A world of cruise options to kick off the new decade – The Union Leader

The Caribbean still reigns supreme when it comes to cruising, but theres a whole new world to explore. Classic ports such as the Bahamas are recovering, new itineraries are opening up in Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics and luxury options abound in the Seychelles.

Here are eight places to prioritize in 2020.


Remember when Olympic organizers in Rio de Janeiro slept on cruise ships and called them floating hotels? Tokyo will do the same for its turn in the spotlight. From July 24 to Aug. 9, the city is chartering at least one large ship to serve as a floating hotel in response to a shortage of rooms on dry land.

But youd be better off going a more traditional route: Two of Royal Caribbean Cruises Shanghai-based ships, Spectrum of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, will offer itineraries that overnight at Tokyos new terminal. Passengers with tickets can easily get to Olympic events and then sail on to other, less frenetic parts of the country.

Windstar Cruises is betting that the summers television coverage will drum up tourism interest for Japan in general, so its skipping the marquee games and sending its 312-passenger, all-suite Star Breeze to the country for a series of temple- and garden-centric sailings this fall.

But the most peaceful way to sail might be a three-night trip on Gunt, a 38-passenger design ship thats like a floating ryokan on the Seto Inland Sea, complete with traditional open-air onsen baths in some of its suites.

The trip were most likely to book: Star Breeze 10-night sailing, from $3,599 per person.

All itineraries of Virgin Voyages first ship, Scarlet Lady, will stop at The Beach Club at Bimini in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas

Typically cruise lines have relied heavily on the Bahamas. Not only is Nassau, the capital, a frequent port of call, but several companies have organized sailings throughout the commonwealth around islands that they own. In the last year, however, the roles have changed. After Hurricane Dorian devastated Grand Bahama (also a cruise port) and the less-visited Abaco islands, cruise companies helped deliver recovery supplies and made major donations. In the storms aftermath, theyre helping revitalize the entire Bahamian tourism economy.

The second phase of Royal Caribbeans Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, which is set to open in January, will include the first overwater floating cabanas in the region.

Royal Caribbean is opening the second phase of its $250 million Perfect Day at CocoCay island in January. The Coco Beach Club includes the first overwater floating cabanas in the region. Norwegian Cruise Line has boosted the offerings at its Great Stirrup Cay, a chic, South Beach-style beach oasis where you can shell out as much as $1,100 a day for a private, air-conditioned villa conveniently located near a Moet & Chandon bar.

MSC Cruises recently opened, 95-acre Ocean Cay offers a more tranquil experience that focuses on spa treatments and underwater activities in its protected marine reserve.

And when adults-only Virgin Voyages debuts its first ship in March, every sailing will stop at a swanky private resort think Ibiza or St. Tropez developed by Resorts World Bimini.

The trip were most likely to book: A four-night itinerary on Virgins Scarlet Lady, from $2,750.

Kinsale, Ireland

Cruise lines are jumping on the DNA tourism trend, and harbor towns in West Cork, including the historic fishing town of Kinsale, are trying to get a piece of the pie. Promotional efforts have focused on attracting small expedition and boutique ships, and theyre paying off.

Last year, French line Ponant sent one ship; this year its sending four. Ultraluxury line Seabourn has been sniffing around, too. Nearby attractions include a 3.7-mile trail around the ocean cliffs of the Old Head of Kinsale, where the Lusitania was sunk just offshore by a German U-boat in 1915. Theres also a star-shaped fort built by Charles II. And if you find through an ancestry search that youre related to the notorious 18th-century pirate Captain Anne Bonny, Kinsale is said to be where shes from.

The trip were most likely to book: A seven-night sailing from London to Portsmouth, England, from $3,830.

Taucks 84-passenger MS Andorinha, which will debut in the spring, was specifically built to sail along Portugals Douro River, from coastal Porto to the Spanish border.

The Douro River, Portugal

Lisbon is a popular port, but attention has also shifted north to the quieter Portuguese city of Porto, famous for its sweet red fortified wine. Its also becoming a popular starting point for cruises on the Douro River. Hillsides covered in terraced vineyards and historic quintas reflect 2,000 years of winemaking in the valley, with itineraries that include stops for tastings and time to cross the border toward the medieval city of Salamanca in northwestern Spain.

Luxury tour operator Tauck and luxury brand Uniworld River Cruises are each debuting ships in the spring: Uniworlds 100-passenger S.S. So Gabriel has butler-serviced suites, Douro-influenced decor and locally sourced cuisine; Taucks 84-passenger MS Andorinha features an infinity-style pool, outdoor dining and Balinese daybeds on the sun deck. Dinner at a family-owned wine estate near the sleepy village of Pinho is included.

The trip were most likely to book: One-week Tauck Villages and Vintages itinerary, from $4,190.

Raja Ampat Islands

Far from the fancy resorts in Bali in miles, scenery, and style this Indonesian archipelago occupies an enviable position in the center of the Coral Triangle. Cruises here lead to fascinating cultural encounters, but the big attraction is the warm sea, home to about 75% of known coral species and about half of all the worlds marine tropical fish. Typically the best way to see it all has been on small dive boats, but upscale expedition cruise ships from Ponant and Australian line Coral Expeditions have recently moved in.

Joining them is Aqua Expeditions, best known for its top-notch Amazon River sailings. It transformed a naval vessel into its first ocean ship, the 15-suite yacht Aqua Blu, on which it offers a culinary program designed by Aussie superstar chef Benjamin Cross and sailings that stretch through the winter.

The trip were most likely to book: One week on Aqua Blu, from $7,525.

Subantarctic Islands

These islands in the Southern Ocean, which are on the way to Antarctica from Australia and New Zealand, are protected nature preserves, where only researchers live among birds and marine mammals. On Macquarie Island, beaches may be covered with royal penguins and fur seals. The island also has a weird geologic feature: Some of its shores are piled up with exposed green rocks from the Earths mantle that look eerily like theyre covered in snakeskin. And the Snares, one of several chains of New Zealand islands, feature crested penguins endemic to the islands.

Cruise passengers visit on zodiacs that hug the shoreline or make a landing for guided walks, all in places where the number of visitors is tightly controlled. Get here on expedition ships from Silversea Cruise or Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, which have new itineraries traversing the region.

The trip were most likely to book: A two-week cruise round trip from Dunedin (on New Zealands South Island) on Silver Explorer, from $13,950.

The Seychelles

Luxurious options abound in this Indian Ocean paradise off of East Africa. Crystal Cruises 62-passenger superyacht, Crystal Esprit, has suites with butler service and a private submarine. Ponants 184-passenger Le Bougainville has a snazzy, underwater Blue Eye Lounge, somewhat like a submarine with a panoramic view and where you can get a martini. But the real beauty of sailing here is taking tiny zodiacs to islands with uninhabited beaches, where you may snorkel among coral reefs or wander past tortoises in lush forests. Keep an eye out for the Seychelles warbler and other native birds, as well as Valle de Mai, a rare palm forest little changed since prehistoric times.

The trip were most likely to book: A seven-night trip on Crystal Esprit, from $5,599.

Nile River

In January, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises launches the 84-passenger, all-suite S.S. Sphinx, and because it will only sail in Egypt, its look will have an authentic sense of place. (Think Egyptian fabrics and artworks.) Similarly, Viking River Cruises in September adds the 82-passenger Viking Osiris, done up in Scandinavian design despite her Nubian name. Standard 12-day sailings on both ships start and end in Aswan, usually after a hotel stay in Cairo and flight to Luxor.

For DIY types, there are also four-night sailings to Aswan on Sanctuary Retreats elegant, recently upgraded, 64-passenger Sanctuary Nile Adventurer. Its shorter sailings arent packaged with pre- and post-cruise land experiences and are a little more flexible. This year, especially, a must-do is drinks on the terrace of Aswans Old Cataract Hotel, where Agatha Christie wrote parts of her 1937 novel Death on the Nile. Kenneth Branaghs film based on the book will debut in theaters in the fall.

The trip were most likely to book: Four nights on the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer, from $1,410.

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A world of cruise options to kick off the new decade - The Union Leader

Facing off in the world’s only traditional sumo ring outside Japan – CNN

(CNN) A man with strawberry-blonde hair squats to face his dark-bearded, well-toned opponent. Both are wearing black loincloths, and stand in a meticulously groomed circle, surrounded by ceramic tiles that link together to form a perimeter.

At the Mie Nishi complex, which opened in 1958 and also houses a baseball stadium, Brazilians come to train, wrestle and watch sumo. The wrestling arena was purpose-built and opened its doors in 1992.

In 2000, the Brazilian Sumo Confederation (CBS) was formed in So Paulo state, and the Brazilian National Championships, alongside the South American Championships, were held in the gymnasium.

With the aid of funding from the So Paulo Federation of Sumo, alongside a public fundraising campaign, the arena was refurbished in 2008, much to the delight of Brazil's Japanese population.

"At the time, the new gymnasium was considered to be the first and only exclusive sumo gym in the world outside Japan," says president of the gym Oscar Morio Tsuchiya. It's still the only one with a traditional clay ring, he says.

A crowded arena marks the opening of the refurbished sumo gym in 2008.

Courtesy Mie Nishi Gym

Every year since, the Brazilian Sumo Confederation has held major championships there, offering free admission to the public.

A championship was held at the opening in 2008 with around 400 athletes, including wrestlers from Japan.

The championships are now an annual event and, Tsuchiya says, the number of participants has been steadily increasing. He cites the local Japanese community as being "integral" to supporting the training of wrestlers and organizing the competition.

Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan -- known as "Nikkei" -- with the last estimate in 2016 putting the number at 1.9 million.

In the Liberdade neighborhood of So Paulo, where more than half a million Japanese live, Shinto shrines line the streets, their traditional red torii gates framing the avenues in the district known as Little Tokyo.

"Before there was no permanent space for the practice of sumo here in So Paulo," Tsuchiya continues. "The championships were held in a makeshift manner in various places. Because of this, there were no children in So Paulo who could start practicing sumo, so [it was] only practiced by adults who trained in judo arenas."

Now, he says, the Brazilian community pull its weight by sending young wrestlers -- and women -- to the school to train.

'A source of pride'

Two opponents face each other during a training session in Mie Nishi gym.

Courtesy Mie Nishi Gym

There are around 30 members at the gym, many of whom travel for hours from small towns to come and train.

"The success of Brazilian sumo is certainly a source of pride for all those who, like us, work hard to maintain this sport," Tsuchiya beams.

Brazil now regularly sends wrestlers to national sumo championships, and one of the best sumo wrestlers outside Japan is Brazilian-born Ricardo Sugano, who goes by the name of Kaisei Ichir.

The third generation Brazilian-Japanese rikishi, or sumo wrestler, turned his back on his homeland's favorite pastime of soccer to study martial arts, which eventually led him to sumo.

Indeed, Sugano's training at the gym is a point of pride for Tsuchiya. When asked what some of his favorite memories have been so far, he lists "our dear Ricardo" and his debut at the gym as one of them.

Another wrestler, 25-year-old Rui Junior, drives eight hours to train at Mie Nishi. He's a 10-time Brazilian champion and a three-time South American champion, and recently competed in the World Sumo Championships in Osaka.

