My travel dream for 2021: top 12 readers’ tips | Travel

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Winning tip: A perfect ’stan

Covid willing, we’ll be heading to Kyrgyzstan. It’s at that perfect point where the infrastructure supports a great travel experience, but it’s not become spoiled by tourists. Bishkek is modern and vibrant, and in the stunning rural areas it’s possible to stay with nomads living the traditional life. It’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with delicious locally sourced food. Kyrgyz community-based tourism proved an affordable way to experience the life of horse-riding nomads living in yurts, and the money goes into the community itself.
Minnie Martin

Where the map takes us, Wester Ross

Evening sunlight over Achnahaird Bay, Wester Ross.
Evening sunlight over Achnahaird Bay, Wester Ross.
Photograph: Lorraine Yates/Alamy Stock Photo

The west coast of Scotland is our wild goal. During the neverending house tidy of 2020, we found the Gairloch & Ullapool area OS map and pored over it – a bit of geography home learning for my son, who liked the wriggly contour lines and the consonant-heavy names of the lochs and mountains. We’ll take the high road to Gairloch to see orca and minke (Hebridean Whale Cruises, £64 adult, £35 child), stay in a wooden wigwam at Sands campsite (from £52pp), and walk to the beach humming the Skye boat song.
Nancy Gladstone

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Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Island dream, Lundy

Tourists land from MS Oldenburg on Lundy Island.
The MS Oldenburg landing on Lundy. Photograph: Backyard Production/Getty Images

My son, daughter and I have been making lists of where we want to go since the first lockdown. We’ve booked a few days on Lundy for next August in the hope that it will be safe to travel again by then. It only involves a five-hour drive to Ilfracombe, Devon, and then a couple of hours on HMS Oldenburg (which for my three-year-old boy will be the holiday made before we even get there). We’ll stay in Castle Cottage, in the keep of a castle built by Henry III in 1250. There’s nothing to do but explore cliffs, beaches and lighthouses, and look for the crashed bomber plane in the heather. And there’s no internet.
Kate Attrill

All a-Twitter for York

Curtor holding an 800-year-old figure of Christ
An 800-year-old figure of Christ returned to York last year and on display at the Yorkshire Museum. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

I’d love to go to York and visit the Yorkshire Museum as their wonderful tweets – mainly about odd or mysterious items in their collection – have kept me entertained and brought history alive this year. A pint or two in the city’s ancient pubs and a wander home to characterful lodgings would just cap a cultural visit off nicely!
Liz

Mind-Boggling Whitby, North Yorkshire

Boggle Hole YHA, Robin Hood’s Bay.
Boggle Hole YHA near Robin Hood’s Bay. Photograph: Ian Bottle/Alamy

Low cost and close to home, a stay with the YHA at Boggle Hole is always a welcome relief. A converted watermill with a reception, bar and cosy sitting room complete with a log fire and leather couches, it’s in a pebbled cove overlooking the sea, with wooded cliffs on either side. Go in spring or early autumn and the prices are as low as £29 a night. Walk across the sandy beach to Robin Hoods Bay or over the jagged cliffs to Ravenscar to see the seals.
Safiya El-Gindy

Golden Glasgow

Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.
Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Photograph: Black Jake/Getty Images

I long for the wide expansiveness of Glasgow boulevards: west-facing, bathed in the golden glow of light glancing off sandstone. I long for the cobbled alleyways, armpit-piled bookshops, curiosity shops crammed with treasure; and also the glitzy, glassy, high street emporiums filled with unafforded luxuries. I long for views of the university, the Campsie Fells, the high flats, the rivers snaking through. And the tearooms, pubs, gastropubs, curry houses, Asian street food haunts, delis and restaraunts high end and greasy spoon. It’s only two hours away but has been impossibly out of reach. I long for full immersion, to be sated by all its gritty, impossibly romantic, unabashed grandeur.
Fiona

Simply sublime, Cotswolds Way

The Cotswold Way at Crickley Hill.
The Cotswold Way at Crickley Hill. Photograph: Alamy

