Category Archives: 30 Days of Indie Travel

In November of 2011, BootsnAll reached out to readers, challenging them to write a blog post each day of the month. Each day’s prompt asks travelers to write about a certain topic and share with the community. Each week we did a round-up of our favorites.

Friends for Life | 30 Days of Indie Travel Project

This is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Check out the prompt at the bottom of this post to find out how you can participate!

Once you reach the age of 30, making new friends becomes increasingly more difficult, particularly if you live in the same city you grew up in. Your group of friends by this time is pretty set. Luckily travel gives people the opportunity, no matter what age, to meet new people and establish friendships that can last a lifetime.

We have it pretty easy these days. With the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and any number of other social media sites, it’s extremely easy to keep in touch with people from all over the world, so even if you meet and connect with someone while traveling, that relationship doesn’t have to end once you part ways. Avid travelers meet other people on a daily basis, and friendships and relationships come and go. But there are those times when an encounter in a foreign land lasts forever, and we were lucky enough to have two such meetings during our year-long RTW trip.

There are certain times when you just connect with people, and you usually realize it quickly. Our first meeting with Nate and Sarah was in the middle of a hike in the Patagonian city of El Chalten, Argentina. We eventually hooked up for dinner and beers that night, and we hit it off almost immediately. The long, Argentine dinner turned into a hiking date the following day before parting ways. We were lucky enough to hook with them again in Santiago a month and a half later and had an absolute blast with them and some more people that they met on the road. Sipping terremotos and having a drunken, college-like night is always good for new friendships, and even though we only spent 3 days total with Nate and Sarah during our travels, we just knew that we made a valuable connection.

We were fortunate enough to keep in touch with them as we both continued our travels, and we have remained friends since. Even though they live half-way across the country from us and we’ve spent less than a week together total, we just knew that this was a friendship that would last forever. We have already visited them once in New York since we both returned to the States, and we met their families and beautiful daughter. Even though we will probably only see each other every few years, I have no doubt that we’ll keep that connection forever.

Then there’s Dave and Tina. We first met them on our HaLong Bay tour in Vietnam. The funny thing about meeting people on the road is how relationships develop. We barely spent any time with Nate and Sarah, but we feel as close to them as we do friends we’ve had for years. While we really got along well with Dave and Tina initially, it wasn’t until a fateful Vietnamese bus ride, complete with Gloria Estefan, followed by a subsequent all day drinking extravaganza that we really became great friends.

We ended up traveling off and on with Dave and Tina for about 6 weeks through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Traveling with another couple can often prove to be challenging, but for some reason, it was just never problematic with them. We were always on the same page – going our separate ways when we wanted to, hanging out and doing things together at other times. It was just an unspoken travel bond that we had together, and it always worked out. Though Dave and Tina live in London, we still remain close as ever, and we were fortunate enough to visit them just a little over a month ago, returning the favor for them coming to St. Louis while they were traveling around the States.

You simply never know when you will make a real connection with other travelers. I never expected to meet another couple on the trail in the middle of nowhere Patagonia and end up meeting people I will be friends with forever. And though we had been on many tours during our travels before going to HaLong Bay, we had never remained good friends with any of them. For some reason, there was just a bond between us that was too strong to ignore.

Travel has brought me many things. It has changed my life in many ways, and it remains my number one passion. Luckily it has also brought me four incredible friends that I will have for the rest of my life, and for that, I thank you travel!

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate

We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.

We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to the 30 Days of Indie Travel page in your post so we’ll be able to find it.

Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!

Prompt #12: MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS

Travelers meet dozens, if not hundreds, of new people on every trip. They may become friends, enemies, lovers, and resources; they may stay in your life forever or be forgotten the next day. Tell about a time you felt a powerful connection – for however long – to another person while traveling.

Tools and inspiration:  Learn how to meet people on the road without hosteling 

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67 Memorable Meals from 23 Countries #indie30

This is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Check out the prompt at the bottom of this post to find out how you can participate!

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” –James A. Michener

Trying new food is one of my favorite things about traveling. It’s incredibly exciting to me to try something new, or something familiar with a different spin. I’m also a Pescatarian, so I’ve found that food + traveling brings both challenging and amazing experiences. While I’ve never felt like too much of an outsider on the food scene, I love the mix of traveling and food and seeing how some cultures value and use different ingredients. Thankfully, I’m not gluten-intolerant or allergic to any foods, so while I consider myself a Pescatarian and was raised vegetarian, I sometimes [to the confusing shock of my travel companions] like to try random dishes that are new to me… like deep fried tarantulas in Cambodia or bacon-wrapped dates here in Portland at Toro Bravo (neither of those I’ll probably be having again). While my main diet is Pescatarian, you only live once, so what’s the worst that could happen? Here are are 23 countries worth of memorable food from my round the world trip and travels in general….

