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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

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

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Chinese New Year parades are always colorful, noisy, and popular in much of the world.

Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival), starts on January 25 this year and continues for 15 days.

It’s the most important festival time of the year in China — when millions of Chinese travel to their home villages and cities to be with family or friends for holiday reunions. (We can only hope the coronavirus now threatening China is safely contained and allows for such visits this year.)

This is the Year of the Rat, the first of the 12 rotating Chinese Zodiac signs. The mythological rat is said to have used his cleverness to trick his way to the top of the zodiacal order — and, though more maligned today, is considered a symbol of wealth and fertility in traditional Chinese culture. The rat also symbolizes getting a fresh start.

Chinese New… Continue reading

The Garden of Earthy Delights, by Hieronymous Bosch

First setting eyes on The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymous Bosch, was for me a numinous experience

Previously, I wrote about hodophobia: the fear of travel, and some ways to conquer it.

Today’s topic is a bit more fun and upbeat: some less-known — and generally quite obscure — terms that reflect the essence of the love and fascination of travel. (Some aren’t confined strictly to travel, but offer insight into it.)  Some of the terms are from English, and some from other languages.

The latter are particularly interesting to me because they capture some nuances that English does not. (And because of that, I may miss some of that nuance — so if you’re among the native Portuguese, German, or Swedish speakers who follow this blog, please free to correct me.)

Let’s start with a pure travel term that’s the opposite of hodophobia: hodophilia.

Hodophilia (English,… Continue reading

If it’s Tuesday, this must be the Rue de Bouchers in Brussels. Photo from Shutterstock.

Today’s guest post, by Canadian resident Robert Waite, argues that baby boomers should slow down a bit in pursuing bucket list items and spend more quality time in a destination to absorb the culture and life of the people there.

As Bob told me, his piece is meant to stir debate,  and I found myself debating his points within my own mind —  which is exactly what a good piece of journalism should provoke.

I’ll share my opinions on this topic in a later post, but for now I’ll yield the floor to Bob:

By Robert Waite

Those of us of a certain age might recall the film “If It’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium,” a 1969 United Artists release that poked fun at American tourists for their penchant for rushing from European… Continue reading

The expedition ship MV Cascadia sailed the Haida Gwaii islands. Photo by Robert Waite.

In Part II of Robert Waite’s chronicle of his trip to remote Haida Gwaii — an archipelago off the west coast of Canada, in British Columbia — he takes us aboard the MV Cascadia, a small  expedition vessel that holds a maximum of 24 passengers.

Along with comfortable accommodations and amenities, the Cascadia provided plenty of opportunities for visiting the islands, formerly known as the Queen Charlottes, where the biological diversity is the richest on earth and Haida tribal culture is making a comeback.

If you haven’t read Part I of this two-part series, I suggest you go there now and you’ll have the full context for reading about this extraordinary journey.

By Robert Waite

Once aboard the Cascadia, much of our seven-day voyage was determined by weather and tides.

Tides on the east… Continue reading

Haida Gwaii’s mist-covered islands are sheer magic. Photo by Robert Waite.

In this post, Part I of a two-part series, guest contributor and baby boomer Robert Waite chronicles his journey to little-visited Haida Gwaii, previously known as the Queen Charlotte islands, off the coast of British Columbia.

Part I offers an introduction to the tumultuous history and compelling culture of the islands, while part II will detail his voyage through them aboard the MV Cascadia, a small expedition ship that allows for shallow landings and coastal kayaking trips while balancing comfortable accommodations with environmental protection.

Getting to explore Haida Gwaii personally is a far cry from the distant views afforded from Alaska-bound cruise ships as they pass Haida Gwaii sailing along the Inside Passage, often in the dead of night. Like me, if you’ve made that trip, you may have wondered what you were missing on those islands. Now we… 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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