Make no mistake, National Geographic’s lead geographer Juan José Valdés’s curiosity about “the world and all that’s in it” (a phrase Alexander Graham Bell, one of the Society’s founding members, used to describe the scope of the organization’s mission) isn’t purely cartographic or limited to his desk. Here’s a look at the planet through his unique lens.
A few weeks ago, I challenged myself to embrace a different kind of travel. Despite having spent two decades traversing more than 100 countries in all manner of ways, I had never been in an RV. And yet, hitting the road in one of these self-contained mobile domiciles is exactly how thousands of fellow travelers see the world. What was I missing?
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.
The taxi driver hoisted my suitcase on his shoulder, stepped gingerly around the puddles and slopped through the mud on the earthen path to my homestay family’s stilt house. He had just driven me three and a half hours north of Siem Reap, into the bucolic rice-fields-and-palm-trees wilds of northern Cambodia, a half hour from the Thai border.
We are about five miles off the mainland of northern Ontario, camping on the rocky, forested islets that make up the Slate Islands archipelago on Lake Superior. Currently one of Ontario’s unmanaged provincial parks, there’s very little infrastructure on the islands other than remnants of mining and fishing activities, an old lighthouse, and a herd of endangered woodland caribou.
If you’re looking for an excuse to have a celebration when traveling through certain countries in Europe, make sure to time your visit with your name day.
A new coat of paint and a new lease on life for ramshackle buildings transformed into guesthouses in Old Bangkok…
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…
Like their American counterparts, the cowboys, France’s gardians cut a dashing figure and loom large in the culture of the southern France. Part of a brotherhood formed in the early 16th century, the gardians are the caretakers of the herds of beautiful gray horses and black bulls that roam the largely unfenced Camargue region.
Though just 70 miles south of Chile’s capital, Santiago, Valparaíso is a destination in its own right. The port city’s economy may not be what it was, but the vibrant culture you’ll find there remains, despite a flagging maritime trade and earthquakes that have shaken it to its core. As the city and its people rebuild and heal after a catastrophic fire claimed homes and lives, there has never been a better time to visit. Here’s why.
In 1979, I was a young backpacker in search of paradise. I found it in southern Thailand. Lost on Ko Phangan, I stumbled upon the brilliant sands of Haad Rin. I stayed there a month, made a hand-drawn map of its location, and vowed never to let the secret out. But others discovered it. Today Haad Rin represents tourism gone wrong.
In the “bean belt” looping Africa, Asia, and the Americas, coffee provides more than a jolt—it’s an economic lifeline and a cultural bedrock. Coffee buyer Kim Elena Ionescu’s hunt for the planet’s best beans has taken her from Bolivia to Ethiopia. Steeped in ritual, her adventures are anything but stale. Here are some of the highlights.
While riding a sleek bullet train in Taiwan recently, where the towering Taipei 101 skyscraper stands as testament to the country’s economic bustle, I never expected that a mere hour of cycling would locate me in a living, breathing haiku: a physical experience that occupies a brief moment in time, but, though simple, presents a great depth of experience.
It’s one thing to stand in a place where a historic event transpired a thousand years ago. It’s entirely different to stand in a spot where history was made during your own lifetime. This lesson resonated for me recently on a mind-expanding trip to Berlin.
Last year, my new husband and I ventured to Zimbabwe for a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience to celebrate our milestone together. Neither of us had ever traveled anywhere in Africa before, so planning our adventure was both exciting and exhausting. Here are a few things we learned—both before and during our trip—that will save you some…
In early 2014, the Dallas Safari Club, a Texas-based hunting outfit, came up with an unconventional idea for protecting the critically endangered African black rhino: Auction a permit to shoot one and donate the money for conservation. What kind of precedent does this set—and what are enlightened travelers to do?
When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan, I wanted to see what remained of the Silk Road that snaked through that spiky Central Asian country for centuries, bridging the vastness of Asia and the West with caravans bearing silk, gems, and spices. Here’s what I found.
Here on Salt Spring Island in western Canada, inside a 20-foot-wide canvas yurt—modeled after the round, portable dwellings of nomads in Mongolia and Central Asia—I feel closer to nature than ever. And yet the first thing I do upon waking is reach above me, retrieve my iPod Touch from the headboard, and refresh my Gmail inbox. In a matter of seconds, I find myself present everywhere but here.
When summer arrives, I think of road trips. This is partly because the summer road trip is one of those life-defining rites of passage, at least for Americans, and partly because it’s the season in which my most memorable road trips have taken place. But the journey that comes back to me most poignantly each time the weather turns warm is a road trip I made though France the summer after I graduated from college.
It’s not easy to get out from under the shadow of a place like Brazil’s Pantanal—a natural wetland bigger than England and home to a biodiversity bonanza of such rare species as the tapir and the jaguar. Yet the town of Bonito, on the Pantanal’s border, is emerging as one of Brazil’s favorite adventure outposts.
In the course of my travels–and my career as a promoter and practitioner of sustainable tourism–one question comes up again and again: “What can I do to be a more responsible traveler?” So I thought I’d pen a primer. Here are seven things globetrotters can do to lessen their impact on the planet.
I’d never come close to a shotgun before. Or a bear. To me, a girl from New York City and the mother of a five-month-old son, that bear was as terrifying a threat as Godzilla. Luckily, it didn’t attack us, but it did eat the Naugahyde window padding off our parked camper before my then-husband’s…
When a friend invited me to her wedding in Costa Rica, I was ecstatic. But a few things happened between booking my flight and take-off. Life got busy. My guidebooks remained stacked—unopened—neatly on my desk. I made a reservation at an eco lodge in the Guanacaste region, on the country’s Pacific coast, but had no time to look into the activities it had to offer or the must-see sites around town. So when my flight took off, I had no plan. Little did I know I was an unwitting participant in the “slow travel movement.”
Photos can be a wonderful way of sharing meaningful experiences with others, but I worry that my attempts to document the moment make being present in it a challenge. Does photography support awareness of my immediate experience, or detract from it?
The digital detox bandwagon is growing these days. People are increasingly looking for vacations that offer a break not just from the daily grind at home or at the office, but from their smartphones. Quick tip: It’s not about where you go. Once we reach a destination, we have to make the same decisions as we do back home. The real way to disconnect–wherever you happen to be–is what writer Rebecca Solnit calls “the most obvious and the most obscure thing in the world.”