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The Ears Have It

The indefatigable Geo Beach tells us about one travel accessory that's small enough to fit in your pocket, cheap enough to purchase with pocket change and can change your whole travel experience.

The Ears Have It
by Geo Beach

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Female Voice: "Another audio Postcard from the Edge of Tomorrow, courtesy of The Savvy Traveler's Geo Beach."

Friends, roamers, cross-country-men... and Dear Rudy, you qualify for all three, so lend me your ears.

Shhh--listen up!

There's one travel accessory that's small enough to fit in your pocket, cheap enough to purchase with pocket change, and it can change your whole travel experience. One word, Rudy: "Earplugs".

When I was a firefighter flying out to wildlands fires and remote Medivacs in the Alaska bush, I learned that earplugs were more important than fireplugs. Helicopters and small planes are just plain loud and that wasn't good for my concentration. I didn't want to get burned out on a noisy flight when I might get burned up once I landed and was up to my ears in flames.

And speaking of land, don't keep your ear to the ground, because those earplugs are great at sea too. I put in a pair one winter when I was King Crabbing out on the Bering Sea and from that day on I was all ears...earplugs right under my earmuffs. No more whining diesel engines, no more screaming generators.

That's the trick of these little foam rubber beauties. They screen out the white noise, but they let human voices in. Okay, well, the piercing howl of inhumane Sea Wolf-style skippers is still within earshot, but nothing's perfect.

Anyway, a few years back the Coast Guard conducted some tests to find out what being out on the water in an open boat did to you. They discovered that, combined with the rocking of the waves, all that wind rushing by your ears and all that noise from outboard engines actually makes you drunk, physically unsteady. That's one reason the allowable alcohol level before you're BWI, "Boating While Intoxicated", is lower than for DWI. And, more important for business travelers, even in those beautiful new commercial jetliners, that wind rushing noise is right there, loud and making your thoughts unclear.

But twist in an earful of earplug and you'll earwax poetic at my advice. You'll arrive at your destination with an inner quiet, instead of feeling all played out.

Look, the suits out in Hollywood don't want to admit it, Rudy, but you and I know the ears have it. Watch, when you sit down on your cross-country flight, they don't charge you to point your eyes at the movie. You pay it by ear for the earphones because it's the audio that really sings. See, never mind all the fancy camera work, beauty is in the ear of the beholder. Just give your beauty some dangly diamond earrings for her lovely luscious earlobes and she'll hear you. Then you just gotta figure out what to say. But that's another postcard.

Until then Rudy, stick it in your ear. And please, don't let my recommendations go out the other.

Hugs and plugs,

Geo Beach

When he's not traveling, the irrepressible Geo Beach sends postcards from the end of the road in Homer, Alaska.


Savvy Resources:

The Noise Center

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