Monday, August 31, 2015

GE2015: A Voter's Guide


Sunday, August 30, 2015

These amazing Furoshiki Shoes from Vibram are designed to literally wrap around your feet!

3d-shoes
Before we had bags in Japan, we used furoshiki — elegant cloths that come in various colors and decorative patterns that can be used to wrap and carry various items. While you don’t really see them in daily use now, furoshiki are quite useful in their own way, as they can be folded and tied in different ways and be used to wrap items of varying shapes and sizes, in addition to being eco-friendly.
But it turns out that the traditional cloths have recently served as the inspiration for a completely new and unexpected product — Furoshiki Shoes that wrap around your feet!
Created by Japanese designer Masaya Hashimoto, the Furoshiki Shoes were released earlier this year from Italian footwear company Vibram, known for their FiveFingers line of shoes that have a “barefoot” look and feel. As the name suggests, the Furoshiki Shoes are designed to be wrapped around the feet, much like you would wrap an item with afuroshiki cloth.
▼ This is an example of what a furoshiki looks like:
furoshiki 6
▼ The Furoshiki Shoes can be worn in three simple steps, as demonstrated in these pictures:
furoshiki 7
As you can see, the Furoshiki Shoes have a highly unique design, with no shoelaces but a velcro patch at the heel to keep your feet snuggly wrapped up, regardless of your foot type and shape. Vibram is calling it the first ever “wrapping sole“.
▼ The shoes come in a variety of colors, making them a fashion statement as well
furoshiki 1
furoshiki 2
furoshiki 3
furoshiki 4
furoshiki 5
▼ And here’s Vibram’s promotional video of the shoes:
The Furoshiki Shoes are available in Japan from Vibram’s Japanese online shopping site for 17,064 yen (US$140). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find them for sale on Vibram’s other European and American online sites, but as they do have an introduction on the shoes on their European site,  you may want to check on the availability of the shoes with Vibram stores nearby  if you’re interested. 
Vibram will also be setting up a temporary pop-up store from August 26-30 at the Snack Cafe Kaho in Harajuku, if you’re going to be in the Tokyo area.
Well, we think the shoes certainly look light, and based on their design, they definitely don’t seem like they’ll pinch either. In this case, it appears modern footwear technology combined extremely well with a bit of Japanese tradition. Plus, the shoes look like a lot of fun, which in our opinion counts for a great deal. Just because you want comfortable shoes, you shouldn’t have to give up adding a bit of color and style to your footwear after all, right?

Some interesting links for my references...

Free EBooks

http://www.knowledgeoftoday.org/2015/07/free-books-100-legal-sites-to-download-literature.html

http://www.ebookee.ws/


Sample Test Papers for Primary School

http://www.testpapersfree.com/index.php


Investments

http://www.investopedia.com/investing/

http://singaporeanstocksinvestor.blogspot.sg/

A Dividend Seeker on SGX - http://sgxdata.pebbleslab.com/

35 things you should do for your career by the time you turn 35

1. Really refine your elevator pitch

While it will obviously change from time to time, you should never have a hard time answering, "What do you do?" In fact, you should be so good at it that people will never forget. So, really spend some time figuring out what message you want to get across when people ask about your career. Communication expert Alexandra Franzen has an exercise to help.

2. Know your superpower

Or, in other words, know the one thing that you're truly amazing at. Serial entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg says that all the most successful people she's met know exactly what they're best at: John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with "curiosity." Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog, said "doggedness." Eisenberg's own superpower is enthusiasm. See how to find your own super power, here.

3. Know your weakness

On the other end of the spectrum, it's key to know what you're not so great at. Not to make you feel bad — not in the least — but to help you know who you should hire and work with to complement your skill set and what tasks you should delegate (so you can spend more time on what you're great at). On that note...

4. Learn how to delegate

No one can do it all, and especially as you climb the career ladder, you're going to need to know the difference between the things you should be spending your time on and the things you shouldn't. And, perhaps more importantly, be able to effectively and comfortably delegate to others — interns, staff members, your partner, your childcare provider, you get the picture.These 10 rules of successful delegation will help you do it right.

5. Know your career non-negotiables

You're going to have a lot of opportunities come your way in life, and you don't want to waste energy agreeing to things that really don't line up with what you want to be doing. So, really be honest about what you want and need out of your career, and then come up with a list of non-negotiables that you can use as a guide next time you're making a career decision. Writer Andrea Shields Nunez has some tips on creating them — and then actually enforcing them.

