Last December, we got on a plane in Guayaquil, and by the end of the day were here, in Cartagena, Colombia. Its narrow streets and balconies, and its colorful, crumbling walls greeted us as we sped by taxi inside the old stone walls surrounding the historic downtown.
Actually, we got there at night, and the narrow streets and crumbling walls were a little disconcerting as we formed our first impressions. We scanned the dark and empty street that was the backdrop to the front door of our hotel, it little more than a painted metal gate opening into a set of white tile stairs, flickering under the fluorescent bulbs above, leading up and around a corner inside the building.
I had made a reservation at this hotel while we were still in Cuenca. I followed the standard rule that you don’t go with the cheapest nor the most expensive place when it’s sight unseen. But I did go lower than I originally intended to. When I called the first place on my list and inquired about the price per night, I heard “seijenta mil pesoj” from the man on the line, breathing through his
This was started with my friend Liz while in Peru / Bolivia in 2004. We had thought we’d packed really light and fast and easy. That was until we got there and our porters on the Inca Trail were struggling under the weight of our bags. Before we were rushing to a bus with a huge backpack each, and carrying a big duffel bag between us. Before we couldn’t put everything onto the 12 seater plane heading into the Amazon and had to leave a LOT of stuff at the hotel.
So it began in South America, and the next year when I went to Southeast Asia I said “I’m going to follow this to the T, and see how it all works out.”
It’s been slightly modified for different trips, but really just barely. (When we started it we didn’t have iPods:).
So here it is, in it’s most recent incantation. Obviously you might need to modify it for your particular needs, but don’t be fooled into thinking you need a ton more than this. It’s much easier and more fun to travel when you aren’t trying to carry your house with you on your back. And besides…
In my day I’ve gone solo and I’ve gone with groups. I enjoy both types of trips, as they both offer different advantages and challenges.
During a group trip to Florida for Spring Break, Senior Year of College I learned a few things. The trip was 5 of us in my tiny Toyota, Corolla. None of us had a lot of money, so we stayed with a recently graduated friend who worked at Disneyworld.
Due to all sorts of reasons the trip was a lot of stress. A lot of disagreements, arguments, even fights (not physical, but verbal) happened due to no one being willing to do what they wanted to do and more or less forcing or guilting other people into doing what they wanted to do.
It’s easy for me to point the main blame at one certain guy, but really it was everyone, and me just as much as anyone else who caused the problems.
In the end we made it back to Iowa, and somehow stayed friends, which is kind of amazing when I think of how bad the trip went.
In the end, I came up with two RULES of group travel. The Third was…
I’ve come up with this rating system (based on English speakers admittedly, but you can apply it to your own language). What purpose does it serve? It can make you figure out what you feel comfortable with, and maybe make you feel good when you take your traveling to the next level.
0. BEGINNER – Traveling in your own country
1. EASY – Traveling in a country with the same language (for USA, such as England, Australia etc) where they have a good tourist services.
2. MODERATE – Traveling in a country with a different language, but good tourist services (see Thailand, or perhaps France). Where perhaps the main tourist track speaks English.
3. ADVANCED – Traveling in a country with a very different language, and not good tourist services (See Russia, Kenya, or Peru if you didn’t know Spanish)
4. EXPERT – A country with different language, little to no tourist services, where you have to get local transport, perhaps bribe officials and such. (See Uganda, Bolivia, etc)
5. INSANE = Going to a war zone like Iraq or Somalia. Enough said.
Client Answers.com announces first Answers Summit, which will bring together members to meet, mingle and celebrate their growing Q&A community.
The Answers Summit's Q&A community event will be hosted December 5-6, 2009 in Atlanta, GA. The Summit will include workshops on
growing, improving and celebrating WikiAnswers, the community-generated Q&A
platform of Answers.com. A guest speaker from the Cyberbullying Research Center will
conduct a workshop titled ‘The Fight Against Cyberbullying.’ A second
workshop, conducted by a Performance Specialist, will focus on communicating
effectively online. The conference will be addressed by keynote speakers Bob
Rosenschein, CEO, and Bruce D. Smith. Additional highlights of the event include
a trip to the Georgia Aquarium with a catered dinner.
Renee Blodgett is the founder and editor of We Blog the World, which was created in 2008. Renee has lived in ten countries and traveled to nearly 80, giving her a unique understanding and appreciation of international cultures. She is ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes and referenced in two renowned books on how social media is changing how we live our lives.
Since its launch, the site has grown organically across multiple online platforms. We Blog the World combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network, where independent voices capture the best cultural experiences, events, ideas and stories for the discerning, educated and savvy globetrotter.
Check out our About Us and Work With Us pages for opportunities to get involved with us on or off-the-ground.