Guatemala Travel Stories, Page 12

Lonely Planet Lets Go of 50 Workers

Confusing and difficult to assess, as I understand it, Lonely Planet has decreased staff by about 10 percent worldwide. Supposedly, mostly internet staff, but all this is just noise to me, there is no clarity.

I still believe paper guidebooks provide the cheapest recommendations for Hotel rooms. The internet is tricky, misleading, and full of swindles; I believe generally internet consumers pay more than people who use guidebooks like the Lonely Planet.

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Monday, April 26, 2010
By Andy Graham of


The Future of Hotel Internet Sites
I believe that my own internet site is the future replacement of paper Guidebooks and we will eventually supply Smartphone applications. Right now with only 1400 Hotels listed it still is not large enough to work well. We estimate there is 25 Million Hotels on the planet, and we need another 20,000 to just become reasonably useful for readers.

The largest Internet Hotel site has about 100,000 Hotels, just a drop in the bucket.

Include Everyone
We are all tourist at the end of the day, and we all want to find a Hotel, the Lonely Planet feels to be wanting Flashpackers, a mistake in my opinion, but that is their choice. Who can say? I do not think the BBC who purchased Lonely Planet has reached out to any of Backpacker sites and asked,
"What do you think? What should we do?"

Am I a backpacker, am I a Luxury Traveler, am I a Tourist, what am I? I know at the end of the day we are all tourist, it is a little ridiculous to say we must fit into only one category. The internet sites that do the best on the internet are the ones that try to include everyone, when they become restrictive, they start to die, and internet sites need to find a place for everyone.

I remember when Yahoo wanted to charge 269 dollars to submit, this is when became a player and Yahoo started its slow decline.

I hope Lonely Planet finds a place on the internet to thrive, but I am not hopeful, I think they need to stay with paper, and off the internet to be prosperous. Generally, website are best run by a couple of smart people, and big committees are clueless to understand Search Engine Optimizations, too many cooks really do spoil an internet site.

Let me think, what does a Horse look like designed by a committee?
- A Camel

A person who uses a Guidebook like Lonely Planet will still pay 10 dollars for a room, while a person using the internet will pay 30 on average.

Lonely Planet Lets Go of 50 Workers

Best Media Player Software

I want to play movies, I gave up and asked Boy Genius from India, he says.
"VLC media player."

This is FREE and it works.

Even Jack Bauer from 24 would recommend this Media Player Software, and he has saved the world 4 times and killed 95 people in the last four days, what have you done?

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Monday, April 26, 2010
By Andy Graham of


This is the VLC Media Player Icon, this thing makes me relax.

Download VLC Media Player

Download at

Travel Solutions:
I have realized, I do not need a television when I have a high-speed internet connection, I can continually download movies and watch what I want, when I want here in my mobile office. Bottom line in Software, if you have to pay for it, then it probably does not work.

Best Media Player Software

My Prediction on the Future of Blogging

Blogging is dead; it is being replaced by

Allowing users to interact with each other is the essential value of the internet, and has been evolving. Interaction is the reason to use the internet, and not just read a book, newspaper, or magazine, the desire to have a voice in a world that makes everyone feel small.

Bulletin Boards to Chats to Forums to Blogs too is the first system that allows the entire world to participate; everyone is smart enough to use the system.

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Sunday, April 25, 2010
By Andy Graham of


The whole world is capable of using, and within a couple of years, it will be on every cell phone.

Prediction for Future of Blogging
I believe Facebook provides a better interactive experience for readers because they can post their own photos, videos and comments, everyone has an equal voice. Bloggers must ask the question; do people really want to read something longer than two sentences?

1. Gossip
2. Conspiracy Theories or Magical Journeys
3. Anger and controversy
4. Sales pitches, always selling some consumer products.
5. Fantasy and dreams
6. Facts and Data like the Encyclopedia

I believe Blogging has been replaced by, the end is near.

The Money Myth of Andy
There is an incredibly difficult to shut up myth that I make my money from Blogging, in reality, I make pages that generate traffic from searches. A person searches on Google, finds one of my pages, visits, clicks on an advertisement and we make money. Daily readers are a horrible source of income, the moment they become loyal readers, they stop clicking on advertisements.

I do not earn money from Blogging, that is not my primary sources of income, it is something I do for fun, a project to release my captive thoughts, whereby the beneficiary is me, I understand my world by journalizing the experience.

I am avoiding the inevitable; I must write books if I want to have a voice, then again, it is difficult to muster the vanity and arrogance to feel I have a special voice.

