Author Archives: Fabienne

If Youre Even Thinking About Traveling, You Need To Know These Greetings.

We all know how hard it is to say goodbye, but what many forget is that saying hello isn”t all that easy, either. (Especially if there is a handshake involved.) If you”re a world traveler, then you know that people even have to worry about offending someone by not using the correct greeting.

That”s right: there are more to saying hi than just shaking hands… or bumping fists… or hugging… or, well, you know how confusing it can be. We hope this list of greetings you may come across will ease some of the confusion during your travels. Take a look!

1. Sticking Out Tongue – Tibet

Sticking Out Tongue - Tibet

This Tibetan tradition began as a way to show others that they were not the reincarnation of a evil, black tongued king.

2. Three-Part Handshake – Botswana

Three-Part Handshake - Botswana

Botswana takes the traditional handshake that we all know to the next level. It begins in the western handshake position. Both parties then shake up and down once, only to move the thumbs in an interlocked position as the arms turn upwards to form a right angle. Following that is a second hand grasp, followed by one final shake with thumbs still interlocked.

3. Salam – Malaysia

Salam - Malaysia

This greeting begins with both people grasping hands and ends with placing them palms down on their own chests.

4. Light Handshake – China

Light Handshake - China

As far as China goes, the lighter the handshake, the better. Oh, and don”t even think about staring into the person you”re greeting”s eyes.

5. Sungkem – Indonesia

Sungkem - Indonesia

People of Indonesia, especially residents on the island of Java, will clasp hands at waist height before one person bows to show respect.

6. Hada – Mongolia

Hada - Mongolia

Mongolians greet guests by giving them a strip of silk or cotton called a hada.

7. Spitting – Maasai Cultures

Spitting - Maasai Cultures

People of the Maasai tribe say hello by spitting on each other.

8. Sogi – Polynesia

Sogi - Polynesia

Residents of the Polynesian island Tuvalu greet each other by pressing their noses together and simultaneously inhaling.

9. Bow – Japan

Bow - Japan

People in Japan greet others by simply bending a bit at the waist. No hands or nose touching necessary.

10. Hongi – New Zealand

Hongi - New Zealand

This traditional Maori greeting involves two people pressing their noses against one other and “sharing the breath of life.”

11. Pressing Thumbs – Zambia

Pressing Thumbs - Zambia

Instead of shaking hands, Zambian people press their thumbs together to greet others.

12. Kunik – Inuit Cultures

Kunik - Inuit Cultures

Inuit people will greet others by pressing their nose and upper lip to that of the person they wish to greet.

13. Hand Claps – Zimbabwe

Hand Claps - Zimbabwe

People of Zimbabwe will clap their hands to say hello and goodbye. Men tend to keep their hands flat, while women cup their hands.

14. Back Pat – Greece

Back Pat - Greece

Many Greeks say hello with a simple pat on the back.

15. Nose Kiss – Oman

Nose Kiss - Oman

Omani men greet each other by pressing their noses together a few times.

16. Wai – Thailand

Wai - Thailand

Thai people greet others by placing their hands in prayer position at their chest and bowing. The higher the position of the hands, the more respectful the gesture.

(via Mental_Floss)

That”s a lot of different greetings! Now that you know how to say hello to people from different cultures, it”s time to shake the hand of a travel agent and plan that trip you”ve always been dying to go on.


You’ll Never Want To Travel Again After You See These 10 Gross Foreign Foods

One of the best parts of traveling is the chance to try all sorts of new and unique cuisines. Some exotic foods are utterly delicious, and people just can”t get enough of them. Others, sadly, are so bad that you”d wish to “un-taste” them. Take a look at some worldly dishes in the latter category that you might be better off avoiding on your next vacation.

1. Hasma (China)

Hasma (China)

Hasma can actually be a pretty tasty dessert for your next visit to China. Unfortunately, it is made from the dried fatty tissue of frogs. Not so appetizing now, is it?

2. Natto (Japan)

Natto (Japan)

Natto looks a bit like snot, but it”s actually fermented soy beans. The dish is traditionally eaten over rice. It”s notorious for its strong smell, slimy texture, and acquired taste.

3. Casu Marzu (Italy)

Casu Marzu (Italy)

Casu marzu is also known as maggot cheese, which should give you a good idea of why it”s on this list. It”s a type of “rotten cheese” made from sheep milk, except that it”s left outside for maggots to nest within it. Apparently, there”s something about the maggots” digestive process that gives the cheese a unique flavor.

4. Hoya (Japan, Korea)

Hoya (Japan, Korea)

These “sea pineapples” have been described as tasting “something like iodine” and “rubber dipped in ammonia.” Yum!

5. Lutefisk (Scandinavia)

Lutefisk (Scandinavia)

Lutefisk starts as your standard whitefish. However, instead of cooking it right away, one soaks it in cold water with lye, until it turns into a sort of fish jelly. You can either eat it cold or cooked.

6. Surstromming (Scandinavia)

Surströmming (Scandinavia)

Surstromming is pretty much just rotted fish. The fish is kept from completely decomposing using salta lot of salt. Each can of surstromming is fermented for six months before it”s consumed. Surstromming is usually eaten outdoors because of its strong, putrid smell.

7. Kiviak (Greenland)

Kiviak (Greenland)

This traditional Inuit food is made by stuffing roughly 500 auks (small sea birds) inside the hollowed-out body of a seal. The skin of the carcass is then sealed up and placed under a rock for seven months. During this time, the birds ferment inside the skin. The skin is retrieved when winter arrives, and its contents (the fermented birds) are eaten whole.

8. Balut (Asia)

Balut (Asia)

Balut is a different take on eating eggs. Instead of the unfertilized eggs we eat in the West, these eggs are fertilized. They contain a tiny unborn duck or chicken inside. They apparently don”t taste too bad.

9. Shoiokara (Japan)

Shoiokara (Japan)

Shoiokara is literally fermented fish guts. The mixture is kept from killing you by the addition of a lot of salt. I can”t imagine it tastes any good.

10. Thousand-Year Egg (China)

Thousand-Year Egg (China)

These might look like fish eyes, but they”re actually just ordinary chicken or duck eggs. A thousand-year egg is made by preserving a normal egg in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for anywhere between several weeks and several months. This results in the yolk becoming a dark green color and the white becoming a dark brown.

(source Reddit)

I think I”ll just steer clear of Greenland during my next vacation. There”s something about stuffing 500 small sea birds into a seal that seems unsettling to me.


Photographer Andy Lee Takes Us Down The Roads Less Traveled

U.K.-based photographer Andy Lee captures the simultaneous thrill and serenity of the open road in a series simply titled Roads. These roads wind through some of the most remote places on the planet, where your fellow travelers might be no one but a herd of wild horses. Through mountains, meadows, trees, and tundra, the roads thread one clutch of humans to another.

