Posts tagged Twitter
As a relatively new travel blogger, I initially found the thought of being nominated for the fabulous #7links travel blogging project quite intimidating. Having been nominated by the fabulously like-minded Erin Halvey, the initial thoughts running through my head ranged from “I don’t have enough blog posts” to “My early blogging efforts were horrendous, why would I want to dredge them up and bring unwanted attention to them”. Finally, I took my head out my butt and figured that it was all about the fun, so here goes….my contribution to the #7links project.
My Most Beautiful Post
Cape Town has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so it is only natural that I gravitate towards a Cape Town-focused blog post for this topic. Famed for blue skies and pristine white sand beaches, Cape Town has no shortage of beautiful beaches, but it was a day at Llandudno Beach on one of the most perfect days of the year that inspired this blog post. I had great fun shooting the photos for this post, highlighting the beauty that is Llandudno Beach.
My Most Popular Post
In an attempt to statistically (I’m a very analytical person!) choose my most popular post, I scoured the comments, Tweets, Facebook likes (pitiful statistics) and Stumble Upon submissions to decide on my most popular post. Having chosen to focus on the SU statistics as representative, my post on the “Ancient Wonders of Cairo” came out tops. At the end of the post, I promised that my next post would be on the positive aspects of Cairo. Sadly, I haven’t gotten round to this post yet.
My Most Controversial Post
Normally not one to shy away from controversy, strangely I have not yet ventured into the realm of controversial blog posts. However, one post, “The 6 Best Travel Chats on Twitter” caught the attention of Roni Weiss, who kindly alerted me to an earlier controversy which almost sank #TNI and undoubtedly led to the formation of the wildly successful #TTOT chats.
My Most Helpful Post
Last year, when we decided to take a day trip from Rome to Pompeii, I really struggled to find relevant information on travel blog sites on the best way to go about this. My subsequent post on “Pompeii: A Day Trip from Rome” was my attempt to rectify the dearth of information on getting to Pompeii. Hopefully it’ll save other travel bloggers making the same mistakes that we made in getting down to the destroyed city.
A Surprisingly Successful Post
There’s no doubt as to which post exceeded my expectations when I hit “Publish” all those months ago. A fairly low-key post, “Creating Real-Life Travel Experiences through Twitter” received a surprising number of Stumbles. The post documented my hesitancy in joining Twitter and how I found myself immersed in a fantastic new world of like-minded people. This enabled my partner and I to book a holiday to New York last year, which came about entirely thanks to the fantastic travel people I met on Twitter.
My Most Under-rated Post
On reflection, this would be without a doubt my review of South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup. “Mudhuts, Wild Lions and Armed Criminals” was my attempt at an “up yours” to all those that predicted chaos and mayhem during the World Cup. Sadly, many football fans did not travel to South Africa thanks to cynical media reports, mis-information and preconceived ideas about our beautiful country. Thankfully, the World Cup went off without a pitch and those fans that did make the journey were left with no doubt that not everything you read about South Africa is true. Disappointingly, not enough people saw this post.
The Post I Am Most Proud Of
Whilst this is a tough choice, I’m going to go with my most recent post here, my “Birthday Bucket List”. For years I’ve had photos of dream destinations as my screen saver and have managed to strike many of these destinations off my list. I’m hoping that by publishing my current “Bucket List” destinations, I’ll have the travel blogging community not only hold me accountable to getting out there and making things happen, but also help me achieve some of these goals!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blast from the past, I certainly had more fun than expected in putting this post together and again, big thanks to Erin for her kind nomination. In turn, I’m nominating my great friends Vicki Potts (@redheadedtravel) and Francesca Folinazzo (@WorkMomTravels) to carry the #7links torch forward!
Twitter has to be one of the best ways to connect and communicate with like-minded people from around the world. Anybody who uses Twitter knows about “hashtags” – an easy way to categorize your message by marking a keyword or topic relevant to the tweet, with the “#” symbol.
As a travel lover, I’m frequently on the look-out for #travel, and as a result have connected with some fantastically fun, knowledgeable and wonderful travellers from all corners of the globe. Whilst exchanging periodic tweets back and forth is fun, participating in one of the many travel-themed live “chats” on Twitter is where things really start to get awesome.
Here is a round-up of some of the best travel chats on Twitter:
Traveler’s Night In is one of the oldest and most popular travel chats on Twitter. Created by the fabulous girls at ZipSetGo, #TNI takes place every Thursday, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm ET. Hosted by the ZipSetGo girls in association with some of the most respected and well-known travel bloggers, the chat takes the format of 10 questions, with one question being asked every 10 minutes. Each week focuses on a particular travel topic (past topics include “The Emerald Isle”, “Animal Encounters” and “Budget Travel”) and answers, tips, hints and hilarious anecdotes fly fast and furiously, so you’ll have to do your best to keep up. Visit the ZipSetGo site for more information.
A relatively new chat, Travel Talk On Twitter takes place every Tuesday at both 9:30am and 9:30pm (GMT), allowing travel lovers from time zones across the world to take part. #TTOT has a range of hosts, who send out 5 travel-themed questions at 10-minute intervals and, like #TNI, you can expect your Twitter feed to flood fast and furiously as fellow travel lovers tweet entertaining and hilarious answers to the questions. Visit the #TTOT page on Facebook to find out more and search for #TTOT on Twitter to join in the fun.
Founded by @CruiseBuzz and @AvidCruiser, #CruiseChat takes place every Tuesday from 2pm – 3pm EST. The #CruiseChat hosts ask questions to encourage engagement regarding cruise topics in the areas of: cruise reviews, port profiles, luxury cruising, river cruising, family cruising, cruising tips and fun cruise facts. Search for #CruiseChat on Twitter to join in the action every Tuesday.
Whilst not strictly classified as a travel chat, #NUTS (Not-so Usual Therapy Session) was started by the great guys at Midlife Road Trip. Taking place every Tuesday, from 3-30pm – 4-30pm, #NUTS has a similar format to #TNI, with the 10 questions often focusing on travel-related topics. Think “Bucket List”, “Festive Foods and Holidays” and “All things Southern” and you’ll get an idea of previous #NUTS chat topics. Hosted by @RickGriffin, @McMedia and @Writerchick47, the #NUTS chat is guaranteed to have you rolling with laughter whilst introducing you to some great new Twitter buddies.
This Luxury Travel chat takes place monthly, on the second Wednesday of the month, focusing on all things luxury, including hotels and spas. Hosted by @LuxeTiffany, it’s the chat to be on for all things luxury, including luxury travel.
Hosted by @TravelingMoms, the #TMOM chat takes place every Monday from 9pm – 10pm EST. Topics range from travel rage to travelling with grandparents (which could be the same as travel rage really), and prizes are often awarded to lucky participants.
What have we missed? This is not a comprehensive list of Twitter travel chats, but merely a list of the most popular chats. If you know of any other travel chats, please do mention them in the comments below. And, if you’re new to Twitter chats and want to know the best way to maximise your chat participation, check out Roni Weiss’ Guide to Twitter Events. It’s filled with excellent information on participating in any Twitter chat.
As you know, South Africa hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup in June and July and, as a travel lover and sports fan, it provided me with great opportunities to meet like-minded people from around the world, many of whom were met via Twitter and Facebook.
Some of the most inspiring people I met were the “Amateurs in Africa” crew, Benny & Mitch, two fun-loving Australians who were back-packing from Berlin to Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Talk about a challenging undertaking! We sat down with Benny and Mitch and got them to share their African experiences with us.
Who are Benny and Mitch? What sort of travel experiences had you racked up before deciding to back-pack through Africa?
We’re two pretty average lads who lead incredibly unhealthy lifestyles dominated by excessive drinking and partying. We’re ridiculously unfit, don’t have much money, only speak English and hate spending a cent. We hadn’t booked anything for this trip and didn’t know anybody in Africa but we thought we’d attempt to travel from Berlin to Cape Town, backpacking West Africa to get to the World Cup, and then back again, overland, any which way we could through deserts, jungle, monsoons and border officials.
Between us, we’ve been to places on every continent and have visited about 75 countries. We’re both 24 and originally from Brisbane, but are now living in Berlin. Once bitter sporting rivals, over the past decade we’ve gone to school together, worked together, lived together and travelled the world together a few times and we’re still standing.
It sounds like back-packing Africa could have posed a bit of a challenge for you, without much fitness, finance or French! What made you decide to tackle such a mammoth trip and what did you want to achieve?
We were living in Berlin and we wanted to go to the World Cup in South Africa. We thought we’d see more if we travelled overland and, as most travellers over-landing Africa seem to go through the East, we thought we’d try going through West Africa. Not much has been written about backpacking West Africa, so we thought we’d do it, make it interesting and then write about it. Africa is not just for retirees on safari and we wanted to prove that it’s accessible to anybody. We showed that it could be done with no French, a limited budget and scant knowledge of the countries you intend to travel through.
Ultimately, we wanted to break down barriers and challenge misconceptions about Africa through interacting with locals, becoming active in communities, finding inspiring projects and by showcasing the real Africa to a new audience, hopefully encouraging others to do the same.
Africa is a pretty big continent. How long did you think the overland trip to South Africa would take you and how long did it eventually take you?
We originally planned to cover 22 countries over 4.5 months. Leaving Berlin, we travelled through Eastern Europe for a month, before arriving in Africa (Agadir, Morocco) on the 20th March 2010. From Morocco we used every conceivable mode of transport we could find – bush taxis, buses, hitch-hiking, vans, trucks, donkeys, even stowing ourselves away in train carriages and piggy backing – to make it to South Africa. We eventually flew out of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on the 28th July, having made it to 20 countries.
Congratulations, that’s quite an epic journey! It’s got to be challenging budgeting for a trip like this, visiting a continent where you know nobody and have no knowledge of the countries. How did you go about setting a budget for this trip, and did you manage to stick to the budget or not?
We both had life savings of about AUD 5000, and from our estimate of 130 days on the continent we were aiming for about AUD 30 – 35 per day. With a name like Amateurs in Africa, things are bound to go wrong when you’re unprepared. Visas were way more expensive than we thought, travel costs added up, a new passport took 2 weeks costs from our budget and there were a few unexpected costs such as medical bills which blew us over budget. Ultimately though, we feel that AUD 6,500 each for 130 days and 20 countries was terrific value.
You’ve already mentioned that your Africa adventure started in Morocco. How did Morocco reflect your impression of Africa as a whole?
We started in Morocco because the cheapest flights we could find from Europe were to Agadir. It was over-run by traders making a living out of taking tourists for a ride. We got out of there so fast that we barely even considered it to be part of the trip and it certainly wasn’t the Africa that we fell in love with. In saying that though, after being in Africa for only 6 days we found ourselves stowed away in an empty train carriage in Mauritania, doing an overnight trip through the Sahara into what seemed like Never Never Land. That was far more representative of our African adventures.
Your initial plan was to over-land through Africa, using whatever transport you could, with the exception of flying obviously. Yet, ultimately, you flew into South Africa from Gabon. At what stage did you realise that taking a flight was inevitable?
We had applied for match tickets to the World Cup and, when we received the news that our ticket application had been successful, we knew we’d have to do whatever it took to make it to the games on time! Early on in our trip we discovered people were actually reading the articles we were posting on our website and we were being approached by a number of organisations who wanted us to get “hands-on” with their local projects. So, we decided to focus on West Africa and its people, rather than continuing overland down the West coast to places like Namibia, which are relatively well covered.
We also felt it would be more exciting for our blog readers and followers to watch videos and read blogs about our time in West Africa, rather than watching us spending 2 weeks on a bus to make it to the World Cup in time. It was going to be more beneficial for us to get our hands dirty contributing to projects in West Africa, so to maximise our time in West Africa, we chose to fly from there to South Africa, in time for the World Cup.
Stay tuned for Part II of our interview series with Amateurs in Africa where they share some of the oddest eats they came across, as well as some of the highlights (and lowlights!) of their African adventure.
It’s been just over a year since I joined Twitter and it’s been a fascinating journey so far. As an entrepreneur you repeatedly hear about how you should have a presence in Social Media – Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and, of course, Twitter.
For some reason though, I resisted Twitter until, in July last year, I volunteered to “investigate” it from a business perspective (for both my diamond and travel businesses). I’d heard about all these people (mostly life and business coaches, admittedly) who had generated a significant number of clients via Twitter. However, I couldn’t get my head around how you actually met people on Twitter and it really wasn’t something that I was focused on accomplishing.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Within a relatively short period of time I had tapped into a network of fellow travel lovers and was actively communicating with new friends around the world. You meet and connect with one good person, who connects you to another good person, who connects you to another good person and so it goes.