In 2021 I want to carry on enjoying the benefits of the simple pleasures of travelling that 2020 led us to – like walking and talking. I want to walk the Cotswolds Way from Broadway to Bath, breathing in fresh air, wondering at big skies, scanning rolling hills in the distance while getting fitter without going to gyms or swimming in chlorinated pools or using mobile apps. Its 120 miles should take about a week, staying in village pubs along the way. Travel, like life, should be about connecting reality to your imagination by inspiration, which can come in the purest, most simple of forms.
Nick

Faroes football

My dream is to fulfil a Covid-delayed bucket-list trip to see the ultimate sporting underdog story, and take my football-crazy nine-year-old on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We will be travelling to see the Faroe Islands play an international match on home turf. They’re due to play Scotland on 12 October in a World Cup qualifier. Fly into the capital, Torshavn, and you can walk to the stadium. Hire a car for the full Faroes experience: it’s the bird-watching capital of Europe. Hotel Streym in Torshavn has Atlantic views and doubles from £90.
John Connolly

Harvest festival with a difference, Ukraine

Harvest time on a farm near Lviv, Ukraine
Harvest time on a farm near Lviv, Ukraine. Photograph: Martin Charlesworth

It will take the best part of a day and a half but here’s my plan: a few buses, some trains and a flight from my home in the Ribble valley to Ukraine, crossing the Polish border at Przemyśl. I’m expecting Lviv to be “bruised but not broken” as the Ray Davies song goes, with coffee, cake and varenyky (dumpling) culture still largely intact. I plan to go in August for the Saviour of the Apple feast, an Eastern Orthodox celebration of harvest. The reason for going is not necessarily the destination or the festival but the sweet joy of a long journey to a foreign land and interaction with strangers at long last.
Martin Charlesworth

Totally ore-some, Mauritania

The iron ore train, Mauritania

For 2021, I want to travel somewhere that is remote with low population density and gives me an adrenaline rush. After a bit of research, I’ve chosen to go on the iron ore train in Mauritania. The 700km journey on a cargo train from the north of the country to the west coast takes around 34 hours. This train is among the world’s longest and heaviest and riding it is totally free. From time to time, I look at the photos and videos of the journey on the internet and instantly get goosebumps. See for yourself. It’s total madness.
Venkata K C Tata

Silk Road: Samarkand to Baku

The Registan place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The Registan place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Photograph: Andrey Vishin/Alamy

As we enter 2021 with unbridled hope and optimism for a better year filled with limitless freedom and a vaccinated global population, never have I wanted more to return to completing my journey of the Silk Road, started in 2019. Beginning in Xi’an and Kashgar, China, I headed west to Almaty, Kazakhstan, before crossing over into Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. My trip allowed just enough time to reach dazzling Samarkand in Uzbekistan. My trip ended at the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, a breathtaking marvel from which I hope to restart my adventure in 2021. My aim is to reach Tehran, from where I will return to Baku, one of my favourite cities, for a deserved cup of coffee.
Scott Strachan

Mountain overload, Georgia

Kazbegi, Georgia.
Kazbegi, Georgia. Photograph: Franka Hummels

I want to be overwhelmed by Georgia’s Kazbegi region again. I want to get so exhausted by marvellous hikes – where I will not meet a soul – that the next day will be spent on a balcony with a book that gets little attention because the mountains take my breath away. I will only leave that balcony to eat terrific vegetarian Georgian food, with the same view. That balcony I left and want to return to is at Rooms Hotel, where doubles go for $100 – steep by Georgian standards but worth it and not as steep as those mountain slopes.
Franka Hummels



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4 Tips to Guide Your Investments in 2021 | The Smarter Investor

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U.S. stocks reached all-time highs in 2020, reflecting the divergence between fortunes on Wall Street and Main Street. The difference between Wall Street and Main Street is one of several important lessons from 2020. Investors who apply the lessons learned last year to their 2021 strategy may improve investment outcomes and reduce investment-related stress.

It was difficult for many people to reconcile all-time stock market highs with a year in which there were nearly 20 million reported coronavirus infections and more than 340,000 fatalities in the U.S., along with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) decline of 3.5%, according to the Conference Board, and millions of unemployed Americans.

The pandemic amplified significant differences between the U.S. economy and capital markets. Lockdowns and other social distancing measures caused severe damage to GDP and employment, notably in the retail, restaurant, travel and entertainment industries. In contrast, only 7% of S&P 500 operating earnings in 2019 came from those segments of the economy, according to J.P. Morgan’s Guide to the Markets April 2020 report.

