Chances are, wherever you travel, you’ll find an Agatha Christie paperback. With eighty detective novels and story collections to her credit, Christie’s work has been translated into 130 languages and ranks third in sales behind the Bible and Shakespeare. She loved nothing more than going away and was utterly fearless about trying new destinations. Of her “foreign travel books,” she later would write, “if detective novels are escape literature, the reader can escape to sunny skies and blue water as well as to crime in the confines of an armchair.”
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.
New Mexico is a land defined by its culture of green and red chiles. Chiles flavor the state’s history, cuisine, art and economy. New Mexico’s large Roman Catholic population may be shaped by its Native American, Hispanic and frontier heritage. But when it comes to food almost everyone wants theirs cooked with chiles. Both red and green.
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.
Back in 2020, a pandemic swept over much of the globe. People turned inward and went out sparingly to places where they could be with others, yet physically distanced. No, not Covid. The epidemic this story documents is that of immersive art exhibits that today are moving digital projections of masterpieces into urban spaces for…
Want to learn the real history of Hollywood? Then skip the freak show along the Walk of Fame and head north past the Hollywood Sign to the Valley Relics Museum in the San Fernando Valley where neon costumes and cars tell the history of California’s most fascinating industry.
The Underground Railroad brought thousands of escaped African slaves to Chatham, Ontario during the early and middle decades of the 19th century. Today the town celebrates their suffering and accomplishments with interactive historic parks, helpful genealogical research libraries and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
North of the market town of Ubud, Bali’s tourist resorts and handicraft markets give way to small villages like Trunyan, pop. 300, that belong to a mountain people called the Bali Aga. Unlike Balinese Hindus elsewhere, the Bali Aga do not memorialize the dead with elaborate cremations. Instead, they place their deceased kinsmen beneath a large tree and let nature reclaim the bodies. In my imagination, Trunyan seemed both dreadful and exotic at the same time.
Around the world, cemeteries are recognizing the importance of inviting the public inside graveyard gates. From historic tours to running events and summer concerts, cemetery directors are expanding programming in an attempt to be relevant community institutions, not just creepy neighbors.
Cycling the lightly traveled backroads of West Ireland affords time to intimately experience the country, its people and their history. Until recently, only experienced cyclists even attempted such a ride. Motorists would fly past as brightly colored cyclists peddled laboriously up hills, their bikes burdened with panniers filled with clothes and heavy equipment. Cycling seemed more exhausting than enjoyable. But with the advent of ebikes and specialized cycling tours, beautiful and fascinating areas now are accessible to nearly anyone. And one of the most bike-friendly places to take such a tour is along the west coast of Ireland.
What makes this type of tour so satisfying is the pace (avg. speed 11 mph) and proximity of being so close to the land and the people you meet along the way. You can stop whenever you like to appreciate an historic marker, a beautiful garden or scenic overlook when traveling on a bicycle. There’s something about the physical exertion necessary to get from place to place that connects a rider with the land more deeply than if he arrives by bus, train or car.