Some time ago I was going through the first chapter of The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton, the chapter that handles about expectations we have about travelling and how they are never similar to what we actually experience.
Even blindfolded, I could find my way back in Havana, I can show you around Amsterdam, Lisbon or Barcelona and I can certainly recommend you a couple of good restaurants in Singapore, but drop me off in Liege and I'll be totally lost. I've never been there, although it's one of the largest cities of Belgium and only about 150 kilometres from my home. I even don't have a single clue if there's anything to see or to do over there.
A little bit of Google taught me that there actually isn't that much to see in Liege. It doesn't have an Eiffel tower or a large golden Buddha but it looks like a nice cosy city. The recommended sights are some museums and a couple of churches and the to do list also doesn't seem that big. It is surrounded by nature and hills though.
Have you ever heard about travel writing courses? They seem to be a bit hidden around the net, but when you look further they're certainly there and they're gaining popularity. Reason why? Internet of course. Everybody can be a writer these days, it'll cost you - except for your precious time - about nothing. There are lots of places where you can start a free blog. You just have to type in your story, press the enter button and your story is published. Visible for the rest of the world.
This is a great approach for the hobby writer or for people who just want to share their knowledge with the rest of the world, but if you also like to earn a buck or two with your writing you'll need to go a step further.
Some time ago I followed a class about the photography style Urban Exploration. Which is about taking pictures of abandoned places like old factories, hospitals, tunnels,...
It takes photography to a different level because it's much more than seeing something beautiful and pressing the button. Yes I know, photography in general is much more than just pressing buttons and photographers of nature and animals often have to wait for hours and hours in the cold before they get their shot, but still I find this different. Maybe because it's illegal. It's all about entering an abandoned place, climbing over fences and through windows, the fear of getting caught or hurting yourself.
Have you ever wondered what drives people to travel on their own?
Do you want to experience solo travelling but you don't know how to start?
You want to overcome your doubts and fears?
Then this article is a good place to start. It lists five online resources where you can get all the information you need - and much more - to start planning your first solo trip to anywhere you would like to go.
A couple of years ago I met Bryan in a hostel in Oaxaca, where we both ended up while travelling through Mexico. I have to admit that the first impression wasn't very overwhelming, I actually found the guy a bit strange. He was small and skinny and tattooed all over his body, he was always very energetic and whatever he told us, he said it like it was the most exciting thing on earth. After a couple of Mescal and Tequila filled nights of which I barely remember anything, I had to change my mind. I liked him.
While I was browsing through my own website - the narcissist in me actually likes to do that quite often, and it generates me page hits - I figured that maybe I should add a little word about the photo galleries, because I think they still look a bit empty and scruffy.
The thing is, I really wanted to put the website online, even though I didn't really have a lot of content yet. And therefore there are only three main categories of which two don't consist of more than ten photos. But it'll grow, you can be sure about that! For example, soon there will be an extra main category "animals" and maybe also a "landscapes".
This is something every web developer expects, we know it's coming sooner or later and we're always disappointed when it's actually there. The first bug. The feeling of failure overwhelms you, your child is not perfect. "But who is?" You ask yourself, and after a couple of minutes you're already working on a solution, because that's what we do: We create solutions.
My first bug was, I admit, a newbie one. It was browser incompatibility. Everybody knows that before you put a website online you have to test the compatibility of at least a couple of browsers, and that's what I did. I tested with Firefox 3, Internet Explorer 8, Chrome 3 and Safari 4 and I figured that this would cover most of the used browsers.
Yes... yes... there we go... one... two... three...
We're online ladies and gentlemen! nicolasdecorte.be is on the air - or in the web or whatever you'd like to call it. And this only a month and a half later than the newspaper predicted. But we all know about newspapers that they aren't shy to tell a lie or two, so who believed them in the first place?