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Wandering Educators Interviews Travel Answer Man

By travelanswerman | February 20, 2010

Check out the interview about travelanswerman.com recently given to Wandering Educators.com. They are an eclectic group of global and traveling educators, bent on sharing their passion for travel with like-minded individuals.

INTERVIEW

You know who has the best advice and tips for travelers? Someone who has traveled a great deal! I’ve found an excellent resource for travel answers, from a seasoned traveler. John S. Van Kirk is the Chairman/CEO of my favorite new site, Travel Answer Man. On Travel Answer Man, you can peruse extensive resources by geographic location and by tools/resources. Each section is packed with excellent information. To be honest, get prepared to both spend some time on this site (because it is so good) and to get inspired to travel (because it is so good). We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with John about travel, researching travel content and being an intercultural learner. Here’s what he had to say…

WE: Please tell us about your site, TravelAnswerMan.com…

JVK: It has an extensive collection of links to numerous travel related websites, articles, blogs and journals which can used to educate, inform or entertain the reader. It also has a daily blog whose purpose is similar.

WE: What was the genesis of your site?

JVK: I wanted to utilize more than 34 plus years of experience and knowledge in management within the travel and aviation industry in a constructive way that would make a positive difference in people’s lives. By using the power of today’s extraordinary technology, the Internet and a user friendly website mixed with a passion for travel the dream has come to life.

WE: What are your research methods, to find such great travel content all over the world (and internet)?

JVK: Daily calling upon my personal travel experience having visited all 50 states in America…every major resort community in Mexico…every province in Canada…every island you can land a plane (literally) on in the Caribbean…in addition to visiting 115 countries worldwide…accessing a lifetime list of professional travel contacts in foreign governments, the airline industry and travel companies throughout the world…daily using a significant number of search engines to mine data…and from the many lifelong friends who are willing to share from their past experiences.

WE: How can travelers best give back to local communities?

JVK: Get personally involved in individual lives! Ask yourself what are your own strengths, talents or gifts and share these passionately with others. You are your own most valuable gift when you give of yourself to others freely. Engage with the general public along with local leaders and discover the heart of their community. What makes them unique from other communities? Are they lacking in natural resources? What is the general attitude of most people? What are their dreams? Will their children be facing great obstacles or will they have many opportunities? Ask for their own solutions to any challenges they may be facing. Remember, they live there 24/7. Their personal involvement will be critical to their future. They must “buy in” to any decisions being made. Be observant. Use solid common sense to make an intelligent assessment of the current state of the community.

WE: How do you advise travelers to learn more about countries and cultures they are visiting?

JVK: If you live in or near a major city, it is likely there will be a number of companies doing business internationally who have employees from other countries. Contact their Human Resources department and ask if any of  their local employees who fit this description would be willing to share with others about their “homeland”. Maybe you could meet during the lunch hour break. Most people will want to share about things from home. Does your city have a foreign embassy that represents the country of your particular interest?  If yes, it is likely they would have many foreign born employees who could share with you about their country and culture. Currently, telephone charges have been reduced significantly, which would allow you to call internationally and speak directly to people in the country of your interest.

Contact a local tourism office or Chamber of Commerce office and engage with an English speaking representative. Take a few moments before the call and make some bullet point notes so the call can be conducted efficiently without rambling. Most people will greatly appreciate that you have an interest in them, their culture and their home. All of these suggestions have a common thread, which is they are all engaging directly with other humans. Personal relationship development has the potential of changing an individual for life on both sides of the fence. You can always research the Internet, read a book or magazine along with watch a video. They will all help, but personal relationship development will always carry the most weight.

WE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

JVK: Perseverance with a daily plan of action will go a long way in fulfilling one’s dreams. It will also overshadow a multitude of weaknesses. So, at the end of each day, when you walk off the playing field of life, you will have no regrets. Live life large and be a difference maker!

WE: Thanks so very much, John! Your words – and site – are inspiring.

Source: Dr. Jessie Voigts www.wanderingeducators.com

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