Travel

Mental Health Break

Portrait of Wanaka

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Mental Health Break

Florida’s wildlife

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John Hornby’s cabin on the Thelon River as it appeared in 1978.

A Tragic Adventure

This is the story of a tragic expedition by three young Englishmen that went horribly wrong in the barren North West territory of Canada. Against the background of a tragic story of a trapping and a exploring expedition that ran foul of food shortage is the diary of written by one of the victims, a boy of 18 who started off with a boyish zest for adventure, hero worship for his older cousin, leader of the party, and who never flinched, no matter what fearful odds of death and starvation he faced. The diary was kept by the author until the day, he the last survivor died. The skeletons were found, three years later.

No trees. That is the Indian name for the great expanse of tundra…more than half a million square miles…spread across North-Western Canada. Samuel Hearne named it the Barren Ground. It is a wilderness rather than a desert…

Few white men had travelled through that country. One man… John (Jack) Hornby… was determined to learn how to live there. And he died there… of starvation… on April the 16th, 1927….

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Photo of the Day

Aloha Wanderwell Liked Living Dangerously. Aloha stands on top of her famous car as it is lifted onto a ship during her tour of Africa in the 1920s. 

Aloha Wanderwell

The first Woman to Drive around the World

Adventure, exploration, danger, and murder: this was the life of Aloha Wanderwall. Inspired by the fantastic tales she read in her father’s beloved collection of boyhood books, she dreamed of travel, and intrigue in far-flung corners of the globe. In 1922, when she was 16, she embarked on an ambitious around-the–world expedition led by “Captain” Wanderwell…

Wanderwell was an explorer, a vaudevillian and filmmaker, a female Indiana Jones, a wife and mother. She visited places no western man or woman had seen before. She was a figure of controversy, self-invention and marketing. The romance that informs her legend is both real and contrived.

When she was still a teenager, she hopped into a Model T Ford and drove through 80 countries in the 1920’s. They called her “The World’s Most Travelled Girl.” An early filmmaker, Aloha captured her husband and two children as they explored the world.  Did she have adventures? Stranded in Brazil, she lived with and documented the Bororo people.

Trying to find fuel (never mind roads) in the 1920’s, she used crushed bananas and animal fat for fuel.   Her husband was mysteriously murdered.  Apparently, she cut her hair and fought for the French Foreign Legion. She flew a seaplane.  In Indochina, she had to shoot her way out of a gauntlet of angry elephants. In India on their round-the-world trip oxen were frequently required to tow the Ford Model-T across mud flats and rivers. In China in 1924, when civil warfare made it impossible to purchase fuel, labourers pulled the car for eighty miles…

She died in obscurity, and you’ve probably never heard of her. Even with a name like Aloha Wanderwell.

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Ben Carlin’s round-the-world trek in a Ford GPA. Following the successful crossing of the Atlantic, the Carlin was famous suddenly. In their journeys through European cities such as Lisbon, Paris, Hamburg and London their vehicle was often surrounded by crowds. But success had a high price. "Something is broken every day," Elinore Carlin wrote in her diary already on the 15th day of the Atlantic crossing. And two weeks later: ". No sun, a little rain, cold, dark and a hellish seas Oh Jesus, it would be wonderful if I get over this seasickness, have not eaten for 2-3 days."

Ben Carlin’s round-the-world trek in a Ford GPA. Following the successful crossing of the Atlantic, the Carlin was famous suddenly. In their journeys through European cities such as Lisbon, Paris, Hamburg and London their vehicle was often surrounded by crowds. But success had a high price. “Something is broken every day,” Elinore Carlin wrote in her diary already on the 15th day of the Atlantic crossing. And two weeks later: “. No sun, a little rain, cold, dark and a hellish seas Oh Jesus, it would be wonderful if I get over this seasickness, have not eaten for 2-3 days.

Ben Carlin’s Round-The-World Trek in a Ford GPA

In 1950, a young Australian mining engineer named Ben Carlin set out to do the impossible: circumnavigate the globe, by land and sea, in a single vehicle

Would you want to accompany even a sane person in a claustrophobic half jeep/half boat designed to ford shallow streams on an around the world journey in the early 1950s?  If this suicide mission wasn’t bad enough, you would be cooped up with Ben Carlin in a tiny cabin for parts of a decade. The carbon monoxide fumes are making the hyperactive Carlin delirious clouding his already questionable judgment. His increasing sense of paranoia is fueled by on shore binge drinking. He calls you a son-of-b… at your every slightest perceived screw-up.

Those unlucky enough to accompany Carlin describe him as part monster, part maniac, but a master mechanic and navigator. His seafaring and car/boat fixing skills saved his life on numerous occasions, but it was his prickly personality that was as memorable as his land/sea navigational skills.

