Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872, leading the British diplomat James Bryce to declare national parks “the best idea America ever had.” Indeed, it was, and is. But celebrations and plaudits aside, look at what we have done to our national treasures. As we prepare to celebrate the National Park Service centennial in 2016, here’s a birthday wish for the future.
In 1864, the French novelist Jules Verne published one of his most ambitious works—”Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Though Verne was widely regarded for the meticulous scientific research that informed his writing, what he posited in “Journey” has been rejected: namely, that volcanic tubes lead to the Earth’s core. This, of course, hasn’t stopped curious travelers from exploring the book’s geological protagonist: Iceland’s Snæfellsjökull.
This year marks a quarter century since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Berlin continues to boom amid the reminders of its extraordinary past—a complex, sometimes dark, history it is intent on neither forgetting nor denying.
Numbers add up—just ask the Inion Eleven. Backed by a bounty of votes, this fearless family of global nomads takes the top spot in our 2014 People’s Choice Traveler of the Year contest.
There are more ways than ever to make money writing about travel—from writing for third-party outlets (publications, websites) to working with travel-related companies such as luggage and clothing manufacturers, hotels, airlines, and tourism boards. The issue this ever-broadening spectrum has raised for me is a thorny one that has been around for a long time in one guise or another, but that seems even more central now. Namely: Who controls the content?
Colombia’s vibrant capital emerges from a sketchy past to paint a bold new future.
In the 1950s, Peru’s Cabo Blanco Fishing Club was a famous rod-and-reel outpost—the world record black marlin, weighing 1,560 pounds, was caught here. Ernest Hemingway visited, along with other celebs. Now the classic coastal village and some 2,500 square miles of ocean around it could become part of a new ecotourism project—or be turned over to more oil drilling platforms.
“Llama trekking seemed a perfect fit,” explains Stuart Wilde, who came to the New Mexico backcountry outside of Taos more than two decades ago. “As an outdoor educator and conservation advocate, they help me teach about minimal-impact backcountry ethics and sustainable tourism.”
Make no mistake: National Geographic 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.