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The Batik Mystique

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A map of Indonesia could be stitched from swatches of batik. From its regional origins in central Java, where creams and browns dominate, to coastal sultanates, where international trade inspired bright colors, batik is the fabric of an evolving nation. “It’s made and used in almost every part of the country,” says Benny Gratha, a curator at the Museum Tekstil Jakarta. “It’s a symbol of our identity.” Visible in everyday clothing as well as in pillowcases and iPad covers, the textile technique uses a painstaking wax-dyeing process; artists dot designs by hand or use a copper stamp. National Batik Day (October 2) marks this UNESCO-listed art form with festivals...

I Heart My City: Sandra’s Lisbon

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Sandra Henriques Gajjar, founder of the Tripper cultural travel blog and author of the Lisbon Travel Guide for Urban Explorers, may have been born and raised in the Azores (one of Portugal‘s two autonomous regions), but she has spent most of her life in Lisbon. “Lisbon’s mix of vibrant youth, cosmopolitan flair, and historical richness [are what sets it apart]” Sandra says. Here are a few of her favorite things about the city she’s proud to call home. Lisbon Is My City When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is to the Bairro Alto neighborhood. Spring is the best time to visit my city because there aren’t many tourists around yet, the weather...

Twitter Chat: Life-Changing Trips

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Learning how to weave from traditional artisans in Ecuador. Sipping limoncello with a farmer on his lemon orchard in Italy. Arranging a home stay to get a feel for everyday life in Jaipur. These are the kinds of travel experiences that get under our skin, enrich our view of the world, and change our lives for the better. But finding them is easier said than done. That’s part of the reason National Geographic and award-winning Canadian tour operator G Adventures have joined forces to launch National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures, a new line of experiential trips to destinations all over the globe. If you believe, as we do, that straying from the well-traversed path...

Just Back: Queenstown, New Zealand

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

National Geographic Creative photographer Jill Schneider (on Instagram @jillhsphotography) teaches travel photography to high school students as a National Geographic Student Expeditions trip leader. She recently returned from Queenstown, a resort town on New Zealand’s South Island known as the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Here are some of the highlights from Jill’s trip, in her own words: Biggest selling point: There is plenty to do in Queenstown any time of year. During the winter (June-August), the city abounds in outdoor recreation opportunities—from skiing and glacier trekking to dogsledding. But when spring arrives, (September-November), hiking and biking take center stage. Tip: If you love a good walk in the woods, go “tramping” (the Kiwi name for...

Silfra Snorkelling & Diving – Thingvellir, Iceland

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Exiting the Cathedral area We were hoping for a warm day for our diving trip, so were relieved after a wet and windy night when the skies were clear and blue for our drive back to Thingvellir National Park. In the end it was the warmest, sunniest day of our time in Iceland and amazing weather for diving. Three different companies use the Silfra pools at Thingvellir, but I’d chosen Dive.Is as they set off earliest. Hopefully this would mean minimal disturbance to the silty river bed and therefore maximum visibility – supposedly over 100m in the clear glacial water. The water is very clear throughout Despite the sun...

Travel Sketching 101

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’ve been sketching my way around the world for five years now, and I can safely say the practice has forever changed me as a traveler. I love how my sketchbook slows me down, throws all of my senses wide open, and paves the way to spontaneous encounters with locals and fellow visitors alike. So, in the hopes of convincing more travelers to embrace the paintbrush and sketch pad as a way to be wholly present while they explore the world—and to record their unique experience of a new place—I’m offering my take on how to get started. Establishing your sketching style is an evolution—but, as is always the case with travel, the journey can...

Travels on the Run: Carmel-by-the-Sea

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It doesn’t take much to fall in love with the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a place I visit often when I’m home in my native northern California. This run is the clincher. Starting at the base of Ocean Avenue one early morning, as mist rises from the eucalyptus-scented hills, I trundle south along aptly named Scenic Road, following the path above the white-sand beach. Shaded by cypress trees, I keep one eye trained on the crashing Pacific surf to my right, sometimes spying surfers playing in the waves—and dolphins. Whales might be there, too; I look for the telltale water spout, or a fluke splashing in the blue, but this time...

World Calendar: Must-Attend Events in October

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in October: Attention, leaf peepers: Follow the fiery glow northwest of Beijing to the bucket-list-worthy Fragrant Hills Red Leaves Festival. Hike up an ancient pathway traversed by Chinese emperors and scholars (or opt for a cable-car shortcut instead) to the top of the mountain for a panoramic bird’s eye view of Fragrant Hills Park ablaze with the changing fall hues of maple and smoke trees. From Balkan beats and opera arias to circus acrobatics, the CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival offers something to satisfy creative types of every ilk. More than 100 events—sited...

How to Stay Connected (and Save Money) Abroad

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In the days before cell phones, staying in touch while you were on the road was pretty straightforward. You found a landline, made a call, and paid your bill. But in the Information Age, it’s anything but easy. Now, your cell phone may or may not make or take a call when you’re away (is it a GSM phone or CDMA?). It may work if you can connect to a wireless hotspot. Then again, it may not. And then there are all those roaming charges! Communicating while you’re traveling, it turns out, isn’t that simple. I’ll help you make a connection. Don’t bring your cell phone: If your phone...

Italy Beyond the Bucket List

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

You’ve gondola-ed Venice, bicycled Tuscany, shopped Milan, art-walked Florence, and climbed the hills of Rome—that’s pretty much it for Italy, right? Not by a long shot. Just look at the map. Italy’s a boot, not a shoe, and there are lots of treasures to be discovered down around the ankle and heel, in Southern Italy. Here are five bucket-list worthy destinations in the regions of Puglia, Basilicata, and Campania: Alberobello: Home of the Hobbit Houses  You can’t stop staring at the strange, conical houses called trulli, with their distinctive limestone gnome-hat roofs. Theories abound regarding how these stone huts evolved in Italy’s Puglia (or Apulia) region. One tale: In the Middle Ages, local rulers demanded taxes from everyone inside Alberobello’s walls, and forbade...