Summer 2014
Travel Diaries: 
Make Mistakes 
Emily realizes there's hot tea in that bag. Mistake?

I exhaled deeply as I sat in the hotel lobby at 5 am in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 


Just twelve hours previously life was grand; Emily, an American friend who had come to visit, and I were in Singapore eating crabs and doing a rain forest walk above tree canopies. Then I messed up bus stations. By "stations" I mean countries. By "messed up" I mean I thought we were leaving out of Malaysia, but we were actually leaving out of Singapore, and I didn't realize the mistake until we had already left Singapore, at which point we were re-directed through customs backward and briskly cabbed back to the city-center for a fat fee.

The whole hassle could have been avoided entirely if I had just glanced at our tickets a few hours earlier. But I didn't. And the result was an illumination of why we travel and how we react to travel on the whole: although profusely apologetic, I was pretty much not fazed about being, literally, in between two countries and having a bus to catch in the nation directly behind me. 

Bikers on Independence Day, Malaysia

You see, travel for me is never a vacation. It's too active and too stressful-- too concerned with dates and times and places to be relaxing. It isn't about seeing big buildings or eating food or doing anything just to say 'I've done it.' At some point, statues, skyscrapers, rice pools, waterfalls, bridges, beaches all look the same. 


It's not about what I see, then, but what I do, and how meaningful it is to me in that moment, and how much it makes me feel connected to the burning fireball in the center of the earth. When a trip doesn't go according to plan (or, rather, it does, but I don't know the plan so the consistency is lost on me) there is room for unexpected human connection. 


The stories are between countries. That is where we realize our own strength. That is where we are travelers in the true sense, in the sense that anything can happen, in the sense that we know we might be more challenged, or at least slightly more entertained, if anything does.

You will happen upon beautiful things.

   Safe in the well-lit hotel lobby, with Emily sleeping soundly in an armchair across from me, I was far from in between countries. We both made it back to Malaysia with less cash and less stock in my travel credibility than either of us would have liked, but we were unharmed nonetheless. And we realized together that, though it would be a lot less stressful, travel without any glitches would also be a lot less fun.

It wasn't long before the story behind the void Singaporean stamp in our passports became one of our favorite travel tales.


Coming Up: 
Food Trucks 
image c/o Fuzzy Traveler

Get hungry. We're searching out the best food trucks near and far, and then tracking them as they dish out our favorites in Europe. To take a sneak peek of food-on-the-go, check out The Daily Meal's 101 Best Food Trucks in America.

image c/o Margalit Francus


Trending in Travel:

eTurbo news asked an important question with the start of Ramadan last weekend: is the holy month a good time to travel to Muslim countries? The answer: absolutely. Ramadan can offer travelers a unique peek into local culture, with an emphasis on poignant calls to prayer and feasting together in countries that observe the fast. And, just when closed eateries start to get exhausting, the infamous Ramadan buffet breaks open. Here are some highlighted Ramadan buffets in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. 

Get ready for some great dates... er, the edible kind.


Last-Minute Fourth of July Deals
image c/o Dave

Not everyone can pack up and jet off  with two-to-three days notice. If you can, these steals are for you.


About Let's Travel! 

Let's Travel! is a radio show and website that gives visitors and listeners the insider's take on travel. Come explore the world of travel and culture with us at  

The Tattler, radio show and website are produced by Susi Raphael and Michael Zufolo.

image c/o kokorowashinjin


On June 23, the World Heritage Committee inscribed twenty-six new properties on the World Heritage List. 


This week, Let's Travel! talks with Peter Debrine, UNESCO's Senior Project Officer of Sustainable Tourism, about some of the newest sites, and how we can all help to protect our World Heritage.


Listen to the podcast here. 




Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex (Russian Federation)

Flickr: Emil

This property lies on the shores of the Volga River, south of its confluence with the River Kama, and south of the capital of Tatarstan, Kazan. It contains evidence of the medieval city of Bolgar, an early settlement of the civilization of Volga-Bolgars, which existed between the 7th and the 15th centuries, and was the first capital of the Golden Horde in the 13th century. Bolgar represents the historical cultural exchanges and transformations of Eurasia over several centuries that played a pivotal role in the formation of civilizations, customs and cultural traditions. The property provides remarkable evidence of historic continuity and cultural diversity. It is a symbolic reminder of the acceptance of Islam by the Volga-Bolgars in 922 AD and remains a  sacred,  pilgrimage destination to the Tatar Muslims.


Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements  with Stone Spheres of the Diquis 

(Costa Rica) 

Flickr: Anita Gould

includes four  archaeological sites located in the Diquis Delta in southern Costa Rica, which are considered unique examples of the complex social, economic and political systems of the  period between 500-1500  AD.  They contain artificial mounds, paved areas, burial sites and, most significantly, a collection of stone spheres, whose meaning, use and production remain largely a mystery.


Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex (Viet Nam)

Flickr: Elizabeth Briel

Situated on the southern shore of the Red River delta, Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. Exploration of some of the highest altitude caves that are dotted across the landscape has revealed archaeological traces of human activity dating back almost 30 000 years. The property also includes Hoa Lu, the old capital of Viet Nam in the 10th and 11th centuries, as well as temples, pagodas, paddy-field landscapes, with villages and sacred sites. 

Great Himalayan National Park (India)


Flickr: Sandeep Somasekharan

(GHNPCA) is located in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in the northern Indian State of Himachal Pradesh and is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests. The GHNPCA protects the monsoon-affected forests and alpine meadows of the Himalayan front ranges. It is part of the Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and includes 25 forest types along with a rich assemblage of fauna species, several of which are threatened. This gives the site outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation.


Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (Philippines)

Flickr: kleo_marlo

Forming a north-south running mountain ridge along the Pujada Peninsula in the southeastern part of the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species. The property showcases terrestrial and aquatic habitats at different elevations, and includes threatened and endemic flora and fauna species, eight of which are found only at Mount Hamiguitan. 


Stevns Klint (Denmark)

This geological site comprises a 15 km-long fossil-rich coastal cliff, offering exceptional evidence of the impact of the Chicxulub meteorite that crashed into the planet at the end of the Cretaceous, about 65 millions years ago. Researchers think that this caused the most remarkable mass extinction ever, responsible for the disappearance of over 50% of all life on Earth. The site harbours a record of the cloud of ash formed by the impact of the meteorite - the exact site of the impact being at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Mexico's Yucat�n peninsula. An exceptional fossil record is visible at the site, showing the complete succession of fauna and micro-fauna charting the recovery after the mass extinction.



Want More?


The full list of World Heritage sites (including all twenty-six new inscriptions) is available in full detail at



Our full-length podcast, in which UNESCO's Peter Debrine details the newest inscriptions, can be downloaded, listened to, and loved at