Friday, August 29, 2014

La Vera Entita

e questo sole d'agosto
ritorna sempre più forte
con questa voglia di viaggio
se riuscirò alla fine a farmi del male
alla luna di notte
che non illumina tutto
e questo perdere i sensi
senza neanche un motivo

lascia che si liberi la vera entità
slegami e non avere più paure…paure
lascia che si liberi la vera entità delle cose
slegami e non avere più paure…paure di volare

Yesterday something interesting happened to me again. Two people were talking German next to me, and suddenly they realized I understood all they said (I am so good at doing poker face). I was looking at the sun going down from the window, and the sky was really red. Then the woman sitting next to me said to her friend in German "Look, the sky is so red. Just like in Africa on the savannas. Only the lions are missing". And then she turned to me and said in German "Isn`t it so?"

That is how our almost one hour long conversation started. We talked about many things, it was funny how fast we switched topics during the conversation for being strangers. And sometimes it really felt so that we finished each other`s sentences with the lady sitting next to me.

I like also this kind of "traveling" when I do not really go anywhere, but trough people from other places I got to know a bit of a new world.

Then there was also Italians around us, and I was already looking and listening since I started to learn Italian lately. When I was reading my notes I was sure I felt it right that the lady was looking at them, even without turning there to see it. And during our conversation she once switched suddenly to Italian, and asked in Italian how I am doing and where am I from. It was embarrassing in front of all those "real" Italians, they got silent when they heard us talking in Italian haha. They do not have to worry yet though, it will take couple of months that I can understand some of their talk..

Then I was thinking about how funny it is that our ego even affects things we do for fun. With this "Oh it is embarrassing that i can not pronounce things properly" way of thinking the learning and the trying gets totally blocked.

At the end this lady from Vienna, Elfi, wrote me down her address and phone number and said that she would be very glad if I would visit her when I am in Vienna. I dunno, it is funny that these things happen to me, because I do not consider myself too much of an over-social person, still somehow I meet new people all the time while being on the road. 

I like C. G. Jung a lot, and he was writing in one of his books about synchronicity. Every time when I have an instant connection with a stranger I have this strange feeling too that may be there is some reason behind meeting people by "random", and I can imagine that sometimes they really carry a message what we might understand much later. It can be a sentence what they say, or how they look, or the topics they make us think about.
“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.
- John Steinbeck

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AudioTrip: Get your story heard

I heard about AudioTrip through my blog`s Facebook-page, and I decided to write about them, because I am always glad to see real proof of it that the mobile tech revolution has finally reached also the travel industry. Not only museums and travel boards have websites which run properly on mobile phones, but besides travel blogs you can find more and more mobile apps which are available.

For me the best part in traveling has been always the people who I met on the road. I remember for example many friendly locals who gave me great tips about the places I visited, and when I think of a city these random discoveries are at least as good memories as the bullet points from my "I want to visit these and these sights and exhibitions"-lists.

Many times when I visited a place and we talked about it with someone before, I used to think about it during my stay how it would be when that person would guide me through that city. And when I followed the recommendations of friends, I always felt a bit as if I would see the city through their eyes as well.

AudioTrip connects exactly these two ends: the people who have stories to tell, and places to show, and those who want to see those places, and hear those stories, and are open to participate in an individual guided audio trip by using a simple mobile app.

Since I though that the app could be interesting for you, rather because you like novelties just as I do, and you might want to try a tour during your next trip, or you would like to create an audio tour of your own, I sent couple of questions to the AudioTrip-team. You see the interview after the photo.

A photo of the AudioTrip-team

This is what the AudioTrip-guys wanted to tell in brief about themselves:

We are an international start up, originally from Poland, with offices in Prague and London, thanks to some great acceleration programs by Wayra and London Accelerator.

We are passionate about new technologies and their use in tourism. We have been developing AudioTrip for one and half years dreaming about the amazing stories occurring in it. This project is something we've been working on for a long time developing our technology and networking. 

Q: How can people use your app?
1. Turn on AudioTrip. Register/sign in is not necessary, although strongly suggested.
2. In the catalogue you will find available trips, starting from the ones nearest to you.

You can also use the filter or search options to find the place you are particularly interested in. The trips listed are rather for free or payable.

3. After entering the trip you will find samples, photos, descriptions, the length of the trip (km) and audio files (min), plus some information about the author.
4. When you have decided for a trip you like, you can download it to your phone. It will show under "My trips" and will be saved to your AudioTrip-account.

Q: Which cities are in your catalogue so far?
  82 cities + 24 to come, you find the complete list under:

- When I browsed through the list quickly, these places caught my eyes first for example: San Franciso, London, Prague, Oslo, Helsinki and Alaska- comment by me-

Q: How do you decide which will be the new cities you add to your existing list?
We are an open platform where anyone (people and organisations) can upload his trips for free. Sometimes city councils ask us to create a trip for them. Besides this we shared of course also our travel stories, and asked some people who have interesting stories to tell to create trips for our app-users.

The Ultimate Guide to Europe is an initiative like this where people have been creating trips for us from all over Europe.


If you want to watch a tutorial video:

or just read the description below and follow the steps:

You can download the AudioTrip-app for free from iTunes. Then you can start to browse their catalouge, and download trips which you can use later off-line as well while you are sightseeing (off-line is a great point indeed, since unfortunately we do not live in a world yet where you could enjoy free wifi everywhere while traveling- comment from me)

When you are a registered user (free registration) you can also create your own trips and share them with the AudioTrip-community. You decide, if you want to sell them, or give them for free.

Q: What are your future plans as a company? 
Further expansion on the global market is one of our goals (we already have some trails in the US). We are also working on our new interface and are continuously adding new content to the app. This means new trips, new places, trails focused around specific topics, and for the interface part some graphics design- updates.

 It's not official yet, but we also play with Oculus Rift technology, so you can expect new features soon.

Q: Anything else you would like to tell to the audience of the blog?
Keep traveling! Keep your eyes and hearts open for strangers as they are friends who you haven't met yet. Listen to their stories and share yours with them and if you like, what we do, please join our community and back our kickstarter campaign. Thank you for your time and comments!

Pack Your Luggage`s review of the app: I think this idea is great, because on one side I love to listen to stories about the places I want to visit/ am visiting, and as a blogger I also like to share my travel experiences with others. 

When I listen to my friends, or my co-travelers I see the same excitement, and joy on their faces while they are telling stories about the places they have visited and fallen in love with. Even if we travel sometimes alone, to share what we experienced is one of the best parts of traveling.

An other good point is that the app is connected to Google Maps, and the stops are marked on the map. Before starting you can already browse the route, estimate the time required, and use GPS while sightseeing and making the tour.

Also AudioTrip is an encouraging story for people who are part of the global travel community, and want to turn their passion to a project, or a company.