You come home, turn on the TV to watch the news. Unfortunately it’s hard not to conclude that we are living on a planet in crisis. Wars, poverty, discrimination; people lacking access to clean drinking water, food, education, healthcare; and the climate is changing.
On a daily basis, the majority of the world’s population is heavily impacted by these issues and more. When we look at the leaders of this world, we can also conclude that they are not doing a particularly good job at addressing these matters. It is not the lack of resources and money that are the problem – both are available. The problem is a missing focus on implementing solutions.
Dear Tata Mandela,
You being in this world has given us love, freedom and wisdom. Precious gifts for which we cannot thank you enough.
You have given us wisdom to know that anything is possible when we put effort into it, wisdom that being black, white, Indian, coloured or any other race is a luxury South Africans can embrace (a Nation of Colour). Wisdom that everyone from all aspects of life have equal opportunities and that from now on it is our responsibility to continue your legacy.
If you’ve seen the news in recent days, then you would know that in Turkey peaceful protests against the destruction of the last remaining green areas of Istanbul have been met by hostile and violent responses from police. While Intrepid travellers and staff are all safe and there is no risk of injury unless you go into these demonstration areas, we are very concerned that Turkish authorities have used excessive force to respond to a local protest. We’ve spoken today with Caglar from our Istanbul office for an on-the-street report…
“It started as a peaceful demonstrations in Istanbul against a government eager to demolish a public park in the heart of Istanbul, Taksim Square. After that moment, thousands started to march Taksim Square but most of them could not get even close due to the attacks of the police force. The police used the Mass Incident Intervention Vehicle, tear gas and water cannons against thousands of protesters who camped out in the park to make their peaceful demonstration. This was happened for the three days. On Saturday afternoon police moved out of Gezi Park, but now police are getting more aggressive in Besiktas area. Believe or not, Turkish mainstream media does not show any of the incidents happening. Now, we need your help.”
Fantastic news from our friends at Amnesty International. After twenty years of campaigning, millions of actions and thousands of hours speaking to politicians, at last we have an international Arms Trade Treaty. This treaty literally has the power to save millions of lives! Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, shares news with us of this huge human rights victory…
“After decades of planning, strategizing, drafting treaty language, intensive research, advocacy and campaigning, Amnesty International is celebrating the adoption of a global Arms Trade Treaty by the UN General Assembly. 154 states voted in favour of the treaty; 3 states (Iran, North Korea and Syria) voted against and 23 states abstained. While many individuals and NGOs played an important role in ensuring its passage, I can also say proudly and unequivocally that the Arms Trade Treaty adopted on April 2, is a testament to Amnesty International’s singular global reach, tenacity, and ability to focus on making long-term, lasting change.
Not far from Moscow, there is a charming country town where you can see traditional Russian wooden architecture, taste the best honey mead in the country, enjoy a true banya experience and meet fascinating local people. In this wonderful town of Suzdal, Intrepid’s Oxana Derzhavina enjoys getting to know a special lady who has left a lasting impression on so many…
“Suzdal is remarkable and memorable for me. I love its traditional wooden houses, visiting the monasteries and churches and eating in little local cafes, but my fondest moments are when our Intrepid groups meet with babushka Tonya. In Russia babushka is what we call senior women and what is unusual about this nonagenarian is that she’s is a very outstanding person! A former scientific researcher, for over 50 years Tonya Makarova has helped local orphanages by making handicrafts, felt boots that we call valenki. They are small ones, just as a souvenir that you can take away with you.
You might not feel too attractive when you’re weighed down by your backpack, have really bad hat hair after shoving it under a beanie for days or could do with a decent shower – but it turns out you are way more appealing than the average Joe or Joanne!
Intrepid teamed up with online dating site MySingleFriend.com to get to the nitty gritty of what ignites the spark and 8/10 (79%) of those surveyed said that you’re more attractive if your dating profile says you love travel. Keen travellers were also thought to be curious about the world (84%), open-minded (75%) and cultured (68%), plus over 56% of survey respondents admitted to having a holiday romance and 1 in 3 continued the fling at home! Check out our infographic below for more..
Recently Darrell Wade, Intrepid co-founder, has been discussing on this blog the dire situation surrounding climate change and what Intrepid Travel has been doing to meet our corporate responsibilities. But now Darrell’s challenge to all of us is to find ways to make a personal commitment to change…
“Say this out loud: I am going to help save the world. Sounds good don’t you think? Now say it again, louder this time: I am going to help save the world!”
Why not join me and make this your new year’s resolution? I promise you it will feel even better than it sounds. But of course a new year’s resolution is only as good as the actions that happen as a result of the resolution. So as a part of your resolutions you’ll need to draw up a commitment list that really will help to save the world.
Avid bird watchers in the Czech Republic are keen to spot a white stork or saker falcon, but to track down the golden nightingale you will need to look in theatres and music halls or turn on the radio, as Intrepid’s Stefan Hellmuth explains…
“Pilsner beer, Bohemian dumplings and Prague citizen Karel Gott are arguably the most well-known exports of the Czech Republic, even though the enjoyment of all three is ultimately a question of taste. I am sure I don’t need to tell you much about beer and hopefully you get to sample the delicious dumplings yourself, but too little is known about the extraordinary singer Karel Gott.
Many corners of our world have now been discovered and in each of these places we have set about solving their ancient mysteries. But there is still one great puzzle awaiting an answer, as Kate Drummond explains…
“Being a stepping stone between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, many great explorers have travelled through Turkey. Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Gengis Khan and Julius Caeser are just a few of the famous names, who were not only renowned leaders but pioneering explorers of their time. However the one who captured my imagination is a little known Turkish sea explorer, Piri Reis, whose claim to fame is one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
Long before Google maps, Gortex and GPS, the world was a very different place. With so much land yet to be discovered, ‘Explorer’ was a legitimate profession on the census. These roguish, charismatic heroes would return, ravished and ragged, from months of exposure to the severest of earth’s elements – all in the name of discovery, conquest and endurance. And one destination above all had the allure to attract more than its fair share of explorers… Antarctica.
Nestled between the Polar achievements of Scott, Amundsen and Mawson, there is one story that stands out; not for its flag-planting, all-conquering race for recognition, but for its endurance and hope in the face of irrevocable isolation.