Monthly Archives: July 2016
Travelling turns you into a brave adventurer, whether you venture where no one has set foot before or stick to a more trodden route. But it’s easy to be put off exploring the globe with worries about safety, money or travelling alone.
Forget whatever’s holding you back: here’s how to avoid letting the ten most common fears stand in the way of your next adventure.
1. IT’S TOO DANGEROUS TO TRAVEL RIGHT NOW
Threats of natural disasters, economic crises and terrorism might have you questioning whether you should be booking your next flight. But while various government bodies might warn against travel in some countries, the reality is that the vast majority of the world remains safe for travellers.
Get peace of mind by checking your government’s travel advice before departure, set up email news alerts about your chosen destination and identify the nearest embassy or consulate in case of emergencies.
2. I DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE
If you’re an English speaker, you’ve been gifted one of the finest travel luxuries: the globe’s lingua franca. Unfortunately, in places where this language doesn’t carry the same linguistic weight, communication is problematic.
But even without a common tongue, gestures and a smile are universal and learning the words for “please”, “thank you” and “I would like” can also make you sound polite – a guaranteed means of inspiring others to help you.
3. I WON’T MEET ANYONE TRAVELLING ALONE
The biggest fear for anyone embarking on a solo trip is that you won’t encounter others along the way. Given solo travellers now account for a quarter of all global trips abroad, there are plenty of others in the same boat. In fact, travelling is one of the easiest ways of meeting like-minded people.
Stay in hostels with large communal areas or put yourself into situations such as group activities or tours where you have no choice but to strike up a conversation. You’ll soon have an abundance of new travel companions.
4. EATING BY MYSELF? NOT MY CUP OF TEA
It might seem trivial, but the prospect of dining solo can leave even the bravest of souls quaking in their hiking boots. Don’t view it as a lonely lunch date. Instead, treat it as quality “me-time” and take a book or journal to plan the next step of your itinerary or write about your experiences that day.
Don’t be surprised if you actually end up enjoying it; the feeling of eating alone is a strangely liberating experience – once you take the plunge.
5. WHAT IF I GET ROBBED?
When travelling with your laptop, camera and other valuables, concerns about being robbed are hard to dispel. While you can’t completely avoid this unfortunate possibility, travel insurance makes the worst case scenario more manageable. Remember to keep valuables on your person and expensive items hidden away in a rucksack so that your holiday doesn’t end up costing far more than you anticipated.
6. I’VE GOT A TERRIBLE SENSE OF DIRECTION
We’re programmed to believe that knowing where we’re going at every given moment is essential, but part of the fun of travelling is getting lost – and realising that it doesn’t actually matter.
If you jump off at the wrong station or take a bus in the opposite direction than intended, who cares. Travelling teaches you to cope when things don’t go to plan and how to make the most of these unexpected mishaps-turned-adventures.
7. BUT EVERYONE GETS ILL TRAVELLING
Delhi belly – whether you’re in India or elsewhere – is (often) impossible to avoid. In a new country, the cocktail of new bacteria in everything from the food to the sanitation facilities is a recipe for a bad stomach.
That said, you can still minimize the risk. Invest in alcohol gel hand sanitizer, drink bottled water (and use it to clean your teeth) and pick your dining spots carefully. If there’s a decent assortment of locals of all ages eating there, you’re probably onto a winner.
Born 50 years ago in California, the Summer of Love movement aimed at nothing less than transforming American society. And for a window of time, San Francisco was the centre of that hedonistic universe. Here’s where to go and what to do to relive the kaleidoscopic dreams and big ideas of the flower power generation.
1. WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF HENDRIX IN HAIGHT-ASHBURY
The epicentre of the Summer of Love, this 12-block neighbourhood bounded by Golden Gate Park to the northwest still blithely clings to its past. Girls wear love beads and Indian bracelets, while men sport woodsman beards, their faces framed by hairstyles that would have sported by Jefferson Airplane roadies fifty years ago.
The Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour delves into all that rock’n roll history (710 Ashbury is where Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead used to live, for instance), but also introduces the era’s art and fashion, and the area’s charming, pastel-shaded Victorian architecture.
2. STAY AT A SUMMER OF LOVE THEMED HOTEL
Located in the gentrified heart of Nob Hill, Hotel Zeppelin has been designed for those who come to find the decade they left behind. Others, meanwhile, are intrigued by a weird nostalgia for a life they never lived. The hotel’s decor has a throwback, 1960s vibe with lava lamps, vintage prints, and plenty of counterculture attitude, including a gigantic “Ban the Bomb” sign in the lobby.
Besides that, there’s the name, obviously, and if it couldn’t get any more Page and Plant, deluxe rooms come with record players, while the bathrooms are decked-out, top-to-bell-bottom-bottom in psychedelic wallpaper listing an A to Z of San Francisco’s most revered bands. In short, turn on, tune-in and sleep late, man.
