January 7th, 2013
Link to article: Flocations Is A Travel Booking Site That Helps You See Beyond Your Budget
A few weeks ago, I came across a TechCrunch article about a new airline booking website called “Flocations.”
Founded by four guys from all corners of the globe (specifically France, Singapore, India and Canada), Flocations allows you to visually compare flight prices for a number of different destinations at once, simply by entering your budget and clicking on the cities of your choosing.
When you click on a city, you get a list of fares and airlines, as well as hotel suggestions.
“While people might have well known destinations like Phuket and Bali in mind, it would take them time to compare the prices for those, while on Flocations they can compare them in a second, as well as dozens of other places they did not even think of,” says French co-founder Florian Cornu.
TechCrunch’s Catherine Shu writes:
Southeast Asia is currently the Singapore-based startup’s target market. It’s a good place for the Web site to test its potential in because the “region offers hundreds of affordable, fantastic destinations,” says Cornu. He notes that there are 56 destinations less than four hours away by flight from Singapore, while travelers based in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok enjoy a similarly rich array of potential weekend getaways. Cornu says that the company also hopes to expand to Europe and North America by 2013.
The team gets flight information directly from airline Web sites and manages it in their own database for fast processing. They also have partnerships with hotel booking providers. While the company won’t disclose exact numbers, Cornu says Flocations has “several thousand” repeat users. The Web site will monetize by offering hotel bookings through the site.
July 2nd, 2012
Link to article: Hip-hopper wants to ditch first class and rough it for a bit…
"Sometimes I just wish I could be normal. Only sometimes, though."
U.K. rapper Tinie Tempah wants to go backpacking.
The 23-year-old recently told Bang Showbiz he felt he’s missed out on some of the young and wild and free shit normal people get to do because he is a cashed-up celebrity.
Hate to break it to you, Tinie. You’re not identifiable enough to be mobbed when you go backpacking anyway. Honestly, if you ditched the plastic frame glasses, 97% of people wouldn’t even know who you are. With the glasses on, 90% of people outside the U.K. don’t even know who you are.
So I would suggest you take a month off your loathsome schedule of touring, recording, partying, and kicking it in limos/VIP rooms/luxury hotels with models (God man, how DO you do it? Sounds awful.) and just go on a trip. Besides, you won’t be alone in your quest to fit in among the proles (See 28. Rich kids pretending to be poor).
“I’m looking forward to visiting some of the countries I’ve fallen in love with and seeing them properly,” he said.
You’re 23, dude. Go do it now.
June 2nd, 2012
Why do backpackers insist on taking photos of children wherever they go?
Sure, foreign kids are cute. I’ll give them that. But they’re also often super dirty and smell funny. I suppose all kids are dirty and smell funny though, not just foreign ones.
But do immigrants come to Canada/U.S./U.K./Australia, wander onto a schoolyard and have someone snap photos of themselves with their arms out, surrounded by white children? Just wondering.
The following is a journey into the mind of a backpacker taking photos of local children, particularly in the developing world:
- “OMG look at how cute these local children are!” (snap)
- “Look at these kids. they live in tin shacks, but somehow they’re so happy.” (snap)
- “Look at their genuine smiles and the joy in their eyes. These kids literally have nothing.” (snap)
- “I’m honestly shocked they’re not asking me for money or trying to pickpocket me…” (snap)
- “…like those damn gypsy kids in… Hey, kid. Take your hand outta my pocket.” (brushes kid’s hand away) (snap)
- “Look at this one, touching my face and my hair. Never seen skin or hair like mine before. WOW!” (snap)
- “I am so enlightened by this experience. More enlightened than my friends back home.” (sigh) (snap)
- “I am so glad I came to (developing world country). I appreciate (developed world home country) more now.” (snap)
- “Seriously. Look at these children.” (snap)
- “I don’t want to say that I’m like Jesus. But I love little children, just like Jesus, which explains my arms-out messianic pose.” (snap)
- “I hope their parents don’t come out during our photo shoot. I don’t want them thinking we’re exploiting their kids.” (snap)
- “Hurry up, Kevin. Take the picture. I think that might be one of their parents.” (snap) (takes off running)
For those of you interested in “The etiquette of photographing strangers” (of any age), check out this article by Lonely Planet author Richard l’Anson.
“Photographing strangers can be daunting, but it needn’t be,” he writes. “Most people are happy to be photographed. Some photographers ask before shooting, others don’t. It’s a personal decision, often decided on a case-by-case basis.”
But approaching foreign strangers and children in a palms-out messianic stance certainly can’t hurt.
September 24th, 2011
Link to article: Croatian cliff casualties mount as Aussies dive into danger
First things first, the URL for this Australian newspaper is www.smh.com.au. When it’s reporting news like this, SMH is an appropriate acronym.
Something about Aussies diving into danger doesn’t feel that unusual to me. Take a look at the photo I chose for my first post about Aussie Guys. I don’t even know if the guy leaping into the crowd is Australian. I just saw the photo and thought: That dude’s gotta be Australian.
I’m not trying to make light of people’s serious injuries or even their tragic deaths. But when a 20-year-old woman “does not judge the distance correctly and falls onto rocks near the water’s edge,” or when a 24-year-old woman “plans to jump from the cliff but decides at the last moment to withdraw only to slip, fall and plunge to the rocks below,” breaking both her arms, her jaw, ribs and hip, and requiring that her kidney and spleen be removed, it’s a matter of people just being idiots.
