Category: Desert Travel

Are social media and the Internet responsible for the demise of the picture postcard? An article in a Scottish newspaper says just one in six Britons send a postcard while on their vacation, according to online and market research company One Poll.

Granted, Americans, in general, partake in way less “holiday time” than our European counterparts, but is it really true that smartphones and instant gratification through technology are wiping out such a colorful and beloved tradition?

On a recent trip to Bodie State Historic Park, my camera battery died. Such a picturesque place, I was kicking myself, but luckily I had gotten a few shots and still had my non-smartphone, phone camera.

We went into the gift shop and postcards were 45 cents. I decided to get a few, I usually have my kids send them to grandparents and perhaps their own friends, part writing exercise, part ritual. This time I wanted to send one to a family whose dog, (named Bodie, after a ’90s trip together to Bodie) had just passed away. We had created a laminated memorial to leave at the cemetery as a tribute. I thought it would be nice to also send them a postcard. Continue reading »

5 Comments | Filed Under Budget Travel, California, California, Desert Travel, Driving Trips, Family Travel, Gold Country, Northern California, State Parks

It’s not that often news about Lebanon brings a smile to my face. Triporati has decided that peace and stability is tenuous enough in the country to warrant this editor’s note:
[Editor's note: In an October 12, 2011 travel warning the U.S. State Department said, "The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains," and it urged U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel there.]
I still yearn for the day this vibrant and rich country can welcome all travelers safely.
When I lived in France, I worked with a man from Beirut who told me stories of the glory days of Beirut with great gusto and pride. It’s a lively city and tourists are coming back following many difficult years. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Africa & Middle East, Culture, Desert Travel, Returning Home, Travel Safety, Wine Tours, olive groves

Can you imagine having the Grand Canyon to yourself? No traffic to the South Rim, no hordes at the visitor center? Henry Shukman in The New York Times takes us on a long hike below the rim during the best time of year for exploration: now.

Why now? Because nobody’s there in winter, and because the sun is your friend, not your foe, when the temperatures drop.

But no matter the season, a hike to the bottom of the canyon is a challenge even for fit hikers. The relentless downhill (a full mile in elevation) takes its toll on the knees, only to force you to turn around and climb back up a mile to get out. But it’s the best way to appreciate the stunning landscape, with layers of rock chronicling the earth’s development, the oldest being almost two billion years old. And challenging as it may be, even an eight-year-old can do it, as Henry’s traveling companion, his son Saul, proves.

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Arizona, Desert Travel, Family Travel, Feature, Grand Canyon, Hike/Backpack, North America, Travel, United States

It’s almost sundown on the eve of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar; Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I was thinking about years past and how I’ve spent the day. In NYC, schools are often closed. Mine was never closed because it was an International school and if they took off one holiday they would have to take off everything: the Swedish King’s birthday, Diwali, Chinese New Year. I am not religious and my husband likes to say I am Jew–ISH, which suits me fine but I do feel connected to the heritage on my dad’s side.

I have never been to Israel, but would love to go some day. The Israeli city of Tel Aviv would be my first stop. Tel Aviv sounds like such a vibrant city and since, so often there is bad news coming out of the Middle East, I thought it was a good time to bring up the 100th birthday of this bustling metropolis. This pulsing city of more than 1.5 million is the most liberal in Israel, full of artists, gay bars, high-tech companies and Bauhaus architecture. Tel Aviv is called the Barcelona of the Middle East, a hip city, with trendy restaurants and night life which, despite the ongoing political conflict that is never far away, has a lot to offer visitors. Upcoming anniversary events include:
* International Art Biennale (ARTLV) (9 September – 9 October), showcasing contemporary works in dozens of exhibitions.
* The Green Festival (17 October), dedicating of the Green Route along the Yarkon River and a centennial bike ride.
* Fashion Week in Tel Aviv Port (19-22 October).

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Archaeology, Culture, Desert Travel, Eco Friendly Travel, Fashion, Feature, Festivals, Gay, Nightlife, Restaurants

Every picture tells a story,” goes the Rod Stewart song from 1971, and how true that is when you add a little context to an image that grounds it in its historical place. Chris Epting makes a habit of finding spots in the United States notable for cultural incidents—both earth-shaking and privately meaningful—and capturing them in intriguing photographs that become all the more compelling when he adds his thoughts about the image, incident, and location.

What’s that photo mean of the intersection of Highways 41 and 46 in Cholame, California? What are the Trona Pinnacles in Trona, California? What significance do the front steps of the Elmira Shelton house in Richmond, Virginia have? Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Culture, Desert Travel, Feature, Gettysburg, North America, Pennsylvania, Richmond, Southern California, Travel, Virginia

Usually what comes to mind when one thinks of traveling to Jordan is the ancient red-rock city of Petra or the modern metropolis of Amman sprawling over its seven hills. Not many people think of national parks, wildlife, eco-travel, or extreme sports, but Jordan has a lot to offer the adventurous traveler.

You can rappel down the waterfalls of Wadi Mujib, explore the desert and Bedouin camps of Wadi Rum, search for the Syrian wolf and horned ibex in the Dana Nature Reserve, and paraglide in the Mujib Gorge, among other adventures.

Jordan came to environmental conservation early for countries in the Middle East, establishing the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in 1966, and creating the Dana Nature Reserve in 1989. Associated Press reporter Dale Gavlak wrote about many possibilities for adventure in his Dec. 10 AP story.

1 Comment | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Africa & Middle East, Desert Travel, Eco Friendly Travel, Feature, Jordan, Travel

I teach yoga at my son’s pre-school on Fridays and we always do Sphinx pose. We talk about the mythical half man, half lion creature and I will often ask if anyone knows where the real Sphinx lives. Last week I was able to add that a new pyramid was discovered beneath the desert sands in Egypt. The three- to five-year-olds weren’t that impressed, but I must say I thought it was exciting news.

The new structure is 4,300 years-old and archaeologists think it is the tomb of Queen Sesheshet, the mother of Pharaoh Teti, the founder of ancient Egypt’s 6th dynasty.  Mothers were greatly revered in ancient Egypt: another great teaching moment. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Archaeology, Cairo, California, Desert Travel, Egypt, Family Travel

When you imagine exploring the dreamtime world of Australia’s Outback, especially the searing deserts of South Australia, be sure you plan your journey during the right season or you may snag more than you can handle. This year, to make sure that no one makes this mistake, officials will close the Simpson Desert from Dec. 1 to March 15—the Australian summer—to avoid tourist deaths and protect emergency personnel who might have to risk themselves to save stranded visitors. Continue reading »

2 Comments | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Australia, Camping, Desert Travel, Feature, Travel