The Japanese government is so pleased with the spread of its sport to Latin America it even sent a coach to the gym to help train budding talent.

Unlike sumo in Japan, women are allowed to take part in the sport in Brazil, and it is growing in popularity among women and children.

Courtesy Mie Nishi Gym

However, there is one notable difference at the So Paulo arena: there are women wrestling.

In Japan, women have long been banned from entering, or even touching, the wrestling ring -- called dohy in Japanese. It is traditionally seen as a violation of the purity of the dohy, a view which critics say is based on the Shinto belief that women are "impure" because they menstruate.

But Tsuchiya says it was important to him to include females in the dohy ring.

"In order for Sumo to be recognized as an Olympic sport, it is also necessary to have the female sport, so the Brazilian Confederation created the female sport and started the first championship that included females in 2001."

And Tshuchiya has big dreams for the future, hoping that, some day, his humble gym in Brazil will host the World Championship.

In the meantime, the gym hosts tournaments once a month that are open to the public.

Ginsio de Sumo do Bom Retiro, Av. Pres. Castelo Branco, 5446 - Bom Retiro, So Paulo - SP, 01142-200, Brazil

Lucy Sherriff is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Bogot who covers environment, travel and gender issues.

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Facing off in the world's only traditional sumo ring outside Japan - CNN

The most dangerous countries in the world for 2020, mapped – indy100

According to a new map designed for travellers, the most dangerous places on earth for 2020 areLibya and Somalia.

The annual interactive 'Travel Risk Map'reveals the countries where people are most likely to have trouble when it comes to road safety, security and medical matters.

By contrast, the safest places are Finland, Norway and Iceland.

Libya and Somalia both rank lowly in each of the three categories in the study by international medical and security specialists International SOS along with Afghanistan and Venezuela, meaning they are the most dangerous.

When it comes to health, countries with the highest risk of contracting medical issues or disease include African nations Niger, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Sudan, Eritrea and the Central African Republic.

Places with a low risk of disease are most of those in Europe, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

For security, researchers evaluated the threat posed to travellers by political violence (including terrorism), social unrest and violent and petty crime.

Countries with an extreme risk to travellers' safety include Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and parts of Nigeria.

Placeswhere security risks are deemed insignificant are Norway, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia.

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The most dangerous countries in the world for 2020, mapped - indy100

20 best new hotels to visit in 2020 – CNN

(CNN) Whether it's for business or pleasure, today's travelers are more discerning than ever about their hotel choices.

Luckily, the newest batch of hotels and resorts have stepped up to the challenge.

Reefsuites, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

As if scuba diving alongside the Great Barrier Reef's 1,500 species of tropical fish wasn't enough of an adventure, you can now sleep among them -- in a luxury glass-walled suite, submerged 15 feet underwater.

Opened in December 2019, Reefsuites, Australia's first underwater hotel, allows visitors to take in the Reef's incredible underwater world -- and all its fish, rays, sharks and turtles -- from the comfort of a plush, king-sized bed.

Each suite also features a light switch that allows you to illuminate the water surrounding your room for extra effect.

On top of that, every stay also includes a scenic cruise through the Whitsunday Islands, dinner under the stars with unlimited wine and a guided snorkeling tour.

Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc, France

Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc: Built in the 18th century and renovated in 2019.

Courtesy Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc

With its bucolic location and acres of mazes, lakes and rose gardens, Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc might possibly be the world's dreamiest countryside escape.

The chteau, built in 1760, opened its doors to guests in June 2019 after a multimillion-dollar renovation that restored the structure to its original Neoclassical splendor.

Its 17 rooms, adorned with hand-painted murals and antique furnishings, are large and light-filled and boast sweeping views over the chteau's manicured gardens.

Added bonus: It's just 55 minutes from Paris by train, making it an easy weekend trip.

Aman Kyoto, Japan

Tucked away inside 80 acres of dense forest just outside of Kyoto, the newest Aman, opened in November 2019, is the perfect place to unwind and unplug.

Its 26 suites -- scattered throughout minimalist ryokan-inspired pavilions -- are clean-lined and almost monastically sparse, yet still undeniably luxurious. Think super-soft beds, deep-soak wooden tubs and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the woods.

Other highlights include a spa with mineral-rich onsen (hot springs) and five-star Japanese cuisine. Pro tip: Ask to have dinner in one of the seven al fresco dining spots hidden carefully throughout the woods.

Kachi Lodge, Bolivia

Kachi Lodge: Plush pods on the Bolivian salt flats.

Courtesy Kachi Lodge

From above, Kachi Lodge looks like a cluster of tiny geodesic domes set amidst the lunar-like Uyuni Salt Flats.

But don't be fooled by its sterile, space station-like appearance: Inside each dome, you'll find bohemian-chic interiors, plush beds and huge bay windows that offer some of the world's best stargazing. (Being 35 miles from the nearest town -- and 11,800 feet above sea level -- Kachi is virtually free of light pollution).

In the daytime, there's plenty to see and do, from biking across the arid, otherworldly landscape to high-altitude hikes on the nearby Tunupa volcano.

Alternatively, guests can simply relax in the main dome, take a class on Andean cosmology, or enjoy the homemade Bolivian cuisine. Thanks to a culinary partnership with Gustu -- one of Bolivia's finest restaurants -- the food at Kachi is as impressively unforgettable as the views.

August, Antwerp, Belgium

It doesn't get much cooler than August, a former Augustinian convent-turned-boutique hotel behind private walled gardens in Antwerp's leafy Green Quarter.

Sprawled across five renovated Neoclassical buildings, the hotel's rooms are full of raw natural materials and thoughtful artisan touches, from the handwoven carpets to the custom-built lights.

Amenities include a curated library and a luxurious spa with a hammam and sauna.

InterContinental Hayman Island, Australia

You have a choice of pool or ocean at InterContinental Hayman Island.

Courtesy InterContinental Hayman Island

Just two years after Cyclone Debbie left the Whitsunday Islands battered in her wake, the iconic Hayman Island Resort debuted a $135 million transformation -- and its stunning new incarnation as an InterContinental Resort.

The sleek new property has eight beachfront villas, built mere steps from the ocean.

Its crowning jewel is the Beach House: a 4,000-square-foot, three-bedroom villa, outfitted with a whopping three private pools, that looks out over the Coral Sea.

But don't be fooled; it's not all infinity pools and ocean views. Rooms are energy-efficient, single-use plastics are forbidden and guests are provided with reef-safe sunscreen and glass water bottles upon arrival to ensure the resort is as sustainable as it is luxe.

Puro Vik, Chile

When the design-forward hotel Vik opened in Chile's Millahue Valley in 2015, it brought an unprecedented level of luxury and sophistication to the destination. Now, its sister property, Puro Vik -- opened in April 2019 -- is doing it again.

Comprised of 19 literal glass houses carved into the hills just below the original hotel, Puro Vik makes guests feel as if they're completely immersed in their lush natural landscape without having to leave the comfort of their own beds.

Though the focus here is the landscape, each house is also carefully furnished with striking art pieces and sleek furniture handpicked by owners Alex and Carrie Vik. .

Naturally, such an experience will cost you: nightly rates start at a cool $1,100. But sipping wine in your own deep-soak tub, engulfed by lush, unobstructed mountain vistas? Priceless.

Jao Camp, Botswana

The spectacular surroundings of Jao Camp's swimming pool.

Courtesy Jao Camp

When it comes to glamping, it doesn't get much plusher than Jao Camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta. Though the camp was established in 1999, it was completely rebuilt and reopened in the summer of 2019.

The camp's five tented suites are lavishly outfitted with spacious sun decks, plunge pools and indoor-outdoor bathrooms, while an additional two villas created for families and groups come equipped with their own private vehicle, guide, chef and butler.

It's architecturally stunning, too. Communal areas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and the swimming pool sits beneath a spectacular bird's nest-like canopy that allows guests to soak in their wild surroundings, uninterrupted.

Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico

Unlike most hotels in Los Cabos, it's not your traditional, hacienda-style property; instead it blends Nobu's signature Japanese minimalism with the area's stark desert beauty. The hotel is fronted by a wide, windswept beach over which the sun sets rather dramatically.

Gorgeous George, Cape Town

Stylishly mismatched furniture and mid-century modern accents are the name of the game at Gorgeous George.

Courtesy Gorgeous George

The aptly named property is a design lover's dream, blending its Art Deco and Edwardian architecture with raw industrial vibes and midcentury accents.

Its 32 rooms are all individually decorated with stylishly mismatched furniture and colorful rugs and huge potted plants, and they feel more like the downtown loft of a cool artist friend than hotel rooms.

On the rooftop, there's a cute plunge pool shaded by leafy palms and an excellent restaurant serving up elevated comfort food, like mac and cheese with black truffles and fancy craft cocktails.

Islas Secas, Panama

If you thought a private island was the pinnacle of exclusivity, what about your own private archipelago? Located 33 nautical miles south of mainland Panama, Islas Secas is the sole development on a dreamy 14-island archipelago, offering guests an unparalleled level of privacy and tranquility.

It has just four casitas (three more will be added in March 2020) nestled amidst the lush, Jurassic Park-like landscape. Though they're undeniably luxe -- each comes with an ocean-facing private plunge pool -- they're also sustainable, powered entirely by solar energy and fitted with water recycling systems.

Activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and whale watching -- or simply dozing off on one of the archipelago's dozens of private island beaches.

Mama Shelter, London

Mama Shelter has two karaoke rooms for hotel guests and the public to enjoy.

Courtesy Mama Shelter London

The Mama Shelter hotel brand is fast becoming an empire, having opened three new properties in 2019 and two more slated for 2020.

Like its sister properties, Mama Shelter London is offbeat and funky and doesn't take itself too seriously with its eclectic decor and "anything goes" vibe. But what you're here for is the trendy East London location, the Japanese-style karaoke rooms (first hour is free for guests) and the extraordinarily good fish and chips.

Rooms are admittedly on the small side, averaging at 200 square feet, but the beds are comfy and the layout is so functional and intuitive that you'll hardly notice or care.

Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica

Flanked by lush rainforest near the base of the Arenal Volcano, Nayara -- one of the first luxury tented camps in Costa Rica -- is worth visiting for its location alone.

Just minutes from camp, guests can enjoy thermal hot springs, whitewater rafting, countless hiking trails and horseback riding. There's even an on-site sloth sanctuary home to more than 15 sloths (and a "sloth concierge" to guide you through it).

Of course, you won't be judged for staying holed up in your room, either. Each of Nayara's 29 hillside tents feature plunge pools fed by natural hot springs, luxurious indoor-outdoor bathrooms and unobstructed views of the volcano.

Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand

Lennon's is the bar on the top floors of the Rosewood Bangkok.

Courtesy Rosewood Bangkok

The Rosewood's newest hotel wows from the outset with its striking architecture: two slim, separate structures connected together to mirror the wai, the Thai greeting of hands pressed together in greeting.

The inside is just as impressive, thanks to a 10-story indoor waterfall (a tribute to the Chao Phraya River upon which Bangkok is built) and dozens of pieces of original work by Thai artists.

In signature Rosewood fashion, its rooms feel more like upscale residences than traditional hotel rooms. Rich woods paired with rattan furnishings, plush chairs topped with soft throws and fresh flowers and books on every table make each room feel like a cozy hideaway in the heart of the city.