67 Memorable Foods:

  1. croissants in Paris
  2. accidentally buying hard. as. a. rock. bread in Marseilles because I couldn’t interpret that “I’m knocking on wood because this bread is sooo hard, you dumb student” from the grocer
  3. being introduced to Moroccan food in Marseilles
  4. realizing that British food isn’t completely terrible
  5. OMG the guacamole in Mexico
  6. restaurants serving shrink-wrapped cups and plates in China
  7. 40s of beer on the table with dinner in Beijing
  8. stuffing my face with street food (the sweet rice pockets one was my favorite) in Xi’an
  9. accidentally putting chili sauce all over my noodles (I ended up just going hungry after a few painful bites) on the overnight train to Xi’an
  10. staying up almost all night drinking the sake sea-sick friends abandoned on the ferry from Shanghai to Osaka
  11. my first sushi lunch after landing in Osaka
  12. Buddhist vegetarian meal at the Ryokan in Japan
  13. vending machines with cold and hot drinks where a savior in freezing February in Japan
  14. udon in Koyasan
  15. flat whites in Australia
  16. craving Mexican food in Australia and realizing it was a hopeless case
  17. Beez Neez beer in Sydney
  18. microbrews in New Zealand and feeling like I was back in Oregon
  19. meusli aka granola in NZ
  20. any random rice or noodle dish in Thailand
  21. pad thai in Bangkok
  22. unlimited variations of amazing Indian food in Malaysia
  23. eating in air conditioned food courts for “cheap” in Singapore
  24. spending waaay too much on drinks in Singapore after being in Thailand and then Malaysia
  25. Hot pot in Malaysia
  26. salad rolls in Vietnam
  27. eating a whole fried/stuffed (I have no idea really what it was, but it tasted good) fish in Vietnam
  28. discovering fish amok in Siem Riep, Cambodia
  29. trying a deep-fried tarantula in Phnom Penh
  30. bring home tasty candy from China and finding out there was a recall issued in China [thanks sis! :( ]
  31. cold, cherry soup in Hungary
  32. eating potatoes, cheese, potatoes, cheese and then more potatoes (and occasionally some fish) and more cheese in Romania and Hungary
  33. my first ‘real’ Turkish coffee in Istanbul
  34. hello olive oil in everything in Turkey
  35. sampling unlimited Lokum (turkish delight) at the Spice Market in Istanbul
  36. drinking tourist tea (apple) and regular tea everywhere you go in Turkey
  37. the thin crepe-like dish in Gorem that I obviously forgot the name of, but was amazing (anyone?)
  38. mezze plates in Turkey
  39. fish dishes anywhere near the Mediterranean in Turkey
  40. Halva for breakfast in Turkey
  41. lentil soup and bread for a super cheap and satisfying dinner
  42. witnessing the evening dinner feast of Ramadan in Turkey (also the memorable “wake up drummer” that walks about to wake people before daylight so that they can eat before it’s time to fast again)
  43. souvlaki in Naxos, Greece
  44. breakfasts of Greek yogurt with honey and macadamia nuts
  45. cheap lunch of gyros in Syros
  46. white wine on Santorini
  47. champagne on a sailboat in Greece next to our new Russian mega-yacht friends
  48. daily gelato at a bargain price in the Cyclades, Greece
  49. feta everywhere in Greece
  50. fish tacos and cervesa on the beach in Mexico
  51. Spanish tortilla in Madrid
  52. tiny tiny beers in Barcelona (seriously, the smallest beers you can order in the world are in Spain)
  53. house wine in Spain
  54. tagine and couscous in Morocco
  55. learning to pour the addictive mint tea in Morocco
  56. eating banana nutella crepes in Essaouira
  57. rice and beans and more rice and beans in Costa Rica
  58. plantains in Central America
  59. tons of amazing fruits,  that I don’t remember and could never hope to pronounce in Central America & Asia (guanabana?)
  60. skyr in Iceland
  61. puffin tapas in Iceland
  62. hotdog from the Bæjarins beztu stand in Reykjavik (shhh… don’t tell)
  63. butter fish on Maui – it’s like buttah
  64. Po-boys in NOLA
  65. 7Days brand ‘Bake Rolls’ in Turkey
  66. weird potato chip flavors in China
  67. potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chili sauce in New Zealand
  68. chocolate con churros in Barcelona (ok, this is #68 +1 bonus point)

What’s one of your favorite meals from traveling?

