Archive | May 2014

The Fun Theory

The Fun Theory: Piano Staircase

How do you tell more people to use the stairs? By making it fun. The fun theory is that in order to change people’s behaviours for the better, you need to add some fun into it.

With news coming out that obesity rates are rising higher in Australia than anywhere else, maybe installing these piano staircases around town would be a good thing?

I’ve had a pretty busy and stressing week so I’m glad to be ending the week with this.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. With some fun.

-S.

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Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel

Travelling with a conscious is at the very heart of travelling responsibly. It’s the realisation that tourism can both impact the country/area both positively and negatively, to respect the culture and people and giving back whenever you can.

A traveller going into another country is very much stepping into another world where culture, laws, way of life and way of thinking has a high chance of being difference from yours. It’s about not wanting to bring your culture over, but to share and to take their culture for what it is. Remember that for others, this is their way of life.

There has been an emphasis over the recent years about reducing your own carbon footprint whenever you can. One of my favourite and easiest  is to skip the taxi’s and choose local public transport. My best public transport experience of all time was on a bike rickshaw where I was holding on for dear life for the entire ride.

You can also buy local products, souvenirs and another favourite- stay in hotels/hostels/B&B’s run by locals instead of hotel chains. You will find the cutest of places, finishings with a touch of the local country, accommodating hosts and be supporting local business at the same time.

Intrepid Travel give more tips here about responsible travel and are one of the leading travel companies at the forefront of this. I’ve travelled with them twice and love their style of travel and how they try to make the trip as authentic as possible.

Next time you travel, had a quick think about how you can slide into the country’s lifestyle. And with this, I leave you with the old but never overused saying: “ Take only photos, leave only footprints”.

-S.

Picture: An awesome sign in the carpark of Delhi Airport.

The Illusionists

The IIlusionists Documentary

Created by Elena Rossini (a film director, screenwriter, producer & much more), The Illusionists documentary is gearing up to be one of my anticipated movie releases and I’m hoping that it’ll be screened somewhere around town.

This documentary is centred around our insecurities and how multi-billion dollar companies use this to fuel the cycle so that products can sell. Admittedly, it is a clever way to advertise but what happens when this feeds into our culture and way of thinking? When self-esteems of both men and women are lowered and children targeted indirectly and subconsciously by their surroundings? When we strive for ideals that we are made to value?

I’ll be behind this project because I think that it’s unfair for todays children and my future children to grow up in a world where they are told that they’re not good enough and it won’t be fair if our generation doesn’t at least try to change this.

The film is now in the post production phase so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out more information here.

“ The Illusionists explores these themes through the testimonies of sociologists, politicians, magazine editors, scientists, artists and activists in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.”

I have posts to come about film director Jennifer Siebel Newsom who has released Miss Representation and will soon release Mask You Live In which are about the representation of women and men in the media (so hint hint, check back in a week or 2).

-S.

Haribaabu Naatesan

Haribaabu Naatesan

I’ll have to admit, I love artwork that’s completed with everyday objects as I find it hilarious and interesting about what artists choose to use in their work. Haribaabu Naatesan, is an Indian artist who uses e-waste.

Hari questions used and even past by their due date electronics and the way we see them. Just because they’re old and no longer used doesn’t mean they should be forgotten is the philosophy behind his works is to create awareness of reusing e-waste.

With our fast turnover of electronics in our societies and limited resources to break down all the material, Hari’s work is inspiring.

For more information and more pictures of Hari’s works, click here.

-S.

That dress

I don’t mean to turn this into a fashion blog but french actress Marion Cotillard wore this awesome dress to the 67th International Cannes Film Festival.
On closer inspection, you’ll notice that the dress is actually made up of screws, buttons & beads by designer Maison Martin Margiela.

For more pictures and close ups click here.

It’s causing such a fuss but i think it’s a great statement and a great choice by Cotillard.

-S.

Hitching a ride

I had always wondered what spurred people on to get into a strangers car engaging in small talk as you head in the direction of a mutual destination, until it happened to me. I say that it happened to me because I had not planned it & it was a decision made within about 15 minutes.

I was in northern Finland in a small town called Rovaniemi for a winter weekend alone. One of the last attractions I wanted to see before leaving Rovaniemi was the Santa Claus Village and after seeing Santa & all the other attractions they offered, I went back to the information desk to see when the return bus into town would arrive. Having misread the timetable earlier in the day, I realised that the next bus back into town was in 2 hours and I didn’t fancy waiting around. As I was getting my passport stamped (with the official Artic Circle stamp, this was how far north I was) and discussing other transport options back into town (taxi or wait) with the lady at the information desk, a man who appeared to be friends with the lady, offered me a ride back into town. I first declined because this is how all good murder movies begin when all my stranger danger bells started ringing. He told me he & his wife were heading back towards the city and that it wouldn’t be a problem, the offer was there if I wanted to take it. Take the ride or wait for 2 hours with nothing to do?

I decided to take the ride and found out while chatting to them in the car that their daughter married an Australian guy. He must have seen that I was Australian when I was getting my passport stamped and I wasn’t going to get murdered and buried in the snow anymore. They took me sightseeing around town, to visit works of the famous Finnish designer Alvar Aalto and took me to a rooftop that overlooked the town. They dropped me in the city centre after my mini tour around town and bid me farewell. I don’t think we exchanged names at all but for strangers, they really went out of their way for me and it’s things like that that makes the world go round.

The next hitchhiking experience occurred about 3 hours later. I was waiting for the airport shuttle in the lobby & then out in front of another hotel until a cab pulled up. A guy who I had seen waiting in the lobby stuck his head out & asked if that taxi was mine. After telling him that it wasn’t, he went back in & reappeared with 2 older men and all their luggage. As they were loading their luggage in, they asked if I was going to the airport as well (I think my bag gave that away) and offered me the last seat in the taxi for free. Turns out they were on a business trip & the taxi ride was actually free. I got to the airport in one piece & the men were really interested in what I thought about Finland. There were only positive things to say. For a country that really keeps to themselves, the hospitality they show to others would say otherwise.

Would you have taken the rides offered if you were in my position? Would you ever hitchhike at all if the opportunity presented itself?

-S.

Inka Mathew

I was clicking procrastinating around the internet the other day and came across this Tiny PMS project by designer Inka Mathew. She’s matching tiny everyday objects with their equivalent Pantone colour. Check out her tumblr page here.

It’s equal parts cute and delightful. I’d classify this as some sprinkle of happy.

-S.

India: to go or not to go?

To India? The decision to go to India was an easy one. This was a chance to see a completely different country and a culture that I was not familiar with at all. What comes to mind when you think of India? Poverty, tuk tuks, crazy driving, curry, blazing summers, bollywood & sari’s? You’re completely […]

10 things that happen to you in a country where you don’t speak the language

Here is my list of 10 things.

1. You don’t know what you’re buying at the supermarket. Sometimes, you can generally figure it out but other times, you either buy the wrong thing or something that you weren’t looking for.

2. You’re afraid a local will laugh at your silly question. I would suggest you ask anyway. Or end up lathering on body wash thinking that you’ve bought body cream.

3. You don’t know where you’re going. You have no idea which way is north or south, you swear your place of residence was around this corner and walking to main roads to see a street sign become routine.

3. Directions take 10x longer to figure out. Even if you do know where you’re going, the first time you take that route requires some research and memorization and even then, you may not make it without taking an extra 1/2hr detour.

4. You notice how many words you mispronounce with your ‘home’ accent. As an Australian, this is really noticeable due to us having our own special accent and our own set of words that no-one in the rest of the world uses.

5. You start to get upset or frustrated that you don’t know the local tongue and you stick out…..like a tourist.

6. Ordering food becomes challenging if there is only local language on the menu. Then you proceed to ask the waiter/waitress to translate every meal and its contents to you.

7. You are secretly on the look out for people who will ask you for directions and hope they don’t. Let’s be honest, you don’t even know where the street you’re on will take you.

8. You have mixed emotions when you over hear a conversation in your native language. Yes, I understand them and then No, i did not travel all this way to meet people from the same country as I.

9. You feel like a phoney when you start saying small phrases in the local language. Please do not engage in conversation with me because the extent of my knowledge of the local tongue does not extend past hello, good thank you and thank you.

10. You return home wanting to learn that local language. Then once you start, you come to realise that you don’t know anyone you can speak to on a daily basis to practise the language.

Do any of these happen to you too?

-S.

Odense, Denmark

Odense, Denmark Fairy tales are what people grow up with. So what better way to go and discover all about one of the writers behind them than to visit their home town. Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson is responsible for the stories of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Princess and the Pea […]