Google Sent One Man to a Deserted Japanese Island… to Map It

Forget roads. Google is more and more frequently found mapping the entire face of the planet, often with their 360 degree recording, backpack-based Google Trekker. In one recent adventure, they sent one man to document abandoned Hashima island off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan. With buildings deteriorating so quickly that it’s reported you can hear concrete collapse when the wind blows, it could be the Trekker’s most dangerous foray yet. Don’t worry about wearing a hard hat though – you can now tour the island from the safety of your screen.

The World Bodypainting Festival is Quickly Approaching

This summer in Pörtschach, Austria, the top body painters from 45 countries around the world will come together to compete in an awe-inspiring contest: The World Bodypainting Festival. From June 29 through July 6th, artists and audience members will create and witness a dream-like world as models, covered head to toe with intricate body paint, props, and costumes, walk the stage. Using the human body as their canvas, these talented artists use high level creativity and serious skill to transform models into works of art.

1600 Papier Mache Pandas Travel the World, Spreading a Message of Conservation

French artist Paulo Grangeon wants to let the public know about the rapid decline of the panda population, and to drive the point home he’s created 1600 papier-mâché bears – the estimated number of pandas living in the wild. This June, Grangeon is teaming up with WWF, PMQ and creative studio AllRightsReserved to take the pandas on tour, hitting up 10 Hong Kong locations, from the international airport to the Tian Tan Buddha. The cheery sight has already been seen in cities like Paris, Rome, Berlin and Taipei… but the message behind it is sobering.

Completed in 1878, This Isolated Sea Fort is Now a Luxury Hotel

When it was completed in 1878, the soldiers who occupied Spitbank Fort had no idea it would one day be a luxury hotel. The isolated sea fort is located in the Solent, near Portsmouth, England, and originally intended as a line of defense against ships that made it past the larger forts further out. As always, Spitbank Fort is only accessible by boat – a level of isolation rarely available in our highly connected world. Now, billed as “the UKs most exclusive private island” it features 8 luxury rooms and a rooftop spa with unrivaled views. It’s also one of the few hotels that can boast about having armor plating on its seaward side.

One Couch at a Time: A Documentary Film About the Couchsurfing Phenomenon

When people think of Couchsurfing, there can be quite a few misconceptions. For instance, people often think that it’s a bunch of free-seeking hippies who are just looking for a place to rest their raggedy selves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Couchsurfing is a radical community comprised of generous, open minded and culturally conscious individuals. Staying at a person’s place, whether it is a posh guest bedroom or a simple couch, serves only one of the many purposes the vibrant community brings. The chief mission of Couchsurfing is to “Change the World, One Couch at a Time.”

Awakening: New Zealand’s Changing Light Captured in Timelapse

Martin Heck spent 4 months traveling through the stunning landscapes of New Zealand and capturing it in timelapses that pay tribute to the unique light of the far south. He spent the nights under the stars, capturing the sky as sweeping points of light. By day he hiked through the mountains, explored remote roads and captured the ever changing weather as it played off the rugged landscape. If you were already craving a visit New Zealand, this will tickle that itch like never before.

A Banned “Stairway to Heaven” Hike in Hawaii

On the island of Oahu in Hawaii is a stairway to heaven. Well, maybe just to the top of a mountain but that’s the name of this crazy hike. Consisting of 4,000 concrete steps up to 2,800 ft above sea level, this stairway was originally designed for the US military in 1942. Its purpose was to be able to string antenna cables from the mountain tops to provide low frequency radio communication during wartime. After being decommissioned in 1950, it was then utilized as a base for navigational systems for the US Coast Guard.

10 Famous World Locations… Zoomed Out

Great Pyramids of Giza 2

We’ve all seen the postcards. Picturesque scenes from around the world highlighting many of the “7 wonders” in all their glory… it all looks so incredible. But what if you step back a few thousand steps? Redditor thepobv recently pulled together a truly eye-opening collection of images from many of the worlds most famous sites… then added images from far back off the tourist trail. The results are enlightening.

One Opulent Road Trip: $3 Million Will Get You One Massive RV

Do you find yourself constantly on the road with a cool $3 million to spare? Well, Anderson Mobile Estates might have the solution for you. Welcome to Lifestyles of the Rich, Mobile and Famous. Using expanding walls and a retractable second floor, this design called The Heat transforms from a conventionally sized 53’ semi trailer into an expansive, two-story living space of 1,100 square feet.

Stunning Greenland Ice, Drawn with Pastels

As many travelers know, the world’s most remote places can also be the most awe inspiring. Aritst Zaria Forman learned that at an early age, traveling with her family through some of these far reaching landscapes as her mother captured them as photographic fine art. Today, Zaria continues that path with large scale pastel drawings on sheets of paper. The results are incredibly lifelike, while reflecting the surreal environment they represent.