Hi Vagobonds and Happy New Year!
Despite the dire predictions of doomsayers, I’m pretty sure that 2012 isn’t going to mean the end of the world. In fact, I don’t even think that world travel is going to end, though I suspect that the costs of travel are going to go up significantly by year’s end (see my predictions for 2012). Even with all of that, I suspect that this is going to be a great year for travel.
2011 was an important year for me personally in terms of family in that my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world and on that theme there are some introductions that I’d like to make to you. Like our daughter, these are children but unlike Aya Sophia, these are websites that have been brought into the Vagobond.com family. I’m calling the whole Vagobond family, Vagobond Travel Media.
Please keep in mind that all of these sites are kids so, in some cases, they haven’t even begun to walk and talk for the most part, but it’s my hope that in the coming year each of them will become a valuable part of your travel web.
Sun Sea Adventures – My hope for this site is to turn it into the place where you can go to find the best reviews, travelogues, and deals on sailing, cruise, and tropical travel. Everything from scuba to rain forest hiking to exotic ports of call.
Hawaii Adventures – Hawaii is still the greatest destination in the world and I can’t wait to get my family back home. In the meantime, I’m trying to find the best videos that capture the essence of aloha and offer the greatest insight into the amazing lifestyle of the Hawaiian Islands.
Morocco Blogs – While Hawaii is home to me, for my wife – Morocco will always be home and so we will continue to bring you the best of Morocco online here. We’ve postponed the Best of Morocco Blog awards this year (3rd year) but they will be coming soon.
Morocco Sahara – If you want to truly experience the majesty of the desert, this is the place to go. I built and maintain this site for our friends Moha and Hassan, the Berber Nomads who arranged and organized not only our Sahara Nomad wedding, but countless trips for friends and family.
Hotels Panel – While I didn’t want to turn Vagobond into a hotel and flight booking site, when the chance came to purchase our favorite hotel and cheap flight engine – I couldn’t resist. This is the place to go to get the most complete listings of hotel or budget flights world-wide.
Travel Hotel – This site is very much in development, but recently, it became desirable to have a reservations and booking site for the properties of friends and acquaintances. I have big plans for this site…coming soon.
World Travel Nomad – Too often, young travelers think they can start a blog and then pay for their travel around the world – then, they realize that travel blogging is really a job. It’s also a very hard job when you don’t know how to make money at it. This site is going to be a place where you can go to find out how to make money traveling and travel blogging.
Tourist Tips – a very new acquisition – Tourist Tips is going to be just what it says – tips for tourists.
Travel Tips for Asia – On this site, I’d like to begin curating the best of Asia travel. Not so much adventures or travelogues, but interesting reviews, destinations, restaurants and sites.
Vacation Rentals in Ireland – On this site, we’ll be looking at the many thousands of non-hotel options available in Ireland for travelers.
Vagobonding – My attempt at creating a travel social network failed miserably last year – to the point where I had to disable the community because it was populated with three spammers for every one traveler. I haven’t given up hope though and this year will be bringing back a new improved Vagobonding experience.
Vagobunny – Much as my wife hates it, I still love looking at beautiful women wherever I travel. The world is filled with sexy women and incredible geography and with Vagobunny, I will try to bring you the best of both – completely work safe.
So….those are the kids of Vagobond Travel Media. Now, back to Vagobond itself…
In 2011, I noticed several trends in terms of travel, social media and blogging. Some of them good, some of them bad , others just ugly.
First of all travel blogging – unfortunately there are more and more sites that are clogging up the internet with badly written, scraped, robot rewritten, or simply stolen content. Honestly, I can’t even call this site a blog because blogging and blogs have become such a mess. These clog up search engine results and make it sometimes almost impossible to find the great content. (By the way, this isn’t just travel blogging – it’s every category) The solution is curation.
Curation is like managing a museum. The curator searches far and wide for the best exhibits and then preserves them and points them out. Nobody likes to go to a museum filled with junk – right? So, part of our job at Vagobond will be to find the best stories in travel and point them out to you. Since my social media site of preference is Google+, we will be curating all week at Vagobond Travel Media and then bringing you the best of what we find at Vagobond.com in a Friday feature called Travel Highlights.
In fact, we will try to bring you different features each day so that you know exactly what you will find each day you come!
Saurdays will be Extraordinary Vagabonds – one of the most popular features we’ve had at Vagobond. In this feature we introduce you to the great vagabonds of the past, present and future.
Sunday Travel Deals will continue to be the day that I bring you all the travel bargains, sales and deals that have crossed my desk.
Monday’s feature will focus on a destination (except today which has this instead).
Tuesday will focus on adventures and specific activities.
Wednesday (my favorite day of the week) will have my Vagobond Editorial
All of this will be the great travel writing and photography you’ve come to know and love – and by the way – the Vagobond Family has grown in other ways too… we have hired some great travelers and writers – some of them you’ve already met through their writing and others who you will be meeting soon. I will introduce the other members of our current editorial staff this coming Saturday in the Extraordinary Vagabond’s feature.
In terms of commenting, while I miss the interaction that used to take place in our comment section, it has been a relief to be rid of the spam. For that reason, I will continue to keep the comments closed on Vagobond and continue to encourage you to interact on social media either at Google+, Twitter
LinkedIn or at the Vagobond Travel Media G+ page.
I do, however, think that shutting down the email newsletter may have been premature and so in 2012 I will be trying to bring back the newsletter. For the moment, I recommend that you subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t miss any great stories and when the newsletter comes back, I will be sure to let you know how to sign up for it.
In 2012, I want to bring you more videos and great photo essays as well as some contests, travel gear reviews, and whew! I suppose part of the key of keeping your New Year’s resolutions is not going too far with them…just know that all of us here at Vagobond want you to have an incredible New Year and wonderful travels.
Good luck with all of your resolutions!
All the best,