The big stock market winners in 2020 included segments of the market that benefited from the “stay home” economy, including online retail, technology and home improvement. The big stock market losers for 2020 were the segments of the stock market hurt most by social distancing, including energy, airlines and brick-and-mortar stores.

Market intervention from central banks and fiscal stimulus from governments helped stem the tide of selling in March. Massive federal policy support provided needed liquidity to households, businesses and capital markets, boosting investor sentiment and reducing the risk of a widespread wave of personal and business bankruptcies.

Many good companies suffered because of the widespread shutdown in segments of the global economy, forcing investors to revisit portfolio decisions made under a very different set of economic expectations. Among the more challenging dimensions of investing during 2020 was the need to assess whether some of the companies hurt most by the pandemic would be disrupted permanently or would have long-term staying power, with hope for an eventual recovery.

Avoiding emotionally driven decisions during market downturns was a running theme last year. In fact, Morningstar’s annual study of 20-year returns is a consistent illustration of the perils of market timing. Investors in the U.S. equity market for the full 20-year period through the end of 2019 earned 6.1% annually, while investors who missed the 10 best days saw their returns drop to 2.4% per year. Although avoiding the 10 worst days would boost returns, the best and worst days tend to be clustered together. The past year was no exception to the historical pattern, and many investors were hurt in their attempts to time the market.

Go On a Media Diet

News junkies often obsess over the latest headlines. The activity bias is a common behavioral pattern among financial advisors who find themselves glued to business news during the trading day. Excessive trading can be one of the more damaging investment behaviors, so consuming less business and political news may be a healthy resolution for those who find themselves bingeing on the latest tweets, broadcasts and articles.

Evaluating Government Policies

Know that constraints matter more than preferences when evaluating government policies. For example, President Joe Biden’s campaign platform reflected a preference for significant increases in taxes and spending. But with the slimmest of possible Democratic majorities in the Senate, Biden faces constraints on his ability to enact legislative policy preferences. Biden will need support from centrist Senate Democrats who are less likely to support substantial tax increases and policy priorities favored by the progressive wing of the Democratic party. A couple of other examples of constraints include Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to eliminate the filibuster, which lowers the odds that Democrats can remove the filibuster and pass policy priorities without Republican support, and former President Donald Trump’s appointment of conservative judges, which may constrain Biden’s ability to act through executive orders or regulatory edicts.

Spend Less Time in Echo Chambers

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek evidence that supports preexisting beliefs and to interpret information in a way that supports an existing position. The echo chamber that comes from avoiding contrary viewpoints can lead to costly investment mistakes. Seeking contrary points of view is a necessary step in testing an investment point of view and an important (albeit uncomfortable) tip for 2021.

Ask the Right Questions

Investment discussions in January are dominated by forecasts for the coming year. The most common question is: “What do you expect the market to do this year?”

For most investors, the focus on a relatively short-term time horizon is understandable but counterproductive. The more relevant discussion about the investment outlook should be framed around long-term investment expectations and the alignment with financial and personal goals. Realistically, once cash needs are taken care of, most investors have time horizons measured in years if not decades.

The incredibly unreliable directional “crystal ball” for one-year periods becomes a lot more reliable over longer periods, making planning a more predictable and less stressful exercise. Consequently, perhaps the most important tip for investment planning in 2021 is to think with the long term in mind and worry less about day-to-day volatility.

Disclosures: Registration with the SEC should not be construed as an endorsement or an indicator of investment skill, acumen or experience. Investments in securities are not insured, protected or guaranteed and may result in loss of income and/or principal. Unless stated otherwise, any mention of specific securities or investments is for hypothetical and illustrative purposes only. Adviser’s clients may or may not hold the securities discussed in their portfolios. Adviser makes no representations that any of the securities discussed have been or will be profitable.

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Eskom dragged for offering ‘load-shedding tips’

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South Africans have lashed out at power utility Eskom on social media after it offered “load-shedding tips” to consumers on Sunday.

The embattled company announced on Sunday that it would implement stage 2 of load-shedding, which it attributed to its “constrained” and “vulnerable” system.

