About the Author
Writing Port Guides involves solving puzzles
I'm a Chemical Engineer with a Masters in Business. I enjoy writing and solving puzzles.
Each new travel guide is a puzzle. I don't use a template, rather I organize the guide to best describe issues unique to that port area using an over-arching theme to unify the guide.
For example, "logistics" is the dominant theme for the Venice guide. The issue is how to make travel connection between a plane, a ship, a taxi, a boat, a train, and a hotel.
Travelers need to be prepared to visit an island with 400 bridges. Dragging luggage over bridges to a hotel can be a problem; there are no porters to carry your luggage.
Once you are aware of the issues, it's easy to make decisions for your travel priorities. If you travel "light", with minimal luggage, you will not have a problem with luggage in Venice. And if your hotel in Venice is close to a dock, your luggage handling problems may be minimal.
If your wife travels with an incredibly heavy suitcase, you may decide to stay in Mestre on the mainland with taxi and bus service to your hotel and a train station across the street for a 15 minute ride to the Grand Canal in Venice.
Writing port guides poses technical challenges
I spend a lot of time learning better internet search techniques, creating custom maps for the guides, and using many types of software to create, edit, and produce the guides.
For 20+ years I had international assignments with multi-national corporations. This involved extensive travel in Europe, trips to South America, and Asia-Pacific. I worked in Europe and lived there. I think I have been to, and stayed in, most of the major cities in Europe. My wife and I vacationed in Europe for 37 years. We cruised on small ships in the Caribbean and chartered a 42 foot sailboat to explore the islands. Our first "real" cruises involved three transatlantic crossings on the QEII in 1987-8. When I retired, we got serious about cruising.
Planning a cruise vacation can be a Herculean task
Most travel websites focus on advertising and provide limited useful information. Travel blogs limit user interaction to exchanging pithy comments. The traditional approach to writing port guides is a bit of history, a few photos, and a page of "canned" travel information. Good maps are hard to find and it's almost impossible to find a map showing the exact location of the ship's dock relative to tourist sites. I had to create my own maps and use street level photos for self-guided walking tours.
I could not find the travel information I wanted - - -
So I decided to write my own port guides to plan my cruise vacations. I shared the guides with a few friends. They encouraged me to write more and make them broadly available. The rest is history.