This Week in Travel (Issue No. 16)

Another week flew by, marked by another new discovery. If you were as shocked as we were at Kosan (and slightly creeped out) over the unidentified sea creature that washed up in Indonesia last week, fear not, the mysterious 50-foot long dead creature has now been identified by scientists as a baleen whale. Or rather scientists have speculated it is a baleen whale. From one dead carcass to a livelier bunch, Lonely Planet highlights incredible images and footage of a California diver swim through a swarm of jellyfish in Palau. Appropriately named Jellyfish Lake, photographer and filmmaker Kien Lam captured stunning images of these sea creatures in the scenic, shimmering underwater. Unsurprisingly, divers from around the world flock to the area, drawn in by Palau’s seascape and marine life.

American photographer and filmmaker Kien Lam in Jellyfish Lake. Image by Media Drum World courtesy of Lonely Planet

We swear we aren’t the only ones talking about ways to tackle climate change. After all, we only share what is relevant and this topic is a never-ending battle. Rising from the famous waters, Venice showcases its’ latest sculpture, titled “Support” created by Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn. Featuring two large hands emerging out of the Grand Canal, the hands are meant to symbolize the negative effects humans have had on the world as well as the potential we have to save it. According to Lonely Planet, Quinn hopes his artwork can direct attention to the effects of climate change on World Heritage Sites. The moral of this story? Collectively, we need to work together to affect long-lasting and meaningful change.

‘Support’ by Lorenzo Quinn, Venice, Italy. Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet. 

It seems that Italy is becoming a more enticing place to live, week to week. From incentives to uproot to Bormida in Liguria, to recent news of Italy giving away historic buildings for free! Only catch, all takers must commit to transform these derelict buildings into tourist facilities. The main goal, of course, is to promote some lesser-known, off-the-beaten-track, Italian areas (which we love!) while relieving overcrowding in Italy’s most sought after destinations. Now the question is, do you prefer a castle or monastery or perhaps an old farmhouse tower?

Back to the issue of protecting World Heritage Sites, UNESCO moves to preserve the medieval town of Kotor. Like other popular hotspots, such as Machu Picchu, excessive tourism has threatened the conservation of Kotor’s beauty. The gradual increase of construction in Montenegro and the addition of modern buildings have raised concerns from UNESCO. Changes are imperative to protecting these historical sites, especially if you want to keep the prestigious title, UNESCO World Heritage Site, which brings an influx of tourists. Seems like a bit of a double-edged sword, but we must continue to strive for balance.

Montenegro. Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet via Getty Images. 

Not a heritage site, however stunning all the same, The Lake District in England is celebrated for its’ diversity in beauty, captured in the new book, Photographing the Lake District: A Guide to the Most Beautiful Places. Photographer, Stuart Holmes, showcases the region in Cumbria magically featuring more accessible locations. After seeing these photos, who wouldn’t want to venture to England’s Lake District.

Speaking of adventures, apparently Australia has been holding back. One of Australia’s hidden gems is the Wild Pedder Experience in Tasmania. In one of its’ World Heritage wilderness areas (yes, another one), a new hiking experience in Tasmania has launched. No longer a secret, the Wild Pedder offers the experience of a lifetime, trekking through Tasmania’s spectacular Southwest National Park, old forests and spotting glacial lakes and jagged, towering mountains.

Bringing us back to an age where all our must-know facts and science tips came from our trusted bowtie wearing childhood source, Bill Nye is back again to tell us the science behind travel booking. Just like old travel phrases that are no longer pertinent while travelling, such as, “Do you have any rooms available?”(Ha!), travel booking has long changed the way we travel and therefore old phrases must retire. Bill Nye has come to our rescue, once again, revealing “The Science of Travel” in his three-part series from Expedia. It’s really no surprise that there is a scientific explanation behind the success of good travel.

In other news, and good news finally, after years of torture elephants Kannika and Madee were the first to arrive at the new Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. One of the first ethical elephant centers in Thailand, the elephants are well taken care of and experience a whole new way of life in their natural habitat. There is very little human interaction allowing a maximum of 35 people per day to visit in order to limit the stress and keep their spirits high. Their aim is to help as many elephants as they can while encouraging ethical practice. Something we would hope to see other elephant camps follow suit. Here’s to hoping! But if you do care, which we know our fellow travellers do, you can donate and help their efforts in growing their sanctuary.

This brings us back to the Keep it Wild pledge from See the Wild we shared a few weeks ago. It’s no joke just how bad some zoos are, and so we say again, take the pledge!

Another story that peaked our interest this week: Our “Best Job in the World” guy, Anthony Bourdain, is playing local tourist this Sunday as he discovers Queens. In his words, it is “a place where America still offers the world something of inestimable value: Hope.” Meanwhile the crew at Global Degree’s latest video shows us 23 countries in Asia in 230 seconds. But that’s not all, they had a pretty busy week over at GD HQ. You may have seen their viral video “Dear Older Generation: This is Why We Travel”, which hit nearly 8 million views in just a few weeks and even landed them an article in Forbes Magazine. Why is it worth sharing? Because the video, and sometimes heated dialogue that ensued following its launch, sheds light on an important conversation; when it comes to travel, are millennial and boomer travelers really all that different?

‘Dear Older Generation’

We have to applaud Global Degree for putting this out there and even more so for sharing this great “response video” as well. Sometimes it’s important to stir the pot a little and spark those conversations we all need to have.

And in the words of their founder Michael Graziano (read also our interview with Michael Graziano in our series “A beer with”),“It’s important to note some older generations also live this lifestyle and share these philosophies. Age is no limitation”. We couldn’t agree more, the only limits you have are the ones you put on yourself.

Saranda, Albania. Photo courtesy of Global Degree. 


Happy Travels!

The Kosan Team