Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I will be happily infected for the rest of my life
Traveling is something that countless people from all over the world love to do for a litany of reasons. It is liberating to explore new places and experience new cultures, to try new foods and lifestyles if only for a short period of time. Some people take it a step farther and turn their whole lives to completely surround traveling, doing everything in their power to keep the high that one gets from landing in a new place going on forever. I don’t know if I could commit the rest of my life to a nomadic existence, however, I really have began to love so many different travel related shows, video series, blogs and other stories I’ve found online, and I thought I would share them here in a comprehensive list in case anyone else is looking for some inspiration or motivation to take that trip or start planning out a future adventure.
Andrew’s Great Adventure is a travel blog and adventure story dear to me because Andrew Siess, the writer and adventurer, is from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Andrew’s stories are truly incredible; he has now officially walked the circumference of the planet and he has ridden his bike from Minnesota to the southernmost point of South America, amongst many other adventures along the way. His story is inspiring and very impressive.
Check him out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndrewSiess?fref=ts
Nadine Sykora of Hey Nadine is also an inspiring travel blogger and vlogger, although I find some of her content leaves a lot to be desired concerning the cultural aspects of travel. Many of her trips are sponsored through Contiki, which is an amazing company to utilize for newer travelers or perhaps people who like having someone else handle the planning and coordinating of a trip when they travel. It’s great that she has a company to pay for her adventures and a lot of the cinematography of her vlogs is impressive, however I believe that some of the raw, cultural experience that I enjoy in traveling would get lost through group travel of this type.
Twenty-Something Travel is a travel blog and online resource primarily written by Stephanie Yoder, although she now has a few other writers who work for her. I love her website, as it combines realistic travel tips, advice, recommendations and photos of the various places that she has traveled to, lived and worked in. She has been many places and has turned a passion for traveling into a successful career. I also love how she does Friday Postcards – photo submissions that anyone can send in for a feature on her blog. One of my photos from Toledo was posted a few months ago, and I think this is a great way for her to connect with her readers.
All I can say is having Travel channel for the past four years after not growing up with cable TV has been amazing, although lately a lot of the shows kind of suck. I generally only get excited when either No Reservations or The Layover re-runs are on, but occasionally I get sucked into some Bizarre Foods.
I love Anthony Bourdain for his crass, raw style of experiencing foreign cultures and his biting wit is something I really enjoy. He has three different shows I thoroughly enjoy, however his newest show on CNN “Parts Unknown” is by far my favorite. They are also on Netflix!
Tools and Packing Essentials
The Visa-Requirements Map for US Citizens:
This map is valuable for anyone planning out travels who is curious about the various visa requirements for traveling to any country throughout the world. Having paperwork in order is vital to prevent having issues at the border and/or large fees for not having the correct visas needed for entry into a country.
I picked up this backpack during a massive sale at REI and I am absolutely brimming with excitement to use it. REI is a fantastic company to buy a backpacking pack from because they allow returns of any item for a full year after they are purchased (if you are a member, which is definitely something I’d recommend looking into). This backpack is an Osprey specially designed for women, fitting my body perfectly and distributing the weight properly without cutting off the circulation to my boobs.
I bought mine for 5 euro in Spain at Ale Hop but I would recommend getting one of the nicer, memory foam neck pillows that they sell at travel stores and the airport shops. This makes a long journey a hell of a lot more pleasant, because it allows you to be unconscious for it.
Eyeshades and Earplugs
This probably goes without saying but when traveling, sleep can be a rare thing to come by when you’re bouncing around on an overnight train bed beneath a bunk holding an old hippie named Mike, but certain things can help the aid the process. I bring my eyeshades literally everywhere, ready to shut out the world and catch a nap whenever possible. For plane rides and long train rides, earplugs are also essential to flush out the screams of infants and the jostling noises of transportation.
Even though this seems like the most obvious thing to remember when going on a trip, I almost always forget it and I know many others who also forget theirs as well. If there’s one thing I always kick myself over when I travel, it’s when I have to buy water at the airport or fast food restaurants/convenience stores because I forgot my bottle. Unless you’re traveling to certain places where the water could potentially blow your colon out and put you on the toilet for the rest of your trip, having a reusable water bottle is the best way to save some extra money and still stay hydrated while exploring new places. I’ve never had digestion problems after drinking the water in many different European countries (knock on wood…) but it could be a problem in other places, so be careful!
In a world where our biggest threats are coming from hackers and identity thieves, having extra protection of sensitive information is key in preventing having major headaches or even a financial catastrophe while abroad. RFID protection cases essentially function as a “Faraday cage” which, if you have been blessed and never had to take physics in your life, just basically means that shithead hackers can’t use counterfeit RFID readers to obtain your personal information. You can technically also use a closed Altoids case if you want to save on money (and have an excuse to eat a bunch of mints) but these are a good idea to have to prevent having someone draining your bank account or stealing your identity while abroad.
That’s it for my favorites list for now, let me know some of your travel favorites in the comments!