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.
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
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
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
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.
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”).
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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: