Travel writing, blogging and life

There is an excellent article in the Jan/Feb issue of National Geographic Traveler that is a subject which often comes up with people I meet on the road. There are several different types of travelers, and many different views on the way one should go about traveling. One end of the spectrum is the “go with the flow” type, traveling with no plans what-so-ever and leaving the trip up to fate. This person is most likely to have some crazy stories about both the good and bad things that happen along the way. On the other end of the spectrum is the techno traveler, who not only has a fully detailed and very planned trip, but they spend most of the time on their I-phone, laptop or behind the digital camera.

I’m sure that a good many people are just like me, somewhere in the middle. At times I even sway more to one side or the other, but that is mostly dependent on just how comfortable I am where I’m going. There has been several times in recent years where I really wished that I would have planned less and gone with the flow a whole lot more. As I become more used to being a stranger in a strange place, I realize that other than some basic needs that have to be met, I really should just wait to get to where I’m going to plan things out. Having the plane tickets and hotel rooms is pretty important. Of course, there are exemptions from this rule. If you are going on a trip specifically to do something, of course. Sometimes a trip is solely based on the dive site or hiking trail.

Now, on to the subject at hand. There’s quite a bit of talk amongst my traveling friends about whether or not it’s good to focus on taking pictures and writing stories As I’m traveling I usually work on writing and photo’s for part of the time, but I try very hard not to let it control the trip. I enjoy writing about the places I go and the things I do, so it does make the trip more enjoyable for me. There has been times when taking pictures just seems wrong, or I even totally forget to take them! As any one who reads my blog regularly knows, there are often times I DON’T come up with just the perfect shot that explains everything in one picture. This is partly because I lose track and get caught up in the moment, but it’s mostly because I believe that there is more to traveling than having a camera in front of my face the whole time.

Photography has turned into quite a passion of mine, I love it and the amazing things I have been able to capture forever in time. With out a doubt, I would have long forgotten great moments without it. I do hope that in time I’ll be able to select just the right time to snap a photo AND enjoy the moment. I’m sure that there is a way to do this, it’s hard for my mind to wrap around the thought of all of these world renowned writers and photographers traveling around not really seeing anything or enjoying it. I sure hope not for their sake.

Arches National Park and Moab, UT

It turns out that I had a free day yesterday, to I took the boy for a ride down to Moab. With a little bit of snow on the ground and not very many people around, I would have to say that this is a really nice time to visit the area. I think that there were only four or five other cars in the whole national park while we were there, how nice is that?

Once we got into the park, Eli and I went for up close look at the balanced rock and enjoyed the solitude for as long as we could stand the 20 degree weather. From there on out, we just drove around and stopped where we pleased, enjoying the ability to hang out in the middle of the road for a bit to snap pictures.

After our tour, we went down into Moab for some food and to check it out. Every time I go to this town I’m amazed at how thriving it is for it’s location. Moab is essentially 2 hours from the nearest town of any real size, and 4 hours from Salt Lake City. Despite it’s solitude, it is always busy and active. I’m not sure who is in charge of tourism for the area, but they should write a book and every small struggling touristy town should read it. It still amazes me that towns like my hometown of Nevada City, California don’t take notes from places like this. To put it simply, adventure tours and eco-tourism are where the money is at. People all over the planet are traveling for these things, and people all over the planet are making a good honest living off them. All I can think is that people just aren’t hungry enough, or poor enough to change, yet.

Cable Beach and Downtown Nassau

Well……. Cable beach was a pretty big let down. It’s basically where all the Sandals type of all inclusive resorts are located, and there isn’t much else there. So let’s chaulk that one up to a lesson learned, places not to worry about.

Down town Nassau is pretty touristy, but there are some good places off the beaten path. Luckily, the good people off the cruise ships were too busy buying t-shirts and perusing diamond stores to make the cooler things busy. I stopped into the pirate museum, which was interesting, but not too full of good info. It was just enough information to make me want to learn more about pirates in the Caribbean.

I know that I’ve said it before, but dang is this place expensive! I wanted to get in one good meal while I has here, so I thought I would try a Greek place on the water. The food was great, so that counts for something, but the bill for one with one glass of wine was $50! I think that’s approaching Napa Valley type of prices, but not quite the quality. Oh, well.. I guess I paid for the view, too.

