Django & Front End Developers Wanted

We’re expanding!

Are you passionate about code? Do you have a thirst for adventure travel? If so, we could definitely use your help!

We have a large chunk of development ahead and are looking for two developers to join us for the journey.

You will be required to work remotely for now. Although close proximity to Bristol or London or Morzine, France would be a bonus! We have office space in Morzine if you want to re-locate for the work period. Help with finding accommodation will be provided.

Job One – Django Developer:

This is a freelance/contract position that will require about 40hrs a week, starting in April for 12-16 weeks.

Front-end skills are definitely a bonus!

Primary Requirements:

  • Experience developing and deploying web sites and applications
  • Django / Postgres / PostGIS
  • Experience with open source technologies
  • Experience with integrating with Search Engines (elastic search / indextank)
  • Experienced building API based web services.
  • Experience setting up and managing servers.
  • Custom web based application development experience (startup experience is a bonus)
  • Ability to take ownership
  • Comfortable collaborating with designers, front-end developers and other team members
  • Object-oriented design and development strategies
  • Web services experiences is a bonus
  • Must be able to communicate in English and chat via Skype
  • Work european hours – (9-5 GMT)

Job Two – Front End Developer:

This is a freelance/contract position that could turn permanent for the right person.

Will require about 40hrs a week, starting in April for 12-16 weeks.

Primary Requirements:

  • Experience developing and deploying web sites and applications
  • Regular experience with JavaScript MVC libraries building off JSON APIs
  • Experience with open source technologies
  • Experienced with Django a bonus
  • Experience hand-coding HTML and CSS
  • Custom web based application development experience (startup experience is a bonus)
  • Ability to take ownership
  • Comfortable collaborating with designers, back-end developers and other team members
  • Object-oriented design and development strategies
  • Web services experiences is a bonus
  • Must be able to communicate in English and chat via Skype
  • Work european hours – (9-5 GMT)

Please send a CV with covering letter stating salary expectations to guy at muchbetteradventures.com

 

The big match: Ski resort v’s snow leopard in Kazakhstan

A sadly familiar and frustrating story coming from Kazakhstan this morning. Mass protests have broken out against plans to build a mega ski resort, complete with luxury hotels and golf courses in the National Park above Big Almaty Lake. The National Park is home to a number of endangered species, and the plans make something of a mockery of the country’s National Park laws should they be pushed through.

The government have thus far ignored a letter signed by 7000 people, and business interests are reportedly lobbying the government for a change in the law so they cannot be found to be doing anything wrong.

To keep up the pressure and raise further awareness, campaigners took to the mountains to spell out ‘Kazakh Snow Leopard’ in a human Flesh Mob.

You can find more info and sign the petition here.

Armchair Explorers: Climb Kilimanjaro In A Few Clicks

If you thought Google had peaked with new oceans and Amazon coverage, think again. The tech giant has just added another mountain of images to their portfolio – quite literally.

Dan Fredinburg, or as his business card enviously reads – The Google Adventurer – recently led a heavily equipped team to document the Seven Summits.

You can now ‘climb’ Aconcagua (South America), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Elbrus (Europe) and Everest Base Camp (Asia) with much less effort.

Conditions were apparently too rough to go beyond Base Camp on their expedition but it’s only a matter of time.

Explore their images for yourself here.

Or, if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, explore ourEverest base camp holidayoptions.

Meet Sumak Travel – a new muchbetter way to see South America

We are delighted to welcome Sumak Travel as the latest member of the muchbetter community.

This new Uk based tour operator to South America was founded by Felipe after a year exploring the wonders of South America, getting totally hooked, and connecting with dozens of incredible community based tourism projects along the way. There are certain parallels with Alex there, who was driven to start Much Better Adventures after a similar year of discovery in South America. So you imagine his excitement to hear from someone else with a shared passion and vision for tourism in this captivating region of the world!

As Felipe explains:

We work directly with community-based tour operators in South America. They usually are co-operatives, social enterprises, associations, travel agencies, all managed by the local communities themselves. We specialise in community-base eco-tourism, but our trips include also visits to main cities and touristic attractions. When you book a trip with us, we organise and book everything for you.

We create bespoke eco-trips, which means that customers chose if they want a guide with them during the whole trip, only during the activities, or not at all. Our local providers can offer a wide range of services and we are able to create multinational eco-trips as well. For now, we dont do group travel, only independent travel.

In our website you can see standard trips we’ve created to give customers an idea of what they can get. These trips include lots of trekking and other eco-tourism activities, and we can tailor make to suit your interests.

We can’t wait to see them working the tailor making magic on our new service too, which currently lets you get tailored offers for walking, biking and skiing in Europe, but a full range of adventures and activities is on the way!

For now, you can contact Felipe to make your South America journey muchbetter!