The Standard, Maldives

It was an odd move for The Standard, an urban hotel chain known for its hip hotels in New York and Los Angeles, to open up shop on the white sands of the Maldives. But they did, and it works strangely well.

Its 115 villas (several overwater) are a departure from the romantic, honeymoon vibes of many other Maldives resorts, instead going straight for the hearts of millennial travelers with their psychedelic decor (think disco balls in the bathroom) and neon-pink pool toys.

Other highlights include nightly beach bonfires, drum circles, karaoke and a glass-floored overwater night club that stays open until after sunrise. Bring friends.

Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards, New York City

Equinox Hotel is fitness-focused, but there's still space for rest and relaxation.

Courtesy Equinox Hotels

The upscale gym chain's hotly anticipated first hotel is exactly as you'd imagine it to be: minibars stocked with magnesium supplements, a 60,000-square-foot gym outfitted with cryotherapy chambers, on-call "sleep coaches" and vitamin-fused IV drips.

But chances are, you'll like it even if you're not a fitness junkie. Rooms are fitted with lighting and temperature presets optimal for rest and relaxation and beds made from spring-free, organic fiber mattresses.

If you're after a little more action, there's also a rooftop pool and bar with panoramic views over New York City. Or simply step outside and hit Hudson Yards, which sits at the hotel's very doorstep.

Six Senses Shaharut, Israel

Perched atop a cliff in Israel's rugged Negev Desert, the Six Senses Shaharut -- opening in Spring 2020 -- is the perfect destination for the intrepid luxury traveler.

The hotel offers a menu of unique and thrilling desert-centric diversions, from camel safaris to rappelling off the Makhtesh Ramon -- the world's largest erosion crater, located at the peak of Mount Negev.

Afterwards, guests can retreat to their sumptuous sandstone villa and watch the sunset over the arid landscape from their private outdoor plunge pool.

The Fantauzzo, Brisbane, Australia

The hotel is named for award-winning Australian contemporary artist Vincent Fantauzzo.

Courtesy The Fantauzzo

Brisbane is having a moment, thanks to a frenzy of hotel openings -- including Australia's first W hotel -- in the past two years. The Fantauzzo, a fantastical, shimmering, geometric-walled boutique hotel in the trendy Howard Street Wharves precinct, is not one you want to miss.

It's got everything you'd want from a hip Aussie boutique hotel in a hip Aussie city: minimalist-modern rooms decked out in timber, stone and leather, original art by local artist Vincent Fantauzzo (after whom the hotel is named) and a central location steps from the city's hottest restaurants and bars.

But what you're really here for are the views. Whether you're at the rooftop pool, in the restaurant, or in your room, you're smacked with heart-stopping views over the Brisbane River, Story Bridge and city skyline.

&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

Opened in October 2019 after a top-to-toe $3 million renovation, the sleek new &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is as luxe as it gets in the great outdoors.

Its ten 1,400-square-foot suites boast desert views from every corner and the finest amenities, from fire pits and plunge pools to butler hatches with solar-powered freezer drawers stocked with ice cream and Namibian craft beer.

The biggest draw, of course, is the desert itself. Though you won't find the Big Five here, there's still tons to explore, from the surrounding caves to the stark, otherworldly landscape of the nearby Deadvlei salt pan.

Santa Monica Proper Hotel, Los Angeles

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20 best new hotels to visit in 2020 - CNN

Everything you need to know about traveling during Australias bush fire season – The Points Guy

Record-breaking heat waves, melting roads, savage fires. Dehydrated koalas desperate for help. The news around Australia is alarming.

However, fires are more nuanced than dozens of flame icons on a map express. Before abandoning plans for the Land Down Under, make an informed decision. Needlessly canceling deprives local communities of key tourism income while costing you fees, hassle and a much-anticipated vacation. Instead, manage expectations, stay flexible, and monitor regional developments.

The overarching message from Tourism Australias Managing Director Phillipa Harrison is one of cautious optimism. Whilst bushfires continue to impact parts of Australia, many areas are unaffected, and most tourism businesses are open. It is more important than ever that we rally around our communities and the tourism sector who may have been impacted she said. She pointed to the Australian Governments Bureau of Meteorology as a source for countrywide weather updates and fire warnings.

Heres what tourists need to know about bush fires throughout Australia.

Destination New South Wales (NSW) acknowledges the persistence of bush fires around the state. Check the Rural Fire Service, National Parks, NSW Police and the Bureau of Meteorology for updates, however, as many popular places are safe. Visitors may encounter travel delays due to damaged or partially closed roads and should check Live Traffic for updates.

Of course, the number one destination in NSW is Sydney. The citys denizens have endured weeks of haze and polluted air, generally dampening the mood and forcing people indoors. A new report by Reuters warns fire threatens the water supply. Check in with area hotels and tour operators before arriving.

Beyond Sydney, the Blue Mountains draw Americans to its rainforests, canyons and rock formations. Huge fires have been reported. However, as Scenic Worlds Chief Experience Officer Amanda Byrne reminds us, the World Heritage region is enormous. It is important for tourists to understand that the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area is vast more than 1 million hectares and there are many popular tourist areas currently unaffected by the bushfires, she said.

Scenic World in Katoomba is Australias most visited privately owned tourist attraction, welcoming around 40,000 American guests annually.

All eyes will be on Melbourne when the Australian Open kicks off in late January. Victorias fire season starts later than neighboring states though for now, its business as usual.

Kyle Ross of Grand Slam Tennis Tours, an American tour operator focused on packaged trips to key tournaments including the Australian Open, said he has fielded concerned calls and one cancellation due to a preexisting respiratory issue. Ross is keeping tabs on air quality:Weve obviously been tracking the firesand communicating with any travel partners with whom weve booked excursions for our tennis guests. While the danger from fires is low in Melbourne, the air quality can be affected from fires elsewhere.

If fires or smoke make travel challenging for guests, he added, conditions will affect players, too. An air quality situation could present a test of the functionality of HVAC systems; however, Tennis Australia runs arguably the best tennis venue in the world, he says.

Wineries in Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, popular day-trips from Melbourne, continue to welcome visitors.

South Australia (SA) has suffered blistering heat waves. According to the South Australia Tourism Commission (SATC), four December days saw temperatures above 104 Fahrenheit. Such conditions led to warnings of catastrophic fires and danger for frail and young travelers.

SATC recommends checking emergency warnings and alerts via Country Fire Service, the State Emergency Service, the Metropolitan Fire Service and the South Australian Government website.

For interested wine travelers, the area of Adelaide Hills suffered an estimated loss of a third of its vines. We do know there have been vineyards, wineries and cellar doors damaged but the extent of what has occurred is not clear. Whats important now is the safety of all involved and we urge everyoneto follow the advice of theSA Country Fire Service, activate your Bushfire Survival Plans and be aware that some roads in the area have been closed, said Kerry Treuel, Executive Officer of Adelaide Hills Wine Region. (Check Adelaide Hills cellar door openings here.)

Nick Knappstein, brand manager of Riposte Wines, confirmed reports of road closures and electrical outages. However, there are plenty of cellar doors openthe smoke has died down considerably, he said. Knappstein reminds tourists that around Adelaide, many other attractions, beaches and the wine regions of McLaren Vale and Barossa have not been impacted.

Only small scrub fires have afflicted remote places. Popular destinations in Northern Territory are unaffected. Darwin and surrounds, Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, Katherine and surrounds, Alice Springs and surrounds, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are operating per usual, said a tourism representative.

Tourism in Tasmania remains unaffected. Discover Tasmania has added a page with emergency information including links to the Fire Service and TasAlert should the situation change.

If heading to the heart-shaped island, check out summer programming on Tourism Tasmania.

Tour operators have suffered preemptive cancellations due to media coverage but insist popular tourism sites remain open. Check regional fire coverage before and during travel.

But for a few fires beyond Perth, the state is operating per usual.

If you dont have trip coverage through a credit card, buy a policy. In the event you have to change or cancel flights, hotels or scrap an itinerary altogether, several companies have customizable plans.

Always confirm flights with airlines before departure. Earlier in the year, airlines cancelled several flights in NSW due to low visibility from bush fire smoke.

Campers should check total fire bans around camp sites.

Travel parties inclusive of the asthmatic, frail, and elderly can monitor the air quality index of destinations. Bring a mask, if needed. During Californias wildfires, the Governors Office recommended N95 or P100 respirators. The N95 is small and light compared to the P100.

If visiting high risk areas, consider a fire survival plan. Discuss with travel partners what to do if fire threatens your location; know bush fire alert levels if youre in a vulnerable area; and keep fire information numbers, websites and smartphone apps handy.

As in life, be smart, flexible and have fun.

Follow this link:

Everything you need to know about traveling during Australias bush fire season - The Points Guy

Weekend’s wet weather in Nebraska could affect travel, cause flooding – Omaha World-Herald

Rain and snow smacked Nebraska on Saturday and will continue to do so Sunday in some areas.

Persistent precipitation led to National Weather Service flood warnings until early Sunday in Omaha, Lincoln and other communities in southeast Nebraska.

Meteorologist David Eastlack said the vast storm system has lived up to expectations, hammering Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota and the Northern Plains this weekend.

Authorities advised caution for drivers throughout the weekend because of rain or snow in all directions from Omaha.

Rain late Saturday in northeast Nebraska most likely will turn to a wintry mix and blowing snow Sunday.

Omaha had received up to 2 inches of rain as of late Saturday morning and rain was expected to persist. The National Weather Service said Omaha has a chance of snow Sunday.

Western Nebraska and most of northern Nebraska were placed under a winter storm warning through Saturday.

Cody Thomas, a spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol, urged drivers to be cautious and alert. "I know it's getting slick out west," Thomas said Saturday. "All the way through the panhandle."

Nebraska travelers can check up-to-date travel conditions at 511.Nebraska.gov or with 511s smartphone app. You may also simply Google NWS Scottsbluff, NWS Kearney, NWS Valentine and other cities to get area conditions and forecasts. NWS stands for National Weather Service.

Forecasts for some communities and cities in the region:

Kearney will be under a winter storm warning through much of Sunday with rain and snow expected to continue.

Scottsbluff can expect snow showers to give way to sun on Sunday, but temperatures will stay well below freezing.

Des Moines will be cloudy Sunday with a chance of rain and snow Sunday night.

Chicago might see rain today and tonight with a chance of rain or snow Monday.

Minneapolis probably will see some rain Sunday with chances of drizzle and a wintry mix Sunday night.

Denver will experience sun and some wind Sunday with a low of 12 degrees on a clear Sunday night.

Many Panhandle cities, including Scottsbluff, declared snow emergencies beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday.

Travel on some roads well north and west of Omaha was expected to be difficult over the weekend as fluctuating temperatures caused ice to melt and refreeze during the storm, according to meteorologist Alex Trellinger at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, weather service office.

A dry New Years is expected for Omaha, with highs Tuesday in the low 30s and temperatures falling to the low 20s early New Years Day.

The 10 biggest single-day snowfalls in Omaha history

No. 10: The only entry on the list of the 21st century saw 10.5 inches of snow fall onJan. 5, 2005.

