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Things to Do Before You Die

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Official Travel Notes Blog

What's on your list of 'Things to Do Before You Die'?

How big should such a list be? Ten, one hundred, or maybe a thousand?

BBC Holiday's List of 50 Places to Visit Before You Die:
  1. The Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA).
  2. Great Barrier Reef (Queensland, Australia).
  3. Florida (USA).
  4. South Island (New Zealand).
  5. Cape Town (South Africa).
  6. Golden Temple (Amritsar, India).
  7. Las Vegas (Nevada, USA).
  8. Sydney (NSW, Australia).
  9. New York (New York, USA).
  10. Taj Mahal (India).
  11. The Rockies (Canada).
  12. Uluru (Ayers Rock, Australia).
  13. Chichen Itza (Mexico).
  14. Machu Picchu (Peru).
  15. Niagara Falls (Canada/USA).
  16. Petra (Jordan).
  17. The Pyramids (Egypt).
  18. Venice (Italy).
  19. Maldives.
  20. The Great Wall (China).
  21. Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe).
  22. Hong Kong.
  23. Yosemite National Park (California, USA).
  24. Hawaii (USA).
  25. Auckland (New Zealand).
  26. Iguassu Falls (Argentina/Brazil).
  27. Paris (France).
  28. Alaska (USA).
  29. Angkor Wat (Cambodia).
  30. Himalayas (Nepal.
  31. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
  32. Masai Mara (Kenya).
  33. Galapagos Islands (Ecuador).
  34. Luxor (Egypt).
  35. Rome (Italy).
  36. San Francisco (California<, USA).
  37. Barcelona (Spain).
  38. Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
  39. Singapore.
  40. La Digue (Seychelles).
  41. Sri Lanka.
  42. Bangkok (Thailand).
  43. Barbados.
  44. Iceland.
  45. Terracotta Army (Xi'an, China).
  46. Zermatt (Switzerland).
  47. Angel Falls (Venezuela).
  48. Abu Simbel (Egypt).
  49. Bali (Indonesia).
  50. French Polynesia.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of their Traveler Magazine, National Geographic have listed 50 Places of a Lifetime divided into the following categories: Urban Spaces, Wild Places, Paradise Found, Country Unbound and World Wonders. Make that 51 places, with The Final Frontier: Space.

The Travel Channel list 99 Things to Do Before You Die.

A bit closer to home (for UK readers).....

100 Things To Do In Scotland Before You Die:
From rocking out at the Barrowland to discovering the Holy Grail in Midlothian, Edd McCracken presents 100 things you ought to have done in Scotland before you cross over to the other side.

Or try the Top 100 Wonders at Hillman Wonders of the World. While you're there, you'll find plenty of other top travel-related lists, complete with photos and descriptions.

And it isn't surprising that the bestselling travel book on Amazon.com is 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.


Community of Bloggers

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Official Travel Notes Blog

In my quest to find more Travel Blogs to read, I came across an interesting site for Bloggers.

BlogExplosion is like a directory with a blogging community thrown in; a mix between a banner exchange and All Advantage (if you remember them) designed to explode traffic to your blog.

First you submit your blog to the directory. If you get accepted, I'm sure most sites will, you must abide to a few simple rules: Cannot break out of the surf frame; your site must be in english; the site must be a blog, or a service that caters to bloggers.

The Surf Frame

This is like the All Advantage program I mentioned earlier, only you don't get cash rewards for surfing with an advertising toolbar; instead, you get credits for surfing member blogs. For every two member blogs you look at, you get a credit and your blog will be shown to other members who choose to surf member blogs. The top frame contains a member banner and a system to control abuse - there's a time clock (30 seconds) to keep tricksters from clicking next all the time and a number confirmation click-through to stop the bots.

Banner Exchange

You can upload a banner to your account and choose to use your credits for banner exposure (one credit is currenty good for 36 exposures of your banner), to members surfing other member blogs.

Winning Credits

There's also a number of ways to win credits through random chance (mystery credits gained while surfing member blogs or posting in the shoutbox; through scratch cards (costs a credit); the monthly contest (surf a minimum of 20 member blogs to qualify); and a (soon to be launched) daily lottery.

Blogging Community

As well as encouraging members to surf member blogs and post in the shoutbox, you'll also find a member forum to bring bloggers together. There's also links to the profile pages of members online, so be sure to fill in your profile details. Tags are used to link members with similar interests together as well. If you think your blog is great, you could put it to the vote in Battle of the Blogs.

Blogging Extras

If all of this isn't enough to convince you, you can announce your latest blog posts in Headlines (costs a credit) and even ping a number of updating services (free), to get them to index your site again.

Drive More Traffic to Your Blog

If you're serious about your blog and blogging in general then you should be serious about getting more readers to it and interacting with other bloggers. What's more, it's 100% free.

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How Well Travelled Are You

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Official Travel Notes Blog

If you've been around the world or visited a lot of places in particular regions, you may well think of yourself as well-travelled. I know I do, so I thought I'd try this little quiz.

It's all very easy. All you need to do is to check a selection of boxes of places you've visited (if it was just a touchdown at an airport, like I did in Dubai, it doesn't count).

Here's how my travel profile looks:

You Are Extremely Well Traveled in Western Europe (100%)
You Are Extremely Well Traveled in Asia (88%)
You Are Extremely Well Traveled in Australia (88%)
You Are Extremely Well Traveled in Southern Europe (87%)
You Are Extremely Well Traveled in the Southern United States (85%)
You Are Extremely Well Traveled in New Zealand (83%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in Canada (80%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in Eastern Europe (80%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in Scandinavia (80%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (75%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in the United Kingdom (75%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in the Western United States (68%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in Latin America (67%)
You Are Well Traveled in the Northeastern United States (57%)
You Are Well Traveled in Africa (50%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Middle East (25%).

Visited Countries:
This is another interesting one to visit. Rather than places, it lists countries around the world and generates a coloured map of the countries you've visited.

The Map of the Countries I've Visited - 116 countries (51%).

I guess I need to start travelling some more, to the places I haven't visited. There's still a lot of the world to cover.

There's also a similar one for Visited States, for those of you who've travelled around the US.


Travel Blogs

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Official Travel Notes Blog

To get the Travel Notes Blog off to a rolling start, I thought we'd take a look at some of the available travel blogs.

This blog post will eventually get archived but we'll be going back to it from time to time to add new finds and will review all travel blogs submitted to us, adding yours to the list if it hits the target.

Once this Travel Blogs post does get archived, we'll add a link to it from our main links (if it's required) to give all our readers easy access to it from the main page.

Finding Travel Blogs

I've been looking around a lot of blogs on Blogger today, just by clicking the Next Blog link. Sadly it's not an advisable way of finding good blogs about travel.

Some of the blogs reminded me of the early days at Geocities, when I would trawl through The Tropics to try and find interesting travel pages. There were some gems back then but also an enormous amount of dross. And so it is on Blogger.

The Google Blog Search is currently in Beta and is supposed to include all blogs, not only those published on Blogger. The search does more than search 'blogs' and returns anything with an RSS feed, although not everyone with an RSS feed actually pings an updating service.

What a 'community' site like Blogger really needs, is a directory of sorts with someone to sift through all the blogs and select the better ones; especially the blogs that are specialised on a particular theme - like travel.

Blogwise attempts to do this for blogging enthusiasts. Rather than use a typical directory format, where you can drill down to find what you're looking for, you will need to do a keyword search to get returned listings in that 'category'. It's also adviseable to click on more info for the listings you're interested in, as the initial description might be in English but the blog all in Croatian.

Travel Blog Directory:
This is the the 'travel section' on Blog Flux and seems to have great potential, although not every blog link returned here was really about travel, or indeed a blog.

On my cyber travels today I also found a lot of blogs that looked promising, yet seemed to have faded after the initial novelty had worn off on the blogger; or they didn't get visitors and receive comments on the postings, to help motivate them. It's also easy to run out of things to say or have the time to add to the millions of pointless words floating around in cyberspace.

If a blog is not going to have new posts, in the foreseable future, then maybe it's best we also look at blogs that have run a good course.

The blogs with large archives also make interesting reading, as you follow the 'journey' from the beginning, after it's been completed; like chapters in a book.

