Minibus road trip

Why Are Road Trips the Best Way to Travel?

If you’re looking to get from one place to the next, a road trip may be in order. While there are a lot of different ways to travel to different cities, states, and even countries, road tripping your way around is the absolute best way to travel for quite a few different reasons. It may be more convenient for you than other methods of travel, such as airplanes and trains.

You’ll Get to See More Places

When you’re traveling by car on the road, you’ll get to see a lot of places you may have never had the chance to see before. Because you’ll need to travel through a number of cities and states to get to your ideal destination, you’ll have a lot of sightseeing to do to keep you occupied. There is nothing quite as enjoyable as watching the beautiful scenery in an area you’ve never been to before. If you’re not the one who is driving, you may even want to pull out your phone and take some pictures of all the stunning sights you’re seeing.

You Can Spend Quality Time With Loved Ones

If you’re in a car with a group of friends or even some of your family, you’ll get to spend a bit of quality time with them while driving to the destination. When you’re on a plane or a train, it’s simply not the same because you’re sharing the plane or the train with a lot of other people and you may not even get the opportunity to sit next to some of your loved ones. However, when driving in a car, you’ll all have the chance to sit together, listen to music as loud as you want to, tell jokes, and have a great time while on the way to the destination of your choice.

You’ll Get to Make as Many Stops as You Want or Need

Airplanes, trains, and buses aren’t going to make stops when you want them to. It’s the kind of luxury you do have when you’re driving your own vehicle (if you’re in Australia hire one from Rentco) to travel. If you feel like stopping because you want to grab a bite to eat or because you want to check a store out while you’re on the road, you can stop and do just that. Although it may take you a bit longer to get to your destination because you’re making multiple stops, it’s still much more convenient than not being able to stop when you want to or need to do so.

If you want to travel, consider going on a road trip. Driving to get to your destination is ideal because you can see a lot of different places and beautiful sights while on your way, you can relax and unwind with friends, and you can make as many stops as you want to. As long as you have a reliable vehicle that can get you from your original location to your final destination, a road trip is the way to get where you need to go.

Breakfast tray on a bed

How to Choose the Best Hotel to Book

If you need to book a hotel because you’re planning to go out of town and visit a different area, you’ll need to pick a good hotel to stay in for several nights. You wouldn’t want to book a hotel that is uncomfortable and dirty because then it would ruin your overall experience and make it hard for you to enjoy your vacation. There are several steps you can follow to ensure you’re selecting the perfect hotel to stay in whenever you’re traveling.

Find Out the Hotel’s Star Rating

If you’re thinking about booking a specific hotel, check its star rating. Certain hotels provide more amenities than others. If you want something simple without all the extra frills, you may not mind staying at a two-star or even a three-star hotel. However, if you’re expecting a luxurious experience, you should pay attention to the star rating because you’ll want to book a four-star or five-star hotel that has much more to offer. If the star rating is considerably higher, you can expect the experience to be that much more enjoyable for you and anyone who is staying at the hotel with you.

Read the Different Google Reviews

After typing the name of a hotel on Google, you may come across a list of reviews people have decided to leave behind. A great website for this is tripadvisor.com. These reviews are telling in a number of ways. While not everyone is going to have the same experience and some people have higher expectations than others, you can read the different reviews to get a better feel for what people personally like about the hotel and what they may have disliked during their stay. If you’re reading a lot of negativity and hearing rumours about bed bugs or other issues, you may want to avoid a specific hotel just to play it safe and look for one that has better reviews from the public.

View Many Images of the Hotel Online

If you’re unable to visit the hotel in person before booking a stay, spend a bit of your time browsing through the websites and reviewing the images. Most hotels post dozens of pictures to give people an idea of what their establishment looks like on the inside. A great example of this is the tradewindshotel.com.au website. These photos may include shots of the different rooms that are available for booking as well as some of the different amenities they offer, including indoor swimming pools, fitness centers, business centers, and spas. If you happen to like what you see and what you’ve read about a hotel, you may then be ready to book a stay there.

It’s good to know how to select the right hotel to stay at before you book a stay because you don’t want to waste money on a place that is going to make you feel uncomfortable. You should be able to feel comfortable in your hotel room throughout your stay while having access to the amenities you personally prefer having when you’re on a vacation with your family or a group of friends.

The ABC’s sex industry promotion

Last week I was one of 12 panelists on the ABC2 program ‘Australians on Porn’. I’d had my hesitations about participating, the producers assured me of fair treatment and a serious discussion how porn was shaping sexual attitudes and behaviours. What transpired was a wank fest and sex industry promotion. We saw and heard from a number of porn performers, representing the vested interests of the industry –  but there were no women speaking of how they were harmed in the industry and had got out.