Last minute winter escape? Lionfish hunters needed in Belize!

The winter is just dragging on in the Uk isn’t it? If you are anything like us you are probably thinking, ‘hmm, how good would it be to leg it somewhere hot on a whim right now?’

So you can imagine that the urge got a bit harder to fight when we got an email pop in our inbox from Reef Conservation International in Belize telling us they still had a few space left on their lionfish hunting expedition in early March!

An adventure with a purpose… we have a soft spot for them!

Now, at first glance going spearing fish in a marine reserve in Belize doesn’t sound much like a conservation project, but as Jo explained it to me, it became clearer:

‘The lionfish have spread rapidly throughout the Caribbean. They have few natural predators in the Caribbean and studies show that Caribbean predators avoid lionfish.Lionfish are voracious predators and can consumehuge percentages of juvenile fish recruits. In thirty minutes onelionfish was observed eating more than twenty fish! And they breed rapidly; they release around 20,000 eggs every 4 days! Scientists are predicting that lionfish will have a grave impact on Belizesalready stressed stocks of fish and lobster and could spell potential disaster to our marine habitats.’

So whats the details?

Simple really. Down tools, book a flight and head out to Belize for the first two weeks in March. Scuba dive, spear fish, enjoy some great company in a stunning location, and go whale shark watching too! Then come back to find those winter blues have all but vanished!

Enquire now to find out more

You might also want to check out some of other awesome volunteer and conservation based holidays.

Video: Massive Glacier Collapse in Greenland

Ever wondered what a massive glacier collapse looked like? Wonder no more. A team from the Chasing Ice project were in Greenland when they caught the moment that an area of glacier the size of Manhattan disintegrated into the sea. Simply stunning.

This glacier has retreated more in 10 years than it did in the previous 100. Judging by this footage, it isn’t hard to appreciate that fact.

Cycling around London: the best routes and places to stay

We all need a bit of inspiration for some weekend mini adventures right here in the UK. So here we go with our first installment starting perhaps where you wouldnt expect us to, London town. It may be more urban jungle than great escape, but a weekend in London by bike is definitely recommended as a great way to explore our wonderfully diverse capital city.Even before the Boris Bikes, London was popular with cyclists. Packs of two-wheeled commuters can be seen on a daily basis, jostling for slippery road space with cars and cabs, and whizzing past pedestrians confined to the pavement. With a wealth of cycle paths and dedicated bike routes dotted around the city, those very same bikes are put to surprisingly good use on the weekend, and the city is compact enough to properly escape using pure pedal power. One of the more spectacular inner city routes is the Royal Parks Circuit, showing off the very best of the West End, which is nearly as leafy as the countryside but with the added eye-candy of some of the worlds grandest architecture and most manicured parks. The 17.58 mile route starts and ends at St. James Park, taking in Hyde Park, Regents Park, Richmond Park and Green Park along the way. The few miles it runs along the Thames, from Chelsea to Westminster, make for a very special way to see the city. The Royal Parks Circuit encounters minimal traffic, and can be done on any type of bicycle. Its also quite achievable for children and inexperienced cyclists, and comes highly recommended as a cheap daytrip for anyone wishing to experience the living museum of London. There is no shortage of fine pubs on the route, not to mention some of the best hotels in the city. For those seeking decent accommodation on a limited budget, the W14 Hotel in West Kensington is a classy conversion of four Victorian town houses close to the endpoint of the route. Richmond Park also runs a series of popular walks around the Isabella Plantation, a jaw-dropping ornamental garden full of rare plant species. See the Royal Parks website for more information.More hardcore cyclists might prefer the epic West Hampstead to Box Hill route, which also allows you to take in Richmond Park on the way out, and returns via Putney. The 64 mile route lasts around six and half hours, and cuts a swathe through some of Londons highlights, north and south of the river, including Cheam and Wimbledon. If youre looking for a one-way route that takes you out of the city, never to return, the Addington Village to Bramley path gives you that wonderful sensation of a receding metropolis and an encroaching countryside that only gets greener, wider and more serene the further you cycle its 51 miles. Starting in Addington Village, you can set off after a restful night at the Landsdowne Hotel in nearby Croydon. Bookings with all these London hotels can be made via the website LondonTown.com, where youll find plenty of discounted rooms, up to 85%!

Everest clean up trek commemorates 60th anniversary of Hillary/Tenzing feat.

May 29th 1953 was a special day for Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay as they made history by stepping onto the worlds highest peak, Mt. Everest, for the first time.

To honour their accomplishments, Ace the Himalaya announces an 18-day Everest 60th Anniversary trek targeting arrival at Everest Base Camp on May 29th. Here they will have a two-night stay, while a service project to clean up the area will be accomplished along with enjoying an anniversary dinner celebration with Everest climbers. On the very auspicious day Ace has also planned for a special surprise gift to those who were born on the same day (more info here).

