Closer To Reality: Time Travel

Most knowledgeable people acknowledge that theoretically, on paper at least, it is possible to travel back in time; back into the past. Some however say that this presents a logical contradiction. Then too there are all of those possible paradoxes that could theoretically arise. What follows arises out of my point of view in a debate I had with an “accidental meta-physician” which I’ve edited for, hopefully, sake of clarity.

Is Time Travel Possible or not Possible?

# If travel back in time is theoretically possible then travel back in time is theoretically possible – that’s logically self-evident. Time travel cannot both be theoretically possible and theoretically not possible with the same stroke of the pen. In any event, I’d even maintain that even meta-physicians see an actual example of time travel in the delayed double-slit experiment.

# If something CAN happen, then that something more likely as not WILL happen, sooner or later. Now travel in time back into the past might be in our too hard basket for thousands of years yet to come, maybe indefinitely if there are no benefits to be gained for the costs involved. But why restrict the scenario to humans? Perhaps an extraterrestrial civilization(s) millions, even billions of years in advance of ours has achieved this and turned time travel possibility into probability into actuality. Unless anyone can absolutely prove that time travel to the past is impossible, I wouldn’t bet against it having being achieved somewhere by someone at some time.

In the case of the delayed double-slit experiment, there is no alternative explanation to time travel other than that of Panpsychism. Interested readers can read up on what physicist John A. Wheeler thinks about it. The experiment was his doing.

# Time travel to the past is not logically contradictory if one can avoid the contradictory paradoxes that have been raised. There are ways and means of avoiding those paradoxes. Science fiction has paved the way by illustrating how that is possible in numerous novels and short stories. Now, can anyone prove that travel to the past is impossible in terms of the actual physics involved? If not, then time travel to the past is apparently theoretically possible: difficult, yes; but theoretically possible.

# Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Have readers failed to learn their history lessons?

Less than a century ago…

It was just theoretically possible to scale the highest mountain, but humans made it so.

It was only theoretically possible to build an atomic/hydrogen bomb, but humans made it so.

It was just theoretically possible to break the sound barrier, but humans made it so.

It was only theoretically possible to create antimatter, but humans made it so.

It was just theoretically possible to fly to the Moon, but humans made it so.

It was only theoretically possible to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, but humans made it so.

It was just theoretically possible to send an unmanned probe all the way out to the environs of Pluto, but humans made it so.

It was only theoretically possible to perform a heart transplant, but humans made it so.

It was just theoretically possible to pitch a perfect game in the World Series, but one human made it so.

It was only theoretically possible for humans to play God – but that too has come about.

Further theoretical ponderings that are now reality:

You can now fly around the world using just solar energy.

Humans wanted to turn lead into gold. Now it can be done.

Humans wanted to build the Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, Petra, Machu Picchu and similar ancient engineering feats, and it came to pass.

The lesson to be learned here is not to ever, ever try to tell humans what they can or cannot do. Don’t sell humans short. If it theoretically can be done, and you have admitted that time travel is theoretically possible, and humans want to do it, it will be done. Or, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “Make it so”.

# If time travel to the past (the future being another matter entirely) is a “logical self-contradiction” then travelling through time and into the past is not physically possible. Yet most acknowledge that time travel to the past is permitted in theoretical physics. Now that’s a contradiction! Something cannot both be possible and not be possible.

So here’s my FINAL word on the subject. If it (i.e. – time travel to the past) CAN be done and if humans WANT to do it badly enough regardless of the costs (social, political, economic, etc.) then sooner or later it WILL be done. End of story.

Why Should You Have Travel Insurance?

Travel for business or leisure has increased many folds over the last decade. At the same time unforeseen risks that come with travel has also increased due to several unforeseen reasons. Business travelers are mostly shielded from uncertainties because their companies take care of travel insurance or they have local points of contact to help them in case of emergencies. Tourists are generally exposed to the risks that come along with travel but many of them are unaware of the dangers and usually do not bother to buy travel insurance before they set out to travel.

