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Clark Norton

Namibia: Sossusvlei dune with dead tree in Deadvlei salt pan at Namib-Naukluft Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Here’s Part II of Robert Waite’s account of 12 days of traveling through Namibia, a remarkable desert land wedged in a corner of southwest Africa between Angola and South Africa.

(If you missed Part I of Bob’s Namibia narrative, read it here.)

In this piece, Bob encounters towering sand dunes, otherworldly dried lakes, a bay cruise complete with some of the world’s best oysters, a visit to Damaraland, and a top-flight game park where one may encounter lions and herds of elephants and zebras.

By Robert Waite

Walvis Bay, Namibia – If you know Namibia at all, it is likely because of the country’s sand dunes, the largest on earth.

I grew up in Massachusetts, close to Crane Beach in Ipswich. We locals would brag about our “huge” 30-40 foot dunes. It… Continue reading

The Quiver Tree Forest is actually comprised of towering aloe plants. Photo by Karen Shigeishi-Waite.

In this two-part series on Namibia, veteran travel writer Robert Waite continues his series of pieces from outposts around the world, which have taken us from far western Canada to East Africa, Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe, and now to remote southwestern Africa.

I asked Bob what attracts him to places like Namibia, which, while gaining in popularity as a tourist destination, is still off the beaten track.

“I’m drawn to places that might easily be overlooked,” Bob says. “Namibia was a place I initially knew little about, but the more I researched it, the more I became intrigued. I also realized that safaris there were likely to be less crowded than one might find in South Africa or Kenya — which turned out to be the case.”

Here’s Part I of Bob’s piece on… Continue reading

The beach at Jost Van Dyke today -- deceptively peaceful. Photo by nickelstar, on Flickr.

Pacing yourself is easy on a beach in the British Virgin Islands. Photo by nickelstar, on Flickr.

With travel largely curtailed this summer, basic travel wellness procedures may get overlooked. But when it’s time to travel again, it’s wise to review some of the basics, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, pacing yourself, and making sure any medications are in order.

Guest writer Shaun DMello has some good tips and reminders for staying healthy on the road, especially for those past 50.

By Shaun DMello

The growing population of senior travellers is evidence that you can live a life of travel and adventure no matter your age —  especially if you stay healthy. Adopting healthy habits won’t diminish your vacation fun – it’s just about making smart choices that allow you to keep having fun. Here are some you can incorporate into your travel routines:

Hoxha built his nuclear bunker to survive an expected nuclear attack. Photo by Robert Waite

In the second part of a two-part series, contributing writer Robert Waite finally gets to turn his Albanian travel dream into reality. Among other things, he finds a wealth of bizarre historical remnants — including former dictator’s Enver Hoxha’s vast nuclear bunker — which have now become tourist attractions.

Here’s Part I of the series, By Travel Obsessed: Albanian Edition, in case you missed it.

By Robert Waite

Tirana, Albania – After narrowly escaping having our car impounded and my decades-long dream of visiting Albania dashed, we were finally on our way.

Barred from driving ourselves, we engaged Roberto, a Dubrovnik-based guide, to take us to Kotor in Montenegro.

Along the way, he proved quite gregarious, providing colorful commentary on the traits we should expect to observe upon meeting the locals in Kotor. It… Continue reading

Dictator Enver Hoxha ruled Albania with an iron fist until his death in 1985; here he’s depicted in a “Socialist Realism”-style painting, surrounded by adoring workers. Photo by Robert Waite.

Here is the third installment in contributing writer Robert Waite’s literary tour of what I call “countries that I really want to visit but haven’t yet.”

Like Rwanda and Laos before it, Albania — the subject of this highly entertaining two-part series — has been on my list for years but I haven’t quite made it to any of them.

I came tantalizingly close to the latter a few years ago while on a cruise that stopped in Corfu, Greece, just 22 miles (35 kilometres) from Albania. Ferry boats heading to Albania beckoned, but the cruise ship — during just a four-hour stop in Corfu — would not wait.

