Inspirations and Influences


matt 120pxFor awhile now, I’ve been wanting to recognize the sources that have inspired me and influenced our blog.

My family Whether by nature or nurture, I credit my family for my love of travel. If there’s a travel gene, I surely received it from a grandparent on either side, for all have been prolific travelers. Having lived in and visited dozens and dozens of countries on every habitable continent, they all have the travel gene. Its Grandma Shibata who always passed on her father’s wisdom: If you don’t get out and see the world, then you’re just like a frog in a well. Of course, if travel is an acquired taste that must be cultivated, then I credit my parents. Although neither of them has traveled as much as any of my grandparents, they always took us on family vacations. From local destinations like Yosemite and Mendocino to foreign places like the Caribbean and Polynesia, they taught me to enjoy and learn from traveling.

Past Travels Perhaps nothing encourages travel more than travel itself. The thrill of entering the unknown, experiencing a new place, meeting different people, and encountering foreign ideas is not only intoxicating, but addicting. I was only three amazing weeks into my first visit to India that I promised myself that I’d do some long term travel before settling down in my life.

Paul Theroux A great writer who has chronicled some truly amazing journeys. Theroux’s stories are always entertaining, insightful, and inspiring. Inspiring in the sense that I want to “do” many of his journeys; London to Tokyo and back by train, Cairo to Capetown overland, Massachusetts to Patagonia by train, a circuit of the Med, all over China. What I like most about his writing is it provides a candid perspective of travel, not exaggerated like so much travel writing. He writes of the boredom, the constant discomfort, and the loneliness of travel. At the same time, I can identify with his love of simple things people-watching, looking out train windows, or walking. Reading Theroux reminds me what travel consists of and why I love it.

Blog Influences

It seems that some people have the misconception that what we did was novel and unique. Sure, Americans don’t share the European, Australian, or Israeli traditions of a “gap year,” but we met tons of Americans doing the same thing as us. In fact, much of our research before and during our trip was focused on the blogs of individuals and couples doing RTW trips. While we compared FAQ’s, packing lists, and expense worksheets from dozens of blogs, there were only a few that we really followed with any frequency. Not surprisingly, these blogs also influenced me as I designed our blog.

Full Passport An old blog, but a great one. Wes and Jill’s blog is actually the first RTW blog we started looking at and one of the very best. They have tons of writing (daily diary entries), detailed country reviews, calendars, spending breakdowns, and lots of photos. I think what makes this blog great to explore is that they’ve seemingly gone everywhere and done everything- they traveled for 3 years and visited over 100 countries! I’m jealous.

Me-go: Around-the-World A blog covering a girl, Megan’s, second RTW trip. I liked this blog for its itinerary. While most blogs are South East Asia heavy, Megan went to places that most people don’t visit: Western China, the ‘Stans, India, the Middle East, and East Africa. Aesthetically, I really liked the overall organization, design, and feel, which I tried to emulate with our site (notably the random banners and clean-looking galleries, although I’m still trying to get our site as organized as hers).

Mom Say’s I’m Running Away It didn’t take too much research for me to realize that I don’t like reading most travel blogs; I just like looking a photos. Not only is this blog great because it is photo-heavy/writing-light, but the blogger, Rob, is an amazing photographer (the best photos I’ve ever seen on a travel blog). This blog influenced me to buy a dSLR rather than a compact camera and to make photos a big part of our blog.

The World is Not Flat There’s not too many RTW blogs by couples and there’s even fewer good ones. This is unfortunate because I find couples’ trips to be far more interesting than solo journeys. I think to some extent, we could identify with Lee and Sachi more than many solo travelers. Their writing resonated with me more and their blog gave me ideas on how to have a two-person blog.

A couple other blogs that we liked:
Six in the World Joylani followed the RTW travels of this family of six. And I thought getting the two of us around the world was a feat!
The Traveling Morans Entertaining sight, although their podcasts are the definite highlight.

4 thoughts on “Inspirations and Influences

  1. I’m so glad that my blog influenced you guys. And you site looks great, by the way. Its amazing how cluttered so may sites out there are!

  2. This picture is from the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. Every time I see this picture (besides the fact that it looks like I just ate a lemon) I try to figure out if there is a Captain Hook coming out of my head, or just a really big Alfalfa biff. And then I wonder if there really wasn’t a better picture that Matt could have picked for this post, but then I realize that it is very representative of my hair on the trip as a whole. Good work babe!

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