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Unique Travels

John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

Hey Everyone!

This is my first Friday Fun post so hopefully it gets close to hitting the mark.  :-)

My wife and I are taking a dinner train trip for a couple of hours this Saturday with an old locomotive and the old Pullman dinning cars. I am so excited about it. 


But secretively, I have always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon or a Zeppelin. Maybe one day!

So here's the question - what's the most unique mode of transportation you have ever used? Or what is something that would be a dream mode of transportation to try? (Let's try to keep it to actual items that exist :-)


Esther Strom Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

Ooh, interesting topic. I unfortunately haven't traveled nearly as much as I had hoped I would by this point in my life, so I don't have many.

I did get to go to England, Scotland, and Wales back in the mid-90's when a choir I sang with was invited to a choral festival. We had a day trip into Snowdonia, which included a train ride on the side of (what to Midwesterner me was) a very steep mountain in an open train car. 


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So cool!! Been on one in Wales. The track is very special. Has a third rail, which is a calliper that the locomotive 🚂 is attached to with a wheel crank! 
both helps it go up as well as to stall if there is an issue and emergency-stops it from sliding back down

🚨 🤚 

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Dave Liao Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

@John Funk - ooh, I've never done a meal on a train, aside from the dining car on an Amtrak! 😅

The most unique method of transportation for me was riding as a passenger on a Vespa in San Francisco. The best part? Slamming on the brakes while heading down a steep hill and barely running into oncoming traffic. 😂

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

I sort of did a meal on train once before - and overnight trip from Minsk to Riga, but it was just a very light breakfast. Not a really nice meal like this is going to be.  :-)

Seems like traveling in San Fran is always an adventure with the hills!

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Monique vdB Community Manager Apr 16, 2021

omg @Dave Liao I rode on the back of a Vespa in SF once too! I still remember going through the Broadway tunnel. It was so fun. 

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Hana Kučerová Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

It reminds me of our US road trip - we've enjoyed the view from the Golden Gate Bridge very much :-D!


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@Hana Kučerová I have the exactly same photo somewhere :D

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Sounds awesome @John Funk  Reminds me of "Murder on the Oriental Express" that I watched not too long ago. I have never tried this. Great idea. Hope you have a good time.

We had an RV for couple of years and did quite a bit of traveling. Maybe not unique but very fun :)


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John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

RVing is a great way to see whatever country you happen to be in! I would love to take a month and just travel like that see unique parts of the US and the world. 

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I have three bucket list items in relation to this:

1) (mid)West USA 🇺🇸 by RV 🚌

2) East USA 🇺🇸 by train🚂

3) Canada 🇨🇦 by Moose 🦌 (joking... I would like to go to Canada but there’s no mode of transport preference)

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Monique vdB Community Manager Apr 16, 2021

This is so fun to think about.  I've done a funicular (Los Angeles), a canal boat (Amsterdam), and a gondola (Venice). Probably the most memorable was renting a jet ski on Donner Lake a few years ago! Can't wait to go back once it's safe again.

Screen Shot 2021-04-16 at 10.33.20 AM.png

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

Ah, forgot about gondolas! I want to do that, too!

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I’ve been fortunate to go round Venice on the gondolas! Really awesome!

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Monique vdB Community Manager Apr 16, 2021

We did the cheap version of the gondola, we just did the one where you pay a few euros to go across the canal on a rickety boat stuffed with people. It was awesome! 

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Esther Strom Community Leader Apr 19, 2021

I was lucky enough to visit Venice in high school (another choral festival!), but didn't get around to a gondola ride. Still on my list of things to do. We did ride a water taxi, which seemed cool then.

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Bridget Community Manager Apr 19, 2021

My previous front yard @Monique vdB !!! 

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Really tough call for most unique mode (and depending on definition of transportation too...), so take your pick/pic!

Sailplane flying (an old Schweizer I learned on)

Schweizer SGS 2-33.jpg

Bob Bondurant Driving School

Bondurant School 1995.jpg

Avro Lancaster Bomber

Lancaster - Hamilton Warplane Heritage.jpg

The Picton Castle

Picton Castle.jpg

Bluenose II with the wife even (she mostly doesn't engage in my shenanigans!)

Bluenose II.jpg

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

WOW! Out of that group, my favorite is the Picton Castle!

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OMGoodness...... you have been in a Lancaster Bomber 💣 ✈️???????? I am full on jelly right now!!!! 😊 👏 

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Monique vdB Community Manager Apr 16, 2021

Wow to... all of this, but especially the sailplane, it's beautiful!

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Congrats Hitman 🥳 🎉 👏 

@John Funk Well done on your first Friday Fun! This is a beaut. So much fun, and really awesome to see everyone’s very different and super unique experiences! You hit the mark so hard, every Mark in the universe is like “yo, why my head hurt!?” 🤕 😂 

Speaking of Universe... 🌍 🌠

My most unique travel has been in space! Actually it started before I was even born. And it will go on long after I have passed away also! And all of my 7 billion human buddies, all our ancestors and all our descendants, are coming along for the ride!

That’s right people, the FMA has turned up the “Fun-k” (double pun, get in my son!!) and has chosen planet earth as his most unique travel.

This entity we call “home” is a fricking space ship man!! 🚀 🛸And whilst there are similar planets to ours in existence, NONE are inhabited. We are LITERALLY the most unique travel in the entire (known) universe!! But that’s not all....

Did you know that Earth is spinning (at the equator) an impressive 1,037 mph (1,670 km/h)!??

And different latitudes have different spin speeds!

BUT...! Did you also know that Earth is orbiting the sun at a whopping 66,627 mph (107,226 km/h)!?? 😱

But that’s not all! The sun itself is hurtling through space at an insane 448,000 mph (720,000 km/h) whilst the Milky Way is busting an unfathomable 70 miles per SECOND (112km).

It’s fun to think that we are never ever in the same spot twice, each and every millisecond, and that as you read this comment, you just travelled thousands of miles through space.

OMGosh....!!!! 😳 😱 


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John Funk Community Leader Apr 17, 2021

Your imagination is mind blowing! Hahaha 

And thanks for the kind words and encouragement!

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SriKumar P Atlassian Team Apr 23, 2021

After reading this comment how i felt :

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Well, it was pretty fun and unique trying dog sledding in Colorado a few years ago, although we didn't go very far:IMG_1893.JPG

But I have a soft spot for the Amtrak Coast Starlight. We won a trip on it to go snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, and have taken it a few times since, with one, and then two boys.

Traveling by rail in the US is impractical. It's slow. It's often late. It's expensive. It's old. It's not "charming" (unless you're a fan of like 70ish decor/amenities).


It's an underdog. Like the post office. From an era when kind of boring and utilitarian was pretty good. 

Sleeper cars are tiny, and cramped, and fun, in a weird way. The food in the dining car isn't anything to write home about, but it's still impressive to be able to get a decent steak and potatoes on a moving train.

You'll get to meet other weird train fans, as well as folks who don't like flying, or just people who wanted to try something off the beaten path, to enjoy the scenery, or to just read a book, play a board game, or sleep, as you slowly but surely make your way to your destination.


Here we are in the now-retired Pacific Parlor car. :-{

Metadata from ye olde iPhone 6S (still using it!) says that we're probably passing Anderson Island, near Tacoma, WA.

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 17, 2021

Dog sled - so cool!! (Pardon the pun). Would love to do that as well but probably hate the cold too much 🙂

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While on a roadtrip in Holland, we spent a couple of days on the Island of Texel. You only get there by boat, it's really quiet and it has some great and very extended beaches, good roads for riding the occasional bike and so on.

While we were there, we noticed we could take a small plane for a flight over the islands. Always nice to get a different view of the environment, so we went for it.

It turned out to be a very weird experience. For starters, the plain turned out to be very small, so only two of us could get on board. We decided pretty quickly that would be my then 9-year old daughter and me.

Next, they told us the interior decoration had been kept very minimalistic, so we would have to dress into working clothes to make sure we wouldn't make ourselves dirty or something.


So we did. Two other guys were there as well who claimed to have taken that plane before, but didn't see any wildlife from above back then. We suspect they had gotten a voucher to try again in better circumstances.

Before we knew it, we were up in the air. But the experience was terrible. The plane didn't even have proper seats. And you know how it goes when people start complaining - soon everyone has something to add to the discussion.

Things got so out of hand that suddenly someone decided to simply open the door. And we left the bloody thing in mid flight ...


... and that's how I accidentally ended up on my first parachute jump from a 3k altitude :-)


Both the weather and the location were great. It seems you can jump from a plane for the first time only once - so that really was a once in a lifetime experience!

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 17, 2021

You can keep the skydiving - I am not jumping out of a perfectly good plane! (Meaning it’s still in the air 😉

But what an adventure!

