Friday, August 27, 2010

Skip it!

Caught this one from NPR today. Good read and useful in future travel planning.

Where not to go, story here.

Travel trends

I picked up this month's issue of National Geographic Traveler the other night and noticed the cover. It took a second, but while reading the photo caption inside the cover, I realized the cover story was about Slovenia.

The issue had been sitting on the table next to my bed, but I just hadn't had a chance to look at it yet.

It's not the first time a travel magazine has had a cover on a place I recently visited. Cool to know I'm ahead of the travel trends.

This author went to some places I didn't get to and also was able to go to Croatia. I wish I'd been able to do that, maybe next time.

Backpacker essential trails

E-mails from Lonely Planet make me happy because they give me ideas for new trips and adventures.

This week, the e-mail included this story on the top 10 essential backpacker trails. I was excited to see what made the list and even more excited when I realized I'd already done three of the 10.

New Zealand and Australia are, not surprisingly, in the top five. I studied in Christchurch, NZ for a semester and it was one of the greatest times of my life. The country is absolutely stunning and the people are amazing. Students I had class with were extremely well read and articulate and new more about the world than anyone I went to school with back home. Then again, when you're country is the size of Colorado, I guess you have to be more aware of the world around you.

On a study break from the University of Canterbury I hopped over the Australia and spent two weeks wandering from Cairns to Sydney. It's another trip I highly recommend, but be sure to pack SPF 100 million when snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. I'm amazed I didn't just melt. Worst sunburn of my life I'd bet and then spent 10 hours on a bus the next day. Most unpleasant.

Peru also made the list and I covered most of the spots mentioned in the Lonely Planet story. Didn't get to all of them, but added some of my own. Huaraz is not on their list, but I highly recommend it. The town was devastated by a few earthquakes and they've in large part stopped rebuilding so the town has areas that look very rundown, but the people are friendly and from the balcony of our hostel, we could sip hot tea and look up at the Andes. Not sure it gets much better than that for about 20 soles a night...roughly $5 at the time. I think I made money in Peru the exchange rate was so good and everything was so cheap.

Lacking Spanish skills complicates things a bit, but you can make do. I discovered I learned much quicker out of necessity than listening to language CDs at home or in the car. Also turns out I spoke more French than Spanish...you never really knew what language I would answer with during those two weeks.

I'll be working on some of these other trails in the near future, and as usual, adding some of my own.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Driftin' in Dixie

I've been bad at updating here. And it's not for lack of travel. Life just gets in the way.

By chance, I read my horoscope yesterday and, being a Leo, it's apparently the new year for me in some astrological sort of way.

And getting back on my game and posting here more regularly is one resolution I am making and aim to keep.

To get me started, as I gather my thoughts and document the details, and upload the photos (which always seems to take me an eternity), here's what I've been up to since my last post.

March:

Orlando for a conference. Squeezed in a 5K run and SeaWorld. Because I'm five. I just had to go to SeaWorld.

April:

Indianapolis for a board meeting. And ice cream. And a winery.

Nashville for the Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. I did not die.

Oh, got a puppy that month too.

May:

Tampa for a meeting. When I finally remembered I have cruise control. And discovered a love of books on tape.

June:

Didn't leave town, but a friend I interned with in Fredericksburg, Va. was here.

July:

Kayaked the Coosa River with my very dear friend, Jeannette.

Jeannette and I played tourist for a day in Montgomery. We toured the state capitol, with help from a friend who works there. Toured the Dexter-King Memorial Church. Walked on the map in front of the archives. And, of course, got coffee.\

Oak Mountain hiking with co-worker, Kym, plus dogs. My pup, Grover, and her beagle, Brittney.

Dragged my friend Mike out to the Fitzgerald Museum, where F. Scott and Zelda lived for a short time. And the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

August:

Mobile for the day. Very good day. Despite a heat index of 110+

Planetarium.

More touristing this weekend, and more kayaking. And then it's my birthday. You will read more about it. Because, like touristing, I love it.