Iowa and Nebraska prepared for a "wintry blast" in 2005, when Omaha received 10.5 inches of snow.

No. 9: Omaha was hit with 10.6 inches of snow on Jan. 5, 1932.

A record-breaking snowstorm hit Omaha on Jan. 5, 1932, when the area got 10.6 inches of snow the most ever recorded on a January day at the time.

No. 8: 11.5 inches fell in Omaha on Jan. 27, 1949.

The Jan. 27, 1949, winter storm brought 11.5 inches of snow to Omaha, which hardly compared to the 40 inches that blasted Chadron, Nebraska, earlier in the month, The World-Herald wrote on Jan. 27, 1949.

No. 7: On Feb. 18, 1908, a storm dumped 11.7 inches on Omaha.

A cartoon printed in the Feb. 19, 1908, edition of The World-Herald anticipates how people will remember the storm decades later. The Omaha area received 11.7 inches of snow the previous day.

No. 6: Omaha saw 12.1 inches of snow onJan. 10, 1975.

The Jan. 10, 1975, winter storm was among the deadliest snowstorms in Omaha history, claiming the lives of six people.

No. 5: Omaha saw a snowfall of 12.8 inches onFeb. 21, 1945

The Feb. 21, 1945, storm brought 12.8 inches of snow to the Omaha area. Pictured is a truck foreman lending a helping hand to a car stuck in the snow.

More photos from the Feb. 21, 1945, snowstorm.

No. 3 (tie):It snowed 13 inches in Omaha again onMarch 15, 1923.

The March 15, 1923, snowstorm which produced 13 inches of snow claimed the lives of three in the Omaha area.

No. 3 (tie): It snowed 13 inches on Dec. 7, 1892 the only 19th century entry on the list, largely due to a lack of earlier accurate weather data.

No. 2:It snowed 13.7 inches in Omaha on Feb. 23, 1942

Despite nearly 14 inches of snow, the Feb. 24, 1942, edition of The World-Herald reported that classes were still in session. Previous generations walked to school uphill both ways, as they say.

No. 1: It snowed a whopping 18.3 inches in Omaha onFeb. 11, 1965

The same storm that dropped more than 18 inches in Omaha dumped as much as 30 inches in Clatonia, Nebraska.

Read this article:

Weekend's wet weather in Nebraska could affect travel, cause flooding - Omaha World-Herald

Can the Art World Kick Its Addiction to Flying? – frieze.com

In 2009, the critic and curator Nicolas Bourriaud published (in English) a book-length essay called The Radicant. The term radicant refers to plants that root from the stem above ground instead of below; to be radicant, Bourriaud wrote, meant setting ones roots in motion, staging them in heterogeneous contexts and formats, denying them any value as origins. It was a critical concept that he already lived, de-emphasizing his home base in Paris in favour of an itinerant existence amongst international museums, galleries and studios, the roosting points of art-world peregrination. Bourriaud documented his travels explicitly in his introduction, as if to demonstrate his commitment to cultural nomadism: This book was written between 2005 and 2007 in the places to which circumstances brought me: Paris, Venice, Kiev, Madrid, Havana, New York, Moscow, Turin and, finally, London. Cities and places, rather than countries. Nations are abstractions I distrust, he wrote too xed, too ideological.

To Bourriaud, the Centre Pompidous pointedly international 1989 mega-exhibition Magiciens de la terre (Magicians of the Earth) represented the official entry of art into a globalized world shorn of master narratives, a world that is henceforth our own. In other words, the art world grew to encompass territories beyond its usual Western poles. At the same time, perhaps, art history lost its previous teleological thrust in exchange for a continuous, low-amplitude motion. Cultural globalization represented a kind of loss of self: Nothing counts, since nothing really binds us or requires us to commit to ourselves. The diaphanous, churning loss of self must be countered instead by travel, constant juxtaposition against new people and places.

Over the past decade, Bourriauds itinerancy has become commonplace not just for academic celebrities and the milieu of less-famous curators, artists and critics, but for a wide swathe of those who are or want to be associated with the cultural vanguard: from collectors and start-up CEOs to so-called digital nomads remote freelancers tapping away at laptops in co-working spaces in Bali, maybe making a living by ghostwriting gallery press releases distributed by e-flux. Radicant living has been codified and commodified via the neverending global schedule of biennials, art fairs, panels and openings. Tech companies like Airbnb and Uber extract prot from mobility as we rely on them for on-demand apartments and rides in each new city, while critics and curators fare no better than drivers in the precarious gig economy. Bourriauds itinerary now resembles not a whimsical intellectual adventure but the stops of atravellingsalesman.

Its a lifestyle the critic Andrew Berardini both summarized and parodied in a 2014 essay for the Canadian art website Momus, How to Survive International Art: Notes from the Poverty Jetset. Already that piece reads like a nostalgic elegy for a bygone time. Berardini trades Bourriauds theoretical polemics for a soft sensualism, evoking the pleasures of travel in the lifestyle of the art nomad: You live on one continent and work on two others. You have a firsthand knowledge of the sunrise over the Po, the sunset over Shenzhen, the crackle of the midday sun as the Acqua Alta wets your calves. You might be a poor culture-ronin, but you have accidentally attained an enviable air of weary cosmopolitan glamour, which follows you back to your shabby, expensive at.

The art worlds addiction to travel and the aura it imparts is chronic and its only getting worse. Today, as I watch colleagues depart for another fair, residency or retrospective, I think not of their open-bar, expenses-paid, five-star destination, but of the plane trip there. The three square metres of Arctic sea ice that melt for every tonne of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. (A return flight New York to London generates approximately 986 kg.) The fact that one small group the 12 percent of Americans who make more than six round-trip flights a year are responsible for two-thirds of the USs aviation emissions. We see the pointed internationalism of the cultural vanguard as a bulwark against the inward-oriented conservatism of our moment, but we talk less about how all that movement is only accelerating climate change.

Its a strange double-consciousness, reflective of what the writer Daisy Hildyard has called the second body in her 2018 book of that name. When I fly for work, I feel briefly enlightened, empowered, like I am someone valuable enough to have been transported simply to see a talk or exhibition. (A delusion, of course, but one many people share.) And yet, I also have the crushing awareness of that collective second body: the way that each of us, undertaking our mundane lives, is also invisibly contributing to the damage, our habits and hobbies inseparable from flooding in Bangladesh, droughts in East Africa and extreme heatwaves across European cities.

Our second bodies become bigger and bigger. We know that an overall rise in temperature of just two degrees would mean the displacement of 30 million people a year, 388 million people exposed to water scarcity, a 25 percent increase in hot days.1 It is the age of climate panic, according to journalist David Wallace-Wells, and each year we do not solve the problem, the harder it gets to solve. Any sense of optimism often takes the form of nationalist narcissism: in November 2019, Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement on the grounds that it would punish the American people. This kind of exceptionalism is like the subconscious assumption that your flight alone wont hurt the environment.


Despite our awareness of the apocalyptic Anthropocene a curatorial buzzword long before it became mainstream we seem to feel that travel is either a right or a necessity. There are plenty of good reasons. The small, scattered art world is kept united by flights and human relationships built on both planned and chance physical encounters. Museums, galleries, magazines and individual freelancers alike must maintain their networks and knowledge of what is happening elsewhere, not just because of the cosmopolitan ethic, but to stay competitive in the creative marketplace. Still, the deeper reason for our desire to travel might have something to do with the nature of art itself, particularly in the digital era, when the Benjaminian aura seems scarcer than ever.

Art has always had an aspect of pilgrimage the imperative to travel to encounter the physical object in its original surroundings. The Grand Tour, the 18th-century tradition for the British gentry to travel continental Europe as a kind of cultural coming of age, was oriented around seeing and buying art. One such 1722 guide to Italys pictures and statues put forth its goal to endeavour to persuade our nobility and gentry to become lovers of painting, andconnoisseurs.2

First we visited individual works, then the great museums and collections, then the ephemeral academic salons of Paris. 1895 saw the first Venice Biennale. Since the 2000s, art fairs and all sorts of -ennials have taken up the mantle of pilgrimage destination. The motivation to attend these events chimes with the goal of the Grand Tour, as the critic Dave Hickey described in his account of the fair circuit c.2007 in Vanity Fair: No matter how rich you are, you cant learn how to be rich playing pitch and putt in Sun Valley or throwing down vodka shooters in Misto Kyyiv. You need to absorb the evolving global etiquette by immersion.

I would argue that it is neither the art nor the artists that provide the attraction these days, but the surrounding social scene. Each event forms a de facto installation of relational aesthetics, a 1998 coinage again of Bourriauds, which privileges social experiences as art objects. The party-as-art was documented, disseminated and intensified through Artforums tongue-in-cheek Scene & Herd diaries, an online column that, from 2003, became weekly propaganda for the privilege of travel. Its name-dropping established an exclusive social cohort. Geoff Dyer satirized the scene in his 2009 novel Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi: This was the Biennale, there were lots of other parties to go to and as soon as a party began flagging it quickly fizzled out. Dyer, via his writer-protagonist, evokes a zone of encounters with art objects, vaguely theoretical discourse with colleagues in which consensus is easily reached, casual sex and cocaine ingestion.

Hans Ulrich Obrist is the latest patron saint of art-world travel, his reliquary a rolling suitcase. In a 2014 New Yorker profile, D.T. Max recounted that the curator had made 2,000 trips over the past 20 years and travelled for 50 of the previous 52 weekends. (All in, we could say hes responsible for at least 6,000 square metres of melted Arctic ice.) The curator made meeting artists and having conversations his practice; both necessitate physical co-presence. Obrists travel habit trickled down. How many participants in the art world today must fall within that 12 percent demographic of maximum polluters?

For DISs 2014 disaster issue, it collaborated with the magazine ECOCORE to solicit data about the climate impact of individual exhibitions; one show at Artists Space in New York with works shipped from Germany produced 0.0449 tonnes of carbon dioxide bad, but not as bad as one intercontinental flight, which produces twice as much. (Multiply that by thousands to get the impact of a single art fair.) In 2018, Olafur Eliassons Ice Watch brought 30 chunks of glacier from Greenland to London, slowly melting in order to incite us into second-body guilt. But the installation also produced 55 tonnes of carbon dioxide between the flights, hotels, ships and trucks needed to execute the project its mechanical and human resources.3

In regard to climate change, theres a gap between what art attempts to communicate and its literal consequences. If a work is particularly memetically successful, as Ice Watch was, perhaps the cost was worth it. Judging between the frivolous and the adequately persuasive is a gamble. In installations such as these, the problem tends to get aestheticized rather than solved, because its easier to respond to or engage with than to undertake the obvious fix, which is to opt out of the global circuit. In his book The Uninhabitable Earth (2019), Wallace-Wells critiques the neoliberal misconception that consumer choices can be a substitute for political action if only we conscientiously buy the right things, we might fix the environment. The climate crisis demands political commitment well beyond the easy engagement of rhetorical sympathies, comfortable partisan tribalism and ethical consumption, he writes. This applies to the consumerism of the art world as well: buying environmentally woke art isnt going to stop the seas from rising.

