Starling Travel

September 20, 2015

Travel Is Fatal To Prejudice and Bigotry

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 9:21 am

I love this quote from Mark Twain’s book, Innocents Abroad:

Travel is fatal to prejudice and bigotry from Starling Travel

It reads:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

  • Mark Twain

A research study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science is close to proving Twain right:

“Across five studies, using different research methods including a longitudinal study, we found that breadth but not depth of foreign experiences increases generalized trust,” Cao added. “In other words, the more countries one travels, the more trusting one is. Breadth is important here, because breadth provides a great level of diversity in people’s foreign travel experiences, allowing them to reach such a generalized assumption.”

If you are considering whether traveling somewhere is worth the money, remember this quote. In fact, if you know of any prejudices that are lurking in your psyche that you wish to eradicate, visiting the very country of your prejudice may just change your mind completely. Think of that the next time you stick a pin in a map and plan your vacation.

August 14, 2015

Go To A Place You Have Never Been Before

I really love this motivational poster I saw on Facebook a while back:

Go to a place you have never been before from Starling Travel

It reads:

Go at least once a year to a place you have never been before.

This is an argument that I have every year with Mike. He always wants to go to Yellowstone, which we have been to almost every year for a decade. I want to try new national parks, like Yosemite. This year, we didn’t go on a big trip. Our biggest trip was to Lagoon Amusement Park up north. It was a really fun vacation and we got to see our friends and family while we were there, so no regrets.

Huge snow drifts in Yellowstone from Starling TravelStill, the argument rages on. Yellowstone or Yosemite. Mike argues that Yellowstone is different EVERY time we go there. I can hardly describe the difference of Mammoth Hot Springs now versus when we saw it that first time together. I wish I had photos of Orange Spring Mound from that first trip because it has LITERALLY taken over the road and they have had to make a new road around its massive orangeness. Yellowstone is truly different every time we’ve visited from the year with the ten foot snow drifts to the year with the bear with a porcupine quill in its paw. We have never had a repeat experience.

El Capitan in Yosemite from Starling TravelBut I have never seen Yosemite. I would feel like an idiot if I never got to see the mountains and trees that so inspired John Muir in his writing and activism. I would regret never seeing El Capitan in person when it was the focus on so many of Ansel Adams’ photographs. How can I keep visiting Yellowstone over and over when Yosemite is there, waiting for me to visit?

Then again, Ansel Adams spent his whole life visiting Yosemite over and over. Georgia O’Keefe loved Taos so much she moved down there. Additionally, every time I visit a place, it looks different to me because I AM DIFFERENT. What was boring to me as a child is gorgeous to me as an adult. What was interesting to me before may be gone, but has been replaced with something just as strange and captivating. When our national parks are different every time we visit them, it doesn’t matter which one we visit as long as we get out.

If I were to change that poster on the top, I would make it MUCH more simple. Instead of it saying, “Go at least once a year to a place you have never been before,” it was only say, “GO.”

June 24, 2015

Let Your Memory Be Your Travel Bag

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 9:43 am

I saw this quote today and I believe it, but I want to argue with it as well.

Own only what you can carry with you know language know countries know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Alexander Solzhenitsyn from The Quotations Page

It reads:

Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Yes! It’s important to learn the language, the terrain and the people of the place that you’re visiting. It is important to prepare for a far away trip in every way you can.

My toiletry bagNo! It’s ALSO important to pack the necessities. I still have a toiletries kit that I keep stocked for travel. I talked about it here:

I have a very similar bag in the camper, although the medicinal items are in a separate first aid kit. You MUST bring the things you need to SEE, BREATHE and stay alive. If let your memory be your travel bag, you’re going to be paying lots of money for replacement contact lenses if you lose one or be searching the tiny town in Ireland for deodorant.

It is essential to pack both your mind AND your bags properly for a trip.

June 3, 2015

Maps Encourage Boldness

Filed under: Places To Visit,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 7:46 am

I found this quote on The Quotations Page and it made me so excited to travel.