My Prediction on the Future of Blogging

Eat in Restaurants With Friends Only Travel Tip

I have noticed, there is a need for restaurant management training. I was born lucky, I am not a city kid, I am a farm boy at heart, I was never taught these bad restaurant habits. And because I do not view eating in restaurants as normal, or needed, my travel food budget is less.

I consider all restaurants tantamount to a fast food restaurant, I group them all the same, that eating in Restaurants is unhealthy and unwise.

Testing a Traveler
If they do not have a cooking kit, they spend a lot of money on food.

This is Linda, a Canadian who has little tea parties with Mayan girls in Panajachel, Guatemala on Lake Atitlan.

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Friday, April 23, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Bad Restaurant Management Training
1. When you are hungry, the first thought is which restaurant to choose.
2. All entertainment revolves around eating in restaurants.
3. The belief we need to eat, therefore we must go to a restaurant.
4. Eating meals three times per day is needed, and we go to restaurants three times per day.
5. Eating in restaurants is what the rich and famous do, therefore all us poor folks must strive to be like them, even when we cannot afford it.
6. Read or watch restaurant advertising and obey.

Good Restaurant Management Training
1. Restaurants are for special occasions, sharing time with friends.
2. Restaurants cost 2-5 times more than cooking at home.
3. Only eat at special restaurants, which provide a unique eating experience.
4. As a traveler, I will eat in a restaurant if it provides s meal for less than two U.S. Dollars.
5. Drinking sodas, beer, and other drinks is "Fast Food" mentality, many worthless calories.
6. I often enter restaurants with the people who believe they must eat, and only have a coffee or water with them.

I only go into restaurants with friends to share friendship, and if possible, I choose restaurants and foods I that are unique and impossible to get in my home country. I almost never buy a drink with the meal.

That is my restaurant management training class for today, and for you folks that believe you must take the girls out for dinner. Think about this, what is more intimate, and authentic, to have someone cook for you in a restaurant, or to prepare a meal together.

At the end, we are all searching for authentic friends and experiences, and restaurants are not a family experience. I think my Mother and Father for teaching me about family.

Now, the big question is Linda teaching these children bad habits… hehehe? And, I have a lot of friends, this can be expensive.

Eat in Restaurants With Friends Only Travel Tip

10 Best Places to Start Being a Traveler

Do you want to call yourself, "A Traveler?" Here is the list of the 10 best places to start being a traveler. I have traveled continuously for over 12 years and have visited 88 countries, never staying in one location more than three months.

I recommend you move to any of these 10 locations and live in the same hotel for one month. A person should search and study endlessly until they find a room for less than 300 U.S. Dollars per month in a Hotel, not an apartment.

1. Slow your lifestyle down until you are not preoccupied with accomplishing something.
2. Teach you how to live on a budget of 500 dollars per month.
3. Introduce you to the "Travelers Huddle." the conversations of other travelers as they learn about the planet.
4. Allow you to speculate on how you are going to earn money to continue to travel perpetually and become a professional traveler.
5. If you live in a Hotel for one month, you will be able to plan your next hotel budget jump; this time will allow you to find a hotel in a new location for less than 300 U.S. Dollars per month, with the best goal of 150 per month.

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Starts with the Best

1. San Pedro, Guatemala on Lago, Atitlan
- Cheap rooms with outstanding "Travelers Huddles."

2. Bogota, Colombia
- Move into one of he houses owned by German of the Platypus, Bogota

3. Hampi, India - Goa
- Cheap, and cheaper, a great place to learn how travelers think.

4. Rajasthan India Boat Hotels
- I have never been here, but I believe people chill for months on end, in the cheapest country on the planet for travelers.

5. Seoul, South Korea
- Teach English Huddle, many travelers who plan on working, they are not tourist, they can teach the ins and outs of earning money outside your home country. Before you start, please study or Google for the "Midnight Run."

6. Cusco, Peru or Lima
- I recommend you go stay in La Espana Hotel in the old part of Lima, avoiding at all cost the modern parts of Lima, they are tourist traps, then go find a room in Cusco after a couple of weeks in La Espana.

7. La Paz, Bolivia
- Great Traveler Huddles and one of the better cheap to party places on the planet, figure out the way the Israelis are traveling, they are good mentors.

8. London, England Kangaroo Court
- Dangerous place to start, too much party, the Brits and Aussies drink like fishes, and you will be tempted to enter Europe, but Europe is a dead end, it is a tourist trap, and requires you know firmly in your mind that 10 dollars per night is the prices of rooms on planet earth, and there is almost zero reason to live in a Hostel dorm bed as a traveler.

