GeoVisions Blog

Most Creative Road Trip Video Ever

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Fri, Dec 20, 2013

According to Matt Stabile, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com, the video we have embedded here for you "may qualify as one of the most oddball, strange, entertaining and beautiful road trip videos you’re going to see for a while (at least through 2013). Made by videographer Ari Fararooy, this irreverent jaunt across the U.S. includes enough strange musical interludes, fourth wall breakdowns and compelling visual footage to please the David Lynch/Woody Allen fan in all of you."  Read the rest of Matt's post here and read some of his interview with Ari Fararooy, the guy who shot it.

Videographer, Ari Fararooy, explained that this 10 minute video is an experimental short film he made documenting his 3-week road trip from Boston to Los Angeles in summer 2013. There were no ideas planned prior to the trip, so this was a big editing project as you will see as you watch this amazing video.

I apologize for posting a 10-minute video.  Typically we post 2 or 3 minute videos, which are watched for all of about 30 seconds.  I hope you'll give this one as much time as you can, because it really is creative.  I had my 15 year-old daughter watch it and suggested she show it to her TV Production class.  It's that good.

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... it has nothing to do with volunteer abroad or teach abroad or anything abroad for that matter. Take a break from all that "abroad" stuff for 10 minutes and enjoy this video!

Driving Across America By Myself from Ari Fararooy on Vimeo.

Tags: Travel Videos, Travel Humor

Cow Patty To Travel Patty - The Awards

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Dec 16, 2013

larry david at knicks gameSo what else is new?  I’m going to buck the system. This time of year my Travel Blog buddies are coming up with “travel resolutions for 2014” and making lists of the “hottest travel destinations for 2014.”  I wanted to come up with something different.  I prefer writing in the theme of “bah-humbug” and just be the Larry David curmudgeon of travel in this post today.

I’m from Oklahoma originally. Growing up I saw a lot of “cow patties” in our pastures. There are even “cow patty throwing contests” where I come from. So what could be better than harking back to my roots and hosting the Travel Patty awards?  You know, the awards for travel stuff that just doesn't make sense to me.  Sometimes I read Travel Blogs and think if someone really thought about it, they wouldn't have done that, said that, written that, or been there, done that.

Travel Patties. Yeah. It’s an award I’m going to give out annually now. Those Travel Abroad, Volunteer Abroad, Teach Abroad activities that annoy the “patty” out of me.  The award is a cowboy boot fresh with cow patty smeared all over it.  And those of you in the big city ... a cow patty is not hamburger.

In all honesty and with full transparency, I got this idea from Travel Blog Writer Richard Reid over at his amazing site, Reid On Travel. (I lived in Oklahoma ... he lives in Oklahoma.)  He’s giving out the annual Travel Jail awards. So the basic idea is Richard’s. The Travel Patties?  Well, their mine.  But after this post, be sure to go over and read Richard's Travel Jail Awards.

So here we go.

Cow Patty Award Number 1There’s a guy out on the west coast of the US that has written a few books, holds an annual conference getting folks all riled up about setting their own rules and changing the world. He writes that he wants to visit every country in the world ... he has only a few to go, actually. That would be great if he did anything while he was there for 24 hours … but he's more into a simple quest rather than doing something useful for the world. You, Dude, get my first Travel Patty. Thank you for making travel a contest of country counting. You’ve just ruined it for those of us who really want to have a relationship with where we travel.

OK.  I'm likin' this.  Feels good.

Travel Patty Award 2This would not be a real Travel Patty award post without giving one to all those Volunteer Abroad Review sites and the "aggregator" sites that let consumers review their so-called experiences. You are the bottom feeders of our industry. You do nothing for consumers with your reviews, although each of you have tried to convince yourselves that you do. If you had one shred of honesty, you would admit that you push reviews on your site for the traffic rankings on Alexa.  The result of the Internet space you occupy promotes fake reviews, and reviews by people who don’t have the courage to list their real names and the underlying purpose of their review.  There is one site among you in particular who accepts payment from travel organizations that proposes to inoculate them from negative reviews. All of you know who it is, and not one of you has the courage to clean up your cumulative act.  All of you share this Travel Patty.

