World Adventurers hit a major milestone today — 1,000 published posts! A thousand articles and updates later, this blog is still going strong.
I started World Adventurers in December 2004, as a way to update family and friends about life overseas. It has evolved in ways I never imagined when I wrote my first “Hello, World” post. Since then I’ve written about my books, writing, news and politics, humor, sports, finance, culture, thoughts and sayings, updates from around the world, and other topics. My travelogues have been by far this site’s most popular feature.
The early blog hosted by the now-defunct MSN Spaces Live had more than 350,000 hits and was featured regularly by Microsoft on its “What’s Your Story” page. At a time when blogging was far less ubiquitous, World Adventurers was — and remains — on the frontiers of digital media.
Readership declined when Spaces Live folded and I took a breather from blogging in 2008-09. World Adventurers moved to WordPress in late 2010, and made a roaring comeback since then with another 300,000 hits. Earlier this year the site moved to its new and permanent home on my website, www.mgedwards.com, and was rebranded as World Adventurers Magazine. This site hosted by WordPress and featured on Freshly Pressed has remained so popular that I haven’t shut it down; it’s still going strong and complements the new e-zine. All told, World Adventurers has had about 700,000 unique hits and tens of thousands of visitors since its inception.
It’s time for 100,000 travel confessions! Wait, that’s not quite right. I have a few travel confessions to share but not that many. Oh, I remember what the number 100,000 means. It means that this blog just passed 100,000 hits! Thank you, dear readers, search engines, and cross-posters for visiting World Adventurers. It took two years, from October 2010 to October 2012, for this blog to reach 50,000 hits and then doubled this total in less than five months. That’s incredible. I must be doing something right.
I Must Confess!
So on to the Travel Confessions. A big thanks to Letizia for tagging me to make some Travel Confessions. Letizia was born and raised in the Netherlands but is now living in Borgomanero, Italy. I have to confess that her blog Dutch Goes Italian is excellent. I love her articles about Italy and mouth-watering food and drinks. Thanks for tagging me, Letizia!
About Travel Confessions
As you might know from other awards I’ve received, I enjoy researching the origin of blog series like Travel Confessions. Caroline and Josh from the blog Traveling 9 to 5 started the Travel Confessions chain in August 2012 as a way for travel writers like Letizia and me to confess our deepest, darkest travel secrets. As Traveling 9 to 5 puts it:
Is it a routine that gets you through long trips, a guilty pleasure destination or food, or maybe a pair of white Westin slippers that have seen better days? This is your time to come clean and maybe even feel better about your own confession as we read about everyone else’s!
How To Confess!
Here’s how it works:
1. Post a photo and description of your confession.
2. Tweet your post with hashtag #travelconfession and follow/tweet @traveling9to5
3. Tag 3 – 5 other travelers whom you would like to expose, and mention them on Twitter.
*This has no prize or big cash win at the end, it is for pure enjoyment for all of us travelers who carry our sanity around with us!
To my knowledge, no one has created a Travel Confessions badge, so here’s my own version of one. You’re welcome to use it if you wish.
My Travel Confessions
Without further ado, here are some of my deepest, darkest travel secrets:
1. When I stay in hotels with complimentary shampoo and soap, I like to take and use them on different continents. I once took a free bottle of shampoo made in the United States from a hotel in Punta del Este, Uruguay and then used it in Africa and Asia before it ran out.
Free shampoo and soap from around the world
2. My family and I often forget to bring something important when we travel. It got so bad that I had to make a list of things to bring. Then I forgot to look at it before our last trip and left something important behind!
A to-do list only works if you use it!
3. Travel wears me out after being on the road more than three weeks. After three weeks at home, I’m ready to hit the road again.
Wall in my office with arts and crafts from Africa, Asia, and South America
4. I like to keep track of how many American fast food restaurant chains I can find in a given city and pop in to see what local cuisine they’re serving. The McDonald’s here in Bangkok serves a spicy Thai chicken and rice dish that’s cheaper and tastier than a Big Mac. The taro pies aren’t bad but not as delicious as cherry.
A food court in Cape Town, South Africa
5. I enjoy getting lost in a place I’m visiting for the first time and wander around until I find a landmark I recognize. I once drove after nightfall in rural Africa toward Lake Malawi hoping to find the town of Cape Maclear, Malawi. Three hours and a lot of nervous sweat later, I finally found it.
Nightfall at Cape Maclear on the shores of Lake Malawi
6. I have a fetish for photographing the hotel rooms where I stay because I want to remember all those idle moments and funky rooms.
A boutique hotel in Cape Town, South Africa
A love motel in Wolchulsan, South Korea (with my family!)
Lucky Travel Writers
Here are three outstanding travel writers. Are they up to writing some of their own Travel Confessions? We’ll see!
Welcome to an experiment. You’ve been a spectator reading my travelogues about life overseas from Korea to Zambia, but now it’s your turn to go on your own adventure! Immerse yourself in the story and make key decisions by choosing from among several options. Your selections could make the difference between a great trip or a travel disaster! Read and make your choice, and stay tuned as your story unfolds.
