The Strangest Trees in the World

The wax palm tree, stretching up to sixty metres into the precipitated air of Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley), Columbia, is perhaps one of the most strikingly peculiar tress of all time. Although it’s much taller than a palm tree you might find at Palm Springs in California, it still retains the same girth, making it astonishingly lanky and slender in comparison to its palm tree brothers.

It’s a crime to visit the backpacking haven of Salento without seeking out these natural wonders.

tfzuFpMImage credits: Reddit User QuantumScout

You Don’t Need to be Rich to Travel

Don’t listen to the all-money all-corporate entity that is, the tourism industry. Their very existence depends on you, the consumerist, to buy their all-inclusive packages, buy-one-get-one-free tours and commercialised cruises. You DO need to be wealthy (and gullible) to buy into these, but the concept of travel is something that stretches far above and beyond expensive spas and soft towels – it’s something accessible to everyone and anyone at anytime, and it has been for many years. Here’s how!

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1. Don’t spend money on vending machines or other crap

Annual revenues for the vending machine industry (yes, it’s a real cash cow) is estimated to be in the double figures of billions – that’s a lot of suckers spending their money on processed garbage. If you don’t have enough money to travel, then it’s probably because you spend it on crap, such as kinder-eggs at petrol station counters or on new covers for your expensive iPhone. If you want to travel, then virtually all of your money will go into a savings account and not into the accounts of the money-grabbing corporations that don’t care about your travel ambitions. If you genuinely want to travel, then ALL or MOST of your money will go towards it.

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2. Find a job that forces you to travel

You don’t need to be an experienced buccaneer to be given the opportunity to travel while working. There’s a demand for nearly every profession world-wide. Whether it be picking up garbage (kinder-egg rappers) on the street or slaving away in an office, you can work anywhere and everywhere if you’re willing relocate and a lot of companies will even offer live-in accommodation so you don’t need to worry about renting an expensive flat. I’m a chef in Scotland, which means I spend most of my time running around a confined space known as a kitchen for twelve hours a day. However, I applied for a chef position six-hundred miles away in the south of England and I got the job; so I’m travelling down south, at the cost of only a train ticket!

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3. Buy a bike

You don’t need a continental plane ticket to experience the wonders of travel.

Ask yourself this: why do you want to travel?

The universal answer for most aspiring nomads is so that they can indulge in a place, culture or sight that they’ve never experienced before.

Now ask yourself this: are there places, cultures or sights within the radius of thirty miles from where you are right now that you’ve never experienced before?

The answer is probably yes.

So buy a bike and learn more about your own culture.

Case closed.

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4. Train and bus passes are quite useful

And if you ponder the vastness of the area you can travel on a bike, just think about how much you can gaze your eyes upon with the help of trains and buses.

You can travel an entire country through public transport, so you should definitely invest in a rail card or bus pass that will allow you to do so at a significantly discounted rate.

Here’s a rather intrinsic map displaying the gargantuan public transport network that connects pretty much every town and city in the UK:

The green lines represent bus routes and the blue lines represent trains!

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5. Urban Exploration

Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment.

Are you unable to subdue your relentless addiction for vending machine snacks and takeaway pizzas and therefore don’t have enough cash to travel abroad? Try exploring your own city. You’d be surprised at just how many abandoned factories, asylums and other buildings let go into the hands of nature there are in your area, just waiting to be explored and photographed by you.

Although urban exploration isn’t your conventional method of travelling, it will almost certainly instill you with a similar buzz, and you’ll often have to travel across the country in order to reach certain derelict places.

Here’s a useful website to get you started: http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/

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6. BE HARDCORE AND VOLUNTEER

Although it sucks to work hard and not bring home any bacon, volunteering for various different jobs or internships abroad is the perfect way to travel at the cost of only a toothbrush and a few pairs of socks and underwear. A vast majority of volunteer jobs abroad will pay for your expenses (travel, food, shelter etc.) so all you need to worry about is finding the free time to explore the area’s culture while you’re there.

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^^Don’t join these guys, even if they do offer you a blast of a time^^

7. STICK A THUMB OUT

Planes and boats probably won’t stop to the signal of your thumb, but once you’re abroad, the cheapest and often most interesting method of darting your way around the country, or even to neighbouring countries, is by hitching lifts from strangers in cars. This can be done either by spontaneously signalling random foreigners (probably a bit dangerous) by sticking out your thumb next to a road, or by finding pre-organised lifts on hitchhiking boards or online. However, I wouldn’t recommend this to any females over a solid 6/10, because you might find that a lot of male driver’s will expect a little something in return (not cash!).

