5 Reasons to Travel in the Off Season

When one thinks of a vacation, usually it’s very much associated with the summertime, when good weather is almost assured and families with children are able to take time off to jaunt to exotic locations around the country and the world.  This said, of the three big trips we’ve taken over the past year, two have been in the off season, and one in the almost off season.  

And we certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.  Traveling in the off season is, for us, a much better alternative than traveling in peak season.  Here are the reasons why:Jpegs-470Jpegs-460 Read more

Confession: I am NOT a Backpacker

There is a lot of talk in the travel blogger community that glorifies frugal travel.  And I get it – the more cheaply one is able to travel, the more time one is able to spend on the road.  Short term travel is more mainstream and often times more expensive.  Cheaper travel also allows for slower travel – often times with accommodation getting cheaper the longer one stays in a single place.  These strategies are great for the long term traveler.   For many travel bloggers, whose bread and butter relies on traveling and writing about new places prolifically and in real time, frugality and finding ways to cut corners on costs is a great strategy for maintaining that lifestyle.  I totally get it.

I wouldn't mind taking things slowly here, on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.
I wouldn’t mind taking things slowly here, on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.

But that’s not for me.  And, I would argue, the majority of people traveling in the world – especially those holding down 9-5’s.  For my family and almost all of my peers, life only allows for short term travel – a fact that doesn’t have to be as reviled as it is in the travel blogging community today.

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Sober Travel – How to Avoid Booze in a Boozy Culture

A huge part of my travel philosophy in my 20s was to meet people with the assistance of alcohol, the universal social lubricant – a strategy enjoyed by many travelers, I believe.  The thing is, when one is on vacation, one lets loose.  It’s like a (somewhat) grown up version of college spring break.  On spring break, we (the royal we, of course) would go to an exotic destination, with the direct intent of getting plastered on the beach with likeminded horny post-adolescents.  When we age out of that and into more (and I use this term loosely) “sophisticated” adventures, we maybe stroll around the ancient Forum if we’re in Rome, or visit Wat Pho if we’re in Bangkok, and then get plastered with the booze that’s next up from bottom shelf with our mates in the hostel from Europe and Australia.

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Making Friends while Traveling – in Mongolia, and the Rest of the World

In September of 2011, I visited Mongolia.  My trip came at the tail end of a long summer job at the tail end of my graduate program at the tail end of a long distance relationship.  I had been traveling a lot in between Seattle and Seoul, Korea (a former home) to spend time with my then partner. On my third trip of the year, I decided I needed something more – so I started researching flights to other exotic destinations in that general part of the world.

Mongolia had been on my wanderlist for a long time - though let's face it, not many places aren't on it...
Mongolia had been on my wanderlist for a long time – though let’s face it, not many places aren’t on it…

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Soviet Meets Shamanism, or Why I Loved Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

I love places that are truly lived in and can provide me with authentic insights into the culture of a place and a people today – not necessarily what that culture was thirty, or a hundred, or a thousand years ago.  I get kind of grumbly when I read travel bloggers and journalists rabble rouse about destinations that have lost their authenticity, when what that really means is that they are developing.

Ulaanbaatar is one such place.  By the rules of traditional Mongolian pastoral nomadism, Ulaanbaatar is a city that should not exist.  Instead, it is one that is home to the majority of a country’s population.  Built as a Soviet planned city largely after World War 2 (outside of the newer developments, most of the decaying construction today is from 1960-1985), it was built to accommodate new industry in what remains the most sparsely populated nation on earth.  Soviets, and now a crowd of international investors, needed a base from which to explore and prospect the Mongolian countryside, and Ulaanbaatar (UB henceforth) was the result.

Life as usual in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Life as usual in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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