There is SO much crap travel advice on the internet today. I am going to hulk the hell out if I have to look at another click baiting article like “10 photos to inspire a trip to ____” that doesn’t give me any real information and only wants to sell me Lightroom presets. There is something deeply boring about blog post after blog post telling you to visit the TV Tower in Berlin or Bean Statue in Chicago – yeah we know, MOVE ON. This repetitive cycle of creating pointless, unintentional content with very little useful information is leaving me tired and fed up with travel influencers. I want this blog to help fix that dynamic.
I create actually useful travel resources – all good stuff, none of the fluff.
Sure, travel can sometimes be about seeing the famous sights or snapping the perfect Instagram photo; but travel can be a lot more than that too. As millennials, we seek experiences. We seek cool and interesting. We seek quality. That is what I want my travel content to be about.
I write detailed and thorough blog posts that are actually useful for you. I help you discover trendy neighborhood restaurants, striking street art, and unique destinations you may never have considered. I write thoughtful itineraries to help you craft the perfect trip, whether it is a long weekend or a 2-week vacation. I put in the time and intention to research a destination, creating long-form blog posts so that you don’t have to keep 938712 unhelpful Chrome tabs open when you’re planning your next travel adventure.
When I travel, I seek out what is cool, unique and beautiful in every city or country that I visit.
Maybe that makes me a hipster, but you can count on Traverse to help you find exactly the vibe you’re looking for in a destination.
Meet the Author - Megan Arzbaecher
I am so privileged to have seen so much of the world — 7 continents, 55 countries and countless cities — and learned from the people and places who call it home. Even as a young girl from Wisconsin, USA, I felt this pull to see more and more of the world. Working in and writing about travel feels like a calling to me, a calling which I am now pursuing as a master’s student in sustainable tourism management at a small university in Cologne, Germany.
The lessons I learned (and re-learned) from my experiences abroad have shaped me in seemingly minor yet fundamental ways, forever changing my mindset and global outlook. Travel has turned me into the person I am today. I am a big picture thinker who thrives in new environments, relishing in the deep diversity that our world offers. I am flexible and easy-going, largely unphased by disruptions or last-minute changes. I am a compassionate learner and listener who is willing to adjust their mindset when presented with new perspectives. These are just a handful of the many, many lessons travel has taught me over our 20 year relationship together.
I have been travel writing for about 9 years now, snapping photos and retelling stories from my journeys in cities and countries around the world. Travel is something that I am truly and deeply knowledgeable about, and I am proud of that. This blog is a written version of all the travel-related gobbledygook in my head. You’re going to find a sprinkling of blog posts on a range of my interests — cities, street art, sustainability, food, design, saunas — which I hope you find are written and presented in a way that is beautiful, practical and honest.
Traverse Blog’s Values
Sense of Discovery
For me travel has always been about discovery. Discovering something new to you. Discovering something delicious. Discovering something you didn’t know. There is something special about every city, state or country, and I want to find it. Discovery doesn’t usually happen at the famous attractions or the mega-resorts. It happens in the locally loved neighborhoods or over a long dinner with someone you just met. It happens in the moments in between.
Discovery often happens well before you ever step foot into your destination during the travel planning phase. I am someone that enjoys – thrives on even – doing endless amounts of research of destinations that I may never even go to. I can’t tell you the number of half-baked itinerary frameworks currently sitting in my Google Drive just waiting for the opportunity to come to life.
I am not a spontaneous person, and my travel style is heavily because I don’t want to waste my time once I’m actually on my trip looking up what the place has to offer. In fact, I think one of the most rewarding parts of travel is the planning part – it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and anticipation. There is no better feeling than experiencing the amazing vacation you planned for yourself months ahead of time.
Travel doesn’t usually look like the perfect picture, although social media would have you think otherwise. You tend to see two types of travel content on Instagram: 1) FOMO-inducing, highly edited, easy to replicate influencer content or 2) intensely curated, nicely staged, artistic photography content. Neither of these feel real to me, although both of them feel stylish. There is something deliciously indulgent about consuming this content, but it leaves you feeling sort of void and deceived.
I find this type of content sets unrealistic expectations, and for me, everything in travel comes back to expectations. Your photos probably won’t look like that and your trip is not likely to be as luxurious. A successful traveler understands that the key to a good travel experience is setting appropriate expectations.
This blog won’t tell you to avoid visiting something or that shouldn’t you go somewhere; but it is going to help you set realistic expectations about what that experience is actually going to be like.
Sure, the Blue City in Morocco might be the most amazing place you’ve ever been; but you also might be disappointed by the crowds and lack of things to do besides shopping and photography. If you set your expectations accordingly and you still want to visit, then the sting of loss and disappointment fades and you can take in the experience for what it is.
Travel is a practice in opportunity costs. You cannot do everything. I’ll save you the effort — I’ve tried and it’s impossible. Nor is it enjoyable. I’ve learned over the years that packing my travel schedule to “maximize” my stay only leaves me feeling disappointed and rushed. When traveling, we have to make choices, and I would argue those should be intentional choices.
Travel can be so destructive. It is one of the most resource intensive, environmentally degrading choices an individual can make. My master’s degree is in sustainable tourism management, and throughout my studies, I was both horrified by all the ways that travel can harm and inspired by all the ways that we can make it better. Multi-national corporations have made tourism deeply commercialized and growth-oriented, seeking to create as many of the same experiences in different locations as possible. But hope is not lost – we can reclaim travel and tourism. We can build a sustainable, community-oriented, slow travel industry on the other side of the Coronavirus crisis through intentional and thoughtful choices.
My choice to relocate to Germany was about having more access to adventure close to home and experiencing the “new” in the routine. This all fits into the worldview of sustainable travel. I don’t book the super low-cost flight options for 24 hours in a new city. Instead, I try to discover a new place in my own city or take a train to a nearby town I’ve never explored. When I do make those big travel purchases, I stay at independently owned hotels instead of AirBnbs in cities experiencing rapid gentrification. I choose walking tours led by locals. I carbon offset my flights. I shop at boutique shops not chain retail outlets. Sustainable travel is attainable; we just have to choose it intentionally.
Where To Now?
Are you new to Traverse? Looking for my greatest hits? You’ve come to the right place! I’ve put together a ‘Best of the Blog‘ list with some of my readers’ favorite posts so you can get a quick sense of what this blog is all about!
Whether you’re new to traveling or have lots of experience, this blog is here to help you plan more effective, thoughtful and responsible trips. Through my helpful guides, sample itineraries and planning tips, you’ll be able to make your travel goals come true!
I am lucky to have traveled quite a bit and I am here to share my knowledge and expertise with you! No matter where you are in your planning process, I can provide resources and sample itineraries to help you make the most out of whatever destination you’re off to next!