It's been just over a year since I started my travel blog, and I've met many travelers along the way. Some travel full time, others travel part time and some travel on weekends only. Some live in Australia, some live in Canada and others have no designated home. With the New Year just around the corner, I thought I'd give a shout-out to some of the bloggers I draw the most inspiration from. These are my 16 Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2016!
Jenn is my biggest inspiration when it comes to travel blogging. She is the reason I write for Tourism Regina and is why I continue to write today. She's been that person to turn to for advice when I sometimes feel overwhelmed with my blog (yes, that happens!) and has been a guide in helping me push forward not only my blog but also my writing career. It helps that she lives right here in Regina too!
Since I first heard of Jenn, I've been following her blog and adding items to my personal bucket list. Not only is she traveling circles around me, but she's taking her two kids along with her! With short weekend jaunts, she is always heading somewhere new and doing something exciting. Her articles have been published in more magazines than I can count, and she always has another adventure up her sleeve! You'll definitely want to keep up with Jenn next year to see where she is heading next!
I've talked about Rob and Chris Taylor before but I can't stress enough how absolutely incredible their adventures are. If you're interested in traveling with children – or just traveling in general – Rob and Chris Taylor at 2 Travel Dads are the people you want to follow! These guys seem to always be somewhere breath-taking, whether it be Yellowstone National Park, visiting the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, attending Winterlude in Ottawa or hiking some edge-of-the-world trail, they always have an adventure up their sleeve and a story to tell.
And they're doing it with kids!
3. The Lost Girls Guide to Finding the World (Ashlyn George)
Prior to being Saskatchewan's most popular Saskatchewanderer, Ashlyn was traveling the world. Since 2010 she has been to over forty different country spanning six different continents. From Madagascar to Bolivia to New Zealand, Ashlyn is always willing to go out of her comfort zone to try something new. She returned to Canada in 2015 for the "Best Job Ever" and became the Saskathchewanderer – a provincial tourism icon. Her adventures have been a topic in my blog throughout the past year.
Now that she's done being the Saskatchewanderer, she's dusting off her passport and heading out to the world again. Where she's going next, only she knows. Her website says Antarctica, but I heard some talk about Iceland the other day.
She is definitely one traveler you'll want to keep an eye on!
Out of all 16 bloggers on this last, Jamie is the only one with his own mode of transportation – an airplane. I'm not totally sure what Jamie does for a living as it seems he's always flying somewhere or going someplace, but he seems to really enjoy it! I met Jamie a few months ago when he took my girlfriend and me up for a flight around Regina. It was after that I learned Jamie travels a lot more than I realized and does it all between 7,000 to 8,500 feet above ground. A pilot-to-be and photography genius, Jamie's pictures are inspirational and every night he makes me want to take out my Canon and take some epic night shots – even though I know they never turn out. His journey to Yellowstone this past Independence Day is a fascinating read and I cannot wait to see where he goes next!
Silvia is one of the inspirations for my blog. With the ability to go from incredibly quirky to deadly serious, her blog spans her adventures in over 70 countries around the world. This Norwegian globetrotter has been to just about every corner of the world – including places you wouldn't expect such as Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. A self-proclaimed "shy backpacker" who "tap dances when she's nervous", Silvia's adventures are always full of humor, education and wanderlust, even if she's been stuck in Norway for the past few months.
"Where is Nikki?" was originally called "Where is Noodles?" and has since rebranded!
Nikki doesn't remember when or why people started calling her Noodles, but that doesn't really matter. What matters is her travelogue. After a turbulent 2014, she decided it was time for a change and began a ten month journey of traveling to four different continents around the world – including five months volunteering in Tanzania.
With a blog full of tips, tricks, advice and posts featuring other bloggers, along with her own musings, Nikki is very quickly becoming one of my most favorite bloggers! Be sure to check out her site and follow along with her travels!
7. Drifter Planet (Sandro Paladini and Sonal Kwatra Paladini)
Sandro and Sonal fell in love twice – one time with traveling and the other time with each other. These two love birds travel all throughout South-East Asia, exploring distant lands such as India, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Philippines and countless more. Lovers of trees, sun, heat and water, these two are quickly becoming some of the most popular travel bloggers out there – being ranked the 62nd most popular travel blogger out of a 1000!
