This is by far my biggest Q&A column ever. I had a over 30 questions asked this month. If you would like to ask a question for next months Q&A, just follow me on my Facebook page and pay attention to when I put out my next request for questions.
Without any further ado, here are my answers to your questions
Matt Vattes asks: Which places that you’ve traveled to have been nearly identical to your pre-conceived mental picture and which places were totally radical from what you had in mind?
I have this crazy thing I do where I categorize people based on the number of continents I’ve met them on in person. It all started in the first year of my travels with some random German girl who I first met in Japan and I later saw in Australia. I realized “Hey, we’ve met on two continents!”
Since then I’ve been adding members to the club every few months.
The club is one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. There have been more Nobel Prizes winners than there are members of the Two Continent Club.
This week is the big TBEX Europe conference where I’ll be adding a lot of names to the list. I figured I should actually codify this list so it will be easier to keep track.
Most of the people on the list are bloggers and other people I’ve met at conferences. Usually, they are the ones traveling and have my contact info.
I know that I’m forgetting people. If I’ve left your name off the list, just contact me and remind me where and when we met.
I’ll be keeping this list updated as time goes on and I add more names.
Regular hosts Jen Leo and Chris Christensen are joined by this week’s guest hosts Lowell Thomas Award winning journalist Kara Williams of TheVacationGals.com and PracticalTravelGear.com and Sean Keener from BootsNAll
As I was leaving Elche, Spain a few days ago, I packed up all my things as I’ve done hundreds of times and headed out the door. When I arrived in Granada later in the day I realized I had committed a grievous error.
I had left my European electrical adaptor in the hotel.
In the rush to leave the room, when I pulled my power strip out of the wall, I left the adaptor sitting in place.
It didn’t hit me right away just how crippling this mistake was. This tiny, cheap hunk of metal and plastic was critical everything I do. Without it I had no way of charging my laptop, my iPad/iPhone and my camera battery. I couldn’t backup my photos. The lack of this tiny widget had left digitally stranded in Spain. It forced me to realize just how important an electrical adaptor is to everything I do blogging during international travel.
After my trip to Antarctica in January 2012 I wanted to go someplace where I could relax and work for week or two. I ended up going to Caye Caulker, Belize. With the exception of the exceptionally slow interent (which made uploading my photos extremely frustrating) I found it to be one of the most laid back places I have ever visited. With the exception of a few service trucks, there are no automobiles on the island and there are no large resorts. The entire island is walkable and you will find some of the freshest and cheapest lobster in the caribbean.
If you are a looking for a place to go and relax, you can do a whole lot worse than Caye Caulker.
In November 2011 I took a trip through Germany, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the central and eastern parts of the country. Perhaps the most fascinating city I visited on that trip was the city of Dresden. Dresden has been through a lot over the last half-century. Firebombed in WWII, subject decades of communism and massive floods on the Elbe in 2010 it was also one of the few UNESCO World Heritage sites ever to be delisted by UNESCO (I have given my thoughts on the Dresden delisting which I think is one of the low points of the whole World Heritage program).
Dresden has handled its hardships well. Almost the entire city center was rebuilt after WWII and today it is one of the cultural centers of Germany. If you ever get the chance to visit Dresden, in addition to the city center also take the time to visit the palaces along the Elbe River. It is a testament to Dresden’s role in Central European history.
The impetus for this post comes from a discussion I had with my assistant Amy over 10 years ago.
I commented to her that there were only 3 things that you really needed to travel. If you had those three things, then you really didn’t need anything else. Moreover, all three of those things could fit in your pocket.
A few days ago I was having a conversation with someone about packing light and I repeated those same three things. In 10 years, my opinion of the absolute minimum necessary to travel hasn’t really changed.
When you strip everything down to the barest of essentials, there are only 3 things you need to go anywhere in the world (other than the clothes on your back). Those three things will fit in your pocket and take you anywhere. They are: