The Outdoors Blog

What to Expect on a Visit to Galapagos

January 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phin Upham,

The Galapagos Islands are well known as a wildlife-watching destination. The region birthed our current theories of evolution based on the animals observed there. The islands themselves are some of the best protected natural heritage sites, adding to the spectacle and majesty of the location.

The Islands

The archipelago is made up of volcanic formations, forests of cactus plants, highlands with green grass and beautiful turquoise water. The islands are also full of indigenous species that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. Humans so rarely visit these islands that some creatures will fearlessly approach tourists.

The islands of Darwin’s theories are made of 13 different formations covering about four square miles. They are located just over 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, and each island seems to have its own atmosphere and landscape.

What to Do

There are plenty of activities to do, from snorkeling to boating, and plenty of animals to watch out for. Blue-footed boobies wander the landscape amidst penguins and finches. The giant tortoises that inspired Darwin’s theories on evolution are still found on the island side-by-side with sea lions.

There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy a relaxing island getaway. Sun yourself on the black volcanic rocks, or enjoy the diverse sea life through a glass-bottomed boat ride. You can also visit the Charles Darwin research station to learn more about the island’s scientific heritage.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website

What to Do in Provence

January 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re planning a France vacation, you have no doubt included time for Paris and maybe even the South of France depending on the time of year you are going over. But France is a beautiful nation with much more than just a couple areas to explore. Plenty of people plan Provence vacations and you should consider doing the same. Keep reading to find out the best things to do when visiting Provence.

Visit the Vieux Port in Marseille. The picturesque city is the second biggest in the entire country. It’s an absolutely gorgeous collection of stone villages surrounded by amazing fields of lavender. Be sure to bring your camera.

Next to check out the Palais des Papes located at Avignon. This city is legendary all around the world and you can even see the famous Pont d’Avignon while you are there. Visit the Papal Palace, which served as home to many popes over the course of the 14th century. There you’ll see exquisite grounds and cavernous halls fit for exploring.

Check out the beautiful and quiet village of Saint Remy de Provence. In between stops for amazing French cuisine and wine, you’ll want to explore and take in beautiful Roman ruins from one of the most famous time periods on our planet.

While the city of Paris rightfully gets tons of attention from tourists to France, don’t forget to visit Provence. You’ll find plenty of culture, sites, food and wine to complete your trip to France.


Article submitted by French Experience. The company offers all great options for France honeymoon adventures.

Bora Bora’s Place in World War II

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phin Upham,

Once the United States decided to enter World War II, the army was in need of a site to resupply. The Pacific theater was in for a long period of fighting, so the commanders chose Bora Bora and inhabited the island under the name “Operation Bobcat.”

The island of Bora Bora in the South Pacific never saw any combat. It was used almost entirely as an oil depot, airstrip, seaplane base, and defensive fort throughout the conflict. The base at Bora Bora was a useful depot for the allies, supplying a force consisting of nine ships, 20,000 tons of equipment and a fighting force of nearly 7,000 men. Artillery guns that are still present on the island today were set around the island to prevent attacks that would never come.

The influence of the American army can still be felt today. Few of the GIs stationed in Bora Bora actually went back to the US, and those that stayed had a heavy impact on culture. Natives on the island developed a taste for the canned foods brought over by American GIs, and you can still hear American colloquialisms like “swell” and “okay” in the island vernacular.

The military bunkers still scattered on the island tell a story of a past movies only hint at. Visit these structures to see the most visible predictions of what is to become of our world when humans have moved on. These derelict bases are slowly becoming a part of the jungle, leaving a rusted husk of World War II history behind.

Also see some pics from Bora Bora by Phin Upham on Daily Motion:

Phin Upham Presents Bora Bora by dm_52022698b459b

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.


Top Tourist Destinations in France

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re planning a trip to France, there is no shortage of places to visit. So it makes sense to plan ahead in order to make the most of your time. Below are some ideas for your vacation.

Burgundy vacations are underrated but an amazing experience. Though there are many historical sites to see, the main attraction will be the cuisine. The city has its own wine named after, so you know you’ll be drinking well while you’re there and the food is top notch too.

The Mediterranean is the stuff of legend, but hundreds of thousands visit ever year on French Riviera vacations. There you’ll find unsurpassed beauty, a gorgeous coastline and, of course, amazing food. You can’t top the Mediterranean for seafood, olives and wine.

If you like to ski, France has one of the best offerings you can come across. The Rhone Alpes is to the east and gets its name due to its proximity to the Rhone River and the Alpes. There you can enjoy some of the best skiing in the entire world.

No list of tourist attractions in France would be complete without mentioning the City of Light. If you visit France without seeing Paris, you’ll never hear the end of it. There you can see everything from historical cathedrals, to historical art to futuristic nightclubs and more.

Don’t go to France without planning ahead first or you’re bound to miss something. With so much to do, consider the above destinations and have a blast!


Article submitted by French Experience. They’re a travel company that specializes in taking people on France sightseeing trips.

When in Virginia, See Mount Vernon

January 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether you’re there to meet a realtor in Virginia because you’re one of the many people interested in Chesterfield County real estate or you simply want to see the sites, Virginia has countless options when it comes to when it comes to things to do. One location you will not want to miss is Mount Vernon.

As everyone knows, Mount Vernon was the home of America’s first president, George Washington. It’s a gorgeous estate that is kept alive and well today so tourists can enjoy the many beauties our first president would have centuries ago.

You’ll want to bring a camera in order to take pictures of the many historical monuments features on the estate. Of course, you’ll probably also want a picture of the beautiful Potomac River, considered by many to be the most scenic location in the DC area.

With 500 acres to enjoy, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Even if you just want to tour the home, keep in mind the mansion includes 14 rooms filled with furnishings that go as far back as the 1740s.

You don’t need to be a history buff to appreciate the site that is Mount Vernon. Tourist guides on hand will help fill in any blanks, but it’s also just a gorgeous spot to take in unrivaled natural and architectural beauty.


Article submitted by Relocate to Richmond. They’re a Chesterfield realtor that has helped numerous people move to and make Virginia their new home.

Why You Should Have a Portable Power Supply

January 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The world is a scary enough place without constant power keeping our homes, cars, phones and other gadgets running. Hopefully, most of us will never have to learn what would happen if we lost these power supplies for even a second. But the unfortunate truth is that many people already have.

We’ve seen a number of natural disasters in recent years. Everything from tornadoes to hurricanes to tsunamis and earthquakes have come out of nowhere and completely devastated people’s lives. Sadly, it’s only then that most of us would realize what we take for granted.

But if you have a portable power supply, you at least stand a chance of maintaining some normality. More than that, a power supply can make all the difference when it matters most.

If the term power supply makes you think of large, cumbersome units, you haven’t seen what modern technology can now offer. Those exist, of course. You can find a helicopter starting unit or even ones that are used for planes.

Fortunately, we don’t need those to keep the lights on or our cars running when disaster strikes. There are handheld units for the electricity we often need and larger models about the size of a wheelbarrow that can be wheeled around and used to bring our homes back to life if a crisis took power away.


Article submitted by Start Pac. They offer a wide array of units that offer power to other equipment, including an airplane starting unit.

Four Other Festivals in Munich that Aren’t Oktoberfest

January 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phineas Upham

Looking for a chance to spend some time in Munich, but worried you’re going to miss out on Oktoberfest? Not to worry! There are many festivals all year long in Germany’s busiest city. Try to book your trip outside of Oktoberfest’s peak travel time and save money while you enjoy these fun festivals in the city of beer.


Take the U6 train to Studentenstadt in early June and chances are you’ll find yourself standing in the middle of Stustaculum. This open-air festival takes place in the largest student quarter of Europe. For four days, citizens of Munich will watch theatrical productions, sing, dance and generally be merry.


Before Oktoberfest there is Fruhlingfest, which takes place near the end of April each year. This gathering lasts for two weeks, gathering people beneath tents to drink and attend shows. The first Saturday of the festival also features a massive flea market.

