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