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View overlooking Molde in Norway.

“I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown. Eat interesting food. Dig some interesting people. Have an adventure. Be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about; I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking 12 miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end of that flight. A lot of people—Americans and Europeans—come back and go, Ohhhhh. And the light bulb goes on.” – Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins recently spoke with get lost magazine about his travels. The article will be in our next issue – out 1 April.

Amazing footage of Aurora Borealis taken in January 2012.  Increased solar activity means the Northern Lights should be spectacular for at least the next 12 months!

Under instructions from an ageing hippy, Justin Jamieson goes in search of the ultimate drop out beach, the place where people live in harmony and the sounds of reggae are still heard across waves of the Arabian sea.

A blast from the past!  Managing Editor of Get Lost, Justin Jamieson, exploring Goa by motorcycle back in Issue 9 of Get Lost!

“It may sound naive, but when you enter a cross-cultural situation, you are by definition an ambassador for your culture. Decency and pride dictate that we present ourselves well, with respect and integrity. Think of every such cultural encounter as a reciprocal obligation. If you make a promise to return to a village, to send a photograph, keep it. Always leave behind more than you bring away, give more than you take. Whether we travel as tourists, journalists, or academic anthropologists, it is our comparative wealth that allows us to be in these places, to have these life-affirming interactions. This is always a privilege but never a right. The goal of travel is to return transformed. And that’s the gift of engagement with another cultural reality.”
–Wade Davis

(an interview with the legendary Wade Davis is appearing in the next issue of get lost magazine)

An Airflight a Day

Research sociologists and psychologists have in the last few years started to ask ‘what makes us happy?’ Oddly, it’s an area that has not always been our main focus, getting served as a side-dish in other studies. But now that we have started to move away from notions of ‘The One’ fulfilling us and started listening to the research results indicating it is friends and community that make people happy (an area which pop-culture got right first; think of the bromance and  ‘friends are your family’ genres), happiness is now being scaled by index.

After taking a holiday break, employees have been found to be more productive, happier, alert and refreshed. However, psychologists have found that the health benefits of traveling are short-lived, fading after two weeks. But psychologists suggest that is still better to take a break from work than not. A good reason to prompt the boss for more than an annual vacation.

Some of the benefits of travel are:

1. Negative Ions

Getting back to nature and away from industrial-strength fumes and white noise soothes the nerves.  Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is real, it is recognised by the WHO, and can affect domestic housing and office buildings. SBS is estimated to affect 30 % of buildings and to be rising, as unfortunately it is not a consideration in the design and manufacture of new docimiles and high-rises. Over the past few years, scientists have discovered that springs, waterfalls, sea waves, forests and gardens contain high amounts of negative ions. Negative ions have been shown to reduce bacteria in the air and kill free radicals.  Holidaying in the bush or on the beach will put you into contact with excellent air quality. 

2. A change is as good as a rest

A variation in your daily routine and scenery has the same effect as a good lie-in. Stimulating your brain by providing a new visual climate for it to process, a new routine or no routine at all, trying new food and language, will all tap parts of your brain that are in retirement when you are the office automaton. New neural connections will be laid down in your brain. In other words, you get smarter. 

3. You’ll think laterally

Being placed in a situation that you do not know kicks in your survival instincts. One of the biggest factors in survival is creativity. It’s why the smaller Homo Sapiens beat the Nanderthals . It’s also why musicians get laid. Musicians demonstrate creativity and improvisation skills, traits mates look for. You may have to settle for learning a new PT system and figuring out how to find your hotel in the dark, but you’ll find yourself thinking outside of the box as you stretch your problem-solving abilities. 

4. You’ll improve your diet

When travelling you may well find yourself hungry. Getting hungry is good. You’ll be less fussy about what you eat, try new foodstuffs, and notice when you are full. You’ll also be running round exploring, going on excursions, and organising itineraries. Less calories in, more calories out. 

5. Buddy up

Travelling is very inclusive, fantastic for both the solo explorer and the coupled-up. One of the factors of dissatisfaction in long-term partnerships is the loss of romance. Feelings of romance; the butterflies, sweating, increased heart rate etc, have been linked to induced by fear. By trying new experiences together such as bungee jumping, scuba-diving etc, you can recreate these feelings. Seeing a partner under new circumstances will also show them in a new light, as they call on parts of themselves you haven’t had the chance to get to know. 

Conversely, the solo traveller has the freedom to interact with virtually anyone they meet while on the road and represent themselves as they wish to be seen. This liberation can be a chance to bring out a side that may be stifled around those that know you and have certain expectations of you. It also applies to getting home. Holding onto that new image of yourself can give you the confidence to show it to your friends on your return. 