[ I always want to leave something in a post that helps other people.  So that no one can complain that I am against all review sites, here is the only travel review site on planet earth that helps people who truly want to travel.  Triptease.  That's it ... give it a try.  First you have to upload an awesome photo of what it is you're reviewing.  It isn’t about fake reviews from company owners and staff, or trashing a company because they didn’t give you a refund … it’s a site where intelligent people upload a stunning photo from their travels, write about it, and rank the hotel, restaurant or location. Then, when I go to Morocco … I can add the photos and reviews to my own travel itinerary. Who’d have thunk it? A review company that actually focuses on travelers and travel. Raving about it? The BBC, Mashable, and Vanity Fair. The rest of you guys? I'm sorry you think you’re accomplishing anything positive with your reviews. You do the same thing as each other.  You don't practice any creativity at all.  Try a review site that helps people. It's the industry you seemingly work in.  Give it a shot. I tested Triptease, and here is my entry.]

Man ... that felt better than a dietary cleanse.

dirty boots

Volunteer Abroad projects that involve orphans. HEY! People zoo keepers:  Stop trotting out the kids to get funding and pull on the heart strings of volunteers to put butts in seats. If you have to rely on orphans to get volunteers to go abroad, you need to read Dante’s Inferno and think of it as non-fiction, and believe the 8th Circle awaits you. This Travel Patty is for you.

 

 

Travel Patty Award 4The Professional Travel Bloggers Association. Part of their mission is to “legitimize travel blogging as a business.” Now, I'm all for associations.  We belong to 2 or 3.  But if you need an association to legitimize what you’re doing, you need to rethink what you’re doing. Here's your Travel Patty.

 

 

Travel Patty award 5Volunteer Abroad organization web sites that over use "Travel for a Change," "Change the world," "Travel with a purpose." To me they read like over-used slogans.  Here's something to talk about with your Director of Internet Marketing:  Slogans are about you.  Stories are about your volunteers.  Your volunteers know that. Here's the boot.

 

smiling cow

If you're upset or offended and want to debate anything I've written ... go ahead and leave a comment below.  I promise to reply.  And if anyone has other nominations the Travel Patty committee should consider ... please feel free to leave them in the Comments area below.

All of us here at GeoVisions wish you a Happy New Year and we hope 2013 was kind to you and yours.  We are getting a new website in 2014 ... and we promise, NO SLOGANS.  We're interested in our participant's stories ... what made you decide to volunteer or teach abroad, and we're interested in your stories as the experience you deserve develops.

In 2014 we are focused on one thing:  "How are we helping?"

If consumer's can't differentiate us from the rest of the guys offering some of the same experiences ... we'll quit.  If our Blog and our online experience isn't seen as a "learning center ... your hub to teach, learn and discuss volunteer and teach abroad," then we're simply contributing to Internet smog.  We won't be a happy cow.

Happy Holidays!

Tags: Program Reviews, Travel Patty Awards, Travel Humor

19 Travel Abroad Resolutions For 2014

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Dec 11, 2013

A volunteer on a mountain in Jordan.Where I really let myself down on New Year's resolutions is what I'm eating and how much I weigh.  Ugh.  By the end of August I had lost 10 pounds and right now I've put it all back on again.  So I guess the good news is I don't have to worry about gaining more weight if I make a resolution to lose that 10 pounds I recently found.

With travel, though, it "should" be easier.  We travel with a purpose, even if the purpose is to have fun or simply get a tan.

I saw an article entitled 21 Travel Resolutions for 2014 in the Huffington Post.  I could only find 19 resolutions in the article and I went over it twice.  So I'm listing them out for you here and inviting you to get us to 21 (or more)!

These 19 are great, and worthy of anyone's attention.  But the one that resonated with me the most was to stop using Yelp.  If travelers only knew "behind the scenes" of reviews.  These are the bane of my existence.  Travel reviews cheapen the experience because some of the things you like, I'm not going to like.  And there are simpletons out there who will only follow the crowds and shun an establishment (any establishment) that doesn't have a great rating on Yelp or a very positive review online.  If you are a travel pro, get a travel show on CNN.  Otherwise?  Keep your opinions to yourself, please.

