Bret’s Blog

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Photo by Sebastian Anthony via Creative Commons

Why (and How) I Write:

A Blog Hop Post

 

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a Blog Hop about one of my favorite subjects (Writing) by two of my favorite bloggers, Susan Portnoy and Jessie Voigts.

 

Susan Portnoy is a safari addict, world explorer and photographer who blogs as The Insatiable Traveler. She’s traveled to over 35 countries and looks forward to every new experience, especially those that involve authentic cultures, wild animals or remnants of ancient civilizations. She is a contributor to Yahoo Travel and her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Mashable, & more. When she’s not traveling, Susan is a veteran communications and PR consultant (most recently at Condé Nast). This fall she’ll oversee press for the return of Fashion Rocks and Movies Rock, two prime-time CBS specials that celebrate the relationship between fashion and music and movies and music respectively.

 

Jessie Voigts is a mom who loves sharing the world with her daughter. She has a PhD in International Education, and is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, especially with kids. She has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world, and Journey to Scotland, a resource for traveling to Scotland. She also founded the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. You can usually find her family by water, anywhere in the world.

 

Read on for my answers to four not-so-simple questions about Writing, and to find out which 3 blogger friends I’ve invited to join the Blog Hop… Continue reading

A pod of dolphins swimming near our boat in Moorea, Tahiti

A pod of dolphins swimming near our boat in Moorea, Tahiti

Cancun Cancels TBEX Dolphin Tours

 

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, right from the get-go: Dolphin tours are bad for dolphins.

 

Organizations such as the Humane Society and World Animal Protection have long condemned captive Swimming With Dolphins programs for their inhumane treatment. As depicted in The Cove, these dolphins are captured in the most horrific cull you can imagine, with those that don’t pass muster immediately slaughtered. 

 

Of the dolphins that do survive, 53% die within the first three months of captivity (causes include chemicals in the water, human infection and stress-related illnesses). Food deprivation is often used to train dolphins to perform tricks, and long-term captivity has been proven to have devastating effects on the mental, physical and emotional well-being of all cetacean species. 

 

Like a lot of travelers, we didn’t fully understand how bad captive cetacean facilities were until a few years ago. I took my daughter to swim with dolphins in the Bahamas in 2006, then Mary and I swam with them in an open-water setting in Curacao in 2009 (just before The Cove was released). But in the years since, we’ve done our best to educate and inform our readers on the subject, including interviewing Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite about the problems with captive cetacean facilities last year.

Continue reading

Blogging, the Green Travel Industry & the Future of GGT

 

When it comes to our long-term goals and strategies, we tend to play our cards close to our chest due to having been burned before by revealing too much, too soon, to the wrong people. But the truth is that Green Global Travel was never meant to be a blog. It wasn’t meant to be just an online magazine (which is how we’ve always branded ourselves). Instead, GGT was intended to be the first component of a long-term strategy designed with a singular mission:

 

We want to help make responsible, sustainable, Green Travel more mainstream.

 

 

Red Fox in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia

Red Fox in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia

 

Why? Because we believe that ecotourism can change the world for the better. We believe that sustainably managed ecotourism is better for local people, wildlife and ecosystems; better for the global economy; and better for the travelers themselves. And we believe that connecting the dots between conservationists, eco-friendly companies, media and conscious travelers is the best possible way to encourage the long-term growth of this burgeoning travel niche. 

 

The development of Green Global Travel and its sister site, Green Travel Reviews, were our first steps towards this goal. But now we’re unveiling a bigger initiative that we hope will have a positive impact on the Business of Blogging and, ultimately, the Travel Industry as a whole.

 

Green Travel Media logo

 

The Next Stage in Our Evolution

 

Mary and I are proud to announce the launch of Green Travel Media LLC, the new parent company for all of our business endeavors going forward.

 

We’re assembling a top-notch group of experienced media professionals– journalists, editors, photographers, videographers, web and graphic designers, PR people and social media experts– who will work together to provide 21st Century media & marketing solutions for eco-conscious businesses. From content creation and social media marketing to website management and sustainability consulting, the company will be a one-stop shop for DMOs, Tour Operators and other organizations working to develop and promote ecotourism offerings on a broad scale.

 

Traditional Mayan Cuisine

Traditional Mayan Cuisine

 

Our primary mission is as follows:

 

  • 1.) Work with sustainable brands, providing an agency of talented media professionals who can help them reach an audience interested in traveling more consciously and sustainably.

 

  • 2.) Educate bloggers on business practices and ecotourism issues, helping them to improve their craft, operate with a business-focused mindset, and encourage their readers to travel more consciously and sustainably.

 

  • 3.) Build a more high-profile and mainstream ecotourism industry. Our ultimate goal is to inform and inspire the average traveler, educating them on the benefits of making smart, responsible travel choices.

