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Two travel brands are essentially telling you to leave your laptop home this summer. If you use any of the Google services like Gmail you won’t need it. Why? They’re offering free Chromebooks for their passenger and customer use. Starting July 1, Virgin America and the Ace Hotel will provide the devices to their customers. The idea is that all your information is in the cloud so the device will let you go out and grab it. The Ace has even created an app for the device that provides a field guide to New York.
San Francisco is my kind of town, as Sinatra would have put it. A playground for adults, San Francisco has a diversity I’ve never seen before, a charm and mystery few other cities can even compare to – and even though it’s been said already – it has that big city complexity that only larger cities are capable of handling. Even though I’m on a student budget, I try to be smart about how I spend my money so that I can bulk up some extra cash for experiences rather than for things. In my case, I like eating so that’s where I usually invest my money every weekend. A proud foodie, I try new places because I want to learn something new and above all, I want something different. It helps when you’re surrounded with people who share those interests.
The other day when I had breakfast with my friend and mentor Cameron, he told me about this new and exciting business that had that very special San Francisco-ish feeling that I so truly enjoy. It’s called, Carried Away SF. The company was very recently launched by Vikki and Dianne, two ex-planners in San Francisco that loved traveling and uncovering new grounds, and even more so that fell in love with the city so much that they left their work to make a dream come true. I had the privilege of engaging with these super cool ladies the other day, and let me tell you; this is amazing. The idea is to take the getting-to-know-a-city concept and make it much more personal, intimate and even more importantly an experience you’ll always remember. The experiences you can choose from are called an ‘Outing’. Whether you want your own customized sightseeing, taste the best foods and delicacies from every hidden corner, see and learn about the jaw-dropping urban architectural wonders, shop untraditional cool on handpicked locations, drink bubbly champagne along secret alleys or perhaps get blown away by the views you didn’t know existed, all together with the best San Francisco guides you can imagine – then this is something for you. Everything is tailor-made in detail just to fit with your wishes and there will be no more than 4 people going at the same time (and if you’re a lone wolf, that works too). You don’t share it with people you don’t know – it’s for you and your company exclusively whether it’s for a couple of hours or an entire day. So, how do you go around all these fabulous places? Well, they have their own Batmobile of course, perhaps a slightly more discreet and convenient one. They will take you on a journey where you have to do nothing more than to absorb as much as you can with all of your senses. You get to know San Francisco for real, probably better than most people ever have experienced this city. Even though you’re doing routes others might have seen, every outing is unique depending on what the guides have in store for you.
Traveling is about exploring, seeking the adventure and learning about the culture and atmosphere that lies in front of you. I always enjoyed being on vacation with my family because we always did things and made trips even on the designated destination, no matter where in the world we visited – which gave especially us, the children, a point-of-view and impression rather than sand in our shoes and the hopelessness of swimming in the hotel pool with a t-shirt for a week due to sunburned skin. Group tours are unexciting and buses are boring – Carried Away SF is a proper way of how a city, in fact any city, should be discovered. I would call it an experience inside the experience. Carried Away SF just launched their website last week and reservations from visitors and locals are coming in daily. The gift cards are being ordered by enthusiastic followers and newly updated discoverers.
I have read everything about Carried Away SF, I’m a fan on Facebook and I have talked with the creators – now I can’t wait to take-off. My only concern is, which one should I choose? I want them all, simultaneously. Check out their website and see if they have something you might fancy, because if you visit the city in a near future – you really don’t want to miss out on such a journey. With that in mind I’ll say; awesomeness, take me away.
As we get ready to eat too much next week, many of us will travelling at some point. As you do, the following is a handy reference from Eating the Road.
The life of a qualitative researcher involves a lot of time on the road. While there is always food in the dark back room of a focus group facility, those who have travelled with W5 know that we’re a little obsessed with finding good local food in the cities we travel to. One of those cheap, great places to eat is Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal, the home of smoked meat. Celebrating its 80th year, locals line up in all kinds of weather to get a smoked meat sandwich (ordered lean, medium, or fatty) from 8:00 AM until late. It’s a much better choice than eating too many M&Ms and cold Chinese in the back room of a focus group facility!