Best Blogs of the Week
I read a lot of travel blogs every week. Every day, even. Since I’m constantly coming across good reads, I’ve decided to highlight some of the best and most interesting posts, photos, videos and general blogging gems from all over the web that I’ve discovered in the past week.
Though I try to read a diverse sampling of things, there’s no way that I can possibly get to it all. So, if you have an interesting post that you’d like me to check out and consider for next week, please let me know in the comments! Who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with it. At the very least, I’ll leave you my two cents in a comment.
What I'm Reading
Jenny explores her decision to become location independent, and the sort of reactions and admiration she often receives because of her choosing to take the plunge. She argues that anyone can change the course their life is on — “rewrite” their story, so to speak — and offers up some examples of all sorts of people doing just that. I love this piece, because Jenny proves that anyone can choose to go after their dreams and change the course of their lives.
This amazing story has basically gone viral within the travel blogging community, and it's easy to see why. Earl writes about how he essentially got placed on a terrorist watch list after visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan post-9/11 and returning to the U.S. with a collection of less-than-ideal souvenirs. He describes going through a stressful customs interrogation process, but is able to look back on the situation now with some humor. This is a fantastic read; take a minute or two to check it out.
It's that time of year again — the time when it's acceptable to drink copious amounts of beer in a large tent, wear traditional German clothes, and listen to oompa music without anyone judging you. Yes, Oktoberfest has arrived! My friend Alison experienced the real deal in Munich before studying abroad in Austria a couple of years ago, and shares her memories and photos in this post. I can't get over how many people there are, or how colorful everything is. Definitely check out the slideshow of her photos at the end.
Andrew links to a series of humorous maps created by a London-based graphic designer. The maps depict the stereotypes with which certain areas/countries of Europe view the region. They are hilarious. (For example, “Europe according to USA” depicts France as “Smelly People,” Italy as “Godfathers,” Turkey as “Thanksgiving Meal” and Spain as “Mexico.”) To see larger versions of the maps, go here.
I really like photo essays, especially photo essays from parts of the world I find interesting but have never been to. Ashley put this short photo essay together from her time in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina — a part of the world that has piqued my own interest. She notes that the area still bears scars from the years of warfare it went through in the 1990s, but that the people there don't focus on this. Her photos are intriguing, and make me want to visit.
What in the World?
Congressional elections in Venezuela are likely causing President Hugo Chavez some added stress, considering that he lost the two-thirds majority that has been allowing him and his allies to ignore opponents when it comes to lawmaking. Opponents are hoping to rein in the socialist leader, and the gains they made in Sunday's election will likely weaken Chavez ahead of his next re-election bid. He may actually have to deal with his rivals now…
At the big North Korean shindig that the government has been revving up for for weeks, leader Kim Jong Il's youngest son, Kim Jong Un, was promoted to the rank of general in the Korean People's Army on Monday. This move signals that rumors of Kim Jong Un being groomed to take over rule of North Korea are probably more than just rumors.
On Monday, the 10-month Israeli moratorium on construction in the West Bank expired. It couldn't come at a worse time, since Israel and Palestine are currently engaged in peace talks. And nothing ruins good peace talks like your enemy bringing in bulldozers to tear up land that you claim as your own. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he'll wait at least a week before deciding whether to quit the peace talks altogether. Meaning the U.S. — which is mediating the talks — has a week to try and negotiate a solution. Good luck, mediators.
In a rather ironic story that makes me giggle a bit (in an “I'm-so-going-to-hell” sort of way), the British man who recently became owner of the company that produces the Segway scooter was found dead at the bottom of a cliff out in the English countryside on Monday. What was found with him? His Segway. Apparently the man drove the Segway off the cliff (though whether it was accidental or intentional remains to be seen). It's likely that the debate over Segway safety will once again flare up over this mishap.
On Friday night, young party-goers at a house party in New Jersey near Seton Hall University were showered with gunfire after a man who was kicked out of the party returned with a gun. One student died, and a handful of others were wounded. Two men have been arrested in the incident — one for actually carrying out the shooting, and another for allegedly providing the gun involved. See, kids, this is why booze and weapons don't mix.
It's apparently wicked hot out on the West Coast right now. On Monday, Los Angeles broke it's all-time record high, with temperatures clocking in at a sultry 113 degrees. Stay cool, L.A.!
Do you utilize wi-fi while in the air? If you do, this should be good news for you: a couple more airlines are rolling out the feature. JetBlue plans to outfit its entire fleet with onboard wi-fi, and Delta and Southwest won't be far behind. All three companies are promising in-air Web surfing by 2012. AirTran and Virgin America already offer the service — for a price, of course.
And, speaking of these airlines, Southwest just bought out AirTran on Monday.
Just For Fun
If you were in London on Sunday, you may have been met with an interesting sight along the Thames — hundreds of gorillas taking part in a footrace. Okay, okay… not real gorillas! Instead, hundreds of runners dressed in gorilla costumes raced in the 7-kilometer “Great Gorilla Run” in order to benefit The Gorilla Organization, a charity aiming to save the threatened gorilla habitat in Africa. Certainly would have been an interesting event to stumble upon…