Filmfest Munchen

The first week of July features a film festival in Munich. Filmfest is not as wonderous as Cannes or Venice, but this show is a great chance for new and old directors to show off their productions. If you’re a film buff, this festival might give you a sneak peak at some great films for the year.


Munich festivals typically involve the entire city, and Fasching is no exception. Beginning in January, you can witness costume balls and fancy-dress gatherings around the streets of this Bavarian city. These pre-lent festivities are celebrated by the city’s primarily catholic leaders.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

The Fall of Constantinople

January 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phin Upham

The fall of the city of Constantinople has to do with the brilliant military strategies of Mehmet II, also known as Mehmet the Conqueror. It was 1451 when Mehmet was wrapping production of two massive fortresses built on the Bosphorus. These forts would act as a springboard for invasion: Anadolu Hisarı on the Asian side, and Rumeli Hisarı on the European side. Construction was completed within a few months and the forts guarded the thinnest section of the Bosphorus river.

This set the stage for the siege of Constantinople, a battle that would take two years to prepare for.

Mehmet also invited his master craftsmen from across Europe to construct giant cannons to help the efforts of the siege and cripple the city’s defenses. The assault began in May of 1453 when Mehmet’s forces began to gather around the walls of Constantinople. Great chain links had been installed by the Byzantines to prevent forces from laying siege through the ports, so Mehmet’s land-based attack took them by surprise.

At night, Mehmet bombarded the city walls with his cannons. He also used the lack of daylight to cover the movements of his ships, which were transported over land from a cove behind Galata.

Fighting was bitter and lasted almost a full month. The Byzantine emperor Constantine XI ultimately fell while fighting on the walls, and the fall of the city was the beginning of the end for ancient Rome.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.

Exploring Hawaii’s History of Dance

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phineas Upham

To Hawaiians, dance is as much a celebration of life as it is a physical activity. Dance is like a statement of identity, and it has served as a function for the indigenous people to tell their history.


Hula was used in ancient Hawaii to pass along the stories and legends of Hawaiian culture. Dancers underwent rigorous training for years to learn the art form. Traditional Hula dances incorporate chants that orate the history being explored in the dance. Dances also serve to show customs, ceremonies and traditions of the people of ancient Hawaii.


Village women would fashion traditional garb out of bark cloth that was known as kapa. This difficult task used the inner bark of certain trees as weaving material for skirts and other garments.

Kapa’s would be colored and given designs when they were finished. Native islanders relied on berries and roots to dye the fabric in blue or black. Hawaiians would soak kappa in kukui nut oil to give it some primitive weather protection, and sweet smelling things would help give the cloth some natural scents.


The presence of lei signifies special events, but the presentation signifies the act of sharing. Leis are also used in formal ceremonies, like a wedding, where Jasmine and other sweet-smelling flowers may symbolize love and courtship.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.

What Makes Hawai’i an Amazing Vacation Spot

January 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phineas Upham

The sandy beaches of Hawai’i seem to come straight from a travel agent poster. It seems almost unreal that such a bright and sunny place should exist, but this island paradise is a destination spot for tourists internationally. It’s hard to pinpoint any one thing that draws people to the island, but it still makes an amazing vacation spot.

Natural Beauty

Each of the islands has landscapes where you can find flowers, rainforested area, waterfalls, volcanoes and more. The natural beauty of the island makes for memorable photography and a sense of inner peace.

Awesome Food

A multicultural paradise would be incomplete without the menu to back it up. Aside from the top-not coffee, you will find excellent sea food and roasted pig. Try some of the spam fusion foods. You would be surprised at how good spam can be in certain dishes.

Wildlife Encounters

Hawaii has a multitude of locations where tourists can get up close and personal with the wildlife of the islands. You can scuba dive with sharks and turtles, or watch for whales and dolphins frolicking from your vantage point on the beach.

Active Lifestyle

Hawaii’s active lifestyle is perhaps its most alluring quality. One can go for a hike the same day as hitting the beach or catching a wave.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.

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