For those who don’t know, 9rules is a social networking site that brings together the best of independent blogs, writing and readers on the Internet. While definitely not a travel site (at the moment I think there are only two in their travel section), 9rules had added us as one of their partner sites. It is a proud day for ITKT.
I am really excited to be part of the new 9rules team and hopefully offering travel inspiration to experienced travelers and the guy who has yet to make it beyond the confines of his own front. Of course, ITKT readers already know this. However, we can hope entice some new readers and future travelers through 9rules. So with that, it make sense to again share some of my own inspiration that helped start In The Know Traveler.
In a nutshell. I started doing some freelance travel writing few years back and went on a press trip to St. Lucia, a fairly new country (only 25 years old) out, deep in the Caribbean on one of my first big assignments. On the trip, I met a wonderful woman, named Shirley who dragged me into her kitchen at the market place in downtown Castries (booth #20), “Oh honey, you look hungry, you let ol’ Shirley make you some food.” She led me by the hand behind her counter.
Bubbling pots of ooze were everywhere, so were splashes of food on the walls and ceiling. Shirley sat me down on a wobbly three-legged stool and prepared a ten-pound plate of some of the worst food I have ever eaten. It was dry, flavorless and sat in my stomach like bricks. It was all made out of bananas, which is the also national bird of St. Lucia (of course, I only jest about the bird part. The palette repellent-ness of the meal is true.).
However, Shirley is fun and funny. Insightful and memorable. She is everything that is wonderful about travel. We talked about our differences and what we thought about each other’s respective homes. We talked about the differences between Jamaica and St. Lucia (I wanted to know). We discussed politics and religion (Not always recommended but a good choice here). And in the end, I discovered how Shirley and I were more alike than not. Shirley gave me feelings of hope and inspiration that stayed with me long after I returned home from St. Lucia’s rugged coastlines. I wanted to write about Shirley and how she inspired travel in me.
My editor at the time said, sounds great — give me a 800 words about the hotel. I couldn’t blame him. Selling an article about my experience with a tiny St. Lucian woman who made challenging lunches in a teeny country that most haven’t heard of before was a hard sell in the world of advertising. So instead of taking “no” for an answer, I started In The Know Traveler with a tech-savvy and like-minded buddy, Jesse.
To make a long story short we now write about culture and cultural exchange on 120 countries worldwide and have lots of knowledgeable contributors for features and videos with international tourism boards and pr firms helping us with reliable travel news information and travel deals from around the world (and we get to do the picking).