If you haven’t read the story from the beginning, stop reading this post! Click here to begin your journey.
Your destination is set, and now you have to arrange your travel schedule and handle the logistics. Travel overseas isn’t like getting into the car with a suitcase in hand to visit family or friends. There’s more to it. You’re going to visit a different culture and have to anticipate what you’re going to need before you leave. Grabbing a piece of paper, you jot down a list of things to do.
Flights. Driving isn’t an option. The thought crosses your mind that it would be fun to take an ocean cruise but dismiss the thought when you realize how long it would take — days or weeks. You’d rather spend your time enjoying your final destination. Flying it is! You search online for airline tickets and compare prices, exhaling as the sticker shock hits you, and finally purchase an affordable one with a couple of stops and several hours in transit.
Lodging. The online options for lodging where you’re planning to stay are mind-boggling. Beyond a few well-known hotel chains, most of the names mean nothing to you. Travel websites give you a variety of hotels, motels, inns, and bed and breakfasts to choose from, and you book places to stay close to your preferred attractions. They look quaint and clean in the photos with a list of amenities like complementary breakfast, but who knows what they’re like until you show up in the lobby with luggage in hand.
Ground transportation. Moving around the country might be easier in a car rental, but you’re not sure about local driving conditions. Cities may be crowded and perhaps dangerous if you venture into the wrong part of town. The rental may offer challenges like right-hand driving or manual shifting into tight spaces. Without GPS, driving could become a misadventure you didn’t anticipate and don’t want. You decide to use public transportation, taxis, and organized tours to get around.
Travel guides. You research online for travel information about your destination and dig up dozens of websites with a wide range of data of varying quality. Some have great pictures but scarce information about the country, while others read like encyclopedias that leave you perplexed over a dizzying array of choices. You decide that travel guides on electronic media like smartphones don’t adequately replace old-fashioned paperback guides. You check the ratings on a few of the more popular ones and choose a guide that vaguely registers in your memory, throwing in a local phrase book for good measure as you don’t know if or when you’ll need to speak the local language. While English is a second language for many worldwide, it might not be widely spoken in some places you’ll visit.
Baggage. You dig your luggage out of storage and lay them out on the floor. Opting for one large suitcase and a smaller carry-on bag, you wonder whether your soft-top bag will be sturdy enough to handle the journey and recall a time when you saw another traveler’s broken, splintered hard-top suitcase flailing about on the baggage carousel, its contents spilling out of the bag for gawking bystanders to ogle. Soft top is fine, you think. You make a trip to the store to buy luggage tags and belts and TSA-compliant locks.
Electronics and cameras. You grab your digital camera that’s been anxiously waiting to take great travel photos and all the electronic equipment begging to join you. Unsure whether theft will be a major concern, you consider which items you can keep safe on the road. You opt not to bring an oversized laptop that won’t fit into a locked bag or a hotel lockbox or your cell phone that won’t work at your destination. Instead, you jot down the phone numbers of your hotels, the nearest embassy in case of an emergency, and other contacts to input into a local cell phone after you arrive. Whatever you can carry in your carry-on bag will go with you. The lucky items cheer their good fortune.
Power converters and plug adapters. You discover that your electronics are incompatible with the plugs at your destination. You check to make sure that all your equipment uses 220-volt power, avoiding the anguish of your electronics blowing a fuse after an electrical surge. You stop by a local store to pick up a set of universal plug adapters that will fit any foreign socket.
Clothing. Local weather reports help you plan your wardrobe. The forecast suggests that temperatures will be variable with a chance of rain. You recall the different latitudes and hemispheres where the seasons are reversed and decide to bring both warm- and cool-weather clothing. You’re careful not to pack too much to avoid an airline charge for overweight baggage; enough clothing for a week is sufficient with downtime to do laundry.
Insurance. Uncertain whether your insurance will cover accidents and theft overseas, you check online and learn that a serious incidents overseas such as a medical evacuation or lengthy hospitalization may not be fully covered. You decide to play it safe and check out travel insurance coverage in the event you’re injured, robbed, or worse.
Money. Although the thought occurs to you that it may be better to purchase travelers’ cheques or local currency from a money exchange before arriving at your destination, you realize that cash and credit cards should work where you’re traveling. You make sure that you have your credit cards’ personal identification numbers (PINs) handy, mindful to keep them separate from your cards.
With your trip planning well in hand, you breathe a sigh of relief. While not much fun, you feel better knowing that most of the logistics are done to help make your trip a good one. Crashing on the sofa, you ponder what to do about your travel documents. You hope you have enough time before your trip, but you’re leaving soon and aren’t sure if you can get them back in time. If you apply for a new passport, you risk not getting it before you’re scheduled to leave. Applying for a visa can be a notoriously slow and time-intensive process. Adding a visa to a new passport will take even longer, possibly jeopardizing your trip. You can get vaccinations and a yellow shot card, but who wants to gets shots? Maybe the immunizations aren’t required and can be avoided.
What should you do about your travel documents?
Click here to travel to Brazil with your current passport.
Click here to travel to China with your current passport.
Click here to travel to South Africa with your current passport.