I forget everyone's birthdays. Even my own. So it's not surprising that I forgot (only by a few days) the first birthday of my Cool Travel Guide. It was a year ago that I started this blog, and you can read about my initial motivations on my first post Aleppo: No Practicalities. The blog grew partly out of a sense of frustration with certain aspects of guidebook writing, one being the fact that when we wrote for Lonely Planet we couldn't include a POI (Point of Interest) if it didn't have practicalities, i.e. a phone number and street address. We'd not long finished research in Syria for our recently-released Syria and Lebanon guidebook and I remember being frustrated at not being able to include wonderful places I'd wanted to, such as the cane shop (featured in the first post) and a coffee stand in Aleppo Souq. I wanted (and I still want) to create a new style of guidebook that allows us to write about these places, and write about destinations in a way that hadn't been done before, but in a way that inspires people to travel. And it's still a dream of mine to develop that guidebook one day. But then there were so many other things I wanted to reflect upon and think about, from places my husband and co-author Terry and I had travelled to and loved, to the very nature of travelling itself. I wanted to write about this stuff in a form that was unrestricted, that didn't fit into the format of the books or stories we normally get paid to write. I also found myself wanting to comment on travel writing, the travel media, travel trends, travel publishing, and the travel industry. And to share my feelings, develop my ideas, and vent my frustrations over certain aspects, annoyances, issues and problems related to the profession, such as the Lonely Planet scandal that became known as the 'Thomas Kohnstamm Affair'. From time to time I also felt a need to deconstruct lazy or bad travel writing (and Terry also joins me in this exercise), and then soon after I began to get questions from other writers (established and aspiring) about how we made a decent living out of being travel writers, and so I started sharing tips and advice. But one of my original objectives in starting the Cool Travel Guide was very basic. I wanted simply to write about the things I found cool about travel, the sights that stopped us dead in our tracks, the experiences that made us catch our breath, the things about travel that delighted us so much, and excited us enough to motivate us to travel again, that is the things that inspired us about travel, and the things that inspired us to travel. One year on, I ask myself if I've made any in-roads... but then I have to remind myself that one of the coolest things about travel is the journey itself, not necessarily the destination. And, look, let's face it - everything is cool about travel. I'm still enjoying the ride. Are you?