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Best in Travel Blogs: LandLopers - Making travel accessible for the "average" adventurer
If I'm not traveling, talking about travel, dreaming about travel or eating, you'll likely find me up to my neck in research - and by research I mean stalking my favorite travel bloggers. You see, for many in the travel industry, "travel writer" is a highly coveted job title. Who wouldn't want to get paid to explore the globe, even if it meant eating insects and mystery meat à la Anthony Bourdain? Travel Channel pipe-dreams aside, the hardworking travel bloggers of the world (many who make little profit for their efforts) are changing the way we wander the globe. Find a travel blogger you identify with and you've essentially got a personal test pilot exploring the world for you and reporting back on what you'll love and what you can live without. With this in mind, Global Basecamps has decided to seek out bloggers who represent some facet of our travel philosophy and get them to share insider tips and knowledge they’ve gained on their global escapades.
Our first featured blogger is Matt from LandLopers.com. He describes himself as "a typical Gen-X professional who has a passion for all things travel." What we most love about him is the fact that he's not a backpacker nor traveling in the lap of luxury. He's found a way to be a global landloper (a.k.a. wanderer or adventurer) without breaking the bank, and is eager to make travel more accessible to all.
Global Basecamps: We think you bring a unique perspective to the travel blogosphere. In a few words, what is your travel philosophy?
LandLopers: It is my mission to make travel more relatable to the average person and to show them that they can have amazing experiences without spending a fortune. I am not a backpacker nor am I super wealthy, but I have managed to see a lot of the world without spending a lot of money. I really want to encourage as many “average” people to do the same.
Global Basecamps: So, when and how did you get hooked on travel?
LandLopers: I have always had this obsession. From a young age I learned as much as I could about the countries of the world and in high school I was actually voted most likely to travel the world. Guess I am trying to live up to the superlative.
Global Basecamps: Yeah, it seems like you are doing a great job of it! How long have you been a travel blogger? What are the biggest rewards and challenges?
LandLopers: I’m fairly new to travel blogging, but am really enjoying it so far. The biggest reward has been connecting with so many great people around the world who are just as passionate about travel as I am. The biggest challenge for me is managing my 9-5 job with keeping my site as fresh and relevant as possible.
Global Basecamps: Now to the most important question, which country has the best street food or most memorable meal?
LandLopers: I really enjoyed the street food in Bangkok. You can get everything from a light snack to a full meal. My favorite is the simplest, fresh pineapple. My favorite meal was at the ‘In Love’ Restaurant, also in Bangkok. I had a crispy chicken dish I have been unable to find anywhere else in the world.
Global Basecamps: And even more importantly, being big fans of Lost, we loved your blog about Lost travel destinations. Which is your favorite and how are you feeling about the Lost finale?
LandLopers: Well, I would love to visit Tunisia. I was recently in Morocco and really enjoyed my first foray into North Africa. As far as the Lost finale, I enjoyed it. I think that it provided enough closure for the fans and gave us all a lot to think about.
Global Basecamps: Okay, we digress. What's your favorite travel gadget or accessory?
LandLopers: I have a great messenger bag that I’ve been taking on trips lately. It allows me to carry camera, books, etc. without looking like a complete tourist.
Global Basecamps: And besides not looking like a complete tourist, what's the best way to get in with the locals when you travel?
LandLopers: What is most important is not where you go in an area, but how open you are. Take the time to talk to people, engage them in conversation and make an effort.
Global Basecamps: So, you know we are big on sustainability. Have you been to any eco lodges or sustainable hotels? If so, which was your favorite?
LandLopers: I have only visited them, but never stayed for a trip. They are high on our list though of travel ‘to-do’ because I feel that they many times offer a more intimate experience. They also give the guest a certain satisfaction in knowing that they simply aren’t taking from a locale, but in some way contributing to its continued beauty and enjoyment.
Global Basecamps: Another thing we promote is "experiential travel." What does that mean to you?
LandLopers: Experiential travel is very important to me and is ultimately at the core of my travel ethos. While I appreciate having the opportunity to see and tour important sites and monuments, to me travel is all about the experiences. You really get to know and understand a culture by becoming a small part of it. It can be as simple as a tour through a neighborhood grocery store or as involved as volunteering while on the road. Regardless, it is very important to move beyond the HoHo bus and to really delve into a new culture.
Global Basecamps: Yeah, we feel you about the HoHo (Hop- on -Hop- off tour) busses! There is really so much to gain by delving into the culture and the benefits seem to be exponential. So, in your experience, how can travel make the world a better place?
LandLopers: Travel breaks down barriers. Ultimately it is about the personal connections made on a trip that really matter and in turn those connections encourage greater understanding between cultures that may seem totally at odds with one another.
Global Basecamps: Out of all the places you've traveled, which do you think is the most underrated or overlooked?
LandLopers: I sometimes think that Singapore gets a bad rap. While it is true that it is a business oriented city, there are lots of things for the traveler to do and explore and the Singaporean culture is a fascinating mélange of wildly different peoples and traditions.
Global Basecamps: Alright Matt, thanks so much for chatting with us. We wouldn't feel complete if we didn't ask this: you have one week left on Earth, assuming you can take all your friends and family with you, where would you go and why?
LandLopers: It would have to be island hopping in the South Pacific. I love traveling by boat or ship and for me personally being on water is both relaxing and exciting.