Photo by: Brett Davies – Photosightfaces
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There was much to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving weekend. On behalf of my co-founders Michael and Fred and the whole team at Busbud, we’d like to thank you for your wonderful response to the site during our first week.
We’ve received hundreds of emails with kind words, feature requests, new routes to add, and ideas for the blog. We thought we’d be launching the site to an audience of a few friends this week, but we’ve received feedback from new users halfway around the world in Costa Rica, Switzerland, Brazil, Israel, Spain, Mexico, UK, Australia, France, Italy and Turkey. Thanks for visiting the site and taking the time to write in.
I also wanted to thank the travel bloggers who’ve submitted feedback this week, it’s been nice to hear from you. Special thanks goes to Wandering Earl, who kicked off our Q&A series with a great message about the power of independent travel. Check out that post and stay tuned for more inspiring interviews on the blog with nomads, adventurers and travelers. In addition, many of you liked our site on Facebook, followed us on Twitter and shared the posts that we published this week. Thanks for that!
We are building the site in the hope that it can become a useful resource for independent travelers around the world. In fact, we envisioned from the start that this would be a community built for travelers by travelers. After almost one week, I can already say: it’s been great meeting you so far, community!
Keep the feedback coming, we love hearing from you!
Photo by: Daniel A D’Auria (Dr Dad)
A great way to connect with travelers is through Twitter. For example, @WanderingEarl, our featured travel blogger this week, shares great travel tips and keeps in contact with other travelers through tweets.
You can also participate through meetups — aka tweetups — like Travelers’ Night In, a weekly question & answer conversation hosted by April, Rachel and Sara Beth from Zip Set Go. It’s a great way to meet other travelers and it happens every Thursday from 3:30-5pm ET.
Thankful Travel this Thanksgiving
I’ve been following #TNI for the past few months, and yesterday was the first time I participated.
The theme was Thankful Travel in honor of Thanksgiving. Here’s the list of questions:
Internet was finicky on my phone, so I missed out on the first questions, but I enjoyed answering the last few.
Q8. Unexpected experience were you most grateful for?
A8. Meeting Iranian cyclists Nasim & Jafar while touring down Pacific Coast. Taught me that Iran is not what is portrayed in media
They are wonderful people and showed me that regular Iranians are peaceful and good. You can check out their site RMC4Peace here.
Q9. What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?
A9. Wonderful American friends & family who arrived safely to their destination today. Canadian one was celebrated in October :)
Two Busbud team members (Kim and Mike) traveled to San Francisco yesterday for a family gathering, and I’m glad they made it theresafely. Although traveling is safer today than it was a century ago, accidents still happen. I’m happy and grateful that travelers reached their loved ones for Thanksgiving and get to enjoy some cherished family time.
Q10. Favorite gift you’ve received in your travels?
A10. The gift of experience. By that I mean learning firsthand what it feels like to be in a beautiful place and to bask in its beauty.
I had trouble fitting this answer into a single tweet. My favorite gift really isn’t anything material— it’s the experiences and the memories that count. One of my favorite New York Times article talks about spending on experiences rather than possessions makes you happier. Travel does that and more!
It was a great first time participating at #TNI, and I’m looking forward to next week already.
If you’d like to connect with me on Twitter, follow @Busbud.
Thanksgiving travel is officially in full swing! According to travel tracker AAA, 42.5 million Americans will be traveling this holiday season, the first increase in travelers since the 2008 recession. They’ll be taking the plane, riding the train or even driving to their destination.
For short trips, taking the bus is the smart way to travel. Here are 5 reasons why:
So this holiday season— kick back, take the bus and relax.
As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we’ve contacted well-known travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Today we’re happy to feature an interview with Wandering Earl, a permanent nomad who’s been on the road for the past 12 years.
On December 25th, 1999, Derek Earl Baron left the USA for a three-month, post-graduation trip to Southeast Asia, and has since visited 70+ countries over 6 continents. He’s part of a new breed of explorers who travel the world in order to learn about cultural diversity, broaden their world view and participate in the worldwide community as global citizens. He’s an inspiration to our team at Busbud and we’re happy to feature him today.
