This is Skylar, and this is still The Daily Grog newsletter.
After a month in Albania, we packed our bags and headed back to Latin America. First stop: Mexico City.
But I'll be honest, I was a little sad leaving that part of the world. My first international trip (ever!) was to the Balkans, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. The history is vast, the people are welcoming, the food is delicious, and don't even get me started on the rakia.
But after five months of being in Europe, there's also a comfort in heading back to Latin America. It's where we started this year-long trip, and it's likely where we'll end it. I also get to practice my Spanish, which I'm desperately trying to make somewhat functional. Plus, tacos.
The plan is to spend a couple of days in Mexico City, then to Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca for a few days, then down south to San Cristobal de Las Casas for about a month.
Speaking of the Balkans, my humble list of recommendations for Plovdiv, Bulgaria, is now live.
I can't speak more highly of a city than Plovdiv. We spent a month there, and from day one, it felt like home. Our days were spent casually walking through old medieval streets and Roman ruins, biting into flaky pastries, and of course, drinking some rakia. That doesn't sound too bad, eh?
So if you happen to have a trip planned or are thinking of planning one to that part of the world, make sure you give Plovdiv a look.
If you want to see more of Plovdiv, we made a video just showing a day meandering through the city:
P.S. - a friendly reminder that Grog Club members get access to some of the behind-the-scenes stories, thoughts, and commentary like this jazz night from Plovdiv.
On City Guides
Does anyone still actually use city guides? I have mixed emotions about these things.
On one hand, I have friends, colleagues, and folks I meet from all over asking for recommendations about a particular place I've been. So having some easily digestible information that I can send along is pretty helpful (plus a little subtle marketing never hurts, right?).
On the other hand, do we need more of them? Every publication makes them, every influencer makes them, and they're mostly filled with the same information: some combination of personal experience, some facts pulled from Wikipedia, and a top 10 hit list of activities. I may be a little jaded from being in this industry, but I'm immediately skeptical of almost all guides from bloggers or influencers (both written and visual).
It's hard to be an authoritative expert on a city, especially as a traveler. Cities are living, breathing entities that change over time. In my opinion, to know a city (or anywhere, for that matter), you need to live there, understand where it's been, feel its struggles, and see where it's headed.
Hell, after living in Seattle for two and a half years (or five years in Washington, D.C.) I can barely say I know the city. I know parts of the city. And I can probably tell you how to have a good time there. But there's so much I have yet to experience that it feels a little disingenuous to act like an expert. I lament the way many of us have written these guides because they often feel a little hollow and reductive.
But what do you all think? Do you find them helpful?
For the gear enthusiasts out there, we recently got our hands on the Max Backpack from Able Carry. If you're looking for a top-of-the-line backpack with plenty of features, the Max Backpack is worth a look. It's a great standalone bag for a long weekend or a perfect supplemental bag to your upright suitcase for extended trips.
Shoutout to my friend (and now contributor???) Preston, for writing this review.
Alright, folks, that's it for this week. I'm about to go gorge myself on about as many tacos as I can find.
See ya next week,