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8. HOTELS HOSTELS

Hostels are universally cheap, safe and often not as a shabby as your friend made them out to be. There are literally hundreds of hostels in every single country around the world, and you can use sites such as Hostels Worldwide to find the one’s closest to you. You may end up finding the love of your life in a hostel – that’s if your soul mate is a bearded hippie with the stench of a three-week old banana skin. You just never know.

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Man the Dune Buggies!

The explorer standing under the scolding sun in this image is at Sossusvlei – a ridiculously beautiful sand pan located in the Zamib Desert in Southern Africa.

The hot spot, translated natively as “dead-end marsh” is engulfed in a sea of towering red sand dunes that make this place the ideal location for any daredevil who is in possession of a dune buggy, and a camera.

fcgvUYnImage credits: Reddit user zapekanka

Ten Reasons Why Iceland is the Best Country on the Planet

Elves, ice, lava and peace – four words that could only ever be related to that stunning lump of lava rock that sits tranquilly between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. They call it the Land of Fire and Ice due to its severely paradoxical nature – geysers and volcanoes erupt furiously over the endless deserts of ice and tundra that stretch across the landscape for as far as the eye can see while lagoons engulfed in the snowy mountains boil blisteringly, in spite of the glacial temperatures that attack the air. The frost-bitten island really is one of the most beautifully peaceful locations on Earth, and here’s a few reasons why.

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1. Iceland is the most peaceful country on the planet

It’s really not surprising. They’re far too busy circulating their beliefs around the existence of elves rather than building bombs that kill hundreds of thousands of people – go them. Statistically speaking, Iceland is ranked number one in the latest version of the Global Peace Index published in 2014 making them an international beacon of equality and peace throughout the world. Violent crime is also an extremely rare occurrence in the Nordic state.

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2. iCELAND IS THE HOME OF INVISIBLE ELVES

Icelandic folklore is possibly one of the most intriguing cultural phenomenons of all. The entire nation seems hell-bent on the belief that invisible elves exist across the country and they’ve even built small homes for them to live in. In fact, belief in elves is so strong in some parts of Iceland that the construction of roads has often been halted due to fears that it may disturb elves living in the area. A survey published in 2006 revealed that over 50% of Icelanders either fully believed in elves or at least believed that their existence was a possibility. A mere 13.5% of those surveyed thought it impossible that they could exist. Clearly the latter are on the naughty list this year.

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3. The blue lagoon

It looks freezing, but I can assure you it’s quite the opposite. The bustling attraction to both Icelanders and tourists is undoubtedly one of the most genius accidental creations in history. In the mid-1970s, the construction of a geothermal power plant formed a pool of water that soon caught on to the public as a glorious spot for bathing. The lagoon was soon after utilised as a spa where bathers can now indulge in in-water massages and drinks at the swim-up bar. The azure waters are also extremely healthy for the skin.

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4. Aurora Borealis is at its most stunning

The ethereal explosion of blues, greens and pinks under a starry night sky is perhaps the most enchanting of the attractions Iceland has to offer and if you’re feeling super ambitious, why not view it from behind the glittering curtain of Seljalandsfoss?

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4. Water does fall quite impressively in iceland

That pathetic drizzle of water flowing into the drain at the end of your street shouldn’t inspire you nearly as much as the momentous waterfalls of Iceland. The awe-inspiring waters of Gullfoss falls located in the canyon of Hvítá is will definitely arouse all of your senses. You can get up close and personal with Seljalandsfoss by literally walking through it, and then back out again, and then back in, and out, and in – it’ll make you super moist.

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5. ICELANDERS ARE ACADEMICALLY AWESOME

The literacy rate in Iceland is superior to most other countries in the world at an astounding 99%. More books are produced per capita in the nordic state than any other country on the planet with an incredible five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. The act of gifting books at Christmas is a cultural phenomenon that’s been embedded into Icelandic tradition for decades. It is extremely rare for an Icelander to walk into a bra.

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6. The sun doesn’t sleep in the summer, and neither will you

During the summer, the days become so short in Iceland that the sun can eventually be seen setting at midnight and then popping back up again just a few hours later with no real darkness in between. Although most people fear that the never-ending daylight will disrupt their precious beauty sleep, the use of blinds in Iceland is quite a common one and so it’s not really a huge issue. Besides, the 24 hour summer parties are sure to keep you occupied anyway.

