Ursula Martin defines herself as an ‘extreme rambler’. And that she certainly is. Between 2014 and 2015, she walked 3,700 miles in and around her homeland of Wales, all whilst undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer. Along the way she raised over £12,000 for cancer charities and helped to draw attention to the symptoms of ovarian cancer to thousands of people.
A few years later, Ursula embarked on another trek, hitchhiking from Wales to Eastern Europe to begin a solo walk across the bulk of the continent. Starting in Ukraine, she travelled through the Balkans and into Southern Europe, steadily making her way towards the Atlantic Ocean. All was going well enough until the beginning of 2020, when a roadblock arrived in the form of a global pandemic.
The US News and World Report has again ranked countries according to how well they break from the norm and fulfill people’s wanderlust and desire for adventure.
The top 30 adventure rankings for 2021 are »
- 1. Brazil 🇧🇷
- 2. Italy 🇮🇹
- 3. Spain 🇪🇸
- 4. Greece 🇬🇷
- 5. Thailand 🇹🇭
- 6. Mexico 🇲🇽 (Up from #11 in 2020)
- 7. New Zealand 🇳🇿
- 8. Australia 🇦🇺 (Up from #10 in 2020)
- 9. Portugal 🇵🇹 (Down from #6 in 2020)
- 10. Costa Rica 🇨🇷 (Down from #8 in 2020)
From December 2022, non-European Union nationals who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, will need to request prior authorisation to visit Schengen countries.
You will be able to apply online for authorisation via the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will continue to travel the EU without a visa but will simply be required to obtain a travel authorisation via ETIAS prior to their travel. ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitor-friendly system, which will, in more than 95% of cases, result in a positive answer within a few minutes.
An ETIAS travel authorisation does not reintroduce visa-like obligations. There is no need to go to a consulate to make an application, no biometric data is collected and significantly less information is gathered than during a visa application procedure. Whereas, as a general rule, a Schengen visa procedure can take up to 15 days, and can in some cases be extended up to 30 or 60 days, the online ETIAS application only takes a few minutes to fill in. The validity will be for a period of three years, significantly longer than the validity of a Schengen visa. An ETIAS authorisation will be valid for an unlimited number of entries.
The ETIAS travel authorisation will be a necessary and small procedural step for all visa-exempt travellers which will allow them to avoid bureaucracy and delays when presenting themselves at the borders. ETIAS will fully respect this visa-free status; facilitate the crossing of the Schengen external border; and allow visa free visitors to fully enjoy their status.
The exact date on which these changes will come into force is not yet clear.
Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival »
Together with his old friend Pierre Hourticq, snowboarder Victor de le Rue tries to write a new story in the iconic mountains near Chamonix. Frozen Mind is not just a freeride lm, it is a story of friendship and a journey of discovery as the two men take unique paths in order to conquer the same objectives.
(France, 2018, 33 min)
Directors: Antoine Frioux, Maxime Moulin
Producers: Antoine Frioux, Victor De Le Rue
Production Company: Ivresse Films
Red Bull via YouTube »
In Frozen Mind, the pro snowboarder Victor de Le Rue is testing the limits of what is possible and challenges himself against unforgiving, ice-covered slopes in Chamonix, France.
Chamonix is one of the most prestigious places for mountaineers in the world. Now these dramatic mountains lure more and more skiers and snowboarders to ride the steep, unforgiving faces and it is in Chamonix that we will discover the adventures and evolution of Victor de Le Rue.
It is being together with his old friend Pierre Hourticq, mountain guide that Victor will try to write a new story in the iconic mountains of the Mont Blanc Massif, riding extreme slopes of more than 45° that also have extreme consequences. Frozen Mind is not just a film based on snowboard/ski performance. It is above all a story of friendship and a journey of discovery as the two men take unique paths in order to conquer the same objectives.
A full length (1h:10m) documentary video of a four-month motorcycle adventure from London, UK to Sydney, Australia, taken by two friends — David Darcy and Darren Higginson — back in 2012.
For Switzerland, the 2020 ranking is the the fourth consecutive yearhas been judged No. 1 by residents of 36 countries. Canada was chosen second, overtaking Japan in the U.S. News’ fifth annual survey.
The Best Countries report, produced from an annual global survey of more than 20,000 people in 36 countries including the United States, reflects increasingly negative views of the world and within countries. Nearly half of survey respondents say conditions around the world have worsened in the past year. Likewise, an increased percentage of people say the gap between the rich and poor has grown and that nationalism is increasing.
According to the ranking, here are the Top 25 Countries in the World
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
The Bottom 5 of the U.S. News 2020 Best Countries rankings are
The LGBTQ+ Danger Index lists the 25 safest countries for LGBTQ+ travellers »
1. 🇸🇪 Sweden
2. 🇨🇦 Canada
3. 🇳🇴 Norway
4. 🇵🇹 Portugal
5. 🇧🇪 Belgium
6. 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
7. 🇫🇮 Finland
8. 🇫🇷 France
9. 🇮🇸 Iceland
10. 🇪🇸 Spain
11. 🇲🇹 Malta
12. 🇳🇿 New Zealand
13. 🇳🇱 Netherlands
14. 🇩🇰 Denmark
15. 🇿🇦 South Africa
16. 🇮🇪 Ireland
17. 🇦🇺 Australia
18. 🇺🇾 Uruguay
19. 🇨🇴 Colombia
20. 🇦🇹 Austria
21. 🇩🇪 Germany
22. 🇸🇮 Slovenia
23. 🇱🇺 Luxembourg
24. 🇺🇸 United States
25. 🇬🇺 Guam
Sweden has been named the most LGBT-friendly country in the world for travellers according to new research into gay rights in 150 countries.
The LGBTQ+ Danger Index was created by ranking the 150 most-visited countries using eight factors, including legalised same-sex marriage, worker protection and whether, based on Gallup poll findings, it is a good place to live.
Canada ranked second-safest, followed by Norway, Portugal and Belgium. The UK is sixth safest on the list, but the US does not make the top 20. The researchers, American couple Asher and Lyric Fergusson, who blog about staying safe while travelling, said one reason the US is only at number 24 is because gay rights vary from state to state.
That’s the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords.
Singapore and Japan’s passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.
Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan‘s formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.
The best passports in 2019 are:
1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)
2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)
4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)
7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)
8. New Zealand (182)
9. Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia (181)
10. Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia (180)
More at the Henley Passport Index
» Canada has been ranked 6th four years in a row. They were ranked 2nd in 2014, then dropped to 4th in 2015, and have been holding steady in 6th since 2016.
» The USA been on a steady decline since 2014 when they were ranked 1st. They dropped to 2nd in 2015, 4th in 2016, 5th in 2017 and 2018, and to 6th this year.
» The UK has been on a steady decline in the rankings, dropping from 1st in 2015, to 3rd in 2016, to 4th in 2017, to 5th in 2018, to 6th this year.