Importance of Kansas City in Technology

A lot of people don’t realize the historical and cultural importance of Kansas City on America, especially in the areas of the arts and technology.

Ultimate Travel guide to Golden Gloves Boxing

It is spring time again and that means it is the time of Golden Gloves boxing across the country. It all got started in late January for Buffalo Golden Gloves and will end with late April in New Mexico. This year, the national Golden Gloves will be in Nebraska in early May.  Read more


Bass Pro Shops are a redneck’s paradise : Why the popular outdoors store has developed a cult following

When I was in college, my room mate would go to the Bass Pro Shop in town to dream of what he could buy at some point. It was his love for fishing, hunting and camping that drove him to spend money he really did have to get things he really wanted to have for his passions. He is not alone. The truth is the brand has quite a following…..almost a cult following surrounding Bass Pro Shops.

Back in the those days, it was just a five mile drive to get to the store in Springfield, Missouri. There is an endless supply of eye candy for people like him that love lures, boats, rifles and about anything related to hunting and fishing that you could dream of.

It is amazing how a little side business in the back of a local liquor shop has become a national iconic obsession. Back in those days, you could get a fifth of Jack and some bait on your way to Table Rock Lake in Branson. By the end of the third year as a company, they had already build quite the mail order business.

After all the decades in business and opening several stores across the country, the name is very much part of the discussion for any fisherman, hunter or redneck. Visiting one of the “Wal-Mart of fishermen” is a rite of passage to many.


Ultimate travel guide to American Samoa : More than NFL players and war dances

American Samoa is some of the most remote places you can still technically be in the United States. In fact, it is the only real estate we own that is south of the equator. Yes, a lot of NFL players with funny last names do come from here. Someone from American Samoa is 57 times more likely to make it to the professional football level than from any other community in the country. Read more


America had fewer tourists in 2017: What it means for Americans

I came across an article that questions the decline in arrivals for tourism purposes to the United States. It was making the case of immigration being the challenged. However, I firmly believe it missed the point of tourism in the country. America is driving by domestic consumption.

In Kansas City, just one city of many that has a tourism sector; less than ten percent of the arrivals actually come from international arrivals. The other twenty two millions people come other places around the country. While the international arrivals are down nationally, the local tourism numbers are up by over two percent.

This is not just happening at the home of America’s best barbecue either. Numbers for Oklahoma City, Denver, and Memphis also point to this same trend. In fact, almost every city that was looked at for the writing of this article shows that domestic tourism was growing while international arrivals was down.

While some are concerned about this trend, I am not. If anything, the tourism boards across America and on the national level should be focused on building the domestic markets more than the international markets. There is many benefits to having home grown visitors besides just the reduced concerns for terrorismRide the Ducks.


Understanding the dynamics of American tourism

It is not just the rich family that flies on a private jet to Hawaii for a weekend getaway anymore. A lot of the tourism goes on in the country is actually day trips. People who are just taking Saturday to go somewhere that they haven’t been. You multiple this by the thousands of families doing it on any given weekend and you have a lot of income being generated.

If Tom and Diane live in Kansas City but they want to get out of town for a day. They drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma early one day and come back later in the evening. They see the sights and sounds of the former oil capital of America and spend money there as tourist. What they do not know is Tulsa probably has a thousand other couples that did the same exact thing they did that weekend.

Branson is full every day of the summer of American visiting from across the country. Every hotel is full from people that are not from Europe or China but from Texas and Georgia. These people come more often and in larger numbers than anything we will ever get from Nigeria. The story of what happens in Branson is true in many other places like Pigeon Forge, Padre Island and Steamboat Springs.

What is surprising is a coalition of tourism executives would overlook the power of the American tourist and treat the industry like it is Cambodia and must rely completely on foreign tourism. The reality is that the United States is not like the countries of Southeast Asia and arrivals from other countries is not critical to keep the tourism sector up and operating.

Border Control

Keeping American safe does matter

One of the main reasons that America choose to spend their vacation money inside the country is they do not have the issue of security. It does matter. The concept of just opening the borders to anyone and everyone that claims to be want to be a tourist would be a security and ultimately a military nightmare. ISIS would love an open border to tourist policy. Just checking the box next to tourist can not excuse one from being vetted by our border control agencies.

It is an uncomfortable truth but the terrorist that were the pilots on September 11, 2001 came to the United States via Canada claiming to be tourists and for educational purposes. I am not saying anyone from the Middle East must be considered a threat to the people of the United States but I am saying that is a concern that we need to have and that should matter more than a few tourism dollars.

We live in a time of history that protecting our borders has become a major political discourse. It would completely undermine every step to securing our borders to just allow them to come in under the falsehood of “tourist.” What would be the point of building a multi-million dollar wall to slow the human trafficking down from Mexico if we just hand people from Mexico stamps who cry tourism?

The citizens who remain in the country for vacation will generate much money income for local tourism agencies than any amount of guests that come from Syria or Pakistan. One of the driving factors for domestic travel is safety, after all.

Am I calling for America first?

