Honoring Our Dedicated Members

The IgoUgo Hall of Fame honors those members whose exemplary work and longtime dedication are the foundation of our success. In addition to contributing an impressive quantity of high-quality trip journals over a number of years, members of the Hall of Fame continually inspire our globe-trotting fantasies with their insatiable travel curiosity. New members are welcomed each year; read on to learn about our most recent inductees.

MagdaDH_AlexH

Why is travel important?
Travel is important because it take us outside our comfort zone, psychologically as well as physically; externally (which is obvious) but also internally. We visit different places, and we become, in many ways, different people: the way we behave and interact with others changes in relation to how we are seen. Our beliefs, behaviours and taken-for-granted habits of thought get challenged. Travel is also important because it's good for the mind and good for the soul: it stimulates, stretches, entertains and informs. Travel is the best way to confront the world out there in a non-violent way and realise that it is much bigger, and much - MUCH - safer than one is often led to believe.
If money were no object:
I would go, quote obviously, everywhere I have not been before. And to some places I have been to, again. I genuinely think everywhere is interesting in some ways, even places considered dull by locals or guide books. If I had to pick one place though, I would go to Antarctica, simply because it's one place I can't imagine ever being able to afford to go to and one that seems to be a world apart, and of staggering natural beauty.
The best travel tip:
I can think of relates to the answer to the first question: It's safer than you think. Nowadays the inhabitants of the rich north-west live in a culture obsessed with safety and risk avoidance and tend to demonise risks of all kinds, from disease to crime to culture shock. But in reality, assuming some basic reasonable precautions, you are much more likely to be all right than not, in most places in the world; and people are more likely to help then to hinder or harm, and you are more resilient than you think and will cope fine with the food, the language and the bathroom arrangements.

marif

Favourite Travel quote:
"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
"Do you want to really enjoy travelling? Then make no fixed plans, be flexible and while on the road, do not think of the date when you have to return" - my own quote.
Best travel tip:
Travel independently and prebook hotels only when really necessary. The benefits of independent travel are:
(i) you make your own itinerary, probably planning from home, getting in the process the opportunity to enjoy the anticipation of your trip.
(ii) you can discover the nooks and crannies of a particular place without restrictions whatsoever. Very probably, group travel caters for the main attractions and ignores the details that make travel a journey of discovery.
(iii) you can stay in a particular place for as long as you wish
(iv) you can meet local people on the street, in bars and restaurants, making new acquaintances, striving to speak new languages and getting interactive with the culture of other countries.
Favourite travel memory:
In St Petersburg, I checked in at the Radisson on Nevsky Prospekt, three days prior to my birthday. I spent my birthday in Petrodvorets, an impressive suburban park where the scattered attractions can only be reached on foot. Exhausted after a full day of sightseeing, I returned to my hotel to find unexpectedly the Barbazan restaurant on the ground floor in full swing waiting for my arrival. A great birthday party hosting more than 200 guests was surprisingly celebrated in my honour. Traditional Russian food from an a la carte menu was accompanied by glassfuls of vodka, the party dragging out to the wee hours of the morning. I left the restaurant with a set of Matryoska dolls, my name and birthday date engraved on each. I still keep them as a memory of the occasion.

Muchmor

Why I write for IgoUgo:
I have always loved travel and am interested to hear what other people have to say about destinations, hotels etc. I therefore read lots of reviews before I plan a trip. As I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively for both business and pleasure, I too want to share what I have learnt and pass on my thoughts to other travellers. Hopefully my reviews will help others make travel plans and have a successful trip.
Best travel tip:
Whenever my husband and I travel I always pack our clothing between two pieces of luggage (some of each person's in each case) so that if ever one case goes missing we both still have clothing when we get to our destination.
Favourite travel memory:
My favourite travel memory has to be a trip we took in June 2001. We had already booked a trip to the USA which included Atlanta, Smokey Mountains, Charleston and a few places in between. A few weeks before we went my then fiancé of nine years suggested we get married whilst we were there. I agreed and in the remaining time before travelling booked a small log chapel in the Smokies for the wedding.
We ended up having a lovely wedding in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, followed by a stay in a great log cabin, then onto Atlanta to celebrate 4th of July and finally a week in Charleston, South Carolina. Every part of the trip was great, but to get married in such a spectacular place was truly memorable. And yes I did share my reviews on IgoUgo!

