Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat December 26 2015

HUMBLEBRAG 2015: Our Staff’s Favorite TravelPulse Stories of the Year

Features & Advice | Staff Picks | December 26, 2015

HUMBLEBRAG 2015: Our Staff’s Favorite TravelPulse Stories of the Year

We know it’s a little self-centered of us, but as 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to give you a second look at some of the stories we as writers found most interesting.

This is presented in Secret Santa form. Selections are followed by the nominating writers’ thoughts on what made the writing stand out on TravelPulse.

We hope you enjoy our look at the best of the best we published on TravelPulse in 2015

Have We Crossed The Line On ‘See Something, Say Something’? by Rich Thomaselli

“We unfortunately live in an era wherein caution and safety travel ever so closely to paranoia.

It’s understandable that we all traverse airport concourses with a certain amount of fear. It’s that fear that has caused a few individuals to bypass their role as cognizant traveler into the realm of suspicious judge and jury.

It’s a sensitive subject that can only be handled with a sharp wit and a nuanced delivery, which is exactly what we have all come to expect from Rich Thomaselli."

Room With a View, Please by Patrick Clarke

“I am often attracted to the simplistic aspects of travel, which so often turn out to be the most memorable.

That sip of beer at the pub, the five minutes you got lost on the way to the subway or the bookstore you decided 'What the hell?' and went in to explore: These all make for some truly rewarding experiences.

Patrick Clarke uncovers one that we have all undoubtedly enjoyed but rarely considered. A hotel with a view isn’t something to be squandered. Rather, the opportunity is precisely the kind of thing you simply must savor.”

What Did ‘Back to the Future II’ Get Right About the Future of Travel by Barry Kaufman

"As a perennial fanboy of all things geekdom, I got a special kick out of Barry's evaluation of 'Back to the Future: Part II's travel predictions, particularly the bit about US Air. I mean no kidding: why couldn't they have kept the brand alive just a couple of days longer to make it to Oct. 21, 2015 – Back to the Future day?" 

The Best Part of the Cruise by Brian Major

"Perhaps most because it is exactly congruent with my own beliefs, Brian's take on the best part of the cruise being the ocean itself is spot on, eloquently written and awesome for quoting Jules Verne. Thankfully, Cunard’s magnificent Queen Mary 2 still seasonally crosses the Atlantic with sea days exclusively to relive the grand era of ocean liners past.” 

Dispatch: People Watching in Rio by David Cogswell

"It is easy to get caught up in the 'where to go' and 'what to do' questions while writing about travel. This piece by David Cogswell offers a glimpse of the different parts of Rio de Janeiro from street level. Even people who have never set foot in Brazil are aware of what Sugarloaf Mountain looks like and how sexy Copacabana Beach is. When you focus on day-to-day sights and sounds, the cliches disappear and you are left with what it really looks and feels like in a certain destination."

Exotic Caribbean Worth a Closer Look by Brian Major

“More than any other region in the world, the Caribbean is associated with stereotypical images. If you tell people you are traveling here, they will immediately conjure up pictures of all-inclusive beach resorts, cruise ships and maybe a Carnival parade. In this story, however, Brian Major highlights some traits that get overlooked: a vibrant arts scene, historic sites hidden in plain sight and cool little corners that have pop culture connections both past and present.”

What's the Big Deal About Millennials? By Robin Amster

"I love what Robin has to say about the defining of the Millennial generation. As someone who is on the cusp of the Millennials and Gen-X, I feel that is important to note that all travelers (not just one generation or another) are traveling like crazy these days.  And as Amster says, 'it doesn’t make sense to forget the Boomers (ages 51 to 69), the Gen X’ers (ages 35 to 50) and, yes, even the Matures (ages 70 and over). I also think those voices should be a tad louder.' I agree and my goal in 2016 is to raise my Gen-X voice."

#LoveWins, Travel Industry Celebrates Marriage Ruling by Theresa Norton Masek

"This is one of my favorite stories of the year because I love working in an industry that is so supportive of equality for all. There was an outpouring of love for the gay marriage ruling in this country and Theresa illustrates how the travel industry was a shining star among these voices."

Lemme Take a Selfie Stance by Tim Wood

"I love how Tim melds a history lesson with a current travel trend here. I had no idea the selfie stick concept was decades old until I read this. Also, going against the grain of popular sentiment, which is that the ubiquity of selfies is the problem, he defends the trend and sees the real issue as that all-too-prevalent human trait of self-absorption. Just a great piece of journalism."

How I Finally Took the Leap by Shannon Wolf

“It’s tough for me to pick my favorite Shannon Wolf blog, because she conveys so much contagious passion and enthusiasm in each one, but I’m going with her first piece for us, as it is the key to understanding her whole traveling aesthetic that is expressed in every subsequent blog she has written. I love her free-spirited backpacker voice, as she seeks to enjoy the moment in whatever corner of the world she happens to be in, embracing the destination with old and new friends alike.”

In the Footsteps of 007 by Charu Suri

“I read a lot of stories that have varying effects on me but few ever change my behavior once I put down the story. I may rave or rage a bit while I’m reading the story, but that’s just normal behavior. But when I read this piece, it inspired me to dig into my old books and find an old James Bond book. I hadn’t read any of them since I was a teenager and I read most of them.

"Ian Fleming, the creator of the most popular series of books in the world, is as fascinating as the character he created. With so many James Bonds now in the cinematic history of 007, it is irresistible to look back to the source himself, Ian Fleming. This story encouraged me to do that and it brought me many pleasurable hours.”

The Unexpected Pleasure of Travel by Amtrak by Brian Major

“I enjoyed this story because of the way it seemed to place me on a train and I got to experience in my mind a pleasurable rail journey along the Eastern Seaboard from Miami to New York.

"I love train travel. The very idea of it puts me into a peaceful, relaxed state of mind. The trains are too often overlooked in America as one of the greatest modes of transportation and a wonderful style of tourism. This story evoked that feeling from its first sentence to its last, and I enjoyed the trip.

"I wish I could take this trip myself. It’s unlikely I ever will. But meanwhile my memory of this story will have to take the place of the memory of the trip I never took. Eventually, if I am lucky, the borrowed memory may be indistinguishable from my own.”

Friday Flashback: We Will Always Have Paris by James Ruggia

“While our friend Jim Ruggia has been under the weather, we’ve been keeping his spot warm by running some of his past columns every Friday. This particular piece jumped off the screen when I first read it in January of this year following the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, and resonated even deeper when it was brought back for Sept. 11. Jim’s extraordinary talent as a writer combines here with his decades of experience to create one of the most moving pieces of writing it’s been my privilege to run on the site. “

Travel Insurance Saves The Day For A Guy Who Should Know Better By Brian Major

“Brian’s Sept. 2 column on his health scare in Panama City was my favorite of the year. Although it was undoubtedly a frightening ordeal for Brian, it had a happy ending. That’s because he had bought Allianz Travel Insurance—just a couple of weeks before he departed the U.S. And thank goodness he did. It covered his emergency flight on a Lear ambulance jet to Miami, where he underwent surgery for a collapsed lung. Brian recovered nicely, but his experience really hit home. And I now have a one-year travel professional insurance policy.”

The 20 Craziest Requests Travel Agents Received This Year by CIaudette Covey

“I loved this piece for so many reasons. On a purely selfish level, it was one of the most shared stories we put out this year. But beyond that, it was a great opportunity to share a laugh with the travel industry that has done so much to support the site over the years (the comments on this one were priceless). Plus, it gave birth to the shocked/confused Thinkstock model, still one of my favorite images we’ve ever run on the site. His expression matched this story perfectly.”


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