Adventuring With Ben: Downsizing 101

first_imgSomething has to give.Last spring, as I twice loaded and unloaded my van with all of the gear required for a two day Cub Scout camp out, that was all I could think. My van was loaded to the gills: six man tent, pop up tent for the kitchen area, folding table, camp stove, tote full of sleeping bags, a couple air mattresses, various bags with flashlights, lanterns, and cooking supplies, coolers of food and drinks, backpacks with clothes . . . . .Being involved with Ben and his scouting adventure has been a highlight of fatherhood. This marks Ben’s fourth year as a Cub Scout, and I have been his den leader for the last three years. It has been a joy to watch him fall in love with the outdoors, and he has taken to camping and hiking with great enthusiasm. But my love of camping with Ben is only rivaled by my disdain for packing for weekend excursions and then breaking everything down.So, as I began to think of Ben becoming a Webelos this fall, and our camping experiences evolving from front country camping, which is required for Cub Scouts, to back country camping, which Boy Scouts can do, I knew that a quick shift in our approach to gear had to begin, as Ben’s continuing with scouting is a foregone conclusion and we don’t own any mules.As is the case whenever I enter into something like this, I reached out to people I know who know things I don’t. I chatted with backpacking friends and dads of Boy Scouts who spent a lot of time back country camping to get an idea on what they were using. Approaching the process like a sponge, I soaked up any and all advice, and one thing became pretty obvious pretty quick; getting to the back country could be setting me back. These folks were using a lot of gear and I had virtually none of it.In an effort to not be overwhelmed, I decided to focus on two essentials, sleeping bags and a tent, first. A good friend of mine gave me rave reviews of his gear from Big Agnes, an outdoor company based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The more I heard from him, and the more I read about his Big Agnes gear, the more interested I got.On a whim, I reached out to Big Agnes to see if they wanted to be part of my journey with Ben into the world of backpacking. They signed on this summer and, to my gratitude, sent Ben and me a tent and a couple of bags and sleeping pads to try out.Ben and I finally got to put our Big Agnes sleep systems to use a couple weekends ago at our pack’s first camp out of the year. The sleep system developed by Big Agnes is what drew me to the company to start with and the bag and pad combinations they sent us had me incredibly excited. In a nutshell, Big Agnes has developed sleeping bags with pockets into which the sleeping pad can be secured. In my mind, this is genius. I remember long, uncomfortable nights ending up sideways and askew on those skimpy blue sleeping pads of my youth. Those nights were no fun then. At age 44, they would be even less fun now.I didn’t let Ben experiment with his pad and bag set up prior to the first night of our camp out. I watched a quick Youtube video on the basic inflation of the pad, but I wanted to give him a true hands-on experience. I handed him the bag and pad, gave him some basic instructions, and turned him loose to puzzle it all out. He rose to the challenge, having the sleeping pad inflated in just over two minutes. I was pretty impressed by that. I had mine ready to go in roughly the same time. We both learned something valuable pretty quickly during that first set up, though; place a slightly inflated pad into pocket in the bag prior to full inflation! After that and one other small hiccup – if you don’t want to reinflate your pad in the middle of the night, make sure the valve cover is fully secured – we were set up for a great night’s sleep within minutes.Those two nights in my sleep system, taken on the Encampment 15 bag and Q-Core SLX pad, were two of the best night’s sleep I have had outside in a long, long time. The temperatures dipped down into the 40s and I stayed nice and toasty, and my pad provided me plenty of support and insulation from the ground. And, by design, I stayed on the pad and didn’t end up all cattywampus. Ben, with his Wolverine 15 and Insulated Air Core Ultra, a system designed specifically for kids, agreed.Following this two night camp out, my van was just as full as it was after the camp out last spring. But, even though it took me a couple hours to get unpacked, Ben and I are  a bit more streamlined with the help of Big Agnes. The set up and break down of our sleeping gear was done in less than five minutes and Ben handled the rolling and stuffing of both his pad and bag completely on his own. This newfound independence, unknown when we were rolling our massive car camping bags, bodes well for future experiences and, for now, frees me up to get the rest of the damned gear out of the van.Ben and I have our next adventures in our sights, and it will involve a brand new tent, hopefully high on some mountain top near our Southwest Virginia home. I know we’ll be sleeping cozy.last_img read more

