctuations of its wealth coming from the changing value of pearls. After a brief stint as a part of the British Empire, Qatar has been independent since 1971, and the country’s abundant oil supply gives its residents the highest per capita income in the world.
Luckily, it’s possible to visit Qatar without spending a fortune. Winter is the perfect time to visit, too, as the temperatures are still balmy but not blistering—between 63 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Doha, the capital city of Qatar, boasts a thriving cultural scene, with a mix of traditional markets and name-brand shopping centers.
First things first! Find a way to visit The Pearl, Doha’s cluster of man-made islands, named for Qatar’s historic pearling industry. All around are
In its early days, Qatar was sustained mainly by the pearling industry. some of the world’s most expensive buildings, creating an environment that mixes a Western commercial economy with Middle Eastern flair. Take the chance to do some window-shopping at some of those name-brand stores, like Georg Jensen or Harmont and Blaine. After that’s done, take a breather by walking along the marina, which is traffic free. Best of all, the Pearl is familyfriendly, boasting weekly Family Fridays events. After a visit to Doha’s waterfront, find yourself in the Souq Waqif— the standing market. Here tourists can enjoy an up-close-and-personal experience of Qatari culture, but don’t be fooled—although these buildings look over 100 years old, they were actually
demolished and rebuilt in 2006 in an effort to preserve the old town. It is the world’s richest country. Once in the Souq Waqif, there’s plenty to do, and since the market is conducted in a traditional way, haggling is encouraged. The Souq Waqif also has art and cultural exhibitions such as alhmalah—waistcoated men who transport customers’ purchases in wheelbarrows—and Arabian horses, each available for a closer look. Discover traditional Qatari garments, haggle for jewelry, handle a falcon, and buy some spices like saffron to liven up your cooking back home. And since this is a standing market, there’s no fee to enter and there’s no obligation to buy anything. Next stop on the affordable Doha trip is the Fanar Islamic Cultural Center (also known as the Spiral Mosque). Here, visitors to Doha can expand their understanding of the culture and religious history of the country. This institution serves
The Pearl boasts weekly Family Fridays events. www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 35
to educate foreigners about Qatari and Islamic customs, and it allows entry to non-Muslims. As this is a mosque, take care to respect cultural standards of modesty: wear loosefitting clothes that don’t expose too much of your arms or legs, and ladies should wear a headscarf. Finally, one of the most important tourist destinations in Doha is the Museum of Islamic Art. Its
The Souq Waqif also has art and cultural exhibitions. design, though unique, blends modern construction techniques with the gravitas of much older buildings. Admission is free, and the museum houses fourteen centuries of Islamic art, from ceramics to textiles and everything in between. The MIA also hosts a variety of cultural exhibitions, including free monthly chamber concerts. The chamber music combined with the breathtaking architecture provides an
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unforgettable experience. Qatar may be the richest country in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to visit affordably. On a dime, you can enjoy lavish window-shopping, a boisterous traditional market, communication with the divine, and the traditional art of Doha, a desert pearl.
Travel After Tragedy
Taming Wildlife Tourism
Travel in the Moment
Breaking the Ice: Getting to Know Iceland
Make destinations more than their disasters.
Support organizations that strive to promote and conserve wildlife, not exploit it.
Be a little more like Shia LaBeouf—make life about the journey.
Step out of the traditional tourist mode and make a trip to Iceland.
Discover the tranquility of the Japanese countryside as a pilgrim in Shikoku.
Photo by Marek Bereza
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38 â–¶ fall 2016
TRAVEL AFTER TRAGEDY By Jenny Rollins
hen someone says the name of a famous place, an image floats to the foreground of the mindâ€”a hazy, incomplete portrait of what makes that place important. Washington, D.C., brings to mind various historical sites and patriotic fervor. Tokyo brings to mind bright fashions and neon lights. London brings to mind classic literature and hot tea. Each place has a unique mental flavor, and when travelers leave, they are left with an aftertaste on their metaphorical palette for weeks, or sometimes even months, afterward. However, there are some places that canâ€™t forget the overpowering taste of tragedy. When people hear the name Aurora, Colorado, they think of tear gas and shooting in a movie theater. When people hear about the Boston Marathon, they think of bombs. When they think of
Nice, France, they think of the truck that plowed into a crowded street of people celebrating their nationality. Some of these incidents happened more recently than others, but the aftermath branded these towns and their residents forever. These people are survivors. They are fighters. But once the upheaval is over, they are healers and rebuilders, while still being parents and children. Once the post-upheaval crises are dealt with, they return to being bakers and bankers. Recently, there has been a push to change what we call those who have survived tragic events. We call them survivors rather than victims, because they are more than the bad things that have happened to them. People are not limited to their worst experiences; we are complex. Perhaps places should be given the same courtesy.
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One of the keywords that people think of when it comes to Tokyo is Godzillaâ€”a fictional monster that did not actually attack Japan. But there are other things that come to mind, like the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tragedies, both very fictional and very real attempt to define a place that has over 127 million residents and a rich cultural history. In Hiroshima, a skeletal, domed building remains standing in an otherwise rebuilt city. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial remains in its ramshackled state, reminding
visitors of the bombing while also demonstrating just how far the city has come. In the middle of urban New York City in 2016, people grew hundreds of living memorials (ecological tributes) to commemorate the attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001. They used plants, symbolizing new birth and growth, to show that their community is healing and progressing while still remembering the devastation and honoring the deceased. Fifteen years after the attack, the thriving culture and neon
life of New York City brought over 58.3 million tourists in 2016 aloneâ€” tourists strolling in Central Park, shopping on fifth avenue, watching magical Broadway productions, and just enjoying the city. New York City is proof that cities can move past the stigma of what has happened to them, without dismissing or forgetting the tragedy that occurred. Over the past six years since the massive earthquake that rocked Haiti, the country is still left with damage and scars, but the people have been working hard to journey from relief
People are not limited to their worst experiences. . . . Perhaps places should be given the same courtesy. Opening photo: The National September 11 Memorial, built to commemorate the largest loss of life from a foreign attack on American soil. Photo by Dave Z. Photo below: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (also known as the Atomic Bomb Dome). Photo by Richard Cassen.
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to recovery. At the time of the disaster, the residents of Haiti were living on less than $1.00 per day. Now they have begun to build back their economy through reforestation and agricultural efforts. Seeing this kind of change within a community is beautiful. Watching people heal and re-stitch the tears in their society after tragedy is definitely something that every traveller should see. However, although watching another country heal is wonderful, travelers should not seek out countries that are in current upheaval. The chances of someone being caught in some form of upheaval while travelling are about 1 in 20 million, meaning that the average person is four times more likely to be struck by lightning. But despite these statistics, traveling to a country that is currently unstable environment is not always the safest decision. Traveling to the site of a coming hurricane to see how people handle it, or traveling to the middle of a war-torn country to see how people and places recover from tragedy, is most likely not a good idea. There are real risks, and caution is always advised under these circumstances. After tragedy, people may also need some time to heal before they are ready to entertain travelers. Touring these areas may not be the best time while families are still grieving their losses and while stores are still closed as their proprietors try to regroup and go back to normal business. That being said, a lot of these cities and places rely on tourism to support their economies. After some time has passed, the business brought by tourists can give the residents the resources they need to rebuild their communities and heal. Traveling to sites that have been hit by tragedy can help the traveler better understand that these
Each of the 2,500 life jackets in front of Big Ben, London, represents 3 lives of Syrian refugees who died crossing the Aegean Sea. Photo by Skyler Lodwig
communities thrived long before any of these events ever happened. These places have layers and layers of history underneath the ground that was tainted by tragedy. These cities have a future that promises that so much more can and will occur in these spots. The calamitous events that have transpired are only a small fraction of time compared to the long history and extensive future of these sites. These places have so much more to offer than memories of pain and devastation. Particularly, they keep alive our ability to remember that there is life after hard things. After the attack in Nice, France, a 15-year-old part-time resident of Nice told his younger sister, “[Nice is] the same as it was last year when we came here, but maybe the people are a bit sadder. You will see, the beach is the same beach.” Author Jenny Paul wrote, “I would say that Nice is heavy-hearted, sad, tired but defiant—we have all been changed but maybe if we are all kinder and gentler as a result then
that’s a positive thing to focus on as we move forward in the coming months.” Many other locals of Nice have made public statements about how they are dealing with a great amount of loss and anguish, but how they are holding their heads up high and they will continue to love their city. Being defined by anything else would be letting the violence and the terrorists ruin their beautiful home. Modern tourists tend to visit beautiful sites and powerful structures built from stones and rocks and lasting materials, when maybe the most powerful thing in the world is to watch a town or a city or a nation pick itself back up again after being knocked down. Maybe the wonders of the world aren’t the monuments—the statues, the buildings that manage to remain solid and steady throughout the ages. Maybe the wonders of the world are the smiles, the love, and the hope that is left behind, even after tragedy.
