Thursday, October 30, 2008

With Becky In Laos

I haven't been writing much, but Becky is blogging up a storm.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday BNT!

Here's the Brave New Traveler 2nd birthday party video!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Article: Travel Risks

My latest article was just published over at the Traveler's Notebook. If you have a moment, please give it a read.

10 Travel Risks NOT Worth Taking


Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Clean Coal" Is A Farce

You know those "Clean Coal" ads that feature a bunch of actors pretending to be patriotic Americans looking into the camera and saying "I Believe"?

Well, the coal industry sure spent a ton of money on the ads promoting Clean Coal, and the investment seems to have paid off. Both Presidential candidates support Clean Coal, and Barack Obama even praised Clean Coal in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention.

There's just one little problem.

Clean Coal doesn't exist, and it never will. Coal is dirty, new coal plants are expensive and coal mining devastates God's Creation without contributing much of anything to the economy.

We just published an article at Matador in which my good friend Josh Kearns exposes the myth of Clean Coal. Please read it and share it with your friends.

I don't care how much money the coal lobby spends on ads or how much money they donate to political campaigns - the truth will always emerge.

The Myth Of Clean Coal

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Tom Gates: New Matador Editor

Tom Gates is one of the most talented writers I know. His style reminds me of David Sedaris and Bill Bryson - cynical, wry humor, flawless sense of pacing and that rare sort of self-deprecating honesty that makes narrative writing shine.

Tom is the newest member of the Matador editorial team. For a sample of his work, check out his hilarious rant about New York City or read any of the blogs on Tom's Matador profile.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Vermont's Healthy Economy

Even in the midst of the market meltdown, the economy in my corner of rural Vermont is healthier than its been at any point in my lifetime.

It's not just the new jobs, the thriving young companies, the reenergized downtowns or the university partnerships. The economy is healthy in a way more profound than economic statistics alone can quantify.

Because the main growth industry is small-scale organic agriculture, my family and neighbors have access to nutritious, tasty and relatively inexpensive produce. This helps keep healthcare costs down and protects the scenic farming landscape that draws tourist dollars.

Even more importantly, the small-scale enterprises depend on cooperation. The sense of community involvement - always strong in Vermont - is off the charts and growing stronger every day. People work together, eat together and help each other out in hard times. There's a vibrancy and neighborliness that transcends socio-economic and political divisions.

Today the New York Times, otherwise drowning in agonized economic doom and gloom, published a glowing feature on my hometown's economic resurgence. It's an important and inspiring article - please take a moment to read it.

Uniting Around Food To Save An Ailing Town


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Juiced On Odwalla

In the past few weeks the word "juice" seems to have taken on new meaning. Did you know that if you're excited about something these days, you're juiced? As in, "I'm really juiced for Brave New Traveler's two year anniversary party".

Juice can also mean something akin to thoroughness. This makes sense, in a 'squeeze the last drop' sort of way: "I worked until midnight to really juice the article."

Juice has new meaning at Matador these days because we're juiced to launch a partnership with Odwalla, makers of healthy and delicious juice. Bear with me a moment, because I'd really like to get your thoughts on this venture.

Yesterday we published a profile of Odwalla over at I've been drinking Odwalla since college, when Super Food was my daily treat during exams. My mom loves the stuff too - especially Mango Tango.

I always loved the juice, but never really thought about the company that makes it. Turns out, Odwalla is a stand-up organization, a socially responsible company doing good work in an industry that all too often relies on pesticides and low-paid migrant labor.

At Matador, we've been looking for ways to pay our talented writers more than $25 per article while growing the community. We love our jobs, but some of us are married and one of us has an adorable little girl, and all of us have bills to pay.

How to make money without sacrificing our values, or pissing off community members with too much advertising?

The answer, I think, is to pursue wholesome relationships with companies that we truly respect, and whose products we feel good about endorsing.

Please, take a moment to check out our profile of Odwalla, and tell me what you think. Is this sort of sponsorship cool with you guys? Do you have other ideas?

And what's your favorite Odwalla?

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Swords, Tofu and Travel Stories

A couple of links for you today.

The first is to my latest blog post from the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. This is a pretty ridiculous festival, as evidenced by the photo to the right, taken by Ryan Libre.

Swords and Tofu

I've also got a new edition of Tales From the Road up at BraveNewTraveler if you're looking for some quality travel writing.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Just Got Interviewed...

If you have a moment, please check out my interview with Aaron Hotfelder over at Gadling.

Here's an excerpt:

1. Brave New Traveler takes a different approach to travel than a lot of other sites. What are you trying to accomplish with BNT, and were you surprised to find such a wide audience for your message?

Most travel sites are focused on destinations. This isn't a bad thing - travel is about going someplace new after all - but the destination focus does contribute to the idea of travel as just another marketable commodity.

The BNT team finds the thought of buying a travel experience ridiculous and sad. We see travel as a spiritual journey, an almost sacred way to find our place in the modern world.

We published a really popular collection of 50 Inspiring Travel Quotes recently. Here's one of my favorites, by Miriam Beard:

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."

That quote sums up our attitude at BNT pretty well.

Am I surprised to find such a wide audience for this content? Absolutely not. People are hungry for essays and articles that go deeper than commercial fluff.

Here's the full interview: 'Talking Travel With Tim Patterson'

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