1. This past month, you’ve been traveling in Romania. Can you give us some highlights? And where are you headed next?
Romania was an interesting place for me and the highlights are definitely the medieval towns and villages in Transylvania, of which there are many. The two that really caught my attention were the city of Brasov and the small town of Sighisoara, which happens to be the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian prince who was the inspiration for the Dracula character in Bram Stoker’s novel. I don’t know about you but I believe that a traveler can never get bored of spending time in such locations where life seems to have stood still for centuries. It’s always a mesmerizing experience to wander around a medieval town, no matter how many you visit. With that said, the capital city of Bucharest was also a major highlight for me. There really isn’t much to do or see in this city but I found that, if you stick around long enough, it becomes quite an addicting destination, with it’s small but vibrant Old City and what I consider to be some of the warmest people I’ve met in the entire region of Eastern Europe.
After Romania, I traveled to Istanbul, where I am now. From here I will return to the US for 8 days to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and then I will fly out to South Africa for a quick three week trip.
2. You describe yourself as a permanent nomad. What are the challenges that come with this lifestyle?
There are many challenges but the biggest one involves not having a permanent base to call home. Having to constantly move around, find a place to stay, learn the basics of new languages, learn the new transportation system, etc, can be exhausting. Sometimes I wish I had my own place somewhere that I could return to when I’m feeling tired, a place that I can call home so that I know I have a comfortable bed to rest in whenever I need one. Another challenge involves the constant need to say goodbye, to both people and places. I’ve met many amazing people on the road and seen many amazing destinations, however, there always comes a time when I inevitably must pack up my backpack and move on to the next country. And it’s difficult to do, especially when I make new friends who I would love to spend time with and when I find a country that I really connect with. All of those goodbyes really does take its toll over time.
3. You’ve told me that communicating with your readers is by far the most rewarding aspect of writing a travel blog. What’s the most memorable comment you’ve ever received from a reader?
This might sound strange but every comment and email I receive from readers puts a huge smile on my face. Even after two years I have a hard time accepting the fact that people are interested in the blog and that they find what I write to be inspiring. Of course, whenever I receive a comment from a reader who has decided to change the direction of their life and go after their travel dreams as a result of reading the blog, I can barely contain my excitement. That’s when I know that all of the hard work, all of the hours in front of my laptop, have all been worth it.
4. At Busbud, we’re working to help make life easier for bus travelers. From your experience riding on buses in Syria, India and other countries, which one was the most bus friendly?
I’m a huge bus fan myself and I’d say that there are many countries that offer excellent bus systems. India probably offers the most extensive and cheapest bus system on the planet, but I would have to say that countries such as Mexico, Argentina and Thailand offer the best bus networks in terms of efficiency, comfort and value. Taking buses in those three countries is almost always a fully enjoyable experience.
5. Finally, you’ve been on the road for 12 years now. What’s the most important human lesson you’ve learned so far?
People are good. It’s as simple as that. The overwhelming majority of people on this planet want to live a simple life, with enough money to feed their family and provide shelter over their heads. People don’t want to have enemies, they don’t want to fight wars and they don’t want to fill their lives with hatred. And if we could all realize that this is how people think, whether they live in North America, Europe, Afghanistan, Peru, Sri Lanka or Papua New Guinea, this world would be a significantly more peaceful place.
Earlier this year, I spent a few months backpacking through South America on an eye-opening journey from the southern tip of Argentina to the mountains of Peru.
Throughout my travels, I often had a really hard time finding trusty sources for bus travel information. My search for the right bus resulted in hours of reading blog posts online (especially to reach off-the-beaten-path destinations), often leading me to bus company sites where I couldn’t easily get all the schedule information and advice I needed. Other times, my only option was to trek to the local bus station and queue in line to collect information. I thought: there must be an easier way!
Today, we are launching Busbud, the community for bus travelers. Our mission: to make bus travel information user-friendly. We hope Busbud will be the destination for inter-city bus travel information. Here are a few of the features we are offering travelers at launch:
• Bus schedules for 3000+ cities in 30+ countries (and adding new routes around the world regularly!)
• Community features, including advice from fellow travelers
• Destination pages, where travelers can explore in/outbound connections to/from a city.
Our small but valiant team will work hard to provide you with all the information you need, wherever in the world you may want to travel to. That said, you can help us! Are you traveling soon? Did you find a schedule that could help out fellow travelers? You can add it using the “Add Schedule Information” link on each Route page. If you send it in, we’ll credit you on the site to say thanks.