What is Worthy Go?
Worthy Go is a travel blog that focuses on the worthy, the weird, and the wonderful places around the world. The aim is to help you travel better, easier, and get more value wherever you go. Dozens of itineraries and guidebooks go even further in offering directions, curation, and guidance.
Worthy Go is the latest in a long line of travel blogs kept by Chris Backe. Keep reading for the complete story if you’re curious.
What makes a place worthy?
This is admittedly a subjective sort of thing; what’s ‘worthy’ to me may not be to you, and that’s fine.
- Are worth the time, energy, and cost to reach
- Can be well-known, extremely obscure, or anywhere in-between
- Present their exhibits and experiences well — for example, art at an art museum is well-lit, things work as expected,
- Have a story to tell / share with their guests
- Pique your interests and create curiosity in the subject
- Because we’re living in a post-‘off-the-beaten-path’ world.
- Because a place that has 10,000 Tripadvisor reviews does not mean it’s worth the cost, time, or effort to reach.
- Because there’s a limited amount of time and money to waste on less-than-awesome places.
- Because popular, well-known places can be tacky, crowded, expensive, or overrated, and popular doesn’t equal good.
- Because travel is about going somewhere in person, not exploring from afar.
- Because you’ve got to get there first to see it for yourself.
Chris Backe (rhymes with ‘hockey’) is the opinionated, old-school travel blogger behind Worthy Go, author of dozens of guidebooks, a board game designer, and web developer. He’s been seen in Atlas Obscura, Conde Nast Traveler, Mental Floss, Fark, the Daily Mail Online, and dozens of other publications.
Chris is originally from the United States, and is married to an awesome Canadian woman. He’s been a travel blogger since 2008 on several different websites:
- 2008-2013 as Chris in South Korea (stopped after leaving the country)
- 2011-2013 as part of the Travel Wire Asia team
- 2013-2014 as Chris in Thailand (stopped after realizing it was a better idea to rebrand and cover more countries)
- 2014-2018 as One Weird Globe (stopped because I sold the blog)
- 2018-present as Worthy Go.
Now, for the longer story…
Written 19 February 2020, because posterity rocks.
This is a story of what happens when a blogger shifts platforms, styles, cloud services, hosts, and discovers his backups aren’t compatible with hosting companies. Multiple times.
Rewind the time machine to early 2008, when an American Business-major-turned-computer-class-teacher got a job teaching English in South Korea. I started a blog on Blogspot (now Blogger) called Chris in South Korea. It stayed there for about a thousand posts from March 2008 to the very beginning of 2011. I had no idea what I was doing at first, in either the technical aspects or the ‘what-should-I-write-about’ aspects. I had no concept of resizing pictures or otherwise making them smaller – and there was a bit of panic when the 1 GB of space Blogger offered came close to running out.
Signing up for a Flickr account came next – the free account worked just fine, although staying under the limit of images you could upload a month forced me to consider how many images a post really needed. It was also sort of a laborious thing to find the right URL, add that via the HTML side of the posting page, and repeat. I found a workflow that worked, though, and life moved on.
Around the very beginning of 2011, I bought the chrisinsouthkorea.com domain name and a hosting package – new geek level obtained – and began the process of setting up WordPress. It was – and still is – quite easy to do. I started with WebHostingPad – a decent-to-good company with a great price at the time. It turned out that price paid for a service that seemed to get slower and slower as the months went by. There were some issues with WordPress and plugins, however (some backup plugins tried backing up GB’s worth of data, which apparently put ‘strain’ on a server and caused an automatic shutdown of the website. A little embarrassing, to say the least).
In any case, WordPress had – and still has – an excellent built-in plugin that imports a Blogger blog. It’s dead simple to use, but it only imported the posts, comments, etc. – not the pictures. It wasn’t a big deal, since Blogger / Google’s servers are quite fast. There was the concern that if anything ever happened to the service (or getting locked out of my account), then access to those files would go with it. Same thing with Flickr. In any case, things continued to work just fine, and the world kept spinning.