Art does have the potential for activism in the sense of changing the way we envision climate change and its causes. It can remind us that, for most people in the West, its not too much flying that is their greatest contribution to the warming planet, but emissions from their cars and the way they heat and air-condition their homes. Or it can show that individual choice doesnt even play the most significant role in climate change: 100 corporations including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron cause 71 percent of global carbon emissions.4


We are all implicated in making travel aspirational, for accepting the idea that living between places is more cosmopolitan, more creative, than settling in just one and staying there. We keep choosing to leave every few weeks, constantly advertising for subletters on Facebook, melting the Arctic ice, because movement is so pleasurable.

I remember how legitimizing travel felt to me as I tried to make my way through the art world a decade ago as a journalist and critic. Previews, press trips, opening parties, panels: I was a professional spectator. My first full-time job out of university was as the English editor of the Beijing-based magazine Leap. The first moment I felt like I was part of a scene that I barely knew existed as a student the Scene & Herd zone I was leaning against the wall of my own giant hotel suite in Hangzhou, having travelled there in a van from Shanghai with three Chinese art critics to attend an artists museum opening. At the afterparty, there were bowls of Zhongnanhai cigarette packs and plates of smoked duck necks stacked on the bar, which the artist owned. Later came the junkets, the upgraded flights to Istanbul, the dinners on drifting boats or in the courtyards of closed museum, the several times I went to Savannah, Georgia, less for the art than because I liked the Spanish moss and the ageing neoclassical architecture.

In the end, I wasnt even that successful at gaming the system. I always marvel at one friend who seems to have been on the road for the past five years straight: biennial, art fair, fashion retrospective, boutique hotel opening, all with the dubious veneer of art-world relevance. Travel doesnt cost writers anything except the questionable value of our time; the payment we offer in return is often no more than a quick dispatch posted on the website of a major glossy magazine. Some triangulation of real and cultural capital happens between the client, PR agency and publication and, all of a sudden, youre halfway around the world.

In retrospect, I feel both guilty at my own largesse and embarrassed that it wasnt as extreme as others. Was it worth the environmental price? The travel seems like a kind of social pressure that, if we decided to, we might be able to give up, or at least cut back on sneaking in just a few flights like clandestine cigarettes. The young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has pioneered environmental guilt-tripping, mounting her activism using sustainable methods like sailing across the Atlantic, a durational performance of two weeks. In her home country, Thunberg has pushed the term flygskam (or flight shame) to some effect: this past summer, Swedish domestic flights decreased by eight percent compared to the previous year.

Travelling doesnt have to be such a burden on our industry. We consume images on Instagram already; why not leave installation shots to be produced by those who live close to an exhibition or a studio and then just look at them online? Alternatively, there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for exhibitions: sustainably curated art experiences, biennials that travel on ships, like Thunberg, or on lower-impact trains, which remain an evocative mode of continuous movement. The trick might be coming up with new formats and new expectations, admitting that our current methods of drop-shipping shows are unsustainable at best. How do we re-localize art through curation, without sacrificing the global culture that we prize?

An answer could come from Obrist, with his formula-based do it exhibitions, launched in 1993, in which works take the form a set of instructions that can be restaged by other artists who are conveniently accessible. Or, we could move at a consciously slower speed, with residencies instead of junkets, commissions instead of short-term installations. I recall Dougald Hine co-founder of the UKs Dark Mountain Project, which advocates retreat from civilization in response to climate change mentioning an idea for a pan-European theatre troupe that travelled only by land. Hines latest project is Home: a school based in rural Sweden for studying the mess the world is in, grounded in bringing people together, in one spot, on a small scale. The goal here is finding a sustainable ecology not just for the climate but also cultural community, rooted in place. We dont need to stop travelling, but its worth admitting that the trips can be made more worthwhile. There are enough parties wherever you already live.

In 2009 Bourriaud asked us to deny our origins any value as origins, to travel as a means of challenging our identities and our aesthetics. But to continue accelerating on the nomadic path risks homogenization in the short term and literal disaster in the long. Ignoring nationhood now seems ignorant, patronizing. Beyond a connoisseurship of places, of cities and their various charms, we need to cultivate an appreciation of staying put. Invite a few local friends over, light some candles and call it hygge it might even be fun.

1The Impacts of Climate Change at 1.5C, 2C and Beyond,CarbonBrief, 20182 Cited in Bruce Redford, Venice and the Grand Tour, 1996, YaleUniversity Press, New Haven, p. 363Ice Watch, report produced by the London-based arts environmental awareness nonprofit Julies Bicycle in collaboration with Studio Olafur Eliasson, February 20194 Dr Paul Griffin,The Carbon Majors Database: CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017, EJ/CJ Digital Hub, July 2017

This article first appeared in frieze issue 208 with the titleVanity & Vapour Trails.

Main image:Roger Hiorns, A Retrospective View of the Pathway, 1990-2016, jet airliner, burial, dimensions variable. Courtesy: Roger Hiorns, Luhring Augustine, New York, Corvi-Mora, London, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles, and Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam


Can the Art World Kick Its Addiction to Flying? - frieze.com

Travel blogger makes 600k in a YEAR by posting sponsored pics on Instagram all while travelling the world f – The Sun

THIS 25-year-old made 600,000 in a year by posting sponsored pics on Instagram - all while travelling the world for free.

Travel blogger Tara Whiteman, aka Tara Milk Tea, has 1.3 million followers and cashed in AUS$1.1 million in 2019.




The influencer came 17th in Instagram's rich list, released yesterday, putting her just one spot below model Bella Hadid.

Tara, from Sydney, was paid for 73 sponsored pics this year, and is thought to earn an average of 8,000 per post.

She was the only Aussie to make the top 20 - and her recent envy-inducing trips include the Maldives, New Zealand and Abu Dhabi.

Tara fell in love with travel as a teenager, while exploring her Asian heritage - on her mum's side of the family.




She previously told the Mail: "I travel with my partner and we've both always enjoyed photography.

"I take photos of him, and he takes them of me. Strangers offer to take photos of us together, which is really nice."

Tara insists there isn't any 'secret' to the perfect Insta shot, but says she always makes sure her pics are bursting with colour.

And you need to be an early riser - as Tara takes most of her shots before 8am, when there are less tourists around.




Instagram's top 2019 earners

Speaking to Harper's Bazaar, she added: "Three key components to capturing the perfect moment while travelling would be shooting in the right light, which leads to getting up early (for light and to avoid crowds), and also planning your outfits.

"I love trying to match/blend or perfectly contrast with a city, so Ill do a little research before going somewhere to see what outfits would work best for the photos."

And she insists she isn't glued to her phone, with Tara doing tech-free days on many of her trips.

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She said: "I love leaving our hotel without our phones, and then wander off into the unknown... We always try to make sure we get a little lost in places that offer so much more than just picturesque Instagram photos."

Speaking about her dreamy life, Tara told the Mail: "Travel is really fulfilling. I love seeing different cultures and ways of life. Sometimes I do miss my family, but we talk almost every day so it's never too bad."

We previously spoke to an influencer who was told she was too fat to model by school bullies - now they're begging to be her mate on Instagram.

The rest is here:

Travel blogger makes 600k in a YEAR by posting sponsored pics on Instagram all while travelling the world f - The Sun

The Kiwi attractions in Lonely Planet’s Wonders of the World – Stuff.co.nz

Lonely Planet's new book reveals 101 of the world's most spectacular sights and how to see them on any budget including two in New Zealand


New Zealand's third island feels a million miles from the North and South Island. Named Stewart Island by colonial settlers, and Rakiura ('glowing skies') by the original Moriinhabitants of the area, this sparsely populated island has just one town, few roads and just a few hundred inhabitants, which explains why it offers your best chance of spotting a kiwi in the wild.

Most of the island is protected by a 1400-square-kilometrenational park, where you can get far from the nearest human being and imagine New Zealand as it might have been before homo sapiens first tramped on to the scene. While you explore its silent beaches, muddy swamps, ribbon-like inlets and fern-filled forests, look out for chance encounters with kiwis, which wander at will in this predator-free sprawl of hills.

READ MORE:* Ambitious changes planned for Milford Sound* From mountaintops to the deep sea in Milford Sound* A well-beaten but sublime Milford Sound road trip* A quick guide to New Zealand's Great Walks

At points along the shoreline, you can gaze out over empty waters that stretch, uninterrupted, all the way to Antarctica, beneath a curtain of lights from the aurora australis, and feel just a hint of the lonely freedom of the fishermen who have moored here across the centuries. Afterwards, reset your sense of perspective with a pint at the South Sea Hotel, the southernmost pub in New Zealand.

@ slyellow / Shutterstock

Pier on Rakiura Track

Travel International

It's often said that visitors to Stewart Island have a choice between 10 minutes of terror or an hour of torture. Wind-tossed flights connect the island's only town, Oban, to Invercargill on the South Island, or you can brave the ocean for an hour-long ferry crossing from Bluff over the notoriously choppy Foveaux Strait. Flights connect Invercargill to Dunedin International Airport, but the only international flight from here is to Brisbane, so you many need to connect through Auckland or Christchurch.


Stewart Island has only one town, which is where almost everyone arrives, and most of the island's 20km of roads link Oban to surrounding bays outside the national park area. To penetrate deeperinto the interior, you have to walk, but water taxis can drop you off at remote bays around the national park so you can start your tramp in pristine nature. Sea kayaks are another popular way to explore, but most paddlers stay close to Oban in Paterson Inlet.

Stay Shoestring

Bunkers Backpackers: A handy central location in Oban and a sunny garden add to the appeal at this small, cosy backpacker hostel in an old wooden villa. (Dorms from NZ$34, rooms from NZ$80; http://www.bunkersbackpackers.co.nz)

Nicols Cuervo / 500px

Boat beside a waterfall in Milford Sound.


Observation Rock Lodge: Perfectly positioned for views of sea, sunset and aurora, this small, graceful lodge has a bush setting and luxurious rooms with private decks. (Rooms from NZ$395; http://www.observationrocklodge.co.nz)



South Sea Hotel: This iconic pub the southernmost in New Zealand is an essential Oban stop for cold beer by the quart, fish and chip suppers and great bar banter. (Mains from NZ$18; http://www.southseahotel.co.nz)


Church Hill Restaurant & Oyster Bar: Local oysters, salmon and crayfish dominate the menu at this hilltop heritage villa, serving Oban's best sit-down dinners. (Mains from NZ$38; http://www.churchhill.co.nz)


* Stewart Island edges into the roaring forties so rain falls regularly year-round and its muddy trails are often waterlogged.

* The cool winter from June to August is best avoided for camping, but there's more competition for space in overnight huts from December to February.

* Ferry crossings from Bluff to Oban are reduced from May to September, but this is the best time to catch the aurora australis.

1. The Stewart Island kiwi (or tokoeka) is one of New Zealand's largest varieties and forages throughout the island at night (and sometimes by day).

2. Shale formations in New Zealand's newly designated national park, Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island.

3. Pause at a pier on the Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand's 'Great Walks'.

Best value itineraries

4 days

Four days is really the minimum if you want to get into the interior of Stewart Island. The glorious Rakiura Track takes three days to loop around the isthmus inland from Oban, offering prime kiwi- spotting opportunities en route, with accommodation in trekkers' huts or campsites along the trail.

