Category: Health and Fitness

There Are Lots Of Animals In Galapagos But Here’s Photos Of Just Sea Lion Pups

sea lion pup

The Galapagos Islands are one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth, in fact, 97% of the land animals there can be found nowhere else on the planet. During the week I spent visiting the archipelago as a guest of Andando Tours, I took over 300 photos and more than 12 hours of video footage of blue-footed boobies, lava lizards, giant tortoises – as much wildlife as possible.

There is though, one animal any camera seems unable to avoid, so much so, it became a running joke onboard the Mary Anne: sea lion pups always steal the spotlight. Our guide Fernando Ortiz (whom I can’t recommend enough) confirmed every group is the same – unable to resist the baby sea lions.

To be fair, the sea lion pups often do their best to pose and grab your attention.

sea lion pup galapagos

I’ll be posting more about the Galapagos and its wildlife as a whole soon but these photos are a reflection of what happens as you hop from one island to another. At most stops there are more than a few cute sea lion pups hanging out, and no matter how many you see, you’ll take 40 more pictures of them.

sea lion pup galapagos

The general rule is to stay 2 meters (~6 feet) away from all the animals in the Galapagos where possible. With even an average zoom lens, you’ll be able to capture shots like this.

sea lion pup

Sea lions for the most part behave a lot like dogs, except the adults ignore you, and the pups are cautious but inquisitive.

sea lion galapagos

They…

sleeping sea lion

…also,

sea lion cute

sleep…

sea lion family

a lot.

sea lion pup sleeping

For the most part during the first year of their life, sea lions stay on land not venturing out beyond a few meters into the water. (Nearly always under the attentive eye of an experienced mom.) Otherwise sea lion pups are vulnerable to shark predation; instead they spend much of their time entertaining tourists.

sea lion galapagos

As they grow older and become more independent, adult sea lions will start to spend weeks at sea eating fish. (The book Why We Sleep explains this is possible – sea lions lightly sleep half their brains at a time in the open ocean.)

Still, when they return to land, they’re adorably tired.

galapagos sea lions

The adults leave the posing to the pups while they take a well-earned rest. Even in this state, sea lions are incredibly photogenic, despite being the occasional snotty sneeze. (The 2 meter rule is more for you than them.) I’ll have more on what travel to the Galapagos Islands is like, showing the incredible animal diversity here in the coming weeks – but as they did during my trip – the sea lion pups have taken over for now.

Save Money On Utah’s Mountains By Visiting In Summer

alta mountains

Right now it’s a frosty few degrees below freezing, with light snow in Alta, Utah, an idyllic place to ski, but such popularity on this very expensive real estate comes at a price. Starting at over $500 a night during the cold months on average, come summer, hotel prices drop to well under a hundred dollars in what’s some of the best hiking territory in the Rocky Mountains.

Road Trip It

The first time I visited Alta was by happenstance during a road trip I took when Ford gave me a car. Wandering up into the mountains after visiting the “Up” house (long story) before the next day’s drive, I came across Alta Lodge. Inside was mostly empty in the cozy ski lodge posing as a summer hotel. The regular rate for a four-person suite was $99 a night which they gladly reduced even further with a bit of gentle negotiation.

alta lodge utah

The hiking is incredible and these views you’ll have pretty much all to yourself, are genuinely special.

alta utah lodge

Salt Lake From Above

Those of you visiting nearby Salt Lake City on a road trip adventure of your own should considering adding Alta as one of your stops.

alta utah skiing

Off-season prices are less than a quarter of ski season with some of the most accessible hikes of all levels in this part of the United States.

alta utah

Aside from an excuse to post these pictures, I write this because Alta is so simple that without the skiing, it’s not a destination you’ll find much about during the greener months.

best photos alta utah

For many people who love the outdoors though, Alta is a unique spot neglected by large groups of people – much like Iceland in winter.

Travel Sports Headphones That Actually Stay In Your Ears: RHA MA390 Review

The most important test of any sports headphones is whether or not they stay in your ears when running. Earphones that fall out or continuously need to be adjusted when you’re working out won’t be used very often, no matter how good the sound quality is. Manufacturers have come up with a few inventions to get around this problem, from over-ear hooks to weighted neckbands – the latter often being more trouble than its worth.

rha ma390 headphonesRHA MA390 Wireless Earbuds

buy from amazon

The RHA MA390 do a good job of pulling off what most competing earphones fail but lacks in other areas for more sedentary travelers. Here’s my full review of the RHA MA390 earphones in the video above or read on.

