Cambodia – Photo by:Jean Willerlin

The Flight Deck

Our weekly travel dispatch from the Internet Wasteland


Floating Purgatory: “There is a tradition of rural pluralism in Cambodia that belies its recent history of racial violence. Most of the floating villages I saw were peaceful mélanges of Vietnamese, Khmer and Cham fishers, and many of the people I met, including Hoarith, were the product of mixed Khmer and Vietnamese marriages. But everyone seemed to agree that floating villages were traditionally a Vietnamese way of life, enlarged out of economic necessity to include other groups. Today the ethnic Vietnamese live on the water because they are not able to live elsewhere. Neither documented citizen nor, in most cases, immigrant, they are what the government has sometimes described as “nonimmigrant foreigners.” They cannot attend public schools or open bank accounts, get a driver’s license or a factory job or own land or property. Their children are not issued birth certificates, precipitating a generational cycle of de facto statelessness.” Most culture and travel stories focus on the people with a nation… this one does not: A People in Limbo, Many Living Entirely on the Water

The Path: “Before coming to Morocco, I had read a lot about unauthorized “guides” selling trips to tourists that turned out to be less than promised. And in my short time here, particularly in Marrakech, I had become reflexively suspicious of unsolicited human contact. Most people vying for my attention, whether they were giving directions, selling carpets, or simply standing with outstretched arms, seemed to have the same goal: to separate me from my dirhams. The first Arabic word I had picked up was la: “no.” But in this little town, we had needed something, and Icho had come. Could I trust him? If I kept saying no, would we miss out on the adventure we had come here for?

We said yes.” On an epic bike trip through the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, a pair of travelers learns when to say yes to adventure.

We Keep it Rocking: “They don’t pull us over or search us when we’re on the horses,” Mr. Harris said while riding a dark brown horse named Koda as two police cars slowly drove past him on a recent trip to the store. “They would have thought we were gangbangers and had guns or dope on us if we weren’t riding, but these horses protect us from all of that.”

The Compton Cowboys, composed of 10 friends who have known one another since childhood, but officially came together as a group in 2017, are on a mission to combat negative stereotypes about African-Americans and the city of Compton through horseback riding.

The tight-knit group first met more than 20 years ago as members of the Compton Jr. Posse, a nonprofit organization founded by Mayisha Akbar in Richland Farms, a semirural area in Compton that has been home to African-American horse riders since the mid-20th century. Like other nonprofits, the Compton Jr. Posse and the Compton Cowboys rely heavily on donations from alumni, government grants and local community support used to sustain the cost of the horses on the ranch.” For the Compton Cowboys, Horseback Riding Is a Legacy, and Protection

All the Feels: In our feel good story of the week: Jarah al-Hawamdeh, a Palestinian refugee in Jordan who lost one of his legs to cancer, has vowed to reach the summit of Mount Everest in hopes of saving his cash-strapped school. Everyday our world has the capacity to inspire and amaze if you look closely enough.


The Business of Travel

How to Win Friends and Influence People: “Flight time from U.S. cities remains one of the biggest obstacles to convincing Americans, one of Australia’s largest and most valuable visitor markets, to book trips. “I’ve often been in L.A. and people have said to me, ‘oh, the flight is 18 hours,’” said Ronson.

“I tell them ‘no, it’s not, it’s not,’” she said. “We work really closely with our airline partners to package up the right message to say look, it really is a few movies, a glass of wine, and a bit of a sleep and then you wake up and you’re in Australia. We work really hard to break down those time-cause distance barriers.” Skift gets down to the important things in life: Tourism Australia Deploys Influencers to Overcome Long Flight Stereotype (*Looks at flight time to Australia*)

Fecal Matter: In the weirdest story I’ve heard in a long time: A Canadian man has been “pardoned” by a luxury hotel after his room was ransacked by a flock of pepperoni-loving seagulls nearly two decades ago. Did they finally crack the cold case after two decades? Were there a new avian bird print analysis used that is only available in 2018? So many questions…


Ready. Set. Listen.

Kevin Kelly, Photographing and Backpacking Asia during the 1970’s | On Margins: “Technologist, futurist, author, and photographer Kevin Kelly discusses traveling during the golden age of global exploration. We cover how photography has changed over the years, his decades investigating Asia in the 1970s and 80s, and how he self-produced (eventually getting it published by Taschen!) his Asia Grace book in the 90s. ”

If you have stories about vengeful seagulls, nostalgic travel memories or heroic travel plans, feel free to forward them to info@planesplustrains.com. If you are a blogger, vlogger or even the descendant of Luke Skywalker and you want us to highlight your content in further dispatches, feel free to send us a message as well.

Leave a Reply