The common risk that you might face as a traveler is the loss of luggage, money and vital travel documents like tickets and passport. In this situation immediate help is required as family member’s back home need to be informed and embassy representatives have to be contacted. If you manage to contact the embassy all they can do is inform your family back home and your family members will have to bear the burden of managing the logistics of helping you get back home. The embassy does not pay for repatriation which essentially means sending the distraught traveler home. However insurance for travel is useful in such times as it can cover majority of costs associated with the logistics.

Another problem which majority of the travelers face is health risks and illness due to change in place and environment. This is more common with people who are not used to travelling. The cost of medical facilities varies from country to country and can be very expensive at times. You would definitely not want to spend your entire travel budget on medical problems. If you select an insurance policy that covers medical care for commonly occurring problems, you can save a lot of money.

Next is a problem issue is accidents. Accidents can happen with anyone and may lead to temporary or permanent disability or death in extreme cases. The cost of flying a patient in an ambulance car across the world is very expensive and should never be left to chance. The costs can wipe out the savings of a family member in the absence of insurance. This is probably the single most important reason why you should never ignore insurance for travel.

Other problems that you could face as a traveler are legal problems or accidental involvement in unlawful activities. There may be a need to hire a lawyer which is normally an expensive proposition around the world. Your insurance can also help cover some of your legal expenses.

As a traveler you should remember that travel insurance for a single trip is one of the least expensive types of insurance. It always makes sense to pay for the insurance else you may have to spend unimaginable amounts in situations that you are not prepared for. While purchasing travel insurance do read between the lines to ensure that the cover is available for lost luggage, accident, illness, legal expenses, repatriation and ambulance car service. These options will keep you shielded from a number of issues.

A Traveler is Born

Travelers grow and evolve over a period of time. The desire to experience different things, new cultures and places is a very strong motivating factor for a traveler. He looks forward to his next adventure and to exploring a new destination. When a traveler stops traveling, a certain part of him dies – sometimes when we get very old it becomes physically impossible to travel; other travelers may retire prematurely when they settle down to raise a family or become absorbed in a career. In addition, some people go to the same place year after year for their annual holiday – that becomes their comfort zone. As an example, I know some middle-aged ladies who have traveled to Negril, Jamaica every year for the last 15 years but really haven’t been anywhere else in Jamaica or in the Caribbean. Negril is their comfort zone. Their sense of adventure got lost at some point in their lives. Travelers they are not.

On the other hand, I am a bonafide traveler. After getting my baptism in 1973 on a 3-week adventure to Mexico, I have kept growing over the years as a traveler. While I often return to some of my favorite haunts, I always make it a point to explore some new places and destinations. I never remain static. In 1995, I traveled to West Africa and in 2001, I began traveling to Thailand and Southeast Asia. In my 7 trips to Thailand, I have traveled all over the country and every time I go, I make it a point to check out some new places – whether it be Sakaeo, Koh Jum , Khao Sok or Sanghklaburi. In 2007, I made three trips – late March, I spent 10 days in La Manzanilla and Barra de Navidad on Mexico’s Costa Alegre; in late August, I traveled to Peru and Ecuador in South America and in November, I returned to Thailand.

Coming up – in November 2008, it’s back to Thailand, then I am off to Malaysia for the first time. I guess you can say that I am a traveler.

Travel Deals – Getting The Most From Your Travel Discounts

There are many reasons why firms offer reduced, or discounted travel deals, ranging from flights, up to packages which include several components, all inclusive in one price.

One of the main reasons for travel deals is the unsold places. Competition can also play a part in further reductions in list prices.

Before giving you a whole list of tips to get the best travel deals and discounts, I want to show you a amazingly simple but brilliant technique that you can use pretty much in most places and for most products and services.

I have used the technique all over the place it works so well it is almost unbelievable. But it is so simple that you may dismiss it without trying. I want you to be mentally prepared and be willing to give it a try, so here we go.

To get a discount or a bargain in most places, even in a high class boutique or a high street store, what you need to do is: “ASK”. Yes, just “ask”. But also I want you to remember, as they say, “… it is not what you say, but the way you say it …” that really counts.

So, to get a discount, you need to keep your intention to ‘buy’ to yourself until you’re ready to make your payment. You must always appear like you’re not convinced yet and that if the sales person doesn’t “do better” “he will lose” the deal. But you should also seem reasonably interested or else the sales person will think you’re not serious and therefore he won’t try to sweeten the deal for you.