6. Do something you're really, really proud of

Whether or not it's something you'll be known for forever, something you get paid for doing, or even something you really want to do with your life, make sure you have something on your resume that, deep down, you're really proud of.

7. Learn from something you're not so proud of

We were going to add "fail at something" to this list, but that's silly. Because, let's face it, we've all failed miserably at one point or another. What's more important? Learning from that blunder and taking that lesson with you productively into the next stage of your career.

8. Stretch your limits

You know you can manage a 30-person meeting, but a 100-person multi-day travel conference? That might be stretching the limits of your skills. Actually — this is exactly the type of stuff that you should try once in a while. After all, you'll never really know how good you are until you step a bit outside of what you know.

9. Do something that really scares you

This takes stretching your limits a bit further — we're talking going way out of your comfort zone here. Whether it's speaking at a conference, going for a (big) promotion, or finally writing that memoir, why not try something that terrifies you at least once in the early stages of your career? As they say, big risks can lead to big-time rewards.

10. Get comfortable with getting feedback

Hillary Clinton once said that her biggest piece of advice to young professionals is: "It's important to take criticism seriously — not personally." Meaning: Knowing where you're not meeting expectations is the only way you'll learn and grow as a professional, but taking every harsh word to heart is a fast way to make your confidence crumble. So, take it from Hillz, and start taking feedback like a pro. Here are a few tips that'll help.

11. Get comfortable with giving feedback

Whether it's telling your boss that his hourly drop-bys are really killing the team's mojo or letting your direct report know that arriving to meetings on time is, in fact, required, giving feedback is a necessary part of getting what you need and being a happy professional. Learn how to give it well, ideally sooner rather than later. Career expert Jennifer Winter offers some pointers.

12. Get comfortable with saying no

For just being two measly letters long, "no" seems to be one of the hardest words in the English language for many of us to say. But it's actually incredibly important for our careers (and our sanity!) that we learn to use it and stand behind it. Here's how to say it to your bossa friend andeveryone else.

13. Have a broad network of people you can trust

We've said it before and we'll say it again (probably at least twice a week for as long as we're in business), the greatest asset you have in your career is your network. And building relationships takes time, so start now. Our free, seven-day email class is here to help.

14. Have a couple of specific career advisors

We're not saying mentor here — because finding the right mentor shouldn't have a timeline on it and because there are plenty of ways to succeed without one — but having a couple of people in your corner who can advise you on everything from a terrible boss to a career 180 is incredibly valuable. And yes, this group of people can include your mom.

15. Scrub your online presence

Increasingly, what shows up in Google and on your social media profiles is the first impression someone has of you. So, take some time to clean 'em up! Change the privacy on any old or questionable photos. Use SimpleWash to delete any Facebook or Twitter posts that could be incriminating. Game your Google results to make sure the things you want showing up at the top do.

16. Perfect your LinkedIn profile

Speaking of those things you want showing up at the top, your LinkedIn profile is perhaps your most prime piece of online real estate. When a client, future employer, vendor or professional contact is looking for you, guess where he or she will turn? Yup, LinkedIn. So make sure your profile tells the story you want it to tell (our complete guide to a perfect LinkedIn profile walks you through the process).

17. Have a portfolio of your best work

Whether it's a printed collection of articles, marketing campaigns or annual reports you've worked on or a personal website showcasing your skills, having a portfolio ready to go will make it easy for you to show your boss (or future boss) what you've got. Here's more on why you need one, plus some easy ways to get started today.

18. Know how to sell (yourself or something else)

Yes, even if you never envision a career in cold calling. The truth is, whether you're pitching an idea to your boss or writing a cover letter about why you're the perfect candidate, you're going to be selling something to someone at some point. Get started on your own personal sales education with these tips.

19. Know how to negotiate

Because, in most cases, it's the only way you're going to get what you want and deserve. If you've never done it before, we recommend starting small (asking your boss to, say, pay for a pricey upcoming conference), and checking out this hour-long webinar that's jam-packed with actionable advice (and motivation).

20. Know how to manage up

It's a common misconception that you have to grin and bear it through a superior's assignments, working style or way of doing things, paying no regard to whether his or her demands are reasonable. In fact, being able to manage up — or, communicate with your boss and advocate for what you need to do your job best — is a crucial job skill. Molly Donovan offers some tips for doing it well.

