I often turn to other travel blogs while planning my next trip. I want the nitty gritty: how much should I budget for this country, where should I stay in this city, how do I get from the airport into town? Travel blogs are brilliant resources for planning trips, and odds are a few will pop up when you do your google searching or comb through travel forums.
But other times, when I’m not actively planning a trip, I just want to feel inspired (e.g. right now, recently returned from a 5.5 month backpacking adventure, as I sit applying to jobs from my Brooklyn fire escape: see photo stage right). I want to learn about what it’s like in [insert intriguing, far-off place here] – not the Top 5 Things To See there, not what delicious dishes to try there, but what it’s actually like there, in the words of fellow solo travelers who have experienced it firsthand.
Here are a few blog posts I saved because they summed up a place quite beautifully, even though I may not have a burning desire to visit anytime soon:
Black Rock Desert – Nevada, USA
I’ve been following Burning Man, the annual pilgrimage out to Black Rock City, for about 5 years now thanks to the Burners who share their Burning Man photos on Flickr. At first glance, it looks like a naked hippie rave in the desert, which can be extremely off putting to those considering a burn. But Alex explains that it’s much more than that – that Burning Man is whatever you want it to be.
With that said, I might forgo the nudity and drugs in favor of biking around the desert to check out the incredible art and meet the creative souls behind it. The idea of helping to build a self-reliant community, even if just for a week, where everyone contributes their skills and passions for the joy of it, expecting nothing in return – that’s something I want to experience.
In all serious though: is anyone interested in doing this with me one of these years?
I didn’t have much desire to visit Dubai before, nor did this post change my feelings on this city. It did, however, fill in the blanks for what I’d heard to be true of this place: slave-like conditions for its immigrant workers, lack of gay rights, consumerism out the wazoo.
What I took away from Kate’s post was that despite everything Dubai does wrong, there are other things that make it a worthwhile destination for travelers – which you could also say about many other places in this world.
Admittedly, I AM somewhat intrigued by this city, so I could probably handle a quick stopover here en route to some other destination. Its architecture is just ridiculous!
I first read this post before my 2013 Asia trip, on the fence about whether or not to venture to Burma. Unfortunately I never made it there, but it remains fairly high on my list of places to venture to someday.
This is the single most comprehensive and helpful post on traveling to Burma that I’ve come across. Jodi gives advice on practical concerns like visas and money (yep, Burma is one of those countries that demands perfectly pristine bills), but perhaps even more valuable are her cultural tips: for instance, investing in a longyi to wear, expecting poor electricity and transportation throughout the country, and being mindful of certain protocols. Though it takes effort to explore this country, Burma provides a very special travel experience – one that’s certain to change once its tourist infrastructure grows.
For some reason, Antarctica had always been an off-limit destination to me: as in, no one actually travels there, right?
Oh but they do! And if I’m going to be traveling to a place with dramatic landscapes and unique wildlife, hiking is the #1 way I want to experience it. Matt trekked through mud and poop (literally) to observe penguins in their natural habitat, amidst mountains and glaciers – and it was worth every bit of effort. I 100% want to do this someday, penguin poop and all!
Much like how I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Vietnam for no apparent reason, Earl inexplicably enjoyed his time passing through Romania so much that he decided to stay and live in Bucharest for 5 months. It’s funny how we sometimes unexpectedly end up liking something that we were bound to dislike – all the more reason to be an open minded traveler and go with your gut!