Hello, I’m Julio! While it may surprise you, I never even left North America until I was 23 and out of college. It is not that I didn’t like the idea of going abroad, it simply never crossed my mind that a person like me could plan and afford international travel by myself. In 2009, as a recent grad, I decided to do something bold that changed my life forever: I moved to South Korea to teach English.
The people I met in Korea had a mentality completely different from what I was used to. Some people loved teaching, others hated it, but one thing was common across the board: everyone loved to travel. When the first vacation rolled around, I was thinking of staying put, but my buddy Vicente convinced me with his words of wisdom that I remember till this day. “You will always have tons of time to make money. Vacation time is precious, so go visit China as you always wanted and you won’t regret it.” Okay, I am paraphrasing, but that was 6 years ago, what do you expect?
China had its ups and downs. While I did see the terracotta army and it was even more amazing than I expected, I also got stuck in Beijing in a snow storm for three days! It was not an ideal trip at all, but the people I met, the things I saw, the stuff I ate… oh yeah, I was definitely hooked on this whole travel thing.
That trip started a trend I have followed ever since. Whenever I have time off, be it a three day weekend or a seven month gap between jobs, I look to see where I can go and what I can experience, either domestically or abroad. I am curious to explore new places as often as possible and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
About Travel World Heritage
This blog has three main parts: UNESCO Site reviews, travel lists, and travel economics
Why UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
During my first few trips, I kept hearing the term “UNESCO World Heritage Site.” I decided to do a little research, and realized that some of the coolest places I had ever been to (like Angkor and Yellowstone) and those on my bucket list (like Machu Picchu and Rome) were all on this list! From then, I decided that planning a trip without considering the UNESCO sites in the region would be foolish and I’ve rarely been disappointed. If you look at the current 1000+ site list, you might be surprised as to how many you have already visited without knowing. When I started tracking in 2010, I had been to 10. At time of writing, I have been to 69 across 5 continents.
I noticed something rather peculiar though. Every country wants to promote themselves, and UNESCO itself takes a very neutral standing on recommendations. The main reason I launched this site was to give you the real scoop as to which sites are truly worth your time and money, and which ones are more hype than substance. I consider my UNESCO site evaluation posts to be the bread and butter of this website and hope my two cents along with a plethora of pictures, thorough research, and first hand experience can aid you in your own travel plans.
Example – My favorite UNESCO World Heritage Site so far is Te Wahipounamu in New Zealand.
Before starting this blog, I was hooked on a website called “Listverse.” This site has an amazing set of lists every day like “10 Mysteries Behind Inexplicable Photos” and “10 Solar System Mysteries that Baffle our Best Scientists.” I tried to submit travel lists from time to time only to get rejected. I didn’t (and still don’t) consider myself a good writer, but I thought I had a shot at least some of the times. The creator reached out to me and assured me that they weren’t rejected for my writing style (phew), they simply did not really care for travel lists all that much. I was frustrated at first, but my philosophy has always been to look for solutions instead of dwelling on problems, so I decided to incorporate the idea of Travel themed “top 10 lists” into this blog. The list approach also gives my brain a structure that is easy to follow, and thankfully, I haven’t run out of ideas yet!
Example – This list of Ten Places that Should be UNESCO World Heritage Sites combines the first two parts of the blog!
While I don’t live in my home country, I am still just like you. I work full time (and love teaching by the way), get a few weeks off a year, and am not exactly making six figures. What I’ve learned over the years is that being rich, or having some other advantage out of our control isn’t necessary to visit the places we want IF we make it a priority.
Instead of giving you reviews on hotels neither of us could afford or activities neither of us would actually pay full price for, I give you travel economics tips I have used myself and have proven to work. From sharing my own path to paying off $42,000 of debt in three years to the ins and outs of how to get thousands of Travel Credit Card Points, I hope my experience can help you reach your travel goals too.
More than anything else, it is my wish to inspire and help you in your travels. If someone out there stumbles upon this blog, sees a picture, reads a story, or follows a guide and it pushes or aids them in some way, this blog would be all worth it.