OK, so how do you do all of the above? Easy and this is how I’ve done it for travel deals all the way to buying just 2 shirts at an up market men’s boutique – yes for just 2 shirts:

* I get information on the various options (be it travel deals or shirts).

* I decide what I want but will only – and this is the very important part – tell the sales person about a portion of what I want. So I may show interest in just one shirt or a holiday for 2 people and not 4.

* I ask all my questions and show that it is just what I want (so the sales person knows he almost has sale) but …

* I indicate that I’m not happy with the price. For example I may have seen something similar cheaper elsewhere. Or that I am prepared to go shopping around (all sales people know, if the customer walks out they usually will not come back). Or that I have the money (you’ll see why next) but had not planned on spending that much.

* I let the sales person try to ‘sell me the IDEA’ that it is OK to buy the product. Sometimes, they offer some free product (e.g. a pair of socks or tickets for a gallery or some show while on holiday). Then I ‘ask’ for the discount but make it clear that I will definitely buy if they give me the discount. This is how I ‘ask’ …

* “Look I’ll definitely take it at $X”. The sales person then says “… so you want $Y off the price?!”. They may tell you they don’t normally offer a discount outside of the sales season, etc. If they are very confident about not offering discounts, I then say “ok, I’ll take 2 shirts … this one and … that one, only if you give me them at $Z for both …”.

* At this stage the sales person may even say he hasn’t the authority to offer discounts. No problem, I ask them to speak to their boss. I have done this lots of times and get this: 90% of the time the boss agrees to the discount. Of the remaining 10% at least half the time, the boss offers me a counter discount which is a not as good as what I asked for but still pretty good.

Do you want to know the kind of discounts I’ve had? Well, on two shirts worth $62 I got $22 off. That is around 35%! On a travel package worth around $4,300, I got about $600 off but wait for it … I also got an upgrade from a deluxe room to a business suite in the same 5 star hotel. That suite was worth $800 per night and the deluxe room was worth $250 per night!

I had to explain the above details at length but all that I did was to display that I ‘WILL’ buy with a discount. They knew all they had to do was just one thing: give me a discount, so they did it. I made it, as they say, “a no brainer” for them.

In short just “ask” but (a) be realistic (let them make a little profit, don’t ask for 80% off) and (b) have a little flexibility as a backup plan (be ready to tell them that you’ll buy more, e.g. 2 shirts or a holiday for 4. Hey, even the sales people like to think they have got a concession form you … it is not a one-way street).

This technique works for almost everything but also works extremely well for travel bargains too. So lets get back to more tips specific to travel deals then.

Travel bargains, discounts and deals are all around you because we all travel regularly and repeatedly for holidays as well as for business and of course the travel industry competes for our dollars. Nevertheless, some research and being alert to travel deals can mean more substantial savings. Here’s how to spot and get the best travel deals:

* Booking as early as possible usually entitles you to some travel discount.

* If you’re buying more than one ticket, a further travel discount is possible.

* Be flexible. Sometimes weekend flights can be cheaper than weekdays (less business travellers).

* Flights departing later at night can be cheaper.

* Depending on your timetable, consider indirect flights, which take longer, but are probably cheaper, as opposed to direct flights.

* Travelling other than peak periods, such as schools holidays and public holidays will probably be heaper.

* More often than not, holiday packages are cheaper than buying the components separately.

* Compare prices online, by phone, or visit individual travel agents in the high street.

* As all airlines overbook, consider taking a later flight which usually comes with sweeteners from the airline in the form of further travel discounts, and travel vouchers.

* It may also be possible to travel on ‘stand by’, but it means that you’ll be called with very little notice

* If you’re lucky, it may be possible to travel as a ‘courier’. Some firms will pay, or subsidise your airfare in return for carrying important packages and letters.

* Buy travel insurance that best suits your circumstances. In case of emergencies it’ll save you lots of money.

The more time and effort you devote, the better travel deals you’ll bag. In many instances the saving could be quite substantial. So much so that you may be able to add on extra days stay. Happy travel deals.