My recent interview with Paul Lasley on the American Forces Radio Network. This week we talk about my recent trips to Jordan, Italy and Toronto for the annual TBEX conference.
Here is a collection of thoughts and facts about world heritage sites that I’ve collected over the last 6 years:
1) As of the time of writing, there are 962 UNESCO World Heritage sits scattered around the globe. I’d estimate that number of people on Earth who have visited as many are in the low 1,000′s. Nonetheless, I still have only been to 1/4 of all the world heritage sites on the planet. That is a very humbling fact.
Andorra might be one of the smallest countries in the world, but it is certainly high on the list of the most picturesque. Located high in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, Andorra is one of the world’s oldest democracies and the world’s only co-principality (the co-heads of state are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell in Spain). It is also the only country in the world which uses Catalan as the official language.
Andorra is difficult to get to, but it is worth the trip. It is one of the few countries in the world that lacks both a train station or an airport. To get there you have to come by car or bus from Spain or France. The most common route is to fly to Barcelona and take a 3 hour drive through the Pyrenees.
After flying from Rome, Berlin, Brussels and New York I’ve finally arrived in Toronto for the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) annual conference. This is the 5th North American TBEX I’ve attended and it has quickly become the Super Bowl for my little industry. This week is a break from traveling for me and is nothing but parties, receptions and business meetings.
Toronto also happens to be the headquarters for G Adventures, which as you know by now, is my principal sponsor. In fact I’ve set up in a cubical today in Base Came (their name for the Toronto office) and am working on their blazingly fast internet connection.
I haven’t been here since last September and they’ve remodeled 2/3 of their office. It looks great and has a very contemporary design. I always enjoy coming to Base Camp and meeting all the G people I only get to see once or twice a year.
Despite my busy schedule this week, I actually consider this rather relaxing compared to my normal schedule. I get the luxury of staying in the same hotel for 5 whole days(!) and get to meet many people who I’ve only met online. The most stressful thing I have to do is hobnob and drink.
I am writing this somewhere over the Atlantic ocean between Brussels and New York.
I’m returning to the US (briefly) after 4 of the most hectic months of travel I’ve experienced since I began traveling full time in 2007. In just the first 5-months of 2013 I have been to 16 countries, 69 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (including repeat visits), and I estimate I’ve stayed in between 50-60 different hotel rooms.
..and I enjoyed almost every minute of it
Nonetheless, I am physically and mentally exhausted. If you haven’t noticed, I have been very lax in updating my website the last few months. Every day I was visiting a different city, taking photos and visiting different historical sites. At the end of each day I’d go back to a hotel room, usually one that I just checked-in to, and attempt to rest and recover. This didn’t leave a lot of time for writing, photo editing or reflection.
I find myself six and one-half years into my travels like a glutton at an all you can eat buffet. I love traveling as much now as I ever have, and that is exactly the problem. The opportunities I am given running a popular travel blog mean that I can indulge in as many travel opportunities as I want. If I so desired, I could extend the last four months out to infinity, continuing to move from city to city, exploring the world…..and killing myself in the process.
I’m please to announce that I have launched the new Everything Everywhere Travel Community Site!
No matter how much I travel around the world, there is no way I can ever match the knowledge and experience of the people who read this site. No matter where I go, someone (often times many people) have been there before me. They’ve been there longer, lived there or experienced different things than I have.
I wanted to create a place where the serious hardcore travelers who read this site (and there are many) could share their travel advice and stories with each other. The collective wisdom of my readers is incredible. I hope that this is place where we can tap into that wisdom and have fun talking about travel at the same time. Sites like TripAdvisor or the Lonely Planet forums are huge and rather impersonal. I waned a real community where people can get to know each other and share the advice they gathered from traveling.
I will also be providing exclusive travel tips and advice in the forum. If you have questions about travel this will be the best venue to ask them. If I don’t know the answer, the odds are good that someone else will.
Drop in and say hello!
After two weeks in Jordan, I’ve arrived in Italy! In particular, I’ve spent the last several days exploring the world heritage sites in the Emilia-Romagna region. I’ve been in the region before but I’ve never spent any significant time here.
In a few days my G Adventures Photography tour begins in Venice and I had a week to kill before it started. The Emilia-Romagna tourism board is running an innovative program called Blogville where they invite bloggers to come and live in an apartment in Bologna. I applied, figuring that the dates and located worked well between my Jordan trip and my photography tour, but they had already filled their slots. However, they did manage to help me get a hotel room and I’ve used the time to go exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the region.