Sorta like planking. For the record, I like planking and I think it’s hilarious. What’s not hilarious is when a 20-year-old Aussie man plunges to his death after “planking” on a seventh-story balcony.
May 14th, 2011
Happy I get to watch this guy play right now.
Whenever I’m traveling, I tell myself it’s good to be disconnected from home. And it many ways, it is. More often than not, backpackers are excited to escape from home — school, a former job, a breakup, whatever — so being overseas (in some cases where you can’t even speak the local language) is refreshing. (See 44. Finishing school/Quitting your job.) Not for sports, though.
Missing sports makes me homesick.
I realize my opinion has been colored by the following:
- I’m North American and apart from basketball, the professional sports I like to follow are not widely played overseas.
- I’m not a hard-core soccer fan and don’t pretend to be (see 41. Soccer)
- I’m not a holier-than-thou hippie who strums his guitar pretending he doesn’t care about sports, to pick up girls (see 18. Guitar)
- I’m back home, living in a city whose team is on a Stanley Cup run.
- I went and saw the Heat-Blazers game in January, which the Heat (currently the Vegas favorites to win the NBA title) won in OT. Beenou.
- The NBA Playoffs are fantastic this year.
- I didn’t have to wake up at 3 a.m. local time to watch the Super Bowl in Spanish this year. And I wasn’t in Vietnam drinking by myself when the Riders were in the Grey Cup (which I wasn’t able to watch anywhere) either this year.
- I watched basically all the March Madness games and went to Vegas to watch the Final Four, in what was one of the best tournaments of all time. Or did it just seem that way because I was actually home to watch the whole thing? I dunno. Beenou.
- I just slept in, made breakfast and watched a wicked E:60 piece on Carl Crawford. Found out he’s a stud all-around athlete from Fifth Ward Houston. I wouldn’t be able to watch that in Paris. I mean, I’d be in Paris… Yeah, I wouldn’t have seen it, nor would the MLB standings mean anything to me there.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, it’s good to be home and watch sports. Friends, family and 1st-world infrastructure are all right too, I guess.
All of that said, I can’t wait to go on another trip.
January 27th, 2011
Six years ago, it was my first time backpacking on my own and I thought I would like it. I was visiting my brother in Manila and since he was busy with work for a couple weeks, he spotted me some cash so I could venture out and explore the Visayan Islands by myself.
“Ooh yes, this will be a great way to see more of the Philippines, get in touch with my inner self, keep a journal and do a bunch of reading,” I thought. Indeed, it ended up being all of those things, but it wasn’t the same. I was lonely.
I just dug up an old e-mail I sent my friends on that trip. It read:
I’m in Cebu City right now in between island hops and not getting laid. Haven’t yet met many tourists, even at the resorts. Just disgusting old men, strolling the beaches with young Filipinas who wouldn’t normally be caught dead with these scumbags. I’ve heard Thailand is even worse for this. But the Visayan Islands are awesome and I’m thoroughly enjoying the last bit of my vacation/lazy-bum-stuck-between-finishing-school-and-finding-a-real-job-and-getting-a-life stage (see 44. Gap Year).
I always thought traveling alone would be a fun exercise in self-discovery, or some cliché shit like that. Some people actually prefer traveling alone. After about a week of doing so, I’m convinced I’m not one of those people. I find myself taking in awe-inspiring landscapes and gorgeous sunsets by myself, without anybody to appreciate them with me, nobody to simply look over and say, “Fuck, is that ever beautiful.” Instead, I’m smoking a lot of Marlboro Lights.
Was I bitter that fat old sexpats were clearly getting more tail than I was? Certainly. But there was more to it than that.
Here are a few reasons why rolling solo isn’t for me:
- I’m socially dependent. It’s who I am. I’m not the quiet guy brooding in the corner. I’m not wired like that. I’m drawn to people and people are drawn to me (beenou). Even when I set off on my own to travel Southeast Asia a couple years later, I made it a total of four days before latching onto a group of Chilean dudes, two of whom I proceeded to travel with for six fun-filled weeks. My Visayan trip was different because I really didn’t meet ANY other backpackers. I suspect it’s different now and more young people are traveling to the Phils, but it’ll never get the kind of traffic that Thailand gets, which is kinda nice.
- I’m always on a tight budget. Hopefully that will change in the future, but on all my overseas trips to date, I’ve been scraping by day to day. That’s not to say you can’t have fun if you don’t have money. But had I a bit more cash to work with, I could have done more than simply reading in my nipa hut, tanning on the beach or smoking cigarettes. I could have learned how to scuba dive (more on that in a later post), gone on a group tour/jungle trek or gone zip-lining. More importantly: activities like these are ways to meet people.
- Great experiences are worth sharing. Like I said, I’m a socially dependent person. Still, having seen and experienced some unforgettable things by myself and with friends, the with-friends memories are better. The food tastes better, the music sounds better, the sporting event is more exciting, the sunset is more breathtaking. And the next time you see that co-traveler, you have something to remember together. Looking back, the disasters are funnier and the redemptions are sweeter.
- Safety. Do people go camping or go on remote hikes by themselves? No, because it’s just plain dangerous. Unless you’re a complete nutjob like Grizzly Man or the dude on Into The Wild. Neither story ends well.
- Keeping up appearances. Try going to a bar by yourself some time. It’s terrible and you look like a total loser. But at least it’s introspective.