Now that Bemused Backpacker has had its second birthday and is heading into its third year, I thought this would be a good time to look back and reflect on my most popular posts of the last year.
In a lot of ways I’m never sure if anything I write will be popular – or even read at all – until it is published, and when it is the random unpredictability of the internet ensures that the reason why any given article becomes popular is often as much random chance as it is anything else. Some of these posts are popular because they appeal to a certain audience, others because they somehow negotiate the minefield of SEO to reach page one in Google search engine results, and others still simply because they hit a particular nerve and explode for a short period. It is really amazing to see how popular some of these posts have been, and I am really grateful to everyone who has read and enjoyed my work over the last year. So without any further ado or gilding the lily, here are the posts that have been the most popular in my second year.
This is one of the most popular posts I have ever written and is consistently in the top two or three of my daily post statistics. I wrote it because solo female traveller safety is one of the number one topics I get questions, tweets and emails about, and has been since Bemused Backpacker began. It doesn’t hurt of course that it is also right at the top of page one of Google search and that solo female backpacker tends to be very highly searched keywords. If there is one thing I want all female travellers to get from reading this is that being a woman is in no way a barrier to travelling the world, that and you should never believe the hype that travelling anywhere as a woman – especially solo – will be overly dangerous, risky or scary. With the right knowledge, the right advice and a good dose of common sense, any one, male or female can reduce any risk of travelling around the world to acceptable levels.
This is another one of my evergreen posts that is constantly at or near the top of my daily statistics. I guess that despite the fact that Thailand has now been overtaken by package tourists and the government seem hell bent on shedding it’s ‘backpacker’ image, the original founding member of the banana pancake trail will always have a firm and fond place in backpackers hearts and minds. It certainly does in mine, and I will never tire of recommending it as the ultimate first time backpacker destination.
Being a qualified nurse, travel health is a large focus on Bemused Backpacker and is the focus of many of the emails and social media questions I get, one of the reasons that led to me opening my online travel clinic earlier this year. Malaria is a huge topic within that and one of the questions that gets asked the most is generally about antimalarial prophylaxis, specifically whether travellers need it or not in any given destination. This is the article where I attempt to set out and explain as many answers to those questions as I can in my capacity as a qualified nurse and an experienced traveller. So it is hardly surprising really that this is consistently one of my most popular posts day after day.
This post not only caused a huge spike in my traffic – almost going mini viral at one point – but also caused a huge stir way back in July of last year, and I never thought when I was writing it that it would go as far as it did. Basically as a personal protest against the travel blogger conference TBEX promoting and highlighting unethical captive dolphin tours as part of their programme, I wrote this article to explain that I would not attend – or be represented by – any organisation or event that supports such unethical wildlife activities.
This article exploded and caused a massive surge in my visitor numbers. It was picked up and expanded on by other bloggers and caused a huge debate that blew up across various social media. This resulted in an outcry that forced a response from TBEX that was not well received by the travel blogger community – the very people they claim to represent. Countless other bloggers joined the cause, Care For The Wild International and the Born Free Foundation got involved and the debate gained such controversy that it was even picked up by the national press and media including Wildlife Extra and The Guardian among others. In the end, the founders of TBEX stubbornly dug their heels in to their discredit and shame, but the Cancun tourism board pulled the tours from TBEX after getting such a huge amount of negative publicity. Not as good as getting rid of them altogether, but still a huge win.
I got an unbelievable amount of hate mail and abuse for speaking out against this from travellers who put their own ‘once in a lifetime experience’ or travel bloggers considering their needs of what their blog could gain from attending TBEX above any ethical concerns, but to this day this remains one of the posts I am most proud of because it raised so much awareness of the issues around dolphin tourism and shows the power that one tiny voice can have when speaking out for something they believe in.
I am a huge advocate of solo travel, given that the absolute majority of my trips over the last twelve years have been taken alone that should hardly be a surprise, but of all my numerous articles on solo travel this one consistently rises to the top and has become a steady and popular article on the site. I think it is primarily because it speaks quite clearly to those who are worried about travelling alone and says it isn’t as bad as you believe it is. In fact it is one of the best ways to travel.
I love Singapore, and I guess everyone loves free stuff, because this article has slowly become a steady and high ranking post since it was published way back in March. I have spent so much time in Singapore over the last few years it has become a second home to me, and I really enjoyed writing this. Singapore isn’t really a traditional backpacker destination, but given that it is one of the primary destination hubs – and one of the most expensive countries – of the region, it isn’t hard to see why backpackers on limited budgets are looking for ways to keep costs down in this amazing city.
Responsible travel – especially ethical wildlife tourism – is something that I am very passionate about. Elephant trekking is a huge personal issue for me, as it was on an elephant ride on my very first trip to Thailand where I had my eyes opened to the abuse many of these amazing animals suffer through in the name of tourist experiences and profit. I wrote this hoping to raise awareness on the issues involved and try to persuade as many first time travellers who have been seduced by the glossy brochures of the gap year industry and want to ‘ride an elephant’ as possible that there is a better, more ethical, more animal friendly way to see and interact with elephants on their travels. This article has caused huge spikes in website traffic more than once since it was published, so I hope that it has had the intended effect.
Apart from travel one of my other passions in life is fitness and health, and I have always tried to incorporate my healthy lifestyle into whatever I am doing. Travel has been no exception to that rule, and I am proof positive that you can travel and not only live a healthy lifestyle, but actually get fitter, stronger and healthier while you do it too! This was my first article on travel fitness way back in August 2013, and it has consistently remained my most popular one.
This was a surprise hit when I first published it, causing a massive spike in my website traffic that has since calmed down but was still enough to ensure that it made this list. The reassurance of empowerment and self improvement is generally never a bad thing, and by spelling out exactly how solo travel can make you better, smarter, stronger and a more well rounded person I hope I have inspired a few people to take that plunge and head off on their own round the world adventure.
Reclining seats on aeroplanes is one of my personal pet hates, and I guess it is for a lot of people out there too since this tongue in cheek article I wrote to vent my frustration seemed to hit a bit of a nerve with my readers. The spike in traffic was also probably helped by the spate of air rage incidents over the same issue over international media at the time, but it certainly caused a bit of a debate over my site and my social media too. I was actually surprised at how many people agreed with me! I thought the exact opposite would be the case.
So what about you? What has been your favourite post so far? Is it on this list or is it another one? Are there any topics you particularly enjoy me writing about? Anything you would like to see me cover?
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