21. Know how to send a killer email

You should never send an email that you're not proud of (or wouldn't be proud of if your boss saw) again. So make sure you're really putting care into the professional messages you send!Erin Greenawald has some tips from an editor's perspective on how to write ones that are flawless. It may sound like a lot of effort, but we promise it's worth it (and will get easier the more you do it).

22. Master your handshake

This sounds small, but a handshake is the quickest way to make (or break) an impression. (Fact: A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake.) Learn how to do it right from an expert.

23. Find a to-do list system that works for you

Whether you need your list synced across all of your devices or you're more of a pen-and-paper kind of guy or gal, commit to finding a to-do list that helps you manage your workflow in the best way possible. Yes, you might change methods as you switch jobs or new apps are launched over time, but knowing what works, what doesn't, and what you like and don't will make sure that you always have what you need to be your most productive self.

24. Know your energy levels — and use them

There's nothing worse (or less productive) than trying to work when you're not at your best. You shouldn't spend any more time wasting your peak mental hours — or forcing yourself to work when you're in an energy slump. So, really understand and accept when you work best, and then use productivity expert Alex Cavoulacos's advice to map out your ideal day.

25. Know how much sleep you need and commit to getting it

We hope you learned this lesson in college, but if not: Sleep is important. Whether you need seven or nine hours, know your number, and get it regularly. Your health and career depend on it — take it from Arianna Huffington.

26. Know how to manage stress

Stress can really rule and ruin your life, something you don't want to let it do for long. If stress is an issue for you, nip it in the bud as early as possible. Career coach Lea McLeod has some advice for how to start mitigating your stress, but if it's really becoming overwhelming, consider talking to a professional who can give you strategies.

27. Stop over-apologizing

You may think you're being polite or strengthening your reputation, but apologizing too much, especially for small things or things out of your control, could inadvertently instill doubt in your abilities and undercut your professionalism. Make sure you're saving your apologies for when you really messed up — not when your co-worker asks you to go back a slide in your presentation. Check out Lily Herman's tips for making sure you're saying what you really mean.

28. Get over impostor syndrome

Whether you're just getting started in a new field or you've been climbing the promotion ladder at your company since graduation, impostor syndrome can plague any professional. But the truth is, it's hurting your career (not to mention your self-esteem). Here's why — and here are a few ways to get over feeling like a fraud and start feeling like the badass you are.

29. Have a career emergency plan

What would you do if you got laid off tomorrow? If you don't have an answer (or your answer is "Freak out! Panic!"), it's time to come up with a career emergency plan. A crisis, like being let go or having your company go under, isn't something you ever want to think about, but if it happened, wouldn't you rather have a ready-to-go action plan than be running around like a crazy person trying to get anyone to hire you? Here's how to get yours started ASAP.

30. Pick up a side project

Ever wondered how you'd do at consulting? Thought about opening up an Etsy store or restoring and selling old cars? Try it out. At best, you'll find a new career or source of income, and at the very least you'll have some variety in your day to day.

31. Invest in your retirement

We know: In the early stages of your career, it can be hard to fork over any of that precious paycheck. But savings compounds over time, so starting early means you'll have exponentially more in your later years (to, you know, live it up on a boat sipping mai tais all day). Here'severything you need to know to get started.

32. Invest in yourself

Today's working world is changing faster than ever, and to stay on top of your professional game, it's important to continue to grow your skills. Oh, and this doesn't have to mean going to grad school. Here are 50 totally cheap and doable ways to add some professional development into your routine.

33. Invest in the world

Whether it's volunteering your skills to a nonprofit in need or mentoring a junior employee, little feels better than giving back to the world. Here are a few ideas you may not have considered.

34. Know what you don't want

You don't have to know what you want to be when you grow up by 35 (or, hey, 95). But, assuming you want to have a job and career you love, it's important to at least keep thinking about it — if not actively chasing it. And, often, the first step to knowing what you do want is ruling out what you don't want. Don't want a dictator for a boss? A sales role? A management position? Great. Whittle away some options, and you're at least getting closer.

