Thursday, November 1, 2012

Joys and Frustrations of Travel Networking

What I call travel networking is when you are getting advice and referrals from people you come in contact with, either in person or on line, regarding a place you are going to visit. This contact could be from someone who is from that country or has visited that country. For example, before my first trip to Ecuador, I went to an Afro-Ecuadorian site on Facebook, explaining why I wanted to visit a certain black community there. Alexandra, an Afro-Ecuadorian woman living in Germany responded to my post and befriended me. She then introduced me to her mother Gloria who lives in Ecuador's capital--Quito. This turned out to be a very warm contact, which made a big difference in my trip. Gloria not only showed me around and give me advice, but introduced me to her family. To this day, Gloria and Alexandra are still my friends, and to this day, I express my gratitude in more ways than one.

Besides Facebook, I belong to three travel networks. They are, Facebook's Nomadness Travel Tribe, and of course my blog. Every so often, people read my blog about the places I've traveled or have established warm contacts with local citizens. They contact me for advice about the country of interest. After referring them to my contacts in those respective countries, some express their gratitude through friendship, and others move on seeming to forget that I was of any help to them, and I never hear from them again. The latter is just plain self-centered and selfish.

I love it when people get back to me and tell me how things went. I often follow-up with the local citizen of the country to get their input on the individual I referred. This is not only because my reputation is on the line, but because I do care about the people I connect and strongly believe that anyone who is involved in any travel network should have the common decency to at least say “thank you” and share their experience.