Seven-Minute Miracle

If you’re traveling in Japan, you can’t help but be impressed by how efficient and orderly the country’s transportation system is. But do you ever think about the people behind the scenes who make it happen? One of the best ways to get around in Japan is by train. Most trains travel at about 80 to 100 miles per hour, which sounds fast until you get aboard a shinkansen, or bullet train. The average shinkansen travels at about 200 miles per hour—a fantastic option if you’re running late to an important meeting at work or a lunch with your mother-in-law. As you can guess, these trains have got to be on time. That’s why shinkansen have cleaning crews that are trained to clean an entire train in seven minutes, a feat known as the seven-minute miracle. Check out this YouTube video to see how they do it. By McCall Kelson Watch the magic...
Topaz Internment Camp

Topaz Internment Camp

  You don’t always need to travel halfway around the world to find poignant, moving historical sites. More than likely, there are several that are right in your backyard. Living in Provo, Utah, I was shocked to discover that Delta, Utah—just a mere hour and a half from my school—had hosted one of the many Japanese internment camps during World War II. My wife and I made the drive and visited the beautiful museum dedicated to those who resided in Topaz internment camp. We walked around what’s left of the actual camp and payed our respects at a monument dedicated to Topaz internees who decided to fight for America in WWII, despite having been deprived of their fundamental rights. The ugly, barren landscape; extreme weather; tiny barracks made of pine boards and covered in tar paper; privation of liberty; and myriad difficulties that these people experienced caused reflection; it created a desire to understand the difficulties of the past and ensure that we build a world in which the past cannot be repeated. I believe a quote posted at the museum said it best: “History, despite its wrenching pain, / Cannot be unlived, but if faced / With courage, need not be lived again.” By Tyler...
Fantastic Vacations and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Vacations and Where to Find Them

The only thing that makes traveling more fun is going somewhere you’re passionate about. For me, that’s any and all things geek. I love going anywhere that relates to my favorite book, movie, and video game series, and there’s plenty of places that fit the bill. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, is one of the best-known destinations for those of us who haven’t gotten our Hogwarts letters quite yet, but I love the entire park it’s located in, Islands of Adventure. The park also has sections themed around Marvel comics, Jurassic Park and, very soon, Nintendo Land. It’s perfect for geeks and nerds of all interests. For those whose hearts still long for 80s arcades, the American Classic Arcade Museum will offer you free admission to play hundreds of your favorite classics. The museum is located in New Hampshire and is home to a collection of rare, fully-functioning arcade games. Although none of us will be lucky enough to travel to a galaxy far, far away, it’s still possible to feel like you’re on the forest moon of Endor by visiting the California National and State Redwood parks. These scenes from Star Wars: Episode VI were filmed in those very trees. Just be sure to watch out for ewoks while you’re hiking. By Laurie...
Snorkeling Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts

Snorkeling Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts

Who doesn’t love snorkeling? Swimming among some of nature’s most beautiful and fascinating creatures is an opportunity you’d be crazy to pass up. However, snorkeling irresponsibly can cause serious damage to the wildlife you are observing. Here are a few tips on how to snorkel like an environment-friendly pro. DO wear biodegradable sunscreen. Regular sunscreen washes off into the water and can kill coral polyps and other sea life. DON’T stand on the coral. This damages the reef more than you may realize. Try floating on your back if you need a break from swimming. DO keep your distance from the wildlife. Not only can you be fined heavily for touching the fish, turtles, or other animals, you can both harm them and yourself. Some sea creatures can be deadly to humans, so it’s best not to disturb them. DON’T feed the fish. Attracting more fish to you may seem like fun, but feeding them messes with their natural diet, which is never a good thing. DO pick up any trash you find floating around, especially plastic items. You could save some sea creatures’ lives! Now that you’ve passed snorkeling etiquette, put on your goggles and flippers and go for it! By Emily...
Enjoy the Great Outdoors Anywhere with This Great App

Enjoy the Great Outdoors Anywhere with This Great App

I remember standing on the beach, towel and sunscreen in tow, and feeling decidedly unrelaxed. It wasn’t a beach kind of day: the skies were cloudy and the water cold. It was also a day I just needed some exercise. I scrunched my lips together, thinking. That’s when I pulled up AllTrails and found a hiking trail just a mile away. The AllTrails app is the best resource for travelers who want to enjoy the outdoors wherever they go. It contains information on about 50,000 trails in the United States and Canada and allows users to look up nearby hiking and walking trails, no matter where they are in North America. Some other features include descriptions and ratings of each trail, hiker reviews, maps, and GPS tracking. With AllTrails, I was able to change my plans and take a hike in the hills instead of a nap on the beach. Whether you travel by planning ahead or on-the-go, try downloading AllTrails for insider information on everything from nature walks to rigorous, experienced-hikers-only challenges. And the app, just like the great outdoors, is...
How to React to a Stray Dog: Two Tried and Tested Tips from Stray Survivors

How to React to a Stray Dog: Two Tried and Tested Tips from Stray Survivors

Whether you’re a canine lover or heartless, dogs can be a scary aspect of traveling. Some countries–like the United States–have laws about leash use, but even those that have them often don’t enforce them. Many dogs living in such countries are used to being around a lot of people and shouldn’t pose a threat, but some may. In the event a pooch in your path raises its hackles, consider one preventative approach and one aggressive approach. Preventative: carry something big. This isn’t ideal for travel until you consider that even your backpack or water bottle could serve. I’ve scared 100 lbs.+ dogs away by suddenly opening a $5 umbrella in their direction. Aggressive: stoop to the ground and pretend you’re picking something up. If this dog looks well groomed, this may not be effective, but if the dog has spent any time on the streets, it will probably associate the stoop and scoop stance with an upcoming hurled rock. Stay safe, get your vaccines, and wander the doggone world worry-free.   – Miriam...