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Monday, February 18, 2013

The One About Globe Trotting

I travel a fair amount for both business and pleasure. Last year alone I trekked across much of the US, Canada and Mexico. Keeping up with your current hobbies can be difficult when you are on the road but with a little careful planning it is not impossible. Last week I spent a week in Berlin for work which meant long days in the office without much time for clowning around. On top of the limited free time a fellow international air travel passenger decided to gift me with the plague before arriving at my final destination. Despite these hardships I was determined to make the most of my time in another country. I had come armed with my travel hoop, leggings and a camera so I was ready for all opportunities.
Poster for a silent circus film displayed at the Berlin Film Museum
During February Berlin is chilly at all hours and has limited amount of daylight. By the middle of the week I considered a forecast of 4 C positively balmy. Since there was really no light to film after work and I was recouping from a cold I spent the first couple of evenings indoors. My room had a rooftop view of a building in the process of being renovated so on a snowy evening I decided to do some moonlit tumbling inside the hotel.
Hotel room tumbling
Probably my favorite part of the trip was the amazing playground equipment. There was a huge rope tower on the way to work that just needed to be climbed. I could only imagine how delightful this structure must be for the local children during the summer months. It definitely brought back fond memories of my youthful summers in Brussles Belgium where the playgrounds elicited squeals of pure joy as we clung to, scrambled over and scaled potentially dangerous equipment. With some of my new found comfort in heights I scaled the tower as well as inverted from some of the interior cross sections.
Enjoying the local attractions

I was completely taken with the graffiti that covers much of the city and decided to capture some of the more eye catching pieces in my immediate neighborhood. Much of the city center is under construction leaving many older buildings abandoned awaiting repair like beautiful mossy industrial playgrounds. On the first walk to the office I started scouting potential locations for the end of the week. I only had a few hours of day light on the last day for a hooping session so I tried to quickly film in a few spots that were representative of where I had spent my week.
For those who have not traveled with hoops before it’s actually quite easy and I highly encourage it. You never know when you are going to find a scenic location. At the very least it provides a chance to de-stress and get some physical activity outside of hauling your carcass to the office each morning and then back to the hotel. There are 3 standard styles of travel hoop you can invest in
Left to Right Segmented, Infinity Fold, Coil Down
  1. Segmented – This hoop travels quite well inside luggage or a backpack and usually come in about 7 crescent pieces that can be snapped together. Since there are several connections the tubing is quite heavy to provide durability. Many users report some give at the joints and a creaking sound while hooping. Due to the weight this may be a great option for beginners but not my preferred travel hoop.
  2. Infinity Fold – This hoop does not come apart but rather has two pivoting joints that the user twists in order to fold the hoop down. The hoop is twisted to look life a figure 8 and then folded in half. The risk of kinking your tubing is low because bend pressure is always equally distributed. You can also order many sizes and weights of tubing in this style. It takes a little practice to learn how to fold the hoop with confidence but is a very popular option. This design will server you very well until you make the jump to polypro and the weight of the connections become a concern.
  3. Coil Down – This hoop has one snap connection and the traveler coils the hoop on itself at least twice  and reinserts the connection ends into each other. This effectively halves the size of the hoop for travel. Users should take their time when coiling down the hoop to ensure strain is evenly distributed. It is very easy to kink and ruin your tubing using this technique The connections used for coil down are the lightest and most often used for fast performance hoops and Poly Pro.
All types of travel hoops are well suited for the different modes of transportation. They take up very little space in a car and can easily be strapped to a backpack for walking or bicycling. The mode of travel that probably gets the most concern from hoopers is air because of the ever changing restrictions. I am happy to report I have traveled with my hoops both domestically and internationally without even a raised eyebrow at security. Many travel hoops will fit inside your checked luggage but you can also strap it on your carry on and it will generally fit in the overhead compartments. I have occasionally stored some of the smaller hoops under the seat and in a really desperate situation the stewardess can be asked for extra room in the coat closet.
Your next trip does not have to bring a halt to your practice. You might even be able to expand your hobby in new and unanticipated ways if you keep an open mind. After all this is about loving the process and enjoying the journey. Happy travels!

1 comment:

  1. You've inspired me! I haven't coiled down my hoops and traveled with them on a plane, but I think I will for my next few trips -- Disney World and San Diego Comic Con. How cool would it be to get some video in those places?! :)