There is an awesome article about travel by Kelly Westhoff in today’s Huffington Post – here’s a choice quote:

“When I land in a foreign city, suddenly, every ounce of my being is alert. Talking is a challenge. Flushing the toilet is an adventure. Buying a package of gum can become a 30-minute ordeal in which I must pay total attention. Foreign travel is a full-body workout, and I love the rush. It makes me feel bold. It makes me feel smart. It makes me feel like I’m finally pooling all my schooling and talents and skills into a concentrated, combined effort, that I am being–to steal a line from the army–the very best I can be, and I can’t help but think it pleases the divine to see me living in the moment and not zoning on the couch.”

You should go read the rest now.  Kelly also writes for Global Roam Ink, a site that promotes an interest in travel as an educational experience – it is aimed at teachers (there are lesson plans and such), but I think it appeals to anyone who loves to travel and read about others’ adventures.

Brave New Traveler has an excellent list of the thirty songs that capture the spirt of travel, and while they’ve got most of the great ones – Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude by Jimmy Buffett (actually, any Jimmy Buffet works), Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills & Nash, America by Simon & Garfunkel, and many more (along videos for all of them), there are a few that I just have to add.

Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills & Nash – How could they not include this one?  I consider the ultimate inspiring traveller’s anthem (to point out the obvious).

Running Down A Dream by Tom Petty– Because some of the best moments happen when “you’re workin’ on a mystery, going where ever it leads”.  Perfect for those who wander are but are not lost.

Buenos Aires from Evita – I know, I know, it’s from a campy musical, but just listen – it is filled with anticipation and the delicious excitement of arriving in a big new city that you’ve been dreaming of visiting for years. 

Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan– On a more melancholy note, this song captures the sadness of separation and the feeling of leaving loved ones behind, in that sparsely beautiful way only Bob Dylan can.

End of the Line by the Traveling Wilburies – Its just a great feel good road-or-train trip song.  And any group that has George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan is worth a listen. 

I Can See For Miles by The Who – It calls to mind epic vistas and miles of stunning scenery (yes, I know that is not really what it is about).  Quick story: the last time I listened to this song was in Spain, on a train speeding towards Granada, and I woke up just as the sun was rising over the fields.  There were miles and miles of lush olive trees in every direction framed by the still snowcapped Sierra Nevadas.  It was just a perfect moment.

Mexico by James Taylor – This one should be self-explanatory.

A Horse With No Name by America – This song always reminds me of being out in the Sahara desert exploring and channeling Indiana Jones, or driving through the Badlands in South Dakota.

Desolation Row by Bob Dylan – No other reason except that it’s a simply incredible song.  And if you’re on a long flight or ride, you can try to interpret the lyrics.  A song and an activity.  Brilliant.

Peace Train by Cat Stevens – It is not so much about travel per se, but it seems to go with the idea of traveling and learning about other lands and cultures. 

What songs would you add to the playlist?

I can’t remember exactly how I originally came across Chris Guillebeau’s blog, The Art of Nonconformity, but it is very cool.  Chris is a writer and entrepreneur whose goal is to visit every country in the world, and he is writing about his experiences (along with tons of other interesting things) along the way. 

My favorite post is 100 countries or an S.U.V.?  As you might guess, it is about choosing to spend money on travel as opposed to a more typical expenditure, like a pricey car.  I completely agree – I’d much rather spend on travel (and I travel cheaply) than pretty much anything else, especially an expensive vehicle (granted, I do live in a city where it is very easy to get by without a car – and hey, one less car on the road is better for the environment and all that).  And I quote:

“But for me, I feel much more comfortable valuing life experiences. I value meeting people all over the world. I value stamps in my passport and real-life adventures I would have missed if I would have stayed home.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

On The Road

April 6, 2008

It’s been a while since I last posted (I’ve been on the road), and I’m taking a bit of a break at the moment, but I’ll be back and better than ever with new plans and projects soon.

A Map For Saturday On MTV

February 28, 2008

It appears that MTV has decided to take a break from broadcasting mostly lame reality TV and is showing A Map For Saturday this Saturday (March 1st, starting at 10:00pm EST in the United States).  This wonderful travel documentary follows backpackers and long-term travelers around the world.  From the synopsis:

“A MAP FOR SATURDAY is the product of a year’s travel through 26 countries on four continents. Emmy winning producer Brook Silva-Braga left his cushy gig with American TV network HBO to travel the world with five pounds of clothes and 30 pounds of video equipment.

The barebones production set-up yields an intimate window onto the world of long-term, solo travel; moments of stark loneliness and genuine revelation.”

Here’s the trailer:

Earlier today Jeff Jarvis posted about how travel publishers are still struggling to figure out how to use the web to their advantage (from the Times) and the concept of a social airline.  And I quote:

“Airlines should capture the knowledge of their wise-about-traveling crowds. Imagine if, on return trips, the airlines asked us the hotels where we just stayed and ate and invited us to rate and review them. Imagine if they asked natives to share some inside tips on eating and shopping in their towns. They have a currency to pay for the information: They could reward us with frequent-flier bonus miles.”

Obviously I can’t speak for everyone, but I would definitely write reviews in exchange for miles, and I’d imagine plenty of others would too.  And who has fresher knowledge than the people who are just leaving a destination?  If leveraged properly, this information could become incredibly valuable to travelers.  Like Jeff Jarvis says, “(t)his should be a basic question of any company or industry in the internet era: ‘What do my customers know and how do I help them share that?’”

What if an airline partnered with a travel publisher to create wiki-versions of their books?  For instance, what if Lonely Planet or Rough Guides used the air travelers’ network to continually refresh their content online, therefore having the most up-to-date information possible?  With the airlines’ incentives behind them, they would probably beat Wikitravel and the popular travel messageboards.  They would probably also have more niche-specific information – from the Times article linked above:

“But new book formats are aiming at niche interests and travelers taking short breaks on low-cost flights. Meanwhile, more guidebook content is being uploaded to the Internet, where it is often available free.”

Also, how could this be applied to other industries?  Many web retailers already offer customer reviews, but perhaps they could offer incentives (gift cards, etc.) for greater participation? 

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.

Women and Travel

November 30, 2007

Stop what you are doing and go read this brilliant article by Emily Hansen at Brave New Traveler right now.

It is great – and good reading for anyone, male or female, with trepidations about travel.