A word to new (and not so new) members.
Hello and thanks for visiting my homepage. I admit I am not as good at keeping it current as I should be, but a short walk from my home today has prompted me to re-do my first paragraph here. I know that sounds a bit melodramatic but it is not intended to be. If you bear with me and read through, you will hopefully see what I mean.
The main photo is an image of me lounging in a hammock on an island in the Mekong River in Southern Lao, a place literally on the other side of the world from where I live. It is here because it makes me smile and it is a great memory of what was the biggest trip I have undertaken yet. Hopefully, I can do further long trips like this. I love travelling to faraway places and will continue as long as health and finances permit. All of which will make what I am about to say sound a little strange but please read on and I will hopefully explain.
I have been on VT for a little over five years now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have used VT members pages to make travel guides, in fact I use VT exclusively now for short trips. Obviously for longer trips a mainstream guidebook is more practical. I have been lucky enough to meet several members personally, all of whom have proved to be delightful. I met two members a couple of days ago including a VT staffer, and tomorrow I will meet several more, some for a small meet. Later this month I am going to Eastern Europe for the annual Euromeet to meet many other members. I am also possibly going to the Philippines next year for yet another meet. Having used several other large travellers internet sites, I am convinced that VT best suits my needs.
All well and good but back to my point about today's walk. I walked no more than two miles and I passed about five places I have already written VT tips for and about another ten I am going to write tips for shortly, and this is my point. I regularly correspond with new or relatively new VT members, and many of them say that “I don't travel to exotic places, I've got nothing to write about”. With the greatest respect, this is nonsense.
Think about it logically. You may go on holiday or away for business and stay in a particular place for a day or two. By all means write tips about it, these are useful, but to say you have nothing to write about even if you do not travel is, frankly, wrong. You know about where you live. You know the best coffee shop, the best cheap restaurant, you may know the history of the local Church or Museum, you will undoubtedly know a local saying or custom or whatever, you know where you live. All these things are of interest to VT readers and members. OK, so it may take a while for people to look at your pages but it is up there and available if anyone wants to use it. Wouldn't that be great, if someone from far away was coming to your town and using your information to decide what to do? Let me give you a great example. VT member wise23girl was very rightly awarded the Local Intelligence Award in the VT Barney awards for 2010 (the VT internal awards, if you are new to the site). She lives in a smallish place in Australia, certainly not Paris or Rome or New York or Bangkok, yet she has wonderfully covered her home town. This is what I am talking about.