Recommended Reads – February 18th

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What’s Going On?

Sweet Lord, it’s been a while since the last Recommended Reads and you prolific sons of bitches churned out over 2000 new posts that I had to wade through on my way to compiling another bumper crop of Recommended Reads.

You may also have noticed that my posts have tapered off as the year has wound on, and that’s for a very good (and very obvious) reason: I’m not traveling.

While it’s true I live in a fascinating country full of opportunities, I also work full time and don’t earn enough to do what I’d like to do in this stupidly expensive country. I’ve also been focusing on the ol’ battle with the black dog – running, being more social, and trying to focus on the things in life I enjoy.

To that end, I’ve got some big news regarding my immediate future. In roughly 3-4 weeks I’ll be packing up my life here in Sydney, saying my goodbyes, and moving all the way to Nanjing (Nanking) in China to return to my life as an expat, ESL teacher, and habitual traveler. And I couldn’t be more excited.

But that’s for another entry.

On with the show.

The Reads

There is a truly epic 34 reads this week, so I hope your occipital lobes have been limbered up. There are four bloggers with double entries in the list this week; so congrats to A Dangerous Business, C’est Christine, D Travels ‘Round, and the Traveling Canucks for getting dual appearances in the list!

Thought Provoking Reads

Getting Rid of All My Stuff by Fearful Traveler

I always love reading Torre’s posts. She might not be out traveling quite as much as some of my other favorites, but whenever I read her stuff – I feel like I’m reading something I might have written.

Which, when she is a published author, a somewhat flattering comparison for me to draw, haha.

This entry deals with the attachments we attach to material things and the decision that Torre and her partner made to shed those burdens in favor of getting back out on the road again. An inspiring read for those making excuses not to go and do something with themselves.

My First Kiss: Love Lessons Learnt in France by Get in the Hot Spot

Oh, to have a first kiss story half as romantic as this one. With less heartbreak, ideally.

Annabelle’s story of her first kiss is one of the most beautiful, tender, and bittersweet first kiss stories I’ve ever read. Maybe the most.

Makes me wish my first kiss hadn’t been playing truth or dare…

So You Wanna Be a Traveler? by Byron & His Backpacks

My close personal friend Byron came out with this gem recently – a loose guide on how you can be a traveler rather than a tourist. I’m sure most of my readers can relate to what seasoned traveler, Byron has to say in this one.

On a personal note, I’m hoping my imminent return to Asia means more nights suited up and cruising shady dives with my old wingman.

A Travellers Romance by Bitten by the Travel Bug

I’m a sucker for a bit romance on the road. And I think my record speaks for itself when it comes to goodbyes and sadness on the road. Nicole shares a bit of her own travel romance and heartbreak before launching into a broader commentary on the idea of road romance on the whole.

It’s a topic very close to my own heart and she tops it all off with a beautiful bit of travel poetry. Just makes me want to give the travel bug a big hug.

Five Worst Things About Living Locationless by Traveling Canucks

We all daydream about a location independent lifestyle, and I know I’m perhaps guilty of imagining it as the end of all of my problems. This, obviously, isn’t the case.

Cameron and Nicole take a somewhat sobering look at the realities of location independence in this fantastic bit of Devil’s advocate writing.

On a Wing and a Prayer by Man on the Lam

I’m a little shocked that I’ve flown with Alaskan Airlines and wasn’t even aware they had prayer books, but Raymond from Man on the Lam noticed and he gives his thoughts on the airlines’ decision to finally stop issuing the prayer books on their flights after thirty years.

Raymond comments not only on the decision but also on the increasing political correctness that pervades Western society. An interesting discussion.

15 People Who Died Doing What They Loved Most by the Matador Network

Not doing the things you love? The Matador Team have put together a moving slideshow of fifteen brave people who weren’t only doing what they loved – but who died doing what they loved. And really, is there a better way to go than doing what you love?

If I Should Die… by Disrupting the Rabblement

If you aren’t already familiar with Niall Doherty’s fantastic blog, you need to go and subscribe to his RSS feed now. He’s one of the best there is.

This post is an inspirational one – calling on us as readers to look at our lives and ask ourselves would we be happy with our lives if we were to die tomorrow? I can’t do the post justice. Go read it and prepare to have your view realigned.

A Confused Travel Blogger by Seattle’s Travels

Seattle has come to a bit of a crossroads, although I feel that at twenty four she’s come to it a bit earlier than she needs to worry about. I mean, if she’s worrying about starting a career and having a mortgage – what the hell am I doing with myself at 28?

But her post is frank and its heartfelt, and I’m sure all of us have at some point many of us have questioned just how realistic those daydreams of spending our lives traveling and travel blogging might be. A good read if you’ve ever harbored doubts, and I’m sure she’d appreciate your thoughts.

Why I’ll be a 73 Year Old Backpacker by What’s Dave Doing?