Describing his series, Lee only says, “Getting lost is half the fun.” His photos are full of striking light and shadow. Though they can be fairly stark, all are imbued with an appreciation for both nature and the ingenuity of humans.

(via TwistedSifter)

You can see more of Lee”s photos, which capture both nature and people, on his website and Behance page. You can also keep up with his travels on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


These In-Flight Meals Will Make You Want To Travel More. Yum!

Flying is almost always a headache. You have to consider your packing options before you make it to the airport. You need to then find a ride to the airport. When you arrive, you”re greeted by security lines that seem to get longer every time you travel.

Things don”t get much better once you find your seat. The best you can hope for on the long journey is a decent meal. If you”re flying the friendly skies with one of these airlines, you can rest assured knowing you”re in store for some good grub. We can”t help you with the crying babies and reclining passengers, but at least your stomach will be happy.

1. Delta


Scrambled eggs, potato wedges, sausage, fruit salad, granola bar, and orange juice.

2. TransAsia Airways

TransAsia Airways

Fruit plate with yogurt, granola, and a selection of breads.

3. Iberia Airlines

Iberia Airlines

Croissant, omelette, ham, toast, fruit salad, and orange juice.

4. EVA Airways Hello Kitty Jet

EVA Airways Hello Kitty Jet

Miso soup, salad, omelette, rice, pickles, and a seafood dish.

5. American Airlines

American Airlines

Lasagna, side salad, roll, carrot cake, and water.

6. Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines

Eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, fruit salad, and a bread roll.

7. AeroMexico


Ham and cheese sandwich, salad, chocolate cake, and a roll.

8. Kingfisher


Ragda pattice, chocolate cake, and tea packet.

9. Air Canada

Air Canada

Cheese omelette with spinach, yogurt, roll, and fruit salad.

10. DrukAir


Spicy tofu and vegetable noodles, fruit, yogurt, and a croissant.

11. Air France

Air France

Chicken, pasta, a roll, fruit salad, and a tart for dessert.

12. Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific

Conchiglie in tomato sauce, a roll, side salad, pudding, and a bar of chocolate.

13. DrukAir


14. Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam Airlines

Salmon en croute, vegetables, a roll, and some fruit.

15. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines

Tuna salad with apple and celery, pork with chicken rice, and a green tea cake.

16. Lufthansa


Mezze plate, carrot and orange salad, rolls, and a tart.

17. Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines

Green tea, miso soup, beef and rice, and a seafood dish.

18. Korean Airlines

Korean Airlines

A vegetarian dish with fruit, pickles, and a roll.

(via BuzzFeed.)

I definitely need to start traveling more. Especially since these look infinitely better than what I had for lunch today.


These Globetrotters Document Their Travels In A Really Cool Way.

Peter Sedlacik and Zuzu Galova run the blog Lens Between Us, which documents their travels through photography. Specifically, they take pictures of themselves taking a picture of the other. It may seem confusing, but their photos feature some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. They really have a great sense of what makes for a perfect backdrop.

Not only that, but the behind the scenes aspect adds depth to the photos. It never feels like youre being forced to look at someones vacation pictures. Check them out!

1. Algarve, Portugal

1. Algarve, Portugal

2. Bondi Beach, Australia

2. Bondi Beach, Australia

3. Cockatoo Island, Australia

3. Cockatoo Island, Australia

4. Featherdale Wildlife Park, Australia

4. Featherdale Wildlife Park, Australia

5. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

5. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

6. Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore

6. Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore

7. Bratislava, Slovakia

7. Bratislava, Slovakia

8. Marcelova, Slovakia

8. Marcelova, Slovakia

9. Prague, Czech Republic,

9. Prague, Czech Republic,

10. Berlin, Germany

10. Berlin, Germany

(via junk-culture, Lens Between Us)

Awesome pictures, you guys! Now how about one with the two of you together? Or one where you”re SMILING? C”mon. For me? (Aw, grandma will be so disappointed…)

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Traveling? Don’t Bring Back Boring Photos. Here Are Easy Steps For Amazing Shots

Whenever someone comes back from a vacation and wants you to look at their photos, you probably groan a little on the inside. (Yes, you do.) But why is that? Well, it might have to do with the fact that pretty much all travel photos look exactly the same. You know, the slightly crooked shots of landmarks, the stiffly posed group shots in front of vistas, the unflattering “candid” shots of people blinking and chewing. No thanks.

When you travel, you might feel the urge to share your journey with others. That”s natural. So, if you”re going to share your photos with people, make sure you do it right by taking some seriously awesome shots.

You can experiment by taking photos at different times of day for different light qualities.

You can experiment by taking photos at different times of day for different light qualities.

If you want to take pictures of people, please ask first.

If you want to take pictures of people, please <i>ask</i> first.

It”s also a good idea to carry an instant film camera. That way, you can share your photos with people right there!

Get rid of obnoxious tourists.

Get rid of obnoxious tourists.

If you”re in a touristy area, you might find your perfect shot plagued with backpacks, maps, cameras, and that one guy taking photos with his iPad (you know that guy), but there”s actually an easy way to clear a room using your camera and Photoshop. Please don”t attempt to clear any rooms physically.

The video below, put together by the Cooperative of Photography, has some very simple tricks for upping your photography game. They cover everything from keeping your camera safe from damage and theft, to backing up your images, and of course, all the possibilities of shooting the photos.

This quick video shows you how to get some seriously awesome shots wherever you go.

Now that you”re a pro, you”ll be able to shoot beautiful, dynamic images anywhere in the world. If you”re self-conscious about anything, just put on some sunglasses and tell people you”re shooting for a magazine. You can learn even more photography tricks on the Cooperative of Photography”s YouTube channel, which aims to teach good photography habits to everyone.

See what other things people are doing with their cameras all around the world:


This Video Will Completely Change Your Mind About Traveling On Planes

Every so often, you”ll experience a rough landing on an airplane, which causes passengers to start clapping. In the past, I could never understand why people clapped. After all, the pilots are paid to land the plane. Why should they get a round of applause for doing their job?

Then I saw this harrowing video of pilots landing planes at an airport in Birmingham, England. This particular airport is known across the globe for its terrible crosswinds. Not only do I understand why people clap, but I”m ready to lead them in a standing ovation for these pilots.

(source YouTube)

It”s going to be a loooooooong time before I think about flying again. I”m stressing myself out just by thinking about it.


Can You Fit All This With You While Traveling? The Answer Might Surprise You

Did you ever wish you could travel with the knowledge that your bed would always be comfortable? Do you wish moving was a little easier and perhaps didn”t require the seemingly endless circuit back and forth? Austrian design firm Juust, headed by designer Stefan Juust, might have the solution for you.

Now, you can have all this, but transport it with barely any effort.

Now, you can have all this, but transport it with barely any effort.

How is this possible? The Travelbox, as it”s named, carries a bed, chair, table, storage areas, and even a bike.

It all folds up.

It all folds up.

And we mean really folds up, right into this sleek metal box.

And we mean <i>really</i> folds up, right into this sleek metal box.

The box itself measures 6.8 feet long by 1.3 feet wide and 4 feet high. It weighs a shockingly light 132 pounds, and can be easily shipped just about anywhere. This means it would be perfect for new homes, sublets, and unfurnished vacation homes.

When it”s not being used for travel or relocation, the Travelbox can also serve purposes at home. It can work as a room divider, and it also provides storage. Its modular nature can help people reduce their need to buy new furniture when moving into a new place, thus helping them save money.

The plan for the Travelbox, which shows where everything is tucked in.

The plan for the Travelbox, which shows where everything is tucked in.

(via My Modern Met)

Imagine how much easier moving would be with something like the Travelbox. It could even spruce up a trip to an otherwise unfurnished cabin. Think of it as the modern evolution of the travel trunk of old.

You can see more of the Travelbox and other projects at Stefan Juust”s Facebook.

For more big-seeming things that are surprisingly portable, check out what these people have created:


This Dog In Need Of Love And Medical Help Traveled 5,000 Miles To Find It

Hero, one of the nicest golden retrievers you could ever imagine, had a very rough start to life. The poor pup grew up on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey, having been born with a deformed elbow joint and a crooked front leg. Life on the streets was tough, and Hero was extremely lucky to have survived the ordeal, as he had to compete with Istanbul”s 50,000 other stray dogs for food. The starving dog was in desperate need of love and care, but that”s when a miracle happened.

Along with 35 other stray golden retrievers, Hero was rescued by Adopt a Golden Atlanta and flown 5,000 miles to the U.S., where, as fate would have it, the Taylor family was looking for a friend for their one-eyed golden named Jack.

(source USA TODAY)

That was just wonderful. I”m so happy that Hero got the medical attention and love he so desperately needed.

Click on the links below for more heartwarming animal rescue stories.


Top 10 Problems with Interstellar Travel

The stars above us are a beauty that men have fashioned whole mythologies around. They are truly a sight to behold, and now that we have extended our reach to the moon, the natural progression is that we might want to travel to the stars. Such travel is a basic part of countless science fiction stories and films, and many might come away with the impression that interstellar travel is an easy task, perhaps just around the corner for the wit of man. Sadly, there are a few serious problems which must be addressed first.

Faster than Light


Many stories include zany explanations of how faster-than-light travel is possible. The reality is that physics prevents this. There are no cheats. Even close-to-light travel runs into all sorts of interesting relativistic problems involving mass and energy. Our only possibility is to use wormhole portals. Such a wormhole would have to be carefully controlled, which is beyond our present capabilities, and we would have to somehow manage to create a twin wormhole far off at our desired destination, which might require someone else at the other end. Needing someone else to be there beforehand is not feasible for the first interstellar flight. Worse, the physical effects of traveling through a permanent or semi-permanent wormhole would warp and destroy any matter. You would arrive at your destination as a plasma.


Teleportation 0129-1

Classic teleportation involves a person activating a device and vanishing only to reappear simultaneously at their destination. This is not quite as straight-forward as it first appears. The teleported person’s atoms are disassembled in the teleport machine, physically transferred to their destination, and reassembled. The reassembly alone requires a machine to already be at the location, as there are physical laws which do not permit us to manipulate matter at such a fine level over the vast distances between stars. So teleportation could only be to places which had already been visited. The reassembly is currently beyond us, but might be possible. The atoms would still have to travel to another star, which might be faster than traveling as a body, but would still take years at least. The closest star to the sun is four light years away, so anything sent would take longer than four years to get there. Alternatively, the reassembling machine could have a store of atoms from which to assemble the person, but this is in essence creating a copy and destroying the original. Many people would not be comfortable with this.

Generation Ships


If faster-than-light travel is impossible or impractical, we might look towards generation ships. Even though our nearest star takes light only four years to reach, heavy objects would take much longer. Most stars would take hundreds of years to reach at least. Generation ships are designed for a population to live in for generations until the destination is reached by the descendants many years later. There are several problems with a generation ship. The descendants might forget the original purpose of the mission as it fades into legend over the years. A cleverly-designed computer system might be able to educate people born on the ship to avoid this, but it still becomes increasingly difficult to predict what might occur as the generations pass. If there is a problem with the ship, a population which has descended into savagery over the centuries will be helpless.

Egg Ships


To remove as much uncertainty as possible in generation ships, egg ships could be used. These would carry frozen fertilized human eggs which would be nurtured by carefully designed machines, acting as wombs, parents, and educators. The eggs would be grown into humans when the distant star or planet is reached, and computers would teach them all they needed to know about their mission, how to survive, and what to do. Designing care-giving machines that would not emotionally stunt the new humans is well beyond us at the moment, but perhaps not impossible in the future. However, like the generation ship, an egg ship does not help the individual who wants to travel to the stars himself or herself. Waiting for artificially-raised humans to live the dream of reaching the stars long after you have died is unacceptable to many people.


Eternal Life-Med

An alternative to a generation ship is to genetically enhance people to live for hundreds or thousands of years so that they could make the journey in their lifetime, assuming the current problems of living in space were solved. Longevity and immortality are both subjects of much scientific research, but their biggest obstacle is telomeres. Telomeres are sections on the ends of your DNA which are cut slightly shorter each time your cells divide. Eventually the telomeres’ lengths are eaten away, and your cells begin damaging their own vital DNA as they divide. This means that our own DNA limits the number of cell divisions we can make. Cells divide to replace old or damaged cells, such as when you brush your skin on something or the constant replacing of your stomach lining cells due to the high acidity in the stomach. The answer seems to be in keeping telomeres long, but generally the only adult cells which can do this are cancerous.



When longevity and using another generation are not possible, many films and stories use humans kept in suspended animation to explain long trips. People would not be able to age in such a state, or would age very slowly, and it would be much like hibernation. Unfortunately, telomeres again present a problem. Our bodies always contain a small number of radioactive elements. These emit tiny amounts of radiation, which are harmless because our cells continually replace damaged ones. If a person does not age in stasis, then their telomeres cannot be shortening and so their cells cannot be dividing. It follows that any radioactive elements would cause permanent damage to the body, and if given enough time, could result in death. Even slow aging would not keep up with radioactive damage over long periods of time. We need our cells to divide at a normal rate.


