Seeing The World

Now that he’s retired, my husband enjoys having an afternoon nap each day. Usually I join him, although I don’t fall asleep. I’ve never been a napper, but I do enjoy having a bit of “quiet time” for reading. Recently I found another interesting way to pass the time while my honey bunny is snoozing.

When he woke up from his nap I laughingly told him that while he was sleeping I’d been to Chicago for a tour of the Cultural Center… and I had pictures to prove it! Here’s a gorgeous shot I took of the ornate ceiling:

Yes, I really took this photo, but no, I wasn’t really in Chicago.

Now, you’ve probably guessed that I spent a little time online, that perhaps I was just browsing around the Cultural Center’s website. Nope, that’s not where I was and not what I was doing. I was, indeed, on an actual tour of Chicago’s iconic building. I was part of a fairly large group, and we asked many questions of our awesome tour guide, Mike. He is very knowledgeable about Chicago and its buildings.

The tour was part of a new streaming service called “Heygo” and hey! I’ve been going to a lot of places. Just this morning I spent a few minutes in Italy, quickly grabbing a photo of this olive tree.

I’ve also spent a bit of time in the Canadian Rockies, and I’ve taken some awesome photos! Here are a few from Canmore, Alberta.

And from an earlier walk the previous evening in Banff, I grabbed these photos:

Hopefully I’ve piqued your curiosity a bit. If so, please check out the tour service and book yourself on an upcoming tour. Or, maybe there’s a tour happening LIVE right now that you might want to join.

I’ve just booked another tour in Banff, and I’m looking forward to climbing high in the mountains with tour guide Patrick Twombley. It’s fun to chat with him and the other tour participants as we’re hiking, and I know I’ll get more awesome, inspiring photos.

So, how does it all work?

Heygo is a “tip-supported” streaming service with tour guides from all over the world. These guides lead participants on actual “real time” tours — for free. You can, of course, choose to “tip” the tour guide, and believe me, it’s well worth it.

That’s not to say that the service isn’t without a few problems. First, not all tours are available at all times. But, isn’t that how it is in real life? It’s not an “on-demand” service where you can immediately go on a tour you want. You do have to book in advance. Fortunately you can add the tour to your calendar in Google or Outlook, or you can choose to get an email reminder. Warning though: it’s very easy to forget you’ve booked a tour.

In case you’re wondering, the tour guides use a special camera accessory — a “Gimbal” — that stabilizes the video, so you’re not getting a jumpy, erratic, amateur video experience. It’s very professional. That said, however, I’ve been on a couple tours where the feed wasn’t great — the “Italian tour” I visited earlier this morning was a bit slow, but considering that I was seeing a livestream from half-way around the world, I can’t complain much.

The tour guides are all excellent, but with “foreign” tours, some guides have a better command of English than others. Again, the “Italian tour” is a case in point. It was difficult to understand Lalli at first. The more I listened, the more I was able to catch what she was saying, but I did have to listen very closely.

For what it’s worth, the service does recommend using Google Chrome for your browser, although I’ve had no problems at all watching on my Kindle. My daughter, Elisabeth, has watched tours with her smartphone.

I’ve found that the website has been a bit tricky to navigate from time to time, but that’s a minor inconvenience considering the pleasure I’ve received from participating. As you can guess, I love the “postcard” feature — that’s how I’ve taken these photographs. I simply press a button, just like clicking the shutter of a camera, and my “postcards” are saved in my profile, ready to add notes, to share, or to download and save.

Now, the hardest part in all of this is figuring out what scene I want to paint first! And the second hardest part is deciding where I want to go next. Exploring the Canadian Rockies has been such a beautiful experience, but there are other places I want to see, too.

And now, I’m off for a trail walk in the Karura Forest. Oh, the trees! The birds! It’s a fantastic visit to Nairobi, so I’m grabbing postcards already!

It’s such a fun way to see the world, to learn about nature, history, and so much more! I’m loving this experience, and I hope you’ll join me on a tour or two! We can see the world together.

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