LP Pathfinders: top posts from January 2018

A person eating wanton mee with char siew in Penang, Malaysia © Carlina Teteris / Getty Images

This month’s blog round up includes a post on Penang’s street food scene with an innovative twist © Carlina Teteris / Getty Images

The beginning of a new year is a time for both reflection and preparation, and this month’s blog post submissions from our Pathfinders left us with a lot to think about. We’ve been wowed by offbeat wildlife encounters in Mexico, humbled by the sight of mighty eagle-assisted hunters in Kyrgyzstan and left pondering over current issues pervading the online travelsphere.

Though it was a tough task to narrow down our favourites, here’s our pick of travel blog posts from our Pathfinder community in January.

The Monarchs of Macheros, Mexico – Jessie Stringfield

It’s always refreshing to read a travel yarn that manages to completely capture the imagination, and Jessie’s piece on the monarch butterfly migration in Mexico sent us into a flutter. A lesser-known wondrous wildlife experience is brought to life through crisp, colourful images and engaging writing, with Jessie doing a great job of stressing the sustainability of the current infrastructure surrounding the phenomenon – an aspect of the experience that will hopefully endure as the spectacle grows in popularity.

Jessie is a blogger from the USA hoping to inspire everyone to get out and see the world. Sample more of her stories at slyharbison.com.

Atacama Desert: a no sleeping experience – Javi Lorbada

Javi’s photos are exceptional, and while the images in his visual journey across the Atacama Desert take centre stage, there’s also something enjoyable about his clipped, stringent prose-style that makes for great reading. Like any good inspirational post, his piece left us wanting to pack a tent and bed down for a night under the star-punctured Chilean skies; though our photos would likely pale in comparison.

Born in Madrid, Javi travels far and wide in search of the perfect shot. Keep tabs on his latest adventures at adventures.javilorbada.com.

The golden eagle hunters of Kyrgyzstan – Cynthia Bil

For most of us, one of the major joys of travel is witnessing customs so different from our own they instil you with a sense of awe. This sensation is embodied by Cynthia’s post on the eagle hunters of Kyrgyzstan: nomadic people who spend years training wild eagles to hunt for them as part of a practice dating back generations. A fascinating and informative read about humanity’s bond with the natural world is enhanced further by striking imagery of the hunters and their winged accomplices.

Cynthia and Niko are currently on an epic overland trip crossing six continents from Ireland to Alaska. Follow their journey at journalofnomads.com.

#realwomentravel – Annika Ziehen

Taking a delicate issue and exploring it with a sense of humour and poise, in this post Annika voices her thoughts over what she perceives as a lack of diversity among leading female Instagrammers in the travel industry. Annika is proactive in her approach, creating a campaign to showcase a selection of more eclectic female Insta-stars, with links to a number of wanderlust-inducing accounts included.

Annika is an self-confessed ‘truffle pig’ when it comes to rooting out destinations ideal for both adventure and luxury travel. Read more of her insights at midnightblueelephant.com.

Painting Penang: capturing the diverse food scene in watercolour – Dan and Lauren

The innovative format of Dan and Lauren’s article could spice up any topic, but its appeal is heightened when considering its subject matter. Penang’s George Town is a magnificent blend of whimsical street art and fantastic food stalls, which makes the pair’s decision to paint what they’ve eaten in the city a stroke of genius. By no means a gimmick, the post’s content is substantial, highlighting a selection of Penang’s celebrated eateries in addition to the excellent illustrations.

Dan and Lauren bring their travels to life through stories and scribbles. Keep track of their experiences at pocopilgrims.com.

RUNNERS-UP

Find out what else the Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to (or sign up yourself!) by checking out the Travel Bloggers: your stories forum on Thorn Tree.

A Lifetime of Hope and Regret

black and white photo of a man walking on a beach
It’s easy to get lost. To look around and suddenly find yourself wondering how you got here — and why it seems so far from where you thought you’d be. What wrong turn did you take? Is there still time to go back and start again? To be the person you wanted to be? To do the things you want to do?

One day becomes a year, which quickly turns into a decade. Before you know it, you’re miles from the life you imagined.

“Tomorrow,” you say to yourself. “Tomorrow, I’ll fix things.”