The main takeout for me: do not dare stand in the way of a man’s entitlement to ejaculate to whatever he wants. My attempts to raise critical issues of sexism, rape, violence, and misogyny perpetuated in the most popular porn genres were shouted down. I was mocked for mentioning  the ethics of using porn when the woman on the screen may have been trafficked. No one cared. Probably my lowest moment in an hour of low moments was when the ‘sexologist’ Jacqueline Hellyer tried to prevent me from reading this letter from the director of a sexual assault clinic. “It’s not relevant!”, she declared. I was also told to stop talking about facts.

I am the Director a Sexual Violence counselling service and totally agree with your article. In the past few years we have had a huge increase in intimate partner rape of women from 14 to 80+. The biggest common denominator is consumption of porn by the offender. With offenders not able to differentiate between fantasy and reality, believing women are “up for it” 24/7, ascribing to the myth that ” no means yes and yes means anal “, oblivious to injuries caused and never ever considering consent. We have seen a huge increase in deprivation of liberty, physical injuries, torture , drugging, filming and sharing footage without consent. I founded the centre 25 years ago and what is now considered to be the norm in 2015 is frightening. I wonder where we will be in another 10 years!

This photo of host Tom Tilley on a porn set with two porn actresses (the one on the left a panelist on the show), may suggest why it was expecting too much to be given fair treatment. Looks like he had a good time anyway.

Laura McNally wrote this assessment of the program published today on ABC Religion and Ethics.

Inconvenient Facts: Why Would the ABC Airbrush Porn’s Complicity in Sexual Violence?

While it may not be as readily accessible as porn, the research on porn is nonetheless abundant.

Just last week, while the ABC ran a panel discussion on Australian attitudes toward porn, another new study implicating porn made headlines: “Anal sex study shows climate of painful coercion affecting young girls.”

The study found “the main reason that young people also cited for engaging in the act is that boys ‘wanted to copy what they saw in pornography’.”

There are hundreds more studies like this one. So many, in fact, that studies are being combined in meta-analyses to assess the overall trends across thousands of pieces of data: sexual assault study shows link to pornography use; pornography use linked to higher rape acceptance attitudes; nearly half of all young women have been sexually coerced; and so on.

Yet, according to Australians on Porn host Tom Tilley, “How many people end up in extreme situations? … there isn’t a lot of research out there to prove that.”

Laura Pintur, also a panellist on the show, wrote this piece published also on ABC Religion and Ethics a short time earlier.

The ABC Squandered its Chance to Host the Discussion on Porn We Need to Have

When I was first asked to join the panel for ABC2′s Australians on Porn program, which aired last Monday night, I was pleased to see a mainstream and respected show like Triple J Hack initiate a debate on the impacts of pornography on Australians – especially its youth demographic.

However, as it turned out, the show was heavily weighted towards the pro-porn camp, with porn consumers, a porn “star” and porn producers dominating the program. Other porn actors appeared in sex scenes in videos along with more porn consumers.

While there were a couple of guys who felt porn hadn’t always been good for them, overall porn was treated as a laugh and the seriousness of the issue trivialised.

Its major focus centred around the use of porn by “mature adults,” and failed to highlight and discuss the issues with the younger generations.

ABC2′s publicity stated that the purpose of the show was to “lift the lid on the commodification of sex.” It certainly confirmed that sex has become an accepted commodity – nothing new there! But did it lift the lid? Did it accurately look at the “costs, the consequences and impact on attitude to sex” as was promised?

The only positive has been the many comments critical of the program on TripleJHack’s Facebook pages and the messages of support I have received personally. And this posted by a 19-year-old (who happens to be my daughter):

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How I found my voice as an activist through Twitter

Here are my top 10 tips for getting the most of Twitter, as an individual or as a business/organisation!

#PremDAC15, the Premier Digital Awards Ceremony, was held at The Brewery in London (MAJOR swoon) on Saturday night and while I was very disappointed to not be able to attend, I am so honoured to have won the award of Tweeter of the Year. Thanks to all at Premier for your encouragement and to everyone who got in touch to cyber-celebrate with me – it almost felt like I was there!

The award carries a special meaning for me because Twitter was the first online space in which I found my voice as an activist.

I was a University student who came across a leaked Kanye West/Jay-Z video depicting drugged, beaten and dead women and children. It really concerned me and I knew I had to do something about it. I looked at the tools that were in my hands at the time, and Twitter was one of them – so I connected with Mel Tankard Reist, an anti-objectification activist in Australia who founded Collective Shout and Sharon Haywood, a body image activist who founded AnyBody Argentina. We launched an online petition which was shared all over Twitter, gaining global attention and resulting in Universal agreeing to not show the video across their platforms.

It was so exciting. We could fight for the good of others through our use of Twitter! It was then that I decided to use Twitter for good wherever I could – to share and spread good news stories, to educate myself and others, to campaign and make a difference.

