Travelers have largely overlooked the Balkan region, which has long been shrouded by a troubled past. But its enigmatic nature may prove to be its most potent drawing card.
Traditionally we have molded our lives to accommodate the physical dictates of cities. That is changing—fast. Our cities increasingly are reflecting the architecture and aspirations of tomorrow in their buildings, street life, social connectivity, technologies, transportation systems—even how they welcome and entertain travelers.
Over three decades, Traveler magazine has undergone dramatic changes to reflect where, how, and why we travel. In 1984, we sought out the sights; now we want unique experiences. We traveled to vacation; now we want to be transformed. In the past 30 years, we’ve shot more than 3.4 million photos and published some 36,000. Here we celebrate our anniversary through the camera lens, offering a chronicle of changing times.
The drive from Dublin to County Mayo unspools on a maze of country roads traversing low-slung hills, hummocks, and small towns where the pub still seems a main staple of life. So it is a soaring moment when I come to the western margin of Ireland and find myself at the barren doorstep of the Atlantic’s green rush of swells and surf.
It’s difficult to be entirely dispassionate about something that has been in my family for centuries. So, full disclosure: Throughout the do-we-go, do-we-stay debate on Scottish independence, I’ve been on the side of staying the course with the U.K. and I am relieved that Scottish pride and the knee-jerk, up-yours attitude that once resulted in moors sodden with ill-spent blood spilled by the English gave way to what the Scottish are born to—a calculating practicality that eventually wins the day.
In the 1980s, ecotourism—driven by a deep conservation and environmental ethic—focused on remote jungle lodges, nature treks, and the like. It was well-meaning and maybe appropriate to the time, but dwelled on the fringes of a largely uninterested mainstream travel industry. At Traveler we observed this and felt a broader approach, around sustainable tourism, would…
Two years ago, National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Carl Hoffman shared with me an idea for his next book. It struck a chord because when I was ten I was drawn to the subject: the mysterious disappearance in 1961 of Michael Rockefeller in what was then Netherlands New Guinea. Did he drown? Was he shredded by a crocodile or shark? Or, most grisly, was he eaten by cannibals?
National Geographic Traveler magazine publishes 14 international editions in 12 languages. I read–or look at, when there’s a language barrier–them all. They are a window on the world, reflecting the personalities, interests, dream destinations, and visual expressions of their readerships.
Last summer I brought a wisp of my childhood to our dinner table, a game called Geography that my family played when I was growing up. Each person would name a place starting with the last letter of the preceding destination: me, SwedeN; my mother, NormandY; my sister, YellowstonE; and so on. Playing this game, my…
In more than 50 years of airplane travel I’ve logged hundreds of hours in airports. I note this as I sit, facing an unexpected and lengthy delay, in Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. My instinct is to spend as little time as possible here, yet these days I’m conflicted. This is no longer the drab place that 20 years ago offered travelers a handful of newsstands and fast-food joints. These days, Atlanta’s airport, joining many others around the world, is a little city with a broad range of diversions. Now the question is: Should I stay or should I go?
When I became editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine 15 years ago, the word “ecolodge” suggested places that were so pared down and dutiful that many travelers were regarding them as the domain of the backpacker — all basic furnishings and uninspired food. Therefore it is astonishing to see how much the lodging industry has changed in little more than a decade.
My daughter Mackenzie just turned 7. At her birthday party at the Playseum, she stood in front of a child’s version of a world map—no country names, just illustrations of objects like whales and palm trees and pandas. I watched, astonished, as she pointed out dozens of places—Paris, Antarctica, China, Australia. Then it dawned on…