Travel etiquette

Viewer discretion advised.

OK, not really. But if you’re like me– which is to say you’re a minor major germophobe– this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

I say this without bias: (some? most?) people on planes are horrific. Horrendous. I was sat on a flight from Miami to Frankfurt last week, and the gentleman next to me sneezed. Into his hand.

I icked instantly (who wouldn’t?) but he followed it up with another sneeze and a coughing fit. Now, I’m not heartless– clearly the guy was having a fit of some sort, but has no one heard of the vampire cough?!

Anyway, this is the physics behind sneezes on a plane by a 17 year Canadian brainchild. And a cost-effective solution to limiting the spread of pathogens from a sneeze:

Wayfarer’s watchlist #5: 3 TED talks on travel you HAVE to watch

Ben Saunders: Why bother leaving the house?

Saunders’s* opening line sets the stage for a very interesting talk:
“I essentially drag sledges for a living, so it doesn’t take an awful lot to flummox me intellectually, but I’m going to read this question from an interview earlier this year: “Philosophically, does the constant supply of information steal our ability to imagine or replace our dreams of achieving? After all, if it is being done somewhere by someone, and we can participate virtually, then why bother leaving the house?”

Chris Burkard: The joy of surfing in ice-cold water

I initially came across Chris Burkard after stumbling upon his Instagram profile. Which, for the record, is stunning. Anyway, it suffices to say that I was more than excited when this TED talk came up on my ‘specially recommended for you’ playlist (you know me well, YouTube). 

To quote from Burkard’s talk, “You see, the more time I spent traveling to these exotic locations, the less gratifying it seemed to be. I set out seeking adventure, and what I was finding was only routine. It was things like wi-fi, TV, fine dining, and a constant cellular connection that to me were all the trappings of places heavily touristed in and out of the water, and it didn’t take long for me to start feeling suffocated.”

Robin Esrock: Learn to travel — travel to learn

To say Robin Esrock is one of those people who has it all is an understatement. ‘Travel writer, author, and TV-show’ host is only trumped by ‘Rockstar, card sharp, and food critic’. Well, in my eyes, anyway. Esrock very earnestly points out in his TEDx talk,”Those of us who travel for a long time, we’re either running away from something or we’re looking for something” And we’re all looking, right?

Have you seen any interesting TED talks recently? Any other inspiring, nay, even cheesy videos / movies / clips you’d like to share? Drop me a line below and educate me, please!

As always, happy travels

Akanksha Travel Blogger Teal Rain Boots

*To the Grammar Nazi waiting in the wings, to write me an e-mail, to correct me on whether or not I should be using “Sauders’s” or “Saunders’ “. The general rule of thumb here in Australia (and much of the commonwealth) is to use the possessive as it would be spoken. So “Charles’s“, or “my boss‘s” are both perfectly acceptable in this respect. Phew, glad that’s done. Back to the post now.

What are you reading?

I decided to start writing up Goodreads reviews to keep on top of books I’ve read (because, you know, I have the memory of a goldfish). But now that I’m reaching my mid-twenties (AAAAAH! 😱) and I’m doing a little some extensive soul-searching (read: having a quarter-life crisis), I thought it’d be a good idea to start summarising all the books I’ve read to consolidate everything I (should have) learnt upon reading them.

I plan on doing the same with TED talks I’ve watched, because, you know…!

Anyhow, just thought it would be nice we could all be chummy and recommend books, TED talks, and other such hippie whatsits to one another.

So please, comment away and spam me with books, movies, TED talks, songs and whatever else have you!

I’ll get you started: here’s what’s on my reading list at the moment.

Now come on, share if you care (but also if you don’t– yours truly is starved for a good read — see what I did there? Pun entirely unintentional, but have to say, am pleased!)

A bientôt

Akanksha Travel Blogger Teal Rain Boots

Food for thought: are you happy?

I’ve come to realise that I’ve become one of those nagging, whiny, complaining sorts of late. You know the type, the real-life equivalent of a dementor, who sucks the zing out of a room by complaining about practically everything (we all have at least one in our friend circle). Now, I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I shall repeat it all the same — grow up, stop complaining, and be happy, gosh darnit! There’s a decent bit of science behind why complaining is bad for your mental health (although I’ve read some contradictory reports recently), but either way, it typically doesn’t achieve anything. And like second-hand smoke, listening to complaints is supposedly worse for you.

Now, although it may seem as though I’m complaining about complainers here, I’m about to get to the point–

Happiness.

Granted it’s subjective for everyone, and it’s not everlasting, but I feel like more and more I come into contact with people lack it nowadays. Before I start sounding like a pseudo-intellectual hipster, let me just make one last point — everything is subjective.  But, chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve got a lot to be thankful for. And a lot to be happy about. And hopefully, that also means you have comparatively less to complain about.

Bottomline: stop complaining, be happy. 

Whenever I feel like I’m falling into this ‘oh-woe-is-me’ complaining rut, I have a handful of books, movies, and YouTube videos I tend to watch.

Sam Berns’ philosophy for a happy life: A TEDx talk by the late Progeria sufferer, who at age 17 seemed miles ahead of me at the same point in time, puts all the little things into perspective.

Amy Purdy’s Dancing with the Stars experience: At 19, she was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, with a 2 percent change of living. She lost her legs (from the knee down), but survived, overcame the slimmer than slim odds of walking again, and went on to become a gold-winning Paralympic snowboarder (where she essentially snowboards a foot off the ground with prosthetic limbs). Her TEDx talk always gets me slightly choked up, but watching her dance is something that always makes me smile:

The TEDx talk:

Pico Iyer’s ‘Art of Stillness’: A travel writer and journalist, I first came across him when he gave his TED talk ‘Where is home?’ (something I relate to fairly well, being a third-culture kid with a really, really weird accent). In this talk, ‘The Art of Stillness’, he talks about a mental stay-cation:

And, lastly, because laughter is (in my mind) the best medicine, here is an outstanding compilation of celebrity commencement speeches from purewow.com. Mindy Kaling, Ellen, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Jane Lynch (the gang’s all here). But also, Hollywood royalty like Meryl Streep (also funny, and ridiculously charming, and can do no wrong in my eyes). And Robert DeNiro.

Just watch them all, OK?

That’s all. Stay happy, smile, and stop complainin’.