Maps encourage boldness. They're like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible. Mark Jenkins from The Quotations Page

It reads:

Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.

  • Mark Jenkins

I have the same feeling about maps. Whenever I was riding in the car on the way to or from my grandparents’ house in Billings, Montana, Grandpa would throw the map in the backseat and tell me to navigate. It helped me so much to learn how to find ourselves on the map and to plot where we would be going next. We always went the same route from Salt Lake to Billings: through Idaho Falls, over to West Yellowstone, up to Bozeman and over to Billings. Even though they were smaller roads that route, it was faster for us to go that way (unless West Yellowstone was snowed in).

Now, Google plots it all for me, assuming that I can go the speed limit, not knowing that my tiny trailer’s tires top out at 65 mph. So, I change the route. Smaller roads don’t slow me down because I can only go 65 mph anyway. I’m already slow.

The next time Google plots a route for you, try going a different way. Really USE your map and choose a route that has something to look at on the drive. And when your first instinct is to fly, suppress it. Take the car and actually SEE the places you pass by. Let the map give you boldness!

February 21, 2015

Your Rich Friend Who Travels All The Time

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 6:25 am

I saw this funny bit from College Humor and I had to share it.

I laughed out loud when she said, “How do you let a man in a suit tell you when you can be naked in the sun?” and he replied, “Health insurance.”

Camping in the Popup at Buckskin Mtn State Park in AZ from Starling TravelThe thing is, even if you are POOR, you can find ways to get away. For example, our last trip costs were:

  • $50 for the campsite
  • $55 for the gasoline

We were able to eat cheaply in the camper by making our own food and we would have eaten whether we were at home or in Buckskin Mountain State Park, so our trip was under $150 over the long weekend. Of course, there was the initial investment of the camper, which was $1000 used and something breaks on it almost every time we camp.

You don’t have to be THAT person to travel. You might not be able to go to Bali or Bangkok, but you can be naked in the sun if you find a secluded enough spot to not get arrested.

December 19, 2014

The Vitality of Thought Is in Adventure

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

I adore this quote and think about it often when I can’t travel.

The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them. Alfred North Whitehead from The Quotations Page

It reads:

The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.

  • Alfred North Whitehead

Whenever I am feeling cooped up and unable to travel, I make a plan. I plan a short and inexpensive trip that we can take that is fun and enjoyable. We are in the middle of the Christmas holidays and I can’t just hitch up the camper and run away, so I plan. We have a few weeks free in a month or so, so we are going to take the camper and go somewhere fun.

I might not be able to take an adventure today, but I refuse to let my dreams of travel just stay an idea. Something must be DONE about them!

February 20, 2014

The Highways of 1976: How I Wish!

Filed under: Road Trips,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This old General Motors video about how a road trip would be in the future of 1976 is painful to watch at first, but there are some interesting things about it that I wish were true.

If you can get past the singing and spoken poetry, then you’ll get to see the interesting ideas for the future of road trips. The car that drives itself is the first dream for the future that never came to be. Here’s a picture of the “Electronic Control Strip” that supposedly drives the cars.

Electronic Control Strip in Center Lane from Starling Travel

Google has been working on a car that drives itself for a long time now and we still haven’t seen it.

The idea of having a car that dispenses ice cream and sodas seems a bit over-the-top. Not even the high-end RVs have that. It would be cool, though.

Ice cream and drink dispenser in the car from Starling Travel

I really like this fold-down tray, though. Why don’t we have these in the back of cars.

Fold down tray in a car from Starling Travel

I love the design of these roads. It looks like it was set in a futuristic Zion’s Park.

Those new-fangled roads of 1976 from Starling Travel

When the family got tired, the “Tower Man” recommended a hotel for them. At least we have a similar thing to this with all the information on the Internet.

Tower man recommends a hotel in futuristic 1976 from Starling Travel

On a whole, this vision of 1976 was WAY better than the real 1976, but pales in comparison to now. I’m pretty happy with how the future turned out and no 1956 concept of the future can compare to it.