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate

We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.

We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to the 30 Days of Indie Travel page in your post so we’ll be able to find it.

Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!

Prompt #11: Feast

For some of us, food isn’t just a part of our travels, it’s the reason why we travel. Whether you travel the globe to try new foods and use food to form a deeper connection with the culture or just eat to live, food plays a big part in the travel experience. Share a food-related story from your travels or describe your best meal.

Tools and inspiration: Discover some delicious street foods from around the world

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Searching for Ngala | 30 Days of Indie Travel Project

This is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Check out the prompt at the bottom of this post to find out how you can participate!

Over the crackling static of the guide’s intercom, I could just make out the words I’d been waiting all day to hear: Ngala. “Ngala!” I yelled without thinking, “Yes, let’s go find the ngala!” Our guide, Dominic, stared at me in silence for a second before laughing. “So you know ngala now? You want to find the lions?”

It was our last game drive at the Kapama Buffalo camp and I’d slowly started to pick up on some of the “code” (actually just the names of the animals in the Shangaan language) used by the guides while on our twice-daily safari drives. On the five previous drives we’d been on, we’d see hippos, eland, waterbuck, wildbeasts zebras, leopards, elephants, water buffalo and hundreds upon hundreds of impala. We even saw a few female lions snoozing in the brush on our very first evening drive. But we had yet to see a male lion, and time was running out.

“Yes, yes, ngala, please!” I said again. And off we went to the area where the lions were last spotted. We careened down steep inclines, followed rocky riverbeads, and sped through jungle so thick we had to duck and cover our heads against stray branches, and after about 15 minutes, we arrived at a small watering hole. On a grassy cliff above the water, there they were: two female lions. The male was nowhere to be found. My heart sank. With only 20 minutes left in our drive, I began to realize that I probably wouldn’t be seeing the male lion on this trip to Africa.

Now, this is the part in the story where you might expect me to say that suddenly the male lion appeared. He didn’t. I left the lodge an hour later, and then flew back to Johanessburg and then to Madrid and finally back to Chicago over the course of 24 hours. But, luckily the disappointment didn’t last nearly as long as the trip home. I quickly realized that it didn’t matter if I missed out on seeing a male lion in the flesh. I had seen every single other animal I had hoped to see.

I’d seen the flash of white hippo teeth poking out of the murky water by moonlight; I spotted plenty of so-ugly-they’re-cute wildbeasts walking alone down dusty paths; I watched young zebras bound through the grass on spindly, unsteady new legs. I’d woken up to a herd of nyala outside my tent and watched as a family of warthogs trotted towards the trees to escape a sudden downpour.  I’d felt the earth shake when a group of rhinos shuffled in front of out truck and watched an elephant passed by so close I could touch it before flapping his ears and knocking down a tree. And I’d watched as a gangly herd of giraffes awkwardly ran through the bush, heads bobbing in time with the stride of their long legs, moving swiftly yet looking as if they were filmed in slow motion. I saw thick green jungles, purple mountains rising in the distance, and tall grasses waving on the plains. It never got old. At every turn I found myself amazed at another sight, gasping at the beauty around me. I didn’t see a male lion, but in the end, it didn’t really matter.

In my travels I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the most beautiful and powerful landscapes on earth and to get up close to several wild animals, but the experience that sticks with me the most in the safari in South Africa. I’ve never been a big fan of zoos (watching the animals pace back and forth in small cages is just too depressing) and I don’t like the idea of circus animals being made to perform for crowds, so seeing these powerful animals in their natural habitat, wild and able to roam freely was always a dream. Missing out on the “King of the Jungle” made the experience no less perfect; it just gives me reason to return to see more of Africa’s animals up close.

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate

We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.

We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to the 30 Days of Indie Travelpage in your post so we’ll be able to find it.

Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!

Prompt #9: Earth  

 

At what point in your travels have you felt most in tune with the Earth? Share a story of how you interacted with the local environment or nature.

Tools and inspiration:  Read about ways to experience sustainable travel

 

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