My travel friendships started to span the globe – from Mexico, Canada and the USA to Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand – to name but a few. I learnt the value of re-tweeting valuable information and started to recognise when I made a valuable contribution – and when I did not.
It became clear that behind Twitter there were real people – people that were interested in where you lived and what you did and cared enough to enquire as to how your day was going. And I cared about how they were doing and how their weekends had gone.
Then, in June 2010, South Africa hosted the Fifa World Cup.
Suddenly, we had visitors descending on South Africa by the plane load and they were looking for advice and recommendations and suggestions and guidance and we could help them. The first Twitter friends I met in person were not South Africans, but a set of intrepid explorers travelling overland from Berlin to South Africa for the World Cup. The Amateurs Africa guys are truly inspirational and it was a privilege to have been able to help them out.
We hosted a Mexican partner of a Twitter friend, a lady from New York whose flaky friend had let her down at the last minute with regards to accommodation, a lovely couple from our travel company corporate head office and met up with other fantastic Twitter connections for dinners, coffees and drinks.
Friendships had moved from cyber-space to the real world. We had faces to put to tweets, voices to put to faces and communications extended to Skype, Facebook and email. Firm and lasting friendships were established in a relatively short space of time.
Shortly after the World Cup ended, we wanted to investigate a trip to New York for a business venture. Thanks to our Twitter travel friends, we were faced with the possibility of walking straight into a supportive environment in a city we’ve never visited before. We had an offer of accommodation from the New York friend who had stayed with us during the World Cup. Some great people have organised a “Travel Tweet-up” for the first night that we arrive in New York where we’ll get to meet people with whom we’ve built firm online friendships. We’ve been invited to a cocktail party, hosted by a Mexican tourism authority, thanks to our Twitter friends. We’ve been invited to a post-Central Park run breakfast thanks to a running club we’ve connected with.
We don’t have to spend a single moment worrying about where to go, what to do, where to eat and what to experience – thanks to our extended Twitter travel network. Whilst some may think that this is neutralising the adventure of visiting a new city, for this trip, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re thrilled to be able to connect with so many people that we’ve developed social media relationships with.
It’s now possible to have a friend or a number of friends in a city or country before you visit there – a friend who will help, guide, recommend and advise on a level previously unseen. Sure, you can pick up a guidebook, Google a restaurant, Trip Advisor search a hotel and Travel Channel a country. But with Twitter, you have a man (or woman) on the ground. Build a great relationship and you’ll have a travel friend for life.
I know that after this trip to New York, when it comes to our next holiday, I’ll be chatting to my Twitter friends to see who we can visit, where we can stay and how we can connect.
It’s been a wonderful travel journey so far – long may it continue.
Yes, it’s true. The South Africans are going to be heading to New York City for 5 fun-filled days of shopping, exploring and tweet-ups.
Oh, and we’ll be eating too – we can’t wait to dig into all the great NYC cuisine we keep hearing about and, more specifically, the food trucks! Can you say yummy?
So, what’s the deal? The fabulous Davina Toale and myself will be in New York City from Thursday 16th September to Tuesday 21st September and we want to meet and connect with as many travel and running friends as possible. Yes, that means YOU.
We’ll be staying in Queens with the marvellous Nidhi (@Nids2102) and, when we’re not shopping for running gear, exploring food trucks with Greg (@culverlake), sweet shops with Laurie (@scenebylaurie), having a beer with Christel (@raisethatglass) and Kirsten (@kirsten_al) or par-tee-ing with Jan (@lisajanPA), we want to have some fun with you, our Twitter friends.
We don’t have anything even remotely as organised as a tweet-up at a particular time, day and venue – not knowing NYC from a bar of soap, I’m quite willing to let a NYC local come forward with some suggestions here.
These are the travel tweeters I know of in New York that, if they’re in town, we’d love to connect with – if you know of anybody cool that’s not on this list, please let me know and we’ll add them. Who wants to join in the fun?
- Your name here?
Let’s get some comments and suggestions going here on who is going to be in NYC, or wants to join us in NYC and let’s get this Par.Tee started!
See you soon!