Chris Backe (hint: rhymes with ‘hockey’) is the main blogger here at One Weird Globe. He’s also the author of over a dozen books and itineraries, which can be found by looking at the menu. He’s originally from the US (the Chicago, Illinois area) and last lived in Lexington, Kentucky before coming to Asia.
Chris moved to the Seoul, South Korea area in March 2008 to teach English. When not teaching, he made it a point to travel to a new place, event, or festival each week. In 2010, he shifted focus to the more offbeat destinations around the country. In 2013, he published the book “Weird and Wonderful Korea“, which contains over 100 of Korea’s most unusual places.
While in Korea, Chris met and married to a wonderful Canadian named Laura. She is a professional translator, helps to plan some of their trips, and Chris’ better half. She keep a fairly low online profile, so she doesn’t get talked about very often. She is, however, a part of virtually every trip Chris takes.
Chris and Laura moved to Thailand in March 2013, eager to continue the offbeat adventure in a new country. They started in Bangkok (March 2013 – September 2013), moved to Chiang Mai (September 2013 – March 2014), Khon Kaen (March 2014 – September 2014), then Krabi (October 2014 – March 2015). After traveling across Europe from March to July, they’ve settled into Medellin, Colombia (July 2015 – present).
For a complete publication list, see this page.
One Weird Globe started with a blog about all things South Korea. From 2008 to 2013, Chris blogged about travel, life, news, satire, and food in the Hermit Kingdom. In 2011, he focused the blog on travel and life in Korea, which remained his focus when he moved to Thailand in March 2013. After traveling to Malaysia and Laos, he realized it was time to combine all the travel blogs into a single website, and rebranded to One Weird Globe.
Today, One Weird Globe focuses on exploring oddball travel destinations and the long-term expat lifestyle. A number of introductions, itineraries, and guidebooks have been published under the One Weird Globe name – see those at oneweirdglobe.com/books.
Because posterity rocks – as does context. Updated 4 August 2015.
This is a story of what happens when a blogger shifts platforms, styles, cloud services, hosts, and discovers his backups aren’t compatible with new hosting companies.
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 only imports 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, 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.
Since then, my mission has been to help people travel to awesome places in their own way. To that end, the blog has focused on highlighted offbeat and bizarre destinations around the world, while the books aim at different styles of travels:
- Introduction books are a great tool for learning the basics about a country. Complete with tips on food, culture, and getting around, read one of these while planning or researching a trip to a given country. These offer a great look at the country, and link to dozens of specific blog posts.
- An itinerary is perfect if you’re ready for an adventure! Complete with precise directions and curated destinations, itineraries offer a pre-planned route to a number of destinations in a city or region. It’s just like having an expert tour guide by your side.
- Guidebooks cover plenty of destinations across the entire country. Destinations are listed alphabetically, and there are plenty of links and cross-references to make navigating it a breeze. These are perfect if you’d rather plan out your own trip.
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, Laura (a Canadian I met in Korea) also enjoys getting well off-the-beaten-path, and that’s our plan for the foreseeable future.