Longtime readers of this blog might also recall that I’m something… Continue reading

Novice monks arrive to receive alms of sticky rice. Photo by Robert Waite

The country of Laos, along with some other Southeast Asian nations, was on my radar as a possible destination for this year. I was especially interested in taking a river cruise on the Mekong and visiting Luang Prabang.

Alas, it was not to be, but contributing writer Robert Waite did make it there this January, which now seems a lifetime ago. But the portrait he paints is of a “tranquil gem” that I hope will be waiting when safe travel again resumes. And according to Bob, the Laotians are anxious to greet us.

By Robert Waite

Luang Prabang, Laos – It is dark and just a touch chilly. You’re seated on a stool on the road clutching a wicker basket filled with sticky rice, trying to remember the instructions you have just been given. Ball the rice… Continue reading

Yellowstone is a location for one adult summer camp. Photo from YellowstonePark.com

Yellowstone National Park ranked second overall in the survey. Photo from YellowstonePark.com

While travel searches took a big hit the last couple of months — off by almost two-thirds in total — many people are still  dreaming about, and planning for, their future vacations.

According to the folks at rentcafe.com, a nationwide apartment search website and a research blog,  42 percent of those surveyed still want to pursue their travel plans when permitted. But which destinations are holding strong during the pandemic?

To find out, RENTCafe analyzed travel-related Google searches for 960 destinations in the U.S. and then ranked them as top overall destinationstownsbeaches, and natural areas that saw the smallest drop in interest from would-be vacationers.

The survey followed Google travel searches during March and April of this year. All searched destinations were off by at least 25… Continue reading

An elephant enjoys a mud bath in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. Photo by Karen Shigeishi-Waite.

Here’s part II of contributing writer Robert Waite’s riveting account from his trip to Rwanda, following up on his previous post about tracking endangered mountain gorillas in that tiny central African country.

In this post, Bob and his wife, Karen, discover a national park teeming with wildlife (including amorous hippos), a sobering genocide museum, an oddly shaped palace, a “killer” lake, and the “joys” of experiencing a “Rwandan massage.”

By Robert Waite

Kigali, Rwanda – Most people, if they are aware of Rwanda at all, likely only know two things: 1) It is an excellent place to observe the mountain gorilla in its natural habitat and, 2) The country experienced a horrific genocide in the 1990’s. The former inspired the film “Gorillas in the Mist”; the latter, “Hotel Rwanda”. Neither movie had a happy ending.… Continue reading

A troop of mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Photo by Karen Shigeishi-Waite

In this guest post about unforgettable encounters with endangered mountain gorillas in the tiny African nation of Rwanda, contributing writer Robert Waite also provides an update on the status of the gorillas in the midst of the COVID-19  pandemic — and sees hope for optimism.

In his next post, Bob will detail the rest of his trip to Rwanda, a nation that endured a devastating genocide in the 1990’s and has now become one of Africa’s success stories.

By Robert Waite

Ruhengeri, Rwanda – As devastating as COVID-19 is to human populations, the consequences could be equally adverse for rhinos, elephants, gorillas and other sub-Saharan wildlife.

With flights suspended, borders closed and organized tours cancelled or indefinitely postponed, the region’s national parks and game reserves are struggling to protect animals that, at the… Continue reading

Waterfalls empty into beautiful Milford Sound on New Zealand’s south island. Photo by Jade Chan

Among our far-flung correspondents is Jade Chan, who writes for The Star, an English-language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Jade was on vacation in New Zealand just days and hours before that country — as well as Malaysia and Australia (where she had to transit) — severely limited travel to combat the coronavirus threat.  Getting home was something of a trial — “I was ‘saved by the bell,'” as she puts it — but at least she wasn’t stranded for weeks on a cruise ship.

I’ll let Jade take it from here (note that a somewhat different version of this piece originally appeared in The Star).

By Jade Chan

My family had planned for a holiday in New Zealand more than half a year ago, and departed for the Land of the… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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