The Basic Basics

RHA’s MA390 earphones have slick packaging, marketed directly to travelers; you’ve probably seen some in an airports electronics shop. Don’t be fooled though, these are earphones that don’t sound as good as they look. Not that the RHA MA390 are bad, they’re just solidly average from audio to built-in microphone. But if you’re running or otherwise working out, premium sound quality isn’t necessarily critical (and completely irrelevant if the buds keep falling from your ears).

RHA MA390 earbuds

There’s no accompanying RHA app to adjust sound levels so they play it safe by keeping the MA390 to a generic bell curve, with a preference for mid-tones. Those of you who like strong bass in your music won’t find a good thump in the MA390.

Neck Stability

No bass thump but probably no finger-constantly-tapping-earphones thump either, even as you get sweaty. IPX4 rated means the MA390 can survive a solid splash of water or constant barrage of sweat throughout it’s roughly 8 hours of battery life. To help balance in your ears, RHA use a slightly thick, weightier band that rests around the back of your neck. The neckband, which attaches the two ear buds offsets any motion, distributing it from your body and head to the band.

rha ma390 headphones

What results are earbuds that stay in your ears when running. Unlike the NuForce BE Sport3 headphones [full review here] whose weight is unevenly distributed, RHA’s MA390 don’t start to slip when they get wet with sweat.

Portable Price Point

The neckband is inconspicuous while running – RHA has also made it flexible enough to be awkwardly stuffed into the small case they come with. Average sound quality, the MA390 aren’t going to come close to the premium Bose 20i [full review here] though to be fair, RHA aren’t trying to. Competition is more in the $50-75 range, like the previously mentioned BE Sport3.

Between the two, advantage goes to the RHA MA390 with the caveat that you’ll use them while running or working out. For travelers who, despite their best intentions, know they won’t be exercising a lot but want inexpensive, light earbuds, the BE Sport3 might be all you need. Everyone else who (like me) have struggled to find earphones that can handle a solid run outdoors or inside on a treadmill, the RHA MA390 are an affordable, reasonable purchase.

Map Of Recreational Marijuana Laws Around The World (Updated Regularly) So You Can Enjoy Weed Legally

washington monument

This map is now available in app form! GrassFox is available on the App Store and Google Play.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Have you ever visited a new city, caught a strong whiff of something familiar, then thought: I wonder if marijuana is legal here? This is a question I had in Uruguay most recently, since cannabis was being smoked everywhere. At the time Uruguay was the only country to have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. (Hello Canada!) Since then, other countries, cities, states, and various jurisdictions have developed a highly patchwork set of rules that can be confusing for travelers.

The Map Of Recreational Marijuana Laws

Information in the map below shows you where recreational marijuana use is legal, decriminalized, illegal, and all of the restrictions, conditions, plus grey areas from the legal jargon; developed using official sources and updated as the laws change. And although there is a lot of red on the map indicating “illegal”, if you click on any of the icons there are often more details indicating things aren’t quite so cut and dry (check out Spain, for example). Disclaimer time: remember, the map is intended to be used as a guide only, remember you’re responsible for knowing, following, and obey all local laws.

  • Last update: December 10, 2018

Unlike alcohol, which is typically either legal or not, cannabis is most often decriminalized rather than legalized in places with more liberal drug laws. I developed this resource because a lot of places where you might assume cannabis is legal or decriminalized isn’t, much of the information online is simply wrong, or the details from the law poorly interpreted on other websites.

Updates And More Information

Please feel free to leave a comment below or email me if you believe any of the information requires an update or clarification. By making this a collaborative effort the map can help more travelers (often hesitant to ask or relying on local hearsay) understand and obey local cannabis laws.

marijuana graffiti

Be sure to read the details on the entries of the map, including U.S. states, for details. Always assume entries with no data mean cannabis is illegal and don’t equate decriminalization to mean legal. Red entries indicate cannabis is illegal, yellow represents decriminalized, and the green leaf, you guessed it, legal. All of the data is regarding recreational marijuana use, not medical, or other circumstances.

I have also developed an associated app, GrassFox for iOS and Android, that has user experiences travelers can share with each other as well as details on what some grey legal areas look like in practice.

Before You Get High

There are a few things to keep in mind before you go attempt to obtain marijuana anywhere, especially when traveling, that didn’t fit on the map. (More grey areas.) Several countries where marijuana is illegal forbid visitors, citizens, and residents from having used cannabis abroad, even in places it was legal. Additionally, many companies have restrictions on their employees using cannabis. Also, don’t travel with cannabis.

