How to Stay Hydrated on a Plane
Since airplane cabins are pressurized, the humidity level is significantly lower than on the ground, and as such it’s easy to become dehydrated. That’s why flight attendants are always serving water. Still, on long flights your skin, eyes and lips can become uncomfortably dry, your feet can swell up, and your head can pound. Here’s some tips to avoid it all:
Stay away from tomato juice
Why do people drink tomato juice on planes, when they wouldn’t drink them on land? Cabin pressure dulls your senses, so you’re effectively tasting and smelling as if you had a cold. The strong taste of tomato juice is more agreeable in this environment, hence its popularity. Just one problem: tomato juice is very high in sodium, which contributes towards dehydration. One serving is fine, but repeated cans of tomato juice will do you no favours.
Carry a tube (under 100ml) of good moisturizer to apply to dry skin. Likewise, some lip balm for chapped lips, non-medicated saline eye drops and nose spray will help replenish moisture and make your flight more comfortable.
Both the high altitude and cabin pressure pack more punch in any cocktail. This is why drinking excessive alcohol is not recommended on flights, and while just two drinks feels like you’ve downed a six pack. Besides making you woozy and a pain in the butt for attendants, alcohol also dehydrates the body. When it comes to beer and wine, the more you drink, the drier you get. There’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine, but make sure you chase it with a glass of water.
Stay Away from Coffee, Tea and Pop
In the sky, these drink that do more harm than good. Caffeine, carbonation and excessive sugar facilitate dehydration. You’re always better off drinking water.
Lately, travellers are singing the praises of coconut water, consumed before and after a flight. It contains natural potassium electrolytes that help with dehydration, along with numerous other health benefits.
The Rise of the Bucket Lister
This month I’m a talking, highly animated head on a 60 Minutes Sports episode about the rise of Adventure Travel. Why are more and more tourists leaving the all-inclusive beach resorts to go hiking or cycling or bushwhacking? In effect, why are tourists becoming travellers? I call it the Rise of the Bucket Lister.
Here’s a preview of the episode. Warning: I’m pretty certain my two year-old daughter fell into a cauldron of Red Bull and is incapable of any form of rejuvenating sleep. My eyes tell this story accordingly.
I’ve seen this trend with the success of the Canadian Bucket List project. Bucket Listers, as I call us, are drawn to unique and memorable experiences. Beach vacations tend to blur together, but you never forget seeing a polar bear in the wild, or staying in an ice hotel, discovering an island by bicycle or crossing the country by train. Not that there’s anything wrong with a beach vacation, especially if we’re looking for relaxation and rest. I’ve always said that travel is as personal as the underwear you’re wearing (assuming you’re wearing underwear!)
Demographically, we’re at an incredible time for travel. Active boomers and empty nesters with more disposable income than any other generation in history are game for adventure. Millennials and Gen X’ers are taking advantage of low-cost airfare and helpful online tools to find great deals, information and inspiration for their own adventures. Factor in online bookings, credit cards and e-devices, and there’s never been an easier time to travel. Clumsy travellers cheques and paper airline tickets have gone the way of the dodo. A tiny USB stick can hold hundreds of albums for any road trip. Even in far-flung Albania, I could access local currency at ubiquitous ATM’s. Tour operators have become more professional, and more environmentally responsible, and the rise of volun-tourism has brings with it the opportunity for more meaningful travel.
For 60 Minutes Sports, I spoke about my recent trip to Antarctica, and how a night camping on the ice turned into a bigger adventure than anyone bargained for (thank you snowstorm!) I also explain it was the highlight of my trip. I was cold, wet and uncomfortable, but I was experiencing Antarctica as it is – a cold, wet and uncomfortable place. So while the fantastic meals and service and friendships I enjoyed on One Ocean Expedition’s ice-breaker might fade in my memories, surviving one miserable night on the forbidding seventh continent will not. I would argue there is Bucket List travel, and there are Bucket List moments, and this one was of them.
In August, I’ll be heading to Baffin Island one One Ocean’s sister ship, the Ioffe. You are welcome to join me for this Photographic Symposium, it’s going to be a Bucket List journey to be sure. As the Writer-in-Residence, I’ll be researching a new chapter for The Great Northern Canada Bucket List edition, to be published next year, and putting the final touches on my international opus, The Great Global Bucket List too. Visiting the starkness of the Arctic in a Russian-flagged expedition ice-breaker is sure to be unforgettable. Massive glaciers crashing into shark-fin mountains, abundant wildlife, the rich culture of Inuit communities, hikes on the tundra – is it any wonder that yesterday’s tourists are becoming today’s adventurers?
