1440×900 | 1280×1024 | 1280×800 | 1024×768
2560×1600 (MacBook Retina 13″) | 2880×1800 (MacBook Retina 15″)
Gary is currently in , Northwest Territories (Jul 25th, 2014)
My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
Subscribe to my email newsletter to get a FREE 100 page ebook of my favorite travel photos.
As it turns out, my suspicions were correct. South Africa has gotten significantly cheaper. During my 2010 visit, the US Dollar (USD) was able to purchase about 7 South African Rand (ZAR). As of today, the dollar can now get 11.16 rand. That is over a 59% devaluation of the rand to the dollar!
To give you an idea of prices, I spent all of December in Australia. While I was there I ate several times at a popular South African chain restaurant called Nando’s.(they specialized in grilled chicken) The average meal at Nando’s in Australia would run me about US$21. The same exact meal at the same exact chain in South Africa was a bit over $7. A similar meal in the US would probably run around $12-15. That meal was also in Cape Town which is probably one of the most expensive cities in South Africa.
I’ve had many meals here in Durban where I never had to pay more than $5. The hotel I’m staying at is rated at 4-stars on Hotels.com (but I’d call it a 3-star). It is located across the street from the beach and is very nice by my standards. I’ve been paying US$38/night.
This months wallpaper image is of a derelict ship on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.
This is a guest post by my friend Wes Nations who blogs at JohnnyVagabond.com. I met Wes several years ago in Bangkok and he’s been a big help to me providing graphic design on thing like my travel photography book. Wes has had some of the most interesting stories of any traveler I know, and I’m pleased that he has agreed to share one of them here.
Take it away, Wes…..
I asked what he had done for a living and he looked down at his feet for a second before answering. “I’m not proud of it but I was a Screw“. When I just stared at him, confused, he added “I was a prison guard. Twenty five years…”
Several times in the past I’ve outlined my future travel plans, and in every case they ended up being inaccurate. Plans change, opportunities arise and some things just don’t pan out.
I present this not as an official document, but as a draft of what I know as of now. The further out in time I go, the less clear everything becomes.
Last year I announced that I was going to slow down a bit, and this year I will finally start to do that. I admit that my slowing down is still way more active than most people, but for me, it is a bit slower. I’ll be spending more time in one place and doing side trips. The result of this, I hope, is that I will be more productive, write more for this website, and finally (FINALLY) get my book done.
You can see a complete list of the countries and territories I think I’ll be visiting in 2014 if you scroll down to the bottom of my country list.
Last summer I did an island hopping tour of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. I recently did two appearances on the popular Amateur Traveler podcast with my friend Chris Christensen to talk about my trip.
Because there were so many islands, we split the interview into two with the first half talking about the Leeward Islands (USVI, BVI, St Martin, Saba, St Eustatius, Anguilla, St Bart’s, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Montserrat) and the Windward Islands (Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago).
This was actually my 6th and 7th appearance on the show, going all the way back to 2008. I always tend to talk about tiny countries. My previous episodes include the micro-states of Europe, the Canary Islands, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Persian Gulf States, and Micronesia region.
If you don’t subscribe to the Amateur Traveler, you really should. It is one of the best travel podcasts on the Internet.
For the most part, I do not talk about hotels, airlines and the minutia of travel. There are people out there who care much more about this stuff than I do. I don’t travel to stay in hostels, I stay in hotels so I can travel.
That being said, I give myself one opportunity per year to talk about the hotels I stayed at during the previous year. This is that time.
Some explanation for how I compiled this list: The list is 100% subjective. I do not visit hotels with a checklist and inspect them looking for small problems. This list represents an overall impression of a place which often may be a factor of amenities, service, location or just a general feeling. Some places I paid my own way, and some were comped. I slept in over 150 beds in 2013 and the number may be closer to 200. There is no set number for the list. I could have been larger or smaller depending on where I stayed. The list is not a reflection of luxury. There are luxury hotels on the list, but there are also hostels. To be eligible for the list, I had to have actually slept there at least one night. Site visits do not count. This list represents my personal views. I’d gladly recommend any of these places, but your experience may be different than mine.
With that out of the way, here were my favorite places of 2013……
Cuba is slowly opening up to Americans. Contrary to popular belief, Americans can go to Cuba and do so legally. I’ve asked fellow blogger and Cheesehead Heidi Siefkas to give an overview for how Americans can travel to Cuba and why they may want to consider doing so now. Take it away Heidi…..
2013 was an epic year for me in terms of travel. I took 84 flights and set foot in 44 different countries and territories on 5 different continents. I visited 73 new world heritage sites and probably another 20 which I had visited previously. I didn’t even count the number of miles I traveled by car, train and boat.
Photographically, it was also my best year ever. I won the Gold Medal in the North American Travel Journalism Association for my photo essay of the Canary Islands. I won a Northern Lights Award and a Lowell Thomas Award for my photo essay of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.
The biggest news of the year was being named Photographer of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers.
I’ve assembled some of my favorite photos taken from 2013. They represent a cross section of all the places I’ve been. I’ve been to so many places this year and took so many photos I easily could have doubled the size of this without hurting the quality.
I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did taking them!