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Category: Green

Is Globalism The First Step To Star Trek’s Utopian Society?

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2019.

This is a guest post by Joao, one half of No Footprint Nomads, devoted Trekkies who write about sustainable travel from their experience of over 9 years on the road. Top photo courtesy No Footprint Nomads.

no footprint nomads

On Earth, the creation of life has evolved from individuals to groups: first particles, then cells and on to more complex creatures like animals, who organize in their own social structures. Homo sapiens have also followed this natural progression. By first gathering in groups, then cities, later countries – and more recently, unions of nations.

When looking at the large scale of events, we are evolving towards consolidation, even though we sometimes feel we are living in the most nationalistic time of our common history. The often used term “globalization” is real and nobody can deny we are more connected now than ever.

Internet, extremely low travel costs and the rise of remote work have created an ever-increasing flow of movement around our planet that is surpassing records every year. We can already see the effects in locations like Venice, Italy, where they have to limit access for tourists to protect the local lifestyle.

This natural law will affect all areas of our society like capital and money – although we’re still far away from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Neutral Zone“. (Where several 20th-century people wake up in the future to find out capital and property are no longer present in society.) This may be difficult to imagine in today’s capitalistic world.

Planet Earth in the Star Trek futuristic world is a border-less society. Our current globalization trend (e.g. European Union) is a stepping stone to that world. And when we talk about modern nomads, we are talking about the first truly border-less individuals. I use the term “modern” on purpose because the original nomads were very different from today’s. Back in the day, they traveled for survival to find food and shelter; today’s nomads travel to experience the world’s diversity. Society 1.0 represents the first nomads on camel-back, sedentary societies became the norm for 2.0, and now we are becoming nomadic again, hence society 3.0.

A nomad sees the world as an endless opportunity for exploration, either for pleasure or for personal growth. Time and borders are not as important in their life, although we are still somewhat far from a totally border-less society. Visa limitations, strict immigration rules and warfare are still very present in our world and defy the ambition of true nomads. But nomadism is essentially a mindset, a way of looking at the world and not being blinded by borders, by human-created divisions when, in fact, we are all the same species.

airplane window sunset

A nomad can live in a country for awhile until they feel the need to explore something else, like meditation, and then move to Thailand to dive into that passion. The world becomes a potential open university, and borders don’t matter anymore.

I’ve been involved with the nomad community for some time and there are some trends that arise after years living this lifestyle. It reminds me again the same TNG episode when Captain Picard replies to the man from the past, who does not understand the reason for living without material needs:

“The challenge, Mister Offenhouse, is to improve yourself. To enrich yourself. Enjoy it.”

In the nomad community it is not unusual to talk about meditation, healthy food, book reading, stoicism (yes, Gene Roddenberry’s inspiration for Vulcans), yoga, self-learning and all other activities related to enriching yourself, just like Picard said.

Every day that I live this life and meet more inspiring fellow nomads, I can see a little more of our future the way Roddenberry, a true visionary, painted for us in the series. If you are a true Trekkie, then consider embracing the world as a true nomad and forget any differences we might have.

Thank you very much Joao for this Trek-inspired guest post! You can find Joao and Sara on this site, No Footprint Nomads, where they write about sustainable travel. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Qa’plah!

How To Visit Socotra Island

Socotra is a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean, inaccessible for the past several years not due to its location, but connection to mainland Yemen. It’s considered a step back in time, untouched by tourism at large and slowly became a wonderland destination for adventurous travelers. Tourism there peaked at 4,000 visitors in 2011, then, less than 4 years later, civil war broke out in Yemen.

Although there’s no fighting anywhere near Socotra Island (370 kilometers from the mainland) getting there since has been virtually impossible. The few companies that did pop up offering tours frequently disappeared – with everyone’s deposits in hand. Now however, there is a reliable way to visit Socotra. Here’s how to get there.

Visas Have Resumed

The primary reason for Socotra’s inaccessibility was the lack of a functioning Yemeni government. Visas weren’t being issued, which prevented airlines from servicing it, equaling no tourism. Recently, enough of a bureaucracy has developed to provide Socotra visas at least, so the main hurdle to visit Socotra has been cleared for now.

dragon blood tree

You’ll need a visa to enter Socotra, which costs $100. There are only two ways to get a visa to Socotra: either know someone on the island (here’s some contact information) or book a tour. A visa to Socotra and flight go hand in hand since you can only get both, in person, from either Cairo, Egypt, or Seiyun, Yemen. As blogger Norbert describes the flights:

It is every Wednesday, departing from Cairo at 3:30 am, arriving at Seiyun at 8:00 am. You spend over an hour on the plane waiting to pick up new passengers and depart at 9:15 am, arriving Socotra at 10:15 am.