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Wildlife TOURISM BY LESLI MORTENSEN
n a sultry evening in January, wildlife officials in Thailand walked through the doors of one the most popular wildlife tourist attractions in the world, the Tiger Temple, armed with tranquilizers and sedatives. This tiger park run by Buddhist monks was world famous among animal lovers and international travelers because visitors had the rare opportunity to interact with the animals. For a fee, tourists could pet a grown tiger, feeling the short, coarse hair brush against their fingers, and listen to the gentle breathing of one of nature’s most majestic and deadly animals. Other visitors chose to
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spend their time in the park playing with baby tigers, holding the cubs in the nooks of their arms like a baby while bottle-feeding the newborns their breakfast of milk formula. Tourists came to the temple because they cared and wanted to learn more about tigers in an interactive and close environment. They thought that what they paid for admission was going to help with conservation efforts, or—at the very least—to increase the tigers’ quality of life. They never would have imagined that their money was supporting animal cruelty. For years former volunteers at the temple had expressed concerns regarding the poor treatment of the tigers, and NGOs in the area had long suspected that the temple’s management was breeding and illegally selling its tigers on the black market. When wildlife officials investigated, they were shocked by what they found. When tigers were not chained and on display for tourists, they were locked in cramped, concrete cages
where they had little room to walk around. The tigers were being fed chicken instead of red meat because it was cheaper, leaving them malnourished and more susceptible to diseases. But most disturbing of all, officials found 40 dead tiger cubs in the temple’s freezer. Right, photo by Nick Hubbard
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The temple’s monks stated that the newborn cubs’ carcasses were saved after their death to prove that the temple was not selling tiger pelts or bones (used in traditional Chinese medicine) on the black market. Local people were shocked by what was happening at the temple, and local and international news agencies alike wrote stories investigating the temple’s animal cruelty. However, even in the midst of this discovery, GlobalPost pointed out in their article “Thailand’s scandalous Tiger Temple is forced to release its captive cats” that “even as the government’s campaign to confiscate tigers filled the press, GlobalPost observed a
any don’t look beyond a company’s own marketing to see if they are supporting an organization that conserves wildlife or exploits it. parking lot full of tour buses outside the temple.” Why did so many tourists continue to flock to the temple when a simple Google search would have revealed the temple’s history of animal cruelty? The answer: They didn’t do their research. In a time when information is so easily accessible, it’s surprising that so many travelers do not do their research. They may look up a company’s website or read reviews of an animal park on TripAdvisor, but many don’t look beyond a company’s own marketing to see if they are supporting an organization that conserves wildlife or exploits it. To be a more responsible tourist, travelers need to find out as much as they can about a wildlife attraction before they visit. Research the attraction online and look up newspaper articles mentioning it to find out about its history. Another good way to analyze if a wildlife attraction promotes or harms animal welfare is to find the answers to these basic questions:
Where is the money going? For most wildlife attractions, there is a fee to see the animals, whether you go to a zoo, a sanctuary, or a safari. One of the best ways to evaluate whether a
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wildlife attraction is helping conserve wildlife is to find out how they spend their money. For example, the Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary for exotic big cats in Tampa, provides a link on their website to see their nonprofit credentials and financial information. This helps potential visitors see where they get their money and what they spend it on. To be a responsible tourist and support wildlife conservation, choose to visit wildlife attractions that use the money earned from ticket sales to preserve wildlife species. Support organizations that provide a high quality of life for their own animals through large and well-maintained habitats and quality veterinary care.
What are the animals’ environments like?
Many wildlife sanctuaries argue that even when wild animals are kept in captivity, their environment and habitat should simulate their natural habitat as much as possible. This means that their exhibits should be large, and they should have minimal contact with humans. However, other organizations argue that wild animals accustomed to being handled by humans at a young age are easier to treat medically. There is even a growing trend among wildlife organizations to allow visitors to pet, feed, and hold wild animals. This way visitors can learn about wildlife animals and have a close, personal interaction with the animals, making them more invested in their conservation.
Clockwise starting at top right, photos by Ashley Ringrose, drazin, and Victor.
Some zoos and sanctuaries believe that both wild animals and humans benefit from close interaction, whereas others argue that close contact between wild animals and visitors can be harmful to both. There are pros and cons on either side of the issue, so before you go to a wildlife zoo or sanctuary, decide which side you agree with and want to support. Then do your research and find the zoos and sanctuaries whose mission and practices best align with what you believe is best for wildlife conservation.
Where do the animals come from?
Though many wildlife organizations are committed to only rescuing abused or neglected animals, there are also many organizations that take healthy, fully functioning animals from the wild or purchase animals from the black market to create their wildlife attractions. Before visiting a wildlife attraction, make sure that the organization is committed to only obtaining animals through ethical means, such as rescuing retired performing animals, or abused, neglected, or abandoned animals.
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upport wildlife organizations that strive to promote and conserve wildlife, not exploit it.
How are the animals being treated?
This is perhaps the most important question travelers need to ask before visiting a wildlife attraction, and it is likely the most overlooked. Many travelers come from countries with strict animal welfare legislation and assume that wildlife attractions across the world are held to similar standards. However, many countries throughout the world do not have strict or even established animal welfare standards. This means it is difficult for governmental officials to shut down organizations that abuse or neglect their animals. This is especially a concern for tourists who want to support wildlife, but fail to research wildlife attractions they visit. “We know that
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most people looking for a wild animal encounter want to do so because they love animals,” says Jan SchmidtBurbach, a senior wildlife adviser with World Animal Protection. “They’re simply unaware of the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes.” There are many businesses and organizations throughout the world that take tiger cubs from their mothers at two weeks old for tourists on holiday to play with. In many places throughout the world there is no government agency to stop animal cruelty, like the mahout, an elephant keeper, who prods an exhausted, dehydrated elephant with the sharp point of a bull hook through the jungle. International government and nonprofit organizations alike are working to end wildlife abuse and to
Clockwise starting at top right, photos by Jerry Dohnal, Mathias Appel, and WenPhotos.
establish global animal welfare legislation, but you can also play your part in protecting wildlife. Protecting wildlife doesn’t mean boycotting all wildlife attractions, but it means doing your research before going. Be a responsible wildlife tourist. Check websites, look at reviews, and read news reports to find out everything you can to make sure you are supporting wildlife organizations that strive to promote and conserve wildlife, not exploit it.
TRAVEL IN THE
By Emily Sopp www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 47
Photo by Scott Daly
“Life is about the journey; not the destination.” “If you didn’t post a picture, did it really happen?”
hese two sayings come into direct conflict with each other. One is a way we try to live our lives, and the other a way that we often find ourselves living. Some people do a very good job enjoying the journey of life. Celebrity Shia LaBeouf used the social media campaign #TAKEMEANYWHERE
them anywhere. They called this month of hitchhiking “the ultimate collaboration.” “It’s about trust, and also a journey. I’m more interested in the in-between state than arriving at a destination,” said Rönkkö about the campaign. LaBeouf lived by his hashtag and really let his fans take him anywhere. He started his journey in Boulder,
“But hey, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey, that’s Shia’s words, not ours,” said Hank Hansen, a Brigham Young University student who picked up the group in Omaha, Nebraska. But enjoying the journey and living in the moment can be difficult when you are caught up in the world of social media. While LaBeouf used
“It’s about trust, and also a journey. I’m more interested in the in-between state than arriving at a destination.” –Nastja Rönkkö to live in the journey and travel the United States with his friends Luke Turner and Nastja Rönkkö as well as any fans dedicated enough to find him. From May 23, 2016, to June 23, 2016, LaBeouf and his colleagues tweeted out their location and invited fans to track them down and take
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Colorado, and spent the month traveling all the way from Alaska to Pennsylvania. He didn’t care about where he was going, he only cared about the adventure he would have. He ate at famous local restaurants, went go-carting, and made new friends all along the way.
social media as a fun way to travel and meet new people, many people use it to show off to their friends and prove that they are interesting people doing fun things. People usually say, “If you didn’t post a picture did it actually happen,” satirically; however, Instagram often
illustrates that people truly believe this sentiment. Social media often results in the constant need to do pictureworthy activities. Social media is an amazing tool. It is especially fun and helpful with travel. It is fun to show your friends what you are up to and share your experiences through social media. But if focusing on trying to get the perfect Instagram photo with the perfect pose is distracting you from enjoying your experiences, it may have gone too far. Enjoying the journey of life can be difficult when you’re interrupting that journey with Instagram posts. Don’t be afraid to put down the device. Turn off the camera. Enjoy the surroundings. Travel is all about learning and experiencing new things in different places. That doesn’t mean that social media and technology aren’t fun and useful. Pictures and videos are a great way to remember your trip and relive your experiences, but be conscious of your surroundings and don’t disrupt the experience for others. This past summer people everywhere were glued to their phones playing Pokémon Go. This app layers a digital world on top of the real world as players walk around trying to catch different Pokémon creatures.
