Home » Reviewing Art of Solo Travel: A Girl’s Guide.

Reviewing Art of Solo Travel: A Girl’s Guide.

[3 June 2010 | 2 Comments | by Jessie Kwak ]

There’s a long ramble ahead, so if you just want to know more about Stephanie Lee’s new e-book The Art of Solo Travel: A Girl’s Guide, out now from Indie Travel Media Ltd., go right on over

When I was 20, I took my first steps out into the world of solo travel. I had just spent a month in Spain with a school group, and I was planning on ending my trip with a week in Holland visiting relatives. The week of travel that would take me from Spain to Holland felt like a trapeze stunt–I was released from Salamanca and I went soaring through the air, wildly hoping that I would be caught safe and sound by my relatives.

It was terrifying, nerve-wracking, amazing, lonely, and life-changing. I planned the trip out to the minute, and at my mom’s insistence I booked all my hotels ahead of time. Maybe that took some spontenaity out of the trip, but in the end it was a major relief for a first-time solo traveler.

I don’t book ahead anymore, I’m no longer afraid of French people, and I’ve learned how to ask for and receive directions in languages I don’t understand. I rarely remember to bring addresses and maps, but I usually end up where I’m going (remind me to tell you the story of when my dad let me plan our trip to New York. “I can’t believe I let you travel on your own all these years,” were his exact words. But we found the hostel eventually, right dad? And they eventually got us a new flight, didn’t they?).

What’s my point? It’s that traveling on your own for the first time can be terrifying.

Stephanie Lee parses through that terror in her new e-book The Art of Solo Travel: A Girl’s Guide. She answers questions like why travel and where should I go? Doesn’t it get boring eating alone every day? Is it safe? What should I pack? Stephanie draws from her own experience for this guide, discussing what gear she likes and why, what “essential items” she leaves at home (I agree about money belts–I keep taking one with me, but it never leaves the bottom of my backpack).

For girls (for anyone, really) who are contemplating taking that trapeze-leap of faith out into the world of solo travel, this is a great beginning guide, and a great reference. If you or someone you know has got the travel bug but is still nervous about diving in, you need this book.

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Home » Best Kept Travel Secrets eBook launch

Best Kept Travel Secrets eBook launch

[19 May 2010 | Comments Off on Best Kept Travel Secrets eBook launch | by Jessie Kwak ]

Sorry for the silence lately–we’ve both been working long hours trying to save up money for more travels, then biking long hours to relax, instead of sitting long hours at the computer.

Tripbase.com launched a project last fall to get travel writers to share their best-kept travel secrets. We participated, and now they’ve collected everyone’s posts into a series of ebooks. From their website:

The Story Behind the Secrets
This eBook series is the result of a unique collaborative project, the first of its kind to take place on the Internet.

Starting with just one blog post back in November 2009, the Travel Secrets project spread quickly with 200 amazing travel bloggers revealing their most closely guarded travel secrets.

The secrets were too good not to share! So we’ve compiled all 500 of them into a series of inspirational travel eBooks, available for free download right now!

From secluded beaches to bargain hotels, exotic foods and expert travel tips, this wealth of insider travel knowledge is available now, absolutely free!

You can download them here. For every download they’ll be donating $1 to Charity: Water.

We’re in the WorldWide Travel eBook, and there’s a ton of other great stuff in there about South America. Check it out!

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Home » Accessible birding tour near Cusco, Manu

Accessible birding tour near Cusco, Manu

[4 April 2010 | 3 Comments | by Jessie Kwak ]

Kolibri Expeditions is putting together a birdwatching trip meant to be accessible for people who have trouble walking long distances. There’s no mention on the site as to whether it’s a wheelchair-accessible tour, but they describe it as:

Finally a tour for those that can not walk for long stretches without a break. We have reduced the walking to an absolute minimum. We have chosen a mixture of very good lodges and some more basic community lodges on the possibilities to see birds without doing to much walking. It has been some challange to find the right balance, but we believe this recipe will be a winner.

Most of South America isn’t very accessible. Even in the more modern cities it can be hard to find hotels that are wheelchair accessible, and most hikes are just out of the question. It’s interesting to see a tour company addressing this. I’m looking forward to seeing how this itinerary works out for them.

The tour includes Machu Picchu and other nearby ruins, but most of the time is spent traveling in the Manu Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas in the Amazon. Their website lists an impressive number of interesting bird species that they expect to see on the tour.

Kolibri has a sliding price scale based on how many people are in the group, and although their website says the tour will be from August 1st-15th, it seems as though the dates are still somewhat flexible.

For more information, email Kolibriexp@gmail.com

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Home » When my love of McSweeney’s and travel collide.

When my love of McSweeney’s and travel collide.

[3 April 2010 | Comments Off on When my love of McSweeney’s and travel collide. | by Jessie Kwak ]

For your weekend reading pleasure:

Realistic Google Maps Walking Directions When In A Different Country.

Zach Jones lays out the joys and frustrations of trying to figure out where the hell you are when you don’t speak the language. An excerpt:

18. Figure out the right turn you wanted to make in step 3 was actually a hidden downward slope behind the one you made… -1 km

19. Continue on Correct Street, remain pessimistic… 2.6 km

20. Become aware that you are totally taking a gamble of whether or not you’re going the right way… 1.8 km

21. Ask another person for directions… 20 m

22. Hate yourself for being a stupid monolingual American… 2.3 cm

23. Become stressed, regret quitting smoking… 10 m

24. Be glad you quit smoking, because there’s a giant hill to walk up… 0.2 km

Go read the whole thing.

