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
Sherry and Rick, along with Dave and Deb of The Planet D, will be tackling the Mongol Rally next year — a race across two continents with the end goal being Mongolia, and raising money for charity. Sherry writes about being excited for the adventure, but also slightly shaken by all the stern warnings and legal-speak she had to read during the sign-up process (this included her being told that entrants run the risk of injury, prison, and even death — it's happened before in this unsponsored, un-routed race). In the end, though, she decides that the risks are worth it.
Dave (who really is a fantastic writer, by the way) has been traveling the world for the past handful of months. But his time as an expat is swiftly coming to a close, and he's wondering what to do and where to go next. Anyone who has traveled long-term before can relate to this — as can anyone approaching a big change in his/her life. Dave ponders over where he'll live, how he'll make money, and how he'll adjust to life back at home. But don't worry — he's got a plan or two up his sleeve.
Looking for some travel inspiration? Check this out. Jenny, who is less than 40 days away from diving into a nomadic lifestyle, takes a look back at some of her defining moments as a traveler. And then she highlights defining moments from 27 more of our favorite bloggers. It's great to read stories like these, and find out what the catalysts were that inspired so many others to get out there and see the world.
Fantastic photos, and honest opinions on India — that's what you'll find in this post. Clark and Kim are (or were) in India, and, as evidenced in this piece, they both love and are exhausted by its frenetic energy, friendly locals, and abysmal sanitation. This post is written about Jodhpur — the couple's favorite Indian city because it's so… well, Indian. India is not an easy country to digest, but I can understand how people can fall in love with it after-the-fact after reading this. And did I mention the photos? Brilliant.
Matt knows a thing or two about travel blogging. He has one of the top travel blogs out there, and has turned it into his career. So, clearly, his advice must be worth paying attention to. The seven tips he lays out here seem simple (be an expert, be a good writer, use photos), but they make complete sense.
How British People Greet You at the Airport
Even though this turns out to be an advertisement, if this video doesn't make you smile, something is wrong with your soul.
What in the World?
The Great Carnival Spamcation
When 4,500 passengers boarded the Carnival Splendor last week, they were anticipating a relaxing cruise to Mexico. What they got was “the vacation from hell.” Barely a day into the trip, a fire in the engine room cut power to the whole ship. Emergency lighting and flushing toilets were the only amenities left to passengers as they drifted off the coast of Mexico. Provisions were flown in (like Spam and Poptarts), and the bars eventually were serving free drinks while the vacationers waited for rescue. Rescue came in the form of tugboats, which laboriously towed the gigantic ship back to San Diego. It took a few days, though. Days in which passengers waited in line for hours for cold food, and busied themselves playing cards, listening to live music, and either being really pissed off or really amused by their misfortune.
If you had been on this ship, how would you have reacted? Would you ever go on a cruise again?
A British couple that had been captured by Somali pirates last fall was finally released after 388 days in captivity. The retired couple had been sailing their yacht near the Seychelles in October 2009 when they were captured. The pirates originally asked for a $7 million ransom from the couple, which they obviously could not pay. The exact terms of their release are unknown (though somebody probably paid the pirates off at some high price), but right now everyone is just glad that they're free. Somali pirates still hold close to 500 hostages and more than 20 vessels, demanding multi-million dollar ransoms for most of them.
On Monday, Britain announced that it will start measuring national happiness, in addition to gauging more traditional data like income levels and fear of violent crime when it comes to government data collection. Detailed plans haven't been announced, but the plan makes good on a campaign pledge by Prime Minister David Cameron, who promised to measure subjective levels of well-being in Britain. Other countries like France and Canada have already taken steps to measure how happy their residents are.
Death and Destruction
A 5-story building collapsed in New Delhi, India, on Monday, killing more than 60 people and injuring at least 70 more.
A 28-story apartment block in Shanghai caught fire on Monday, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more. The government reported that 100 fire trucks were called in to battle the blaze (100? Really? How could they possibly fit on Shanghai's crowded streets?).
On Sunday, a resort hotel in Mexico suffered a powerful explosion that killed 7 people. The explosion at the Grand Riviera Princess in Playa del Carmen was apparently caused by a buildup of gas from a nearby swamp.
The famous Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in historic Nashville, Tennessee, reopened on Monday after being closed for six months. Severe flooding in May caused $200 million in damage and shuttered the hotel, which is the cornerstone of the city's tourism business.
Two scientists are proposing a pretty radical idea: one-way trips to Mars. The scientists are suggesting that the colonization of Mars could happen faster and more economically if astronauts looked at themselves like the first settlers to North America — not expecting to go home. Astronauts and NASA aren't very impressed by this proposal, however. Obama has already outlined a plan to go to Mars by the mid-2030s, but he never suggested to abandon the astronauts there. Though, who knows… after a 6-month journey just to get there, maybe they won't want to com back!