What a month it’s been for our intrepid Pathfinders community. During August we’ve been regaled with colourful stories of pilgrimages in Peru, lesser-known alcoholic tipples in Mexico and a peculiar pastime popular in the Netherlands.
Picking our favourite blog posts each month is never easy, but here are our top five from August.
Lombok earthquake: our earth-shattering experience – Angie & Simon
No traveller wants to dwell too long on the potential pitfalls of life on the road, but sometimes disaster strikes, as it did to Angie and her husband who were on Gili Air, Indonesia, during the recent magnitude seven earthquake that rocked the island. Angie’s account of that frenzied evening makes for pulse-quickening reading, but perhaps more rewarding are the inspiring stories of the aftermath, providing a rare first-hand insight into how a community rebounds from such an awful event.
Angie and Simon travel the world sharing advice, stories and experiences that they hope will inspire others to do the same. Find out more at feetdotravel.com.
Trekking Peru’s biggest religious pilgrimage – Jess Vincent
Jess manages to pack a lot into this relatively short post: on the one hand it’s a classic adventure story about trekking in the Andes, on the other a tale of cultural exchange with pilgrims heading to the ancient Qoyllur Rit’i festival. It also functions as an environmental warning, documenting the impact climate change is having on our world. Whichever way you slice it, sharp writing and striking imagery makes Jess’s multifaceted first-person tale an engaging read.
Jess left her graduate job in the city to pursue her love of travel writing. Keep up with her adventures at nomadatravel.co.uk.
A guide to pulque, Mexico’s kombucha on steroids – Chris & Kim
Chris’s post serves up the story of Mexico’s long-time favoured liquor; no, not tequila – pulque. This lesser-sampled beverage, once strictly reserved for spiritual ceremonies before – for a brief period – becoming the most popular alcoholic drink in Mexico, is undergoing something of a revival. Chris mixes fascinating tales of the drink’s colourful heritage (the drink has its own goddess who lactates pulque from her 400 breasts) with tips on the best spots to sample the delicacy today.
Chris and Kim’s mission statement is to do what others don’t, see what others miss and escape the ordinary. Find out more at theunconventionalroute.com.
Mudflat walking in Friesland – Andrew & Katryna
Travel is all about cultural immersion, as the old proverb goes: when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So when in the Netherlands, of course you have to try wadlopen, the long-time Dutch pastime of mudflat hiking. In this post Andrew and Katryna recount their experience of undertaking the whimsical activity, trekking through waist-high mud on a crossing from the mainland to the Frisian Islands. A fun take on a unique experience, Andrew and Katryna’s muddy tale is a well-polished read.
Andrew and Katryna, who hail from the USA but now live in the Netherlands, blog about exploring their European backyard (and beyond). Learn more at wherethesnowsgo.com.
Our authentic homestay in Sapa, Vietnam – Jess & Hai
Despite general commercialisation, a homestay remains one of the best ways to connect with local people during your travels. Jess’s post is testament to this, and, even in the the well-trudged Sapa region of Vietnam, shows us not only that authentic homestay experiences exist, but reminds us how rewarding they can be: providing the opportunity to try local food, learn traditional agricultural techniques or, in Jess’s case, sample ‘copious amounts’ of ‘happy water’.
Jess and Hai aim to showcase the element of personal growth involved in travel and encourage others to hit the road. Read more of their stories at notesofnomads.com.
Find out what else the Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to by checking out the Pathfinders forum on Thorn Tree.