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The Worlds Most Powerful Passports, as of January 2019

  1. Japan (190 countries can be visited without a visa)
  2. Singapore, South Korea (189)
  3. Germany, France (188)
  4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden (187)
  5. Luxembourg, Spain (186)
  6. Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, U.K., U.S. (185)
  7. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland (184)
  8. Czech Republic (183)
  9. Malta (182)
  10. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand (181)

London-based consulting firm Henley & Partners, using data from the International Air Transport Association, compiles this index of passports that allow visa-free travel.

In the past, this was an annual list, released every January. The list is now being updated every few months.

Since January 2018, Germany has been knocked out of top spot, while both the U,K. and U.S. passports have dropped one place in the rankings.

More at Lonely PlanetTraveller,  CNN

In 2018 We Redefined Human Limits

  • Camille Herron Set a 24-Hour Running Record
  • Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell Break Two Hours on El Cap’s Nose
  • Karel Sabbe Smashed the Appalachian Trail Speed Record
  • Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison Became the First to Ski Down Lhotse
  • Ida Nilsson set the Fastest Known Time on the Grand Canyon’s double-crossing classic. 5 Days Later Taylor Nowlin beat that time by three minutes
  • Lhakpa Sherpa Summited Everest a Record Ninth Time
  • Eliud Kipchoge Set a new Marathon World Record
  • 70-year-old double-amputee Xia Boyu summited Mount Everest

More at Outside

Watch: How To Choose a Headlamp

The Beauty of Mongolian Throat Singing

… taking the long way home through the market I slow my pace down. It doesn’t come naturally. My legs are programmed to trot briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself. For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the coffee.

~ Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

~ Miriam Beard

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes open.

~Jawaharlal Nehru

If you had one day in NY City, where would you go to eat?

Hannah Goldfield, the New Yorker’s food critic, answers the question.

For breakfast, head to the original location of Russ & Daughters, for a bagel sandwich. If you want to expand your horizons, get the Super Heebster—whitefish and baked-salmon salad with horseradish-dill cream cheese and wasabi flying-fish roe. If you’re feeling traditional, go for good ol’ cream cheese and Gaspe Nova smoked salmon. On an everything bagel, of course! Eat it on the street.

More at the New Yorker (paywall)

How not to be an ugly tourist

Rick Steeves, the man who tires to “inspire, inform, and equip Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening,” has some advice for his compatriots. But they are not restricted to Americans. His suggestions apply to everyone who travels internationally, and not just to Europe.

Rick writes:

Travel more like Gandhi — with simple clothes, open eyes, and an uncluttered mind.

By developing a knack for connecting with people and their culture, we become temporary locals — approaching a new country on its level, accepting and enjoying its unique ways of life. When I’m in Europe, I strive to become what I call a “cultural chameleon” — a temporary European. I consume wine in France, beer in Germany — and when I get the urge for a good old-fashioned American breakfast, I beat it to death with a hard roll.

Find ways to really be in the place you came to see. If you can think positively, travel smartly, adapt well, and connect with the culture, you’ll banish the ugly and have a truly beautiful trip.

Read the whole article on Rick’s website. Follow his recommendations and you’ll have better, more enriching adventures.

Baños de Agua Santa is hailed as Ecuador’s outdoor adventure capital

According to the National Geographic, here are some of the things to do in the shadow of Tungurahua, one of South America’s most active volcanoes:

  1. Swing at the End of the World
  2. Bathe in hot springs
  3. Outside adventure: Mountain bike, Zipline, Rappel, Rafting, Bungee
  4. Hike to Devil’s Cauldron

 

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