The New York Times has a list of 2008’s “it” destinations.  Laos tops the list, because you know, Cambodia and Vietnam are so 2007.  Seriously, though, it’s a decent list of global hotspots and definitely inspiring if you love to travel, although a little heavy on the luxury side of things.

rimini-italy.jpg

*Picture of Rimini, Italy – one of the destinations on the list (taken by Wayne Walton/Lonely Planet Images).

Is anyone else a little confused by Detroit’s inclusion on the list?  Seriously, I grew up there and I can’t imagine anyone chosing it as a vacation spot.

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Since I’ve been a little light on travel-related stuff lately – too much web 2.0/new media related stuff that I just felt compelled to discuss, let’s talk about the New Seven Wonders of the World.  On a related note, does their voting system (you can register and vote online, by text message, or by phone) remind anyone else of American Idol?

The New Wonders:

I find the personalization of the selection process very interesting.  Of course, choosing the seven world wonders is a subjective thing anyways (who can really determine what someone else thinks is the most wondrous wonder?), but this sort of makes me think of the whole web 2.0 phenomenon (yes, I can relate everything back to that).

First of all, the wonders are chosen democratically – the winners were the ones favored by the people who had the ability and chose to participate in the vote.  Same thing with highly ranked websites and blogs.  Second, people and nations campaigned to their favorite picked (SEO and general promotion).  Third, well, this is technically the second list of world wonders, thus actually making these seven wonders the 2.0 version.

Now, I haven’t personally seen any of these wonders (although I’m not arguing with the choices) and since these are the 7 Wonders 2.0, part of the fun is being able to join the conversation and pick your own – in no particular order, here are my seven manmade wonders:

What are your wonders 2.0?

Perhaps I’ve been working on too many Web 2.0 type projects lately, but the conversational style and 108 short sections of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s memoir Eat, Pray, Love reminded me of nothing more so than a blog.  I mean that as a compliment – if this book had been a blog, it certainly would have been a popular one and probably one of my favorites. 

The story of Elizabeth’s journey towards spiritual healing (I’ll admit I sort of hate that phrase, but it fits) after a bitter divorce could have been cliched, but her friendly, relatable voice makes this book like you’re having drinks and catching up with an old friend.  I’ll admit that it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but considering the number of copies this book has sold, somebody besides me has to like it. 

From the New Yorker:

“At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for “balancing.” These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert’s exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, “It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, ‘I’ve always been a big fan of your work.'”

Although the title suggests that this book is a travelogue, Elizabeth’s actual travelling takes a backseat to her personal discoveries – hers is an inward voyage, and I give her props for being courageous enough to take her readers along on the journey.