6. You can knock one off the bucket list

Not many people regret travel. You create new memories, and if you feel unfulfilled in one aspect of your life, gaining control in another can boost your self-esteem. Running away is also not the crime people make it out to be, unless you are running away because you have committed a crime. Dwelling in a bad situation or being constantly reminded of a bad memory can slow the healing process. A change to a place that matches the mood you want to achieve, ie, sun, sand and peace, can be the best remedial therapy you choose. A lot of people working in the West now don’t even consider travel an optional extra, it’s become a necessity. 

7. You’ll lose control- in a good way

Going to a country or place where you encounter trying situations out of your control can remind you that patience is a virtue. One of the seven habits of highly effective people is to not lose sleep over things that annoy or disturb you, if you have no influence over them. With a maniacal emphasis on personal responsibility in the West, a misnomer that has arisen due to thinking societal wealth means individual choice, we often forget the principal of stoicism; that is, external problems are to be weathered as a reminder that if something breaks it’s because the nature of the object meant it could be broken. The trick is to maintain a core of self that is not affected by these external events. Likewise, coming face-to-face with cultural differences in the people you meet will force you to remove bigotry and find commonality, rather than trying to control others. 

Written by Rebecca Miller

Corey Jeal takes off on the first leg of his motorcycle journey across Africa in a bid to raise funds and awareness for The Thin Green Line Foundation - supporting Park Rangers who are killed in the line of duty while protecting the world’s wild places. We at get lost mag are right behind this trip. Great cause - go Corey!

So, you’ve been travelling and are craving that bottle of wine you tried in South Africa, or Chile, and you are thinking of some grand plan to get a bottle sent from across the world.  Or you are away from home and really need that comfort food that you grew up with.

Well, www.mmmule.com is here to help.  All you do is post your request on their site, and if there is anyone who is travelling your way who is prepared to deliver your request then you can organise everything on Mmmule. 

Top Twenty Cultural Faux Pas

You don’t have to be the Commander and Chief to look like a nong in foreign countries, but it does help. For those of us who prefer to keep our shame limited to dirty underwear on the bedroom floor, here’s how not to make a prat of yourself when travelling. 

1.  In Russia, drinking vodka is a big part of life and teatotalling is considered offensive.

2.  Do not blow your nose in public in Japan, China, Saudi Arabia or France.

3.  In Brazil, the sign that is used in North America to mean “okay” means “you’re an a― hole.”

4.  In Nepal, major Hindu temples are usually off-limits to foreigners. Don’t enter them or take pictures unless given permission.

5. In many Asian countries pointing with your forefinger in public is considered rude. Likewise,  apply long-forgotten gestures of respect to all elders; pretend they are the upper-class Brits on Mum’s side of the family come to stay.

6. In Albania and India, the locals shake their head to indicate “yes” and nod to indicate “no”.

7. In India, expect to be asked what your parents do for a living, particularly if speaking with those of an older generation. It is both an indicator of status and also a common ‘getting to know you’ question, where many children follow their parents’ careers.

8. In the UK, when giving the peace sign make sure your palm is facing away; palm facing towards body is the f-off sign.

9. Indonesians keep both hands above the table while eating at all times.

10. In East Timor, don’t say thank you, do return the favour. Anything less seems rude.

11. Germans prefer straight talking. Say ‘I’ll be in touch’ only if you mean it.  Don’t talk about sport even if you do mean it, it’s considered bogan behaviour.

12. Australia and New Zealand don’t give a crud about your achievements, unless you are applying for a job. We’re investigative (cynical and nosy) and don’t take your opinion of yourself as gospel, therefore often clashing badly with Americans. It’s called Tall Poppy Syndrome. 

13. Don’t ask Maasai how many wives they have. You’ll be extra extra-overcharged for their souvenirs.

14. Keep your chopsticks to yourself in Japan. 

15. The infamous ‘saving face’ of Cambodia is very, very true. Even if you’ve been robbed blind, raising your voice will get you immediately stonewalled. You can see the bricks being mortared up their faces. 

16. Shoes off in mosques and temples throughout Asia, including India. If you are worried about hookworm either don’t go to these places or bring a pair of slippers.

17. Generally speaking, nowhere appreciates a hat left on inside. 

18. Another rule of thumb is avoid body contact when greeting unless the local initiates it. Particularly avoid physical contact upon meeting and making comments about the appearance of members of the opposite sex.

19. Conversely, close proximity throughout the middle east is common as personal space is smaller. Moving away from a person can be seen as rude, likewise, so can standing with your back to someone. This does not mean you should be duped by over-friendly carpet sellers or men taking advantage of a perception that Western women are ‘loose’.

20. ’I don’t mean to be rude, but…’ goes down nowhere well. 

This is the tip of the iceberg of the fraught social customs of the world. Accept accidental slights with good grace and that we all end up with a little egg on our face.

Written by Rebecca Miller

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