I have been writing for a city blog network called Spotted by Locals for a little over a year. Up until this year, I hadn’t met a living soul of this community in person. However, this year in November, I was granted a chance to partake in an incredible convergence organized for all the Spotters. It developed into one of the most defining, pleasurable and inspirational weekends unlike any that the hazy memory of this spirit with its carbon core can recall. It was undoubtedly a mesmerizing and at times intoxicating experience that spanned over roughly 48 hours. Nevertheless, after meeting some of these creative minds, I am happy to report that my kidneys and liver have recovered quite rapidly. Seeing that my hands are steady enough to type these lines, and the Gremlins in my mind have been put to sleep, I will elaborate a bit more on the concept of Spotted by Locals.
I got to meet a whole bunch of spotters in Amsterdam, where we were lodged on boats. Here, the fickle forces of the Universe got me tangled up with a group of individuals that is combatting the virus of wanderlust, which nowadays has infected the minds of many Millennials. It’s an epidemic that’s spreading more rapidly than the Ebola, or so I am told.
The crew exists out of energetic, positive-minded wandering globetrotters. Nevertheless, it appears that they have found peace in a particular safe haven, a place on this tiny globe that sparks their interest. Traces of this assumption can be found in the numerous articles that they vigorously wrote about their favorite spots in their hometowns. No matter how small their findings may seem to most of you, they will contribute to unique, tantalizing and enjoyable memories. Having that impact on a stranger’s life is what makes me a happy Spotter, and I am sure that the same goes for some of my colleagues and friends.
The numerous spots in the cities covered by Spotted by Locals are described by a legion of locals. These astounding souls partake in shaping the world’s number one travel blog. Here’s why I will always use the information that is provided by my interconnected daydreamers:
- You find personalized insider tips for approximately 57 cities. The readily available inside information is the unequivocal remedy to the often generic city guides that are sustained by means of purblind imitation.
“… best food and entertainment from Amsterdam to Zagreb”, – National Geographic Traveler
- You have access to up-to-date travel information.
“…like I’m getting a friend’s recommendations on where to eat, drink and relax….” – KLM Holland Herald
- The content is personalized and has been composed meticulously in order for you to become truly familiar with the city you’re visiting, allowing you to experience the local life.
“…local knowledge… from enthusiastic local Spotters…” – BBC World
- You’ll always have entertaining material at your disposal to read while you’re on the road. A myriad of gifted authors will amuse you with their discoveries.
“…a real insider voice and offbeat cities…“ – The Telegraph
- All Spotters are carefully selected by Sanne & Bart van Poll. After the SBL weekend I dare say that these two have a talent for composing a winning team, which tremendously reduces any chance of disappointing nomads such as you and me.
“…tips rarely found in the guidebook. […] My first port of call.” – The Times
The mind-blowing SBL event was organized by its charming, amiable and inspirational founders Sanne and Bart Van Poll, whose stories are an inspiration to more than a few of us motivated travel bloggers. Thanks to them, the turnpike that I call my life crossed the paths of a horde of like-minded and kindred spirits. Amidst approximately a hundred avid travelers, I got to meet these lovebirds who have a mutual passion for traveling.
They made it possible for us Spotters to reveal the hidden curves, aspects and passionate secrets, which mold the mysterious, smoldering and charming character of the cities that conquered our hearts. The same cities that you may very well visit one day! Naturally, I started writing for my hometown Antwerp, thanks to the opportunity that was given to me by Spotted’s founding father and mother. A-town, as its inhabitants claim, is the center of the galaxy! Needless to say, this claim causes some upheaval with the people from other cities such as Porto, Ljubljana, Dublin, Ghent and so on. However, I have digressed a little here from my original intention.
While floating collectively on a bewitching spaceship called “Earth,” I realize that joining this team of dedicated Spotters has been a life-defining moment. These fellow astronauts successfully planted a creative seed in my mind. The pip they have entrusted to me is slowly growing, and some time from now it will uncover its beauty. The Spotters’ passion for their hometown is unmatched. Roam our cities and see for yourself. Explore the regions beyond your backyard.
Test drive this unconventional travel guide concept. I say this with the same uncorrupted passion as I did when I wrote about Couchsurfing. Give the Spotted by Locals city guides a try. Hopefully our favorite spots will captivate you in the same way as they have us. Discover offbeat and enchanting cities in the near future, but beware: this way of spreading your wings is highly addictive and might redefine your notion of traveling. Chances are that you’ll never settle down for that insipid all-inclusive holiday ever again.
- Kendra Valentine, “Spotted by Locals: Experiencing Stockholm like a local” Slow travel Stockholm (http://www.slowtravelstockholm.com/). September 3rd, 2014.
- Laura Byrne Paquet, “Spotted by Locals Barcelona” Facing the street (http://www.facingthestreet.com/). May 19th, 2014.
- Jessica Marati, “iPhone app review: ‘Spotted By Locals’ European city guides” Gadling (http://gadling.com/). January 28th, 2012.