7. THE INTERNET CONNECTION IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE

As much as many people derive their definition of Iceland from its name; a desolate land of ice that’s people live a very primitive lifestyle with minimal technology, this is quite simply, horse crap (see Iceland horses). Iceland is a global leader in internet technology with over 96% of the population connected to broadband. And the best part is, it’s all hydro-powered!

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7. Björk

*Sighs lustfully*

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8. There are over 130 volcanoes in Iceland

Of the over one hundred volcanoes scattered across the rustic landscapes of Iceland, only a few have erupted over the last few hundred years. However, they do hold a more crucial purpose to the people of Iceland – they generate renewable energy. Over 26% of it to be precise.

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9. the most popular restaurant in Iceland is a hot dog stand

There’s no McDonald’s in Iceland, but there are a few of these.  Bæjarins beztu, translated into English as The Best Hot Dog’s in Town, quite possibly sell the tastiest hot dog munchies in the world. It is said that most natives of Iceland have visited the hot dog stand branch at least once in their lifetime and that tourists are often guided to or lured in to the hot dog haven either by locals or by the formidably enticing smell of meat.

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10. Iceland is the land of equality, and political quirkiness

The land of fire and ice has accumulated rather a peculiar record of political leaders over the previous decades. For one, they gave power to Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who conducted the first ever lesbian marriage in the history of the country after the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Iceland in 2010. The former mayor of Reykjavík (Iceland’s only city) Jón Gnarr, was also an exceptional character in Iceland’s political history. The self-determined punk rock taxi-driving comedian advocated equality in 2010 by showing up at a Gay Pride parade as a drag queen.

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You should book your flight tickets pronto.

Welcome to Kyrgyzstan

When asked about the ‘Stans’ of Eastern Europe and Asia, most people seem to assume that they’re all lands laden with barren deserts and dusty roads that flatten the landscape – but Kyrgyzstan is certainly no Afghanistan or Libya – it’s a nation overloaded with craggy ridges and rustic mountainscapes.

The landlocked country, located in Central Asia, is any hikers dream land and I can imagine the guy that wielded the camera for this shot agrees.

15913428104_d87ef3536b_oImage credits: Flickr user VladimirYo

The Secret Leopard Societies of West Africa – The World’s Most Notorious Cannibals

“Some time before Chief Dapaba died, many people had disappeared from that area. While they crossed the river in a canoe, ‘leopard people’ grabbed them, pulled them under the water, cut their heart out and left the corpses. These ‘leopard people’ would dress in leopard skins and put on claws of steel with which they stabbed their victims.”

(Guenter, 1992: p. 55/56).

It is very rarely the case that any tribal society of the world is given such significant notoriety as the secret leopard societies of West Africa. With gruesome tales emerging of the mysterious leopard men from as early as the 1890s, the narcissistic operations of the tribal cannibals didn’t disappear until as late as the 1950s; although, it is still unknown exactly when the merciless clan did eventually cease to exist, or if even it did go completely extinct. Centered in the heart of Sierra Leone and surrounding districts, the leopard men were the most psychotic of any organised criminal group in the world.

The goal of the society was to gain supernatural powers and protection through ritualistic sacrifice. Yongolado – the designated murderer of the society, would dress head to toe in the sacred animal’s skin and ruthlessly ambush any unsuspecting traveller out in the wilderness of the jungle, where the victim would be most vulnerable to attack. The sharp claws of the leopard skin would craftily be replaced by three-pronged forks and iron knives in order to cunningly disguise any killing the Yongolado made with that of the animal itself. Once the murder had taken place, the cannibals would slice up the body and distribute the parts throughout the society where it would be contrived into bofima – an omnipotent medicine that allegedly gifted the consumer with supernatural powers and bolstered the strength of the clan as a whole.

Gaining membership to the fearless society was not a challenge for the faint of heart. Each prospective member would be required to produce the sacrifice of either a teenage girl of his own or the blood of his wife in order to gain access to the club’s barbaric operations. On the eve of this sacrifice, a cannibal meal would be prepared and devoured and the candidate accompanied by companions of the society would run rampant through the jungle, imitating the blood-curdling sounds of leopards as they did. On the day of sacrifice, the new member would plan an ambush on their chosen family member by luring their victim into the jungle and hiding in the thick brush upon their passing. The leopard man would then proceed to pounce upon their victim, stabbing their leopard claw replicas into the victims neck and then decimating the body for the glory of the society.