Unfortunately, players were glued to their phones at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The museum was a Pokéstop—a place where players could get free items for the game. “Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” Andrew Hollinger, the museum’s communications director, told The Washington Post. The museum had to ask the makers of Pokémon Go to remove its location from the app so players did not disrupt and disrespect the purpose and experience of the museum. Although the app got people out of the house, these Pokémon Go players were too caught up with technology to enjoy the museum and took away from the experience of others. Every major tourist site is crowded with people enjoying the view and documenting the experience. Pictures and videos are one of the best ways to remember a trip. Be careful of getting too caught up in trying to remember the experience later in life and
forgetting to enjoy the experience in the moment. Don’t miss out on the present by focusing on the future. When you can put down the device and enjoy the moment you will be able make deep connections with the places and people around you. Too often tourists spend the entire trip viewing sites through a camera lens or screen. Don’t put the screen between you and your surroundings— embrace the experiences with open eyes. Look up high quality pictures of the site on the internet at a later time. Take the time you have and enjoy the experience to the fullest. Be a little more like Shia LaBeouf— make life about the journey. Don’t let a picture become more important than an experience.
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Photo by Moyen Brenn, earthincolors.wordpress.com, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
BREAKING THE ICE
Getting to Know Iceland By Bridget Edwards
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espite its intimidating name, the frozen island that is Iceland is becoming a popular getaway destination. Its glaciers, hot springs, and volcanoes are major attractions for both locals and tourists all year round. Even the winter season often proves to be magical. But it’s not just the diverse landscape that makes Iceland feel like a winter wonderland. Iceland is home to an enchanting people that have both traditional and modern lifestyles, and tourists can experience both sides in a variety of ways. From ancient folklores to novel cuisine and long-time traditions to contemporary music, Iceland has something for everyone. If you really want to get to know Iceland, try stepping outside of the tourist mold and break the ice by sharing some of these Icelandic traditions with the natives.
From top, photos by Agnieszka Ruminska and Steve Louis. Left, photo by Moyan Brenn
Music in Iceland has a history that is different than anywhere else. Due to its isolation, Iceland’s music did not change very much between the Middle Ages and the nineteenth century. But once contemporary music arrived, it was quickly accepted throughout the country, and Iceland has been rapidly developing music ever since. So turn up the beat and experience every part of Iceland’s musical culture.
Dark Music Days
Founded in 1980, the Dark Music Days (Myrkir Músíkdagar) is one of Iceland’s oldest music festivals. This festival typically happens at the end of January, in some of the longest days of the winter season. Taking place at the Harpa concert hall in the country’s capital, Reykjavík, this festival focuses on introducing new music, composers, and performers. It’s here that you could be one of the first to see the birth of new Icelandic musical legends.
Reykjavík Folk Festival
Folk music has been a part of Icelandic history since the island was settled in the ninth century, and it has inspired many of Iceland’s successful artists like Of Monsters and Men, Ólöf Arnalds, and Sóley. This festival combines traditional and modern folk styles, celebrating the diversity within folk music. Located at the Kex Hostel, this festival lasts for three days and is typically held in early March.
Bottom: Hundreds of musicians gather at some of Reykjavík’s most popular music festivals. Top: Home to concerts, plays, and art exhibits, the Harpa concert hall is Reykjavík’s most iconic landmark.
If instrumental music is more your style, this festival is for you. Created by the music director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Tectonics demonstrates the advancements and variations within orchestral music. This three-day festival offers both traditional orchestral compositions and experimental styles that include dancing musicians and a contemporary feel. Tectonics is held in mid-April at the Harpa Concert Hall and allows audience members to get up close and personal with the musicians.
Tyisongur Sound Sculpture
If you plan to get outside of Reykjavík on your trip, try stopping by this site-specific piece of art. Sculpted by German artist Lukas Kühne, Tyisongur is located just outside of Seydisfjordur, a small town on the east coast. This sculpture consists of five interconnected concrete domes and creates a five-tone harmony that is commonly found in traditional Icelandic music. Visitors can enter the domes and experiment with the acoustics that come from inside the domes. This is definitely a unique, hands-on experience for any music lover.
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Iceland’s somewhat remote location provides the island with some of the best ingredients any food connoisseur would appreciate: fresh water, clean and free-range farming, and fruitful fishing grounds. Because Iceland uses geothermal energy across the island, farmers can grow fresh crops year-round. This particularly natural style of farming and cooking has made Iceland a major destination for gastronomic cooking. To get a true taste of Iceland, try out some of these traditional Icelandic dishes.
Hákarl (Fermented Shark)
Warning: this dish is not for the weak stomach! Known as the national dish of Iceland, fermented shark goes back to the day when Icelanders ate simply for survival. The meat in many traditional Icelandic dishes is still stored and prepared using archaic processes. For example, because shark meat is initially poisonous, the shark is buried in a shallow grave of sand for 6–12 weeks; this pushes all of the fluids and toxins out of the shark. The meat is then cut into strips and dried. If your taste buds are looking for some adventure, visit the restaurant 3 Frakkar in Reykjavík and give this daring dish a try!
Food and Fun Festival
For those who have a more refined palate, the Food and Fun Festival provides the opportunity to indulge in exquisite cuisine. Occurring in the first week of March, this festival invites chefs from around the world to collaborate with some of Reykjavík’s most exceptional restaurants. Each chef prepares a menu made solely from Icelandic ingredients, and the dishes are available to the public for the entire week. On the last day of the festival, the chefs use their Icelandic ingredients in a competition to make a three-course meal. This is definitely the place to get some of Iceland’s latest tastes!
Harðfiskur (Fish Jerky)
Fishing has been the lifeline of Iceland since it was first settled, and it is an essential part of the Icelandic diet. Icelanders often eat traditional fish dishes, but a popular snack is fish jerky, which is often served with a dollop of butter. This classic Icelandic snack can be found in just about any supermarket, but the best place to find Harðfiskur is at the Kolaportið flea market in Reykjavík.
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Pylsa (Hot Dog)
Although fermented shark is Iceland’s national dish, it certainly isn’t the most popular. In fact, the most common food found in Iceland is the pylsa, or hot dog. These hot dogs are found in every city and just about every gas station in Iceland, and many have argued that these are the best hot dogs in the world. Icelandic hot dogs are topped with ketchup; a sauce made from mayo, capers, mustard, and herbs (remoulade); a sweet brown mustard (pylsusinnep); and raw or fried onions. And if you want to eat a hot dog like a true Icelander, you’ve got to have one with all the fixings! The best place to get one of these dogs is a place called Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a chain stand in Reykjavík.
A trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without learning about some of its most respected residents: the elves. Yep, that’s right. Iceland has a traditional belief in elves, which are referred to as Huldufólk, or “hidden people,” as the majority of humans cannot see them. Nowadays, only
From left to right, photos by Caiitlin, Audrey, and Jarrod Bennett
From top, photos by Jennifer Bower and Mike Freedman
about 10 percent of the population actually believes in “hidden people,” but 80 percent of natives still won’t deny their existence. Icelanders have carried a high level of respect for the elven people. Most elves are believed to live in rocks, so Icelanders will avoid damaging those rocks during construction projects. Human residents pay their respects to the elves by building them little homes, which can be seen all across the Icelandic landscape. If you want to get the full Iceland experience, you must go searching for elves.