On the way you'll walk lonely beaches with hardly a footprint on the sand and forest trails dripping with fern fronds, taking in stunning views across the island and ocean. At the end there's a day for exploring tiny, friendly Oban and the surrounding bays or kayaking on Paterson Inlet.

710 days

With up to 10 days, you can really leave the masses behind and get far from humanity on the north or western coasts of the island. The easier Southern Circuit offers a six-day transect across the centre of Stewart Island from Halfmoon Bay or the Freshwater boat landing, following forested valleys to Mason Bay with hut accommodation for each overnight stop. You'll need nine days or more for the tougher North West Circuit, linking a string of trekkers' huts around the north end of the island, passing dune-backed beaches, rocky headlands and ferny forests.

@ i viewfinder / Shutterstock

Bungy jumper over a river at the Kawarau Bridge Bungy site.


New Zealand has a full hand of epic landscapes, from mountain glaciers to fern-filled forests, but even in this company, Milford Sound Piopiotahi to the indigenous people of South Island stands out.

Dominated by the soaring buttress of 1692m Mitre Peak, this dramatic inlet was carved by glaciers during the last ice age. When the ice sheets retreated some 10,000 years ago, they left behind an almost supernatural landscape of sculpted mountains rising sheer from the mirrored surface of the fjord.

Viewed from the cruise ships that navigate the calm waters of the sound, the peaks rise like breaching humpback whales, isolating the inlet from the outside world.

When it rains, which it does often in this corner of the South Island, foamy cascades surge downhill into the sound, slowing to a trickle when the skies clear again. Stirling and Lady Bowen falls are the most reliable performers, kicking up rainbows of spray when the sun emerges after rain.

To fully appreciate the scale of the landscape, you need to get down to water level. Trade the cruise ships for a guided kayak tour or don scuba gear and explore the remarkable terrain below the water a playground for octopus, seals, penguins and dolphins.

Travel International

Tourist flights drop into tiny Milford Sound Airport from Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau, but Queenstown has the only airport with international connections. A handful of airlines serve Sydney and the east coast of Australia, but for connections to Asia and further afield, you'll need to fly first to Dunedin or Christchurch.

Buses run to the sound from Queenstown and Te Anau, but many visitors prefer to come here on self-drive campervan trips.


Most people visit Milford Sound from Queenstown or Te Anau as this natural wonder has limited infrastructure and places to stay, apart from the Milford Sound Lodge and berths on visiting cruise ships. Buses and tourist flights run daily from both cities, making day trips a popular option. Self-drivers should fill up before leaving Queenstown or Te Anau as prices are elevated at the lone pump in the sound.



Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers: The lakefront location ensures lovely views from this popular hostel in Te Anau, which offers a choice of simple bunkrooms or smarter private rooms. (Dorms from NZ$20, rooms from NZ$88; http://www.teanaubackpackers.co.nz)


Milford Sound Lodge: Rustic chic is the watchword at this rural lodge providing everything from wow-factor chalets to pocket-friendly dorms, as well as jaw-dropping views. (Dorms from NZ$40, chalets from NZ$415; http://www.milfordlodge.com)



Sandfly Caf: Locals and outsiders come together at this lively Te Anau hangout, great for morning coffee, hearty breakfasts and light lunches. (Mains from NZ$7)


Public Kitchen &Bar: This lakeside Queenstown eatery makes full use of meat and produce from local farms; come for a slap-up dinner after a day trip to the sound. (Mains from NZ$12; http://www.publickitchen.co.nz)


* Milford Sound is famously green and pleasant credit for this goes to the abundant rains, which swell the waterfalls year round, most spectacularly in December and January. The weather is drier from June to August, but temperatures dip and the waterfalls thunder a little less dramatically. The shoulder seasons from March to May and September to November strike a happy compromise, with fewer visitors, but plenty of waterworks.

1. Milford Sound receives a mean annual rainfall of 6000mm, meaning that it's one of the wettest places in the world and has lots of waterfalls.

2. The Darran Mountains reflected in Lake Marian, one of many lakes in Fiordland National Park.

3. Take the plunge from Kawarua Bridge near Queenstown.

Best value itineraries

34 days

Due to the limited accommodation available on the sound, most visitors come on day trips from Queenstown or Te Anau, so consider an itinerary linking all three places, leaving room for some adventure activities on the side. Start with a couple of days in Queenstown, reserving one day for rafting, tramping, paragliding, bungee-jumping, canyoning or climbing in the fabulous countryside outside town.

On day three, head off early for the sound and immerse yourself in the stunning scenery both on arrival and along the route before overnighting at Milford Sound Lodge.

Continue on day four to Te Anau, which serves up its own set of stunning lakeside landscapes.

710 days

With a week to spare, it would be a shame to enjoy the wonders of the sound for just a day. The legendary Milford Track runs from Glade Wharf on Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound in four scenery-filled days, passing towering waterfalls, lofty mountain passes, plunging glacial valleys and pockets of rainforest. Boats zip trekkers from Te Anau to Glade Wharf, but visitor numbers are strictly controlled and the route is booked out within days of opening to tourists each year.

Head onward to Queenstown to enjoy the food and party mood, then continue the fun at Wanaka for a more low-key vision of lakeside living.

Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet's Wonders of the World 2019, http://www.lonelyplanet.com

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The Kiwi attractions in Lonely Planet's Wonders of the World - Stuff.co.nz

7 most ‘Instagrammed’ attractions around the world – Travel Daily

As we move into a new decade, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has uncovered the Most Instagrammed Sights Of 2019, as part of their InterContinental ICons campaign.

Marking 10 years since the start of Instagram in 2010, InterContinental takes a look at how Instagram has transformed the travel landscape and informed the way in which we travel. Further insights from the global study reveal that people are looking to use Instagram more in 2020 and beyond.

The most Instagrammed Sights Of 2019 are the following:

53% of all #Paris photos analysed and nearly 10% of all photos analysed worldwide.

44% of all #Shanghai photos analysed

36% of all #Dubai photos analysed

35% of all #Sydney photos analysed

25% of all #MexicoCity photos analysed

21% of all #London photos analysed

20% of all #NYC photos analysed

In 2020, 39% of global luxury travellers will put more focus on social media when travelling in the coming year. 55% of global luxury travellers believe capturing social media content while travelling increases their ability to have a meaningful experience.


7 most 'Instagrammed' attractions around the world - Travel Daily

Most popular travel destinations of 2019 that created records – Times of India

The list shows how Asian destinations are the ones dominating the list, by clinching more than 40 entries. Hong Kong is likely to hold on to its popular status of being the worlds most popular city, despite handling political unrest for months, which led to a sharp decline in tourist arrivals. However, the good news is, Delhi enters the ranks for the first time. And here is the list of top 10 most visited tourist destinations in 2019.

Hong KongWith estimated international arrivals of 26.7 million, Hong Kong holds the numero uno position, despite dealing with political unrest for months. This destination is as cosmopolitan as you can imagine, and is always bustling with activity. Its rapidly developing economy can give almost all the emerging cities a run for their money. And no matter what you want to grace your travel itinerary with, Hong Kong has something for everyone.

BangkokWith estimated international arrivals of 25.8 million, Bangkok secures the second spot in the list. Here, you get to witness the amazing blend of old-world charm and modernity. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, may come across as a bit chaotic, but its infectious energy will welcome you with open arms the moment you land here. Also, the interesting ambience that this destination creates with its high-rise apartments, high-end dining spots, five-star luxurious hotels, delicious street foods, buzzing nightclubs, Buddhist meditation centres, and much more, will give you an experience of a lifetime.MacauWith estimated international arrivals of 20.6 million, Macau finds itself in the third position. From famous casinos to many hidden treasures, this peninsula has in store more surprises than you can think. Macau may seem small, and that you might think your itinerary will be light, but dont just fall for this. This little wonder will welcome you with serene temples, black-sand beaches, hedonistic malls, adventure options, and if you like these things, Macau is a place for you.SingaporeWith estimated international arrivals of 19.8 million, Singapore is in the fourth position. Having attained a glamourous status in the tourist circuit, this place has all the features to attract adventure lovers, shopaholics, photographers, backpackers, and artists. Lovingly referred to as Garden City, Singapore is that place you need to visit and its stamp should definitely grace your passport.


With estimated international arrivals 19.1 million, Paris is in the sixth position. This place with all its beauty will be a feast for your senses, and the sights will please you wherever you go. Immersed in history, Paris will leave a remarkable impression on you and is often considered as one of the most glamorous cities in the world. And a tour of Paris, with glamour and culture juxtaposed, there will never be a dull day in Paris.


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Most popular travel destinations of 2019 that created records - Times of India

The year of the conscious connoisseur – Times of India

The passion for running took fitness-cum-travel enthusiasts to Vietnam, Oman, Sweden, Denmark, England, Germany, South Africa, Thailand and many other countries. A growing breed of running freaks now travel the world to take part in global marathons. Rather than looking up long weekends or festive breaks, they check the global marathon calendar to plan their travel. What makes this running vacation or runcation more exciting than a regular trip is the ability to view a new place from an entirely different perspective. Running frees you from tourist traps, allows you to explore the secret nooks and crannies of a city or discover an outdoor wonder. Some seasoned tourists even take to running up mountains across the world.

No such thing as a good seasonThere was a time when people would prefer travelling during festive breaks and summer holidays. 2019, however, saw a rise in off-peak travel, with more travellers venturing to places

during off-season months, or to places that usually don't see people because of their extremely cold climates. Travellers are now picking their travel dates as per flight deals which drop after the peak season. This way, not only do they avoid large crowds but also save a lot of money by getting fabulous deals on flights and stays.

Lesson learnt

OvertourismWhile travel emerged as the most emancipating takeaway in 2019, it also emerged as a global problem. An over-travelling world caused mayhem at some locations across the world to an extent that governments had to put a ban on tourists. With massive crowds causing environmental degradation, cities around the world were seen asking one question: Is there anything to be done about being too popular? Social media and apps such as Instagram lead tourists to pitch over cliffs and clog vital roadways in search of the perfect pic, while travel booking sites are making restaurants, museums, and beaches discoverable, and thus ruinable. Can we save cities from tourist onslaught. Systematically? The debate will continue in the New Year.

Embracing minimalist travel How to pack minimally and travel around with a carry-on was one of the top travel searches this year! There is definitely a shift in the way travellers pack. People as well as brands are ditching oversized suitcases for chic carry-ons and sleek backpacks built to maximise space. Lets thank Marie Kondo for that!


Bleisure also known as business and leisure trips was a buzzword in 2019. Millennials contributed to a 20 per cent rise in the trend this year and many young professionals managed to make the most of their work trips by exploring culture, food, and local attractions of a destination by adding a few days to their itinerary. On the flipside, a lot of them experienced guilt for taking time off for a personal holiday, a fact corroborated by a recent study that reveals Indians do not take leave even on a vacation! This can only result in stress and decreased productivity. One must remember that vacation is a perk and one isnt necessarily neglecting work every time one unplugs.

Lessons learnt

Dont spin, just cookAnything and everything that gives a modern spin to a traditional Indian dish did not cut ice with diners. Also, the notion that trends like fancy fusion, cooking techniques or merely jazzing up plating methods will sell was dispelled this year. Diners became discerning in their choice of meals and chefs also realised that fancy culinary terms or tasteless tweakings to a traditional dish will not sell. Simple straightforward dishes, good cooking techniques and emphasis on quality ingredients became the order of the day as the year went by.

