Every day I scour the internet in search of awesome airfares I can take advantage of. I used to do the whole Kayak/Priceline/Mobissimo searches, but they became long, complicated guess-and-check processes and I wanted faster results. These sites below that offer me a lot of flexibility and… http://katkatravels.com/?p=1773
Today I am happy to post a guest piece by KC Owens. I’d never heard of this special student credit card for travel, but I wish I had while I was abroad! Read through his article on this interesting topic and leave some love in the comments!
When you’re… http://katkatravels.com/?p=1592
A few weeks ago, an poingent article was written by Bart Schaneman entitled “Why you should stop traveling alone.” The essay is interesting and presents some very good points, its main thesis being that travel can be more fulfilling and memorable when experienced with friends. I think Schanerman meant well, or perhaps was being purposely controversial, since most of the travelsphere is made up of solo travellers. This is evidenced by the backlash his essay received from readers who seemed like their acceptance of independent travel was somehow attacked via his argument.
I read the article and immediately thought “Yeesh, this guy doesn’t know who he is writing for.” Not in a bad way, but telling people to stop traveling alone is a pretty bold statement, considering that most travel writers, bloggers and hobby travellers take their trips alone. So I wrote a response article supporting why people should start traveling alone.
Hot damn, did that garner some attention.
There’s no mistaking that traveling alone can be lonely. But you can feel just as insecure in your own backyard – if you’re going to feel sorry for yourself, do it somewhere cool.
I figured there might be equal backlash from people who agreed with Schanerman’s essay. After all, travel is only as good as a person, or people, make it, and travel experiences are subjective. There is obviously no right way to travel. I however enjoy solo travel more than traveling with friends, due to my independent nature. Apparently most travellers on Matador Network do too..
This is my most successful Matador article yet, and I am so happy with the response. I’ve received positive feedback, criticism, and folks who swing both ways. But I am so happy reading how my article has inspired people to travel on their own. That was never my intention – I was merely presenting my side of the argument – but I received countless twitter messages, emails and Facebook comments thanking me for helping them overcome their fear of traveling alone, and how my article gave them courage to do it now.
Call me a narcissist, but that’s an amazing fucking feeling, folks.
How do you feel about traveling alone? Are you a fan? What makes it special or revolting to you? I love discussing this topic with people and hearing their viewpoints on such a polar topic.
Read my article here:
My Instagram account was created with my wanderings in mind – I found it to be an easy way to share some quick snaps with my followers and transport the images to various other social media sites. Since I am an amateur photographer, I take pride in the photos on my Instagram account. Mostly when people take my photos for their blogs or tweets, I’m always credited. That, to me, is satisfactory enough. It’s social media use, in a social media world. But now, those boundaries are being crossed.
According to an article on CNET.com, “Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency…That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo.”
If I used Instagram for recreational purposes, I’d say “fuck it, if someone really wants to use my photo of my friend and I making ‘duck lips’ to the camera on New Years Eve, be my guest.” But that’s not how I use Instagram – for the most part, at least. Yeah there are sometimes stupid photos that I post but oftentimes I am trying to help my readers and followers understand the places I am in, in the moment I am there.
Do I want to be compensated for my Instagrams? I mean that’d be awesome, but I’m not going to hunt down lonely bloggers to pay me for posting my cool image their Tumblr. What I don’t want however, is for a brand or a location or something similar to take my photo and call it theirs. I’m definitely the type of person who warrants credit when credit is due. The fact that most of my photos do highlight this Mexican resort or help followers vicariously travel with me through New York City, is not something for corporations to bastardize simply because they are too damn cheap to pay photographers.
In fact, I’d feel better if those who paid Facebook to buy my photos at least plugged the source where they got them from. “Photos by KatkaTravels” or “Follow KatkaTravels on Instagram” would be sufficient for me. It’s this idea that the people who take these photos and then have them essentially stolen by big-wig publications and their creative merit is never even touched upon.
So what’s the solution? Delete Instagram accounts? Demand the clause be taken out? Develop an even better social media photography app that doesn’t rape us of our creative rights? There is a good chance that with all of the uproar Instagram will conveniently take this part of the bargain out, and yesterday, co-founder Kevin Systrom released this statement. But in reality, the shittiness of the internet includes not being able to tell who is using your images and under what capacity.
In the meantime, feel free to experiment with The Next Wave’s Instagram Alternatives: 8 Great Choices.
