Serving as the Event Director for over a decade of the annual world travel championship, the around the world travel adventure competition known as The Global Scavenger Hunt, I am regularly asked what my favorite spot in the world is?
Some would say they are jaded. Their style is best and they alone are the arbiters of travel dharma truisms. (And here I thought travel was a highly subjective personal experience and that diversity was a good thing!?)
Mauritania: the slave capital of the world. Yea, slavery! An estimated four percent of the population are bonafide slaves. Then there is the sand, the land mines and indiscriminate attacks on everything foreign. Other than that it's beautiful!
Unsatisfied, I took an even deeper look-see behind the curtain at some rather untraditional 21st century mashup travel metrics, that all point to an even bigger (and better) year for traveler's in 2014.
Obviously, travel is exceedingly personal; everything is relative, and everyone travels for different reasons. There cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach; there are exceptions to every rule. Indeed, there is no right way to travel, but maybe there are a few wrong ways.
Travel 3.0 means that instead of being sequestered in comfortable digs at resort hotels away from the local and indigenous people you are supposedly visiting, you get out of your comfort zone and engage in authentic, challenging and participatory travel experiences
People have now walked, biked, hitchhiked, ballooned, any other mode of transportation you could think, to become famous, and infamous, great travelers. But who are the world's greatest travelers? Battle-tested against their peers and proven?
I believe that traveling in the spirit of conscious awareness, humility and curiosity only enhances anyone's journey, and over the years I have expanded what I believe is a sensible and sensitive Traveler's Creed to live and travel by.
Vacation personalities, travel styles, and interests vary among us homo touristicus. Travelers inevitably have different goals and expectations. Being patient, compassionate and showing empathy towards each other is critical.
Hard to believe that in 2008 this nation was on one of those, "most dangerous places in the world" lists. Not anymore, as things are a hustle and bustle here, with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world today.
Today is a day of transition in the 8th annual around the world travel adventure competition. We are neither here nor there yet, but hovering in a place in between -- also known affectionately as a layover!
If it were not for U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's visit to this hermit-like nation-state just a few short months ago, this event would not be here today enjoying the spectacular sights, sounds and smells of a truly one-of-a-kind mesmerizing, mysterious and beguiling travel destination.
Checking in now from Taipei, Taiwan, with the majestic 101 Taipei building -- formerly the world's tallest -- looming in the distance and seemingly radiating as a tropical lightening storm illuminates the early evening sky.
The Global Scavenger Hunt is all about fun and engaging. It is about novelty -- day in and day out for 23 days as you circumnavigate the globe. It is about challenges, being creative, learning, being open and trusting strangers in strange lands.