10 Travel Blogs That Will Change Your Life (And, Thank God For That, Because Your Life Was Pretty Lame)

by phil on January 5, 2011

I hope that most of you have realized by now that much of what I do on this site is not very serious, with exception to the previous post on the Cote D’Ivoire crisis, this post on eating sand and Thomas Merton, and of course the How to Draw Camels Ebook. This post, however, is off the charts kind of serious. These are some of my favorite sites, specifically travel blogs, that I read on a regular basis. I suggest you do the same.

These sites are all unique, but the authors have a few things in common: strong, inventive writing, a willingness to be vulnerable in their experiences and their words, and a sense of humor. They deserve to be compensated with more than wide online readership, but unfortunately that is all I can provide. Actually, who am I kidding, I can’t do that either. In any case, I hope you take some time to read these – you won’t be disappointed.

Unbrave Girl

Sally’s obsession with unicorns and cookies may color her deranged, but she is actually a very sensible person and a gifted writer. If you only read the words within parentheses, you would still fall in love with her site. Currently in Thailand, Sally has been making tracks in Asia. Click here to go to her site, or search for “tongue going numb while eating donuts” on google – her page is the first result.

One of my faves: behaving badly: the unbrave girl’s guide to unleashing your inner bad traveler
Follow Sally on twitter at @unbravegirl

Go, See, Write

Michael is a former lawyer who recently finished a round the world trip without the use of planes. While his trip in itself is remarkable, it is his insightful and humorous writing that has me coming back to his site. I also get the sense that he would be a fun person to share a beer with. Or a bus ride in Africa, which is something I enjoy myself.

One of my faves: Castara, Tobago: an undiscovered gem wrapped in awesomeness wrapped in paper cliché
Follow Michael on twitter at @mobilelawyer

Children on the Roof

Sara and I studied abroad together in Ghana five years ago (holy crap, now it’s six years!!). She is a brilliant pre-school teacher, baker, and writer, among other things. She can also run very far. Like really, very, very far. She is currently in the DRC, teaching and trying to avoid mango worms. I could easily spend all day reading her stories. Don’t be surprised if you end up feeling the same way.

One of my faves: Thank You Note to Maasai Mara, Kenya

Johnny Vagabond

I was reluctant to put Wes on this list – he has said some very upsetting things about camels – but his narratives are too entertaining and well written for me to ignore. He also takes some stunning photos and offers a considerable amount of helpful travel tips. Currently in Kathmandu, Wes has been taking his time traveling around Asia. While I love his site, he remains unforgiven for his disparaging camel remarks. NO ONE SAID THEY WOULD BE COMFORTABLE TO RIDE ON, WES. THAT DOESN”T MAKE THEM EVIL.

One of my faves: Beers and a Bhang Lassi in India’s Holiest City
Follow Wes on twitter at @johnnyvagabond

I Eat my Pigeon

Liv is a serial expat who has spent time in Japan, Ireland, and Italy in the past several years. She could craft an entertaining tale about watching paint peel, but instead she writes about things like learning how to drive in Italy. Her writing has caused me more than a few uncontrollable fits of laughter. It is also incredibly thoughtful. And, given my recent bird-related anxiety, I appreciate the title of her site (I would, however, prefer “I Eat my Seagull”).

One of my faves: Life in These Here Hills
Follow Liv on twitter at @ieatmypigeon

The Flying Pork Knuckle

Noah is another person that falls under the category of perennial expat and brilliant writer. While his subjects are interesting (for example, working for a butcher), it is his often hilarious writing that really stands out. And his fantastic illustrations. Also, you can’t get much better than “The Flying Pork Knuckle” for a site title.

One of my faves: A Preview from: My Moving Diary
Follow Noah on twitter at @flyingknuckle

Legal Nomads

There are many reasons you should read Jodi’s site. One of them is that she has a crap counter. Unlike my loose stool counter, she is tabulating bird craps, of which she has experienced 11 (and one bat!!!). Perhaps a more appropriate reason to read her site is that Jodi is incredibly friendly, open, genuinely interested in learning about the world around her, and she is an excellent writer and photographer. Follow her site as she makes her return to SE Asia.

One of my faves: Top 10 Philippine Quirks
Follow Jodi on twitter at @legalnomads

Bacon is Magic

More pork site titles? Guess so. I love Ayngelina’s site for many reasons besides the title. One is that she has adopted a slow travel approach and her willingness to really get to know places comes across in her writing and photos. Another is that her site is an appetite stimulant. As in, you might not want to read it or look at the amazing food photography if you are hungry. She also shares recipes, like this one for Peruvian ceviche!!

