Review: Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack and how to choose a great backpack

backpack thumbA good backpack can make or break a trip. Drenching rain, language barriers, delayed flights — you can weather all with humor and go-get-’em attitude.

But a good backpack is the foundation upon which your trip rests. It holds your entire life in one place. It protects it. Sometimes you wear it so often it feels like another appendage.

That’s why it’s important to take some … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 25, 2015
Category: Backpacking, Travel Gear

The 5 lessons that travel taught me

lessons thumbI bolted through the airport, dodging slow moving people dragging rolling suitcases.

My flight left in thirty minutes. Plenty of time to get my boarding pass and navigate airport security in the quiet of an early Friday morning.

The lines to the flight check-in counters were empty. I ducked under each fabric line divider and arrived at the counter, flushed and breathless.

“I’m sorry, miss, but … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (0)  | November 18, 2015
Category: On The Road

10 small strategies that will improve your journey

About five years ago, San Francisco Chronicle travel editor John Flinn published a column called “A few things I’ve learned in a quarter-century-plus of travel.” I enjoyed his insights so much I saved the article as a text file — and I recently stumbled across it again on my laptop. Here are my ten favorite bits of advice from Flinn’s column:

1. When you’re on a lean budget, one step up from rock-bottom … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | November 6, 2015
Category: Food and Drink, Hostels/Hotels, Vagabonding Advice

How Not To Travel the World

Lauren had never eaten rice.

Yet she had just purchased a one-way flight ticket to Eastern Europe.

Maybe you’ve dreamed about traveling the world. Ideas of where you’d go, what you’d see, how you’d pack, and those pristine white beaches fill your quiet moments.

But the thought of leaving your comfortable life and its solid routines scares you. It’s an huge world and despite those jaw-dropping beach photos, you’d be tackling this vast unknown-ness by … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | October 21, 2015
Category: Female Travelers, Travel Writing

3 great American road trips you haven’t done yet

The open road has a mystical quality that cleanses my mind. Snarls in my thoughts loosen as the road unspools in front of my car’s nose. Ribbons of blacktop connecting sea to shining sea, linking deserts and mountains and fields of waving corn.

I yearn to grab my keys, jump behind the wheel and let the miles clarify my thoughts.

My tires eat up the miles. It takes time for the road to work its … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (0)  | September 9, 2015
Category: On The Road

Remembering the Hippie Trail

TomoryFor independent travelers just now beginning to travel in Asia, the legendary overland “Hippie Trail” of the ’60s and ’70s is a natural source of fascination and envy. Unlike today’s Lonely Planet-toting backpackers, the counterculture wanderers of the hippie era pioneered their Asian routes by word-of-mouth and trial-and-error. Hence, in indie travel terms, Hippie Trail travelers are to present day backpackers what the Ancient Greeks … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (95)  | August 7, 2015
Category: Travel Writing

Review on Tortuga Backpacks’ daypack

Our flat-bottomed boat hit another large ocean swell. I was hung onto the seats in front of me, my knees cushioning each bone-shattering impact.

The boat was air-borne for a split second. I was flying, anchored only by my white-knuckled hands gripping the seats.

The boat hit the bottom of the next swell flat-on and rocked. Overhead waves splashed the boat’s clear plastic roof.

A second later, the boat was air-borne again, face-planted into the … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (0)  | August 5, 2015
Category: Travel Gear

A traveler’s guide to Buddhist meditation retreats in Thailand

Since I’ve traveled to (and at times lived in) Thailand every year since 1998, I’m occasionally asked to recommend a Buddhist meditation retreat for long-term travelers. I can easily recommend some specific starting points for practicing meditation in Thailand (and if you keep reading, you’ll find a few recommendations below), but over time I’ve found that it’s more instructive to just tell people this: Find your own damn Buddhist meditation retreat!

In saying this, I’m … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (15)  | July 24, 2015
Category: On The Road

Airbnb and the evolution of travel

I am amazed how Airbnb has exploded around the world since its inception in the spring of 2009. It has morphed and grown at such a rapid rate, from a handful of listings in a few cities to thousands of hosts around the globe, hundreds of bookings to millions within its first three years!

Today, their website has surpassed one million listings, offering more lodging than any other hotel chain in the world … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (0)  | July 22, 2015
Category: Hospitality, Hostels/Hotels

Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in Rosedale, Mississippi

Last month, while I was driving down the Mississippi River on a magazine assignment, I had a curious experience in Rosedale, Mississippi. As I was eating lunch in a place called Leo’s Market, a waitress mentioned that Rosedale is the place where the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius (an event alluded to in — among other places — the Cohen brothers’ movie Oh Brother, Where … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (85)  | June 26, 2015
Category: Rolf's News and Updates, Travel News