What do you think about the new Instagram policies? Are travelers and photographers making too big of a fuss, or not enough?
As travelers, it’s easy for us to forget that not every country celebrates Thanksgiving. It’s even easier for us to forget that not all countries sell frozen turkeys. Recently, I wrote an article for Matador Network on my improvised Thanksgiving meal that occurred in Slovakia in 2008. That was probably the best Thanksgiving I ever had and it was a really special memory. Check it out!
Figure out a menu that will show your new Slovak friends how Thanksgiving is your most favorite holiday in the world. Feel slightly intimidated that many Slovaks make their meals from scratch, so obviously instant mashed potatoes will not do (not that they really exist in Slovakia…). The trepidation wears off as you recall that part of Thanksgiving’s charm is having an excuse to eat everything in sight.
As an emerging writer, I am not yet used to receiving responses to articles I’ve published on the web or in print. I’m usually elated if I get one or two, and especially cheery if they say something positive like “Good job!” Who wouldn’t be? But then, there are the critics. Critics, it seems try to bring you down for only reasons they understand.
- People are entitled to their own opinions. One of the hardest things to reconcile with is that there are going to be people out there who won’t like your work. Scott suggests writers “humanize the person commenting…they’re people. And that’s what you have to remember. People who feel stuff. They’re angry people, obviously, and pretty clearly dealing with some control issues. (What type of person takes time, considerable time, out of their day to anonymously post this hateful shit?)” It sucks to see it, but honestly, you can’t criticize a person’s feelings. Some people just don’t see it your way. And that’s that.
- Don’t be that author. If you respond in an equally-negative fashion, what does that say about you? That you are a bitter author who can dish it but can’t take it? A strong writer is one who is able to forge ahead without a little bad commentary dragging them down.
- Not all criticism is bad for you. Sometimes, internet trolls actually do you some good. If people disagree with comments, they will fight back with a vengeance and support you. But even if it is overwhelmingly negative, at least people are reading it. You can open up a new conversation, and learn from the experience as well. “A huge flux of negative comments can teach you to stay away from certain topics in your writing,” Scott describes. “When you write something and ALL the feedback is negative, you can learn something from that, even if the individual comments are stupid.”
advice, article, hurricane, Hurricane Sandy, Matador Network, natural disasters, tips, Travel, travel advice, travel article, travel blog, travel news, travel story, travel tips, travel writing, travel writing exercise, writing
People whose homes were not annihilated during Hurricane Sandy still freaked out a bit. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I’M LIVING WITHOUT ELECTRICITY/HEAT/WATER/GAS FOR TWO WEEKS? HOW AM I EVER GOING TO DO ANYTHING EVER AGAIN?!?!?!??!” People lamented and “woo is me”d until the the magic lights came back on and suddenly, everything was fine.
What most people don’t realize however, is that there are people all around the world who live without basic amenities every day – sometimes, for their whole lives. This is something you would only be able to know by traveling the world and exposing yourself to the way other people live. It’s one thing to see it on the news, it’s another to actually live it.
No power? No problem. I wanted to write an article about how it’s alright to live without the things we take for granted, as long as we are resourceful in other ways. I love learning how I an improve my life from watching another way of doing things. For example, I never would have known what to do with myself in the dark if I hadn’t lived through continuous blackouts in Ghana. And I never would have figured out what I could and could not eat if I hadn’t been without a fridge in Slovakia. We learn as we travel, it changes us, and it helps us grow in other ways.
Before the next natural disaster hits, check out my survival lessons I applied to Hurricane Sandy. You’d be surprised how easy it really is to live without technological innovations.
What were some travel skills that you were able to use to get you through the storm?
Recently, BootsnAll held a fantastic interactive RTW chat about career-break travel. One of their innovative methods was recording their Google Hangout session and posting it on Youtube. I really enjoyed watching the experts discuss this topic in-depth. Sometimes, 140 characters just doesn’t cut it – I need to hear it from the “horse’s mouth.”
I am always ready, and never ready, for career-break travel. Yes, of course I am totally capable of packing up my bags and leaving home to travel the world – the motivation isn’t the problem. But at this juncture in my life, I have too many responsibilities that are unavoidable. I have to pay my student loans. I have at least a year of grad school left. My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting married soon. I could leave my family, my home, my dog and my friends behind, no problem, and I have enough money saved to make it possible, but those aforementioned hiccups sadly are causing the delay.