Throughout the duration of the rule of President Edwin Barclay in Liberia from 1930 to the early 1940s, hair-raising reports of the greatly feared leopard men began to surge. A German Doctor who lived in Liberia for ten years describes one of his most chilling encounters with the murderous society. It reads as follows:

“There, on a mat in a house, I found the horribly mutilated body of a fifteen-year-old girl. The neck was torn to ribbons by the teeth and claws of the animal, the intestines were torn out, the pelvis shattered, and one thigh was missing. A part of the thigh, gnawed to the bone, and a piece of the shin-bone lay near the body. It seemed at first glance that only a beast of prey could have treated the girl’s body in this way, but closer investigation brought certain particularities to light which did not fit in with the picture. I observed, for example, that the skin at the edge of the undamaged part of the chest was torn by strangely regular gashes about an inch long. Also the liver had been removed from the body with a clean cut no beast could make. I was struck, too, by a piece of intestine the ends of which appeared to have been smoothly cut off, and, lastly, there was the fracture of the thigh – a classic example of fracture by bending.”

(Junge, 1952: p. 176).

As can be gathered from Werner Junge’s observations, the leopard men were utterly merciless in their operations. Their limited morals could only have been concentrated on that of their own selfish superstitions. Although, the leopard men were not the only cannibalistic murderers that roamed the jungles and villages of West Africa in these times – the fear of being ambushed and killed by the Devil society or the Crocodile society were also quite prominent among tribal villagers living in these areas throughout the 20th century. However, in spite of these other dangerous societies, it can not be disputed that the secret leopard societies of West Africa were the most notorious of any clan. I’d certainly rather become a hostage to the affairs of Islamic State than these primitive psychopaths.

This is a Stunning Picture of a Sunset in Greenland

Everyone loves a vibrant sunset, but this stunning picture does more than just capture a few rays – it displays the sheer wintry chill of Greenland, the largest non-continental country on the planet. The Inuit population of Greenland under Danish rule is isolated between the Arctic and Atlantic ocean with the lucky traveler aboard a plane capturing this glorious scene while travelling to Canada from Iceland.

There is no water in this image, although there is an ocean. That’s right, the coast of the ocean displayed in this photographer’s dream image is frozen and this is likely to due to the fact that the average temperature in Greenland at this time of year is -8 degrees celcius.

Brrrrrr!

UN5wGqQImage credits: Reddit user arowberry

K2 – The Mountain of Death

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“Blinded by altitude sickness, his mind and body seemed to crumble in slow motion due the starvation of oxygen to his brain on these menacing slopes. ‘Dark days are coming’, he whispers to himself as he inexorably staggers and stumbles helplessly down the precipitous abyss of the mountain” – K2 survivor

Any form of derivative of the above words has almost certainly emerged from a daring climber of K2, also known as the Savage Mountain due to its perilous slopes and treacherous storms. This monster of rock is the second tallest mountain on the planet reaching 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), just two hundred metres shorter than the king of mountains, Everest. Located solemnly in the monstrous Karakoram Range between Pakistan and China, the momentous alpine is only scaled by the most audacious of professional climbers. Although Everest is marginally higher, K2 has the second most extreme chance of death of all mountains in the world, with daring climbers ascending the mountain in fear of the 27% death rate that haunts the bottomless crevasses and bladed ridges all the way to the summit. One in four climbers have perished on this isolated mountain and few have endured the betraying altitudes of the mountain’s summit. In 2008, eleven climbers fell victim to K2 and when the summit was last attempted during the summer of 2014, a Spanish climber lost his path on the slopes and vanished from his expedition, never to be seen again. k2-climbers-615

K2 is statistically the second most deadly mountain on the planet, and ascending its merciless gradient almost certainly requires a fistful of bravery, and madness.