Zero waste and eco-friendlyFrom using leftover meat for preparing stocks to using every part of the ingredient in cooking, chefs and restaurants aggressively promoted zero-waste dining. From opting for paper straws, glass bottles and doing away with poly packaging, there was a visible effort to promote responsible eating out. Expect more places to jump on the bandwagon next year.

Non-startersBizarre combosActivated charcoal powder, chicken in sushi or nitrogen fumes in cocktails this was the year when diners stayed away from too much drama. Molecular gastronomy turned out to be a big flop as did bizarre pairing of ingredients or plating of dishes just to look cool.

Here to stayIndia on the Plate

From khichdi in various forms, pastas and pizzas made from locally sourced flour, local artisanal cheese and chocolates; junking exotic salmon and basa for Indian alternatives like bhetki this was the year of Indian produce. Chefs boasted of their culinary tours in unexplored Indian destinations, sought inspiration from cuisines from the Northeast and put mountain food on the plate. This has been a year when young chefs did more than lip service to regional Indian food and made an endeavour to promote local cuisines and ingredients. The trend of choosing fresh local produce over frozen imported goods has become the norm and is only expected to grow stronger next year.

Non-alcoholic CocktailsThe notion that people who cannot drink need not party was being aggressively challenged by the fast growing trend of non-alcoholic cocktails. And these were not sugar syrup loaded mocktails. Globally, bars popped up that served an extensive drinks menu sans alcohol. The most popular cocktails and beverages were

Concocted with no use of any spirit. These bars, that serve non-alcoholic distilled gins or beers and drinks based on them, became a huge hit. Expect this trend to finally gather steam in the coming year as many outlets are eager to get these non-alcoholic spirit brands to India and make it a part of their menu.

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The year of the conscious connoisseur - Times of India

Tripadvisor reveals 10 best attractions in the world 2019 – Better Homes and Gardens

After analysing the Tripadvisor websites 250,000 bookable tours and activites, Tripadvisor crunched the numbers and identified the top 10 most booked tourist attractions of 2019.

Unfortunately, not one Australian tourist attraction or destination made the list, while Europe laid claim to seven of the top 10, and the Colosseum in Rome took out first place. Check out the full list below.

The winner of 2019: Colosseum, Rome, Italy


10. Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy

9. Skydeck Chicago, Chicago, US

8. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands

7. French Quarter, New Orleans, US

6. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

5. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

4. Statue of Liberty, New York City, US

3. Vatican Museums, Vatican City

2. Louvre Museum, Paris, France

1. Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The safest places to visit in 2020

The best airline in the world 2020

The best beach in Australia 2020

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Tripadvisor reveals 10 best attractions in the world 2019 - Better Homes and Gardens

New Year festival at The Kelpies to kickstart Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 – Travel Daily

The Helix, home of The Kelpies, is preparing to welcome thousands of people to its new year festival Fire & Light: 2020 Visions on 1-2 January. Produced by Jaggy Events with support from Falkirk Community Trust and Event Scotlands Winter Festivals fund, 2020s Fire & Light will bring a fusion of past, present and future to Falkirk as part of Visit Scotlands Year of Coasts & Waters.

The fifth event of its kind, the 2020 Visions show will feature some of Scotlands best theatre, fire and LED performers, including the world-famous Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers who will perform a heart-thumping performance in front of The Kelpies and PyroCeltica, Scotlands trailblazing fire act.

The event encourages visitors to embrace the adventure of a new year with a walk through The Helix park towards the magical Kelpies, interacting with an amazing array of performances and installations along the way.

Once visitors reach The Kelpies, they can stop and enjoy the fire jets that will be choreographed to the powerful Taiko Drummers performance of Rhythm of Light. When the drumming stops, an LED clad musician will perform on a spectacular laser harp, celebrating the iconic waterways of Falkirk. The event will also be one of the first set to welcome in Scotlands celebratory Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Maureen Campbell, chief executive of Falkirk Community Trust, organiser of Fire & Light: 2020 Visions said: This event is returning as one of Event Scotlands Winter Festivals and this continues to support Falkirk as an all year round must visit destination.

Paul Bush OBE, director of events at VisitScotland said: We are supporting Fire & Light in its fifth year through Scotlands Winter Festivals programme. As one of the first events to celebrate Scotlands Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, the innovative programme of activity planned for Fire & Light 2020 Vision further reinforces Scotland as the perfect stage for events.

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New Year festival at The Kelpies to kickstart Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 - Travel Daily

Russian missile weapon can travel 27 times the speed of sound – NEWS.com.au

A new intercontinental weapon that can fly 27 times the speed of sound became operational on Friday, Russias defence minister reported to President Vladimir Putin, bolstering the countrys nuclear strike capability.

Mr Putin has described the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle as a technological breakthrough comparable to the 1957 Soviet launch of the first satellite.

The new Russian weapon and a similar system being developed by China have troubled the United States, which has pondered defence strategies.

The Avangard is launched atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, but unlike a regular missile warhead that follows a predictable path after separation it can make sharp manoeuvres in the atmosphere en route to target, making it much harder to intercept.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu informed Mr Putin the first missile unit equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered combat duty.

I congratulate you on this landmark event for the military and the entire nation, Mr Shoigu said later during a conference call with top military leaders.

The Strategic Missile Forces chief, General Sergei Karakayev, said during the call the Avangard was put on duty with a unit in the Orenburg region in the southern Ural Mountains.

Mr Putin unveiled the Avangard among other prospective weapons systems in his state-of-the-nation address in March 2018, noting its ability to make sharp manoeuvres on its way to a target would render missile defence useless.

It heads to target like a meteorite, like a fireball, he said at the time.

The Russian leader noted Avangard was designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2000C resulting from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.

The military said the Avangard was capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound.

It carries a nuclear weapon of up to two megatons. Mr Putin has said Russia had to develop the Avangard and other prospective weapons systems because of US efforts to develop a missile defence system he claimed could erode Russias nuclear deterrent.

Moscow has scoffed at US claims its missile shield wasnt intended to counter Russias massive missile arsenals.

Earlier this week, Mr Putin emphasised Russia was the only country armed with hypersonic weapons.

He noted Russia was leading the world in developing an entire new class of weapons, unlike in the past when it was catching up with the US.

In December 2018, the Avangard was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Urals and successfully hit a practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 6000km away.

Russian media reports indicated the Avangard would first be mounted on Soviet-built RS-18B intercontinental ballistic missiles, codenamed SS-19 by NATO.

It was expected to be fitted to the prospective Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile after it became operational.

The Defence Ministry said last month it demonstrated the Avangard to a team of US inspectors as part of transparency measures under the New Start nuclear arms treaty with the US.

The Russian military previously had commissioned another hypersonic weapon of a smaller range.

The Kinzhal (Dagger), which is carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, entered service with the Russian air force last year.

Mr Putin has said the missile flies 10 times faster than the speed of sound, has a range of more than 2000km and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead.

The military said it was capable of hitting both land targets and navy ships.

China has tested its own hypersonic glide vehicle, believed to be capable of travelling at least five times the speed of sound.

It displayed the weapon called Dong Feng 17, or DF-17, at a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese state.

US officials have talked about putting a layer of sensors in space to detect enemy missiles faster, particularly hypersonic weapons.

The administration also plans to study the idea of basing interceptors in space, so the US can strike incoming enemy missiles during the first minutes of flight when the booster engines are still burning.

The Pentagon also has been working on the development of hypersonic weapons in recent years, and Defence Secretary Mark Esper said in August he believed it was probably a matter of a couple of years before the US had one.

He has called it a priority as the military works to develop new long-range fire capabilities.

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Russian missile weapon can travel 27 times the speed of sound - NEWS.com.au

Virtual Travel Could Change the WorldIf It Gets Off the Ground – The Wall Street Journal

You strap on a slim, comfortable headset, pick up your controls and press a button. A drone takes off, whizzing down flooded city streets. Through the goggles, you see what the drone seesa crisp, live, 360-degree view of battered houses and uprooted trees. When you look down, you see whats below the drone. The full-color picture doesnt seize up; theres no latency. You are, essentially, digitally teleporting into the aftermath of a natural disaster.

At least, thats the goal. Digital teleportation, as the field is fancifully known, doesnt exist yet. But proponents of the technology, which some call live delivery, believe that in the coming years, a mix of virtual reality, fast wireless networks and machines like drones and rovers will allow people to immerse themselves in actual, far-flung environmentsin real time. Live delivery is a new type of tool that will reinvent the way we experience the world, that will allow us to be on the spot when things are happening, said Marc Carrel-Billiard, senior managing director at Accenture Labs, who advises businesses on VR and augmented reality.

While VR shows prerecorded scenes, live VR, which is starting to show up in classrooms and operating rooms, allows users to experience what is happening in situ. Companies are already starting to pair simplified versions of live VR with drones to give users a sense of being in another place.

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Virtual Travel Could Change the WorldIf It Gets Off the Ground - The Wall Street Journal

Google reveals the 10 most popular travel destination trends of 2019 – CNBC

Google released its "Year in Search 2019" results this week, which showed the travel destinations that had the highest spikes in searches in the U.S. from this year to last.

The list shows what's trending not necessarily what's most popular so don't be surprised if your favorite Caribbean island or mouse-themed amusement park didn't make the list. Instead, Google taps into the changes in the travel zeitgeist, revealing the places where Americans went or simply aspired to go more in 2019 than previous years.

So what's hot in travel this year? Americans searched for "trip to" these 10 places:

The underwater glass master bedroom of the Muraka residence at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

Courtesy of Justin Nicholas

One photo of this small south Asian nation easily explains its popularity. It's simply beautiful. Made up of a chain of atolls, the Maldives is famous for its one-per-island resorts, translucent turquoise waters and pristine coral reefs.

A trip to the Maldives is not about exploration; it's about staying put, which makes choosing a hotel the most important decision of the trip. Google Trends shows newer properties, such as Kudadoo Maldives and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, were the most popular in terms of searches this year.

A stay in an over-water villa in the Maldives is de rigueur for many Americans. Then, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island upped the ante with the world's first over-water villa with an underwater bedroom. A night there can set you back a cool $38,000 for a full-board package during peak season, which makes the low-season $10,000 bed-and-breakfast daily rate seem like a steal.

Japan's Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi.

Marco Bottigelli | Moment | Getty Images

The world is fascinated by Japan, and Americans are no different. The United Nations World Tourism Organization reported that as of September 2019 Japan posted the second highest growth in international tourism receipts, after Australia.

Yes, the 2020 Summer Olympics are a half a year away. Yes, Japan has turned the basic requirement of eating into high art (which explains why its capital city, Tokyo, has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world). And yes, you can drive go-cartsthrough the streets of Tokyo dressed like Batman. And, any nation that has turned Kentucky Fried Chicken into an annual Christmas tradition is in good stead with the American populace.

But Japan has a softer side; it's home to dramatic temples, natural onsens, world-class skiing, seasonal seas of cherry blossoms and a people known for their politeness.

