Recommended Reads, January 24, 2010

by Gray Cargill on January 24, 2010

As an information junkie, I read a LOT of other travel blogs every week.  There is some great travel writing happening out there, people.  Just in case you’re not spending 80% of your life in front of your computer like I do, I have decided to do my part to expose you to more great articles beyond my blog that might inspire you to travel. I am hereby instituting a new weekly series to share a few of my favorite posts and articles from the previous week or so that I really think you should read.  I will of course try to give preference to articles on solo travel, but anything related to travel is fair game. And because I know you all have busy lives, I’ll try to keep the list short.

For now, I am calling this regular series “Recommended Reads”, but if I think of something sexier, I’ll change it.  (Suggestions are welcome.  Please use the comments section below if you have one.)

What articles grabbed my interest the most in the past couple of weeks?

Why People Don’t Travel, Part 1: Fear of Going Solo by my friend JoAnna Haugen of Kaleidoscopic Wandering (and Associate Editor of online travel magazine, Matador).  In this article, JoAnna identifies the problem (fear of traveling alone) and offers several solutions, as well as offering reasons why solo travel is actually a great way to go.  It’s a good read. JoAnna is fast becoming one of the best travel writers on the web, winning two prominent travel writing contests lately.  And while you’re at it, please also read the wonderful story that earned her the grand prize in the WanderWomen Write contest, Building a Family in Kenya.  If you love animals, you’ll love this story. Just make sure you have a Kleenex handy.

Gringos in Mexico And That Elusive Quest for Authenticity by Sarah Menkedick at MatadorNetwork.  This is quite simply one of the best pieces of travel writing I have read in many years.  It is literary journal quality writing that reminds me of my English major roots.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been this engrossed in a story.  I love how she captures the tour bus experience in a humorous, yet poignant way.  It’s a “must read”, people.

Speaking of Matador, Julie Schwietert, Managing Editor, has been working tirelessly on a volunteer project to help the people of Haiti.  You can read the latest on these efforts at Haiti Volunteer Project  Update: Afternoon 1/20/10. If you have the skills needed and time to offer, please consider doing so.  Or please consider a donation to one of the many organizations coordinating relief efforts in Haiti if you haven’t already made one.

Daniel at Two Go Round The World wrote the very thought-provoking How to Burst the Tourist Bubble.  It touches on a topic I am especially thinking of right now, having just returned from San Juan, where my interactions with locals versus other travelers weren’t quite what I’d expected.  I don’t necessarily agree with everything Daniel says, but I appreciate how well-written it is and the fact that it inspires self-reflection about one’s travel style.

And for pure entertainment value, I loved Nomadic Chick‘s 10 Reasons Why I Suck As a Travel Girlfriend.  #3 totally cracked me up. Yeah, sometimes there are good reasons why we travel alone.

SoloFriendly January 24, 2010 at 11:30 pm

You're welcome, Keith! I think you'll like them all.

SoloFriendly January 24, 2010 at 11:29 pm

I know, right? It's nice to try something different for a change. I WISH I could be as funny once in awhile as you were in that post. :-)

SoloFriendly January 24, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Thanks! I'm glad you like the concept. That's the idea…there are so many travel blogs out there, it's hard to keep up with them all (even though I try like hell, because I don't want to miss something good!). But when someone recommends that I read something, I read it.

Keith January 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Thanks for your recommendations!

nomadicchick January 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for the acknowledgment, some of my posts mark a serious tone, so it's nice to break out my sense of humor once in a while. Great idea for a segment, I agree with Joanna that high quality blogs get buried.

joanna_haugen January 24, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Thanks for the shout out Gray! I love the idea of a weekly round-up. There are so many great resources and blogs on the web, and that might help some people get a handle on everything floating around out here!

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