The trip begins and ends in Kathmandu along the following route: Kathmandu-Lukla-Namche Bazaar-Tengboche-Lobuche-Gorak Shep-Everest Base Camp-Kalapatthar-Lukla-Kathmandu.

Guests experience high-altitude trekking four to six hours daily. Ace say 100 percent of the money from this project stays in Nepal through the locally owned company leading the tour.

Hired porters and yaks will bring the garbage down to Namche bazaar where it will then be handed over to a Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC).

Prem K. Khatry, managing director of the company, explained that the base camp has become much polluted because of the thousands of annual visitors.

The ultimate joys of our Everest base camp trek are the breathtaking mountain panoramas, so its our duty to conserve its beauty and help keep it pollution free. If you like to trek and be a part of this important mission, this will be one of the most inspiring ways to get involved, he said.

The per person rate of $1,450 includes airport/hotel transfers, twin shared accommodation (in Kathmandu) for four nights with breakfast, guided city tour, sightseeing/monument entrance fees, lodge/guesthouse accommodation during the trek, all needed camping equipment, tented camp at Everest base camp for two nights with full board meals and hot drinks, local Ace the Himalaya licensed English speaking guide, local staff and porters for carrying luggage, all the required equipments (bags, baskets, gloves) to collect the garbage, yaks to carry the collected refuse from Base Camp down to Namche, food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipment and medicine for all staff, down jacket and sleeping bag for use during trek, airfare from Kathmandu Lukla – Kathmandu including airport departure tax in Kathmandu and Lukla airport, surface transfer from and to Kathmandu, special 60th anniversary Celebration dinner, farewell dinner with culture show in typical Nepali restaurant, all government taxes, VAT, tourist service charges, and official expenses.

Ace the Himalaya works closely with and is one of the main supporters of Sambhav Nepal Foundation, a non-political and non-profit social organization. Ace the Himalaya contributions support the remote village of Arupokhari (Gorkha, Nepal) through donations, sponsorships and partnerships in a wide range of projects.

For more information, to see their other treks including Everest and Annapurna, and make reservations enquire direct to Ace from this page.

You can also check out more treks in Nepal, Everest treks and Annapurna treks from local and independent operators.

What’s the etiquette for taking photos of strangers?

We have all been there wondering around soaking up the atmosphere and keeping an eye out for photo opportunities, when suddenly you turn a corner and there in front of you is the most photogenic person you have ever seen. It is the shot you have been waiting for, and no doubt it is destined to make the front cover of some glossy adventure magazine.So let the moral dilemmas begin. How do you go about taking the picture? Do you do it sneakily without them noticing, or stroll right up and point the camera in their face? Will you offend them to ask? Will you offend them to offer payment? Will you even be breaking some local cultural taboo and usher in the devil as soon as you click the shutter? Its a minefield.

Taking a well-posed snap of friends and family is straightforward. Everyone is in agreement and ready to have their photo taken. However, taking a shot which involves photographing strangers is an entirely different matter. Deciding on the appropriate etiquette for snapping someone you don’t know can be tricky to get right. Here are a few pointers to help get it right.

 

To ask or not to ask?

The first issue to deal with is that of permission. Some photographers prefer not to ask to be allowed to take a picture, preferring instead to just get the shot while it’s there. This takes a lot of confidence and experience though and may not be the ideal way for an amateur to get the picture they want.Confidence isn’t a bad thing, however. Showing that you’re afraid to ask permission to photograph someone can come across as abrasive and almost threatening, which will immediately alienate your subject. The best way to get over this fear is just to do it. Get plenty of experience by asking for permission frequently. Be open, approachable and friendly. If you feel you need to give a valid reason for wanting to photograph someone, say it’s for a school, college or photography class project. Most importantly, take refusal with good grace and acceptance and move on.There may be cultural or religious reasons why someone does not want to be photographed, so if you’re taking shots while abroad or at a religious or cultural landmark, it’s wise to ask about the etiquette that may apply at these venues. Tour guides, venue staff or even just a passing local, might be able to fill you in on what’s acceptable and what’s not.

 

Getting relaxed shots

Getting the best shot can be difficult if you’ve asked permission first, as most people who know they are to be photographed will naturally turn towards the photographer, striking a pose. This is where your confidence as a photographer comes into play. Be bold about asking your subject to look at the camera, or away from it, or at the task they are doing. Strike the pose you want yourself so that they can copy you. Being direct about what you want can get better shots than treading on eggshells, or snapping from a distance.Keeping the conversation flowing while snapping can help your subject to relax while you get the picture you want. Chat to them about what they’re doing, ask questions about their costume, talk about the weather, even. Anything that will help them to lose any stiffness or awareness they have that they are being snapped.