Archived Travel Blogs

Underaged RVers:
Celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary on June 15th, 2004 Dan and Rachel Goddard sold their house and set off from Durango in their new home - 'an 8x11 aluminum can'. The plan was to spend a year (and $15,000) driving around North America in a Dodge Turbo Diesel 2500 Pickup, with a Lance 810 Light cab-over camper. The blog entries date from February 2004 - for background information on the couple, their preperations and aspirations for the trip - and ends on August 11th, 2005. The blog entries also contain large photographs taken during their RV adventure.

Updated Travel Blogs

Follow Andy around the world.

On the go since February 2004, Vehere continues to post about his travels.

Road Weary:
Counting the air miles that business travel clocks up and the fear of baggage claim.

The Disney Blog:
I'm not a Disney fan but I know plenty of people are.

Tim Leffel's Cheapest Destinations:
Places where a fistful of dollars will pay for weeks of hotels, train rides, and meals.

Travels Tales From India:
by Mridula Dwivedi.

Trekker Globe:
Dan Perry is currently in South America and appreciates comments. He feels as if only friends and family are reading, so why not go and cheer him up.

Mainstream Travel Blogs

Part of Weblogs Inc.

Geeky Traveller:
Darren Barefoot's take on the places geeks go, the things they do when they get there, and the gadgets they play with along the way.

Hotel Chatter:
This is deluxe. Very nicely presented little hotel stories from Hotel Hell to Hotel Heaven and Celebrity Scoops.

National Parks Traveler:
Kurt Repanshek folows the goings on in America's National Parks. Not just Yellowstone and the Grand Teton, but a wide array of parks, ranging from Acadia along the rocky shores of Maine to Olympic on the Washington State peninsula.

The Daily Traveller:
The LA Times pushes out James Gilden's 'news to smooth the road well-traveled', with previous posts also sorted by category.

Dedicated to exploring travel in all its facets: how it changes us, how it changes the way we see the world, and finally, how travel itself is changing the world.

Travel Blog Collections

Not really a blog, rather a collection of travel journals, diaries, stories and photos from people who have travelled to places all around the world and what to share it with whoever is interested.

BootsnAll and TravelPod are similar, with a nice variety of travelogues; most of them well written. Some of the writing is funny, some of it outstanding and some of it downright sad.

On the subject of of sad, 'Why I F*cking Hate Weblogs' claims to be originally written on September 22, 2002 by Donald Brook. Updated today, some of it really does hit the nail on the head, albeit with an overuse of a four letter word expanded into a seven letter word by adding ing on the end. Don't read it if you're easily offended.


Adding Comments

The Official Travel Notes Blog

There are three options for us to choose this end, for Who Can Comment on blog entries: Only Registered Users, Anyone, or Only Members of this Blog.

When I was setting things up late last night.... well, early this morning, I initially chose Only Registered Users.... and to notify me of comments posted.

That's fine, if most people reading the Travel Notes Blog are a part of the Blogger sphere but not very practical if they come here from TravelNotes.org, are not registered users and don't want to register to post a comment. So I changed the setting to Anyone.

Free speech is great but as spammers, bless them, do a very good job of spoiling things for everyone we will need to 'add moderation to the comments'.

No, I'm not going to edit your comments (although inappropriate links might get deleted), or not accept them if I don't agree with them. Rather this is a necessary safety valve to stop the 'comment spam', that always arrives on public forums, from ever seeing the light of day.

If feedback suggests to me that people don't like the idea of comment moderation, then I'll remove it and put the setting back to Only Registered Users.

Of course this means that some spam may rest in the open until I get online to delete it.


Travel Notes Blog

The Official Travel Notes Blog

It's official, TravelNotes.org now has its very own blog to keep readers informed of what's new and highlight the travel articles submitted to us through Travel-Write.com and favourite destinations on 1800-Countries.com.

I'm not quite sure of the full direction the Travel Notes Blog will take as yet; whether we'll include links added to the travel directory, posts in the travel forum or look around for other interesting travel blogs to link to.

This could be the medium for latest travel news or what's going on around the world; those special events that are happening now or ending soon.

It's 2.50am right now, so perhaps I should go to bed and sleep on it.

There are no links to this little spot from Travel Notes just yet, so it's a little like I'm talking to myself...... but I'm sure I'm talking to you.

Thank-you for dropping in, on your cyber travels, and please do come back again soon to catch up on developments.

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