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Thx @John Funk :-)

Maybe the story did not entirely go as I described it, but an adventure it sure was! And my 9-year old really was the star of the day at the airfield! 

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Tamanna Godara Community Manager Apr 17, 2021

I'd love to try all of the above :) 

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Hana Kučerová Community Leader Apr 17, 2021

I almost forgot I have sailed on a pirate ship once. It was during our visit of Japan, in Hakone district, which is famous for wasabi :-).


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John Funk Community Leader Apr 17, 2021

Pirate ship - yessssssssss!!

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Legs are pretty unique these days!!


The most interesting mode of transport Ive used is the scenic railway in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Its main claim to fame is "the thrill of a 52 degree incline riding the steepest passenger railway in the world". It was originally used to get miners to and from a coal mine (at least I think it was coal). Not your usual train carriages, more like a slow moving roller coaster.

I was disappointed to see that now the carriages are covered in - when I was kid it was all open, and a little bit nerve wracking! I can understand that it might be considered a health and safety nightmare, but I'm also sure its unlikely to be half as much fun.

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Oh wow, you've hit on something my family has always encouraged members to give a go, and I'm not sure which thing on the list is most unique.  I have:

  • Driven a commuter train into London
  • Driven a steam train
  • Flown a passenger helicopter (that thing where an air pilot lets a kid take the pilot's seat and hold the controls only though)
  • Been in charge of the fire on a hot air ballon (basically just pulling the on/off switch while the real pilot navigated and yelled on or off at me)
  • Ridden a penny-farthing bike (which I fell off)
  • Several trips on water-powered funicular railway carriages
  • A trip on a hovercraft
  • I've been on the bridge of a 250,000 tonne oil tanker as it pulled into a refinery (I'm not sure anyone can really pilot or guide those really - that one had a "turning circle" of 27 miles)
  • Rode Gondalas the first time I went to Venice (when they were still acting like taxis), and used Traghetti and Vaporetto the last time.
  • Never flown a 'plane, but I have jumped out of them
  • I got to drive an old "routemaster" bus once, albeit at a racing track, not actually in London.  I didn't know they could go more than 8mph until then!
  • But I think the most notable one was driving a Challenger 1 main battle tank (probably a good thing it had been demilitarised and the cannon disabled, otherwise BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA BANG would have happened).  I think the conversation at the end of the trip cemented the memory.  "Where do I park?"  "Anywhere". "But what if there's someone in the parking space I go for?"  "YOU'RE DRIVING A TANK.  Park on top of their car, they won't take your space again".
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John Funk Community Leader Apr 18, 2021

A tank? Seriously? 

That's quite a collection of all kinds of transportation devices on land, sea, and air!

I forgot that I have piloted a barge on the Mississippi River in the US. At least for a few hundred yards - but got a certificate for it.  :-)

Yeah, I'm old and tried a lot of "experiences" over the years.

I left out race tracks too.  Twice.  One run at Santa Pod in a Lotus Elise that my boss owned, not really racing, just seeing how fast it could do (a lot faster than the point I got scared at apparently) and a real race at Silverstone... on a Segway

John Funk Community Leader Apr 19, 2021

Awesome - so how fast did you get it up to?

About 135mph.  Ben was happy pushing it to 150ish, but it was his car...

Ohh. And your Pullman post - reminded me that we stayed at a few years back.  I didn't think of it as transport, as it's a dead station and the carriages don't move, but that's where it came from!

John Funk Community Leader Apr 19, 2021

Nice on the staying in the train - that's cool!

I would probably freak out at 135 - about 118 is the fast I have gone and was very nervous. But it was on the Autobahn in a hatchback  lol

I've slept on a train before - despite the UK not being exactly large, parts of the country are not places we can build fast tracks - London to Bristol (a shade over 100 miles) is about 2.5 hours, and another 150ish miles past Bristol to Penzance adds 5 hours.  We still have sleeper services from London to Penzance and I've been on them a couple of times (the aim was to arrive bright and early for the helicopter flight to the Isles of Scilly)

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So here's the update from Saturday's train ride. Very enjoyable and a nice dinner. We were one an old Pullman dining car, circa 1910-18. Two hours total - and passed by the Chattanooga National Cemetery, the second largest military cemetery in the US, behind Arlington National. 


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If all trains had tables with linen table cloths and great food along the way, I would most definitely be on them much more often!

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So cool!

