Best Blogs of the Month: December, 2011

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For those of you familiar with my site, you’ll know that I used to do weekly posts featuring my favorite reads from travel blogs, as well as a round-up of world news. Now that I’m back in school, though, I haven’t had the time to do those round-ups each week. However, I kind of miss them! Sure, I can retweet my favorite posts on Twitter or share them on Facebook. But I like highlighting the really good stuff this way, too.

So welcome to Best Blogs of the Month! I’ll be doing these round-ups once a month, summing up my favorite 15-20 reads from the previous few weeks.

Here are my favorite reads from December 2011:

Top 4

The World's Oldest Backpacker at Time Travel Turtle

Meet John. John is 89, and still traveling the world as if he were 25. Yes, he may be the world's oldest backpacker. In this fantastic bit of writing, get to know this very interesting fellow better and hear his travel story.

72 Random Observations About Japan at Never Ending Voyage

Filled with great photos and a bevy of fun (and useful) facts about Japan, this post by Erin and Simon is well worth browsing. For example, did you know Japan has 3 alphabets? Or that you're not supposed to pour your own drinks there? I learned a lot!

Everything I Thought About South Africa Was Wrong at Wandering Earl

There are some areas of the world where certain stereotypes persist — and Africa is definitely one of them. But Earl was very pleased to find that nearly all of the things he thought he knew about South Africa (mostly based on some of those not-so-flattering African stereotypes) were wrong. In this post, find out what South Africa is really like, through one blogger's eyes.

Traveling to Iran as Americans: All You Need to Know at Uncornered Market

Last month, I featured a post by Dan and Audrey about their arrival in Tehran, Iran. I enjoyed following their journey through a country that most people don't view as a tourist destination. And if you, too, are curious to learn more about their trip and their experiences traveling in Iran, be sure to check out this post.

My Other Picks

Travel Photos: Time Stands Still in Antigua, Guatemala at Johnny Vagabond

This photo essay by Wes only includes 8 photos — but they are 8 fantastic, colorful photos that really give you a feel for Antigua.

The Problem With Quito at Twenty-Something Travel

This post by Stephanie takes a look at Quito, Ecuador, and the interesting dichotomy that exists there. On the one hand, Quito is a beautiful city worth visiting. But on the other hand, Quito is a rater seedy, somewhat-dangerous city. I love that this post doesn't shy away from the dangers inherent there. But I also love that Stephanie visited anyway to judge the city for herself.

12,600 Monks, One Street — Chiang Mai at Skinny Backpacker

This photo essay beautifully illustrates an alms-giving ceremony in Chiang Mai. I've seen plenty of photos of similar ceremonies all across the web, but what I really love about this post is Dustin's focus on people in the crowd, along with the monks in their colorful garb.

Edelma — the Only Female Taxi Driver on Isla Ometepe at Chicky Bus

The best travel experiences are often borne out of interacting with locals in whatever destination you find yourself in. In this post of Lisa's, she tells the story of one unique local she got to know — the only female taxi driver on an island in Nicaragua. This post is part of Lisa's “Meet the Locals” feature, where she highlights interesting individuals she's met around the world.

Know Before You Go: Marrakech Guide at Beers and Beans

Looking for a great, comprehensive guide to Marrakech, Morocco? Then look no further. This one by Randy and Beth is chock full of useful information.

Santa Claus and His Life in Turkey: Six Facts You Never Knew at Turkish Travel Blog

Even though Christmas has long passed, I felt the need to include this post anyway. In it, I learned some fun new facts about the Santa tradition and its connection to Turkey.

19 Epic Adventures by Travel Bloggers in 2011 at Traveling Canucks

There were a ton of note-worthy adventures had by bloggers in 2011, and Cam and Nicole highlight 19 of the most awesome in this unique year-end round-up post. Adventures in 2011 included snorkeling with beluga whales in Manitoba, driving from London to Mongolia, swimming in Antarctica, traveling Vietnam by motorbike, getting shipwrecked in Indonesia, and many more worth reading about. (It doesn't hurt that one of my own adventures is featured here, either!)

Sustainable Tourism: What is It, and Why Should We Care? at LandLopers

Okay, so yes, this is a guest post I wrote for Matt over at LandLopers. But it's on a topic that I really care a lot about — and one that's often not completely understood by travelers. If you're curious about sustainable travel, please take a few minutes to check this out.

Video Posts

Last month, the addition of a few travel videos into this round-up elicited some great responses from readers. So I'm going to do my best to continue featuring some great videos each month!

