Mark Hodson, co-founder of 101 Holidays, a travel inspiration website, shares some favourite sites.

Mark Hodson is a travel journalist and co-founder of 101 Holidays, a travel inspiration website with more than 5 million users. He spent fifteen years writing for The Sunday Times and is still an occasional contributor to newspapers and magazines. He lives in London.


Quora - Essentially it’s just a Q&A site, where users vote up each other’s answers and comments, but Quora is packed with real expertise and thousands of fascinating trains of thought. Even the email newsletters are good, as Quora gets to know your personal interests. If you’re going to waste hours on the web, this is as good a place as any to do it.

Saturday Walkers’ Club - If you live in London and like to walk in the countryside, this site is a treasure trove. More than 300 walks can be downloaded - including GPS files - and the club organises several walks per week where you can meet up with other hikers. The flat structure of the club is interesting: there’s no formal membership, no fees, no leaders, no back markers, so it’s your responsibility to find your own way. The lunchtime pub stops are usually a highlight.

Image Raider - If you publish photos online - whether you’re a professional photographer or just a Facebook user - you might want to know when people are using your images without permission. Upload your images to this site and it will conduct regular reverse image searches and email you with the details. You get free credits on joining and can then buy more.

The Tim Ferriss Experiment - Author of the Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss has one of the most interesting and inquisitive minds on the web. His podcast interviews with high achievers, learning about their daily habits in sometimes forensic detail, are fascinating.

Medium - It didn’t look like the world needed another blog-publishing platform, but Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, has created something that manages to surface high-quality writing, while allowing anyone to publish and republish content to an attractive site where users can do the usual voting and sharing. The daily email newsletter is good - it’s not just personal rants, there’s some serious journalism on there.

Brain Pickings - Like many others, Brooklyn-based Maria Popova writes a blog about literature and culture. But hers is so well written, indepth, interesting and insightful that you’ll soon get addicted. According to her Wikipedia page, she reads hundreds of articles a day and up to fifteen books per week, then spends three to eight hours a day writing. The result is worth it.

& Favourite App... Pocket - Pocket is very simple: you upload a plugin to your browser and whenever you find an interesting page on the web, you save it. The browser syncs with the app on your phone so you can read it later, even if you’re offline. It means I’m never stuck without something interesting to read, and get less distracted when I’m working.

5 August 2015