When Americans go backpacking

CNN had an article about Americans invading the ski slopes for winter. While ostensibly about the trend toward flashpacking, it actually had a lot to say about how Americans do backpacking.

I found the comments on privacy, sharing and personal space especially illuminating. When people are used to living in a big house and driving a car, then sharing a room with other people and riding buses can seem jarringly different from the … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 30, 2009
Category: General

Your hotel room might not be as clean as you think (but you already know that)

I was browsing CNN.com’s travel section today and found this article entitled “Confessions of a hotel housekeeper”.  In the article, Allison Rupp tells all about her experiences as a hotel maid, including some techniques she would use to make things appear cleaner than they really were:

Instead of vacuuming, I found that just picking up the larger crumbs from the carpet would do. Rather than scrub the tub with hot water, sometimes it was … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | January 29, 2009
Category: Travel News

‘The Places We Live,’ a window into a another world

As a kind of follow-up to yesterday’s post on the rising popularity of slum tours in Mumbai, I thought I would share a link to The Places We Live. The site features panoramic photos of slums around the world and is narrated by the people who live there (through translators).

There are also a number of startling figures in the intro, like the … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 28, 2009
Category: General

Controversial movie inspires more ‘slum tours’ of Mumbai

I’ve never really understood how movies inspire people to travel, but for better or worse, they do seem to — consider what Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand or what Australia is supposed to do for Australian tourism.

Both of those cases probably fall in the “better” category. Vagabonds might not be the target audience, but if it gets a few people out on … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (7)  | January 27, 2009
Category: General

Give them a try: travel-related contests

I’ve noticed quite a few travel-related contests recently with deadlines approaching. Some are more elaborate than others, and some have pretty great prizes attached. Check them out:

Wanderlust and Lipstick/Intrepid: Write a non-fiction travel story, between 800-2500 words. Win a 15-day trip in Peru. Deadline: January 31, 2009

Via Dream Vacation Contest: Describe the best travel day you’ve ever had, in 150 words or less. Win $2500 certificate good at AAA Travel. Deadline: … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 27, 2009
Category: General

Turning the page…

It will not be of much surprise to most of you when I tell you that this is my last post on Vagabonding. Waah.

I’ve been a reader of this blog for over 4 years, and have been writing for it for 15 months. Rolf’s book “Vagabonding” changed the way I think, the way I travel, my outlook, my life.

Whether you like it or not, change is permanent. Things you start, … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | January 27, 2009
Category: General

Into the Wild

I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence,  I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for love.  I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in quiet life. — Leo Tolstoy, “Family Happiness”

The story of Chris “Alexander Supertramp” McCandless has inspired hundreds of vagabonders — Chris’ ideals of heading into the wilds, surviving on his own through hitchhiking, hiking, hunting, gathering, left many feeling … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | January 27, 2009
Category: General

David Simon on how good television is like travel

Homicide, The Corner, The Wire, Generation Kill — these are travelogues of a kind, allowing Average Reader/Viewer to go where he otherwise would not. He loves being immersed in a new, confusing, and possibly dangerous world that he will never see. He likes not knowing every bit of vernacular or idiom. He likes being trusted to acquire information on his terms, … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 25, 2009
Category: General, Travel Quote of the Day

The challenge of travel writing is making a place palpable

“I think the challenge is what it’s always been, which is to make the reader see a place, experience a place, smell the place, hear the voices. It’s like the great challenge in fiction, which is to persuade the reader that he or she is there in the place and seeing it. It’s quite a big challenge, but that’s what it is. It’s to make the place palpable. You know when you’re reading something like … Read more »

Posted by | Comments Off on The challenge of travel writing is making a place palpable  | January 25, 2009
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

How do you deal with negative feedback from friends and family?

While the decision to take a round-the-world trip might be the exciting culmination of a lot of hard work and deep thought on your part, it might catch some of your friends and family off-guard. And for some people, it might seem like a totally bad idea even after they’ve had a chance to get used to it. If you’re lucky, the people in your life who think you’re making a giant mistake will be … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | January 24, 2009
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind