Tourists head for offbeat attractions

Has travel become such a common commodity that people are passing up ancient architecture and natural scenery for . . . sewage plants, prisons and poverty museums?  I’m not making this up.  Check out Newsweek’s article, Way Off the Beaten Path.

A quote from one person about the sewage plant tours was funny: “Don’t they have anything better to do on a Saturday morning? It smells.”

Maybe travelers are getting fed up with the … Read more »

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

Book review: Tone Deaf in Bangkok

In Tone Deaf in Bangkok, Janet Brown does a remarkable job of capturing daily life in Bangkok and chronicling her transformation from her early days exploring the city as a farang to settling into the rhythms of the city to her eventual journey back to the United States.

Nana Chen’s photography accompanies Janet Brown’s text. Chen’s … Read more »

Posted by | Comments Off on Book review: Tone Deaf in Bangkok  | May 28, 2009
Category: General, Travel Writing

The ultimate travel guide isn’t a Blackberry, iPhone or even a guidebook; it’s the people you meet

When you hit the road these days are you still using a guidebook? Or have you moved on to smartphones, netbooks and mobile guides/applications? I’m still touting a guidebook myself, but I’m wondering how much longer that will last.

Conde Nast recently sent three writers off to Moscow in the dead of winter — one armed with an iPhone, another with a BlackBerry Bold, and … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | May 27, 2009
Category: General

New contests for travel photographers and videographers

A few more contests have popped up for those with a penchant for the camera or camcorder while on the road. Give ’em a shot! (Pun not intended.)

Verge’s Travel With Purpose Photo Contest Win: Grand prize wins CAD$1000. Travellers’ Choice wins $1000 toward a Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteer vacation. To apply: Submit your favorite travel photo that captures the spirit of your life-changing journey. Judging will be based on creativity, originality, and technical proficiency. … Read more »

Posted by | Comments Off on New contests for travel photographers and videographers  | May 27, 2009
Category: General

Bartering your way to free travel

What do you do when global economic chaos nixes your travel plans? For some the answer is bartering. It’s the original form of economy: you have skills, other people have guesthouses or unused frequent flier miles — why not swap what you have for what you want?

The May issue of Budget Travel has an interesting article (online here) highlighting three travelers who swapped … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | May 26, 2009
Category: General

Billy Collins quote

This poem, called “I Go Back To The House For A Book,” reminds me of all the times I’ve imagined going somewhere, doing something, seeing someplace ELSE, while I was busy going, doing, and being somewhere already.  Life is full of so many threads, and sometimes lots of them seem interesting but you have to choose one, at least until they invent cloning.

I turn around on the gravel and go back to the … Read more »

Posted by | Comments Off on Billy Collins quote  | May 26, 2009
Category: Travel Writing

Some brief advice on getting into travel media

A reader named Christina recently emailed me about jobs in travel writing and television. “I am absolutely fascinated by your work and your bio,” she wrote. “I recently graduated from college and after a year of being in TV news reporting I would love to write and travel for a magazine such as National Geographic and hopefully add in an environmentally friendly aspect. Any advice on how to go about writing for these magazines? What … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | May 25, 2009
Category: Travel Writing, Vagabonding Advice

Songs for a traveler’s iPod

Okay guys, here’s some great tracks to look for the next time you hit iTunes. Brave New Traveler has compiled a list of 30 Songs that Capture the Spirit of Travel.

For me, what really makes think of travel are the soundtracks from movies set in foreign countries. For example, I always get warm, fuzzy memories of Japan when I hear a song from Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.”

Us vagabonders can be an … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | May 22, 2009
Category: Travel News

Tips for the Traveling Artist

I love drawing when I’m on the road. Even when I’m lugging around a decent digital camera, nothing beats recreating impressions, scenes, objects, and people with your hand. For me, drawing feels more intimate because you get to notice details that are often overlooked when taking a photograph.

But carrying around a full set of paints and brushes is contradictory to my practice of Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | May 21, 2009
Category: Simplicity, Vagabonding Advice, Vagabonding Life, Working Abroad