060106 Wormhole Hmed 5P

Even if the human problems of traveling to other stars were solved, there remains the issue of propulsion. A traditional system involves burning fuel or reaction mass, but to reach another star, impractically vast quantities would be needed. One solution is to pick up fuel along the way. In the space between stars, there are not convenient asteroids and planets to land on and mine for fuel. Luckily, space is not quite a vacuum, and there exist tiny atoms scattered far apart, mostly hydrogen. Going at a fast speed, these atoms could gathered and used at fuel in an efficient reaction such as fusion (presuming we achieve fusion someday). To collect them, a huge scoop is needed, and conservative calculations put it at least 2000 square km in area, which would cripple the ship with its drag and limit the speed to being slower than the space shuttle. This system is also calculated to be horrendously inefficient and not viable considering that our sun is placed in a sparse region of space, providing a poor fuel source.


Ep35 Constellation Damage

Our closest stars are Alpha Centauri, four light years away. Traveling at standard car speed, 60km/h, this would take 72 million years to reach. Even overcoming all of the above arguments, such a time frame is impossible due to natural wear and decay, let alone the almost zero probability of arriving at all after such a long time. Speed is needed, even if it is limited by the speed of light. Due to the tiny atoms scattered throughout space, any ship traveling at speed will be impacted by them with such force that they would tear through even the strongest steel. Tiny pinholes going right through a ship are hardly a good thing. Two options remain: humans or machines constantly patch the damage, which would require impractically large amounts of repair material to be brought, or the ship is made of elastic material which self-heals. The good news is NASA has done research into such materials. The bad news is that they do not think them feasible.



The structure of our bodies actually depends on gravity. When humans do not live in normal Earth gravity, our bodies begin to suffer. After a few weeks or months our bones become brittle and our muscles fatigue, with much more unpleasant long-term effects. These can be combated somewhat with various exercises and diets, but after years or decades in space the human body becomes permanently damaged. Even for relatively short flights, eyesight deteriorates so badly that NASA consider it a major boundary needed to be overcome before undertaking manned missions to Mars. Rather than living in weightlessness, acceleration from gravity can be induced by rotating the spaceship quickly. Unfortunately, this requires huge amounts of energy and fuel, and causes nausea in the short-term. The long term effects have not been studied but are considered poor.

Food, Air, and Water

Savannah Biome Biosphere2Jpg

Any humans living on a ship for long periods of time need life-support. They need to eat, drink, breathe, urinate, excrete, wash, and sleep. Many of these have been addressed in space flights already made. However, on longer journeys, the amount of food and water needed becomes too large to take. The most probable solution is to make the ship into a self-contained ecosystem. Plants could produce air, be eaten, and consume human wastes. Any ecosystem is slightly inefficient, but it could still possibly sustain itself long enough to reach the destination. The ship’s equipment would gradually decay from the various gases being recycled, but clever maintenance or new materials might circumvent this. The most efficient system would involve a single plant. Algae have been greatly researched for their potential, with the spirspiralingae being looked at most closely. It would take care of air, wastes, and food. It is not a complete source of nutrition in itself, and becomes toxic if contaminated or when eaten in large quantities, but genetic engineering could change that in the future.

10 Weird And Fascinating Facts About Space Travel

We tend to think of space travel in only the noblest of terms; steely-eyed men and women exploring the final frontier, the advancement of all human knowledge. But astronauts are people like every one of us, subject to idiosyncrasies, pettiness, and insecurities. Perhaps most notable was the case of NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, who attempted to kidnap and murder the girlfriend of fellow astronaut William Oefelein, with whom he was having an affair. Or the Apollo crews who, when presented with three sizes of condom sleeves necessary to urinate during space travel invariably chose a “large”. NASA relented, changing the names of the sleeves to “large”, “gigantic”, and “humongous”. Below are ten facts which aim to truly humanize the experience of reaching for the stars.

Nixon’s Speech


Traveling to space remains an inexact science; incidents like the Challenger and Columbia disasters prove we have yet to perfect the procedure. But in 1969, the program was truly in its infancy, and the Apollo 11 mission was the epitome of human innovation. And bravery. No one truly knew what would happen upon landing on the moon. To that end, then President Richard Nixon commissioned a speech written by William Safire to inform the nation in the event that the astronauts became stranded.

It began: “Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.”

Free Corvette


Although astronauts have been comparatively well paid, none could be described as ‘rich’. According to the NASA website, civilian astronauts earn a yearly salary between $64,724 and $141,715. There have been, however, certain perks to the job. When Alan Shephard showed up for space training in 1959, he was driving a 1957 Corvette. Quickly realizing what a boon having astronauts drive their vehicles could be, General Motors offered “special” (practically free) lease terms to them. Although NASA certainly did not officially endorse Corvettes, the vast majority of astronauts drove them. An exception was John Glenn (the first American to orbit the earth). Glenn had a family and drove a much more practical station wagon.

Cosmonauts Clog

Iss Toilets 00

The International Space Station, a multinational project, is divided into two sections: an American and Russian section. In 1998, when the venture began, it was reported that the Americans and Russians got along famously, sharing resources such as food and exercise equipment. Unfortunately, squabbles began after the first few years. One of the biggest tiffs between them has been the use of bathroom facilities. In the past, the astronauts/cosmonauts used whichever bathroom was closer, but the Russians, whose meals include such rich fare as jellied fish and borscht, have a tendency to clog the toilets and the Americans have banned them from using their potties.

Autograph Life Insurance

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 At 5.15.46 Pm

Perhaps the most shameful part of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon was the United States government’s failure to insure the lives of its astronauts. No life insurance company in the world would sign on to what was very likely to be a suicide mission. Hoping to provide some kind of legacy to their families, the astronauts signed a series of autographs which could be sold if they indeed perished on their miracle mission. Luckily, this would not prove necessary, and the men returned safe. Some of the emergency autographs have since emerged and have sold at auction for tens of thousands of dollars.

Income Taxes

687831Main Jsc2012E215389 1600 946-710

It is often said that nothing is certain but death and taxes, and that holds true for everyone, including astronauts. Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert (best known for informing Houston of a “problem” with the electrical circuits, had another problem at the beginning of the mission. He’d forgotten to file his income taxes. When he reported this, mission control found it hilarious, and fellow astronaut Jim Lovell joked that Swigert’s income tax return was going to be used to buy fuel for the shuttle. Swigert was serious though, and didn’t drop the subject until he was told he’d be granted an extension. Fast forward 33 years, and Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, current commander on the International Space Station, used the internet to become the first person to pay their taxes from space.

Smell of Space

Psc0211 Fy 355

If asked to guess what outer space smelled like, the majority of us would be tempted to say that it smelled like ozone, like nothingness. But astronauts claim that is not in fact the case. After going on space walks, most report a hot “meaty-metallic” scent, others assert that there is a fruity note of raspberry and rum, an acrid odor like welding fumes. No truly inclusive description has ever been created, and NASA’s attempts to recreate the “indescribable” scent have generally met with failure.


1 2

In museums and NASA gift shops, “astronaut food” is readily available. These freeze dried meals were prepared on space shuttles with the addition of water. The most famous was a little slab of Neapolitan ice cream. It doesn’t taste all that great, but in zero gravity, one’s senses are often severely compromised. Without gravity to moor things in place, food does not settle on tastebuds in the way we are accustomed. Moreover, the fluids rise and coalesce in sinuses, leaving astronauts with a feeling rather like the congestion of a bad cold. The lack of taste leads those in space to favor foods with rather strong flavors, like tabasco sauce. However, space programs continue to try appealing to the palates of astronauts; in describing the need for a traditional meal during the holidays, NASA’s website claims, “Should a crew member wish to have a typical American holiday feast, there would be no problem. Smoked turkey, dehydrated mashed potatoes and thermostabilized cranberry sauce are on the list of acceptable menu choices.”


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The Apollo 8 mission was meant as a precursor of the eventual moon landing of the Apollo 11, gathering reconnaissance. It was commanded by Frank Borman and piloted by James Lovell and William Anders. There were several setbacks on the mission, but none more vile than when Borman woke from a nap with an upset stomach. He vomited and had diarrhea, the globules of which floated all over the inside of the ship in zero gravity. The men cleaned it, and Borman insisted his sickness not be relayed back to mission control, but Lovell and Anders forced him to report it. After taking some medication, he seemed to recover.

Explosion Survival

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On January 28, 1986, an unimaginable tragedy occurred when the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated shortly after launch. The initial fireball made it seem as though the crew died instantly, but there is evidence to suggest several survived until the remains of the ship plunged into the Atlantic Ocean (going just over 200mph, an unsurvivable speed). Just how many of the astronauts survived, or how long they remained conscious as the shuttle fell back down to earth is debatable. For some time immediately after the incident, NASA denied that anyone could have lived through the initial blast, at least 3 emergency air tanks had been turned on, and eventually they conceded that some of the astronauts probably survived. The real issue at hand was whether the cabin of the shuttle depressurized after the explosion. If it lost pressure, death would have been relatively quick and painless. If not, they could have been conscious the entire two and a half minutes it took the ship to plummet into the ocean.

Lunar Pathogens


When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned victorious from their moon landing, they were not immediately hoisted on the shoulders of their countrymen and treated to a ticker tape parade. In fact, the fear that they might have acquired some kind of “lunar pathogen” during their trip to the moon led them to be quarantined in a converted Airstream trailer for 21 days. Only after it could be determined that they were healthy and not bringing back some kind of space plague, were they allowed to begin the celebration, featuring in several parades and visiting 25 foreign countries, including a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. This procedure was followed for the subsequent 3 missions, until after the Apollo 14 mission when it was finally determined that the moon was devoid of life.

Top 10 Great Travel Novels

It’s hard to find great travel writing, but it’s out there. Part of the reason for this is that so much travel writing is also considered nature writing or narrative non-fiction. Part of the reason is that the field is so competitive because of a lot of good authors competing for a relatively small market space. But there is a wide array of great travel fiction out there, and here is my list of the best ten travel novels I’ve read over the past couple years.

Through Painted Deserts
Donald Miller


This is one I actually found in the “Christian” Non-Fiction section, which can be unfair. There’s no question Miller is a Christian, but he’s a writer first and foremost, he’s not preachy, and his questioning of his own faith, of reasons for existence, of who and what he is or is becoming is reminiscent of the fantastic soul searching that came from the travel writing of the Beat generation. Miller’s account of his trip is great, going through the moments of beauty, the necessity of good road trip music, and admitting his moments of embarrassment and fear as freely as any other part of his journey.

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure
Sarah MacDonald

Holy Cow

The early reading of this book can be hard, because after the first few chapters there’s a lot of the Western perspective, the whining of living conditions and poverty, the type of scorn you don’t care to read from travel writing. I’m glad I read the rest, because like “Through Painted Deserts,” “Holy Cow” is about the author’s journey. Sarah evolves and changes chapter to chapter in front of you as she sheds the scornful nature of an atheist “too smart” to fall for superstition, and she opens up, traveling through India and sampling all the different religious beliefs and practices as she becomes a humble Theist who learns happiness, learns to grow, and learns that alien cultures can have a lot to offer the open traveler.

Into the Wild
John Krakauer


I first caught sight of this book at a Barnes and Noble on one of the feature tables. I was on winter break from Alaska and visiting family in Iowa. I picked up the book, sat down, and read the entire work in one sitting. Travel book, journalistic book, nature book, adventure book—whatever you call it, this is one heck of a read, and the debate this book causes is deep and passionate. As a wanderlust traveler, I understand the drive the main character feels, as an Alaskan, I understand the native perspective of irritation, of the lack of understanding that nature is brutal and especially Alaska needs to be respected as such.

Dark Star Safari
Paul Theroux


The full title of this novel is Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown. Paul Theroux is at his best in “Dark Star Safari,” where his skills of observation and his dry wit are on full display. Paul takes readers the length of Africa via overcrowded rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train in a journey that is hard to forget. There are moments of beauty, but there are also many moments of misery and danger. This is a narration of Africa that goes beyond the skin deep to dare to look at the deeper core of what is often referred to as “The Dark Continent.”

Blue Highways: A Journey Into America
William Least Heat-Moon


This is an auto-biographical travel journey taken by Heat-Moon in 1978. After separating from his wife and losing his job, Heat-Moon decided to take an extended road trip around the United States, sticking to “Blue Highways,” a term to refer to small out of the way roads connecting rural America (which were drawn in blue in the old Rand McNally atlases). So Heat-Moon outfits his van, named “Ghost Dancing” and takes off on a 3-month soul-searching tour of the United States. The book chronicles the 13,000 mile journey and the people he meets along the way, as he steers clear of cities and interstates, avoiding fast food and exploring local American culture on a journey that is just as amazing today as when he first took the journey.

The Lost Continent
Bill Bryson


There are tons of fantastic Bill Bryson books out there, and any one of them could hold this spot here. “The Lost Continent” is Bryson’s trip across America, visiting some common places (the Grand Canyon), but also exploring the back roads and looking for that familiarity that helps him remember home.

