Trekking through the Brazilian Amazon Rain Forest, so much was made clear to me about the importance of these ecosystems: the interconnectedness of plants and animals, the habitat and the horror of the destruction of our planet.

Like many, I have tried to eat less meat, support legitimate ventures that protect the jungle environment and visit various rainforests to enjoy and learn more about them. Whether soaring above the canopy on a zip line, boating down the Amazon or hiking to an idyllic tropical waterfall in Fiji, rainforests are hot travel destinations. I nearly coughed up my granola this morning as I read a front page story in The New York Times entitled: New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Saving the Primeval Rainforests.

The key word is “debate” and controversy there will be about this article, I am sure, but it was a fascinating read. The premise of the article is that as fast as original rainforests are being decimated by farming, logging and industry (about 38 million acres a year), replacement forests are growing at a much faster rate. Continue reading »

1 Comment | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Birdwatching, Brazil, Caribbean, Eco Friendly Travel, South Pacific

My husband just returned from a business trip to Vegas. Given the economy, according to his report, Sin City was not buzzing. I jokingly asked him if he hit any buffets and his eyes rolled. He said it had been a while since he had seen such a crop of obese people and consequently he ate very little while away.

Since I was cloistered at home with two boys sick with a stomach bug, it seemed like our entire family was on a peculiar diet.  This discussion and my secret obsession with a somewhat trashy/voyeuristic reality show called The Biggest Loser got me to thinking about the obesity epidemic once again. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Budget Travel, Family Travel, Feature, Food, Las Vegas, Overweight travelers, Restaurants, Travel Tips

Who wouldn’t want to hike a trail with such a reputation? Where might this place be? Favorite hikes of mine include Nepal’s Mt. Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar trek via Namche Bazaar; the network of trails around Switzerland’s Lauterbrunnen Valley and Grindelwald; backpacking trails in California’s Marble Mountain Wilderness, the Sierra Nevada, and Yosemite.

Others might choose the Inca Trail in Peru; the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain; pub-to-pub walking in the Cotswolds of England; the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

I’ve been tempted by the Overland Track in Tasmania. But Robert D. Hershey Jr. extols the virtues of the Milford Track in New Zealand in a recent story in The New York Times. As far back as 1908 this 33.5-mile trail was called the finest walk in the world and many hikers feel it’s true today.

After reading Hershey’s story I’m ready to start planning a trip south. How about you?

2 Comments | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Asia, Australia, California, Camping, England, Europe, Feature, France, Hike/Backpack, Nepal, New Zealand, Northern California, Peru, South America, Spain, Switzerland, Tasmania, United Kingdom, United States

There I was at the top of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe. Living in Paris for my college semester abroad, I was lucky to have been invited to “sport d’hiver” with a French friend’s family. I was new to skiing and had spent the morning in ski school with toddlers; very humiliating. My friend, who was an expert skier, insisted I join her in the “egg,” the tram to the top of Mont Blanc. She assured me I could take the tram down again.

As I recall, she was preoccupied with a budding romance, and although she cared for me deeply, her focus was, let’s say…elsewhere. Once at the peak, the gruff operator insisted I get off. No, I could not take the lift down to our designated lunch spot at a mountain restaurant. Not wanting to be a drag or imposition, I told her to go on ahead with her crush and I would tackle the triple black diamond slope on my own and meet them there. Continue reading »

1 Comment | Filed Under Feature, Food, Restaurants, Skiing, United States

I was about three years old when I saw my first train depot. I remember staring in wonder at the vapor clouds spewing off those gigantic locomotives in the Minnesota winter while a couple, seemingly oblivious to the outside world and acutely aware that their parting may be for a long, long, time, hugged and kissed and hugged and kissed.

But for me the awe was for that giant shed of ironwork and glass, the silver rails, the growling iron beasts waiting for departure from the Milwaukee Road Depot on Washington Avenue in Minneapolis.

Looking back, I can see that the place was pretty mundane compared to the grand railway stations of the world. Even by American standards it wasn’t much, but I would only learn that later. At the time I thought traveling by train was the greatest adventure imaginable, and part of that wonder was due to the grand spaces where trains began and ended their journeys, where passengers boarded and disembarked. Continue reading »

1 Comment | Filed Under Asia, Europe, Minnesota, North America, Train Travel, United States

One of the benefits (if there are such things) to the current economic implosion is the sudden affordability of services or destinations that were once out of reach for many. Iceland went figuratively bankrupt this fall when the banking crisis pulled the rug out from under the country’s economy, and Icelanders needed to scramble to find ways to make ends meet.