Sunset from the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.

ShutterRunner.com (Matty Wolin) | Moment | Getty Images

Bora Bora is the comeback kid of 2019. Starting in the 2000s, tourist arrivals to this French Polynesia jewel started to wane. In 2009, Club Med Bora Bora shuttered its doors.

But the past few years have been kind. Interest is on the rise. People are now searching for flights and resorts, though Google Trends shows recent surges relate to rapper Lil Durk's "Bora Bora" video and unretouched photos of Demi Lovato in a bikini.

Home to a crystalline lagoon and sugary sands, Bora Bora is a good spot to swim with sharks (the pleasant kind), rays and even whales. Diving is big business in this tropical paradise, which sits atop an extinct volcano.

Americans search for "all-inclusive" resorts as well as specific hotels, such as the Four Seasons and St. Regis properties. Luxury rooms top $1,000 per night, while more modest, grass thatched-and-drift-wood accommodations have daily rates of $300 or less. A third option is to cruise around on the Paul Gauguin, an all-inclusive deluxe vessel, named after the artist who spent the last years of his life in French Polynesia.

A portion of the Las Vegas strip.

Dennis Hohl / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Vegas and those who don't.

But make no mistake both groups go.

It's the spot for blackjack, showgirls, pre-wedding mayhem, musical residencies, epic club scenes and even more epic elderly slot playing. The city's history has been immortalized in Scorsese mobster filmsand now classic comedies. It's glitz, glam and gutter life rolled into one discount weekend package.

Google Trends cores into exactly what people want to know about Sin City. People search for hotels, flights, shows and Craigslist? The site is surprisingly popular in Las Vegas; proceed with caution.

Giving credit where credit is due, this desert city successfully attracts everyone from young families and celebrities to MICE travelers and the highest of high rollers. The sinners come as do the saints. Even the grasshoppers a top trending Vegas-related search term at the moment.

Mexico is the most popular international destination for Americans.

MM i m a g e s / 500px | 500px | Getty Images

Mexico may be the fifth most popular place to search for trips, but it will almost certainly be the No. 1 spot where Americans actually end up.

Mexico is the most popular international destination for Americans by a landslide and has been for many years. That's why it's no surprise that the most searched travel question in the U.S. in 2015 was: what to pack for Cancun?

It's close, warm, relatively affordable and offers everything from the ruins of Chichn Itz to tequila tours by train. Plus, Americans are obsessed with the food well, a version of it anyway.

And not only are Americans vacationing in Mexico, they are quietly moving across the border. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City estimates around 1.5 million Americans live in Mexico, more than seven times the number since 1990.

Costa Rica is popular for ecotourism.

Johner Images | Johner Images Royalty-Free | Getty Images

The second half of the top 10 list shows a domestic bent Alaska, New Orleans, California and New York, in that order with one exception, Costa Rica in the 10th spot.

Though Americans have a reputation for stateside travel, Google's "Year in Search 2019" data shows that Americans are setting their sights on international shores. And with the number of Americans with passports now at 42% up from just 4% in 1990 more people are poised to turn their search dreams into reality.

The rest is here:

Google reveals the 10 most popular travel destination trends of 2019 - CNBC

Nuffield Scholarship Program Funds World Travel for Farmers – AG INFORMATION NETWORK OF THE WEST – AGInfo Ag Information Network Of The West

The Nuffield International Farming Scholarship Program offers funds for farmers to experience agriculture in other countries around the world. Started in 1947, the program just became accessible to Americans in the past four years. Nuffield Scholars travel to various countries as a group for six weeks, then individually to complete a research assignment. Commodity groups sponsor the scholars to pay for related expenses.

Brock Taylor, a long-time independent agronomist in Clovis was just named to the Nuffield USA Board of Directors.

TaylorFor me, it's, it's really leadership. Going back to their own community with all this experience and traveling and meeting other people and dealing with people while you travel and bringing that back to their own community. So that's, that's a really good thing. The commodity group funds it and sponsors it, but then they're coming back to their own community in a leadership role for the community, which I really like.

Taylor first became involved with Nuffield by planning visits to California for foreign scholars. He says most participants are farmers or ranchers in their 30s or 40s, and have someone who is able to takeover their management responsibilities while they travel.

Scholars choose their individual travel areas based on their research topic. They then bring that knowledge back to their local communities.

Nuffield is accepting applications and will be conducting interviews in the spring. Learn more and apply at http://www.NuffieldInternational.org.


Nuffield Scholarship Program Funds World Travel for Farmers - AG INFORMATION NETWORK OF THE WEST - AGInfo Ag Information Network Of The West

Virtual travel could change the world with help from drones, VR and wireless – DroneDJ

An article in the WSJ talks about how virtual travel could change the world with help from drones, VR and fast wireless networks. And even though drones might seem to be the best technology for deploying the cameras needed for digital teleportation, widespread use is likely to be years away.

Sarah Toth Stub writes for the Wall Street Journal that:

Proponents of digital teleportation are working to combine live virtual reality, drones and fast wireless networks to allow people to explore far-flung locales in real-time.

You strap on a slim, comfortable headset, pick up your controls and press a button. A drone takes off, whizzing down flooded city streets. Through the goggles, you see what the drone seesa crisp, live, 360-degree view of battered houses and uprooted trees. When you look down, you see whats below the drone. The full-color picture doesnt seize up; theres no latency. You are, essentially, digitally teleporting into the aftermath of a natural disaster.

At least, thats the goal. Digital teleportation, as the field is fancifully known, doesnt exist yet. But proponents of the technology, which some call live delivery, believe that in the coming years, a mix of virtual reality, fast wireless networks and machines like drones and rovers will allow people to immerse themselves in actual, far-flung environmentsin real time.

Since May, Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border have been using a drone system for surveillance, to search areas for explosive devices and enemy combatants, and to deflect flying objects sent by militants, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The drone transmits up to 130-degree, live footage to a pilots headset, allowing soldiers to explore dangerous areas without risking their safety.

Pairing live VR with drones is the next step. The technology partly comes from the small but growing world of professional drone racing. Pilots don goggles during races that give them a first-person view of the drones progress along the course. The system is difficult to learn; it takes the pilots full attention just to steer the drone. First-time fliers often crash, said Nicholas Horbaczewski, chief executive and founder of the Drone Racing League. Pilots often opt for flat, black-and-white footage because it has the quickest data-transmission rates, but it isnt detailed enough for military or other non-racing uses.

Still, startups are pushing ahead. For consumers, San Diego-based NewBeeDrone is working on a headset for use with first-person-view drones that comes with high-definition views. Its more of a proof-of-concept now, said Daryn Huang, the companys chief financial officer. But this shows people what it can be like to fly.

Still, the technological developments needed for useful, widespread teleportation by drone are likely years away, Mr. Chakareski said. Drones appear to be the best technology for deploying the cameras needed for digital teleportation, he said. But you have to completely redesign the process of gathering data and distributing data in order for VR to really deliver on its potential and have a societal impact.

You can read the entire article Virtual travel could change the world with help from drones, VR and wireless here [paywall].

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Virtual travel could change the world with help from drones, VR and wireless - DroneDJ

The best books of 2019 for people who love travel – The Points Guy

It can be hard to find a nice holiday gift for the frequent flyer. In 2019, however, there are some notable coffee table books and book books that will please the AvGeek, the frequent flyer or anyone with a healthy love of wanderlust on your list.

If youre like me, route maps in the back of an inflight magazine are a fascinating look at the world. For instance, who knew there were nonstop flights between, for example, Nashville and London? Or, just how extensive are American Airlines routes to Central and Latin America? The route map is at once marketing for the airline and bragging rights that they can take you from here to there in style.

Enter: Airline Maps, a new release for 2019 that features full-color reproductions of route maps and airline art from the likes of American Airlines, British Airways, Air France and KLM, among many others. Its a fascinating look at an era of travel long past. The examples span from 1919 to the present day. Its a must for anyone interested in the history of flight and the graphic design behind the maps and airline posters. The authors, Mark Ovenden and Maxwell Roberts, are a design historian and university lecturer, respectively. (Ovenden also authored Transit Maps of the World.) Buy:Amazon.com

Theyre back. The Greenpoint, Brooklyn-based auteurs created a travel phenomenon with their original book, Atlas Obscura. The second edition features just as many oddities as the first, from the worlds largest solar furnace (Languedoc, France) to surfing in urban Germany. Equal parts fascinating, creepy, trippy and unexpected, pick up a copy for the most curious and adventurous traveler on your list. The new edition features 100 new spots plus a fold-out map of a dream round-the-world trip. Its all very, well, obscure. Buy: Amazon.com

On cold days, I love to flip through something that warms the spirit. What better way to remember a trip to Italy than with Gray Malins Italy. The noted photographers tome has 125 truly stunning images of everywhere from the rugged, rocky Puglia to the green, northern feel of Lake Como. Its bright, colorful and bold; I want it on my table. In an era where drone photography is ubiquitous on Instagram, Gray Malin is the original master. Gray Malin: Italy is as close to a visit to the Cinque Terre as youll get without actually flying there on points. Eccellente. (I had better get planning a trip for 2020.) Buy: Amazon.com

Airline pilot Mark Vanhoenacker penned Skyfaring, the popular book every traveler should read. Earlier this year, the British Airways Boeing 787 pilot released How to Land a Plane, which literally explains how one would fly a jumbo jet and actually land it. His prose is simple, enjoyable and the book makes for a quick read. Who knows? Maybe youll inspire a future pilot with this gift. Buy: Amazon.com

The weather has a very large impact on our travels. But if you want to get a deeper understanding of how the weather is forecast, and the history of humankinds efforts to predict it, try The Weather Machine, a new book by Andrew Blum. It doesnt explain how thunderstorms develop, but will help you understand how we went from an inability to predict the weather two days out to now being accurate to 10 days. Blums book is a non-technical explanation that goes behind the scenes of the worldwide meteorology club. (If you want something decidedly drier to learn more about the actual weather, the FAA publishes the Aviation Weather Guide for Pilots.) Buy: Amazon.com

Its already a best-selling book (to the tune of 3.5 million copies), but the book was released in 2019 in a giftable format: a hardcover edition worthy of your coffee table with more than 1,000 photos from adventures around the world. Its an international whats what of places to visit and experience, accompanied by photography that will definitely make you want to get out there and explore. Dont tell my brother, but hes getting this 15-pound book from me on Dec. 25. Its eye candy for travelers, and a hefty choice. Buy: Amazon.com

Since 2015, Monocle Magazine has published several dozen city guides, and is now in the process of updating some of the originals such as New York and London. The Monocle Guides are a more accessible version of the small, colorful Wallpaper Guides you may have seen. In 2019, Monocle released Athens, Hamburg, Chicago, Brussels + Antwerp, and Marrakech, Tangier and Casablanca. (Chicago, in particular, is a nice read with good information on architecture and simply the best curation of things to do, stores to visit and places to eat in this architectural gem of a city.) Buy: Monocle.com,$15 each

Mike Arnot is the founder of Boarding Pass NYC, a New York-based travel brand, and a marketing consultant to airlines, none of which appear in this story.

Feature photo by eternalcreative/Getty Images

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The best books of 2019 for people who love travel - The Points Guy