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
What, a place in California where there are hardly any people — and yet is so strikingly beautiful that it’s been called the Switzerland of California?
OK, I’ll ‘fess up — I’m the one who called it the Switzerland of California, as I hiked recently along a mountain trail bordering meadows blanketed with wildflowers and sporting gorgeous views of 11,000-foot peaks that still displayed pockets of snow in early August.
And its very name — Alpine County — certainly evokes Switzerland as well, as does its semi-official nickname, the “California Alps.”
The area was first explored by non-native Americans when John C. Fremont and his scout, Kit Carson, passed through in 1844. Soon after came contingents of Mormon settlers and gold prospectors, and much later still vacationers and second-home owners.
Alpine County isn’t very large — it’s the eighth smallest… Continue reading
Most of us probably don’t travel for our health — but generally speaking, it’s a very good perk, especially for baby boomers.
Studies have shown that leisure travel can be good medicine.
There’s straight-up wellness travel, of course, such as visiting a health spa to lose weight.
But travel in and of itself can also do the job.
- Travel helps reduce stress and promote relaxation by taking a break from routine.
- Travel usually results in greater physical activity, particularly walking. But you might also learn tai chi in China, practice yoga in India, or bicycle around Europe.
- Travel promotes brain health by challenging us with new and different experiences and environments. It can potentially help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Travel can also help ward off depression… Continue reading
According to a recent survey of 40 countries around the globe conducted by motor home rental site SHAREaCAMPER, the Netherlands has the most adventurous people per capita, followed by Australia and Sweden.
The survey tabulated the number of online searches in each country for such adventurous activities as skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, BMXing, and caravanning — the latter being what Australians (where SHAREaCAMPER is partially based) call traveling in RVs, campers, or motor homes.
Strictly in terms of sheer numbers of total searches, the United States placed first, but of course has a much higher population than the other countries. The U.S. finished ninth in the per capita rankings.
While the Netherlands was outdone in skiing by Norway and Australia in surfing (no surprises there), Switzerland in… Continue reading
The infographic below from the UK-based TravelSupermarket.com came across my desk recently and I thought I would pass it along as a public service. It’s essentially a compendium of Extreme Adventures around the world that I can cross off my bucket list even before trying them.
Oh, I might try riding the Alpine rollercoaster in Austria or give the world’s fastest zip line in Wales a shot at pumping my adrenaline to warp speed.
But bungee jumping into a volcano in Chile, cliff camping in Colorado (yes, that means sleeping on the edge of the cliff), or riding a bike along Bolivia’s notorious Death Road?
Thanks, but I’ll leave those to another lifetime, which I would probably be starting soon if I succumbed to the temptation to try any of them, which… Continue reading
In a previous post last summer, I wrote about how my wife, Catharine, and I liked to ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry — which crosses Delaware Bay to connect northern Delaware and southern New Jersey — just for fun when visiting the Jersey Shore.
Unlike most passengers, who are actually trying to get somewhere — holding 100 cars and other vehicles, the ferry provides a relaxing alternative to traffic-choked I-95 when traveling up or down the East Coast — Catharine and I just enjoy being out on the water. So we’ve taken the 34-mile, nearly three-hour round-trip voyage from Cape May, New Jersey, across the bay to Lewes, Delaware, and back strictly as a day trip.
It’s essentially a “cruise to nowhere,” and on a beautiful sunny day it’s a delight to sit up on deck and just watch the… 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
It was news to me, but National Grandparents Day is on Sunday, September 13th.
According to Family Travel Association:
- 50 million U.S. households are now led by grandparents, forecasting a continued travel boom by this large group of baby boomers.
- Today’s grandparents are far more active than their parents were, spending lots of time planning trips around specific activities.
- As a result, multi-generational adventure travel is up 30% year after year. (Multi-generational travel is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and tops the list of travel trends, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report.)
- More grandparents are traveling with just the grandchildren, leaving the greandkids’ parents’ behind.
- 22% of all grandparents traveled with just their grandchildren in the past year.
Here are a few suggestions for multi-generational travel, whether it’s… Continue reading
Over the past several years, I’ve had the following exciting, sometimes scary, often challenging, but ultimately exhilarating adventures:
- Summiting a peak in British Columbia, then rappelling down the side of a cliff onto a glacier.
- Whitewater rafting in Nepal on class IV and V rivers.
- Riding a camel in the Sahara and Sinai deserts.
- Hiking for a week over the hills and dales of County Kerry in southwest Ireland.
- Feeling the rush of whales diving directly under my Zodiac and surfacing less than 20 yards away in Glacier Bay, Alaska.
- Biking 45 miles from the top of Maui’s Mount Haleakala to the shores of the Pacific, the world’s longest downhill bike ride.
- Swimming with piranhas in the Amazon.
- Mushing a dogsled team in Finland.
And I’ve done them all after the… Continue reading
Bicycling is great exercise for baby boomers, who may find running to be too hard on the knees, surfing too fraught with teenagers, golf too pricey and frustrating, and hula-hooping just all-around too embarrassing.
With cycling, though, it’s easy to just hop on a bike and take off. Of course, it’s good to have someplace safe to ride.
Ocean City, New Jersey, on the lower stretches of the Jersey Shore south of Atlantic City, knows how to make cycling safe and appealing, which helps keep people out of cars and improve physical fitness and air quality as well.
Its longtime slogan “America’s Greatest Family Resort” is morphing into “America’s Greenest Family Resort.”… Continue reading