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.
In a span of seven years, he paddled a series of 15-foot kayaks more than 30,000 miles from the Danube River in Europe to the tropical shores of far northern Australia. Even better, when he first set out, he was “merely” planning to paddle to Cyprus for work, with no intention of traveling by kayak to the other side of the world. But the paddling proved irresistible and Speck did not stop once he reached Cyprus.
Speck was 25 years old when he set out on his incredible journey. He was an unemployed electrician living in Hamburg. Work was scarce and prospects were dim after the 1929 stock market crash ripped through Germany, so Speck decided to seek work in the copper mines of Cyprus. With no other means to get there, and as a proud member of a kayaking club since his youth, Speck decided to paddle his way to, hopefully, a job.
In May, 1932, Speck shoved off from banks of the Danube in a collapsible and very much not seaworthy 15-foot kayak, and began paddling south. He arrived in the Balkans several weeks later and, lulled to boredom by the languid waters of the Danube, Speck made for the Vardar River, where soon fierce rapids dashed his boat nearly to splinters. While awaiting repairs, winter set in and the Vardar froze over, locking Speck in place for months.
The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without first obtaining a visa.
Henley & Partners released this press release today:
Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, having gained visa-free access to Myanmar this month. Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, compared to Singapore’s total of 189. The countries have been neck and neck since they both climbed to 1st place in February, pushing Germany down to 2nd place for the first time since 2014.
Germany has now fallen further to 3rd place, which it shares with South Korea and France. Their nationals enjoy visa-free access to 188 countries. France moved up a place last Friday when it gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan. Iraq and Afghanistan continues to sit at the bottom (106th) of the Henley Passport Index — based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association(IATA).
The US and the UK, both with 186 destinations, have slid down yet another spot — from 4th to 5th place — with neither having gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018. With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers, it seems unlikely they will regain the number 1 spot they jointly held in 2015 any time soon.
In general, the UAE has made the most remarkable ascent on the Henley Passport Index, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide currently, and looking ahead, the most dramatic climb might come from Kosovo, which officially met all the criteria for visa-liberalization with the EU in July and is now in discussions with the European Council.
Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver, but the country has nonetheless fallen from 46th to 47th place due to movements higher up the ranking. The same is true of China: Chinese nationals obtained access to two new jurisdictions (St. Lucia and Myanmar), but the Chinese passport fell two places, to 71st overall.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs all fall within the top 50 of the Henley Passport Index. Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI program in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008. “The travel freedom that comes with a second passport is significant, while the economic and societal value that CBI programs generate for host countries can be transformative,” says Dr. Kälin.
The top countries are:
1. Japan (190 countries)
2. Singapore (189 countries)
3. Germany (188 countries)
4. (Tied) France, South Korea, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain (187 countries)
5. (Tied) Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, USA (186 countries)
6. (Tied) Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland (185 countries)
7. (Tied) Australia, Greece, Malta (183 countries)
8. (Tied) New Zealand, Czech Republic (182 countries)
9. Iceland (181 countries)
10. (Tied) Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia (180 countries)
According to the 2018 Global Peace Index:
- New Zealand
- Czech Republic
The Global Peace Index is developed by the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human wellbeing and progress.
IEP is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in New York, The Hague, Mexico City, and Brussels. It works with a wide range of partners internationally and collaborates with intergovernmental organisations on measuring and communicating the economic value of peace.
The chart is also available here.
Each year, the Economist Intelligence Unit release its annual Global Livability Index which measuring the most livable large cities in the world. In this year’s report, Vienna, Austria has succeeded in displacing Melbourne, Australia from the stop spot, which it previously held for a record seven consecutive years.
The Economist says:
The concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide. Each city is assigned a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories of Stability, Healthcare, Culture and environment, Education and Infrastructure.
The 20 top rankings are populated with cities in Europe (9), Australia (4), Japan (2), New Zealand (1), and Canada (4).
Honolulu was the highest U.S. city at number 23. The next highest American city was Pittsburgh in 32nd position. Manchester was the highest ranked in the UK at number 35.
Here are the top 50:
1. Vienna, Austria
2. Melbourne, Australia
3. Osaka, Japan
4. Calgary, Canada
5. Sydney, Australia
6. Vancouver, Canada
7. (Tied) Tokyo, Japan
7. (Tied) Toronto, Canada
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Adelaide, Australia
“The Earth is a source of life, it’s not a resource.”
Join Belinda Baggs, Wayne Lynch, and Kimi Werner as they travel to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to assess the health of the largest living structure on the planet.
Patagonia via YouTube:
Sometimes it’s the things we don’t see that matter most.
Connected by a shared passion for the ocean and a desire to protect it, Belinda Baggs, Kimi Werner and Wayne Lynch embarked on a sailing journey along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The largest living structure on earth, the reef provides habitats for thousands of species. The reef, however, is under threat. Currently almost half of its coral has been lost or damaged, most of this in some way attributable to human impact, the biggest single factor being climate change. The three sailors explored the reef and experienced personally how something as vast and wonderful as the Great Barrier Reef can at the same time be entirely vulnerable, realizing as they sailed and swam that time is fast running out to save it.