December Roundup: Luaus, Laws of Travel, and Lionel Richie

blue globe chicago

According to Travel + Leisure magazine, Quirky Travel Guy was the #1 travel story of 2012! Ok, I may have taken some semantic liberties with that claim, but I did in fact contribute to T&L’s recap of the latest trends in travel over the past 12 months.

Also this month, I was featured in an interview in the Dangerous Business Thursday Traveler series. Amanda runs one of the most interesting travel blogs out there, so poke around her site if you’re not a regular reader.

As for my own travels, next month I head back to Los Angeles with Felip for five days. Hopefully, this will be a much more relaxed trip than the ones I normally take, where every minute is pre-planned and jam-packed with activities. I want to be able to take things slower and spend time wandering around neighborhoods (Silver Lake, Echo Park) that I would consider living in.

Here’s some of what I was reading this month from around the travel world.

Featured personal link:

The 20 largest national parks in the United States

Researching the list of the biggest U.S. national parks was fun. Some iconic parks didn’t even make the list, while other much lesser-known parks appeared in the Top 10, including the selection at #1, which will probably surprise a lot of people. I’m happy to say I’ve been to 8 of the Top 20, but that still leaves a whole bunch more on my to-do list. How many have you been to?

wrangell st elias park

December travel links of interest:

Beers & Beans: Maui Luau: A Photo Essay from the Royal Lahaina

Randy and Beth got to attend a traditional luau at Kaanapali Beach and captured some cool pics of the dancers and fire twirlers. The atmosphere sounded fantastic, and so did the food – cocktails, salmon and coconut Hawaiian pudding, for instance. This looks like an awesome cultural experience. I can’t wait to see one for myself when I finally make it to Hawaii.

Leah Travels: Screw the Louvre… I’m Dining with Lionel Richie

“You Are” going to love this story from Leah, who was metaphorically “Dancing on the Ceiling” when Lionel Richie, of all people, came up to her in Paris, said “Hello” and invited her and Lola of Lola’s Travels to dinner. The girls were “Running With the Night” when Lionel changed the venue at the last minute, but they eventually met up and had a grand time, even if they didn’t stay out “All Night Long.” You’ll “Truly” want to read about the experience. There’s even a Seinfeld big salad reference. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Everything Everywhere: Gary’s 20 Immutable Laws of Travel

You know, I’ve been really fortunate when it comes to air travel. I haven’t had very many bad experiences. Well, aside from that time United lost my camping tent in Alaska. And the time the two people on either side of me decided to have a conversation around me for an hour. And the time I flew over the Grand Canyon and missed seeing it because it was on the other side of the plane. I guess most of Gary’s rules of air travel are right on, after all.

alaska from plane

Rear View Mirror: My Favourite iPhone Photos of 2012

I love a good photo essay. Since cell phone photography doesn’t typically produce the same quality images as a regular camera, the photographer has to rely on his or her creativity to come up with unique angles and unexpected scenes. Andrea does just that in a lengthy post featuring iPhone photos taken from around Europe, from streetcars to sunsets to famous tourist attractions.

Escape Artistes: Frozen Waterfalls and Fallen Glaciers

I know a lot of travel bloggers who would love to trek to Everest Base Camp (*raises hand*), but I don’t know that many who have actually made the journey. Theodora is making it happen – with her 12-year-old son, even – and documenting the journey, which includes sights like frozen streams and killer peaks. The post also paints a clear picture of what it’s like to deal with acclimatization. The experience sounds unglamorous but lots of fun.

Jetting Around: Visiting Tijuana, Mexico

Pola from Jetting Around describes the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, a fun place for tourists to visit but one that can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. My own Tijuana experience was memorable thanks to a local Couchsurfing host, who took me to dive bars and the beach. Pola went way beyond that to report on some of the upscale restaurants and cantinas that I missed. Great details for anyone planning a TJ visit.

Tijuana street

Camels & Chocolate: Visiting the Grand Ole Opry

When I went to Nashville earlier this year, I made it to many of the city’s iconic spots, like the Country Music Hall of Fame, RCA Studio B, and the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s former mansion. I wasn’t able to make time to see the Grand Ole Opry, but if you’re a country music fan, you can miss the Opry. Kristin has been to the Opry a few times and gives the lowdown, complete with photos from backstage.

Google search terms of the month

A monthly roundup of some of the search terms people have used to find Quirky Travel Guy:

do ulysess grant have his own statue” – Yes, and so does his wife, who looks like Mrs. Butterworth.

bonnaroo guide for a stoner” – My guide for the Bonnaroo music festival didn’t touch very heavily on the drug aspect, but clearly there’s a market for this. There are page views out there waiting for anyone who wants to put together a stoner guide!

did people die making the grand canyon” – Nope, no one died. The construction equipment used by the Native Americans was so advanced, they were able to construct massive scaffolding that was accident-proof while they carved away the rocks to form the Canyon and also hauled in the water to create the man-made Colorado River. Yessir, that’s how it happened.

the christmas movie where the five girls were shopping in the mall and trapped in the mall” – I’m unable to answer this person’s query. But it sounds like a lot of fun. Does anyone know the name of the movie he/she was seeking?

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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