Located on the southern tip of Iceland, this glacier is a three-hour hike through snow piles and ice ridges. Sólheimajökull is filled with caves and craters and is known to be home to not only elves but also trolls and fairies. With guided tours, hiking Sólheimajökull can prove to be an enriching experience for both naturelovers and elf-seekers.
The Elfin Tour
Staring in Reykjavík, this tour has
you riding on some of Iceland’s beautiful Icelandic horses. As you are guided through the diverse landscape, you will see some of the places where elves are believed to live. Although elves are “hidden people,” some people claim that they see elves along the tour; some even claim being able to hear the elves sing as they pass Top: Residents sprinkle the Icelandic landscape with these tiny, Skjólklettur, the elves’ hand-made elf houses. Bottom: Crevasses mark up the path on church. Provided with a the Sólheimajökull Glacier. light lunch afterwards, this tour is perfect for program in as little time as an afterthose wanting to get a glimpse of tranoon. Sessions are wrapped up ditional Icelandic heritage. with a short walking tour and fresh Icelandic pancakes.
Icelandic Elf School
Take a break from the Icelandic winter air and spend the afternoon in Reykjavík’s Elf School. Here, visitors are taught about the different kinds of elves that roam the island; visitors will learn about how “hidden people” interact with humans. You can even prove your newly acquired elven knowledge by completing a certificate
If you’re looking to add something more to your next getaway, Iceland is a place to get an experience of a lifetime. Although Iceland is becoming more and more popular, it doesn’t mean you have to get caught up in being a tourist. Instead, make the most of your vacation by breaking the ice and experiencing Iceland like a native.
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The Shikoku Pilgrimage: A Traveler’s Guide By Will Finlayson
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A gentle brook bristles in the distance, and the soft plodding of travelersâ€™ feet on damp moss fills the hush of the Japanese forest. Travelers dressed in white pack up their tents, and you join them as they shoulder their belongings and begin their journey. A dirt path winds along a crest overlooking miles of cascading rice fields. A bridge marked with mysterious symbols hangs over a dry riverbed with broken boulders like abandoned shrines. Finally, a stark red gate stands out among the overgrown green, signaling the entrance to an ancient temple. This is the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
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A Pilgrimage with Purpose The Shikoku Pilgrimage (or Shikoku Henro) is an invitation to live—at least for a short time—an ascetic lifestyle. The trail, which has no required beginning or end, leads travelers across the Japanese landscape as they visit 88 Buddhist temples to complete their pilgrimage. While the goal is to visit all of the temples, the true intention of the pilgrimage is to inspire spiritual reflection and meditation. The pilgrimage follows in the literal footsteps of Kōbō Daishi, a venerated pioneer of Buddhist teachings. At a young age he decided to forego his rightful position as emperor and return to Shikoku where he would travel as a sort of nomadic priest, traversing the mountains and spreading his teachings through his example and service. The temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage were either
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built or consecrated by Kōbō Daishi himself and his work made Buddhism and its practices accessible for the common people. While the long trail around the island challengers travelers physically, the temples that string the trail together allow travelers to pause, reflect on their journey, and connect with the spirituality within them. Though the pilgrimage is founded on Buddhist teachings, people of all faiths are drawn to Shikoku in search of a spiritual awakening in the Japanese wilderness. The four prefectures of the island itself each have their own spiritual theme: awakening, ascetic training, enlightenment, and nirvana. These are the foundational principles of the pilgrim’s journey towards spiritual ascension and represent a cycle of learning which, thanks to Kōbō Daishi, all can experience.
The Henro Way Pilgrims who set out to visit all 88 temples are called henro, which translates to “pilgrim.” Henro wear a special garb consisting of a white robe, a straw hat, and a staff, which indicates that they are on a spiritual, ascetic journey. The staff is meant to represent Kōbō Daishi, which suggests that he walks alongside every pilgrim that travels across Shikoku. Washing the base of the staff, which many hotel workers will do for weary travelers, is akin to washing the feet of Kōbō Daishi himself. The traditional and encouraged method of travel is by foot, which takes between 30 to 60 days to complete depending on your speed. Some choose to travel by bus or car, especially if they are elderly or have medical disabilities. However, large groups of tourists with polaroids who come piling out of buses are often met with sideways glances.
While the trail between temples winds through thickly forested areas and coastal settings, travelers may often find themselves in urban settings. Foreigners should be prepared with at least a basic understanding of Japanese if they plan on finding lodging, eating at restaurants, or meeting locals. Natives of Shikoku are generally very hospitable to henro passing through and it isn’t uncommon to make friends with other travellers on the trail. While there is plenty of lodging along the main route, frugal travelers will often camp along the trail. Finding a campsite isn’t difficult, but it’s important to be prepared for monsoon weather, invasive creatures (like centipedes and snakes), and cold nights. Along the main trail are also many small huts or shelters that were built specifically for henro to sleep or rest before moving on.
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Photos provided by David Gilbert. His photobook can be purchased online at henro.co/
The Temples These are the cathedrals of the ancient Japanese world. Many of the temples are tucked away in bamboo forests, perched on some of the highest elevated peaks on the island, or rest peacefully beside streams and rivers. The temples found along the Shikoku Pilgrimage may not be as elaborate or ornate as others found in Japan, but the modesty of the architecture invites visitors to unburden themselves of earthly attachments and find spirituality in simplicity. While each temple is unique, the rituals performed at each temple are generally the same. Visitors begin by passing through the Niōmon gate which is considered a passage from the physical to the spiritual realm. These gates are often painted a brilliant red and are highly decorated. Many Niōmon gates even have deities (called Niō guardians) which are said to protect the temple.
Once inside the temple, visitors wash their hands and mouth as part of a ritual called misugi, which represents a cleansing of the mind and body. They then proceed to an altar with a statue of Kōbō Daishi where many pray to seek enlightenment or in memory of a lost loved one. Finally, visitors recite the Heart Sutra, a short scriptural text regarding impermanence and disconnecting oneself from burdens and suffering. Reciting the text out loud is meant to help the meaning absord into the subconscious and the soul. Once finished with the ritual, visitors go to the stamp office, called the Nōkyōsho. Each henro has a stamp book that catalogues their journey from temple to temple in ornate calligraphy stamps. Each stamp is unique to that temple and a completed stamp book is evidence of having visited all 88 temples and completing the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
A Journey to Remember The Shikoku Pilgrimage is allimmersive; it’s physically exhausting, spiritually invigorating, and culturally rich. Of course, there are ways to do the pilgrimage with comforts or as a sightseeing tour. But for many, shutting out the noise, leaving cell phones behind, and connecting with a mysterious, foreign land on a deep spiritual level is exactly the vacation they need. Who knows, this time next year you might find yourself stumbling upon an ancient temple in a Japanese forest.
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d a o r Ab
English Language in Britain
Come with us to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales Travel and study for 6 weeks during summer term
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Field Notes 62
Adventures in Salzwelten
Extreme Cammock King
Cambodia: Beauty Behind the Tourism
Traveling to a New Home: Refugee Service Organizations
Explore the oldest salt mine in the world.
How one man revolutionized “hanging out.”
Walk with a native to see behind the scenes of Cambodia.
Learn how to help refugees recover after upheaval.
Photo by the United Nations
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adventures in W
hat happens when you combine a salt mine, an underground lake, and a mummy? No, I’m not talking about a Harry Potter book or an Indiana Jones film; I’m talking about the Hallstatt Salt Mine. There are many ways to interact with history, from textbooks to museums, but these options do not offer quite the same experience as visiting the oldest salt mine in the world, located in Hallstatt, Austria. The town itself is situated between Hallstätter See and the
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Dachstein Mountains. From the Beinhaus (Bone House) of painted skulls to the charming, late Gothic homes, this little town will make you feel as if you’ve gone back in time. The salt mines continue this feeling of delving into history by giving travelers the opportunity to travel to the past by exploring the old mines and seeing the devices the miners used. The tour begins with an ascent up the mountain on the Salzbergbahn funicular. The glass walls of the funicular allow for a spectacular panoramic view of Hallstatt, as well as the thrill of travelling up a 1,100 foot mountain by rail at an 80% incline. Enjoy the beauty of Hallstatt from a bird's-eye view before the journey into the caves of salt.
