Stefan von Bothmer BIking Tours on South Koster Island, Sweden

Mary With Our Guide, Biologist-Turned-Farmer Stefan von Bothmer

Cycling South Koster Island, Sweden

 

It was a rough morning, to say the least. After several days in the bustling city of Gothenburg, struggling to adjust to the time difference and 18+ hours of daylight, we loaded our gear into the Volvo V60 we’d been loaned for the week and made our way 2 hours north to the town of Strömstad. There, we’d take the 45-minute ferry to South Koster Island, part of an archipelago located 10 km off the west coast of Sweden.

 

We got to Strömstad with 30 minutes to spare, which left us completely unprepared for the comedy of errors that ensued. First, we had to stop to ask for directions on where to park for the ferry. After finding the parking lot and unloading our luggage, I realized I couldn’t read the Swedish words on the machine where you have to pay. I eventually tracked down a kindly Swedish man, who told me that you couldn’t park in that lot for more than 24 hours at a time. We were scheduled to be on South Koster for two days.

 

So we loaded everything back into the car, drove all the way around the town (a challenge, considering its many one-way streets), and parked in a different lot. Time was getting tight, so I rushed to the machine to pay. It was broken. Fortunately another kind Swede came by as I was starting to freak out, certain that we’d miss the boat and, as a result, the activities we had scheduled once we arrived. Sensing my urgency, he quickly called the company that managed the parking lot and found out that they were letting people park there for free until the machine was fixed in mid-June.

 

By this point we had 10 minutes left to walk 1/2-mile, with heavy luggage and backpacks in tow, and figure out where to buy tickets. We sprinted most of the way, huffing and puffing, and were among the last people to make it on board, a mere 15 seconds before the departure horn blew. Fortunately, we were able to buy tickets on the ship…

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Johnny Clegg, South African Musical Legend

South African Music Legend Johnny Clegg

On Apartheid, Nelson Mandela & His Nation’s Future

 

 

Born in England, but raised in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Johnny Clegg emerged as a revolutionary musical force in the ‘70s and ‘80s by combining African and European lyrics and musical influences that spoke out against government oppression at the height of Apartheid.

 

Known as “The White Zulu,” Clegg started his first racially mixed band, Juluka, in 1969 after falling in love with Zulu culture and musical traditions. The mere act of playing with Zulu musicians such as Sipho Mchunu was illegal at the time, and explicitly political songs inspired by South African trade union slogans didn’t earn the band any fans in the Apartheid regime. Clegg and his bandmates were arrested repeatedly.

 

 

When Mchunu left Juluka in 1986 to tend his family’s cattle, Clegg formed Savuka, whose Zulu name means “we have awakened.” Clegg, who by this point was teaching Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, became increasingly political on 1987’s Third World Child. The song “Asimbonanga” became a rallying cry for the anti-Apartheid movement, calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and canonizing 3 martyrs of the liberation struggle– Steve Biko, Victoria Mxenge and Neil Aggett.

 

By the late ‘80s, Clegg was as popular in Europe as Michael Jackson. In 2012, he received the South African Presidential Ikhamanga Award, the highest honor a citizen can receive there. And when Nelson Mandela passed away earlier this year, “Asimbonanga” was the emotional anthem sang in the late leader’s honor.

 

Clegg is currently in the midst of his largest North American tour to date in support of his new album, Best, Live & Unplugged. A visit to South Africa back in 2000 changed my life, so I was truly honored to get a chance to speak with the musical legend about life during Apartheid, his fascination with Zulu culture, what made Nelson Mandela so beloved, and his hopes for the future of his homeland. 

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Ansel Adams Wilderness, California. Afternoon Thunderstorm, Garnet Lake.

 The Ansel Adams Wilderness

Photographed by National Geographic’s Peter Essick

 

(The following is a guest post  by National Geographic Photographer Peter Essick, who was recently named named one of the 40 most influential nature photographers in the world by Outdoor Photography Magazine.  Essick has traveled extensively over the last two decades, making photographs that move beyond mere documentation to reveal in careful compositions the human impact of development as well as the enduring power of the land. Essick has photographed stories on many environmental issues, including climate change, high-tech trash, nuclear waste and freshwater. In his most recent book, The Ansel Adams Wilderness, Essick pays tribute to Ansel Adams and the craggy Sierra Nevada wilderness area.)

 

With poetic words and foresight, the U.S. Congress passed the Wilderness Act of 1964 establishing a system to preserve some of America’s most wild places. The act said, “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The act was a victory for conservationists and was the first time in U.S. history that legislation was enacted not to promote resource development but to protect some land in its natural state.

 

Ansel Adams was one person who had fought for wilderness, using his camera as a tool to show his love of the High Sierra mountain range. Upon his death in 1984, Congress paid Adams the ultimate tribute by renaming the Minaret Wilderness for him. It was in this region that Adams first developed his love of nature and began to master the craft of black and white landscape photography. Adams did his photography while working for the Sierra Club helping with the logistics of their month-long summer outings.

 

Recently, I went back to this wilderness area with my camera to photograph this beautiful landscape. I wanted to pay homage to Adams and the work he did many years ago, but I also wanted to find my own interpretation. My hope is that these photographs will celebrate the wild lands and wild American spirit of those who fought to save them. It has not even been a century since Adams carried his view camera on burro to photograph the High Sierra wilderness. In the world of nature, that was only yesterday.  –text & photos by Peter Essick

 

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West Sweden Travel

Our Next Adventure:

West Sweden in a Volvo!

 

In the 5+  years that Mary and I have been a couple, we’ve been fortunate to go on many life-changing adventures.

 

We’ve visited hundreds of cities, nearly 30 countries and five continents, all while balancing our myriad freelance jobs and parenthood. And yet somehow we’ve never visited Europe together, despite the fact that it’s one of the world’s “greenest” and most accessible regions.

 

Never, that is, until now…

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KLM Airlines #FlatOrNot Competition

Win Two World Business Class Seats in

KLM’s #FlatOrNot Competition!

 

This sponsored post was brought to you by KLM Airlines.

 

As I mentioned in our story on the Negatives of Traveling back in 2012, I’m not historically a fan of long-distance flights. Because I’m 6’2” and built like a linebacker, being packed like a sardine, elbow-to-elbow with strangers for a dozen hours or more isn’t my idea of a good time. Add in a mysterious inability to sleep upright, and you have a recipe for a big, grumpy bear of a man when we fly internationally.

 

So I was immediately intrigued when the folks at KLM contacted us about their new #FlatOrNot promotion. The airline is debuting a seat that extends fully flat (which was developed by noted Dutch industrial designer Hella Jongerius) as a highlight of their new World Business Class. The seats offer each individual passenger more privacy and comfort, promising a more restful sleep and the freedom from worry about the guy in front of you unexpectedly plopping himself back into your lap.

 

 

To build buzz for their new World Business Class, KLM installed one of the full-flat seats in the middle of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. When unsuspecting travelers sat down in it, the seat was fully reclined into a bed, and their reactions were filmed via hidden camera. The first person who remained in the seat until it was fully flat was surprised with 2 World Business Class tickets.

 

Now, KLM is offering YOU an opportunity to get it in on the action and potentially win  two World Business Class tickets of your own. All you have to do is go to their #FlatOrNot competition website, watch the video and guess how each person reacted to the remote-controlled seat. But the competition ends May 20, so you’d best get to clicking!  –Bret Love

 

 

 

Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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