In stark contrast to Seattle’s earnest questioning of the lifestyle many of us dream of lading, the ever sage Dave Dean comes out and talks about how travel makes sense and how we’re all the people we were meant to be when we’re out on the road.

He says it more eloquently than I do, too.

With all of these wise posts, I’m beginning to think that maybe Lauren from Neverending Footsteps needs to watch her back. There’s room on my list for one more man crush…

Cross-dressing Craig approves of the following post

Weird Reads

10 Travel Bloggers I’d Go Gay For by The Traveler World Guide

From the sick mind of Will Peach from Travel Sex Life and My Spanish Adventure comes this homoerotic display of unbridled man lust. Counting down the ten male travel bloggers he’d most like to bum, Will caused quite a stir amongst the blogging community and quite a stirring in my pants at the same time.

So weird it just had to have a category all of its own.

Snow in Ben Lomond, NSW
Snow over my hometown, Ben Lomond

Destination Reads

Khoa Sanh Road by Nomadic Experiences

South East Asia has been on my mind a lot lately. With my new gig boasting eight weeks paid vacation, I’m aiming to spend at least four of those exploring the exotic beauty of steamy South East Asia.

(And I realize that sounded like some kind of euphemism…)

Marky, with his trademark flair for photography and descriptive prose, paints a vivid picture of the legendary market street in this one. Like I needed any more inspiration to visit.

Man on the Moon by Time Travel Turtle

A new addition to my RSS feed, (Michael) Turtle takes us to one of the world’s more bizarre places as he explores the lunar-like landscape of Ischigualasto National Park in Argentina. His photos paint a desolate landscape of craters and grey earth, and it’s not hard to imagine how the place might look and feel like the moon beneath starry skies.

Worth a look – both as an article and as a location.

What To Do When You’re Left Pantless in Barcelona by MissAdventures

The title is funnier than the entry, but there’s still a chuckle to be had as the vivacious girls from Miss Adventures recount their horror theft story when visiting Barcelona.

I mean, who steals pants?

Best Dive Sites in the World by Traveling Niko

While I might disagree with Niko’s decision to leave Australia’s Great Barrier Reef off of her list of dive sites, I can’t fault any of her other choices. She’s put together some of the most stunning dive sites in the world. Any avid scuba fan should be bookmarking this page for future reference.

The Black House, Chiang Rai by Neverending Voyage

Nope, this one doesn’t have anything to do with the dynamite book by Stephen King and Peter Straub.

What it does have to do with is a gruesomely grim and gory spot in Thailand, laden with dark corners and grisly trophies. Me? I can’t wait to check it out first hand. A welcome return to the NE Voyage crew and their wonderfully eye catching layout.

In Photos: Kings Canyon, Australia by Finding the Universe

Kings Canyon is truly one of Australia’s most breath-taking locations and one I sorely wish to visit someday. Laurence from Finding the Universe has compiled some great pictures that are only making that desire all the harder to resist.

Go look for yourself and you’ll see why Kings Canyon is appearing on more and more people’s Australian travel itineraries.

Peruvian Food: The Best in Latin America by Expat Chronicles

I’m glad I re-read this one on a full stomach, because otherwise I would be ravenous. Colin serves up a veritable banquet of delectable dishes guaranteed to get saliva flowing and stomachs rumbling.

Having just had (and loved) Brazilian food this past Thursday, I’m intrigued to find there’s apparently something even more delicious out there.

Igloo Village – The Coolest Village on Earth? by Monkeys, Mountains, and Maultaschen

Another new addition to my ever growing RSS collection, Laurel is out traveling Europe and having all kinds of adventures.

This entry finds her exploring what might literally be the coolest village in the world – an igloo village. I’ve stayed in underground hotels, but this takes it to strange new places. Love it!

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Donsol by 25 Travels

Swimming with the beautiful whale shark seems to be a very common entry on traveler bucket lists, so Jerick’s adventure should cause quite a bit of envy amongst those of us who have yet to experience it first hand.

There’s not quite as many photos as you might like, but it still makes for one helluva tale.

Icebergs by 50+ and on the Run

And here’s another common one for bucket lists – a visit to Antarctica! Complete with lots of stunning photos of icebergs! There are more entries about her visit to Antarctica on the blog (as well as other adventures). She’s proving that this travel thing isn’t just a a young man’s (or woman’s) game.

5 Great Cities for Couples by 1000 Fights

Despite the title of the blog, Mark and Luci are clearly a couple both very much in love with one another and with romance. Their Mistletoe Moments contest over Christmas is evidence of that, and this great run down of five cities with something for both halves of a couple is further indication.

While they break their selections up into ‘for him’ and ‘for her’, they wrap it up with ‘together time’. These two are too cute.

