Plane Spotters Share Birdwatchers’ Passion for Things that Fly

Birdwatchers stroll through forests hoping to catch a glimpse of an elusive bird. Plane spotters do the same, only their birds are bigger, louder and arrive on schedule. This isn’t some small group.  Plane spotters have an extensive network of members from all over the world. In Los Angeles, their Facebook Group LAX24R, the official LAX Plane Spotting Community, has over 4,200 members, and that’s just one group for one airport. For most people, plane spotting is just a hobby, something they do for pleasure. It’s mesmerizing to watch 330 tons of metal inbound from an exotic destination gliding gently toward a runway, and being able to capture that feeling is immensely satisfying. For others, it becomes a global pursuit for photos that showcase airplanes and airports.

Above the Arctic Circle Alaskans Skin Moose and Mush Dogs

It’s 1:00 am under a brooding Alaska sky in February. The temperature’s a few degrees above zero and there’s no sign of the aurora borealis. I wander back into the pioneer cabin where the others in my party are waiting around for the northern lights to show. Inside, Jack Reakoff holds forth about how to hunt, slice and transport the hides and carcasses of various large Alaskan mammals. He’s even brought laminated, full-color sheets showing himself and his wife posing with their kills and pictures of the chunks of meat these animals become. He segues from the best cuts of moose and bear to his upcoming gig training Special Forces how to safely cross frozen rivers.

“What do you think the most dangerous thing here is?” he asks, peering around the pioneer cabin at my group, a ball of energy despite the hour. “Bears? Moose? No, falling through the ice. Getting wet in cold weather.” The aurora never shows on my second night in Alaska. Still, after a couple of hours with Jack, I’m gripped by the spirit of Alaska and the self-sufficiency necessary to live here.

5 Places Where International Travelers Can Find the Soul of America

Should you visit America this summer? Though statistically rare, violence against overseas guests has led several foreign governments to issue travel advisories. The Japanese Consulate General in Detroit warned of “potential gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States.” China cautioned its America-bound students that “shootings, robberies and theft have occurred frequently in the U.S.” Even Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry admonished its citizens to postpone trips to the U.S. “due to recent acts of violence.” And yet, with few exceptions, foreign arrivals in the United States have continued to climb every year since 2000. Are the rest of us missing something here?

Vacation in Idaho, Then Work Remotely. You May Decide to Stay

People living in cramped urban apartments are discovering they can earn just as much money working remotely from more affordable locations that offer a better quality of life, year round recreation plus larger homes for less money. Those taking advantage of the digital economy’s flexibility often end up in Idaho where they discover a variety of landscapes, from snow-capped mountains and majestic grasslands to lava, cinder cones and sagebrush at Central Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument. Many people who move to Idaho from larger cities are drawn to the clean streets and fresh air of small towns. Hailey, in central Idaho’s Wood River Valley, Read More

Bling, Bourbon, Fine Dining & Parades Define Mardi Gras New Orleans

Mardi Gras is on again! New Orleans’ signature event, with its floats, marching bands and more than 40 processions will once again celebrate this city in a way befitting its proud heritage. Festivities start toward the end of February and peak on March 1 when elaborately costumed parades thread their way past jubilant throngs. Along with dancing, jazz and Cajun zydeco , New Orleans also means food. All are tied together through a history of exuberant celebration, Francophone culture and periodic heartbreak.