Lastly, in many places shown above where marijuana has been decriminalized, possession may be permitted but purchasing or selling are not. Clearly, never do the latter, and be reasonable. In case all of this has thrown you off, there’s a more widely accepted psychoactive drug that’s a lot easier to find in much of the world.

FaucetSafe Shows You Where The Tap Water Isn’t Safe To Drink On Your Phone

faucetsafe app

FaucetSafe app, available for iOS and Android, is a worldwide guide on where you can and can’t drink the local tap water, that is updated in real-time. Whether or not the local water is potable is one of the most common questions travelers have but a lot of the information online is either inaccurate or out of date. I developed FaucetSafe to be a travel guide in your pocket, that can give you current information on water potability around the world.

faucetsafe    faucetsafe ios app store     faucetsafe google play android
How FaucetSafe Works

The information is compiled from multiple sources – including government and independent tests – plus FaucetSafe also has a comment system where locals and travelers alike can add further detail. Water potability often varies in small geographic areas (e.g. within cities) so FaucetSafe is designed to be a guide to where you can and can’t drink the water – both to save you costs as well as reduce the amount of plastic consumed by every traveler (in the form of water bottles). The information contained in FaucetSafe works offline and is updated with the latest water drinkability information when you have an Internet connection.

faucetsafe iphone

In some parts of the world, local municipalities will say their water is drinkable when it may not be (for political or economic/tourism purposes) so where possible, data is pulled from both official sources and based on the results of independent tests conducted on water supplies.

FaucetSafe Features

FaucetSafe is based on my map of where you can drink the tap water, with several more features and detail.

  • FaucetSafe shows where you can and can’t drink the water when traveling, from general country information to cities and down to the neighborhood level in some areas.
  • FaucetSafe is updated regularly in real-time with new information.
  • FaucetSafe has a user comment system where users can add local knowledge about water drinking habits in any given area, neighborhood, city, country or pretty much anywhere.
  • Users can also post questions in the comment section for other travelers or the administrator.
  • All comments are rated by other users, so the most useful, informative responses are highlighted on top of the others.

Available Now For iOS And Android

You can download FaucetSafe now from the Apple App Store or on Google Play for Android devices. FacuetSafe is $1.99 but if you’ve purchased any of my other travel apps, iOS users can get FaucetSafe at a discount or free as part of either the foXnoMad Water Pack or foXnoMad Air and Water Pack.

faucetsafe ios app store              faucetsafe google play android

Please let me know if you have any questions about FaucetSafe in the comments below or contact me directly. I hope that FaucetSafe can help you travel smarter by helping you avoid dirty tap water, reduce unnecessary use of plastic, save money, and give you more time to travel rather than spending it in shops purchasing bottled water.

A Map Of All The Places You Can And Can’t Drink The Local Tap Water (Updated In Real-time)

tap water drinkability

This map is now available in app form! FaucetSafe is available on the App Store and Google Play.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Whether or not you can drink the local tap water is a question most travelers will ask themselves at some point but finding reliable online is difficult. Most online resources are either inaccurate or out-of-date and local governments, for political reasons, often claim their tap water is cleaner than it might be. When traveling you don’t want to find out on a toilet the local water is dirty – or on the other hand waste time in stores unnecessarily buying bottled water if the tap H2O is potable.

To solve some of these problems, I’ve spent the better part of a year gathering water potability reports from governments, independent third-parties, non-profits, NGOs, and a variety of other relevant sources to create the map below.

  • Last update: November 16, 2018

What’s resulted is a straightforward map of water potability based multiple information sources, that’s updated in real-time. You can bookmark this page or the map to keep up with any future updates and for offline use, there’s the FaucetSafe app available for iOS and Android you can take everywhere.

Adjusting To The Tap

Remember that even clean tap water in a new city can upset your stomach for a short time. Your immune system might have to adjust to variations in sanitizing methods, and local bacteria. This water potability map is an informational resource only and although I’ve done my best to compile the most accurate data possible, always check with your doctor if you have specific medical concerns or questions.

Chances are the local water in many places around the world you’re visiting is good for drinking but without any reliable, practical, or current information you’ve bought bottled water to play it safe. Reducing use of bottled water not only can save you money but also lessen the amount of plastic we use, 8.6 billion kilograms of (19 billion pounds) of which is already in the oceans. Hopefully this map helps solve the problem of not knowing where the water is drinkable so you can travel smarter.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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