Time is Nothing

This time lapse (“17 Countries. 343 Days. 6237 Photographs. One incredible journey.”) is phenomenal.

New Year's Eve in Ecuador

Jason and Aracely describe what ringing in a new year is like in Ecuador.

Finding Oregon

As if one amazing time lapse video wasn't enough, here's another!


Have you read or written a post that you'd like me to consider for next month's round-up? Leave a link in the comments!


  • Rob says:

    I quite liked the oldest traveler posting – I’d not seen that. And I was truly fascinated by the couple traveling in Iran. Clearly, the government propaganda machines – theirs and ours – are working overtime to convince the population of both countries that the others are evil. Unfortunately the collection of retarded donkeys competing to be the Republican candidate are all over the “lets start another pointless war” rhetoric. We’d be a lot better off abandoning stupid sanctions and welcoming Iran to participate in global party rather than trying to keep them isolated in the corner.

    That Earl discovered the good in South Africa despite its being a dangerous place is good and bodes well for a future visit. I think SA is like many 3rd world countries – there are safe places and dangerous places and the dangerous places are WAY more dangerous than the safe places. The border isn’t so sharp in the 1st world.

  • William says:

    Those time lapse video’s are truly incredible!
    William recently posted..The Aqua

  • You highlighted some great posts here Amanda. Although it’s always hard to pick a favourite I really enjoyed Dustin’s (Skinny Backpacker’s) monk photo essay.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Hello world!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Samuel! And yes, it is always hard to pick a favorite. I often have trouble coming up with my “top” picks each month for that very reason!

  • Liz says:

    Great post Amanda, those video’s is very interesting.
    Liz recently posted..What is the Credit Repair Process? How do I fix my credit score?

  • Peter says:

    Hard to compete with those. The videos are fantastic. Great list.

  • Erin says:

    Thanks for featuring our Japan post Amanda. It was such a crazy and wonderful experience to travel there and learn more about the culture (or just be bewildered much of the time!).

    I love the posts you featured from Uncornered Market and Wandering Earl – both show how different countries can be from our perceptions of them, which is an important role for a travel blogger I think.
    Erin recently posted..Sleeping with Monks: A Night in a Japanese Temple in Koya-San

  • Jarmo says:

    Great picks Amanda. I had also missed the post about John, that was a good article. Backpacking has no age restrictions for sure!
    Jarmo recently posted..Could I make it to El Nido?

  • Turtle says:

    Thanks for including the post about John, Amanda. I hoped that by sharing his stories it would inspire other travellers to never give up! If he can do it, then any of us can!
    The other ones you’ve chosen are great too. Especially Dan and Audrey’s trip to Iran – that place fascinates me so much!!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      My pleasure! It was a great post, and I’m happy to do what I can to make sure others read it, too! I agree that it’s a very inspiring story!

  • Earl says:

    Like the others, I’m fascinated by that post about John. I’m glad you led me to it as that’s the unique stuff I love to read!

    And thanks so much of course for mentioning my South Africa post 🙂
    Earl recently posted..Please Don’t Be Afraid To Travel On Your Own

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m so glad that I featured that post about John! It seems like a lot of people missed it, and I agree that it’s exactly the type of thing I love to read, too!

      And of course you are very welcome. I even caught my dad reading that post of yours last time I was home because I’d posted it on my Facebook page. 😉 It was a really good post!

  • Audrey says:

    Thanks so much for including our Iran post in this month’s round up! We’ve had some great comments and emails from people on that post and it seems to provide the reassuring advice some people need to finally visit after years of dreaming.

    I hadn’t seen your post on sustainable tourism on Land Lopers – really enjoyed it. I also get very annoyed when people throw around the word sustainable without any connection to what it really means not only in theory but in practice.
    Audrey recently posted..Bangladesh Travel: A Beginner’s Guide + Podcast

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You are very welcome, Audrey. I realize Iran probably isn’t a country on everyone’s travel list, but for those who are curious, your post does a fantastic job of spelling things out. It’s great that you’ve been getting a good response from it.

      And I’m so glad you checked out my sustainable tourism post! It’s a topic that I’m becoming more and more interested in lately — and that includes wanting to educate people more on what it really means. I think a lot of people *think* they know what it means, but rarely actually do.

  • Hi. Amanda. Thanks for including my post re: ‘Edelma’ in this roundup. I look forward to sharing more stories such as that one in the future!
    Lisa @chickybus recently posted..Mangú, Merengue and Mao: A Day in a Dominican Village

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