Wanderlust: Real-Life Tales of Adventures and Romance
Pico Iyer


Probably one of the best travel writing collections released in recent memory, this collection is under the name Pico Iyer, who helped to edit this collection. These stories come from the “Wanderlust” section of and create a varied tapestry of travel writing that will keep the reader flipping from one writer to another.

A Walk Across America
Peter Jenkins


This is one of the all time modern classics in travel literature, as Peter Jenkins recalls the story of his 1973-1975 walk from New York to New Orleans. For many readers, this remains a rare travel book that grips you and keeps you. Known as a travel writer who will walk anywhere, including Alaska and China, Peter Jenkins says, “I started out searching for myself and my country and found both.” That sums up what travel writing should be all about.

Travels with Charlie
John Steinbeck


This was a novel that helped John Steinbeck win a Nobel Prize in Literature. “Travels with Charlie” is a fantastic travel narrative that gets to the heart of travel, the point of the trip, and the strange confrontation and realization that the places and people you remember are gone once you are. As he revisits the places of his youth that many of his books are based on, he realizes on seeing old friends that they’re as uncomfortable with him being back as he is with being there. A great story about travel, about home, about mourning lost history, about aging, and about America—this should be required reading for every high school student.

The Dharma Bums
Jack Kerouac


The beat generation was full of great travel narratives, and Jack Kerouac was the master of powerful, moving, passionate language that unfolded stories like few people have ever managed. While “On the Road” is the most often pointed to travel narrative by Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums” is a better book. Full of passion, interesting characters and stories, and the kind of passionate language and powerful prose that made the beat generation writers popular, this Kerouac book is extraordinary and deserving of its number one spot.

Contributor: Shane Dayton

10 Bizarre Travel Guides

This list is taken from our up and coming book The Ultimate Book of Bizarre Lists (which you can pre-order now in time for the big rush in November). Other never-before seen lists by me and some of our contributors also feature in the new book. Here we look at ten of the strangest tourist guidebooks you can imagine. Next time you are stuck for a holiday idea, consider getting one of these for an experience you will never forget. Most of these books can be found on but one or two are out of print.

The Space Tourists Handbook

Space Tourists Handbook Cover

Believe it or not, a travel book exists for those who wish to pay the millions it costs to travel to outer space. This is it. This book will teach you the ins and outs of travel to outer space. What to expect, how to prepare, and much more. A definite must-have for all those billionaires who can afford to toss twenty million dollars at a strange vacation.

Up shit Creek

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As the name implies, this book is a collection of tales about misadventures relating to toilets, poop and river rafting. Written by a river rafting guide, this is actually a pretty hilarious book and while it is definitely up there in the bizarre stakes, it is an enjoyable read.

Laid to Rest in California

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If you are planning to travel to California for a holiday or you are already there and sick of the site of celebrity homes, why not check out some celebrity final resting places? This book takes you on a who’s who tour of celebrities via the graveyard.

Biking to the Arctic Circle

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Have you ever wanted to bike to the Arctic circle? No? Me neither. Nevertheless, someone did and he wrote this book all about his experiences. It is definitely an odd travel guide but not sufficiently odd to make me recommend it to my friends.

Travel by Cargo Ship

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So you want to travel on the cheap. Here is a book just for you. This guidebook outlines 120 itineraries of all kinds of cargo vessels that you can book passage on. It gives you the fares and descriptions of the different vessels, their facilities, and the likelihood of being murdered by Somalian Pirates. Sorry about the image quality – that is the best Amazon could come up with!

Round Ireland with a Fridge

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On a wager the author of this book travelled Ireland for a month with a refrigerator at his side. Perhaps more bizarre than the subject matter is the fact that this book is an international bestseller! There must be something to it.

Mini-Trips for Maxi-Fun


Ah McDonalds – who else would write a travel book with the intention of luring unsuspecting readers into all of these dreadful hamburger joints of America? This book was written in the 1970s by McDonalds staff, outlining small trips you can make as a family – each involving a stop off at… you guessed it: McDonalds.

The Complete Medical Tourist

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Need a tummy tuck? Fancy a face lift? Desperate to change genders? Well this is the book for you. Instead of paying out thousands at your local surgeons, this book shows you where you can travel through Asia, and the rest of the world, for plastic surgery on the cheap. If you do use this book – make sure you don’t end up with an unexpected vagina!

Other People’s Business

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192 pages describing over 100 free tours of factories in Ohio. Oh, boy! Yes, please! Joking aside, this is such a dreadfully dull topic that it absolutely does need to be placed on a list of weird travel books. Obviously, everyone else thinks so, too, because it ranks as the 4.4 millionth most popular book on Amazon.

Flattened Fauna

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Here is the ultimate guide to the dead animals that litter the highways and streets of North America. If you love checking out the carcasses flattened to a pancake in the middle of the road, this guide is an essential for the glove compartment. If you are not all that interested you could always buy it for a loved one.

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the founder of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and cooking. He is fascinated with all things morbid and bizarre.

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10 People Who Mysteriously Vanished While Traveling

One of the most famous missing person cases in recent memory involved Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old American who vanished during a 2005 school trip to the island of Aruba. She has not been seen since.

It’s always terrible when someone goes missing, but searching for them becomes particularly difficult when they disappear somewhere they and their loved ones aren’t familiar with. Such as the following travelers who, after they vanished, sadly never returned home.

10John Reed


Photo credit: Afflictor

In 1980, 28-year-old John Reed left his hometown of Twin Cities, California, and traveled to Brazil. He was hoping to find the lost city of Akakor, an ancient underground civilization which had supposedly remained undiscovered in the Amazonian jungles for thousands of years.

Reed had learned about the city in a book called The Chronicle of Akator. The author, Karl Brugger, had written it after learning about Akator from a Brazilian jungle guide named Tatunca Nara (pictured at left), who claimed he had once been chief of a tribe which ruled the city 3,000 years ago. Tatunca lived in the village of Barcelos and ran a lucrative business leading tourists into the jungle to search for Akator. Reed decided to accompany Tatunca on one of these expeditions. Reed left his dog tags and return plane ticket in his hotel room in Manaus, but never came back.

It was eventually revealed that “Tatunca Nara” was actually a German citizen named Gunther Hauck. Tatunca always claimed that Reed ran off and hid in the jungle after they decided to return to Barcelos. However, Reed was not the only person to disappear under suspicious circumstances in Tatunca’s company. During the 1980s, a Swiss man named Herbert Wanner and a Swedish woman named Christine Heuser would also mysteriously vanish during a Tatunca expedition. Wanner’s jawbone was later found.

In addition, Karl Brugger would be shot to death on a Rio street in 1984. Authorities have always believed that Gunther Hauck was responsible for Brugger’s murder and the three disappearances, but there has never been enough evidence to charge him.

