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Would you like see my 40-minute video of Traversing Spain Twice for free? Or how about getting four chapters of The Hidden Europe? And chapter 2 of Hike Your Own Hike? Get them all when you sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter below! I won't share your email with anyone. I hate spam too, so you can easily unsubscribe.


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Francis Tapon looking up at the menu bar and wondering if it needs a redesign
his website will inspire you to wander & learn. I'm a Harvard MBA who left the tech world in 2006 to pursue a more fulfilling mission: visit every country in the world and share their unique lessons with whoever gives a crap. First-time visitors: start with the best articles!

Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America by Francis Tapon. This is the dust jacket cover of the hardcover book.The Hidden Europe by Francis TaponI've written Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America. I've walked across America four times and visited over 80 countries. I'm the first guy to yo-yo the Continental Divide Trail. I also thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail southbound. I've walked across Spain twice. In 2008-2011, I traveled in Eastern Europe and wrote my second book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us. I'm currently on a 4-year trip to visit all 54 countries in Africa. Find out where I am now!


Francis has been covered on... New York TimesSan Francisco ChronicleThe Washington PostLA Times LogoChicago Tribune LogoTEDxRick Steves radio logoLogo for KQED's Forum with Michael KrasnyBacpacker Magazine The Great OutdoorsKKSR Newstalk 910 LogoPractical BacpackingBacpacking Ligh National Geographic New Mexico magazine BootsnAll MercuryNewsHarvard Buisness School

The Hidden Europe book trailer



Francis Tapon's "Dream of Traveling the World" video

A First-Timer’s Guide to Hiking in Tenerife

Mount TeideTenerife’s landscape creates perfect terrain for hiking with mountains, coastal paths, secluded villages and volcanic geology to offer. Hiking in Tenerife has long been popular amongst Europeans, yet you’ll find plenty of seclusion as you explore some of the more remote parts of the island.

So get your walking boots on and find out about the best spots to get roaming on your Canary Island trip, with our guide to hiking holidays to Tenerife…

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 05:06
Read more... [A First-Timer’s Guide to Hiking in Tenerife]

30 Travel Tips for a Cheaper and Deeper Travel Experience

  1. Photo smh.com.auTry not to travel aimlessly throughout continents in a span of time which does nothing but burn you out. 
  2. Interacting with the locals can bring you a good advice, perhaps a friendship and even discounts in some cases. Get hold of a phrasebook and learn a bit about the language.
  3. Let the budget loose at times, and concentrate only on the experiences and memories you are gathering rather than sitting with the budget calculator.
  4. Wake up early morning for seeing the city come to life. It gives you ample time to explore when fewer tourists are around. Additionally, when the light is not so harsh it is the best for photography.
  5. Plan a flexible schedule by not pre-booking everything. Leave room for impromptu plans that you may come across while interacting with locals and other tourists.
  6. Keep your mind open. It is perhaps the most important point to keep your mind open to various environments and cultures while travelling.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 10:26
Read more... [30 Travel Tips for a Cheaper and Deeper Travel Experience]

9 Tips For Travelling to Africa

African women preparing foodThis sponsored post is by Nadav Ziv:

Africa is a land of mystique and adventure. Even in today's world, where Instagram and Facebook have brought people together like never before, Africa remains one of the few places on Earth where there are huge territories over which no communication with the outside world exists. Yet, for the intrepid traveller, Africa is that frontier which needs courage, curiosity and passion.

If you are planning on taking a trip into the continent from where man started out, there quite a few things that you would need to taken into account. You should always do your research about the place that you are going to. Essential things like travel arrangements and accommodation should be taken care of.

As for accommodation, one interesting option is that of renting a holiday apartment. Many travellers are opting for these instead of the usual hotels. The USP of renting a short term apartment is that it gives you the feel of having a home away from home. Vacation rentals can work out to be more cost effective as well (learn more).

While travelling to Africa, here are 9 tips to keep in mind...