One way was to push tourism up the scale of importance and hope to draw visitors to pump needed foreign currency into the ailing system. According to Madeline Drexler in the Los Angeles Times, this produced a clever promotion from the tourism industry: Halfpriceland, the new affordable Iceland. And it turns out to be true. The U.S. dollar trades for almost twice the number of krona it did a year ago, making prices comparable with those in the U.S. Continue reading »

1 Comment | Filed Under Budget Travel, Europe, Feature, Iceland

You have to rally when it is a good friend’s 40th birthday. I almost didn’t. I was feeling overwhelmed with work and family obligations, but I knew it would do me good to get away.

My friend’s birthday fell on Inauguration Day so she really wanted to celebrate this year for many reasons. The weather was so glorious and we were headed to this resort called Seascape in Aptos, California. Just a few minutes south of Santa Cruz, this lovely spot is a great respite from the frantic city life I call my existence.

Five moms were headed to this condo to celebrate our good friend’s momentous birthday. The trip started out like some AbFab meets Sex in the City moment with three of us in a Volvo in heels, driving down Highway 1 at 10 p.m. It was pitch black and we were jabbering away about the economy when I thought I heard a plane crashing (the USAIR flight crash landing on the Hudson River fresh in my mind). Turns out, the front tire blew. It was terrifying…. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Books, California, Cruises, Family Travel, Feature, Northern California, Santa Cruz, South America, Spa/ Resort, United States, Yoga

With inauguration excitement building to a crescendo in Washington and around the country, saying that interest in Barack Obama is high is like saying the sun rose this morning. People want to know where he came from, what his favorite places are, what he likes to do in his spare time.

We can all get a little insight into this by poking around his neighborhood, and thanks to Gayle Keck we can explore Obama’s Chicago. Her story in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle travel section takes readers on a whirlwind tour of the new president’s former haunts.

Going back farther, the online feature Hawaii Insider looks at tours of Obama’s Hawaii, including pointing readers to a site loaded with Obama-related Hawaii offerings: Obama’s Hawaii Neighborhood. The site links to loads of background reading on the new president and offers a walking tour of Makiki, the district of Honolulu where he lived as a boy.

If you can’t make it to Washington for the inauguration, maybe you can get your Obama fix in Chicago or Hawaii. But with all of this interest in Barack Obama, will the Obama Washington DC tour be next?

2 Comments | Filed Under Chicago, Hawaii, Illinois

Triporati’s Colorado expert Steve Knopper appeared with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air on Wednesday to discuss his new book, and no, it’s not about Colorado or travel, it’s about the American music industry. Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age chronicles the mistakes made by record companies when faced with changes in the way people buy, listen to, and share music.

Steve is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. The flap copy on his book says: “Knopper, who has been writing about the industry for more than ten years, has unparalleled access to those intimately involved in the music world’s highs and lows…From the birth of the compact disc, through the explosion of CD sales in the ’80s and ’90s, the emergence of Napster, and the secret talks that led to iTunes, to the current collapse of the industry as CD sales plummet, Knopper takes us inside the boardrooms, recording studios, private estates, garage computer labs, company jets, corporate infighting, and secret deals of the big names and behind-the-scenes players who made it all happen.”

And his conversation with Terry Gross is great. Listen here.

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Books, Music

Veteran USA Today travel reporter Laura Bly took a test drive of Triporati the other day and had some good things to say, including: “What sets Triporati apart is the range and depth of its resulting destination information: succinct overviews written by veteran guidebook writers and other experts, plus location-specific videos, news and blog postings and targeted links to several other planning sources, from Wikitravel to TripAdvisor.”

Naturally she had constructive criticism for us, too, in particular: “…while we like the idea of Triporati’s travel experts posting “must see” and “skip it” lists for each destination, it would be more useful to put them in context.”

We’ll keep doing more of the good stuff and work on improving other areas, and of course we welcome any and all feedback.

Read the whole USA Today review, the second on the screen following a review of VacationRoost.com.

1 Comment | Filed Under Travel, Triporati News