No successful attempt at reaching the summit was made until as late as the 1950s, with all prior exhibitions ending with either death or abandonment, often a gruesome combination of the two. Crushing avalanches, flash snow storms, arctic temperatures and unstable terrain renders this eight-thousander a mountaineers dream nightmare. In spite of countless deaths and disappearances on the mountain during the first half of the 1900s, it was a valiant Italian exhibition lead by mountaineers Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni that first imprinted the shape of the human boot on the snow at the glossy summit of the mountain in 1954. The summit was then left untouched by human presence for decades until a more advanced Japanese exhibition enabled the first Pakistani native climber to ponder over the views of the endless mountain range from the storm-battered summit once again. ClimbingK2_1a

Of the over 300 estimated climbers of K2, over 50 have died or disappeared attempting to reach the summit generating the 1 in 4 death rate statistic. The first five woman to climb K2 either died on the mountain or on subsequent exhibitions.

The most common route of ascension up K2 is via the Abruzzi Spur, first attempted and named amid the early 20th century by the brassy Italian mountaineer, the Duke of Abruzzi, which consists of four main base camps utilized as waypoints for climbers yearning to reach the summit. After a new world altitude record on the mountain was set by Abruzzi and his team in 1909, the Abruzzi Spur became the most popular method of ascent up the mountain and gave alpine climbers the largest chance of survival in reaching the summit of the wintry beast.

Although the Abruzzi spur is known to be the most efficient approach to reach the summit, there are still a cascade of precarious obstacles to overcome that limitless climbers have fallen merciless victim to, such as “House’s Chimney”, a notoriously narrow 100-foot vertical crack in the side of the mountain that leads the only available route to camp two on the Abruzzi Spur. Named after the American climber Bill House when it was first ascended in 1938, the shaft is now engulfed in a thicket of ancient ropes and climbing equipment left behind by previous climbers, making it marginally easier to climb. Prior to surviving “House’s Chimney” however, climbers are then faced with an even more daunting obstruction on their odyssey to the summit.

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There are around ten different routes leading up to the summit of K2, only five have ever been repeated.

The “Black Pyramid”, prodigiously looming over base camp two,  is a pyramid-shaped cluster of ebony rock and glacial ice that dominates the view up this steeping side of the mountain for an intimidating 1,200 feet. This section of the mountain boasts the most technically demanding ascension for climbers, and is extremely susceptible to inclement weather of all kinds due to its exposition to the elements of the sky. Temperatures are known to plummet at these altitudes and avalanches become worryingly more common, in spite of which route the climber has chosen to travel to the summit.

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Sharp, black and looming – the “Black Pyramid” is known to harness extremely high winds and is the most technically demanding section of the climb.

At the top of the ‘Black Pyramid’ allows the team of mountaineers to gaze up at another viciously dangerous component of the mountain, the shoulder. Although mostly horizontal, the shoulder is incredibly prone to avalanches and acts as a filter for the unyielding winds sweeping between K2 and it’s neighbour, Broad Peak. However, after surpassing this obstacle, camp three is quickly erected and the final part of the journey is ready to be ignited into a commotion of scrambling to the peak of the mountain.

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The mountain is extremely susceptible to avalanches capable of wiping out an entire team at this point so climbers are advised to travel light and spend as little time as possible on the shoulder.

K2-above-Bottleneck After a night of anxious sleep, forever fearful that the pegs gripping the tent to the icy ridge may come loose and send it flying off the side of the mountain, camp three is abandoned and the journey up to camp four follows the same trend as the previous sections of the journey – it’s tougher and even more unforgiving. This part of the journey is commonly known in the diaries of mountaineers as the ‘rush for the summit’ as a final push is made to ensure that the ultimate goal of the journey is fulfilled. Regardless of what route is taken up this popular side of the mountain, all paths hastily begin to converge into one vertically steep channel known as “Bottleneck”, presenting an overhanging wall of ice that forces the expedition to scramble into a free-for-all climbing adversity. ridgewaysummit_webClinging delicately to the wall of ice is a fissure of ice blocks ranging from the size of TVs to the average school bus. The fear that these volatile blocks of solid ice are capable of falling from their bases at any given moment is an undying one among any professional climber and has seen the death of many at this dynamically dangerous section of the mountain. It is said that attempting to climb this part of the mountain is like staring into the end of a loaded rifle. However, not far adrift of “Bottleneck” exists a section of the mountain that offers the most salvation for any expedition of climbers; the summit. From the summit, an ecstatic view of the gargantuan Karakoram range seems to replace the lingering menace and fear with unprecedented amounts of joy and accomplishment. However, the journey is only 50% complete and naturally, a vast majority of the hundreds of deaths on K2 have occurred during the descent of the journey on the mountain. K2, as spectacularly inviting it may appear to be on Google Images, is probably best left in the hand’s of mother nature. 806287

American climber Alan Arnette is the most recent and oldest American to have reached the summit of K2 in July, 2014.

Scientists Should Start Working on a Way to Make Travelling Cheap and Instant

This morning I awoke with a spontaneously fiery ambition to travel. I wanted to experiment with the nifty new camera I’d received as a gift at Christmas but the area I live in is grey and monotonous so I decided that I wanted to embark on a train journey to the wild Highlands of Scotland and capture some of the rustic winter landscapes. However, after researching train times and fares on my phone, I realised that my wallet capacity and the amount of daylight in these winter months would make it impossible. Train fares to travel up North towards the Highlands exceeded £100 and the journey would last over three hours. Oh well, it was back to the Flix of the Net for the day.

Everyone’s life goal should be to travel the world, and then fall in love. A lifetime is squandered for every human that decides to reside, whether out of choice or not, in the same location they were born in, and then make it worse by not falling in love with the girl next door. It should be a human right to travel, but first, we need to invent a cheaper, faster and more advanced method of doing so to make every inch of the planet more accessible to the world than it currently is. Instead of constructing bombs, guns and other weaponry designed to blow our own species into smithereens, top scientists from around the world should embark on a new project – making a trip around the world cost less than a week’s wage, instant, and easily accessible to anyone born on this planet.

Planes suck. They’re loud, expensive, energy inefficient (they use energy) and any more than an hour of travel time is not what I would define in any way as quick. It’s 2014, and even though we’ve fired people to the moon and inhabited a planet exclusively with robots, it still takes a commercial plane over nineteen hours to travel from North America to Australia – Why so slow? To put it simply, we need to conquer the technology we currently have on Earth before we bite off more than we can chew by attempting to grow lettuce on Mars, . If leading scientists and engineers from every nation on the planet were to work and thrive on one singular project simultaneously, we could literally accomplish anything – it’s just too bad we’re still bickering over that one black resource and making films about assassinating each other’s leaders to even care.

The fastest most common method of travel is by air (including the hot air balloon), with 2.5 billion people taking to the skies in various different aircrafts every year, and less than that number touching back down again in one piece, it would seem. The average person will spend years on a plane, devouring commercial food and inhaling the trapped gases of those who ate it while they were waiting an extra four hours for their delayed flight at the airport. I’m starting to ponder whether or not the plane is the most plausible method of continental travel, and whether or not there may potentially be a more efficient and less toxic way of darting around the globe. Planes are far too complicated, and with complication comes a heap of errors and a lot of silly people – so why haven’t we developed a more simplistic, efficient method of travel? I think I’m onto something here…

…The sky railway – you heard it from me first. The sky railway, an idea that could potentially be the most barbarically cunning or thunderously stupid idea I’ve ever come up with (I’m not sure yet), would fundamentally be a thick metal railway in the shape of an upside down smiley face that would connect two destinations together with the pushing of a few colourful buttons and a high-speed roller-coaster-styled bus. Passengers would assemble onto the bus of currently unspecified materials (probably metal with glass) attached to the metal railway and glide at scorching speeds into the air until the gradient of the railway hit its plateau and the bus full of bewildered passengers would rocket in a straight line until the line descended down to their predetermined destination. The only reasonable flaw I can contemplate with this simple (genius?) new concept of travel is that after years of its advancement into society, it may begin to obstruct the view of the sky, and ruin our view of the moon. But aside from that, I can’t see why this couldn’t be the solution for a cheaper, safer, and faster method of travel. I’m sure we’ll have invented see-through metal by that point anyway.

The core problem with ground transport is that it can never take the fastest route. Train tracks and roads must bend and divert around hills, buildings and rough terrain while air transport is unprecedentedly direct. But air travel is generally only useful over a long distance due to limitations on landing zones. The sky railway however, could be a useful method of transport for long and short-term commutes. Trips to work, school or even your local shop could be made instant by simply waiting a few moments at a sky railway bus stop and then zooming up and off into a perfectly straight line for a few seconds towards the business meeting you otherwise thought you were going to be late for.

The world is already instantly connected through the invention of the internet, but what humanity needs is a physical connection between every town, country and continent. The idea of a sky railway is merely a shower thought at this moment in time, but who knows what ideas and concepts humanity will implement into the world over the next century. Travel can only inevitably get faster and more efficient, but regardless of what new form of travel we implement into the world, it needs to connect people – and not through social networking sites.

