Travel Inspiration, One Step At A Time

It’s not so much where we travel, but what we do when we get there that matters. For those who run in real life, there is nothing better than doing so at a remote location.
Like to hike? Getting away from the normal routine to engage a totally different terrain can bring new life to your passion for the sport.

But we don’t need to be into skiing, surfing, biking, climbing or backpacking either.

Many travelers find the first step towards the adventure of a lifetime starts with something simple. A photo posted by one friend on the road, a tweet full of fun from another at some festival or an old-fashioned phone call filled with unbridled joy can be just the inspiration we need to start planning.

Check out this video, pack your bags and hit the road; it can be just that easy to make some meaningful travel happen in your life right now.

[Photo credit – Chris Owen]

Golden Gate Bridge celebrates 75 years throughout 2012

Anyone with plans to visit San Francisco in the next year should take advantage of a program of “75 Tributes” that the Bay Area is planning to honor the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. Bay Area museums, cultural centers, universities, arts organizations, and more are coming together to create a roster of exhibits, lectures, performances, concerts and film screenings that honor the iconic span–most of which are absolutely free. A full schedule of events is available at
The main event, however, is a birthday bash set for May 26-27th. Unlike the 50th anniversary celebration, officials won’t close the bridge to traffic (last time they tried this, an unnerving 300,000 people crowded onto the bridge at one time causing it to loose its natural curve). This year, the free celebration will be held on the waterfront and will feature music and other entertainment, exhibits with memorabilia and historic artifacts, guided walks, and a “spectacular surprise finale,” according to the San Francisco tourism department.
The area around iconic span will also undergo some dramatic changes intended to create an atmosphere that is more like a national park. As it stands, visitors to the bridge are greeted by little more than a gift shop and snack bar. That gift shop, known as the Round House, will be converted into a welcome center where visitors will be able to organize a guided tour or get their picture taken in front of a green screen of the bridge (which will probably be popular on foggy days). The snack bar will be renovated into a cafe featuring a menu of locally-grown foods. Outside, the bridge plaza will get new wayfaring signs and two scenic overlooks will be built. Construction on a new 3,500-square-foot pavilion that will is also underway. Perhaps most amazingly, no bridge tolls or tax dollars are being used for the renovations–all of the improvements are coming from private donations.

(Image above: Cars crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on its opening day in 1937)

Utah filmmakers show the best of the Beehive State

The Utah Film Commission has just announced the winners of their ninth annual “Spot On” video campaign. For the commercial contest, the organization asked Utah-based filmmakers to create 30-second spots that demonstrate what makes Utah the most visually stunning state. Open to all Utah residents and students attending school in the state, the grand prize is not only $1,500 but also the chance to see commercials on television during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival (and a grab bag that included tickets to the fest and other freebies).

The overall campaign winner is Andrew Buys, who created the ‘Utah is Epic’ film posted above. Although it appears to be simply a bunch of sweeping views of the Beehive State edited together with some dramatic background music, it definitely shows why Utah has a long history of being the backdrop to Hollywood movies, television series, and (of course) adventurous vacations. Things get a little more creative with the other winners and honorable mentions after the jump.

Second Place Winner for the Utah Film Commission 2011 “Spot On” Commercial Contest: Made by Sahna Foley

Creative Concept Award Winner for the Utah Film Commission 2011 “Spot On” Commercial Contest: Made by Warren Workman.

Honorable Mention for the Utah Film Commission 2011 “Spot On” Commercial Contest: Made by Dan Larsen

Honorable Mention for the Utah Film Commission 2011 “Spot On” Commercial Contest: Made by Xmas Lutu.

View winners from past years at the Utah Film Commission’s YouTube page.

Video of the day: How to achieve your one travel dream

“What is your one travel dream above all other travel dreams?”

This is the opening question from Gadling friend Andrew Evans, who was recently invited to the TEDxDanubia conference in Budapest to present a talk on pursuing your travel dreams. Andrew’s one travel dream was to see Antarctica and he details how he managed to get there by planning less, trusting more, and always traveling with a sense of wonder.

If you are in need of a push to go after your travel goals, spend 15 minutes listening to Andrew’s incredibly inspirational talk. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

Two blogs that inspire travel: l’antipodeuse & Sarah Goldschadt

Information, to risk stating the baldly obvious, is essential to travel. Timetables, schedules, iPhone apps, hotel review sites and Foursquare check-in updates all deliver very specific information of immediate and inarguable value to travelers. Travel blogs that pursue listings- and information-based missions provide the nitty-gritty details that travelers need, the basic and essential information they require to get their holidays off the ground.

But very often, such blogs do not inspire. The actual work of inspiring people to travel is a different beast, and it materializes in unexpected places. It can be found through all sorts of stimuli: an image; a map; a novel; an overheard conversation; a random Wikipedia dérive. Such sources can help energize broad thinking about places and things and the enticing aesthetics of travel.

Here are two blogs that accomplish just this aim remarkably, by dint of their creators’ strong aesthetics more than anything else.

Exhibit A: l’antipodeuse. New Zealand photographer Mary Gaudin, resident in Montpellier, is the motor behind this blog. Gaudin’s l’antipodeuse showcases all sorts of objects and sites, with a broad eye toward design, interior spaces, and landscape. Many of the images depict Gaudin’s travels. She captures the seasons and food particularly evocatively. Among the places so beautifully captured by her lens are France, London, Finland, Japan, and New Zealand.

Exhibit B: Sarah Goldschadt. American Sarah Goldschadt, born and now resident in Denmark, follows a craftsier impulse in her blog. There are plenty of DIY projects detailed here. What really sets her blog apart from so many others is her well-honed eye for culturally and geographically specific sorts of objects: Danish cake, the shade of red seen on buildings in Sweden; a line of small flags overhead; the milky waters off Møn; London’s chimneys. I especially love her narration of a journey to Köpstadsö, Sweden.

(Image: Sarah Goldschadt)