Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - News - @Sharp­schut­ters

That’s the way I start ev­ery story I com­mis­sion. Well, in my mind at least. Maybe I should ac­tu­ally start my com­mis­sions with those ex­act words to set the writer off on the right foot on their jour­ney of dis­cov­ery. If you asked me what my mis­sion is out­side of show­ing you – the most in­ter­est­ing per­son in the world – the way the world works, my an­swer is al­ways: "ex­plor­ing the bound­aries of what we think we know, and hop­ing to find a new truth." We’re on this jour­ney to­gether and luck­ily I’m used to long and ar­du­ous trav­els.

I was born on the road. That’s a lie. I was born in a hospi­tal like most hu­mans from a lower-mid­dle­class house­hold. But I was born in Pre­to­ria to par­ents who were from Cape Town and were faith­ful to the De­cem­ber pil­grim­age. En­ter­ing stage on the 29th ob­vi­ously meant that my folks were trapped on the Highveld for the Christ­mas of 1983. New Year’s 1984 was the first of only a hand­ful year-end va­ca­tions I’ve had on the Highveld. Point is, I’ve trav­elled the 1 400 km be­tween Pre­to­ria and Cape Town more times than any per­son should.

Trav­el­ling is one of my defin­ing fea­tures and be­cause I do it so much, I don’t even con­sider the jour­ney as the fun part. It’s not trav­el­ling, it’s com­mut­ing. I’m des­tined to be peren­ni­ally stuck in tran­sit traf­fic be­tween new ex­pe­ri­ences. And I know traf­fic well be­cause I did Pre­to­ria to Sand­ton peak hour on the daily for the best part of two years and cur­rently live 40 km from the of­fice, in the hell of the north­ern sub­urbs to Cape Town CBD tra­verse.

Do­ing a “Travel Is­sue” was a weird ex­pe­ri­ence for some­one who has a very prac­ti­cal ap­proach to the topic. You’ll find some great ad­vice that speaks to my idea of A-to-b trav­el­ling, but there’s also great sto­ries about peo­ple who had so much more fun on the way that the des­ti­na­tion didn’t re­ally mat­ter.

On the side of knowl­edge gath­er­ing, as­sis­tant edi­tor Bren­don Petersen flew up to Joburg to at­tend the Blockchain Africa Con­fer­ence, tasked with find­ing a de­fin­i­tive def­i­ni­tion of Blockchain tech­nol­ogy. His maiden mag­a­zine fea­ture dis­cov­ered that not even the peo­ple build­ing the Blockchain-backed plat­forms can agree on an an­swer. We know it’s the fu­ture, but un­sure of how ex­actly to de­fine that fu­ture.

Our im­me­di­ate fu­ture, or, at least, the big change we need to make to se­cure a fu­ture for this planet, is elec­tri­fied mo­bil­ity. I asked mo­tor­ing scribe Lance Bran­quinho to poke around the lo­cal branches of the mo­tor­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers ush­er­ing in the elec­tric car rev­o­lu­tion for a map to this fos­sil fuel-free utopia. As it turns out, peo­ple like me are the prob­lem. We live too far from the of­fice, on vast tracks of un­der­served land, and make road­trips a part of our per­sonal iden­tity.

I’ve lived with a BMW i3 as my only mode of trans­port for a week and, while it wasn’t that bad, it’s only pos­si­ble if you have a charg­ing point at home and at work. The new i3, par­tially fea­tured on our cover, brings in an up­graded bat­tery and along with BMW’S DC fast charger – which can top it up in around two hours – is a pow­er­ful weapon in the war to change per­cep­tions. Well, at least among the up­per-mid­dle­class and high earn­ing early adopters.

Us with less dis­pos­able in­come need to pres­sure our pol­icy mak­ers to adopt strate­gies which will ul­ti­mately wean us off earth’s un­sus­tain­able re­source nip­ple. But don’t worry, I’m busy com­mis­sion­ing the sto­ries about the best ways to save the world and re-en­gi­neer our liv­ing so­lu­tions. And you’ll be the first to see the road signs that point us along our road to the truth.

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