Happy Fourth Birthday Perceptive Travel Blog (courtesy dieter_weinelt on Flickr CC)Happy Fourth Birthday to us at Perceptive Travel Blog!

Yes, on March 21, 2007 we launched this blog as part of the Perceptive Travel webzine.

Says editor Tim Leffel,

Perceptive Travel set out to be a different kind of webzine, one that ignored ‘the rules’ of online publishing and put out quality narrative writing by creative book authors. In turn I wanted the blog to be different too: instead of joining the sea of top-10 list posts, ‘best beaches,’ and other disposable travel writing fare, we set out to focus on quirky places and stories that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. I think we’ve succeeded and thankfully, over 1,800 RSS subscribers agree.”

From the jumble of Don Quijote stores in Japan, to space geekery in New Mexico, to finding silver linings in Oslo, Norway, we continue to cover the globe with an eye for the striking, the unusual and the thought-provoking.

I still remember Tim’s call for contributors in early 2007 on the Travelwriters.com BBS; he said that among other qualifications, he was looking for the sorts of people who had blogging experience but who also had piles of books-in-progress on their nightstand.

After a look over at my own growning nightstand full of books at varying stages of reading progress, I thought, “Wow, maybe he means someone like me….” After a brief exchange of emails and sending links to my work, I found myself writing for the blog along with Antonia Malchik in New York (we call her Nia) and Steve Davey in the UK. I’d never met either in person but it did not seem to matter – we chattered in the comments of each other’s posts and popped emails back and forth with thoughts and questions.

Circumstances changed, people came and went. Nia and Steve left to pursue other interests, and Liz, Alison and Brian came in, with Kerry and her musical insights as the most recent addition (did you catch her post on the Bahrain and Scotland musical connection?) Again, of all of my fellow authors I’ve only managed to briefly meet Alison and Tim in person, but it’s never mattered. We hear each other’s now-familiar voices both in the posts we create and our periodic conference calls on Skype, where we yammer away and wander off-topic until Tim good-naturedly herds us back in to do business.

It’s a special opportunity to be given the freedom  to write about what fascinates me, what nags at me and what makes me want to throw things, and no one ever says, “That’s too obscure” or “No one will care about that.”

Thanks to all of our readers for being with us, cheering and commenting along the way….and to all of you who thrilled at my post about seeing the world’s longest grain elevator in Hutchinson, Kansas….well, you’re in a particularly special club. :)

We’ll be doing two things this week – celebrating our anniversary with posts and giveaways, and supporting one of our own writers, Christchurch NZ resident Liz Lewis who has suffered through more than her fair share of earthquakes recently. The Blog for New Zealand project March 21-23 (Blog4NZ on Facebook and hashtag #Blog4NZ on Twitter) gives us a chance to talk about Liz’s country and show our support for her and her fellow Kiwis.

Blog anniversary giveaways include an “Austin pack” (two music compilation CDs and an Austin music lover’s T-shirt, courtesy the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau,) a copy of Tim Leffel’s The World’s Cheapest Destinations guidebook or one of the short-sleeved versions of our comfy Perceptive Travel T-shirt from our Travel Tease store.

All you have to do to have a chance for one of our prizes is leave a comment on this post.  Yep, that’s it!

We very much appreciate your readership, your comments and your support over the past four years – may we all enjoy many more posts full of unique and fun travel stories.

UPDATE:  And by using Random.org to pick, the giveaway winners are….

**  Birthday Present One (the Austin pack) – pam

**  Birthday Present Two (Cheapest Destinations guide) – Dominique

**  Birthday Present Three (Perceptive Travel T-shirt) – Deb

We’ll be contacting the winners for mailing info, and THANK YOU so much to everyone who commented and sent us kind wishes.

ALSO: What a nice surprise: TripBase just selected us as one of their 2011 Environmental Blog award winners. Thanks for the recognition of our efforts to support sustainable travel!

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I'm a writer and speaker specializing in tourism, travel and social media. NHRA drag racing fan. Co-founder of Tourism Currents. U.S. Navy veteran. Caffeinated.