Travel Newsletter - 6 November, 2020

Visiting Nha Trang's future hotels, the North Korean ghost ship, gardeners of Angkor Wat, scenes from New Zealand, and supporting independent travel bookshops

This week that Polish proverb came to mind: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” As an Australian, this has served me well to not get overwhelmed by world news. Still, when the world's largest circus is on fire it's hard not to look. Let’s just say it’s not been a productive week, and I didn’t end up posting a new article on Nomadic Notes.

I did post my monthly update: Where I’m At: November, 2020 – Nha Trang edition

When I sat down to sort through my links for the week, I wasn't optimistic I would have anything to post. Surprisingly there were still lots of good travel reads out there. This is why I am a fan of curated newsletters. There is so much content posted every day that is hard work keeping up with everything. I’m continually refining my system for finding good travel reads, so thanks for being a subscriber. I’m here to sift through piles of links, so you don’t have to.

While I didn’t post at Nomadic Notes, I’ve still been writing for Living In Asia about future travel. This has become my main job in 2020. I was in Nha Trang this week investigating new hotels and resorts, and I posted a report on Nha Trang in 2020.

[Nha Trang skyline - 2020 edition.]

There are new resorts being built on the coast that don’t have a lot of information, so sometimes the best way to find out is to hire a bike and have a look for yourself. I was most curious about this development known as Vega City, which is under construction despite the current downturn. This is what it is supposed to look like in the future.

I was also interviewed by GOGAFFL about how I turned a hobby into a full-time career as a digital nomad.

I’ve been making the most of my Vietnam travel time, but there are some links below that have been added to my future travel plans.

COVID-19 and travel (or lack thereof)

How to take a vacation without leaving your own home

A covid vaccine is the next tourist attraction

“If a treatment were not yet available where you live,  how far would you travel to get it?”

Thailand announces “Smart Band” mandatory tracking device for foreign tourists who visit the country during Covid-19 pandemic

The pandemic has created a middle class private jet boom

“With commercial airlines grounded, holidaying households are booking business flights to beat local lockdowns.”

Wing and a Prayer: Thai Airways sells flights over 99 ‘sacred sites’

“While airlines around the world are flying to nowhere, Thai Airways is plotting a course to heaven Teased as an “auspicious flight in the sky over 99 sacred venues,””

COVID-19 and the £1 billion cruise ship

Shameless on vacation

“A certain kind of American is still traveling internationally — and they’re not sorry.”

There’s nothing quite like being in an airport and I miss it. Really

How do you measure a year in the life of 2020?

“It’s been a tough year as someone who works in travel...”

Travel news

Nearly a decade late, Berlin's Brandenburg Airport finally opens (during a pandemic)

Explore this beautiful Italian region on a new coast-to-coast hiking trail

Calabria (the toe of the Italian boot) has created a new hiking trail that connects the Ionian shore of Calabria to the Tyrrhenian coast. My future dream trip to Italy was to get the train from Rome to Sicily, but I may have to backtrack and visit Calabria on the way out.

Assorted travel reads

Chasing my father’s ghost through the Swiss Alps

Each state's most historically significant town to visit

How a floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef became a North Korean ghost ship

“What started its life as a five-star holiday hotspot now sits abandoned and rusting just north of the Korean demilitarized zone.”

Where cruise ships are sent to die

“At a shipyard in Turkey, the boats, including some from Carnival’s Fantasy fleet, are being turned into scrap, even as the industry hopes to find a way to start sailing.”

Another article doing the rounds about the cruise ship scrap yard.

Slowing down in Laos

“Or, how to make a travel magazine when travel collapses.”

Scenes from New Zealand

The fearless gardeners saving Angkor Wat

Even though it’s cool to see temples like Ta Prohm (the Tomb Raider Temple) being strangled by a tree, ultimately the temples of Angkor need to be conserved from being consumed by the jungle.

Travel books

Here are a few links related to books that warrant a sub-category. I was reading about, which is unifying independent bookshops as a means to rival Amazon. I have a travel books section that uses Amazon links, so I will include as an alternative.

Two of my favourite travel-related book stores are struggling with the combined effect of the pandemic and online competition. Stanfords travel bookshop in London is exactly what the name suggests - a bookshop dedicated entirely to travel. It’s now fighting for survival. See how you can support Stanfords.

And not exactly a travel book shop, but a favourite book shop for travellers is Shakespeare and Company in Paris. This English-language bookshop has been an oasis for anglophone travellers making their way around Europe. With a lack of travellers, it’s also feeling the pinch during this pandemic. As a fundraising effort, they have put together the Shakespeare and Company Year of Reading, where for an annual subscription you will get a year’s worth of books sent to you.

Finally, my friend Pam Mandel has just released a travel memoir, The Same River Twice. I haven’t read it yet, but Pam is one of the few bloggers I will stop what I am doing when a new blog post is published, so I am looking forward to reading this.

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- James Clark