Before the BootsnAll RTW chat, career-break travel depressed me. Here I am, 25, well-traveled but always seeking more, and always jealous of those younger than I who have traveled extensively. “Travel while you’re young,” people always tell me; I freak out visualizing how someday I’ll be too old and full of kids and arthritis to do anything ever again. Hearing miserable adults reminiscing about their study abroad or backpacking stints in their 20s also worries me. I can’t imagine going through life the same way – honestly, it terrifies me.
But hearing the BootsnAll RTW career-break travel chat live was incredibly inspiring. Here are a handful of people who have taken that leap, and guess what? They didn’t do it when they were 25! Sherri Ott, founder of MeetGoPlan said she took her career break at 35. That’s ten years more I have to save, plan and GO! She made me confident that career break travel can occur at any age and that you don’t have to be an early 20s spring chicken to enjoy adventurous world travel. Not to mention, scores of other social media users I connect with are well-seasoned, spritely travelers, and none of them are younger than 25.
So the point is, if you are young and suffer from wanderlust, don’t get discouraged. If travel is a priority in your life (like it is in mine), you’ll make it happen. All of those little trips will eventually lead up to one big, fabulous experience. Whether that career break comes when you’re 25 or 55, it’ll come, it will be wonderful, life changing, and help you feel complete.
It’s always good to have long-term goals, and RTW travel is definitely something to look forward to!
You are never too old to dream a new dream ~ C.S. Lewis
What You Get: R/T Airfare (New York-Paris-Barcelona-New York), 2 nights accommodations in Paris at the Comfort Hotel Lamarck in the Montmartre district, 4 nights accommodations at the Silken St. Gervasi Hotel in Barcelona, daily breakfast, all hotel and air taxes and fees.
Additional info: Additional Barcelona city taxes of $8.85 (€6.80) per person are paid directly to the hotel at checkout.
Why this trip is awesome: I’ve been to Paris and I love it. I haven’t been to Barcelona, and I want to go. What a great way to see two awesome cities at one awesome price! I’d love to spend Valentine’s Day in two of the world’s most romantic places. Flights between cities also helps you save time and maneuvering between countries. Take a quick trip through Paris’ must-see attractions and then take your time appreciating all Barcelona has to offer.
Dates: Select departures November-March.
Book by: October 19, 2013. Click here to book.
I am loving this article by Pam, acclaimed travel writer and photographer over at Nerd’s Eye View. Her recent review of TBEX Europe ’12 was insightful and thought-provoking, but most of all, led me to this little gem about the travel writing format.
Everyone does it: when trying to encapsulate our emotions about a place, travel writing can sometimes come off more promotional than relevant. I struggle with this a lot – how do you make a place sound good without making it sound “good?” Even if you truly feel that the beaches of the Bahamas are “gorgeous beyond belief” or “the hot place to be in 2013,” it still sounds like someone paid you to say so.
However, Pam helped me evaluate how to “Travel Write, not Travel Wrong.” Of course, this insight is purely subjective and obviously, there is no absolute perfect way to write about travel. Above all, it is important to remember your purpose for writing. If you want to make travel more promotional, and if that’s your strength, go for it!
I especially love these few lines:
I am glad you had an awesome time on someone else’s nickel, now, can you tell me something genuinely interesting, new, insightful, enlightening, peculiar, maddening… about the destination? Or am I just reading about you and your friends (or a group of bloggers) having a good time? Whose voice am I hearing when I read about your travels? Yours or a voice heavily filtered to please a sponsor? When you sit down to write, do you think about who you’re writing for?
I started travel writing because I had stories that I wanted to tell. I have experiences that may be relatable, or may be totally distant. But I think sometimes my travels are interesting, and that my style of writing is different from other authors out there.
Pam put into perspective a form of travel writing I need to improve on. Are the words on the page genuinely interesting, or just something I think people want to hear? Is there a way I can craft my topics into narrative form so that it sounds less like an advertorial campaign and more like an adventure?
Or, think about it this way:
Many people write for travel in hopes that readers will live vicariously through them. They had such a good time at the Great Wall of China, why shouldn’t their readers feel the same way? Except, everyone’s travel experience is different. You may have thought the Eiffel Tower was “amazing and beautiful” and someone else might think it’s “ugly and out of place.” Instead of trying to replicate your trip for others, why not just share an experience you had? Don’t try to make it sound awe-inspiring, or critical, or preachy.
Just write it how you want to remember it, and let your readers have an adventure of their own.
What are some of your tips for travel writing?