But tomorrow comes and goes and you continue down the same path, caught up in the surging river that is life.

Reading entries for my round-the-world trip contest brought regret to the forefront of my mind. I saw so much of it from the strangers who entered; strangers who poured their heart out to me about loss, pain, suffering, snuffed-out dreams, and second chances.

Yet beneath all the worry, regret, and sadness, there was hope.

The desire for a new beginning. A chance to be the person they wanted to be; to find purpose in their life; to escape a future they didn’t want — but one that felt so inevitable.

As writer and blogger Cory Doctorow said, “You live your own blooper reel and experience everyone else’s highlight reel.”

When you ask people why they want to travel the world, and 2,000 people come back with stories that all end with a version of “to start fresh,” it brings this obvious but forgotten realization back into your mind.

My own life is a minefield of regret — both big and small: Regret at not traveling sooner, partying too much, never becoming fluent in a foreign language, never studying abroad, letting a certain relationship slip away, not staying in touch with friends, not saving more, not moving slower, and not following my gut. Then there are the day-to-day regrets — things like not closing my computer 30 minutes earlier or reading more or laying off those french fries more. There are countless regrets.

In thinking about our own issues, we often forget that everyone around us is fighting their own inner battles. That the grass is never truly greener. That when someone is snappy at you in the grocery store, short with you at the office, or sends you a nasty, trolling email, they, like you, are dealing with their own inner demons.

They, like you, think of second chances, missed opportunity, and unfulfilled dreams.

We’re taught by society to avoid “a lifetime of regret.” “Have no regrets!” is our mantra. But I think regret is a powerful motivator. It is a teacher, a manual to a better life.

Regret teaches us where we went wrong and what mistakes to avoid again.

Reading these entries initially weighed me down. I couldn’t help but think, “There’s a lot of unhappy people out there.”

But the more I thought about it the more I realized they weren’t unhappy. Yes, there was regret, pain, and sadness in those contest entries — but there was also a lot of hope, determination, and energy. These entrants were not going to wallow in regret. They were looking for a way to move forward. They felt inspired, motivated. Many promised that no matter the outcome of their entry, they were determined to make a change.

Reading these entries taught me that regret, it turns out, is life’s best motivator. Two thousand people said, “Not again — I won’t do this twice!”

And made me realize that a little regret isn’t such a bad thing after all.

The post A Lifetime of Hope and Regret appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

The top 5 European ski resorts for couples

Heading away on a ski trip together with your loved one is guaranteed to be romantic. Discover snow-covered, enchanted kingdoms and let the open fires and candlelit dinners work their magic. Here are our top five European destinations to fall in love with. Escapism in Geilo Skiing in Norway is more relaxed than much of […]

The post The top 5 European ski resorts for couples appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Top 6 romantic luxury properties in Africa

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many may have romance on their mind – and how better to enjoy time with a loved one than exploring the vast plains of Africa or relaxing on an Indian Ocean island? Here are Africa’s Top 6 most romantic properties, for 14th February as well as any other time of […]

The post Top 6 romantic luxury properties in Africa appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Is Venice succumbing to tides or tourists?

I was truly amazed to discover that the magnificence which is Venice is on a list of 12 places to avoid visiting in 2018! Not only is this one of the most precious and beautiful cities in the world, it is in fact an open-air museum and should be treated with the utmost respect and […]

The post Is Venice succumbing to tides or tourists? appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Travel quiz: March edition

Travel-Trivia

Do you know which US state has a name meaning ‘snow-covered’ in Spanish? Or what you’d traditionally find hanging from your door on your 25th birthday in Germany? Test your knowledge of travel trivia with the March edition of our monthly quiz. Give it a go and showcase your score on Twitter and Facebook.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Up for more travel trivia? Have a go at last month’s quiz.

Find quizzes just like this, plus plenty of travel inspiration and planning tips in Lonely Planet Traveller’s UK edition.

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Between the beautiful beaches, subtropical weather, bright sunny days, thriving nightlife, and well-known Cuban food, it’s hard to pass up any opportunity to visit the wonderful city of Miami. Miami has been described as the “Capital of Latin America” and if you have ever been, you can see why. Miami has a heavy Cuban and […]

The post 5 high end restaurants you need to visit on your next trip to Miami appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.