Selfie in a Volcano in Vanuatu

OK, I think I’m a bit of an adventurer…and have done my share of rappelling, too. And I’ll admit to taking the occasional selfie.

But I’m not in this guy’s league.

volcano in Vanuatu
Sam Crossman and documentarian George Kouronis drop into crater of Marum volcano in the South Pacific’s Vanuatu, one of 5 places on Earth that have persistent lava lakes.

Check out their stunning video here on

Portland Rated “Only Livable City” in US

Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland at dusk. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.

Monocle, an esteemed London-based magazine covering culture, global affairs, business, and design, has given Portland, Oregon a significant nod to its “livability” (which is awkward considering the fact that former Nike CIO and London native Anthony Watson left the company because Portland was “too boring.” Oops). According to KGW, Monocle’s annual Quality of Life Survey ranked 25 cities based on data from crime rates, healthcare, state-funded education, and business climate, along with a liveability assessment that considers green space, culture, sunshine, and local businesses. Portland placed 23rd (out of 25), right behind Lisbon, Portugal. Which doesn’t seem so impressive, except that it’s the only city in the US to make the list. Continue reading

Christmas Gift Guide for the Well-Travelled

Last-minute shopping procrastinators, fear not! We’ve got you covered for anyone who’s caught the travel bug and loves adventuring in their own way. Consider us your holiday savior. (Who needs Santa when you have Visual Itineraries?) You’ll be the coolest, savviest person on the block with our top 10 favorites.

1. For the outdoors enthusiast/budget airline overpacker

Tim Adams Waterproof Backpack

Tim Adams waterproof Zipper Roll Top Backpack, $149

Tim Adams is a Portland-based company that makes a hell of a backpack.

We’re loving their waterproof Zipper Roll Top Backpack in the ever-versatile olive + khaki color combo.

Whether your giftee is planning on trekking through the Himalayas or just likes to push airlines’ definition of “small personal item” to the very limit, we’re thinking this bag fits the ticket of both hip and functional.

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A Bird’s-Eye View of Paris. (Literally.)

La tour Eiffel is undeniably the most iconic symbol of Paris, as well as one of the best views of the city–if you’re willing to shell out the extra $$ €€ to get there. Victor, a rare white-tailed eagle, takes it upon himself to show you the true bird’s-eye view of Paris as he flies from the summit of the Eiffel Tower, reaching 180 km/hr!

The video is just one in a series on the Freedom YouTube Page, which has partnered the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with the French falconer Jacques-Olivier Travers, who has created a plan to help this species thrive once more after nearing extinction by the 60’s. The result? A hell of a project, and a hell of a view.

Dream Destination Cabins

a model of the PODhouse.

the portable PODhouse in action. Photo © PODhouse

Winter is upon us, which means… GRAB A BLANKET AND HOT CHOCOLATE AND LIVE IN A TOASTY CABIN FOREVER. Or at least vacation in one of 17 super cool destination cabins, like Super Compressor’s fab article recommends. Check it out–their suggestions range from gorgeous cabins in the US (staycations, anyone?) to exotic destinations like New Zealand or Norway. Our favorite? The PODhouse, which, as the name implies, is actually a pod house. Literally a tiny, beautifully-designed, minimalist pod that could be yours starting at the low price of 7,417€! Glamping at its finest. If you need us, we’ll be willingly subjecting ourselves to dwelling in cramped-but-visually-appealing living spaces. Winter got nothin’ on us.

Google Street View Dives Underwater for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Osprey Reef screenshot from Google Street View

Osprey Reef screenshot from Google Street View

Raise your hand if you’ve used Google’s Street View feature to creep on your own house. (In case, you know, you forgot what it looked like.) We’ve all been there. But besides scoping out your own neighborhood street for no productive reason whatsoever, you can use Street View for various purposes, ranging from wincing at embarrassing moments caught on the Street View camera to virtually revisiting famous movie scenes. Google has gone a step further in its impressive Street View project, bringing its cameras Down Under to launch the Great Barrier Reef’s first 3D mapping. Now, instead of just looking at boring 2D pictures of underwater sea life, you can see it in eye-shattering 3D! Technology, yo.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is just the most recent addition to Google’s 3D mapping project, which you can use to virtually explore other reefs around the world. They accomplish this using cameras specifically designed for the project, which take 360-degree images every 3 seconds and are later stitched together to make the viewing experience seamless. Give it a try! Not included in the experience: the sting of saltwater in your eyes or the pain of stepping on sharp shells (been there, done that).

Our Favorite World Travelers Share Their Craziest Stories (and vouch for why PDX deserves their #1 rating)

PDX airport at sunset

the PDX airport at sunset, Mt. Hood in distance. Photo courtesy of the Port of Portland.

We’ve got a secret to spill: Travel & Leisure has ranked Portland International Airport  #1 in domestic airports, according to their annual World’s Best Awards! For the second year in a row! Way to be, hometown. Way to be. You could check it out for yourself in their full list of 2014 World Bests, or you could save yourself 10 minutes of your life you’ll never get back (RIP iPhone battery)…and take our word for it! Because we have a totally neutral, un-slanted stance on PDX. Why would we be biased towards the best airport in the best city of all time? (Our airport carpet even has a cult following—it has a dedicated Instagram account with 11k followers, and even its very own PDX airport socks to boot.)
Basically, PDX is best. To back ourselves up, we asked our favorite world travelers (who are well experienced in the ways of airports and other traveling shenanigans) about their experiences with PDX, plus their craziest story from their airport hopping. This is a 100% scientific study. Enjoy.

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