Let's go on an adventure with Jody Victor!

Crater of Diamonds State Park has attracted both amateur and professional treasure hunters alike for years. They come equipped with buckets, shovels, maps and perhaps most importantly kneepads. The Arkansas state park is the only diamond-producing site in the world where not only can fortune seekers dig for gemstones, they can keep what they find.

Lauren Frederick and her father Dan where one such duo of treasure hunters who got lucky – lucky to the tune of a triangle shaped diamond coming in at 2.03 carats. This was the father’s and daughter’s first visit to the park and after only an hour they saw the diamond just lying on the ground, shinning up at them.

The Fredrick’s find is, as you might except, is out of the usual. The park offers visitors just shy of 38 acres to explore. Finds like this are what make Crater of Diamonds State Park so unique.

Though there is no information yet on how much “Lucky Diamond,” the Fredrick’s nickname for their find, is worth, we can be sure it is worth more than the $16 the father and daughter spent getting into the park. And perhaps mostly important the Fredricks will have the memory of their uncanny find.

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Not So Great Restoration

Posted By on Sep 28, 2016

Historical restorations typically require a delicate touch to maintain authenticity. Unfortunately a large section of China’s Great Wall got a repair job recently that looks like amateur chuckhole fill-in. A 700-year-old “wild” stretch of China’s Great Wall has been covered in a smooth, white trail of cement under orders from Suizhong county’s Cultural Relics Bureau.

The repairs were carried out in 2014, but they only came to public attention recently. It was an effort to restore parts of the wall which have fallen into disrepair and are not open to the public, but the restoration has been met with condemnation by social media users and advocates.

The repair work took place near the border of Liaoning and Hebei province and photos of the results were widely shared by Beijing News on Weibo this week.

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An online crowd funding campaign to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) has been launched by the China Foundation for Culture Heritage Conservation, a semi-official organization. So far, around 385,000 yuan has been gathered from more than 24,000 pledgers. The ancient fortification snakes for 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometers) across northern China, running through nine provinces.

Many local governments don’t have enough funding to preserve the Great Wall, nor is there enough manpower. The money will be used to restore a 500-year-old and 460-meter-long section of the Great Wall located in Xifengkou, Hebei Province.

The organizers also hope the campaign will raise awareness of the many threats facing the Great Wall. Built in different stages from the third century B.C. to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the wall was built to defend an empire but parts of it are now crumbling. Bricks have been stolen to build houses, for agriculture or to sell as souvenirs to tourists – exacerbating the natural erosion wrought by wind, rain and sandstorms.

According to a 2014 survey by the society, only about 8.2% of the Great Wall is in good condition.

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From Carry-On to Ride-On

Posted By on Aug 31, 2016

A Chicago businessman is selling a rideable carry-on bag. Rather than pulling your luggage from terminal to terminal, travelers can sit on the Modobag and reach speeds up to 8 mph thanks to an electric motor. It’s small enough to be carried on almost any airline.

The bag sold for about $1,000 during the Modomag Indiegogo campaign. The company envisions customers using the bag for more than just airport travel. He recommends office workers ride it to the train or around large conferences. O’Donnell regularly takes his Modobag in Chicago bike lanes to run errands.

The Modobag has a range of about eight miles. Its battery power is intentionally set just under the FAA’s 100 watt hour limit so that travelers can take the bag on planes. The company says the bag can charge up to 80% in 15 minutes.

Modobag includes a memory foam seat that’s strong enough to support a person up to 260 pounds. Riders control the suitcase with a throttle and handbrake.

O’Donnell started working on the project full time two years ago after the idea came to him while lugging a suitcase through an airport.

Modobag appears to have found interest so far. Its Indiegogo campaign reached its funding goal of $50,000 in two days and still has a month left. Modobag will start shipping bags to customers in January 2017.

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There are plenty of urban legends about the friendliness or rudeness of many popular travel destinations around the world. Like many myths, there is a probably a seed of truth to it planted somewhere in the shadows of history. However, for those of us who prefer somewhat more empirical evidence, travel magazine Conde Nast asked its readers in its 29th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
More than 100,000 readers responded to the travel magazine’s reader survey of favorite cities, hotels, resorts, islands, airlines, cruise lines, future travel destinations and, for the fourth year in a row, reader opinions of the world’s friendliest cities.

1. Charleston, South Carolina
2. Sydney, Australia
3. Dublin, Ireland
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
5. Park City, Utah
6. Galway, Ireland
7. Savannah, Georgia
8. Krakow, Poland
9. Bruges, Belgium
10. Nashville, Tennessee

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