“Load-shedding is back and nobody’s happy about it. But unless you have the money for generators, solar installations or other expensive alternatives, the reality is that you are at risk of losing power for periods of time until the national grid is stable again,” read the article from Information and Communication Technology Services at the University of Cape Town, which was shared by Eskom on its Twitter account.

South Africans were advised to “invest in equipment”, including surge protectors and solar-powered emergency lights.

On surge protectors, the article explained: “When the power comes back on, your electrical circuits can experience power surges, which could damage your appliances. Surge protectors, which plug right into your wall socket, are relatively cheap and will minimise the risk of power surges damaging precious equipment.”



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McLaren Racing – 7 F1-inspired tips for a healthier you

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We’re several weeks into the new year and it’s often around this time that the motivation you had to deliver on your New Year’s resolutions is starting to wane. A common ambition is to be healthier but, as you probably know all too well by now, this takes plenty of hard work and commitment. Quinoa and kale are as unappealing as the appendages that sprung up on the noses of Formula 1 cars in 2014. Meanwhile, the temptation to repeatedly hit ‘snooze’ instead of going for that morning jog, may well lead you to wonder whether the button was created by Lucifer himself. Figuring you could be in need of a pep talk, we asked the man charged with keeping the team in tip-top condition, team performance coach Serg Stelitano, to provide you with some inspiration.

Here are Serg’s seven easy steps that will get you feeling healthier and ready for the 2021 F1 season.

1 | Sip on something smooth-ie

Drinking a smoothie full of fruit and vegetables is a great way to kick-start your day. Not only is it an easy way to get in loads of your five-a-day but it can also boost your energy levels. At the track, we provide smoothies with breakfast to help get the team fuelled and ready for the day ahead.

2 | Stretch

Taking some time to stretch in the morning and evening can have a huge impact on your physical and mental well-being. Stretching for just a couple of minutes in the morning can prime your body to attack the day and doing some light stretches before bed can help to ease any tight muscles and stiffness for a more restful night’s sleep. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s a key thing for everyone in the team to help them perform at their best as they travel around the world from race to race.

3 | Eat lots of colours

We’ve all heard about eating five a day but eating five oranges in the space 24 hours is not quite the right idea. Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables will give your body the range of vitamins and minerals it needs. Fruit and veg can be separated into different colour groups and if you’re eating a mixture of these colours in things like salads, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a healthy balance of the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can be found within each colour grouping. We promote this within the team by providing a wide range of fruits and vegetables across a race week, both as snacks and in meals.

4 | Bank your sleep

Adults need around seven to nine hours sleep per night for proper recovery and readiness; however, this is not always possible. Latest research shows that banking sleep is an effective way to limit the negative effects of a lack of sleep. That’s why we encourage the team to bank as much sleep as possible in the early part of a race week, as the amount of sleep they get later in the week might be limited.

5 | Get moving

Moving more doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run, ride or do circuit classes, it can be as simple as going for a walk. Walking is a great way to increase your daily movement in a low impact, high benefit way. A 30-minute walk will help to increase blood flow, get joints and muscles working and improve breathing. It’s also a great way to de-stress. When we’re on the road, we get the team moving by getting them to walk, ride, or run around the track during race weeks. This reduces their stress levels and improves fitness, which helps them perform at their best on race day.

6 | Be mindful

2020 helped us all understand the importance of our mental health. Being mindful means you’re self-aware and acknowledge how you’re feeling. All it takes is a few minutes each day to sit with your thoughts, or read a book, or even do some light yoga. Looking after your mental health is crucial and our partner Mind, the mental health charity, has many useful tools and tips to help you. Make sure you check them out.

7 | Keep track

Keeping track of what you are doing is a great way to understand yourself more. There are a whole host of wearable tech options on the market, ranging from entry-level activity trackers to high-end GPS devices. These wearables can be used as tools to better understand what stage you’re currently at and help keep you on track with your goals. At McLaren, we use wearables to keep track of how much energy we’re using throughout the day and to monitor recovery – helping us to operate at our very best all season long.

Formula 1 updates 2021 calendar

2021 calendar update

Season to start and end in the Middle East

















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Can we just talk?

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How well do you know Daniel?

New year, new team-mate

















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