Growing up being a state of mind and not body as it's highly likely I'm older than Matt! I'm finding that now that I am opening my eyes to this phenomenon called the Internet I'm learning a lot of new stuff. Hello, 2002.
In 1997, when Carrie and I travelled to Europe for three weeks, creating a travel schedule and reservations were WORK. I had to stay up until 2 in the morning to catch the hotels first thing in the morning to make reservations. In broken French and Italian, I explained I would like to reserve a room with a shower for two. It's a miracle we only had one reservation mishap. I booked the wrong hotel and when we showed up at where I THOUGHT we were booked, they sent us walking three blocks over to where I had really booked. It wasn't a bad place and cost us $37/night TOTAL so I wasn't complaining. Also nothing was prepaid. So we basically showed up in foreign cities speaking very little of the language with a prayer and a pocketful of francs or lira HOPING rooms were available.
I picked hotels that were mentioned in multiple travel guides figuring if they paid off at least two publishers they couldn't be too bad. I had no idea what these places looked like or what their neighborhoods looked like and (other than the travel guides) had no reviews. It was the dark ages, people.
I'm almost afraid that the Internet has taken all of the surprise, fear, and anticipation out of travel that would have me up at night reading and rereading articles prior to travel. I mean in 61 days I am going to AFRICA. Speaking neither French NOR Arabic and I'm not even tossing in the night. All the nooks and crannies of travel planning are available. Everyone who has travelled to Morocco and has half the time to talk about it has posted on web pages and blogs all their experiences. I've found blogs of people who live there now as well as blogs of people who visited. And I cannot stress enough the value of TripAdvisor.com.
I can't believe I'm even lamenting this. I mean basically I'm typing that I'm upset that all I have to do is have fun! I think I've been married to Craig too long!!
Enter Matt Long. This poor man has no idea that I've spent the last 24 hours combing his site and basically stalking him, trying to figure out ways to sneak myself into his luggage so I can learn travel at the feet of a master. Context Travel posted his blog about the exact tour my aunt and I are taking in Paris on facebook and in the magic that is online epiphany, I found my travel soul mate. Well not quite because it's not that I want to be WITH him, so much as I want to BE him. Have I scared you yet, Matt?
His website it what I envisioned creating. I can only imagine the time and care that goes in to his site. I am eternally thankful that he did though because I love it like I love a vanilla cupcake with extra icing.