One of my faves: Why I Love Ugly Cities
Follow Ayngelina on twitter at @ayngelina

Fevered Mutterings: The Art of Unfortunate Travel

You will soon find yourself stuck in the orbit that is Mike Sowden’s wit. Seriously thoughtful and funny writing can be found here. His recent post on twitter predictions for 2011 is as hilarious as I believe it is accurate. His narratives are transporting and his subjects are always interesting. I won’t blame you if I never see you again.

One of my faves: The North York Moors: a Birthday Challenge
Follow Mike on twitter at @Mikeachim

Wandering Earl

Earl is another person whose friendliness is evident in his writing and experiences. He has visited many destinations that many people would consider unsafe or dangerous, often focusing on the many possibilities that lie within human interaction, rather than preconceived notions about a place. While I am always engaged by Earl’s stories, I also appreciate the incredible care and detail he puts into writing tips and guides.

One of my faves: The Dirtiest Place in India.
Follow Earl on twitter at @wanderingearl

Personal Update

I am about to road trip from NYC to Arizona, where I will be for an unknown period of time. My primary mission is to get back to Africa. That will be temporarily superseded by another mission: make some money. I will continue sharing posts from Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, and Morocco (next up: Ghallywood baby!!), but I will also be sharing posts about this road trip and the many interactions I will be having with javelinas in Arizona. If you want to meet up here, there or anywhere really, contact me at phil dot paoletta at gmail dot com. Or on twitter at @philinthe_

And Just for the Hell of it

I already gave you the gift of ten awesome blogs to read. Now I give you The Return of Anne-Marie and Blessing to Phil in the Blank:

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Ayngelina January 5, 2011 at 9:16 am

Thank you so much for including me. I really hope that my blog inspires as this trip through Latin America has really changed my life in ways I would never have guessed.

How did I not know about the flying pork knuckle? It kind of makes sense, if bacon is magic then pork knuckles can fly. I’m heading there right now!

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phil January 5, 2011 at 10:22 am

You know there is totally another sweet pork-related site title out there. You need to find them and then you will form the holy trinity of pork.

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Ayngelina January 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Actually I found a site called “Bacon is my Lover” and was jealous of the site name.

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Jodi January 6, 2011 at 5:28 am
Mikeachim January 6, 2011 at 5:31 am

“Soft and snuggly with big giant eyes, My First Bacon(tm) is both friendly and reliable, just like actual bacon.”

Call me British if you like, but I tend to avoid bacon with eyes.

I know I know, I’m *so* unadventurous.

phil January 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm

AWESOME

Skott and Shawna January 5, 2011 at 9:31 am

Thanks for the recommendations…you have found a few that don’t seem to make many other top 10 lists, and we will definately check them out.

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phil January 5, 2011 at 10:21 am

You are very welcome, do check them out – they are awesome!!

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Sally January 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

Dear Phil,
Wow. I’m blushing. (Or maybe that’s just my derangement showing?! What color is derangement after all?). As always, thanks for the love!
I’d like to inform your readers that my blog also appears as the number one Google search result for “Lemon & Sesame Pringles.” So, I’m not just about donuts, I’m also about hard-hitting issues like dessert-flavored potato chips!
P.S. You owe me money for that title. Or a beer. What? Didn’t think I’d notice that you stole that from my blog? (Okay, so I didn’t recognize it at first. But it did sound vaguely familiar… )
P.P.S.Is this trip to Arizona going to take you by Buffalo, NY? (That’s on the way to Arizona, right?) I will be there at the end of the month. You can buy me a beer there.
P.P.P.S. I’m pretty sure that last commenter was referring to my blog when he was talking about blogs that don’t “make many other top 10 lists.”

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phil January 5, 2011 at 10:26 am

Sally,
Thanks for updating me on those search queries. As for the title, I will happily buy you a beer. You realize that now you need to go back and edit that post, because in it you were lamenting (ok maybe not lamenting) that you were not a part of any lists titled in this way and now you are. I don’t think we will pass through buffalo as we are going to head south first, but in any case we need to be in Arizona by the 20th, so it’s going to be a bit quicker of a road trip than I’d like. At some point though, I will be buying you a beer. Promise.