For most people, that means getting the flights and visas booked though a tour company as they’ll make the arrangements for you. It’s also worth noting that Yemen will not issue visas to anyone with evidence of a visit to Israel (e.g. entry stamp) in their passport.

Costs To Get There

Norbert recommends the company he used in his post about Socotra, which cost roughly $1400. You’ll also need to add in round trip flights from Cairo (unless you happen to be hanging out in Seiyun), about $1200, plus $100 for the visa. Because flights only operate once per week, any trip to Socotra will be that long.

socotra beach

Keep in mind though, ever since flights have been going to Socotra, they’ve not been entirely reliable. In other words, I wouldn’t book an ongoing flight from Cairo the Thursday after Socotra’s Wednesday flight. Give yourself a buffer week (yes, week) just in case.

What’s Shorter Than Bucket List?

Even despite the somewhat reliable process in place currently to visit Socotra, it’s not the easiest place to get to. But it is worth the effort if you’re interested in seeing a mostly undeveloped UNESCO site with over 500 endemic plant and animal species, before most of the world catches on.

Either by increased tourism or additional flux in Yemen, Socotra’s current natural state is one you might not find for too much longer. More tourists will demand for infrastructure to be built or additional turmoil in the mainland could make Socotra visas hard to come by once more. Whichever happens, one will happen, and if you can visit Socotra before it does, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.

The Galapagos Are A Camera’s Dream: Here’s The Photo Evidence [Part 2 of 2]

The first part of this series was a close look at the Galapagos but here in Part 2, I’m zooming out a bit to put the background in focus.

nazca booby

What one of the most iconic shots from the Galapagos Islands lacks in color it makes up for in contrast.

galapagos islands

When you get to the top, take a look back.

galapagos trail

The number of visitors to each area is strictly limited to preserve the environment.

galapagos andando

These iguana are surprisingly good swimmers.

galapagos iguana

Bacteria in their gut aid digestion, giving the iguanas impressive bellies.

galapagos iguana

🙂

galapagos iguana smile

On islands where they have no predators, the cactus have soft spines. Otherwise, better watch your step.

galapagos cactus

This young rebel was hanging out in a tree, very rare for any age iguana.

galapagos iguana

Can’t really see, can’t really hear, don’t really care since they don’t realize you’re near.

galapagos tortise

Someone doesn’t skip leg day.

galapagos lizards

It’s hard to believe these palm-sized tortoises will become 180 kilos one day.

galapagos tortise babies

Look closely and you’ll see mom keeping an eye on the little ones.

sea lion pups

One of the harder birds to capture on camera, a Galapagos hawk.

galapagos hawk

Now, test your eyes, how many do you see?

galapagos mockingbirds

Even the bird poop is majestic.

galapagos islands

Hey bro, take a few so I can choose my favorite.

galapagos photos

We’re all friends here.

galapagos iguana

Like wildlife, so many photos…

galapagos animals

…like this former volcano crater. (Droning in not allowed in Galapagos and it’s not easy to get a permit but this view from above would have been amazing.)

galapagos volcano crater

I’ll link to the full galleries.

galapagos sunset

Right here, plus the best places to eat in Puerto Ayora, and short movie trailer for the Galapagos sea lion pups who can’t get enough attention.

The Galapagos Are A Camera’s Dream: Here’s The Photo Evidence [Part 1 of 2]

galapagos trails

There are more than enough photos of the Galapagos Islands on the Internet and whether you’ve been there or not, most people can’t take or see too many pictures of this remarkably well-preserved environment. Although sea lion pups are certainly the main celebrities in Galapagos, it’s hard to describe how many animals are literally everywhere.

For those who have the opportunity, I would recommend seeing as much of the Galapagos, which is spread over 21 islands as you can. Yes, it’s an expensive place to visit but worth saving the money and time if it’s a possibility; in fact if I were limited to only one place to travel in a lifetime, it would probably be the Galapagos.