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Covid-19 may limit Saudi Arabia tourism expansion | News

first_imgGlobalData forecasts that Saudi Arabia’s international arrivals will reach 21 million by 2024. Ben Cordwell, tourism analyst at GlobalData explains that does not mean that Saudi Arabia cannot become a dominant force in the Middle East destination market.“The Red Sea Project is looking to establish Saudi Arabia as a luxury tourist destination which could attract many of the tourists that travel to Dubai each year, particularly high-spending travellers from the UK and China. – Advertisement – OlderMSC Magnifica suspends sailings until late December “Meanwhile, the capital city of Riyadh has the potential to establish itself as a premium luxury destination to rival Dubai.”Religious attractions and celebrations is already the main source of tourism in the country with millions of international visitors arriving to take part in the Hajj and Umrah. A more accessible Saudi Arabia could attract a greater number of Muslim visitors to these events each year.Cordwell continued: “Saudi Arabia is also home to historical sites dating back thousands of years, and so the country could become a hub for cultural tourism to the Middle East thereby diversifying the type of tourist that the country attracts.”Sports tourism is another area that Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in, recently hosting Anthony Joshua’s world title fight against Andy Ruiz. Hosting major sporting events provides Saudi Arabia with a major opportunity to market itself as a prime tourist destination.Cordwell concluded: “Saudi Arabia offers much that can attract a high number of international visitors each year. “The country has a number of initiatives in place to help achieve its ambitious tourist targets to 2030, but it remains to be seen how much of a limiting factor Covid-19 has on international arrivals over the coming years.”Image: KAEC NewerChile leads winners at 2020 Latin America World Travel Awards Saudi Arabia can become a regional tourism powerhouse, according to new analysis of the region. However, the country is unlikely to reach its optimistic annual visitor goals as the Covid-19 pandemic hits global travel. – Advertisement – The Middle Eastern destination is seeking to welcome 100 million guests annually by 2030, Fahd Hamidaddin, chief executive of the Saudi Tourism Authority, recently stating the country remained on track. However, this would mean a near six-fold increase in tourist arrivals over the next 11 years, from the 17 million visitors the country welcomed in 2019, argues GlobalData, a data and analytics company.An increase on this scale now appears overly ambitious, with the massive impact that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has had on global travel and tourism. – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Syracuse’s top-ranked offense fueled by scoring throughout the lineup

first_img Published on February 26, 2018 at 9:28 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcCleary Riley Donahue often brushes off opportunities to talk up her scoring abilities. Coming into the season, she was supposed to be a problem for opposing defenses. After Donahue led the Orange in goals a season ago, many expected 2018 to bring much of the same. But, in the preseason, all she could talk about was her team.“Offense is everywhere,” she said of her team more than two weeks prior to SU’s season-opening matchup against Connecticut.To this point, her team-first tendencies have proven to be right. Donahue, with three goals so far this season, ranks ninth on her team in scoring. But, the number is not a result of Donahue’s struggles.No. 7 Syracuse (3-0) continues to get scoring throughout its lineup to power its top-ranked offense. The Orange are tied with Vanderbilt with an NCAA-leading 19.67 goals per game. Many on Syracuse expect the scoring to be a common thread as the depth and constant substitutions by SU have consistently provided the opportunities for players to score.“We definitely are a threat,” attack Nicole Levy said. “We will have a long list of scorers.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange has had no trouble with scoring in the early going. In SU’s first three games of the season, the fewest number of players to score in a game was nine against Oregon. In Syracuse’s other two matchups — versus Connecticut and Albany — SU had 12 different goal scorers in each game.Syracuse’s diverse attack features many multi-goal scorers. Against the Huskies, the Orange had six players score two or more goals, with four of those players registering three or more goals in the game. The output was similar against Oregon, when Syracuse had six two-plus goal scorers and two three-plus goal scorers.That is in slight contrast to some of the Orange’s season opener last year. In the 2017 debut against eventual-national champion Boston College, SU only had four players score more than two goals with eight of its 18 total goals coming from two players.Levy cautioned that the high-scoring games won’t necessarily continue as Syracuse’s schedule becomes tougher, but she still thinks the Orange will get contributions from many different players.When asked if the high scoring numbers are a result of the multitude of lineups the Orange use, SU head coach Gary Gait grinned.“Yeah,” Gait quipped, “we play a lot of players.”But Gait doesn’t attribute the scoring to any new game plan. He instead has noticed that the attacking style of his midfielders is creating a more “balanced” scoring group.“I think we’re almost even for the first time in a long time,” Gait said “Our middies and attack are scoring almost at the same pace.”This year, the Orange has gotten 28 goals from its midfield compared to 31 from the attack. That’s 9.33 goals per game from the midfield. Comparatively, last season the Orange only got 4.81 goals per game from its midfield as three attacks dominated SU’s goals leaderboard.The midfielders are starting to notice the difference. With the quick lineup changes and free movement, it’s easier for midfielders to make it up and down the field, which creates for more opportunities, junior midfielder Neena Merola said.Freshman Sam Swart is seeing the opportunities early in her SU career, as well. Tied with three people for fifth on SU’s scoring list, the midfielder went as far to make a prediction that “everyone will evenly play, evenly score.” While it remains to be seen whether or not that will hold true, Gait seems to be keen on the idea of having midfielders contribute more to Syracuse’s offensive production.“We’ve been, in the past, attack-driven,” Gait said. “Now, I think the middies are really coming into their own and starting to step it up.”As SU’s scoring evolves, it’s finding the win column frequently. SU’s presumed scoring leader in the preseason, Donahue, isn’t dominating the way she did last year, but so far she hasn’t had to.She’s just glad to see her preseason prediction come full circle.“It’s great to see,” Donahue said. “It’s great to go out there and really put everything together.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Paris’s emblematic Champs Elysees, place of jubilation

