Ever heard of a vodka and snake blood drink? Yes, it’s available in Vietnam. Or fermented horse milk with spit in it? No, that’s in Mongolia. I haven’t been to either of these countries but I’m harbouring a wealth of information in my head about places that I am yet to visit. Some of it bizarre, most of it useful but all of it comes from one source - TTOT.
TTOT stands for Travel Talk on Twitter and the bright spark behind it is Melvin, the founder of Traveldudes. Melvin and a set of other inveterate travellers host it every Tuesday on Twitter in two separate sessions at 9.30 am and 9.30 pm GMT. The format is simple. The travel related topic is announced every week and the community is invited to send in questions around it. The TTOT hosts select five of them. Each session lasts about an hour and the five questions are revealed every ten minutes. All answers or related tweets have to be hash tagged with TTOT so that the entire community can easily see it. Since it debuted on January 25, 2011, #TTOT has gone on to be a popular hashtag for travel related tweets all through the week.
The fun part is seeing the answers from around the globe. There’s a lot of usable information, travel tips and bucket loads of humour. The pace is frantic; feels like there’s a tweet per second. The first time I logged into TTOT I was dumbstruck by the speed of the incoming tweets and couldn’t keep up at all. By the third session I was confidently answering the five questions and simultaneously engaging with other users.
Here’s a peek into earlier #TTOT sessions with my favourite answers. The respective Twitter handles are given before each answer.
Question 2 via @tripcrafters: 5 things to take with you while you are attending any sports event
MagellanPR: Sunglasses, squishy cushion, plenty of water, little picnic and potentially a hip flask depending on the event.
MyDestination: Appropriate flag 2.Water 3.Throat sweets 4.Ridiculous headgear 5.30 thousand friends
Drinks - Types & Customs
Question 4 via hobonora; What is the most bizarre drink you've had on the road?
detourdumonde: In Vietnam : Vodka + snakes blood, I had to drink it with the snakes heart, still beating
LucyCorne: Fermented horse milk in Mongolia or Chicha in Peru, which I much later learned is fermented with spit
Question 4 via HolidayChic: What's the most unique honeymoon you've ever heard?
BackpackerBecki: Climbing Kilimanjaro! AWESOME! Better than the typical honeymoon cliches
DLholidays: A couple got married under water in scuba costume... definitely unique
MagellanPR: Friends of mine went for Harley Davidson honeymoon along California's old Route 101 - thought that was quite cool
Cardinaltravel: Heard of a couple that walked across the US for their honeymoon
Lost in Translation
Question 1 via trevormorrow: What have you learned not to do or say in certain countries?
kampunggirl: Never tell an Italian your son plays the cello. 'Cello' is a local slang for a certain male body part
JauntingKerrs: Don’t act like you expect every person to speak English
iamfrafuga: Not to show the bottom of my feet in Thailand.
hjortur: Don't wave or eat with left hand in certain Arabic countries...(left hand is traditionally used as substitute for TP)
Rickshaw_Travel: One for the ladies, don't touch a monk in Thailand
As you can see, #TTOT is a fun mix of entertainment and useful tips. While the chat is a good place to ask for information while planning a trip, it's also an easy way to stay in touch with travel. Especially when you're stuck behind a desk and fantasising about the next place on your bucket list.
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