Paris, Night, Letters
My love letter from the Sahara begins in Paris.
It is March and just after dark on the Île Saint-Louis. My friend Christina and I have arrived at a literary salon in a swanky apartment with high-beamed ceilings and low lights. The evening’s theme: letters written by hundreds of women a dozen years ago to a man featured as an eligible bachelor in Marie Claire.
The man is a Parisian installation artist. He kept the letters, and he has gathered philosophers, artists, and writers to fill this living room and engage in expansive dialogue about them. About Love. He tells us he will be creating an exhibit with the missives. He pulls them from his leather attaché case and reads excerpted declarations of desire and confessions of passion. The artist’s friend translates most of the conversation into English, shaping abstractions in the air with his long fingers.
The letters were written...
READ MORE ►
Note: Wanderlust editor in chief Don George has just published the first collection of his own travel stories and essays, The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George. The collection presents 35 pieces, set in 24 countries, from 40 years of world-wandering. The story below, reprinted from the book, recounts a life-changing moment on a GeoEx journey through the Sacred Valley of Peru to storied Machu Picchu.
For decades, Machu Picchu had been at the top of my Places to Go list, but somehow, in twenty years as a travel writer visiting more than seventy countries, I still hadn't gotten there. In the spring of 2010, I was beginning to despair that I ever would. Then, through a combination of serendipities, I was invited to take an eight-day trip to the Sacred Valley, culminating in a visit to Machu Picchu.
I spent my first days in the Sacred Valley exploring cultured, cosmopolitan Cusco and the ancient sites of Moray, Pisaq, and...
READ MORE ►
Two things struck me immediately after arriving in Burma.
The first was that there were saffron-robed monks everywhere, with their freshly shaven heads and calming dispositions — but here it wasn’t exclusively elderly men with weathered sandals and kind eyes who were donning the robes. Here there were monks of every age, size, and gender, even small children and women brightly clothed in pink and orange.
Then there was the thanaka — a pale, whitish-yellow paste that covered many Burmese faces, in designs as simple as a circle or as delicate as a leaf.
The only other thing that was as ubiquitous as thanaka and monks in this foreign land was the smiles — so wide and welcoming that you almost didn’t notice what else a person was wearing.
It wasn’t too long before my visit that I hardly knew where to find Burma (otherwise known as Myanmar) on a map. The country had been closed to most of the rest of the world...
READ MORE ►
Autumn is a time of astonishing beauty on Japan's little-visited island of Shikoku. Maples in glorious fall color take travelers' breath away—especially when they frame a venerable vine bridge in the island's misty Iya Valley. The Japanese call this autumnal transformation koyo, and for many, it is just as splendid and significant as the blossoming of the beloved cherry boughs in spring.
A Perfect Day
After a day of sightseeing among the verdant nooks and crannies of Iya Valley, and a firsthand immersion in Shikoku's distinctive country kindness through encounters with local farmers and craftsmen, travelers arrive at the Hotel Iya Onsen. A sweet cable car transports them down the mountainside to a steaming, soothing onsen, nestled alongside a river in the maples. It's the perfect conclusion to an extraordinary day!
GeoEx is offering a fall trip to Shikoku November 21–December 2,...
READ MORE ►
Wordsmith Tom Cole, a member of the expedition where the idea emerged to create the company that would become Geographic Expeditions (originally InnerAsia), once wrote:
“We travel to wake up. Life is swift and hazy. We are habitual creatures, following mildly comfortable ruts. As Miguel de Unamuno said, ‘To fall into a habit is to cease to be.’ The great religions (not by mere word-flinging is Buddha called The Awakened One), the poets, the philosophers, the guy at the corner store (if he stops to think of about it), tell us that we live most of our lives in a mist. Travel, like the best friend you'll ever have, gives you a little slap, Wake up! Wake up! Be!”
Here at GeoEx, we are still as passionate about travel as we ever were, from our veterans to the newest, bright-eyed staffers. We’re still convinced the world is brimming with new gems, still in love with travel and...
READ MORE ►