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Italy travel Carrara

Sometimes editor types joke about the “three I’s of travel” that grace so many magazine covers: Italy, Ireland, and India. They’re photogenic, look exotic, and have nice luxury hotels with ad money to spend. You’ll rarely find a travel magazine that goes a whole 12 months without one of the three on a cover.

In the current issue of Perceptive Travel, we subbed in Iceland for Ireland. (Don’t worry, you can still find the latter plenty of places on our blog.) Iceland is also photogenic, can look exotic, and has some nice hotels. As usual though, we don’t tick off places you’ve already seen a hundred times before. We like to take the road less traveled. In this case we’re literally on the road with Luke Armstrong as he tries to learn how to drive a stick shift on the fly. In a van. Going across Iceland in the “crazy season.” See Learning to Drive a Dinosaur in Iceland.

We also have a story about Italy, but toss out your expectations because Debi Goodwin is not going to check anything off your bucket list. This place was on hers though: the Italian marble quarries of Carrara.

Old Delhi

We had a story in the past on how the “Incredible India” portrayed in ads and glossy travel stories is like an alternate universe to the Slumdog Millionaire reality that non-luxury travelers see every day. Being sheltered from the grinding poverty is next to impossible if you go for a walk though, as Jim Johnston finds out in Hunger and Privilege: Dinner in Old Delhi.

As always we run down some world music worth listening to, from a globalFEST compilation to classical music with a Turkish twinge, through the ears of Laurence Mitchell.

Susan Griffith reviews three new travel books: one from a legend, one from a shipping industry reporter, and one from…well, you decide.

Need some new travel shoes?

We give away something cool to one of our loyal Perceptive Travel readers each month and last time Jack P. from Florida scored a nice $139 daypack from Granite Gear. In April we’re setting someone from the USA up with a nice $90 pair summer travel shoes: the H2O Escape Bungee Sneaker from Sperry Topsiders.

To win, you could follow PT on Facebook and pay close attention. The better bet is to sign up for the monthly e-mail newsletter.

Krabu leather daypackCould you use a daypack upgrade? How about a nice waxed leather one for…$10?

If you put in a $10 bid at Passports with Purpose, you could do some good in the world and also receive this Krabu backpack from Oliberté, retail value $240. It’s a fitting prize since this bag is made in Ethiopia and Oliberté is (so far) the world’s only Fair Trade certified footwear maker. (Check out their shoes here.)

This is how it works: you go to the Passports with Purpose site and bid on whatever you’d like to win at $10 an entry. One hundred percent of that money goes to charity, for a specific project. This year we bloggers and sponsors are collectively going to raise $115,000 for buildOn to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa. Here’s more info on the specifics. I’ve participated every year but the first as a blogger and in the past the organization has built wells in Haiti, a funded school in Cambodia, libraries in Zambia, and a whole village in India.

Oliberte leather backpackMy thanks to Oliberté for donating this $240 Krabu leather daypack to the cause. You can see it’s a quality, hand-made bag and the winner will have a choice of colors. They will ship to the USA or Europe, so if you live in either of those regions, you’re all set. There’s an outside pocket, an inside pocket, adjustable leather straps, and an always-useful carrying strap on the top. Since it’s waxed leather, your stuff won’t get wet if you get caught in a drizzle.

There’s plenty more to pull out your credit card for at the Passports with Purpose site though, including the Briggs & Riley rolling backpack we’re giving away over at Practical Travel Gear. Besides gear, you’ll also find hotel stays, villas, exciting vacation packages, and more. Some of these are from sponsors who put in some up-front cash as well. Big thanks to Expedia, DK Eyewitness Guides, Rough GuidesTBEX; HomeAway, HostelBookersGo With Oh, and Eating London.

Donate and win! (Bidding starts at midnight on Nov. 25 and goes through December 9.)

It’s time for another collection of the best travel stories from wandering book authors. This month’s issue of Perceptive Travel (just crowned with another “best travel writing” award), journeys to Japan, the Maldives, and the Peruvian Amazon.

We’re happy to have Edward Readicker-Henderson back, spinning a tale that’s strange even by our off-kilter standards, looking back through a warped lens on his time teaching English in Japan. See Osaka in the End.

Michael Buckley has swam with whale sharks and gone paragliding with hawks in Nepal. This time he goes Freediving with Manta Rays. At the top is a video he shot with a GoPro.

James Dorsey has visited all kinds of people who find ways to connect to the world beyond ours. This time he visits a remote village in the Amazon jungle to find the female Shaman of San Regis.

As usual we run down some interesting new travel books you might want to put on your wish list (via William Caverlee) and some notable new world music albums you might find intriguing (via Graham Reid).

Tifosi travel sunglasses

Our regular readers always have a chance to win some cool travel gear and last month a reader from Ohio took home a Goal Zero Guide 10 solar charging kit that folds up and packs easily. This month we’re giving away some sporty sunglasses from Tifosi Optics. If you’re on the newsletter list, check your bulk folder if you didn’t see the message. If not, go follow us on Facebook and you’ll see the contest announcement with how to enter.

Get in on the action next time around by hitting that newsletter sign-up button on the right side of the home page.


Chiquita Panama

It’s time for a new issue of Perceptive Travel webzine, with great traveler tales from wandering book authors. (And edited by yours truly.)

This month we’re featuring two returning writers, one making a debut, and the usual collections of good music and books to check out.

The banana booms and busts in the Americas were especially dramatic in Bocas Town of Panama, once the wealthy center of the action for the sprawling United Fruit Company. Now? It’s back to its natural state of overgrowth and decay. See The Fruit of Empire in the Banana Republics.

Gillian Kendall says don’t believe what you read about smiling locals happy to welcome tourists to their idyllic shores. The local critters in Florida may not be so happy to see them either. See Off the Beaten Path With a Wayward Bat.

Professor Samuel Jay Keyser of MIT gives us an odd slice of history about two strange characters adorning the cathedral next to Lake Como in Italy.

As always we also highlight some interesting new travel books worth checking out and some good (or just odd) world music albums.

That’s three narrative travel stories and two pages of reviews that will occupy you for a while. There are more than six years’ worth of great travel stories in the archives if that’s not enough for you. P-cubed shirt

But here’s some more incentive to check out the new issue: we’re giving away some free Pickpocket-Proof clothing to one lucky reader! Each month we give away something cool and your odds are a few million times better than they are with your state lottery. This month you can get something that will keep your valuables safe when you’re traveling. For guys, the wardrobe includes their new P^Cubed Shirts.

The newsletter already went out, but you can still get in on the action by joining the 1,600 fans of Perceptive Travel on Facebook.

Moon living in BelizeI’ve often recommended books from the Moon Living Abroad series as comprehensive guides to countries popular with people thinking of living in another country.

I’m taking the Living Abroad in Mexico with me in August as I head south for two years to take my own advice again.

However, the publisher sent me a few others over time that I’ve reviewed here and since everything I’m not taking is going into storage, I’m sending three of these books to a new home. Free, including shipping.

If you’re looking at moving to Central America, these three books will give you plenty of ideas. They’re the Living Abroad guides to Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Belize. All three will give you the keys to a good life for less money.One or two of these may not be the most current editions, but they’re enough to get you started to see if the place is right for you and all are in almost new condition.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post regarding my question on a book I’m probably going to write soon, on the cheapest places to live in the world. I need some input for market research purposes so I answer the right questions and ignore the ones nobody is asking.

I’ll choose a winner at random July 21 and get in touch for an address. U.S. residents only please—three books are too heavy to ship elsewhere.

Enter here.