It’s that time of year again folks. Normally a blog birthday celebration would involve cake, fizz and a bit of bragging, but you know that’s not really us (well, apart from the cake). Instead we like to celebrate another year of travel blogging by showing you a little of what goes on behind the scenes. In our post last year you loved our round up of the funniest Google searches that have led to Conversant Traveller, so this year we’re going to do the same.
Believe me, there are some good ones!
We’re also running a great new giveaway to celebrate…find the details further down!
Happy Birthday Us!
We’re so chuffed to have reached our 3rd birthday. Conversant Traveller began as a personal hobby back in 2013, an idea formed whilst clinging to the back of a camel for 2 hours thinking it would make a good story. It did. And we’ve never looked back.
There have been some really exciting changes at Conversant Traveller this year.
I now work part time at my day job so I can concentrate more on blogging, and Hubbie has finally been persuaded to come on board in a more official capacity. He’s now in charge of imagery and has started creating videos for our You Tube channel. Take a look and let us know what you think! I’ve also given him access to our social media channels (yikes!), although he’s still in training for that! I may live to regret it.
This blogging year has been full of surprises.
What we’ve been up to
For the first time we tried spontaneous travel, and in February ended up in Brazil just 2 weeks after considering it for the first time (we had been planning on going to Switzerland but needed some sun!). Normally we plan our travels months, if not years ahead! Brazil wasn’t a resounding success, but not through lack of planning time. We found communication and organisation out there to be the worst we’ve ever experienced, and didn’t really feel that welcome. It rained more than it was supposed to, and the island paradise we’d read about never quite materialised. Yet we also had some of the best moments of our travelling lives. Hubbie spent time with wild monkeys, we snorkelled with sea turtles and I got to drive our very own private speedboat charter.
Now that is the life!!
We’ve of course been back to Morocco, but this time in the middle of winter! Turns out it’s the perfect time to visit Marrakech, the temperatures are just like a decent British summer day. Such a novel experience to wander around the city without sweat rolling down our backs. Bonus number 2 was that we pretty much had the place to ourselves, there were very few tourists and as a result, a disappointing lack of hassle! It’s the perfect season for first timers or those who are a bit nervous of the souks and the banter that goes on in the square.
Slovenia was a surprise too, although I have to say a very welcome one. We were invited over by the Big Berry countryside wellbeing retreat in Bela Krajina, and had an amazing time canoeing the rivers, exploring ancient forest temples, learning how to bake bread and visiting the bees. It was a refreshingly different sort of trip. One where we spent time with the locals and didn’t see another tourist all week. All that changed when we drove west to explore the Julian Alps, the world’s largest cave castle and of course Lake Bled. Such a stunning country, and really the place to be this year! Plus they have the best tree house accommodation ever!
Perhaps most surprising was Venice. And the fact that the second time around, we LOVED it! Maybe because we went with low expectations (the crowds, the prices and the hype), or possibly just because we hung around the backstreets and attempted to discover the ‘real’ Venice. We absolutely loved exploring the old Jewish Ghetto and doing a walking tour that involved frequent stops at wine cicchetti bars. Vino always helps! I even got to make my very own Venetian mask (Hubbie wasn’t quite so excited), using ancient and traditional methods, tucked away in a little workshop in a warren of waterways and cobbles. So much fun.
We’ve also tried to make more of weekends back home, and have been all over the place discovering that you don’t always have to buy a plane ticket to enjoy a bit of travelling. Staying in the sexiest luxury cabin EVER in the the woods at the magical North Star Club in Yorkshire was one of the highlights!
Anyway, you’re not here for travel tips, not today. You’re here to find out just how bizarre some of our incoming Google searches have been this year.
So without further ado, here are the strangest things you’ve been searching for this year:
20. Pyongyang traffic ladies meet with western basketball
No idea what basketball has to do with it, but I did write a post debunking the myths surrounding what it’s like to visit North Korea. Maybe the traffic girls are into ball games in their spare time?
Not currently on our bucket list, but watch this space!
18. Adventures in wellies.
What is it about WELLIES? They made an appearance last year, although the Googler specifically wanted to know about ‘older ladies in muddy wellies’. Sure, I’ve been on some adventures in my wellies. And yes, they’re pink. But I don’t make a big thing about it. Not really.
17. Star Trek (USS Voyager)
I have no words. I’ve never even seen Star Trek!