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Kirsten January 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

What a great list!

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phil January 6, 2011 at 12:56 am

Thanks Kirsten, I hear you are quite the photographer, will be spending some time verifying this in the near future!!

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Mikeachim January 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm

You were doing so *well* until that Fevered Mutterings guy. Because he’s such an idiot. Trust me on this.

Noah and Sara are new to me. (Not for long, though). Everyone else on this list, barring The Idiot (see above) are all terrific writers and wonderful people and I’d follow them anywhere, in the metaphorical sense, travel sense and social media sense, but not in the creepifying serial killer sense.

(Also, re. the previous comment, that Kirsten’s photography is amazing, Everyone go look).

Praise from the praise-worthy, this post, Phil. Glad to count myself a fan.

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phil January 6, 2011 at 12:58 am

Mike, you are too modest. You are a great writer and you deserve to be here, as well as on many other lists with more clout than I can offer.

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Liv January 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Yeah… why add the guy from Fevered Mutterings? He’s all fevered and muttery. :D (honestly, though – great pick, and kudos also for including Ayngelina and Sally!). Thank you for the mood boost and for reading… we’ll try to keep you happy.

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phil January 6, 2011 at 12:59 am

Liv, yes try to keep me happy. I expect one post every 1.5 days. How’s that?

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Wes Nations January 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Thanks so much for including me, Phil! I have to admit to a change of heart: after spending a week at the Camel Fair in India — and only being attacked twice — I have decided that camels are only *mostly* evil :)

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phil January 6, 2011 at 1:01 am

Wes, happy to include you, but I will not rest until you are on good terms with camels. Mostly evil is not any less upsetting.

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Wes Nations January 6, 2011 at 6:46 am

Work with me, Phil! How about this: they’re less evil than monkeys?

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phil January 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

That’s a start…

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Earl January 6, 2011 at 1:57 am

Much appreciated Phil! And it’s fascinating to know that one of your favorite posts of mine involves a massive lump of my ear wax :)

Seriously though, I’m absolutely loving every post you’ve been writing and it really is an honor to be included above!

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phil January 6, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Earl, my pleasure – your site is one of my favorites.
PS I shaved my arm pits

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Jodi January 6, 2011 at 5:31 am

Like the Mike, I haven’t yet discovered Noah or Sara, but I’m looking forward to doing so with your recommendation! Glad that we managed to cross paths (and drink excellent Bloody Marys) in Brooklyn, and hope to see you in Asia soon. Bring your appetite. There will be food. Oh yes, there will be food.

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phil January 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Great meeting you as well!! I look forward to staying in touch and taking a overloaded ferry together one day soon. If you subsidize my plane ticket I will be there immediately.

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Erica January 6, 2011 at 6:26 am

Love love love the list! I’m already following most of them but great writers none the less. I’m about to check out the few I haven’t had the pleasure of reading.

Those girls have SASS! Made me smile!

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phil January 6, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Indeed they do. They are pretty awesome. Hope you enjoy the new ones!

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Andi January 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Welcome back to the States! Happy New Year!!! Great picks, there are some new ones on there for me, so I’m excited to check them out.

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phil January 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Andi, thanks! It’s nice to be home for a bit! Glad I was able to share a few new writers – they are all awesome.

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Katrina January 9, 2011 at 6:18 am

Just found your blog thanks to Johnny Vagabond’s recent post. Lo and behold, I found even more bloggy goodness upon arrival! Love finding more travel and humor blogs! (Not to mention, the video was adorable. :)

Look forward to reading your posts. Cheers!

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phil January 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Hey Katrina, Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoy it! B well, Phil

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John at BDL January 10, 2011 at 2:51 am

Woahhh! More travel blogs to read. Been reading a few of them though!

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phil January 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm

John, it’s overwhelming – I know

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Caz Makepeace January 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Great list of blogs. I follow almost all of them. Will have a couple more to check out now. Thanks for such a great list.

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phil January 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Caz, Thanks for the comment! Glad to shed light on a few new ones. I love your site as well!! B well, Phil

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Bocas Del Toro Surfer March 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

This will be another weekend reading adventure :) My favorites are Wandering Earl and Todd Wanderings, both are great travelers and writers. Thanks for sharing Phil, I will check these sites whenever I’m free.

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phil March 3, 2011 at 12:04 am

Thanks for the comment :) Yeah Todd is a great writer as well. Too many good travel bloggers!

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