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 April 2014 03:14
Read more... [9 Tips For Travelling to Africa]

Do Not Hire Film and Video Editor Cynthia Biret

Cynthia Biret is an awful film and video editor and preditor (a producer-editor). In late October 2013, I hired her for my Africa TV show project. She was a $10,000 disaster. I considered just brushing this lousy experience under the carpet, but I’d rather help others from suffering a similar fate with her (or anyone). Therefore, in this article I’m going to share my horrendous experience with Cynthia Biret.

Summary: I hired Cynthia Biret to produce a 3-minute trailer for my Africa TV show and then a 48-minute pilot episode. She agreed to produce the trailer in 4 weeks. After nearly 5 months, $9,750, and listening to a dozen lies, she still hadn’t produced an adequate 3-minute trailer. She demanded another $1,750 for an additional week that she claimed she needed to finish the trailer. Instead of throwing even more money at her, I found another editor to complete the job.

What follows chronicles the disaster. I’m airing this dirty laundry to help others learn from my mistakes. Whether you’re considering hiring Cynthia Biret or some other editor, seeing what happened to me can help you avoid a similar fate.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 09:17
Read more... [Do Not Hire Film and Video Editor Cynthia Biret]

7 Places in Eastern Europe I Dream About

Guest post by Julio Moreno:

"I wish I had done this differently."

"Man, I would have totally skipped that if I had to do it again."

Sound familiar? Travel, like pretty much everything in our lives, suffers from 20-20 hindsight. No matter how much you plan, research, and get tips from your friends, the reality is always at least a little different from those early research stages. Some places turn out to be tourist traps and others unexpectedly wonderful places. So why do so few of us go do the same thing twice? It is that wonder, that excitement of doing something the first time that is so amazing, it can't be replicated, no matter how hard you try.

Like any sane person with a healthy dose of wanderlust, I too dream of some day exploring Eastern Europe. Will it live up to expectations? I don't know. Will it exceed them? I hope so. But, like everything that is worth while, it all starts with a dream.

These are 7 places in Eastern Europe that spring into my head when the lights go off and I start dozing off....

Last Updated on Monday, 17 March 2014 05:37
Read more... [7 Places in Eastern Europe I Dream About]

Is Eastern Europe Safe for Travel?

Photo by JonRawlinson

With the recent news about Ukraine and the Crimea, you might be scared to go to Eastern Europe. Don't.

You can even be safe in Ukraine, but in this guest post, Jenny Corteza focuses on far away Eastern European lands....

Guest post by Jenny Corteza:

In early 2014, a lot of travelers are asking if Eastern Europe is safe for travel. I've been to the area and I wanted to let you know what I think.

Even if you read a lot of other travel blogs and keep up with the recent news in the region, it's still a good idea to get advice from someone who knows the area well. And I do because I've traveled there frequently over the past two decades of my life - both for business and pleasure.

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 March 2014 08:57
Read more... [Is Eastern Europe Safe for Travel?]

How To Overcome Soft Addictions

Guest post by Ramya Raju:

Coffee and PhoneI recently came across an article on soft addictions. They are the seemingly harmless habits that we cultivate, out of necessity or to make a fashion statement, and they slowly become a part of our lifestyle. For instance – ‘drinking endless cups of coffee’ or binging every weekend to celebrate– sounds great in books, but what does it do to your body and your mind? Does it, in any way, help make you a better, happier, more balanced person? More often than not, it makes you irritable and upsets your tummy. It may also give you a rather unattractive appearance – and that in no way can be construed as a step in the direction of self-development!

These harmless habits often become obsessive and before we know it, they have invaded our minds and have nicely taken over our focus and concentration.

A culprit that is ‘trending’ these days is the mobile phone. From a convenient device that helped us connect in maybe a road emergency, saving a trudge to the nearest payphone, the mobile moved on to becoming a style statement to almost a life support system.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 March 2014 10:36
Read more... [How To Overcome Soft Addictions]

Five Tips on How to Save Money When Travelling


The following is a post contributed by site supporters of Francis Tapon:

Travel vanWhen times are tough you need a holiday more than ever and getting the most for your money is doubly important. As with most things in life, you pay extra for convenience, but by thinking outside of the box, there are five ways to make your finances, and you, go further.

1. Last minute bookings

The simplest way to get a low price holiday is to leave booking to the last minute, well, eight to ten weeks before you leave at most. 2014 bargain holidays are the way to go for travellers who want to enjoy their vacation to the highest level without breaking the bank. Package holidays are based on bulk bookings of hotels and flights, if there are still vacancies close to the date the holiday companies would rather get something for them, than nothing. The draw backs are that you have to take what is left, and you might have to grab a bargain quickly without doing research.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 March 2014 04:45
Read more... [Five Tips on How to Save Money When Travelling]

Lessons Learned from Wet Weather Hiking Mishaps

Guest Post by Stratton Lawrence

StrattonThere's much to be said for the old Boy Scout maxim, "Be Prepared." But being prepared doesn't necessarily mean that you've got every piece of gear in your pack you could ever need. Sure, it would be nice to have an ax when you're 50 miles into the 100-Mile Wilderness and wanting to build a fire, but carrying the ax may actually leave you less prepared for the 5,000 feet of elevation change that you plan to traverse the following morning.

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Figuring out the give-and-take of what's appropriate to bring along on an extended trip is always a work in progress, but it's one where paying attention to those who have gone before can truly payoff. That holds especially true when preparing for wet weather conditions in the wilderness. Nothing spoils a trip faster (or forces a premature return home) than extreme discomfort caused by wet conditions.

Despite a childhood spent backpacking and traveling (including several Scout weekends spent hunkered down in driving tempests), I've still had to learn a few of these lessons the hard way. Even worse, I've watched fellow travelers that I'm responsible for ignore my admonitions, leaving me to pick up their slack (or carry their stuff) when the going gets tough enough to prove me right.

Here are a handful of my most memorable learning moments when it comes to staying dry outside:

Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 09:24
Read more... [Lessons Learned from Wet Weather Hiking Mishaps]

Keeping it Clean: 4 Tips for Properly Storing Your Gear

Guest post by Jessica Johnson

Keep pack cleanStoring camping gear is like going to the dentist. After a visit, we may be prone to slack off on flossing for a little while – perhaps even bail on the next visit...and the next. After a couple of years we have a conundrum on our hands: we know we really should go in, yet we fear the inevitable discovery of cavities. If only we had brushed regularly and gone in every six months!

The same goes for outdoor gear. After a couple of days in the backcountry, our mind is set on a hot shower and a cold beverage. The gear often gets wadded up and thrown in the basement – out of mind, out of site. As the days go by, we know we should tend to it, yet the fear of what we might find grows deeper. Until it's time for the next camping trip. Now we have a moldy, unorganized mess to deal with.

Whether you are a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a once-in-a-while car camper, properly storing your gear is crucial. All it takes is a little know-how and a little more discipline. Here are a few simple tips to consider after a few days in the great outdoors.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 11:00
Read more... [Keeping it Clean: 4 Tips for Properly Storing Your Gear]

Magic of Novi Sad, Serbia

Novi Sad PetrovaradinGuest Post by Anita Reid.

Serbia is one of those places that conjures up plenty of preconceptions in people’s minds: wars, embargoes, lawlessness, and many other problems that afflicted the region in the past. Like a lot of preconceptions, there is a grain of truth buried amongst mountains of ignorance and chinese-whispers.

Despite news stories involving decade-old wars and the recent trouble with racist football fans, Serbia is slowly regaining a reputation as a progressive and interesting holiday-destination, with new cultural figures to represent modern Serbia in a positive light to the world: Novak Djokovic, Emir Kusturica, the critically acclaimed director, and NBA superstar Marko Jaric, who is also married to Adriana Lima.

Read more... [Magic of Novi Sad, Serbia]
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