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Top 10 Travel Experiences of 2016

Wadi Rum sunset in Jordan

I’m sure nobody wants to hear this, but 2016 wasn’t all bad for me. At times it would be easy to sink into the growing collective despair. Then again, I find it perfectly healthy to reflect and take stock of the good things that happened over the past year. Truth be told, 2016 was not a bad year in terms of the things I care most about, those being travel and hearing and telling stories. Over the course of these 12 months, I covered distances as far as Alaska to Jordan. I learned about indigenous tourism and finally set foot in a corner of the globe that continues to be thoroughly misunderstood by people from my North American background. I personally feel better educated to share the stories I’ve heard to continually do my part, as little as it may be, to make people less terrified of one another.

Below are 10 of my top travel experiences of 2016 complete with a snippet from the article referencing said experience. Yes, it’s a bit like when a TV sitcom assembles a clip show as a cop-out for an episode, but I hope it’s clear that my intentions are noble.

I also hope it’s clear that I’m not sharing these to brag or incite envy. Rather, I’m sharing them in hopes you might feel compelled to either follow in my footsteps to some of these destinations or to simply recount the positive aspects of your year. Continue reading

Europe / international / Italy / photography / travel

Empty Venice: Italy’s Endangered City Without People

What can I possibly say about Venice that hasn’t already been said? It’s the City of Water, of Masks, of Canals, of Bridges, or “La Dominante” and “Serenissima” in Italian. It’s a little bit of everything.

Venice hadn’t been a priority for me as a traveler, even less so after reading about the damage unfettered tourism has done to the city in Elizabeth Becker’s Overbooked. I didn’t want to contribute to the destruction of arguably the world’s most beautiful city. When you look up “Venice” in the news, you find the some of the worst effects of tourism. Continue reading

Europe / international / Italy / reviews / travel

Eating Rome: Dining Like the Locals in Rome’s Testaccio Neighborhood

I’m not one for group tours, but Eating Europe Food Tours is the exception. Their shtick is to take a small group of travelers, say six, to lesser-traveled neighborhoods in tourist favorites to get a taste (no pun intended) of local life and the food they actually eat. (Perhaps a drink or two or five gets thrown in, as well.)

Suffice it to say, Eating Europe nails it. After joining them for their Twilight Soho Food Tour in London and now their Testaccio Supper Stroll in Rome, I feel I’m on the verge of becoming a groupie with my eye on their remaining tours in Amsterdam, Florence and Prague.

But first, Testaccio. Continue reading

Asia / cambodia / Europe / France / international / Italy / podcast / travel

Elizabeth Becker, Author of Overbooked, Talks Tourism and its Impact

Elizabeth Becker, author of Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, joins Without A Path to talk about the industry’s impact around the world, from lessons to follow in Bordeaux, France to overcrowded destinations like Venice that could learn a thing or two from the French. She also discusses environmental concerns that come out of the tourism industry, namely the large carbon footprint left by the cruise industry culprits, such as Royal Caribbean International. Finally, we discuss how the travel writer fits into all of this and what the average traveler can do to ensure they’re traveling responsibly.

Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism is now available in paperback.

Subscribe to Without A Path. Continue reading

Europe / international / Italy / photography / reviews / travel

Beating the Crowds with LivItaly Tours at the Vatican

view-st-peters-basilica-rome

I hate crowds and overtly touristy attractions. Eifel Tower? Meh. I’ll look at it if I’m passing by, but I’m not planing a day around it and I’m sure as hell not standing in line all day to climb it. And that picture where you make it look like you’re holding it between your fingers? Well done. You win Instagram.

Then again, there are some places where you have to suck it up and just go. You know it’s touristy, but it’s touristy because it’s special, unique, historically important, or perhaps all of the above.

That’s the Vatican. Continue reading