After ascending the mountain, the tour will begin with donning a jumpsuit. This helps travelers to keep warm despite the cool temperatures of the mine and allows for a smooth trip down the miners’ slides—the actual slides that miners used to travel through the mines. Further through the mine, travelers will encounter “The Man in Salt.” According to Salzwelten, the company that provides tours of the mine, this man may have died in a mining accident that occurred in 1000 BC. The salt has even preserved his skin, hair, and clothing. Thanks to salt and its preservation capabilities, history becomes reality as travelers explore the exact location where this man earned his living. Going deeper into the mine will lead you to the subterranean lake. This area is particularly dark, but the presence of the lake is evident by the
shimmer of the water and shadowy reflection of the salt walls on the water. The stillness creates an eerily beautiful ambience, allowing for time to ponder the beauty of the mine and the impact it has had on the lives of so many who have used the mine as their source of livelihood. Four hundred meters below ground, travelers can view a film depicting a day of work in the Bronze Age. Follow the story of Udlo, a fictional character, and his life in ancient Hallstatt. The underground cinema was developed in 2015 by Salzwelten, accomplished by projecting the film right onto the walls of the mine. This allows viewers to learn about the lifestyle of ancient miners in the very place these miners were working. Each of these moments with history are brought into greater correspondence with reality by the slides
that transport people throughout the mine. Just as the miners of the past used mining slides to move to different levels of the mine, so will you! Two slides are used for transportation throughout the tour. The slides are long, smooth wooden planks, and they are all the more thrilling because though there are barriers, there are no sides attached to the slides. The second, longer slide is 210 feet long, allowing time to smile for the camera—Salzwelten not only documents your descent with a photo, but also your speed down the slide, so your moment in the salt mines can become part of your own documented history. Hallstatt is not only a beautiful village, but also a memorable brush with history. Because of the way the salt mines bring history to life, you’ll never look at salt the same way again.
Photos by thisisbossi.
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KING One Man Revolutionizes Slackline Photos by Uliners.
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here’s camping, there’s hammocking, and then there’s cammocking—that is, opting for a hammock while camping. Then, of course, there’s extreme cammocking: suspending a 2,000-square-foot hammock of weaved rope over a 400-foot canyon. These woven hammock-like nets are also known as space nets. To Andy Lewis, they’re called thug mansions because, like a 2Pac song, “that’s the only place where thugs get free and you gotta be a G at thug mansion.” And Lewis has every right to call these cammocks “thug mansions”—after all, he invented them. Lewis, known as both “Sketchy Andy” and “Mr. Slackline,” started the unique fringe activity known as “netting.” The “mansions” originally began smaller, starting as backyard hammocks and nets in trees. Lewis describes his invention as a “mix between a treehouse and a spiderweb.” He began with one tree, then two, and has made his way up to weaving nets that span as many as 20 trees. Perfecting this new and unique craft took Lewis about seven years. Since then Lewis has traveled across the world, taking his “thug mansion” to places like Spain, Portugal, and Canada. At one point Lewis took his invention to the Borneo rainforest in Southeast Asia, where he weaved giant rope nets in the trees. “We basically set up the nets like the monkeys set up their nests,” Lewis said.
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Indonesian Cammocking The Uliners, featured in this article’s
photographs, is a highlining, slacklining, and rock climbing group of 20 individuals based in Indonesia. One member, Yusuf Maulana, said they created the space nets because of their “obsession with Andy Lewis.” Maulana said his group weaved their own net from rock-climbing rope, similar to what Lewis does when creating space nets.
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But Lewis didn’t stop with trees; his favorite place to set up the nets, to hang out on “thug mansion,” is Moab, Utah. There, “thug mansion” spans across canyons.
swings to some of his netting. Mostly, he uses his invention to slackline and base jump, although individuals can still harness themselves to the rope leading to the net if they don’t have
concert. But even with all of this fame, Lewis says he does what he does because he loves it, not for the money. “If I didn’t love what I was doing just for doing it, I never would have
e basically set up the nets like the monkeys set up their nests.”
Lewis said it’s hard to pinpoint where such a wacky and epic idea came from. He said his journey began with rock climbing. Rock climbing led to slacklining, slacklining led to weaving, and slacklining and weaving led to high lining. And then, to top it all off, Lewis added base jumping to his list of extreme sports, and that opened his mind to what was possible: combining his passion for all of these sports into one majorly extreme hobby. As this new hobby developed, Lewis started adding tents and rope
—”Sketchy” Andy Lewis
experience slacklining or base jumping. Either way, the experience isn’t for the faint of heart. “Once you’re on the net itself, it’s not scary,” said Lewis. “But getting out to it has definitely shown a lot of people their true colors.” Although Lewis has created this new extreme sport, there aren’t a lot of people who know about “thug mansion.” This is mostly because he doesn’t market it. Instead, he waits for people to find him; that way he knows they’ve done their research and know what he stands for. And what he stands for is “Slacklife.” “One part slack, one part life,” he said. Though Lewis remains mostly off the grid, he has broken the Guinness World Record for the longest highline crossed, highest highline walked, and longest highline walked without safety protection, known as the “Free Solo.” He also appeared in the 2012 Super Bowl, performing on his slackline during Madonna’s
spent the time randomly in trees rigging highlines, making nets, and then eventually thinking of a portable net and then putting that in the highline—I mean, it’s just a ridiculous series of events,” Lewis said. If you’re looking for a way to find one of these “thug mansions,” you may find that it’s easier said than done; Lewis likes people to work for their extreme entertainment. Every now and then, Lewis holds festivals involving “slacklife” and his space nets, but he doesn’t give out the time or location—you’ve got to figure that out on your own from just a few simple clues. Why, you ask? Because “the joy is in the journey, rather than the destination,” according to Lewis. And as part of that journey, Lewis encourages individuals to go out and start their own adventure. “What you should ask yourself is, ‘What do I do to build my own net in my own front lawn?’” he suggested. “That’s what is going to be most fun for you.” Lewis also suggests individuals buy a slackline and cammock and start with the simple things, like getting involved with the community. After all, that’s how it started for him.
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Cambodia Beauty Behind the Tourism
When you think of the beautiful country of Cambodia, you may picture great and ancient temples, such as Angkor Wat and Baksei Chamkrong. You may picture the beautiful and glamorous hotels and city scenes. But, have you ever seen the culture and the history behind the tourism? Through the eyes of a native, you can get a glimpse of everyday Cambodian culture. Tep Sokhom, a young adult from Battambang province, now a resident of Phnom Penh, shares her experience and love for her native country.
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Life in the Province
From top, photos by Lili Gate and shankars (photo has been cropped)
Before visiting the United States in 2014, Sokhom would travel to work as a card dealer in a casino in the neighboring country of Thailand. She now works as an assistant English teacher in an international school in Phnom Penh. Sokhom takes her red Honda Wave RSX motorcycle, which she calls a “moto,” to work every day. She describes how dirty her mode of transportation is due to the muddy street puddles from the city’s extremely rainy weather. Because of the excess amount of rain, the house that Tep Sokhom was raised in was built on a structure that was lifted off the ground. All of her family members, as part of their nighttime ritual, would climb through their mosquito nets into bed to avoid being bitten during the night. Young Sokhom grew up without a refrigerator in her home. She, along with many other Cambodian families, went to the market every morning to gather the necessary perishable foods for the day. To this day, to preserve cooked meats and other foods for the next day, Sokhom will usually coat them in sugar and other spices. She explains that she misses the fresh meat and produce found in the markets of her hometown.
Cambodian Cuisine Rice farming has been a staple of Cambodian diets for generations. The industry significantly contributes to the Cambodian economy. Sokhom learned the process of planting rice in school and has described it as a “fun and hard” experience. She explains, “I’m not very good because it is so hard. But, yes, I know the process of planting rice.” She would help the members of her church to plant rice, receiving valuable hands-on experience in the fields. One of Sokhom’s favorite dishes is fried crickets, an easy-to-prepare
and inexpensive Cambodian delicacy. She describes the preparation simply: “How do I eat the crickets? Well, first I fry [them] until they’re crunchy and look yummy and then I eat them,” humorously adding, “I don’t eat spiders, though.” Sokhom explains that the crickets are gathered from the rice fields and sold at the local markets.
