🐀 Worshipped Rats, Worrying Rates, and More in Pipeaway Newsletter #114

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Hi from the land that loves coffee dates!

Once, I sat down in a café with a couple of pals. We chatted, but both of them were glued to their mobile phones. At some moment, I remarked: “I see, nobody is listening to me right now.”

One of them, still lost in smartphone limbo, was “present” enough to continue the conversation, in a way that we continue driving our cars automatically, even when our mind wanders away. He managed to respond, with still equally absent brain: “Yeah, yeah, that’s totally true.”

This person never heard what I said, but even his body knew how to pretend a small talk.

In these disconnected times of ours, presence has become the ultimate present you can give to someone. Not every culture is the same though. In Berlin, for instance, a city that resists the selfie craze, the desire to live in the moment prevails. Clubs like Berghain have been preaching this tech-detox mantra since before it was cool.

As our obsession with phones started affecting mental health, even mainstream brands are catching on. Last week, Hyatt launched their “Be More Here” platform that encourages guests to truly be in the moment.

The entire tourism industry seems to pivot to this narrative, and that’s precisely what our feature is about this week. But, wait, there’s more…

Find this in today’s newsletter:

  • Words: Airline acrobatics and the call of nature.
  • Images: Top of the crops and holey wars.
  • Numbers: Basket birds, globetrotting gals, and cruise crimes.
  • P.S.: Discounts on tracks.

Have a present week!

Ivan Kralj        


The year 2024 kicked off with some creative tourism campaigns, in Portugal, Austria, Kentucky, and Iceland; AI image by Ivan Kralj / DALL-E.


Marketing Magic – Escape the Mundane

Tourism marketing is not easy. Even the best professionals can end up with spectacular fails. Occasionally, triumphant ads manage to turn heads, and then also drag the entire tourist’s body to the destination. The year 2024 has kicked off with some creative tourism campaigns that don’t just offer a space for escape, but a chance to reconnect with what truly matters. Explore campaigns from Portugal, Austria, Kentucky, and Iceland that prioritize what makes us human!




Still recovering from the “Society of the Snow”? Brace yourself for a cascade of airborne misadventures: another ground collision in Japan, Boeing’s flaming detour in Miami, and Cessna turning a highway into a runway in Washington. As for that mobile phone that survived the fall from Alaska Airlines, now we know the exact iPhone case that provides this extreme drop protection – it’s currently 60% off on Amazon.


Just like that COP28 private jet rendezvous, the World Economic Forum in Davos was not much different. But Argentina’s new President Javier Milei showed that leaders can also take scheduled commercial flights, with some reports claiming he even flew economy. Not everyone can stand coach though. There are theories the quickest path out of the lower class (as well as into the mile-high club) is – wearing red. But a Chinese passenger thought it should be enough to have a toddler. He demanded a first-class upgrade because – his 2-year-old was crying.


Icon of the Seas embarks on its maiden voyage this Saturday. Five times bigger than Titanic, the world’s largest cruise ship can accommodate 10 thousand people. Check it out standing next to the previous size champion, and take a peek inside. The largest megaships generate up to 1 million liters of sewage throughout a one-week voyage; do oceans really need all that sh*t?




From snow-covered pyramids to geological formations resembling human faces, armchair explorers of Google Maps have been spotting sites that fuel the imagination. I have my own discovery to report: an intersection of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan – I’ve christened it Beardistan.


The Travel Photographer of the Year 2023 has been announced, and it’s Slovenia’s Andreja Ravnak who earned the title for her agricultural landscapes. She succeeded Matjaž Krivic, another Slovenian on the same throne, whose white rhino pictures won the year before.


Forget the mirrored Bean; Chicago’s newest attraction is a rat hole. It has the potential of starting a street war.




The number of fatalities hot air balloon rides had in the 2008-2022 period worldwide. Ballooning is 50 times safer than driving a car, as long as the pilot is qualified for the job. Pilot errors account for 81% of hot-air balloon incidents.


The percentage of global travelers that are female. Despite the travel dangers, women are more likely to go on solo trips. Even when they are in a heterosexual household, 80% of travel decisions are made by women.


The number of sexual assaults/rapes reported by cruise lines in 2023. 45 of these crimes happened on Carnival Cruise Line ships. The sexual assault rate per capita on Carnival (42 per 100,000) is higher than in New York, Florida, or California.

Omio logo.


All Aboard the European Sleeper Train – 12% Off!

Omio is the transportation matchmaker connecting you to more than 1,000 providers. The brand recently launched the European Sleeper Train, which connects the continental hotspots of Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague. To celebrate this momentous occasion, they’re giving away a 12% discount on ALL train, bus, and ferry tickets booked before the end of January. All you need to do is use the promo code “ABROAD2024” when booking through this link.

How did you like Pipeaway Newsletter #114? Send your feedback.
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This is the archived version of our free weekly newsletter. To start receiving it in your mailbox on the send-out day, join the newsletter list!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and make a purchase, Pipeaway may make a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our work!
Ivan Kralj


Award-winning journalist and editor from Croatia

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Mapping the extraordinary since 2017.


Pipeaway is a travel blog mapping extraordinary people, places and passions.
Founded and run by Ivan Kralj, Croatian award-winning journalist and editor.
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