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Notes for a Traveller

Category: North America (page 1 of 7)

Lia Ditton is getting set to row across the Pacific Ocean unassisted—and she’s afraid

Adventure Journal »

Lia Ditton is a 39-year-old licensed sea captain, yachtswoman and solo ocean rower from London. She has racked up over 150,000 miles on the sea and has taken part in some of the most grueling races on earth, such as the OSTAR transatlantic race, the Le Route du Rhum, and the Woodvale challenge. And she’s about to embark on her greatest challenge yet, rowing solo and unsupported across the Pacific Ocean. This is her story.

Three months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, I will depart from Choshi, Japan, on a mission to row 5,500 miles alone and unsupported, across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the USA. Nineteen attempts have been made to row this distance. Two were successful. Both men, both towed to land the last 20 and 50 miles respectively. One person was lost at sea.

If I succeed, I will be the first woman ever to row the North Pacific unsupported and the first person to row land-to-land [ed note: Sarah Outen rowed the North Pacific solo from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, but with a support team, back in 2013].

Read the rest of Lia’s essay at Adventure Journal »

Whitehouse loses bid to dismiss Bears Ears and Grand Staircase lawsuits

President Trump wanted to downsize Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half.

Brady McCombs, Associate Press via ABC News »

A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s bid to dismiss lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a 2017 decision to downsize two sprawling national monuments in Utah.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan’s written decisions issued Monday night means the legal challenges seeking to return the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their original sizes can move forward.

Japan and Singapore top 2019 list of world’s most powerful passports

Euan McKirdy and Maureen O’Hare at CNN write »

Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world’s most travel-friendly passports.

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.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

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.

Read more of this article at CNN »

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

Notes

» 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.

7 Scenic Drives Through Quebec

Quebec is the biggest province in Canada, and there’s a whole lot to see and do.

Destination Canada has put together seven wonderful road trip routes which will take you to some of this provinces’ most beautiful wonders and sought-after experiences.

Some of these trips are short, while others will take you quite a bit longer, and really embrace that road trip spirit.

1. The New France Route – 56 kilometres / 35 miles – Road trip highlights starting in Quebec City include Domaine de Maizerets, Maison Girardin, Montmorency Falls Park, Auberge Baker, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area

2. The Fjord Route – 235 kilometres / 146 miles – Highlights include Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Musée de la Nature, the Musée du Fjord, Saguenay Fjord National Park

3. The King’s Road – 280 kilometres / 174 miles – Highlights include Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade church, the Quebec Folk Culture Museum, the Old Prison of Trois-Rivières, Lake Saint-Pierre

4. The Wine Route – 138 kilometres / 86 miles – Highlights include many vineyards, Brome Lake, Mont Sutton

5. The Navigators’ Route – 470 kilometres / 292 miles – Highlights include Centre de la Biodiversité du Québec in Bécancour, Îles du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie archipelago and Île aux Lièvres, the Musée maritime du Québec, Bic Provincial Park, Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site

6. The Whale Route – 880 kilometres / 546 miles – Highlights include Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre, Daniel Johnson Dam and Manic-5 Generating Station, Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse, Vauréal Canyon

7. The Gaspesie Tour – 1,230 kilometres – 765 miles – Highlights include the Rimouski Wildlife Reserve, Reford Gardens, Exploramer, Bonaventure Island, and Gaspesie and Percé Rock provincial parks

Learn more at Destination Canada

World’s Most Powerful Passports as of Q3 2019

The Henley Passport Index has released its third quarter ranking of the world’s most powerful passports in 2019.

The index is compiled from data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and measures global mobility based on visa-free access to destinations. It also uses data from the index’s 14-year history, “to show how travel mobility has changed over the past decade, looking at which passports have gained in strength and which have fallen behind.”

Japan and Singapore hold the world’s strongest passports, with Visa-free access to 189 destinations. South Korea dropped to second place, joining Germany and Finland with Visa-free access to 187 destinations.

The United Arab Emirates entered the top 20 index for the first time in the list’s 14-year-history, moving up an astonishing 41 spots. Other countries that climbed standings include Taiwan, which climbed 24 places over the past ten years and ranks 30th.

The USA and the UK each dropped to the lowest position they’ve held since 2010, sharing the sixth spot with Canada, Greece, Norway, Belgium and Ireland.

Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the USA or the UK.

Afghanistan is once again at the other end of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Most Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:
1. Japan, Singapore (189 Destinations)
2. South Korea, Germany, Finland (187)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186)
4. France, Sweden, Spain (185)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184)
6. Canada, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, UK, US (183)
7. Malta (182)
8. Czechia (181)
9. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Lithuania (180)
10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

The Least Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39 Destinations)
102. Nepal (38)
103. Libya, Palestinian, Sudan (37)
104. Yemen (33)
105. Somalia (31)
106. Pakistan (30)
107. Syria (29)
108. Iraq (27)
109. Afghanistan (25)

Source: Henley Passport Index

Watch » Bikepacking Alaska to Argentina and around the world. The story so far (2014 – 2019)

Iohan Gueorguiev’s videos are well made, but they are generally an hour long.

With this video Iohan recaps his trip so far, from Alaska to Argentina, in less than 15 minutes.

If you like this, you’ll love his full length videos.

Watch » The Voyageurs

Voyageurs is the French translation for voyager – a person who goes on a long and sometimes dangerous journey. However, in Canadian history, the term has an added significance.

This 1964 National Film Board film tells the story of the men who drove big freighter canoes into the wilderness in the days when the fur trade was Canada’s biggest business. The film recreates scenes of the early 19th century.

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Watch » A Brief History of Yellowstone National Park

National Geographic put together this brief 4:22 minute video about the epic, strange, and iconic Yellowstone, the world’s first national park.

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Watch » A Land Rover Story from Belize

Check out the video of how Will and Jen got stuck in the jungles of Belize, and fell in love, all in a Land Rover.

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Updated: See The World Through Iohan Gueorguiev’s Eyes

Updated June 1, 2019 to add link to his latest video.

In May 2014, Iohan Gueorguiev (website – YouTubeTwitterInstagram) started cycling from the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The plan was to cycle to the tip of South America in a year, maybe a few more months.

Continue reading

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