Travel Newsletter - 19 February 2021

A new train to Georgetown, the world’s most romantic railway, the last lost tourist, space travel, and snow. Lots of snow.

Hello from Ho Chi Minh City, where the week-long Tet holiday has wound up and most shops have opened up again. Some bars are still closed due to the last covid scare, and schools are also closed. We aren’t out of the woods yet.

The worst-hit area has been the province of Hai Duong in the north, which has been locked down completely. Recent visitors to the province are also required to go into quarantine. This is why we can still travel and get on with business here.

I’m travelling next week, and I do so knowing that if an outbreak suddenly happens in a province I’m visiting I might end up in a two-week quarantine.

For now, we are still wearing masks in public until further notice.

COVID-19 and travel (or lack thereof)

“I miss the M&S car park”—How the pandemic supercharged Britain’s nostalgia for the ordinary

“I thought I’d mourn my long-awaited holiday to the US that was cancelled, but in fact I’ve barely given it a second thought. What I miss are bus stops; crowded shopping malls, and my favourite branches of Boots.”

What we risk when we rush back to travel

Robots at reception: South African hotel turns to machines to beat pandemic

Digital nomad news

Greece looks to create special visa to attract digital nomads

Every month there are more announcements of countries that are experimenting with digital nomad visas. After visiting Athens in 2019 I have been wanting to go back to Greece and explore the islands.

Assorted travel reads

Bayan Lepas LRT – The proposed Penang light rail connecting Georgetown to the airport

My latest article for Living In Asia covers the proposed Penang light rail, so perhaps the next time you visit Georgetown there will be a train from the airport.

Meet the man who walks across entire countries in a straight line

“YouTube star GeoWizard, aka Tom Davies, shares some straight talk about his linear style of adventure.”

There are maps that appear on Reddit of the longest straight line you can walk without hitting the ocean. Who knows, maybe one day someone will be crazy enough to attempt it. In the meantime, we can be satisfied with Tom Davies walking in straight lines across single countries.

‘World’s most romantic railway’ in Japan and its sudden change in fortunes – thanks to a photographer and the Taiwanese 

Going places: senior couple indulge in post-retirement wanderlust

“She’s 69 and he’s 73 years young. Their motorbike is 30 years old. They’ve mostly been on the road since 2012.”

Flying in a 707 & aerial apologies

Tony Wheeler (co-founder of Lonely Planet) recalls his last flight on a 707.

The bizarre tale of the world's last lost tourist, who thought Maine was San Francisco

“In 1977, 49-year-old German brewery worker Erwin Kreuz blew his life savings on his first flight — a once-in-a-lifetime birthday trip to San Francisco.” (via the travelfish newsletter).

Siberia-based photographer Roma Gostev captures the snow-coated serenity of his city Nizhnevartovsk

What it’s like to go ‘home’ to a country you’ve never visited

“My mum is from Dominica and my dad from Nigeria. When I’m able to visit these countries, I’ll technically be going as a tourist.”

Snowfall in Times Square, NYC | Walking in New York City in the winter snow, 4k

My news stream is filled with friends from the US battling through the winter cold, especially in Texas (here is my friend Dan’s place in Austin). No doubt there will be lots of Texas snow videos soon. Until then, here is New York as a winter wonderland. I once spent a winter in New York, and it’s indeed magical for a few hours, then the snow starts turning brown.

Watch bullet trains powering through snow in Japan

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual in snowy Japan.

Mapping the world’s youngest and oldest countries

Space travel is travel, so that technically falls into my travel newsletter wheelhouse, and one day travel to Mars will be a thing. Also, this newsletter is about keeping the travel dream alive while waiting for normal travel to resume. With that justification out the way, here is NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover.

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The Travel Newsletter by Nomadic Notes is a weekly newsletter of the best travel reads and interesting travel news, and random ramblings by the editor.

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- James Clark