An Inspiring History The food and lifestyle are not the only aspects that make Cambodia unique. As a native Cambodian, Sokhom carries the history of her people with her. Her parents lived through the Cambodian Civil War before Sokhom was born. Growing up hearing stories of events that occurred during those years has left a unique appreciation for her privileged life. Her mother would tell her about the physical labor that she had to endure during the war. Sokhom speaks of soup, mostly consisting of water and rice made in a large pot and fed to the workers. Along with these hardships, Sokhom shares stories about how educated Cambodians were targeted and murdered during the war. The Civil War left the country destitute, but Cambodian communities have been slowly rebuilding since the war ended in the 1970s. Sokhom highly honors her mother and many other Cambodian citizens for their example of strength and stands proud of the recovery her country has made. Sokhom has a great respect for her heritage. She explains that during the war, many Cambodian records were destroyed, leaving the people without family records or a firm knowledge of their genealogy. While devastated about this tragedy, she
resiliently embraces the events of the past and always speaks positively and hopefully of her country. Sokhom continues to show her powerful example of strength and character to the people around her. She loves living in Cambodia and would not trade anything for her culture.
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Traveling To A New Home We have all heard or seen news of the Syrian Refugee Crisis—it’s hard to escape the knowledge of the approximately 5 million Syrians who have been forced to flee their homeland and find refuge among other countries of the world. Since the crisis began in 2011, it has escalated to become one of the worst in recent history. Fortunately, the crisis has also brought out the best in humanity. People around the world have risen up to bring aid and comfort to these displaced Syrians. However, the crisis is far from over. The struggle of refugees does not end once they escape their
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country and receive refuge—they have to rebuild their entire lives in nations and cultures that are alien to their own. Although we know and acknowledge that refugees need help, it can be difficult to know how to give them practical aid. Donations are always needed, but is donating really all you can do? This question has many answers, but ultimately there is much more to do. Fortunately, there are many local and international organizations that need the volunteered help of people to sufficiently administer to refugees. Syrians have fled to many surrounding countries across Asia and Europe,
but are more and more frequently finding refuge in America, as well. For example, over 1,000 refugees, including many Syrian refugees, come to Utah each year. Every refugee who settles in America has to learn a new culture, to speak a new language, to live a new life. The following organizations are lesser-known entities located in Utah and Arizona that are focused on helping these travelers find a home and build a life within the foreignness of their displacement. (Note: While the emphasis of this article is on volunteer work, donating is still a necessary help in the efforts
Photo by Shannon Ashton
Refugee Service Organizations
to give refugees better living conditions. All the following organizations gladly accept and use donations. Also, while these organizations are specific to the western United States, many similar institutions exist in all areas of the world.)
Photo by Safa Kutlu & IHH
Lifting Hands International
Lifting Hands International (LHI) is a service organization dedicated to bringing aid to refugees both locally and internationally. Created in January 2016, LHI is based in Phoenix, Arizona. The program was founded by Hayley Smith, who after a volunteering trip in Greece felt moved to do something more for the refugee effort. LHI balances its efforts between bringing supplies to refugees in Greece and aiding refugees who are relocating in Arizona. Smith, along with other volunteers, takes regular trips to the Serres Refugee Camp in Greece to administer much-needed services and supplies. LHI’s volunteers also teach the refugees there, giving lessons on topics from English to yoga. In Arizona, LHI works to make refugees’ transitions into the United States easier. For example, the program distributes furniture to the large number of Syrian families settling in the Phoenix area. As a young humanitarian organization, LHI depends on the aid and time of other people. Their operations in Arizona constantly require volunteers, especially in transporting furniture and collecting goods. Also, depending on desired skills of potential volunteers, LHI gladly welcomes volunteers to join them in their trips to Greece. liftinghandsinternational.org
to provide English language skills to adults who have moved to the area from other, non–English-speaking countries. Although not specific to the refugee crisis, Project Read can help immigrants to assimilate into their new surroundings by providing language tutoring for English-illiterate adults. Based at the public library in Provo, the project pairs each adult with a private tutor for six months, allowing the student to receive the language skills necessary to thrive in their new environment. Project Read, as well as similar projects across the country, is always in need of tutors willing to dedicate their time and skills to teaching their students. Teaching experience is not necessary, though tutors will go through a required training session. The project prefers that volunteer tutors commit to six months with the program. projectreadutah.org
Women of the World
Women of the World (WoW) is a nonprofit organization based in Utah. Founded by Samira Harnish in 2009, WoW focuses on aiding the women of Utah’s refugee population.
Women (combined with children and youths) constitute the large majority of refugees and often face the worst and most harrowing violence in such crises. Moreover, women often do not receive the adequate aid required to successfully relocate in foreign areas. To ease the struggles of refugees and to combat gender inequality, WoW strives to bring women every opportunity to live successful lives. Like Project Read, WoW provides language classes for those who cannot speak English. But more importantly, the organization teaches women the skills needed to become active members of their new society, including lessons in leadership, business, and technical skills. Through WoW, displaced women are given hope of a life after disaster. WoW is continually looking for volunteers to help their cause for women refugees. They need volunteers to work in several capacities, including the actual teaching of the women and working with the organization’s administrative staff. Volunteers can work for various lengths of time and in various places—single sessions, full-time, and even online. womenofworld.org —Natalie Hopkins
Project Read is a community organization located in Provo, Utah. Founded in 1984, the project strives
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Ecuador Study Abroad
Linguistics, Anthropology, and Beyond! A pplication deadline Wednesday, February 1, 2017
T ravel dates
June 26, 2017â€“August 14, 2017
LING 551 Anthropological Linguistics (Completed at BYU during spring term)
C redits in E cuador
Six credits from the following courses: FLANG 100R Lanugage Study, Quichua (2 cr) FLANG 305R Language Skills Development, Quichua (1 cr) LING 580R Problems in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics (3 cr) LING 590R Readings in Linguistics (3 cr) Also available: Amazonian Ethnobotany and Native Medicine; Community Conservations; Ethnobiology; Health, Population, and Nutrition. 72 â–ś summer 2012
More information at http://www.linguistics.byu.edu/ecuadorsa
Is Couchsurfing Dead?
Gluten Free On-The-Go
Gotta Catch ’Em All
On the Road Again
Thwarting Vacation Vexation
How fast will you go?
Weighing the pros and cons of this unique travel style.
Stop worrying and start living while traveling gluten free.
Take advantage of the popular app Pokemon Go and explore the cities you’re in.
Don’t forget to pack these must-haves on your next driving adventure.
Don’t let your vacation get you down.
Photo by David Grandmougin
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an d as mil e t ho he ca s—a s u all r, fo r hur far l Au soun lowed tles a as th e lo tob d li ah ke a by th ng a eye c n, it’s high at ru t a so an se e— s l jus t a spee h, tha id 10 the roa dp no 0 t s , o d f the n o e u r m lice c eling ow 1 nd o stret f w chin 20 orn ha of , s p gf ing e a ure now ind or t w com fir exh 15 h m i s mu t, bu ilar 0 m stlin iles te. t o atio iles g nt he n. It per m Ge rm ight an
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The Autobahn is a highway system in Germany with no set speed limit. That means no more checking over your shoulder for cops or watching the speedometer. And if you are watching the speedometer, it’s probably to watch the hand ticking upward. Yes, the Autobahn is the perfect destination for those with a
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real-life need for speed. The phrase used to advertise the Autobahn in the 1970s sums it up perfectly: “Free driving for free citizens” (“freie Fahrt für freie Bürger”). However, some Americans who have experienced the Autobahn are surprised by the similarities it shares with freeways in the United States. “I was surprised at how normal the experience was,” said Benjamin Schmidt, a Utah native who traveled to Germany with some friends in 2015. “People self-regulate already on highways and interstates in the US; the only difference on the Autobahn is that there is no specified top speed.