One more full day in the Bahamas. What to do next?

Governors Harbor, Eleuthera

Yesterday I made my way over from Eleuthra to New Providence Island on the Medium Ferry. I was sad to leave such a beautiful place, but it was time to move on. I spent one last morning on the pink sand of Surfer’s Beach, watching the surfers make the most of the day. The funny thing is, this was the hottest day yet, and I was kind of regretting leaving the water for a half day of travel. Amazing how these things work out. I’d like to say thanks very much to Tom and Liz for being great hosts. If you ever get out to Eleuthra, please look into staying at the Surfers Haven. You won’t be sorry.

There’s been some lessons learned about Nassau today. First is, it’s a dirty place. Most of the hotels have bad reviews and it is difficult to judge places without seeing them for yourself first. The hotel I’m in now is one of those places. It has some horrible reviews on tripadvisor.com, but they are mostly older. I can see that most of these things have been addressed, and by looking around the place it’s not so bad. Really, it all leads to the second thing I’ve learned about Nassau. It’s expensive. If you think that you are going to come to the Bahamas for a cheap vacation, think again. Even the roach-coaches are pretty expensive, but this shouldn’t be a surprise in a town there the average rate per night for a room is $500 USD. I was looking around on hotels.com and even saw some over at Atlantis and such that were $900 USD or more a night. Going back to the bad reviews of hotels and such here, I think that most people that write bad reviews of these places come here thinking that they are going to get a $500 a night room for $100 a night, and when they don’t we read about it on the net.

There are good deals to be had, but you have to work really hard at it, and to be honest, not have too high of expectations. Last night I went down to “the fish fry” at Arawak cay and had a pretty good time. There was some good music (Stop the world and let me off!) and pretty good food for cheap. It was the local hang out, and that was pretty cool with me. I’d recommend others to go there as well.

Surfers Beach, Eleuthra

Yesterday was my lazy day. We all need that, right?

I spent the day at the Surfers Beach just down the road from my room watching the surfers play. Really, I just took turns napping and reading, along with swimming. It was pretty rough!

I decided to head back over to Nassau today on the ferry so I could roam around a bit over there. There’s quite a bit more going on in Nassau, so it will be good to check it out.

Harbour Island

Today has been the most tiring day of the trip so far. I left the Surfer’s Haven at around 9 am to return the Jeep by 10 am in Gregory Town. After that I hitch hiked up to the water taxi dock outside of Lower Bogue and caught a ride over to Harbour Island.

I’m not usually all too interested in hitch hiking, but on Eleuthera it is totally acceptable and even very normal. There’s no type of bus or transit system here, so if you need a ride and don’t have a car it’s the only way. Now that I’ve done it a bit, I’m really glad I did. The people here are amazing. Always smiling, laughing and good humored. Often times I’ve had trouble understanding some of their dialect, but it definitely not as hard as getting around Mexico. Bahamians have a type of accent similar to what most people would consider Jamaican, or at least I would anyways. I hope to find out more about it here in the next couple of days, but I think it’s fascinating. I really like the “No Problem, Mon” and everyone singing a popular song “Stop the world and let me off” has got me laughing more than a few times.

So after taking the $5 water taxi ride over to Harbor Island, I proceeded to walk around town for a good part of the day. It’s a pretty touristy place with some interesting businesses and it is much cleaner than the rest of the Bahamas I’ve seen so far. There’s a pretty good bakery I would definitely recommend. I also found some of the most expensive beer of the trip so far at $6.50 a bottle! Needless to say I didn’t order another.

After strolling around town, I went over to the east side of the island where the “Pink Sand Beach” is and I wasn’t let down a bit. It surely does have pink sand, and it was very beautiful. This was a close second to the lighthouse beach as my favorite beach so far. I walked the whole thing and went for a couple of nice swims.

I had heard on the way in that getting rides is pretty easy around 5pm on Eleuthera, I planned to be back on the road by 4pm. Luckily for me, I got two rides right in a row, both from very nice and talkative ladies. I ended up making it back to the rental house by 5:30. How convenient. It really was a fun day.

Tomorrow I’m going to relax and hang out at the Surfer’s Beach all day. I do after all have a good book that still hasn’t been touched!