60 Minutes Sports airs and repeats on Showtime. My segment appears in Episode 6 of season 3, titled Backroads.
Oh the Amazon
My Great Global Bucket List summer kicked off with a truly remarkable sailing down the Amazon river. I've skirted the Amazon a couple times, but I wanted a deep jungle experience, and I wanted it in style. That's how I found Aqua Expeditions, and their Aria luxury riverboat. It's like a floating five star hotel in one of the world's most hostile environments.
King size beds, rainshowers, air conditioning, stocked bar, a Jacuzzi, sundeck, viewing lounge, dining room and all with floor to ceiling windows. There are 16 luxury suites catering for up to 32 guests, with 24 crew catering to your every need. The whole time I'm thinking: This is the Amazon?
Before I get to the jungle I have to get to the food. The menu was created by one of Peru's rock star chefs, and executed to perfection. All local Amazonian fare like catfish and plantain and chili marshmallows and fruits you've never heard of. Every meal is a tasty adventure, served with complimentary (and well selected) wines from Chile.
There are two to three excursions a day, the passengers split into one of four skiffs, heading into the tributaries in search of wildlife. We saw sloth, monkeys, unbelievable varieties of birdlife, river dolphins, and also the many communities of people that call this part of the world their home.
Below was taken from a short walk on terra firma (land that does not flood) where I had a poison dart frog crawl up my leg, watched a local hold a huge hairy tarantula, dodged bullet ants, and felt the intense jungle heat and humidity. Although Brazil gets most of the attention (it holds 60% of the Amazon basin) the Peruvian Amazon is the size of Spain.
A boa constrictor doing it's thing during the jungle walk. Life is abundant and everywhere but you could walk right past it.
Mimosas at sunset, shortly before a night excursion to look for (and successfully grab hold of) caimans. There were 24 guests on my sailing from the USA, UK, Australia, Austria and Japan. Everyone got a long splendidly.
My wife joined me for this trip (we left our two year old with her grandparents) which made it an extra special assignment. This is the view of the Amazon from our cabin. At night, we watched the stars, during siestas, we watched the world float by.
You'll be able to read all about my adventures on the Aria and in the Amazon in my opus, The Great Global Bucket List, which will be on bookshelves in fall 2016. Special thanks to Aqua Expeditions and LAN Airlines for helping me tick this one off the list!
Next up: The Galapagos and the Arctic!
Notes from a Speaking Tour
Montreal to Fredericton is an eight hour drive. Quebec’s ice-scarred highway runs into the smooth double lane bliss of New Brunswick. My Mom and I listen to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, a thought-provoking three hour podcast about the decision to use nuclear weapons in World War II, which is more interesting than it sounds (especially after our recent visit to the Diefenbunker). It’s a smooth, uneventful drive east, although more and more snow appears on the hills that bracket the highway. New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia got nailed with the worst winter in living memory. Everyone we meet tells us about it, shows us pictures, and is obviously relieved it is finally over. In Fredericton, I take my Mom to see the Dali masterpiece, and the Santiago el Grande delivers its magic. We pop into the Lunar Rogue, which offers over 300 whiskeys (described in a “bible” that defies description, see Gallery above), and I give a talk at the local Chapters. Onwards to Saint John, for a booksigning, polar bear dip, and a fascinating visit to the Jewish Historical Museum, and Moncton, where Magnetic Hill was closed due to snow. Without being able to see it, my Mom still doesn’t believe the car rolls uphill (it does). Our Moncton accommodation is in the new Sheraton Four Points, a welcome option if you’re visiting. Best line from a local in New Brunswick: “The Nova Scotia Tourism guys should give its annual award to the New Brunswick Highway Authority!” You simply won’t find better roads in the country, but the Bucket List has proven there are plenty of attractions in New Brunswick along the way.