 

To pay or not to pay?

Once you’ve got the shots you want, it is important to thank your subject. They may be keen to see the pictures you’ve taken and it’s only fair that they should be allowed to take a peek at them. In certain popular destinations, you need to be aware that there may an expectation of payment for having been photographed. Some cultures will be offended if you offer payment without being asked, so try to get to grips with what is appropriate before you start taking snaps. Most importantly, don’t be so impolite as to attempt to barter if asked for remuneration in exchange for a picture. If you’re not prepared to pay, then politely refuse and walk away.

 

Post by Tony, a UK based blogger on behalf of Cheapflights.

Why rock climbing can be good for your health

With the New Year here and about its a time that many of us look for new and more innovative ways of keeping fit and getting ourselves back on track.

Although going to the gym is an appealing option for many people, for some its just an area of over-crowded athletes, and for some of us this means looking elsewhere to get a real challenge.

The great outdoors offers an almost unlimited amount of options for people who are looking to keep fit and get outdoors at the same time.

If you are looking to combine a little adventure with a bit of health and fitness, then chances are that rock climbing is one sporty activity that you could look to take up to help you along with this task.

How can I get involved with rock climbing?

Once youve made the decision that you want to get stuck into rock climbing then it can often be hard to know where to start.

Luckily there are a number of avenues that you can follow if you want to get involved in this way.

One of the best and easiest ways to start out is by joining a rock climbing club, as this will allow you to meet like-minded people who are looking to get involved in sports just like you and where you to plan trips together.

Joining a rock climbing club can also be a great way to learn about the rock climbing industry from insiders, who have been rock climbing indoors as well as outdoors for years and who can give you information and insider tips on where is great to climb, the equipment that you need and the best times to climb.

What do I need?

Rock climbing requires good sturdy equipment.

If you are looking to get started on the rock climbing circuit then investing in the correct equipment can go a long way to ensuring that you really get the most out of your experience.

Its never easy when you are starting out but by making sure that you have the appropriate safety harnesses, the right climbing equipment and have undertaken at least some sort of basic training before you hit the rock faces, will make your first experience at rock climbing not only safer but also more enjoyable.

After all, rock climbing is not only physically tough; it can also be mentally exhausting.

Is it really good for my fitness?

Rock climbing is an exercise which works the entire body and it can leave you feeling incredibly sore afterwards.

Rock climbing is designed to build both strength and stamina and it does each of these tasks quickly, giving you a complete body workout and leaving you feeling exhausted but good, after your exercise.

Guest post by Paul James, Images from Alex Messenger.

Check out our selection of greatclimbing holidays-from mountaineering expeditions, ice climbing, rock climbing and via ferrata.

Success! Orangutan rehab and release back to wild

We were delighted to receive some great news from The Great Projects in Indonesia the other day. Alongside International Animal Rescue (IAR) and the Agency for Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA), they announced the release of Pelangsi, a young male orangutan, back into the wild.

He had been found in April this year trapped in a snare in a palm plantation. He had been there for days, the team feared for his life, and his arm was severely injured – they had to eventually amputate his hand. He received intensive care, and slowly recovered from his injuries in IARsOrangutan Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre in Ketapang.

After 6 months of rehab he was finally fit and well enough to be released back into the wild. Sadly his original home in the forest has been completely destroyed and converted into palm plantations, so Pelangsi has had to be reintroduced into a different area.

Watch the happy moment of his release:

Alan Knight, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue said that, When endangered species like the orangutan are in crisis, every single individual counts. Pelangsis story is cause for celebration, not only because his life has been saved, but also because his reintroduction into the wild is a small but symbolic step in support of orangutan conservation.

IARs rehabilitation centre at Ketapang is home to more than 50 orangutans, the majority of whom IAR aims eventually follow Pelangas’s footsteps in returning to the wild.

If you would like to play a part in IAR’s amazing work at Ketapang, Contact The Great Projects team about their IAR Orangutan Project.

You can also browse lots more incredible volunteer holidays that make a difference.

Paddling with the rarest Dolphins in the world, beware sea bed mining.

A bit of light monday morning activism for you. Here is world class surfer and activist David Rastovich paddling away on the west coast on New Zealand, accompanied by a pod of the NZ Maui dolphins.

He did 350km in all to raise awareness of the threats of sea bed mining – the entire coast is under prospecting or exploration permits with a view to mining the iron sands there. Bad news indeed for fisheries, surf breaks, the 55 NZ Maui dolphins that exist, and the wider oceanic ecosystem of the region.

Video via MPORA. Made by nzgreen.

Find out more and help at www.kasm.org.nz or www.s4cglobal.org