Travel Planning with AFAR Wanderlists

By - February 12, 2013 (Updated: November 19, 2014) Homepage – Your travel inspiration starts here.

Today I have an exciting announcement and I’m going to introduce you to a great way to do your own travel planning (and dreaming).

First the announcement – I have been asked to become an ambassador for my favourite travel magazine AFAR and their online portal, As an AFAR Ambassador, my name will be appearing in the masthead of AFAR magazine; a huge thrill and honour for me.

It all started when I was doing travel research for an up-coming trip. Andrew and I are headed to Asia in April and I was looking for some tips on where to eat and what to do in Hong Kong. After scanning through my back copies of AFAR magazine, I thought I’d take a peek at their website.

I’ve been reading AFAR magazine since it began, in 2009. Beyond featuring stunning photography and excellent travel writing, AFAR focuses on something we strongly believe in as well – experiential travel. Like AFAR, we believe travel exposes you to new people, cultures and ideas, if you open yourself up to authentic experiences.

My Photo in AFAR Magazine

Last spring one of my photos was featured in AFAR magazine. I never dreamed then, I would become an ambassador for my favourite source of travel inspiration.

We believe, to find the best places, whether you’re in Brussels or Bangalore, you need to ask a local. Reading AFAR and using is like having access to locals around the world, without ever leaving home.

Diving into, I did a quick search for Hong Kong and an hour later I was still reading through great, insider recommendations on what to do in the city. Not only did I have an extensive list of restaurants to try, but I had learned about a stunning temple few tourists visit and a park where locals take their pet birds for fresh air. isn’t like typical travel websites, written by a staff of travel writers, (although AFAR’s writers are fantastic and supply loads of great content to the website as well). Instead features recommendations, known as ‘Highlights,’ from travelers and locals. So if you really want to know where the locals go for dim sum, in a particular neighbourhood, you can find out here.

So, being passionate about sharing Belgium with the world, I decided to dive in and share some of my own experiences. I began posting highlights about a few of my favourite places in Brussels, and before I knew it, I had the makings of my first Wanderlist.

A Wanderlist is a collection of Highlights around a particular theme. My theme, of course, was Undiscovered Belgium. Not long after, I realised half of my Highlights were about food (no shock there) so I also created a Belgium for Foodies Wanderlist. Well, I became a bit of a Highlight machine, adding posts from all over Belgium and beyond.

My AFAR Wanderlists

My AFAR Wanderlists – Stay tuned because there are more to come!

The lovely folks at AFAR took notice and asked if I would like to be a ‘local expert’ for Brussels.  Promote my favourite place to an even wider audience? Of course!

A few days later, the news got even better. The AFAR staff had checked out CheeseWeb and liked what they saw. The wonderful AFAR Community Manager, Lauren, asked if I would be interested in becoming an AFAR Ambassador. Writing content for and promoting my favourite travel magazine was something I didn’t have to think twice about.

Your friendly Local Expert for Brussels, Belgium

Your friendly Local Expert for Brussels, Belgium

What does this mean for you, lovely readers? First, you have one more place to find tips and recommendations, on our favourite places in Belgium and beyond. Some of my Highlights will have been featured on CheeseWeb in the past, but many will be new experiences I haven’t had time to share here.

I’ll be posting some of my favourite Highlights and Wanderlists to our Facebook Page, tweeting them on Twitter and pinning them to Pinetrest (because you know we love our social media).

Just a few of my highlights

Just a few of my highlights

Oh, and you’ll have the opportunity to win your own digital subscription to AFAR magazine. Sound good? I thought so too! Stay tuned for contest details in a future post.

You don’t have to join to read the Highlights, but if you sign up, you can save your favourites to your very own Wanderlist. It’s a great way to plan your next trip, or day-dream about where to go in the future. You can even add your own Highlights and share them with us. If you have some great ones for Belgium, we’ll share them in our Wanderlist.

To get you started off, you can check out my Highlights and Wanderlists and I hope to see you soon on

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 22 hours ago


  1. Comment by Marc Poelmans

    Marc Poelmans February 12, 2013 at 11:11

    Congrats, Alison! You obviously sound thrilled and full of ideas, and we’ll be eager to read the outcome. I’ll have to get started on some of my own lists then… Enjoy !

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison February 12, 2013 at 11:24

      Thanks Marc! Yes you definitely should add some highlights! I know you have some good ones. Both local experts for Belgium are expats so you need to add your Belgian voice there 🙂

  2. Comment by Sion Dayson @ paris (im)perfect

    Sion Dayson @ paris (im)perfect February 12, 2013 at 11:40

    Congratulations, Alison! AFAR definitely picked the right Ambassador!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison February 12, 2013 at 11:53

      Aw thanks Sion! Now when are we going to get you up here to check out Brussels? 🙂

  3. Comment by Amy

    Amy February 12, 2013 at 12:33

    Congrats Alison! That’s very exciting news!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison February 12, 2013 at 13:51

      Thanks Amy!

  4. Comment by Lauren

    Lauren February 12, 2013 at 21:05

    Wow. I couldn’t have said it better! Thank you for the beautiful write-up on AFAR’s mission, products, and community, Alison. I’m beyond thrilled to have you as part of our incredible team of ambassadors! Cheers.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison February 13, 2013 at 09:00

      Thank you so much Lauren! You’ve been so lovely to work with and I’m looking forward to a long relationship with you and the AFAR team!

  5. Comment by Vinnie

    Vinnie February 13, 2013 at 06:27

    Congratulations Alison on being honored in such a unique manner for AFAR. Your stint at AFAR seems to be an extension of what you actually love doing i.e traveling and talking about it.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison February 13, 2013 at 09:58

      Thank you Vinnie.

  6. Comment by Sonya

    Sonya February 18, 2013 at 17:28

    Congrats on becoming an AFAR Ambassador! I’ve long been a fan of your site and I just included it in my 10 Expat Blogs You’ll Love list on my site Happy Monday!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison February 18, 2013 at 18:24

      Thanks so much Sonya! We’re honoured.

  7. Pingback: CheeseWeb's Asian Adventure 2013 | Expat Life in Belgium, Travel and Photography | CheeseWeb

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