First off, a big happy birthday shout-out to my brother, who probably won’t even read this, but at least everyone else can tell him I was thinking of him on his birthday. (Actually, he knows–I sent him a card and called him last night.) Okay, onto the shiny, shiny travel. As is often the case, it was really hard to pick just 5 travel items this week. In fact, two articles got bumped at the last minute to make room for two new contendors. My choices for this week include a blog post that finally made me see the light about travel to Asia, three articles regarding safety for travelers, and a wonderful philosophical piece on mid-life crises and the desire to travel:
I have a travel confession to make: Asia in general has never interested me much as a travel destination. I know, it’s a huge region, how could there not be anything that interests me? (Okay, Hong Kong does appeal, as does the Great Wall of China, but you hardly want to travel all that way for just one or two things.) In Finding Seoul: 7 Places to Make You Fall in Love with Seoul, Christine Ka’aloa of GrrrlTraveler finally does what no other travel writer ever has for me: She makes Seoul, Korea look so appealing, I want to visit now. Her virtual tour through some of her favorite neighborhoods in Seoul, each of them different, was wonderfully written and brought the city to life for me.
The next three articles are the cautionary tales of travel, those bad things that can happen that we want to be vigilant in defending ourselves against:
I continue to be impressed with the artistic talents of Aly and John at Hop and Jaunt, and this week, they’ve done it again in their post on Common Pickpocket Schemes. Not only do they describe what those schemes are, but they illustrated them for your viewing pleasure. You’ve got to check it out. It’s great.
Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler shares the story of a scary experience that happened to her as a young traveler in Stranger Danger Part II: Caught in a Con Game that should be required reading for any young woman about to embark on a solo journey. (And the Liam Neeson movie “Taken” should be required viewing before such a trip.) Thanks, Janice, for sharing your story with all of us. So many of us extol the virtues of meeting people on the road, and it can be the absolute best part of solo travel, BUT you still need to exercise caution and use common sense.
Speaking of which, my next featured article is from Wes Nations aka “Johnny Vagabond”, who tells the tale of One Bizarre Night — Poker Scam in Saigon, where he violates the cardinal rule of solo travelers: Never go to a private place with new acquaintances. Wes got himself into a huge jam. Read the article to see how he got himself out of it. In addition to being a great travel lesson, it’s also a really well-told tale. My palms were sweating on his behalf while reading this.
Finally, Matt Long of LandLopers wrote a really thought-provoking piece on Travel and the Thirty-Something MidLife Crisis. His words really resonated with me, even though I’m now forty-something. The older you get, the more responsibilities you have, and the more you find you need that health insurance your job offers, the more difficult it becomes to just chuck it all to go travel long-term. Trust me, it only gets worse as you get older, Matt. Obviously, this article resonated with people of all ages, because it has drawn some heart-felt reactions in the comments section as well.