February 2011: Questions & Answers

Posted: February 15, 2011    Categories: Q&A

Time once again to answer reader mail

Time once again to answer reader mail

Kara Williams tweets: Do you get lonely traveling by yourself?

I’ve always been the type of person who has done stuff by myself. Some people are terrified at the idea of going out to eat or seeing a movie alone. I have always done this, so traveling solo was never that big of a deal for me. I think much of it is a personality type, and I’m the type of person that doesn’t have a problem doing things without someone else tagging along.

I really don’t get lonely. There are always new people to meet and with social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, talking to other people is trivial. I have books to read, articles to write, photos to edit, etc.

I know there are websites out there that focus on “solo travel” but I have never thought of myself that way. I just travel…..no modifiers.

Believe it or not, I actually asked a friend of mine to come with me when I decided to travel. I offered to pay for everything, but they still said no. My options were travel alone or don’t travel at all. It was a simple choice at that point.

Traci from Go Big Or Go Home asks: Will the recent events in Egypt deter you from visiting the Middle East? Have you ever found yourself in a country in the middle of a revolution?

Not in the slightest. What has happened in Egypt that tourists should be worried about? They weren’t attacked and they weren’t targeted. The main reason to not visit a place like Egypt which is in the middle of turmoil is that attractions are closed, transportation lines are shut down and logistics are a mess. There is a slight risk of getting caught in the middle of something, but I’d just use your head and stay away from large spots where people gather.

Moreover, most what happened in Egypt didn’t happen in “Egypt”, it occurred in a few major cities and in the public squares in those cities. I saw the same thing happen earlier this year in Thailand. If you weren’t at ground zero for the protests, you would have missed all the exciting stuff that was on television.

Cassi and Erica, the Nonstop Duo actually stop to ask: How do you keep up blogging when you are in places with limited and varied internet access? Thanks!

First, I’d say that internet connectivity is far more ubiquitous than I ever thought it would be when I started traveling. I have been to some pretty remote places where some building in a village might have a computer you can rent for an house.

If I know I am going to be somewhere without internet access ahead of time, I’ll work ahead or get one of my friends to post things for me.

If things just go wrong (and as I’m typing this the wifi in my room in Puerto Rico stopped working) I just work offline until I can get back online. There are few things that require you to be online RIGHT NOW.

Matthew Karsten asks: Aside from quality content, what has been the best technique for driving traffic to your blog so far?

This is going to sound heretical, but traffic isn’t my #1 priority as a blogger. Yes, you want and need traffic, but what I really want is for people to say “I want to hear more from this guy in the future”. Traffic is just a way to get subscribers. All the numbers that are important to me are on the front page of my site in the upper right for the world to see.

Strictly speaking, content isn’t king. Not for a site like mine. Personality is. I try to be myself which means being funny sometimes, opinionated, and sometimes pissing people off. It means going out and doing things, not just sitting at a desk and writing top 10 lists of places I’ve never been.

A good article might drive someone to your site, but that isn’t the end of the story. You want to be interesting enough for them to want to come back for more. Think of a blog as a television series. People get hooked on the series and come back each week. Some episodes might be better than others, but its the overall story that people buy into, not any given episode.

Bill Wilcox writes: Now that you’ve seen so many other places in person, if you were to decide to stop traveling full time and settle down enough to buy or rent a residence of some kind, would you choose to live in the US? Why? And if not the US, where would you live?

I really have no desire to live in the US anymore. For starters, if you live outside of the United States, as a citizen, your tax burden is considerably less. There are plenty of places you can find which have a much lower cost of living, but where the quality of living is on a par with what you will find in the United States.

Furthermore, I’m not bullish on the future of the US. We have a growing debt which will never be paid and a weak currency which will only get weaker. Every time I come back, everyone I encounter with a badge from the TSA to Immigration to ordinary cops seem to think they are above the average person. It’s like an army of Cartmen demanding us to “respect their authority”!

I love the people, the culture and the work ethic you find in America, but you can still get that outside of the US. I don’t like the direction the government has been heading the last several decades.

As to where I would actually live, I don’t have a clue. There are many places I could live. Trying to narrow it down would depend on things like real estate prices which I haven’t researched.

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