Before setting off on a journey to foreign latitudes, a general plan of action seems a reasonable idea. When time and funds are limited, the most has to be made of both. The aim is an agreeable cocktail of experiences upon whose long-lasting effect individual memories and emotions can foster. Sometimes even carefully charted programmes are missing a vital link. One that takes travellers back into a country’s historical and political past, grim as it may have been. Then it will be understood why the past is inseparable from the present and the future and why landmarks such as Joburg’s Constitution Hill epitomise the lifeblood of an entire nation.
Reading time: about 5 minutes
Murphy’s law. Sometimes – no matter how much goodwill may have been invested into planning – things just don’t work out the way they should. Take a wildlife safari, for instance and imagine this scenario: At the ungodly hour of four-thirty in the morning, when it is still pitch dark outside, one’s proper physical system has not gained momentum yet, the game reserve is 90 minutes away from the hotel, vision is limited, the vehicle’s irritated GPS fabricates unfathomable directions once the smoothly paved stretch ends and we turn off-road. Rain is pouring (pouring!). Aboard a forlorn minibus a bunch of drowsy journalists are resting their exhausted frames against foggy window panes and limply jump out of their seats involuntarily each time the bus rattles into a pothole with a thud. Or conquers another especially mean hump. And another.
Reading time: about 7 minutes
This TED talk was first posted almost exactly five years ago. See the parallels to Covid-19? Read article
Reading time: about 1 minute
At breathtaking speed, our world is being inundated with ever more sophisticated electronic equipment. Used devices hardly a year or two old, are replaced with increasing frequency, to be cashed in or be thoughtlessly dumped for the next much fancier gadget. Most “outdated” models are added to a recycling bubble already stressed at the seams. Considering that resources are scarce and thus valuable, this sort of rotation system is still unrivaled. Yet, have you ever wondered how – and above all – where, your discarded cell phone, laptop or PC may have ended up eventually? It is estimated that more than half of the electronic waste from, e.g., the United States, is shipped to countries fairly ignorant of environmental issues - and there it is successfully buried in oblivion. Like for instance in China, India or Ghana in West Africa. A young company in Boston, Mass., sets an example of how fruitful sensible recycling can be.
Reading time: about 2 minutes
No tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll
In the history of man’s evolution, „up the tree – and quickly!“ seemed a splendid option when it came to escaping from all sorts of bloodthirsty evil inadvertently popping up from nowhere. In order not to be devoured, predominantly benign early humans, hunting and gathering relentlessly, just followed their instinct. Enabled by helpful tools shaped from stone, hammered from bronze or cast from iron in later ages, the long-hatched dream of a safe permanent dwelling high up a tree did come true. Second best to the cosiness of easily defendable caves, the properly fastened tree-house offered lofty shelter, an ideal lookout for invaders and food protection from voracious scavengers – whereby the odd poisonous snake or spider moving in unasked had to be tolerated.
Reading time: about 3 minutes