We have been a part of online social media and interacting with travelers for 11 years. A lot has changed in that time, and a lot has stayed the same. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in America. No better time than now to say thanks to a list of folks and sites that we are thankful for in the travel sphere.
Static was/is known on the BnA Boards is the most prolific poster in BnA Board history. His love of independent travel, online media, and VW buses were transmitted on our boards for years and he was the consummate Bootie and community member. Thanks for all the emails, posts, for starting TravelGearBlog and for all the laughs Joe.
Nick, co-founder of the BootsnAll Travel Network, took off for Bali, Indonesia in late 2002 to start perhaps the world’s first daily-updated travel guide. Nick retired after 5 years of daily blogging in late 2007 and his site, BaliBlog.com – the web’s Bali travel guide is still one of the best out there. Thanks for taking the leap Nick. Many travelers still benefit from your love and sharing of Bali to this day.
Thanks to Eugene, Oregon, and the ability to live cheaply ($500/month) – BootsnAll co-founders Sean, Chris, Nick and employee #1 Ant all were able to live on rice and beans and not stress by being in a hippie community like Eugene. The Register Guard Paper route that we did was just enough to not starve. Thanks Eugene, Oregon!
As Google came to prominence in the early 2000s – so did the viability of travel content/community sites like BootsnAll. Millions of travelers have discovered BootsnAll and thousands of other travel sites because of Google’s reach. Thanks for a sustainable ecosystem, Google!
Rolf is perhaps the writer that brought the concept of vagabonding most into the public’s eye with his book Vagabonding. We count ourselves lucky to be a friend of Rolf’s since he published that first book. Thanks for loving Independent Travel, Rolf, and thanks for inspiring vagabonders with us thousands of times over.
We are lucky to be friends with Jen Leo since 2000. As she has grown as a travel writer, we have stayed tight and been constructive with each other as we figure out how all this travel media stuff works. She also did a bang up job on Written Road for many years. She created a community of aspiring travel writers and shared he experiences along the way. Before you go, check out her “I wanna be a travel writer” pieces from 2001. Thanks for your friendship and efforts Jen. Many travel writers and the BootsnAll Community appreciate it.
Lane County Entrepreneurs Fund
It’s not around anymore that I can see. But we submitted the original business plan for BootsnAll to them in 1999. We thought we wanted funding. The feedback that we got was helpful in guiding us and inspiring us not to give up. Thank-you Lane County Entrepreneurs Fund.
There are a tonne of RTW Travel Bloggers today. Erik was a pioneer and blogged every day for 503 straight days on his RTW trip in 2004, . Erik has been a superb friend to us. He even designed the illustration that is the BootsnAll Logo. Check out his new project, Fancy Fast Food. It’s funny and it tastes good.
Laura is a travel writer for USA Today. Back in 1999, she was doing her job and rounding up some of the best online travel resources. She referred to BootsnAll’s Insiders as a resource her readers should check out. It was an incredible validation at that point to have someone like USA Today refer to us. Thanks Laura for pointing us out. I hope we continue to live up to it. We’ll keep trying!
We’ve been online buds with Johnny for ages and I have hung out with him a few times in the past month. He is superb individual that loves travel and spreads that love via his site: JohnnyJet.com. Thanks Johnny for spreading travel love for so many years.
Travel Blog Exchange
We’ve all been to our fair share of conferences for work, and while some of them are worth the time others feel decidedly less so. The inaugural Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference in 2009 could have been another ho-hum collection of talking heads, but instead it was an exciting collection of insightful people in the travel world. The room was packed, the topics were interesting, the panelists were smart, and the attendees were engaged. None of us knew what to expect, but as it turns out the not-even-one-full-day of TBEX 2009 wasn’t nearly enough time – so we’re all looking forward to TBEX 2010 which will cover two days. Bringing together travel bloggers like they have both on the site and at the conference has been great, and it reflect something we believe strongly at BootsnAll – anytime you can turn digital communication into face to face communication, that’s a good thing. Kudos to the TBEX organizers for having the idea and running with it.