35. Give yourself permission to go after what you do

Oh, and if you do know what you want? Start taking steps to go after it. Yes, careers are long, but why spend one more day than you have to not doing what you want? You have our permission. We hope you have yours, too.

http://mashable.com/2014/11/29/35-career-goals/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-bus-link

VW Has Spent Two Years Trying to Hide a Big Security Flaw

Thousands of cars from a host of manufacturers have spent years at risk of electronic car-hacking, according to expert research that Volkswagen has spent two years trying to suppress in the courts.
“Keyless” car theft, which sees hackers target vulnerabilities in electronic locks and immobilizers, now accounts for 42 percent of stolen vehicles in London. BMWs and Range Rovers are particularly at-risk, police say, and can be in the hands of a technically minded criminal within 60 seconds.
Security researchers have now discovered a similar vulnerability in keyless vehicles made by several carmakers. The weakness – which affects the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) transponder chip used in immobilizers – was discovered in 2012, but carmakers sued the researchers to prevent them from publishing their findings.
This week the paper – by Roel Verdult and Baris Ege from Radboud University in the Netherlands and Flavio Garcia from the University of Birmingham, U.K. – is being presented at the USENIX security conference in Washington, D.C. The authors detail how the cryptography and authentication protocol used in the Megamos Crypto transponder can be targeted by malicious hackers looking to steal luxury vehicles.
The Megamos is one of the most common immobilizer transponders, used in Volkswagen-owned luxury brands including Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini, as well as Fiats, Hondas, Volvos and some Maserati models.

Vehicles that used Megamos Crypto for some version/year. The models in bold are those that the research team experimented with.


"This is a serious flaw and it's not very easy to quickly correct," explained Tim Watson, Director of Cyber Security at the University of Warwick. "It isn't a theoretical weakness, it's an actual one and it doesn't cost theoretical dollars to fix, it costs actual dollars."
Immobilizers are electronic security devices that stop a car's engine from running unless the correct key fob (containing the RFID chip) is in close proximity to the car. They are supposed to prevent traditional theft techniques like hot-wiring, but can be bypassed, for example by amplifying the signal.
In this case, however, researchers broke the transponder's 96-bit cryptographic system, by listening in twice to the radio communication between the key and the transponder. This reduced the pool of potential secret key matches, and opened up the "brute force" option: running through 196,607 options of secret keys until they found the one that could start the car. It took less than half an hour.

"The attack is quite advanced, but VW produces a lot of very high-end vehicles that get stolen to order. The criminals involved are more sophisticated than the sorts who just steal your keys and drive off with your car," said security researcher Andrew Tierney.

There's no quick fix for the problem - the RFID chips in the keys and transponders inside the cars must be replaced, incurring significant labor costs.
The research team first took its findings to the manufacturer of the affected chip in February 2012 and then to Volkswagen in May 2013. The car-maker filed a lawsuit to block the publication of the paper - arguing that its vehicles would be placed at risk of theft - and was awarded an injunction in the U.K.'s High Court. Now, after lengthy negotiations, the paper is finally in the public domain - with just one sentence redacted. 
"This single sentence contains an explicit description of a component of the calculations on the chip," Verdult said, adding that by removing the sentence it was much more difficult to recreate the attack. 
While challenging, determined "organized gangs" may persevere, said Watson. 
"If you're a maker of high-end cars I would suggest that the onus is on you to look after your customers' purchases after they've bought them to make sure your systems are resistant to attack," he added.
A VW spokesman responded: "Volkswagen maintains its electronic as well as mechanical security measures technologically up-to-date and also offers innovative technologies in this sector."
Anti-theft protection is generally still ensured, he added, even for older models, because criminals need access to the key signal to hack the immobilizer. "Current models, including the current Passat and Golf, don't allow this type of attack at all," he said.
The Megamos Crypto is not the only immobilizer to have been targeted in this way – other popular products including the DST transponder and KeeLoq have both been reverse-engineered and attacked by security researchers. 


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-14/vw-has-spent-two-years-trying-to-hide-a-big-security-flaw

Security researchers have figured out how to hack into laptops using pita bread and a radio

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have come up with a clever way of hacking into laptops: Using a radio receiver and a piece of pita bread.