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Home » International Pillow Fight Day in Brazil

International Pillow Fight Day in Brazil

[3 April 2010 | Comments Off on International Pillow Fight Day in Brazil | by Jessie Kwak ]

Today, April 3rd, is International Pillow Fight Day. For real. How cool is that?

One country that’s celebrating it with gleeful abandon is Brazil. With ten cities participating all across the country, according to PillowFightDay.com (and about 30 listed on Brazil’s own pillow fighting website), Brazil is very likely at this moment covered in a thin layer of feathers.

Image from Inside Sao Paulo.

International Pillow Fight Day is organized by the Urban Playground Movement as a way for people to come together for spontaneous, fun community. From their website:

One of our goals is to make these unique happenings in public space become a significant part of popular culture, partially replacing passive, non-social, branded consumption experiences like watching television, and consciously rejecting the blight on our cities caused by the endless creep of advertising into public space. The result, we hope, will be a global community of participants, not consumers, in a world where people are constantly organizing and attending these happenings in every major city in the world.

Enjoy the Dia Mundial da Guerra de Travesseiros 2010!

Looking to organize a pillow fight in your hometown? Check out Pillow Fight Day.com’s HowTo guide.

For more on Brazilian flash mob fun, check out MOBrasilNews.com.

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Home » Turns out somebody thinks we’re cool.

Turns out somebody thinks we’re cool.

[31 March 2010 | Comments Off on Turns out somebody thinks we’re cool. | by Jessie Kwak ]

We’re featured on Matador Travel as one of five traveling couples, along with NewNomads, the fantastic The PlanetD, Technomadia, and GeordiP.

Thanks, Julie Schwietert! (Matador’s managing editor and half of the fantastic traveling couple Collazo Projects herself)

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Home » Machu Picchu reopening tomorrow

Machu Picchu reopening tomorrow

[31 March 2010 | Comments Off on Machu Picchu reopening tomorrow | by Jessie Kwak ]

Machu Picchu should be up and running tomorrow, April 1st, according to Living in Peru (and the rest of the news world).

Is anyone out there going to be in the first few weeks’ wave of tourists? We’d love to hear about it–email me (jessie [at] unpavedsouthamerica.com)!

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Home » Copa Libertadores Update: March 28th

Copa Libertadores Update: March 28th

[28 March 2010 | Comments Off on Copa Libertadores Update: March 28th | by Robert Kittilson ]

Welcome back to the Copa Update. These are the closing rounds and teams need to win to secure berths to the round of 16. In almost all of the groups one team is taking control. In groups 1 and 2 Brazilian teams are looking secure. Peru has a chance to send two teams to the round of 16, Alianza Lima has a firm grip on Group 3 almost assured to move on, but Universitario is tied for first minus three goals in Group 4. A Universitario win is crucial in these last games to grant them a 16 appearance. Juan Aurich’s last chance to advance themselves, and a little bump for Alianza, is coming up this week with a home town battle against Estudiantes of Argentina, who lost to Alianza at home earlier in the tournament. If Juan Aurich can win they will still have a chance to advance. A loss will result in certain closure.
Groups 5 and 6 are ruled by the Uruguayans as Cerro and National keep the numbers up. Group seven has been dominated by Argentina’s Vélez Sársfield with 10 points, leading everyone in the group stage. Chile has two teams in Group 8 and almost guaranteed a round of 16 berth. Looks like that will be Universidad de Chile.

Thanks for tuning in and enjoy the photos from Juan Andrés Espinoza Duarte.

Group 1

March 25, 2010
21:15 (UTC-3)
Racing Uruguay 1 – 0 Colombia Independiente Medellín
Estadio Gran Parque Central, Montevideo
Referee: Diego Abal (Argentina)

Ostolaza 75′

Group 3

March 23, 2010
19:30 (UTC-3)
Estudiantes Argentina 2 – 0 Bolivia Bolívar
Estadio José Luis Meiszner, Quilmes
Referee: Marcelo Henrique (Brazil)

Sosa 51′
Boselli 79′

Group 4

March 23, 2010
21:45 (UTC-3)
Libertad Paraguay 1 – 1 Peru Universitario
Referee: Salvio Fagundes (Brazil)

Ayala 56′

Ramírez Goal 87′

March 24, 2010
21:50 (UTC-3)
Lanús Argentina 1 – 0 Bolivia Blooming
Estadio Ciudad de Lanús – Néstor Díaz Pérez, Lanús
Referee: Patricio Polic (Chile)

Salcedo 17′ (pen.)

Group 5

March 25, 2010
19:15 (UTC-5)
Deportivo Quito Ecuador 1 – 0 Ecuador Emelec
Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa, Quito
Referee: José Luis Espinel (Ecuador)

Deportivo Quito
Arroyo 64′

Group 7

March 24, 2010
21:50 (UTC-3)
Cruzeiro Brazil 2 – 0 Venezuela Deportivo Italia
Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Belo Horizonte
Attendance: 17,237
Referee: Antonio Arias (Paraguay)

Fabinho 6′
Pedro Ken 69′

March 25, 2010
19:00 (UTC-3)
Vélez Sársfield Argentina 2 – 1 Chile Colo-Colo
Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: Roberto Silvera (Uruguay)

Vélez Sársfield
López Goal 14′
Silva Goal 30′

Miralles Goal 9′

Group 8

March 24, 2010
19:30 (UTC-3)
Universidad Católica Chile 1 – 1 Venezuela Caracas
Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo, Santiago
Referee: Néstor Pitana (Argentina)

Universidad Católica
Morales Goal 82′

Bustamante Goal 50′

Check out Wikipedia for all the stats, and Conmebol for all the articles. Thanks again to Juan Espinoza for the great photos. We will be seeing more from him soon.

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