9. Bangkok, Thailand Khao San Road
- Party, Party, and endless numbers of people who have lost the plot or get addicted to prostitutes, but incredibly cheap. If you find Bangkok too big, go the Full Moon Party Beach by the name of Koh Pha Ngan and live for one month.

10. Riga, Latvia Europe
- The new party capital of Europe, truly a great city, but full of flash packers and children running around spending their parents money. Try to seek out people living in the city for longer than two weeks and avoid the one or two night stop and party children. This city is going to teach you about both Russia and Europe, but in the end, you will be confused on prices, you need to never give up and connive, muse, drive yourself until you have a private room for less than 10 dollars per night in a Hotel.

Do not get rooms in apartments, this is for people who live overseas, this is not the life of a traveler, a seasons traveler knows they must get the inside skinny, the valuable information from other travelers, not from guidebooks or on the internet.

500 Dollars per month budget is easy to attain, if you remember a couple principles, one is the slower you go, the cheaper your travel, and the other is you move hotels, you do not move cities.

The number one reason you will fail is because you will be greedy, you will think you need to visit everything, the traveler’s avarice for consuming tourist attractions will use all your money, time, and you will need to go home to rest.

Be a Hobo not a Bum
A Hobo went from place to place looking for jobs, you must focus, and find a way to earn money to be a traveler, be a Hobo, look for a job, do not be a tramp or bum. I can travel forever, and live anywhere on the planet, because I earn money, I am Andy Graham, the

10 Best Places to Start Being a Traveler

Film and Video Production by

My nephews Brandon and Collin Schiffli are making movies, they have created a website called Film and Video Production.

This is Brandon Schiffli, as best I understand, he is in California working for Ben Stiller the producer and actor.

Brandon on Facebook

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Collin Schiffli, I am confused what he is doing for work, but I am quite positive he wants to make movies.

Collin on Facebook

They seem to be planning to make a Movie called "Band," whereby Collin would probably be the director and Brandon the Screenwriter. Then again, I am an Uncle, there is no reason to talk to me therefore my knowledge is limited.

There is no reason to care about this, but if you would, I would appreciate if you made me, Andy Graham the look good by clicking on their sites, tell them, Uncle Andy sent you… Film and Video Production.

I am proud of them, they are good boys, and I hope they make many movies.

Film and Video Production by

Washing Dishes with Stainless Steel Scouring Pad

A traveler needs something that dries quickly and should not carry wet rags in a backpack, they will mildew and smell. Therefore, I carry a stainless steel scouring pad in my travel cooking kit.

The supplies needed to wash dishes when traveling.

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Andy Graham of


1. Laundry Soap
2. Stainless Steel Scouring Pad
3. Something that needs cleaned

Why Stainless Steel Scouring Pad?

1. Dries fast
2. Does not rust
3. Generally, cooking in strange places means the dishes have tough to remove food, only with a scouring pad can you actually get them cleaned.
4. Guest Kitchen in Hostels and Hotels dishes are not high quality, things will stick.
5. Wet Rags will not dry in time to pack away in your bag, while a stainless steel scouring pad will.
6. You can buy in almost any country over the counter in a super market; you do not need to return to the gear shop.

How to clean dishes

1. Put powered soap down on a flat spot next to the sink, I do not carry liquids if possible, when they leak into the bag it is a disaster. I buy very small bags of laundry soap, if I do not completely use, I throw in rubbish bin.

2. Take the stainless steel scouring pad and wet it, then dip in the powered soap, then scrap clean the dishes. Hang them up on a clothesline, making sure are completely dry before you use them again, this will disinfect the dishes, but they must be completely dry.

Washing Dishes with Stainless Steel Scouring Pad

Interview with Chris Smith on International Retirement

Interview with Chris Smith a USA citizen who has retired and is now living in various locations around the planet; he is presently in Panajachel, Guatemala on Lake Atitlan. Chris has been a reader of the newsletter and Blog since the beginning, and I am happy to call him my friend.

He has become proficient at finding great Hotel rooms priced from 200-350 U.S. Dollars per month with WIFI, Television, and cable outside the USA. The video shows his present Hotel Room on Lake Atitlan and you can see for yourself, he lives great.

Chris pays 187.67 Dollars per month for this room.

1,500.00 GTQ = 187.676 USD
Guatemala Quetzales United States Dollars
1 GTQ = 0.125117 USD 1 USD = 7.99250 GTQ

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Andy Graham of


He presently is living on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Traveler Interview Video Below

If you do not see a video above these words, it is because you are reading by email, click here and maybe you can find it: Videos
Traveler Interview Video Above

Interview with Chris Smith on International Retirement