Having Fun Right Now

Another Family Planning to Travel the World!

Category: The World Page 2 of 3

Norway’s Fjords

If a little bit of beautiful calm is what you need in your day, then this video could be just the answer.  I’m not sure if we’ll make it to Norway during our RTW trip (considering the cost), but it would be a wonderful way to finish the trip before coming home…

The Future Will be Smaller

From the Wall Street Journal, a big package on how life will be in 35 years: 2050: Demographic Destiny. In the developed world, the future will be smaller.

Next year, the world’s advanced economies will reach a critical milestone. For the first time since 1950, their combined working-age population will decline, according to United Nations projections, and by 2050 it will shrink 5%.

As Dave Pell writes in Nextdraft:

In other words, it turns out that the big problem in the world isn’t that there are too many people, but rather that there are too few (Thanksgiving dinners excepted).

Inspirational Travel Video

I love watching these videos since it gives me a sense of what my family will be encountering during our round-the-world trip.  This one is of a couple that travelled to 17 countries in a single year.  Have a look and be inspired!

Travel Idea: Shakespeare

With the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death last week there was quite a bit of talk about the bard.

I came across this link of “Pubs That Shakespeare Actually Drank At” list and wanted to bookmark it for future reference, cuz you know, beer:

 

The George Inn, London – An Elizabethan inn-yard theatre, burned down and rebuilt in 1677, National Trust site
The Bell Inn, Welford on Avon, Warwickshire – Open fireplaces!
The Windmill, Stratford-upon-Avon –2 minute walk from Will’s house, built in 1599.
Shakespeare’s Tree, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire – This is evidently a tree that the great bard, um, passed out under. Good to know!
The George Inn

If It Were My Home

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in another country?  Well, wonder no more!  A website titled If It Were My Home attempts to compare your country with another in a wide variety of data points.   For example, here’s a small number of comparisons between Canada and Costa Rica:

If It Were My Home (Canada vs Costa Rica)

Of course, the comparisons can be a bit sketchy since we’re not only talking about averages within an entire country but also comparing statistics that are collected differently in different parts of the world (e.g., unemployment isn’t counted the same way everywhere).  Nonetheless, the site is an interesting look at the grass on the other side.

Spine of the South

Here’s a destination for our travel wish list — the longest mountain range in the world, The Andes.  Below is a beautiful time lapse video by photographer Eric Hanson. Hanson took hundreds of thousands of photos during his seven month trip along South America’s Andean spine, capturing some awe-inspiring skies and landscapes from Ecuador to Patagonia.

Gender and the Normalcy of Violence

Listening and watching the news this month has been causing me to try to wrap my head around some issues that are too big for me. I don’t see an easy solution, I just see continued conflict and violence as cultures clash.

I’ve tried to put my thoughts into words but I am finding it too challenging. So I am just going to share a couple of resources that I have found recently and revisit this later.

Now, while this video by Dignity Without Borders doesn’t paint the most accurate or objective picture, I do think it helps shine a light on areas of thought in regards to the surge in violence against women that has been occurring in Europe:

And this video by Amer Albarzawi from a woman’s perspective:

And this recent interview with Gloria Steinem on the Charlie Rose show in which she recommends “Sex & World Peace” by Valerie M. Hudson, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, and Chad F. Emmett:

The World is Not Falling Apart

In my (accidental) ongoing series of posts talking about safety and security of the world, I’d like to bring up a new article by Slate entitled The World is Not Falling ApartNever mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.  The article begins with the popular notion that the world is going crazy (something I hear constantly):

It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife-beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold?

But is the centre holding?  Is the world safe?  As Bill Clinton says, “Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.”   In other words, don’t look at individual news reports that can be discussing something a thousand miles away — and continue discussing it until the next disaster happens.  Rather, look at the statistics and see where the trend lines are heading.

As Slate discusses, the trends for nearly all violence has gone down dramatically over the last few decades.  Violent acts like homicide, rape, child abuse has gone way down.  If you take a look at the big violence happening around the world — mass killings, genocides, etc. — you’ll see that the past ten to twenty years has seen a major decline.  Armed conflicts and wars has dropped significantly since the early 90s.

Slate: Rate of Battle Deaths in Armed Conflicts

The world is not falling apart.  We just need to use an evidence-based mind set and look at the facts and not the headlines.  Even though ISIS and various (historically small) civil wars have taken over the 24 hours news channels, things are getting better out there.  That doesn’t mean violence will some day end (we aren’t heading towards a singularity of peacefulness, sorry), but I hope this article allows you stop being fearful about travelling the beautiful world on which we live.

What’s Safe?

With the United States declaring a Worldwide Travel Alert, the question of safety for our family has come up a few times.   Of course, a lot will change in 5 years, so nobody can be sure what we’ll be faced with when the time comes for our travel.  But what can we do now to make sure we’re being as careful as possible?  One thing is to keep track of worldwide events like terrorism — but not necessarily where terror events occur, but where they originated from and who supported them.  This can help identify areas of the world that 14 and 9 year olds probably shouldn’t be travelling to.  The world is a big place, so skipping a few countries shouldn’t be a problem…

So what can you do to research such a complex topic?  One thing would be to read the Global Terrorism Index put out by the Institute for Economics and Peace.  Their 2015 index just came out and you can see the PDF here.  The PDF is 111 pages, so not exactly fun bed time reading.  But, just looking at the rankings can give you a sense of which sections of the world you might want to avoid.  Unfortunately, there’s a few countries we’d like to visit that are pretty high on the Impact list at the moment (for example, Thailand is #10, Egypt is #13, Kenya is #18).

Looking at things from the other end, we have the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2015 Global Peace Index (PDF).  Again, 127 pages, so a good long read – but at least not as depressing.  This index can help understand a country’s level of safety and security, degrees of militarization and more.  Thankfully, most of the countries we’re interested in visiting are fairly peaceful, though a few are red (Russia, for example, though it IS a massive geographical area that’s being lumped together).

Of course, the odds of being killed or hurt by a terrorist attack is much smaller than being hit by lightning, but the fact that poverty, class inequality, government corruption, civil unrest and other social ills are directly connected to terrorism can’t be ignored.  The world’s a big place, and we understand that, in 5 years, there just might be a few beautiful places that we’ll just have to skip during our trip.

 

2015 Global Peace Index

The Pale Blue Dot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=923jxZY2NPI

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.

On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.

Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

— Carl Sagan

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