3. FIND YOURSELF ON HIPPIE HILL
Ground Zero for the Summer of Love’s gigantic 1967 gathering, Golden Gate Park overflows with leafy gardens, art, flowers, trees, and the sounds of songbirds. No wonder you could find the likes of Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead playing acoustic guitars on Hippie Hill, a notorious meadow and sloping hill near the park’s eastern fringes.
Free spirits dressed in denims and plaited headbands still come to pound on bongo drums today, all while sitting moon-eyed in a haze of questionable smoke.
4. TURN THE HIPPIE VIBES UP TO 11 AT THE OUTSIDE LANDS FESTIVAL
Golden Gate Park also hosts the annual Outlands Music and Arts Festival (August). The closest millennial hippies can get to the utopian zeitgeist of the era’s defining concerts and Timothy Leary rallies, the three-day party doesn’t entirely chase the musical legacy of the 1960s (headliners have included Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, and Lionel Richie). Instead, it embraces the decade’s anti-capitalist idealism by supporting local charities and eco programmes.
5. SPOT THE NEXT BIG THING AT AMOEBA RECORDS
Because its magic-hour records transcend decades, the sound of 1967 has affected you even if you’ve never been to America or crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Songs like Happy Together by The Turtles, San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) by Scott Mckenzie, or White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane have probably visited you in your car, or in your home.
To stock-up on more of that good stuff, pop in to Amoeba Records, the largest independent music store in the world for vintage LPs, reissued rarities, and all manner of rock memorabilia.
Afterwards, catch an in-store gig from an up-and-coming band who really wish things were as easy as they were back in 1967.
America can lay claim to being the modern-day master of the sandwich; no other country offers the sheer variety and diversity of options. Visitors to most American cities are spoilt for choice, with everything from old-school classics to wildly creative inventions on offer – sushi burrito, anyone?
These portable treats are not just for lunch; many are enjoyed any time of day, perfect for a casual dinner or a delicious late-night treat. What better way to tour your way around America than by sampling the country’s greatest sandwiches? Here’s where to find them.
1. CHEESESTEAK, PHILADELPHIA
The cheesesteak has become synonymous with the “City of Brotherly Love.” A plethora of no-frills joints – from the legendary rivals Pat’s and Geno’s, to beloved local favourites John’s Roast Pork and Tony Luke’s – satisfy a constant stream of locals and tourists.
The classic version features thinly sliced rib-eye or top round, tossed on a griddle then piled into a soft roll and topped with cheese (typically provolone, American, or the guilty pleasure known as Cheez-Whiz), with optional sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
The cheesesteak has migrated throughout the US and beyond to the point where “Philly cheesesteak” now appears on takeaway menus around the globe.
2. PO-BOY, NEW ORLEANS
The name of this popular sandwich is believed to have originated in 1929 when a New Orleans restaurant owner handed out free sandwiches to the “poor boys” striking against the local streetcar company.
Since then, the po-boy has evolved into a New Orleans icon. Two hands and an intrepid approach are most definitely needed when biting into a crusty French bread loaf over-stuffed with anything from fried shrimp and juicy roast beef to alligator sausage.
Order it “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) for the full effect. New Orleanians are loyal to their favorite po-boy shops, whether it’s Parkway Bakery, Domilise’s, Radosta’s, or one of the hundreds of other po-boy purveyors in the area.
3. ITALIAN BEEF, CHICAGO
Italian immigrants created this juicy, meaty sandwich, which continues to satiate the considerable appetites of those living in the “City of Broad Shoulders.” Thin slices of beef roasted in its own juices are stuffed into fresh Italian bread.
The sandwich can be dipped or double-dipped in the cooking juices (known as “au jus”) for extra juiciness, then topped with giardiniera (pickled veg) or sweet Italian peppers. Italian beef sandwiches are found throughout the city of Chicago, but Al’s Beef and Mr Beef are two of the most popular spots.
4. PASTRAMI, NYC
Pastrami sandwiches, featuring mounds of steaming, peppery meat piled high atop rye bread, have been a comfort staple for generations of New Yorkers. While the number of classic delicatessens has dwindled over time, NYC still offers the strongest sandwich scene on the planet, headlined by famously old-school places such as Katz’s Delicatessen.
Traditionally served only with mustard and a side of pickles, these sandwiches are large enough to share, and the biggest question most customers face is whether to order their pastrami regular or lean.
5. LOBSTER ROLL, MAINE
Lobster rolls, filled with succulent chunks of tail and claw meat from just-caught crustaceans, are a summertime staple in coastal New England – especially Maine. Purists prefer a classic hot dog bun, but a host of new places are playing around with the bread option: in Portland, the Eventide Oyster Co uses a Chinese-style steamed bun for its brown butter lobster rolls.
Traditional lobster rolls are served cold, often lightly tossed with a bit of mayo, but sometimes they can be served warm with drawn butter, and/or with a bit of celery salt.