You decide for yourself what you want your top speed to be.” People concerned with high speeds on highways, especially on turns in the road, are naturally wary of the Autobahn’s lack of regulation. However, Schmidt noticed most drivers are aware of turns in the road that made higher speeds more dangerous and compensate for these risks responsibly. In other words, though unrestricted by speed limits, drivers still use common sense in determining their speed. “I liked how the rules of the Autobahn (or rather, the lack of speed limit rules) make you responsible for your speed and for your safety,” Schmidt said. “The sense of being given personal responsibility on the road was a nice change from the ruleheavy roads of America.” Schmidt’s statement captures a type of idealism, a belief that people act reasonably even without the constraints of rules and regulations
and the accompanying fear of being caught. Of course, that isn’t to say there isn’t some regulation. In fact, Germany does post a few suggestions and employ some restrictions to promote safety. For example, the country provides an advised speed limit, and some parts of the Autobahn—mainly urban sections—do have a restricted speed limit. Individuals can also be penalized, although not for speeding. Police that detect any tailgating will pull over individuals. The tailgating, and speeding in restricted areas, also lead to hefty fines. And all these restrictions that do exist are strictly enforced, including the left lane passing rule—this can’t always be said for the US. But the Autobahn must be doing something right. After all, according to news site mnn.com, in 2015 the US had 11.6 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year; Germany had only 4.3. Some make the case that
it’s not the lack of a speed limit that produces such good rates, but rather the other precautions Germany has taken in regard to transportation. Business Insider notes that German drivers are especially good because of Germany’s licensing system. To drive in Germany, one must be dedicated. This is because the process of getting a license includes taking an extremely difficult road test and multiple choice exam, as well as basic first aid training. Not to mention, the entire process can cost upwards of $2000. Cars in Germany must also have regular and thorough checkups in order to be cleared for driving. It’s much different than the common American mentality to drive until the car’s broken. Germany requires a preventative approach to driving; not only does the country maintain its cars, but also its roads. The Autobahn is inspected regularly, and Germany constructs its roads with multiple layers of concrete to ensure the roads are
safe for high speeds. Despite the precaution and upkeep, there’s still risk in driving on the Autobahn. But of course, there’s always risk in driving, let alone driving at eighty miles per hour in the States. Germany just places a little more faith in its drivers, even the ones driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 at 200.7 miles per hour or the Mercedes-Benz W125 Rekordwagen that clocked in at 268.8 miles per hour.* Many people appreciate the Autobahn because of the sense of freedom it gives to drivers. As author John McCormick said in an article for Forbes magazine, “In a world where our lives are ever more controlled and monitored, it’s inspiring to see people free to drive as fast as they choose.” *data from autoeurope.com
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ouchsurfing—a service that connects a global community of travelers—may still have a website and an app, but it no longer has a thriving community. Even though Couchsurfing has more members than ever, its community is dying. The Couchsurfing web application was launched in 2004, but the idea came to founder Casey Fenton in 1999 after a trip to Iceland where he successfully arranged to stay with strangers. After hacking into the University of Iceland database, he emailed students with his request for a place to stay and received numerous offers. But the original couch surfers were looking for more than just a free place to stay for the night. The Couchsurfing community that originally evolved was a tight-knit group looking to experience a new place, make new friends, and have a direct link to the local culture. The community was one of reciprocity, reputation, and respect. Payment was not expected, although surfers would typically show their host gratitude
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in some way. The idea of paying it forward was key in couch surfing, and often that was all a host expected. However, Couchsurfing failed to obtain non-profit status and became a for-profit company in 2011. The pay it forward mentality faded as the Couchsurfing company itself chose developing a following over building a community. Since then, the community has changed dramatically, and an unfortunate amount of serious crimes have become associated with couch surfing, suggesting that it has too often become just another way to “hook up.” Nevertheless, there are some who continue to have the positive experience that was originally intended. James Hulme, for example, was heading to China for a month with a friend
and found a place to stay through the Couchsurfing website. Their host in Shanghai had an extra bed and was looking to improve his English. By preparing dinner for his guests every night, he encouraged the three of them to spend time together. He also cooked James and his friend local food and even insisted on paying their train ride from the airport to his house. While there certainly are reasons to be cautious when embarking on this mode of travel, there are still plenty of people who embrace the original vision of Couchsurfing. Let’s just hope they haven’t caught the very last wave of what Couchsurfing was designed to be.
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tepping up to a falafel cart in Jerusalem was thrilling, especially when I asked the owner to make the falafel how he likes it: with everything on it. I could identify only three of the ingredients he added to my falafel, but that is the charm of experiencing local cuisine.
Unfortunately, the excitement of enjoying local cuisine while traveling turned to fear when I learned that I needed to eat gluten-free foods due to Celiac Disease. However, you can still enjoy traveling the globe and trying new foods while living gluten free.
Do Your Homework
Before leaving on vacation, take time to do some research. Look into the local cuisines of the places you will be visiting. What are the most popular dishes and their ingredients? If you are traveling where there is a language difference, what are some short phrases you can use to ensure you are selecting a safe option? Getting a head start can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and confused when ordering—especially if there is a language barrier or a vague menu.
Have a Backup Plan
Sometimes there aren’t safe, gluten-free options where you are—and that’s okay! Taking snacks and
on-the-go meal options can be a great backup plan if local cuisine options aren’t gluten-free. This can make going out on all-day excursions less about worrying and more about soaking in adventures.
CeliacTravel.com. This app allows you to communicate with restaurant workers in over 40 languages to ensure safe service. Not understanding the waiter can be nerve-wracking enough without the added pressure of diet restrictions. Find Me Gluten Free is available for Apple and Android devices. This app helps travelers find local restaurants with glutenfree options, so you know exactly what to expect even before arriving. Gluten-Free Scanners are available for Mac and Android devices. This app allows for a quick detection of gluten products while shopping in grocery stores by simply scanning barcodes. Safe grocery shopping is a must if you are planning to fill hotel fridges with gluten-free snacks and meals.
Traveling gluten free doesn’t have to be the end of enjoying and experiencing local cuisine. Prepare before you leave and take advantage of the many resources that are available so that you can quit worrying and start living.
Use Your Resources Here are some suggestions for gluten-free travelers to make vacationing more about experiencing than worrying.
There are several websites and phone apps that can guide you to gluten-free restaurants and entrée options.
Gluten-Free Restaurant Cards from
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Gotta See ‘ Em All
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o an outsider, July 6, 2016, was a very strange day. People flooded the streets, zombie-like, smartphones held in outstretched hands. These wanderers congregated outside churches and libraries, standing in masses united by one purpose: to catch ’em all. Pokémon Go has become a trending video game, but virtual entertainment is not the only benefit from this new app. If you’re looking for a way to wander through a city while finding interesting cultural stops along the way, this app is the way to go. This app can be used as a travel aid by going to Pokéstops. Pokéstops are locations in the real world that you can go to get free items in the virtual Pokémon world. While playing Pokémon Go on your smartphone, a blue cube will show up on the screen. That is a Pokéstop. Even though it shows up virtually, you must go there physically to get whatever items are at that stop. These items are things like healings potions, Poké Eggs, Poké Balls, and other items that will help you succeed in the game. But when you go to a Pokéstop, you’ll find more than just a virtual object. Each stop is located at a point of interest, such as an architectural landmark or a historical monument. Some of these places are well known, while others are more obscure. This gives ample opportunities for exploring a city as long as you choose to take the time to physically explore Pokéstops. Remember, you’ll only discover these sights if you take the time to stop at the Pokéstop and look around at your physical surroundings. It is important to maintain awareness of your surroundings so that you do not become blind while on a journey with Pokémon Go. So head outside, catch some Pokémon, and look at the world around you.
From top, photos by Sacha Fernandez, Lakuda-san, and CJ Oliver
Gotta Catch ’ Em All
From the National Gallery to the Sun Tavern, Pokémon Go will help you tour the city while feeding your desire for culture as well as your stomach. Take some time to wander through the National Gallery—you’ll likely meet some of the greats, from Michelangelo to Monet. The Sun Tavern, located in Covent Garden, is a cozy place to grab a snack on your way to wandering the rest of the city.
Tokyo is full of beautiful gardens, artifacts, and monuments. Allow yourself to be taken through the city and to discover sights such as the Printing Museum and the Monument of Chinzanso. The printing museum contains exhibits and collections that display the role of printing around the world, from art to communication. The Monument of Chinzanso is located in a beautiful garden—take some time to explore and discover the beauties of the Kokosei Well, the Stone Statues of Rakan, and more!
This colonial city is full of American history. But how do you choose which sights to visit? Pokémon Go has Pokéstops all throughout the city, including at sights such as the Fishing Frog statues, the Old South Mill Millstone, and the Steinway piano shop. If you choose to take the time to explore these different sights, you’ll find even more adventures, such as the Frog Pond itself, one of the oldest parks in the United States.
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On the road again Ten Road Trip Necessities
Road trips are a time to relax, unplug from the tumult of life, and enjoy the company of friends or family. But being in a car for long periods of time can make you miss the comforts of home and the ease of having what you need in any situation. Whether you’re driving for five hours or five days, here are some affordable essentials that you can bring to make the trip more enjoyable.
1. Snacks While it’s tempting to raid the junk food aisle of a gas station, try to pack some healthy snack options such as baby carrots, almonds or peanuts, sugar snap peas, apple slices, or granola bars. These types of foods will give you the energy to stay awake while you’re driving.
