15 from 2015: The Best of BootsnAll

The year is drawing to a close and we’re taking a look backwards at some of the very best content from 2015. It’s been a great year, full of some amazing journeys. We thought it would be fun to highlight the fifteen best articles from 2015 as inspiration before we begin the new year.

How to Decide Where to Go on A RTW Trip


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Adam Seper breaks down the realities: from how to choose your route, setting priorities and pillars, figuring out your budget, airfare, advance planning and more. Full of links to useful resources. If 2016 is the year of your big trip, then this post is the place to start.

“If it’s one thing you take out of this several thousand word article, it’s this: Trust your instincts. 

There is no right or wrong way to plan a long-term trip.  Some may tell you have to do this or you have to go there, but put trust in yourself.  While others may be more well traveled than you, you know yourself best.  Do what’s best for you.”

The Realities of a Location Independent Life


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Jenn Sutherland-Miller breaks down what it’s really like to live and work on the road longterm. She talks about how they manage to work 20 hours a week, instead of 40, and make more money than they did working for a big computer company you’ve heard of. From blogging to balance, choosing a base, points of failure, and that working from the beach is (largely) bullshit, this post gets real about the life of a digital nomad.

“I’m a firm believer that anyone who has the desire and determination can find a way to create a location independent career. We know teachers, musicians, jugglers, bloggers, geologists, microbiologists, psychologists, writers, software developers, hospitality and service professionals, editors, chefs, people in the insurance industry, artists, mechanical experts, carpenters, and lots of other people who have found ways to take their shows on the road.
The only limits: your creativity and determination!”

10 of the Best Places to Hike in the US


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If you’re a hiker, this list will make you drool. Zion National Park, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Denali National Park and the Columbia River Gorge are the tip of the iceberg. The USA is home to some world class hiking. With specific recommendations, links to resources and trail maps, this post is sure to inspire your next hiking adventure.

“A separate article could easily be written about the amazing hiking opportunities throughout the state of Colorado.  Though there are probably equally spectacular places to hike, you just can’t go wrong with Rocky Mountain National Park.  With the highest peak reaching over 14,000 feet, there are plenty of amazing trails to really experience the wild of the Rocky Mountains.”

Why I Hate Short Term Missions Trips


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This piece caused quite a stir, some heated debates and even a four part rebuttal published on another blog. Jenn Sutherland-Miller dives deep into the dangers and damage caused by so many of the short term humanitarian missions projects. From the financial irresponsibility, to the damage done within the served communities, and even the damage done to the volunteers themselves, she tackles the hard issues. Whether you agree, or disagree, she’ll make you think.

“There is not a single bandaid solution to poverty, but what is needed in almost every country is a combination of improved education, greater opportunity, the availability of work, and long term sustainability. If your solution involves creating one of those things, then great. If it doesn’t, then in the long run, you’re probably making things worse.”

11 Budget European Destinations


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What do we mean by “budget?” Less than $50 USD/day. Are you surprised you can make it in Europe on that amount, well read on, because you definitely can, if you go to the right places! Eastern Europe is hot right now as an affordable part of the continent. So is Portugal. This article has specific city recommendations within each country and rounds it out with a suggested flight itinerary that will maximize your time and budget. You’re welcome.

“But if you’re planning an international trip sometime soon, or as part of a longer, RTW trip, don’t automatically leave Europe off the list.

There are still plenty of places on this continent to travel inexpensively, and the following 11 cities across 5 European countries won’t cost more than $50US/day to travel in, so take advantage of an opportunity to see an otherwise expensive region on the cheap.”

8 Tips for the Newbie Hitchhiker


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Considering hitchhiking? You’re not alone. David Joshua Jennings breaks it down for you: from what to wear to choosing a location, your gear to how to pick a ride. Hitchhiking gets a bad rap, but those who do it swear that it’s a fantastic (and safe) way to travel. Consider this piece your “best practices” intro.

“Hitchhiking requires a certain inward disposition and considerable patience. There will be times when you wait no more than a minute, but there will also be times when you wait ten hours. There will also be times when your driver becomes a lifelong friend, and times when you will endure the most uncomfortable silences. Perhaps, although it is unlikely, something traumatic may happen. You must be prepared to accept these risks.”

Why it’s Not Crazy for Working Professionals to Take a Year Off & Travel the World


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Wondering if taking a year off to travel in the midst of your career is a good idea, or whether it will end up being career suicide? Adam Seper makes the argument in favor of a career break trip. He debunks the myths, dispels the fears and redefines “crazy.” Go ahead, take the leap.

“Even though concerns abounded about how this would affect our futures, the main thing we kept coming back to was the feeling of regret. If we decided not to go, would we regret it ten, twenty, or thirty years from now? Ultimately, that’s what it came down to. Regret. We felt like we would never forgive ourselves if we didn’t do it. That was much riskier than any other possible ramifications.”

What Travel Has Meant to My Education


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Anyone who has traveled will tell you just how educational it is. There are things that are learned on the road that just can’t be learned any other way. But what does it mean when travel is your education? What if you took your kids out of school and traveled instead? This was Hannah Miller’s childhood. Currently a university student at a top tier Canadian school, she talks about what travel has meant to her education and how it’s shaping her future. If you have kids and are wondering about the effect taking a long trip will have on them, don’t miss this one!

