Tracking Santa

Perhaps the most prolific traveler of the season is none other than Old Saint Nick himself. In order to deliver presents to an estimated 800 million households across the world in one evening, he must travel more than 5 million kilometers per hour.

While an especially American phenomenon, Santa Claus has roots throughout Europe. Saint Nicholas of Myra, now a part of Turkey, was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop who was famous for … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | December 24, 2009
Category: General

Why the world needs vendors

Venice Beach, California

The trouble started last summer when a laid-off construction worker set up a hot dog stand on the South Side of my current city, Bethlehem, Pa. Some loved it, some hated it, and a six-month debate on vendors ensued. The conclusion came last night when City Council voted to severely curtail street vending.

My time spent … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | December 23, 2009
Category: General, Notes from the collective travel mind

Learning to appreciate the hiccups of travel. . .and life

taxiflatMatt Gross recently wrote an excellent article at World Hum, called “The Minor Glories of Constant Motion.” It details what for Matt may be a typical morning on the go. He wakes early to go to the airport in Taiwan and along the way, his cab gets a flat tire. As he watches the driver change the tire, another cab pulls over and he gets in … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | December 23, 2009
Category: Travel News

Google Voice; Not new, but still cool

Just a reminder for people who haven’t seen or heard of it yet, Google Voice is pretty freaking sweet.

Like its associated friend Skype, Google Voice is a VoIP service that allows you to call numbers from its website, after you’ve added a little credit to your account.  however, unlike Skype, Google Voice has a few more handy features:

Google Voice assigns you a permanent phone number, that can be forwarded to any … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | December 22, 2009
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

I’ll be home for Christmas…

holiday transit

At this time of year far flung travellers all around the globe are flooding airports, train stations, and roadways in the hopes of seeing their loved ones’ smiling faces for the holidays. However, for us seemingly professional travellers, making our way home for the holidays can seem like tedious work. Sure, we’re used to being in airports … Read more »

Posted by | Comments Off on I’ll be home for Christmas…  | December 21, 2009
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, Vagabonding Advice

Updated resource links at

vgbBack when I wrote Vagabonding, I designed the end-of-chapter resources so that they could be continually updated online and stay as useful and relevant as possible. Recently, with the editorial help of Justin Glow and input from dozens of readers, I added to (and reorganized) my online resources at

I’ve copied the index links below. If you feel that anything is missing … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | December 21, 2009
Category: Travel News, Vagabonding Advice

Blog it or slog it?

It seems like the idea of traveling without somehow documenting your adventures online is a pretty uncommon one these days – so the question of how to document a trip has morphed somewhat from “should I keep a blog?” to “what kind of blog should I keep?” The question on the BootsnAll boards that we’re featuring this month fits in the latter category.

BootsnAll member Shawnosaurus is about to leave on a long trip, … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | December 19, 2009
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

Do travel books or films inspire you most?

Travel ReadingI’ve been accused of always finishing a destination-related book with the comment, “I want to go to … (the name of the destination).” Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn’t really matter. If it’s a good book, the text allows me to conjure in my mind what the place is like. If it’s not so great, I wonder what the writer is missing, and what I’d find if … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | December 18, 2009
Category: General, Travel News

Representing your country on the road

Whether we want the responsibility or not, we represent our countries when we’re on the road. Have you ever cringed at the bad behavior of another traveler from your home country?

Matador Abroad had an article titled, Do you represent your country when you travel? I’d say the answer is a definite yes.  You become the face of your country to the locals you meet abroad, as well as to your fellow travelers.

While … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | December 18, 2009
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

The search for (and meanings of) home

Panama City, Panama

Panama City, Panama

Travelers, perhaps even these photographed in Panama on Christmas Day 2008, can sometimes be found pondering the meaning of “home”. They may do so in a hostel lobby in Paris, from a park bench in Cartagena, on a rumbling train in Siberia, or atop a seawall … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | December 17, 2009
Category: Images from the road