9Judy Smith


In 1997, Judy Smith was a 50-year-old mother of two from Newton, Massachusetts. She had recently gotten married to her attorney husband, Jeffrey, and decided to fly to Philadelphia to join him on a business trip.

On April 10, Jeffrey was attending a conference, so Judy decided to go sightseeing in the city. Judy never returned to their hotel that night, so Jeffrey reported her missing. It would be five months before she was found. On September 7, hikers came across her decomposed, partially buried remains in an isolated mountain area. What makes this story truly baffling is that Judy’s remains were found over 960 kilometers (600 mi) away in North Carolina.

An exact cause of death could not be determined but, since Judy’s remains were found in a shallow grave, authorities concluded she was a likely victim of foul play. Since she still had her wedding ring and $167 in her possession, robbery did not seem to be a motive. Even though she normally carried her belongings in a red backpack, a blue backpack was found at the scene. To make things even stranger, there were indications that Judy had traveled to the area voluntarily, as four witnesses reported seeing her in nearby Asheville.

All indications pointed to Judy being in a friendly mood, and a witness who spoke with her said she mentioned her husband was an attorney. If the woman that witness spoke to was indeed Judy Smith, no one knows why she felt compelled to run off without telling her family. And if Judy chose to disappear on her own, how did she wind up dead on a remote mountain?

8Frank Lenz


There are numerous people who have vanished while attempting to fly around the world. However, Frank Lenz has the unique distinction of disappearing during an attempt to cycle the globe. The 25-year-old Lenz was a noted cyclist from Pennsylvania who wanted to attempt a bicycle trip around the world, a journey he expected to take over two years.

Lenz began his trip in Pittsburgh on May 25, 1892, and would spend the next several months travelling across North America before sailing over to Asia. By May 1894, Lenz was cycling through Tabriz, Iran, and his next projected destination was 450 kilometers (300 mi) away in Erzurum, Turkey. But Lenz did not arrive in Erzurum, and he was never seen again.

After not hearing anything from Lenz throughout the summer, his family and friends decided to organize a search for him. Unfortunately, Lenz just happened to be traveling through Turkey during the height of the Armenian Massacres of the mid-1890s. During that time, the Ottoman Empire was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Armenians, and it’s possible that Lenz could have been caught up in the violence and killed.

When another cyclist named William Sachtleben traveled to Erzurum to search for Lenz, he uncovered information that Lenz may have been passing through a small Turkish village in the Kurdistan region, where he inadvertently insulted a Kurdish chief. In retaliation, the chief supposedly ordered bandits to murder Lenz and bury his body. The alleged killers were charged with Lenz’s death, but most of them fled the area or died before they could be imprisoned. The Turkish government eventually agreed to pay compensation to Lenz’s family, but his body was never found.

7Leo Widicker


Even though he was 86 years old, Leo Widicker still lived a very active life. Leo had been married to his wife, Virginia, for 55 years, and they both belonged to a Christian organization called Maranatha Volunteers International. By 2001, the Widickers had worked with Maranatha on 40 humanitarian trips.

For their 41st trip, the couple left their home in Bowdon, North Dakota to accompany the organization to Tabacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica. On November 8, Leo rested on a bench while his wife went off to wade in the hot springs. When Virginia returned about half an hour later, her husband was gone.

It’s theorized that Leo may have fallen asleep on the bench and become disoriented after waking up. Before he disappeared, Leo had been seen asking people if they knew where his wife was. He walked to the resort gate and asked the guards if it was okay to leave, so they opened the gate and watched him walk off down the main road.

Only 15 minutes later, one of Leo’s friends drove that same stretch of road for 10 straight miles but did not see any sign of him. Since Leo did not move very fast, and there were very few places he could have gone, the only logical explanation was that someone might have picked him up. However, an extensive search of the area turned up no trace of Leo Widicker, and he has never been found.

6Karen Denise Wells


Karen Denise Wells was a 23-year-old single mother from Haskell, Oklahoma. She decided to leave her child with her parents in order to visit a friend named Melissa Shepard. Wells rented a car and started on a road trip to go see Shepard in New Bergen, New Jersey.

The last confirmed sighting of Wells took place on the evening of April 12, 1994, when she called her friend from a motel in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Shepard agreed to meet Wells at the motel and arrived later that night with two unidentified men. Wells was no longer in her room, and most of her belongings had been left behind.

Early the next morning, Wells’s rental car was found abandoned on a remote road 56 kilometers (35 mi) away. The vehicle was out of gas, and its doors were left wide open. Some items were found inside the car—including a small trace of marijuana—and Karen’s wallet and change purse were found in a nearby ditch. The most perplexing clue about the abandoned vehicle was the reading on the odometer, which did not match the distance it would normally take to travel from Haskell to Carlisle. In fact, there was an extra 700 miles which were unaccounted for.

Right before she arrived in Carlisle, there were sightings of Wells in two other towns which would have required her to drive far out of her way. During her last phone call with Shepard, Wells mentioned getting lost several times that day. Nevertheless, there are still many unanswered questions and missing puzzle pieces in Karen Denise Wells’s baffling disappearance.

5Charles Horvath


Photo credit: Rapid Search and Rescue

In 1989, 20-year-old Charles Horvath decided to leave his native England and travel to Canada, where he would spend several months hitchhiking across the country. By May 11, Charles had arrived in the province of British Columbia, and was staying at a campground in Kelowna. He sent a fax to his mother, Denise Allan, claiming he would make arrangements to meet her in Hong Kong for his 21st birthday. However, months passed and Denise never heard anything from her son. Since Charles had always maintained frequent contact with her up until this point, she became worried. She decided to travel to British Columbia in order to find him.

Denise discovered that Charles had left behind his tent and all his possessions at the campground when he abruptly vanished. After posting up missing person flyers and publicizing Charles’s disappearance, Denise returned to her hotel one night to find a note which read, “I seen him May 26. We were partying and two people knocked him out. But he died. His body is in a lake by the bridge.”

Divers searched this lake and did not find Charles’s body. However, Denise soon received another note claiming they were looking on the wrong side of the bridge. After another search, police did find a body. The victim was tentatively identified as Charles, but it turned out to be a local resident who had committed suicide. However, Denise did receive confirmation from a witness that Charles had attended an all-night party at the campground right before he disappeared. Nevertheless, his disappearance remains unsolved 25 years later.

4Ettore Majorana


Photo credit: Centro Studi Repubblica Sociale Italiana

Ettore Majorana was a noted Italian theoretical physicist who was best known for his work on neutrinos. In 1938, Majorana was working as a physics professor at the University of Naples. On March 25, he wrote a strange note to the university’s physics director, stating that he had made an “inevitable” decision, and apologized for any “inconvenience” his disappearance might cause. He also sent a note to his family, asking them not to spend too much time mourning him.

