Saturday, November 9, 2013

Downtown Traveler turns 3 years old! Our top posts from the past year


I was scrolling through old posts on Downtown Traveler when it hit me: this November marks the blog's third anniversary!

Downtown Traveler was founded in November 2010 after my fiance and I returned from a round-the-world trip and had settled back in New York.

Our adventure began when we left our corporate jobs to travel in Spring 2008, several months before the Great Recession led to massive layoffs. When we departed, the idea of a career break or round-the-world trip (RTW) was far from mainstream in America. Even the airline reps who helped book our RTW ticket were bemused and a bit confused by the process! Just a few months later, when thousands of professional Americans found themselves out of jobs, the media embraced stories of corporate refugees on long-term adventures.

I caught the writing bug on our trip and blogged throughout, although always on a third party platform (first and then Since we didn't have a branded site, we missed out on the media coverage and early boost in followers experienced by other US "early adopters" of RTW blogging.

However, there were benefits to waiting to start a branded site. We had more time to flesh out a concept and find a suitable name, and didn't have to limit the focus to budget travel or backpacking.

In fact, our most popular content includes an eclectic mix of arts, culture and travel stories. Scroll down for top posts from the past year.

Top Posts of 2013

Bike N Roll NYC Bike Tour-0081

1. Review: What to expect at Blackout Haunted House in New York City (Halloween 2013)

2. Top 5 tips for visiting New York City (from a Manhattan tour guide)

3. Shopping guide: The best Los Angeles flea markets (photos)

4. Camping 101: Top 5 packing tips for first-time campers

5. What to expect at NYC's scariest Halloween haunted house: 2012 Blackout Haunted House Review

6. Travel photography 101: The best places to take photos in New York City

7. Best free places to see art in New York City: Galleries, museums and more

8. Best of China: Top 5 street foods in Xiamen (photos)

9. London’s top 5 emerging art galleries (photos)

10. Shopping guide: The best Montreal vintage stores offer fashion, fur and art

Friday, November 2, 2012

Surviving Hurricane Sandy and the Lower Manhattan Blackout

Hurricane Sandy may be history, but the storm's presence can still be felt in downtown Manhattan. My neighborhood, the East Village, is just ending its 4th day without power or cell service.

It's not fun living in "SoPo" (South of Power, the new name for the unfortunate half of Manhattan), but it is definitely interesting!

Click here to read my photo essay about the hurricane and blackout on Downtown Traveler!

I was also interviewed by the Wall Street Journal this week because I used a pay phone when the power went out. A novel concept, in this day and age! Click here for the story about New Yorkers resorting to old-school technology after Hurricane Sandy.

And click on The Daily Beast for an Instagram photo of me using a bonafide NYC pay phone. (Rest assured I hand sanitized my cheek after touching it).

For more blackout picks, follow me on Instagram (@leslietravel).

If you are stuck in the blackout, good luck! May our power and cell phone reception return ASAP.

The street is the new office during the Manhattan blackout. (Photo: Leslietravel on Instagram)


Monday, May 28, 2012

My "favorite road trip" featured in the New York Times

What's your favorite road trip? Mine is the breathtaking journey through the canyons and hoodoos of Utah's Scenic Byway 12, which I visited earlier this month.

Coincidentally, the New York Times issued a call for readers to share their most cherished road trips just as I was returning from Southern Utah. I promptly tweeted about the region's marvels using the hashtag #faveroadtrip.

I'm pleased to report that the Times picked my tweet for their article! Click here for the full story.

Interested in learning more about Scenic Byway 12? You're in luck! I've just published my first of several posts about the trip:

Stay tuned to Downtown Traveler for more posts on Zion, Bryce and southern Utah's other attractions.

Happy travels!