Drifter Planet has also been featured on Huffington Post, Thought Catalogue, Choose Philippines and the Quint. They are definitely somebody you'll want to keep an eye on!
I like Drea for many reasons – from her adventures, her articles and her charisma – but mostly I like her because she's Canadian. There are only a handful of Canadian travel bloggers out there, so it's always exciting to meet another one.
Drea has traveled to over 19 countries, spanning from Japan to Serbia. Her articles are full of incredible photography and great traveling tips, including how to save money, where to watch out for food poisoning and how to get cheap flights! Travels With Drea is one of those blogs that will most likely take off in 2016, so you'll want to keep an eye on it!
Nikki was born in South Africa and from a young age has always wanted to travel. After turning 24, she moved to the United States and began to travel the world. Her goal is to visit all 50 states before she turns 30, and she has three years left to make her dream come true. Besides traveling the United States, she also travels abroad. She has recently frequented South America and has a plethora of posts about Brazil and Peru on her blog. Her blogs cover a variety of topics, such as immunization, altitude sickness and her "Eat The World" specials which are all about delicious ethnic food.
You'll want to keep a close eye on Nikki this year! Who knows where she's going next!
Mel is a French Canadian travel blogger that has "fallen in love with Europe 4 times". Returning to Quebec, she traveled to Western Canada to improve her English and somehow ended up in Australia. She has been on-and-off the lesser road traveled for almost three years now after selling (almost) everything and deciding to explore the world. Her travels have taken her to countries like New Zealand, Greece, Turkey and Japan.
I don't follow A Broken Backpack just because Mel is Canadian or because of her incredible adventures, but because of her honest bad-luck adventures she has when she's traveling. Much like myself, Mel has had some pretty awful experiences abroad, although hers are much worse. Traveling isn't always glamourous and can sometimes be downright scary, but Mel hasn't let that phase her and she still continues to travel the world. I cannot wait to see where she will be heading in 2016!
Zascha is from Denmark, but considers England her homebase. Being only a year older than me, I often watch Zascha on her travels and wonder what's stopping me from doing that too! Zascha has traveled to Germany, Scotland, Denmark, England and the United States since her blog began just over a year ago. Her blog has gotten a lot of attention and upon announcing her desire to travel to Philadelphia, the local tourism agency sent her a bag full of free tickets to different destinations around the city, including a wireless charger, pens, paper, sunglasses and "just loads of things that made [her] super happy".
Zascha's goal is to make travel blogging into a profession, and she's already well on her way. 2016 might be her big year so you'll want to keep a close eye on her!
An Australian travel blogger living in London, Jess is somebody I will keep a very closer eye on this year. One of my favorite things about Jess is that her blog is named after her dog, Buckley. Travel blogging, or traveling in general, is an incredible experience but you always leave a piece of yourself behind – may it be a loved one, a pet or a friend. I always remind myself of that when I read "Back to Buckley". I feel the blog is not only a quest to see the world, but a promise to return one day to those left waiting behind.
Sappy stuff aside, the reason Jess is on this list is because of all the effort she puts into her blogs. I am constantly blown away by her articles! While I could ramble on about things to do in different cities on Christmas, Jess does it much easier and much simpler: with an infographic.
It's fair to say Jess is the Queen of Infographics, and many times I have caught myself looking at her work and wishing I had an ounce of the creativity she has. Just look at this! I wish I could do a fraction of this!
You can see the whole thing on her site. It's very impressive!
Twin sisters from Huntsville, Alabama, these two gals are my number one source of American travel. Like me, they two are stuck in the 9-5 grind and can only travel two to three weeks of the year. Nevertheless, they make the best of it and always seem to be on one adventure or another. Their last adventure was particularly interesting as they visited the home of the US President Barack Obama! Not only did I not know tours of the Whitehouse are available, they are apparently very popular (and very interesting!).
Erica and Tara have also traveled to a plethora of different US states, such as Florida, Tennessee and Illinois. When they aren't traveling stateside, they have been known to pop over to Europe as well!
If you're looking to travel throughout the United States in 2016, you'll want to follow the Trippin Twins to see where to head next!
Sally was born in Ireland to Arab-Muslim parents but was raised in California. This past year Sally hit her quarter life crisis and decided she needed to revamp her life so she quit her job and took a 6-week trip to Europe. Returning home she decided that two weeks of vacation after fifty weeks of working is ridiculous, and so decided it was time to start a new life. "So here I am, just trying to figure it out as I go along. Life's all a work in progress anyway!"