The Most Romantic Places to Travel (According to Me) by A Dangerous Business

Amanda from A Dangerous Business weighs in with her first of two posts featured in this week’s Recommended Reads with this Valentine’s themed listing some obvious and not-so-obvious romantic getaways for couples wanting a little something to spice things up. From Paris to the Scottish Highlands to sleepy Kiwi towns, there’s a nice selection here.

Island Hopping at El Nido by Arctic Nomad

If you’re rugged up someplace cold and daydreaming about warmer locales, have a quick read through this one and marvel at the stunning photographs and you’ll be feeling just a bit warmer and a lot more jealous.

Ways to Have a Cheap but Kawaii Time in Tokyo by Art of Backpacking

I was lucky enough to pay a brief visit to Fukuoka, Japan back in early 2009 and I was reminded of my two days of solitary wandering as I read Lauren’s tips for enjoying your time in Tokyo without spending a small fortune.

While it’s true you can burn through the Yen good and quick when visiting Japan, these tips should ensure you have a good time without being left without 100 Yen pieces for ten minutes of access to the adult channel in your hotel room.

Five Non-Wine Things to do in Margaret River by C’est Christine

I recently highlighted Western Australia’s Margaret River region as one of the Top 10 Best Kept Australian Travel Secrets and this post has only made me more sure that I made the right call including it.

Even if you aren’t a wine conisseur (which I certainly am not), Christine’s post gives you some excellent reasons to pay a visit to the under-appreciated corner of Australia’s largest state.

Elephant Nature Park by D Travels ‘Round

I first found this very awesome blog when Diane was one of a few less than impressed by my Top 15 Travel Blogging Crushes lists. It’s a shame I didn’t know about her earlier too, because she’d have made the cut. Very pretty lady.

And she’s out having awesome adventures as well. This one, laden with pictures and some real emotional frankness regarding her experience visiting an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. I’d love to check this one out.

Tangalooma Wrecks
A diver by the Tangalooma Wrecks. Photos by Stacey Emma Lampbert

Helpful Reads

Traveling with an iPad as my Computer by A Dangerous Business

With my imminent departure for a year living in China, I’ve recently been taking stock of what I will need in China and what I can do without. My beloved Toshiba laptop with its broken ‘z’ key is teetering on the verge of not coming, and this post from Amanda has given me some hope that maybe my iPad will do the trick.

Read if you’re considering lightening your next travel load by taking along a tablet. Some good tips here.

5 Ways to Get Over Being Homesick by D Travels ‘Round

Diane’s second post in this week’s count down has give handy tips for people dealing with a little homesickness while they’re on the road. I’m all too familiar with the feeling after my two years in South Korea, and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this one after a the newness of life in China wears off in a few months time.

Travel Like a Local with Airbnb by Bucket List Nation

Having recently hosted my first couch-surfer, Airbnb is another service that interests me quite a bit. Kalyn at Bucket List Nation has put together some helpful tips for those wishing to experiment with Airbnb as a good way to visit a country as a local rather than as a tourist staying in a hotel or hostel.

Writing a Travel Book, Part 1 – Finding a Niche and Writing by Living the Dream RTW

Jeremy and Angie have recently done something I daydream about – they’ve published a book about travel. Their Long Term Traveler’s Guide is available now on and they’re now sharing the lessons they learned in writing and publishing their labor of love.

Best believe I’ll be following this ten part series very closely.

The Joy of Traveling with a Kindle by C’est Christine

My love affair with the Amazon Kindle started back in early 2009 when a pretty American girl (who would become my girlfriend of two years) let me borrow hers for a three day trip to Fukuoka for a visa run. I got my own for my birthday that year and recently upgraded to a new one in preparation for my travels.

If you don’t have a Kindle or if you’ve been debating getting one, this post should help you make up your mind.

10 Ways to Become Extremely Productive and Organized by Around the World L

This one is an utter Godsend to me. Not only do I have Aussie on the Road to worry about, but I’m also planning for my move to China and working on a new joint project with a very groovy blogger chick I met here in Sydney. But more about that later.

This post has ten very good (and practical) tips on how to be more organized and prioritize your tasks so you get as much done as possible. Love it!

How to Teach English Overseas by Traveling Canucks

Ok, so this one is probably more Nomadic Samuel than the Traveling Canucks, but credit to Cameron and Nicole for spotlighting this post and sharing some of Sam’s knowledge of the ESL environment.

Interviewed by the Canucks, Samuel shares some of his experiences and some of the lessons he’s learned during his time ESL teaching.

A great resource if you’re contemplating funding your next big trip with a little ESL teaching.

Don’t forget to check out my 10 Tips for ESL Teachers and my guide to finding a teaching job in South Korea if you want to know more.

And that’s it!

Thirty four posts ought to tide you over, you greedy bastards!

But if you’re still itching for a good read, here’s a few of my own that you may have missed:

And here’s one last gift for you before you head out to enjoy the rest of your weekend. A brilliantly happy song from fun.‘s new album. Enjoy.

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