MenagerieFearless Forecast: Back to the Future
Fearless Forecast: Back to the Future
September 25, 2011
September 25, 2011

This issue’s fearless forecast revolves around the joys and wonders of travel.  Whether we it is for leisure or otherwise, it has always been there. In the form of our daily commute to and from school or work, the usual walk to a friend’s house, or the occasional trip to a local or foreign tourist hotspot.

But how often do we actually wander around just for the sake of enjoyment?  More often than not, we end up dozing off, playing video games and chatting with somebody than minding the trip.  We tend to forget that travel itself is a significant part of the whole experience, and we fail to realize that as we travel, the world seems to move with us, zooming past us, as we hope to see many different parts of the world in action.  Are we all so used to seeing how the world moves that it is no longer interesting?

From where we stand now, it is difficult to see how many modes of transportation are in existence.  Still, the wide range of plausible means of travelling has never failed to surpass the bounds of our imagination.  While people in the U.S. ride in style in rented exotic supercars, others prefer to wallow in convenience of private jets, luxury cruise liners, or even take unusual, locally unique transportation modes such as the bamboo trains in Cambodia.

Even more interesting is the world of fiction, which suggests unique ideas about different trekking means. There is absolutely no limit to the possibilities people can cook up, no matter how irrational such means might be. True-blue Harry Potter fans will surely be aware of the wizardry world’s own travelling fads, such as flying via broomstick or apparating.

H.G. Wells’ iconic creation of a fictional time machine is yet another eye-opener to the wonders of journeying. In addition, future scenarios of flying cars, saucers, escape pods and even sleek robots are recurring depictions in numerous works.

Space tourism is another worth pondering over, as the idea sheds a whole new light on the different possibilities of traveling modes yet to be discovered. Who knows, generations after ours might take their daily walk around planets and constellations, instead of local parks. What must it take to fulfill everyone’s dream to travel the universities. Must we really be confined to the bounds of imagination to enjoy the limitless wonders of our environment? The world of travelling is definitely something worth investigating about.

What would the world be like if it moved in a different way?

Let us take a step into the future. Developments in technology have always changed how we move about in our world.  From the days of horseback riding and carriages to the present age’s hybrid vehicles, numerous ideas were thought of, embraced and discarded.  Today, we move in a world deemed impossible by our forefathers.  Cars today no longer rely solely on gasoline for fuel – water, electricity, solar power and even biological waste are utilized.  Manufacturers are favoring and implementing sharper, futuristic styling for new models, which are bound to make our world resemble one that we see only in science fiction.

The day when cars will be filling the skies seems to be nearer than expected.  The name Terrafugia may not ring a bell, but it is one of the leading developers of the “flying car” today.  Their featured model, the Transition, is designed as a dual-purpose vehicle.  It is capable of taking off from and landing on general runways and airfields.

On the ground, it can be driven like a conventional car on the road with its foldable wings, and is even small enough to be parked on standard-sized parking spaces.  Since it is classified as an aircraft, only people with a pilot’s license are allowed to operate one, and with a price tag of $279,000, it is not something for the public.

Transforming the streets

The skies however, are not the limit.  Combine a love for 70’s cars and a desire for style, and you will get a Volkswagen hovercraft. This sleek and futuristic approach to travelling actually has a proper name – the Volkswagen Aqua. Designed by 21-year old Yuhan Zhang from China, who recently graduated with a degree in Industrial Design, the Aqua proudly boasts its hydrogen cell-powered engine and its uniquely easy maneuverability on terrains, bodies of water and even atop mounds of snow.

Four electric motorized fans, which provide both lift and thrust, bear truth to it being a hovercraft. With a small, round hatch situated on the rear and an interior seating capacity of only a maximum of two people, the Aqua sadly does not provide for much comfort and luxury. Its compatibility with different environmental conditions is topnotch though. A probable James Bond choice of transport, the Volkswagen Aqua will serve as an excellent prototype to boost further innovations to the world of levitation and transportation.

Such contraptions were previously viewed as products of the imagination. If “today” has proved the past wrong, what more can the future hold for all of us?  The world seems to become a smaller place to live in as we discover new and exciting ways to travel.  One thing is certain, the curiosity of man is endless and no one can be certain how far we will go.  However, will a future world where everyone has the privilege of soaring through the skies and cruising over the waves be exciting enough?  Will such a world make travel any more exciting than it is today?

The Menagerie says YES, for as long as man and science are both in existence, the future will surely be something to look forward to.