Here I am, sitting on a pile of comfy floor pillows in the common area of a hostel in the small Bulgarian town of Veliko Tarnovo. I’ve been here for several days now and the town certainly lives up to it’s reputation as a place that most travelers find difficult to leave. But alas, I must pull myself away from this beautiful town along the Yantra River as I’m taking the overnight bus to Istanbul at 9pm this very evening. The time has come for me to move on to the next exciting stage of my crazy six-week itinerary.
However, as excited as I am about my upcoming travels, I am also excited these days about a few other projects that have recently been launched by some wonderful other bloggers. And I’m confident that you’ll find these projects to be quite interesting as well.
So, here’s some cool stuff that’s now out there for you to take advantage of…
Everything Everywhere Travel Photography App
First up is a new iPhone app that was created by Gary Arndt. If you’re not familiar with Gary, he happens to be the man behind one of the most popular travel blogs on the planet, Everything-Everywhere.com. His site has an abundance of interesting posts from his own life of travel which has so far taken him to over 100 countries. And Gary also takes some amazing photos during his global wanderings, the kind of photos that make you want to pack your bag and immediately book a flight to some foreign land.
Gary’s new app, Everything Everywhere Travel Photography, simply takes it all to the next level. This app is perfect for anyone who loves to daydream about faraway places and to look at stunning photographs from around the world, all of which Gary took himself, in order to get ideas for their own travels. I played around with this app myself and I must say, it’s quite addicting. Every photo I viewed simply increased my desire to discover even more of this planet! And Gary adds new photos every day, ensuring that you never run out of travel inspiration.
Imagine you’re heading to Istanbul and you’re not really interested in following the well-beaten path around the city that you find in every guidebook. You’re looking for something different and you want some local recommendations. Enter Unanchor.com, a great concept created by Jason Demant that allows people to submit and upload suggested self-guided tour itineraries for cities around the world. So whether you’re traveling to Istanbul or Bangkok or Prague (or anywhere else), you’ll be able to find a unique itinerary that was created either by a local resident or by someone who has spent a great deal of time in that city. For many destinations you’ll even find itineraries geared towards specific interests, and while each itinerary does cost some money, the cost is very minimal, usually less than $10 USD.
During my last trip to Istanbul I used this itinerary. It certainly included most of the main sights but it also led to more local experiences, and I loved following the advice of someone who clearly knows this city in and out. These itineraries really are a cool way to explore as all you need to do is follow the suggestions and enjoy the adventure.
Last summer, during a trip to Florida to visit my family, I was lucky enough to meet up with one of my favorite people in the blogging community, Shannon O’Donnell from ALittleAdrift.com. And as we dined on some southern food in a small local diner, she told me about her plans for the near future. First of all, those plans included spending six months exploring Southeast Asia with her 11-year old niece, which seems to have been quite a success for both of them. However, her plans also involved creating a website that would act as a massive database of free and low-cost volunteer opportunities around the world as well as local businesses that work hard to benefit their own communities. This way, whether you are interested in volunteer work or supporting local businesses during your travels, you would have a central website to guide you in the right direction.
Well, that project has now been launched and for anyone looking to do some volunteer work and support local communities around the world, this is absolutely where you should start your search. The site is very user-friendly and listings can be found in over 18 countries so far, with the database continuing to expand all the time.
Info:GrassrootsVolunteering.org – connecting travelers with local causes and communities
If any of the above sound interesting to you, I really hope you’ll give them a try as all of the people I’ve mentioned are also very dedicated to helping others achieve their own travel goals.
And in case you were wondering, this is not paid advertising at all and I receive no money for mentioning these things. I genuinely wanted to help promote these websites/app because I believe in their usefulness and value. In fact, I have interacted with, either in person or online, Gary, Shannon and Jason and I’ve also personally used Gary’s app, Shannon’s website and Jason’s itineraries.
Let me know what you think about these projects! And I shall write again from Istanbul…
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