Nothing I had read or watched prepared me for the wildlife density all around. The picture of this blue-footed booby is deceptive – when I glanced down at the water, there were baby sharks, rays, turtles, all swimming around this natural nursery.

blue footed booby

Hello.

galapagos ray

Don’t mind me, passing through.

galapagos crab

Baby version.

baby swallow tailed gull

Grownup swallow-tailed gulls.

swallow tailed gulls

Keeping 2 meters away (as is the rule), modest zoom for the rest. This is a nazca booby.

nazca booby

They’re all called boobies not because they have nice bird cleavage but it’s thought it comes from the Spanish word for fool, “bobo”, or clown “bufon” – because all of them are look really silly walking.

nazca booby

And when they don’t know what to do, they stare at their feet. Personally, I think they’re just camera shy.

galapagos birds

They’re not entirely graceful at takeoff either.

galapagos boobies

Did someone say seal lion?

galapagos sea lion

Rolls eyes…

galapagos wildlife

Occasionally they’re in the trees but I had to watch my step, the ground was full of birds walking around without a care in the world.

galapagos boobies

Mockingbird selfie.

mockingbird galapagos

Not impressed.

galapagos owl

Flashy crab.

red crab galapagos Grapsus grapsus

This workout brought to you by a former volcano.

volcano galapagos

Make sure you get my good side.

galapagos sunset

Got down to the coast and there were shark fins right off shore. A beautiful nightmare.

galapagos coast

I like your exterior designer, Galapagos.

galapagos red plants

Nobody will ever notice me.

galapagos lizard

We’re cute.

galapagos crabs

I’m cuter.

sea lion pup sleeping galapagos

A debate which will go on at least until Part 2, coming later this week. Subscribe here so you don’t miss it or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

The Osprey Kyte 46 Is Just Big Enough For A Week Hike And That’s A Good Thing

The Osprey Kyte 46 liter hiking backpack is in all sorts of sweet spots lately, both in terms of size, quality, and price as one model overlaps the other, often at nearly 50% less cost. You take a look at the Kyte 46 and think it’s not big enough for a hike of several days to a week but when you get a bigger bag, your back will remind you daily that was a bad choice.

You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Who This Bag Is For

Since the Kyte 46 collapses so efficiently (seriously, almost all the pockets can be shrunk down with straps or zippers when empty), it doesn’t look as large as it is. Yet for short hikes of 3-4 days or so, it is the right amount of space. All of us tend to pack our bags to capacity, a psychological factor that’s best mitigated by controlling the size of the bags we choose. With a touch of minimalism, the Kyte’s capacity can easily be stretched out to a week.

osprey kyte 46

There are two sizes of the Kyte 46, a bag primarily developed for female travelers. A XS/S and an S/M – both of which have roughly the same capacity of 46 liters but the Small/Medium is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) taller. The real distinction however, is between Osprey’s newer version of the Kyte, which price competes with itself.

Speaking Of Versions

As of this post, there are two versions of the Kyte 46. A newer model with the same name that’s essentially the same bag with some slight modifications to the coloring and exterior design. The former version of the Kyte 46 is still on sale, although quietly, and you can find it on Amazon for roughly half the cost. Prices for the both Kyte 46 have been changing frequently but if you keep an eye on them (latest sales listed right below) you can likely get this bag for less than $100.

So long as Osprey can’t decide on how to handle this overlapping rollout of gear, it’s in your benefit if you’re bag shopping.

Strong Design Quality

Osprey bags are durable. I’ve used this bag for 8 years, this one for 4, and have reviewed a lot of their gear and it simply holds up. A good bag will last you years – obviously cheaper fall apart frequently enough they end up costing more in the long run. Travelers looking for a solid outdoor bag for relatively short journeys in summer mountains or in cooler climates will save both money and space with the Kyte’s 46 liters.

Devine Photos Of Lisbon, Portugal From Almada

almada portugal

These might be some of the most perfect photos I’ve ever taken though I didn’t have much to do with it. From rain to rainbows at sunset with a background of racing clouds in strong winds, all the photons seemed to line up perfectly around Almada’s Christ the King.

It didn’t begin like this – the half hour ride from Lisbon‘s city center was under downpours from dark clouds bellowing the force of the air pressures colliding above.

christ the king monument

Time was scarce, the days were short, opportunities to reach this vantage point might not come for a while, or perhaps at all. In such cases, seizing the moment is like trying to grasp a waterfall with your hands for a perfect drink. Sometimes, you are lucky but rarely are you left without anything.

lisbon portugal rainbow

The skies showed so many various faces, it was a buffet of photographic opportunities and angles of Portugal‘s capital city as well as the Christ the King monument.

lisbon from almada

Running from one scenic shot to the other I didn’t make time for camera adjustments, trusting the auto settings would do some justice to what I was witnessing.

christ the king monument

Plus of course, I had to remember to witness what I was seeing with my own eyes.

portugal double rainbow

And it was a perfect moment as nature, architecture, along with the rotation of Earth came together at the exact spot I happened to be standing at.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More


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