Some people would say that what I am saying is just President Trump’s America first policy. It is basically what I am saying. Our tourism is best when it is driven by Americans. As a country, we are in the position that can drive our own hospitality industry without relying on people from Kenya and Canada to make it happen. It is true that many countries can not do this but the United States is one that can.

This is not a call to close down the borders to tourists from England or Germany that want to come and see New York City or visit Hawaii. We have always had a degree of international tourism and that will continue. It is just to say the focus of the industry should be on building up arrivals from within the region, not from across the world.

I firmly believe that have a market that is mainly driven by domestic domination is the preferred policy of that any tourism board should have anywhere. These countries that have dependency on international arrivals for their income are rolling the dice and hoping to get lucky. My dealings with the Filipinos over the years is evidence that without the Americans and the Koreans, the whole industry would be broken tomorrow.

At the end of the day, the focus of this US Coalition’s report is just misguided and they are not considering the raw power of the American tourist and the economics that drive it.



KOA Campgrounds : Guide to first class camping in America

One of the ways you can experience America is by staying at KOA campgrounds around the country. They are normally competitive with lower end hotels for cabins and hookups for motorhomes can vary a little. I have found staying at these campgrounds to worth the effort. Read more


Considering America’s Islands for a exotic vacation in 2018

America is 50 states and we all know that. However, what many people forget about is our territories and our freely associated states. I have traveled to many of them but most Americans could not even locate them on a map. I know of one man that did not even know where Guam was! Read more


18 places to visit in 2018: the best places for a weekend getaway for under $300

2018 is here and you want to get out and see the country, I assume. If that is the case, here are the 18 places to consider for a weekend getaway in 2018. These are in no real order and they are not all in an area but we did try to keep an state to two mentions or less. Read more

Special Message from Peter Vandever

Travel the Fire is a website committed to helping people travel to the Ring of Fire and nothing is changing but the road has seemed to come to an end. I have traveled in some pretty far out places like Tuvalu and Kirbati. I have lived in American Samoa and Fiji. I love the islands and being in the islands has been the adventure of my life.

However, there has been two events that had shaped the road ahead for the website and I want to make that clear to all the readers. I also want to tell you what is coming to the website in the future. That is the least I owe the people who have followed this project. That includes over 3,000 people on Facebook and just under 5,000 people on the mailing list.

Out of the gate, I am a disabled American. I am not sitting in some home because of it. However, the issue of decent medical care has become a major issue and this is something that just downright sucks in the Pacific. The best hospital in the Pacific is the world hospitals in America.  I need to be close to quality doctors and that is just not an option.

The options for a good doctor are to live in Tokyo, Hong Kong or Singapore if I want to be in the region. Having high quality neurologists is a requirement that I have at this point and that rules out living in most of the Pacific region, including the Philippines. Literally. it is either Hong Kong or Tokyo. Both of these options are very expensive for daily life.

The second issue is related to an American that took the liberty to insult the youth of America claiming that 90% of them could not survive 72 hours. This is not factual and even the most liberal stats put majority of our youth with scouting skills. However, for someone to even believe this, especially someone who is former military, is concerning. Last Kodiak is my response to this challenge.

What is the future of Travel the Fire!

It is not likely that there will much new content coming as long as I am out of the Pacific. It is possible that something in the news cycle needs to talk about, such as when American Samoa changed the visa rules for Australians. Otherwise, there will not be new content as I will not be in the region to review things and tell you how to do this or that anymore.

I will continue to work on making it a better website and getting the domain to preform better in search engines. The domain authority of Travel the Fire has over 150% in the last 90 days! I expect that to continue.

The other issue is when I do visit the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii; I will update the website with new adventures and stories. Given that I work with several missionary groups in the region, visits from time to time are very likely.

What will become of the Facebook page, group and mailing list?

This is a logical question and one I think deserve an answer. The short answer is I will keep them and use them for Last Kodiak as much of the vision is similar, just a different niche. I understand that we will see a few hundred people leave the mailing list but that is fine. In fact, I expect it to happen. However, the bulk of the thousands will enjoy the new direction, I am positive.

If there is a question about this, I don’t mind the discussion about it. I thought this would be best as that will be where I am most active in the coming months. As I said, this website will be mainly dormant and used just for historical purposes.

Is blogging about the Pacific profitable?

One of the harsh realities about running a blog is that at some point, it needs to become profitable. The money that comes in from Adsense and affliate marketing is good but I could not live on it. One day, adsense had a $54.00 payout. That sounds great and you might be saying that that is over $1,600 a month. It would be but most days are closer to $5 than $50 for the website.

Part of the issue is that Adsense is based on cookies and location. If you are in the Philippines searching for something in the Philippines, the ads served up will be related to the Philippines that is a low paying market. Mainly, ads based in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom pay much better than ads served from Asia and the Pacific.

It just makes sense that blogging about the United States would attract more readers from the United States. More readers that are American will result is more traffic from ads related to the United States and that become better pay days from Google Adsense. It is just logical business sense to focus where the money is, not where you want it to be.