When I asked a bunch of cultural travel bloggers if they would share how their blogs had started, I wasn’t surprised by the diversity of reasons, story angles, and content out there.
We do have one thing in common: we didn’t quite have the intention of starting a cultural travel blog but somehow the people we met along the way and the stories we witnessed took us in that direction.
I wholeheartedly believe that cultural tourism is the future of the tourism industry, in the most sustainable way possible, to benefit both the locals and the visitors. Meet nine cultural travel bloggers you need to follow to learn more about the real reason why everyone should travel.
“World By Isa”, by Isadora Koller
I’m Isadora, a 20-something Latina who got tired of being addressed as “Dora the Explorer” for no reason, so I decided to travel the world. Talkative and way too sociable sometimes, following the mainstream Latino pattern; I believe that everybody should travel with a purpose, and mine is to learn more about the history and culture of each country and people that I have the chance to come across.
Since I started traveling I had my friends around me making me so many questions about my travels and how do I manage to travel. I always loved to read and write but never thought about it seriously, until a friend of mine gave me the idea “why don’t you create a blog to write about your travels and perhaps inspire and teach more people how to travel?” I didn’t take it seriously at first, but then I realized how many people dream about traveling but see it as impossible, especially in my country (Brazil) where traveling is not really a well-spread thing. That’s what made me start World By Isa.
“Lost With Purpose”, by Alex Reynolds
I’m Alex, a twenty-something American girl who chose to live out of a backpack instead of an apartment. I’ve climbed fortresses in Afghanistan, watched gods dance in India, learned about my future from a shaman in Pakistan, and darted across bazaar rooftops in Iran. When not sampling the local ice cream variety, I blog about my adventures at Lost With Purpose.
Lost With Purpose began as my partner and I planned a long-term overland trip through Eurasia. Information on the countries we wanted to visit was scarce, and the tips we did find were all wildly outdated! There was a niche to fill… so we filled it.
As we traveled, the blog evolved beyond simple travel guides and stories. Our travels took us to countries grappling with dark international reputations, such as Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and regions often overlooked by mass tourism, such as the Caucasus, the Central Asian ‘stans, and Northeast India.
Wherever we went, we found stereotypes to be completely at odds with reality. Georgia isn’t a post-Soviet wasteland; Iranians and Pakistanis are some of the most friendly and hospitable people on earth; the ‘stans are NOT Middle Eastern deserts (fun fact: there is no Middle Eastern country whose name ends in -stan in English).
The turning point happened as we were leaving a friend’s house in Iran. Despite being an English novice, he passed us a simple handwritten note, asking us to go home and tell our countrymen of the kindness of the Iranian people, that what the world thinks about Iran is not true. After being treated to true hospitality all over Iran, how could we say no?
Our mission then expanded to show a more balanced and personal view of the places we’ve visited, through travel tales on the blog, snippets of stories on our social media, and writing guides enabling others to visit these regions, meet the people, and see reality for themselves.
“Border Free Adventures”, by Magaly
We are a binational and bicultural family traveling around the world as we worldschool our daughter. Together we love to experience new cultures and always seek out a local and authentic feel for our destinations.
Border Free Adventures began after years of traveling. While spending extended periods of time in the misunderstood Tijuana, we realized that we wanted others to know about life beyond the “tourist street” that everyone knows and few ever go beyond. The Tijuana Border and our article on “What do you picture when you think Tijuana” were both written after seeing queries on travel groups where people asked about Tijuana and received information we thought was completely misrepresenting the city.
“Northern Lauren”, by Lauren Cocking
I’m Lauren, a Yorkshire girl navigating life as a feminist in machista Mexico City, but not for much longer – I’ll finally be upping sticks and traveling around South America later this year (stay tuned for posts all about that).
While my real life interests range anywhere from Netflix to overthinking, Northern Lauren mainly focuses on musings about life abroad, as well as practical travel tips for the Mexican capital and beyond, with a penchant for great (street) food, cultural questions, colourful street art and a sprinkling of feminist think pieces thrown in for good measure.
My blog actually started life as a vaguely shitty, but still consistently opinionated and hilarious, university blog in which I ranted about all things niche and studenty. Eventually, in early 2017, I decided to morph it more into a travel blog, culled the dead weight articles and started pumping out content about the country I’ve lived in for two years. Why did I choose Mexico? Well, it made more sense than writing about anywhere else, for a start, and I BLOODY LOVE THE PLACE. Everything about Mexico – the food, the culture, the people – is what I felt drawn to writing about and it was, most importantly, what I knew. Having traveled extensively and lived here for a while, I knew I could do justice to telling random people on the internet all about the place I call home (for now).
“203 Challenges”, by Maria Angelova
I’m Maria Angelova, a 20-something traveling disaster roaming the world and author of travel books, the latest “203 Travel Challenges. Travel the World. Discover Your Inner Self”. I’m crazy about mirto from Sardinia, speaking in foreign languages (even if I can’t, actually mostly if I can’t!) and studying fortune-telling. When I’m back home in Bulgaria, you could find me sleeping in the mountains on weekdays (and happily going to work on the next morning) or discovering inspirational people and places.
