Monthly Archives: March 2010

Help me plan my trip to Spain

Posted by on March 30, 2010

I’m going to be in Spain for about 2-3 weeks at the end of April and the beginning of May.

Spain is one of those countries that is packed full of things to see. It has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites after Italy at 41.

I’ve never been to Spain before so I have no idea what to see or what I should make a priority.

I need your help.

Give me your top suggestions for what I should see/do in Spain. I know for sure I’ll be in Valencia and Madrid. Other than that, I have no other itinerary. If there are any events or happenings in Spain while I’ll be there, that would be nice to know as well.

Try also to think of places that will yield some great photographs.

Also, Robert Cole has a poll up on his travel industry blog on who the most trusted travel authority is online. Take a second to take the poll (yes, I’m on it).

Gracias!

My Day as a Photojournalist

Posted by on March 27, 2010

The press on Soi 31 waiting for things to get started

The press on Soi 31 waiting for things to get started

Over the last three years I’ve taken somewhere around 60,000 photos. I’ve taken photos from the air, from the inside of caves, in deserts, in jungles, on islands and on mountains. I even spent one memorable day on the Great Barrier Reef as an underwater photographer.

Until last week, however, I had never found myself in the middle of a real honest to goodness news story. For four very exciting hours last week, I found myself between thousands of Thai political protesters and hundreds of Bangkok riot police. I was shoulder to shoulder with seasoned pros from Associated Press and Agence France Presse. The difference was that they had an audience of millions spread across hundreds of news outlets and I’m just a guy with a blog. (more…)

Commentary: Put Down the Guidebook, Pick Up the History Book

Posted by on March 23, 2010

Colosseum in Rome

Knowing who Vespasian and Domitian are can give you a much deeper understanding of the Colosseum. You can find the entrance fees and operating hours anywhere.

As I have previously written, I’m not a big fan of travel guidebooks. That does not, however, mean I am not a fan of books. I am a voracious reader and during my almost three years on the road I have consumed so many books that carrying them around became a serious issue for me on several occasions. It is why I’m such a big fan of the iPad. The idea of having global access to an English language bookstore that doesn’t require me to lug around an ever expanding collection of paper fills me with glee.

I am not here to talk about guidebooks. However, I do believe you should be reading prior to and during your trip. In particular you should be reading history books. (more…)

Commentary: The More I Travel, The Dumber I Get

Posted by on March 15, 2010

The first question you are probably asking yourself is “what is a video of Donald Rumsfeld doing at the top of this blog post?” Go ahead and click on it and watch the video. It is only 21 seconds.

I’ve seen a lot of people make fun of Rumsfeld for this quote, and honestly I think he has a point. There are things we don’t even know that we don’t know. Most of you probably are aware of something called quantum physics, and most of you probably have never taken a class on the subject. You are aware that you are ignorant about quantum physics. That would qualify as a known unknown.

Just last week in Singapore, I was being taken around the city by a Singaporean traveler by the name of May. She took me to get Peranakan food. What is Peranakan food you ask? It is the cuisine of the Peranakan culture in Malaysia. What is the Peranakan culture you ask? They are the descendants of 15th and 16th century Chinese merchants who settled in Malaysia and took local Malay wives. (more…)

Thailand Redshirt Protests – Day 1

Posted by on March 14, 2010

This is just a quick update, because I don’t have time to do a full write up. Yesterday I attended the political protests in Bangkok. I spent several hours walking around the protesters with my camera. Everything was peaceful. Not only was it not an angry mob, it had the atmosphere of a festival more than a political protest. People were bending over backwards to get me to take their picture. The photo of an angry protester shouting just wasn’t in the cards. I’m heading back to take some more photos today, this time I’ll have some batteries for my flash and an extra battery for my camera.

View my collection of photos from the Bangkok protests here.

Happy Travelversary: 3 years on the road

Posted by on March 13, 2010

Read my thoughts from a year ago on my 2 year travelversay.

On March 13, 2007 I sat in the offices of Edina Realty near my home in Minnesota and signed the documents which transferred ownership of my house to the family which purchased it. I handed them the keys and from that moment, I was a man without a home. That is the moment I mark as the beginning of my adventure.

Fast forward 1097 days later and I’m in a pub in Bangkok, Thailand writing my 1,550th blog post on the second laptop I’ve gone through since I’ve started. Someone reading this will probably leave the 7,402nd comment to be left on my blog. 1,250,000 have taken a look at my site and tens of thousands have bothered to follow long on various social networks. I’ve been to over 70 countries, 110 World Heritage Sites, and I can’t even count the distance I’ve traveled. A helluva lot has happened in three years. (more…)

Commentary: Of Things Which Are Different, Both Little and Large

Posted by on March 9, 2010

The first time I ever visited Canada I was fascinated by all the things which were different. The road signs, the occasional sign in French, the metric system, and the different products in the stores. The reason why those things stuck out is because, as much as Canadians hate to admit it, America and Canada are pretty much the same. The things I found different were aberrations (to me) on what was otherwise a very familiar background.

I point this out because humans are pattern seeking animals. We evolved to notice patters in the weather, the environment, migrations of animals, and the stars. When I went to Canada I noticed trivial things because they broke up the patterns I was used to seeing. You can notice similar things as you go from state to state as well. I assume the same would be true of Canadians visiting the US or Germans visiting Austria or people from Beijing visiting Shanghai. What very few differences exist between people from Wisconsin and Minnesota are exaggerated and amplified whenever they get together. (duck duck goose vs duck duck grey duck) (more…)