Destinations

Ever Wonder If Emus And Kangaroos Can Walk Backwards? I Didn’t, Until…

Picture of an emu and a kangaroo with the text that says Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.

I saw this and wondered if it could be true.

I’m reading a travel book about Australia right now called In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, and am most of the way through it but haven’t seen anything about this.

Picture of the book cover for In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson that shows a kangaroo and baby in Australia.Emus and kangaroos not being able to walk backwards seems like the quirky kind of thing that Bill Bryson would put into a travel book but… maybe I haven’t quite gotten to that part yet or something.

I certainly have gotten to plenty of parts about deadly and otherwise dangerous things that naturally creep, swim, and crawl in various parts of Australia though. *shudders*

Okay so where were we? Oh yeah, could it really be true that the emu and kangaroo are on the Australian coat of arms because they can’t walk backwards? And are they even on the coat of arms at all?

To the Wikimobile!

Turns out that yes there is an emu and a kangaroo on the Australian coat of arms , a kangaroo on the left and an emu on the right and both of them are holding up the shield.

According to Wikipedia the red kangaroo and the emu are both ‘unofficial emblems of the nation’ because they’re the most well-known animals that are native to Australia and Australia only.

An old picture of the Australian coat of arms that has an emu and a kangaroo holding up a shield and the words Advance Australia under it.I do have bad news though, both the emu and kangaroo can move backwards. Okay maybe that’s not bad news for emu and kangaroos lol but yes they can move backwards.

It’s just that they don’t walk backwards very often so apparently it’s become a commonly held belief that they can’t walk backwards because of that.

So there you have it: emus and kangaroos can move backwards, forwards, sideways, and apparently also hold up shields.

June 2, 2013
Travel Gear

The Xoopar Pokket Travel Mouse: Looks Cool But There’s A Problem

Picture of the Xoopar Pokket Shiny XP81001 Slim Wired Optical Mouse in different colors.I’ve seen pictures of the Xoopar Pokket Mouse (mice? mouses? meece?) here and there on various Pinterest travel boards and I gotta admit they always catch my eye.

With the many beautiful hues of orange, green, blue, pink, white, black, and even red, each slim and colorful square seems like it’s even glowing a bit.

And actually if you check out the Amazon listing for the Xoompar Pokket Mouse you see that it really does glow:

“Pokket is a slim wired optical mouse with a portable concept for traveling use.

Fashion and trendy design with the brilliant led lighting effect on around the body, catch your eyes, love at first sight!”

Pretty cool for a computer mouse that’s for sure.

There’s only one problem though, that unavoidable black wire that tethers the mouse to the laptop. Sadly that’s a deal breaker for me, especially in a travel mouse.

Too bad because each Pokket travel mouse looks quite beautiful! Might work for someone else though that doesn’t care about the wired aspect of it all. What do you think, would this work for you or not so much?

June 2, 2013
Travel Philosophy

At Least Once A Year

Picture that says Go at least once a year to a place you've never been before, and shows a closeup of the inside of a car during a road trip.

Well…once a year seems the absolute bare minimum to me, but I know that not everyone has the chance to do more than that.

I’d say at least shoot for more than once a year and see where it leads you :).

June 2, 2013
Travel Gear

I Was Here: A Wreck This Journal Style Travel Book

Picture of the cover for the book I Was Here A Travel Journal For The Curious Minded.I was browsing through travel journals and the cover of this one caught my eye amongst the more traditional ones.

It has colorful drawings of a strange variety of things, like a pencil worn down to the nub, a barber’s pole, a couple of taxi signs written in different languages, and tubes of toothpaste.

The title says I Was Here: A Travel Journal For The Curious Minded.

I wondered if this was a blank Moleskine type journal that just had a strange cover or if there was something a little more to it.

A peek at some of the pages showed that it really was something more than your average travel journal, quite a bit more, and is a lot like what you’d get if you mixed a travel journal with an activity book.

For example one of the pages has a picture lineup of toothpaste tubes from around the world and underneath reads:

Page from the book I Was Here Travel Journal For The Curious Minded that shows tubes of toothpaste from around the world.“At a local convenience store, purchase a toiletry brand that you do not recognize. Start a collection of this particular item and search for more on future trips you take.

Treat them as souvenirs.”

Another page has a big blank square in the middle marked MAP, with instructions to:

“Ask people you meet along your way to draw you a map to a place they love in the neighborhood.”

So from what I can tell this is a Wreck This Journal style travel journal.

If you don’t know, a Wreck This Journal is a journal made for people who have a hard time finishing a journal or want something more to work with than a blank page. It’s definitely not a conventional journal and unlike most conventional journals people don’t seem to have any problems writing in it.

Picture of the cover for the book Wreck This Journal the original.A Wreck This Journal is a catalyst for activity, and on each page are instructions to do all sorts of unexpected and fun things like “crack the spine”, “document a boring event in detail”, or even “tear this page out – put it in your pocket – put it through the wash – and then stick it back in.”

I know a couple of people who have gotten Wreck This Journals and they gleefully follow the instructions practically from the moment they open it.

I’m guessing the I Was Here travel journal hopes to be an interactive journal along the same lines.

Judging from the pages that I saw I’m not sure if it quite lives up to the fun of a Wreck This Journal, but still no doubt for most people it would be leaps and bounds more fun than a blank journal. And plus, it would give you ideas for experiences (and travel stories) on your trip you wouldn’t have had otherwise…and give you a one-of-a-kind keepsake to take back with you.

May 3, 2013
Destinations

Captain James Cook Sails Again, Kind Of…

Picture of a wax figure of Captain James Cook in a tour boat in Sydney, Australia.“Oh hai, didn’t see you there Mr. Strangely Dressed Captain Guy.

Buy hey since I’m here, I’m wondering if you could take a moment off from staring bravely into the distance and point me towards where the bathroom is on this boat.

Erm…hello?”

When I first saw this picture I thought this guy was part of one of those history boat tours where someone dresses up like a famous person of historical significance and pretends to be them the whole tour.

You know, pointing out different landmarks and attractions while copping a fake accent and dropping in well-timed historical references.

But I was wrong.

Turns out it is actually a wax figure of Captain James Cook that was brought out and given a boat ride to celebrate some events that were happening in Sydney, Australia. Specifically the opening of a new wax figure museum and the launching of a new boat for one of the cruise companies there.

Picture of a boat with a wax figure of Captain Cook on the top sailing near Sydney, Australia.The tie in with Captain Cook is that during one of his famous voyages he observed a transit of Venus across the Sun which only happens once every couple hundred years …and that same transit of Venus was happening again around the time of the big events happening at the two businesses.

Sooo, yeah. But really any excuse is a good excuse to do something as quirky as take a wax figure out for a boat ride.

And if you ever find yourself on a boat in the waters by Sydney, Australia, keep an eye on the other boats. You never know when you might spot a waxy ghost from the past.

May 3, 2013