“If I hadn’t traveled extensively as a young person, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to spend four years or more on this somewhat obscure academic field. World issues wouldn’t have hit as close to home as they do now. For example, a massive tsunami takes out a huge section of coastline in Southeast Asia? That’s the beach I lived on for six months. My neighbors were the ones out on the streets, missing family members. There’s earthshaking political upheaval in Guatemala? I’ve spent months living and working alongside indigenous Mayans in Guatemala. As we speak, they are fighting for change in a government that saw to the genocide of an estimated 200,000 indigenous between 1966 and 1990 and only now is justice beginning to be served.”

7 Top Medical Tourism Destinations


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Let’s face it, the costs of medical procedures in the USA are out of hand. More and more people are choosing to have dental or vision care done abroad, while they are on holiday, because it’s massively cheaper for excellent quality care. We’ve had crowns, cleanings and cavities filled in Guatemala, gotten immunizations and physicals in Bangkok, and glasses in Thailand and Bali. Roger Wade breaks down the 7 best countries for medical tourism. If you’ve got elective procedures on your radar, or non-emergency care that you’re dreading in the States, why not consider going abroad, spend less than you would have at home, and get a vacation out of the deal too!

“Medical tourism is booming, as more and more countries have realized that they can bring in big money from foreigners who can get things done for far less than in their home countries. You might think that the travelers would be almost all Americans, but even people from countries with national healthcare systems like Canada and the UK are often unwilling or unable to wait for their number to come up on the waiting list, so having an affordable procedure done elsewhere is the best option.”

7 Spectacular Bus Routes, South America


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Have you taken any long distance bus journeys? How about in South America? It’s a fantastic, if not always easy, way to travel. If you’d like to be inspired, have a look at these seven spectacular bus routes across South America. I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to go back!

“Traveling cross-country by bus can be long and tedious in any country, and South America certainly presents its own challenges, but this form of travel can also be an incredibly rewarding and eye-opening experience. South America offers some of the most startling scenery on earth and, if you travel by land rather than by air, much of it can be seen en route to your next exciting destination. Snow-capped mountains, seemingly endless deserts, shimmering salt flats, bizarre rose-hued rock formations shaped by the elements, lush jungles, cosmopolitan cities, ancient ruins and deep canyons can all be viewed through the bus window.”

Top 10 Most Shark Infested Beaches in the World


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Are you afraid of sharks? Or are you one of the folks who likes to dive with them on purpose? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking for places to avoid, or places to have an adventure, this article breaks it down. From South Africa to Florida, California to Brazil, and even a Lake, Julie Blakely tell you which beaches have teeth!

“While sharks are great at invoking fear in movie audiences, the actual likelihood of getting attacked by a shark is kind of like getting struck by lightning and winning the lottery at the same time. In fact, the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) reports that more people die each year from bees, wasps, snakes and drowning than by shark attack. With relatively low numbers of attacks around the world, beach goers are much more likely to become victim to rip currents, jelly fish or a strong tide than a hungry shark.”

Define Dangerous


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How do you decide where you’re going to travel? How do you decide what’s safe and what’s too dangerous? Do you listen to the news? Friends? State Department advisories? With scary things in the news and reports of violence all over the world, Jenn Sutherland-Miller discusses how we define dangerous and her considerations for making the important decisions about where, and how to travel.

“Here’s the thing about statistics. If something has a one in a million chance of happening, it’s going to happen 8.4 times a day in New York City. It’s going to happen more like a thousand times a day in China.”

Traveling Solo: What You Should Know


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Traveling alone is a right of passage. It’s a way to see the world through only your eyes and find out, not just who you are, but what you are made of. For some people, it feels like a grand adventure. For others, it’s a little bit scary. Diana Edelman shares five things you should know before you take off into the world on your own. You’ll come away from this piece feeling empowered.

“So many people head out on their own to see the world because they are looking for answers, for happiness. I know I did. And, while solo travel can be a happy and life-changing experience, at the end of the day, it boils down to who you are and why you are traveling.”

Travel is Not a Contest & other reasons to embrace slow travel


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Do you ever get tired of the way people compare their journeys? As if one trip, or style of traveling is better than another? As if a six month trip is not as cool as a nine month trip, while the guy who’s been out for two years sits smugly in the corner? Me too. It’s annoying. Equally annoying are the people who run through their laundry list of 13 countries in 30 days while wondering aloud what you could possibly have been “wasting your time on” in the past month in a one horse town. Travel, my friends, is not a contest. Bigger, better, faster is not, in fact, better at all. Grab a coffee, sit down and read through the reasons you want to embrace slower travel.

“Travel should not be about filling in that world map tattoo on your shoulder fastest. It’s not about bigger, better, or faster. Nor is it about pushing more pins into the map on your wall than your parents did. What is it about? Authenticity. Who defines that? You do.”

The Eat, Pray, Love, Effect: Is Travel Really A Path to Self Discovery?


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David Jedeikin was skeptical of the “travel will change your life” crowd in college. It seemed absurd to him that a three month binge in Europe could really transform a person. He’s since become a believer and shares his recipe for travel as an agent of life change with all of us. The secrets? Besides going alone, and writing about it? Well, you’ll have to read the article to find out!

“But the real purpose of documenting a journey isn’t for Hollywood, Random House, or even for your family and friends. It’s for you. The act of recording an event allows the mind to crystallize it, to fix it in time, to better remember it and its impact on your psyche. This is the point behind all those shutter-clicking tourists at the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids of Giza: to amplify and heighten memory.”

So, what was your favourite article on BootsnAll this year? Tweet us your answer, @bootsnall.

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