  1. Work less, play harder.  Written by the guy who's writing this at 3:30 a.m.
  2. DON'T over pack.  I actually am having a contest with myself to pack less and less on each trip. I wrote a Blog post about some new packing apps last week.
  3. Overcome a fear.  Any fear.  The photo that comes with this resolution in the original article is of someone bungee-jumping.  I won't do that, but I will overcome my fear of not drinking enough wine in France.
  4. Take at least one de-stressing break, even if it's only for a day.
  5. Combine your talents, i.e. painting with a local charity that helps construct homes in a place you want to go.  GeoVisions has 75 of those available, by the way.
  6. Get lost.  I did this in Manchester, England of all places.
  7. Vow to learn a little.
  8. Take better pictures and create better keepsakes of the moments.  To this I would add, limit yourself to upload only one photo a day to Facebook and Instagram, stop checking in every place you walk in to, delete 95% of your travel photos after a trip and stop taking photos of the food on your plate at every meal and posting them online.
  9. Start a conversation with a local.  I did and was invited to an artist's apartment in Venice. A lasting memory.
  10. Read something on the history of your destination before you get there.
  11. Stop being all Type A and let someone else handle the planning details (at least a few of them).  My 15 year old daughter is going to live in France this summer.  We're letting her lead the way in airports and train stations to get her better prepared.
  12. Be spontaneous and open to straying from your itinerary. The best meals, the best photo opportunities, the best memories take place when you least expect it, and when it isn't on the itinerary.
  13. Stop obsessing over Yelp reviews and going to the "best" place.  To this I would also add never, ever write a review or read one again. Ever.  Ever again. Ever. Not ever. Nada.
  14. Be nice and helpful to tourists...which, yes, contradicts everything we ever say about tourists.  I was in Istanbul and I had to share a taxi with 2 other Americans. Incredibly they only had American dollars for the taxi. Doesn't everyone on planet Earth want US Dollars?  I ended up paying ... in Turkish Lire of course ... and remarkably, I was nice about it.
  15. Travel within your own hometown.
  16. Use all your vacation days and use them wisely. Take a buffer day to recuperate. I have actually started departing on Friday and returning on a Friday to have the weekend to learn how to feed the dog all over again.
  17. Create a travel piggy bank and make a habit to add to it.
  18. Pick out one specific location you've always wanted to go and research how to get there, save up and GO.
  19. Don't put off to tomorrow what you can book (and enjoy) today.
You can read the article from the Huffington Post here, and if you find all 21 resolutions let me know.  If you have your own to share, please do so in the Comments section below and we'll post them.

Tags: Travel Ideas, Make Something Happen, Travel Humor

Traveling Abroad This Holiday? So Is The Hobbit And Santa

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Dec 09, 2013

What are the holidays without a little humor?  Who can forget National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie?

Here are two fun holiday videos, produced by none of the usual suspects! These are by the most maligned, money-grubbing industries out there ... the airlines!

In this post we're featuring 2012's Air New Zealand airline safety video featuring the creatures of Middle Earth.  They used this video on board in November and December 2012 to showcase The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which was filmed in New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has put together what has got to be one of most entertaining and well-produced airline safety videos ever, which has a cameo by Mr. Lord of the Rings himself, Peter Jackson, at 1:40.

I have to admit I've never flown Air New Zealand, so I can't attest to the service.  But I am a frequent flier on Delta.  Delta Airlines is spreading cheer and humor with their new holiday edition of Delta's in-flight safety video. This video features Delta employees, a 777 and even a surprise celebrity appearance at 4:44. Whether you're traveling abroad as a teacher or a volunteer abroad or you are flying domestically to go see Grandma for the holidays ... you may get to see this one on board this season.

We hope you have enjoyed some travel fun in this post.

Do you have nominations for us to view and share this season?  We'd love to see them.

Tags: Airlines, Travel Humor