There’s plenty of sea ice floating beneath the Confederation Bridge as we make our crossing on a crystal blue day, a welcome return the Gentle Island. Snow and rust-red earth had yet to turn Prince Edward Island’s countryside into the lush green hues I know from my summer visits. I’m reminded how different places look in different seasons. We head straight to the famous Water-Prince Corner Shop to feast on a lobster dinner, rejoicing that they’d opened for the season just the day before our arrival. I host a hilarious trivia night at my favourite pub The Churchill Arms, awarding prizes I’ve picked up along my journey, including a Voyageur scarf from Winter Carnaval in Quebec, Roughrider mittens from Saskatchewan and water bottles from Banff-Lake Louise. A book signing at the local Chapters, and blessed with a sunny day, I take my Mom to Prince Edward Island National Park, with the incredible Gulfshore Parkway practically deserted before tourism season kicks in. We gaze over the red cliffs at Orby Head, explore Cavendish, pop into the Dunes Gallery dusting off its wares after the long winter, and hear how the snow was piled up so high locals had to dig tunnels to their doorways. I also learn from my new friends atBookmark on Queen Street that The Great Atlantic Canada Bucket List fills a niche, with nothing else on the shelves like it. I celebrate with a taster flight of a dozen brews from Gahan House.
Back across the Link, and now we’re in Nova Scotia, which instantly seems wilder and more untamed than the farmland of PEI. We roll into Halifax just in time to tape a segment with CTV’s Jayson Baxter at Garrison’s Brewery. It’s the second taster flight in 12 hours and not a pip of a complaint from me. Opposite the craft brewery is the grand Westin Nova Scotian, one of the original CPR Hotels with hallways bigger than highway tunnels. We drop our bags and head out for a lovely walk on the waterfront, locals in shorts and sandals already, on what we’re told is the first true day of spring. We’ve been bringing the weather with us, all the way from Vancouver. The next day, Ford gathers some of the city’s most dazzling lifestyle bloggers for me to wine and dine at the fabulousOcean Stone Seaside Resort near Peggy’s Cove. We learn to shuck huge oysters, sip back sparkling pink Nova 7, and after a decadent lunch (lobster-stuffed chicken breast!) I give my final presentation about the importance of journeys. One of my key points is that a journey is only as important as the people you share it with. Illustrated beautifully by the afternoon’s visit to Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg.
Last time I was here, the sky was muted, a dull grey failing to light up the wonder of these Nova Scotian marvels. This time, I’m with my Mom, the sun is shining, and she’s beaming on the rocks next to the iconic lighthouse, and exploring the grid streets of Lunenburg. The memorials of the Swissair Flight 111, which crashed near Peggy’s Cove with the cost of 229 lives, and the list of vessels and people that drowned off the coast of Nova Scotia, is a telling reminder to enjoy these special moments. Having spent 12 days with my Mom crossing the country, she has proved to be a friendly roadie, fun travelling companion, and proud promoter of the Canadian Bucket List. Not to mention a doting Mom. With two book signings in Halifax, a steady stream of people arrived to chat and talk about the book, having seen me on TV or my profile in the Halifax Chronicle. Many told me their own stories of exploring Canada, or ticking off their Bucket List.
A final hop to the Rock – St John’s Newfoundland, looking out over the port from our room at the Sheraton, exploring the jellybean houses the likes my Mom had never seen. We shopped for gifts on Duckworth and Water Street, had a delicious lunch at the Rooms, watched Irish music at Shamrock City (my Mom ordered tea in the Irish bar. I’m surprised the musicians didn’t fall off the stage). Hopes for an iceberg tour were dashed by poor weather, this being Canada’s windiest and foggiest city. The plane over was not fast enough to bring our weather system, for the teeth in St John’s icy wind cut right through us. I signed some books and that’s a wrap! We’d travelled 7500 kilometres promoting the joys and wonders of Canada, meeting t hundreds of peoples across a dozen events, not to mention in the many restaurants and activities we popped in along the way. The Great Canadian Bucket Listsold out its 5th print run, and according to Amazon, we’re sold out the first batch of The Great Atlantic Canada Bucket List too. Don’t worry, more is on the way. As for my own Bucket List: I got to drive a Mustang, visit an urban castle, surf in a river, polar dip in the Bay of Fundy, and show my Mom some of the most incredible spots on Canada. Tick!
Please come in. Mahalo for removing your shoes.
After many years running a behemoth of a blog called Modern Gonzo, I've decided to a: publish a book or eight, and b: make my stories more digestible, relevant, and deserving of your battered attention.
Here you will find some of my adventures to over 100 countries, travel tips and advice, rantings, ravings, commentary, observations and ongoing adventures.