Via: A Family of Singing Time-Travelers Drive the Highways of Tomorrow

July 7, 2013

PostSecret: Swimming in the Ocean while Menstruating

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 2:34 pm

This postcard from PostSecret struck me with its familiarity.

PostSecret Snorkeling While On Your Period

It reads:

I don’t snorkel when I have my period because I worry about sharks.

I have worried about that as well. There are tons of times when I’ve skipped swimming or snorkeling in the ocean because of that very reason, but how founded is that worry?

According to

“The amount of blood that is produced during menstruation is so small that it becomes background with all of the other components that are in the water,” says Dr. Chris Lowe, head of California State University, Long Beach’s Shark Lab. “It would be very difficult for a shark to localize that.”

Even more importantly are the statistics from It’s Just A Period:

As of this writing there have been a male:female ratio of 9.2:1, or more than 90% attacks have occurred on males. This reflects a historic pattern of more males engaged in marine aquatic activities, especially those that put humans most at risk, e.g. surfing, diving, long distance swimming, warfare. It in no way can be attributed to sharks “preferring” males over females. In recent years proportionately more females are being attacked because more females are engaging themselves in riskier, formerly males-only activities.

Considering all this, I think I won’t let that fear worry me anymore. I’m just going to get out there and enjoy whatever beach we are near, despite my monthly cycle.

PostSecret‘s beneficiary is the National Hopeline Network. It is a 24-hour hotline (1 (800) SUICIDE) for anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows someone who is considering it.

April 25, 2013

It’s Judy Time’s Makeup Travel Bag

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 12:44 pm

It’s Judy Time visited Japan and while she was there, she showed us her makeup travel bag.

She started the video saying that she doesn’t like to over pack, and then she shows ALL the makeup she brought, which is more than even my every day set of makeup.

Here is the picture of all the products in my makeup travel bag.

Starling Travel Makeup Travel Bag Contents

The products are:

Here’s a closeup of that tiny Sephora palette.

Starling Travel Makeup Travel Bag: Sephora Color Flip Palette

That tiny makeup palette is the reason I’m able to pack all of my makeup in this tiny pencil bag.

Starling Travel Makeup Travel Bag: Pencil Bag

Additionally, I pack all my hair accessories in that bag as well in the smaller zipper area.

Starling Travel Makeup Travel Bag: Hair Accessories

After seeing everything that Judy packed for her Tokyo trip, I just laughed to myself. I have minimized my travel makeup to live in a tiny pencil bag with room for my hair accessories as well. It lives in my toiletry bag all the time, so I can be ready to go on a trip on a moment’s notice.

That is what travel is all about. I don’t want to have to stress out about whether I packed the right thing or not. All I want is to be able to throw some clothes in a bag and go!

February 22, 2013

Carnival Triumph Stranded

Filed under: Cruises,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 9:18 am

I am seriously disturbed by Carnival’s track record lately. In 2010, an engine room fire stranded the Carnival Splendor off the west coast.

Then in 2012, the Costa Concordia hit rocks and sank, killing thirty-two people.

Now, yet ANOTHER engine room stranded the Carnival Triumph for five miserable days of heat and stench.

Here is a video from one of the passengers, Lance Winder.

It sounds as if the crew did their best to keep things as clean as they could on the boat, but sewage had backed up on the lower decks, so passengers had no choice but to live on the decks under sheets tied up to protect them from the sun. At night, however, it got too cold outside and they retreated inside, where there was hardly any room for them.

Is a free cruise and $500 enough of a compensation? I believe it is, but I would prefer to not have that experience in the first place. At least when my car breaks down on a road trip, it’s my own fault, not something completely out of my control.

I’ve been on a few cruises, the first of which was on a Carnival cruise on a ship with broken stabilizers. I have enjoyed being able to visit many different islands and beaches on one trip without worrying about doing the driving, but in the end, I prefer to be behind the wheel of my vacation. Now that Carnival has a documented history of problems with their ships, I think I’ll avoid them altogether.

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