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.”
They say you can’t go home again, but after a recent trip to Connecticut, I’ve concluded that it’s not that simple.
Haida Gwaii, a misty archipelago off the British Columbian coast, how dramatically it has changed over the last years! The multinational timber companies that once dominated the economy and dictated public policy are gone. More than half of the land is now protected. Best of all, the collapse of industrial logging has coincided with a revitalization of Haida culture that few could have anticipated when the whine of chainsaws overpowered all other sounds in the forest.
With sounds of the surf lapping at the harbor next to La Yola restaurant, I tucked into my curried lobster with gusto. Though dining on an over-fished creature, I didn’t feel the least bit guilty. That’s because I knew that the local fishermen were given lobster houses in exchange for a commitment to restrict their catch:…
“The village school is just over there,” says the Mayor of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, site of the largest American cemetery in Europe. “Our teacher taught us a song, and we put flowers on the graves.” Inhaling the lilac-scented air, I’m finding it hard to reconcile that this emerald strip of France’s Lorraine region once roiled with battles along World War I’s infamous western front.
Welcome to the Local Offbeat Travel Club. We’re the ones who consider “off the beaten track” to be less to do with where you are, than how you approach where you are. In other words, we never say “ooh, weird,” snap a photo, and then move on. Instead, we linger–to find out the “why.”
The idea of documenting a trip through art isn’t a particularly new one. Aboard Captain Cook’s second voyage to the Pacific was oil painter William Hodges; artist Edward Wilson accompanied Robert Scott as he explored the Antarctic; even a 22-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier and her sister Lee completed sketches of their European tour in 1951. Three years ago, I decided to give this tradition a try. My first sketch was hastily drawn, with rows of capital Ls for windows and messy scribbles for trees, but I immediately noticed two effects the process had on me…
Generations of “lobsta” families form the backbone of villages dotting Maine’s rugged coast, where they haul traps in the cold Atlantic waters. The good news? The Marine Stewardship Council has certified Maine lobster as among only 10 percent of fisheries worldwide that are sustainable.
Dan Westergren is the director of photography for National Geographic Traveler. Though he had an early affinity for black and white photography, being responsible for a travel magazine’s photographic vision means Dan is, in his words, “surrounded by a rainbow riot of color digital images” on a daily basis. Beyond his exceptional eye for editing,…
America’s national parks are blessed with opportunities for unparalleled biking. Trips that can cross the Continental Divide, circle the rim of an ancient volcano, or follow the path of an historic canal. Here are seven national parks that offer world-class scenic cycling routes.
Everyone in Boquete knows that Pipeline Trail is the best place to spot resplendent quetzals–those glorious, almost mythical trogons with bright-red breasts and long feather-boa tails. We couldn’t see them, but their loud, clear voices told me that they were nearby. I imagined the fantastical creatures perched high in the trees around us, delighting in their innate ability to hide.
Ever since I read Bruce Chatwin’s “In Patagonia,” I’ve wanted to follow in his footsteps. And at the end of 2012, I was poised to realize my dream when Conservación Patagonica hired me to teach English at the nascent Patagonia National Park. My plan was to stay for three months; I ended up staying nearly five times that long. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at this remarkable park in progress.
In addition to being an editor at large at Traveler and the magazine’s chief book expert Don George has tackled everything from how travel keeps us young (and in love with the world) to a popular travel writing tips series for Intelligent Travel. Here’s your chance to pick his literary brain: Join us at 12:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 13, for @NatGeoTravel’s latest Twitter chat. Use #TripLit to ask a question or to simply follow along.
It’s the end of a glorious two-week immersion in Old Japan. When I arrived, Kyoto seemed to have erupted overnight into a sea of brilliant blossoms, fluffy pink clouds massing over canals and rivers. On my first night I wandered in a jet-lagged haze through the Higashiyama-Gion neighborhood that I love, all closet-sized shops, tiny winding lanes, and timeless temples and shrines. Lost in the hushed, lantern-lit passageways, I wasn’t sure what century I’d landed in.
Becoming a travel pro takes time–and lots of trial and error–but it’s not cheating to learn from the experiences of others. The folks at Nat Geo Travel know that as much as anyone. And while we have a lot of road miles under our belts, we’re students of the world, too. Here’s what we’ve learned so far.
If you approach America’s national parks like a nature photographer, not only will you get memorable images, but also you’ll experience the parks at their inspiring best. Here’s how.