I keep coming back to one question on the blog: what is it that makes your heart beat faster that you hear echoes of in the things you choose to involve yourself in?

For me, it’s the hope of a culture that upholds, protects and celebrates the worth of all human beings. And I love that Twitter has enabled me to contribute to that. What makes your heart beat faster? Chances are, using social media well could help you do it.

So, with that in mind – here are my top 10 tips for getting the most of Twitter, as an individual or as a business/organisation!

Be a person 

Engagement on Twitter is the best thing about it. If someone responds to what you’ve said, get back to them! If someone gives you a shout-out, say thanks. If you want to get to know your followers, ask them a question. Also – don’t be afraid to share some of your personal life. Go ahead and tell people that a bee got stuck in your ear as you walked home from work last week (true story). Be funny. Be a person. (If you are using Twitter as a business/organisation, it’s helpful to think about how personal your brand is and how to reflect that through your use of social media.)

Along similar lines, be generous! Twitter is a great platform and you will meet other users whose messages are worth promoting. Share them.

Don’t be afraid of repetition

Repost links to articles or quotes that you love – people won’t see everything you tweet, especially if they follow a large number of people…so posting a few times will ensure your output is less likely to be missed – and you’re putting it out there because you believe in it, so go for it!

Use hashtags

Part I: tag your tweets according to their topics to be more searchable. You may also want to come up with your own hashtag (i.e. #teambrowngoestoindia or #nomoretraffik) as a way of archiving your tweets on one topic together.

Part II: there are lots of helpful conversations to join under hashtags that are based on locality (i.e.: #belfasthour) or interest (i.e.: #commschat). The conversations are often in the form of regular weekly slots. Find the hashtags that interest you and join them.

Be consistent

People follow you either because they know you, or because your content interests them – and this is most likely to be around two or three topics. This is NOT to say you should feel restricted in terms of what you want to talk about, and YES, please allow yourself to grow and change. However, keeping your output centred around that thing that makes your heart beat faster, or around a few topics, will mean that your Twitter followers trust you and recommend you to others as someone who tweets about poverty alleviation/digital marketing/leadership mentoring/etc… Same goes for how much you post – not to be legalistic about it (remember, be a person!) – but tweeting a similar number of times a day will mean your followers know what they’re getting!

Stay safe

I talked about this when I shared my Top Instagram Tips. I don’t tweet my location ‘live’ – I wait until I’ve moved on to somewhere else unless I’m at a busy conference or venue guaranteed to be safe. I don’t share information that would build a pattern of where and what I do at certain times of the day, and I don’t highlight my locality by mentioning things or sharing photographs close to my office or my street. That may all seem a little too serious, but I have had safety concerns and have always been glad to know I haven’t shared anything that would compromise my personal security.

Care more about the people than the tweets 

Then we get to the part where Twitter can be difficult to navigate. When it gets a little heated and tricky, the golden rule is this: remember the people you are talking to are just that – people. Care more about their personhood than their tweets and you’ll be fine.

Know when to walk away

You could spend all of your days on Twitter getting into discussions about everything under the sun. Sometimes, it’s best to walk away from a conversation – you’ll know if it’s not going anywhere constructive. Don’t stick around to put out fires. Decide on topics that are off-limits to you, set yourself a timeframe for engaging, create boundaries. Twitter doesn’t have to consume you.

Cyber-coffee does not (yet) exist

Listen, Twitter is a WONDERFUL place to share information, tips, ponderings and encounter different points of view. However, it is not the place for in-depth conversations. Nor is it the place for trying to convince someone else to agree with you in a heated debate. A toneless 140 character limit has its draw-backs. Use DMs, get email addresses or meet up for coffee.

Don’t feed the trolls

There are people on Twitter who do not want the best for you. Don’t worry about them. Some are on Twitter solely to tear down. Some carry a ruthless agenda. Some have experienced things that prohibit them from engaging constructively in that moment. Especially if you tweet about something controversial, or about something that makes people uncomfortable, you will encounter trolls. You do not need to listen to them.

Listen

That said, Twitter is a wonderful teacher, and it is possible to learn from people you disagree with. I’ve greatly benefited from Twitter not in posting, but in reading. My privilege has been challenged countless times. I have learned about a vast number of things. Voices I wouldn’t usually be hearing are accessible to me on Twitter, on a very wide range of topics. Listen. You never know what you might hear!

And a bonus tip: use analytics! Whether you schedule your tweets using something like Hootsuite or simply use the app, you can find out which posts are most engaged with, when, and even where. Handy!

Twitter is a fantastic space in which to connect, learn, teach. I hope this post has been helpful. What are your top tips? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comment section below or by tweeting me at @gemmaruthbrown.

And while you’re on there, have a look through the #PremDAC15 hashtag – SO much great advice for engaging with the digital world from the conference that took place before the ceremony. You’d pay big money for the nuggets of pure gold on there!