 

Bull Elephant Coming To Check Us Out

Bull Elephant, Londolozi Private Game Reserve, South Africa

 

How Green Travel Media Will Help the Travel Industry

 

The elephant in the room is that most big travel industry brands are hesitant to work with bloggers. In doing research for our forthcoming session at TBEX Athens on “How To Build a Better Blogging Brand,” we’ve been interviewing prominent travel industry PR reps about what they’re looking for, and the things some bloggers do to turn them off.

 

Bloggers have a reputation (often well-deserved) for overstating their influence in an effort to get freebies, not delivering on their promises, churning out substandard “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”-style stories, partying to excess, “Do you know who I am?!” attitudes, and other unprofessional conduct. Even bloggers who aspire to be professional struggle to figure out how to work with PR reps properly, unless they have a background in media or marketing.

 

But the biggest problem facing those brands who DO want to work with travel bloggers is the sheer overwhelming mass of bloggers to consider. There are sites like Blogger Bridge and organizations such as the Professional Travel Bloggers Association that list bloggers’ social media stats, traffic, etc. But there aren’t many outlets through which a brand can be assured of a given blogger’s qualitytravel industry experiencematurity level and professionalism.

 

We want Green Travel Media to be a quality conduit for brands interested in working with bloggers.

 

Bedouin Musicians Perform at Captain's Camp, Wadi Rum

Bedouin Musicians, Captain’s Camp, Wadi Rum Jordan

 

Mary and I bring a combined 30 years of management experience to the table. She worked for 10 years as manager for an Industrial/Organizational consulting company, while I’ve been Managing Editor of newspapers and magazines for 20 years. We understand the professional business environment, the need for quality control, the importance of deadlines, and how to build and manage a team effectively to guarantee maximum ROI. Green Travel Media will allow us to put our skills and experience to work for travel brands we believe in.

 

How Green Travel Media Will Help Bloggers

 

When we first started GGT in 2010, we weren’t trying to score free trips, fund our travels, or share our personal experiences with friends and family. The site grew out of our passion for Ecotourism, combined with the frustration that most of our freelance outlets were more interested in the same old advertising-driven stories about the best spas, luxury hotels and golf resorts a given destination had to offer.

 

Few of my editors seemed interested in stories that mattered– stories about animal species and traditional cultures on the verge of extinction, the people and organizations devoted to protecting them, and the unique travel experiences those initiatives offered. Blogging provided the editorial freedom to tell those stories in an emotionally impactful way that could inform and inspire readers, as National Geographic had informed and inspired me.

 

Even now, there are surprisingly few mainstream media outlets covering Ecotourism, despite the fact that this growing travel niche is estimated to represent 6% of the world’s gross domestic product, and 11.4% of all consumer spending. In short, there’s a gaping hole in the travel industry that needs to be filled. 

 

Traditional Kalinago Cultural Performance

Traditional Kalinago Cultural Performance

 

But over the years we’ve found quite a few talented bloggers– many of them experienced professionals with traditional media backgrounds– who have made names for themselves by specializing in “Green Travel” sub-niches, from adventure travel and cultural travel to nature/wildlife travel and geotourism.

 

With Green Travel Media, we’re bringing these professionals together on a project-by-project basis, connecting them with money-making opportunities that will reward them for their talent, expertise and influence without compromising their eco-friendly ethos. In short, we want to help good writers (and photographers/designers/etc) make good money by doing good work for good brands.

 

In addition, we want to educate up-and-coming bloggers with an interest in sustainable travel on how to improve their craft and their business, gradually developing an expansive team. To that end, GGT will soon be launching a free “Business of Blogging” series focused on professional development.

 

Shaman's Blessing Ceremony

Shaman’s Blessing Ceremony

 

Goals For The Future

 

We’re hoping to be able to announce our first big Green Travel Media project in the next few weeks, and have already begun assembling a team that includes over a dozen bloggers (more than half of which are currently ranked among the Top 40 Travel Blogs in the world). We’ll be actively pursuing new clients in the months to come, and are eagerly seeking experienced writers, photographers, designers, and web developers interested in working on forthcoming projects.

 

At the same time, we’re already planning the next steps in our evolution. One of our big goals is to create a charitable foundation modeled after Kiva, focusing on micro-funding small scale ecotourism and conservation projects in developing nations. We’re also currently working on getting certified as sustainability consultants, with a focus on tourism and community development.

 

We eventually hope to make strong connections on the ground through our travels, write stories to draw more attention to noteworthy projects, and use our expertise in marketing and social media promotion to help raise funds that will allow those projects to succeed. Basically, we want to facilitate the growth of symbiotic connections that will lead to a more fruitful and sustainable travel experience for everyone involved.