Ivan Lima Community Leader Apr 19, 2021

Nice! I can't top any of the above, but ours was a train trip too. From Toronto to Quebec with an overnight in Ottawa. First time travelling to those places and also on a train. The meal was nice, but the experience was much better. My wife and I would love to go on a Canadian Rockies train tour one day - I've heard it's one of the most beautiful train trips on earth.

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 19, 2021

That should be the next Atlassian Teams 2022  - all of us on a train trip through the Canadian Rockies for a few days!

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Bridget Community Manager Apr 19, 2021

@Erica Moss If you don't post your vespa pic I will 😂

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 19, 2021

Let's see it!!

Erica Moss Community Manager Apr 22, 2021

@Bridget Sauer Wait, do you mean Segway pic?

Esther Strom Community Leader Apr 22, 2021

Is this the Segway pic that became a meme?

Flavien Gache Community Leader Apr 20, 2021

I am going to go full on Janet this time.

Latest William Jackson Harper GIFs | Gfycat

I have lived in Ardèche, France during 18 years. Fun fact about Ardèche : it is the only French department without passenger train ! Ooray for riding your parents car, your bike, the bus or your feet if you live there as a kid !

The only passenger train you have currently in Ardèche is The Mastrou, a tourist railway.

Le Mastrou est de retour! | La Ferme de Prémaure Chambre d'Hôtes en Ardèche

Looks a bit like the Hogwarts Express, in Bouncier, smokier and noisier. And without the Trolley witch with its Honeydukes candies. Actually it does not ressembles the Hogwarts Express at all.

My parents took me for a ride when I was a kid. It was fun. I guess ? I actually only remember the noise I think.

And it has got it's own Wikipedia page !

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 20, 2021

You should give it another ride since it has been awhile.  ;-)

When I was stationed in Norfolk back in the early 90s, I used to take a cargo plane to Millington, TN once a month to see my fiance who was stationed there. That was a rough ride. Cargo net seats with metal pole frames lined the inside of the darkened plane and you just stared at the pallets of cargo the entire flight. But it was worth it at the time for a free MAC flight. 

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 26, 2021

And I am been to Millington more than once - that might have been the worst part hahaha. 

Reading through the comments I realised I have a few more than I first thought.  :) 

  • I grew up near an old steam train called Puffing Billy which I've been on many times.  You used to be able to dangle your legs out the side and I arrived once with only 1 gumboot, the other having been dropped somewhere along the way. I don't think they let you sit on the edge anymore sadly.

  • I worked on a Cruise Ship in the Greek Islands when I was 19/20. That was a pretty fun way to travel/work.  It was a small 320 passenger ship with it's original 1960's fittings and was absolutely charming. 

  • I also lived in the Blue Mountains and have been on the Scenic world train. Very steep and lots of fun. 

  • I've been on a few old ships and steamboats, pedalboats, gondolas and so on, including a few cable cars like this one up to Santorini

  • But my biggest claim to unusual travel is that I am a Hot Air Balloon Pilot.  I've been around them all my life, but only a pilot for the last 4 of those. I'm yet to try a zeppelin or a Gas balloon, but I do know a few people with licences for them so hopefully one day.  Because balloons themselves aren't that unusual for me, here's a pic of the weirdest balloon I have been in charge of (for a tether rather than free flight) She's callled the Sky Whale and is as you can imagine rather controversial, but a lovely piece of flying art and some impressive engineering. 

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 27, 2021

WOW, that's some impressive travels! I am now determined to take a hot air balloon ride THIS year! But maybe not the whale haha. 

Esther Strom Community Leader Apr 27, 2021

Wow! That whale balloon is amazing! I've always wanted to take a balloon ride; the closest I've come is the Aerophile balloon at Disney World. It was fun, but tethered, and honestly the view of Orlando at night isn't really all that interesting 🥱.

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 27, 2021

I vote Lauren brings a balloon to the next Atlassian Team meeting in person and gives us all rides.  :-)

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There's a Cable Car system on Santorini?! I was there in 2008 with a May Term Study Abroad class - totally would have taken it!

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@carrie_eandm - last time I went, there were three ways to get from the dock town (I'm sorry, I can't remember the name) up to the top of the rim of the crater so you could walk or ride to Thira and Oia - a zig-zag road you could walk or take a donkey ride along, or the cable car.  From memory, my sister took the cable car in the late 80s!

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Unique Mode of Transportation for me has been Horseback. I grew up with Quarter Horses and we'd always go riding on trails and county roads.


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John Funk Community Leader May 06, 2021

I think that's the first animal submission!  :-)


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