Her blog focuses on one of my most favorite things – food, and not just halal food either! I could try to talk about the food she has tried, tasted and approved from around the world, but since her trip to Spain covered so many delicacies like fried lobster, smoked cod, solomillo and a squid sandwich, I'll let her do the talking and I'll do the mouthwatering.
Sally is a determined young woman with an attitude and an opinion, so I'm really excited to see where her blog will go in 2016!
Born in New Zealand, Sonja moved to the United States when she was only sixteen. Eleven years later, Sonja is still traveling the world. Unlike other travelers though, Sonja didn't quit her job to travel; instead, she works and travels at the same time. Sonja really advocates studying abroad, teaching overseas or work exchange programs. Traveling and living abroad is the definition of freedom as long as you don't make a permanent home away from home to chain you down. In the past eleven years, Sonja has had five different homes and has visited thirty five different destinations, so she must be doing something right!
Sonja's working visa in the UK just ended, but before she left she visited some of United Kingdoms' most well-known locations, such as The Lake District and the Scottish Highlands! (And yes, if you're a Monty Python fan, she did visit the place where your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.) I'm not sure where Sonja is heading next, but I'm sure 2016 will be a great year for the Migrating Miss!
I recently discovered Zoe's blog, Moving Out Of Mum's and Dad's, and I wish I had found it sooner! Zoe's blog is full of her quirky adventures, mishaps and mistakes that nobody else would dare talk about – riddled with just enough profanity and sarcasm to keep it light-hearted. Zoe isn't afraid to put her heart into her work, and every article puts you right where she was at the moment. Her article "How Not To Do Australia" shows the real life frustration many of us are too embarrassed to put online, let alone write in our diary.
That isn't to say MOOMADS is just the diary of just another traveling millennial. Zoe has been to scores of countries, like Egypt, Morocco, Tunisian, Andorra, UAE, Estonia, Romania and many, many more with all of her articles sprinkled with sass, sarcasm and heart felt emotion.
I wish I had discovered Zoe and MOOMADS earlier. I can't wait to see to hear all about her adventures in 2016!
Don't forget to pin it!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
A few months ago I entered a contest for a trip for two to visit Philadelphia on Two Bad Tourists. Normally contests like this are limited to United States residents so when I saw this one was open to Canadians I jumped at the chance. I've never won something like this before, so I actually forgot about it until I got the emailing saying I had won. Two Bad Tourists then worked alongside Visit Philly to organise the trip for me and my mother to explore Philadelphia for three days. Visit Philly paid for our flights, hotels and gave us a VIP Pass to experience the city to our heart's content. It is thanks to them that this trip is possible.
Several movies and television shows have tried to capture the essence of Philadelphia over the years – from the boxing Blockbuster Rocky, to the paranormal thriller The Sixth Sense, to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and even Boy Meets World – but each described the city differently. There is no easy way to approach a city as dynamic as The City of Brotherly Love. With countless layers of art, history, religion and the paranormal, Philadelphia is a city unlike any other throughout the United States.
One thing that surprised me the most about Philadelphia was the history. The city was founded and designed by William Penn, who is also the state of Pennsylvania's namesake. Born in London, England in 1644 he lived through The Great Fire of 1666 and The Great Plague of London from 1665-1666. Both events shaped Penn's life so he designed the city to be strictly stone buildings (to stop fires from spreading) and to have plenty of space between the buildings (as to prevent illness from spreading). This led to the older areas of the city to have winding corridors between old stone walls.
Most people know how to ride a bicycle. They learned sometime as a child and never forgot. I am not one of those people. I tried learning when I was a child, a teenager and an adult, and I have never mastered the two-wheel contraption. Whenever I see a child zip past me on a bike, I get a little jealous inside. I've always wanted to learn, but it's just something I've never been able to do.
On my recent trip to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, I explored several of the many biking paths that wind through the area. The paths are also hikable, so I walked them instead. Although I've visited Cypress Hills several times, I never get used to the hills and lakes throughout the area. With dozens of kilometres of trails, you can spend a weekend there and never do the same thing twice. Although hiking around the park was incredible, I imagine it would be a lot more fun, and a lot easier, to bike it instead.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.
The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.
From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.