The blog started as a side dish to my latest book “203 Travel Challenges” as an online spot for travelers sharing inspirational challenges. As I find much of the information about culture and traditions on the internet bland and somewhat boring, I wanted to present it in a more engaging and fun way, eventually turning it into a game – to complete challenges. Most of the challenges are personally tested by me, while some are my friends’ stories or adventures sent by readers. The best part of it is that ever since I’ve started this website, I’m more motivated to go out and venture into the unknown trying something new rather than staying home and reading a book.
“Orange Wayfarer”, by Madhurima Chakraborty
I am a management professional, working as a Business Analyst with an IT firm. I am based out of Bangalore, India’s answer to Silicon Valley. My blog is a “love’s labor’s lost” child of that long cherished penchant for writing! After a stressful day at work, I write my blog-post to unwind. A new comment from a stranger heaves up my motivation. A Bengali by ethnicity, I take up Sarees pretty seriously, endear fish curry and rice and binge on historical classics now and then.
My parents used to arrange for two annual trips to one of those exotic destinations of India, every year. Usually, we would have tagged along with a travel company. They will arrange for the bus, make sure a typical Bengali meal is served even at the top of a mountain, will take us to all the view points and bring us back to the hotel, eventually to Railway station. These trips were soothing but never quenched my wanderlust. Never. I aspired to grow up to an independent woman, able to explore more, experience warmth of every discovery and feel it the way locals have been doing it, time immemorial. I started with parts of India, for the country is varied and I have seen so less of it. Every state, every culture has multiple layers, yet to be discovered, experienced and be stunned with awe. My blog is an account of the travels I make, the books I read before I visit those places, the vast realm of research I undertake to make sure I eat the most authentic food and also note about any new place which particularly has enchanted me with any of its offering. Earlier, I used to have Facebook photo albums with details. My friends liked it and demanded I come up with my own Facebook page. It is the time I decided why don’t I start my own blog? Thus started Orange Wayfarer. I wish to grow old and tell beautiful tales to my grandchildren and future generations of the places I have seen.
“Girl Astray”, by Karin
My name is Karin and I currently classify as an adventurer, hitchhiker and full-time slow traveler from Slovakia. I enjoy reading books on post-colonialism, learning foreign languages and generally bumming around on a derisory budget. I also happen to blog about independent travel, abandoned architecture and (sometimes) nudism at Girl Astray.
I started my blog to journal my experiences when I moved to Colombia in 2013, but at the time I barely had time for writing. I came back to it after my study break was over and I was supposed to write my thesis – obviously I was procrastinating through writing for my website!
Having majored in History of Religions, I was mainly interested in postcolonial studies and modern history during my university years and I try to reflect on these topics in my writing as well. However, my most-read articles are usually essays such as why you can not travel for free, or the post based on interviews with women who hike naked.
When traveling, along with attempting to learn the local languages I also try to get an insight into the local culture and customs – those are the most interesting topics for me. I stay with locals, hitchhike and travel very slowly to achieve a more personal connection with the people I meet – it´s been one year since I´ve set on my current journey to hitchhike from Europe to India. I never specifically decided to write about “cultural travel” but I guess it is natural for me because of my own interests. You are welcome to take a look at my website and decide for yourself!
“Nomad Epicureans”, by Jacky and Mihir
We’re Mihir and Jacky, expat and travel bloggers based in Copenhagen/Denmark. We began our journey in Turku/Finland and have a soft spot for the Nordic Countries. Our passions are history, culture, and the arts. When not marveling at architecture or strolling through museums, we love to get in touch with the local cuisines.
It’s hard to tell how exactly we “decided” to focus on cultural tourism on our blog. Personally, I have a Master’s degree in history, so exploring beyond the surface comes to me naturally. Mihir is almost obsessed with current affairs and always knows what drives the people in a particular place at a particular time. I think with this background it became nearly impossible for us NOT to focus on cultural travel. Also, we’re very laid back people and don’t like rushing through itineraries, but take our time to really immerse ourselves. Like most people we love food, but we always need to know more about a dish. Why is it that Finns almost exclusively consume only rye bread? What are the historical, cultural, environmental, perhaps religious, reasons? We love architecture, but it’s more to us than just pretty facades. There’s more to the half-timbered houses of Germany or the whitewashed fronts of Santorini than meets the eye. These are some of our obsessions and we love to share them with our readers.
“Soul Drifters Travel Blog”, by Liza and Lisa
Not only do we share the same name and the same birthday month but we also share a passion for travel. We were both born in South Africa and between the two of us, we have visited over 14 countries so far. We make the perfect travel duo, Lisa leads us to adventure and Liza fascinates us with different cultural experiences. There is never a dull moment traveling together, from jumping off a 150m bridge to exploring the quite halls of an ancient temple, we are an extension of each other and try to fulfill every experience possible.
We both love to travel so much that we decided to start writing about our experiences and discoveries. Liza has so many cultural travel stories and Lisa filled with so many adventures that we had to start somewhere! We chose a name, a template, designed a logo and each wrote our first post. After that, we learnt as we go and just kept writing about our experiences.