catsholiday

Why I write for IgoUgo:
I really enjoy reading about other people’s travel experiences and so rather hope that people might enjoy mine too. If we are going somewhere we always do a lot of research before going and find sites like IgoUgo are really useful for ideas, tips and recommendations for places to visit and things to see. I try in my reviews to write about different places and give people an idea of what to expect when they go.
If money were no object I’d go to:
I would love to go to the Antarctic but it is not only very expensive but quite a challenging destination as well so I think the money would help with not only the travel expense but also the equipment you would need in order to get the most out of the trip. Seeing the amazing scenery and icebergs as well as whales, penguins and the icing on the cake would be to see the aurora australis. This would be a once in a lifetime trip as I am not good with cold so would have to be appropriately wrapped up in order to enjoy it. Another possibility is to go the other way to the Arctic to see polar bears and the aurora borealis which is equally exciting scenically.
Worst travel mishap:
This really was an awful error on my part. My children were born in Australia and had Australian passports. My daughter had been on two French trips with the school with her passport and so when we booked to take the children on a family holiday for three weeks in France I didn’t occur to me that they needed visas.
Off we went down to the ferry, two adults and four children, aged eight to thirteen, in an old six/seven seater Montego, very excited about our trip only to be asked at the passport check on this side of the channel if I had the visas. I looked blank and she then informed us that Australians needed visas to get into France.
We had to turn back home again and rethink. My son’s passport only had six months to go and of course I needed his father’s permission and signature. Fortunately he was in the UK so we met him at Heathrow as he was leaving with the form all completed. Somehow we managed to get a new passport rushed through by going to the embassy in Manchester. We then had to go down to London and queue at the French consul to get their visas. We stayed overnight in a dingy hotel and then I passed out in the tube (shocking period pains) and had to go back to the hotel with pain killers for an hour before trying again, joining my husband in the queue just in time. We managed to salvage two weeks of the holiday but the week before was stress filled and very tense. My children have dual nationality with UK passports now!

Essexgirl09

If money were no object, I’d go to:
Antarctica. They have lots of penguins. Everybody loves penguins.
Favorite travel quote:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” - Mark Twain
Best travel tip:
Don't drink tequila the night before a long-haul flight.

RoBoNC

Why I believe travel is so important:
I believe traveling is important because it allows a person to experience other cultures and customs as well as taste different cuisines and visit historical and cultural sites. Anyone can read or watch TV about different cultures and attractions, but traveling and experiencing it in person, there is no substitute. Traveling also helps me instill in my children the desire to more learn about the world around them along with having a sense of adventure.
If money were no object, I’d go to:
If money were no object, I would take a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway in first class. I would have layovers so I could explore the different cities and take the alternate line through Mongolia enroute to Vladivostok and Beijing.
Favorite travel memory:
On our honeymoon in Hawaii, we took the scenic drive to Hana on the island of Maui. While on the drive, we rented a dog. Actually, we just borrowed it. This woman offers travelers her dogs to take on the trip as a way to get exercise and you drop them off on the drive back. It was a unique experience and definitely a conversation starter. We met other travelers who did the same thing. It was just something unique to add to the drive and make our honeymoon memorable.

TianjinPaul

Why I believe travel is so important:
Because without it I would feel stagnant and somewhere deep down I may equate stopping with death. Also, it is just more fun than seeing the same people and the same places again and again. I love to travel overseas and to live in and work in different places.
Why I write for IgoUgo:
Because I really do not feel I have visited a place until I have pontificated about it on this site.
If money were no object:
I’d undertake a sporting world tour. I would spend time in India playing and watching huge amounts of cricket. I would watch football games in as many countries as possible and I would go in search of any unusual sporting experiences that might come my way. I would also add the caveat that for this to be feasible, it is not just money, but time that is a major issue.
Favorite travel quote:
This one is not particularly philosophical but during my years of working and backpacking in China, my buddy Ossie and I never tired of saying "It's all Chinese to me" whenever we were in a situation in which communication was at a premium.

Weeblewobble46

Why I believe travel is so important:
Travel is important to me because I enjoy the process of learning... and it is so much more fun to learn from others. Meeting the people and watching their reactions to their daily lives gives me insight to let me adapt to my own life.
If money were no object, I’d go to:
I would like to take a leisurely trip around the US - hitting every state and going to the museums and fairs that showcase the local way of life in each area. I try to do a little of this with every trip - although I don't always succeed due to time constraints and the attitude of the hubby.
Worst travel mishap:
The worst mishap was during a family vacation many years ago when we rented an oceanside cottage that had just been resided with vinyl siding. When the sun set, all the critters - read that as huge flying insects - that resided in the clapboard siding (that had been simply covered over) came out into the living space of the cottage (since they now had no egress to the outdoors due to the vinyl). We had to call the landlord and have him come over to witness the critters flying all over the place before he would consent to allowing us to vacate and issue us a refund. Luckily, we were able to find an 8th floor condo in the same area that was insect free in which we completed our vacation.
Favorite travel memory:
My favorite memory is standing on the top Diamond Head in Hawaii. It was a long hard climb - I had recently had a knee replacement - but I kept at it until I reached to top. The view is fantastic!

Linda Hoernke

An IgoUgo member since October 2000, Linda Hoernke’s travel reports began in Mali, Peru, Cancun, Australia and Morocco. Not bad for her rookie year – and her travels have continued to the present as she shared her visit to New Mexico and Arizona in 2012. The Hall of Fame is pleased to honor this long-standing contributor.