Category Archives: Stuff for the Guardian

Tokyo city guide for the Guardian

I did lots of meddling for the Guardian’s Tokyo city guide. I’m very proud of it.

Nieman Labs, The Next Web and Mashable all ran stories on it. This made my tummy tingle a bit. How sad.

TwiTrip interview with PeerIndex.com

A meeting with El País

While on another superb TwiTrip in Madrid a few weeks ago, I met the El País blogger Patricia Gosálvez, who has just published this very nice interview with me.

You’ll notice it’s in Spanish. Below, however, is a translation, thanks to the amazing Ben Cooper. Heroic.

A Travel Writer of Only 140 Characters

A ‘Twitrip’ is the act of touching down in a place with nothing but the clothes on your back and being guided only by the recommendations of your followers on Twitter. ‘The clothes’ have to include a phone with access to the internet, obviously… The journalist Benji Lanyado has been ‘Twitriping’ since 2009 and giving accounts of his experience in The Guardian. Two weeks ago, his travels took him to Madrid where we caught up with him on the road in La Venencia (a top recommendation).

“Nothing has changed my way of working more than Twitter: for starters, it put an end to doing any research – I come with nothing at all!” explains with Lanyado in one of the most authentic old bars in Madrid. Here he takes a photo of a sign that reads: “Spitting on the floor is forbidden” and remarks (in fewer than 140 characters) that it’s got cecina (air-cured beef) “the Jew-friendly Jamon Serrano”. “It’s pure reporting, live – the tip-offs that people give you are specifically for the time and place in which you find yourself”, he says.

The idea of putting together travel stories using Twitter occurred to him in Berlin, when an airline left him stranded. He complained about it on the microblog site and someone recommended him a hotel. Then a cafe, then a shop… Delighted with all the tip-offs, he decided to experiment. His first ‘Twitrip’ was to Paris. He had to wait 20 minutes at the gate of the Gare du Nord before his first tip-off came in. But from there it was relentless.
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Krakow TwiTrip

Another superb TwiTrip.. this time, to Krakow.

Marseille TwiTrip

As part of the Guardian’s New Europe month, I visited Marseille on another TwiTripand very good it was too. Above: The Cours Julien district.

TwiTrip in Cologne

Another superb TwiTrip… to Cologne. The pic above was my favourite of the day, taken in Papa Joes.

London to Istanbul: Mapped

Recent work: NYT cover, Foursquare, World Cup blogs, TwiTrips, and very long train journeys

Yes, I know. Things have been a little lax around here recently. There’s a perfectly good explanation for this, I assure you. First, there was the World Cup. And then there’s something top secret I’m working on, more on which soon, hopefully. Anyway, here’s some things I’ve been up to:

• A video series for the Guardian, from London to Istanbul by train.

• A cover story for the NYT on Airbnb.com and other new social accommodation networks.

• A piece for the Guardian on why Foursquare is the traveller’s new best friend.

• A piece for the Guardian rounding up various World Cup-related blogs

• A piece for the Guardian, on how and where to ‘wild camp’ in Europe

• Two more TwiTrips for the Guardian, to Leeds and to Oxford, where the two chaps pictured above were waiting for me at the station.

• And finally, a while back I wrote a profile for the NYT Goal blog on the Ivorian footballer, Gervinho.

London to Istanbul by train

Recently I travelled from London to Istanbul by train, accompanied by the twisted genius Alex Healey. Here are our videos:

Munich

Budapest

Bucharest

Istanbul