Oh, yes, did I forget to mention that I kept traveling? =) Around mid-2011 I began getting a bit bored with South Korea. It’s not a particularly huge country (about the size of Indiana in the US, or Portugal in Europe), and getting around is surprisingly easy. It was then that I began proactively seeking the weirder or unusual places around the country. These were generally places that were harder to reach, further off-the-beaten-path, or the sort of things I accidentally stumbled across while trying to reach somewhere else.
And boy, were there plenty of these around. Beyond making excellent posts for the blog (visible here now, of course), over 100 of the best ones were included in a book that came out in 2013, entitled Weird and Wonderful Korea.
Around the end of 2011, I began writing articles for Travel Wire Asia – a multi-author websites covering destinations, food, and so on around Asia. They liked what they saw, and invited me to join their blog full-time. The plan, presumably, was to group everyone’s blogs under one roof, which would give more traffic to everyone. That involved redirecting chrisinsouthkorea.com to their site. It was a little odd at first, not having control over the layout or having the ability to add plug-ins, but things settled and worked out well. They did an import of my posts, essentially making a copy from the WordPress blog to their own servers. That worked out well, until I realized there were posts missing, photos missing, and a number of posts were missing some to most of their content. This required some sorting out.
I blogged with Travel Wire Asia without incident until January 2013, when they decided to go in a different direction. No hard feelings – they were great to work with, but it was time to get back to blogging for myself on my own website. My hosting with WebHostingPad was set to run out soon, so I jumped ship to Bluehost and began trying to put the pieces back together. Because the backup I had taken beforehand wasn’t compatible with Bluehost’s cPanel, I had to rely on Travel Wire Asia’s export file – about a 4GB download of thousands of pictures and hundreds of posts – along with an export of the first thousand or so posts from Blogspot. Top that off with thousands of pictures from the Blogspot blog, and thousands more from Flickr. It took a few long days, but Chris in South Korea was eventually reassembled, and all was well with the universe again.
In planning a move to Thailand in early 2013, I soon realized I couldn’t keep blogging about Thailand on a blog called Chris in South Korea. Naturally, I started a new WordPress blog – Chris in Thailand – complete with its own domain name. After traveling to Malaysia and Laos, I realized I would need a stable website for all my travels, and eventually chose the name One Weird Globe.
One Weird Globe and I got along just fine for years. The focus here was on finding the weirdest, most unusual, offbeat destinations. Mainstream destinations just didn’t interest me as much as they used to. I wrote some more books and itineraries, following a specific format and focusing on giving really good directions from one place to the next. (This is still the same format I follow in the itineraries today.)
In time, I found myself getting burnt out from travel blogging. I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, and the industry as a whole was changing. People starting writing about places they’d never been, choosing clickbaity headlines or topics that were chosen because they landed themselves well to add affiliate links… Not. My. Style.
In mid-2018, a Facebook friend announced they were looking to buy some blogs. We messaged, talked a fair bit, and eventually came to an agreement that would see the One Weird Globe brand / domain transferred to them. My books were still mine (they weren’t included in the sale), so I needed to come up with a new brand name for them to avoid any confusion with One Weird Globe’s future direction.
Once the books were changed over, I let the Worthy Go brand go a bit. Mind you I was still a bit burnt out, and not really clear on exactly what direction I wanted to take the thing. I was also quite busy with traveling (even if I wasn’t writing about it as much) and with making board games, so it’s not as if I needed another project…
In late 2019, I decided to resurrect the Worthy Go blog by saving, restoring, or otherwise reassembling blog posts from the past. It turns out that history repeated itself — the backup I took from One Weird Globe didn’t include the database, a critical component of any WordPress site… It took quite a long time going through several different sites (Blogger, Medium, archive.org, and others) to put together the posts worth saving…
Going forward from February 2020, my aim is to explore this weird globe we live on, one country at a time, for as long as I’m physically able. My wonderful wife (a Canadian I met in Korea) also enjoys traveling, and that’s our plan for the forseeable future.