The researchers published their findings online, showing that many models of laptop give off electromagnetic radiation that can be manipulated into revealing the passwords stored on laptops.
Laptops running encryption programs could be fooled into revealing passwords when sent encrypted passages of text. Laptops would then encrypt the data, and researchers used components from a radio to pick up the changes in the electromagnetic radiation as the laptop’s CPU works.
Here’s the setup that the researchers used to find the passwords:
The laptop on the right is displaying a spectogram of the data received by the pita bread. The data is stored on a microSD card, which can either be accessed via Wi-Fi or manually retrieved. Researchers can look at the graph and decipher the password from the change in the signal. 
Pita bread is used to disguise the components used in the hack, meaning that it could be carried out in a restaurant or coffee shop without the target knowing.
It doesn’t take hours to crunch the data and get the password, either. Researchers say that the hack can show a password “within a few seconds.”


http://www.businessinsider.sg/tel-aviv-researchers-hack-into-laptops-using-radio-waves-2015-6/#.VeK-VfaqpBc

The Last Wishes of Alexander The Great


On his death bed, Alexander summoned his army generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:

#1. The best doctors should carry his coffin...
#2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery...
#3. His hands should be let loose, so they hang outside the coffin for all to see!!


One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.

Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:
#1. "I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal .."
#2. "I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, will stay on earth..."
#3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is: TIME.


We do not take to our grave any material wealth. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more TIME.


When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. 

Don't forget to share this story with your family and friends.

17 BUCKET LIST ITEMS RUINED BY REAL IMAGES

1. Visit the Eiffel Tower – Paris, France

What you imagine: 

It’s early morning, Paris has what seems like an endless sunrise, and you and your soulmate have just finished a croissant and espresso at the same cafe where they filmed “Before Sunrise”.  A quick five-minute walk from your quaint Paris hotel puts you right in front of the Eiffel Tower just in time to have a quiet, romantic kiss before taking a scenic elevator ride to the top where you can keep kissing while discussing how awesome Moulin Rouge was last night.
love-in-paris
Photo source: Anya Berkut

paris-selfie-sunny

What it’s really like: 

You have to wake up at 4am since the only hostel you could afford was an hour-long metro ride from the city center.  You thought buying tickets in advance and getting there early would allow you some romantic time with your annoying boyfriend that might allow him to destress from his irrational complaints about your constant urges to check how many Instagram likes you’ve racked up since last night.
You were wrong.  You end up standing in line for hours with the world’s worst collection of entitled tourists which gives you plenty of time to perfect your “I’m surprised this photo is being taken even though I’m the one taking it” selfie.
Oh, and it’s about to rain.
Photo source: Instagram
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2.  Walk The Great Wall of China

What you imagine:

You’re the first human to explore these ancient ruins in over a thousand years.  There isn’t a person in site other than you and your local guide as you enjoy the beauty of untouched China.
great-wall-sunrise
Photographer: Trey Ratcliff

What it’s really like:

Welcome to tourism in China.
Chinese-tourists-great-wall

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3. See the Pyramids – Giza, Egypt

What you imagine:

Your camel has been trustworthy during your two-day trek across the Egyptian desert to reach one of the greatest wonders of the world.  When you finally stumble upon these treasures, you spot archeologists working nearby, showing off their latest find.  After you eat some delicious local manna that you read about in the Bible, you head into the Great Pyramid to look for mummies.
pyramids-1938

What it’s really like:

How annoying is it that only Pizza Hut’s inside the U.S.A have buffets?  What gives?  I hope the Sphinx is air-conditioned too.
pizza-hut-pyramids
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4. Swim with the Dolphins

What you imagine:

It’s what you’ve dreamed of since you were a little girl.  The dolphins seem shy at first, but once they realize how fun you are they decide to come over and play with you.  One even gives you a big kiss!  You can’t wait to be able to tell everyone you kissed a real dolphin and now you also have the perfect photo to use on your Tinder profile.
swim-with-the-dolphins-dream

What it’s really like:

You were a little nervous about whether you would get that perfect photo of you and your new dolphin friend for Tinder but thankfully the resort has a professional photographer on hand that can take one for an extra $50.  Hopefully he can get a shot that doesn’t show the other 50 people in bright yellow life jackets and water-proof iPads harassing the other slave dolphins in the background.  Otherwise, people will know this wasn’t real.
The dolphin looks nervous too, but it’s OK because she is first given a tasty dose of antacids to treat her stress-induced ulcers that come from the never-ending, repetitive human interactions she must perform before being allowed to eat.  Don’t worry, I’m sure your dolphin actually likes you and isn’t upset at all that although she’s smarter than you, she’s stuck in a shallow, cement cage forced to kiss your gross sunscreen-tasting face.  Oh, and why is the water so brown and dirty?   Thankfully you only have to be in this water for 30 minutes since that is how long your $250 ‘is it my turn yet?’ experience lasts.  At least your money is going to a good cause.  If only there was a company that allowed you to swim with dolphins in the wild…. Oh wait, there is.
swim-with-the-dolphins-hell
Source: Tripadvisor

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5. Climb Mount Everest – Nepal

What you imagine:

Years of training and dedication have finally paid off.  You and your sherpa guide become one of only a handful of people to ever have reached the summit of Earth’s highest mountain.
Photo by Barry Bishop – National Geographic “125 YEARS.”