Five Abandoned Islands You’ve Never Heard Of

The lost island

Scattered unpredictably across the vast oceans of the seven seas exist forgotten worlds – lost worlds devoured in history and the tears of the past. Worlds battered by waves and drenched in salt. The most intriguing thing about deserted islands is that they’re so dreadfully empty. Abandoned factories, houses, churches and other dusty buildings are everywhere, and commonly explored. But the beauty of the abandoned island, is the idea that they’re hidden from the passing eyes of the world – hidden by the harsh currents of the ocean and strictly forbidden to those who don’t own a boat. You’ve likely heard haunting tales of derelict asylums, ghost cities, and forgotten houses, but have you heard of these five deserted islands?

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time” – Andre Gide

1. North Brother Island

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Just 350 yards from the grey tenements of the bustling Bronx in New York, there exists a restricted derelict island skewed away from the public’s eye. The island features a labyrinth of abandoned hospital facilities that were in action for various purposes up until the early 1960s – first used as a quarantine zone for the infectiously diseased, then as accommodation for returning champions of World War Two. In the 1950s, the facility was converted into a drug rehabilitation zone for adolescent drug addicts who were often locked away out of their own will until they were proven clean. The island was deserted in 1963 due to an uprising of corruption among staff and many unsuccessful rehabilitation attempts. In plain sight of the watching citizens of the Big Apple, the island is now engulfed in a dense thicket of overgrown forestry, which conceal the Island’s crumbling history. The island is strictly off-limits to the public.

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2. Battleship IslandNagasaki_Hashima_01

Hashima Island, commonly known as Battleship island, sits isolated 15 kilometers off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, and is strictly forbidden to the public due to its treacherous nature. In the typical choppy waters of the Nagasaki Prefecture, the island is often mistaken as a dreadnought battleship when viewed from a specific angle, hence its peculiar name. Bought by Mitsubishi in 1890, the island was utilised as a mining facility for coal and inhabited over 5,000 workers at the peak of its operations in the dusky grey concrete blocks of buildings in the late 1950s. Due to the replacement of coal for petroleum throughout the 1960s, the island was hastily shut down in 1974 and handed over to mother nature for some deep cleaning.

Battleship Island: Place To Visit

3. Palmyra Atoll

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1,000 miles south of Hawaii exists an island reef completely untouched by the abrasion of human society. Technically owned by the USA, the modest 4.8 square mile territory is classified as an ‘unorganised’ and ‘uncontrolled’ area of land, meaning there is no such thing as a police officer to snatch that joint off weed from your sun-burnt finger tips as you prepare to do a dive of freedom into the turquoise waters of the lagoon. Upon the outbreak of World War Two, the USA constructed an airstrip here but nowadays, all that can be identified of the demolished naval base is a few dusty ruins embedded into the warm floor of the desolate island. Palmyra Atoll is famously notorious for the double murder that took place on the island in 1974, known hauntingly as the Sea Wind murders, where a wealthy a couple were mysteriously murdered on the island and their gruesome remains found seven years later in the lagoon in 1981.

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4. Holland Island, Maryland, USA

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Once a thriving community of fishers, this diminishing island in Chesapeake Bay relentlessly battled the ocean’s army of waves for over one hundred years. The island once boasted a shoreline over five miles long – with hundreds of residents, a couple of shops, a post office and a church, but the unusual marshy foundations of eventually gave in to the arresting waves of the bay, burying its existence. The last house to survive, constructed in 1888, slowly vanished into the sea in 2010 despite the ferocious efforts of many to prevent the sea from taking it into its own.

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5. Spinalonga, Crete

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Previously part of the island of Crete, Spinalonga was carved out into the ocean under Venetian rule and a fort was constructed on the island for defense purposes. Used as a location for a leper colony from 1903 to 1957, the island possessed a tunnel entrance used by the lepers called ‘Dante’s Gate,’ because they had no clue to what was going to happen to them once they reached the other end of the tunnel. Spinalonga has been derelict since the early 1960s, when the last inhabitant, a priest, deserted the island following the traditions of the Greek Orthodox church. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction, but visits to the empty fortress only last a few hours due to there being no accommodation – well, it just depends on how acceptable you think it is to spend the night in an ancient Greek tomb, but aside from that, the authorities don’t want you staying over night.

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