Today’s guest post by Stuart Cooke of Northern Ireland hooked me with his first great reason to take an African safari: “Africa is Incredible.”
I couldn’t agree more. My first experience visiting the “Third World” was decades ago in Africa. I was traveling there for six weeks on assignment for a news service I worked for, and was supposed to be writing political stories.
I did manage to pound some out, but my heart wasn’t in it.
I quickly discovered that I wanted to see and experience as much of Kenya, Tanzania, and other countries as I could. So I rode trains to Lake Victoria and Zambia, flew to Zanzibar, feasted on Indian food in Nairobi, spent a few idyllic days on the Indian Ocean… Continue reading
The other day I received a press release promoting what sounded like a wonderful five-star hotel in an exotic location, said to be the finest accommodation in its city.
Along with various five-star amenities such as a state-of-the-art spa and gym, six restaurants including one with panoramic views, tennis courts, and indoor pool, it promised to serve as a base for tourists exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites, taking river cruises, visiting museums, and marveling at spectacular evening performances.
The only potential downside? The name says it all: it’s the Corinthia Hotel Khartoum, serving the capital of Sudan, a nation wracked by terrorist violence and crime in recent years, including reported attacks against Westerners in Khartoum itself.
The U.S. State Department doesn’t mince words: if you plan to travel to Sudan, the department warns in an extraordinary… Continue reading
If you’ve been following the news out of Zimbabwe of late, you know that the country’s long-time president, Robert Mugabe, may finally be nearing the end of his repressive regime.
Mugabe, now age 93, has been placed under mostly house arrest by the country’s military, who have denied that they are engaged in an actual coup — a good public relations move, but probably not very reflective of reality.
The idea seems to be to head off Mugabe’s much younger wife, Grace, from succeeding her husband as head of state. Mugabe’s own political party, ZANU-PF, has withdrawn its support for him, and he now finds himself without any real authority.
Under Mugabe, who came to power in 1980 after leading the resistance to Ian Smith’s white nationalist regime in what was previously Rhodesia, much of Zimbabwe had… Continue reading
Our family has long tried to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a major trip.
I won’t specify which birthdays or anniversaries, but these celebratory trips have taken us to Paris, Alaska, Norway, Greece, and Antarctica, among other far-flung destinations.
Sometimes you just need a good excuse to travel. (Other times, not — whatever works.)
So I was intrigued to come across this list of suggested milestone birthday celebratory trips from the folks at Wilderness Travel, which has been taking adventurous travelers to remote regions of the globe since 1978. (It was named AFAR Magazine’s World’s Best Tour Operator for 2017.)
Baby boomers have… Continue reading
A few months ago I attended a stamp and coin show in Tucson and was disappointed to see that most of the displays were devoted to coins, not stamps.
And I became almost morose while chatting with some of the few stamp dealers there (all of whom were baby boomers, by the way). They each told the same story: in their experience, at least, stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Many of their items had been marked down for faster sale.
As a boy growing up in Indiana, I became a fervent stamp collector while still in grade school.
While I collected stamps from all over the world, including the U.S., I especially liked the issues of British and French colonies — not because I romanticized colonization (I didn’t know its moral implications at the time), but because they beautifully depicted far-away, exotic places that, quite simply, made me… Continue reading
Note: This is the first in an occasional series of “chance encounters” with famous people while traveling.
It was May 1977, and I was sitting at an outdoor table in the Thorn Tree Cafe of Nairobi, Kenya’s, New Stanley Hotel, nursing a Tusker beer and alternating glances between the local paper (“Saboteurs Hit Uganda!” blared one headline) and the other patrons.
I chuckled at some members of the well-heeled safari set sipping bubbly at a nearby table, looking slightly ridiculous in their pith helmets and bush jackets.
But I have to admit, I was a bit envious of them. I was on my first overseas reporting assignment for a news service I was working for at the time, and, after several days of frustration, the stories just weren’t materializing — in truth, I didn’t know what I… Continue reading
In recognition of Global Wellness Day — June 11 this year — I thought it would be apropos to mention a few of the more unusual ways to promote health while traveling. As a baby boomer, I’m prone to the usual stiff joints and other nagging ailments, and love the idea of medical tourism, even if it’s mostly an excuse to go somewhere exotic.
- Water-based Meditation.
While I don’t practice meditation, I have a few good friends who do, and they always seem focused and calm. Does meditation have this effect, or are naturally calm and focused people drawn to meditation?
I don’t know, but I do know I could use a little more calmness and focus in my life, and I love being on water, so maybe I’ll try:
The Mekong Spa at Belmond… Continue reading
“The Savvy Path to Breathtaking Travel, Without the Hassle”
“Less Planning, More Experiencing”
“A Journey of a Thousand Smiles Begins With a Single Click”
These are some of the taglines that express the essence of the new travel website, StrideTravel.com, where I worked for more than a year as Content Director. (My job is now in the capable hands of Content Coordinator Samantha Scott, who, together with co-founders Gavin Delany and Jared Alster, comprise a formidable team.)
In practical terms, Stride aspires to be — and in many ways already is — the best place on the Web to survey the wealth of multi-day, pre-planned trips that are now available from hundreds of travel suppliers around the world.
“Pre-planned trips” may encompass guided group or private tours as well as independent journeys… Continue reading
First in an occasional series of profiles of ardent baby boomer travelers:
I hadn’t seen Carol Bruen — who I knew as Carol Heller before she was married — since the end of seventh grade.
Carol and I were grade school classmates in Greencastle, Indiana, before she moved to Alaska. We reconnected recently via this blog. (One of the best things about blogging is hearing from old friends, classmates, and colleagues — so if some of you are still lingering out there, don’t forget to write!)
In our correspondence, we discovered our lives had taken many similar turns — we both did stints working in the U.S. Senate in Washington during the 1960s; we both lived in the same neighborhood in San Francisco in the 1970s; we both had come to know Alaska quite well; and,… Continue reading