first_imgThe next day the world champions were driven down the avenue in a double-decker bus, although the crowds prevented them from going right up to the famous Arc de Triomphe.– Elegant city stage –As cherished by tourists as the Eiffel Tower just across the River Seine, the elegant avenue stretching for two kilometres (more than a mile) from the Arc de Triomphe down to Concorde Square was first laid out in 1670.Tens of thousands of people daily throng the tree-lined artery which is home to luxury boutiques, chain stores, cafes, cinemas and high-end offices.The Obelisk of Luxor at Concorde Square, the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre Museum are all visible from what is dubbed “the most beautiful avenue in the world”.On Saturday the avenue hosted the traditional military parade for France’s July 14 national holiday, Bastille Day © AFP / Ludovic MARINEvery year it hosts major popular events like the traditional military parade on July 14, the Bastille Day national holiday — which this year fell on the eve of the World Cup triumph.The Champs Elysees is also the finish line for the world’s toughest cycling race, the Tour de France, and hundreds of thousands of Parisians and tourists gather there to see in the New Year.– A role in history –Once fields and fallow land, the avenue started to take shape when Louis XIV’s city planner Jean-Baptiste Colbert first linked the Louvre to the Tuileries Garden in the mid-17th century.The name is French for Elysian Fields, the paradise for dead heroes in Greek mythology.During the French Revolution in 1789 an angry mob set off from the avenue to march on Versailles, Louis XVI’s opulent retreat.Four years later he would be guillotined at the Place de la Revolution, which would be renamed Concorde after the July Revolution of 1830.After Napoleon I elected to have the Arc de Triomphe built at the avenue’s apex to celebrate his military successes, Baron Haussmann, architect of the transformation of Paris under Napoleon III, effected a stylish revamp.General Charles de Gaulle celebrated the August 25, 1944, liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany on the Champs-Elysees © AFP/FileFrench soldiers paraded there for the first time in July 1915 and it was also the site chosen by General Charles de Gaulle to celebrate the August 25, 1944, liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany.– Inspirational –The mythic avenue has been the subject of songs and films, inspiring Jean-Luc Godard’s legendary new wave film “A Bout de Souffle” (“Breathless”) in 1960.Among the rich and famous who have lived on the Champs Elysees are French actress Sarah Bernhardt, US president Thomas Jefferson and French president Raymond Poincare.– Scene of attacks –The internationally known landmark as also been the scene of modern-day attacks.On Bastille Day in 2002, president Jacques Chirac survived an assassination attempt on the avenue by a rightwing extremist who fired off one shot from a rifle hidden in a guitar case before bystanders wrestled him to the ground.And in April 2017 a man claiming allegiance to the jihadist Islamic State group shot and killed a police officer on the avenue.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The emblematic avenue rapidly filled to capacity on Sunday as Parisians revelled in France’s second World Cup victory. More than a million people invaded the broad thoroughfare on July 12, 1998, after France clinched the trophy on home soil © AFP / Eric FEFERBERGPARIS, France, Jul 13 – The Champs Elysees avenue is the beating heart of Paris, a magnet for millions of tourists but also a place of mass gathering when the French want to celebrate.The emblematic avenue rapidly filled to capacity on Sunday as Parisians revelled in France’s second World Cup victory. More than a million people invaded the broad thoroughfare on July 12, 1998, after France clinched the trophy on home soil.last_img read more

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