What it’s really like:

You and 250 other rich assholes pay $75,000 each to wait in the freezing cold for their turn to litter and pretend to be a real adventurer.  As of 2012, 90 percent of the climbers on Everest are guided clients and most lack basic climbing skills.  I bet a lot of them are big game hunters too.
mt-everest-crowded
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6. Explore Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia

What you imagine:

After watching Tomb Raider, you couldn’t wait to have your own abandoned temple experience.  After talking with some locals, you finally find someone willing to take a tourist to this holy site.  At sunrise, you find yourself alone with just you and your horse and you quickly take out your travel journal and sketch the beautiful scene.
angkor-wat-sunrise

What it’s really like:

After a local Cambodian breakfast at your hostel that consisted of chocolate cake and a banana pancake, you jump on one of the 10,000 tuk-tuks and get to the temples just in time to find yourself in the middle of 25 Chinese tour bus groups.  If only you hadn’t left your selfie stick back at the hostel.

Photographer: Hang Meang Khou
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7. The Beach – Ko Phi Phi Lee, Thailand

What you imagine:

Ever since you saw the movie The Beach, you’ve dreamed of taking that once-in-a-lifetime backpacking trip through Thailand.  But you aren’t just a typical backpacker.  You are spontaneously unique and enjoy adventure even more than you enjoy sarcasm.  After hiring a local fisherman, you head out to the ocean in hunt of an undiscovered beach.  Just as you were about to get discouraged, the cloudy day turns into a clear sky right as you stumble upon the most beautiful beach you’ve ever seen.  Now it’s just you, the beach, and 50 Shades of Gray on your Kindle.
ko-phi-phi-of-thailand

What it’s really like:

Why are there so many people here in Thailand?  There must not be any beaches anywhere else in Asia where you and a couple of friends can find your own beach.  You would try those other destinations, but it wouldn’t be the same if it was a beach that Leonardo hadn’t been to.  After being pressured into buying a beach-hopping package in Phuket, you and 15 other adventure-seeking suburbanites get on a brand-new speedboat.  You immediately strap a GoPro to your head as the boat zooms past a bunch of local fisherman trying to catch fish in the polluted bay.  In no-time you show up at THE BEACH, and you are lucky enough to get the last bit of parking space on the beach to dock your monster boat.  Hopefully your selfie-stick can extend high enough to take a photo that makes it look like you’re alone in paradise just like Leo.
This sucks.
thailand-beach-crowd
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8. Cross Abbey Road – London, England

What you imagine:

London will be so small and quaint just like in Notting Hill.  You’ll simply jump on the tube from your affordable hotel in the West End and within minutes it will be just you and your three best friends at the famous Abbey Road.  You will ask a jolly-old English fellow to take your photo as the four of you become the first people to think of recreating this famous album cover.  It will probably go viral on Facebook too!
abbey-road

What it’s really like:

Your feet hurt from walking.  Who knew London would be so big and spread out?  Why is everything so far away?  It’s easy to find the crossing because of all the honking from cars.  Is there a system set-up to decide who waits in the photographer line and who waits in the “ready to cross” line?  Are the lines synced up or is it total chaos?  Maybe tomorrow it will be less crowded.
abbey-road-crowd
Photographer: Finding Hermione
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9. Cuddle with a Tiger – Thailand

What you imagine:

What an amazing discovery.  A temple of monks who live with a couple of tigers that they rescued after finding them in the jungle as cubs.  Now, these monks have invited you into their home to cuddle with these tigers in an intimate, holy setting.  Imagine how awesome this will look on Instagram!
tiger-temple

What it’s really like:

The bus from Bangkok ended up being an overcrowded van full of backpackers from Australia.  The temple is less of a temple and more like a prison.  The day isn’t totally ruined though, as in-between doses of sedatives the tigers get a chance to get teased by you and a group of idiots:
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10. See the Taj Mahal – Agra, India

What you imagine:

The Crown of Palaces!  After an amazing first-class train ride in from New Delhi you find yourself staring directly into one of the world’s most amazing structures.  You used the tips from your Lonely Planet book to avoid the crowds and now it’s just you, the Taj, and your imagination.
taj-mahal