In the 1950s, a man from Perth named Ben Carlin decided he wanted to circumnavigate the globe in an amphibious jeep, an optimistic-sounding land-and-water vehicle developed by the U.S. military and which Carlin first encountered while he was serving in the Indian Army. It was a mechanical mongrel that was supposed to move with equal ease across land and water but in practice wasn’t much good at either.

Ben Carlin had attended Guildford Grammar School from 1923-1929. On leaving School he pursued various careers, including studying engineering at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines before vanishing to a coal mine in China. There he wasted a perfectly good war in the Royal Indian Engineers. Close to the end of his tour of duty a battered amphibious jeep caught his eye. After 15 minutes around, over, and under this oddity, the likes of which he had never before seen, he mused, “You know, with a bit of titivation you could go around the world in one of these things.”

After demobilisation in 1946, Carlin found a surplus jeep in the United States; in 1947 he was able to buy the Ford GPW Jeep from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for $US901.

Carlin named his vehicle the Half Safe after an Arrid deodorant radio commercial at the time that used the slogan: “Don’t be half safe – use Arrid to be sure”.

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Here’s something you didn’t need to know

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Ignoring the mind-searing stupidity of the proposed situation, media are doing articles on what you rather leave behind if you only had space for one of those items.

If we had space for only one thing on a trip, most of us would rather bring our smartphone than our toothbrushes, deodorant, or even our driver’s licenses.

According to a global study from travel site Expedia conducted by Northstar, 66 per cent of travellers said they consider their smartphones the most essential travel item.

Meanwhile, 51 per cent of travellers around the world said their toothbrush is the most essential, and only 23 per cent said deodorant was an essential travel item. Read more »

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The Return of the Sun "Extremely heavy precipitation of rime crystals during the night, our rigging being heavily encrusted some of the ropes being over 3" in diameter, but the effect is beautiful" Hurley Diary. Shackleton aimed to make the first-ever land crossing of the Antarctic continent, but his ship became trapped, then crushed and sunk, by ice before the team could reach their starting point for the trek. Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17, led by Ernest Shackleton. (Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images)

The Return of the Sun “Extremely heavy precipitation of rime crystals during the night, our rigging being heavily encrusted some of the ropes being over 3″ in diameter, but the effect is beautiful”.  Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images.

The Endurance

Survival Against the Greatest Odds

When Antarctica’s hulking glacial landmass—icy and inhospitable—was spotted by 18th century British Captain James Cook, he remarked:

“I make bold to declare that the world will derive no benefit from it.”

 That proclamation did not ward away future journeys, though.

One hundred years ago, one of the most astounding tales of survival began aboard a small wooden ship with 28 men trapped in Antarctic ice.

A year and a half later, in August 1916, the details of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ordeal emerged — a story of a spectacular, yet triumphant, failure.

For the second time, Shackleton had failed to achieve his goal of reaching the South Pole. Yet, with his ship crushed, his men camped on ice floes and then marooned on a barren island, he managed to sail 800 nautical miles (1,475 kilometres) in a small boat, in winter, to get help. Not a single life was lost, cementing his reputation as a man of boundless courage and one of the greatest leaders of all time.

Shackleton set sail on Aug. 1, 1914, the day England declared war on Germany. The British Admiralty let him go, expecting the war to be over by Christmas. When Shackleton returned, the world no longer cared about gentlemen adventurers and their polar dalliances. It seemed trivial when set against death on an unimaginable scale on the battlefields of Europe.

Shackleton was naturally gifted in the traits that make leaders. Much of it for him was instinct.

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Dried frogs, holy water and a bat – is Michelle Boag back from holiday then?

Some people pack amazing things in their luggage.

Dried frogs, holy water and a bat are among a range of unusual items intercepted at New Zealand airports and ports.

Recent figures from show 176,700 visitors arrived in New Zealand in May, an increase of 10 per cent on May 2014.

Ministry for Primary Industries staff intercepted 6733 items of biosecurity interest from passengers during May. Of these, 5803 were declared.

Some of the notable interceptions included dried frogs declared as food, some undeclared fruit fly-infested chillies, a tiger tooth and a vesper bat which was intercepted in a sea container at the Tauranga port.

Staff also intercepted plant cuttings, a bulb, a tuber and seeds after a bio-security dog sniffed out the plants near a man’s groin.   Read more »

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Another way to escape Wellington

Wellington is a cold, miserable hole. I know, I lived there for 10 years, suffered more like. I ended up with pleurisy the first winter I was there.

Well, now there is a new way to escape from Wellington…Fiji Airways.

Central New Zealanders can now say “Bula!” to Fiji Airways as their inaugural flight between Nadi and Wellington touched down at midday today.

The launch sees the beginning of a year round flight to one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations with onwards connections to North America.

“A very warm welcome for Fiji Airways,” said Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. “This service provides direct links with the Pacific and offers a delightful opportunity for Fiji to be a stopover between Wellington and Los Angeles in either direction.”   Read more »

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