Britain’s Best Travel Blogger ~ episode 2

In January 2011 Zoë Dawes, aka The Quirky Traveller, won Travel Titbits’ ‘Britain’s Best Travel Blogger’ competition.  So what, I hear you say! What difference did it make? Well, have a peek!

January – winning Travel Titbit’s Britain’s Best Travel Blogger title!

February: The Lake District with English Lakes Hotels Quirky factor: tiny canon on the jetty which was used to frighten the Victorian guests – and still used today

March: Finland with Mighty Fine Company  Quirky factor: Reindeer Farmer Juhe’s collection of old fishing implements  

April: Chatsworth House with VisitEngland   Quirky factor: House & garden scattered with yellow plastic ducks – Easter hunt!

May: The Isle of Man with Travel Titbits  Quirky factor: the rather vocal Manx Loaghtan goats and learning about ‘The Peggy’ at the Nautical Museum

May: Norwegian Fjords & Waterfalls on Cunard ‘Queen Elizabeth’ Maiden Voyage  Quirky factor: the plaques presented by dignitaries in every port the ship visits and the fabulous Art Deco works around the ship

June: ‘East Byre’ Self-Catering  Cumbria hideaway with Sojourn North  Quirky factor: fresh bread for breakfast from our very own breadmaker

About The Quirky Traveller:      With a quirky take on life and travel, Zoë Dawes writes articles and blogs regularly for various travel organisations around the world. Her TV & Radio programmes have been broadcast far & wide and she gives talks on her travels, aiming to be entertaining, informative and fun.

In 2010 her blog site The Quirky Traveller was voted in the Top 10 Inspirational Travel Blogs (USA Got Saga) and is also in the Klout Top 50 Online Travel Influencers. She is part of Visit Britain’s Super Blog team.  You can find Zoë on Twitter and Facebook.

Zoë has received many invitations to go on adventures and to give talks on Travel Writing & Blogging.  The global exposure has also brought more opportunities of writing.  Zoë has also developed Travel Writing Workshops to share tips and support and she has seen increased website traffic, advertising, sponsors & PR interest.  Zoe has posted an expanded article on The Quirky Traveller.

About Travel Titbits:  By definition Travel Titbits is a pleasing scrap of anything travel inspired. The aim is to list the best travel deals for holidays, hotels, flights and cruises and send out a weekly email of the Top 15 best travel deals around. ( Find Travel Titbits on Twitter too. )  This is complemented with holiday inspiration by featuring articles, tips and advice from travel writers, bloggers and, quite simply, people passionate about travel, from around the world.

January 2011 saw the inaugural annual award forBritain’s Best Travel Blogger. The simple criterion was the winner would be the person whose piece inspired and made you want to visit the place written about.  That person was Zoë!   Since the competition, Travel Titbits has seen an increase in the number of subscribers to its weekly newsletter and a pleasing increase in the number of customers choosing the holidays on offer.

Travel into a sustainable future

Our planet is being depleted by us; even today came the terrible news that Brazil is going to go ahead with the Belo Monte dam.  It will inundate at least 400,000 hectares of forest (1544 square miles); expelling 40,000 indigenous and local populations and destroying habitat valuable for many species.  This is after the President has received tens of thousands of letters and emails addressed to her, which were ignored as were the more than 600,000 signatures. Horrendous, and all to generate electricity which, by all accounts, could easily be generated with greater investments in energy efficiency. So, so sad and so easily avoidable.

Hope for the future does spring eternal and there are many people out there who are truly immersing themselves in responsible and sustainable tourism.  These are the people who are making things happen, who have gone out on a limb to bring about a new order to how tourism works, not built on the old model of growth, growth, growth, with low costs and huge numbers, but built on a new model of caring about the countries, paying back to the environment and the local population.  To experiences that are truly real, that actually give you a taste of the customs and peoples of the country; not in a glitzy, glamorous way but in a traditional and true manner.

The Native Americans had the right idea, their philosophy, their ‘ten commandments’ would have kept this wonderful plant earth in an ever replenishing cycle.  They only used what was needed, always paying respect for what they had.  Think what a beautiful place America must have been when they were there, before the white man came and plundered and pillaged everything, before the greed for more and more came about.  I read a book a long time ago called ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee‘, what an effect that had on me; I was completely and utterly horrified.

Similar things still happen today, man’s greed and lust for power taking over from peace and common sense. How does this relate to travel and tourism?  Well, I can name two countries that have not allowed this to happen, that have had respect for their land, their customs and all the interconnectedness ~ with thanks to Shyman33 on Twitter for a new awareness of that.

Have a good look at Bhutan and Samoa.  Both countries are very proud of their heritage and indeed, Bhutan has the best philosophy of all.  They do not look at gross domestic product or profits and loss, the philosophy for their country is the gross national happiness.  How wonderful would it be if all countries did the same.  Not enforced happiness but a natural, joyful well being :-)  Samoa means the sacred centre of the Polynesian Islands, it is natural, unspoilt and magically beautiful.

Both these countries are at the top of my bucket list ~ I am going to visit them as soon as I possibly can.  My perceptions are from what others have told me, from what I have read and from the pictures I have seen. Powerful indeed, is a word-of-mouth recommendation from a person you trust and respect.  It’s all about Personal Relationships!

If you want more info on travelling in Bhutan, have a look at Bhutan Dragon Adventures; and for Samoa, look at Samoa Select (An insider guide brought to you by Polynesian Xplorer).

And if you want to follow people who truly believe in responsible and sustainable tourism (and have done so for many years, not like some, who have recently jumped onto the bandwagon!) then please find out more about Anna Pollock and Gopinath Parayil ~ shining lights :-)