Darren at Geeky Traveller turned us on a couple of interesting items regarding that damn jet lag. First an awesome quote by William Gibson from Pattern Recognition regarding the unavoidable pain of jet lag.
Her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.
Secondly, it appears that bright light and melatonin can reduce the effects of jet lag significantly.
Lastly, we've also heard good things about the anti-jetlag diet, which involves preparation for a trip using days of feasting and fasting.
A big part of my (soon to be former) day-job is helping organizations understand the blog world and how the world of business is changing thanks to the Internet. I write about this subject a lot on my Common Craft blog.
This morning I posted about what I call "listening" which is becoming aware of the information being shared on the Web. Over the last few years a number of new tools and sites have made it possible to define a niche and then become aware of what is being said on the Web regarding that niche.
For TwinF, that niche is world travel and this morning's post is all about the tools I'm using to listen to what's happening in the travel world. You might find it interesting in a geeky way.
We've read that it's smart to take extra passport photos on a trip around the world, mainly because visas often require photos and having them with you can be a way to save time and money. So, tonight we made our own passport photos.
As you can see on the left we had problem with light, or lack thereof, but in the end we were able to print them on photo paper on our home printer.
We're taking 24 pictures each, which should last us for a while. Also, you might remember to save the file that contains the photos in an accessible place on the Web while you're on the road.
The same page also points to a handy list of how to say "hello" in a number of languages, and how to communicate in a country where you don't speak the language.
If I'm not mistaken, Yahoo! is making some big moves in the travel sector. I saw two new properties recently:
Richard MacManus points to the Yahoo Trip Planner, which is part travel service and part travel sharing. As members add their trips, including lodging, sights, etc. it's added to a map and (optionally) viewable by the public. You can copy a trip as a way to start your own, etc.
At first, I thought, oh boy another itinerary planning service. Then I started looking at the public trips and realized, quite selfishly, that these trips could be really handy in helping us find ideas for specific locations.
Imagine we're about to go to France. This trip could serve as a starting point for things we might want to do in Paris.
Also, Yahoo! just rolled out Richard Bang's Adventures, which is a site devoted to chronicling Richard's adventure travels. Richard has been described to me as "the man" of adventure travel. I believe it.
Gridskipper pointed me to a new-ish blog that is, so far, doing a great job of preventing people like us from looking like idiots in foreign lands. It's called Escape Blog, and is part of the Fine Fools Network.
A couple of good take homes:
In Jordan, coffee is an important cultural symbol of hospitality. So when you are offered Arabic coffee by your host, do NOT say no. Once you are finished drinking and do not want to have more, shake your coffee cup from side to side. However, should you want more coffee, all you have to do is hold out your cup to the person who has the coffee pot.
-The land of beer has strict drink driving laws. The limit is only 0.25 mg of alcohol per litre of blood.
-Don’t flick the bird! Inappropriate hand gestures are forbidden!
-Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.
-There are autobahns WITH speed limits. Do follow them otherwise, you can get fined heavily. And you have to pay on the spot, too!
-Passing on the right is not allowed!
-It is illegal to run out of gas on the Autobahn so fill ‘er up!
-It is also customary to...switch on your hazard blinkers when approaching a traffic jam to warn those behind you.
-Some may flash their high beams to request that you let them pass.
I wonder if Jon knew these things?
I just took a look at the site of new Irish friend Justin MacCarthy, who recently traveled to Thailand and Cambodia and may be in New Zealand when we're there. I saw a couple of great posts about practical advice on Thailand and Cambodia.
Hook up with a local to drink beer on the train...
I thought I’d buy a large bottle of Chang beer to share with my new friend. I called the carriage guy and asked him how much a bottle was. 170 Baht. Ok I knew it would be a little more but the usual price is more like 70 Baht. I was about to say what the hell and buy one, when I saw Tawat motioning not to buy it. No thanks I said.
When the carriage guy was gone I asked Tawat what was up? For you, he said, its 170 Baht, but for me its 100 Baht. He smiled. Yes we charge foreigners more!! So Tawat bought the beer from then on. And our carriage guy laughed it off. So if you want to buy beer on the trains, get to know a local!
And, a really interesting look at his first arrival in Cambodia.
I knew arriving in Cambodia would be a shock. I had never been to S.E Asia. I had never traveled alone. I knew it would be a culture shock. It was, in spades. For first few hours I thought I’d made a mistake. 3 weeks later I’m fascinated by the country. Hopefully we'll see Justin on the trip soon...
We've been on the lookout for other sites like this- where people have created a site to go along with their trip. I've been pretty impressed.
Here are a few I've been following for a while now and recommend:
Hobotraveller.com - Andy has been traveling for many years straight, posts often and shares lot of interesting perspectives from around the world.
Constanttrek- This is pretty amazing. This is an Australian couple who are walking (yes, walking) from London to Cape Town, South Africa. Lately they are starting their trek across the Sahara with camels.
TheRadBlog - Jon Rawlinson has gotten to be a friend lately and I've really enjoyed his site. Something unique are his videos which are impeccably edited and set to great music.
Jules and Emily - This is a Seattle couple doing a trip similar to what ours will be. They don't post often, but are fun to watch. They are currently in Japan.
Nancy White - Nancy is a friend here in Seattle who often travels and shares her experiences- often of the gastronmic variety. Yum!
We've also heard about a few more from TwinF readers:
Sachi and I were married a little over a year ago. Not unlike this trip, it was event that required a lot of planning. We heard a lot of advice from people and a piece that really stuck with us has to do with expectations of perfection. For your wedding day, you want things to go perfectly- and it’s an impossible goal.
In the weeks before the wedding, we had a mantra that helped us set expectations. It was “A little bit of chaos”. When looking forward to the event, we learned to expect and even embrace a little bit of chaos. This allowed us to let go – Que sera sera!
In looking forward to this next adventure, again, I think “a little bit of chaos” is an appropriate mantra. What’s different about this event is that chaos is absolutely unavoidable. But, our reaction to it is not. We want to learn to expect the chaos of unfamiliar languages, people, and foods and work through it with smiles on our faces.
“[He] praises "bullshit-free" destinations like Glasgow, and expresses an intention to travel "with an open mind, an empty stomach, and a willingness to take at face value whatever was offered" from his hosts. "I hope that by leaving myself open to misadventure, disaster, and the happy accident," he says, "good things will happen. I'm not afraid to look like an idiot."
Heh. Looking like an idiot is unavoidable too. Maybe our mantra should be “A little bit of chaos and idiocy”.