This elegant gentleman was captured in Sicily by Flickr user TravelSeminar. The weathered creases that line his face, the pulled back curtains and shy grin all suggest a moment of welcome and openness. It’s the perfect visual accompaniment to a brand new year – take it as an invitation to get your own travel plans off to a great start. Here’s wishing you all the best in 2012!
Sometimes questions are better left unanswered. Like how a sport called “extreme ironing” has circumnavigated the globe, fascinating folks from France to Fiji. Described on the official website as the “latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt,” it’s an activity that is as much a sport as it is a hilarious performance art. Here are the most unique incarnations of this increasingly popular international craze. Get ready to be amazed and amused as participants from around the world make a new name for this mundane household chore:
1. England: Multi-Disciplinary Extreme Ironing
Since the thrilling sport of extreme ironing was born in the United Kingdom, it makes sense that they’ve mastered the art. This guy has more than one trick up his sleeve when it comes to finding ridiculous places to get the wrinkles out of his duds. I’m just not sure they always score that high when it comes to productivity…
2. Japan: Speed Ironing on a Mountain Board
Short and sweet – this guy knows how to get the chores done. In speedy fashion he gains ground heading down a grassy hill, iron in hand, and takes a bold turn right in time to graze the shirt awaiting him on his ironing board. Who says you can’t extreme iron in a city park – at least that works when adventuring in Japan.
3. USA: Ironing in Transit, on Road and over Water
At first you think these crazy guys are just tied in to the side of a moving van attached to a soldered ironing board, but after they round a few curves the “van” takes to the water… Magically, this dual-purpose craft allows for two extreme forms of ironing, and to these Massachusetts pranksters that means double the pleasure. I know the state has much more to offer than this ironing activity.
4. Scotland: Street Level Emergency Ironing
Apparently in Edinburgh there are circumstances under which emergency ironing is necessary. But luckily this popular pastime has quite a following in these parts, including this fellow who’s one call in case you need him to run down the street after your dress clothes, iron in tow. Just try and block out the corny chase scene music track.
5. Austria: Rappel-Ironing
I made an exception for this Austrian guy who didn’t have a video camera – the video collage he got his friends to help him make shows just how much time they’ve got on their hands. Extra points for the matching spandex outfit and brightly-painted house off which he rappels. I’m assuming he likes to chat with neighbors passing by while he irons shirts, but I can’t imagine he wears suits much at all.
6. England: Sky Dive Ironing Championship Training
You can sky dive in England, and you can iron, but you can also to both at the same time. In fact, there are leagues dedicated entirely to the sport and regularly compete on points of style and creativity in extreme sky dive surf ironing, or whatever the league calls themselves. Watch as the teams prep for the big dives, there are a lot of clothes ready to hit the board. On your next trip to the UK look out for local Extreme Ironing competitions, they actually exist and can be attended!
7. Egypt: Ironing Underwater in the Famous Blue Hole
It isn’t at all the first thing I’d think of when talking up Egyptian travel, but the famous Blue Hole, an incredible geographic asset in the middle the desert, has more possibilities than meets the eye. To this gal it was extreme ironing, and she succeeding in reaching her goal of being the first and only diver to iron at the bottom of this aquamarine-blue body of water.
8. England: Extreme Ironing Skydive
You think these two are just jumping out of a plane with snowboards attached to their feet, but before too long you see they’ve got other plans, to use the bottom of the board at the ironing surface for their own form of extreme ironing. I’m sure if you get in a few jumps on your next extreme sports adventure to England, that the instructor might let you try out some of these moves if the spirit moves you.
9. New Zealand: Extreme Ironing on a Mountaintop
I can picture these Kiwi guys arguing all the way up the mountain about who would carry the ironing board, but however they managed to drag it up there, it is one incredible place to iron. The view of snowy crags and a sea of rocky peaks makes for a nice ambiance, I’m just not sure it would be my first choice of activity after mountaineering to the top of this exquisite New Zealand Peak, but hey, that’s just me.
10. USA: Extreme Ironing on a Bike
I’m not sure how this guy justified assembling this very complex rigging in order to conquer his ironing while rolling through New York’s
Central Prospect Park. I can only assume from his hilarious video that his thought many others would be interested in his design in order to replicate his fanciful strapping of a gasoline generator to a mountain bike and an ironing board. At least one of these extreme ironers actually ended up with a wrinkle-free shirt!