Archive for the ‘Travel writing’Category

Walkability and Journeying on Foot: An Interview with Jonathon Stalls

This interview first appeared on The Travel Word. To read the full interview, click here. Nov, 2013.

Expert wayfarer Jonathon Stalls is on a mission that is anything but pedestrian. Stalls advocates for civic and personal wellness through walking. From his home base in Denver, Colorado, he organizes community walks through his social enterprise, called Walk2Connect, and lobbies for more pedestrian-friendly urban planning. He calls for a return to the mode of travel for which we are built, challenging those around him to slow down and experience life at a pace of three miles an hour.


I came across Jonathon’s guided walks through Tentiko, a marketplace for unique and authentic experiences in Denver. There, I found his Mile High TEDx presentation, during which he urges his audience to draw a circle with a one-mile radius around their homes and then commit to walking rather than driving within that space.

To continue reading the full interview, click here


10 2013

‘Digital Detox’ and Other Travel Buzzwords, Defined

This article originally appeared on the VacationRoost blog. To read the original post, click here. September, 2013.

flightmareLove ‘em or hate ‘em, new travel buzzwords are always popping up. Where do they come from? Copywriters and marketers think up new ways to describe travel trends and products. Travelers share their experiences in real time, creating hashtag-worthy hybrids. Anyone can make a travel buzzword — just add a trip theme in front of the suffix -cation, fuse two words together, or make a bad pun.

Here’s a glossary of the most awesome and awful (awfsome?) travel buzzwords, illustrated by their usage in a sentence.

Babymoon noun. A honeymoon-style trip taken before or during pregnancy, as one last “grown-ups only” travel hurrah before baby arrives.

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 Other Posts for the VacationRoost blog:


09 2013

Iceland’s Northern Lights, Demystified

This article first appeared on Huffington Post. To read the original post, click here. May, 2013.


Sublime. Celestial. Surreal. Since this is the kind of language used to describe the northern lights, I wanted to keep some sense of wonder intact while hunting the heavens for it in Iceland. At the same time, I knew that a bit of planning and research would be needed in order to maximize my chances of seeing that rare green glow.

Iceland is one of the world’s most accessible spots for viewing the northern lights, making it one of the country’s top tourist attractions. Capitalizing on its mystique, enterprising Icelanders have designed borealis-oriented cruises, overland tours, and even a concept bar at far-flung Ion Hotel. So what is the best way to go about seeing the phenomenon?

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05 2013

The Thermal Greenhouse Town of Hveragerði: Iceland’s Offbeat Hotbed

This post originally appeared in The Travel Word. To read the full article, click here. April, 2013.


“Warning! Hot Spring Area” cautions a sign on the outskirts of Hveragerði, Iceland. Bilious clouds of steam rise up from the ground. I take the message as a sign that I’ve found what I was looking for in Iceland – hot springs in their most raw and natural form, without a manmade pool in sight. The goal: bathe in a babbling thermal river.

The town of Hveragerði, just 45 minutes outside Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, was built over a volcanic magma chamber, capitalising on the abundance of steam and hot water rising from the ground. Here, superheated groundwater can reach temperatures of 392°F.

Resourcefully, Hveragerði residents have put their thermal endowments to use in a number of creative ways.

To keep reading, click here.


05 2013

Hotels vs. Cruise Ships on the Galapagos Islands

This article appeared in Tourism Review. To view the original article, click here. March, 2013.

ships vs. hotels in the galapagosSince the onset of tourism in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands in the 1970’s, small cruise ships have reigned as the classic mode for touring the unique archipelago. Nowadays, however, new and sophisticated hotels are making their debut as a worthy addition to the cruise experience. Galápagos travelers can now enjoy a land-based stay or a combination of cruise and hotel for the best of both worlds.

To keep reading, click here.


04 2013

5 wild mating rituals from the Galapagos Islands

I wrote this post on behalf of Southwind Adventures for A Luxury Travel Blog. To read the entire post, click here. February 2013.

galapagos bird

In evolutionary theory, “survival of the fittest” doesn’t capture the whole picture. As Charles Darwin pointed out, it is not brute strength alone that wins out in evolution but the ability of a species to adapt to change. Courtship matters. Attractiveness to mates is quite important for the passing along of well-adapted genes.

The Galapagos Islands, where Darwin himself began forming his theory, is a veritable laboratory of evolution. Here are five Galapagos species with elaborate courtship rituals that help them woo a mate and procreate.

To keep reading, click here.


02 2013

Microfinance Tourism: How to Turn Travel Cash into Microcredit

This article originally appeard on The Travel Word. To read the entire post, click here. January 2013.

What is poverty? The disturbing reasons for asking this question often look us straight in the eye when we venture into parts of the world notable for extreme wealth disparities. To Mohammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi father of microfinance and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, poverty is the lack of control over capital. His answer to poverty is to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor through low-interest microloans, mostly to women.

microfinance tourism

Today, anyone can join the microfinance movement and offer capital to the poor through crowdfunding sites like the Geotourism Development Foundation or Kiva. Even more exciting for travellers is that we can now take our involvement on the road. Travellers can now connect with borrowers in person through innovative microfinance tours.

Here are some great ideas for firsthand adventures into the world of microcredit.

To keep reading, click here.


01 2013

Solstice Sun Celebration to Shine in Peru

This article originally appeared on To read the full post, click here. December, 2012.

Each year on June 24th, one of the largest and most colorful celebrations in Latin America erupts on the cobbled streets of Cusco, Peru – a colonial city at 11,150 feet above sea level and gateway to the legendary Machu Picchu. The Inti Raymi festival attracts foreigners and Peruvians alike with a re-enactment of a sacred Inca solstice celebration.


For the event, a cast of hundreds will dress in full regalia to welcome the return of the Father Sun, or “Inti”. The day is filled with Andean music, parades, ceremonies in the ancient Quechua tongue, and a culminating display in the fortress ruins of Sacsayhuaman in the hills above the city.

To keep reading, click here.


12 2012

What Not to Flush While Travelling

This article originally appeared on The Travel Word. To view the original post, click here. November, 2012.

“Don’t flush paper in the toilet.”

Some variation of this message, often in quirkily translated English, is perhaps the most ubiquitous signage I’ve seen in my travels abroad. To me, it is now a lot like “No smoking” signs; yes, they’re usually clearly stated, but the notion has become implied over time – when in doubt, your best bet is not to do it.


Tourism Wear and Tear

I began pondering the problem of flushed paper after I started travelling and studying tourism. A class I took in tourism economics began by juxtaposing the impacts of tourism: positive on the left, negative on the right. On the right side appeared “strain on public infrastructure.”

To keep reading, click here.


11 2012

The anatomy of a fam trip

This article originally appeared on Matador. To read the original post, click here. October, 2012.

Inside the travel industry, a place is not a place — it is a “destination.” An organized trip is not a trip — it is a “tour product.” For travel tradespeople, part of the job is to get familiar with the destinations and tour products that we handle. This is the perk of our work, a tradition known as the familiarization trip, or “fam trip” in travel-speak.

Ecuador - "love life"

Essentially, there are two kinds of fam trips. The most common kind (let’s call it type I) is a travel company-hosted trip for its owners, staff, and agents to learn a destination. These trips are usually heavily discounted or entirely compensated by the company, minus airfare. Type II is a state-sponsored variety, where a country’s ministry of tourism will host a handful of travel specialists as part of a larger destination promotion campaign.

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10 2012