I don’t know if any of you have ever read a great blog published by The New York Times called “Frugal Traveler“. Published in the Times‘ travel section, for the last three years, the blog was authored by Matt Gross, a charmingly geeky presence whose attempts to travel cheaply around the globe were informative, entertaining, and frequently quite contentious (he was often taken to task by readers – sometimes quite vehemently – for not being quite as budget-minded as some hard-core budget travelers expected a “frugal” traveler to be).
A couple of weeks ago I was saddened to discover that Gross was giving up his post to return to normal civilian life (maybe he just wanted to stay in a five-star hotel). I was worried that the blog itself was going to vanish (such is the sad state of journalism these days). However, I then made the happy discovery that Gross was being replaced… and that the new Frugal Traveler was going to be none other than Seth Kugel.I was thrilled to discover that Seth Kugel’s first mission (beginning last week) was a 3-month, 10-country, Pan-American road trip from São Paulo up to New York.
For those of you unfamiliar with Seth Kugel, he is a journalist who splits his time between New York and São Paulo, and I sort of have a readerly crush on him. Over the last few years, he has contributed various articles (most of them for the Travel section) about Brazil, which I love to read: 1. Because he really “gets” Brazil and 2. Because he is a terrific travel writer – engaging, original, perceptive, and often quite funny (which is actually a difficult feat to pull off in terms of travel writing).
Under Matt Gross’ reign, the “Frugal Traveler” (much to Gross’ chagrin) rarely journeyed south of the Equator; with the exception of Argentina and Uruguay, Gross skipped South America altogether. Consequently, I was thrilled to discover that Seth Kugel’s first mission (beginning last week) was a 3-month, 10-country, Pan-American road trip from São Paulo up to New York.
So far, Kugel hasn’t disappointed. His Brazil posts have detailed the terror of absent-mindedly losing (and miraculously finding) his passport in São Paulo’s Guarulhos Airport; described his indecision regarding what boat to take down the Rio Preguiças (Lazy River) in the fabulous dune-and-lagoon-scape that is the Parque Nacional dos Lençois Maranhenses; and provided an in-depth appraisal of Maranhão’s No. 1 soft drink, a pink fizzy brand of Guaraná called Jesus (named after the drink’s founder, not the Redeemer).
I highly recommend logging on and accompanying Kugel on his voyage. I think that over next three months, we’ll be in for quite an interesting journey.