2. Water/Drinks You’ll need something to wash the snacks down so bring lots of water, juice, and sports drinks. Staying hydrated is key. It’s also smart to store a gallon or two of water in the trunk just in case of an emergency.
3. Navigation Sometimes it’s okay to take a wrong turn just for the experience. However, if you are not looking to extend the trip an extra few hours, make sure you have something to navigate with. You could use a map, atlas, or GPS app.
4. Sunglasses/Hat Occasionally, the sun hits the car in just the right place so that it’s in your eyes for a few hours. Bring sunglasses and a hat to help you survive the blinding light.
5. Cash It’s always a good idea to have some cash stashed away just in case the car runs out of gas or breaks down in the middle of a long stretch of road.
6. Medicine Car sickness is common on road trips, especially when the roads are winding. Most of the time, gas stations over-charge on medicine so bring a labeled plastic bag of medications that alleviate illnesses such as motion sickness, headaches, and nausea.
7. Toilet Paper When you gotta go, you gotta go. Bring a few rolls of toilet paper in case there are no bathrooms nearby when nature calls.
8. Music There’s nothing like driving on a long road listening to your favorite music. Create playlists beforehand and download them onto a mobile device so that you don’t have to stream music the whole time. Some apps, such as Spotify, have pre-made playlists specifically for road trips.
9. Book/Audio Book Since you are already sitting for a few hours, why not bring that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages? If reading makes you carsick, then download an audiobook to listen to instead.
10. Journal Road trips are the perfect time to just sit and daydream. Bring a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings, or catch up on recording the past few months of your life.
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Thwarting Vacation Vexation
acations are supposed to be fun and relaxing, but too often vacations with friends, roommates, or family become stressful. Constant proximity to traveling companions, limited downtime, and disagreements can leave vacationers feeling physically and even emotionally exhausted. Remembering these eight proverbs can help travelers return home feeling satisfied with their vacation.
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Photo by Donnie Ray Jones
Eight Travel Proverbs
1. A successful vacation is born when planning and flexibility meet and fall in love.
The perfect balance of planning and flexibility may be different for every group of travelers, but make sure everyone in your group is on the same page and realize that there are many ways to enjoy a destination—not just what’s written in your planner.
2. Anything that can leak, will leak.
Things like to melt, too. Pack potentially leaky things in plastic bags and never leave things that could melt in a hot car. Watch out for chocolate, lotions, hard candy, and drink bottles.
3. Anyone can turn out to be a
All other photos by unsplash.com
Vacationing with the extended family? Don’t be fooled by your young niece’s petite exterior; sometimes the smallest ones have the loudest airways. Bring a package of earplugs for yourself and to share with your traveling companions. Everyone will thank you.
4. Leave room for souvenirs and
Few experiences are as horrifying as throwing away personal possessions in an airport terminal because your suitcase gained a few too many pounds. Packing light will save you a lot of stress.
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5. Doing nothing on purpose
will make your somethings more purposeful. As much as traveling companions might enjoy each other’s company, too much time together can get tiresome. “Doing nothing” allows individuals the freedom to relax or to get away from the group for a while. This freedom is crucial for a truly rejuvenating vacation.
6. Days are better when they
are preceded by enough sleep; indulge when you can. Resist the temptation to plan 20-hour days in order to see and do “everything.” Sleep deprivation can cause increased hunger, poor memory, irritability, and sickness. Getting enough sleep will allow you to enjoy your vacation and feel more prepared to face real life once you return home.
7. The human stomach remains
roughly the same size at home and abroad.
It’s tempting to gorge oneself on delicious and exotic dishes or to stop and nibble at every destination food shop. Resist the temptation: eat slowly, stop when you’re full, and savor each bite; you’ll be happier in the long run.
8. A phone in the hand is worth
two in the bush.
Actually, it isn’t. Phones are helpful for communication and capturing moments, but they can be distracting. Put your phone down every so often and look at the world through the lens of your own two eyes.
—Isabella Markert 88 ▶ winter 2017
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Elephant Sanctuaries Around the World T
he majority of the human race enjoys seeing magnificent animals, specifically elephants involved in careers including performing in the circus, being displayed in zoos, or traveling. But where do these creatures go when they progress in age or can no longer perform with the strength and endurance they once had? In many countries around the world, elephant sanctuaries and orphanages have been set up for performing elephants to retire. A sanctuary, by origin of the word, refers to a sacred or holy place. Now it is more commonly seen as a haven or place of safety. The organizations providing these sanctuaries create places for elephants and other animals to rest and, in some cases, to be rescued and healed. The goal of the elephant sanctuaries is to make sure elephants are in a comfortable state. Each elephant shelter around the world offers something unique and beautiful: from a shelter with rare Borneo Pygmy Elephants in Malaysia to a combined shelter for elephants and monkeys in South Africa. Due to the animal cruelty that is commonplace in several parts of the world, there are many people who have dedicated their lives to providing refuge and a better life to animals. However, online reviews have made arguments concerning the
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treatment of the elephants, such as involuntary elephant rides. In some cases, elephant rides are contradictory to the idea of sanctuary and volunteers should research and read reviews on the location. Insider’s Look Jenny Rollins, a student residing in the United States, was able to visit the Elephant Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa. She explains, “It was really cool to be so close to these large, powerful
creatures and to walk with them and learn about them.” Jenny concludes that she enjoyed the experience and provides program details for future volunteers. Housing The Elephant Sanctuary provides shared housing (about twelve people) with prices ranging from $50 to $60 with discounted prices for children ages 4 to 14.
Back Riding Elephant back riding is available when visiting the Hartbeespoort Dam sanctuary. Rides last from five to ten minutes. The beautiful views of the boma terrain while riding are delightful for visitors. Because some people see elephant rides in sanctuaries as hypocritical, many sanctuaries have made an effort to create a comfortable and rewarding experience for the elephants. Interaction Programs In the organization that Jenny was involved with, the interaction programs involving feeding, touching, and walking with the elephants are one and a half to two hours long. The price for these particular interaction programs are around $50. Elephant sanctuary volunteer prices range depending on location. Because elephants require large amounts of food (about 250 pounds every day), there is plenty of work to be done and volunteers are always appreciated. A Walk with the Giants Tourists and locals can volunteer at the sanctuaries in many different ways. Walking with, feeding, and bathing the elephants are generally the most enjoyed activities, according to reviews. However, these are not the only ways to participate
Background, photo by Josh Friedman; left, photo by Benjamin Hollis; right, photo by Fiona Henderson
in taking care of the elephants. Volunteers and visitors can also clean enclosures, help with construction projects, and prepare food. These opportunities can be just as rewarding as the regular programs, because they involve improving the elephants’ quality of life. There are many resources to discover which location will fit each person’s volunteer expectations most efficiently. A good resource for finding elephant conservation volunteer work abroad is gooverseas.com, where you can explore international volunteer opportunities. Another way to assist with the elephant sanctuaries and orphanages is to donate to any given sanctuary. When making a donation, be sure to read up on the sanctuary to make sure the money is being used strictly for the care of the animals as opposed to profit purposes. Many sanctuary websites have options to donate online. Reaching out to elephants in an appropriate way is a rewarding experience for anyone who is looking to make a difference.
Extended Volunteer Programs Name
Animal Experience International
2 weeks to 6 months
$500 to $5,000
International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ)
Bali, Costa Rica, Fiji, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe
South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Zanzibar, Namibia, Madagascar, Mozambique
2 weeks to 12 months
$500 to $5,000
Reach Out Volunteers
$500 to $2,000
$500 to $2,000
International Student Volunteers (ISV)
$2,000 to $5,000
Guest House Hostels Hotels Volunteer House
1 week to 12 months
$500 to $2,000
Home-stay Hostels Volunteer House
$2,000 to $5,000
1 week to 3 months
$2,000 to $5,000
Global Vision International
1 week to 12 months
$2,000 to $5,000
Hostels Volunteer House
See more at gooverseas.com
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Second Place Nightfall in Rome
Returning to my hotel near the Vatican after a rainy day in Rome, I was greeted with this sight. Timothy Elliott Springville, Utah
PHOTO CONTEST RUNNER-UPS
Fruit in the Shuk
Located in West Jerusalem, Mahane Yehuda Market is know as “the Shuk” by locals and tourists alike. Shopkeepers are happy to offer samples and bargain in shekels. Allison Riding Highland Village, Texas
explore. dream. discover.