So if you are a frequent flyer types, here’s some quick back of the envelope math.
About 50k miles a year usually corresponds to gold status with most airline programs (star alliance, skyteam etc). I haven’t done any rigorous calculations yet but it appears that flying that much would generate about 13 tons of CO2. Now offsetting your footprint is ridden with a lot of moral questions and arguments that I am not going to get into. But it seems to cost about $10-$25 to offset 1 ton of CO2. So if you fly 50k miles a year, that’s about $200/yr to offset it all, give or take. Put another way, a single San Francisco to London round trip will be about 3 ton of CO2, offsetting which will cost around $50.
So in general, for about 5% of your economy ticket price, you can do some good that kinda seems to even out among some dimensions you choose.
I don’t know of good options to do that but I ended up using GoldStandard just to try it out in case anyone is interested. And if someone knows some other offsetting resources they like, please share!
For those who were following along at the time, it’s been 5yrs now since I almost lost my right hand!
For those who came in later, here’s what happened. This may be a little graphic so please only continue if such content doesn’t bother you.
I caught an infection in Tanzania that started developing symptoms on my flight to India. But I went straight to a wedding first, which is the main reason I had flown to India that day ☺️
Next morning my hand was very swollen and it hurt very bad – like a semi truck had just run over it. I also started to develop a fever. Went to the doctor who said I needed to be operated on right away.
8hrs later I was on the operating table inside a hospital in Mumbai, under general anesthesia, and the surgeon made an incision in my hand and drained all the pus and then closed it up. That was the easy part. 🤞
We didn’t know what the infection was and my fever raged on. My hand hurt like hell. And every 6-8hrs they had to remove the bandages, stuff a bunch of gauze and cotton deep into the hand cavity and squeeze out the pus like we squeeze out toothpaste. There was no anesthesia involved in this step. It helped me understand pain, my thresholds for pain and offered me a great opportunity to practice integrating into discomfort rather than fearing it. I remember how traumatizing those days were – to feel the pain, to know that more is coming at regular intervals, and the powerlessness around it. Also in an interesting way, I think my family was affected more by it then I was. I was never shrinking or crying or squirming during the procedure. I had mostly resigned to it and was mostly detached from it. Mostly! 😛
4 days later we got the culture results and the right antibiotic started to work. My fever was finally coming down and I could think again. But my hand still was no where close to healed. I could see raw flesh and the deep cavity every time the bandage was taken out. I didn’t think that was ever going to heal. Funny the narratives our brain can tell us 😆 I had to leave my hand raised in a sling to avoid accumulation of fluids. I started doing my tasks and working on my laptop etc with my left hand. I had accepted a future where I didn’t have use of my right hand and had simply moved on. (And you guessed it right, I’m right handed 🤓)
After a month of daily change of bandages and cleaning, I was amazed at how much the body starts to heal. The cavity was closing in, new flesh had formed. And I was also able to finally close my fist again. It then took me 1yr of physical therapy to get my grip back. And now, after 5 yrs all I have left is a scar and memories!
Lesson learned: don’t pluck feathers off dead flamingoes 🦢 😇
Standing just below the summit of Mt Hood in Oregon, we are looking up at the climbers making the final approach. This is one of my favorite pictures. This is a picture of me not summitting Mt. Hood in Oregon.
We had been training for the whole season. Mt Hood is an excellent training hike for other higher, glaciated climbs in the area. We drove up from Seattle and arrived at the trail-head at 10pm. Then we slept in the car. We woke up at 2am. It was very very windy and quite cold. We started going up at about 3am. Alpine start. My body was cold. I was very exhausted and sleepy. And every part of my being told me to get back in the car, turn on the heat and sleep till sunrise. But the right thing is often larger than us.
So ice axe in hand, crampons on our shoes, we commenced climbing on the icy incline. It was steep. A very perfect mountain in many ways. If I was asked to draw a mountain when I was 3, this is what I would have drawn. Straight inclined edges. Ending with a nice tip on the top.
At 5:30am we paused for a bit. The light was beginning to break over the horizon. It was beautiful. Surreal.
We continued climbing, and we finally reached this spot. 4,400ft / 1,300m of climbing on full deep snow.
This was just below the bergschrund. It was dangerous to continue. It was too icy. And too busy. Too many people. One slip by you or someone else and you could go tumbling down the gully.
To continue we’d have to rope up. We didn’t have time. We had to get back down in time to meet some friends for brunch at noon in Portland. And we had absolutely no cellular network. So we couldn’t get in touch and let them know we would be late. So we decided to turn around.
We had failed at our original goal of summitting. But we got the gift of extra time to enjoy this spot. It was awesome. You could smell the sulphur mixed with the icy alpine air. It’s an active volcano. And that’s when I took this photograph using my 70-200mm lens.
Coming back down was fun. And we made it to brunch on time. We were exhausted. And had built up an appetite. And the food tasted delicious.
We sometimes focus so much on the end goal, we forget to notice all the gifts we receive along the way. Almost never is a failure a dead-end. It always opens an opportunity for something else. If we can adapt, adjust our goals, then we may end up turning failures into cherished successes.
I am glad I didn’t summit Mt Hood that day. I was able to shoot one of my favorite pictures as a result. The mountain still stands. And I’m still alive.
There’s this guy that stands at a busy intersection in Mumbai. He is there every day. Smiling. I saw him the first time in 2006 or so. He has been doing this for at least 12 years now as one of my friends confirmed today (July 12, 2018) that they saw him there!
The sign reads:
Follow your own dharma (duty / virtue / morality / religion).
I captured the sound on this video using two separate microphones in the field. This simulates how the human ear hears sounds. This is called binaural audio and it creates a deeply immersive, spatial experience.
Please put on your headphones and then hit play. Without headphones you won’t be able to hear the spatial 3D audio.
I am trying out a new technique for capturing audio in the field. This involves putting one microphone inside each one of my own ears. These two microphones then capture independent audio tracks which is an exact reproduction of the sound waves hitting each individual ear.
The shape of the ear coupled with the fact that my own head gets in the way of some of the sound waves, results in a very unique audio signature that my brain then uses to recreate a spatial interpretation of the scene around me.
I tried uploading to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube but the audio channel was not being reproduced. Turns out it was getting re-encoded as a mono sound track, and just being repeated on each channel rather than preserving the original independent tracks.
So here is the raw file on my own server. Put on some headphones and play this video. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!
The flavors work so well together, at many different levels, despite the simplicity. The hotness of the peppers is accentuated by the heat of the tea, and the salt somehow blends with that intensity while the gaathiya creates the neutral grounding and the jalebi keeps bringing a glimpse of the sweet.
On the train from Poznań to Toruń, random fellow passengers helped me put my bags away, offered me food and a drink which is definitely something spiked with something. And now we are using Google translate to communicate with each other.
I think they are Ukrainian. And we are mixing some Russian with Polish now.
They work in construction. Build bridges. They came from Ukraine to work in Poland.
I gave them chocolates from the U.K. One of them has a girlfriend called Marislova. The chocolates are now a gift for her.
I climbed Mt Stuart recently. It’s so ragged and awesome I still can’t believe I actually made it up to the summit with that crazy 4,000+ ft exposure on the north side. I took my drone with me to the summit but it was too windy to use it there. So I desended 300ft and took this video when the wind quieted down.