Couple Aims to Travel Using Only Virtual Currency

Zach Copley, Flickr

For the last two months, Beccy and Austin Craig haven’t spent any cash. Well, they’ve spent money, but all of their transactions are with the virtual currency called Bitcoin. Yes, that’s the same stuff that all the transactions on illegal drug website Silk Road were made in.

But apparently it can be used by a sweet couple from Utah too. They use it for all of their daily shopping, including gas and food, and now they’re taking it international: next week the couple is road tripping to New York City and from there they will fly to Stockholm. And it will all be done on Bitcoin, a decentralized, peer-to-peer digital currency.The Craigs are part of a documentary project, “Life on Bitcoin” and in Sweden they will visit a company that makes “Bitcoin mining machines,” basically computers that manage the Bitcoin, not mining actual coins.

But how exactly does one travel using a virtual currency? Carefully. While the Craigs have found a community in and around Provo that supports the use of Bitcoins and their “online wallet,” in order to survive in other places, they have to hope that they can find the same. If it’s late at night and you’re in the middle of nowhere on a highway, you can’t just go buy a few candy bars and chips at the local gas station.

The Craigs purchased their tickets to Sweden from a German travel agent that deals in Bitcoin. But beyond that, their travels are unplanned, besides hoping to tap into local Bitcoin user communities. Which raises the question: is it really possible to travel using only a virtual currency?

Since it’s virtual, Bitcoin coins don’t represent any actual currency, which means no need for thinking about exchange rates, but how do you buy metro tickets? What about if you have an accident and end up having to pay to see a doctor? What about going out for a local brew?

The Craigs will simply have to wait and see, but we can all hope that they pack some extra provisions with them before they leave.

How To Get Souvenirs From A Place You’ve Never Been

A Box From Tehran souvenirs
ABoxFrom.com

Planning a trip to Tehran anytime soon? You probably aren’t, due to heavy restrictions on travel to Iran, but you can get a taste of Persian culture with a trip to your mailbox. ABoxFrom.com is a service that compiles a box of souvenirs from far-flung places (the previous box was from Seoul, South Korea) and mails them to you in beautifully-decorated boxes.

The Tehran box is 40 Euro, including tea, a paper map and a handmade basket. They may seem like ordinary objects, but each item was carefully chosen with the help of locals, and for its importance in the country’s culture and history, nostalgic and new.

The Shutdown Affects Travel, Twitter Responds As Usual

Budget Battle
AP

The government shutdown is officially happening, and various travel-related agencies are being affected, most notably National Parks. Air traffic controllers are still hard at work, but there’s no way Yosemite will be able to celebrate its 123rd birthday (although Google is trying hard).

As usual, people are responding to the shutdown and its affects on travel on Twitter.

Some are concerned about the international tourists:


Some are hopeful that eventually things will get back to normal:


Others are thinking that this could provide uneducated travelers with a learning opportunity:

And beyond an opportunity, at least it will mean more leg room:

And then there are those who are just really excited for what the shutdown just might mean for them:

But wait, your pets can’t come with you??

Hold on, someone may have found a solution to said shutdown issue:

And if you’re traveling soon, not to worry; you can still get a passport.

Most importantly though, let’s all take a moment to think about what this all means for space travel:

Cookisto: Airbnb For Home Cooking?

Home cooking
Flickr, Sean Ganann

We’ve seen collaborative consumption work with everything from car rentals like ZipCar, to vacation rentals like Airbnb. But would you pay to eat someone else’s home cooking?

Cookisto, a social network that connects home cooks with hungry “foodies,” started in Athens and will soon come to London. Cooks make their own dishes, upload the details onto the site including number of portions and cost, and share their menus over social media. Eaters can arrange for delivery or pick up, depending on what’s on offer.

Quality control is all on the honor system, with users providing ratings on their experiences. The program has been successful so far in Greece, where the economic crisis has made residents look for creative ways to put food on the table. Cookisto meals generally cost a few euro, far less than you’d pay in a restaurant, but enough to earn the cooks a bit of extra money. The community has attracted both professional and amateur chefs, competing for good ratings and repeat orders built on trust and reputation.

Would you pay to eat someone else’s home cooking? What would you cook for a stranger?

Airbnb Produces Short Film Made Out Of 6-Second Vines

Think a 6-second video isn’t long enough to tell a story? How about 600 seconds?

Airbnb produced an impressive short film with their Hollywood & Vines project. Screenwriter Ben York Jones, known for the prize-winning film “Like Crazy” about a long-distance romance, came up with the simple concept of the journey of a piece of paper (lots of paper airplanes are involved). After the storyline was set, directions were sent over Twitter, and submissions were made entirely using 6-second Vine videos. More than 750 submissions were received, with 100 making the final cut, from Kansas to Kuwait.