16. Misadventures with bananas
Erm, well, the mind boggles. The only misadventure we’ve had involving bananas was whilst climbing waterfalls and sailing down the Mekong River in Laos.
15. Transmission mechanics
Well, we can probably engineer sending out some ideas for your next trip to South Africa, or give advice if you’re considering moving to Morocco. That must be what they were looking for. Surely.
14. Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Henry Kissinger
I’m sure they’re all regular readers of Conversant Traveller! This one really baffled me, until I realised that whilst we were staying in a luxurious baronial pile up near Loch Awe in Scotland, there was a rather strange painting on the wall. It featured a Victorian boardroom meeting, and was acquired by a mafia gangster in the 1960s. Thinking the scene a little dull, he had the faces of his favourite pop stars and politicians painted over the top of the existing ones. As you do.
13. Beautiful wallpaper
Huh? At least this year there wasn’t a tuxedo or candle involved!
12. Banyan Tree Hotel turtle
I love that there are people out there who are just as obsessed as we are with the cute little turtles gifted to guests at the Banyan Tree in Bangkok. Apparently they have charcoal in them which is supposed to be good at combating bathroom odours. We now have 2 and still aren’t convinced.
11. Virgin loosing length 2 mint
Totally stumped by this one. Any ideas?
10. Why do people toss money in potholes?
Perhaps in the mistaken belief that someone will fix them? This certainly doesn’t work in South Africa, where the potholes are enough to swallow an articulated truck whole (we know, we’ve seen it and were nearly wiped out by the aftermath!). One thing I do know is that people love throwing their money away, and seem to think it will bring them good luck if there’s a fountain or similar involved. The only lucky ones are those who come back at night to pinch it all! We also saw visitors tossing coins into the amazing Bourkes Luck Potholes in the Blyde River Canyon in South Africa. At least no-one would be crazy enough to try and steal them here!
9. Starting arguments in Marrakech
Not advisable. Unless you’re in the souks haggling over a particularly striking pair of babouches adorned with the colours of your favourite football team. Then you should go hell for leather. Just remember to keep a smile on your face.
8. Lodges in South Africa for couples who want to be naked
This I can help with. From experience I can whole heartedly recommend a stay at Timamoon near Sabie. Just watch out for the peacocks!
Yep, that’s what we’re offering. In bucket loads!
6. Chefchaoeun Jack Sparrow
So that’s where he’s hanging out these days! Whilst we didn’t actually meet any pirates and were thousands of miles from the Caribbean, the blue city of Chefchaouen did seen to have it’s fair share of Jack Sparrow wannabes. Possibly something to do with the local weed. If you want to meet a real life Captain Jack Sparrow, just head to the charming seaside town of Paraty in Brazil and take a wander down the jetty past all the boats (some of them are pirate ships!). We met a dude here who fit the bill perfectly. Clearly he’d been out in the sun just a little too long.
5. Why did Morocco think lead wasn’t a good choice?
They probably prefer diamonds. Like me.
4. Baptismal font
I’m not in the habit of dunking babies in water, but one place we could have done this is when we went ‘champing‘ last year. We stayed overnight in an abandoned church. Had the whole place to ourselves (apart from a few mice and no doubt a few ghosts) and whilst we didn’t exactly get much sleep, it was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done!
3. What are the advantages of whiskey?
Dunno, my memories of drinking it are rather hazy.
2. Ladies of the night in Tunisia
Yes, we’ve done it again. Two years running and one of the most popular searches has to do with the sordid underworld of North African ladies of the night. The searchers have shaken it up a little this year, with variations including looking for companions of the male variety, and females of questionable morals who like getting muddy (though this time, not in wellies!).
1. Wild Camping in the Lake District
Thankfully our most popular search this year is something a little less fruity. THOUSANDS of you have really got into wild camping this year, and ended up on Conversant Traveller searching for ideas and advice. There really is nothing quite like waking up in your very own wilderness and having a dip in the tarn before breakfast. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?
So again nakedness, wellies and wallpaper have strangely all been featuring highly again this year. I clearly need to think about changing my niche!
Thanks for following our journey so far!
To celebrate 3 years of Conversant Traveller we’re doing a GIVEAWAY of several travel related goodies. There are 4 competitions, running over the next few weeks, and you can enter all of them right here.