Passports with a Purpose
Pam, Beth, Michelle and Kim are in there 2nd year of running the Passports with a Purpose campaign. This year they are raising money for a non-profit in Cambodia. They promote this through Travel Bloggers so it has a severe travel slant. Good luck this year and thank-you for going for it!
Unlike many travel communities out there, by manually reviewing each application for 10 years, BootsnAll’s community was always more about quality than quantity. Community members have written the travel stories and helped each other on the message boards and made BootsnAll a friendly place to share travel information and to be inspired to take that big trip you’ve been dreaming of. The end of year parties where online friends meet offline are one of the highlights of the year and there’s even been a wedding or two over the years. One of my daily joys is to read the stories people send in with their applications and how excited they are about going travelling.
Over the course of 10 years, how BootsnAll manages over 100,000s of pages of travel stories/blogs has gone through some changes. From the labour-intensive hand coding days to older content management systems that created more problems than they solved. Then along came WordPress and peace was restored to the BootsnAll galaxy. Finally we have a simple, intuitive way to manage all the many websites in our network.
Seems like you can’t open a magazine these days and not find an article gushing about how cool, green, weird, hip, bike-friendly and generally liveable Portland is. And I’m sure it is, but I’m thankful to have found home in a place that appreciates good food and excellent beer. And the outdoors. And cool neighbourhoods. And naked bike rides.
BootsnAll is made up of many parts, like musicians in an orchestra and any orchestra that wants to be successful needs a good conductor. Yeah, yeah, it’s a cliché, and I’m sure everyone just threw up a little in their mouth, but it kinda fits here. BootsnAll is not where it is today without his passion, drive, smarts and ability to inspire others, and many of my coolest experiences over the last ten years are due in no small part to Mr Sean Keener. Thanks, mate!
BootsnAll has always been about community, and since we’re a web company we’ve never shied away from the idea of “community” in a virutal sense. Twitter stands out this year as being the tool that connected us more than ever before with an increasingly larger community around the world. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person many of the people we’ve met on Twitter, and those real-life meetings often feel like encounters with people we already know well. Twitter helps give BootsnAll – and the BootsnAll staff – more of a personality. And personality is something we’re not short on, so it’s been great fun to have an outlet for it.
One of the communities we’ve enjoyed getting to know better is the community of travel writers who helped us launch our new feature articles program this year. BootsnAll has typically had an in-house writer or two, and we’ve published nearly 10,000 articles in the last decade, but we’re particularly excited about the fun ideas that have been brought to us this year by all the talented writers who have contributed to the features program. We’ve learned the benefits of traveling with your parents, the 7 deadly sins of travel, what canned peas have to do with travel revelations – and much more. The BootsnAll articles archive is packed with interesting, humorous, touching, and informative articles, and we look forward to publishing and reading many more.
We all love tools that make life easier, and we love them even more when they also make us look better in the process. Picnik is one of those tools. This web-based photo-editing service lets you turn ordinary snapshots into works of art – so just think what it does to photos you’re already happy with sans editing. It’s amazingly simple and even fun to use, which is more than can be said for most photo editing tools we’ve worked with. Turning vacation photographs into photographs you’d be proud to enlarge and hang on your wall has never been easier. Not only that, most of the features are available for free – you can get access to more effects and tools if you pay for a premium account, but even that can be had for less than $25 a month.
Many in the blogging world have heard of BlogWorld Expo, but until 2009 there hadn’t been a travel component to the conference – so it just hadn’t really been on our radar. This year, however, organizers featured a “travel track” for the first time, with four travel-related topics presented in succession on the conference’s final day. As a first effort, it deserves applause – even if each travel session wasn’t perfect. Travel may not be as big business online as porn or pills, but it’s right up there. And we’re happy that a big blogging conference like BlogWorld Expo acknowledged that this year.
We were lucky to jump on the travel blogging train before it became as popular as it is today. Because of that, we’ve had 1000s of travel bloggers use our use our travel blog service over the years, but more importantly, give us feedback on what we are doing well, and not so well. They’ve pointed us to new travel bloggers out there doing a good job, and other awesome travel content out there – much of what we feature in the right hand column everyday on BnA Today. Thanks Travel Bloggers!
Beach photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ on Flickr