Majorana would then withdraw a large chunk of money from his bank account before hopping on a boat to Palermo. After arriving, Majorana sent another note to the physics director, implying that he had reconsidered his decision to commit suicide and was planning to come home. Afterwards, Majorana was seen boarding a boat on a return trip to Naples, but he would mysteriously vanish.

There were numerous theories surrounding Majorana’s disappearance: suicide, fleeing the country to start a new life, and even a possible collaboration with the Third Reich. The case remained cold until 2008, when a witness came forward to claim that he had met a man in Caracas back in 1955 who he believed to be Majorana. This man had allegedly been living in Argentina for years, and the witness even provided a photograph of him.

After analyzing the man in the photo and comparing it to photographs of Majorana, investigators found enough compelling similarities to believe they might be the same person. The investigation into Ettore Majorana’s disappearance is still ongoing, but the full story about what happened remains unknown.

3Devin Williams


Devin Williams lived with his wife and three children in Lyon County, Kansas, and made his living as a long-haul trucker. In May 1995, Williams left on a routine work trip to deliver a shipment to California. After finishing up his task, Williams picked up another cargo for a trip to Kansas City.

The next sighting of him was truly bizarre. On May 28, Williams’s 18-wheeler was seen speeding through Tonto National Forest near Kingman, Arizona, coming dangerously close to hitting some campers and their vehicle. The rig eventually came to a stop in the middle of the forest, and witnesses saw Williams wandering around outside. He looked disoriented, incoherently mumbling phrases like, “I’m going to jail” and, “they made me do it.” By the time the police arrived at the scene, the 18-wheeler had been abandoned and Williams was nowhere to be found.

Tonto National Forest was over 80 kilometers (50 mi) away from the interstate Williams normally took on his route to Kansas, and there was no rational explanation for his strange behavior. He had no prior history of drug use or mental illness, though before he left California, Williams had phoned his supervisor and claimed he has having trouble sleeping. Williams’s disappearance was so baffling, even UFO researchers started speculating that he may have been abducted by aliens.

Finally, in May 1997, hikers discovered Devin Williams’s skull about a half mile away from where he was last seen. However, there are still no answers about what actually happened to him.

2Virginia Carpenter


In 1946, the town of Texarkana was the site of an infamous unsolved mystery when an unidentified figure known as the “Phantom Killer” murdered five people. A young resident named Virginia Carpenter knew three of the victims, and became the center of her own unsolved mystery just two years later.

On June 1, 1948, the 21-year-old Carpenter left Texarkana on a six-hour train trip to Denton, where she was enrolled at the Texas State College for Women. After arriving that night, Carpenter took a cab from the train station to the college dormitory. However, after remembering that she’d forgotten to pick up her trunk, Carpenter was driven back to the station. When Carpenter found out that the trunk hadn’t arrived yet, she gave her claim ticket to the cab driver, Jack Zachary, and paid him to pick up the trunk for her the following morning. Zachary then took Carpenter back to the dormitory, where he claimed she went over to speak with two young men in a convertible.

The next day, Zachary picked up Carpenter’s trunk and dropped it off in front of the dormitory, where it remained unclaimed for two days. When school officials and Carpenter’s family realized that no one had heard from her during that time, they reported her missing.

The two young men in the convertible were never identified. However, some suspicion was cast upon Zachary, who had a criminal record and was known for being abusive towards his family. Zachary’s wife initially told police that he came home shortly after dropping Carpenter off, but years later, she would claim her alibi was false—Zachary didn’t actually arrive home until hours later. Nevertheless, there was never any evidence to implicate Zachary in Virginia Carpenter’s disappearance, and no trace of her was ever found.

1Benjamin Bathurst


Benjamin Bathurst was an ambitious 25-year-old British diplomatic envoy. He was dispatched from London to Vienna in 1809 in the hope of improving British-Austrian relations. However, when French military forces invaded Vienna, Bathurst was forced to trek back home.

On November 25, both he and his personal valet stopped in the town of Perleberg, Germany, and checked into the White Swan Inn. Bathurst intended to continue his trip that night, after his valet harnessed their carriage with new horses. Finally, at approximately 9:00 PM, Bathurst learned that the horses were ready. He left his room to presumably head towards the carriage, but inexplicably vanished.

Two days later, Bathurst’s fur coat was discovered in an outhouse that belonged to a man who worked at the White Swan Inn. The man’s mother claimed she had found the coat at the inn and brought it home, but one witness would claim he saw Bathurst walking in the vicinity of the outhouse on the night he disappeared. Bathurst’s trousers were soon found in a wooded area approximately five kilometers (3 mi) outside the town. The trousers contained an unfinished letter to Bathurst’s wife, in which he expressed his fear that he would not make it back home to England.

Rumors circulated that French soldiers may have kidnapped Bathurst, but their government denied these allegations. In 1862, a skeleton was found buried beneath a house which had once belonged to an employee from the White Swan Inn. The remains could not be conclusively identified as Benjamin Bathurst, however, so his disappearance has remained a baffling unsolved mystery for over 200 years.

10 Haunted Roads You Don’t Want To Travel On

10 Haunted Roads You Don’t Want To Travel On

Ever since childhood we are bombarded with scary stories, either by our parents, in an attempt to make us behave better, or by friends just for the fun of it. Even though debates regarding the existence of ghosts can spark a lot of controversy and we don’t tend to believe them, in some cases they are frightening enough to make us stay away from certain places. Driving alone on the road at night, in most cases, is enough to make crippling fear crawl underneath our skins. However, the stories behind these 10 haunted roads will certainly make you avoid them!

Balete Drive, Philippines

A two-lane street, Balete Drive is located in the New Manila District in the Philippines. While the road doesn’t seem that creepy, it is the backbone of some of the most bizarre haunting stories ever told. According to the legend that has been circulating since the early 1950’s, the ancient Spanish homes around the area are haunted and former owners of those homes are guarding the the road itself. The most famous and frequent is the story of a “White Lady” who is reportedly seen walking around the road. Elves, fairies and a smoking black giant have also been spotted on Balete Drive and while the stories are often disregarded as myth, it’s your best bet to simply avoid it.

​Sweet Hollow Road, Melville, New York

There are a vast number of ghost stories and urban myths about Sweet Hollow Road. Passing through dense woods, the road is infamous for its frightening factor with legends surrounding it being investigated by a number of ghost hunting enthusiasts. According to some, there was a hospital in the woods near the road, which burned down, leaving the ghosts of patients to haunt the road for eternity. A similar legend suggests that a nurse had set the hospital ablaze. Her ghost, alongside faceless children, appear out of nowhere to unsuspecting drivers.