In addition to becoming acquainted with wait staff, making small talk with women tending stalls in the market and chatting it up with locals riding public transportation, the one group of people who I frequently run into on the road are travelers like myself.
Today, many of those travelers maintain their own blogs in order to share their experiences and stay in touch with friends and family back home. The travel blogging community has become a large one. It encompasses hundreds of people with a diverse array of content ranging from eco-tourism, budget travel and round-the-world journeys to destination-specific information about things to see, places to stay and tips on where to eat. Despite the different modes of transportation we take, places we've been, technology we carry and unusual food we've eaten, one thing ties us all together: We love to travel.
Living in Las Vegas, I am fortunate to be at the epicenter of many people's travels. They come and go on vacation or pop into town for a conference. Occasionally I'll meet fellow bloggers on press trips, and one time I got together with a blogger I discovered through a tour operator's website. Regardless of whether I meet travel bloggers through social media or we know each other through our blogs, when we have a chance to meet in person, we do, and when that happens, conversation is nonstop.
We love to talk about where we've been and where we're going. It's not uncommon to hear someone suggest we pick up something to eat at a particular street vendor in Thailand or avoid a certain tour operator in Peru. We chat about the latest airline news, discuss the newest technological gadgets and always mention the cheap plane/train/bus tickets we just snagged.
As we snack on nachos and drink wine, conversation inevitably leads to where we've had better tasting nachos and which country truly has the best wine. We debate about the airlines with the most comfortable seats and best customer service, an issue about which we all disagree. We also talk about our medical maladies abroad and which travel medical insurance is the best, an issue about which most of us agree.
My experience has been that most people who don't travel excessively or obsessively as we do, or those who enjoy the occasional vacation but don't pore over the latest travel news, quickly become bored with my stories about hiking new trails, flying new airlines, learning new languages, bargaining in new markets and eating new foods. They don't care all that much about the latest travel narrative that keeps me up at night, the travel deal that got me a killer boutique hotel room in the French Quarter of New Orleans for only $59 per night or the chilled cantaloupe soup I ate on the beach in Huatulco, Mexico.
The beauty of being a member of the travel blogging community is that, not only do we all (for the most part) genuinely care about each other's travel experiences, but we learn from each other as well. Inevitably, one of us is going to the place someone else has just come from. We know people who know people who know people who would be more than happy to put us up on the couches in their homes.
Beyond that, though, because we all manage and write our own travel blogs, we know where to find each other once we go our separate ways. On more than one occasion, I've been asked to share my travel knowledge and advice by guest writing for other bloggers' sites, and occasionally I find a writing gig or press trip that I can pass on to someone more qualified.
With the advent of social media, we are able to stay in touch, planning spontaneous get-togethers halfway around the globe when our paths cross. And if there's one thing for certain, whether we're in Las Vegas, New Zealand, England or Honduras, we'll always find something to talk about.