Sun-loving world travelers seek endless summer

Call it a refusal to grow up, an inability to tolerate winter weather, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but some travelers will do anything to prolong their summer vacation.

A recent CNN article profiles a handful of travelers and entrepreneurs who have planned their lives around seeking sun rather than snow. Appropriately enough, folks like this are sometimes referred to as “summer chasers.”

If the pursuit of sunshine appeals to you, the article offers the following tips:

Plan ahead
Couple Jared Heyman and Lauren Goldstein saved their money to fulfill a longtime goal: to travel the world for a year, visiting every continent without a set itinerary. Their one requirement: to only visit places with warm climates. Says Heyman, “To us, summer means freedom. Since we’re taking a year to travel…without work or other responsibilities, summer seemed like the most appropriate season to chase. Our strategy is to always be wherever it’s summertime, even if that means switching continents and hemispheres when necessary.”

The couple is currently in Italy, but following stops in Greece and Croatia, they will head to the Southern Hemisphere, visiting Cape Town, South Africa, Mauritius and Zanzibar. Then on to South America for the holidays, followed by Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives (hopefully they won’t decide to get married there), and the Seychelles.

Find a job that lets you live in endless summer
If you don’t have the savings to quit your job so you can travel, why not find a career that keeps you in a warm climate, or on the beach?

Michael Turner Winning of British Columbia is a private chef on a Florida yacht. The job enables him to travel and experience summer nearly full-time. He works 11 months a year in balmy climes like Maui and West Palm Beach.

Take your professional aspirations where the sun shines
Thanks to technology, working remotely is easier than ever, even from a private island or multiple countries.

Twenty-two-year-old (!) Colin Pladmonton of Washington state co-founded Spreadsong, a company that develops mobile applications. His occupation is enabling him to travel the world indefinitely, staying in hostels and affordable rented bungalows in temperate parts of Argentina, as well as Montevideo, Uruguay, and Panama.

Product review – Philips goLITE BLU light therapy device

In this product review, I’m going to introduce you to the Philips goLITE BLU light therapy device.

The goLITE is a portable bluewave light, designed to reduce the impact of seasonal affective disorder, or other disorders where your bodies clock is messed up, including jetlag.

I first became interested in the technology behind these devices when I picked one up at a Costco several years ago. Being the geek I am, anything with lights and buttons that claims to help make me feel better is always worth trying.

Thankfully, the positive effects of blue light treatment are not just another wacky technology sold in infomercials at 3am. The effects have been studied by the Mayo clinic, Nasa and the US National Institute of Health.

Subjecting yourself to blue light, stimulates your brain to create more Serotonin, which is what researchers believe to be the key to reducing winter blues and other mood and energy problems.

The blue light also suppresses the creation of Melatonin, which is responsible for our hibernation patterns.

Finally, researchers have also concluded that the blue light can help reset our circadian rhythm, which is particularly helpful if you are trying to reduce the impact of jetlag.
My first blue light device was from Apollo Health, and their products were apparently so impressive that electronics conglomerate Philips purchased the company. To me, the support from a large company like Philips also helps reinforce the claims made of how blue light can help you.

Let’s move on to the device itself – The new goLITE BLU is a small 5.5″x5.5″, 1 pound device with up to 10,000 lux of blue light. The device is powered by an internal rechargeable battery and has an LCD screen with touch sensitive controls.

The goLITE has a small removable stand on the back, which is held in place by a magnet. When you want to use the device, you simply place the stand in a small hole in the back.

The touch sensitive controls regulate the brightness in 4 steps, adjust the light therapy duration, and allow you to set the time.

One of the most interesting features for travelers, is the ability to wake to light. Imagine waking up in your hotel room to soothing blue light, instead of the roar of the wood grain hotel alarm clock. Of course, if light is not enough to wake you, you can also enable a soothing chime on the unit.

The goLITE comes with a nice carrying case, so it makes the perfect travel alarm clock. The internal battery should last for 4-5 treatment sessions of light therapy.

Of course, the big question is whether the goLITE BLU actually works. Since I am often stuck in my office for days at a time, and have to suffer through the 6 month winter of the Midwest, I’m happy to report that I often did see quite an improvement in my mood, especially on dull and dark days.

I’ve also packed my blue light in my luggage for long haul trips, and brief treatments of the light really did make the impact of jetlag go away quicker. If you want to learn more about the process of reducing the impact of jetlag using the goLITE, you can read the tips on page 16 of the user guide (PDF link!)

It could be the geek in me that responds well to gadgets, but I honestly believe the technology behind the product works as advertised.

The Philips goLITE BLU costs $279, and comes with a full 30 day guarantee, which should be long enough to see how well you respond to the product. The unit comes complete with a protective carrying case and a US charger. An international charger kit is available from Philips for $15.