 

Whether you’re a travel blogger, a DMO/tour operator, or a passionate conservationist developing an ecotourism-related project, we hope you’ll be interested in working together in the future. Interested parties are invited to join the Green Travel Media Facebook group and reach out to us at info@GreenTravelMedia.com. –Bret Love

 

If you enjoyed our post on Blogging, the Green Travel Industry & the Future of GGT, you might also like:

The Benefits of Ecotourism: 20 Top Travel Bloggers on the Importance of Nature Travel

The Beauty of Nature Travel: A Blog Round-Up

GO GREEN TIP #98: 40 Earth Day Tips For Going Green

Easy Ecotourism: 10 Simple Steps To More Sustainable Travel

Our Mission Statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, co-founders of Green Global Travel

Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, the co-founders of Green Global Travel

“Improve Your Writing” & “Blogging For Business”

GGT Expands Mentorship Packages

 

We want to help you succeed. 

 

Whether you’re trying to Improve Your Writing or learn techniques in Blogging For Business, the first step in every mentorship we do is to ask simple questions about where you are in mastering your craft, where you want to go, and what obstacles you’ve encountered along the way.

 

When you answer, we listen. And from there, it’s a simple 1-on-1 process of helping you find your way over, around, or through the roadblocks on your unique path to success as a writer and/or blogger. 

Continue reading

Kimmy Hayes of Afterglobe

Photo courtesy Afterglobe.net

An Elegy for a Friend

 

Less than an hour ago I found out my friend was dead. I’ll acknowledge that this is not the most eloquent way to begin. But, then again, death is not elegant, poetic, or convenient. Especially not when you’re a relatively young woman working your ass off to make your dreams come true.

 

We first met Kimmy Hayes about a year ago. Referred to us by editor/friend Emma Jane Higgins, the sunny redhead I always thought of as “Kimmy Cupcakes” was relatively new to the travel blogging sphere at the time, heard about our internship program, and reached out to see if she could help with our social media and learn a few inside tips in the process.

 

Mary and I work with a lot of interns. Most are in it for the resume-padding experience, college course credit, and perhaps a recommendation when they graduate and apply for full-time jobs. They come and go with the seasons, never staying in one place long enough to put down roots. It’s a business transaction for them, pure and simple.

 

Kimmy Hayes of Afterglobe

Photo courtesy Afterglobe.net

 

But Kimmy was different: From the very beginning, she was eager to learn, passionate about building her Afterglobe brand, and a sponge for any insights we were willing to share. Along with Emma and Meg Jerrard, Kimmy formed the core of our GGT team.  We became friends. In recent months I had been mentoring her on building her brand, and we gained immense pleasure from watching her grow as a blogger over time.

 

What we loved most about Kimmy was the enthusiasm she had for helping others, using her own story to inspire others to pursue their passions. She and Meg formed several Facebook groups to provide support for beginning and intermediate bloggers, creating a cooperative spirit of community that helped many brands to blossom. Whatever Kimmy learned, she shared selflessly, helping hundreds of people in the process.

 

Kimberly “Kimmy Cupcakes” Hayes passed away in a tragic car accident in Oregon on Friday. She and her husband were traveling on I-84 in what authorities described as extremely icy conditions when Drew lost control of their SUV and crashed into a tree. Although both of them were wearing seatbelts, Kimmy was gone before the EMTs even made it to the scene of the accident. She was 37 years old.

 

Kimberly "Kimmy" Hayes

photo courtesy Afterglobe.net

 

I sincerely wish there were some sage wisdom to be gained from our dear friend’s passing– some semblance of reason and order that would allow us to learn from Kimmy’s death, just as we learned from her life. The only lesson I’m left with is that life is much too short, but Kimmy didn’t need to die in order to teach us that: Living life to its fullest and making the most of every day is what Kimmy’s work was all about.

 

It pains me to admit that there’s nothing I can say or do that will make this OK. It pains me to know that Drew is still in the hospital in critical condition and, if he does recover physically, he will likely never recover from the grief of losing his beautiful best friend. But it pains me worst of all to know that Kimmy never got to go on that amazing trip she and Drew had been working so hard to save up for.

 

Kimmy Hayes

photo courtesy Afterglobe.net

 

This is the second time in 6 months a blogger in our community has passed away unexpectedly. Losing a friend is never easy, but– due to the timing and the circumstances and our close connection with Kimmy– this one feels especially hard, like losing a member of the family.

 

I know Kimmy’s spirit is still with us, and I feel extremely fortunate to have gotten to know and work with her over the past year. She was truly a light of inspiration to so many people, and I hope the other side brings her peace and paradise.

 

To Drew, Kimmy’s daughter Amanda, and the rest of her family, we express our deepest condolences for your tragic loss. Know that Kimmy’s life and work had an impact on many people, and that her illuminating presence will be dearly missed by us all. Rest in peace, Kimmy.  –Bret Love

 

If you’d like to support this family in their time of crisis,

please join us in donating to Kimmy’s Memorial Fund.

 

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Check out our other sites! Green Travel Media
Green Travel Reviews
Proud members of: The International Ecotourism Society

As Seen In:

Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN