The History of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

history, UK, UK History

Pride and Prejudice Playgoers can enter the contest to win a copy of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith by sending an email to jhunkins@gmailcom .  Please get parental permission first.

The History of Pride and Prejudice:

Jane Austen remains one of the most popular writers in the history of western literature, and Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s most loved novel. From the amazing online resource , the key online resource for fans of Jane Ausetn and her remarkable literary legacy, we learn that Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813 and that the novel is the most popular of  Jane Austen’s works.  The original version of the novel was written in 1796-1797 under the title First Impressions, and was probably in the form of an exchange of letters.

Pride and Prejudice has sold about 20 million copies over its nearly 100 year run, and has spawned a 1940 film and a 2005 film as well as TV Series in 1980 and 1995.   Adaptations of the book include an Indian “Bollywood” film called “Bride and Prejudice” and the bestseller “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”

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Free Tickets to Japan for Travel Bloggers … maybe


There’s a LOT of buzz about a proposal to buy plane tickets for bloggers who will travel in Japan and blog about the experience.   Apparently there are already scammers as well, trying to prey on those who might apply for the tickets.   Be sure to check with the official site for Japan Tourism for updates about the possible free tickets:

The bad news is that this is a pending action with approvals needed before the tickets are available.  I’m also guessing that Japan will screen applicants fairly carefully, so simply blogging may not get you a free ticket  (though 10,000 is a LOT of tickets.  This would probably cover pretty much every legitimate travel writer and blogger who would agree to the rules, which include paying for your own meals and lodging during the trip.

As for – we plan to be there!

The official Japan Tourism website is here, and this is where the authoritative information about the tickets will be in the future:

They simply have this right now:

Recently a number of media outlets have publicized reports about ”Japan offering 10,000 free flights to foreigners”.  However, this initiative to be carried out from April 2012 onwards is still under examination for government budgetary approval and is at this moment undecided.

If the initiative is confirmed and put into operation, Japan Tourism Agency will officially announce details on this website.

Warning: There have been reports in some countries about acts of fraud related to this media report. The Japanese government has not committed to provide free flight tickets to Japan to anybody. Please be careful not to get caught up in this kind of fraud.

Wait…there are MORE… 150 MORE travel blogs to follow!

blogs, Travel, travel and history, travel blogs, travel guides, travel websites

Scroll DOWN a bit for’s BlogRank clickable listing of 150 blogs they have ranked, but note they DO NOT RANK most travel blogs.    That’s a project I’m working on now and it’s going to be very helpful to those of us in the sector since there are now tens of thousands of travel blogs, most with almost no traffic at all but many good ones with more than you’d think.

BlogRank’s Top General Travel blogs unique monthly visitors shows how dominant Gadling is in the Travel Blog Sector, though the great folks at BootsnAll up in Eugene Oregon appear to be doing very well also.   I’m skeptical of these visitor numbers and will try to follow up on where they come from.

Compete in the past, based on just a bit of research by me, seemed notorious for underestimating traffic unless you used their (paid) system and installed their counter.    For sites I controlled the underestimation tended to be very dramatic compared to our actual traffic logs and Google Analytics reporting.   I hope they’ve fixed that and a study might be in order, as I’m happy with Google Analytics reporting which seems to match our logs better (again, I’m saying this without enough research to back it up robustly).

1.  Gadling 733,497

2 BootsnAll Travel 178,575
3 MiceChat 89,419
4 The Travel Blog by TravelPod 81,972
5 Jaunted – The Pop Culture Travel Guide 72,462
6 TheJetpacker 69,924
7 Travellerspoint Travel Community 59,745
8 BoardingArea 59,286
9 37,701
10 Europe for Visitors 30,051


Rank Blog Name RSS Monthly Visitors
1 Gadling rss 733,497
2 BootsnAll Travel rss 178,575
3 MiceChat rss 89,419
4 The Travel Blog by TravelPod rss 81,972
5 Jaunted – The Pop Culture Travel Guide rss 72,462
6 TheJetpacker rss 69,924
7 Travellerspoint Travel Community 59,745
8 BoardingArea rss 59,286
9 rss 37,701
10 Europe for Visitors rss 30,051
11 Vagabondish rss 27,879
12 rss 25,679
13 Suzannes Files – Luxury Travel Insights rss 23,176
14 Johnny Jets Weekly Newsletter rss 20,386
15 Nomadic Matts Travel Site rss 19,712
16 Go Visit Hawaii rss 19,266
17 Travel Guides rss 18,263
18 Kathika Travel Website rss 15,417
19 OffbeatTravel rss 14,930
20 The Cranky Flier rss 13,423
21 Global Grasshopper | Travel Tips and Inspiration rss 13,223
22 NewYorkology rss 12,385
23 Touropia rss 11,488
24 Everything Everywhere rss 11,185
25 Wanderlust and Lipstick rss 11,170
26 The Vacation Gals rss 11,094
27 rss 10,464
28 World Hum rss 10,286
29 My Several Worlds rss 10,143
30 Upgrade: Travel Better rss 9,537
31 rss 9,235
32 Traveling Mamas rss 8,937
33 Bonjour Paris rss 8,868
34 rss 8,804
35 The Amateur Traveler Travel Podcast – best places to travel rss 8,803
36 Uncornered Market rss 8,798
37 Travels with Children rss 8,364
38 WanderingEducators rss 8,254
39 Go Green Travel Green rss 7,959
40 Holland America Blog rss 7,415
41 Off Track Planet – The Backpackers Ultimate Travel Guide rss 7,286
42 foXnoMad rss 7,023
43 Hole In The Donut rss 6,851
44 As We Travel rss 6,526
45 Travel Blog rss 6,491
46 Canada Adventure Couple rss 6,174
47 Indie Travel Podcast rss 6,145
48 Travelvice rss 5,827
49 My Melange rss 5,672
50 Go, See, Write rss 5,158
51 Fun Things to Do rss 5,095
52 Solo Traveler rss 4,946
53 Chris Around The World rss 4,905
54 GoBackpacking rss 4,822
55 Online Travel Review rss 4,506
56 Tales from Technomadia rss 4,161
57 Gourmeted rss 4,077
58 Wandering Trader’s Travels rss 4,005
59 My Itchy Travel Feet rss 3,922
60 Tech Guide For Travel rss 3,871
61 Nomadic Notes Travel Blog rss 3,627
62 rss 3,481
63 Ottsworld rss 3,438
64 Champagne Living rss 3,355
65 Get In the Hot Spot rss 3,181
66 Traveling Canucks rss 2,996
67 Mommy Musings rss 2,966
68 Vagablond rss 2,811
69 soultravelers3 rss 2,805
70 Travel Experta – All You Need to Know About Traveling in Central America! rss 2,786
71 TravelBlogs rss 2,755
72 Travel Happy rss 2,741
73 Alaska Travelgram rss 2,722
74 Neil Duckett rss 2,684
75 Johnny Vagabond – Around the World, Low and Slow rss 2,644
76 Blog about barcelona, berlin, madrid and paris rss 2,621
77 Travel Wonders of the World rss 2,608
78 Married with Luggage rss 2,557
79 Travels with a Nine Year Old rss 2,555
80 Travel Blog Sites rss 2,494
81 Family Friendly Hotel, Resort, Suite Reviews: Travel Savvy Mom » blog rss 2,415
82 Briefcase to Backpack rss 2,397
83 Europe Travels rss 2,358
84 rss 2,345
85 Africafreak rss 2,341
86 Round the World Travel rss 2,272
87 The Ticket rss 2,235
88 The Professional Hobo rss 2,181
89 Heather on her travels rss 2,003
90 501 Places rss 1,979
91 HAPPYTIMEBLOG rss 1,900
92 Telluride Inside… and Out rss 1,898
93 Vagablogging rss 1,890
94 The Brooklyn Nomad rss 1,889
95 A Luxury Travel Blog rss 1,871
96 The Road Forks rss 1,864
97 SimpliFlying rss 1,858
98 What a Trip rss 1,761
99 Andy’s Blog – Gone Further rss 1,697
100 Travel Blog Exchange rss 1,658
101 Asian Ramblings rss 1,634
102 PassportChop Travel Experience Blog rss 1,530
103 TravelBrook rss 1,497
104 The Longest Way Home rss 1,484
105 Inside the Travel Lab rss 1,467
106 Peregrine Online rss 1,432
107 rss 1,348
108 rss 1,333
109 Go Galavanting rss 1,330
110 Grumpy Traveller rss 1,309
111 Traveling with MJ rss 1,285
112 Gap Year Escape rss 1,266
113 The Gypsy’s Guide rss 1,250
114 Top vacation spots rss 1,244
115 Travel Feeder rss 1,244
116 Travelogged rss 1,240
117 rss 1,207
118 -Girlie Motorcycle Blog rss 1,195
119 iBackpack Canada rss 1,171
120 Unearthing Asia rss 1,106
121 Exposed The world exposed in words and vision, by Harry Kikstra rss 1,100
122 Wanderlust Journey rss 1,090
123 rss 1,073
124 Family Travel Guide rss 1,051
125 Travels of Adam rss 1,046
126 VirtualWayfarer – A Place For Intellectual Musings rss 1,044
127 rss 1,006
128 The Seattle Traveler rss 986
129 Travel Writers Exchange rss 985
130 Travel Rants Blog rss 958
131 MuseumChick rss 947
132 FOGG odyssey rss 919
133 The Aussie Nomad rss 870
134 Family Adventure Guidebooks rss 771
135 Lanzarote Information – Everything and anything about Lanzarote rss 750
136 Chengdu Living rss 747
137 rss 740
138 rss 738
139 Wandalust rss 684
140 Double the Adventure rss 654
141 iKangaroo, rss 644
142 rss 578
143 Kyspeaks rss 576
144 Backpacker Ben Travel Blog rss 573
145 Tyson Williams rss 572
146 Vietnam Travel rss 543
147 rss 534
148 Lifecruiser rss 534
149 Ll World Tour rss 509
150 Travel Junkie Julia rss 500

Planet Explorers: Laura Schaefer’s Travel e-books for kids

Travel, travel guides, travel websites

Check out this new series of travel guides for kids from Laura Schaefer:

Author Laura Schaefer (The Teashop Girls) Releases Planet Explorers Series of Travel Guidebooks for Kids

Laura Schaefer, author of The Teashop Girls (Simon & Schuster 2009) and The Secret Ingredient (Simon & Schuster 2011) has a new series of e-books for kids called Planet Explorers. Her first title, Planet Explorers Walt Disney World, is a guidebook for readers aged 8-12. With fun facts, tips, and active hyperlinks for kids who want to dig a little deeper into everything Disney, the e-book guide is designed to be read on smart phones, Kindles, Nooks or iPads. It is priced at $2.99 per copy at

“I wanted to give kids an easy way to become Walt Disney World experts without having to carrying around an actual book,” explains Schaefer. “The Planet Explorers guides live right on your phone, which most ‘tweens would have with them during a day traveling anyway.” More exciting, explains Schaefer, is the fact that e-book technology allows readers to jump from information about the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction to a website about notorious real-life pirates such as Blackbeard. “The e-book format is perfect for young readers,” she says. “A kid can quickly check out the height requirement for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, then read a little bit about classic Twilight Zone episodes while they wait in line. It’s all there, linked and ready to go. Writing Planet Explorers Walt Disney World was a blast.”

Planet Explorers guidebooks cut out all the stuff kids would find boring if they looked through a regular travel guide and focus on attractions and fun facts. The guides have a lot of pictures and even include a quiz at the end to check the user’s knowledge. Parents are excited about the easy way the guidebooks incorporate learning about geography, history, art and science into real-life experiences.

Planet Explorers Walt Disney World is the first in a whole series. Planet Explorers Chicago, Planet Explorers New York City, Planet Explorers Philadelphia, Planet Explorers Disneyland and Planet Explorers Disney Cruise Line are also available at Amazon,, iBooks and Smashwords. If you’d like to sample the series, now is the perfect time. Planet Explorers Philadelphia is on sale at Amazon for only $0.99.

Next up? Planet Explorers Universal Resort Orlando, followed by Planet Explorers London. “I loved traveling as a kid,” says Schaefer. “I want to empower my readers to be part of planning vacations with their parents. That way, it’s more fun for the whole family.”

To learn more, please visit

9/11 Memorial in New York City, USA

Memorials, US history, USA

The USA’s 9/11 Memorial commemorates the many lives lost on September 11th, 2001 when terrorists attacked the New York World Trade Center towers.     The 9/11 Memorial will be dedicated today, September 11th, 2011 – exactly ten years after the trade center bombings that very dramatically altered the course of American foreign policy for the past decade.    The Memorial will be open to the public starting tomorrow, September 12th.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum at the same site is still under construction, with plans to open September 11 of next year, 2012.

Here is the website for the 9/11 Memorial and here is the 9/11 Memorial Web cam

Australia’s Natural Landscape reflected in Tree Bark Giclee Art Prints


A Guest post from our photographer friend Vitaly Geyman who lived in Australia for many years.

Where ever you go in the world you will find the most amazing nature

Recently I have visited my homeland Australia for a taste of wild life and
adventure. Australia is an amazing country by any means. For example it has
one the largest sand islands in the world called Fraser Island.

There you can slide down on white sand dunes into a crystal clear lake. Yet
it is completely surrounded by an ocean of salt water. However my most
amazing encounter was with the gum tree forest, also known as Eucalyptus
trees. These 30 ft giants glow in the day and night like a beacon. There
are over 700 species Eucalyptus trees.

Eucalyptus from Australia

Australian aboriginal people believe that tree spirits are with us all the
time. Tree spirits are part of the “dream time story” which tells the story
of the creation of the universe.
Walking through a Eucalyptus forest one gets a strange feeling that someone
is watching you. My biggest fascination was with the bark of these amazing
tress. The White Gum Tree stands 30-40 ft high its smooth silky bark glows
in the dark. The  patterns in the bark reminded me of the tree spirits. A
women like figure, a  face of a ship started to appear as I kept working on
this image.

The Red Gum bark is even more dramatic. Filled with fine grain, you can
almost see it as an abstract painting of a modern artist. A ghost like face
floating through space. It is though the tree spirits that aboriginal people
talk about have carved their signature in the bark of the tree.
Australia is certainly an amazing  continent full of adventure and mystery.
The aboriginal people tell us that we are all part of the story of creation
the trees are our cousins and we should look after them just as much as they
support our very existence.

Australia Travel Article Provided by: Vitaly Geyman - Giclee Art Prints from Art Prints America

Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Crater “Pu u O o” Collapses 250 feet (photo courtesy NPS)

Hawaii, hawaiian islands, National Park, National Parks

Kilauea Volcano is in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is the earth’s most active volcano, sending Lava to the sea pretty much continuously since 1983, though the flow of lava and the patterns vary considerably.    Here are my own Kilauea pictures from a 2005 trip out into the lava flows:

The Volcano is in Kilauea Volcanic National Park and is located in the south of the “Big Island” aka Hawaiia, not to be confused with Oahu – the Island with most of the people, the big city of Honolulu, and many scenes from Hawaii 5-0.

Recent Activity from National Park Service NPS at Kilauea National Park: In the east rift zone: Pu`u `O`o crater walls continued to collapse; lava was trickling back onto the collapsed crater floor; lava continued to issue from west flank vents and pond near the vents. At the summit, the lava lake surface continued to recede. Seismicity was low. Gas emissions remained elevated from summit and rift zone vents.    (Photo courtesy Hawaii Volcano Observatory).

Middle east rift zone vents: The walls of Pu`u `O`o Crater continued to collapse yesterday including a block immediately to the left of the webcam which dropped in overnight. A trickle of lava returned to the very deepest part of the collapsed crater floor yesterday morning and was visible in the webcam overnight. During yesterday’s overflight, the depth of the collapse was measured at about 75 m (245 ft) below the east rim. The flows that gushed out of the west flank vents on August 3rd remained active but with the outer limits of activity retreating back toward the sources; in other words, lower effusion rates weren’t allowing the active lava to travel as far from the vents before solidifying. The flows remained entirely within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and pose no direct hazard to any developed areas.

The GPS network around Pu`u `O`o Cone recorded slow contraction across the cone overnight. The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu`u `O`o Cone recorded continued deflation. Seismic tremor levels were low. The most recent (preliminary) sulfur dioxide emission rate measurement was 3,100 tonnes/day on August 4, 2011, from all east rift zone sources.

Background from NPS Kilauea  National Park: The eruption of Kilauea’s middle east rift zone started with a fissure eruption on January 3, 1983, and has continued with few interruptions through Pu`u `O`o Crater or vents within a few kilometers to the east or west. Since late March, lava has been filling the collapsed crater within Pu`u `O`o Cone, first building a perched lava lake that, in July, evolved into a shield with the lake at its top as a result of uplift of the crater floor and lake. In early August, the crater floor again collapsed as lava burst from vents on the west flank of Pu`u `O`o cone.

History of US Art – from Native American Art to Cubism

art, history, native americans

Stages of US Art History

The US History of art has gone through many transitions.    Indigenous Indian art is represented in many forms, from the symbolic rock art created by hunters and gatherers to Totem poles carved by several of the groups in the Pacific Northwest.   Wikipedia has an excellent treatment of Native American art here.

The next stage of art can be described as European religious art.  This appeared with the first settlers and the influx of Christianity, representing deities, saints, and the story of Christ.

Following the religious art was the influence of French impressionist painters of the 18th and 19th century.

The 20th century is known for its modern art.

Modern art, such as cubism and minimalism, are almost a Zen approach to art, with minimal expression yet lots of symbolism.

Finally there is spiritual art. This form of art is not religious  yet honors the divinity of human beings and the earth.  Spiritual art demonstrates the power of the spirit and the beauty of nature.   Spiritual art is just beginning to flower but it may become the next evolution of art.

Each of these stages had a profound impact on the artist and the art we see around us.

Each stage represents the evolution of art and human development contributing to our society as a whole.

Provided by:  Art Prints America – Unique  Flower Prints

Richmond Virginia History

american history, Richmond Virginia History, US history

Here in Richmond Virginia I’m experiencing this historical masterpiece of an American city, and one of the key cornerstones in terms of understanding US History.    For this first post I’m just free associating my whirlwind introduction to Richmond and Richmond History.

In subsequent posts I’ll feature some of the hundreds of photos and dozens of fascinating stories I’ve heard about Richmond’s remarkable past – a history that spans thousands of years of native American habitation and almost 400 years of US History and important US prehistory.

Note that for this very short visit I’m focusing on Civil War history and just a few battles of the many around Richmond.  All the battles of this area from both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War will be featured at the upcoming Battlepedia website, soon to be a comprehensive list of all battles throughout recorded human history.

Richmond Histoy and Travel notes:

My first day in Richmond started at the excellent Quality Inn on Broad, where I’m enjoying a great rate of $45 thanks to a walk-in hotel coupon from the rest area.   We’ve had great luck with those coupons when traveling, especially on the east coast and especially when you are not overnighting on Friday or Saturday nights.  Great travel strategy:  Stay with friends or relatives when you can but if you cannot plan your trips so hotels are Sun-Thursday nights when things are almost always slower.

First stops were on Richmond’s beautiful MONUMENT AVENUE, where statues of civil war heros like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis join a new statue of the US tennis legend and Richmond native Arthur Ashe.    The architecture on Richmond’s Monument Avenue reflects some of the best of the Antebellum South, with beautiful, heavy, and ornate styles, often in brick.   FYI “Antebellum South” means before the Civil War and comes from the latin anti (before) and bellum (war).

Next stop was … parking for the downtown museums and Virginia State Capitol area.   Richmond travel tip – USE the visitor and hospital patient parking deck that is at the downtown medical center.   Otherwise you may gat caught with a high fine for going over the two hour limit on many street parking spaces which may be hard to find anyway.  If you are visiting the Museum of the Confederacy and Confederate White House / Jefferson Davis Home be sure to get your parking ticket validated at the front desk – this saved me about $10 which is the daily parking cost limit at that parking deck.  It looked like other downtown parking ramps cost more than that anyway.

The three floors of the Museum of the Confederacy are an excellent collection of memorabilia and a battle by battle description of the war, but the reason to go here is to see the amazing Confederate White House (also called the “Grey House” since that was closer to the color at the time.    The home of Jefferson Davis and his second wife Varina Davis is a spectacular restoration with many period pieces and an excellent historical tour.    Here, confederate generals often visited to discuss strategy with each other and the president.   I’d expected more “pro confederacy spin” than I got there.   In fact the most interesting historical story was about Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a slave in the Davis home who had kept her education and intelligence a secret.  When cleaning the upstairs study Bowser would memorize documents and then report the information to Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew.   This went on for some time and I believe Bowser’s secret was kept until after the end of the war.     Another fascinating item was how Davis’ wife Varina Davis moved to New York City and wrote for Joseph Pulitzer, often defending her late husband’s reputation against attacks by counterattacking his detractors.   This writing career blossomed into regular features on cooking and child raising.  Varina Davis was seen as an important bridge between the north and south during reconstruction, and was well regarded by many in the north.

My next stop was the excellent Virginia State Visitor Center at the Bell Tower near the Capitol Building, where the staffer gave me a great map, brochures, and an excellent introduction to the area as well as good strategies for optimizing my brief visit.

Just down the street from the tower is St Paul’s church where beautiful stained glass windows memorialize civil war era figures like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.   Here, Jefferson Davis was attending a service when he was informed that the Union was about to break through to Richmond, an action that was soon to lead to the end of the Civil War with Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate army to Union forces general U.S. Grant at Appomatox Court House near Appomatox, Virginia.   Appomatox is about 90 miles west of Richmond.

Tredegar Iron Works was a key foundry for the confederacy, making about half the 2000 cannons used by the South in the Civil War.  Here at Tredegar, we see  refined versions of the industrial factory model of production that began in England in the Derwent Valley Mills.    Waterwheels and steam boilers as power sources with massive heavy presses and ironmaking equipment to create canons, railroad tracks, and more.   Tredegar is part of the US National Park system and admission also gets you into the excellent Civil War Museum right next door, though cheapskates might want to dodge the $8 fee simply walk the grounds for a quick “feel” of history.   (I’m not sure you can do this, but it looked like it would not be a problem).

… more Richmond Virginia history and travel coming soon..

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site in the UK.

UK, UK Travel, UK Travel Guide, UNESCO, World Heritage, world heritage sites
Derwent Valley Mills

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site

As the headlines about factory tend to feature China’s rapid emergence as the new global industrial giant, we look to the Beautiful Derwent Valley in England to find the beginning of the modern “factory”.   The factory innovation was so dramatically productive it soon became the key global model for the creation of goods, ushering in the industrial revolution which was clearly among the most significant events in all of human history.

Derwent Valley Mills is considered by many to be the birthplace of the modern factory system we now take for granted.

Photos at Flickr

Here at Derwent Valley Mills, textile production was revolutionized and the Arkwright model of industrial production was used as tens of thousands were eventually employed in several mills in the valley.    Although pieces of the puzzle of factory production had been solved by others in other places and contexts, it was here in the Derwent Valley that  ”A source of power, in this case water power, was applied to a series of complex mechanised processes for the first time on a relatively large scale”.

The Derwent Valley Mills’ historical and cultural significance led to the prestigious “World Heritage Site” designation in 2001. The “Statement of Significance” reads:

The Derwent Valley saw the birth of the factory system, when new types of building were erected to house the new technology for spinning cotton developed by Richard Arkwright.

In the Derwent Valley for the first time there was large-scale industrial production in a hitherto rural landscape. The need to provide housing and other facilities for workers and managers resulted in the creation of an exceptional industrial landscape that has retained its qualities over two centuries.

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