The art of body language is an essential travel skill

"Learn to watch faces and expressions. Language is not all it's cracked up to be. Often you go wrong when you are struggling with dimly remembered foreign words and neglect the person or context. You'll need a bit of Russian, a bit of French, and a bit of Spanish, at least, to do the world. Sometimes it's better if you just use the international hand-to-mouth for food, or go into the kitchen to point." --Mike Spencer Bown, What I've Learned: The World's Most Traveled Man, Esquire, October 25, 2013 Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 27, 2015
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

Balancing desire and ethics when traveling

There is something magical about riding an elephant. Their huge, lumbering bodies swaying slowly along while you sit atop, taking in the view. It’s an experience that is never forgotten. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Despite my intense desire to know what it feels like to ride atop one of the world’s most majestic creatures, I’ve never taken the opportunity. My knowledge of how these creatures are broken so that they can give rides to tourists keeps me from doing it. In short, my ethics “get in the way” in this case. This isn’t the only scenario… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 23, 2015
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics

On the road, disorientation is as important as discovery

"Any budding academic can tell you that deliberately placing oneself in a position of not-knowing, and to then go about finding out what you don't know, can be a fulfilling pursuit, and the disorientation itself, the early stages of figuring out what you didn't know that you wanted to know, was as exciting as the eventual discoveries. This was one of the reasons I traveled." --Alden Jones, The Blind Masseuse: A Traveler's Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia (2013) Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 20, 2015
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

You have now entered the Tourist Zone

A few years ago, after finishing a journey in the Indian Himalayas, I traveled to the desert state of Rajasthan and visited the Hindu holy-town of Pushkar. A scenic outpost of 13,000 residents, Pushkar was famous for its Brahma Temple, its serene lake, and its annual Camel Fair. Several travelers had recommended it to me as a mellow place to relax for a few days. From the moment I arrived in Pushkar, however, something seemed strange about the little holy-town. As I walked along the shores of Pushkar Lake, a number of long-bearded, monk-like sadhus approached me and suggested I… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | April 18, 2015
Category: Asia, Travel Writing, Vagabonding Advice

Vagabonding Case Study: Tracey Mansted

Tracey Mansted Age: Tracey - 50 Mike (husband - 47) Imogen (10) Indira (9) Hometown: Rainforest near Byron Bay, NSW Australia Quote: Albert Einstein said “If at first an idea does not sound absurd, there is no hope for it”  - which I think equally applies to thinking and learning about new things as well as to taking huge leaps of faith like traveling long term with your kids. As a family we like the idea of “feel the fear and do it anyway”. (more…) Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 17, 2015
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

The negative impact of mass tourism

In my experience, some of the most difficult things about travel have been facing the realities of mass cultural exchange, swallowing my pride, and recognizing my part in it. Don’t get me wrong, there are incredible benefits to cultural exchange and connecting with people across cultural boundaries is the number one reason I travel. But when lots of people from one culture start invading the space of another, funny things start happening. Mix in heightened demands for creature comforts that the visiting group is accustomed to and things can start to get ugly. Perhaps the easiest place to see this… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | April 9, 2015
Category: Ethics

“The Tramps,” by Robert W. Service (1907)

Can you recall, dear comrade, when we tramped God's land together, And we sang the old, old Earth-song, for our youth was very sweet; When we drank and fought and lusted, as we mocked at tie and tether, Along the road to Anywhere, the wide world at our feet. Along the road to Anywhere, when each day had its story; When time was yet our vassal, and life's jest was still unstale; When peace unfathomed filled our hearts as, bathed in amber glory, Along the road to Anywhere we watched the sunsets pale. Alas! the road to Anywhere is pitfalled… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 6, 2015
Category: Travel Quote of the Day