 What it’s really like:

Here is a good rule of thumb:  If bottomless-pockets Oprah isn’t able to visit somewhere without avoiding herds of tourists, then you won’t be able to either.
oprah-taj-mahal
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11. Watch the Sunset on Santorini – Greece

What you imagine:

The most stressful thing to happen all night is deciding which amazing bottle of wine to order next.  The sunsets here seem to last forever, and I can’t believe we were able to find a room with a view that has a secluded roof-top restaurant!
sunset-on-santorini

What it’s really like:

Nothing is more romantic than pushing your way through a crowd in order to view the sunset with hundreds of other cranky couples.
crowded-santorini
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12. Take an Elephant Ride

What you imagine:

The land you’re traveling to is so remote and so untouched by humans that the only transportation method is your trusty elephant.  Thank goodness you have your side-kick Short Round to help guide you through this unfamiliar country.
indiana-jones-elephant

PhajaanWhat it’s really like:

You are trying to ignore the fact that the elephant you are about to ride and bathe is currently chained to a tree and looks a bit irritated.  The good news is that the elephant won’t harm you after it’s been unchained because he was previously ‘broken’ as part of his training to prepare for carrying around overweight tourists 12 hours a day.  The breaking of the elephant is called the Phajaan or the crush, and it includes being beaten by multiple men and stabbed repeatedly with sticks that have sharp nails attached to them.
If that wasn’t enough security for you to ensure you get a great photo of you riding the elephant, the trainer is carrying abullhook with him to force the elephant to spray water on you before you attempt each selfie.
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13. Watch Old Faithful – Yellowstone National Park

What you imagine:

The grand finale of your great American road trip.  Your family of six has behaved perfectly as your fuel-efficient SUV  trekked across the Great Plains of the American West.  You sit quietly in the tall grass with bison grazing nearby and watch Old Faithful erupt in all her glory.
old-faithful

What it’s really like:

The kids haven’t stopped fighting since the moment your shitty van left the house.  Now, you finally reach Old Faithful and the only option you have to view it erupting is watching it on one of the six iPads that are being held up in front of your face.  It’s better to leave before it’s done erupting so you can beat the inevitable traffic jam.
old-faithful-crowd
Photographer: Stephanie Lesser

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14. See The Maldives

What you imagine:

It’s your chance to experience how the top .01% of people travel.   Heaven on Earth.  A visit to the Maldives is pure beauty in every direction!
maldives-resort

What it’s really like:

Well… maybe it isn’t beauty in EVERY direction.  This is evident after you see what is known as Thilafushi Island, the 4.6 million square foot artificial island made up entirely of garbage.   Don’t worry, once you get back to your private villa, you will forget the rubbish island exists.  Until a plastic bottle floats by while you snorkel.
rubbish-dump-Thilafushi_Island_Maldives-NBC-News
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15. Experience Ancient China!

What you imagine:

The world’s most-populated country is just dying to be explored!  Imagine all the old cities with ancient buildings and bridges, full of little old ladies selling trinkets.
ancient-china-town-river

What it’s really like:

Ok, this one is a bit of a stretch, but I just had to use this photo:
chinese-water-park-crowd
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16. Take a Gondola Ride – Venice, Italy

What you imagine:

Your dream trip to Italy isn’t complete until you treat your wife to a romantic gondola ride through Venice’s charming canals.  Although it’s a perfect August afternoon, the canals are completely empty and you have hours alone on the water as your gondolier serenades you.
venice-canal

What it’s really like:

It’s so hot out that even the stinky brown canal water looks like a refreshing escape.  The canals look like unhealthy arteries today, and you have spent more time stopped in between other gondolas than actually moving.  Your gondolier has informed you that he doesn’t know how to sing, but it’s OK because the four retired ladies from Nebraska in the gondola in front of you are singing Dean Martin’s That’s Amore.
crowded-venice-canal
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17. Take a Romantic Trip to Rome – Italy

What you imagine:

It’s time to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and visit all of Rome’s magically romantic places.  The Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain are just two of the many spots you will hit up as you and your boyfriend rekindle your love just like in the movies.
rome-holiday

What it’s really like:

Maybe some people will leave if you wait a little while… Probably not.
rome-crowded
Photographers:  Team Turner and Newman & Hunt 
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What bucket list items have left you disappointed?




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