Monthly Archives: October 2012

Jeff Greenwald – The World’s First Travel Blogger

Posted by on October 16, 2012

In August of 2012 I attended the Book Passage Travel Writing Conference and had the pleasure to meet Jeff Greenwald. He was introduced to me as being the world’s first travel blogger. Needless to say I was intrigued by this claim.

As it turns out, he does indeed have a pretty solid claim on being the first travel writer to post a story on the world wide web back in January 1994. While some academic from CERN or the Univesity of Illinois might have updated his website overseas, I’m pretty certain that Jeff was probably the first travel writer to actually submit a travel story via the world wide web as his first post was less than a year after the first release of the Mosaic browser. I thought Jeff’s story was fascinating and a great insight to how the world of travel blogging came about.

Here is Jeff…


Jeff Greenwald back in 1993

Jeff Greenwald on the completion of his voyage in 1994

In early 1993, I decided to try an experiment that seemed utterly insane.

For the past 14 years—since 1979—I’d been working as a photojournalist. My assignments had taken me around the globe, but in spite of all the miles I’d flown I didn’t feel like much of a real traveler. In truth, I felt like I was somehow … cheating.

It isn’t hard to say why. It was a result of flying itself. Airports are the great, bland equalizers of civilization; arriving in every new country, from Turkey to Thailand, felt exactly the same. Travel itself, which had seemed so thrilling and exotic when I’d started out, had become tame and predictable. The whole world, in fact, was feeling freakishly small. (more…)

What I’ve Learned From 6 Years Of Travel Blogging

Posted by on October 14, 2012

On October 14, 2006 I made my first blog post to Everything-Everywhere.com. I had actually been “blogging” since 1997, but we didn’t call it blogging back then. It was just my personal website. (which still exists by the way).
Having no background as a journalist, writer or photographer, I have come a long way in 6 years. Today, I’m a Lowell Thomas Award winner with a personal audience of over 100,000 people. I’ve gone from nothing to having one of the largest travel blogs on the planet. As a photographer I should note that I literally didn’t know the settings on my camera when I started.

In the last half decade, I’ve explored a huge chunk of the world, I’ve met amazing people and have been able to make a living out of traveling.
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UNESCO World Heritage Site #187: Medina of Tétouan

Posted by on October 14, 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Site #187: Medina of Tétouan

UNESCO World Heritage Site #187: Medina of Tétouan

From the World Heritage inscription:

Tétouan was of particular importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, since it served as the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia. After the Reconquest, the town was rebuilt by Andalusian refugees who had been expelled by the Spanish. This is well illustrated by its art and architecture, which reveal clear Andalusian influence. Although one of the smallest of the Moroccan medinas, Tétouan is unquestionably the most complete and it has been largely untouched by subsequent outside influences.

I made a brief trip into Morocco from the Spanish city of Ceuta to visit Tétouan. Located in the norther part of Morocco, it can be thought of as the African counterpart to the cities in Spain with Moorish influences.

The medina was a bewildering maze of shops and homes. If I didn’t have a guide with me, I probably never would have found my way out.

Getting to Tetouan isn’t hard. It was only a 30 minute drive by taxi from Ceuta and there are plenty of taxi drivers who will take you there. Payment in Euros is accepted.

Visiting Tetouan has whetted my appetite for exploring more of Morocco.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #186: Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

Posted by on October 13, 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Site #186: Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

UNESCO World Heritage Site #186: Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

From the World Heritage inscription:

Together the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias as a series, form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville. They perfectly epitomize the Spanish “Golden Age”, incorporating vestiges of Islamic culture, centuries of ecclesiastical power, royal sovereignty and the trading power that Spain acquired through its colonies in the New World.

Founded in 1403 on the site of a former mosque, the Cathedral, built in Gothic and Renaissance style, covers seven centuries of history. With its five naves it is the largest Gothic building in Europe. Its bell tower, the Giralda, was the former minaret of the mosque, a masterpiece of Almohad architecture and now is important example of the cultural syncretism thanks to the top section of the tower, designed in the Renaissance period by Hernán Ruiz. Its “chapter house” is the first known example of the use of the elliptical floor plan in the western world. Ever since its creation, the Cathedral has continued to be used for religious purposes.

The cathedral in Seville is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the third largest church overall. It took over the title of the largest church in the world from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul which held the title for over 700 years. It is also the burial site for Christopher Columbus who’s body was interred there in the early 20th Century. The bell tower was built to resemble the Koutoubia Mosque in Morocco.

Seville should be a high priority for any trip to Spain. The high speed train makes it very accessible from Madrid.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

8 Things You Might Not Have Known About Thailand

Posted by on October 13, 2012

Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world. Yet, there are many things which people people might not know about the “Land of Smiles”. Even though I’ve spent almost a half year here in total, there are still things I’m learning about the country. As I am spending the month of October in Bangkok, I thought it would be a good time for another installment of “8 Things You Might Not Have Known…”

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UNESCO World Heritage Site #185: Historic Centre of Cordoba

Posted by on October 12, 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Site #185: Historic Centre of Cordoba

UNESCO World Heritage Site #185: Historic Centre of Cordoba

From the World Heritage inscription:

Cordoba’s period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendours of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, the Saint, Cordoba’s Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Fortaleza de la Calahorra, were erected.

The Historic Centre of Cordoba now comprises the streets surrounding the monument and all the parcels of land opening on to these, together with all the blocks of houses around the mosque-cathedral. To the south this area extends to the further bank of the River GuadaIquivir (to include the Roman bridge and the Calahorra), to the east to the Calle San Fernando, to the north to the boundary of the commercial centre, and to the west to incorporate the AIcázar des los Reyes Cristianos and the San Basilio quarter. The city, by virtue of its extent and plan, its historical significance as a living expression of the different cultures that have existed there, and its relationship with the river, is a historical ensemble of extraordinary value.

Of all the UNESCO sites I have visited in Andalusia, I enjoyed my short time in Cordoba most of all. I found the old town to be quaint, peaceful and relaxing. The center of the city is the mosque/cathedral. As far as I know, it is unique in the world as it is both a former mosque and the current cathedral for Cordova. After the reconquista, the Catholic Church took over the central mosque and built a christian church right in the middle of the building. It makes for a fantastic architectural clash.

Cordova is easy to get to by high speed train from Seville or Madrid and is definitely worth the trip. It is one of the places in Spain I would love to return to, to stay for an extended period of time.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

6 Things that Make a Great Hotel Room

Posted by on October 12, 2012

I have spent well over 1,000 nights in hotel rooms since 2007. You could say I’ve become a minor expert on the subject of hotel accommodations.

Many of the things I look for in a room are not the things that most hoteliers seems to care about. There seems to be an obsession amongst some high end hotels with the thread count of their sheets and the number of pillows they can put on a bed. I don’t think these really matter to most people.

Regardless if you are a business traveler or traveling with a family on vacation, it is necessary for modern hotels to have certain amenities to cater to the 21st Century Traveler. (more…)