Friday, June 12, 2015

Toughening Up: Women In Travel and The Gear that Loves Them!

So the March Madness has shifted into the Spring Awakening, as I continue my development into the savvy go-getter activity-prone woman I always wanted to be. I would be remiss, however, to not fill in the gap of the last two months, busy as I have been with conferences, day trips, event planning and new business research. It has truly been an exciting time, and I owe a lot of my newfound inspiration to the success of my Women In Travel Summit (WITS 2015) attendance. 

As I mentioned back in March, one of my goals for 2015 was to embark upon a series of travel- based discoveries to share with my readers and expand my reach to inspire other women who write and yearn to make distance. Well, mission definitely accomplished with the Boston WITS 2015 adventure! It took a lot of perseverance and planning, and I made some great networking connections that proved to be a worthy investment in my understanding of what makes the whole experience of being a woman on the move. I learned that we women who mean to take on the great wide world, going to far-flung places, often alone, really have to toughen up, in more ways than one.

I was especially excited when I first signed up for WITS 2015 and saw the sponsor list.

It was a veritable who's who of travel industry service providers: luggage, photography, booking agents, destinations, insurance providers and, of course, toiletries. Since I try to walk a rather sturdy line of practical and fun when it comes to packing up to go, I loved that there were so many useful demos and promotions going on at the conference.

One of the more unexpected sponsors was Corning® Gorilla® Glass. I knew of Corning Incorporated from my childhood; my mother's collection of durable, simple and elegant dishware, and later by making friends with my first college roommate who hailed from a nearby town in Upstate New York, Watkins Glen. I had connections to Corning that I never knew would take me this far. 

I was interested to see the presentation at our Saturday lunch, of which Corning was the supplier. It turns out that well-known glassmaker Corning was introducing their newest technology, Gorilla Glass 4, and its very valuable usage for all the travel bloggers in the room. I leaned forward, because, I subscribe to the club of anxious excitable manipulators of new technology. My poor battered-yet-functional digital SLR camera can attest to that! How many times have I dropped my phone trying to take an impossibly angled shot, and held my breath as I gingerly approach said phone, looking for signs of distress? Did I buy the monthly insurance, or was I feeling cheap two years back when I signed up (darn it)?! My recent exposure to the world of smartphones further solidified my adherence to modern standards of communication: instant talk, instant text, real-time emails with picture attachments, uploads galore, etc. 

I was determined to avoid the dreaded spiderweb cracks that plagued so many phones. Not me! I made it to Boston, secured my first-ever AirBnb reservation, and now I was in upgrade mode. How excited was I to learn that I was already reaping the benefits of Corning Gorilla Glass in my Samsung Galaxy S4? Gorilla Glass 4 has been making headlines over the past few years. For sure, and for good reason. It is in almost every new electronic device on the market: smartphones, tablets, notebooks and more. 

Why is Gorilla Glass becoming so popular? Because with Gorilla Glass 4, we now have Corning's toughest cover glass yet for all our everyday devices used. This is significant! 

During WITS 2015, Lisa Noni, the Senior Development Scientist at Corning Incorporated did a very thorough presentation of Gorilla Glass 4's durability, showing that it performs up to two times better than competitive glass designs in devices dropped from 3 feet high. She highlighted that for travelers and writers like myself, it was very important to have adequate protection for our devices that take pictures, record our thoughts, and generally keep us going. I appreciated that Ms. Noni went so far as to focus on the value of quality materials and components that went into the creation of Gorilla Glass 4. 

Corning created a glass screen that is more scratch resistant than most of the plastic screens on cell phones prior to 2007, yet is also lightweight for the thinnest of hand-held devices, and more resistant to sharp contact damage on rough surfaces. The first simulation used a tumbler which included a sample of Gorilla Glass 4, standard industry soda lime glass (used in about 40% of smartphones in China- large population), and hard bulky objects like a brush, keys, and a guidebook. As Ms. Noni demonstrated with simulated damage with a mini lever press test and applied pressure from 20 to 100 lbs, Gorilla Glass 4 withstood a higher damage resistance compared to soda-lime device glass covers, even with a surface pre-abraded with sandpaper. I could envision this scenario when I accidentally bury my phone at the bottom of my suitcase, which then inevitably gets tossed into the trunk of a car or bus rack. It looked to me like I could rely on Gorilla Glass 4 being there to help withstand that mishap. 

I was able to test the value of Gorilla Glass firsthand when I participated in the 4th Annual Brooklyn Bike The Branches tour on May 9th. Fast forwarding almost two months from the WITS conference, I got involved in this very physical challenge to ride all around Brooklyn with thousands of other bikers, attempting to reach as many of the 60 Brooklyn Public Library branches in the 8 hours allotted.  There I go:

The day started well enough, overcast and cool; not too hot. However, about an hour into my tour and already getting lost trying to find my next location, the rain starts coming down pretty heavily, making it difficult to see and keep a good grip on my handlebars and not slip my sneakers off the pedals. It goes on like this for several hours, as I meet up with other riders and we band together throughout the city, getting our library passports stamped. Here's a daring, yet well-orchestrated shot of my fellow bike-companion, taken with my tough yet durable Samsung smartphone with Gorilla Glass. Check to see if Gorilla Glass is on your device here!

All was well and good, and hours later I approached the end of the tour which was to culminate at the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. 

Then, with two library stops left, I did the inevitable miscalculation of my speed and level of anxiety while attempting to jump the curb on a road bike (Note: skinny smooth wheels, very little tread); bad angle + bad execution of curb hop= total handlebar wipeout. The result is this lovely photo:

I must admit, this is a very awesome vantage point, one I didn't think was possible as I became airborne and slammed my (thankfully) helmeted head into the sidewalk. Somehow, my smartphone took a very smart photo, and managed not even a scrape as we both clattered to the ground! I was stunned for a while, and definitely scraped and bruised, but my phone was solid. 

I can honestly attest to the quality of Gorilla Glass. In the demonstration at WITS 2015 and in my own altercation with a Brooklyn sidewalk, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 helped protect the scrapes and bumps of everyday life. 

In my little accident, I learned how to be prepared for the worst by wearing a helmet and giving myself time to recover before hopping back on that bike. This is what we traveling WITS women do, toughen up and get out there, not being scared of a shortfall, but always pushing forward to the next level of development and success. Definitely "tough, yet beautiful". I look forward to purchasing and using more devices featuring the added protection of Gorilla Glass 4.

This blog post was sponsored by Corning Incorporated. I received compensation for writing this review, but all opinions are completely my own. I stand by my statements.

1 comment:

  1. Well there, Selome.

    This is one bad-ass [as in kick-ass] write up! I'm delighted to learn about your admiration and coincidental link with Corning Gorilla which you elaborately told through a very common biker accident!

    Prior to attending WITS 2015, I didn't know anything about Gorilla Glass 4. I, too, now want to discover whether iPhone 5C's carry any of its material. Thank you for including the link!

    Adventure on'