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Friday, January 16, 2009

My desert island blogs: the coolest travel blogs on the web

These are the coolest travel blogs as far as I'm concerned. If I was stranded on a desert island with my laptop and internet access... oh, and it's an Australian desert island, which means there's no broadband, it's dial-up, there's a convoluted 'plan' so you have no idea what you're ultimately paying, the signal's weak and inconsistent, it's excruciatingly slow, and, oh, you pay by the byte! (Sense some frustration here?). So, if I was only able to read six travel blogs a day, this is what they'd be... oh, and they just so happen to meet my criteria of what makes a travel blog cool for me (see yesterday's post):
Maryam from Marrakesh: this whimsical blog is a wonderful example of one that communicates a
personal vision. Maryam expresses her own unique way of seeing the world as she shares the magical times and frustrating moments as she and her architect-husband build a guesthouse in Morocco. A creative outlet for Maryam, it has an addicted community of vicarious travellers who visit every day to experience Maryam's Marrakesh.
2) Pret a Voyager: written by Baltimore-based designer Anne who loves to travel, this is a brilliant example of a blogger who 'connects' with her content. Anne is always discovering and sharing all kinds of fascinating stuff related to her passions for Paris, design, travel, maps, and her hometown, and presents them through her own special perspective. Anne occasionally writes about things we might read about on other blogs, but when Anne shows us something we see what makes it relevant to her and why it should be important to us.
Primitive Culture: this is a prime example of a blog that's engaging because it's written from experience. Xander, formerly based in Bangkok, born in New Mexico, and educated in South Africa, documents his observations from his experience living, working and traveling through Asia, Africa and America, providing an insight into the pleasure he gains from experiencing local food, coffee, exotica and esoterica.
4) Wide Angles, Wine and Wanderlust: written by (full disclosure) my co-author/husband Terry, this is a fantastic example of a blog with a sense of purpose. It has motivation, direction, and originality. Terry writes in an engaging, insightful and often witty way about his profession (photographer/travel writer) and his passions (photography, food & wine). He doesn't write every day, only when he has something to say. And that's exactly what I mean.
5) Going Local: this blog focused on hospitality tourism (couchsurfing, home-swapping, house-sitting and so on), written by former Guardian journalist and new Buenos Aires-resident Vicky Baker, is an excellent example of a blog that is well-written. Each post has focus, structure, is engaging, has focus, and holds my attention. It doesn't matter if Vicky writes 10-words or 1000, I'm going to read them.
6) Life In A Venti Cup: this is a fabulous blog with a capital F and fits my eye-candy criteria to a cute T. It's chic, sassy and sexy (just like Franki), boasts gorgeous pics, cute design, a clean look and feel, and light and breezy content that keeps me coming back for more - with a capital M.
I'm keen to know what you think of my criteria - and these blogs. And I'm dying to know what your desert island travel blogs are - and most of all, the reasons why.


Prêt à Voyager said...

honored to be included, lara! some of my absolute favorites as well (which also includes cool travel guide!). i'm very excited for you to check out my new column that i'm launching sometime next week. just trying to connect . . . :)


Lara Dunston said...

Well, I want to be the first to know about your new column!

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Aw man, this is so super sweet of you, Lara! Esp since you are the queen of travel and travel writing and have pretty much done and seen it all:)

Lara Dunston said...

Why thank you, but I think you're pretty well-travelled yourself there!

Fly Girl said...

Oh, I think you really pinpoint what makes a travel blog engaging and memorable and I agree with every point. Maryam also tops my fave list but I'm not familiar with any of the others so I'm headed to check them out. A couple other faves are A Cuban In London, which supplies a dazzling mix of bicultural travel experiences and reviews of music and culture, and Big Fish In A Small Taco, which serves up vibrant photography and musing of an English transplant in Mexico. Hmmm, I guess I like expat blogs, I see a pattern here!

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

I would need access to these blogs:
1. My Marrakech
2. Notes From The Road
3. Cool Travel Guide
4. Wine, Wide Angles and Wanderlust
5. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (I just love hotels)
6. Can I pick my own? After all, I would need to write / post on mine... :)

-Jen Laceda

Vicky Baker said...

Wow, thanks Lara. You've made my day by including Going Local in this. I'm honoured. I'm going to check all the other tipped sites out now.

Unknown said...

Just wanted to say you have a rockin blog! Would you be interested in contributing one (or more) of your stories to my site? Hope all is well!

Happy travels,

Anonymous said...

Lara - I have to say I enjoy Terry's blog. The photos give an immediacy to your travels that almost is like being there. Though I'm glad to have missed the flash flood!

Alexander Santillanes said...

Thanks for including Primitive Culture! It feels pretty funny being called 'experienced', compared to the miles and miles you've circled around the globe! This list includes some of my favorite blogs-- and a few that I don't know, which I'm excited to start reading. -X

Vicky Baker said...

And you've inspired me to come up with my own list too:

Lara Dunston said...

Hey Fly Girl - thanks for the tips! I'm going to go check those two blogs out now.

Hi Jen - I do like 'Notes from the Road too' - of course you can pick your own - hey, perhaps you should apply for that Reef Island job?!

Hi Grant - thank you! Well, life's a tad busy at the moment, as we're on the road in Australia, but I'll drop by and see you.

Hi Xander - oh, I reckon you must have clocked up a few yourself! But, truly, I have loved your insights into life in Thailand, along with your various other travels. Looking forward to more on South Africa... one place I haven't been.

Hola Vicky - well I'll be right over to check out your list...

Anonymous said...

I've been researching and following travel blogs for over three years now and I've never heard of any of these sites!

Authors, are you on twitter? SU? Part of the travel blogging community? Would love to see you around.

Time to add some more fodder to the RSS reader.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Craig - well, welcome to our travel blogging communities! If you take a look at my blog roll, visit some of these blogs and take a look at their blog rolls, and also have a look at the comments on a lot of these blogs, you'll see that we're all part of each other's communities and have been enjoying each other's company for a while now.

Lara Dunston said...

HI Sarah/Juliana

Thank you! I'll check out yours too!


pete said...

Hi Lara--

Your work is great! If you'd like to share some new stories or read other people's, please stop by Your experience and critiques would be much appreciated!

Best wishes--