Where have you been?
I joined the Tripadvisors community a few months ago and have found it quite addictive. It started as a work project to investigate online communities. Little did I know I would let myself get pulled into this one myself.
Have to admit I've got a weakness for travel. After 21 years working as a flight attendant, travel has become part of who I am. What most intrigues me is learning how people live - how different we are yet so alike. This is done through visiting local dives, reading local rags and blending in as much as possible. One of my favorite things to do in a new place is visit the grocery - it tells so much about a place and the local people. Having the internet to research a place before going there has become almost foreplay. I guess that makes TA some sort of porn.
TripAdvisors offers many ways to learn about a location - mostly from user-generated reviews and postings. I know you can't take everyone's opinion as the whole truth but I must say I have never been steared down the wrong path when reading consistent pros or cons about a place. And consistent positive and negatives do seem to pan out.
WIth this in mind I've started to review like a crazy person. My first couple posts were well received and that only fueled the desire to share. Maybe I've become jaded with the whole online experience because most of the time I don't participate in online communities - most just seem so contrived. Yet somehow I've found the ability to share travel experiences addictive.
So explain to me why I find the TA travel map so cool? It's a mapping tool where you pinpoint the places you've visited (see below). It's part of the addiction, I fear. But while looking through the names of the many places that flash on the list I remember those places and the many experiences that came from those visits. This leads to smiles and head shakes. Did I really swing on a kiddy pony while in a drunken haze in Frankfurt? Did I really learn to water ski in Grand Cayman? Why did I ever play Black Jack in Grand Forks? Ahh, the memories relived through one list - guess I've fallen into the TA trap - and no wonder they have such a huge community.
So with this love letter to TripAdvisor I share with you another place online for you to visit - and maybe join. Just be careful, wanderlust is contagious.